2:03pm Report of a traffic crash on Spooner Highway 50, just uphill from Highway 28. Watch for emergency vehicles.
Salem fitness center fined $126,749 for continued, willful COVID-19 workplace violation
SALEM, – Oregon OSHA has fined a Salem fitness center $126,749 for willfully continuing to potentially expose employees to the infectious coronavirus disease despite a public health order to limit the capacity to zero for such establishments in “extreme risk” counties.
The fine – the result of an inspection launched in response to multiple complaints – was issued against Capitol Racquet Sports Inc. for willfully refusing to comply at its Courthouse Club facility on Commercial Street Southeast.
“We understand that this employer is attempting to do a number of things to keep employees safe without shutting down, but that does not allow them to substitute their judgment for that of the public health authorities,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood.
It is the largest penalty issued to an employer by Oregon OSHA for a violation related to COVID-19. The division cited the violation as “willful” and, at the discretion of the administrator, imposed the maximum penalty allowed.
“It is our expectation that employers follow well-founded health regulations that are directly intended to protect workers from a genuine hazard,” Wood said. “And while we have been able to use engagement and education to resolve most COVID-19 complaints involving employers, we will also continue to bring our enforcement tools to bear as needed.”
The citation is, to date, the fifth one issued against the company for willfully disregarding health protections against COVID-19. In November 2020, Oregon OSHA issued citations against each of the company’s four operating fitness facilities after conducting complaint-based inspections.
Those inspections found the company operating the facilities in defiance of public health measures included in Gov. Kate Brown’s Nov. 17 executive order. That order implemented a temporary two-week freeze to stop the rapid spread of the virus. Capitol Racquet Sports continued operating after the order was effective. It did so after Oregon OSHA’s initial inquiries. And it did so after the division’s posting of Red Warning Notices at the four fitness-related facilities. The total initial penalty for all four locations was $90,000 for willful and Red Warning Notice violations.
The citation carrying the $126,749 penalty stems from an inspection opened Dec. 9. at one of those four fitness establishments inspected in November. The inspection found Capitol Racquet Sports continuing to intentionally disregard public health orders and Oregon OSHA notices to close the facility. The willful lack of compliance continues to potentially expose employees and member clients to COVID-19.
In keeping the facility open to member clients, the company is choosing to disregard limitations imposed by the Oregon Health Authority for such an establishment in a county designated as Extreme Risk. County risk levels are part of the state’s public health framework for reducing transmission of the coronavirus disease. Health and safety measures are assigned for each level.
The current citation against Capitol Racquet Sports was issued under Oregon OSHA’s temporary rule to address COVID-19 risks in the workplace – specifically, the appendices spelling out industry-specific requirements.
Employers have 30 days to appeal citations. Capitol Racquet Sports appealed the four citations issued in November 2020.
Portland, OR – Oregon Parks Forever, a statewide nonprofit, today announced the establishment of a Wildfire Tree Replanting Fund. The goal of the fund is to plant at least One Million trees. Each dollar donated will plant a tree!
Since the 1990’s, Oregon has seen significant increases in the number of acres burned statewide. 2020 saw the second largest number of acres burned since 1990. During the summer of 2020, more than one million acres of trees on Oregon lands were burned. This was more than twice the average annual amount of damage that Oregon experienced between 2010 and 2019.
This comes at a time when the budgets of public land managers are already stressed due to ongoing funding challenges and the COVID pandemic.
We want to help the public lands get replanted soon, so that in the future our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same green and lush forests and landscape we have been able to enjoy.
Why should we replant after a fire? Trees provide the very necessities of life. They clear our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed our souls. Our forests provide critical wildlife habitat, natural beauty and recreational opportunities. They sequester carbon and help reduce soil erosion by stabilizing slopes and preventing landslides.
We all sat in the smoke and wondered…What can I do? How can I help?
Depending on how much money is raised, we will work with the public land managers from the US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Parks & Recreation, and the county parks departments in Clackamas, Marion, Lane and Jackson counties to determine the greatest need and potential impact.
We have set a goal of raising enough funds to plant at least ONE MILLION trees, to ensure that in the future, and for future generations, these burned areas will once again be lush and green!
Each dollar donated will plant one tree!
You can make a donation online at www.orparksforever.org; send a Text Message on your phone to REPLANT at 41444; mail a check to Oregon Parks Forever, 1501 SW Jefferson Street, Portland, OR 97201; or point your smartphone’s camera at this QR Code: (see attached)
About Oregon Parks Forever: Since 1995, Oregon Parks Forever (formerly known as Oregon State Parks Foundation) has been raising funds to help supplement existing funding sources to preserve and protect the experience of using Oregon’s parks. Oregon Parks Forever is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission includes working with federal, state, local and tribal public land managers to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in all Oregon parks. As outdoor recreation has exploded in popularity, additional wear and tear, and years of deferred maintenance, have resulted in the costs of running Oregon parks exceeding available funding.
Since 1995, Oregon Parks Forever has supported many vital projects such as restoring Vista House at Crown Point, helping to renovate five Oregon Lighthouses, preserving the Kam Wah Chung & Co Museum, and putting the first yurts in State Parks anywhere in the country. Most recently, the organization raised funds to build a residential outdoor school facility at the Cottonwood Canyon State Park.
Oregon Parks Forever is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Our Federal Tax ID number is 93-1177836. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Please contact your tax advisor with any questions.
Seth Miller, Executive Director Danny Pettey, Sasquatch Agency
Cell: 503/913-8672 541/968-8242
The Lincoln City City Council covered a huge amount of ground during their Monday night. First off they swore in the city council candidates who won their elections: Diana Hinton, Riley Hoagland, Anne Marie Skinner and Judy Casper. The council decided to not appoint a new mayor right away. The council said it wants to hold a special election in May to see who the voters want as their new mayor. Councilor Judy Casper will be acting Mayor until the May election.
The city council moved on to approve improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant including the upgrade of the plant’s electrical system. It’s quite pricey but the council agreed that the current power system is insufficient to meet the plant’s current needs. The council also decided to replace part of the City Hall’s air circulation system.
The council then agreed to sign a contract with the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians to allow emergency housing on tribal lands at the Logan Park RV facility so that those who lost their homes in the Echo Mountain Fire can enjoy temporary quarters while arrangements are eventually made to restore the 300+ homes that were lost in the Echo Mountain Fire. Officials estimate that the temporary housing will be available until at least January, 2023.
The city council tentatively agreed to add pedestrian improvements on the north side of NE 14th Street from Highway 101 to NE Port Drive. The improvements will include new sidewalk, curb and gutter for about 1,000 feet. The project will also create 700 feet of new stormwater pipe and a 500 foot extension of the sanitary sewer system.
NE 14th Street is currently a major collector street with primarily ditches for drainage and narrow shoulders, making it very difficult for pedestrians. This project is a segment of the Head to Bay Trail and the plan is to eventually extend this sidewalk along West Devils Lake Road to meet with the trail on SE 22nd Street. This project also involves the creation of a local improvement district that will require close coordination with the residences throughout the project.
Salem, OR – January 11, 2021 – With heavy winter rains and high winds forecasted across the state over the next few days, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to be aware – and prepared – for flooding, landslides and power outages.
Basic preparedness actions can help prevent dangerous situations. This begins with having an emergency kit with necessary supplies for up to two weeks, a practiced family plan with steps for what to do in an emergency, and knowing the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning.
Intense rainfall over a short period of time can cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly, often catching people living near these water sources off guard. Flash floods move with incredible speed and occur when heavy rain falls on already-saturated ground. In addition, loss of vegetation due to wildfires leaves the ground charred and unable to absorb water. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.
- Avoid walking through flood waters; they may be contaminated with oil, gas or raw sewage. Waters may also be hiding hazards and debris.
- Be aware of weather conditions in your area before driving. Many flood-related incidents are caused by vehicles driven into hazardous waters.
- Use ODOT’s Tripcheck for the latest road conditions before traveling.
- Heavy rains reduce drivers’ visibility. When driving, turn on your lights, increase following distance and slow down. Visit ODOT’s webpage for Driving in the Rain Tips.
- Heed the advice of emergency officials regarding evacuations.
- Listen to weather and emergency updates on the TV, radio, social media.
As Oregon recovers from the recent wildfires, residents living in and around wildfire areas should be aware of risks such as landslides and mudflows. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.
Signs of landslides include:
- Changes in landscape such as changes in water runoff, leaning trees or land movement.
- Water in streams or creeks that suddenly turns muddy or if the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases.
- New cracks in plaster, tile or foundations.
- Unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
- Underground utility line breaks.
For more information on landslides, check http://www.ready.gov/landslides-debris-flow.
High winds and downed trees often cause of power outages. Take time to check your emergency kit before a storm hits. At a minimum, every home should have an emergency power outage kit that includes flashlights, battery-operated radio/clock, extra batteries, non-perishable foods, bottled water and blankets. If you experience a power outage in your home or area:
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
- Check on your neighbors.
- Stay away from – and don’t drive around – downed power lines and utility lines; even if they are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.
- Turn on your porch light. After response crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if any lights are still out.
Disaster preparedness is an important priority for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and we encourage people to prepare for emergencies. It’s critical for families, individuals, communities and businesses to make an emergency plan, and communicate the plan before, during and after emergencies. For additional preparedness resources, visit https://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/Individual-Preparedness.aspx.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch that is in effect tonight through Wednesday. On the bright side, staying home doesn’t only prevent the spread of COVID-19, it can also be the safest choice in stormy weather. It might also be a good time to add some masks and hand sanitizer to your emergency kit.
If you live in an area that’s experiencing flooding, here are some tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe:
1. Don’t drive through standing water.
2. Stay out of flood waters – even the strongest swimmer can drown.
3. Stay away from power lines or objects touching power lines.
4. Wash skin that comes into contact with flood water.
Governor Kate Brown Orders Flags Lowered to Half-Staff to Honor the Fallen United States Capitol Police Officers
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff until sunset, January 13, 2021 to honor two fallen United States Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood.
“Violence answers nothing, solves nothing, and offers nothing. Last week, we saw attacks on our democracy, the Constitution, and the American people. This is not who we are. Dan and I send our condolences to the families of Officer Sicknick and Officer Liebengood as they mourn and grieve. We remember their dedication and determination, their service, and sacrifice.”
The full Presidential Proclamation is available at the White House’s website.
On Monday, January 11th at approximately 1:09AM, Seaside Police responded to a report of a firearm being discharged on the beach near the turnaround. Officers located two juvenile males who were in possession of a pistol. A third juvenile male was located nearby in a parked vehicle, who was also found to be in possession of a pistol.
All three juveniles were arrested on charges related to unlawful possession of a weapon, unlawful use of a firearm, reckless endangering another person, carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.
Names of the arrested juveniles are not being released. Their ages are 14, 15 and 16 years old. All three do not live in Clatsop County. The Clatsop County Juvenile Department made arrangements and later transported the three juveniles to a juvenile detention facility.
Seaside Police would like to thank those witnesses in the area who reported the incident and who spoke with the responding officers. Additional response assistance was provided by the Cannon Beach Police Department.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Sergeant Shauna Stelson with the Seaside Police Department. Sgt. Stelsoncan be reached at (503) 738-631
FEMA and other agencies issue a situation report on the aftermath of several wildland fires that decimated areas of northwest Oregon
FEMA and a number of other state and federal agencies have issued a comprehensive report on the status of the wildfire cleanup in the northwest area of the state. It’s a lot of data. Get some coffee, put your feet up and start the journey. Click here.
2021 Session Opens Monday
I was writing my weekly newsletter Wednesday afternoon when disturbing news erupted. An angry mob had descended on our nation’s capital.
They disrespected our laws and our police. They disrespected our institutions. They disrespected the legitimate results of the Electoral College and our popular vote. They disgraced our sense of American values and dignity.
Last week I spoke about the challenge in these difficult times to know who to trust and what to believe. Seldom do we all always agree. I cherish our traditions of free speech and peaceful protest. But when protest devolves into threats, violence, and property destruction, whether in our urban centers, our state capitols, or in the halls of Congress, we are all lessened.
Late last night, I was harkened by the words of one of our Republican leaders. “The states have spoken. The Courts have spoken. The voters have spoken.” And I was reminded of the words of another Republican, Abraham Lincoln, who observed on his second inauguration, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
The hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit in 2020.
Sitka Center for Art & Ecology 56605 Sitka Drive, Otis OR 97368 Tamarajennings@sitkacenter.org 541.994.5485
Sitka Center Artist-in-Residence Show and Tell
OTIS, OR – Jan 4, 2021 – For the next few months, a talented group of artists and scientists will be residing amongst the trees and wildlife to deeply explore their work as Artists and Scientists-in-Residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Join us for the Resident Show & Tell – 4pm on Thursday, January 21st, 2021 as our Spring residents share what they will be working on!
Located on Cascade Head on the Oregon Coast just north of Lincoln City, the Sitka Center is an ideal location for artists and scientists to withdraw from the distraction of daily life, find the solitude needed to push through their creative boundaries and chase their artistic pursuits and immerse themselves in natural study and reflection. Sitka Center is proud to host residents from around the world in various stages of their journeys.
The Resident Show & Tell is an opportunity for the community to learn about the work done by these accomplished artists and scientists. This event is free and open virtually to the public via Zoom. The January 21st Resident Show & Tell includes:
- Ayla Gizlice is a Turkish-American artist who works primarily in mixed media sculpture and installation. She often works with materials found and collected from her local environment and is interested in the ecological proposition that this labor poses.
- Danielle Klebes has exhibited at notable galleries and museums across the United States and in Canada. Her current body of work explores and disrupts ideas of social expectations and gender norms by presenting queer bodies in utopic settings.
- EmilyJaneDavisisanAssistantProfessorandExtensionSpecialistintheDepartmentofForest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University, Associate Director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program, and Vice Chair of the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition. She is a social scientist who analyzes natural resource collaboration, wildfire, public lands policy, and rural community development.
- JanetMorrisonisProfessorofBiologyatTheCollegeofNewJersey(TCNJ),wheresheconducts plant ecology research with undergraduate students, teaches ecology and botany courses, and has served as Department Chair and in many other leadership roles. Janet’s scientific research program aims to understand how interactions between species drive the structure of ecological communities, particularly within human-transformed, urbanizing landscapes.
- PaulBourdeauisamarineecologistandassociateprofessoratHumboldtStateUniversity.Pauland his students study how coastal marine organisms interact with their environment and respond to changing environmental conditions, particularly those brought about by human activities. Their approach combines field observations, manipulative laboratory and field experiments, and quantitative syntheses of published research.About the Sitka Center for Art and EcologyThrough workshops, residencies and events the Sitka Center provides time and space for place based reflection, inquiry and creation at the intersection of art and ecology. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit located on Cascade Head in the Salmon River estuary north of Lincoln City, Sitka offers a place where visual artists, writers, natural scientists, musicians and interdisciplinary creatives of all abilities and backgrounds come to nourish their curiosity and creativity. 2021 marks Sitka’s 51st year of offering art-and nature-inspired workshops, residencies and public events on the Oregon Coast.
For more details visit www.sitkacenter.org. 541-994-5485 Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, 56605 Sitka Drive, Otis, OR 97368.
For the Next few months, artists and scientists will live on Cascade Head and delve into their work as Artists and Scientists-in-Residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Join us via Zoom for the Resident Show & Tell – 4pm on Thursday, January 21st, 2021 as residents share what they will be working on!
Sitka Center Resident Show & Tell
www.sitkacenter.org/events to register
Left to right clockwise: Ayla Gizlice, Danielle Klebes, Emily Jane Davis, Janet Morrison and Paul Bordeau
Governor Kate Brown Provides Updates on COVID-19 in Oregon
Correction: Governor Brown has activated Oregon National Guard members to support vaccination efforts, beginning with the Salem Health vaccination event at the state fairgrounds. However those members are being called up on orders and processed this weekend, and are expected to begin in their support role in Salem by Tuesday. This will not impact Salem Health’s operations, which will be administering vaccines as planned this weekend.
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown held a press conference today to update Oregonians on the status of COVID-19 vaccinations in Oregon, as well as school reopening plans. The Governor was joined by Patrick Allen, Director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Colt Gill, Director of the Oregon Department of Education, and Dr. Dean Sidelinger, State Epidemiologist.
“OHA is working with health care providers, pharmacies, and local public health partners to make steady progress toward achieving our goal of 12,000 vaccines administered per day,” said Governor Brown. “We continue to look at how we can use every tool we have to swiftly vaccinate Oregonians, and in that spirit, I am deploying the National Guard to provide vaccination support, starting this weekend with Salem Health’s vaccination event at the state fairgrounds. These partnerships will help us achieve the critical mass of community immunity we need.
“On the education front, at the start of the new year, Oregon’s COVID-19 health metrics for returning to in-person instruction became advisory, empowering local school districts and communities to make decisions regarding in-person instruction that best meet the needs of their families and students. All Oregon schools will still be required to adhere to health and safety measures in order to open any in-person instruction, and they must continue to work in close consultation with their local public health authority.”
More information on vaccines is available at covidvaccine.oregon.gov.
A copy of the Governor’s remarks is available here.
A recording of today’s live-streamed press conference is available here.
An HD recording of today’s press conference for members of the media is available here. Please note, the video starts at the 35:26 mark.
Curry County artist Dan Gray to showcase award-winning wood sculptures – Winter “Art to Go” Kits Available through the Newport Visual Arts Center, 541-265-6569, email@example.com
The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts presents “A Segment of Art” exhibit from January 16 through March 20 in the Coastal Oregon Visual Artists Showcase (COVAS) at the Newport Visual Arts Center. “A Segment of Art” will feature award-winning wood sculptures by Brookings-based artists Dan Gray. The COVAS Showcase features artists from the Oregon coast, rotating through the coast’s seven coastal counties, and Gray will be representing Curry County. The COVAS Showcase will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, noon to 4pm, COVID-19 safety guidelines permitting, as well as online at www.coastarts.org.
Dan Gray’s turned wood artworks, which he describes as “segmented sculptures,” have won multiple awards and have been displayed in numerous galleries on the West Coast. Many of his sculptures are inspired by his proximity to the Pacific Ocean, as well as his love of travel. One of his signature pieces, “Nautilus, Station 5,” was featured in Wood Magazine. Gray’s wood sculptures have been described as amazing in their intricate detail. Working with oak, alder, mahogany, purple heart, myrtle, and woods, his sculptures contain anywhere from several hundred to several thousand individual wood pieces.
Dan Gray is a proudly self-proclaimed self-taught artist. “In truth, I never knew I was an artist until late in my life. That fact that I was always creating, I simply took that for granted as part of who I was,” Gray says. “My creativity was out of necessity. To repair something that was broken. To build something needed.”
Though Dan Gray has always worked with wood, he did not always realize wood as an art medium. Fifteen years ago, on a whim, Gray purchased a wood lathe. “From that first moment, when I turned a small piece of wood into a bowl, I was lost,” he says. “Nothing has ever captured me before in the way of that first small bowl.”
Gray has displayed his art in galleries in Vancouver, WA, and in Brookings, and he is currently displaying in Juniper Sky Fine Art Gallery at the Kayenta Art Villiage in Ivins, UT, and well as The Turquoise Turtle Gallery at the artist colony in Tubac, AZ. In addition to creating his segmented wood sculptures, Gray is also a writer and has published two novels and a collection of short stories.
To sign up for event notifications, community members should join the Friends of the VAC e-Newsletter by visiting https://coastarts.org/visual-arts-center/newsletter/.