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Bend/Central-Eastern Oregon News Releases for Mon. Feb. 26 - 4:09 pm
Mon. 02/26/24
Housing Stability Council Monthly Agenda (updated) - March 1, 2024
Oregon Housing and Community Services - 02/26/24 3:09 PM

Feb. 26, 2024

The next Oregon Housing Stability Council meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2024. This will be a virtual meeting. You can find all relevant meeting materials on our website. The Housing Stability Council helps to lead OHCS to meet the housing and services needs of low- and moderate-income Oregonians by: 

  • Establishing and supporting OHCS’ strategic direction
  • Fostering constructive partnerships across the state
  • Setting policy and issuing funding decisions
  • Lending their unique expertise to the policy and program development of the agency

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5vfzdyiRTji0-P5Blrsi_Q#/registration

AGENDA:

9:00: Meeting Called to Order 

9:05: Report of the Chair

9:25: Report of the Director

9:40: Affordable Rental Housing Division
           Natasha Detweiler-Daby, Director, Affordable Rental Housing

  • Predevelopment Program Recommendation: Mitch Hannoosh, Senior Operations and Policy Analyst; Rick Ruzicka, Assistant Director Planning and Policy
     
  • Minority Women and Emerging Small Business Briefing: Claudia Cantu, Senior MWESB Initiative Analyst; Michael Parkhurst, Affordable Rental Housing Initiative Manager
     
  • Agricultural Housing Grant Resources Introduction: Mitch Hannoosh, Operations and Policy Analyst; Roberto Franco, Assistant Director Development Resources
     
  • Funding Resources & Set Asides introduction: Mitch Hannoosh, Senior Operations and Policy Analyst; Natasha Detweiler-Daby, Director
     
  • Funding Process Update and Discussion (no memo)Natasha Detweiler-Daby, Director Affordable Rental Housing

11:00: 15-minute Break

11:15: Homeownership Division
           Keeble Giscombe, Director of Homeownership Division

  • Public Hearing Comments in accordance with ORS 456.561
     
  • Veterans HOAP Allocation: Alycia Howell, HOAP Analyst
     
  • Oregon Lending Program 2023 Highlights: Scott Shaw, Assistant Director of Homeownership Lending
     

12:00: Meeting Adjourned

 

Registration for webinars closes thirty (30) minutes prior to each meeting’s start time.


Public comment is limited to council decisions on awarding loans, grants, or funding awards. Commenters will be allotted five (5) minutes per topic unless time is extended by the Chair. (ORS 456.561)


In the event public hearing time expires and you are unable to speak or you have comments regarding another topic not related to the agenda items, please submit your comments in writing via email or USPS.


To mail in comments, please use this address:
Oregon Housing and Community Services
Attn: Oregon Housing Stability Council Assistant
725 Summer St. NE Suite B
Salem, OR 97301
 


Three arrested on multiple charges over marijuana vape cartridge dispute
Bend Police Dept. - 02/26/24 11:43 AM

Date: Feb. 26, 2024

Case #: 2024-00010662

Incident: Three arrested on multiple charges over marijuana vape cartridge dispute 

Date / Time of Incident: Feb. 25, 2024 / 2:36 a.m. 

Arrested: Dalton Lily Ellis, 18-year-old Bend resident
Charles Gordon Barker, 42-year-old Bend resident
Rachel Jaimie Appel, 37-year-old Bend resident

At approximately 2:36 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25, Bend Police officers responded to a report of a suspicious circumstance in the 63000 block of Watercress Way. 

When officers arrived, they met an 18-year-old man who said he’d been kidnapped and robbed by a group of people over a marijuana vape cartridge. 

An investigation revealed that the victim had agreed to purchase a marijuana vape cartridge from a 16-year-old acquaintance for $30, but only paid $3. The 16-year-old, 37-year-old Rachel Jaimie Appel, and 18-year-old Dalton Lily Ellis, were together at Appel’s home in the 20000 block of Fred Meyers Road. 

After the 16-year-old told Ellis she hadn’t received the correct amount of money for the cartridge, Ellis contacted the victim to ask him to hang out, in an effort to bait him and recover the money for her friend. The victim agreed to meet Ellis at his house, and when Ellis arrived at his residence in the 63000 block of Watercress Way in a white Ford Escape, the victim got into the vehicle with Ellis and Appel. 

Shortly after leaving the home, 42-year-old Charles Gordon Barker, who was hiding under a blanket in the back of the vehicle, put the victim in a chokehold and strangled him while Appel drove the group to a nearby neighborhood. 

Appel then allegedly punched the victim in the face multiple times before she took his phone and used his face to access his banking app, unsuccessfully attempting to transfer $100 from the victim’s bank account. The group then drove to the victim’s home to get cash, and he provided them with $61. Appel and Ellis attempted to enter the victim’s home, then eventually left with the victim’s phone. Much of the incident was captured on a Ring doorbell camera. 

Ellis was arrested at approximately 10:54 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25 on suspicion of Robbery II, Criminal Mischief II, Burglary I and Criminal Conspiracy. She was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail. 

Appel was arrested at approximately 2:18 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25 on suspicion of Kidnapping II, Robbery II, Burglary I, Coercion, Assault IV, Criminal Conspiracy and Computer Crime. She was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail. 

Barker was arrested at approximately 3:47 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25 on suspicion of Kidnapping II, Robbery II, Strangulation, Criminal Conspiracy and Coercion. He was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail. 


Fri. 02/23/24
Committee for Emergency Fire Cost meets March 5
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 02/23/24 4:15 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The Emergency Fire Cost Committee will meet in the Tillamook Room, Building C, Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street in Salem on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at 10 a.m. A virtual option will be available via Zoom video conference, which can be found on the agenda. To provide public comment, please contact na.m.hobbs@odf.oregon.gov">Lorna Hobbs at 503-881-8292.

The committee’s agenda includes:

  • Financial status of the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund
  • Weather update
  • Update on status of large fire cost collection efforts
  • Determine Unencumbered Balance of the OFLPF as of Feb. 16
  • Administrative Branch/Fire Protection Division/Administrator reports

The meeting is open to the public to attend in-person or virtually via Zoom. Public comments will be accepted near the end of the meeting. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 72 hours before the meeting by contacting na.m.hobbs@odf.oregon.gov">Lorna Hobbs at 503-881-8292.

The Emergency Fire Cost Committee (EFCC) oversees the Oregon Forest Land Protection Fund (OFLPF), established by the Oregon Legislature as a fund with the purpose of equalizing emergency fire suppression costs among the various Oregon Department of Forestry protection districts and forest protective associations. All districts/associations contribute to the fund so that money will be available to any individual district/association to pay fire suppression costs on eligible emergency fires. View more information on the EFCC webpage.


Survey of Oregonians: Election Reform - Ranked-choice, open-primaries, campaign finance, etc.
Oregon Values and Beliefs Center - 02/23/24 3:39 PM

OREGONIANS’ VALUES AND BELIEFS ABOUT ELECTION REFORM

Oregon Values and Beliefs Center

January 2024

 

Introduction:  This summary report, including strategic considerations and recommendations, was completed by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center in partnership with the Yarg Foundation. It incorporates quantitative and qualitative research findings from OVBC studies conducted in 2023 and described below.  This report is meant to assist the broader public with planning, policymaking, and communications about election reform. 

 

Oregonians Support Changes in Our Systems of Self-Government but Their Opinions Range from “Reform Curious” to “Reform Ready” Across Issue Areas

A majority of Oregonians are dissatisfied with the structure of elections, the conduct of campaigns, the role of political parties, and the effectiveness of their representatives in state and local government, and they are open to reforms in all of these areas at both the state and local levels. 

Support for electoral and governance reforms is both evolving and dispersing across the landscape of public opinion. Majorities have crystalized in support of reforms that are more familiar to them and have a history of debate in recent decades. But, when it comes to embracing new and untested reforms, Oregonians are more curious than ready. 

Reform Curious

Oregonians statewide are interested in major changes in how we elect our representatives and how we might restructure our system of representation at both the state and local levels.  Ranked-choice voting heads their list in the first category, while the concept of multi-member districts captures their interest in the second. 

But their interest in reforms in these areas is nascent, which we describe as “reform curious” but not yet “reform ready,” despite Portlander’s recent launch of these reforms. 

Reform Ready

Support for campaign finance reform appears to have matured to the point that supporters have the wind at their backs with initiative petitions that are circulating for the November 2024 ballot that would limit contributions to candidates. 

Also, those who reject the closed party primary system coalesce around the more familiar concept of simply opening up the major party primaries to all voters, but they split over reforms like “top two” primaries

 

 

Methodology and Terminology

We gathered the above findings and drew our conclusions from two OVBC projects:

  • A statewide survey (referred to herein as the “survey”), conducted of 1,807 Oregon residents ages 18 and up, conducted December 19, 2023, through January 7, 2024, with a margin of error of +/-2.3% for its full sample. 
  • A more extensive survey, the OVBC Typology Study (referred to herein as the “study”), conducted September 12, 2023, through October 23, 2023. This study, for which analysis and reporting remains ongoing, reached more than 3,600 respondents and had a margin of error of 1.6% for its full sample.

The general findings of both the survey and the larger study were generally consistent across most subgroups of respondents, however, differences among respondents were found most often among age cohorts, strata of educational attainment and household income, and political party affiliations. Other, less frequent, variations are noted where they appear. 

Age cohorts are categorized and described as follows: Adults aged 18-29 (Generation Z) and 30-44 (Millennials), whom we refer to as “young’ and “younger-middle-aged” respectively, or, as a group, as “younger Oregonians;” and, adults aged 45-54, 55-74, and 75+, whom we refer to as “older” Oregonians. 

Educational Attainment captures three categories: High school graduates or less; those with some college; and those who hold four-year and post-graduate degrees.

Household Income is categorized as follows: Less than $25,000 per year; $25,000-$49,999; $50,000-$74,999; $75,000-$99,999; $100,000-$149,999; and, $150,000 and above. In this report, we refer to the first two categories as “lower income.”

Political Party Affiliation captures self-reported identifications of Democrats (36% of the total), Republicans (25%), as well as minor party, unaffiliated and unregistered voters (40%). We refer to this last group as “Others” in the following analysis. This last category represents the largest group of voting-age adults, though their lower turnouts tend to diminish their impact in elections.

Other categories of respondents cited herein as relevant to our findings include Gender, Rural residency, Race/Ethnicity, and Newcomers to Oregon.

A separate set of findings and analysis is presented for Portland residents, given their recent approval of a new system of elections and representation for the city.

 

Survey Questions: Phrasing and Detailed Responses

Readers are directed to the survey documents for the specific wording of questions, the tally of responses to each, and subgroup variations. In the findings and analyses herein:

  • Question numbers are provided for reference to the annotated questionnaire and crosstabs for both the most recent survey (captioned Nov-Dec survey) and the 2023 Typology study. 
  • Due to rounding, the percentages reported below may not add up to 100% or compare exactly to the percentages for the same question in the annotated questionnaire and/or crosstabs.
  • Quotes from respondents’ open-ended comments are excerpted from a document entitled Anonymous Verbatims, which includes responses to “your biggest hope for your community” in 2024 (Survey Question 6), “your biggest fear for our community” in 2024 (Survey Question 7), “comments on any of the questions relating to elections and governance (Survey Question 15), and “thoughts…about possible changes to our governance and current election systems in Oregon” (Survey Question 24).

These documents can be found on the Oregon Values and Beliefs website at www.OregonVBC.org.

 

Some Glimmers of Optimism, But with Widely Held Concerns About Social and Political Divisions 

General Findings (Survey Questions 1-5.)

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Our survey identified Oregonians' views of how things are going in their communities (44% right direction, 49% wrong track) and their feelings about the upcoming year (52% optimistic, 45% not). By comparison, our Typology study showed wrong track sentiment at 53% for the state last year and 69% for the nation, with only 41% viewing the state as on the right track and even fewer (27%) extending that opinion to the nation as a whole.

Note that the survey framed its initial questions regarding respondents’ communities, while the Typology study referred to the state. In general, our surveys over the years have found more negativity about how things are going at the national level, but less at the state level and community level.

However, concerns about social and political divisions remain top of mind for respondents regardless of their right track/wrong track perceptions and their hopes for 2024. 

The political climate is so divided, nobody can work for the better of the state...”

--Deschutes County woman, 55-64, Republican

 

“Petty mudslinging in political arenas is a depressing waste of time, energy and money…”

--Lane County woman, 75+, Democrat

 

In our survey, roughly three out of four respondents think their community is socially and politically divided (74%) and are worried about these divisions (77%). Their views on whether “your community can come together and bridge this divide” reflect a great uncertainty: 35% think they can, 27% think they can’t, while a plurality (38%) can’t decide one way or the other.

The Typology study found nearly identical levels of concern for the state as a whole: 74% of respondents perceived the state as socially and politically divided, while 82% reported they were worried about these divisions, and 36% thought “We can come together and bridge this divide.”

Even with a little less “wrong track” feeling and some notable optimism at the local level, the wounds of social and political division have not healed. The perceptions of these divisions and a low level of confidence in the ability to mend them are evident in responses to both the survey and the Typology study in regard to local communities and the state as a whole.

Notable Differences within Sub-groups

Respondents varied little in their recognition of social and political divisions in their communities, their worries about these divisions, and their sense of whether we will be able to come together to heal these divisions, with a few exceptions.

Age: Young and younger-middle-aged adults are twice as likely to be very optimistic about the future, with roughly 20% very optimistic in their expectations for 2024 compared to less than 10% among older adults. 

Political Party Affiliation: The effect of partisan identities was starkly evident in respondents’ views of how things are going in their communities. Democrats were far more likely to see things headed on the right track (63%) rather than the wrong track (32%), while Republicans were the opposite in their perceptions (28% right track, 68% wrong track). Others split the difference (39% right track, 50% wrong track). 

Also, Democrats are more optimistic about 2024 (58%) than Republicans (46%) and Others (50%).

Gender: Persons who identify as “non-binary or other” (2% of survey respondents) reported being “very worried” about social and political divisions in their communities by a large margin (48% vs. 23%-24% for men and women) and “not at all optimistic” about 2024 (20% vs. 12%-13% for women and men). These were differences of intensity, as the combined numbers for “very” and “somewhat” opinions tended to deliver similar totals across all genders.

Race/Ethnicity: BIPOC respondents were slightly less likely to see social and political divide in the communities (69% vs. 75% for white respondents), were more inclined to think we can come together to bridge these differences (40% vs. 34%), and were notably more optimistic about the coming year (62% vs. 49%).

 

Support for Government Contrasts with an Overall Negative Opinion of Its Efficiency

General Findings (Typology Study Questions 6, 7, 11, 12, 34, and 35.)

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Oregonians generally support an activist government. Our Typology study found solid majorities in favor of:

  • “A bigger government providing more services” (59%) over a “smaller government providing fewer services” (41%);
  • Government regulation of business as “necessary to protect the public interest” (59%) rather than doing “more harm than good” (41%), and,
  • Stronger environmental laws and regulations as “worth the cost” (63%) rather than “cost(ing) too many jobs and hurt(ing) the economy” (37%).

Similarly, most Oregonians would prefer to keep or strengthen rather than relax our current land use and environmental protections by margins of 68%-22% (land use) and 75%-15% (environment).

But Oregonians are not happy with the government they have. Almost six in ten (57%) respondents in the Typology study thought that “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient,” while only four in ten (43%) grant that “government often does a better job than people give it credit for.”

 

There is Broad Dissatisfaction with Our System of Self-Governance, from Our Method of Elections to the Exercise of Representation

“The electoral process is flawed and either needs to be replaced or refined to better represent all constituents, not just those with the strongest voices and deepest pockets.”

--Deschutes County woman, 55-64, Democrat

 

“…Voters are disillusioned and have zero faith that politicians have their best interests in mind…”

--Clatsop County woman, 18-29, Democrat

 

“Despite the demonstrated needs of folks without stable housing, elected officials routinely ignore their needs…But anyone can plunk down six figures or more in donations to election campaigns and get all the attention they want.”

--Multnomah County non-binary, 30-44, Republican

 

General Findings (Survey Questions 8-14, and Typology Study Question 14.)

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

We find dissatisfaction tending to cynicism prevalent in Oregonians’ views of our electoral systems. Only one in four (25%) respondents to our survey think that our elections result in “the candidate most qualified for the position winning,” while three in four (75%) think that “the most politically popular candidate” prevails. A clear majority thinks that “Oregon’s current electoral system produces outcomes that reflect the views and beliefs of a small group of particularly political Oregonians” (58%) rather than “the views and beliefs of typical Oregonians from around the state” (42%).

Underlying these views, we can discern an embrace of traditional good government principles.  

Survey respondents largely agreed that “once elected, an official should prioritize the interests of their district rather than their supporters” (71%) and that “all generations should be treated equally” in the allocation of public resources (66%).

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Similarly, in our Typology study, almost three in four (74%) respondents agreed that “compromise is how things get done in politics even though it sometimes (means) sacrificing for the greater good,” while only one in four (26%) favored the hardline view that “compromise in politics is just selling out on what you believe.”

These are centering rather than fragmenting tendencies, reaffirming a broad consensus in favor of bridging divides to better serve the common interests of all. 

At the same time, these traditional views do not reflect support for a “good old days” style of government. Roughly three in four survey respondents think that “future generations deserve more formal representation and more consideration by current government institutions” (73%), and that “effective governance requires continual experimentation with how best to get things done" (76%).

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Oregonians overall strongly favor “continual experimentation” over “adherence to tradition” as the best approach to effective governance, with Republicans being more divided.

Finally, almost three out of four respondents (72%) agreed that “voters in Oregon need to receive more reliable information about the issues and candidates on the ballot,” while 28% think voters “already have access to enough information to cast their vote.”

Notable Differences within Sub-Groups

Age: More than a third (roughly 35%) of young and younger-middle-aged adults think that the current system results in the election of the most qualified candidates for office, compared to less than half that percentage (about 15%) of older adults who share this view. Even more notably, a majority (52%) of the youngest cohort (18-29-year-olds) thinks the current electoral system produces outcomes that reflect the views of typical Oregonians from around the state, compared to 42% of Oregonians of all age groups.

Further, young and younger-middle-aged adults are far more likely to think that candidates who win elections should prioritize the interests of their supporters over those of their districts. Fully 50% of 18-29 year-olds and 37% of 30-44 year-olds favor this approach to governing, compared to roughly 20% of older adults. On this question, in particular, there is a near-perfect correlation between age and opinion: Younger Oregonians are more likely to want elected officials to favor their supporters; older Oregonians are more likely to want them to favor representation of a district’s interests, with increasing levels of support for the latter rising with one’s age, approaching 90% for seniors.

This aged-based divergence of opinion moderated somewhat in respondents’ preferences for “effective government,” when respondents were given a choice between “continual experimentation with how best to get things done” and “reliable adherence to tradition.” The youngest cohort of respondents strongly favored the former (81%), but all other age groups were not far behind, with support at roughly 75% for continual experimentation.

Educational Attainment and Household Income: Those with a high school education or less and those in lower income households (below $50,000 per year) were more likely to think that the most qualified candidates are prevailing in our elections, while those with college degrees and higher incomes (above $75,000 per year) were more likely to think that elections were going to the most politically popular candidates. 

Also, those from the lowest income households (below $25,000) were more inclined to think that our electoral system produces outcomes that reflect the values and beliefs of typical Oregonians than respondents in all other income groups.

The survey also found that those with less formal education and lower incomes were more likely to feel they need more information about issues and candidates on the ballot. 

Finally, on the question of how respondents prefer elected candidates to respond to their constituents, another clear pattern emerged: Those with less formal education and in lower income households were far more likely to want to see elected officials favor their supporters (47% and 43% respectively). Those with higher formal education level and household incomes went in the other direction, wanting to see elected officials prioritize the interests of their districts over those of their supporters by margins that increased steadily with education and income to as high as 94%.

Rural: Rural residents were slightly less supportive than others of “continual experimentation” in government and slightly more inclined to support “reliable adherence to tradition,” but they still favored the former by a margin or 70% to 30%. 

Political Party Affiliation: In their views about approaches to representation, however, Democrats were less likely than Republicans and others to think that elected officials should prioritize the interests of their supporters (18% of Democrats, 31% of Republicans, 35% of Others). Still, strong majorities in all three groups preferred that officials prioritize the interests of their districts (Democrats 82%, Republicans 69%, Others 65%). Note that the views of younger respondents on this issue (above) go counter to this consensus. 

In regard to other governance issues, Democrats are more likely to favor “continual experimentation” over “adherence to tradition” to get things done (89% to 11%), while Republicans favor tradition (55%) over experimentation (45%). Others are closer to Democrats on this issue, favoring experimentation (78%) over tradition (22%).

Race/Ethnicity: BIPOC respondents are much more likely than their white counterparts to think that elected candidates should prioritize the interests of their supporters (44% vs. 24%) and were more mixed about their political parties – less unsatisfied, less satisfied and more likely to align with neither position (27% to 19%).

 

Oregonians’ Dissatisfaction with our Systems of Self-Governance Extends to Both Major Political Parties 

 

“The problem in the political realm can be summed up very easily – everything has become too polarized. The Rs are too far right and the Ds are too far left. There is no compromise. If you vote against your party line your own party will punish you. It is unfortunate that the term ‘getting primaried’ is a part of our culture.”

--Lincoln County man, 55-64, Democrat

 

General Findings

(Survey Questions 16 and 17, and Typology Study Question 55.)

Most Oregonians blame one or both major parties for “threatening the nation’s wellbeing”.

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Survey respondents do not view our political parties as agents for a more representative or effective government. Only one in three respondents is very (9%) or somewhat (25%) satisfied with the political party they are affiliated with, and a notable plurality (42%) think the Democratic and Republican parties have too much say in selecting candidates to compete in Oregon’s general elections (compared to 9% who think that the major parties have too little power and 24% who don’t know.)

Even harsher views were evident in response to a question in our Typology study asking whether respondents viewed the policies of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party as “threaten(ing) the nation’s well-being.” Fewer than one in five (17%) rejected that assertion, while a plurality (33%) put both parties in the category of threatening the nation’s well-being. The remaining respondents blamed the Republican Party (31%) or the Democratic Party (19%) for these effects.

Taken as a whole, these views appear to motivate a multi-partisan interest in, and receptiveness to, reforms in our systems of representative government, tempered by uncertainty about their best formulations.

Notable Differences within Sub-Groups

Age: Young and young middle-aged respondents were more likely to report that they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their parties. Their answers to this question were likely influenced by the higher levels of unaffiliated voters in this age group. On the other hand, the youngest respondents (aged 18-29) were less likely to agree that “the Democratic and Republican parties have too much say in selecting candidates to compete in our general election(s),” with only 31% expressing that opinion compared to slightly more than 45% of voters aged 30 and over.

Younger voters are also less dissatisfied with our system of political representation. 

Educational Attainment and Household Income: Those with less formal education and lower incomes were less likely to think that the Democratic and Republican parties have too much power in selecting candidates who advance to the general election (34% and 32%), compared to those with college degrees and higher household income levels ($100,000 or more) who supported that assertion at rates of 49% and 54%.

Gender: Non-binary respondents are much more dissatisfied with their political parties (46% vs. 25% for men and women).

Political Party Affiliation: Democrats are more satisfied with their party (54%) than Republicans (42%), but dissatisfaction is evident in both parties (30% among Democrats, 35% among Republicans). Notably, the view that Democrats and Republicans have too much say in selecting general election candidates has similar levels of support in both major parties (Democrats 35%, Republicans 37%), while agreement rises to 50% among Other respondents.

 

With a Few Exceptions, Oregonians Haven’t Yet Advanced from “Reform Curious” to “Reform Ready”

 

I’m down to try something different as the current system isn’t working.”

--Deschutes County woman, 30-44, Democrat

 

“I am not sure I would want multiple representatives. After reading this survey. I believe I would want to research it a little more to get better information.”

--Marion County woman, 65-74, Democrat

 

“I worked my county's elections for over 10 years. Voters can't keep up with the current system, please don't muddle it more!”

--Multnomah County woman, 45-54, Democrat

When presented with a menu of reforms, respondents choose different, although similar, paths to many of the same goals. But, with several exceptions, strong majorities fail to materialize in support of a single reform. 

Those exceptions can be found in the strong levels of support we identified for campaign finance reform and open primaries when respondents are offered the choice of a single, clearly formulated alternative to the status quo. Otherwise, the split over different paths to reform remains a cautionary finding for advocates of change.

We analyzed the range of responses, from “reform curious” to “reform ready” in each of the following issue areas:

  • Unlimited vs. limited campaign contributions,
  • Closed vs. open party primaries,
  • Plurality vs. majority elections, runoffs and ranked-choice voting, and
  • Single-member vs. multi-member districts.

In response to this menu of reform options, we note that young and young-middle-aged respondents were somewhat less likely to commit to, and more likely to say they don’t know their position on, specific proposals.

 

Campaign Finance Reform Has Broad Support

General Findings (Typology Study Questions 23 and 38.)

With campaign finance reform, however, there is broad interest and super-majority support for reforms to limit campaign contributions to candidates. Respondents offered many unprompted comments like the following in response to the open-ended questions in our survey.

 

“Big money must be taken out of politics. Campaign finance reform is essential so that political power cannot be bought…”

--Lane County woman, 75+, Democrat

 

“Our top priority is to get money out of politics. It’s the only way to make things truly fair. Currently, politicians can be bought. Which puts all the power in the hands of just the rich…”

--Wheeler County woman, 45-54, Non-affiliated

 

“There needs to be stricter laws about campaign money. The rich and corrupt currently are our only option and they do not represent us.”

--Clatsop county woman, 18-29, Democrat 

 

“The other big issue is the influence of money on elections, which…requires candidates to worry more about funding for reelection versus what their constituents need.”

--Benton County man, 55-64, Minor party

 

Beyond the solicitation of comments, our survey did not probe respondents’ opinions on this subject, as we had done so in last year’s Typology study. That study showed 50% strong support and 75% overall support for regulating unlimited money in political campaigns.

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Competing initiatives headed to the November 2024 ballot in Oregon to establish campaign spending limits will benefit from this level of initial support and from a decades-long series of campaigns to bring this approach to fruition. However, if voters are offered two competing proposals on the same ballot, even super-majority support for a common goal can splinter into lesser levels of support for each proposal. For example, in our Typology study, we also asked respondents to indicate their preferred options for reforming our campaign finance system. In their responses, increased transparency topped donation limits, with support for the latter declining to 56%. (See Implications for Reforms in the Current Political Environment, below.)

Notable Differences Within Sub-Groups

There was consistent support across all sub-groups for limiting unregulated money in political campaigns, with a few exceptions where support was weaker but still exceeded 60%.

Age: Respondents age 18-29 were weaker in their support of limiting unregulated money in political campaigns at 60% vs. 75% for all respondents. Support for this reform rose steadily through the older age cohorts to a level of 89% support among seniors (65 and older).

Educational Attainment: Respondents with high school diplomas or less weighed in at 63% in favor of this reform.

Newcomers to Oregon: Respondents who have lived in Oregon for five years or less were less supportive of this reform (68%) than longer-term residents.

 

Support is Coalescing for Open Primaries

 

I think we should be able to vote across political parties in the primaries…not a ballot for Republicans, Democrats, etc. I want to be able to vote for the best candidate no matter the political party.”

--Washington County woman, 65-74, Republican

I have been a registered independent voter for decades and would like to be able to vote in the primary.  The difficulty of being a Republican or Democrat is that you are only given Republican or Democratic candidates to vote for.  I would like the option of voting who I think is the best candidate no matter the political party.”

--Clackamas County woman, 65-74, Independent Party

 

“…Primary elections should be OPEN TO ALL (open primaries), this would result in more centrist (more accurately reflecting the voters' moderate views) candidates being in a general election. This would strongly decrease divisiveness.”

--Yamhill County man, 55-64, Democrat

 

General Findings (Split-sampled Survey Questions 18 and 19, and Typology Study Question 39.)

When survey respondents were asked whether the two major parties should continue with their practice of limiting participation in their primaries to their own registered voters, only 21% affirmed that practice in one split sample, while 41% preferred opening up these primaries to all voters, and 16% supported non-partisan, top-two primaries instead. In another sample that offered an additional alternative, only 17% affirmed the current party primary system, while various alternative approaches garnered support at levels of 28%, 22%, and 16%. 

By contrast, when given just the two options of having the major parties continue with the practice of closed primaries or requiring them to open their primaries to all voters, respondents to the Typology study coalesced in support of the latter: Support for the status quo peaked at 27%, while support for opening up the major party primaries settled at 63%.

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

When offered multiple alternatives to the current practice of continuing with closed primaries, Oregonians were less likely to support the status quo, as the “reform curious” dynamic tended to draw more of them away from supporting the current system. But when offered the single alternative of open primaries, support for the latter retained a sizable supermajority.

Notable Differences Within Sub-Groups

Age: Age was a consistent predictor of opposition to the current system of closed primaries and support for opening them up to all voters. In our Typology study, older respondents, aged 45 and above, were more likely to support the current system (30%) than younger respondents (22%). And the variations in support for opening the major party primaries to all voters was even more notable. Almost three out of four (73%) younger Oregonians supported that approach, compared to 58% of older Oregonians.

Political Party Affiliation: Keeping the current system of closed primaries draws greater support from Republicans (29% and 35% in two split samples) than Democrats (18% and 21%) and least of all from Others (10% and 14%). 

Respondents in all three groups favor alternatives to the closed primary, of which the most popular is the proposal for opening up party primaries to all voters, which elicited support from 46% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans, and 43% of Others. Notably, the least popular of several alternatives to closed primaries was the idea of “top two” primaries without party affiliations. Oregonians want to lessen party control of the primary nominating process, but they don’t want to do away with party labels on the ballot. 

Newcomers to Oregon: Respondents who have lived in Oregon for five years or less were even more supportive of open primaries, at 74% support. This group comprised almost one in ten respondents, so it can be a significant voting bloc. 

 

Support for Change in Our Methods of Elections Splits Among Options, From Majority Runoffs to Ranked-Choice Voting 

General Findings (Survey Question 20 and Typology Study Question 40.)

A majority of respondents want to change our method of electing representatives but differ on the best way to do so.

 

“I think that two-party winner-take-all all elections have become a poor way to elect representation. Branding takes precedence over ideas. I would like to see candidates elected on the strength of their ideas and practical ability to get things done, requiring more of voters to know and decide among options when they vote.”

--Lane County woman, 65-74, Democrat

 

“I think Oregon would do better if we had a second round of voting for the top two candidates.”

--Clackamas County man, 30-44, Republican

 

We need rank choice voting. I'm a bleeding-heart liberal but I don’t want anyone as liberal as me in charge. I want moderate centrists to be the decision-makers, compromising for the good of all. Rank Choice Voting pushes candidates to the middle - it eliminates the need to pander to the fringes (on either side).”

--Washington County woman, 65-74, Democrat

 

“NO WAY should Oregon allow 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice voting! Voters are confused enough, they don't need this type of voting to add more confusion, uncertainty and cause even lower voter turnout…”

--Yamhill County woman, 55-64, Independent Party

 

“Ranked-choice voting would be an absolutely incredible advancement. Absolutely no more concerns about ‘throwing away your vote’ if your favorite candidate isn’t the one you think is the most popular.”

--Clackamas County man, 30-44, Democrat

 

When asked about our current system of “first past the post” elections in our survey, in which winners can prevail with less than 50% of the vote, only 24% of Oregonians want to stay with this system, while 35% favor shifting to ranked-choice voting and 29% prefer requiring runoffs when necessary to determine a majority winner. 

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

Our Typology study captured similar responses: 37% of respondents favored ranked-choice voting, 30% favored runoffs, and 30% wanted to stay with the current system.

Notable Differences

Age: Older voters (aged 45 and above) were slightly more likely to support the status quo, including the first-past-the-post method of deciding elections that delivers less-than-50% winners (approaching 30% in one survey question); while younger voters were slightly less likely to support this method of electing candidates. But, on the questions that offered multiple versions of reforms, there was little difference in support across all age cohorts. 

Political Party Affiliation: When it comes to voting systems, Republicans are split in their preferences for the current “first past the post” method (30%) and requiring run-off elections (40%), while Democrats favor ranked-choice voting (44%) over keeping the status quo (25%) or requiring run-offs (24%).

Educational Attainment and Household Income: College graduates and higher-income respondents were slightly more likely to support the status quo of closed-party primaries. 

Race/Ethnicity: BIPOC respondents were slightly less likely to favor ranked-choice voting (31% vs. 36% for white respondents).

Rural: Rural residents were more supportive of runoff elections (34% vs. 27% for non-rural residents) and less supportive of ranked-choice voting among the reforms tested (27% vs. 38%).

 

Multi-Member Districts Elicit Near Majority Support

 

“A multi-member district could force more compromise, which is sorely lacking these days since the two political parties require allegiance and forbid compromise.”

--Washington County woman, 65-74, Democrat

 

“It is absurd to think that we need multiple winners all of a sudden. How in the world would this make things better? It will only confuse voters about who represents them: When things go wrong, who do they hold accountable?”

--Multnomah County man, 45-54, Democrat

 

“Multiple representatives would likely do a better job of representing the area, but I'm not sure the system costs and revamping everything would be possible. Also not sure that the top two parties would allow for more diversity, or if we'd just see more candidates that are the same party-liners we have now.” 

--Klamath County woman, 55-64, Non-affiliated

 

General Findings (Survey Questions 21-23)

In this section of our survey, where respondents were offered binary choices, the results show a strong interest in radical change – namely, ending the long-standing practice of having districts represented by a single elected official (single-member districts) in favor of a system in which “two or more candidates are elected for a particular region to represent different perspectives” (multi-member districts). Asked which approach they favored, a near majority of respondents (49%) chose multi-member districts over single-member districts (28%) with the remainder (22%) undecided.

Asked again about the relative effectiveness of single-member and multi-member district representation in state and local government, a strong plurality (46%) of survey respondents agreed that “multiple candidates in an election that allows more than one winner, with the top two or three representing the area, would do a better job of getting things done for all voters.” A lesser 35% thought otherwise, agreeing with the claim that “a candidate who wins a single-winner election with the most votes is better able to achieve consensus on an elected body and get things done for all voters.”

GRAPH AVAILABLE AT Election Reform - Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (oregonvbc.org)

As would be expected from these findings, survey respondents affirmed their preference for multi-member districts and ranked-choice voting for city councils (50%), county commissions (49%), and the state legislature (47%).  The support was more “somewhat” than “strong” and about 20% were unsure. 

When presented with a binary choice between the status quo and a single alternative, one would expect to see a coalescence of support for reform. However, our survey and study results show that reaching majority support for many of these changes is far from certain when those who are undecided or only “somewhat” supportive of a specific proposal eventually make up their minds. One out of five respondents in our survey remained undecided on either approach. 

Also, observations of campaigns over the years confirm that strong and well-funded opposition efforts invariably erode support for reforms in the course of an election or a legislative session. (See Implications for Reforms in the Current Political Environment, below.)

Notable Differences

AgeIn binary choice questions related to single-member vs. multi-member districts, we found notable differences between younger and older respondents. In response to a survey question testing views of the more effective method of representation, a majority of respondents aged 18-54 agreed that two or three candidates elected from a district “would do a better job of getting things done for all voters.” By contrast, older respondents disagreed, supporting by strong pluralities the claim that a single-winner candidate who gains the most votes would be “better able to achieve consensus on an elected body and get things done for all voters.”

A majority of younger survey respondents aged 18-54 favor multi-member districts over single-member districts. And, although older respondents continue to show plurality support for multi-member districts, that support declines in older age brackets and turns into opposition among those older than 75.

Educational Attainment and Household Income: College graduates and higher-income respondents were slightly more likely to support the status quo of closed-party primaries and single-member districts,

Gender: Men are far more likely than women to support the single-member-district approach to representation by a margin of 36% to 21% and to favor single-winner elections as the better path to effective representation (42% to 29%). But their support for multi-member districts was nearly identical (48% for men, 50% for women). The difference is that a sizable proportion of women (29%) are undecided about supporting the multi-member district approach.

In response to our questions about reforms, BIPOC respondents were slightly less likely to favor ranked-choice voting (31% vs. 36% for white respondents), slightly more likely to favor multi-member districts (53% vs. 48%), and somewhat more likely to feel that such systems do a better job of getting things done for all voters (50% vs. 44%).

Political Party Affiliation: There is near majority support for multi-member districts among respondents in both the major parties and those who are unaffiliated or minor party members, although their reasons for doing so may differ. Both Democrats and Others think that multiple representatives from a single district can better get things done for all voters (45% and 51% respectively), and both groups support moving to multi-member districts by 2-1 margins. But Republicans seem of two minds on these questions. They think candidates who prevail in single-winner elections can better get things done (47% to 38%), but they flip in their choice of multi-member districts over single-member districts, supporting the former 48% to 36%. This may reflect the allure of a multi-winner system to voters whose party has failed to win statewide offices or secure a majority in the state legislature.

 

Portland Charter Reforms: A Bellwether or a Cautionary Tale

 Our survey looked separately at residents of the City of Portland as a potential bellwether of Oregonians’ receptivity to election reforms, some of which we tested in this survey and were contained in the city’s Measure 26-228, which was approved by a margin of 58% to 42% in November of last year.

Relevant to this survey, Measure 26-228 amended the city’s charter to create multi-member districts for the City Council and adopted two versions of ranked-choice voting for city officials. One version of ranked-choice voting will be used for single-winner elections for mayor and auditor, while another version will be used to determine winners in the city’s new multi-member districts. 

Portland residents, who comprised almost one in every five respondents, showed some differences from their non-Portland counterparts in their opinions of the electoral and governance changes tested in this survey. They were:

  • Slightly more inclined to favor "continual experimentation” over “adherence to tradition” (81% vs. 75% in the rest of the state);
  • Slightly more inclined to be satisfied with their political parties (39% vs. 32%);
  • Less inclined to favor runoff elections (22% vs. 31%); and,
  • More supportive of ranked-choice voting than respondents in the rest of the state (44% vs. 33%).

However, Portlanders’ support for ranked-choice voting is no different than that of Democrats statewide, who support this method of voting in the same proportion (44%).

And, our survey findings suggest that Portlanders’ opinions about representation have not caught up with the changes they approved in the city’s charter amendment. Portland respondents were slightly less likely to favor multi-member districts (47%) than respondents in the rest of the state (50%). They were also slightly less likely to think that the election of multiple candidates from a district would do a better job of getting things done for all voters (43% vs. 46% in the rest of the state). 

It appears that the architects of Portland’s charter amendment did not have a head start over the rest of the state when it came to voter support for the electoral reforms they brought to the ballot. Rather, it is likely that they benefited from voters’ impatience with the city’s failures in governance and its outmoded system of government as the motivators for changing the city’s governance model. 

Whether voters in the rest of the state will now be inclined to follow Portland’s lead in enacting similar electoral and representational changes may depend on how Portland’s new voting system is received when rolled out for this year’s November election and how successful its multi-member governance structure proves to be in overcoming the city’s problems. 

 

Implications for Reforms in the Current Political Environment

The findings of this survey reveal a citizenry in Oregon dissatisfied with the method of electing its representatives and with the structure of its representative government.

Our Typology study found similar dissatisfactions with the efficiency of government, despite strong support for the role of government in providing services, protecting the environment, and maintaining our land use system.  

But focusing the dissatisfactions of the citizenry on specific reforms remains a work in progress, given the diversity of preferences that survey respondents demonstrated when it comes to understanding and choosing among competing proposals and aligning them with their stated preferences. For example, only 24% of respondents favor keeping our first-past-the-post method of electing candidates who fail to pass the 50% threshold to win elections. But a near majority of the same respondents favor the creation of multi-member districts to give voice to a greater cross-section of Oregonians – which in turn will require the election of candidates with less, often far less, than 50% of the vote. Getting to a clearer understanding of the effects of reforms of this kind can easily upend the first-impression findings of this survey.

Still, in this environment, there is an advantage for first movers and for those who build support for reforms over multiple election cycles and can show success at the local level before seeking statewide adoption. 

The success of the Portland Charter amendment in 2023, which contained both electoral and structural reforms in a single package, is proof of a first-mover advantage, where voters are frustrated by a failure of governance. 

The long-haul strategy of campaign finance reform advocates is another model that can lead to success. Initiative sponsors amended the state constitution to enable limits on contributions to candidates with the passage of Measure 107 in the 2020 election, after failing with a similar amendment in 2006. Contribution limits have since been approved by voters and successfully implemented in Portland and Multnomah County. Advocates are now advancing an initiative (IP 9) to the state ballot in November 2024 to establish campaign contribution limits for all state and local offices in Oregon. They have since been joined by labor union advocates pursuing a competing initiative on the same subject for the same ballot. 

Our Typology study suggests that, if a single measure qualifies for the ballot, it will start with strong support from voters across the state. But, if voters are presented with two alternatives on the same ballot, there is a chance that neither measure will secure majority support. 

Meanwhile, a first test of voters’ support for reforming our election methods statewide is headed to the November 2024 ballot in the form of a legislative referral (HB 2004) enacted in 2023). This measure proposes to establish ranked-choice voting for statewide and Congressional elections and to permit that method of voting to be used for the election of city, county, and school district offices. As with campaign finance reform, a statewide vote on this reform could be complicated by a competing proposal for a system of STAR voting, in which voters award preference votes among a field of candidates and let a tally of their preferences determine the winner. This proposal is currently circulating as an initiative (IP-11) for the same November 2024 ballot. If both proposals end up on the same ballot, it is possible that majority support for moving beyond our current electoral system will splinter into less-than-majority support for alternative solutions.

Further, if only the legislative referral for ranked-choice voting goes forward, confusion over the voting experience in Portland could complicate perceptions of this approach for state voters. Portlanders will be confronted with two forms of ranked-choice voting in the same November 2024 election, one of which will likely entail long lists of candidates vying for three slots in each of four new districts. That experience in Portland may not help and could hurt the receptivity of voters statewide to follow Portland’s lead in enacting ranked-choice voting. 

 

“Ranked-choice and multi-member districts seem like a good idea, but we really don’t know how that would work out, so we need to review the results after a few (3?) years and be ready to acknowledge any mistakes.”

--Washington County man, 75+, Democrat

In summary, the table is being set this year for a first round of statewide votes to determine the interest of Oregonians in alternative election reforms. Whatever succeeds, as happened with Portland’s charter amendment, will gain a first-mover advantage in the effort of experimentation in government that 76% of Oregonians say they want to see. But disappointment with the Portland experience or the failure of measures on the statewide ballot will underscore other findings that emerged in our survey, namely that voters will need more information and understanding of what reforms will accomplish before providing a majority for their enactment.




Attached Media Files: OVBC Election Reform Verbatims with Media Contacts , OVBC Election Reform Combined Crosstabs , OVBC Nov-Dec Election Reform Annotated Questionnaire , OVBC Typology Election Reform Annotated Questionnaire , OVBC Election Reform Report

Board of Forestry to meet on March 6 and 7, Forestry Program for Oregon Subcommittee meets March 6
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 02/23/24 3:15 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Board of Forestrywill meet for hybrid public meetings on Wednesday, March 6 at 1:30 p.m. and Thursday, March 7 at 8 a.m. The meetings will be held in the Tillamook Room, Building C, at the Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters, located at 2600 State St. in Salem. The meetings will also be livestreamed on the department’s YouTube channel.

The Forestry Program for Oregon Subcommittee meets March 6 at 10 a.m. in the Tillamook room and available by Zoom link included with the agenda. View the subcommittee’s full agenda.

The board’s business agenda for March 6 includes:

  • Financial Dashboard Report – January and February 2024
  • Approval of agency director financial transactions, Fiscal Year 2023
  • Rangeland Protection Association formation: Expansion of Field-Andrews RPA boundary
  • Annual report on tribal working relationships and activities
  • Forest Practices Interagency Meeting report
  • Governance for the Board of Forestry-Board Policies Manual adoption
  • Oregon’s Kitchen Table outreach and engagement update
  • Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee testimony

The agenda for March 7 includes:

  • Macias, Gini, and O’Connell Implementation Plan close out
  • State Forester recommendation regarding draft Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan

The full agenda is available on the board’s webpage. Live testimony, both in person and virtual, is available on both days. Sign-up for live testimony is required as spots are limited. Sign-up closes Friday, March 1 at noon. Written public testimony will also be accepted. Written comments can be submitted before or up to two weeks after the meeting day by mail to the Board Support Office, 2600 State St., Salem, OR 97310 or email to oardofforestry@odf.oregon.gov">boardofforestry@odf.oregon.gov with the appropriate agenda item and topic included with the submission. Tips for providing testimony to the board are available online.

Accommodations for people with disabilities, and special materials, services, or assistance can be arranged by calling ODF’s Public Affairs Office at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting at 503-945-7200 or by email at estryinformation@odf.oregon.gov">forestryinformation@odf.oregon.gov.

The Oregon Board of Forestry consists of seven citizens nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. Responsibilities include appointing the State Forester, setting management direction for state-owned forests, adopting rules governing timber harvest and other practices on private forestland, and promoting sustainable management of Oregon’s 30 million-acre forestland base. Read more information about the board.


Oregon State Parks recruiting about 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for 2024 (Photo)
Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. - 02/23/24 11:49 AM
Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1303/170225/thumb_2024_FDH_Sitka_Sedge_3.jpg

SALEM, Oregon— Oregon State Parks is not just a beautiful place to visit – it’s also a spectacular place to work. 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is recruiting 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for positions across the state that range anywhere from four to nine months. The peak season is from April to September, but some of the positions start as early as March and run as late as December. 

Seasonal staff help visitors access world-class experiences and ensure clean and safe park areas for everyone to enjoy. Duties include janitorial work, landscape maintenance, visitor education and visitor services.

Salaries start at $17.34 per hour for seasonal assistants and $20.06 for seasonal rangers. Both positions include comprehensive medical, vision and dental plans for employees and qualified family members. The positions also include paid sick leave, vacation, personal leave and 11 paid holidays per year. Student workers, ages 16 and older, start at $17.32 or more per hour depending on experience (no benefits). 

OPRD promotes from within and several of our top leaders started as seasonal employees. 

“We love what we do at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department,” said Director Lisa Sumption. “We get to preserve and share some of Oregon’s most treasured landscapes and resources. Whether you’re here for a season or your entire career, you’re part of that OPRD family.”

For more information about current openings, visit stateparks.oregon.gov. If you have any questions or need additional assistance in accessibility or alternative formats, please email Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Recruiting D.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov">OPRD.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, committed to diversity and pay equity.




Attached Media Files: Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area , Ranger at Silver Falls State Park

Bureau of Land Management updates management strategy for Southeastern Oregon public lands
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 02/23/24 10:23 AM

VALE, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management released a Record of Decision for the Southeastern Oregon Resource Management Plan Amendment, which updates specific aspects of management for 4.6 million acres of public lands in Oregon’s Malheur, Grant, Harney, and Baker counties.

The decision preserves natural landscapes, updates off-highway vehicle use, and implements modest changes to grazing management while protecting wilderness characteristics across 417,190 acres of BLM-managed public land.

“These expansive natural landscapes are special places that provide outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive, unconfined recreation,” said Vale District Manager Shane DeForest. “We appreciate the public’s engagement as BLM updated strategies to protect the health of these lands while ensuring they continue to meet the needs of Oregon communities.”

The plan amendment was undertaken in response to adverse court rulings and a resulting settlement agreement, in which the BLM committed to evaluate specific issues. Throughout the process, Tribal governments, wildlife agencies, the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council, and members of the public provided valuable input and feedback. BLM officials considered more than 4,000 comments in developing the amendment.

To preserve the unique nature of certain landscapes, the amendment will limit areas where cross-country off-highway vehicle use is permitted. Such use will be limited to about 40,000 acres near Keeney Pass and Bully Creek Reservoir, which are both near the community of Vale. Nearly 16,000 acres will remain closed to vehicles. Across the rest of the 4.5 million acres in the planning area, vehicular use will be limited to existing roads.

The amendment also provides additional guidance on the implementation of Standards for Rangeland Health and processing of voluntarily surrendered livestock grazing permits.

The plan amendment and Record of Decision are posted at the BLM National NEPA Register.

 

-BLM-

 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

 

 


Thu. 02/22/24
Remains of Sandra Young identified after 54 years (Photo)
Oregon State Police - 02/22/24 4:37 PM
Forensic approximation side view
Forensic approximation side view
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1002/170228/thumb_NR_2-22-24_Sandra_Young_Forensic_Approximation_2.png

Previously unidentified remains resolved through advanced DNA technology

PORTLAND, Ore. 22 Feb. 2024 – Through dedicated inter-agency cooperation, the remains of a previously unidentified young woman have been identified as Sandra Young, a Portland teenager who went missing from the Portland metro area more than five decades ago. The young woman was a Grant High School student and had not been seen since 1968 or 1969. 

“Sandra Young has now regained her identity after 54 years,” said Dr. Nici Vance, the state’s Human Identification Program Coordinator at the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. “Her story represents a remarkable amount of diligence and collaboration between family members, detectives, Oregon State Medical Examiner staff, and our contract laboratory Parabon Nanolabs. This is yet another example of the innovative ways the ME’s Office and investigative genetic genealogy can help Oregonians find closure. This technology gives investigators the powerful ability to assist all Oregon agencies with the resolution of their cold case mysteries,” Dr. Vance continued. 

On Feb. 23, 1970, the remains of a fully skeletonized young female were discovered buried in a shallow grave at the far north end of Sauvie Island in Columbia County. The discovery was made by a Boy Scout troop leader, who first saw what he thought were items of clothing and then discovered human remains within the grave. Investigators recovered the remains and the remnants of a black curly wig. Investigators believed the remains were that of an African American and trauma to the body indicated foul play.

The young decedent, still unidentified, was moved to the state medical examiner facility in Clackamas County in 2004 along with more than 100 additional sets of unidentified remains. An anthropology report was completed, a bone sample was submitted to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, and a NamUs profile was created.

The case was the subject of consistent attention by the state medical examiner’s office. DNA results had been uploaded into CODIS, but no genetic associations were discovered. The DNA results indicated the remains were, in fact, that of a female. The NamUs system was checked for new cases of missing teenagers and young adult women on the West Coast, but none appeared to match the decedent. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) picked up the case and provided media attention and a more thorough review of additional missing person websites. DNA results only indicated that the remains were female in origin.

In 2018, the Oregon State Police Medical Examiner’s Office was awarded a National Institute of Justice grant to perform innovative DNA techniques on unsolved unidentified skeletal remains cases. This case was recognized as one that could potentially be resolved by DNA Phenotyping and Investigative Genetic Genealogy provided by OSP’s contract lab, Parabon NanoLabs.

An additional bone sample was submitted for DNA extraction, and a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) DNA profile was successfully analyzed.

The first Parabon Nanolabs report to be completed was a DNA Snapshot© Report, where genetic material is used to determine eye color, hair color, skin color, and the ancestry of the deceased. The report predicted this individual was of West African, South African, and Northern European descent, with brown to dark brown skin, brown eyes, and black hair.

The subsequent investigative genetic genealogy report, unfortunately, showed the lack of promising leads in the now 50-year-old cold case. Recommendations and contacts were made, but additional follow-up was slow.

Further analysis was performed by Parabon NanoLabs, with encouraging results. In February 2021, a deeper genetic dive was taken into the young woman’s ancestry, and a prediction of her facial characteristics was created. “To see her face come to life through DNA phenotyping was striking,” said Dr. Vance. 

In January 2023, an individual uploaded their DNA into the open-source genetic genealogy database GEDMatch and immediately was recognized as a potential distant family member of the decedent. Through research and interviews, the genetic genealogist encouraged other members of the family to upload their DNA data into GEDMatch, and a more complete picture of heritage emerged.

In July 2023 an additional Parabon report was completed. Descendants and countless family trees were developed; more matches came to light and communication with family members indicated that a teenage girl named Sandra Young went missing from Portland around the time the decedent was discovered. Sandra was a Grant High School student and appeared to be the sister of one of the genetic matches who, when contacted by the genealogist, agreed to assist in uploading their DNA data into GEDMatch.

Because Sandra was last seen in Portland, the Portland Police Bureau was contacted for assistance. PPB Detective Heidi Helwig took information from the Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) report and contacted the DNA donor. Through a series of informative, poignant, and difficult interviews, Detective Helwig learned that this individual not only lost a teenage sister when Sandra went missing in 1968 or 1969, they also lost a sister to gun violence in the 1970s. The family member was cooperative, supportive, and motivated to determine if the remains could be their sister, Sandra Young.

In October 2023, the Kinship Inference Report was definitive in its conclusions. Genetic evidence confirmed the hypothesis that the young decedent was Sandra “Sandy” Young, born June 25, 1951, and unaccounted for since 1968 or 1969.

Based on the totality of the evidence (both genetic and circumstantial) Oregon Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Sean Hurst positively identified the individual as Sandra Young and the next-of-kin has been notified. The PPB detective division is now aware of the case and has been encouraged to conduct further investigation to determine, if possible, the circumstances of Sandy Young’s death.

Significant resources are needed to continue this type of advanced testing at the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Genetic genealogy casework and confirmation testing have shown incredibly successful results but can cost between $6,000-$10,000 per case. The State Medical Examiner’s Office is eager to continue the good work of identifying unknown decedents once again if funding is secured for future testing.

# # #

About the State Medical Examiner’s Office 
The State Medical Examiner’s Office is the sole provider of forensic pathology services throughout Oregon and seeks to provide professional, timely, consistent, and compassionate death investigation services. Deputy State Medical Examiners are stationed in the Portland metro area (Clackamas), Eugene area, and Central Point, performing forensic autopsies and certifying the cause and manner of deaths under medical examiner jurisdiction. Our team closely collaborates with county medical examiners and medical legal death investigators employed by each county’s death investigation program, providing technical supervision of all medicolegal death investigations.




Attached Media Files: Forensic approximation side view , Forensic approximation , Sandra Young yearbook photo

Western Oregon University serves the community through mentorship (Photo)
Western Oregon University - 02/22/24 11:39 AM
2024-02/1107/170207/Mentorship_Image.PNG
2024-02/1107/170207/Mentorship_Image.PNG
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/1107/170207/thumb_Mentorship_Image.PNG

MONMOUTH, Ore. –  Since 1999, Western Oregon University’s Division of Behavioral Sciences has supported Talmadge Middle School students in Independence, Oregon to foster positive mentoring relationships. Juniors and seniors at Western interested in working with youth in the fields of education, social work, and/or counseling, have the opportunity to mentor middle school students and help them develop skills for academic success and emotional and social growth. 

Many middle school students who face socioeconomic, academic, behavioral, or familial challenges are recommended by their school counselor to participate in this program, and the positive outcomes for students in this program are astounding.

Since the program started 25 years ago, parents have unanimously reported that it has had a positive influence on their children. Children who participate in the program show consistent, measurable improvement across several areas, including school attendance, academic work, social skills, and self-esteem. They also become more interested in attending college. One parent observed “The mentor was great and worked with our crazy schedule and truly cared about my child. Well done.” 

Mentees in the program shared that participating in the program boosted their confidence because there was a steady supportive person to talk to, and noted interest in attending Western and giving back to the program by becoming a mentor. A student mentor shared that mentoring had profoundly impacted their life and helped them solidify their desire to pursue a career as a pediatric clinical psychologist.

Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences and Program Coordinator Brooke Dolenc Knott Ph.D., noted that leading the WOU-Talmadge mentoring program has been the highlight of her time at Western, as it intertwines both transformative growth for students and benefits the local community. “This collaborative effort not only supports local middle school students’ families but also empowers WOU students to go beyond the classroom learning to apply psychological principles in helping their middle schoolers.” Dolenc Nott shares that it is a joy to watch the lasting positive impact that takes place each year for both WOU and middle school students in the program.

Hayley Atkinson, school counselor at Talmadge Middle School expresses her gratitude for the mentorship program which provides intentional and additional positive support and connection to many of the participating students.  She shares that “Middle school years can be difficult for kids to navigate under the best of circumstances, and the WOU mentor program allows us to provide an extra boost of support to some of our kids.” She adds that her favorite part of the program is getting to see the growth in self-confidence and engagement in both middle school students and their college mentors. “Anyone involved in the program cannot help but be positively influenced by it.” 

This program has been a regular applicant to and recipient of Competitive Grant Funding from the Western Oregon University Foundation. Specifically, the award supports social family events and small stipends for mentors to help motivate middle school students’ success and family involvement that strengthens the mentoring relationship.

 

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About Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon's oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction.  Together we succeed.

https://wou.edu/2024/02/22/western-oregon-university-serves-the-community-through-mentorship/




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/1107/170207/Mentorship_Image.PNG

Gas line struck on Shevlin Park Rd east of the Mt Washington roundabout 2/22/24 (Photo)
Bend Fire & Rescue - 02/22/24 10:50 AM
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Bend Fire is currently on scene of a gas line struck by contractors installing the new sewer line along Shevlin Park Rd. Shevlin Park Road is now closed in both directions between the roundabouts at Mount Washington and Northwest Crossing. We are asking drivers to avoid the area. Bend Fire is providing safety support to cascade natural gas as they work to stop the leak.

initial reports indicate this is a 6 inch gas line. The brake is a ways away from buildings and homes and is not posing in immediate threat at this time. But the odor of gas is detectable in the area. We suggest anyone living in the area to keep all their doors and windows shut as a precaution and keep the smell out. No evacuations or orders to shelter in place have been issued at the time of this release.

As more information becomes available, we will update this release. At this time there’s very limited access to the area for the Media due to the location of the break and roads of the incident.

 UPDATED INFO- the line was confirmed by CNG as a 4in line not 6. CNG is estimating 1-2 hours before the leak is stopped. 




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/6802/170204/IMG_4569.jpeg

Wed. 02/21/24
Redmond Police Seek Publics Assistance in Unsolved Murder Investigation from 2021
Redmond Police Dept. - 02/21/24 4:14 PM

REDMOND, OR - On December 30, 2021, twenty-six-year-old Dustin Hilsendager was the victim of a homicide that occurred on SW Canal Blvd near SW Umatilla Ave.   Despite the on-going investigative efforts of both the Redmond Police Department and the Tri-County Major Incident Team (MIT), who were activated to assist in the homicide investigation, no suspects have been identified.  

 

The Redmond Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance for any information that may lead to the resolution of this unsolved case, RPD case #2021-33016. If you have information about the case, please contact Sgt. Tyler Kirk at 541-504-3488 or .kirk@redmondoregon.gov">tyler.kirk@redmondoregon.gov.   

 

This is an active investigation and no further information about the case will be released.   


ODVA Seeks Diverse Veteran Candidates to Fill Current and Future Positions on Veterans Advisory Committee (Photo)
Ore. Department of Veterans' Affairs - 02/21/24 2:00 PM
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The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is seeking interested veterans to fill current and future vacancies on the Veterans Advisory Committee. 

The Advisory Committee was established in 1945 at the agency’s founding and holds a distinct and fundamental role in advocating for veteran issues, sharing insight on veteran concerns and advising the director of ODVA. The committee is composed of nine military veterans appointed to four-year terms by the Governor.

The Governor is committed to ensuring that all Boards and Commissions represent diverse Oregonians by age, race, ethnicity, gender, and LGBTQIA+ status. To ensure a broad and diverse pool of candidates to consider for appointment, ODVA is seeking applications from interested members of the veteran community from both rural and urban areas, across diverse backgrounds and eras of service.

The quarterly advisory committee’s meetings are held virtually and in-person throughout the state on the first Wednesday in March, June, September and December. 

Interested veterans from all branches of the U.S. Armed Services are encouraged to apply. The application process can be reviewed and accessed at the Governor’s Boards and Commissions webpage: https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/board-list.aspx.

Follow the application instructions for “External – New Applicants” and be sure to include a resume, a short personal biography that includes your military service and other veteran community activities you have or are currently involved in, and fully answer the supplemental questions. Only complete applications will be considered. 

ORS 406.210 also states that the executive committees of congressionally chartered veterans’ organizations that maintain an Oregon state headquarters may submit a list of up to three veterans to be considered for Advisory Committee openings to the ODVA Director’s Office at odva_vaac@odva.oregon.gov. Important: All nominees must still apply through the normal application process by the application deadline.

Applications or nominations for the Advisory Committee must be submitted to the Governor’s Executive Appointments office no later than March 29, 2024. Questions about this recruitment process may be directed to ODVA at odva_vaac@odva.oregon.gov

More information about ODVA’s Veteran Advisory Committee can be found online at www.oregon.gov/odva/Connect/Pages/Advisory-Committee.aspx.

--

Established in 1945, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is dedicated to serving Oregon’s diverse veteran community that spans five eras of service members. ODVA administers programs and provides special advocacy and assistance in accessing earned veteran benefits across the state. Learn about veteran benefits and services, or locate a local county or tribal veteran service office online at oregon.gov/odva

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Attached Media Files: 2024-02/1082/170193/Advisory_Committee_Applications_Open_February_2024_v3.jpg

Division of Financial Regulation publishes Oregon Investor Guide, other educational resources for the public (Photo)
Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services - 02/21/24 1:32 PM
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Salem – Deciding how and where to invest your money can be a difficult and overwhelming decision. The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) now has resources available to help.

The division recently published the Oregon Investor Guide, a free publication that is available both in print and online. DFR created this guide to take the mystery out of investing and provide a useful resource for new and experienced investors alike. The contents are accurate, unbiased, and simply stated to make investing concepts easy to understand, and to help you make the best investment decisions possible. Whether you invest on your own or entrust your investments with a professional, education is the best defense against fraud and making uninformed decisions.

This publication is part of the division’s efforts to update consumer education resources available to the public. The division’s website now features the following new guides:

“This investor guide, along with other updated materials, gives us a good library of resources in areas where the public tells us they are needed most,” said TK Keen, DFR administrator. “Some of these guides help specific communities at specific times in their lives. There are challenges newlyweds face when they are combining finances and military personnel have unique money management situations. We can help Oregonians at different points in their lives, whether it’s providing guidance on repaying student loans, making health insurance choices, or beginning new employment. We are excited about these new resources.”

You can view all of DFR’s publications on its consumer education and engagement page.

To obtain print copies of any of the division’s consumer guides, email your request to each.dfr@dcbs.oregon.gov">outreach.dfr@dcbs.oregon.gov. Paper copies will also be available at all tabling events and presentations the consumer education and engagement team attend.

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About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dfr.oregon.gov and  www.dcbs.oregon.gov.​​




Attached Media Files: 2024-02/1073/170191/DFR-logo-blue.jpg

OSP plans saturation patrols in Lincoln County Feb. 22-24
Oregon State Police - 02/21/24 12:40 PM

High visibility patrols to focus on impaired drivers

LINCOLN COUNTY, Ore. 21 Feb. 2024 – Oregon State Police is stepping up patrols along the central coast Feb. 22-24, 2024, in anticipation of the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival. The annual event draws an estimated 25,000 visitors to the area during the four-day festival. 

Nine troopers from the OSP’s High Visibility Enforcement Unit will augment units from the Newport Patrol Office. The high visibility saturation patrols will focus on impaired driving including Ignition Interlocking Device (IID) requirements, minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana, and open containers.  

Troopers will also concentrate on other Fatal 5 violations such as speed, occupant safety, lane usage, and distracted driving. Along with impaired driving, the Fatal 5 violations are those that are statistically shown to contribute to serious injury and fatal crashes. 

“We encourage event attendees to make plans for a sober ride home as part of their weekend festivities,” said Capt. Kyle Kennedy. “The festival offers a free shuttle bus with stops at Newport area hotels throughout the weekend. We appreciate the organizer’s commitment to safety and encourage attendees to use the service, designate a sober driver, or utilize taxi and ridesharing services.” 

OSP patrols will primarily focus coverage along Hwy. 101, Hwy. 20, and Hwy. 18. 

# # #

About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Compliance Monitoring Program Committee meets Feb. 28
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 02/21/24 10:46 AM

SALEM, Ore. — The Compliance Monitoring Program Committee will hold a virtual meeting Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 9 to 11 a.m. To join virtually, please use the Zoom video conference information found on the agenda.

The committee’s agenda includes:

  • Update on long-term compliance monitoring study
  • Riparian rule selection discussion

The meeting is open to the public to attend online via Zoom. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting by emailing ta.L.FriasBedolla@odf.oregon.gov">marta.l.friasbedolla@odf.oregon.gov.

The CMP Committee assists efforts to monitor compliance with Forest Practices Rules. The committee advises ODF regarding monitoring projects and procedures. View more information on the CMPC webpage.


High Desert Museum Now Accepting Submissions for the 2024 Waterston Desert Writing Prize (Photo)
High Desert Museum - 02/21/24 8:30 AM
Tucker Malarkey
Tucker Malarkey
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BEND, OR — What do bestselling author Tucker Malarkey, Emmy award-winning actor Sam Waterston and one winning writer have in common? 

All will take part in the High Desert Museum’s 10th annual Waterston Desert Writing Prize which honors excellence in literary nonfiction about deserts. The Prize is now accepting submissions until May 1, 2024. 

This year the Waterston Desert Writing Prize will recognize the winner with a $3,000 cash award and a reception and reading at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon on September 26, 2024. The winner and finalists will be selected by the 2024 guest judge Sam Waterston – renowned actor and brother of Prize founder Ellen Waterston.

Known for his work in theater, television and film, Sam Waterston gained stardom portraying DA  Jack McCoy on the NBC crime series Law & Order (1994–2010, 2022–), for which he has received a Screen Actors Guild AwardGolden Globe Award and Emmy Award. Today you can also catch Sam’s performances in the Emmy-nominated Netflix Original series Grace and Frankie and Hulu’s award-winning limited series The Dropout in which he plays George Schultz. Other accolades include an Academy Award nomination for his role as journalist Sydney Schanberg in The Killing Fields (1984) and OBIE and Drama Desk awards in theater.

Sam Waterston will announce the 2024 winner and address attendees during the Waterston Desert Writing Prize ceremonies alongside the 2024 Prize winner and the 2024 keynote speaker, Tucker Malarkey, who will attend in person. 

Nationally bestselling author of the critically acclaimed and national bestselling novels An Obvious Enchantment and Resurrection, Malarkey’s first major work of nonfiction, Stronghold, describes one man’s journey to save salmon habitat in the U.S. and Russia. Stronghold was an editor’s pick for The New York Times, National Book ReviewOutside and Forbes. With a career that began at The Washington Post, Malarkey’s love of human culture and wilderness have since taken her all over the world.

The Prize was established in 2014, inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the High Desert — a region that has been her muse for more than 40 years. The Waterston Desert Writing Prize celebrates writers whose work reflects a similar connection to a desert, recognizing the vital role deserts play in ecosystems and the human narrative.

“To see how the Waterston Desert Writing Prize has grown in 10 years is exciting,” said Ellen Waterston. “Tucker Malarkey and my brother Sam Waterston will help us reach new audiences and promote the literary arts as the High Desert Museum has done since the Prize became a Museum program four years ago.” 

The winner of the 2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize was Anna Welch. Her submission, “Momentum: A Trans-Continental Bicycle Journey,” details her 2019 adventure 3,700 miles across the continental United States. During that substantial bicycling trip, Welch encountered her first desert. Her work has been published in Wilderness Magazine and was most recently featured in the anthology True Travel Tales by Fine Line Press. 

“The many gifted writers who submit their work for the Waterston Desert Writing Prize expand how we think about desert ecosystems,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We look forward to how our perspectives will grow in 2024.”

Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers who illustrate artistic excellence, sensitivity to place and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting are invited to apply. The award supports literary nonfiction writers who are completing, proposing or considering the creation of a book-length manuscript. It is recommended that the writing sample submitted is part of the proposed project or closely represents it in content and style.

The Waterston Desert Writing Prize Ceremony will take place at the High Desert Museum on September 26, 2024. To RSVP, visit highdesertmuseum.org/2024-waterston-ceremony.

To learn more about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and how to submit an entry, visit highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-prize. Submissions will be accepted through May 1, 2024.

 

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Attached Media Files: Tucker Malarkey , Sam Waterston

Tue. 02/20/24
Former Portland Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Abusing Multiple Children
U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon - 02/20/24 4:22 PM

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former Portland resident was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison today for sexually abusing multiple children, videorecording and photographing the abuse, and posting the illicit videos and photos on a private Snapchat page he maintained and used to entice other children to produce and share sexually explicit images of themselves.

Rolando Daniel Benitez, 30, was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison and 10 years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in July and August 2019, Benitez, pretending to be a 15-year-old boy named “Marcos,” sexually abused two children, then ages 14 and 17, used his cell phone to videorecord and photograph the abuse, and posted the child sexual abuse material to a private Snapchat story page he maintained. In at least one of the images posted to Snapchat, Benitez’s online alias “Marcos” was written with black ink on one of the children’s bodies. On at least one occasion, Benitez sexually abused both minor victims together.

Investigators later discovered that Benitez, who moved to Washington state while the investigation was pending, used his Snapchat story page to entice other children to produce and send him sexually explicit images of themselves. Benitez only allowed girls to join and view his private Snapchat stories, and only after the girls complied with his “rules” by sending him photos of their exposed bodies. He further required some of the girls to write and photograph his online alias on their bodies.

A local investigation of Benitez’s crimes was opened after one of his child victims submitted a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline. The victim included Benitez’s full name and phone number in the report and pleaded with authorities to “please stop this man.” Less than a month later, Benitez was arrested in Auburn, Washington, for sexually abusing a 12-year-old child he met on SnapChat.

On January 26, 2021, Benitez was charged by federal criminal complaint in the District of Oregon with producing, advertising, receiving, and possessing child pornography. On October 5, 2023, he pleaded guilty to a three-count criminal information charging him with two counts of sexually exploiting children, and one count of possessing child pornography. 

Benitez’s federal plea agreement is part of a global resolution between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon and the King County, Washington, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. On July 7, 2023, Benitez was sentenced in King County Superior Court to 136 months in state prison and a life-term of community custody (supervised release) for his abuse of the 12-year-old child in Auburn. Benitez’s federal and state sentences will run concurrently.

This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau and FBI Portland’s Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) with assistance from the Auburn, Washington, Police Department. It was prosecuted by Gary Y. Sussman, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. It is important to remember child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document the victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, they re-victimize and re-traumatize the child victims each time their abuse is viewed. To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at www.missingkids.org.

FBI Portland’s CETF conducts sexual exploitation investigations, many of them undercover, in coordination with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. CETF is committed to locating and arresting those who prey on children as well as recovering and assisting victims of sex trafficking and child exploitation.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Attached Media Files: PDF Release

Fatal Crash - HWY 97 - Jefferson County
Oregon State Police - 02/20/24 4:00 PM

Jefferson County, Ore. 19 Feb. 24-- On Monday, February 19, 2024, at 4:16 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a five-vehicle crash on Hwy 97, near milepost 107.5, in Jefferson County.

The preliminary investigation indicated two southbound commercial motor vehicles were traveling on icy roads when the trailing CMV struck the rear end of the lead CMV.  The collision caused the lead CMV trailer to slide sideways into the northbound lanes. A northbound red Toyota Tacoma, operated by Felipe Gamboa-Lupercio (55) of Terrebonne, and a white Toyota Tacoma, operated by Timothy Fuzi (52) of Terrebonne, struck the sliding trailer. A northbound GMC Sierra, operated by James Johnson (60) of Terrebonne, then struck the Toyota Tacomas as well.

The operators of the CMVs, Mark Williams (64) of Hood River and Corey Heikkila (41) of Portland, were reportedly not injured.

The operator of the GMC Sierra (Johnson) was reportedly not injured.

The operator of the white Toyota Tacoma (Fuzi) was reportedly not injured.

The operator of the red Toyota Tacoma (Felipe Gamboa-Lupercio) and the front passenger, Genaro Gamboa-Lupercio (62) of Redmond, suffered injuries and were transported to a local hospital.

The rear passenger of the red Toyota Tacoma, Jose Refugio Gamboa-Lupercio (57) of Redmond, was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for approximately 5 hours during the on-scene investigation.  The primary factors contributing to this crash are considered roadway conditions and speed. 

OSP was assisted by Jefferson County Fire, Madras Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, and ODOT.


About the Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is a multi-disciplined organization that is charged with protecting the people, wildlife, and natural resources in Oregon. OSP enforces traffic laws on the state’s roadways, investigates and solves crime, conducts postmortem examinations and forensic analysis, and provides background checks, and law enforcement data. The agency regulates gaming and enforces fish, wildlife, and natural resource laws. OSP is comprised of more than 1,400 staff members – including troopers, investigators, and professional staff – who provide a full range of policing and public safety services to Oregon and other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon.


Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee meets Feb. 23
Oregon Dept. of Forestry - 02/20/24 2:21 PM

SALEM, Ore. — The Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee meets Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. at ODF headquarters in Salem, with a virtual option.

The public meeting will be held in the Tillamook Room, Building C, at the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Salem headquarters, 2600 State St., Salem, OR 97310. To join virtually, please use the Zoom video conference information found on the agenda.

Agenda items will include:

  • Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Forest Management Plan (FMP) presentation
  • Formulate testimony for March Board of Forestry meeting

Public comment is scheduled at the beginning of the meeting. To submit written comment, email ftlac.comment@odf.oregon.gov. Written comments sent at least 48 hours before the meeting will give the FTLAC time to review and consider information. Comments submitted after that window of time will be sent to the FTLAC after the meeting, entered into the record and posted online. Comments are not accepted after the meeting concludes.

The Forest Trust Land Advisory Committee is comprised of seven county commissioners representing 15 Oregon counties where state forestlands are located. The FTLAC is a statutorily established committee that advises the Board of Forestry on matters related to forestland managed by ODF. View more information on the FTLAC webpage.

Questions about accessibility or special accommodations can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at least 24 hours prior to the meeting at 503-945-7200.


Bend Police to host Community Academy beginning April 2
Bend Police Dept. - 02/20/24 1:49 PM

Bend Police announce Community Academy beginning April 2, 2024

The Bend Police Department is pleased to announce it will host its 40th Community Academy beginning in April. 

Community Academy will take place from April 2 through June 4, with 10 classroom dates and one optional range day on Saturday, May 4. 

The Bend Police Department Community Academy has been recognized as a national and regional model in allowing an inside look at how the Department operates. The goal of the program is to inform and educate participants about the Department and the various ways police officers carry out their mission. Instruction includes classes on narcotics, traffic, CERT, K9s, officer survival and more. The classes are taught by officers chosen according to their specific area of expertise in law enforcement.

The class will meet once a week for 10 consecutive weeks, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. The Community Academy can accommodate 40 students per session. There is no charge to participate in the Community Academy. Preference is given to those who live in Bend city limits. 

Learn more by visiting the Bend Police website: https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/departments/police/community-resources/get-involved/community-academy

To participate, please complete and submit the Community Academy Application online. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on March 29. 


Redmond Police Department Utilizes Armored Rescue Vehicle to Arrest Barricaded Female (Photo)
Redmond Police Dept. - 02/20/24 11:11 AM
Rescue Vehicle 2
Rescue Vehicle 2
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Redmond, OR – The Redmond Police Department responded to the Shepherds House, 1350 S. Hwy 97, at approximately 6:12 a.m. today to investigate a dispute. Upon arrival officers learned a 49-year-old female attempted to strike other individuals on scene with a vehicle and threatened to arm herself with a hammer to assault others.  

As officers sought to contact the female, she attempted to flee the area. STOP sticks were successfully deployed and the vehicle was contained to the parking lot and then blocked by law enforcement. The female then barricaded herself in the vehicle and refused officer commands to surrender. CERT (Central Oregon Emergency Response Team) negotiators were called on scene but were unable to gain compliance from the female and pepper spray was deployed inside the car. After further negotiations the female was taken into custody without further incident.   

Redmond Police would like to thank Redmond Fire and Rescue for their assistance. The 49-year-old Redmond resident was lodged at the Deschutes County Jail on charges of Attempted Assault II, Assault IV, Reckless Driving, Elude and Resisting Arrest. 




Attached Media Files: Rescue Vehicle 2 , Rescue Vehicle 1

Search Warrant Leads to Arrest of Fentanyl Trafficker, Concludes Long Term Investigation (Photo)
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office - 02/20/24 11:05 AM
fentanyl arrest
fentanyl arrest
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UPDATE

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit (SCU) continued their investigation into the commercial drug offenses alleged to have been committed by Jeffrey Cluff of Bend. 

Cluff had been the target of SCU investigators for trafficking fentanyl in Deschutes County and was believed to be the leader of a localized drug trafficking organization. Upon serving a search warrant at Cluff’s trailer a substantial quantity of fentanyl and methamphetamine was located and Cluff was charged for the illegal distribution. 

As part of SCU’s ongoing criminal investigation and additional search warrant was served at a separate location that Cluff is associated with in Bend. The result of this search yielded an additional commercial quantity of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and nearly $37,000 in US currency and over $2,000 in Australian currency. 

Through their investigation narcotics detectives believed these were proceeds from illegal drug sales and seized the cash as fruits of the crimes of Cluff’s drug operation.

SCU would like to thank the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team for their assistance during this investigation.

 

END OF UPDATE

 

 

Released By: Sergeant Jason Wall

Release Date: February 15, 2024

Location: 22000 block of Nelson Road, Deschutes County 

Arrested: Cluff, Jeffrey Jack 54-year-old male, Bend

Charges: Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance-Fentanyl, Delivery of a Schedule II Controlled Substance-Fentanyl, Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine, Felony Warrant-Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

Narrative:

On February 14th, 2024, detectives with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit (SCU) concluded a long-term investigation into the possession and distribution of Fentanyl and Methamphetamine in Deschutes County with the arrest of Cluff.

SCU detectives identified Cluff as a fentanyl trafficker in Deschutes County through several separate investigations indicating that Cluff was a primary source of supply for localized fentanyl distribution.

Detectives from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, working alongside detectives from the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) Team developed enough investigative information to secure a search warrant for Cluff’s residence, near the Bend Airport.

Narcotics detectives coordinated a traffic stop utilizing the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Community Action Target Team (CATT) resulting in the arrest of Cluff and seizure of a criminal amount of powder fentanyl packaged for delivery.

Narcotics detectives then executed a search warrant at Cluff’s trailer and seized a commercial quantity of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, a commercial quantity of suspected powdered fentanyl and a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.

As a result of the investigation investigators learned Cluff maintained a connection with a Drug Trafficking Organization in the Portland area which served as his source of fentanyl supply. Cluff would purchase large quantities of fentanyl and methamphetamine from this source and redistribute the controlled substance to localized dealers within Deschutes County as well as directly distributing the controlled substance to local users. 

The SCU Detectives investigative information shows Cluff was operating in the capacity of the head of this localized drug trafficking organization. Cluff was arrested and lodged at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Adult Jail on the above-mentioned charges.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Unit would like to thank the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement (CODE) team for their assistance with information that aided in this investigation.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Street Crimes, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with six K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves 210,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 265 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 195 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County. 

 




Attached Media Files: fentanyl arrest , cluff case

OnPoint Community Credit Union Now Accepting Nominations for Outstanding Educators Schools Making an Impact (Photo)
OnPoint Community Credit Union - 02/20/24 9:30 AM
2023 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year winners. From left to right: Caryn Anderson, K-5 Educator of the Year winner; Lucas Dix, 6-8 Educator of the Year winner; Rob Stuart, President & CEO, OnPoint Community Credit Union; Willie Williams, 9-12 Educator of the Year winner; Samuel Platt, Gold Star Educator of the Year winner.
2023 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year winners. From left to right: Caryn Anderson, K-5 Educator of the Year winner; Lucas Dix, 6-8 Educator of the Year winner; Rob Stuart, President & CEO, OnPoint Community Credit Union; Willie Williams, 9-12 Educator of the Year winner; Samuel Platt, Gold Star Educator of the Year winner.
http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-02/963/170146/thumb_2023_OnPoint_Teachers-8_REVISED.jpg

The 15th annual OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education will recognize inspiring educators and schools with cash prizes—including paying the mortgage or rent for four teachers for an entire year

 

PORTLAND, Ore., February 20, 2024 — OnPoint Community Credit Union is calling for the public’s help to honor the region’s most inspiring and innovative teachers. Starting today, anyone can nominate a local educator for the 2024 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. The OnPoint Prize will award $193,000 to the winning educators and schools in May of this year.

Four winning educators will have their mortgage or rent paid by OnPoint for one year. Four runners-up will each receive a $5,000 cash prize. The OnPoint Prize also includes the Community Builder award for innovative school projects. Four schools will receive $2,000, and a fifth school selected by community votes will receive $5,000. A new category added in 2023 is the Gold Star awarda fourth category to honor pre-kindergarten teachers, counselors, librarians and school administrators.

“Educators do so much more than teach lessons – they shape the future leaders of our communities,” said Rob Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “As we open nominations for this year’s OnPoint Prize, we invite the public to join us in honoring those educators who go above and beyond to inspire, create and foster inclusivity.” 

Anyone can nominate an outstanding educator or apply for a Community Builder award starting today at www.onpointprize.com. The nomination period closes at 11:59 p.m. PST on Tuesday, April 8. OnPoint will announce the Educator of the Year finalists and Community Builder winners on May 8.

Since 2010, the OnPoint Prize has awarded more than $843,000 in prizes to 326 local educators and schools. This year’s awards include:

  • Educators of the Year: Four educators will have their mortgage or rent paid for one year and receive a $2,500 donation to their schools for resources and supplies. One educator from each category below will be chosen:
    • Grades K-5
    • Grades 6-8
    • Grades 9-12
    • Gold Star: A new category added last year that recognizes one educator who is a pre-kindergarten teacher, school counselor, substitute teacher, librarian or school administrator.

Runners-up: Four educators, one from each of the above categories, will receive a $5,000 cash award and a $1,500 donation to each of their schools for resources and supplies.

  • Community Builder Awards: One school, selected by community votes, will receive $5,000 for a project that will meaningfully improve that school or community. Four additional schools will each receive $2,000 for special projects.

Meet the four Educators of the Year who have had their mortgage or rent paid over the last year

Caryn Anderson, 4th grade teacher at Abernethy Elementary School in Portland, Ore.

Caryn Anderson balances individualized student attention with an inclusive classroom environment. She builds relationships with students and their families, and tailors instruction to each child's social, emotional and academic needs. Anderson's peers say she gives every student a voice, and parents say she catches students who might otherwise fall through the cracks. Anderson's emphasis on inclusion features books by authors of color and rich discussions about social injustice and racism.

Lucas Dix, 6-8th grade media arts and journalism teacher at Rowe Middle School in Milwaukie, Ore.

To understand Lucas Dix's influence at Milwaukie's Rowe Middle School, you'll need to watch one of the school news team's music videos. The Shamrock News video topics range from social-emotional development (Teach 100) to grammar (Comma Dance). Dix is a champion for positive school culture. He created the Rowe Zine, a magazine featuring writing pieces from language arts classes. He invented the 1 Million Word Club to encourage reading. He also brought back school dances and revitalized the track and cross-country teams.

Willie Williams, athletic advisor (formerly 9-12th grade history and economics teacher) at Roosevelt High School in Portland, Ore.

Willie Williams brings the spirit of community, respect, and inclusivity to Roosevelt High School. His curriculum elevates underrepresented groups and gets students thinking critically about history and justice. Williams is the Upward Bound mentor and Black student union advisor who stepped into the school's interim athletic director role mid-year, the classroom leader who greets his students with "Good morning, family," the educator who encourages critical thinking on electoral systems and immigration policy, and the role model who inspires students to join and lead social justice movements.

Samuel Platt, principal of Tumalo Community School in Tumalo, Ore. 

Samuel Platt was the first recipient of the Gold Star Educator award. His energy, love, and dedication have helped bring the Tumalo Community School to life. Platt championed the district's first music program in 2022, his first year on the job. The program included a new music teacher and the elementary school's first-ever concert. Platt also secured funding and staffing for eight after-school clubs in one week. He created initiatives such as the Comeback Kids, which supports faculty with tools that catch students up after two years of remote learning. Platt recognizes every student's birthday and their accomplishments over the school's loudspeaker. He also created the Kindness Awards assembly to honor students who have gone above and beyond to show kindness.

Five innovative school projects awarded funding in 2023

In 2023, OnPoint awarded five Community Builder grants to schools to fund innovative projects that inspire students, foster community, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and reach a broad segment of the school community. 

The $5,000 grand prize, selected by community votes, went to Gaffney Lane Elementary School in Oregon City, a Title 1 school that was still working to transition back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the funding, the school purchased furniture that fosters a collaborative learning environment, allowing the students to stand and work, move their desks into groups, sit with a partner or alone on more updated furniture. The school also utilized the funds to support students who require additional or alternative supplies to be successful, so they don’t feel so different from their classmates.

Four schools across Oregon and Southwest Washington received the $2,000 award: 

  1. Buckman Arts Focus Elementary’s Multicultural Family Art Nights
  2. Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary’s Supplemental Food Relief/Dispensa de Alimentos program
  3. Desert Sky Montessori’s Outdoor Book Nooks
  4. Marylhurst School’s Relaxation Room & Calming Center

About the Nomination Process

Information about the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education and how to submit a nomination is now available at www.onpointprize.com. Anyone can nominate an educator, and educators may also nominate themselves. Applicants must be a full-time or job-share classroom teacher, counselor, school administrator, or librarian for grades Pre-K-12 in an accredited public, private or charter school, located within any county that OnPoint serves. OnPoint also accepts applications for the Community Builder awards within those same counties. For information about the campaign, additional qualifications and contest rules, please visit www.onpointprize.com.

OnPoint was founded more than 90 years ago by 16 teachers, and continues to honor its roots and the dedication of educators in Oregon and SW WashingtonClick here to learn more.

ONPOINT COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION

OnPoint Community Credit Union is the largest credit union in Oregon, serving over 539,000 members and with assets of $8.7 billion. Founded in 1932, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s membership is available to anyone who lives or works in one of 28 Oregon counties (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill) and two Washington counties (Skamania and Clark) and their immediate family members. More information is available at www.onpointcu.com or 503-228-7077 or 800-527-3932.

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Attached Media Files: 2023 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year winners. From left to right: Caryn Anderson, K-5 Educator of the Year winner; Lucas Dix, 6-8 Educator of the Year winner; Rob Stuart, President & CEO, OnPoint Community Credit Union; Willie Williams, 9-12 Educator of the Year winner; Samuel Platt, Gold Star Educator of the Year winner.

Trails advisory committee to meet Feb. 28-29 to evaluate grant applications
Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. - 02/20/24 9:07 AM

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Advisory Committee will meet February 28-29 to evaluate grant applications from around the state for projects to develop, improve or expand recreational trails. 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) administers this federally funded grant program. 

The meeting is open to the public but does not include time for public comments. The committee will meet 9 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Feb. 28 and 9 a.m. to close of business Feb. 29. 

Members will evaluate 22 applications over two days. Agenda for meeting information and a list of project proposals: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/GRA/Documents/RTP-Agenda-Feb2024.pdf

Options for attending:

In Person: Best Western Mill Creek, 3125 Ryan Dr SE, Salem, OR 97301 

Online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85971565536

One tap mobile: (253)205-0468, 85971565536#

Phone: (253)205-0468, Webinar ID: 859 7156 5536

The RTP Advisory Committee will submit recommendations to the Oregon State Parks Commission for review and approval at their April meeting. OPRD will then forward approved project proposals to the Federal Highway Administration for final approval. 

The RTP Advisory Committee consists of 10 members who represent various trail user groups and land managers. Eligible RTP applicants include local governments, state agencies, federal land management agencies, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations.

RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The program provides funds to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized trail uses, including hiking, biking, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, paddling, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving or using other off-road motorized vehicles.

For more information contact Jodi Bellefeuille, Program Coordinator at 503-856-6316 or ellefeuille@oprd.oregon.gov">Jodi.bellefeuille@oprd.oregon.gov or visit the RTP webpage.

If special accommodations are needed to attend the meeting, contact Jodi Bellefeuille at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.