The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com
Thursday, January 19, 2023
Oregon Beach Weather
Another Whale Washes Ashore Near Fort Stevens State Park
Just days after a dead sperm whale washed up on the coast at Fort Stevens State Park, a second dead whale washed up just yards away from the first.
The Seaside Aquarium said Wednesday that the second whale is a 12-foot-long baby gray whale. It beached about 100 yards north of the sperm whale.
The aquarium says that like the sperm whale, the gray whale had been dead for some time before washing ashore.
It said there were no indications that it had been struck by a ship. Biologists earlier this week determined the 40-foot sperm whale died after a ship hit it.
The aquarium said a necropsy will be scheduled soon to determine the whale’s cause of death.
Gray whales are currently migrating south to their breeding grounds near Baja California, the aquarium said.
Clatsop County Childcare Task Force Searching For New Program Manager
The Clatsop Child Care Retention and Expansion Program, which grew out of a task force to address the shortage of childcare slots, provides grants and professional development to childcare providers. It also aims to bring stakeholders and representatives together to identify needs and plans to retain and expand affordable, quality licensed child care.
The county Board of Commissioners approved $500,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds last summer to implement the program. Providence Seaside Hospital and Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria committed a total of $120,000. Columbia Pacific Economic Development District agreed to be the fiscal agent for the program, and the Clatsop Small Business Development Center provides business classes to grant recipients.
By September, the program awarded $226,500 to 12 providers, who expect to increase their slots by 36%, or 137 slots, because of the grant. Of the 12, nine were existing programs and three were new.
Dan Gaffney, who helped lead the task force, agreed to temporarily serve as program manager while the initiative got off the ground. Gaffney said the program has been successful, and that some providers have been able to increase pay and hire more staff. He expects to have his replacement by the end of February.
“What my intention is, and my focus is to make sure that we keep this momentum moving forward and to attract somebody who has a desire to do this for a long period of time,” he said. “And I want to support that person in the transition and beyond.”
The part-time position focuses on grant management, data collection, evaluation and coordination.
Gaffney said data collected from grant recipients provided good information on gaps and areas where efforts need to be focused.
“We know where there are openings, we know where things are full,” he said. “And in some ways it’s not a surprise, but now we have the data to back up our assumptions, and that is there is still a big need for infant and toddler care across the county.”
He said it will also be important moving forward to determine whether the services proportionally reflect the community as far as income and family, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
While Gaffney said the program is looking forward to the next round of grant funding, that will depend on when the program can obtain more funds.
He said the program recently received $20,000 from the John and Ginger Niemeyer Foundation, a supporting organization of Oregon Community Foundation, and $3,000 from NW Natural.
Gaffney said he is pursuing several other grant opportunities.
“But it’s also a matter of reaching out to our local businesses and municipalities to see if they can see this as a way of investing in not only our children, but in our business and our overall quality of life,” he said.
Along with the work the program is doing, Gaffney said he has been happy to see Clatsop Community College bring back child care classes to help prepare people interested in joining the industry.
Kinga Sanders, the college’s community education and workforce development coordinator, said the college is offering an early childhood class this winter via Zoom as part of a series of courses the college hopes will be ongoing.
The second class will be held in the spring term.
Sanders said the hope is to be able to offer 12 classes.
By satisfactorily completing each class, she said, students will earn one continuing education unit and 10 of the 120 class hours needed to obtain a child development associate credential.
Gaffney expects to see good turnout at the classes, adding that tuition support is available to those interested.
Last year, The Astorian reported that since 2017, the county had lost over half of its licensed child care capacity — more than 1,000 slots at licensed care centers, care homes and family homes.
A 2019 study from Oregon State University deemed Clatsop County a child care desert for infants and toddlers, meaning there are over three children for every slot available at a child care center.
The problem has highlighted an inability for the free market to address the growing demand.
Gaffney said child care providers need some type of subsidy. He used the analogy of a three-legged stool.
“You’ve got the providers, you’ve got the parents and we got to have that third leg to the stool for it to be stable,” he said. “And I think we’re moving that way.”
Gaffney said the program is a way to help create that stability until the county can get broader support needed from the state and federal governments.
“We can’t just put this on the shoulder of our parents,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to have stable, quality child care.”
MORE INFO: https://www.clatsopcounty.gov/media/36489
OREGON SHORES CONSERVATION COALITION Events for Final King Tides of Season – Presentation 1/20 at Tolovana Hall in Cannon Beach
CoastWatch Program Manager Jesse Jones will be joined by two representatives from The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) for this final king tides event of the season, kicking off the last set of king tides, January 20-22.
Jesse will share information about the science behind these annual tides; show where photos have been taken around the Cannon Beach community and point out where photos are still needed. Sea Level Rise Adaptation Fellow, Carl Hendrickson, will share his work related to advancing local planning in Clatsop County in response to sea level rise. Coastal Outreach Fellow, Elissa Connolly-Randazzo, will share her projects that will educate communities about the ecology and history of Oregon’s beaches and dunes.
This event will take place at Cannon Beach’s Tolovana Hall (3779 S Hemlock St., Tolovana Park), this Friday, Jan 20, at 5:30 pm.
The final round of this winter’s King Tides Project takes place Jan. 20-22, 2023, with the third set of high tides on which this citizen science effort will focus this winter.
Through the King Tides Project, volunteer photographers document the reach of the winter’s highest tides. Go here to learn more.
High tide on Jan. 20 will come at about 10 a.m., depending on your specific location on the coast. The idea is to take photos as close to the moment of the highest reach of the tide as possible.
For more information about this event or about the King Tides Project, contact Jesse Jones, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, (503) 989-7244, email@example.com.
FOR MORE INFO: https://oregonshores.org/
Study Ranks Oregon In Top 10 States Spending The Most On Rent
Oregonians are spending more of their income on rent than most other renters in the U.S., a study conducted by moving experts with Forbes Home shows.
Oregon is one of the many states across the United States where residents spend an increasingly large portion of their income on rent. According to a study conducted by moving experts with Forbes Home, Oregon ranks 9th in states where residents spend the largest percentage of their income on rent.
Forbes Home’s complete top 10 list:
Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Forbes Home determined that Oregon ranked 9th in the U.S. for states where residents spend the largest percentage of their income on rent.
On average, Oregonians spend about $1,284 per month on rent, which is equal to more than 25% of their monthly income. This amount is higher than many other states in the U.S., and it has only been rising over time as rents continue to increase while incomes remain stagnant.
What makes this situation even worse is that high rental costs are not just a problem in Oregon; they are pervasive throughout the entire country. In fact, according to the same study, Hawaii had the highest disparity between rent and income, with 42% of monthly earnings going toward rent. California and New Jersey were not far behind at 28.47% and 27.50%, respectively. Clearly, this is a problem transcending state lines, but why does Oregon have it worse than most?
The answer lies in a combination of factors: rising housing costs and increasing demand for rental properties due to population growth and economical migration from other parts of the country.
According to data from Zillow, median rents for single-family homes have steadily increased since 2011—from about $1,200 per month to nearly $1,400 today—while wages have remained largely stagnant over that same period (after adjusting for inflation). This means that despite earning more money over time, renters are paying a larger portion of their income toward rent year after year.
At the same time that housing prices are skyrocketing and wages remain stagnant, Oregon’s population is proliferating due to people migrating from other parts of the country seeking better job opportunities or a lower cost of living (which can sometimes be offset by higher rental costs).
As more people move into the state looking for affordable housing options, competition increases significantly—driving up prices even further as landlords take advantage of increased demand—and leaving those who already live here fighting for limited space in an ever-shrinking market.
TSA Breaks Another Record Nationally In Oregon For Guns Found At Checkpoints In 2022
Transportation Security Administration officers in Oregon detected 108 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2022, with the majority of the firearms discovered at Portland International Airport’s security checkpoints.
Every one of these firearms was discovered during the routine X-ray screening of carry-on property. Nationwide last year, TSA officers found 6,542 firearms at 262 different airports.
Below is a summary of TSA firearm discoveries at Oregon airports and nationally for the past five years:
Note: no firearms have been discovered since 2018 at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport
* Record number of firearm discoveries.
The five U.S. airports with the most TSA firearm discoveries are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which topped the list with 448 firearm finds. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport came in second with 385 followed by Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport with 298; Nashville International Airport with 213 and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with 196. Orlando International Airport; Denver International Airport; Austin-Bergstrom International Airport; Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Tampa International Airport round out the Top 10.
In 2022, TSA screened approximately 761 million passengers and crew at airports nationwide. TSA officers across the country discovered firearms in carry-on luggage at a rate of 8.6 firearms per million passengers screened. Stated another way, TSA detected one firearm for every 116,394 travelers screened.
The busiest airport in Oregon is PDX, where TSA officers screened approximately 7.7 million departing passengers and crew. Statistics show that travelers flying out of PDX brought firearms in carry-on luggage at a rate of around 10 firearms per million travelers screened, exceeding the national average. That equates to a firearm discovered for 99,219 travelers screened.
Here is a table summarizing number of travelers screened for every firearm discovery at the security checkpoint last year.
|Number of travelers screened in 2022||Number of travelers screened per TSA firearm find|
|Portland International Airport||7,700,000||99,219|
|Rogue Valley International – Medford Airport||570,000||71,225|
|Redmond International Airport||603,000||75,440|
“It is my hope that these statistics serve as a wake-up call for those who choose to travel with a firearm. This is not a new problem, but it is one that must be addressed since we have reached an unacceptable level firearms coming through our security checkpoints.” said TSA Federal Security Director for Oregon Kathleen McDonald.
“We are pleading with the traveling public to double-check the contents of your carry-on luggage and follow the proper procedures for traveling with firearms. Fortunately, we have a dedicated corps of TSA officers across the country who will continue to screen for weapons and other potential security threats to ensure these items do not make it into the cabin of an aircraft – for your security when you travel by air.”
When a TSA officers sees the image of a firearm on the X-ray screen, TSA immediately notifies the local airport law enforcement agency, which responds to the security checkpoint. A law enforcement officer removes the firearm from the X-ray tunnel and makes contact with the traveler. What happens to the firearm and the traveler is up to the discretion of the airport law enforcement agency.
In addition to potential criminal citations for bringing a firearm in carry-on luggage, TSA can levy a civil penalty again the traveler. Among the factors TSA considers when determining the civil penalty amount include whether the firearm was loaded and whether there was accessible ammunition. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapons permit, firearms are not permitted in carry-on luggage.
Individuals who violate rules regarding traveling with firearms will have Trusted Traveler status and TSA PreCheck® expedited screening benefits revoked for a period of time. The duration of the disqualification will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and if there is a repeated history of violations.
Firearms can be transported on a commercial aircraft only if they are unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided case and placed in checked baggage. Any type of replica firearm is also prohibited in carry-on baggage and must be transported in checked luggage.
At the airport during the check-in process, a passenger needs to go to the airline ticket counter to declare the firearm, ammunition and any firearm parts. Prior to traveling, passengers are encouraged to check gun laws and regulations at their destination to ensure they are in compliance with local and state laws. TSA also recommends travelers check with their airline prior to their flight to ensure they comply with any airline-specific requirements.
TSA reminds passengers to be aware of the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or not at all.
Travelers can use the “Can I Bring” feature on the TSA website or on the TSA mobile app, myTSA. Travelers can also Tweet or Message “@AskTSA” if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance daily from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST.
Oregon Agencies Fail To Complete Internal Audits
Oregon’s state agencies that handle a lot of money are required to do internal audits. The audits look for problems and risks within the agency.
Every year the state puts out a report tracking which agencies did it and did not. And again this year, some did not perform audits as required.
Maybe we have missed it, but nobody in the Legislature or in the governor’s office ever seems to get terribly excited that agencies don’t meet the requirement. If agencies did the audits as required, perhaps more problems with state government would be found sooner, rather than later.
Internal audits look at complying with laws and regulations and delivering efficient service. For instance, last year the Department of Environmental Quality looked at its labs. The Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority looked at their IT security. ODOT looked at how it evaluates pavement. Agencies are supposed to look at risks and do one risk-based audit a year.
We would hope the state would take that very seriously. But look at all the agencies that didn’t live up to the requirement of completing a risk-based audit in the past year:
• Business Oregon.
• The Department of Justice.
• The Oregon Department of Energy.
• The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
• The Oregon Military Department.
• The Oregon State Police.
• The Oregon State Treasury.
• The Oregon Youth Authority.
Those aren’t tiny agencies with insignificant responsibility, small budgets and just a few staff members. Agencies that have to meet the requirement are the ones that hit two or more of four characteristics. Three of those have to do with money, such as having more than $200 million in expenditures over two years. The fourth is having more than 400 full-time equivalent employees.
Governor Tina Kotek and so many legislators who ran for office this past year talked about how they want Oregon government to deliver and not flounder. Internal audits are another way in which Oregon fails to deliver. The internal auditing requirement exists as a check to ensure Oregon agencies do deliver and some Oregon agencies don’t deliver on internal audits. Kotek has told the Department of Administrative Services she wants progress reports every quarter starting in June.
ODOT Begins Work On New EV Fast Charging Stations – Seeks Public Opinion
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced that they’re partnering up with private companies to begin work on new EV fast charging stations along Interstate 5, U.S. Highway 97, and Interstate 205.
The new charging stations are funded thanks to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program. $7.5-billion in funds has been secured for EV charging infrastructure across the U.S., with more than $7-billion going towards ‘critical minerals supply chains that are necessary for batteries, components, materials, and recycling.
NEVI will provide $5-billion in funding to states in order to build charging stations along highway corridors.
ODOT says that the stations will be no farther than 50 miles apart from each other, and, if possible, within one mile of an exit.
ODOT is asking residents who live along those corridors to check out their online open house and take a survey so they can gather data on local factors to consider.