Thinning forests instead of clear cutting is creating biomass energy generation projects in Central and Eastern Oregon

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Apr 112015
 
Malheur National Forest Eastern Oregon Oregonian photo

Malheur National Forest
Eastern Oregon
Oregonian photo

Four eastern Oregon businesses – and local forests – stand to benefit from grants totaling $110,000 for biomass use, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) announced today. The U.S. Forest Service-provided grant funding has been awarded by ODF to these businesses:

– Ochoco Lumber of John Day – $25,000 Cohesive Wildfire Strategy grant
– Wallowa Resource Community Solutions Inc. of Enterprise – $30,000 Cohesive Wildfire Strategy grant
– Heritage Sustainable Resources of North Powder – $25,000 Cohesive Wildfire Strategy grant
– North Slope Resources Co. of North Powder – $30,000 East Face Restoration Project grant

“The grant funding provided by our federal partners is aimed at forging solutions to forest health and community vitality,” said Marcus Kauffman, ODF’s biomass resource specialist. “The grants are designed to provide business the resources to jump-start new ventures that will utilize the low-value material resulting from forest health treatments.”

Overgrown conditions in many eastside forests pose a severe wildfire threat to adjacent communities and privately owned forests. Thinning can restore health and fire resiliency to the forests, but treatment costs are high–there’s little value in the small trees and brush removed from forest restoration. Ongoing investments into business that convert forest biomass into high-value products helps offset the expense of fuels reduction and enables treatment of larger areas. “By creating demand for the by-products of restoration, we can accelerate the pace and scale of restoration while putting more people to work,” says Kauffman.

The grant recipients have earmarked the dollars for a diverse array of projects:

– Ochoco Lumber intends to use its grant to explore the commercial viability of a torrefied wood facility in Grant County. Torrefaction is a thermal process used to produce high-grade solid biofuels from woody biomass. If proven to be viable, Ochoco would sell torrefied wood to coal-fired power plants to reduce their carbon emissions. Continue reading »

Culver: Report of a fire at Earth 2-O Water Company – 710 W. C Street (Right next to Mid-Columbia Lumber)

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Apr 102015
 

10pm- Report of a fire at Earth 2-0 Water Company. Reporting party says all the gates are locked at there may be a fire inside – Earth 2-0 was given as a locator.

10:04pm- Delivery trucks on premises. There is an open door. Smoke seen. Law enforcement has arrived but gates remain locked.

10:13pm- Doesn’t sound like it’s serious.

10:17pm- Firefighters say they’re inside the Earth 2-0 building. They don’t see any flames but there is smoke. All inbound fire crews are told to keep coming.

10:19pm- Firefighters now reporting that an air compressor has overheated, creating smoke. There is no fire. Company employee on scene assessing the situation with firefighters.

10:22pm- Most inbound fire units are turning around and heading back to their headquarters.

Train fatally strikes woman on the tracks in south Redmond

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Apr 102015
 

redmond police patch

Woman deliberately walks in front of a train passing through Redmond

Redmond Police say a woman deliberately walked into the path of an oncoming train late Thursday evening at the rail crossing at SW Airport Way and the tracks.

It was about 11:55pm that Redmond Police Department Officers responded to a report of “clothing” on the railroad tracks near Madeline’s Restaurant by railway employees on a train. The train stopped to investigate.

Officers arrived and started walking the tracks with BNSF employees. At approximately 12:05am an injured adult female was located near the tracks, behind Madeline’s Restaurant. She was transported to Saint Charles Medical Center – Redmond and later succumbed to her injuries stemming being hit by the train.

The investigation has determined the death to be a suicide.

The woman’s family has been located and notification is in process. The Redmond Police Department will not be identifying the deceased due to circumstances surrounding the death.

BNSF Railway Police are assisting in the investigation.

Redmond Police Department would like everyone to know that professionally effective help is available for those dealing with mental crisis, including suicide. Deschutes County Health Services 24-hour crisis hotline is 541-322-7500. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-TALK (8255). Redmond Police and other Deschutes County law enforcement agencies can be contacted by calling 541-693-6911. Please go to Deschutes County’s website for more information: http://www.deschutes.org/health/page/suicide-prevention

Redmond Police gets public boost on tracking down wanted man

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Apr 102015
 
Kylian Beitz, 19 Eluding, Reckless Driving, Possession of Meth, Felon with a gun, Probation violation and 2 out of county arrest warrants.

Kylian Beitz, 19
Eluding, Reckless Driving, Possession of Meth, Felon with a gun, Probation violation and 2 out of county arrest warrants.

A young Redmond man is racking up quite a criminal record at the ripe old age of 19. Kylian Beitz is being held in the Deschutes County Jail on a whole slew of charges stemming from an incident nearly three weeks ago in Redmond that police have been trying to find and arrest him for.

This week they caught up with him. Redmond Police say they received some good information from the public about how to get him. And get him they did. They caught up with him driving the same car he crashed three weeks ago into a power pole guy-wire off NE 17th as he tried to flee police who were trying to stop him for a traffic violation.

This time he didn’t run. But police say he tried to lie his way out of getting caught. But it didn’t work. Officers took him into custody and booked him into the Deschutes County Jail on charges of trying to elude police, reckless driving, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of meth, giving false information to a police officer, probation violation and two out-of-county arrest warrants.

Redmond Police said they want to make it clear that they very much appreciated the public’s help in giving police the information they needed to catch up with Beitz. Police say that community safety and quality of life depends on a professional police department on the street that also enjoys close contact, trust and support from the citizens they serve. And that it was due to this healthy community relationship that a wanted man was apprehended and will be brought to justice.

Redmond: Train hits woman on the tracks at SW Airport Way

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Apr 102015
 

12:10am- Redmond Police and paramedics are responding to a report that a train passing through Redmond hit a woman on the railroad tracks at SW Airport Way at the south end of town.

12:13am- At first it was reported as an obvious fatal but now those on scene say she appears to be breathing – but very labored and irregular. The train has stopped.

Opening Day at Franklin’s Corner Community Garden

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Apr 092015
 

Franklin's Corner Community Garden

Franklin’s Corner Community Garden

Planter boxes with visions of sugar beets dancing in their heads...

Planter boxes with visions of sugar beets dancing in their heads…

Early Greens?

Early Greens?

So many empty boxes, so little time...

So many empty boxes, so little time…

Click on photos to enlarge!

Franklin’s Corner Community Garden Opening Day

Franklin’s Corner Community Garden will open Saturday, April 18, 2015. Open plots are available and are expected to be claimed quickly. Registration for plots begins at 9 a.m. A work party to prepare the garden for the season will follow from 10 a.m. until noon. Bring tools and dress for the weather. Find parking by going south on 10th from Franklin, then west on Larch a little bit and you’re right there.

You can rent a plot. Plot fees help offset the cost of irrigation on the site. Seasonal fee of the plots:
$25 (10′ x 10′)
$15 (10′ x 4′)
$15 for for those with limited mobility or disabilities $15 (10′ x 3′), four available

You can volunteer. This community garden is maintained entirely by volunteers. Help teach people how to plant and maintain a garden. Share some starts, pull some weeds, be a part of this community effort.

You can sponsor a plot. Help a family who may not otherwise have the resources to learn to garden. We provide the tools for success, you can help make it a reality.

Franklin’s Corner Community Garden is located at the intersection of Ninth Street and Franklin Avenue. By vehicle, drive east on Franklin Avenue to 10th Street, turn right and drive one block to Larch, turn right. For people riding bikes and walking, access is directly off the Coyner Trail system. For people riding transit, use route 5 and 6.

For more information, visit www.franklinscorner.org

Contact: Cheryl Howard, Volunteer Coordinator
541-388-5579, choward@bendoregon.gov

Domestic dispute turns very violent in Powell Butte

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Apr 092015
 
John Heere, 41 Attempted Murder in Prineville

John Heere, 41
Attempted Murder in Powell Butte

From Crook County Sheriff’s Office

In the early morning hours of Thursday, April 9, Crook County Sheriff’s Deputies received a report of a person who had been shot in the Powell Butte area. As Deputies received further information, it was determined that a domestic disturbance had occurred at 9860 SW Riggs Road in Powell Butte and during that incident a shot had been fired by the male subject and a female had been struck in the arm by the bullet.

Investigators determined that John Knox Heere, age 41 and his estranged wife, Annette Marie Harless, age 45 of Redmond, had been having a dispute over the phone earlier in the evening. When Harless arrived at the residence, another confrontation broke out resulting in Heere discharging a .22 caliber rifle in the direction of the vehicle in which Harless was seated inside. The bullet struck the windshield of the vehicle and then struck Harless in the upper arm.

Harless was later transported by private party to St. Charles Hospital in Prineville for treatment. Deputies contacted Heere at the residence on Riggs Road and was taken into custody without further incident.

John Heere is lodged in the Crook County Jail with bail set at $120,000.00.

Charges are: Attempted Murder, First Degree Assault (Domestic), Pointing a Firearm at Another Person, Reckless Endangering, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and Menacing.

Teens get down to basics in Federal Court – What good is air if you can’t safely breathe it?

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Apr 092015
 
Kelsey Juliana, 19 Asking Federal Court to uphold law dealing with "environmental public trusts"

Kelsey Juliana, 19
Asking Federal Court to uphold law dealing with “environmental public trusts”
Oregonian photo

Kelsey Juliana, 19 of Eugene, and other teens including their parents and grandparents, were in Eugene federal court this week asking the judge to acknowledge that the natural environment should be kept healthy as “a public trust.” It’s the ancient notion that each human generation inherits the Earth from their ancestors and in turn is actually borrowing it from their grandchildren – and that being good caretakers of the environment is fulfilling that “public trust.” Without it says Juliana, we’ll soon have no Earth, or at least one that’ll put up with humans.

This most basic argument for continued human existence played out before what appeared to be a less than an enthusiastic judge. But the case was made rather convincingly, at least in the eyes of those who believe science is clearly documenting climate disruption throughout the world.

The idea that the natural environment has always been held “in trust” for current and future generations, says Juliana, is being violated on a massive scale across the globe – but she’s only able to sue in her own state of residence. And so she, and others, are taking on the state of Oregon on allegations that Oregon is contributing to the problem.

Here’s the story in The Oregonian. Click here.

Deschutes County preparing to accommodate medical and recreation marijuana sales and giving the green light to Shepherd family “private park”

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Apr 092015
 
Medical Marijuana Oregonian photo

Medical Marijuana
Oregonian photo

Medical Marijuana dispensaries coming to areas outside cities

Deschutes County Commissioners wrestled again Wednesday with the kinds of operating restrictions that should be put on medical marijuana dispensaries when they apply to open up shop in the unincorporated areas of Deschutes County, come May 1st when the county’s moratorium is lifted.

The commissioners predictably supported already established state rules that prohibit a medical marijuana dispensary within 1,000 of a school and that hours of operation be limited from 10am to 7pm. However, the commissioners were also concerned that the legislature could combine medical and recreational marijuana sales under one roof when recreational marijuana goes on sale next year. Commissioner Tammy Baney expressed a lot of heartburn if the county doesn’t put more rules in place to keep marijuana sales far away from parks, YMCA’s or other areas that cater to children. She said “We don’t know if the legislature will allow combined sales in one facility – but if lawmakers do allow it, we should be ready to deal with it.”

A county planner gave the commissioners a way to do just that by suggesting the county’s “change of use” provisions be applied. He said if a medical marijuana operator wanted to add recreational marijuana to his business menu, he’d have to come into the county permit center and apply for a ‘change of use’ permit. It’s at this juncture that the county could determine that recreation marijuana be treated quite differently than medical marijuana. And depending on where the pre-existing medical marijuana facility is located, it could be turned down for a recreational marijuana permit, forcing the operator to move his business to a whole new location, far enough away from “sensitive areas.”

Commissioners were quite satisfied with that option and instructed legal and planning staff to draw up county ordinances that control where medical marijuana outlets can locate, hours of operation and a provision that doesn’t allow medical marijuana operators to expand to recreational sales without having to jump through more hoops.

All this will be back before the commissioners on April 22nd. Because the commission closed the record at the last public hearing (which is also closed), there won’t be any more public testimony taken in front of the commission. The 22nd will be when they deliberate and formally adopt the new regulations. Again, they’re looking at a May 1st deadline when the state mandates all temporary county and city moratoriums are lifted statewide.

Shepherd Private Park off Holmes Road, between Sisters and Terrebonne

Shepherd Private Park off Holmes Road, between Sisters and Terrebonne
Courtesy photos

Shepherd family gets green light on adding “private park” to their small farm

Deschutes County Commissioners gave the green light to the Shepherd family to build a private park next to their home out Holmes Road, halfway between Sisters and Terrebonne. Commissioners said that despite repeated complaints from environmental interests, including Central Oregon Landwatch, the private park idea, catering to weddings, family reunions, graduation parties, and other special events (all recreation related), should work well – capitalizing on the wildland surroundings and majestic views of the mountains.

shepherd park lady dancingshepherd park kitchen

The Shepherd family long maintained that the land out there is very marginal farmland and that a more economically beneficial use would be to supplement their cattle operation with recreational/special events 18 days out of the year – summers, mainly. That way they wouldn’t be doing anything disruptive when the deer migrate through in the late fall and winter.

shepherd park 10

But Central Oregon Landwatch’s Paul Dewey, in earlier discussions, called the Shepherd’s project little more than a special events center located far out of town where it doesn’t belong. He also cited a number of project shortcomings, just about all of which the commissioners dismissed as not applicable.

As a result, no one will be surprised if Mr. Dewey’s group appeals the commission’s decision to the Land Use Board of Appeals in Salem.