Lincoln County Historical Society Presents: Fireworks at the Maritime Museum
On Thursday July 4th beginning at 8:00 pm, the Lincoln County Historical Society invites all to an Independence Day Celebration at the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center. This event, first held in 2013, has become a local favorite. The main attraction, at this family friendly event, are the unmatched views of the Bayfront fireworks. Relax in a comfortable chair and ooh & ahh at the glorious pyrotechnics show straight across from the outside deck. This year’s celebration will be extra special with the opening of the newly completed Doerfler Family Theater. Local historical videos will be shown at 8pm, along with a live musical performance by Rand Bishop at 9pm. Oregon native Rand Bishop is a Grammy-nominated, BMI Award-winning songwriter, platinum music producer, and recording artist.
There’ll be popcorn for the theater, ice-cream for the fireworks, and lemonade to wash them down. Attendees will also have access to all current exhibits at the museum including the recently opened Diane O’Leary exhibit in the Galley Gallery.
Admission to this fun annual event is Free for Members, $10 for Non-Members, with Kids 12 and under free.
Parking will be at an absolute premium, and attendees are encouraged to walk, bicycle, car pool, or catch a cab to the Bayfront.
For more information, call 541-265-7509.
The Lincoln County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that preserves and shares Lincoln County’s history. Visit the Burrows House Museum, 545 SW Ninth Street in Newport, and the Pacific Maritime Heritage Center, 333 SE Bay Blvd. in Newport. Both museums are open 11 am to 4 pm Thursday through Sunday. www.oregoncoasthistory.org
Mark your calendars for June 17th when Family Promise of Lincoln County invites the community to join in celebration of serving families experiencing homelessness for the past five years. The organization has helped families get back on their feet and into their own permanent housing through working with various churches and community volunteers. Family Promise of Lincoln County helps with shelter, meals and comprehensive assistance to homeless and low income families with children achieve sustainable, independent living.
The event will be held at the Beach Club Event Center on June 17th from 5pm to 7pm. Church members, volunteers, past families and the community are welcome. Finger foods and beverages will be served.
Volunteers, churches and community donors and sponsors will be thanked for helping the organization accomplish its goals again this year. Graduated families will be on hand to reconnect with everyone and share their success stories. Previous President and Executive Director, Hanna Connett will be returning for the celebration as well.
“We hope volunteers and other members of the community will join us to hear what we do and what is happening at Family Promise.” stated Elizabeth Reyes, Executive Director of Family Promise. “It takes the whole community to make our program successful so we want to share how our families are doing and what we have accomplished and to say thank you to everyone.”
Since June of 2014, Family Promise of Lincoln County has been about shelter and support for homeless families with children. The board and staff are excited to be in operation and able to be a refuge to families in need. “We are grateful for the support of the community. We could not have gotten here without it,” shares Sue Anderson, President of Family Promise of Lincoln County. “We need your support now more than ever, to enable us to continue serving the families.”
Contact Family Promise at 541-614-0964 or Elizabeth Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for more information.
Man walks into Bank of the West in Lincoln City with gun drawn and aimed at tellers.
Male demands money…
Robber got away with an undetermined amount of cash and is still at large.
Friday morning around 9:15am a white male entered the Bank of the West in Lincoln City wearing what appeared to be a black balaclava, gray sweatpants, a black zip up style hoodie and gray and black hiking type shoes. The male pointed a pistol at two employees and was able to take an unknown amount of cash from the bank.
The male was described as being around 5’5” to 5’7” and weighing around 140-170 pounds with blue eyes.
If you have any information or if you saw a male matching this description in that area, please contact Detective Johnson at 541.994.3636.
The Ancient Wisdom Of Witchcraft Comes To Newport, Oregon
The First Holistic Event Featuring Witchcraft As A Practice For Mental Health
Newport, Oregon – Flirtatious Spirits will host the first Attic Witchcraft Health & Wellness Expo on the ancient wisdom of Witchcraft as a holistic treatment to mind-body-spirit health.
All members of the public and the media are encouraged to attend this free event, filled with dance and music on Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30 at the Center for Health Education, located at 740 SW 9th St, in Newport, Oregon, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first day of the expo, Saturday, June 29, will be proceeded by a Ritual To Heal The Oceans gathering, at the Nye Beach Turnaround, located at 704 NW Beach Drive, Newport, Oregon, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dress up or come as you are and bring your dancing shoes. Muggles are welcomed!
Potion master and pharmacist for Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, Nicole Joline, RPh. is hosting Make & Take classes on crafting essential oils for health. “After twenty-three years in healthcare, I have seen a time and place for modern medicine, and a time for alternative health practices, and we can intermingle them. I’m excited to show people how to use essential oils for a healthier and happier existence.” The classes, over the two-day expo, include cooking, romance, babies and mommas, mood, chakras and crystals, and aroma bracelet crafting, cost is $35 a class.
For those wanting a Charm Me Witch experience, that includes a cup of iced or hot herbal tea from sponsor Mountain Rose Herbs, Doterra essential oils WOW, a reading from wellness mystic Andrea Dawn, with a keepsake photo by photographer Marcus Martin, and a raffle ticket to win one of the many prizes, the cost is $25.
Vendors include the Pirates Plunder, Egyptian Fragrance Alchemy, Visions Rock Shop, GypsySister Soap Company, Samaritan Pacific Sleep & Neurodiagnostics Lab and more.
In this modern era, many of our youth and others, are seeking a connection to spirituality that some ancestors found through traditional religions. While witchcraft has been practiced for longer than religions have existed, many are unclear how to use the craft for creating sacred space for the purposes of healing, spirituality, and connecting to life source energy. Witchcraft can offer treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of an illness. Expo offerings are not meant to replace competent medical advice, but to be complementary additions to primary medical care.
Flirtatious Spirits Inc. seeks to create the magic of love and gratitude by hosting holistic events and providing multimedia services to the alternative healthcare industry and beyond.
We have rows of tables that display a wealth of treasures to purchase: jewelry, glass, crystal, china, kitchenware, dolls, toys, stuffed animals, furniture, rugs, collectibles, knickknacks, artwork, framed art, picture frames, lamps, books, dvds, etc. NEW ITEMS ARE ADDED TO EACH SALE. ONE day only – Saturday, June 15th, from 10am to 2pm. Free admission.
The Unexpected Elephant fundraiser occurs several times a year and benefits South Lincoln Resources, Waldport Food Share and Adventist Clothing Share.
When: Saturday, June 15th, from 10am to 2pm
Where: South Lincoln Resources, 3710 Crestline Dr, Waldport (1 block south of Dahl Dr)
Marine boatworks and welding expanding on the Central Coast. Submitted photos
Starting this Fall, students and adult learners can take courses in welding from Oregon Coast Community College, thanks to a partnership with the Port of Toledo, Northwest Oregon Works, and the Lincoln County School District.
The Port of Toledo was the lead applicant in a $261,285 Maritime Administration Small Shipyard Grant Application to the U.S. Department of Transportation. On Wednesday, June 12, the partners learned that the grant had been awarded.
“Since I arrived at the College in 2014, I have heard from industry and community about the need for welding and maritime workforce training,” said Dr. Birgitte Ryslinge, OCCC President. “Through this private-public collaboration we start building, rather than importing, our future maritime-industrial workforce. This means high-skilled, high-wage jobs for Lincoln County residents, and boosts our collective economy. It is truly wonderful to be among such collaborative and forward-thinking leaders here in Lincoln County. We can’t wait to see our future welders practicing in the Shipyard Vocational Training Lab.”
Toledo Boat Yard Toledo
To kick start the program, the Port of Toledo will invest $87,096 in remodeling an existing space into a 12-bay welding training lab within the Toledo Shipyard’s Industrial Park. The grant will provide about $261,285 to outfit that space with equipment. The lab space will be available beginning this Fall for Newport High School, Siletz, and Eddyville students through the OCCC program. An existing welding program between the Port, Toledo High School and Waldport High School students will continue, because they can take introductory welding training at those schools and can then qualify for the internships.
Initially, the Maritime Construction Program will focus on the development and delivery of welding courses which will eventually lead to a shipbuilding certificate, which the College will begin developing in the Fall working in conjunction with the Port of Toledo. The initial funding of the welding faculty in this program will be provided by Northwest Oregon Works.
“We are particularly excited about what this project means to our coastal community,” said Bud Shoemake, Port Manager at the Port of Toledo, who spearheaded the grant-writing effort. “This year we partnered with the Lincoln County School District and had high school students from both Waldport and Toledo working as interns in our shipyard. These schools both have industrial programs which have allowed their students to progress into the internship. The vocational welding lab will provide students at the other high schools in Lincoln County the same opportunity to participate in industrial training. Partnering with OCCC opens the program to everyone else in the county. The welding lab, adjacent to our shipyard, will provide students with practical shipyard welding experience.”
Shoemake noted that Sen. Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, Congressman Kurt Schrader, State Representative David Gomberg and State Senator Arnie Roblan, among others, have been strongly supportive of this grant, and prior grants like the one that funded the Port’s recent boatlift expansion. At the same time the program gets rolling in Toledo, the College will begin teaching welding classes at Taft High School after school, thanks to funding support from the District. The welding courses will be available to both community members and high school students from within Lincoln County.
“The Lincoln County School District is committed to partnering with Oregon Coast Community College and local industry partners in using its High School Success funds and resources to expand career and technical education programs to support students and workforce development for our communities and families,” said Dr. Karen Gray, LCSD Superintendent. “We appreciate the Port of Toledo’s efforts to provide our students with on-the-job training and experience and look forward to the expansion of our partnership.”
Giving prospective students a preview of growing work opportunities in Newport/Toledo area
Meeting a need
According to information from the grant application, the expansion the Port’s shipyard has experienced over the past five years has made port officials aware of the critical need for a skilled maritime work force. Currently the Port recruits skilled workers nationwide and contracts for temporary skilled marine welders. With the exception of the Port’s present partnership with Lincoln County School District to provide a shipyard workplace educational resource, there are currently no Maritime Workforce Education programs offered within Lincoln County nor on the central Oregon coast. Consequently, the qualified labor pool for the Port of Toledo is very limited.
With a workforce totaling nearly 19,000 in 2017 and average wages exceeding most other industries, Oregon’s maritime sector supports many family-wage jobs in Oregon. The sector is expected to continue to add new jobs, creating the need for more workers. Oregon’s maritime workforce is also aging. A large share of the current workforce will retire or change careers within the next 10 years, creating replacement openings for new workers. These workforce trends represent challenges for employers trying to fill their job vacancies, as well as more job opportunities for Oregonians in the maritime sector.
Currently students at only two of Lincoln County’s six high schools have access to industrial career training at their schools, due to the lack of facilities. The Lincoln County School District will use the Shipyard Vocational Training Lab to provide students from all local high schools the opportunity to receive industrial welding training.
“The Northwest Oregon Works team is dedicated to meeting the needs of employers and jobseekers in Lincoln County and throughout our five-county region,” said Heather DeSart, executive director of NOW. “This program is a perfect example of one cost-effective collaboration that is going to directly benefit employers and local industry while arming participants with real-world, career-ready skills. We are thrilled to be a part of it.”
Register or learn more
Anyone interested in learning more about the program can call 541-867-8501 or watch the College’s website, oregoncoastcc.org. High school students may contact OCCC or their school’s counseling staff for more details, and can watch for additional information on the District website.
Oregon Coast Community College is in its 32nd year of service to Lincoln County, with facilities in Waldport, Lincoln City and Newport. The College offers two-year transfer degrees, Associate Degrees, and a variety of degree and certificate programs in Health and Human Services, Business, Teaching, and Aquarium Science.
Beginning June 24, the Diagnostic Imaging Department at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital will offer expanded hours for ultrasound: 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with emergency on-call service available at all other times. Previously, ultrasound services have been available from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays only, with emergency on-call.
“We are excited to offer expanded hours,” said Trindee Coleman, department manager. “It’s difficult for patients to take time off from work for a medical appointment so we hope these new hours will provide more flexibility for scheduling.”
“Imaging is an important tool in diagnosing and treating injury and illnesses,” Coleman continued. “Also, with the addition of another Interventional radiologist, we will also be able to offer image-guided needle biopsies and an assortment of other interventional procedures every week in the near future.”
With an image-guided needle biopsy, clinicians can obtain a small sample of cells from inside a patient’s body, for example, the liver or the breast, for analysis.
Diagnostic Imaging services offered at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital include bone density testing/DEXA, CT scan, 3-D digital mammography, echocardiography, MRI, PET scan, digital X-ray and ultrasound with 3-D capability.
For more information about Diagnostic Imaging Services, call 541-996-7145.
The local Street Crimes Response Team (SCRT) arrested Jason McNeely after many months of compiling evidence, regarding his involvement with buying and selling illegal narcotics. The SCRT spotted McNeely driving and coordinated with the Newport Police K9 Team and conducted a traffic stop on McNeely’s vehicle. Officer’s on scene quickly noticed a restricted weapon that McNeely wasn’t allowed to have in his possession. McNeely was detained at this point.
Officer Randall had his K-9 partner Nero search the vehicle and Nero gave several alerts indicating the presence of narcotic odor emitting from the vehicle. A subsequent search revealed the finding of Methamphetamine and drug packaging materials as well as a large amount of U.S. currency. Also located during the search was a loaded 9mm pistol and additional ammunition.
The Team took the information obtained from McNeely’s arrest and continued their investigation. As a result, Jose Guadalupe Gonzalez of Newport became a person of interest. The SCRT Investigators were granted a search warrant based on the information gathered. A search warrant was served on Gonzalez’s residence. Once inside, a large quantity of Methamphetamine, digital scales, packaging material and U.S. currency were discovered. Two minor children were also in the home. Gonzalez denied any drugs were in the premises.
The SCRT seized two pounds of methamphetamine and several thousand dollars in U.S. currency. Also seized was a 9mm handgun and ammunition. The success of these arrests were the result of a multi-month investigation into county wide methamphetamine trafficking by McNeely and Gonzalez.
McNeely was lodged at the Lincoln County Jail for, Delivery / Possession / Manufacturing of Methamphetamine, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and a Restricted Weapon. His bail was set at $500,000.00.
Gonzalez was lodged at the Lincoln County Jail for, Delivery / Possession / Manufacturing of Methamphetamine. His bail was set at $750,000.00. An investigation continues into Child Neglect as well.
The Street Crimes Response Unit (SCRT) is a newly developed team designed to augment the Patrol Division. This team specializes in the handling of community impact crimes, such as narcotics investigations, and does so by investigating these crimes thoroughly.
The SCRT is made up of members of the Newport Police and the Lincoln City Police Departments and often obtains assistance from the Toledo Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriffs Office. Newport Police drug detection K9 Nero also assisted with this investigation.
The Newport Police Department encourages citizens to report any suspicious activity they witness, as it may assist law enforcement. The Newport Police Tip Line is available at 541-574-5455, or Text-a-Tip at 541-270-1856 or email@example.com.
As wildfires become more frequent and intense throughout the West, protecting the communities we serve from this increasing threat, while providing safe, reliable power, is our highest priority. We are building on our work over past years to strengthen our system and implement additional safety measures to reduce wildfire risks.
As part of this effort, we are working with area emergency services agencies, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and community leaders across Oregon to expand and enhance existing emergency response plans and work in coordination with our communities. This includes some new actions we’re planning for this fire season.
We are enhancing vegetation inspections and vegetation clearance around our power lines or poles, increasing facilities inspections, making investments to improve equipment resiliency and fire-proofing, installing local weather stations, and training and equipping our field crews for wildfire suppression.
For areas at a higher risk of fast-spreading wildfires, we are establishing a new fire prevention measure called a Public Safety Power Shutoff. A Public Safety Power Shutoff is a new measure designed to help keep people and communities in high-risk areas safe, by proactively shutting off power during extreme and dangerous weather conditions that can result in catastrophic wildfires. This measure would only be taken as a last resort to help ensure customer and community safety.
Pacific Power is working with local governments and emergency services agencies to update them on the conditions when this protocol would be used and seek their input on coordination should we need to deploy a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
Pacific Power is also launching a public wildfire education and outreach campaign starting June 24 to share wildfire safety and prevention tips and to inform customers of the company’s Public Safety Power Shutoff measure. This will include public information workshops for communities in high-risk areas.
Customers can take steps now to prepare for emergencies by keeping vegetation around their homes trimmed and low and updating their emergency plans and supplies. Customers should also contact us to ensure their contact information is up-to-date, so we can keep provide updates about increased fire risk alerts, potential power outages and updates on power restoration.
Lincoln City Police Will Conduct Active Shooter Response Training at Taft Elementary June 24 & 25
The Lincoln City Police Department, in partnership with the Lincoln County School District, will be conducting Active Shooter Response training on Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25, 2019, in and around Taft Elementary School, located at 4040 SE High School Drive in Lincoln City. This training will focus on emergency response to an active shooter incident and is being coordinated by the Lincoln City Police Department. The training will involve a simulation of the police department’s response plan and procedures and will help assure a coordinated, timely and effective response in event of a major incident at the school or elsewhere in the community.
Citizens should be aware that there will be law enforcement and emergency vehicles present during the exercise and in order to avoid any confusion, the public is being notified ahead of time that this is only training and not an actual emergency. Taft Elementary will be closed to students and the general public. No students will be participating in the training. Access to the building for select school employees will be limited to those portions of the school not being used during the training. During the training, the south end of the school will be closed off to all non-participants or approved personnel for the duration of the training.
The Lincoln City Police Department would like to thank the Lincoln County School District for allowing us to use their facility and property for this very important training. The school district’s assistance and cooperation allows the Lincoln City Police Department to better train and prepare their officers for response to a critical incident such as this.
WYDEN BILL WOULD END TAX BREAKS FOR PRIVATE PRISON COMPANIES Companies that profit from detaining immigrants would pay taxes like other corporations.
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today introduced legislation to end tax breaks for companies that run prisons and immigrant detention centers.
“The private prison industry is booming, particularly with the Trump administration holding more immigrants in detention than any time over nearly the past 20 years. Companies that profit off of putting children in cages shouldn’t get tax breaks,” Wyden said. “My proposal is simple. Companies that make money from the Trump administration’s inhumane immigration policy and a criminal justice system that disproportionately imprisons people of color are going to pay taxes like any other corporation.”
Companies that run prisons and immigrant detention centers, including CoreCivic and GEO Group, are organized as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which do not pay corporate tax on gains from real estate holdings. For example, profits from rent paid by the federal government for space to detain undocumented immigrants escape corporate level tax.
Wyden’s legislation would bar companies that run prisons and immigrant detention centers from receiving REIT status and require them to pay tax at the corporate and shareholder level, just like any other C corporation.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Management Division has scheduled an annual county-wide test of their emergency notification systems for June 24th between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm and has recently released new Lincoln Alerts sign-up user guides.
County Emergency Management will test all components of the Lincoln Alerts emergency notification system in preparation for the seasonal wildfire conditions. A specific focus of the systems test will be on the Lincoln Alerts mobile app (powered by Everbridge) and the functionality of receiving information back from those who received the message.
Community members can participate in the county-wide test in the following ways:
Pre – test date:
Opt-in and create a Lincoln Alerts profile for each member of your household if you have not already done so. Update your current opt-in profiles to make sure your contact information and addresses are up to date. Download the mobile app and log-in (must have a Lincoln Alerts account first). During the test: Confirm the Lincoln Alerts test message on any of the devices in your profile or your residential or business landline phones. Confirm the mobile app message and send back a photo through the mobile app to County Emergency Management confirming the ability to communicate to public safety officials during emergency events. Monitor local media partner sites (radio, digital) during the test timeframe to confirm you received a notification through an alternative source.
Complete the County Emergency Management on-line participant survey to provide feedback on the test. County Emergency Management has several redundancies in place to push out emergency notification messages to those who may be in harm’s way due to emerging or imminent disaster situations. The county wide test allows County Emergency Management to test all features together just as it would be in a real disaster response situation. Those features include:
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley decry proposed rule changes that would rip housing assistance away from eligible immigrants and citizens.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week urged federal officials to reconsider a newly proposed public housing rule that could worsen homelessness and force some families of mixed citizenship status to separate.
The Oregon senators’ letter to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson comes in response to a rule proposed last month by the department that would prohibit families in which at least one member is undocumented from subsidized housing.
Current rules already prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving federal housing subsidies, but this new rule would prevent families with mixed status from living in subsidized housing. If enforced, entire families, including children, would be forced to vacate their homes.
“This misguided approach runs counter to HUD’s mission and breaks with the sensible policies the Department has had in place for over two decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations,” Wyden and Merkley wrote in a letter signed by 17 other senators. “This is nothing more than an attempt to advance a dangerous agenda that targets and scapegoats the immigrant community.
“This change does nothing to address the affordable housing crisis and may actually take assistance away from eligible immigrants and citizens,” they wrote. “Forcing American children into homelessness does not solve any housing issues, rather, it creates new ones and would likely end up costing more in homeless services and trauma-related healthcare expenditures.”
Also signing the letter were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
Toledo GP Mill – wants to try a new angle to recycle corrugated container board.
Georgia-Pacific this week reached out to the Lincoln County Commission and the city of Toledo to help them fund an innovative way to recycle various varieties of corrugated cardboard to extend the life of the materials that go into consumer packaging. GP Public Relations Manager CJ Drake said the state of Oregon is offering state-backed financial assistance, coupled with some other financial machinations, that would help GP better finance the project. Oregon state-sponsored Strategic Investment Programs are literally starting up all over Oregon where cities big and small are trying to bring economic growth to their home towns.
GP wants to build what it calls the Juno Project that squeezes out another step in recycling consumer containers. If the process works, and GP says there’s a lot of evidence it does work, it could extend the wood resources that go into box-making, technically saving money for everyone along the product purchasing continuum.
Drake told the County Commission that a partnership with Toledo and Lincoln County would re-arrange property tax payments within the Toledo city limits for a 15 year period while the new Juno Recycling System is built and perfected. To compensate for the partial loss of the growth in property taxes GP would agree to pay a Community Services Fee – how much and for how long would be determined by the county and the City of Toledo. GP would have to agree to the amount set by the city and the county. Public schools would not be affected.
Drake said GP is optimistic that the new technology can be perfected at their Toledo plant and make it even more financially muscular with resulting higher tax revenues to the county and to Toledo. Drake declined to predict how many new jobs would be created – if any.
There was a lot to think about – including the commissioners wanting to chew on the details a bit longer and have GP bring it back before them for further discussions that they hope will clarify the project.
Last August in the Rogue Valley, I looked up at a sun that was neon pink through the thick haze of smoke from wildfires. Families were told to stay inside to get away from the smoke, but even folks indoors experienced respiratory problems because their HVAC systems weren’t equipped to handle the severe pollution.
I’ve heard from business owners and organizations about how the smoke caused cancelled reservations and shows. Others have told me about how smoke pollution has been absorbed by their products and goods, causing irreparable damage and significant financial losses. Overall, businesses in Oregon lost an estimated $51.1 million in revenue due to wildfire smoke in 2017 alone.
Wildfire smoke is a serious public health and economic issue that requires a creative and multi-faceted solution. We need take on the root causes of today’s megafires — from tackling climate chaos to investing in more fire-resilient forests — while ensuring that Oregonians get the help they need right now to deal with the menace of wildfire smoke. This week, I’m introducing a package of bills to help the public, businesses and agricultural operations combat the effects of wildfire smoke, and recover from the damage it causes.
At various points last year, the air in both Portland and Medford was ranked among the lowest quality in the world — leaving Oregonians without heavy-duty air filtration systems especially at risk. That’s why the first of this week’s four bills, the Smoke-Ready Communities Act, would provide federal funding to help local communities invest in stronger air filtration systems in schools, public buildings, and the homes of vulnerable Oregonians — to make sure that every Oregonian has a safe refuge from hazardous outdoor air quality.
Much like victims of other natural disasters like floods or hurricanes, Oregonians deserve federal assistance to provide communities and businesses with relief from wildfire smoke. The second bill, the Wildfire Smoke Emergency Declaration Act, would allow for the declaration of “smoke emergencies” to authorize additional funding to protect both the health of families and the health of our economy. This legislation would support smoke shelters and relocation efforts when necessary to protect our communities, and critically, would provide financial relief to business owners whose bottom lines are hit by smoke — from winegrowers whose grapes are tainted to hotels dealing with lost revenue from a drop in tourism.
This package of bills also includes the Farmworker Smoke Protection Act, which would ensure that farmworkers are provided with face masks or other equipment to protect them while working outdoors in smoky conditions, and the Smoke Planning and Research Act, which would invest in building local research capacity; authorize $20 million in smoke-related public health research; and help local communities plan and respond to wildfire smoke.
Please know that I’m going to keep fighting to protect Oregonians and our local economies from catastrophic wildfire smoke, while tackling the climate chaos that is causing drier, warmer summers and fueling the fires in the first place.