Portland’s Morrison Bridge to be ‘Powered by Orange’

CORVALLIS, OREGON – The lights of Morrison Bridge, one of three iconic spans connecting east and west Portland, will glow orange for 11 nights, as Oregon State University prepares for its annual “Civil War” football game against the University of Oregon.

The more than 1,000 light-emitting diodes (LED) adorning the 265-foot span will be “Powered by Orange,” in conjunction with OSU’s new spirit-building campaign, which has been prominent in Portland in recent weeks. They’ll go on each day at dusk, turn off at 1 a.m., and go back on from 5 a.m. until 8 a.m., say officials with the Multnomah County Department of Transportation.

The lights will not only display an attractive orange glow, but in the best spirit of OSU, known for its environmental values and alternative energy research, they’ll do so in an energy-conscious fashion, using only 82 watts of electricity for each of 32 fixtures on the span. The bridge, built in 1954, was formerly illuminated by halide lights that drew 1,000 watts each.

OSU will take on Oregon in its annual season-ending rite at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Eugene in a game that has Rose Bowl implications. Both teams are currently ranked in the Associated Press top 20, with the Beavers having won five of their last six games and the Ducks having won eight of their last nine.

Portland is a key location to rally Beaver Nation in advance of that contest: More than 40,000 alumni call the greater Portland area home, which is more than one-quarter of the university’s living alums.

Costs associated with the bridge lighting are being shared by Bob Miller, morning radio host for KPAM, the Portland flagship station of the Beaver Sports Radio Network, and Pat Reser, co-chair of The Campaign for OSU, a $625-million fund-raising effort that has brought more than $540 million in donations thus far.

Oregon Weekly Swine Flu Update for November 25

Since Sept. 1, 2009, 1,183 people have been hospitalized in Oregon with influenza-like illness; 49 people have died.

“We have fewer new cases compared to a few weeks ago, but the number is still high, about what we would see at the peak of a bad regular flu season,” says Mel Kohn, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Oregon Public Health Division.

Private drug manufacturers continue to ship the H1N1 influenza vaccine into Oregon, with more arriving each week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has allocated another 136,749 doses to Oregon expected by Friday, Nov. 27, bringing the cumulative total to 664,904.

“With the vaccine still in limited supply, we’re asking health care providers to reach out to people in high-risk groups, especially those with chronic medical conditions, so they can get vaccinated as soon as possible,” says Kohn.

The people at higher risk, and those who take care of them, include:
• Individuals aged 5-64 years with chronic medical conditions that put them at risk for complications from influenza infection (cardio-pulmonary disease, diabetes, asthma), including those with neuro-developmental and other conditions that decrease their ability to handle respiratory secretions;
• pregnant women;
• children up to age 5;
• household contacts and caretakers of infants under 6 months;
• health care workers and emergency services personnel.

The Oregon Public Health Division regularly surveys the counties and posts current public clinic information at www.flu.oregon.gov.

Oregon Public Health flu hotline at 1-800-978-3040 has added a team of specially trained nurses to answer medical questions related to flu, including how to care for someone who has the flu and when to see a doctor.

Updated ‘Food for Oregon’ Web Site Provides Database of Resources

CORVALLIS, OREGON — A newly refurbished “Food for Oregon” Web site provides an updated database of local and regional food resources for families and communities to improve food security.

Food for Oregon is a partnership between the Oregon Food Bank and Oregon State University Extension Service. “Goals of the partnership are to increase Oregonians’ access to local, sustainable food resources and to build connections between community food, education and advocacy resources,” according to Sharon Thornberry, community resource developer for the Oregon Food Bank.

Users can search the database by county, program area, organization or locale for information on Oregon and Southwest Washington farmers markets, community gardens and kitchens, gleaning groups and nutrition education, among others.

“Events calendars were added by request,” Thornberry said, “as were discussion forums on topics such as community gardens, youth gardens and therapeutic gardens.”

A recent report by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture showed that Oregon ranks second nationally in hunger/food insecurity issues. Experts say high unemployment coupled with costly housing prices are two influential dynamics in the state’s hunger problem.

The Food for Oregon Web site can be found at http://foodfororegon.oregonstate.edu/.

All Oregon DMV offices closed Friday, Nov. 27

SALEM, OREGON – The Oregon DMV headquarters and all DMV field offices throughout the state will be closed on Friday, Nov. 27, as well as Thanksgiving Day itself. The Nov. 27 closure is the second of 10 statewide mandatory unpaid “furlough” days scheduled through June 2011.

However, during these closures, customers still can do business with DMV by mail or online. Online services include most passenger vehicle registration renewals, change of address and notice of sale of your vehicle.

For a complete list of DMV online services go to: www.OregonDMV.com/online.

DMV offices will open on their regularly scheduled day and time after the furlough day. For a complete list of DMV office hours, go to www.OregonDMV.com.

Under Oregon’s cost-saving furlough plan, state employees must take 10 to 14 unpaid days off – depending on their salary level – during the 2009-11 state budgetary period. Ten of those days are statewide closures for offices that do not provide emergency services or require round-the-clock staffing. State employees who are required to take additional unpaid furlough days will schedule them in much the same way they schedule vacation days.

DMV is one of the state agencies that is required to observe the 10 scheduled mandatory closures. The 10 statewide closures are all Fridays, including the day after Thanksgiving in 2009 and 2010. The 10 dates are:

Oct. 16, 2009
Nov. 27, 2009 (day after Thanksgiving)
March 19, 2010
April 16, 2010
June 18, 2010
Aug. 20, 2010
Sept. 17, 2010
Nov. 26, 2010 (day after Thanksgiving)
March 18, 2011
May 20, 2011

For more information about the statewide mandatory unpaid closures, visit the Department of Administrative Services’ Web site at www.Oregon.gov/DAS.

OSU Report: Climate Change Has Cut Oregon Snowpack in Half

CORVALLIS, OREGON – Snowpack at selected sites in the Oregon Cascade Range has already been cut in half over the past 77 years, despite no significant changes in precipitation, according to a new analysis of the impact of climate change on western Oregon.

The report, prepared by a group of researchers at Oregon State University, was done at the request of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute. It outlined what is known about the physical, natural or socioeconomic impacts of past effects of regional climate change – and also cast an eye to the future.

The analysis found that temperatures in January, March and April have increased by almost four degrees since 1958 – spring is arriving earlier than it used to. Temperatures at other times of the year, however, have not changed much. These and other data are based primarily on observations at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, a mid-elevation forest near Blue River similar to many areas of the Cascade Range and Coast Range in western Oregon. The Andrews Forest is supported by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Science Foundation.

Increased temperatures in the future may continue to take their toll on snowpack and springtime stream flows, the researchers said, but it’s less clear what the effects of climate change will be on conifers and other vegetation, some of which have the ability – to an extent – to adapt to changing conditions.

“What we’ve seen the most already, and will probably see even more in the future, is declining snowpacks and related effects on stream flows,” said Julia Jones, a professor of geosciences at OSU and coordinator of the report.

“Of some interest, however, is that these forests, especially older Douglas-fir, seem to be able to respond to water availability and drought by closing down their photosynthesis,” Jones said. “To some degree, they are opportunistic and will use water when it’s available. Some of them are 500 years old and have already lived through a lot of climate variability, they get knocked around all the time.”

It’s not certain, the researchers said, how far that resiliency can be pushed before it starts causing forest health or mortality problems. Increasing winter temperatures can favor tree growth in the following summer, while less summer water availability might decrease it – offsetting mechanisms that could explain why no significant changes in tree growth rates has been observed in the Andrews Forest in the past century, despite changes in temperature. And at least in this forest, there has been no increase in tree mortality, as has been observed in some other western forests.

Among the findings of the analysis:

Despite increasing temperatures, no significant changes in precipitation or wind have occurred at the Andrews Forest since the 1970s, although there is considerable variation dictated largely by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a periodic shift in climate patterns.
A projected temperature increase of 4-5 degrees in the future could mean increases of more than 11 degrees in some terrain and elevations, which respond quite differently than the overall average.
Extreme floods in the future will probably depend more on unusual weather events than trends in average climate conditions.
Conifers will continue to persist at forests similar to the H.J. Andrews at least through the year 2100, given expected scenarios of temperature, fire and carbon dioxide concentrations. Hardwoods may increase in some areas of the Willamette Valley.
Only spring stream flow has changed much in the past 50 years, possibly explained by higher water use by conifers.
Socioeconomic impacts are difficult to predict, the report suggested. Farm, forest and ranch owners may be disproportionately affected by changes in the resources on which they depend for income. On the other hand, they might profit by the emergence of a carbon-offset market under cap-and-trade legislation.

Forest management will also have to adapt to changing conditions, the researchers said. Young forest plantations use up to 70 percent more water in summer than old-growth forests, possibly exacerbating summer drought. And fuel treatments in forests to reduce fire risk may also reduce carbon storage potential.

This analysis focused primarily on western Oregon, and other work will continue to develop a broader understanding of statewide climate impacts. It’s fortunate, Jones said, that the H.J. Andrews Forest, a part of the nation’s Long Term Ecological Research program, has exceedingly long and diverse records to provide data on how the environment is changing.

Two Highway 97 Truck Crashes Snarl Traffic South of Sunriver

SUNRIVER, OREGON – Highway 97 was blocked for more than three hours south of Sunriver Sunday evening after a pair of semi truck accidents.

Sunday afternoon just before 3pm a semi truck and box trailer heading southbound on Highway 97 near Vandevert Road, lost control due to the icy conditions and left the highway landing on it’s side. The truck was carrying only wooden pallets and the driver was uninjured. However this slide off accident only served to complicate the already treacherous driving conditions experienced in southern Deschutes County.

Traffic slowed further as the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies worked to process the scene safely. As the afternoon progressed, driving conditions worsened and the heavy traffic associated with the coming holiday slowed. The surging of heavy traffic consisting of semi-trucks, local residents, and holiday travelers combined with the distraction of the slide off accident near Vandevert Road, had the flow of vehicles accelerating and decelerating at inconsistent and often dangerous intervals, especially for the larger semi-trucks.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. this traffic pattern induced a second incident involving a semi-truck carrying a load of dog food. Near milepost 156, less than a mile from the first accident, this semi-truck traveling northbound, jack-knifed in an effort to avoid traffic that had come to a sudden halt. To make matters worse, the location of the incident is on a downgrade and the semi-truck slid into the oncoming lane of traffic. Though no one was injured in this incident either, both the northbound and southbound lanes were obstructed by the truck and its box trailer.

Highway 97 traffic had been effectively shutdown and the location and resting position of the truck on a downgrade posed serious challenges to attempts at its removal. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Deputies along with Oregon State Police Troopers attempted to clear the highway while still minimizing the chance of the jack-knifed truck from rolling onto its side or sliding further to worsen its position. The combined efforts at opening the highway for traffic to pass kept vehicles in a snarled standstill in excess of three hours.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office continues to urge drivers to take the extra time to allow for safer travel in these icy and treacherous road conditions.

From media release by Deputy Chris Jones and Lt. Deron McMaster.

Mt. Bachelor sets Friday for Opening Day

BEND, OREGON – Mt. Bachelor is currently on schedule to open for the winter season on Friday.

Occasional snow is forecasted to continue in the Oregon Cascades through the weekend adding to Mt. Bachelor’s current base depth of 25 inches at the West Village snow stake. Opening day operating lifts are anticipated to be the Pine Marten Express and Sunshine Express. All services including food and beverage, rentals, Snowsports School, and retail, will be based out of the West Village Base Area. Expansion of open terrain and lifts is likely on Saturday, Nov 21 as well as heading into the Thanksgiving weekend. Mt. Bachelor’s Nordic Lodge and trails will also open for the season on Friday. The latest details can be found at www.mtbachelor.com.

“The forecast looks wintry and mountain crews are at work preparing their departments for what’s sure to be a busy opening weekend,” said Dave Rathbun, President and General Manager. “A good Thanksgiving is key to getting off to a good start, and as it stands now, we’re well positioned. Our large percentage of returning staff will be an asset as we ramp up our operation to full speed.”

Early season conditions exist and most open terrain is recommended for intermediate and advanced abilities. Unmarked obstacles will exist and skiing and riding groomed terrain is recommended. Limited beginner terrain will be available via the Sunshine Express. An early season terrain park will be available. Opening day lift ticket rates will be $49 for adults, $39 for teens and seniors, and $28 for kids and 70+. Sliding scale ticket pricing will go into effect once skier levels, open terrain or weather conditions dictate. More information is available at www.mtbachelor.com/lifttickets.

Mt. Bachelor’s season pass office will be open in Bend’s Old Mill District through Wednesday, Nov. 18. It will re-open in West Village on Friday, Nov. 20. Guests who have elected to wait until opening day to get their passes printed should expect lines at the season pass office. The Mt. Bachelor Super Shuttle will also begin service on opening day. The full shuttle schedule will be posted available at www.mtbachelor.com.

Family Access Network receives funds from the Roundhouse Foundation

SISTERS, OREGON – The Family Access Network (FAN) is the recipient of a $10,000 donation to be used to help address basic-needs for children and their families in Sisters.

The funds from the Roundhouse Foundation will help provide essential services such as food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care (includes health insurance) and more through the FAN advocates in the Sisters community. “Roundhouse Foundation is incredibly generous in their continued support of FAN in the Sisters community. We appreciate their dedication to our most needy families, especially during our current economic climate,” Kristi Miller, FAN Foundation Chair.

FAN began in January 1993 and currently employs 22 advocates in 43 public schools (K-12) and two early childhood sites. FAN strives to improve lives by ensuring all children in Deschutes County have access to basic-need services. FAN is unique to Deschutes County, utilizing advocates to efficiently reach and connect disadvantaged children and families with basic needs, such as food, shelter, and health care. During the 2008-2009 school year FAN connected over 7,800 children and their family members with food, shelter, health care and other critical services.

The Roundhouse Foundation was established in Sisters, Oregon in October 2002 to encourage community enrichment and economic development with the intent of focusing on supporting ideas and projects that create positive change.

To learn more about Family Access Network, visit www.familyaccessnetwork.org.

Bend Christmas Parade Grand Marshal Announced

BEND, OREGON – Sparrow Club is named Grand Marshal for Saturday, Dec 5th Bend Christmas Parade. This year’s parade theme is “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”. On behalf of Sparrow Club, Jeff Leeland the founder and Executive Director will be riding in the parade with his son Michael – the very first Sparrow kid.

Sparrow Clubs USA, like so many charitable organizations, was born from the personal struggles of an ordinary family. Little did Jeff Leeland know that his personal family crisis would someday lead him to found a national organization where the community impact and value was all about kids helping kids. Since it’s inception in 1995 Sparrow Club has grown from a local organization, spreading into 26 states, hundreds of schools and touching tens of thousands of students. The Sparrow kids in medical need that are helped through the program are important, but the real work being done is with the healthy students, bringing out the love and compassion they feel through the selfless hours of volunteering they do to help their Sparrow. “Sparrow Club exists to set the stage for heroic acts of kindness in schools and youth culture for kids in medical need” says Jeff Leeland.

In Central Oregon more than 40 schools and over 15, 000 students are participating in the Sparrow Club program this school year. To date over 600 Sparrow kids have been helped through the Sparrow Clubs USA program with over $5 million dollars distributed to Sparrow kids and their families. “The reason we started Sparrow Club is the belief that kids will do heroic things when they have heroic things to do. It unleashes a sense of compassion and service that can last a life time” stated Jeff.

Along with Mr. Leeland, Shirley Gribskov Ray the 2009 Pioneer Queen will be riding in the parade. Shirley, 82, was crowned Pioneer Queen in February of this year. She has lived in Central Oregon since she was 7 months old.

The Parade will begin at 12 noon, Saturday December 5th downtown Bend. For more information about the parade, entries and the route please visit www.bendchristmasparade.org.

Mt. Bachelor Announces Dates and Recipients for Annual Charity Ski Weeks

BEND, OREGON – After donating over $70,000 in the first year of the Charity Ski Weeks program, Mt. Bachelor is proud to announce the return of the program for another season. During two weeks in January and two weeks in April guests will be able to ski for $25 using vouchers distributed by Central Oregon Non-Profits. Every redeemed voucher will result in $25 being donated.

The first period is slated for January 4-15 midweek. The Non-Profits that will be distributing vouchers prior to the January period are United Way, NeighborImpact, The Environmental Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Volunteers in Medicine. Contact the organizations for their individual methods of distribution.

The second period is slated for April 5-16 midweek. The Non-Profits that will be distributing vouchers prior to the April period are MBSEF, Sparrow Clubs, Saving Grace, Boys and Girls Club, and Oregon Adaptive Sports.

“There is genuine excitement about the potential of this program in its second year,” said Alex Kaufman, Marketing Director at Mt. Bachelor. “We’ve proven that it can work to get lots of folks on the slopes, while also raising significant funds for the betterment of the community. Now we can work on growing the total amount of funds raised year over year. While charitable giving has taken a hit nationally and locally in the last couple of years, we are proud to be growing ours as the need increases.”

In addition to the Charity Ski Weeks campaign, Mt. Bachelor is proud to support hundreds of local and regional causes as well as local schools via the Ski for Schools Program. Donation requests for fundraising auctions and raffles can be made via the “donations” form at http://www.mtbachelor.com/community.