Oregon Beach News, Wednesday 5/8 – Nestucca Sea Ranch Up for Auction, Coos Bay School District Hires New Superintendent & Other Local and Statewide News…

The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

Active Weather Alerts – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 PM PDT THIS AFTERNOON...
...HAZARDOUS SEAS WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 5 AM PDT THURSDAY...

* WHAT...For the Small Craft Advisory, north winds 15 to 25 kt
with gusts up to 30 kt and seas 7 to 9 ft. For the Hazardous
Seas Warning, very steep and hazardous seas 8 to 11 ft expected.

* WHERE...Conditions hazardous to small craft will affect most
areas through this morning. Very steep and hazardous seas will
develop across the waters this afternoon through tonight.

* WHEN...For the Small Craft Advisory, until 2 PM PDT this
afternoon. For the Hazardous Seas Warning, from 2 PM this
afternoon to 5 AM PDT Thursday.

* IMPACTS...Very steep and hazardous seas could capsize or
damage vessels. Bar crossings will become especially
treacherous.

* View the hazard area in detail at https://go.usa.gov/x6hks

Nestucca Sea Ranch in Cloverdale Up for Auction

Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions, which found a buyer for the Blackberry Castle estate in Northwest Portland and actor Patrick Duffy’s Rogue River property in southern Oregon’s Eagle Point last year, has a new offering: Nestucca Sea Ranch overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the unincorporated Oregon coastal community of Cloverdale.

The almost 26-acre Nestucca Sea Ranch at 41900 Horizon View Ave. is listed for $10 million by broker Brian Ladd of Cascade Hasson Sotheby’s International Realty. But while the bidding window is open through May 16, there is no minimum required for the secluded property with views of the ocean, Nestucca River and bay.

Opening day bids posted May 3 ranged from $2.5 million to $3.4 million.

“This property is truly an iconic coastal estate and oasis with nearby access to (Bob Straub) State Park and wildlife sanctuary,” said Ladd, who is partnering with Concierge Auctions.

“The natural beauty of Oregon’s central coast makes it a prime location for buyers looking to enjoy the invigorating Oregon scenery, explore the nearby wine country and enjoy endless outdoor offerings with their friends and families,” Ladd told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

This is the second time the luxury residence with a private cove will be offered through Concierge Auctions. The current owner was the highest bidder at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014.

The 7,000-square-foot, traditional-style house was built in 1996 with a grand circular staircase, decorative millwork of mahogany, wenge and purpleheart, and large windows that frame the views.

There is a formal dining room with two transparent walls. The chef’s kitchen has built-in banquette seating and wine storage. The large primary suite is on the second level; there are three more bedrooms in the main residence.

The property has been on public listings since Jan. 25, 2023. Ladd is offering private showings by appointment, in person or virtually.

To avoid a low offer in the no-reserve auction, there are incentives for an early bidder such as a 50% discount on the buyer’s premium, which is 12% of the sale price.

To register to bid on Nestucca Sea Ranch, a $100,000 deposit is required, according to the auction house. The highest bidder also pays a premium and any transfer fees. The seller pays for the title search and title insurance, as well as broker commissions.

Coos Bay School District Hires New Superintendent

The Coos Bay School District has hired a new Superintendent for the 2024-2025 school year.

Dr. Justin Ainsworth has over two decades of experience in public education as well as a Doctorate in Education according to the school district.

He has served in leadership roles, including executive management and classroom teacher. He also held the position of Associate Superintendent in an Alaska school district where he oversaw 48 schools, 2200 staff members, and almost 20,000 students.

The Coos Bay School District also says Dr. Ainsworth has been instrumental in increased AP enrollments, higher graduation rates, and enhanced access to college and career readiness programs.

Waldport Wednesday Market Has New Hours

No photo description available.

Waldport Wednesday Market happening in the Community Center Parking Lot is open and has new hours: 10 am to 3 pm — Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WaldportWednesdayMarket/

Depoe Bay Needs to Fill City Council Vacancy

The city of Depoe Bay needs to fill a vacancy on its city council and is seeking for applications from qualified individuals. A candidate must be a registered voter and must have resided in Depoe Bay for at least one year.

The city council is expected to vote on a replacement at its May 21, meeting. The appointed council member will serve until Dec. 31, 2024. Should the person appointed wish to serve beyond that date, they would need to file for election on this November’s ballot.

Interested candidates for the position of city councilor should submit an application and resume to the deputy city recorder at info@cityofdepoebay.org no later than Monday, May 6, at 5 p.m. Applications can be picked up at city hall or downloaded from the city’s website at www.cityofdepoebay.org.

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Ready to take the next step in your law enforcement career? Don’t miss this chance to join a team dedicated to serving and protecting the City of North Bend!

Apply Now and be a part of something meaningful! https://www.northbendoregon.us/police

Fatal Crash – HWY 101 – Coos County

Coos County, Ore. 5 May 24- On Sunday, May 5, 1:02 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-101, near milepost 250, in Coos County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a northbound Nissan Pathfinder, operated by Ryan Scott Sapp (38) of Grants Pass, left the roadway for unknown reasons, struck the embankment on the northbound side of the roadway, rolled, and came to rest upside down in the ditch.

The operator (Sapp) was declared deceased at the scene. A passenger in the Nissan, Tasheena Fawn Reyes (33) of Grants Pass, was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital.

The highway was not impacted during the on-scene investigation. OSP was assisted by Bandon Fire, Green Acres Fire, and ODOT.

NOAA Researchers Announce 33% Increase In Gray Whale Numbers and End Investigation Into Die-Off

There’s good news for whale lovers on the Oregon coast.

The number of gray whales that migrated south along the Pacific Coast this winter have rebounded sharply to numbers not seen in four years, according to the fisheries unit of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.

The increase is large enough and signs of healthy North Pacific gray whales are visible enough that NOAA also announced it had ended its five-year “unusual mortality event” investigation into what may have led to their decline from 2018 through 2023.

The latest counts were conducted between late December and mid-February.

Researchers estimate there are 19,260 gray whales along the West Coast — a surprising 33% increase from the 14,530 whales counted during the same period of 2022-23. Last season’s count was the lowest since 1971-72.

Researchers have been counting whales during their southward migration since 1967 and use three months of visual surveys along the central California coast that are plugged into a formula used and refined for decades.

But a spokesman for NOAA Fisheries cautioned against reading too much into one year’s dramatic increase.

“People shouldn’t get too hung up on the 33% specifically but more importantly see that the numbers are increasing,” said NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein. “The numbers are trending up. The indications are consistent that the whales have gone from a decline to a recovery.”

That’s good news for scientists and whale enthusiast along the Oregon, Washington and California coasts.

The recovery is evident enough that NOAA officially declared an end to its five-year investigation into why many north Pacific gray whales appeared undernourished and why strandings increased starting in 2018.

NOAA’s investigation began in 2019 after hundreds of gray whales stranded along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Alaska, including in whales in their wintering, migratory, and feeding areas.

There was a roughly 40% decline in the gray whale population, leading to the official designation of an “unusual mortality event” which then triggered a required effort to understand why it was happening.

The mortality event occurred between December 2018 through last November, with peak strandings occurring during a two-year period ending in December 2020. There were 690 gray whale strandings, including 347 in the United States, 316 in Mexico, and 27 in Canada.

“While the number of strandings spiked at the start of the unusual mortality event, they have since declined to annual numbers similar to those recorded before the event began,” NOAA Fisheries said in a statement. “The number of calves born to the population also appears to be improving, with other signs that the population may have begun to recover.”

The number of calves born in 2022 was estimated at 217, down from about 950 in 2018. NOAA researchers estimate that 412 female gray whales swam north last year — nearly twice the 2022 count. Still, that number was far below the estimate of roughly 1,500 gray whale calves in 2016.

NOAA said the decline in gray whale numbers during from 2018 to 2023 resembled a similar but shorter decline between 1999 and 2000. The population rebounded in the following years eventually reaching a recent height of 27,500 whales in 2015-16 before declining again in 2019-20.

“We know the population has demonstrated strong resilience in the past, and we will be watching to ensure we know how the whales recover from this unusual mortality event,” said Deborah Fauquier, NOAA’s coordinator of the investigation.

Studies of dead whales supported malnutrition as a common cause of death and did not identify other causes or infections. NOAA investigators concluded that localized ecosystem changes, including both access to and the quality of prey, in the northern Bering and Chukchi seas contributed to the poor nutritional condition observed in live and stranded gray whales.

Killer whale predation, entanglement in fishing nets, biotoxins and collisions with vessels also contributed to gray whale deaths. But these factors were not as significant as malnutrition, researchers said.

NOAA said marine mammal stranding networks in the United States, Canada, and Mexico will continue to respond to whale stranding reports this year and collect samples when feasible. NOAA Fisheries will also conduct a survey this spring and summer to evaluate whale calf production. READ MORE: https://oregoncapitalchronicle.com/2024/05/06/noaa-researchers-announce-33-increase-in-gray-whale-numbers-end-investigation-into-die-off/

Salmon Harbor Sets Sights on a New Master Plan

Douglas County Commissioners Chris Boice, Tim Freeman, and Tom Kress, along with Salmon Harbor Director James Zimmer and staff at Salmon Harbor Marina, a division of Douglas County Government, are excited to announce that they have started on the development of a new master plan exclusively for Salmon Harbor Marina and the Waterfront. 

Master plans provide a comprehensive look at the current economy and infrastructure while helping to identify other factors relating to development, planning, acquisitions, tourism, and sustainability. Master plans then go one step farther and provide a glimpse into the future growth of a community.

Salmon Harbor is partnering with Healthy Sustainable Communities (HSC) and HGE Architects, to craft a new master plan that not only lays the groundwork for a thriving and resilient future, but also identifies potential development sites and assesses infrastructure requirements.  The new plan will also include considerations for future tourism opportunities, sustainability, community growth, support for our local commercial fisheries, and innovative solutions that enhance navigation within the marina.  HSC and HGE were the successful bidders in the request for proposals process conducted in 2023. 

The process for development of the new master plan will actively involve the residents, business owners, stakeholders, as well as the creation of a diverse Technical Advisory Committee representing various sectors of Salmon Harbor Marina and Waterfront communities.  The process also includes the completion of a comprehensive market study, which is currently underway.   

This collaborative journey signifies our commitment to steering coastal Douglas County towards a sustainable and prosperous future,” expressed Board Chair, Commissioner Chris Boice. “Through the combined efforts of our community, stakeholders, and expert advisors, we aim to establish a master plan that becomes a beacon of responsible development along the coast.”

As this collaborative process moves forward our commitment remains steadfast in addressing our community’s needs while proactively fostering public involvement and developing solutions that promote long-term, sustainable development. We anticipate that the unveiling of the new master plan will help us chart a course for new standards in growth, prosperity, and environmental resilience for coastal development. 

We encourage residents, business owners, tourists, and stakeholders to stay informed and participate in shaping the future of Salmon Harbor Marina and the Waterfront by visiting the weblink provided below. Our new webpage will host documents, future open house announcements, and essential information during the master planning process. https://douglascountyor.gov/900/Master-Plan-2024.

Federal Government States It Is Ready To Sell Commercial Wind Energy Leases Off The Coast of Coos Bay and Brookings for Floating Offshore Wind Facilities

The Southern Oregon coast is closer to hosting floating offshore wind energy, after the Biden administration announced it’s preparing to accept proposals for the area. This is the first step in a multiyear process before any wind developer could begin construction.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, proposed an auction for developers seeking floating offshore leases to develop wind energy in two locations off the coast of Southern Oregon. The announcement kicks off two opportunities for the public to comment on the proposal — on the areas that would be developed, and on the federal government’s draft environmental assessment.

offshore wind energy
The map shows the two wind energy areas approved off the Oregon coast. The federal government says it is ready to sell commercial wind energy leases for the two areas.

Ocean areas approved for wind energy development off the coast of Coos Bay and Brookings, which were finalized in February, total nearly 195,000 acres. There, offshore wind could have the potential to power more than one million homes with renewable energy, according to the federal agency.

Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint, near the Charleston Marina on Dec. 7, 2023, where potential floating offshore wind turbines could be seen.
FILE: Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint, near the Charleston Marina, where potential floating offshore wind turbines might someday be seen. Photographed on Dec. 7, 2023.Monica Samayoa / OPB

But the federal push to advance offshore wind has also prompted concerns from tribal leaders and commercial fishing groups about impacts on the marine environment, and broader concerns along the Southern Oregon coast at the speed of federal action before a state effort to guide offshore wind is in place. Federal officials said development will take years, and there will be time to incorporate Oregon’s roadmap, as long as the state meets its own deadlines.

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said the agency will work with government partners and stakeholders.

“We’re excited to unveil these proposed sales and emphasize our commitment to exploring the potential for offshore wind development from coast to coast,” Klein said in a release.

BOEM is also seeking feedback about several of its drafted lease stipulations, including requirements that offshore wind developers make commitments to union jobs and workforce training, that they engage with impacted communities like tribes and the fishing industry, and that they create a community benefits agreement.

The details of the proposed auction and the draft environmental assessment will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday.

A statewide emissions goal, and concerns about marine environments — Floating offshore wind could potentially help Oregon reach its goal for electric utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity they provide by 100% by 2040. But the prospect of the new technology has prompted pushback from residents, as well as calls from Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek for more research. The governor and affected communities have asked for more transparency and engagement from the federal government, which has so far shared limited information about environmental impacts.

That pushback was a factor in the passage of state House Bill 4080, which requires Oregon to develop a roadmap, drawing on engagement with impacted communities and tribes, to define standards for offshore wind energy.

A group that included environmentalists, climate advocates, fishing industry representatives, labor unions and city officials helped draft the legislation, which state lawmakers passed in March.

That informal group, working through the facilitator Oregon Consensus, has provided Kotek with recommendations for creating an floating offshore wind energy roadmap. Recommendations include protecting the environment, culturally significant viewsheds and resources important to tribes, and supporting local communities and the fishing industry.

Kotek said the roadmap will be a critical tool to ensure the state is prepared to assess and coordinate offshore wind opportunities with the federal government, “while also ensuring that local communities are at the forefront of economic, workforce, and supply chain development opportunities,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to reviewing the recommendations from the work group.”

Nicole Hughes is the executive director of Renewable Northwest, and was part of the informal group. She said the most important part of getting so many voices from diverse interests together on this issue was to begin to understand the different concerns from each group as well as build relationships with each other to figure out solutions.

“We know we did not get all the issues, we know there’s things that were left out of consideration, we know that not every Oregonian is going to be able to see themselves in the outline that we wrote,” Hughes said. “But we’re hopeful that the work we did just sets the state agencies up for better success in the actual development of this road map, which we hope and are pushing for a much broader formal stakeholder process than we were able to accommodate in our informal working group.”

She said the group spent about nine months working on the recommendations that also includes “exit ramps,” or checks and balances on how a project should move forward and when to reevaluate or pause a project.

“Some of the ways that those can come up, you know, a new environmental situation that hadn’t been identified before, a new economic situation that hasn’t been identified before,” she said. “These are all things that might cause us to rethink the viability of offshore wind or make us go out and do more research to get more answers to questions that hadn’t yet been posed.”

The Oregon offshore wind energy roadmap is set to be completed by fall 2025.

BOEM’s Klein reiterated the federal agency’s commitment to working with Oregon’s roadmap in a letter sent to Kotek Monday. The federal government expects a sale of the proposed areas is expected to occur in October, she said, and that would likely have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2025.

“A lease does not authorize the construction of projects,” she said in the letter.

Once a developer is chosen, they will have up to five years to submit a project proposal, which will undergo an environmental review before final approval. That review, Klein said, could take at least four years to reach completion.

“Therefore, if the state adheres to the current planned roadmap timeline, the roadmap report and resulting formal policy amendments should be completed well before any [Construction and Operations Plan] decisions are made,” she said.

But news of BOEM’s proposed sale lease announcement on Tuesday left people from the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and some from the fishing industry saying they are disappointed.

Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper said the federal agency should delay moving forward until more research is available to understand environmental and cultural impacts to the tribes and the fishing industry. He also said offshore wind leasing should wait until the Oregon Roadmap is complete.

“No one, including BOEM, has an understanding on how wind development will impact the fragile marine environment,” Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper said. “Commercial fishing interests separately requested such a delay. This only makes sense because the roadmap may be a futile effort without a commitment from BOEM to actually consider the recommendations of the Tribe, the State, and coastal stakeholders.”

According to BOEM’s website about Oregon wind energy, “the environmental impacts of any proposed wind energy projects will be assessed after a lease is issued and before BOEM decides whether or not to approve any lessee’s project construction and operations plan.”

Heather Mann, who is the executive director of Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and worked on creating and collaborating with the informal group, said BOEM is rushing the process. She is also considering switching her views to oppose offshore wind.

“BOEM does not care about the Oregon Roadmap process, instead they are rushing to meet a political and electoral deadline,” she said in a statement. “Just because BOEM claims they worked collaboratively with stakeholders doesn’t make it true.

Mann said BOEM’s announcement is undermining the work the informal group has done to work with different interests and to provide recommendations on how to move forward. (SOURCE)

Largest Cascadia Exercise Ever Planned On Coast May 14th And 15th

In the largest exercise of its kind ever on the Oregon coast, Lincoln County Emergency Management, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services’ Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM), city of Newport, Scappoose Fire District, Life Flight, Team Rubicon, and the United States Coast Guard, will host a two-day exercise to introduce and train first responders and volunteers in the deployment of the newest Evacuation Assembly Point (EAP), housed at the Newport Municipal Airport.

On May 14 and 15, emergency management personnel from around the state will respond to a simulated emergency, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and ensuing tsunami. First responders will have an opportunity to set up, test, and demobilize tents and other EAP equipment.

Last month, OREM delivered two Conex containers — heavy duty metal storage and shipping containers — storing the EAP equipment in the northeast corner of the Newport Municipal Airport. Partner agencies, hosted at Oregon Coast Community College, have met several times since to plan for the exercise and familiarize themselves with the equipment.

This EAP is intended for temporary use to triage and provide shelter to individuals who will need to be evacuated off the coast to receive additional assistance or to return home to other parts of the state. Over the course of the two-day event, there will be demonstrations, preparedness activities, and overnight sheltering provided.

This is the second such exercise OREM has delivered to the coast, the first being housed at the Tillamook Airport. The agency plans to establish a third EAP on the south coast this summer. OREM delivers the equipment to local responders and conducts initial training, leaving the EAP in the hands of those who will be faced with the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

“As the lead state agency for mass care and shelter services following disasters, we believe it’s important to get EAP supplies to coastal communities like Lincoln County,” said Ed Flick, OREM director. “Data shows coastal communities are likely to be cut off from the rest of the state during the Cascadia earthquake. Prepositioning EAP supplies and training local communities to use them is one of our priorities.”

Demonstrations will include the use of drones operated by Scappoose Fire’s Aviation unit, a Life Flight rescue helicopter, and the Coast Guard Newport Air Station’s MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter.

“Lincoln County is grateful to ODHS for providing us with the Evacuation Assembly Point,” Lincoln County Emergency Manager Samantha Buckley said. “In a large-scale emergency event, the ability to quickly remove individuals from the area is essential to life safety and the wellbeing of our community. The EAP will allow us to provide shelter and other resources for those being medically evacuated by air. It will make a significant difference in the type of care we can provide.”

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will hold their bi-monthly business meeting on site during this event on the second day, starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15. As always, attendance at the commissioners’ meeting is open to the public. Remote attendance is encouraged, as access to and from the EAP site will be limited to shuttles from the main airport parking lot. If you have special transportation needs and wish to attend the meeting in person, contact public_affairs@co.lincoln.or.us.

County commissioners, county and city emergency management teams, the OREM team and at least one state legislator plan to spend the night at the EAP May 14 as part of the exercise. —- Information provided by Lincoln County and the Oregon Department of Human Services https://www.newsbreak.com/newport-or/3419243392812-largest-cascadia-exercise-ever-planned-on-coast

Lincoln County Announces Low Income Program To Help Spay And Neuter Pets

Lincoln County has announced it will use some of its federal relief funds for a spay and neuter service to help counter dog and cat overpopulation that was substantially worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program is for local low-income households that cannot afford spay and neuter services for their pets. County staff will work with applicants and participating veterinarians’ offices to coordinate and submit payment for the procedures.

To qualify, people must be a resident of Lincoln County and income eligible, which can be confirmed by showing eligibility for SNAP/TANF; WIC; OHP; Medicaid; housing assistance; supplemental social security income; veterans pension benefits; and surviving spouse pension benefits.

The applications are online. For the English version go here; for the Spanish version, go here.

For assistance filling out the application, call the helpline at 541-270-3393. Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter has volunteered to help answer questions on the helpline and assist applicants who do not have access to computers.

“Our county fell woefully behind in spaying and neutering during the pandemic, when many vets had to suspend elective surgeries altogether, and after the fires of fall 2020, which meant financial hardship for many residents,” said FOLCAS president Emily DeHuff. “These subsidies will go a long way in getting spay/neuter rates back on track.”

People who do not meet the income qualification for the county program can apply for spay/neuter and other veterinary care assistance through other programs administered by the humane society by visiting www.centralcoasthumanesociety.com and completing a request for assistance form. (SOURCE)

Rhododendron Quilt Guild (RQG) is pleased to announce a quilt show and sale taking place from 10:30 am to 5 p.m. on Friday May 17th and 10:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 18th.

This exciting event will feature a stunning display of beautiful and intricate quilts, handmade by local artisans.

Visitors to the quilt show and sale can expect to see a variety of quilt styles, including traditional, modern, and contemporary designs. The quilts on display will feature a range of colors, patterns, and techniques, showcasing the diverse talents of the local quilting community. In addition to the quilt show, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase quilts, as well as other handmade items such as table runners, wall hangings, and tote bags. There will also be fabrics, patterns, and quilting supplies sold, making this event a one-stop-shop for all quilting enthusiasts. Rhododendron Quilt Guild is proud to host this event and celebrate the talent of the local quilting community.

MORE INFO: http://www.rhodyquilt.com/

EVCNB

Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay

Garden volunteers needed at Shore Acres State Park April through September

— Come share your gardening skills or learn new ones as a garden volunteer at Shore Acres State Park.

Join rangers in caring for the gardens 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Friday of every month from April through September. Tasks vary depending on the season and could include cleaning out the pond, pruning roses, trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, mulching, planting and helping to remove invasive species.

The 2024 garden volunteer schedule:

  • April 19: Pond clean out
  • May 17: Prepare for summer
  • June 21: Garden clean up
  • July 19: Garden clean up
  • Aug. 16: English ivy pull
  • Sept. 20: Prepare for fall

Sign up for one or more of these events at https://form.jotform.com/240225153017140

Participants should be prepared to travel a short distance on uneven ground and trails to the service site. Service will take place outdoors, and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools.

Dress for the weather. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. Remember to bring a water bottle, sack lunch and work gloves if you have them (some will be provided if not).

 

OHA launches Fentanyl Aware social media campaign

Risks, harm-reduction strategies, recognizing and responding to overdose, and Oregon’s good Samaritan law to be focus of five-week online promotion

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today kicked off a social media campaign spotlighting the public health harms caused by fentanyl, and how people can prevent the deadly overdoses that devastate communities around the state.

Fentanyl Aware Northwest

The campaign, called Fentanyl Aware, will run for five weeks, with posts in English and Spanish. Fentanyl Aware will focus on teaching people about fentanyl risks, harm reduction strategies, recognizing and responding to an overdose, and Oregon’s good Samaritan law, which provides legal protections for individuals and the people they’re helping during a drug overdose.

The Fentanyl Aware campaign begins with a series of social media messages with facts about fentanyl – “What it is, where it can be found and why you need to be aware,” according to the first post. It then moves into messages about the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, including how it’s given, how it works and where to can get it, followed by posts about Oregon’s good Samaritan law.

The campaign wraps up with posts warning about risks of mixing drugs with other substances, relying on fentanyl tests and using drugs alone.

OHA’s statewide campaign borrows from a social media campaign that Lane County Public Health created in 2023 with support from OHA funds. The county also shared its campaign materials with local public health partners to adapt and share – Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties collaborated to launch the Fentanyl Aware Northwest campaign through this partnership.

Just today, Multnomah County launched its own fentanyl awareness campaign, called Expect Fentanyl, focused on Portland-area youth ages 13-20.

The statewide Fentanyl Aware campaign launches on National Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day of observance that recognizes those who have lost loved ones to the overdose crisis and raises awareness of the lethal danger of illegally made fentanyl (IMF).

Cara Biddlecom, OHA’s interim public health director, said Fentanyl Aware contains youth-informed messaging, but it is intended for general audiences.

“We want everyone to see these important messages because anyone can be affected by fentanyl – teens and young adults, older Oregonians, even young children,” Biddlecom said. “These messages won’t end the fentanyl crisis, but they could help equip people with information that could help them save a life, whether it’s someone else’s or their own.”

Fentanyl is now showing up in a wide variety of drugs on the illicit market, including counterfeit pills made to look like common prescription painkillers or anti-anxiety medications. These may contain enough fentanyl in a single pill to cause an overdose.

According to OHA data, the number of people in Oregon dying from unintentional and undetermined overdoses continues to increase at an alarming pace, from 1,083 people in 2021 to 1,289 people in 2022. Fentanyl has surpassed methamphetamine as the most common substance identified as the cause of death in unintentional and undetermined drug overdoses.

In Oregon, the number of individuals who experienced an unintentional/undetermined fentanyl overdose death between 2020 and 2022 more than tripled (for all ages). And those at higher risk for unintentionally dying from a drug overdose continued to include non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Black/African Americans, and males, though patterns of use across communities is similar. These inequities are avoidable and point to structural racism in the health system and the need for long-term policy change.

Nasal naloxone is now available over the counter, without a prescription. It can be purchased at many retail pharmacies in Oregon, and it costs about $45 for two doses. Most insurance companies cover the medication but may charge a co-pay. Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members can get naloxone at no cost at most pharmacies. Those who use drugs can get medication for overdose reversal and other harm reduction materials such as fentanyl test strips at no cost through syringe service programs. Syringe services are available to everyone that uses drugs, regardless of whether they’re injected. Visit OHA’s Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications webpage for a list of syringe and needle exchange services available in Oregon.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, please reach out for help. Speak with a health care provider or visit OHA’s Fentanyl Facts webpage for support and treatment resources. You are not alone.

Fallen officers honored during annual Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony

SALEM, Ore. — A ceremony held Tuesday, May 7 in Salem commemorated law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in Oregon. Hundreds gathered for the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony to honor the state’s fallen officers and those they left behind.

The annual event is held at the Oregon Public Safety Academy, site of the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial. Tuesday’s ceremony remembered two fallen officers whose names were recently added to the memorial: Sergeant Jared J. Miller of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, end of watch Dec. 9, 2021, and Reserve Corporal Joseph W. Johnson of the Nyssa Police Department, end of watch April 15, 2023.

The ceremony was attended by Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, elected officials and public safety professionals from throughout the state. Governor Kotek, in her address to the audience, spoke of the sacrifices made by the fallen officers and their families.

“Sergeant Jared Miller and Reserve Corporal Joseph ‘J.J.’ Johnson were known for rising to the occasion every time. Known for showing up as their best selves when the chips were down. As heroes. And as people who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Governor Kotek said. “There is no sacrifice more noble, no pledge to the public more honorable.”

Sergeant Jared J. Miller fell ill in November 2021 while working as a shift sergeant at the Marion County Jail during an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility. He died from complications of COVID-19 on Dec. 9, 2021. Sergeant Miller had served with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years, and is survived by his wife, father, sister, brother, and grandfather.

Reserve Corporal Joseph W. Johnson shot and killed on April 15, 2023, while making a traffic stop in Nyssa. After being dispatched to a domestic incident, Reserve Corporal Johnson engaged in a short vehicle pursuit with the suspect, who stopped and opened fire on the officer while he was still in his patrol vehicle. Reserve Corporal Johnson succumbed to his injuries at the scene. He had served with the Nyssa Police Department for almost five years, and also served as a corrections officer with the Oregon Department of Corrections for 15 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

The memorial bears the names of the 196 officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

Keynote speaker Mike Reece, Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections, heralded the sacrifices of the law enforcement members and their families, and stressed the importance of honoring their sacrifices and their memories.

“These men and women were exceptional. Their value to their families and friends, their service to others, and their ultimate sacrifice deserves our eternal gratitude,” Reece said. “So as we gather today at this annual ceremony, we say their names and we give our sacred promise to never forget.”

The ceremony is a significant event that the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is proud to host each year in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and Oregon’s various statewide law enforcement associations.

Oregon’s memorial ceremony is held ahead of National Police Week events in Washington, D.C. so that family members and coworkers can attend both memorial ceremonies. More than 23,000 officers who have died in the line of duty are honored on the national memorial.

### About DPSST— The mission of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is to pursue excellence in training and accountability for public safety professionals. DPSST certifies and licenses police, corrections, and parole and probation officers, as well as regulatory specialists, emergency telecommunicators and medical dispatchers, criminal justice instructors, private security providers, private investigators, fire service professionals, and polygraph examiners in the state of Oregon.  DPSST works with public and private safety agencies around the state to provide basic, leadership and specialized training at the 237-acre Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem and regionally throughout the state.

For more information on the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial please visit https://www.oregon.gov/dpsst/Memorials/LawEnforcement/Pages/default.aspx.

UO Admin Warns Of Punishments As Hundreds Rally In Support Of Student Protest Encampment

Hundreds gathered at the University of Oregon on Tuesday, May 7th, for a pro-Palestine rally.

The Daily Emerald, the student newspaper at the University of Oregon, reported late Monday that protesters have been told that those who don’t leave the encampment by Tuesday at noon will no longer be eligible for “academic amnesty” and could face other disciplinary consequences. University spokesperson Angela Seydel would not confirm any details about negotiations to end the encampment.

Officials at the University of Oregon say they are negotiating with the pro-Palestinian leaders of a student encampment that has grown to about 150 tents over the last week, in hopes of reaching a peaceful resolution.

But students and university leaders are still far apart, according to some faculty observers. And in a Sunday email to students and their families, the university pointedly noted that the encampment in front of the Knight Library is “unauthorized” and said that protesters have been advised that they are in violation of university policies.

The deadline came and went without any significant changes to the encampment. Students have said they don’t plan to leave. The university has pledged to allow more meetings with student representatives in coming days.

Issues with unemployment benefits in Oregon predate new computer system, state agency says

The Oregon Employment Department rolled out a new system, Frances Online, in February. Many people continue to report issues receiving benefits.

For just about anyone, losing a job is a stressful prospect in and of itself. It can mean struggling to pay rent, cover bills or buy groceries — particularly for those without enough rainy day savings set aside.

Unemployment benefits are intended to fill that gap, providing funds that workers can draw on to tide them over, having paid into the system while still employed. But in Oregon, receiving those benefits may be easier said than done, adding stress upon stress.

The Oregon Employment Department says it’s made progress in helping people sign up for its new online claims system. But Governor Tina Kotek and ordinary Oregonians who contact the KGW newsroom practically every day say the state agency is not doing enough.

OED rolled out the new platform, Frances Online, in March. It’s been in the works for several years and was intended to replace the agency’s outdated system from the ’90s. Many Oregonians will remember less-than-fondly how that old system contributed to a meltdown during the early months of the pandemic, as thousands of out-of-work Oregonians sought benefits. Slowdowns lasted far beyond that.

Frances Online is the same system used by the new Paid Leave Oregon program, which launched last September but was dogged by complaints from families who waited months to receive benefits well into this year.

Gov. Tina Kotek addressed the ongoing issues during a press conference late last week.

“It is one of those things that I’ve been really not happy about, and we’ve had conversations directly with the department about this,” Kotek said. “What I’ve said to the agency is we have to do better. I don’t want to read any more stories about someone who can’t pay the rent and is going to lose their housing. That would be counterintuitive to what we’re trying to achieve.”

OED itself has refused to do any interviews or directly answer questions about the issues. But in a press release last week, they said that the new computer system is working as intended.

The agency said that it had paid about $111 million in benefits in the nine weeks after the Frances Online system launched, and they’d processed about 30,000 claims a week for the preceding six weeks. They claimed that 93% of people are able to use the system successfully.

The problems that persist, OED said, predate Frances Online. Long phone wait times and delays in getting claims approved are the result of staffing shortages, which the agency attributed to chronic federal underfunding of the unemployment system.

Kotek said that the state legislature approved funding for OED to add new staff but added that the agency needs to give her a better plan to address the ongoing issues.

“The legislature did allow for more money at the employment department; they’re up to hiring 70 new staff to help with the backlogs to get people through,” the governor said. “The numbers are improving, but not up to my satisfaction, and we’re continuing to work hard with the agency … like, we need to see some new ideas in addition to getting those staff on board.

“So, I wish I had a better answer today. I want people to know I’m not happy; I don’t want people left behind. I lived through the pandemic as the (Oregon House Speaker) when we had a lot of people who couldn’t get help. I want to make sure people are getting the benefits they need, and we’re still working on it.”

OED’s statement said that they are also working on adjusting staff workflow in order to address the problems, adding overtime hours for some staff. They added that they plan to improve the way they communicate to people filing claims and looking for answers by updating their messaging to the public to be clearer, as well as providing more detailed information as to why claims are being reviewed.

The agency provided some hard numbers as evidence that things are improving. The average time for an employee to handle an unemployment-related call has gone from 17 minutes to 11, suggesting they can get to more calls. The average number of items employees can complete in the Frances system went from 3.3 items an hour to 6.8.

The average time for employees to resolve an issue with a claim once they start working on it has gone from nine days down to two, OED said. (SOURCE)

First Lady Jill Biden Visits Portland Thursday

First Lady Jill Biden is coming to Portland this week. The White House says Biden will deliver a speech at a political finance event in Portland this Thursday night. The visit is part of a the First Lady’s tour of several western states this week. After Portland, she’ll travel to California and Arizona.

Governor Kotek Hosts Event to Commemorate Progress on Housing and Homelessness in Legislative Session — Governor ceremonially signs SB 1537, SB 1530, SB 1564, and HB 4134

Monday, Governor Kotek hosted a signing ceremony for a package of bills that passed during the 2024 session that are aimed at addressing the housing and homelessness crises.

“Across the state — from big and mid-size cities to small, rural towns — Oregonians are straining under the pressure of an increasingly unaffordable housing market,” Governor Kotek said. “But the actions we’re taking today – and will continue to take in the coming years – will be key to creating healthier and safer communities and supporting economic growth.”

Governor Kotek ceremonially signed Senate Bill 1537, Senate Bill 1530, Senate Bill 1564 and House Bill 4134. Speakers at the ceremony included Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-N/NE Portland), Senators Kayse Jama (D-East Portland, Damascus, Boring) and Dick Anderson (R-Lincoln City), Rep. David Gomberg (D-Lincoln and Western Benton & Lane Counties), Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency executive director Jimmy Jones, and NAYA interim CEO Oscar Arana.

“Cities across Oregon are excited to implement the historic investment in housing infrastructure made possible by the legislature in Senate Bill 1530, helping to deliver on Governor Kotek’s annual housing production goal,” Mayor Vinis said. “In Eugene alone, the funding from SB 1530 will support the development of 1,200 new housing units, across all income levels.”

“Services alone are not enough. We must also have supply side answers,” Jimmy Jones said. “Our best path forward to a tomorrow where no child, no family, no person sleeps outside, is the construction of thousands of safe and affordable units in the coming decade. Senate Bill 1537 is the beginning of our efforts to rebalance the housing supply in Oregon.”

The ceremony took place in North Portland at the construction site for Tistilal Village, a 57-unit affordable housing development owned by NAYA Family Center that is currently being redeveloped to serve Native American families, including those experiencing homelessness.

“NAYA was a strong supporter and advocate of the housing bills being signed here today,” NAYA interim CEO Oscar Arana said. “We know these programs and funding sources are desperately needed to create more housing opportunities, like Tistilal Village, for our community.”

The following is a description of the bills Governor Kotek ceremonially signed today:

Senate Bill 1530: Provides $278 million total, including funding for infrastructure projects that support housing development ($100 million), emergency shelters ($65 million), homelessness prevention ($40 million), recovery housing projects ($18 million), land acquisition for affordable housing ($10 million), the Healthy Homes Repair Fund ($7.5 million), and more.

Senate Bill 1537: Provides a menu of tools to encourage more housing production across Oregon, including the creation of the Housing Accountability and Production Office, the allocation of $75 million to establish the Housing Project Revolving Loan Fund, the allocation of $3 million to establish the Housing Infrastructure Support Fund (HISF), and a provision allowing cities that meet specific criteria the ability to make a one-time expansion of their urban growth boundary with a requirement that at least 30% of new housing is affordable, and more.

Senate Bill 1564: Directs the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) to adopt model ordinances that cities may use in order to implement housing-related statewide land use planning goals.

House Bill 4134: Provides $21.3 million for grants to specified cities for infrastructure projects that support housing developments in which at least 30 percent of the units are affordable to households earning 130 percent or less of the county median income. (SOURCE)

 Gene Editing Helps Patients In OHSU Study

A medical trial at OHSU that uses gene editing had positive results for improving sight in people with a certain type of inherited retinal disease. The CRISPR [[ crisper ]] gene editing process was used. Around 79 percent of the study participants had improved sight. The study included 12 adults and two children. The inherited retinal disease affects around two out of every 100-thousand people.

Oregon National Guard Program Offers Students Paid Opportunities To Earn High School Credit And Learn Career Skills

 “The Oregon Plan,” renewed its approval with the Oregon Department of Education, is open to high school students throughout Oregon.

High school students in Oregon will have a paid opportunity to learn professional technical training while earning high school credit, as part of the newly endorsed program called The Oregon Plan.

Created by the Oregon National Guard, the plan received official approval last month from the Oregon Department of Education, which is required as part of its regular renewal process.

“Through this exciting program students get paid to earn high school credit, learn career skills such as basic finance, medic training, construction and engineering and practice working in teams,” said Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of Oregon Department of Education. “As students plan their summer of learning and work, I hope they consider this enriching and life changing option.”

Background On The Oregon Plan –
Established in 1995 as the Military Career Education Cluster Concept, “The Oregon Plan” enables school districts across the state to award academic credits to students who complete qualified military training and instruction. Approximately 700 high school students have joined the Oregon Guard since 2020.

“The Oregon Plan has been providing valuable education pathways for Oregon students for nearly 30 years,” said Brig. Gen. Alan Gronewold, Adjutant General, Oregon. “We’re proud to highlight this innovative program that recognizes the skills our young recruits gain through their military service.”

Multiple high schools across Oregon participate in the program, including Pendleton, Hermiston, La Grande, Elgin, Wallowa, Baker, Ontario, and Grant Union High School in eastern Oregon. Additionally, high schools in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Douglas, Union, Umatilla, Wasco, Hood River, Malheur, Baker, and Wallowa counties have also approved use of The Oregon Plan.

By enabling credit proficiencies through military training, the Oregon National Guard and The Oregon Plan exemplify a commitment to developing educated, skilled, and work-ready youth for future success.

“Our recruiters consistently hear from educators about the value of this flexible credit program, “said Lt. Col. Jessy Claerhout, Executive Officer, Recruiting Retention Command.  “It provides a helpful pathway for students to turn their military experience into academic progress toward graduation, while obtaining life skills and leadership training.”

Many of the credits earned may also translate into college credits towards a higher education degree. Sophomores and Juniors in high school can learn more about the program here. You can also learn more about the Oregon Guard’s 100% College Tuition Assistance program here.

During Mental Health Awareness Month, OHA reminds Oregonians of support resources for those in need and their loved ones 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month during May by promoting resources that support mental well-being for all Oregonians.

One in five people will experience a mental health condition in a given year, and about half of all Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their lives, according to national statistics.

Nearly everyone faces challenges in life that can affect their mental health and emotional well-being.

“Too many people in our state are facing mental health challenges, and we want everyone to know you do not have to struggle alone,” said OHA Director Sejal Hathi, M.D., MBA.

Dr. Hathi, who has spoken about her mental health journey, added, “In many of our communities, societal or cultural norms discourage people from reaching out, or even admitting that we may need some help. Mental Health Awareness Month is a critical opportunity to highlight that mental health is health.”

Here are a few highlights of resources available for Oregonians:

  • OHA provides support for Community Mental Health Programs that provide services related to mental health, substance use, and problem gambling, in counties and communities across Oregon. A directory of these services, listed by county can be found
  • In Oregon, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The easy-to-remember 988 number is available for people experiencing any type of mental health challenge, substance use crisis or thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Anyone who needs support can call, text or chat in English and Spanish (interpretation services and American Sign Language are also available) and connect with trained crisis counselors. The 988 Lifeline is also a resource for friends and families concerned about a loved one.
  • The Mental Health Toolkit was created through a collaboration between OHA and Oregon Department of Education to help educators increase students’ academic achievement through meeting their mental and behavioral health needs.
  • Online resources from Sources on Strength – Sources of Strength has two online resource packets. The first is Resources for Practicing Strength at Home, and the second is a shorter version that also offers a wellness plan. Any resource in these packets can be used in classrooms, staff meetings, in individual or group counseling, or to practice strength wherever you are.

OHA encourages communities, organizations, and individuals to use the month of May to help raise awareness of mental health and well-being.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

SALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer months, but fires occur all seasons of the year including spring. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will be spreading the word about the steps we all can take to prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer, and encouraging Oregonians to create defensible space around homes and outbuildings.

At stake: lives, property and scenic beauty – Each year, over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people. Many are a result of escaped debris burn piles or gas-powered equipment and vehicles casting sparks or catching fire.

During the 2023 fire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported that people were directly responsible for sparking 823 wildfires that burned 6,197 acres. Any spark can gain traction in dry vegetation, spread quickly and impact lives, personal property, and the many benefits provided by Oregon’s scenic natural areas.

Before heading outdoors this summer, contact the agency or landowner who manages the land at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Any visitor to Oregon’s natural areas should be familiar with these restrictions before building campfires or using equipment that could ignite a wildfire.

Put Your Smokey Hat On – Smokey Bear is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Smokey is a beloved and trusted American icon that has educated the public on preventing human caused wildfires since 1944. His timeless and important message celebrates people who take responsibility and prevent wildfires. Smokey’s hat is the driving force behind Keep Oregon Green’s 2024 summer wildfire prevention campaign. “Put Your Smokey Hat On” is a call to action, encouraging the public to predict the outcome of their actions and do everything they can to prevent wildfire ignitions. Campaign artwork, PSAs, and additional wildfire safety tips can be found at keeporegongreen.org and its various social media platforms.

Coming soon: More Wildfire Awareness Month tips – During May, a new wildfire prevention topic will be shared each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to prevent their outdoor activities from sparking the next wildfire. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green at www.keeporegongreen.org, the Oregon Department of Forestry at www.oregon.gov/odf, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal at https://www.oregon.gov/osfm/education/pages/prevent-wildfires.aspx

Follow Oregon wildfire news and prevention updates on social media: Twitter @keeporegongreen, @ORDeptForestry and @OSFM

Oregon Offers Electric Car Rebates Again – Apply Now Until June 3rd

Home

Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate.

Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at https://apps.oregon.gov/DEQ/Voucher/apply.

 

 

83-year-old Clarence Edward Pitts walked away from his home in Bandon on Tuesday, January 31 at around 1:00 p.m. Pitts is described as:

  • 6′ 00″
  • 150 lbs
  • Gray hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Last seen wearing an orange beanie, plaid jacket, tan pants and white shoes
  • May have a walking cane
  • Has dementia and PTSD

Pitts may be in a vehicle that was also found to be missing from the home:

  • 1999 Toyota Van
  • White
  • Oregon license plate: WYN 788

If you see Clarence or have any information pertaining to where he may be, please call the Coos County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center at 541-396-2106 or the Bandon Police Department at 541-347-3189.

May be an image of 4 people and text

Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com

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