r Mountain Times - Columns
   
  Your Mountain,
 Your Newspaper
· Home ·  Classifieds · Columnists · Events · Gallery · Opinion ·
· Local Links · Story Archives · Tell A Friend · Contact Us ·
 
Pic of the month

Main Menu
· Home
· Classifieds
· Columnists
· Event Calendar
· Gallery
· Lead Stories
· Tell A Friend
· View from the mountain

Who's Online
There are currently, 30 guest(s) and 0 Staff Online.

Columnists to view:
Search for columns containing:

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Caddo Lake by Gary Randall on 12/01/2022

I’m often asked, “Where are you off to next?” I have a reputation for seeking out beautiful places to take landscape photos. Many times, it’s to a place that folks recognize. Places such as Glacier National Park, the California Redwoods or Denali National Park in Alaska.

 

But capturing the natural beauty of nature isn’t relegated to places that we all recognize. Sometimes a place is on my radar that many may not recognize, so when I was asked recently where my next destination would be I answered that I was headed to Texas to photograph a swamp. My answer was met with a little bit of a blank look of confusion. A swamp? In Texas? Yep.

I just returned from that swamp, and I can say that I had to throw out all of my preconceived ideas about how creepy and icky a swamp was. I pictured a swamp monster climbing out of the fog, muck and the mire, or animals that were out to kill or maim me. Alligators, venomous snakes and insects came to mind instantly. And as for beauty? I’m from the Pacific Northwest where beauty in nature seems obvious, but a swamp was new to me.

I traveled south and east to the border of Texas and Louisiana to a place called Uncertain Texas. Being uncertain why a place would be named Uncertain I researched the history of the name and even those who tell the stories aren’t completely certain about how it got its name. I like the story where the folks who lived there in the late 19th century applied for township. On the form where they were to give the name for their new town was written: “uncertain.” It seems that the name had yet to be completely decided upon but the powers that be approved the name and it stuck. Whatever the truth might be, it's a unique name for a unique place.

Truth be told I had seen a lot of photos that were taken there recently as this place has popped up on the radar of a lot of modern landscape photographers. In this age of social media and digital photography a location can quickly become the next best place to flock to. Photographers seem to migrate from one popular location to the next each season to try to create a photograph that will propel them to the top of the social media hierarchy of exposure.

Caddo Lake is one of those places. Almost completely unheard of no more than a couple of years ago, today photographers are gathering there to photograph the Autumn color of the foliage of the Spanish moss laden submerged bald cypress forests. And I had to join the migration.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to co-lead a photography workshop by a fellow photographer who lives in Texas and is familiar with the area. I jumped at the chance. I arrived at the location a few days ahead of the workshop attendees and spent time to immerse myself in the landscape and the local culture – I have never been called sir so many times in my life. Folks who live on the bayou seem to be completely down to earth and so polite that I felt welcome right away.

Caddo Lake is the largest natural lake in Texas. At 60 square miles it offers varied views, including the lake itself with beautiful reflections of the sunrises and the sunsets. Lining the lake are swampy areas that are home to the largest forest of submerged bald cypress trees. The lake had been flooded naturally at one time by a huge log raft on the Red River, which provided navigable water for steamboats to access towns such as Jackson, whose port rivaled the nearby Shreveport in Louisiana.

Near the turn of the 20th century the Army Corp of Engineers removed the log raft that dammed the river and the lake virtually dried up, which no longer allowed the river boats to access the towns near the lake. In time the Army Corp of Engineers built a dam to reflood the lake and the swamps around it.

The lakebed was once dry enough for the seeds from the bald cypress to establish themselves in the muddy fields, as many of these trees are 200-300 years old. As the water flooded their bases it created what we now know as Caddo Lake. These cypress trees are habitat for an incredible variety of birds such as egrets, blue heron, ibis, owls, eagles and king fishers. The swamp is also home to snakes, frogs, bobcats, river otters, beavers and alligators. The lake is a popular fishing destination and offers the angler crappie, white bass, largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, carp and bream.

The lake is also home to a throwback to the days of the dinosaurs, the endangered and very unique paddlefish. It’s a large fish with a long snout that looks similar to a paddle, thus its name. Caddo Lake is also home to the Texas Bigfoot, or so I was told.

Sadly, as it seems to be with most places of natural beauty in this modern age, there are challenges to the lake. 44 of Caddo’s native species are either endangered, threatened or rare, so it’s managed closely by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to the challenges of its wildlife, an invasive non-native species of plant was inadvertently introduced to the lake. The lake is under siege by a fast-growing aquatic plant called Salvinia molesta, also known as giant salvinia. The plant covers a large part of the swamp and will, in time, silt up the lake, lowering the depth of its water and eventually kill the lake.

Photographing the lake can be done from parts of its shore but the best way is to get out into the lake and the swamp with a canoe, kayak or by hiring a local guide with a pontoon boat. Our workshop spent two sunrises and two sunsets in the Big Cypress Bayou.

During our boat rides we rode through passages and areas of swamp whose beauty rivaled most any landscape that I’ve seen. Scenes that included not just the beautiful and colorful autumn cypress, but the birds who make it their home. The photos of the red and orange trees with a touch of white from an egret or families of ibis, another white bird who dwells in the branches of the trees, are striking.

I had heard stories and songs about the bayou country of the American South but experiencing it for myself gave me a completely different understanding of it all, and its people. The culture and history are evident there and is shared by those whose family’s heritage were a part of it through time. I hope that my photos will show those who have never been to such a place the beauty that is so hard to describe with words, and how the stereotypical views of a swamp should be reconsidered. While I was there, I was able to take some of the most beautiful landscape photos that I’ve ever made, and of that I’m completely certain.

 

Water, water everywhere, and plenty of drops to drink by Steve Wilent on 12/01/2022

When people complain about all the rain we get, I often say, “Great! It’s free water for my well.” It’s water for all of us, whether we have wells or rely on creeks, springs or a city or community water system for our H20 supply. It’s life-sustaining water for all critters great and small in our woods – plants and animals, birds and bees, chanterelles and centipedes, salmon and stoneflies. It’s precipitation of the frozen sort for skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, ice skaters, snowmobile riders and snowball throwers. It’s floatation for whitewater kayakers and rafters. It’s water for summer iced tea and lemonade, for iced wine coolers (are they still a thing?), for ice chests full of soda pop, beer, energy drinks and other beverages that are mostly water. It’s water for hot coffee and hot cocoa and hot showers at the end of long winter days. It’s water for a rich chicken soup stock or cooking oatmeal or pasta. It’s water for our flower and vegetable gardens and for the bird baths we place in them. It’s water for washing our motor vehicles of dust and pollen and mud (I wash my truck once a year, whether it needs it or not). It’s water for the simple joys of swimming in a mountain lake or sitting by a rushing creek or listening to a spring’s tinkling trickle.

Everyone and every living thing needs water. My dad said he didn’t. He had the front page of a fake newspaper a friend had had printed for him with the headline in huge black letters: “Jack Wilent Orders Water – Bartender Faints.” He preferred his bourbon on the rocks, yet he scoffed at me because I prefer Scotch whisky with a wee drop of water to help it bloom. How would one make bourbon or Scotch without water, or Oregon pinot noir or Mt. Hood Brewing’s excellent Ice Axe India Pale Ale and other brews?

Imagine not having such relatively cheap water that’s as easy to get as it is here on the Mountain. In a recent essay about the war in Ukraine and its impacts on ordinary citizens since Russia has been destroying electric power stations and lines, the reporter, Nicholas Kristof – the might-have-been governor of Oregon – wrote about a 72-year-old man living in a bombed-out apartment building near Kharkiv who hikes to a well half a mile away to fetch water and then hauls it up the stairs to his 10th-floor apartment.

According to the World Health Organization, one in three people globally do not have access to safe drinking water. Our world’s population is now more than eight billion, which means that 2.67 billion of us are water poor.

We on the Mountain are fabulously water wealthy, for better or worse. We get something like 90 inches of rain in a typical year in Welches and Brightwood. Portland gets half of that, and Los Angeles gets less than 12 inches per year. I tell my friends from elsewhere that we measure rain in feet: 7.5 feet per year on average. Of course, this can have a downside. During the 1996-97 wet season, we had approximately 136 inches – more than 11 feet of rain. You may recall the severe flooding and the damage it caused. As in the Christmas Flood of 1964, the 1996–97 flooding was the result of a sub-tropical atmospheric river, which are sometimes called pineapple expresses, that brought a lot of warm rain all at once. That, plus melting low-elevation snow, caused rivers to rise to record levels.

Our indomitable local journalist, Paul Keller – he once worked at the Sandy Post and edited The Mountain before there was The Mountain Times – wrote about the amount of rain an atmospheric river can bring to our area in the August 2022 edition of his free Beneath Wy’East newsletter. You can subscribe with a request by email to paulroykeller@msn.com. If you ask, he might even send you a copy of the August edition.

We had an atmospheric river a few weeks ago that left 3.5 inches in my rain gauge in 24 hours (fortunately, we didn’t have much snow on the ground).

In technical terms, that’s a whole lot of water.

How much?

Water is commonly measured in acre-feet. One acre-foot equals enough water to cover one acre of land, one foot deep, or about 326,000 gallons. So that one storm dropped about 95,000 gallons per acre. To put 95,000 gallons into perspective, that’s almost 5,588 showers (according to the Water Research Foundation, the average U.S. shower uses roughly 17 gallons of water and lasts eight minutes).

Atmospheric rivers are relatively rare, but it’s not uncommon to receive an inch of rain in a 24-hour period. If you live on a quarter-acre lot, a common size in our area, that’s 6,788 gallons of water, delivered free of charge.

To put it into perspective, that’s almost 400 showers (hot or cold – your choice). Or almost 4,243 toilet flushes (the standard U.S. toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush). Or about 12,850 half-liter bottles of store-bought bottled water from a typical one-inch rainstorm.

As all woodsmen know, trees drink water, too, mostly though their roots. Leaves (including fir needles) take in carbon dioxide and sunlight to make sugar – food for the tree – via photosynthesis. Oxygen and water then evaporate through the leaves in a process called transpiration.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, a typical healthy 100-foot-tall tree can take 11,000 gallons of water from the soil and release it into the air as oxygen and water vapor during a single growing season.

The trees in our area are anything but typical, since they have more water available than in most other places, so that figure is probably low.

Still want to complain about the rain? Go ahead – knock yourself out. Just remember how much you’d have to complain about if it didn’t rain.

Have a question about water in our forests? Do you remember the before times – before you could buy bottled water in every grocery and convenience store? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Well Adjusted – stress and its impact on adrenal health by Dr. Melanie Brown on 12/01/2022

Our body reacts quickly to stress so we can respond accordingly. This innate survival tool allows us to jump away from a fast-coming car or fight off a surprise attack.

The adrenal glands, which sit above our kidneys, emit cortisol when activated by chemicals in the brain. We become alert and ready for fast action. Our pupils dilate, our heart races, our muscles tense and our palms sweat. We feel anxious and fearful, sometimes to the point of shaking.

Without this fight-or flight-response, we would be less capable of survival when in imminent danger.

But life is often fast paced, with too many stressors. Unfortunately, these daily stressors can also cause this same fight-or-flight response. Our overstimulated bodies can't tell the difference between an oncoming hungry tiger or our three-year-old who just knocked over our freshly folded laundry, or Bob, who called in sick AGAIN and left you in a lurch.

These high levels of circulating cortisol should signal to the brain to stop the secretion of adrenal signaling hormones. But chronic stress results in our adrenal glands secreting more and more cortisol. Over time, our cells become resistant to cortisol, and the negative feedback system becomes ineffective. Without intervention, the system becomes dysregulated, and cortisol drops and is too low leading to the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. This is what is referred to as “Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.”

This imbalance can take a toll on our bodies, and we feel worn out. We become less able to handle life's everyday stressors and become reactionary, jumpy, easily stressed, anxious, depressed, overburdened and in need of a vacation! We wake up tired, have trouble concentrating and can get lightheaded when we stand up quickly.

If stress causes adrenal fatigue, going to the source of the problem is the best way to solve it. Taking care of our physical, mental and emotional needs is the long-term cure. What can we do to support our adrenal and overall health?

Eat regularly. Your body doesn't know if you are in a famine or skipping a meal. Eat protein-rich meals, starting with breakfast, for consistent energy throughout the day. Avoid hunger, carbs and sugar, which can create dips and peaks in blood sugar.

Sleep! Approximately eight hours per night at the same time in a quiet, dark “cave.” Avoid screens for one to two hours before bed.

Find healthy ways to destress. Take that vacation! Call a friend, pray or meditate, incorporate a daily walk, paint or color, or bring some friends to karaoke. Hike, ski or swim. Take yoga and do breathing exercises, make a reading corner and use it. Grow and pickle things or macrame and sell or gift your wares! Find the things you enjoy and make time for them.

Supplements and testing can be helpful. Under the direction of your physician, adrenal gland supplements or adaptogenic herbs can give your adrenal glands temporary rest or support and help restore their optimal function. The adrenal salivary test measures circadian rhythm, the cortisol precursor hormones, and cortisol levels. It can tell you where you fall from adrenal fatigue to high adrenal hormones, and follow-up tests can track whether you’re successfully managing your condition.

Cortisol helps us wake up and provides us with energy in the morning. Melatonin brings our bodies down from the day and prepares us for sleep. These hormones work in tandem with our natural circadian rhythm. A proper amount of cortisol in the blood in the morning and early afternoon sets the stage for a healthy melatonin spike at night and, hopefully, a good night's sleep!

Adrenal health is a litmus test for our mind and body's overall health and well-being. Optimizing adrenal health can springboard positive changes in the rest of our lives!

Deer found throughout the state, including on campus by Mt. Hood Community College on 12/01/2022

Oregon has multiple species of deer across the state, including mule deer, Columbian whitetail deer, Eastern whitetail deer and black-tailed deer.

Mule deer and Columbian black-tailed deer are generally referred to as black-tailed deer and commonly reside in western Oregon.

Black-tail bucks might stand three feet at the shoulder and weigh approximately 200 pounds, whereas an adult doe might weigh up to 130 pounds. Their tawny coloring blends into many natural landscapes giving them camouflage.

Their namesake tail is black with a white underside and often twitches as a signal to other deer that everything is okay, or danger has passed and others can come out of hiding. If a deer has their tail at half mast, lowered, then repeated to half mast, it is a warning sign of trouble and often accompanied with a rigid stance.

Predators to black-tailed deer include humans, coyotes, cougars and domestic dogs. Deer are often aware of nearby humans, but they aren’t usually intimidated by us.

Their hearing is excellent, and they can hear if you are nearby; moreover, they can spot other animals up to 2,000 feet away, so even if they don’t hear you, they will have seen you.

They communicate with one another through touch, sight, sound and scent.

In the frosty mornings of autumn at Mt. Hood Community College, small groups of black-tailed deer are often seen grazing in grassy patches while watching the students navigate the 212-acre campus which features a pristine wooded area and natural wildlife abundant in the Willamette Valley landscape.

 

Gifts from the kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2022

Gifts from the kitchen are homemade gifts that are simply made and enjoyed throughout the year.

Milk tea bath soak

You’ll need: cheese cloth (sewn into pockets) with string/ribbon, or small jars.

1 cup loose green tea

1 cup assorted flower petals, such as lavender or rose

1 cup powdered milk

1 cup Himalayan sea salt crystals

1 cup old fashioned oats

Mix ingredients in large bowl and pour into containers or cheesecloth bundles, then tie with ribbon.

 

Amish friendship bread mix

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 t salt

1 T baking powder

1/2 cup dry milk

In a large bowl whisk together ingredients. Transfer into a large glass jar.

Attach with a note, instructing to add 1/4 cup oil and 1/2 cup water, then mix until just combined. Then bake in greased loaf pan in 350-degree oven for 35 minutes.

 


Photo by Gary Randall
The Green Mask in Sheiks Canyon, 2005 by Gary Randall on 11/01/2022

I thought that I would share something that you're unlikely to see, and if you've been here to experience the Green Mask in the remote reaches of Grand Gulch in Utah, we're kin. To be here takes effort that few will exert, and for a purpose that few will understand. This was a colorful Ancient Puebloan (~Anasazi) pictograph that I had to see.

 

Back when I and my friend Mike would take a yearly trek to solo hike the canyons of Southern Utah we weren’t going for sightseeing adventures. We both had personal reasons for going. Once we were in the desert we would separate, and each go our own way until we’d meet again at the end of the week for the trip back home again.

Back then I was going through a lot of changes that have affected my life completely. In many ways those trips helped me to reform who I was into who I really was. I liked to say that I was hiking to lose myself to find myself. The trips weren’t easy, especially physically, but they tested me. They gave me confidence in a part of my life that I rarely used. Facing situations in the wilderness while alone can pull feelings from inside that were felt more by our primitive ancestors than by most modern humans.

This immersion into the canyons was a wild experience for me but everywhere that I would turn there was evidence of human activity and civilizations from hundreds and, sometimes thousands, of years before me. After spending time in their realm, I found that I was able to relate to a lot of what they dealt with in their lives and the simple needs that were so important to their survival, mainly the need for a reliable source of food, water and shelter.

Prior to spending time in the canyons, my perception of the ancient people and their culture was far from how I perceived them after I had spent several visits there. In time, I started trying to speculate as to why a certain granary or a dwelling was placed in a certain place or in a certain way. I started trying to see their rock art in more of a practical way than an artistic expression, not to separate art from it, but I’m sure that there are times when these rock art pieces were warnings, maps or stories and fables of the past – but it’s all speculation, even for the most learned scholar of the ancient past.

I have seen a lot of Native rock art in my travels. A lot of it here in Oregon and I am always excited to stand in the presence of a panel, but there are times when one will capture my imagination. And prior to my Utah trips I would read books about what to expect.

On this particular trip I read about the rock art panels in Grand Gulch, of which there are many excellent examples, but one in particular grabbed my attention. It was a colorful face painted high on a canyon wall in a side canyon from the main route in Grand Gulch. I saw my quest to find it as a treasure hunt. And when it finally came into view it was even more than I had expected. In a canyon where there are a lot of petroglyphs hammered or carved into the canyon walls and pictographs of red ochre, this colorful face staring at me from the ancient past stopped me instantly in my tracks.

I believe that there's, obviously, a lot of symbolism in the ancient people’s rock art. Disregarding the depth of meaning, or even the practical purpose that the artist had for this amazing face, which I wouldn't dare try to interpret myself, its artistic beauty alone was exceptional, but why was it there? Does its meaning have anything at all to do with my own modern life?

Probably not, and so I was left to try to imagine a time in this place where a painted face, or perhaps a ceremonial mask, meant something to the artist as well as their contemporaries that would view it. And even then, who knows if it meant anything to anyone but the one who created it?

Realizing these things allowed me to use my own imagination to try to give meaning to it. My meaning encompassed my own reason for being and the journey to get there. Its reason was a part of my journey, both in the canyon and in my life. I’m not sure if the artist had any awareness of how his painting would touch someone on a personal level after such a vast amount of time but my presence there was certainly a consequence of the time that he took to paint this green mask.

In the end, my visit with this painted representation of a human face has become symbolic of the superficial layer that I wore over my own face as I walked through my life trying to please the world. It was my quest to shed my own mask, and finding this mask was an important part of that process.

I owe a lot to that one native human who spent their time creating the Green Mask. The bridge of time collapses as it’s crossed, but this single face bridged the collapse and touched me through time.


Photo courtesy of Oregon State Archives
Celilo Falls, a center of Native American life for millennia by Steve Wilent on 11/01/2022

I’m writing this on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Oct. 10. This is not a federal holiday, though it falls on Columbus Day, which is a holiday. On Oct. 8, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation recognizing the importance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In this month’s column I’ll describe a serendipitous series of encounters and connections with a Native American tribe and their history in the Pacific Northwest.

 

I had been on the road (and in the air) for most of the last two weeks, mostly for business. I visited the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation in south-central Washington State to observe their forestry work. The Yakama harvest timber from the 640,000 acres of forest on its 1,130,000-acre reservation. The logs go to Yakama Forest Products, which operates two mills on the reservation that employ more than 130 members of the tribe.

In my view, the Yakama are managing their lands extremely well: they don’t look at their lands with a mere long-term view, but a forever view. In other words, sustainable forest management, in perpetuity.

After visiting the Yakama Nation, Lara and I spent a few days on vacation in Sunriver on the banks of the 252-mile-long Deschutes River, a major tributary of the Columbia River, which is the fourth-largest river in the U.S. by volume. The headwaters of the 1,200-mile-long Columbia River are in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.

In French, “deschutes” means waterfalls or rapids. The river was so named for Celilo Falls, a large waterfall on the Columbia just downstream from the mouth of the Deschutes. In 1957, Celilo Falls was inundated after the construction of The Dalles Lock and Dam, forming Celilo Lake, which extends upstream for 24 miles. Congress authorized the construction of the dam and lock for power generation and navigation under the 1950 Flood Control Act.

The dam, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has 22 turbine units and a total generating capacity of 2,080 megawatts. Also, the lock is the second of eight locks encountered in the Columbia-Snake Inland Waterway, a 465-mile river highway that allows barge transport of wheat and other commodities between Lewiston, Idaho, and the Pacific Ocean. The Dalles lock passes up to 10 million tons of cargo annually. The dam has two fish ladders – one on each shore – to provide a passage route for upstream-migrating fish, including adult salmon and steelhead, lamprey, sturgeon, shad and others.

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, which coordinates fisheries management for the Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla and Nez Perce tribes, explains that the falls were of supreme importance to Native Americans in the region:

“For centuries Indians caught the giant chinook and other food salmon that struggled to make their way upstream through the rocky barrier of tumbling waters and swift, narrow channels of the Columbia River known as Celilo Falls, or Wy-am. During the spring flooding, ten times more water passed over this spectacular waterfall than passes over Niagara Falls today. The ancient ones left a record of their lives in the ashes of campfires and buried sanctuaries of their dead. They left tools and weapons, items of adornment, and samples of their art. Their record of habitation proves Wy-am to be one of the longest occupied sites on the continent.”

“For thousands of years, Wy-am was one of history’s great market places. A half-dozen tribes had permanent villages between the falls and where the city of The Dalles now stands. As many as 5,000 people would gather to trade, feast, and participate in games and religious ceremonies.”

According to the Oregon Encyclopedia:

“Archeological records date human occupation of village sites along the falls to at least 11,000 years ago. The first written population records come from the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who estimated in 1805-1806 that 7,200 to 10,400 Indian people were present between the Cascade Rapids and The Dalles. Abundant fish runs drew Indigenous people to permanent settlements in the area, and village populations fluctuated with seasonal movement. During the post-contact period, the numbers of people declined as a result of diseases that dramatically reduced native populations.”

Although their numbers were much reduced, the region’s tribes continued to fish, trade and live at Wy-am at the falls. Today, about 100 members of the Yakama and other tribes live in Celilo Village, which is on a sliver of land between a rocky cliff and the busy Interstate 84; Celilo Lake is just to the north across the highway. Celilo Village is said to be Oregon’s oldest continuously inhabited town.

Some tribes and environmental groups say that The Dalles Dam and others in the Columbia River system ought to be removed, to restore the free-flowing river and salmon runs. But I think The Dalles Dam is here to stay – it’s hard to imagine the U.S. government approving the dam’s removal and forgoing its clean hydropower and the river’s use as a navigable waterway.

I was struck by serendipity of these connections and interactions with the Yakama Nation, the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers, and Celilo Falls, all just ahead of Indigenous Peoples’ Day – it was almost as if it had all been prearranged. But there was yet another connection: at Vancouver (B.C.) Vancouver International Airport, between flights in early October, I viewed several interesting displays of Indigenous history and culture.

One of them was The Rivers Monument, which includes “two innovative glass-etched poles are a monument to the Columbia River and Fraser River, which carried a wealth of ancient names from the Indigenous Nations that fished and managed them. Each pole is a cut through of the river system, with the top of the column representing the surface and the bottom the riverbed. Each pole portrays a different history, with pictograph-like images of humans, fish, wildlife and water. Perched atop both poles are carved and painted red cedar eagles acting as witnesses.”

A plaque on the Columbia River pole mentions Celilo Falls and The Dalles Dam.

Our local library has items in its collection about the falls, such as “Death of Celilo Falls,” a book by Katrine Barber; and “Celilo Falls and the remaking of the Columbia River,” a DVD.

Want to learn more? You might visit the Yakama Nation Museum & Cultural Center (yakamamuseum.com) in Toppenish, Wash.; the Museum at Warm Springs, on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation; and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles.

Have a question about Native Americans in our area? Want to know which famous U.S. vice-president spoke at the dedication of The Dalles Dam? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

 

Well Adjusted – welcome autumn with a cleanse by Dr. Melanie Brown on 11/01/2022

We are all feeling the weather shifting these past couple of weeks. This decrease in sunlight and warmth causes extra strain on our bodies as we adapt to the changing seasons. Many people will notice that symptoms of pain, mental sluggishness, fatigue and depression will appear or increase at this time. It feels more appealing to pull the blankets over your head, stay in bed, eat comfort foods, escape from the world and hibernate.

This extra strain and tendency toward negative symptoms make fall a great time to boost your body and mind with a healthy cleanse.

There are a plethora of different cleanses that you can do for various reasons. Some are so intense that you will have to have a bathroom nearby at all times. Some are gentler and focus on giving your body a break from toxins and inflammatory foods, restoring healthy gut and liver function, and infusing your body with nutrients so it can thrive. The second kind of cleanse is what I recommend patients do twice yearly during the changing seasons. Being strict about what you put into your body for 10-14 days gives your body a needed reset but also can create healthy habits that will last through the year.

The reason our body needs a reset is evident from what we are exposed to daily. Our foods are heavily processed, and pesticides and genetic modification of foods have made some of the everyday food staples unrecognizable to our bodies. The overuse of sugar has put a strain on our organ systems and has increased obesity in our society. The air in our home and work environments is laden with chemicals and molds that accumulate in our bodies and can cause disease. Our body products contain carcinogenic ingredients that maximize shelf life and visual appeal.

So how do we cleanse? I have two favorites from the Biotics Research and Standard Process supplement companies. Both focus on eliminating inflammatory foods, increasing hydration and healthy food choices, cleansing the liver and gastrointestinal (GI) systems and reintroducing beneficial bacteria into the gut. Both come with user-friendly booklets, shopping lists, recipe ideas, lists of foods to avoid and protein powders and whole food supplements to aid in liver detoxification and replenishing healthy gut bacteria.

Why does the liver need support? The liver's main job is to remove toxins from our body, but over time our liver can get overwhelmed by the volume of toxins it has to process. When the toxic load in your body becomes too high, think of your liver as an almost full cup, any extra toxins that enter your system and need to be processed will instead spill over into your body. You will feel adverse effects in your muscles, tissues and brain – everywhere in your body from the toxins that should have been eliminated as waste.

What is a GI cleanse? Think of your gut as a grassy lawn. Over time the beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in our gut get overridden by harmful bacteria, or “weeds,” that prevent normal digestion of foods. You can't just throw grass seed on a weedy lawn and expect good results. It's best to remove it all and start fresh. Similarly, a GI cleanse will kill the good and bad bacteria in the gut and reintroduce healthy strains to reset the normal gut flora and allow for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Get ahead of the winter doldrums! Consider a cleanse to jumpstart your body for a healthy and energetic rain, snow and ski season. Consider doing it with a friend, spouse or your whole family, as you can support each other along the way. Having a healthcare provider on board will help you choose the right cleanse for your health needs and will help support you through the process. Adding seasonal cleansing will not only increase your mood and energy, but it will also increase your overall health and encourage healthy eating choices.

Autumn brings the rain and with it, mushroom hunting by Mt. Hood Community College on 11/01/2022

Fall is a fabulous time for mushroom hunting around Mount Hood! The return of the rain means that mushrooms will be popping up in forests and clearings.

Here are just a few of the edible mushrooms that may be found in the area:

King bolete (Boletus edulis): this is a large mushroom, often more than six inches in diameter. It looks something like a brown bread roll or bun on a thick white stalk; the underside of the cap is white or yellow and has many fine, sponge-like pores. Look on the stalk for a brown net-like pattern; it grows directly out of the soil.

Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus): one of several chanterelle species, this one is a bright golden yellow. The cap often has a wavy edge and the false gills underneath the cap are thicker than the gills found on many mushrooms (they also often split into forks closer to the edge of the cap). These only grow on soil, so don’t pick any look-alikes on rotting wood.

Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum): this is actually one fungus parasitizing another! Look for a bright orange to red mushroom that is white inside when cut; the outside often also has a “crusty” texture. Grows on soil, often near conifer trees.

Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus spp.): There are a couple of oyster mushroom species found in the area. Look for disc-shaped, white to light gray mushrooms with white gills, growing in clusters out of hardwood trees like alder. Some also smell like licorice!

Check with your local ranger station before foraging on National Forest land, you may need a permit and there may be a limit on how many mushrooms you can take. The rangers may also have suggestions on good places to look.

Rebecca Lexa is a Master Naturalist, nature educator, tour guide and writer living on the Long Beach Peninsula. More about her work may be found at RebeccaLexa.com.

 

Thanksgiving sides by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2022

The best thing to make on Thanksgiving are plans, so here’s some tasty side dishes and a simple scrumptious dessert you can take with you.

There are no strict rules for Thanksgiving dinner: cake or pie, squash or sweet potatoes, turkey or not. The main ingredient in Thanksgiving is the thanks.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

French apple cake with custard sauce

4 large apples any kind, peeled, cored, sliced thin

1 t lemon juice

1 cup plus 1/4 cup flour

1 cup sugar plus 1 T sugar

1 t vanilla

3/4t kosher salt

1 cup vegetable oil

1 egg plus 2 egg yolks separated

1 cup milk

2 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put together spring form pan, wrapping bottom with aluminum foil. Peel, core and slice apples thin, then sprinkle with 1 t lemon juice to prevent browning.

In a smaller bowl whisk together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl whisk together vanilla, one egg, one cup sugar and oil.

Add the wet and dry ingredients until moistened. Reserve one cup of this mix. To the large batter, whisk in the egg yolks and fold in apples. Pour mixture into pan.

Add remaining 2 T flour to reserved batter, then pour over the apple mixture and sprinkle 2T sugar over the top. Bake for one hour and let cool.

Custard sauce

1 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 t vanilla

1/4 t salt

Heat cream and milk over medium heat until steam forms. Whisk sugar and egg yolks for five minutes until lightened and thick, then stir in with warm milk, one spoonful at a time. Return mixture to medium heat and whisk constantly, adding in salt and vanilla. Cool until steaming and sauce coats back of spoon, then cover sauce and refrigerate.

 

Acorn squash stuffed with wild rice

This is a two-in-one dish, portable and freezer friendly. It’s squash season!

2 large squashes sliced down the middle, seeded

4 T olive oil

1 t of thyme chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1t kosher salt

1 cup cooked wild rice

2T pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries

1/2 t chopped sage

1/2 t chopped rosemary

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place cut squash, cut side down onto pan sprinkled with I T olive oil and bake for 45 minutes, until fork tender. Cool and invert.

In large pan over medium heat, add 2T olive oil and then add in the veggies and cook, stirring occasionally until softened.

Add in herbs and salt, then the rice and cranberries. Turn off heat and stir in breadcrumbs.

Scoop mixture into halved squash and sprinkle with remaining 1T olive oil. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes and then sprinkle with seeds.

Shelter from estate taxes by Paula Walker on 11/01/2022

Estate taxes are those taxes that the government, whether federal or state, levies on estates of a person who dies with an estate value over the amount established by the legislature – referred to as the estate tax exemption amount. At $12.92 million per person and $25.84 million per couple federal exemption amounts, few of us will concern ourselves with federal estate taxes upon our passings.

However, at an estate tax exemption amount strictly of $1 million, whether it be a single person or a couple, many of us face the reality of our estates incurring estate taxes owing to the state of Oregon.

Oregon estate taxes are calculated for the amount that is in excess of the state’s estate tax exemption amount. Thus, up to $1 million passes free of state estate taxes, but the amount over that threshold is taxed at a graduated rate of 10 percent to 16 percent depending on the amount over.

The fact that Oregon’s estate tax exemption amount is assessed as a single figure, not like the federal exemption, gives some valuable estate planning opportunities to maximize the potential for state estate tax reduction.

With some well-developed strategies during estate planning, a couple can effectively achieve a $2 million shelter. Some of these opportunities, for couples, come in the form of credit shelter trusts.

Credit shelter trusts, of which there are a variety, can place a specified amount of the decedent’s assets, up to the exemption amount, in a separate trust.

Such trusts can give the surviving spouse the benefit of using the assets and the income from those assets. Then upon the surviving spouse’s death, their estate is reduced in its exposure to estate taxes, or such taxes are eliminated.

And the assets remaining in the credit shelter trust can be distributed free of estate taxes. In effect this allows up to $1 million in estate tax exemption for the first to pass, and again another $1 million exemption at the passing of the surviving spouse.

Creating these types of estate tax planning strategies are best done through an estate planning approach based on establishing a revocable living trust that has the relevant provisions for creating a credit shelter trust when needed.

These provisions and the amount to be directed to the credit shelter can be controlled by formulas included in the living trust. Alternatively, such determinations can be built-in to be decided when the time comes.

An effective estate planning strategy, establishing credit shelter trusts is best done in concert with and under the guidance of an estate planning attorney.

If you are considering that “it’s about time” to act on your intentions to create an estate plan for the benefit of those important to you, this may be your motivating factor to put that intent into action.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

From “rags-to-riches,” literally.

From the annals of strange and fascinating inheritance stories it is reported that two brothers, homeless and so poor that they lived in a cave outside Budapest, Hungary, selling any scrap they may find of some value for pennies, inherited $6 to $7 billion from their maternal grandmother who had recently died in Baden-Wurttenberg, Germany.

The brothers learned of the inheritance from homelessness charity workers in Hungary who had been contacted by the lawyers handling their maternal grandmother’s estate.

Under German law, direct descendants are entitled to their share of an estate that would pass to them if their mother had died.

The brothers said that they knew their mother had come from a wealthy family, but had no idea how rich.

Their mother had severed ties with her birth family and had abandoned her boys who had no contact with her or their father until the mother died.


Photo by Gary Randall
Puppy photos by Gary Randall on 10/01/2022

I’ve noticed that I seem to live my life in eras. I can look back at my life and it seems like it goes through some sort of significant change at a common frequency. I can even say that seems to happen about every 15 years or so.

 

It also seems to coincide with the life of the dogs that I’ve had. I can remember events in my life and tell you what dog that I had at the time. It seems that I have come to the end of an era and the start of a new one.

I recently lost my dog, Betty. Betty lived to be 15 just like my dog Sadie before her. Betty was certainly present for most of the photos that I made during the last 15 years. I’m fortunate, and my dogs are fortunate, that I can have them with me almost all the time. I spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking and camping and my dog always comes along.

Because I’m so used to having one at my side when I’m in the field I felt like something was missing. I ended up filling that void, like I usually do, by bringing in a successor. None of my dogs have had a replacement, but they’ve had successors. Each dog has been a little different. They have personalities, and I never judge my newest one by the standard set by my previous ones.

And so, into our lives came Hazel. Hazel, short for Princess Hazelnut Pupcake. She has taken over and is in training to be my next canine hiking partner. Hazel is another Australian Cattle Dog. She’s a Red Heeler. She’s the fourth heeler that I have had and, for me and my life, are a great breed. Hazel is 12 weeks old and is in her “terrible twos.” We’re going through Puppy Bootcamp right now and she has learned so much in the two weeks since she’s left her litter mates. Right now it’s the basics, but I plan to teach her to stand and stay for me long enough to allow me to take her photo, something that Betty never learned.

My last two dogs, Sadie and Betty, came to me at the end of the puppy stage and so I missed out on their baby times, but everything is new to Hazel. As a photographer this is great. I’ve been taking some cute photos of her.

My last dog, Betty, had an aversion to the camera. Every time that I pointed a camera toward her, she would drop her head and flatten her ears before walking away. I would have to sneak my photos of her.

Hazel, on the other hand, is totally uninhibited in front of the lens. She has no clue and just doesn’t even care. I can’t wait to teach her to strike a pose for a photo while we’re someplace beautiful. I know that I’ll be able to eventually.

If you are planning to photograph your pet, I can give you some simple tips that will help you to get some cute photos of your fluffy friend, and this might also help you to photograph your human child as well.

Get down low. Get down to their level. In the case of Hazel, I literally have to get down on the ground. That point of view shows their face and makes the viewer feel like they’re there, playing with the puppy. If you’re standing while you take the photo their back will be most prominent.

Fill the frame. Make your subject large. There’s always a case where a small subject tells a story but in portraiture you will want to make your subject stand out. Use a longer focal length lens. This gives you the advantage of standing further away from your subject and allows you to zoom in to your subject.

Narrow your depth of field. If you’re using a camera where you can adjust your aperture, open it up wide. This will do two things. It will let in more light which can give you a faster shutter speed, helping to eliminate motion blur, and it will also help to create a soft, out of focus background which will help your in-focus subject stand out.

Focus on their eyes. It’s not as important to have their nose in focus but it is their eyes, and in many cases the nose will be in focus if the eyes are.

Have an assistant. If you’re working with an animal, especially a puppy, it helps if you can have an extra pair of hands. For instance, I like to have someone hold the puppy until I’m ready and then I’ll have them run the dog toward me so I can get some photos from the front. Also, if they can hold the leash and walk the dog around then I can get some photos in different poses.

And, speaking of poses, be patient with your pet. It may take several sessions with her until she understands what you’re wanting her to do. Take time to train her to sit and stay. It’s always more of a challenge photographing a pet if they’re out of control.

And finally take a lot of photos. Even a professional photographer takes a lot of photos and then picks out the best ones. Set your camera on a constant shutter and take a series of photos then choose the best. It adds a little bit of work in the end, but you’ll be glad that you did.


Contributed photo
The Mountain's masked bandits – rascally raccoons by Steve Wilent on 10/01/2022

One night at my brother’s place north of Lincoln City, I bedded down outside, rather than in the house. Sleeping under the stars is such a pleasure. Sleeping under the stars with raccoons in the area can be maddening.

 

My brother had several acres bordering the Siuslaw National Forest, an area rich in wildlife. A herd of elk routinely grazed on the half-acre of meadow around the house, and we often saw deer, bear, coyotes and other critters in the forest nearby. On the Night of the Raccoon, I had placed my sleeping bag on the lawn about 30 yards from the garage, just far enough from the forest to have a clear view of the sky. After stargazing for a while, I drifted off to sleep, only to be rudely awakened some time later by what sounded like someone hitting a garbage can with a stick. It wasn’t a stick.

My flashlight revealed a large raccoon on top of my brother’s plastic garbage can, which was just outside the garage, pulling at the bungee cord that my brother had installed to keep raccoons out of the can. The bungee cord was a great idea, but it didn’t stop this one from trying. Did you know that raccoon paws are a lot like hands, with five fingers? The big raccoon would grab the bungee cord and pull up with all its might, and when it slipped through his fingers it slapped down on the can lid. Whap! Stretch…. Whap! Repeat. The raccoon snarled in frustration. After listening to all this five or six times, I yelled at the raccoon to stop. It didn’t. I threw a stick to scare it off. It glared at me, annoyed, hopped down, and left. I was asleep again in minutes.

But the raccoon came back. Did you know that raccoons are persistent (but cute) little monsters?

Another stick – no effect. Curses – no effect. I got up, grabbed a larger stick and walked toward the can. The little monster stopped, gave me a “Really?” look, then hopped down and ambled off. But not far. I could see its eyes glowing in the dark. A short while later it was back on the can. Whap! Whap!

Eventually I set a large chuck of firewood on top of the can. That solved the raccoon problem, at least for the rest of the night. (Why didn’t my brother put the can in the garage? Because he always left the garage door partially open so his semi-feral cats could come in and eat the food he left for them. The raccoons happily ate the cat food, too. It didn’t seem to bother my brother.)

Raccoons are omnivores. They’ll eat almost anything – even banana slugs, or so I’ve heard. They don’t seem to like the ones on my property, unfortunately.

Raccoons live here in our area, as well as throughout North and Central America. They’re usually nocturnal, but they sometimes appear during the day.

Cougars, bobcats, coyotes and large domestic dogs are raccoon predators; large owls and eagles are known to prey on young raccoons. People prey on them, too, for meat and fur. “Coon hunting” is most common in the rural Midwest and the southern U.S., often with the aid of specially bred dogs called coonhounds.

Raccoons, aka urban bandits, also can survive and thrive in cities, as shown in “Raccoon Nation,” a 2012 episode of the PBS program, “Nature” (it’s available on DVD from our local library). The episode looks at whether “human beings’ efforts to outwit raccoons are actually making the animals smarter.” Wonderful.

An adult raccoon, which averages 24 to 38 inches in length and can weigh between 14 to 23 pounds or more, is more than a match for most small or medium-size domestic dogs. Cats, too. My mother-in-law, who lives in Ashland, lost a cat to a raccoon a few years ago.

The “Living with Wildlife” section of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s web site offers these tips for living with raccoons:

– Don’t leave pet food outside. Feed your pet indoors or pick up the dish after they finish. Fasten garbage can lids with a rubber strap (unless you plan on trying to sleep while a raccoons tries to get the strap off). Don’t place meat products or other attractive foods in uncovered compost piles.

– Keep surplus bird food cleaned up around feeders. Place bird feeders out of reach of raccoons.

– Close openings to animal cages and pens.

– Close garage, storage buildings, basement and attic doors and windows, especially at night.

– Close off all vents or open spaces under buildings with metal, hardware wire or boards, but be careful not to seal animals inside. If an animal is present, close off all of the area except for one small 12-inch by 12-inch opening. Wait until after dark, and then close it off. If the animal is still inside, repeat the process.

– If raccoons or skunks are using the site, be sure not to lock the young inside. Raccoons and skunks leave their young in the nest for three to seven weeks. You should wait until they are old enough to travel with the parents.

– Prevent raccoon access to chimneys by securely fastening a commercial cap of sheet metal and heavy screen over top of the chimney. Consider fire safety first.

– Prune all large overhanging tree limbs that animals may use to gain access to building roof or upper floor windows and vents. If trees cannot be pruned, tack a metal band, 16-24 inches wide, around the tree trunk below first limbs but four to eight feet above the ground.

I was surprised to learn from the web site that the relocation of raccoons is illegal in Oregon. “Raccoons are protected under state law and relocation of these animals is illegal.

Raccoons may be trapped with a permit from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, but they must be released at the same site or euthanized.”

My brother laughed when I told him about my battle with the raccoon outside his house. I think maybe he planned it, that he was getting me back for something I had done to him many years ago.

He and I were camping in the redwoods along the California coast. We had seen a gang of raccoons in the campground and, being all too experienced with the critters, locked all of our food and trash away for the night. We settled into our sleeping bags and watched the moon and stars above move across the sky.

After my brother fell asleep, I scattered a couple of handfuls of potato chips on and around his sleeping bag, then settled in to watch. A short time later, my brother was startled awake by several raccoons walking on him and crunching the chips.

Did you know that raccoons tend to chew with their mouths open? I thought it was hilarious. As you can imagine, he didn’t.

Have a question about raccoons? Want to adopt one as a pet? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Well Adjusted – good health can start with nature by Dr. Melanie Brown on 10/01/2022

We ran into friends at Wildwood Park for the second time a few weeks ago. When I said, “Fancy seeing you here again,” they asserted that walks in nature were a part of their healthcare plan. Brilliant! If only more people would think this way! No “magic pill” exists for good health, but nature cures! Time in nature is also preventative medicine.

As part of nature, we have a deep sense of connection to the outdoors. But modern living has taken us inside, and our senses lack stimulation from the outside world. Most of us know the difference a 20-minute walk in the woods can make for our body, mind and spirit.

Popularized in the 1980s in Japan, shinrin-yoku, or “forest-bathing,” is a practice of immersion in nature for physical and mental well-being.

The idea is to go to a forested area, leave your phone and worries behind, meander, enjoy wildlife and connect to what is around you. Enjoying the sights and sounds and inhaling the smells of the forest rejuvenates our body and resets our psyche.

Science can help us to understand this phenomenon. And we can look to the air for answers. Trees and plants have natural essential oils containing volatile organic compounds called phytoncides to protect them from bacteria and fungi and from being eaten by animals and insects. Trees release more phytoncides in warm weather and exist in the highest levels in cedars, conifers, spruces, pine and oak trees. These trees emit a field of protection around themselves which changes the air we breathe in the forest.

Trees also use these compounds to communicate with each other. They can release more phytoncides when attacked, warning other trees to secrete more into their bark to make it less appetizing. Scientists have discovered that these same compounds hold many health benefits for humans.

Inhaling phytoncides is known to increase the number of natural killer (NK) cells in the body's circulatory system. NK cells are part of the body's immune defenses. Part of their job is to seek and destroy tumor and virus-ridden cells. A 2005 study concluded that three days and two nights in the woods can translate to a measurable increase of NK cells in the blood for more than 30 days!

There are thousands of phytoncides with names like sabinene and camphene, and they have many health benefits. The benefits are vast and varied, from anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective to immune boosting and anti-depressive. Time in nature increases mood, decreases stress, decreases blood pressure and increases mental clarity, concentration, focus, creativity and energy.

Consider adopting shinrin-yoku as part of your healthcare plan. As Hippocrates said, “Nature itself is the best physician.”

Some of the natural beauty that you can find on MHCC's campus by Mt. Hood Community College on 10/01/2022

Did you know there a miles and miles of walking trails at Mt. Hood Community College’s (MHCC) Gresham campus? It’s true! These paved trails offer walkers a visually stimulating and safe opportunity to get their steps in. With 18 different trail combinations, found on the MHCC website, residents, faculty and students can find time for a fresh-air stroll throughout the day.

The Perimeter Trail spans the outer boundaries of the campus for three miles, taking you past the fishery, the aquatic center, the pond and both ball diamonds. Walking these trails gives the walker an occasion to see everything MHCC has to offer like the Visual Arts Theater and Gallery, the Early Childhood Center, Applied Technologies, the G.E. Building, The Yoshida Event Center, Head Start and even greenhouses. And if you feel inclined, you could always walk or run the Earl L. Klapstein Stadium track.

In August, volunteers spent more than ten hours in a clean-up and enrollment campaign to further beautify the campus. If you’ve never been on campus, stop by. You’ll be amazed at the beauty of the campus, complete with majestic Mount Hood standing sentinel in the distance. There’s a special feeling on campus with students walking to classes and saying hello to friends as they pass by. Faculty and staff enjoy their walks too.

Just beyond MHCC is College Nature Park at Beaver Creek. Bordered by Southeast Stark Street, South Troutdale Road and MHCC, this 62-acre site features an open green area with an historic tree, picnic area, walking paths and an interpretive sign showcasing the ecology of Beaver Creek.

For more information and to view 18 different trail maps, visit: www.mhcc.edu/GreshamCampusMaps/.

Greetings from Key West by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2022

 

I find each state has its specialty. Chat up the locals, they will know the very best places to find local specialties.

When in Florida, we love the key lime pie and of course, the seafood is top notch and while you can substitute clams for the conch fritters, but please try the real thing when you can.

Mojo pork is a staple here and the ingredients are easy to find. I hope you enjoy this taste of the Keys.

 

Slow roasted mojo pork

(Double marinade recipe and reserve in freezer if you’d like)

1/4 cup plus 2 T olive oil

2 t Kosher salt

1 t black pepper

4 lb. pork shoulder

1/2 cup orange juice

Juice and zest of 1 lime

2 t cumin

2 t dried oregano

1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

4 cloves crushed garlic

2 bay leaves

1 T cornstarch mixed with 1T water

Pierce pork roast all over with fork. Combine all ingredients except pork, two tablespoons of olive oil and cornstarch slurry in large bowl. Add to pork and marinade for four hours, turning once. When done, pat dry and reserve marinade.

In large cast iron skillet add remaining oil over medium heat. Then add roast and sear on each side. Heat oven to 300.

Add marinade back to skillet with enough water to come 1/2 way up sides of roast. Tent roast with aluminum foil and roast in oven 2.5 hours or until meat pulls apart with fork.

Add cornstarch slurry to marinade and whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens.

 

Key lime pie

My version is lighter and requires no cooking. This pie was originally designed to cure scurvy on ships, and key limes make all of the difference.

2 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk

2 large eggs, divide the yolks and whites into separate bowls

3/4 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice

1 T lime zest

1 T powdered sugar

Lime slices to garnish

Graham cracker crust

1 cup heavy whipping cream divided

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 t fine sea salt

Whip 1 cup whipped cream with 1 T powdered sugar until stiff peaks and set aside. Beat egg whites and salt until stiff and set aside.

Beat yolks until light in color, then whisk in condensed milk, vanilla, juice, zest and sour cream. Next fold in 1/2 of the whipped cream and all of the egg whites.

Pour filling into crust, place in fridge for four hours and decorate with remaining whipped cream and lime slices.

 

Conch (or clam) fritters

1 cup conch/clam meat, diced

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup flour

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t seasoned salt

1/4 t each salt and pepper

1/4 cup each minced celery, red bell pepper and onion

1 t garlic powder

4 cups canola oil

In a large bowl mix together egg, flour, spices and milk, then add in chopped vegetables and conch or clam meat.

Heat oil in heavy bottomed medium pot over medium-high heat. Drop in about 1/4 cup of the mixture into hot oil one or two at a time, turning once until golden brown on each side. Transfer onto paper towels and enjoy with a tartar sauce or key lime infused mustard sauce like what is served on the island.

Key lime mustard sauce: whisk together 1 cup Mayo, 5 T Dijon, 1 T honey, 1/2 t each sea salt and pepper, 1/4 cup key lime juice, 1/2 t key lime zest.

 


Photo by Gary Randall
Landscape photography by Gary Randall on 09/01/2022

Landscape photography has a reputation for requiring travel to epic corners of the Earth to bring back photos of places that are rarely seen by most people. Or places that we’ve seen in a National Geographic magazine or a TV documentary.

 

But from my point of view landscape photography as an art form should include the photographer’s personal creative touch. It should be separate from documentary photography or marketing photos that are seen in magazines. It shouldn’t always need to depend on a location to send a message. I think that a beautiful artistic landscape photo can be taken along most any roadway if we learn how to read the details of the landscape.

A photographer can consider that landscape photography could be reduced to two basic types: grand landscapes and intimate landscapes. A grand landscape typically is a territorial view, or one where there’s a view off into the distance that includes a lot within its frame, whereas an intimate landscape is typically one that’s a smaller part of a larger scene.

A grand landscape is more apt to include a recognizable location, is more likely to be location dependent and in a lot of cases also weather dependent, such as if it’s raining and the clouds obscure the view.

In many cases the composition of such a grand landscape is basic and simple to find.

I feel that a landscape photographer really spreads their wings when they embrace intimate landscapes. The photographer isn’t necessarily looking at an obvious photo. Many times, it requires imagination and a little time analyzing the scene to be able to look past the obvious to recognize what is typically overlooked. Be creative in choosing your subjects and be creative in how you compose and photograph them.

Intimate landscapes typically include a small part of or a detail within a grander scene such as a small segment of a creek instead of the whole forest or maybe a section of the scene that is affected by some atmospheric conditions, think fog and sunlight as it filters through the trees or maybe sunlight illuminating a curtain of moss that is draped across tree limbs.

I also look for designs and patterns within the scene, such as patterns or colors on rocks. An intimate landscape can include a part of the scene that, when extracted from the larger view and seen separate from the context of the larger scene, stands alone and on its own merits. Put the wide-angle lens away and use your zoom lens. Get closer to the scene.

It’s said, in painting as well as photography, that it’s not what’s included within the frame but what’s excluded that strengthens a composition. And this is very true in simplifying complex or, at first glance, generally unappealing scenery.

Analyzing a scene and trying to find an interesting composition for a photo allows us to look deeper into the scene and to recognize what more that it has to offer. The first glance at a scene is like looking at a book’s cover. Looking further into a scene is like reading the book.

I tell my students that as artists we shouldn’t take the scenery at its first impression. In most cases we will take all it has to offer all at once.

Instead take some time to stop and analyze the components of the scene and separate these smaller scenes and abstracts.

Be creative and I’m confident that you will be able to stop along most any side road and find a photograph within sight of your car. No longer will a destination be a requirement to make a beautiful photo. You will be able to make a beautiful photo in between your forays to far off lands. Mastering composition of intimate scenes will also help to strengthen the compositions of your grand landscapes.

And so, take your camera out and start looking deeper into the scenery that you photograph.

You might be pleasantly surprised by what you will find.

Fire risk map withdrawn, plus: that's made from wood? by Steve Wilent on 09/01/2022

By now you’ve probably heard that the wildfire risk map I wrote about last month has been rescinded. A new state law had required Oregon State University (OSU) to create the Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer by June 30, and it did so in partnership with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other stakeholders. Public criticism prompted the partners to withdraw the map and go back to the drawing board.

“While we met the bill’s initial deadline for delivering on the map, there wasn’t enough time to allow for the type of local outreach and engagement that people wanted, needed and deserved,” said Cal Mukumoto, Oregon State Forester and ODF Director, in a statement issued on Aug. 4.

ODF and OSU plan to refine the map then seek additional public comments. In the meantime, any appeals of the risk classifications in the old map are moot.

“Once this round of refinements is complete, we are planning to bring a draft of the updated map to communities for discussion and input. After another round of revisions based on local input, the map will be finalized,” Mukumoto said. “We will then post an updated map on the Oregon Explorer and issue new notices to property owners in the extreme and high risk classifications, which will start a new appeal period. We are in the process of developing a plan and timeline to complete these activities, including public engagement and outreach opportunities. We will share that publicly as soon as it is complete.”

A list of public meetings regarding the map revisions is posted at tinyurl.com/5626mdu2. I had hoped that one would be held in Welches, but the closest are in Clackamas (Tuesday, Sept. 6) and Hood River (Monday, Sept. 12); a meeting was held in Madras on Aug. 18.

ODF, OSU and partners will face some of the same criticisms I’ve heard: on the old map, adjacent lots with similar forest cover had different risk ratings, and the risk ratings did not account for work property owners had already done to create defensible space around their homes. What’s more, the law allows property owners in the High and Extreme Risk categories to be fined for failing to create defensible space.

As I wrote last month, you ought to act now to create defensible space that helps your home survive a wildfire, regardless of the state’s risk map. Hoodland Fire District’s web site is a good place to start. Go to hoodlandfire.us and click on the “How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires” link. A video there, “How to Make Your Home and Property Fire-Safe,” is well worth watching.

As is the note that, “Fire science suggests that the first 5 feet around structures should be free from all combustible material, including flammable vegetation and bark mulch.”

And the layer of fir needles that accumulates around many of our homes. As first steps in creating defensible space, removing that flammable material and placing gravel around your house, plus keeping your roof and gutters clean, will go far toward protecting your home.

Beyond Lumber

And now for something completely different….

Mention forest products and most people think of lumber, paper and other traditional products such as furniture, firewood and even mass timber buildings. However, there are a range of products that come from wood but look nothing like wood.

Take rayon, for example, a fiber made (usually) from wood cellulose fibers. Rayon was invented in the mid-1800s and was manufactured as a fabric in the U.S. starting in 1911. It was called “artificial silk” until 1924, when the name rayon was adopted. Today, rayon and similar fibers are often used to make clothing.

The cellulose fibers used to make rayon are produced in a process similar to those used to make paper. Hardwood or softwood logs are debarked and chipped and the chips are broken down mechanically or chemically to separate out the cellulose fibers.

In addition to cellulose, wood also contains hemicellulose, a minor ingredient in paper, as well as in waxes, oleoresins and ethanol; and lignin, which is used for making glues, biofuels and other chemicals. Together, these three elements of wood are called lignocellulose, or lignocellulosic biomass, which is the most the most abundant organic substance on Earth.

In recent years, scientists have discovered some interesting uses for cellulose, especially when the fibers are broken down to much smaller particles, called nanocellullose or cellulose nanomaterials (CNs).

Research by the USFS Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), Purdue University and Oregon State University has shown that the addition of CNs to cement makes concrete stronger. This can have a positive climate impact: because less concrete is required to provide the same strength, less carbon dioxide is emitted during the production of cement, which accounts for roughly eight percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Another promising use of CNs is in producing flexible transparent films that serve as a platform for electronic circuits – flexible electronics. According to FPL scientists, CNs can be made into a base for recyclable electronic circuits, circuits that can be used in flexible cell phones and displays, for example, and in solar panels that can bend.

Stora Enso, a Finnish forest products company, and battery producer Northvolt are working to use lignin in batteries “for applications from mobility to stationary energy storage” that will have a lower carbon footprint (and a lower overall eco-footprint) than traditional batteries. And according to “Scientific American,” very smart people have developed a method for making “a new disposable battery [that] is made of paper and other sustainable materials and is activated with a few drops of water.” Amazing!

CNs have a wide range of other applications, from car parts to more-efficient fertilizers.

Researchers at Stockholm University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have developed a way of producing textiles and biofuels from fast-growing poplars (cousins to our native black cottonwoods).

By making these products from poplars grown on marginal land in northern latitudes such as in Scandinavia and Canada, the demand for cotton can be reduced. Consequently, large areas of productive agricultural land could be converted from growing cotton and ethanol fuel feedstocks to producing food crops to help feed a hungry world.

Whether it’s lumber, paper, clothing or futuristic products made from CNs, all of these products are made from a sustainable, renewable forest resource: wood. Have a question about cellulose? Need some rayon fashion advice? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Healthy eating for improving school by Dr. Melanie Brown on 09/01/2022

School is back in session and many parents will get back to preparing school lunches for their kids. The local universal free lunch program ending in the public schools gives us another incentive to prepare lunches at home.

Lunches prepared at home can be fresher and healthier, and there are some creative ways to make them fun and tasty. They are also faster.

My kids always complain that they don’t have enough time to eat at school. Without standing in line for food, they have more time to enjoy and hopefully finish their meal.

In general, we want our kids to eat their palm size of lean protein, lots of veggies, some fruit and limited healthy carbohydrates and fats. Limiting refined sugars and processed foods and sticking to fresh ingredients can be challenging, but even without the ability to reheat, there are some great protein options for cold lunch.

Teachers will thank you if you don’t send snacks and foods loaded with sugar. Sugar highs and crashes are responsible for more behavioral and attention problems than some parents realize!

Lunch ideas:

– Chilled lettuce wraps.

– Cowboy caviar (a mix of black beans, black-eyed peas, corn and other fresh vegetables) with corn chips.

– Salmon or tuna spread on crackers.

– Cheese and meat with crackers .

– Natural nut butter and jelly on multigrain bread.*

– Homemade soup in a thermos.

*Please check your peanut butter labels and choose wisely. The common ones add fully hydrogenated vegetable oils and sugar – even some of the “natural” nut butters. Adam’s is a favorite brand in our household because it stays creamy and spreadable, and you can buy big ones at Costco.

And younger kids will need a healthy choice for snack time and sides for their lunch. Here are some of our favorites:

– Baby carrots and hummus.

– Whole banana with peanut butter.

– Nuts and dried fruit.

– Fresh berries or fruit .

– Greek yogurt (watch sugar content!).

– Applesauce (sugar-free).

– Celery or snap peas and nut butter.

– Cottage cheese and crackers.

– Homemade muffins.

– Guacamole and veggies or tortilla chips.

Prepare on the weekends or evenings to make your mornings easier and try to prep a few days or a school week at a time. Or you can make up all sides for the week and add the main course daily. Small reusable containers or bags are easy to fill and store in the corner of your fridge or pantry.

Hydration is crucial to keep your child energetic and bright during the day. Be sure to send a full water bottle in the mornings that they can refill during the day. Add a lemon or some fruit to make it fun and tasty.

And don’t forget to start with a healthy breakfast. Avoid sugar cereals – granola is a good alternative. The Naked granolas have some fun flavors.

Smoothies are a great option, as is oatmeal with apples and cinnamon. Freshly cooked eggs with a side of fruit is quick and easy. Greek yogurt parfaits with granola and fruit are always a hit.

Sit down with your kids and make a list of all the foods that they like. Include them in the meal prep. Your kids will feel better, be healthier and succeed more in school. Healthy eating habits created for your child will benefit your family for generations!

 

Many factors contribute to why fire seasons worsen by Mt. Hood Community College on 09/01/2022

Over the past several years, wildfires in the Pacific Northwest have been getting larger and hotter, and fire season has started earlier. This means that forests on both sides of the Cascades are seeing bigger, more frequent burns.

These ecosystems are fire-adapted, meaning that through millions of years of evolution they have developed ways to survive in spite of these natural disasters. Historically, periodic low-level fires caused by lightning strikes or intentionally set by indigenous people would clean out dead plants and other debris before they could build up to dangerous levels.

With the arrival of industrial timber companies, any fire was now put out as quickly as possible to avoid damaging the trees (and profits).

This allowed debris to build up into ladder fuels that allowed fires to climb higher up toward the tree canopies. Even the thick bark on tree trunks couldn’t protect the flammable branches above.

Climate change, hotter summers and increased drought in recent decades has dried out plants in our forests even more, making them more susceptible to burns. The earlier the rains stop, the sooner wildfires can get started.

Hotter temperatures also lead to more trees dying from heat-induced stress or parasites. While dead trees are a normal part of a healthy forest, the increase in finer fuel like twigs and dead plants creates all too effective kindling. So, what can we do? Prescribed burns clear out ladder fuels before they can feed a wildfire.

We can also avoid salvage logging in burned areas that just leaves behind piles of fine fuels that increase the chance of reburn.

And by supporting technology and legislation that combat climate change and support resilient forests and other habitats, we can work toward long-term solutions that include reducing wildfire risk.

Author Rebecca Lexa is a Master Naturalist, nature educator, tour guide, and writer living on the Long Beach Peninsula. More about her work may be found at RebeccaLexa.com.

School time 'lunchsackables' by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2022

I’m sure my grammar teacher would agree “lunchsackables” should be a word in our vocabulary and this stuffed bun recipe certainly is where to start.

Cheese steak stuffed buns

1 pkg frozen bread dough rolls (I used Rhodes), thawed

1 eight-ounce package of thin, sliced steak

1/2 cup minced onion

1 T olive oil

1 t minced garlic

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 t each salt and pepper

1/2 t onion powder

1 t Worcestershire sauce

Egg wash and sesame seeds (optional)

Oil a large baking sheet, thaw and proof 12 rolls. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Over medium-high heat add oil, steak, salt and pepper cook three to four minutes, while turning. Add in onion, garlic, onion powder and Worcestershire, cooking until onions are translucent and meat is done. Set aside to cool.

Stretch out dough in your palm adding a scant two tablespoons of meat mixture and one tablespoon of shredded cheddar cheese into center. Fold dough all around and seal with wet fingers. Shape into ball, brush with egg wash and top with sesame seeds if using.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until tops are golden. Serve warm with condiments.

Cherry crumb bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup plus 1 t sugar

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and sliced in half

1 T cornstarch

1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a square eight-inch baking pan with parchment.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together cherries, cornstarch and lemon juice.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together melted butter and sugar. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles crumbs. Reserve 3/4 cup of mixture.

Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Spread cherry filling over the crust. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over cherries, then sprinkle sugar over crumb topping.

Bake for 25 minutes and cool completely.

Leaving someone out of your will by Paula Walker on 09/01/2022

There are many reasons why you may decide not to include a family member or relative to benefit from your will or trust (for this article referred to generically as “will”). Among them may be that that person does not need the inheritance, and another that for circumstances considered important to you they do not deserve an inheritance.

For example, considering children, one child may have a lucrative profession and another may have chosen of life dedicated to working with low paying charities in service to certain causes and people in need.

Another example being undeserving, the person may have an addiction or may not match your values for work ethic. There are many reasons underlying such a decision.

There are people that you can disinherit and people, given particular conditions, that you may not be able to disinherit. These include your spouse, minor children and sometimes adult children.

In Oregon a spouse has the right to up to 33 percent of your probatable and non probatable estate after expenses for estate administration are calculated in, depending on a number of factors. Minor children (children under 18 years of age) have a right to receive the amount they would have received if you had died intestate.

Adult children may succeed in an attempt to challenge a will if they can successfully prove to the court that your leaving them out of your will was the result of undue influence, or that you lacked testamentary capacity at the time you drafted and signed the will, or that the will was improperly executed. Not necessarily easy claims on which to prevail, yet there are numerous cases in the court records of attempts and successes.

The parameters of effectively disinheriting can be detailed and involved. It is best to seek legal advice where this is your intent in order to determine whether that person may be entitled by the laws of the state to inherit; and to determine to what extent you may be able to disinherit effectively and do so in a manner that will reduce or circumvent entirely the prospect of a court challenge to your will.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Barbara Piasecka Johnson, “Basia” of the Johnson & Johnson dynasty, had a victory of winning the lion’s share of her deceased husband’s estate in a challenge to his will by his adult children. The U.K.’s Daily Mail describes it as “the largest, costliest, ugliest, most spectacular and most conspicuous probate battles in U.S history.”

Hired as a chambermaid of the second wife of 32 years of J. Seward Johnson, Sr. (“Johnson”), heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, Basia, 34, and Johnson, 76, struck out together in a newly forged relationship within nine months of that hire and eventually married.

In 1983, after twelve years of marriage, Johnson died leaving Basia his entire fortune, estimated at $500 million, in a will executed a mere 39 days before his death, leaving all but one of his adult children from his previous two marriages out.

Johnson’s adult children, all multi-millionaires due to trusts that Johnson had set up for each of them, contested the will under a claim of undue influence, that Basia had bullied her husband, too weak to resist, into making these changes.

A court battle ensued. Three years later and $24 million in legal fees, the court awarded $40 million in total to the six children, $20 million to the oceanographic institute Johnson established that was also party to the suit and $300 million to Basia.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Summer wildflowers by Gary Randall on 08/02/2022

It’s summertime on the Mountain. We, and the wildflowers, have been fortunate to have had a prolonged winter and a mild, wet spring. The wildflowers here and in the hills around us are healthy and still fresh in many places. Because of the late snow there are areas in the higher elevations where the flowers are just starting to bloom.

 

In my life I get excited about the photos that I can make of wildflowers. Everything from wide landscapes with a foreground adorned with their color, to super close macro photos showing overlooked details as well as images that border on abstract.

For close-up photos using my DSLR camera I love to use my 90mm macro lens, but I will also use my 150-600mm zoom lens. The advantage of the zoom lens is that I can stand back away from my subject, which comes in handy when you’re photographing a butterfly or a bee on a beautiful flower.

There are several methods that can be employed in photographing flowers including a simple 50mm lens and extension tubes to increase the magnification. The good news is that you don’t need a fancy camera with an even fancier lens. Most cell phone cameras will take some pretty incredible close ups as well as beautiful wide-angle views. Photography is accessible to everyone.

The variety of flowers that I’ve been enjoying this season is great. Early in the season came the trilliums, of course. They’re always anxious for spring. Then I always get excited when I start finding orchids, especially the delicate little fairy slippers. Then the forget-me-nots start popping up in our yards as well as along the roads. Then come asters, thistle flowers, thimbleberry blossoms, blackberry blossoms, lupine, columbine, yellow and purple violets, self-heal, honeysuckle, wild strawberry, white anemone, fireweed, wild rose, wood sorrel and more.

As the season progresses, I keep an eye open for lilies. They are always a favorite. I love the tiger lilies as well as the beautiful Mount Hood lilies that grow at the higher elevations – the blankets of white avalanche lilies on alpine hikes and the occasional yellow glacier lily.

A hike up in the alpine elevations can bring an even larger variety, including elephant heads, shooting stars, monkey flowers, Indian paintbrush and heather. Another flower that’s scarce and a delight to find each year are the wild irises. We’re blessed to have rhododendrons all around us as well as the perennial favorite, bear grass.

Even some of the introduced species of plants can make beautiful photos. Foxglove, daisies, buttercups, red clover flowers and the prolific cranesbill geranium with its cute little pink flowers are all photogenic. There are many more that I haven’t mentioned.  An added bonus for some of the close-up photos are the insects that the flowers attract. Bees and butterflies are the most attractive but there are other insects that enjoy the flowers too. When I take my camera out to photograph flowers it’s like a mini safari.

As summer progresses the wildflowers will pass, which is why I try my best to appreciate them while they’re here. Each season my folder of photos fills with all kinds of images of our local wildflowers.

Before I became a photographer I had an appreciation for their beauty, but today because they play such a large part in my life as a photographer, my knowledge about them and appreciation of them has dramatically increased. The coming of spring and summer is now looked forward to more because of the expected beauty of our local wildflowers.


Contributed graphic
Fire risk regulations: be Firewise or pay penalties? by Steve Wilent on 08/02/2022

I’ve written in past editions of The Woodsman about the importance of being Firewise, of preparing our homes, families and businesses for surviving a wildfire. That’s because it’s not a matter if we’ll have a wildfire that destroys homes and endangers lives here on The Mountain, it’s when. Wildfire here is inevitable.

 

Most people hear such warnings, but they take no action. It’s a personal choice to take the risk that you may lose your home. But that may soon change. Under a new law, Oregon is developing “defensible space” regulations that may include penalties for not complying. And complying may require drastic changes to the woods around our homes and businesses.

After devastating wildfires in the state in 2020, Oregon’s legislature passed Senate Bill 762, which provides more than $220 million to help Oregon modernize and improve wildfire preparedness through three key strategies: creating fire-adapted communities, developing safe and effective response to wildfires, and increasing the resiliency of Oregon’s landscapes. To accomplish the goal of creating fire-adapted communities, the bill required Oregon State University (OSU) to create the Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer, which it did in partnership with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the U.S. Forest Service and other stakeholders.

The Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer was made public in June (see tinyurl.com/4fwmch89). The map’s creators determined that 956,496 tax lots – about half of the lots in the state – are within the so-called wildland-urban interface (WUI) zones, or areas with homes and other structures that are at risk from wildfires. Approximately eight percent of those tax lots – 120,276 – are classified as at high or extreme risk, and approximately 80,000 of those lots have homes or other structures on them. As you might expect, many of the lots with homes in our area are at high or extreme risk.

The map from the earlier page shows a view of the Hwy. 26 corridor from Brightwood to Rhododendron. Orange and red are high and extreme risk, respectively. Yellow is moderate risk, light green is low risk and green is no risk.

The online Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer map lets you find any tax lot by typing the street address. The map view then zooms to that lot and lets you download a “homeowner’s report.” (The name of the lot owner is not given.) I located the lot where Lara and I live and found that it’s within a WUI zone and is designated as high risk. I downloaded the report, which states that “there may be required actions to create defensible space and building code requirements. See the resource links below for more information.”

When I clicked on one of the resource links, “ODF Mapping and WUI Information,” it led to a web page with a variety of information, including a link to a helpful list of answers to frequently asked questions. It also noted that tax lots “that are both within the WUI and classified as high or extreme risk will receive written notification from ODF and may be subject to future changes to defensible space and home building codes.”

I received such a notice on July 21, and I hear others have received theirs. Since I already knew my lot’s risk classification, it didn’t provide any new information. It states that Lara and I “may be required to take actions to create defensible space around your home and adhere to changes to building code requirements both of these regulatory processes are still in development.”

According to the Fire Marshal, the Oregon Defensible Space Code will be based on the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code written by the International Code Council. The International Code contains specific requirements for the width of a defensible space: 50 feet in high hazard properties and 100 feet in extreme hazard properties – in other words, 50 or 100 feet between a home and “unmodified fuels.” This is similar to the Firewise recommendations, but does not include the Immediate Zone, zero to five feet around the house, which is the most important for protecting structures. See Firewise.org for more info. The new defensible space regulations are set to be effective in 2023.

Within those defensible space zones, the amount and arrangement of fuels – trees, shrubs and any other vegetation and debris that can burn – must meet the code’s standards. For example, “Trees are allowed within the defensible space, provided that the horizontal distance between crowns of adjacent trees and crowns of trees and structures, overhead electrical facilities or unmodified fuel is not less than 10 feet.”

In my “high risk” case, trees within 50 feet of my house must have at least 10 feet between the crowns – the branches on one tree can’t be touching or close to touching another tree, or overhang the roof of the house or power lines. To meet this requirement, I would have to remove a half-dozen large trees. I’m glad my property isn’t in the extreme risk category, because I’d have to remove many more trees in a 100-foot defensible space zone. The trees in our area naturally grow close together. Under the new code, we may have to change that around our homes. For a half-acre “extreme risk” lot – 50 feet wide by 100 feet deep – as many as one-third of the trees, perhaps more, might have to be removed.

Keep in mind that the state’s regulations may be different than the International Code. I hope so, because a requirement for a minimum of 10 feet of space between tree crowns would be very difficult and expensive to achieve. What’s more, it would have little or no impact on protecting homes during unusually large, wind-driven fires such as the Riverside Fire and other large conflagrations in 2020.

The International Code’s language on ground cover is less than clear. For example: “Deadwood and litter shall be regularly removed from trees.” I think they meant that branches, leaves and other flammable material must be regularly cleared from the ground in the entire defensible space zone. I would add that low-hanging live and dead branches still attached to trees ought to be removed so that these “ladder fuels” don’t let a ground fire climb up into the treetops. I hope the Oregon Defensible Space Code will be much easier to understand. In any case, this is a well-accepted part of creating a defensible space and would be much more effective at protecting homes from smaller, lower intensity wildfires.

Senate Bill 762 requires that risk classes be based on weather, climate, topography and vegetation, and analyses of aerial images was deemed sufficient for determining wildfire risk (for a detailed explanation, see tinyurl.com/5n6d3bcr). This process is sound, as far as it goes, but it does not consider the characteristics of the fuels on individual tax lots. Owners who have done substantial work to create defensible spaces may have the same rating or even a higher one than their immediate neighbors. And having neighbors who haven’t created their own defensible spaces increases the risk to your home.

In any case, there may be penalties for failing to comply with the defensible space code. The text of Senate Bill 762 states that the Fire Marshal “May develop and apply a graduated fee structure for use in assessing penalties on property owners for noncompliance with the requirements.”

Property owners may appeal their risk classification, according to ODF, “if they believe there is an error in the assessment or they have pertinent facts that may justify a change.” Appeals must be received by ODF within 60 days of a property owner’s notification of the risk assignment. See tinyurl.com/2p93ck85. See also tinyurl.com/5626mdu2, where “A list of town hall meeting locations, dates, and agendas is coming soon.” I’d like to attend one of the meetings.

I predict that a huge number of appeals will be filed and that the process of resolving them will be very slow.

Working on an appeal with ODF may turn out to be simple compared to dealing with insurance companies that use the Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer as a basis for adjusting premiums, cancelling policies or simply refusing to provide coverage. Even before the wildfire risk map was published, numerous property owners in our area had their policies dropped (including Lara and me) or their premiums increased.

The vast majority of tax lots in our area are classified as having moderate risk, so these defensible space requirements won’t apply to you. However, the risk on many of these lots is actually high or even extreme for many of the lots along Barlow Trail Road and in parts of Timberline Rim, for example, and along Hwy. 26, Welches Road and elsewhere. Don’t be complacent if your lot’s rating is moderate or low.

In any case, whatever your lot’s fire risk rating, you would be wise to take Firewise precautions as soon as possible. A recent Oregon Public Broadcasting radio program featured an interview with Chris Chambers is the wildlife division chief for Ashland Fire & Rescue about the Oregon Wildfire Risk Explorer.

“The way they looked at fire behavior and the potential for that fire to affect the community is through the length of the flames, which is one very legitimate measure of fire intensity,” Chambers said. “But what the map did not look at is ember travel distance. It is well known … that embers are the major source of home ignitions. So [the map] may significantly underestimate community wildfire exposure.”

Regardless of your property’s risk rating, you don’t need to wait for the state to issue its defensible space regulations. Hoodland Fire District’s web site (hoodlandfire.us) is a good place to start. Go to hoodlandfire.us and click on the “How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires” link. The text below the link: “Learn how to adapt to living with wildfire and take action NOW to reduce losses in the FUTURE!”

Amen!

Have a question about wildfire? Want some advice on creating a defensible space for surviving a zombie apocalypse? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: leaving HD 52 a better place by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/02/2022

This will be my final Mountain Times column as the State Representative for House District 52. In March, I announced that I would not be running for re-election because of the financial strain my position placed on my family, but that I was committed to continuing my work on behalf of the people or Oregon.

Today, I’m writing you to let you know that I am stepping down from my role as your State Representative, effective Aug. 14, in order to pursue my next step in public service. I have accepted a position as the Executive Director of Oregon’s System of Care Advisory Council, a nonpartisan government organization established by the legislature.

The council is charged with overseeing children’s mental health system planning in Oregon, and helping the state implement the “System of Care” philosophy, which focuses on inter-agency, community-based and culturally and linguistically responsive services for youth who face multiple challenges in receiving quality care. This is closely related to the work I’ve been most excited about doing in the legislature, and indeed a big part of it will include making policy recommendations to legislators… so they haven’t seen the last of me!

It has been the honor of a lifetime serving you in Salem, but I’m looking forward to no longer needing to work multiple part-time jobs in order to pay the bills. I’m also really looking forward to being able to focus all of my attention on a single public position. I will be a much better public servant when I’m able to spend all of my time working on meaningful policy change without having to worry so much about making ends meet.

I’m incredibly proud of everything I’ve gotten done in my time as a legislator. While I’m not always great at self-congratulation, I did want to take some time, in what will be my final column for this paper, to reflect on some of my proudest accomplishments.

First, my main focus has been on improving the lives of abused and neglected children in Oregon. Research tells us that childhood trauma may be the single biggest contributing factor to an adult’s ability to lead a healthy and happy life. By increasing the quality and availability of services for child abuse victims and their families, both in House District 52 and statewide, I will leave office confident that the legislature has vastly improved the future prospects for hundreds, maybe even thousands of kids.

I managed to get millions of dollars in funding to support kids who have faced the trauma of abuse, because healing is an essential step to a happy adulthood. I also got funding for a statewide study on the prevalence of child abuse (which will help our state make more effective child abuse policy in the future), and funding to help schools implement child abuse prevention education curricula.

I passed a significant package of policy and financial assistance to homeless youth in Oregon, who were previously slipping through the cracks on a regular basis. I passed laws to review the rate structures and workloads for some nurses, caseworkers and caregivers who work with kids with medical fragility or intensive behavior challenges… some of Oregon’s most beleaguered human services providers that face the highest rates of turnover.

Outside of the realm of human services, I also passed policies to support search and rescue operations in and around the Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood regions. I made progress on several transportation issues: I secured funding and administrative support for the replacement of the Hood River-White Salmon Bridge, as well as for needed infrastructure repairs in Hood River and Sandy; and I passed a policy that will help ensure rural downtown districts are safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Across four legislative sessions, I was personally responsible for directing well over $30 million in state and federal funding to House District 52 to support its economy, its infrastructure and its most vulnerable populations.

I worked closely with state agencies to create an inventory of public lands that may be available to developers of affordable housing projects, to examine and fund the expansion of specialty courts for families dealing with substance use disorders and to ensure that school districts are able to benefit from agricultural producers in their area through the use of “Farm to School” grants. I’m also incredibly proud, during a time of increased bias crimes and heightened racial tensions, to have passed a bill declaring that every April will be recognized as Arab-American Heritage Month in Oregon.

Of course, I wasn’t successful in all of my efforts, but I’m also very proud of the important conversations I started that may lead to future policy reforms. In 2021, I tried to pass a law that would change the way we sentence survivors of domestic violence who commit crimes at the behest of their abusers… that effort failed in the final weeks of the legislative session, but I still think Oregon needs that change, and a lot of my colleagues who will remain in Salem agree with me. I also led an effort to increase protections for surface-based drinking water streams, which the timber industry opposed every step of the way, and which I hope will find new life as we continue to realize the threat that industry poses to public health.

I could go on, but as I mentioned, I don’t love patting myself on the back quite this much (it’s part of why I’ve always preferred doing the hard work of policymaking over the easier work of grandstanding to score political points!).

In my final month as a state representative, I will keep working to streamline ongoing conversations about important human services programs and other policies I’ve worked on in my two years as the chair of the House Committee on Human Services. So many programs within the state’s social safety net are really complex.

My goal is to help ensure that the next chair of the Human Services Committee, as well as the next representative for House District 52, is up to the challenge of facing a steep learning curve and hitting the ground running at a time when we most need strong, accountable and level-headed leaders.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Hook, line and sinker – fishing at the college's stocked pond by Mt. Hood Community College on 08/02/2022

On the western edge of the Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, sits a pond of about five acres, and from Sept. 12 through Oct. 14, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to dump approximately 1,000 legal-sized, hatchery rainbow trout into it.

Trout stocking of the pond usually occurs a couple times in the early season and again in the fall, when they also add approximately 50 trophy-sized trout. April through August, the pond allows youth fishing only, for anglers 17 or younger with a juvenile angling license, or for those who have a disabled fishing permit issued by the state. Kids under 12 fish for free.

All other months all-aged anglers are welcome to fish. Because of its small size, easy access and one of the earliest waters to receive fresh rainbows, it’s a perfect pond to fish in the summer with kids, especially after a restocking.

When fishing, you might catch bluegill and crappie on your line – they are a self-sustaining population of the pond. They tend to bite better in the warm waters of summer, and occasionally you might reel in a bullhead catfish. In Oregon, more people fish for trout than any other fish.

Hatchery-raised rainbows might not be as wary as wild trout but be ready to for some quiet moments wondering if you’ll fill your stringer. For anglers, typical tactics for catching hatchery-reared trout will include bait fishing and casting plus retrieving spinners and spoons.

Shelley McFarland is a Public Relations and Marketing Content Specialist  at Mt. Hood Community College.

An earful: the endonasal technique by Dr. Melanie Brown on 08/02/2022

Who would like to volunteer? In the room full of chiropractic students, eyes were down. Dr. Lester Lamm had just explained the “endonasal technique.” Most students probably thought, “That sounds intense, no way!”

We had just heard the impactful account of how Dr. Lamm's hearing and, subsequently, his academic career were saved from this technique. The story goes that Dr. Lamm was having trouble hearing his teachers in chiropractic school and, despite sitting in the front row, was so unable to understand that in frustration and defeat, he decided to withdraw from the program.

After hearing his reasoning, he was sent to Dr. Appa Anderson in the student health clinic. She performed the endonasal technique on him, and his hearing was restored. Later in his career, he had a clinic where people would come from all over to receive this treatment. When I was a student, he took time out of his duties as the college's academic dean to teach it to us.

I hesitantly raised my hand. It was an excellent opportunity to experience and learn the treatment from one of the best.

I lay on the table in front of a circle of students and opened my mouth as wide as possible. I felt a gloved finger reach into the back of my mouth above my tonsils, sweep my eustachian tube and then out again. I immediately teared up and turned my head back and forth, opening and closing my jaw, plugging my nose and blowing and feeling things moving and my ears popping. It was intense, but under the care of a skillful practitioner, it wasn't too bad!

But why would we perform this technique? Hearing can be impacted by scar tissue or congestion in the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the inside of the mouth and is instrumental in pressure and fluid release of the ear.

The eustachian tube can become partially blocked over time or after an upper respiratory infection. This blockage can cause the hearing to sound muffled like you are underwater (rather than the volume being turned down). It can also cause problems with ears not popping with elevation and pressure changes when flying, driving or swimming.

Over years of practice, I have seen miraculous results from this treatment. One patient brought her elderly mother to the office who had sudden hearing loss after an illness. After this technique, I asked how she was feeling. She said, “Ok,” and her daughter said, “You could hear that!?!” The next time I saw the daughter, she told me that her mom was happy that she could listen to the radio again and that they could walk and talk without having to stop and turn to each other to understand.

Immediately after treatment, another patient exclaimed, “I can hear the ceiling fan and people speaking in the lobby!” I am thankful for doctors like Dr. Appa Anderson and Dr. Lester Lamm, who taught this technique to next-generation doctors. Even though they have both passed, their contributions live on!

Country inspired cooking by Taeler Butel on 08/02/2022

Bless my country heart. I can’t stay out of these farmstands, so here are a few ideas if you are like me.

Berry cherry clafoutis

Simple and delicious, a creamy crustless pie type dessert, just add whipped cream on top!

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups half-and-half

1 t vanilla

2 cups total fruit (1 cup each cherries and berries)

3 large eggs

1/4 cup unsalted butter cut into cubes

1/2 t salt

1/2 t orange zest

Butter and flour a nine-inch pie plate and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk flour, sugar and salt, then set aside.

In another bowl, whisk vanilla, cream, eggs and zest. Then whisk in the dry ingredients.

Pour batter into pie plate and then dot fruit all around batter mixture. Place butter cubes on top and bake for 40-50 minutes until just set. Cool to room temperature before serving.

 

Creamy skillet corn

2 T unsalted butter

2 T honey

2 cups corn kernels

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 t salt & pepper

Melt butter in cast iron skillet and add corn kernels, honey and cream cheese until combined.

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Gifting to minor children by Paula Walker on 08/02/2022

You may be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc. and you want to leave some of your legacy to a minor child. How do you go about doing that? Children under the age of 18 (the legal age of becoming an adult aka “age of majority”), can receive a very small amount of money outright. For the purposes of this article, we use the term “children” to indicate minor children.

Children can receive stocks, bonds, real estate, CDs (certificates of deposit). They can also be on title, or be a joint owner on a bank account, however they cannot conduct business with these assets or manage these assets or access these assets on their own. They must have an appointed custodian of their financial holdings or real property, and this can be the child’s appointed guardian or a separately appointed person to act as custodian to manage those assets.

Assigning who is to be the child’s guardian is a most important part of your estate planning if you are a parent or currently the guardian of a child. Without such an appointment in your estate plan, it will fall to the court to appoint, and it may not be a person that you would prefer or even know.

As well, court appointment of a guardian, i.e., guardianship proceedings, is costly and time consuming, draining your estate of money you would prefer to be used for the benefit of your child and not of the legal system. As well at such a time the last thing that you want for your child is to be in a state of limbo for any amount of time waiting for the system to determine who will be the equivalent of their parent from that point until they legally become an adult.

Assigning who is to be the custodian of the money left is of concern for anyone leaving an inheritance to a child. Do you trust the guardian to do this? For a number of valid reasons, you may not. Perhaps the guardian is not someone you think has good financial practices or is good at managing money. Legally they may do everything correctly, however they may not be good at accounting for the expenditures for your child. They may not be good at or have the time for investing the money prudently, wisely and managing such investment(s) well. You may know that this is too much of a burden to ask of someone to be both guardian and custodian. Then again, in other cases, it is a natural fit for the guardian to also be the custodian because as guardian they are best in touch with the needs of the child and fulfill the various needs without coordinating with another person which may introduce unnecessary, inconvenient, or challenging delays to meeting the needs of the child.

If you are a parent then, or a current guardian for a child, use your estate plan to appoint the proper succession of persons to fill your shoes if needed. Whether you are a parent or another member of the family, loving friend, a generous soul, who has an interest in providing for the welfare of a child by gifting from your estate, you want to be sure that you consider who you want to be the custodian of the assets that you leave to that child.

Children are a treasure, a gift onto themselves. And gifting to them takes specific accommodations in your estate plan if you want the ease of mind that what you are leaving will go as you intend, managed by whom you intend, for whom you care.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

From Australia comes a story of a teenager named Josh, who inherited a 36-acre island from a grandfather he had met only a few times, because the grandfather disapproved of his daughter’s marriage for religious reasons. Nonetheless, apparently the grandfather had a spot in his heart for his grandson because the story has it that although he had not seen Josh for years prior to his death in 2007, that in his will the grandfather named Josh the heir to his estate. That estate included this island and more than 80 acres of farmland. Also in the will, and here is where the real treasure hunt begins, there was a description of antique jewelry and loose gems the grandfather had kept in a thermos that Josh’s mother was confident was somewhere on the island remembering references her father often made to his “treasure island” when she was a child. I could not find reports confirming that the family found the treasure and I do not know how Australian law handles gifts to minors, but here in the U.S., being 17, Josh could have been on title for the real property but would have to have a court appointed custodian of his inherited wealth including that property and the variety of assets until the age of 18.

 


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Mastering the artist's tools by Gary Randall on 07/01/2022

I remember when I bought my first digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera. It was after an era of not really being a purposeful photographer.

 

I suppose that my purpose was really nothing more than capturing icons that represented events and special moments in time, especially once my children were born. For that purpose, the simpler the camera the better – something easy to grab and snap a photo. This is what drives the popularity of today's cellphone cameras.

I started out as a hobby photographer soon after I left high school. At that time, I had the opportunity to buy my first 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) camera and learn how to develop, enlarge and print my photos. I remember how important it was to try to get all the variables, camera adjustments, focus and composition correct before the shutter was clicked. Especially when you were limited by how many rolls of film that you brought with you.

One important realization that I had when I bought my digital SLR camera was just how little I had retained from when I was using a film SLR camera. First, after using the new digital camera, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t limited to 12, 24 or 36 photos. A memory card could hold several hundred photos, which allowed me to do a lot of guessing. Photographers call it spraying and praying. Taking a whole bunch of photos and hoping that one, or more if you’re lucky, will turn out.

I remember coming home with a full memory card and sorting out the best one. I would process it in Photoshop and post it online and everyone who looked at it thought that I was a master photographer. In all of those photos there really wasn’t one that really hit the mark, especially technically, on purpose.

As time passed my mindset started to change in my desire to create better photos. I changed my approach to one that was more deliberate. I relearned what I had forgotten when I was using my old 35mm film camera, while adapting the process to my new digital camera.

I found that in its most basic form the adjustments on each are the same: shutter speed, aperture and film speed, or ISO in digital. Add focus and composition and all you have that’s different are the mediums used for capturing the image, film and a digital sensor.

Once I had gotten to a point where I could go out into the field, set up my camera and have a good idea of where my settings should be to at least get me close, my whole approach became completely different. I would get to a scene early and find several potential compositions so that when the light was right and the three minutes of sunrise or sunset was happening, I could take a photo, check my composition, my focus and my exposure and then move on to the next spot that I had scouted earlier. In the past I was more prone to stay in one place through the light while taking many photos of the same composition.

Now that I teach photography, I recognize many other photographers who have the same approach that I had before I was purposeful in how I created my photos. I stress how important it is to master the technical aspects of the equipment so that we can pay less attention to that and more attention to being creative. Removing the guesswork and allowing yourself to be more creative is a lot more relaxing and ultimately much more satisfying and will usually show in the resulting beauty of the image that you capture.


Photo by Steve Hillebrand, USFW.
Ursa Major issues – dealing with bears in the neighborhood by Steve Wilent on 07/01/2022

I’ve had a variety of interesting encounters with wildlife over the years.

 

Once had a close call with a big rattlesnake that slithered between my feet. Woke up one frigid morning in the Ruby Mountains in Nevada to find fresh mountain lion tracks in the snow next to my tent – tracks about as wide as my size 12 boots.

On a visit to Yellowstone a few years ago, Lara and I were driving back to our motel one evening when we went around a curve and suddenly came across a herd of bison on and around the road. We couldn’t go forward, so we stopped the car, turned off the engine and rolled the windows down a bit, and as the big animals slowly wandered around and past the car – some of them just feet away – we listened to them breathing, grunting, chewing and farting. It was a memorable experience.

And the one time I left a full garbage can outside of my shed, a black bear found it. I opened the mudroom door, stepped out onto the porch and there was the bear, maybe 15 feet away, with her paws on the edge of the can. She had taken the lid off (it still has tooth marks) and was licking her chops at the prospect of dining on our gourmet garbage. The bear saw me and hightailed it back to the woods and I hightailed it back into the house.

We’ve seen bears several other times in and around our Zigzag neighborhood. Black bears are common in these parts, and this spring it seemed as if there were more of them around than usual. And more of them are getting into trouble.

I’ve heard tales about bears pulling down bird and squirrel feeders, gobbling up dog food and trashing trash cans. It’s not the bears’ fault – they’re just hungry after a long winter, and some folks don’t know how much bears love human food.

A couple of weeks ago, the people who stayed in one of the nearby short-term rentals for a long weekend dutifully left their garbage in plastic bags along Lolo Pass Road. Of course, the garbage ended up strewn up and down and on the road. Probably a bear got to it, but it could have been crows, raccoons, dogs or other critters.

Years ago, we had a young couple as neighbors who didn’t have a place to secure their garbage can. Naturally, the bears were happy – they’d haul sacks of trash to our side of the road before tearing them open and having a feast, spreading trash far and wide in the process.

Nice couple, but we were happy when they took their trash can and moved away.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) “Living with Wildlife” website has a page devoted to black bears. Among the tips for homeowners:

– Secure garbage cans in a garage, shed or behind a chain link or electric fence.

– Put garbage cans out just before pick-up time, not the night before.

– Purchase bear-proof garbage cans if necessary.

– Keep pet food indoors. Feed pets in the house, garage or enclosed kennel.

– Hang bird feeders from a wire at least ten feet off the ground and six to ten feet from the trunk of a tree [or pole/post or anything else they can climb].

Good advice, except that garbage cans behind a chain link or any other sort of fence aren’t secure. Black bears are excellent climbers.

My mother-in-law in suburban Ashland had a mess on her hands recently after a mama bear and her cubs climbed over a seven-foot wooden fence and got into her garbage can and bird feeders.

This spring a bear scaled the fence around the backyard of one of my Zigzag neighbors and tore down (and destroyed) their bird feeders.

If you don’t have a secure place for your garbage cans, you might consider buying a bear proof can or can enclosure – warning: they aren’t cheap – or building your own enclosure at a much lower cost (Google “build a bear-proof garbage can enclosure”).

Some folks say that sprinkling ammonia or other strong disinfectants such as Pine-Sol on or inside garbage cans helps mask the odor of food. It may be worth a try, but I’d bet that a hungry bear would ignore the scent and go for the food.

According to ODFW, Oregon is home to 25,000 to 30,000 black bears. Oregon is not home to any grizzly bears, which is fine by me. Black bears are “North America’s most common bear species. Generally black in color, they can also be brown, cinnamon or blond. Fast and agile, they are good swimmers and climbers who prefer forests, trails and streams. At home throughout Oregon, black bears are omnivorous and have a diverse diet including berries, fruit, grasses and plants. Although they will consume small mammals, insects and amphibians, these bears are not usually active predators.”

ODFW adds that: “Bears should never be allowed access to human food or garbage; it habituates them to people and increases the chance of conflict. Once habituated to finding food near homes or campgrounds, bears can become a threat to human safety and must often be destroyed.”

I’d hate to see one of our local bears shot because they became a problem bear.

Wild adult male black bears of typically weigh between 125 and 500 pounds, and females usually weigh between 90 and 300 pounds, according to the North American Bear Center (bear.org). Grizzlies are bigger and can be much more dangerous: Males can weigh 330 to 1,150 pounds, females 270 to 770 pounds.

BearWise (bearwise.org) has lots of information about what to do – and not do – if you encounter a black bear. In your yard: from a safe distance, make loud noises, shout or bang pots and pans together to scare away the bear.

When the bear leaves, remove potential attractants such as garbage, bird seed or pet food. Ask neighbors to remove attractants. Check your yard for bears before letting out your dog. In any case, give the bear a clear escape route – they’ll usually take it.

A bear in your house, garage or shed? Leave any doors open as you back slowly away from the bear. Do not lock the bear in a room.

Yes, bears sometimes get into houses, often through open doors and windows (they can easily break though screens). A Rhododendron friend of ours once was awakened at night by what sounded like a robbery downstairs. It turned out that a bear had broken into a screened-in porch to get a box of apples. Fortunately, they frightened the bear off and no one was hurt.

See a bear? Relax. No one is harmed in the vast majority of black bear encounters. In most cases, the bear will see or smell you first and run away. Be BearWise and you’ll be safe. And you may have a chance to see an awesome wild animal.

Have a question about bears? Want to know the difference between a black bear and a woolly bear? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Well Adjusted – don't wait to shed some weight by Dr. Melanie Brown on 07/01/2022

Now that we have some sunshine, some of us are focusing on weight loss goals after this long winter. What is the best way to track your weight at home? There can be a lot of variation in weight throughout the day from hydration, eating, fluid retention, etc. The best time to weigh yourself is in the morning after you go to the bathroom and before breakfast. If you are trying to lose weight, weigh yourself daily and write it down. Ideally, you want to burn about 500 more calories daily than you are consuming and lose approximately one to three pounds per week. Too much too fast is often unsustainable and can create a yoyo effect with loss and gain.

After weighing yourself, look at your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can find online calculators to determine what weight range is healthy for you. Determine your target weight and how many calories you should consume daily. You can find weight loss calculators online to help you set goals. Nutrition apps or a pen and notepad will suffice to help you count calories. Or if all of that counting drives you crazy, try focusing on nutrient-dense foods – mainly protein and vegetables, portion control and hydration, and avoid sugary drinks and foods. Read your labels and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. Most women need approximately 2,000 calories per day to maintain weight and 1,500 calories to lose one pound per week, and men need approximately 2,500 calories to maintain weight and 2,000 to lose one pound per week, although it varies.

If you aren’t exercising, try to walk or jog half a mile or a mile daily and increase the distance as you become more fit. If you love the gym, go there or make a home workout area. You can keep it simple, lift some weights and do push-ups, planks, crunches and stretching. You don’t have to invest in a Tonal to work out (although they are sweet!). Think of warmups in grade school gym class. Do the basics!

Shedding pounds will help us hike up those switchbacks without getting winded and will take the extra pressure off our joints and cardiovascular systems. Look and feel good and start to live at a healthy weight. The little decisions that we make a lot determine our overall health and fitness. It takes consistency and dedication, but the payoff is enormous. You can do it!

View Points – Salem: Searching for better gun safety by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2022

I’m so tired of gun violence. With every breaking news story about a new mass shooting, I feel physically and mentally exhausted. But talking about mass shootings alone discounts the depressingly common individual gun homicides and suicides that the news doesn’t bother to cover anymore, due to the common occurrence of these unnecessary deaths.

Still, even in the face of overwhelming public support for certain kinds of gun safety reforms, lawmakers aren’t brave enough to do what needs to be done to keep school children, church attendees, mall-walkers and the public in general safe from guns in our country. 

As of 2020, guns are the leading cause of child death in the United States.

This fact doesn’t just exhaust me; it makes me angry. This is a choice. Every time state and federal legislators oppose common sense gun regulations, they choose to allow this. Better gun safety policy could have prevented many of the 4,638 child deaths caused by guns in America in 2020 (the last year for which statistics are available).

These were kids with bright futures, kids who should still be alive, playing with friends and enjoying the warm days of summer. Instead, they’re gone. Their families and friends are grieving, and no amount of thoughts and prayers will bring them back.

Oregon has made meaningful efforts toward gun safety policies in the last ten years. In my time in the legislature, the biggest step we took toward gun safety was the passage of the safe storage law, which requires gun owners to store their firearms in a safe or gun room when not in use, or to use a trigger lock to ensure a gun can’t be fired. Prior to my arrival in Salem, Oregon already had universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders, both very effective policies.

Still, there is more we can do. But neither Oregon nor the U.S. will see meaningful efforts to curb gun violence while the gun lobby has such a significant influence on politicians whose campaigns they fund.

I make it a habit never to use this space to discuss politics, because I think it’s more important for elected officials to talk to their constituents about governance and policy – the stuff that really matters. This column is no exception. An overwhelming majority of people agree with me in thinking that we need better gun safety laws. The fact that it has become such a partisan issue is part and parcel of the larger problem: campaign finance.

One of the reasons I’m not running for re-election is the fact that money plays such an outsized role in campaigns. Its role is so significant that I have sometimes been strongly encouraged by political consultants not to vocally support good bills (like the assault weapons ban) due to the fact that I represent a swing district. It’s frustrating to be told that you will likely lose your next election if you vote your conscience, but that was a regular occurrence for me on gun policy.

Clearly, the system needs reforms before we can meaningfully address gun violence. Campaign finance laws and quorum requirements for the legislature are only two of the many barriers to passing more effective gun control statewide. In Congress, similar barriers (NRA cash and the filibuster) lead to the same outcome we’ve seen in Oregon – no meaningful policies to prevent the catastrophic number of preventable gun deaths across our country. Reports of a developing bipartisan gun control bill in the U.S. Senate provides some hope for improvement moving forward. However, a new assault weapons ban (which was extremely effective in curbing gun violence during the decade it was in effect) has never been seriously considered by the Senate.

It doesn’t need to, and shouldn’t, be a partisan issue.

We all want to believe that we’re somehow safe from the scourge of gun violence in our country. We tell ourselves that it only happens in larger cities, or to schools without School Resource Officers, or to other people far away who weren’t careful enough in scanning their environment for safety. It’s time to let go of that fairy tale – nearly everyone I know has had a brush with gun violence in the past five years. Whether they were threatened by someone with an AR-15 style firearm at a protest, had to duck and cover at the local ice cream shop because someone was waving a gun around and shouting or had to shelter in place due to a police chase of a mass shooter at the local mall.

We are ALL less free to pursue happiness as a result, no matter whether we own guns or whether we vote Democrat or Republican.

As we look ahead to elections this fall, I am hopeful that the public call for improved gun safety across our country will lead to the election of candidates on both sides of the aisle who support gun safety policies that will work in their states. Just like my work on preventing child abuse, this issue is one that appeals to most voters, regardless of party. I look forward to seeing more bipartisan gun safety conversations as we move into 2023 and beyond.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

Geology course continues to 'rock' on Oregon field trips by Mt. Hood Community College on 07/01/2022

As a geology instructor at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC), each spring I take a class field trip to Central Eastern Oregon. This field trip always brings back memories for me as a teacher, but I was also a student at MHCC when I took geology from Dave Korwin. Some things stay the same while some things are drastically different.

 

When I was a student this field trip was four days long and optional! In those four days we went to Alvord Desert and up through Burns to John Day with the final night at Clyde Holliday State Park along the John Day River. Now, our field trip is only two days long and the furthest east we get is John Day. We stay at a more primitive camp spot along Fields Creek and the trip is mandatory for students.

Many of my students take this class for three terms, so it is a culmination of all the geology they’ve learned. As a student, I remember swimming in Borax Lake and hunting for thundereggs along Pikes Creek.

On our most recent field trip we hunted for brachiopod and ammonite fossils along a road near remote Izee. Have you ever heard of Izee?

Behind Wheeler High School in Fossil, one can find the state fossil of Oregon, the Metasquoia.

As a student, we could find an abundance of fossils everywhere; today, they are much harder to find, sometimes only bits and pieces rather than the slabs of fossils from my youth. Hunting for treasure is still hunting for treasure and still fun, no matter how many years it has been.

There is one gorgeous green Serpentinite outcropping of rock that belongs to the Canyon Mountain Complex just south of Canyon City that has been, and still is, the stopping location for nearly all geology field trips, for other schools, too.

In the mid-80s I don’t think I could imagine a student with disabilities on a field trip with our geology instructor Korwin – he walked so fast he usually left many of us in the dust! This year on our overnight trip, we had Tim, who uses a wheelchair, with us.

I hadn’t thought about this before, but really there was only one or two places where Tim couldn’t go. But accessibility has improved, and those places can be augmented with video capabilities.

Times change and improve, certainly for student accessibility in the field.

Daina Hardisty is a Geology Instructor at Mt. Hood Community College.

What's fresh now by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2022

Cooking in season is the best way to get peak flavors and nutrition out of produce. Also, in season usually means on sale, so enjoy the flavors of summer with this delicious chutney over lamb or grilled chicken.

Lamb chops with Rhubarb chutney

2 lb. rack of lamb

Marinade:

Juice and zest of one lemon

1 T olive oil

1 T chopped parsley

2 minced garlic cloves

1 t each salt and pepper

1 t Dijon mustard 

Marinate rack of lamb for four hours or overnight.

Roast with the fat cap turned up at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until brown crust forms. Let meat rest 20 minutes before cutting into chops, then serve with rhubarb chutney.

Rhubarb chutney

5 stalks rhubarb, diced

1/2 chopped red onion

1 cup strawberries chopped

1/2 green apple, chopped

1 T crystallized ginger, minced

Juice and zest of one lemon

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/2 t pepper

3 T brown sugar

1 T chopped fresh mint

Cook in medium sized pot over medium-high heat to boiling, stirring often. Reduce and simmer until it is a jam-like consistency, about ten minutes. Let cool in pan, transfer to jar and refrigerate. Lasts for seven days in the fridge.


Photo by Gary Randall.
Photographing lightning by Gary Randall on 06/01/2022

With spring and early summer comes transitional weather that will cause some amazing photography opportunities. Everything from blue skies with majestic thunderheads, rainbows and lightning. It is lightning that I’m asked about how to capture the most.

 

A lightning bolt typically lasts about 10 to 50 microseconds (0.000050 sec). That’s a lot faster than your ability to react to it so we will need to discuss methods and conditions that must be understood prior to going out into the field to get that awesome photo of a bolt of lightning, but I must preface the information with a warning about safety.

Standing in the rain with a lightning rod in your hand

Of course, when we're trying to get our lightning photo we’re venturing out into a storm. Be prepared for the weather. Dress appropriately, but also remember that you are standing out in the storm with a tripod and a camera. One can’t help but be reminded of the fellows who are struck by lightning on the 18th hole as they celebrate a great putt with a golf club in their hand.

When the storm is surrounding you, go inside. Do not stand in the middle of a thundering tempest and think that you’ll come away with something more than a quick trip to the hospital, if you’re lucky, to treat you for the effects of a 100-million-volt electrical shock.

Your best photos of lightning will be when the storm is in the distance.

Equipment

You will want to use a camera that you are able to control manually. Many cameras will allow you to switch to manual mode to allow you to control your shutter speed and the duration of the exposure. You will also want to use a tripod to establish a platform for you to put your camera on. It’s easier than trying to hold your camera while you’re working and a necessity for a longer exposure photograph.

Additional gear which will improve your chances of success are a 10 stop Neutral Density Filter (ND filter). And another piece of gear that can be handy is a lightning trigger. I will cover the use of both of these pieces.

Daytime or nighttime

When photographing lightning there are two basic conditions that will require different methods to be successful: daytime with a lot of light and darkness with little or no light.

It’s easier to capture a lightning strike during the night than during the day. At nighttime it’s easy to set your camera to make a long exposure, sometimes as long as 30 seconds. Because the light is dim or even completely dark, your photo won’t be exposed unless there’s a lightning strike during your exposure. I set my camera up on the tripod and point it in the direction of the storm, set my exposure to 30 seconds and click the shutter and wait for a lightning strike while hoping that it will happen in the direction that I have the camera pointed. If, once you’ve captured some lightning, your photo is too bright, make your exposure a little shorter or stop down your aperture (smaller hole, bigger number) and try again. The lightning becomes its own flash bulb.

Daytime is a bit more challenging. It’s much more difficult to set your camera up to make a long exposure when there’s so much light that you will need to use a ND filter. A ND filter is like sunglasses for your camera; it blocks light and allows you to extend (make longer) your shutter speed which will let you to photograph the scene using the same method as at night. Make your exposure as long as possible, click the shutter cross your fingers and wait.

High tech toys

Of course, there’s always the easy way. Technology is your friend when it comes to photographing lightning. Many people are just hobbyists and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a toy that they would rarely use, but there is that option.

A lightning trigger is the solution. It can react to the flash of the lightning and click the shutter in time to capture an image. The mechanism mounts to the hot shoe flash connection on top of your camera.

Although handy a lightning trigger is certainly not required to capture lightning.

Have fun – be safe

The most important part of capturing lightning in a photograph for me is the experience. I love being outside and watching severe weather. To be able to make a beautiful and dramatic photo is a bonus.

I can’t stress enough the safety aspect of doing this. Please be safe and don’t put yourself in any dangerous situation to try to make any kind of photograph. There will always be more opportunities in the future.

Give these methods a try. Good luck and as always, have fun with your photography.

 

An insect invasion: drought and beetles take a toll on forests by Steve Wilent on 06/01/2022

On my friend’s property in Wasco County, east of Mount Hood, the signs of an insect invasion are everywhere: dead ponderosa pine trees. My rough guess is that ten percent of the pines have died in the past decade on the forested parts of the nearly 400-acre ranch, and numerous trees with green needles are as good as dead. Why? A combination of drought and insects, a one – two punch.

As they feast on bark beetles (such as the mountain pine beetle, the most destructive forest pest in the western U.S., according to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF)), woodpeckers chip away at the bark to get at the beetles and their juicy larvae and pupae. Healthy trees with a few beetles can easily withstand the damage caused be the insects and the small areas of bark removed by woodpeckers. On my friend’s ranch, most of the bark on the lower half of many of the dead trees, as well as some with green needles, has been chipped away by the birds – a sure sign of a severe beetle infestation.

In Wasco County and much of the inland west, ponderosa pines are in trouble. During a five-year drought in California, from 2012 to 2016, an estimated 140 million trees died from moisture stress and subsequent bark beetle attacks – from young trees to old-growth. When I visited the Sierra National Forest during the drought, a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) district ranger told me that ponderosa pines, the most common tree in the western half of the forest, would be largely eliminated from the area, giving way to oaks and shrubs better able to withstand dry conditions.

California is now in the third year of another drought. All 58 counties in the state are now under a drought emergency proclamation, according to California Drought Action, a multi-agency partnership. An estimated 9.5 million trees died in the state in 2021, and my guess is that the total number of trees that have died from drought and insects since 2012 may exceed 200 million by the end of this year. That’s 200 million trees in ten years – and counting. That figure does not include the millions of trees killed by wildfires in recent years.

An outbreak of mountain pine beetle in British Columbia that began in the early 1990s killed the majority of the lodgepole pines across 70,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of Oklahoma. The outbreak became so large because, as the climate warmed, winter temperatures didn’t get cold enough, for long enough, to control the beetles. Prolonged temperatures of minus 40 or lower kills most of the beetles, which in the past has limited the severity and extent of infestations. With warmer, dryer summers and drought-stressed trees, the BC beetles were able to produce an extra generation or two each year. They even have crossed the Rocky Mountains for the first time. Previously, mountain pine beetles were not found in Alberta, home to jack pine, which the beetle is happy to infest. Jack pine is common from the Canadian Rockies east to Nova Scotia.

Bark beetles and other forest insects have always been around, of course. I still have a copy of "Western Forest Insects," a textbook that I used in forestry school. The 650-page book, published in 1977 by the USFS, describes hundreds of insect species. The book explains that the mountain pine beetle lives most of its life under the bark of western pine species, including ponderosa, lodgepole, jack, western white, sugar, limber and whitebark pines. Adult beetles bore into the bark and construct tunnel-like egg galleries in the inner bark. As they excavate, they create small niches where they deposit eggs, which hatch as larvae in a few days. The larvae, which look like small white grubs, do a little excavation of their own before they turn into pupae. The pupae eventually turn into adult bark beetles, which tunnel out of the tree to start the cycle again, usually by flying to an adjacent tree.

We don’t have many ponderosa pines here on the west side of the Cascades, where Douglas-fir is the most common conifer species. However, a cousin of the mountain pine beetle, the Douglas-fir beetle, is common in our area. Both beetles have similar lifecycles. According to the USFS, Douglas-fir beetle adults usually emerge in mid to late spring, when the temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit and above; some adults that make early spring attacks can reemerge and make a second attack from late June to August.

A fact sheet from the ODF says that the Douglas-fir beetle typically infests downed trees ten inches in diameter, and then moves to nearby standing trees that are stressed, injured or less vigorous: “At normal population levels, mortality from this pest is scattered on the landscape and often present in stands weakened by root disease, fire, or wind damage. Population outbreaks typically follow storm events that cause blowdown, or defoliation from Douglas-fir tussock moth or western spruce budworm outbreaks.”

Adult beetles are about the size of a grain of rice and their color varies from all black to black with reddish brown. Once they bore into a tree, they produce a fine reddish-orange powder called frass, which is essentially digested bark (poop, in other words). You also may see small streams of white pitch coming from tiny holes in the bark, or pitch combined with frass. Trees use pitch to try to push beetles out. If you see two or three small patches of frass and/or pitch dripping down a tree, it’s likely not a threat to the tree. If you see lots of pitch and/or frass, or accumulations of frass on the ground around the tree, the tree may be dead or dying. In that case, it’s best to consult with a tree service or arborist if the tree is near structures or roads.

Compared to the severity of the impact of drought and insects on east-side forests, the threat from drought and insects is quite low in our area, so far. This year, precipitation in the Sandy River watershed has been above average – 107 percent, as of this writing. But our climate is changing and summers are longer and dryer, which means trees will be increasingly stressed for part of the year. I and my colleagues in forestry are watching carefully for signs that our trees are in trouble.

Have a question about insects in our forests? Want to know the difference between insects and bugs? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Well Adjusted – the warming sock treatment by Dr. Melanie Brown on 06/01/2022

When you are sick and miserable from a cold, your body craves care and attention. Whether it is self-treatment, or a parent fussing over their child, the little things you do to support the body during an illness can make a big difference in how bad it gets and how long it lasts. Along with the coloring books from the grocery store and extra “Sesame Street” time, I appreciated the home remedies that my mom used to soothe my symptoms and speed up my recovery. I have used the warming sock treatment for myself and my kids over the years, and it has been a big help!

Add warming sock treatment to your home care arsenal when you or your child has a cold. This centuries-old hydrotherapy treatment originated in Europe. It is free and easy to do with materials most people have.

Warming sock treatment is known as a heating compress. The body reacts to the cold socks by increasing blood circulation, boosting the immune system and decreasing congestion in the lungs and sinuses. It is a way of waking up the immune system to get ready for battle against whatever is making you sick. If done correctly, this treatment is relaxing and calming. The improved circulation clears the lungs and sinuses, soothes the nervous system, alleviates aches and chills, and sets the stage for restful sleep.

Warming sock treatment can be helpful for sore throat, ear infections, headaches, migraines, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, nasal congestion and sinus infections. It should be discussed with your doctor and used with caution in people with Raynaud's syndrome, arterial insufficiency, advanced intermittent claudication or diabetes.

Supplies

– One pair of cotton socks.

– One pair of wool socks.

– One bowl with ice water.

Step one: soak feet in warm water or take a bath for ten minutes, then towel dry. You can also warm your feet with a heating pad or hot water bottle. Do not skip this step, as starting with cold feet can make treatment less effective or detrimental.

Step two: wet cotton socks in ice water, wring out and place on your feet. You could also run socks under water, wring them out and put them in the freezer for five to ten minutes.

Step three: put dry wool socks over wet cotton socks and go to bed immediately wrapped in blankets and dressed warmly to avoid getting chilled. You will wake up with dry, warm feet.

Your feet will start to warm up within a few minutes and will totally dry within one to four hours. Congestion will begin to improve within approximately 30 minutes. If you find that the socks aren't completely drying in this time frame, you may need to wring them out more before putting them on.

It's best to start this treatment on the first night of an illness and repeat it for three nights. Avoid synthetic socks. Use at least 60 percent wool or cotton if using blends. Do not use tight socks that could impair circulation.

The next time you or a loved one has a cold, give warming sock treatment a try! Along with hydration, nutritious food and rest, it will help you minimize symptoms and get better faster.

Although warming sock treatment sounds intense, it is pretty relaxing. It can work better than a decongestant or antihistamine to relieve congestion and help you get some sleep.

View Points – Salem: A larger picture of oversight by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2022

Some of the tasks legislators perform can seem pretty different from the typical constituent services they provide, the policy and budget committees they sit on and the bills they pass.

One aspect of being a State Representative that not many people know about are the dozens of non-legislative boards, commissions, task forces and committees that are legally required to have legislators as members.

Whether it’s the Oregon-China Sister State Committee, the Road User Fee Task Force, the Oregon Transparency Advisory Commission or the Task Force on Resolution of Adverse Health Care Incidents (say that three times fast!), I believe every legislator sits on at least one such group.

Among others, I’ve served on the Interstate Compact for Juveniles State Council, the Labor Trafficking Task Force, the North Central Regional Equity in Recovery Council, the Metro Regional Wildfire Recovery Team and the Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board.

If that last one caught you by surprise, I’m happy to explain.

The Hanford National Monument is located well north of the Oregon border (about a three-hour drive from the farthest northeastern reaches of our legislative district), but Oregon still plays an important role in its oversight.

Here’s a quick overview in case you’re not familiar with Hanford

 Dating back to the 1940s, it served as a key part of the Manhattan Project, manufacturing plutonium for the Trinity Test, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and many nuclear weapons developed in the Cold War. By the time it stopped production in 1989, Hanford had produced about two thirds of the plutonium used for U.S. nuclear warheads.

Unfortunately, in its haste to produce these weapons, the federal government overlooked some (maybe most) of the environmental and health effects of this massive and dangerous undertaking. More than 55 million gallons of radioactive waste are stored at the site. For perspective, that’s more than 83 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth.

Unfortunately, most of the storage tanks and other infrastructure were built with materials that may not even last for a century, while the waste they contain will still be dangerous thousands of years from now. Some of the storage has already failed: there have been countless leaks, spills and toxic exposures in the decades since Hanford closed.

We will never know the full impact of this radiation, but cleanup efforts are ongoing, and Oregon plays an important oversight role in that process.

Although Hanford is located over 150 miles up the Columbia River from our district, the river is the key connection between our state and this ongoing cleanup effort. A nuclear plant requires a lot of water and chemicals in order to avoid a meltdown, and the Columbia River provided a perfect site to meet all of Hanford’s water demands.

Because the facilities there are so close to the water, the risk of future leaks of radioactive material poses a potential threat to everyone and everything downstream.

Therefore, Oregon gets a well-deserved voice in how the cleanup is handled.

As with so many things, the only way to approach cleanup perfectly would be to invest about ten times as much as the huge amount the federal government is already spending at Hanford (which is the largest and most expensive environmental remediation plan in the world).

I’ll avoid digging into the dry details of nuclear chemistry that I’ve had to learn as a member of this board, and instead make a broader point about serving in this role. It has made clear to me that the risk of environmental disaster should matter to people well beyond the immediate surroundings of a pollution source.

Whether it’s a data center 30 miles from my house, a nuclear site 150 miles upstream or a coal plant halfway across the country, Oregon has a duty to take responsibility and contribute to minimizing the risk of catastrophe.

I have vocally supported legislation to limit carbon emissions in our state, I have strived to keep our waterways safe for humans and animals alike, and I have been proud to have a voice in the conversation about Hanford’s ongoing, long-term cleanup plans.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Some tips on trying to cohabitate with those wily coyotes by Mt. Hood Community College on 06/01/2022

Even if you live in a city, you have probably seen a coyote. For some people, this can be alarming – many residents post online photos of coyotes boldly walking in neighborhoods. But should you be concerned?

Seeing coyotes in daytime is not uncommon; many people assume that coyotes are nocturnal, but that isn’t entirely true. Coyotes tend to be nocturnal when living near humans, but will hunt any time, especially with pups to feed.

Yes, small pets are often prey for coyotes, but rodents are their predominant source of food. They generally hunt alone eating birds, insects, fruit, human garbage and pet food.

Christine Anderson, a biology instructor at Mt. Hood Community College, explained that eliminating a coyote from its habitat could have unintended effects.

“When you remove coyotes from their home, the population immediately reduces but those remaining in the population will reproduce more often and litter sizes can increase; the population will become larger,” Anderson said. “Plus, there is a restructuring within their group when coyotes are removed which can be chaotic when they are trying to find a new territory or pack. This can push coyotes into more frequent human interactions when they are looking for new food sources. It actually works against us,”

Coyote attacks to humans are rare and typically result in scratches, nips or bites. There have only been two documented human deaths attributed to coyotes.

One case in 1970 involved the death of a three-year-old child whose parents regularly fed the coyote.

The other incident happened in 2008 when coyotes killed a woman hiking in Canada; experts were surprised by this attack and consider it very unusual behavior.

Coyotes are generally monogamous with only one pair in a group producing one litter a year. For the most part, coyotes shy from humans and stay hidden, but are habituated in urban settings and will venture out to find food, especially during puppy season.

Anderson further explained that eliminating any food sources, including free-roaming pets, will dissuade a coyote from your space. Providing coyotes with a food source encourages their return and bold behavior. Anderson noted that hazing works particularly well to reestablish boundaries for coyotes.

“When people can start a program like hazing, like putting coins in a pop can and shaking it when a coyote is near, it will help make the coyote more fearful of the human population without hurting them. If they are cruising through, that’s normal behavior, but if they are stalking pets, then hazing is warranted,” Anderson said. “We are putting houses in their habitat and it’s forcing them to be out in the open more. We are building faster than they can find new habitat.”

Shelley McFarland is a public relations and content specialist at Mt. Hood Community College.

Berry good! by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2022

It’s a delicious month for fresh berry recipes, black, blue, straw or raspberry.

Berries are center stage in these recipes:

Strawberry yogurt muffins

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened full fat Greek yogurt

1/4 t salt

1 t baking powder

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup milk

1 t vanilla

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 t baking powder

1 egg

Mix together vanilla, oil, egg, sugar, milk and yogurt in medium bowl, set aside.

Whisk dry ingredients together and pour over wet ingredients, then whisk together until just combined. Fold in chopped strawberries.

Scoop into lined muffin tin (eight large or 12 medium). Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F.

 

Blueberry cookies

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1 t vanilla

1/2 t salt

1 T cornstarch

1 t baking powder

1 1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together dry ingredients in medium sized bowl, set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar on high for two to three minutes, then add vanilla, egg and mix two minutes more.

Mix in dry ingredients for one minute, then fold in blueberries.

Drop onto cookie sheet in one tablespoon portions of dough.

Bake for 11 minutes.

Safekeeping tangibles by Paula Walker on 06/01/2022

Safe deposit boxes are often used to keep valuable tangible items and sometimes even cash. What are the implications of this for reporting on your taxable estate and for distributing your assets according to your estate plan - trust or will?

The contents of a safe deposit box are part of your estate, therefore the value of these must be accounted for in reporting on the total value of your estate for estate tax purposes. Keep an inventory of the contents of the box for your trustee or personal representative, aka ‘executor,’ to assist them in accounting for the content and value that those contents contribute to your estate.

It is important to understand that you are the renter of the box, and the owner of the contents. You do not own the box, the institution does. The contents of the box, if you are the sole lessee will pass, or be distributed, according to the provisions in your estate plan.

Establishing joint ownership of the box to avoid probate could trigger unintended consequences such as the surviving joint owner taking all the contents for themselves, regardless of your intended distributions per your estate plan.

The moral of the story is to carefully consider the handling of the tangibles that you place in a safe deposit box as part of your estate planning and managing your assets for distribution to your intended recipients.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

In 2014, the use of a safe-deposit box for storing tangibles of the decedent came into play with a rather unique and interesting twist. A court ordered that the Nobel Peace Prize medal awarded in 1964 and the travel Bible of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. be placed in a safe deposit box in an ‘undisclosed location’ that only the court could open, while the suit between King’s daughter Bernice King and her brothers was decided.

Ms. King was not the executor of King’s estate but the self-appointed gatekeeper of many of the estate’s tangibles. The brothers wanted to sell those memorabilia to a private bidder.

Ms. King, who was in possession of those items at the time, said she would not allow the sale of that property of her father. In 2015 with former President Jimmy Carter acting as a mediator, the court ruled that the Bible was a possession of the estate, and not the inheritance of any one of the heirs, but that the status of the Peace Prize would go to trial for decision.

In August of 2016, the three sparring children agreed to end the lawsuit and the court signed an order releasing both items to Martin Luther King III who served his siblings as director of their father’s estate. I presume the court then removed those items from the safe deposit box, wherever it was located.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Developing your own style by Gary Randall on 05/01/2022

Being unique is the best way to stand out in a crowd. It applies to many things including the art that we create. I remember the first time that I was told that my photos were immediately recognizable from the many other photos that are posted and viewed online in photography forums. I was flattered and it was a confidence builder. It has been in the back of my mind since I started taking landscape photography seriously that I need to try to purposely create a certain style that would set my work apart but had no idea how. Today if I were asked, I think that I’d have some advice to give.

 

Although my advice comes from the perspective of a photographer, it can apply to anyone who’s creating art in this age of social media and the seemingly endless flow of masterful work that’s being done by other artists. It’s easy to think that the effort to become as good as those that we admire is beyond our ability, but it’s not something that you develop all at once. It’s like a skill that needs to be practiced to master. Music comes to mind as it’s an obvious example of how a skill is developed with practice. And so first be willing to practice.

Love what you do no matter your skill level. You must enjoy what you do to be able to want to spend the time creating your art until you are proud of it, so do it for the love of it.

I’ve been considered someone who has mastered my art, yet I feel that mastering my art is an always moving goal line. The more that I learn the more that I realize what I need to learn. I also feel that if one feels as if they’ve crossed that goal line and have mastered their art they stifle their progress, because no matter the art form, more can be learned or skills can be honed that will develop into a personal style. If one stops trying to improve or stretch the boundaries of their art, they won't fully develop as an artist.

In the beginning it’s natural to find someone whose style is what you perceive that you’d like to emulate. Learn their techniques but consider that the beginning of your journey. I see a lot of photographers who have learned a notable photographer’s style and techniques so well that it’s difficult to tell the difference between the two. The internet is flooded with amazing photographs that emulate popular techniques and styles, but they don’t stand out as being unique.

Learn from more than one artist and mix the techniques.

Before you develop your own techniques mix and mash together techniques learned from different artists. Stretch the effects that the techniques create beyond what they did when you learned them. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I tell students that they can’t break anything by trying something new. Just go for it. If it fails you won’t do it again, but if it works for you, you’ll incorporate it into your workflow.

Be patient because no skill happens overnight. It’s true that some artists are more adept at their art than others but doing what you love shouldn’t have an urgency that creates a feeling of stress. The feeling that you should be somewhere else other than where you are creates disappointment and discouragement. You are where you are because there’s a lesson to be learned, and once it’s learned you move forward to the next one.

If all of this could be reduced to a single word, it would be to practice. Just keep practicing. You will have no choice but to improve and with the experience that practicing gives you, you will also, no doubt, create your own unique style.


Contributed photo
The season for gesundheit! April showers bring May pollen by Steve Wilent on 05/01/2022

Every season has its downsides, except for fall, the perfect season. In summer, it’s the heat. For me, anything over 85 degrees is too hot. I was not a happy camper during last year’s record-setting heat wave. Winter is okay, except that even I sometimes get tired of the rain. Spring, with warmer (but usually not hot) days and bright green new growth on trees and plants, can be pleasant — unless you have allergies to pollen. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m not allergic to pollen at all. But for many of my friends and neighbors who are, spring is a dreaded season.

 

Pollen is produced by many plants as part of their reproduction process. Although individual pollen grains are tiny, they often are produced in such numbers that they can collectively affect human health when they get into peoples’ eyes, noses and lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), roughly 60 million people per year in the U.S. suffer from pollen-related allergies. The symptoms of allergic rhinitis, which is sometimes called hay fever, include sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation, nasal congestion and fatigue. Antihistamines, decongestants and other medications may offer some relief, but for many pollen allergy sufferers, the only cure is enduring until pollen season passes.

The Mayo Clinic web site (mayoclinic.org), one of my go-to sources of medical information, notes that there are three main sources of pollen: trees, which typically produce pollen in early spring; grasses, in late spring and summer; and ragweed, most often in fall. According to Pollen.com, there are 17 widely-distributed species of ragweed in North America, including Oregon, and the pollen season may last from spring through fall.

In Hoodland, Douglas-fir is not only the most common tree species in our area, but it’s also a prolific pollen producer. Beginning in April or May, Doug-fir pollen coats our cars, roofs, patios and other surfaces with a dusting of yellow pollen grains, and sometimes you may see swirling clouds of pollen stirred by a breeze or a passing car.

Doug-fir trees are monoecious, meaning that each tree has both male and female cones — reproductive organs. These small cones, which are a half-inch long or so, are borne in clusters near the end of the branch, where you’ll also see similar-looking needle buds that open in spring to reveal light green new growth. The male cones open in spring and release pollen to fertilize the female cones on the same or neighboring trees. After the Doug-fir pollination season, you’ll find numerous spent pollen cones on the ground around the trees. Once fertilized, the female cones eventually grow into seed cones that slowly mature and release seeds the following year (just ask any of our pesky Douglas squirrels).

As irritating as that pollen may be to us humans, we wouldn’t have Doug-fir forests without it.

Black cottonwood trees also produce pollen, as well as huge amounts of the “fluff” for which the trees are named. The fluff is composed of tiny seeds and strands of white cottony fibers that catch the wind and help spread the seeds. Cottonwood production varies by year, and in heavy years we Mountain folk see clouds of fluff seemingly everywhere.

Black cottonwood is dioecious: trees have either male or female flowers, but not both. For a cottonwood to reproduce, a male tree must be near enough to a female tree so that pollen can be transferred, either by the wind or by pollinators, to flowers on the female tree. The fertilized flowers soon produce seeds that drift down or are carried away by a breeze.

Don’t blame your allergies on cottonwood fluff or seeds — it’s the pollen from the male flowers that’s the culprit.

Doug-fir and cottonwood aren’t the only sources of pollen in our neck of the woods. Alder, bigleaf and vine maple, grand fir, western hemlock and western redcedar are pollen producers. Some native flowering plants such as fireweed and willows can be problems for allergy sufferers, as can some of the non-native trees and plants that people plant in their yards — chrysanthemums and daisies, for example. And of our many invasive, non-native plants, Scotch broom is a significant source of pollen. One more reason to root it out!

East of the Cascades, lodgepole and ponderosa pines, western juniper, sagebrush, rabbitbrush and other trees and plants are the bane of allergy sufferers.

Flowering plants that spread their pollen primarily by insects, such as rhododendrons and roses, and fruit trees such as cherry and pear, usually do not cause allergic reactions in people.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA, aafa.org), a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953, has compiled an Allergy Capitals report that looks at the top 100 most challenging U.S. cities for seasonal pollen allergies. All of the top ten worst cities are in the eastern (more or less) half of the continental U.S. The top three worst cities are Scranton, Pa., Witchita, Kan., and McAllen, Texas. Portland, San Francisco and Seattle are amongst the least challenging cities, ranking 96, 98, and 100, respectively.

The report is interesting, but it doesn’t mention Brightwood, Welches, Zigzag, Rhododendron or Government Camp. Hmmm, must have been an oversight.

For pollen allergy sufferers, here’s a bit of good news: The masks you use to protect yourself against COVID-19 are very effective at preventing pollen allergy symptoms.

“Masks may stop allergens in the air from getting into your nose, throat, and lungs,” according to the AAFA. “If allergens like pollen, mold, and animal dander cause you to have allergy and asthma symptoms, you may get some relief from wearing a face mask. They can be especially helpful when pollen and mold counts are high, or on public transportation, such as planes, where animals may be present. In fact, some studies have shown that people had fewer allergic rhinitis symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic because of wearing masks.”

UCLA Health, an arm of the University of California, Los Angeles, citing a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, reports that study participants who wore a surgical or N95 mask consistently over a period of two weeks saw improvement in nasal allergy symptoms: “Pollen particles (a common cause of seasonal allergies) range from 10 to 100 micrometers in size, depending on the type of pollen. A standard surgical mask can block particles as small as 3 micrometers. Medical masks, such as N95 masks, are even more effective, catching particles only 0.04 micrometers in size. Even cloth masks with multiple layers will protect you from most pollen.”

Planning a spring hike or picnic in the woods? Better pack your mask.

Have a question about how trees reproduce? Want to buy some pine pollen? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Well Adjusted – your health is in hot water by Dr. Melanie Brown on 05/01/2022

Modern luxuries have made our bodies weaker. Our jobs and hobbies are becoming more stagnant and our food is unhealthy and abundant. We are pushing the button on the microwave instead of pulling weeds in our garden, where we would be getting fresh air, sunshine and physical activity. We live in a society of overstimulation of the mind and under-stimulation of the body. In turn, we must intentionally create routines to support a healthy existence. Our bodies aren’t delicate figurines that should be sitting up on a shelf. We need to move, walk, lift and sweat to stay in good condition. When our bodies feel good, our spirit is more vibrant, and we can live our lives more abundantly, from birth to old age.

Sauna bathing is a relaxing routine that can bring more health and longevity to your life. Mimicking moderate aerobic exercise, sauna bathing increases heart rate and body temperature and causes you to sweat. Frequent sauna use increases brain function and decreases the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and stroke. Even though exercise is king, sauna use can improve cardiorespiratory fitness in those who exercise and those who don’t. Along with the health benefits, most people find saunas relaxing. In the quiet heat, you can shed your cares of the day and come out refreshed and rejuvenated.

We rarely think of stress as a positive thing, but eustress (or positive stress) helps us push through challenges and grow. It helps us complete our term paper last minute or the final reps of a challenging workout. Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” On a cellular level, this is true. Sauna bathing activates heat shock proteins (HSPs) present in all cells that respond to stress by activating antistress pathways. Weightlifting, fasting and cold showers also stimulate HSPs since they all cause a certain amount of stress or injury to the body.

The body responds to these “injuries” by creating cellular responses that are good for the body. HSPs repair and assemble protein complexes, prevent aggregation and plaque formation in the body, and support immune function. When abundant in the body, they improve our overall health. After a sauna, they stay elevated for about 48 hours, cleaning up and repairing the cells in your body. Sweat, in general, helps the body release environmental toxins such as the heavy metals aluminum and cadmium.

Sauna benefits are “dose-dependent,” so the frequency of use matters. The sweet spot seems to be about four times per week or more, for around 20 minutes, at 174 degrees or above (lower for infrared) at 10-20 percent humidity. A Finnish study showed a 20 percent decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease with sauna bathing two to three times per week, but a 66 percent reduced risk with four to seven times per week. It showed decreased hypertension by 24 percent with two to three times per week and 46 percent with four to seven times per week. Similarly striking was the 24 percent decrease in all-cause mortality with two to three times per week and 40 percent decrease in all-cause mortality with four to seven times per week.

Hot baths and jacuzzies have some similar benefits if you don’t have regular access to a sauna. Stay submerged for about 20 minutes with your shoulders down in 104-degree water. Saunas are healthy for most people. If you have heart-related or other health concerns, talk to your doctor before adding saunas to your routine. Pregnant women, infants and young children should avoid sauna use.

In caring for our bodies, we unlock our life’s potential. Add sauna bathing to exercise, good sleep and a nutritious diet. The healthy routines we create empower us to live fully and be an asset to our families and community!

The messy and peaceful life of a pollinator: the Mason Bee by Mt. Hood Community College on 05/01/2022

Have you seen mason bees around lately? Depending on weather conditions, they are active in Oregon between March and June. Excellent pollinators for early crops, they are fun to watch and are non-aggressive which makes it easy to nurture mason bees in your own yard.

To get started, you can plant native species and avoid pesticides while they are in bloom. Here’s what you will need to know about these industrious bees.

Amazing native pollinators, scientifically named Osmia lignaria, these hardworking and gentle bees have pollinated our local plants long before the European honeybee was introduced to our continent in the 17th century.

They are also much more effective pollinators; in fact, according to certain studies, each mason bee provides as much pollination as 200 honeybees! They fly in colder, wetter conditions than honeybees, and do not require over winter care.

Your blueberries, garden and fruit trees will greatly benefit from them with very little effort from you.

The mason bee is a solitary bee, which means they do not form hives, nor do they make honey. For this reason, they are gentle and non-aggressive and get their name from their lifestyle.

Each female emerges, mates with a male, then goes about securing the next generation. To do so, she finds a suitable nesting site. This site may be a hollow reed, hole in bark, or they are delighted to accept the help of humans who provide suitable nesting tubes.

They do not make their own holes, so they will not drill into your masonry or house causing damage.

Once a nesting site is located, mason bees search for and obtain pollen, this is where the pollination effect takes place for the plants.

They are messy and inefficient and that is what makes them great pollinators. They return with the pollen and make a ball in the nesting tube. Once enough pollen has been accumulated, the queen lays an egg. She then goes in search of clay mud and transfers enough of this back to the nesting tube to form a wall, creating a chamber for the egg she has just laid. This is where the term “mason” bee originated. She then repeats the process until the tube is filled. She then searches for another nesting tube and repeats the process.

I hope to provide more information on mason bees in another article soon. In the meantime, you can find more information available from the OSU Extension, Xerces Society or CrownBees.com.

Susan Spencer is a science instructor at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: between the sessions by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2022

I’ve written here before about how serving in the legislature is not the part-time job it appears to be. A frequent response I’ve gotten to that point is that the legislature is only in session for seven months out of every twenty-four: a six-month session during odd-numbered years and a 35-day session during even-numbered years. But the beginning and end of a legislative session don’t mark the beginning and end of a legislator’s obligations to the people of Oregon. One of the things we do outside of those seven months of being ‘in session’ is “Legislative Days.”

During the year between sessions, the legislature gathers periodically in Salem (or, since COVID-19 came on the scene, remotely by video conference) to hold hearings on topics that may require legislative attention during the next session.

Even though I’m an outgoing member of the House, I am still the Chair of the House Committee on Human Services, and will proudly keep that position until the Speaker of the House appoints my successor. As Chair, it’s my responsibility to invite guest speakers to address our committee about Human Services-related topics.

Sometimes, service providers want to tell us how recently passed bills have impacted their work and the people they serve. Sometimes, everyday Oregonians want to tell us how future bills may be needed to help address problems confronting them. Often, quite simply, it’s good for legislators to invite state agency officials to explain what they do and how they do it, and to answer questions about whether they’re doing it well enough.

Members of the public, of course, are encouraged to tune into these hearings. Public testimony isn’t usually heard during Legislative Days. Instead, these interim conversations are generally used as a time for the committee to learn about existing programs, hear reports on ongoing problems and interact with providers and executive agency officials. These hearings are different from committee meetings during a session about specific bills, where public testimony is a necessary part of the lawmaking process. But neither type of hearing is less important than the other, since they’re both aimed toward the same goal: making sure that the legislature is responsive to the needs of the people who depend on us.

If you would like to watch these hearings on June 1- 3, you can email my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov and my staff will happily point you in the right direction. Although I don’t know yet what each committee’s agenda will cover, there are certain to be interesting and important topics discussed.

Tracking these sorts of hearings is a good way to keep in touch with what your government is doing, and whether they could use your input to focus on something you think is more important. As I write here often: our government works best when the people it represents are well-informed about the challenges confronting our communities, in touch with what the government is doing to fix them and telling their representatives how to do better. Please let me know how I can help!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Turning recipes around by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2022

Reverse seared Ribeye steaks

I’ve seen this technique quite a bit lately and it promises a juicy steak. Bring meat to room temperature while preheating oven. I finished with fresh rosemary and basted with unsalted butter.

2 large ribeye steaks, about 1 lb. each

1 T Olive oil

2 T unsalted butter

2 T steak rub

Place an oven rack over a baking sheet and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle steaks with olive oil and coat with seasoning on both sides, let rest to room temperature. Place steaks on rack over baking sheet in oven for 15 minutes. Add a little more oil to a skillet (cast iron is best), then sear steak for two minutes on one side. Flip and add butter and herbs to pan, coating steak with herb butter, and for cook another 2 mins. Remove from pan, allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

White cake using reverse creaming method

I’ve seen this technique lately and my mind was screaming during the process. I appreciate how easy it is: no creaming butter and sugar, no whipping egg whites. I made two batches to make a very tall cake, while I used another simple and easy buttercream recipe. Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature before you begin.

You’ll need electric mixer, two cake pans sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, floured with parchment round in the bottom.

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

In large bowl whisk dry ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 t baking soda

1 1/2 t baking powder

1 t salt

Add in 2/3 cup shortening and 1/4 cup unsalted butter. Mix with electric mixer until crumbly.

In another large bowl whisk:

6 egg whites

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whole milk

2 t vanilla

1 t butter extract

1/2 t almond extract

Add half of egg whites mixture to the dry ingredients mixture, and mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the egg whites mixture and mix for 10 seconds. Scoop into pans and bake for 35 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.

American buttercream

2 cups unsalted butter room temperature

6 cups powdered sugar

1 T vanilla extract

1/2 t salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

Using electric mixer, whip butter until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, then add other ingredients. Whip for about 10 minutes total, until very light in color.

Finding fairness with tangibles by Paula Walker on 05/01/2022

The issue of fairness is one that runs deep when it comes to inheritance and tangibles, those items of personal property given to family and friends are often at the core of that. Fairness for some is the monetary value calculated when all is given out, tangibles and other items including real estate and finances. “Did we all get an equivalent financial share?” Fairness for others is receiving what was most dear to them, something that held emotional ties and memories, something they want to pass along to their children, something that has a sense of tradition and roots and connection. Fairness for others is a combination of these benchmarks. A complex formula for a sense of worth derived from a mix of emotional ties and what the (more or less objective) financial estimate tells.

Your task then in creating your estate plan is to determine whether tangibles will be distributed in a manner that equates to a financial balance sheet and/or whether you will try to factor in the meaning of an item to someone in determining to whom you will leave it. These core ideas then become a substantial portion of your written estate plan.

Financial evaluation: if this is important to you and you know it will be important to your family, establish in your plan the process to be followed to valuate items when your estate is administered and items distributed. Items of significant financial value should be appraised. If you already have had them appraised keep those appraisals with your estate records for your trustee/executor to work with (i.e., jewelry, art, antiques, etc.). If they have not been appraised or recently appraised and their value may have changed, include instructions in your estate plan to have those certain items appraised. For the household items that may not warrant an individual appraisal fee you may want to instruct hiring a home interior appraiser. Further you may want to instruct that the value of each item chosen is calculated as part of the recipient’s total inheritance so that when all is distributed the total value of inheritance is the same for each person. Or you may simply want to ensure that the tangibles are divided up as evenly as possible in consideration of their monetary value, though this can be difficult to achieve.

Emotional and sentimental evaluation: the difficulty referred to is in part based on the other standard of fairness, the value in the meaning an item has to one or more persons. The value of an item may have nothing to do with its marketable worth to each person involved. And when more than one person has their sights set on the same thing … well … that is “where the fun begins.” While you may not anticipate every potential battle point, there are some commonly shared practices that you can employ in your estate plan that can minimize the potential, level the playing field and reduce or eliminate conflict.

Here are a few – one approach is to ask your family or whoever is close to you that you are considering leaving something to what is dear to them. Use their answers to create a list of what is going to who as you have these conversations. For some items that you know or learn have particular value to more than one person, you may leave a letter with your estate plan that explains how you chose between them and confirm your value and appreciation of each of them whether they received the desired item or not. Another approach is to be very careful in your commitments. Do not give an item casually to more than one person, agreeing in separate conversations at different times who receives what. Remember, a casual conversation will be remembered and could be the seed for conflict where you do not explicitly arrange in your estate plan for the transfer.

Identify a tie breaker – in your estate plan give your trustee/executor or an independent person the role of tie breaker when the inheritors themselves cannot come to conclusion on the contested item. Set a timeframe in which a decision must be made. If that timeframe does not result in a decision the tie breaker is authorized to make the decision. Help the tie breaker out with suggested options. These are numerous and can be creative such as having a lottery, or pick a number, or sell the item(s) and distribute the proceeds equally, and so on.

Give your trustee/executor your strong support – be sure that your estate plan establishes that your trustee/executor has no liability for choices they may make or may not make in distributing tangible items. Seems like an obvious point, but one that is necessary to state clearly, in writing.

Good advice: one source describes the objective in giving your tangible personal property to family and friends as “leaving a legacy of relationships rather than a legacy of conflict.”

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Robin Williams’ widow and the grandfather clock: apparently inheritance disputes are not the exclusive domain of the celebrities themselves though such disputes may still occur over property that was once theirs. Robin Williams’ widow gave verbal commitment to one of his sons ten years prior to her passing in 2015, in response to his request for the grandfather clock because it “has always been kind of special.” But six months before she passed away his daughter requested the clock and his widow agreed to that as well. As the story has it, a mere three days after Robin Williams’ widow’s death, as the son was wheeling the grandfather clock out of her house, he was met by Robin Williams’ daughter claiming the clock was hers. The end result was a confrontation, a fist fight, a broken grandfather clock, and a shattered relationship between the two children.

 


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder – Trilliums by Gary Randall on 04/01/2022

I saw my first trillium of the year today. I always celebrate the first signs of spring, but I don’t really trust that it has arrived until I see my first trillium. Trilliums are a favorite native wildflower to a lot of us who live here on the Mountain for the same reason, but also for their beauty.

 

Trilliums (Trillium ovatum), sometimes called Wake Robins, are a member of the lily family. They grow from rhizomes on a single stalk. Their parts are divided into thirds, thus the prefix “tri” of the word trillium, meaning three.

The flower’s petals are white but they will typically turn purple as they age. They aren’t known to be fragrant and can smell bad or not at all. They love coniferous forests that are mixed with deciduous trees such as the maples in the forests around us. They burst through decaying leaves left on the forest floor the previous autumn at the first sign of spring. The only flower that beats the trillium to the punch is the small, often-ignored pendulous white flowers of the Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis) bush.

Because trilliums grow and spread from rhizomes, if left undisturbed they will grow into a colony of many that can spread to create a beautiful carpet of flowers on a forest floor, or in your yard if the conditions are favorable. I’m not a gardener, but I’ve been told that trilliums can be transplanted, and you can divide the rhizomes to create more trilliums.

Trilliums can be propagated from seeds but take up to seven years to bloom. In nature the trillium has a trick for spreading their seeds with the help of ants and other insects. The seeds have a protein-rich part that is especially appealing to ants. The ants take the seed to their nests where they eat the desirable part and then leave the seed underground to grow into a new plant.

Contrary to what is sometimes believed, the trillium is not the Oregon state flower. That honor goes to the Oregon grape, a plant that also grows in abundance around us. The Oregon grape has leaves that resemble holly with small yellow flowers that bloom closer to summer and produce little purple berries. Trilliums like to hide among the Oregon grape.

One of the reasons that I get excited when I see my first trillium of the season is because it’s the start of wildflower season, and I love taking photos of flowers. Everything from a wide-angle photo of a vast field of balsamroot in the Columbia River Gorge or a macro photo of details of large flowers or a closeup of some of the smallest flowers that are more likely to be overlooked. They are all fair game when I’m being creative with photography.

Photography can be an excellent escape from the pressures of life. Creating art with a camera is fulfilling to me and many of my friends. I recommend spending time with some of our local wildflowers this coming season. And do what I do. Start with a beautiful photo of a trillium.


Photo by George Gentry/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
New immigrants on The Mountain: Anna's hummingbirds by Steve Wilent on 04/01/2022

Lara and I have always had one or more hummingbird feeders outside our house. In our 28-plus years on The Mountain, rufous hummingbirds have been regular guests, and welcome ones, from spring through fall. Their aerial acrobatics, fearlessness and tenacity in defending their territory are admirable – the National Audubon Society says the species is “notably pugnacious.” These tiny birds can travel nearly 4,000 miles from their summer breeding grounds as far north as Alaska and northwest Canada to wintering sites in Mexico.

 

Each year at least one pair raises a family in our woods, so we keep a ready supply of sugar for making nectar. Two summers ago, our rufous hummers were joined by a pair of Anna’s hummingbirds, a slightly larger species. The two species seemed to get along well enough – they shared our two feeders and generally ignored each other. That fall, both species left for warmer climes and returned as usual in the spring. But last fall the Anna’s hummers stayed on after their cousins headed south – and stayed all winter. I’ve heard of Anna’s hummers overwintering on The Mountain in recent years. A decade ago or so, friends who live in Timberline Rim reported that Anna’s came to their feeders year-round. Now they’ve moved up about 500 feet in elevation to our home near Lolo Pass Road.

This winter “our” Anna’s hummers survived the cold spells – we had many nights in the teens and twenties, with a low of 13 degrees one night. Several times a day I would warm the feeders before the nectar froze and brought the feeders in each night. When I put the feeders our in the mornings just after dawn, one or more Anna’s would begin feeding even as I was hanging the feeder. A couple of times I simply held the feeder while one fed, which gave me a superb view of these colorful, courageous birds.

An Anna’s typically weighs one- or two-tenths of an ounce. How do they make it through a week of sub-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, let alone a winter with no flowers to feed from? Or insects to prey on? Amazing.

Yes, they eat insects of various kinds, from fruit flies to moths and even bees, which provide a vital source of protein during the breeding season.

By the way, the bird was reportedly named for Anna Massιna, Duchess of Rivoli (1802–87), a French duchess who was married to François Victor Massιna, second Duke of Rivoli, who was an amateur ornithologist.

Anna’s hummers, year-round residents along the Pacific coast, from British Columbia to Mexico, are expanding their range – with the help of us humans, though the expansion of urban and suburban areas, climate change and our willingness to provide free meals. In a 2017 study published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B,” a renowned journal of the biological sciences, two researchers focused on Anna’s hummers, noting that the “climate-tempering effect of urbanization” – the so-called heat island effect – along with the general warming trend in our region and the increased availability of food throughout the winter, have had a significant impact on the species’ range.

“We found that Anna’s hummingbirds have colonized colder locations over time, were more likely to colonize sites with higher housing density, and were more likely to visit feeders in the expanded range compared to the historical range,” they wrote. “Additionally, their range expansion mirrored a corresponding increase over time in the tendency of people to provide nectar feeders in the expanded range. This work illustrates how humans may alter the distribution and potentially the migratory behavior of species through landscape and resource modification.”

Climate change also has had an impact on the rufous hummers. According to Audubon, the species is “still widespread and very common, but surveys show continuing declines in numbers during recent decades. Because it relies on finding the right conditions in so many different habitats at just the right seasons during the year, it could be especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.” Many rufous hummers now winter along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

There is no doubt that humanity has influenced the world’s climate. We’ve also had an impact on our local climate: as cities and subdivisions expand and become warmer, wildlife habitat changes. I’m reading a recently published book that offers a detailed look at this subject: “The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities,” by Peter Alagona. I may write about this book in the future.

People tend to think of feeding birds and other wildlife as harmless, as beneficial to the wild critters we love, but our well-intended actions are not entirely benign. In areas like ours, rufous hummers may face increased competition from Anna’s hummers for food during the mating season. Those Anna’s hummers might not be here if we didn’t feed them year-round, even giving them warm nectar on icy days. Perhaps we are unwittingly contributing to the decline of rufous hummers. And if we are, should we stop?

It is highly unlikely that hummingbird lovers will stop feeding the birds they love. And even if we did, would it have an appreciable effect, given the other far more powerful changes now occurring and to come that will have an impact on hummers?

I don’t know. Answering these questions is way above my pay grade. I’ll continue to provide nectar to any hungry hummer, and I’ll plant shrubs and flowers that they feed on and that attract bees and other beneficial insects.

Sometimes, when a feeder is empty, a hummer will come to the kitchen window or office and buzz there for a few moments. I can imagine them saying, “Hey, I’m hungry! Fill the feeder!”

How can I refuse?

Have a question about Anna’s or rufous humming birds? Want to know how to attract insects for them to feast on? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Mushroom hunting: spring rains bring a bounty to forage by Mt. Hood Community College on 04/01/2022

Most people grew up eating mushrooms on pizza or in pasta sauce and calling the mushrooms that sprouted in their backyard “toadstools.” While you don’t want to pick and eat random mushrooms, foraging for wild, edible mushrooms is a fun challenge. The Pacific Northwest (PNW), particularly west of the Cascades, is a wonderful place to find mushrooms.

Mushroom hunting is usually considered an autumn activity, but here in the Pacific Northwest, mild winters and plenty of rain mean that mushrooms can be found in the spring as well. Many trees have mycorrhizal relationships with fungus. “Myco” means fungus and “rhizo” means root, and in mycorrhizal partnerships the fungus and the tree share nutrients via the tree's roots.

Proper Identification is a Must

Before eating wild mushrooms, it’s crucial you learn to identify edible, inedible and poisonous mushrooms. Inedible mushrooms might give you a stomachache, but some poisonous mushrooms are deadly.

Field guides are a must: David Arora's “All That the Rain Promises and More” is a classic for good reason, and neatly fits in a back pocket. It’s smart to cross reference with mushroom identification websites and blogs.

Phone apps like iNaturalist can provide suggested identifications from photos of your finds. You can contact your local ranger station as well. If no one on site has a good idea of what you've found, they can likely direct you to someone who can help.

You can also take a mushroom identification class at a local community college.

You can pick or cut mushrooms you find; neither practice will significantly affect the fungus as a whole. Get comfortable identifying the cap, gills, ring, stem and cup of different kinds of mushrooms. Learning how to distinguish chanterelles from false chanterelles and morels from elfin saddles is not only crucial for your health and safety, but also a lot of fun.

What Mushrooms Grow in the Spring?

Spring promises mushrooms for the intrepid forager, most famously morels (Morchella spp.). Several species of morel can be found in the Pacific Northwest, and they are among the most highly prized edible mushrooms. Often growing in places that have burned in recent years, they resemble conical honeycombs on short stalks, and may be anywhere from yellowish-brown to almost black. Be sure to familiarize yourself with inedible lookalikes like false morels (Gyromitra escolenta) and elfin saddles (Helvella lacunosa).

Most local boletes fruit in fall, but the spring king (Boletus rex-veris) is a vernal favorite. This hefty brown mushroom with a thick stalk is more likely to be found from May onward.

Although chanterelles (Cantharellus spp.) and yellowfoot mushrooms (Craterellus tubaeformis) commonly fruit in summer and fall, they may be found in smaller amounts in the spring. Keep an eye out for the yellow color of these distinctive mushrooms.

I love teaching people how to identify mushrooms and edible plants. Being able to identify the plants, trees and mushrooms that surrounds us here in the Pacific Northwest develops a unique appreciation of nature.

This is the second of three columns about foraging for wild, edible plants and mushrooms. I’ll cover foraging for autumn mushrooms later in the year.

Rebecca Lexa is an Oregon Master Naturalist. She teaches how to forage for edible plants and mushrooms, birdwatching and nature identification, through Community Education at Mt. Hood Community College. Find more information and register for a foraging class at: learn.mhcc.edu.

 

Well Adjusted – exactly what is chiropractic? by Dr. Melanie Brown on 04/01/2022

I became interested in chiropractic due to my stepmom's experience. She had been seeing a neurologist for numbness in her right leg. After three MRIs and several tests, she had no answers. Her neurologist gave her two options, exploratory surgery or chiropractic.

She visited a chiropractor who x-rayed her standing up and found the problem, which did not appear when she was lying down. She had feeling back in her leg after three adjustments, and after a course of treatments, her symptoms completely resolved.

After this miraculous recovery, the whole family started seeing Dr. Sandstrom. We all benefited in different ways from our treatments. In my hometown in the 1990s, there was a stigma attached to visiting a chiropractor. At the time, most MDs would not recommend chiropractic. I'm so glad her neurologist did!

What is a chiropractor? Some people think that chiropractors just "crack backs," but that couldn't be further from the truth. Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) specialize in diagnosing and managing disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system (NMS) (nerves, muscles and bones). DCs are considered portals of entry into the healthcare system, trained to diagnose whatever ails a patient and treat them if indicated or refer them to an appropriate specialist.

DCs screen for fractures, cancer, digestive problems and more. When needed, chiropractors will order MRIs, X-rays, special imaging and tests, and blood and urine labs. DCs can perform minor surgery and deliver babies.

The time that medical doctors spend studying pharmacology, chiropractors spend on going more in-depth into the NMS system and learning how to adjust the body's joints. Other aspects of our education are very similar. Some chiropractors work in hospital and clinic systems. However, most chiropractors work in private practice.

Medical and chiropractic professionals work together to the benefit of their patients. Oregon Health & Science University has hosted CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) panels to educate its doctors about the benefits of alternative medicine. Chiropractors are becoming more respected for the evidence-based care they provide for complex NMS disorders.

The days are fading where medical doctors and chiropractors compete with and undermine each other, and I am thankful. Patients benefit when we work together, which is the whole point of medicine!

A few good pies by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2022

I get a produce box once a week, and I chose the surprise option and try to use whatever they send. This helps me try new ingredients that I maybe wouldn’t choose for myself.

To my delight this week I had a few pounds of purple sweet potatoes!

So, I had to make a purple sweet potato pie...

I was expecting something similar to pumpkin pie, but this is actually a little different, smoother and a little richer – and don’t forget the whipped cream!

Purple sweet potato pie

2 lbs. purple (or regular sweet potatoes or yams) roasted in 400-degree oven for 45 minutes until very tender, cooled and peeled.

1 cup light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 stick of butter, melted

1 t each: cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract

1/2 t kosher salt

1 regular can evaporated milk

1 pie shell, unbaked

Place pie filling ingredients in mixer and mix on medium for two minutes until well incorporated.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

 

Once you’ve mastered pastry cream you can make a chocolate cream, coconut cream or this crowd pleaser, banana cream pie. The vanilla wafer crust is a must.

 

Pastry cream

3 cups half & half

2 T butter

1 t vanilla extract

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 t salt

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 sliced bananas

Whipped cream to garnish

In large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale, then add in cornstarch, salt and vanilla.

In small/medium heavy bottom sauce pan heat half & half until steaming, ladle one cup of steaming cream into egg yolk mixture whisking to temper.

Add another cup and whisk, then pour egg/ cream mixture back into pan whisk continuously until thickened.

Add butter, cover with plastic and cool then refrigerate at least two hours pour over sliced bananas on cooled crust.

Crust

In large bowl mix:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 t kosher salt

1 stick melted butter

2 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs

Press into bottom of pie pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool completely.

View Points – Sandy: Supporting law enforcement officers by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 04/01/2022

Nestled at the base of Mount Hood, and home to countless hiking and biking trails, and a plethora of outdoor recreational activities as the gateway to Mount Hood and Central Oregon, the City of Sandy has become one of the fastest growing communities in Oregon. This rapid growth in size along with the well documented troubles in the city of Portland just 25 miles away and the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have left communities like Sandy reeling from a growth in crime.

Whether it’s the expansion of our state’s homeless crisis from our downtown urban cores into our more suburban and rural communities, to policies that have come recently out of the state legislature tying the hands of our law enforcement officers, the day-to-day strains and obstacles are becoming much harder for our officers to deal with.

At our Sandy City Council retreat, our police chief Ernie Roberts provided an update on crime to our council. The findings were not good. Whether it was the volume of calls to the police emergency line, arrests or crimes being committed – the numbers were up across the board. The unfortunate truth is that these numbers are up throughout the state.

We have always taken public safety seriously in our community. Shortly after being elected mayor, we learned that our police department was left nearly a million dollars in debt. We immediately went to work and made hard budget decisions in order to help back fill our budget and today, not only did we fill that deficit, we have more officers on the streets than when we began. In fact, with the swearing in of Sandy’s newest officer this past month we became one of the only departments across the state to have a fully staffed department.

Having more officers on the streets will help but we must continue to do more. Our council formed a Homeless Task Force committee that has been working over the past year to develop recommendations to our city leaders and law enforcement agencies on how to both update our practices to become more effective as well as to strengthen our laws to provide our officers with the tools they need to be successful. This next month the task force will be providing their recommendations to our council. Already one of the items that have come from the taskforce is the creation of a fund to pay to dispose of these “zombie RVs” that are left abandoned throughout town. In Sandy, we refuse to sit idle while our community suffers. We must take action.

Taking action also comes with an increased need for transparency and accountability. That’s why in the support of our officers we have paid to outfit all of them and their vehicles with cameras. Increased transparency is good for our officers and our community and helps keep all of us safe.

From our leadership team on city council to our great staff at city hall to our police force – the city of Sandy is committed to providing a safe community to our neighbors; it’s the most important service we provide. We must remain vigilant in supporting our law enforcement officers who represent the very best among us and are a crucial part of keeping Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Tangibles – special handling may be required by Paula Walker on 04/01/2022

Many have an instant and default concept of tangibles as those things that make up the family traditions, are handed down through the generations, are the collections of art, or jewelry, etc. These are relatively straightforward to identify and transfer to the intended recipient.

However, there are categories of tangibles that require much consideration for the Trustee or Personal Representative to handle according to the law governing the possession, transportation and transfer of those items. In this article we will take a look at a few.

Among the items that belong to this category of possessions whose transfer is our focus are, firearms (likely no surprise there), alcohol, artifacts from endangered species (the heirloom ivory), aircraft, boats, animal companions (aka “pets”) and livestock including horses.

There are strict controls at the federal, state and local levels on who may be in possession of a firearm and the type of firearm they may possess, as well as the transportation and transfer of those. As well certain firearms must be registered. There are a number of federal acts governing varying types of firearms.

A Trustee or Personal Representative should consult the local firearms dealer for assistance locating and taking possession of firearms in the estate they are administering, making certain that they have the right forms and follow the most recent regulations in handling these tangible assets.

The transfer of alcohol is governed by state law, and it is possible that the transfer of some collections of liquor or a prized wine collection could require a license.

Now we come to ‘many things animal’ from the remains or parts of an animal, to the live and breathing creature. Endangered species: Federal law and international treaties restrict trade in items derived from endangered species. Some products carry with them the potential for huge fines for possession and/or sale or transfer of certain items.

While the 2016 U.S. ivory ban does allow residents to keep or transfer inherited items of ivory, the sale of such may be a different matter and Asian versus African ivory have different regulations – very complex. If you have the documents of ownership and origins of ivory heirlooms you own, make this part of your organized documents for your Trustee or Personal Representative.

Your treasured furry, winged, or finned animal companions (“pets”) are considered tangibles. They require your special attention in providing for their care after your passing.

Some people create pet trusts to manage an amount of funds for the care of their loved companions. Others set aside money for persons they have designated to provide the home and care their pets will need. Others simply name a family member who they know will be willing to take their ‘furry-purrers’ without question. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, be sure to include those non human members of your family in your estate plan so that the well being of this “tangible” is not left strictly to fate.

Continuing with animal tangibles, livestock includes horses by legal definition. For their welfare, your estate plan should contain provisions for the proper care and management of these tangibles that can take immediate effect upon your passing. This requires the development of a thorough plan established well in advance that assures their transfer to and by knowledgeable persons with the expertise and experience to manage such a transfer.

Another category of tangible, the final for this article, but not by any means the limit of those many, varied and unique items that come into the fold of “tangible”, are airplanes and boats. Transfer and ownership of these come under the regulations of various federal and/or state agencies. Planning for these may include considering liability protection as well.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Have you heard the one about the multi-millionaire hen? No, not a bar room joke. But a real-life case of planning for your favorite “pet.” And this one inheritance is not ‘chicken-feed’ – idiom defined as a ‘paltry sum,’ or is that a ‘poultry sum’?

Well… British publishing magnate, Miles Blackwell, who passed away in 2002, at the age of 56, just three weeks after his wife who was 46, made his favorite pet Gigoo a multi-millionaire hen, leaving $15 million (₤10 million) for her care.

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

 


Photo by Gary Randall.
Managing the crowds by Gary Randall on 03/01/2022

I took a drive the other day. It’s a drive that I’ve probably taken hundreds of times and is most likely my favorite place to go and play.

 

It was an impromptu trip with no preparation other than grabbing a water bottle and my camera, but those days seem to be numbered, at least during peak season in the gorge.

The Historic Columbia River Highway, with its lush forests, waterfalls and epic hiking trails, has always felt like home to me. After a lifetime of spending time there I feel so familiar with it that I feel like I have a share in ownership and feel a sense of responsibility for its care.

Before I lived on the Mountain, I and my young family lived for a while in the little town of Bridal Veil, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. Like the Mountain, the Columbia River Gorge is home to me.

Those of us who live up here on the Mountain can relate to the increase of visitors to our area that is also affecting the Gorge. The increase in automobile traffic on the old Historic Columbia River Highway has gotten so bad during peak season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, that the old road has been experiencing gridlock, especially at the iconic Multnomah Falls. I experienced a 20-minute delay there while a traffic jam was untangled one beautiful summer day.

This is a situation that seems to have been exasperated by the coronavirus crisis. There was an immediate surge in outdoor activities, especially hiking, after the pandemic hit.

Parking at popular trailheads overflowed onto the edges of the roads and highways.

The increased amount of foot traffic on trails has increased the wear and tear on existing trails and has caused new side trails to be worn through areas where a trail shouldn’t be.

With this increased amount of traffic, litter and vandalism has increased as well.

The responsibility for addressing these problems falls on the backs of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). New rules and regulations are being considered including permits systems for the most heavily visited places.

It’s unfortunate but a permit system is the only way that the USFS has to try to regulate the crowds to these sensitive places. Although new rules have yet to be put in place here in the Mount Hood National Forest, new regulations are actively being issued in the Columbia River Gorge, primarily for the Historic Columbia River Highway waterfall corridor between Vista House and Ainsworth State Park.

Starting May 24 through to Sept. 5, travelers on the old road will be required to purchase a timed vehicle permit, available online prior to a visit, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The permits available will be limited each day. This is only during peak season and peak hours.

According to my experience in the gorge, most of the hikes that I’ve been on are pretty peaceful until mid-morning when the crowds arrive - they’re usually coming in as I’m headed back out again.

This permit system seems like the most practical way to address the overcrowding on the old highway especially. It’s quite obvious to me, a frequent visitor to the gorge, that something must be done to avoid good people loving these places to death, or bad people vandalizing them to a point of destruction.

It’s the job of the USFS to manage and maintain these places and these new regulations seem to be the only practical method for doing that considering the monumental task that they’re confronted with.

In my business as a professional guide, with permits to conduct business in the gorge, I can live with the new rules. I’m glad to plan ahead and apply for a permit ahead of time, or to go early enough to avoid the permits, and the crowds.

I always think “Earth First” when I use these public lands.

This seems like a small price to pay to help protect these special places.

Wood ash makes fine fertilizer for the garden and woods by Steve Wilent on 03/01/2022

I don’t know about you, but a few days of sunny, “warm” weather has me thinking of my vegetable garden. But it’s been in the low 30s at night and there are still big ridges of snow under the eaves on my house. Crazy, right? But I try to be optimistic.

I have nine raised beds of various sizes for herbs, tomatoes, green beans, kale, chard, lettuce, summer squash and other veggies. March is too early to plant most veggies here, as I’ve learned the hard way. But our native plants – Indian plum, red elderberry, red-flowering currant – usually bloom in March, and other trees and shrubs will soon follow. More sunshine and truly warm days aren’t far away. It’s time to prepare the garden for planting season.

To prepare the soil to receive seeds and veggie starts, I like to add fertilizers with strains of beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizae, such as the Dr. Earth brand. I also till in a bit of ash from my woodstove, because ash is an excellent fertilizer. And since I have a woodstove, it’s free.

Ashes? Yes. Wood ash contains significant amounts of potassium, one of the three essential fertilizers. The N-P-K on commercial fertilizer containers stand for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Wood ash is also high in calcium and has small amounts of phosphorus, magnesium and other nutrients, but no nitrogen.

As a fertilizer, potassium is also known as potash, a word that, according to Wikipedia, comes from the Middle Dutch potaschen, or “pot ashes.” Centuries ago, potassium carbonate fertilizer was made by burning wood, mixing the ashes with water and then boiling the solution in large iron pots, which leaves a white residue, or “pot ash.”

Potash in its natural crystalline form is mined in huge qualities around the world for use as fertilizer. Canada is by far the world’s leader in potash mining, followed by Russia, Belarus and China. The political turmoil in and around Russia and Belarus, along with the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, have led to a worldwide shortage of potash and other fertilizers. Of course, that translates to higher prices for the potash and, ultimately, food.

Fortunately, if you burn wood in a wood stove or fireplace, you have a ready source of potassium – and you don’t need to boil ashes in a huge pot to get it. Just work some ash into your garden soil. It won’t take much to supply your garden with ample potassium, but you’ll need to be careful not to overdo it. The Oregon State University Extension Service cautions against using too much ash: “As with all things… the dose makes the poison.” Too much ash can increase the soil pH to levels that interfere with plant growth. Here are OSU’s recommendations:

– Limit ash applications to no more than 10 pounds per 100 square feet per year.

– Apply about 2 weeks before you plant. Don’t apply during the winter, as the potassium and phosphorus, which is highly soluble, may leach away before there are growing plants to take it up.

– If you use wood ash on an annual basis, be sure to check the pH of the soil before applying it.

To figure out how much ash to use in my raised beds, I used a postal scale to weigh some cool ash from my woodstove and found that one gallon weighs about four pounds. When my three-gallon steel bucket is full, it holds about 12 pounds of ash, an amount that would be too much for three of my four-by-eight garden beds, or 96 square feet. Spreading that bucketful over all nine of my beds, with a total of 250 square feet, would be fine. In any case, the wise gardener will test their soil before adding any fertilizer. An inexpensive soil test kit or meter will show the levels of nutrients in the soil as well as its pH (acidity or alkalinity). OSU explains why testing the pH is important (see tinyurl.com/2p99ppk4):

“When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gas, but calcium, potassium, magnesium and other trace elements remain. The carbonates and oxides in the ash are valuable liming agents that can raise pH and help neutralize acid soils. Where soils are acidic and low in potassium, wood ash is useful to most garden plants. Do not use ash if your soil pH is alkaline (more than 7.0). Do not apply wood ash to acid-loving plants such as blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Lawns that need lime and potassium also can benefit from wood ash. Apply no more than 10 to 15 pounds of ash per 1,000 square feet of lawn.”

Most native soils in our area are acidic, so raising the soil pH will be beneficial. For most vegetable plants, a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral) is ideal.

The OSU Extension Service and some other sources suggest sifting ash before applying it, to remove chunks of unburned wood. However, these black bits are a form of biochar, which can help retain nutrients and water in soil. I suggest leaving the chunks in – and adding more. You can increase the amount of biochar in your woodstove or fireplace ash by covering a bed of coals with a think layer of fine ash. The blanket of ash smothers the red-hot coals, allowing them to cool before completely burning. Your veggie and landscaping plants will appreciate the extra biochar.

Some gardeners pay big bucks for biochar in bags from garden centers or online retailers. I bought a 10-pound bag years ago and mixed it with the soil in several of my raised beds. It’s still there, because biochar doesn’t break down – it’s a “forever” soil amendment.

And because biochar is mostly carbon taken up by trees as carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it’s a “climate friendly” soil amendment: biochar not only locks carbon in the soil, it also absorbs and slowly releases fertilizers. In other words, instead of leaching away, the potassium and other nutrients in ash are available to plants for a longer time than without biochar. I may write about biochar in a future column.

I have a fire going in my woodstove from October through May, except for brief periods when I sweep the chimney and clean out the ash. At a guess, I produce 50 or 60 pounds of ash per year — far too much for my small garden. I usually scatter the excess in the woods around my house, using a garden trowel to fling it amongst the trees while avoiding the rhodies. Wood ash is beneficial for our forests. After wildfires, the ash provides a big shot of nutrients to the soil, except for nitrogen, most of which is vaporized.

So, to sum up: is wood ash good for your soil? You bet your ash it is.

Have a question about wood ash? Want to learn how to make more biochar than your woodstove will produce? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com


Contributed photos.
Spring into foraging – add wild plants to your meal by Mt. Hood Community College on 03/01/2022

Many people get excited when their favorite vegetables and fruit are in season in the grocery store, but did you know you can forage for fresh produce too?

 

When the days lengthen and the first hints of warming set the stage for spring, it’s the perfect time to get outside and start exploring what wild edible plants are available to add to your table. Here are a few of my favorites.

Forage for Wild Salad Greens

Easiest to find are spring greens. The leaves of young edible plants are most tender. Look for non-native weeds like common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) or broadleaf plantain (Plantago major). Search for native greens like miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) and stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).

Springtime Berries Make a Sweet Treat

Berries usually don't show up until summer. Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are the exception to the rule. They resemble blackberries but they are bright orange or red. Salmonberries grow on bushes that are often found in riparian zones by rivers and other fresh water. Be cautious when picking salmonberries in more rural areas, as black bears also love these sweet treats. Make some noise as you forage so you don't accidentally startle your ursine neighbors!

No Additives, All the Nutrients

Foraging for wild foods has health benefits. Most edible plants are full of vitamins and nutrients, as well as plenty of fiber. Like other whole foods, foraged edible plants don't have a bunch of salt, artificial sweeteners or additives. Unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to a particular edible plant, you shouldn't have any problems eating it.

How to Forage Edible Plants Safely

Always try a small amount of any new plant first, and make sure you’ve researched to confirm:

– All or only part of the plant is edible.

– If this species needs to be cooked before it can be safely eaten.

– You have correctly identified the plant, and it is in fact, edible.

There are many resources to help you safely forage for edible plants. Check multiple sources like field guides, reputable websites and other foragers.

It gives me joy to teach people about edible plants. Many people are surprised by how many delicious plants are right outside their front door.

Author Rebecca Lexa is an Oregon Master Naturalist. She teaches how to forage for edible plants and mushrooms, as well as birdwatching and nature identification, through Community Education at Mt. Hood Community College. Find more information and register for a foraging class at: Learn.mhcc.edu.

 

Well Adjusted – some steps for healthier feet by Dr. Melanie Brown on 03/01/2022

With all of the options for footwear and orthotics, it is hard to know what to buy. When in chiropractic school and more conscious than ever to make good decisions for my joints and muscles, I splurged on a pair of trendy but orthopedic clogs. I had previously worked as a certified nursing assistant in a hospital, and I noticed that the nurses always wore them, so I assumed they would be the best. Unfortunately, I was wrong!

 

As humans, we tend to overengineer even the simplest things, including shoes. What is the purpose of footwear? It protects our feet from hot, cold and sharp things. It should not change the way that the foot was designed to work. I haven't met anyone yet who was born with shoes! The goal should be to protect the feet, not change how they function.

Most feet thrive in flat and flexible shoes that are wide in the toe box with minimal or no arch support and no toe spring (described below). Unfortunately, this does not represent most shoes. Our poor feet have been squeezed, deconditioned and deformed by our footwear, and pain and dysfunction follow. How can we move in a better direction?

Many of you have heard of the minimalist foot movement that is happening. Let's break it down:

Flat shoes – this is the most obvious one. We all know high heels are a poor choice because we can feel it! And for those who don't wear heels, we can see the pain in others when they kick them off at the end of the day, rubbing their feet in pain. We should also avoid slight heels and reverse heels. Toe spring, where the front of the shoe is up from the ground, is also a common problem.

Flexible soles – when you bend your shoe, it should move easily. You will find rigid soles in clogs, dress shoes, and some boots and tennis shoes. Flexibility is paramount, as it allows the foot to move naturally as it hits the ground. We don't want to be walking on two-by-fours or teeter-totters.

Wide toe box – Most shoes are too narrow in the front, which squishes our toes together and permanently changes them. If you look at babies' feet or cultures that don't wear shoes, you will see spaces between each toe. That is what we want! Suppose your toes have been squished over time. You will lose that spacing, contributing to pain, dysfunction, bunion formation and lower arches.

No or minimal arch support – Wait, WHAT! When you wear arch support, your foot is supported, which can feel good in the short term, but that negative space is supposed to be there when we walk. If you continuously wear arch support, you will weaken the muscles of the foot, including the tibialis anterior. This important muscle comes around like a stirrup and pulls up the arch. The muscle belly is in the lower leg. Too much arch support will turn this muscle into a wet noodle, and your arch will collapse.

Most minimalist shoes hit the points above. Here are some tips when shoe shopping or evaluating your shoe collection.

Remove the shoe's insole and stand on it. If your foot spills over the edge, the shoe is too narrow.

Inspect the arch of the shoe. Sometimes you can remove the insole. If it has arch support, leave it out or replace it with a flat insole for comfort or shock absorption.

If your shoes are just a little too narrow in the front, you can make two one-inch cuts in a tennis shoe above the first lace, pointing out at a 45-degree angle to widen the toe box. You can use a shoe stretcher or put a bag of water in the shoe and put it in the freezer, where it will expand and stretch the shoe. If you look at your shoe from the side and the toe is springing upward, fold your shoe in half the other way and stick it under your sofa for the day. It may reduce the toe spring.

Go barefoot or wear slippers, crocs or flip-flops when you can. A prominent Portland podiatrist ran the Portland Marathon in crocs! Wear toe socks or shoes and use silicone toe spacers to spread the toes over time. My favorite are Correct Toes (CorrectToes.com). Start slowly and increase wearing time for a gradual change.

If you have hammertoes, where your toes are playing the piano, put a metatarsal pad directly under the toes on the part that sticks out and see if it flattens the toes. If so, you can wear them in your shoes. Size and placement are essential. Consult with your doctor if you have questions.

Look at your feet in the mirror and notice your arches. How many nickels can you stack under there? Are they the same from side to side? If one is flatter than the other, a chiropractic adjustment can help restore the fallen arch.

After an ankle sprain, the heel bone gets pushed back and cannot realign on its own due to the bony anatomy. At Mountain Life Clinic, we have a specific adjustment to restore the arch, which is usually an immediate and lasting improvement unless you re-sprain the foot. Toe spreading and short-foot exercises can help strengthen the feet and restore the space between the toes.

Toe Spreading: Look down at the feet, spread the toes as far as possible, hold for ten seconds and repeat five times. Perform several times throughout the day.

Short Foot Arch Exercise: Put a hand towel on the floor and put your heel at the edge of the long end. Use your toes to scrunch the towel up under your foot. Repeat five to ten times.

As gravity-dependent creatures, all the joints of our bodies are affected from the ground up. Foot problems can be a big problem on their own but can also create knee, hip, back and even neck problems. Keep these principles in mind and create better health for your whole skeletal system!

Melanie Brown is a Chiropractic Physician with the Mountain Life Clinic.

View Points – Salem: Remembering history by Rep. Anna Williams on 03/01/2022

I start a lot of columns this way because of how quickly things move in the legislature, but: as of the time I’m writing this (Feb. 24), I’m not sure what major headlines will have come out of this legislative session. But I do know that one small bill that relates directly to our lovely mountain communities will have passed, because it passed the day before I wrote this column.

Senate Bill 1509 will rename Route 35, which runs from Government Camp to Hood River, the Oregon Nisei Veterans World War II Memorial Highway. This is a simple act to commemorate the contributions of those brave veterans, but it deserves to be highlighted, just as they do.

To provide some context: Feb. 20 was the 80th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s executive order that caused the unjust internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. In addition to being a shameful act on its own, that incarceration led to permanent repercussions for many Americans, including in our own communities.

Before the war, many Japanese immigrants settled in the Hood River Valley and became farmers. In February 1942, those Japanese farmers and their families were removed from their lands and sent to internment camps.

Many Oregonians who were incarcerated as a result were confined at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. I grew up in the shadow of Heart Mountain. I went on to become a social worker, where I learned that it was primarily social workers who facilitated and administered the mass incarceration of so many Japanese Americans.

In short, the issue of Japanese-American internment is personal to me, even though it took place 40 years before I was born. In Hood River, where I live, we have our own sad history around this issue: Japanese Americans from the area, despite the fact that their families were locked up at home, bravely fought for our nation overseas. When the war ended, many in the Mt. Hood area sought to prevent them from returning to the area because of their country of origin. When the local American Legion post erected a war memorial that listed the names of more than 1,600 residents serving their country, the post then removed the names of sixteen Japanese American servicemen from the memorial.

But the contributions of those patriotic Oregonians did not go unseen. There were those in our communities who stood by their neighbors following internment, who returned those lands to some of the families that were forced to vacate them, who shopped for them in stores that put up signs excluding people of Japanese descent.

Thank goodness those families found support in the midst of so much discrimination. Our communities around the mountain have been home to countless Japanese Americans that have helped us become the vibrant community that we are today. Many of them had family members that served in the war: the famous Nisei veterans. I won’t walk you through all the battalions those veterans served in, or the many acts of heroism credited to them, or the immense value they provided the U.S. during the war; fighting in every major battle on the Pacific front, translating intercepted documents and interrogating Japanese prisoners of war.

I’d encourage you all to read up on this history if you aren’t already familiar, or at least to watch the excellent, thorough and inspirational testimony presented at both public hearings on this bill. (Email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov and I’ll happily share links to that testimony!) Instead, I will simply note that the Nisei Veterans served a nation that imprisoned them based on their heritage, and they did so with great honor.

So yes, Senate Bill 1509 is an acknowledgment of a shameful time in our history, and it’s important that we address that. But more importantly, it is a recognition of an under-appreciated part of Oregon’s wartime history, a commemoration of the sacrifices one group of veterans made, and a celebration of the way that some people’s belief in American ideals can overcome the deeply painful parts of American history.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: Goals and planning by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 03/01/2022

We may be two months into the year, but we’re at the halfway point of this City Council’s term. We’ve faced challenges and successes together. We approved a budget that included support of our local police through the funding of body and vehicle cameras for our law enforcement officers. We adopted our Transit and Transportation Systems Plans and a new Parks Master Plan. And we implemented the covered structures program to assist our local small business owners through the final leg of the pandemic and beyond.

 

At this halfway point, it is important for our Council to gather and review the successes of the past year, as well as to plan and provide our city staff with the direction of the year ahead. With this in mind, our Sandy City Council will meet for a goal setting and planning retreat the first week of March. This continues to be a critical time for our community with major projects still ahead, and I’m looking forward to addressing these challenges as a team.

One of the first items we will be discussing at our retreat is the Sandy Community Campus. As many are aware, the City of Sandy purchased the old Cedar Ridge Middle School, the surrounding properties as well as the Aquatic Center, a little more than 10 years ago for a little more than $3 million. Since that time, the pool has been closed as a result of much needed prolonged maintenance and repairs in the upwards of tens of millions of dollars and was running at a loss of over half a million dollars per year in operating expenses.

Obviously, the closure of the pool has been a great hole left in our community that we have been working hard to fill. For the past year a group of community members, along with Sandy City Councilors Don Hokanson, Carl Exner and Kathleen Walker, have worked to analyze the current conditions of both the property and the pool, as well as recommend to the council paths forward. Several months ago, our council approved the committee to continue work with a private consulting firm to develop these proposed paths forward along with anticipated cost parameters. We look forward to reviewing and discussing these possible path’s forwards at the retreat.

Additionally, we need to determine the future of our proposed local bypass project. One of my biggest agenda items when I first ran for Mayor was advocating for a feasibility study for a local bypass for our community. It had been nearly two decades since our leaders looked at the viability of such a project. When you consider the current strains on our local roads from our rapid growth in size juxtaposed with the growth of the Mount Hood recreational area and explosion of tourism in central Oregon, along with the many years it takes from beginning to end for a project of this size – starting this process was immensely important. One of my first accomplishments after being elected mayor was negotiating a joint study with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

A couple of months ago, ODOT presented the findings of the study and it was found to be much less expensive than we originally expected. That said, there are many steps and many years before such a project can begin construction. In fact, even in its fastest terms this project would not happen until the year 2040. Think about how much further we will be behind if we don’t even begin that process now.

As a result, at our retreat our council will be discussing the next steps we can take to both adopt these findings into our transportation planning efforts, as well as what steps we can take now to coordinate with both regional and state partners.

As I’ve mentioned, this is a pivotal time for Sandy. These projects and others will heavily dictate our identity for generations into the future. Your engagement in this process is not just important for you, but your children and grandchildren. Please continue to join us for upcoming community meetings and happenings by signing up for our newsletter and finding other resources available on our city website www.ci.sandy.or.us as well as our city social media pages. It is imperative that all of our neighbors to get engaged and help us reach our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

 

March Madness Munchies by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2022

It’s March Madness time, try these recipes as you cheer on your favorite team!

Five Pepper Wings

3 lbs. chicken wings

1/4 cup each diced red and green bell pepper

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

1/2 chopped jalapeño, seeds removed

1 T chopped garlic

1/4 cup minced onion

1 t avocado oil

Chili rub:

1 T chili powder

1 t cayenne pepper

1 t garlic powder

1 t each salt and pepper

1 T cornstarch

Oil spray

Add wings and rub ingredients into a large zipper bag – toss to coat.

Heat oven to 400 F and sautι peppers and garlic with avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat until tender. Add in chili sauce.

Bake wings on a large baking sheet sprayed with olive oil, turning over after 20 minutes. Bake additional ten minutes, until crispy. Toss with pepper mixture. Serve over rice or on their own.

Queso

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies

1 t each garlic powder, onion powder

1/2 t each salt, pepper, chili powder

1 cup half-and-half mixed with 1 T cornstarch

1 T butter

Add all ingredients to medium size pot. Cook over medium heat, whisk until smooth and bubbly. Serve hot.

 

Tangibles, flexibility and clarity by Paula Walker on 03/01/2022

Tangibles require attention not necessarily called for with real property and financials. You may need a degree of flexibility in describing and assigning such things because over time you may acquire new items, dispose of others and the person you initially thought would want to receive an item does not want or need it.

One way to accommodate the need for flexibility is to use a separate list rather than, or in addition to, identifying certain items in the body of the trust or will.Often referred to as a personal property memorandum, this is a list that the trust or will incorporates by reference. Hence, it must be referred to in the trust or will.

This list can be changed by you over time as you acquire new items or understand better who should receive particular item(s).

The list must contain a clear, precise description of the tangible(s) to be transferred and clearly identify each recipient. You must date and sign the list. Overtime, you may choose to replace the list or change an item on the list. Each change or replacement must be dated and signed by you so that the person administering your trust or will has clear direction for your intention according to the most recent version of your list.

Clarity can be had through initiating discussions. Discussions now for giving later can initiate valuable conversations that can greatly benefit you in your planning for giving later.

You may think you know what a family member or friend would like and in discussing it with them find that it is not at all what they want or need and would prefer something else.

You may decide to consider giving now. Depending on your situation, you may want to give certain items away now which could give you the pleasure of seeing the gift received and appreciated.

Where the gift has significance for the family history, this may also give an opportunity to your family members to ask questions and for you to share the stories that attach to it. These may be stories that only you know. As well, discussions now can identify and allow you to address areas that could be sources of family squabbles and give you the opportunity to address them before they develop over what you intended as a loving bequest.

Discussing your ideas for who receives certain of your personal belongings now may reveal things that you did not realize could be sources of contention; areas where family members might be surprised at how and what you choose to distribute and to whom. You can, if you wish, take action now to explain why you are making certain decisions.

Recognize that discussions now do not deprive you of making different decisions later. They simply provide you with information that may be of use to you and those dear to you.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

About the value of discussions, from the University of Minnesota Extension Service “Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?,” one woman recounts that when discussing with her family her ideas for giving to them those items with sentimental value and family history, she was surprised to learn that three of her seven adult children each wanted a Christmas ornament purchased for a mere 25 cents when they were kids. It had held special sentimental value for each of them.

She concluded that she had not yet decided what to do, but that without having had the discussion she would never have known that this item held such important value – period – never mind that it would have such value to a number of her children.


Photo by Gary Randall.
Favorite views of the Gorge by Gary Randall on 02/01/2022

In last month’s The View Finder I shared some of my favorite views of Mount Hood. This month I want to share more of my favorite views but this time I thought that I would share my favorite vistas of the Columbia River Gorge.

 

I have always thought that all of the areas that the Mount Hood Loop Highway passes through to be Mount Hood territory. “The Loop” is a great way to spend a Sunday drive with a camera in hand. All along the way there are views of Mount Hood, but from different directions. As the crow flies, the Columbia River Gorge is only 21 miles from the peak of Mount Hood.

The incredible Columbia River Gorge is known first for its epic waterfalls, creeks and forests but my list will concentrate on sweeping vistas and views and not on waterfalls. My recommendation for anyone who wants to experience the waterfalls of “The Gorge” is to simply spend a day driving along the Historic Columbia River Highway and stop at the waterfalls along the way. Most are Oregon State Parks and are great places for a picnic on a beautiful day.

My list will include a couple of spots on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Washington State Hwy. 14, along the north side of the Columbia River, is sometimes forgotten because most people visit the spots on the Oregon side, mostly due to the waterfalls.

The Woman’s Forum at Chanticleer Point – Chanticleer Point is an east facing promontory that overlooks the Columbia River Gorge and Crown Point, topped by the iconic Vista House. Further into the distance is Beacon Rock and the overlapping hills and bluffs of the gorge. This is a great place to visit for a sunrise.

Viento – Viento is a great place to get a view of the gorge at river level. There’s an Oregon State Park there and easy access to the river’s edge. From the river you can get a view of either east or west, so this is a great spot for both a sunrise and a sunset.

Rowena Crest – Rowena is another elevated view of the gorge from the top of the bluffs of the east end of The Gorge. Rowena is situated between the towns of Mosier and The Dalles. The climate there is dryer than in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. There are fewer trees to obstruct views, with trails to a variety of places that will provide a view in either direction, but the main parking area has views toward the north and to the east. Rowena is a great place for wildflowers in the springtime. The Tom McCall Preserve has trails through fields of wildflowers.

Cape Horn – When I’m in the gorge there are many times when I will spend a day on the Washington side of the river. A drive along Hwy. 14 is a great way to get views of the Columbia River with views toward the Oregon side. Cape Horn is directly across the river from the historic Oregon town of Bridal Veil. Cape Horn is a massive wall of basalt that dives directly into the waters of the river. The view from Cape Horn Lookout is beautiful toward the east. I love this view any time but a sunrise from there is epic.

Underwood – While in Washington a great view of Mount Hood and the town of Hood River can be seen from the bluffs above the Columbia River at the little town of Underwood. From Hwy. 14 take the Cook-Underwood Road and follow it approximately three miles until you see a pull off on the south side of the road. This view is incredible and includes a great view of Mount Hood.

 


Photo by Steve Wilent.
Axes – The Woodsman's awesome and essential tool by Steve Wilent on 02/01/2022

Lara gave me a dandy present for Christmas in 2021: “American Axe: The Tool That Shaped a Continent,” by Brett McLeod. What else would The Woodsman want? I already have a half-dozen chain saws (some of which run), a peavey (a tool for rolling logs), three splitting mauls, three or four splitting wedges, a handful of felling wedges and, naturally, and several axes. Plus a couple of hatchets. And a Pulaski, the famed wildland firefighting tool, which is a combination axe and grubbing tool.

 

Lara might have bought me a new axe, but that’s such a personal choice. I mean, I would never buy her blue jeans, shoes or a jacket. Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but the odds of me buying something she likes and that fits are longer than winning the Powerball jackpot.

By now you may be thinking, what’s the big deal about axes? You want to chop wood, get an axe. Who cares where or how it was made, as long as it’s sharp, right?

Wrong. Just ask McLeod, who owns more than 200 axes — he’s been collecting them since he was five years old and is always looking for more.

And it’s axe with a “e” — ax is an inferior variant.

“The American landscape has been altered more by the axe than by any other tool,” he writes in “American Axe.” “Because the axe is such a simple tool — it’s essentially a wedge with an edge — it was affordable to produce and acquire, enabling early settlers to carve out an agrarian existence from the forest. The axe was their ticket to a strong shelter, open ground for cultivation, a heat source, and even personal protection.”

Wedges with edges — and handles, of course — were used to fell timber on more than 300 million acres prior to the advent of the chainsaw in the mid-1920s, McLeod writes, and to split uncounted millions of cords of firewood and to cut and shape fence posts, logs for cabins and sheds, timbers for bridges and sailing vessels, and anything else that could be made from wood.

“Over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were more than 1,000 different North American axe makers who engaged in a fiercely competitive market selling axes to lumberjacks, homesteaders, farmers, and foresters.

What resulted from this lumberjack fever was a seemingly endless array of axe designs with impressive names such as The Wood Slasher, Champion, Best Axe, Legitimus, Keen Kutter, Northern King, and the True Temper Perfect Axe. Owners of these tools would proudly polish their axes to a mirror shine and argue the superiority of their chosen maker,” writes McLeod.

I’m ashamed that my axes shown in the photograph accompanying this article aren’t polished to a mirror shine, but they do their jobs. The boy’s axe has a keen edge, though it is marred by a nick from when I hit a nail many years ago. Boy’s axes are fairly light and have shorter handles than felling axes. I use mine mostly for splitting kindling and small logs, and as a hammer for setting felling wedges and driving the occasional tent peg.

The throwing axe is designed specifically for the sport of axe throwing, and the edges aren’t as sharp as the boy’s axe, since the keen-ness of the edge doesn’t have much to do with getting it to stick in a target. In fact, a relatively dull edge sticks better. And according to McLeod, playing with a dull axe is safer than using a sharp one. I have thrown many axes at targets, which are usually made with a heavy round cut from a log and painted with rings and a bull’s-eye.

As a forestry student many years ago, I participated in an axe-throwing contest at Humboldt State University in a conclave of forestry students from around the western U.S. Instead of painted bull’s-eyes, the centers of the targets were holes just the right size for holding cans of beer. The cans were shaken up before being placed in the targets, so a bullseye hit made a fine spray of foam. Alas, I didn’t do very well in the contest.

Double-bitted throwing axes look similar to the double-bitted axes used by loggers back in the day when they felled timber by hand. The latter have a different shaped head and longer handles. I have a photo on the wall in my office of three lumberjacks standing in front of a huge Sitka spruce in the Oregon Coast Range a century ago or so, with a double-bitted axe stuck in the tree. The tree is wider than the three men together. The men aren’t smiling, probably because they knew they were about to spend hours chopping — before moving on to the next tree.

“American Axe” offers six chapters: Ancient Axes That Spawned an American Industry, Axes for the Art of Homesteading, Axes From the Golden Age of Axe-Making, Modern Axes, Restoring Vintage Axes and Playing With Sharp Objects. The book contains hundreds of photos and drawings of axes and people making, using and restoring them.

In Chapter 1, McLeod notes that axes made of stone were used more than a million years ago. In 1991, when the body of Ötzi, the so-called Iceman, was discovered frozen in a glacier in the Alps between Austria and Italy, an axe was among his belongings. Ötzi, who lived about 5,300 years ago, carried an axe with a head fashioned from copper, a metal soft enough to be sharpened with a stone.

The chapter on the golden age of axe-making provides a wealth of photos of restored axes, including a Lincoln Axe, along with its manufacturing history, beginning in 1893, and its intricate etched logo. It wasn’t an axe used by Abraham Lincoln, but its makers wanted customers to know that the axe was as trustworthy and authentic as Honest Abe himself. “To many,” writes McLeod, “the Lincoln Axe is considered the holy grail of axe collecting.”

The book includes a quote from ol’ Abe: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Seems like good advice for doing lots of things.

McLeod is chair of the forestry department at Paul Smith’s College, a private college in upstate New York. His essay, “The Evolution of the North American Axe,” is an excellent companion to “American Axe.” It’s available for free at tinyurl.com/yckpdw5z, which has a link to the publisher’s web page for the book and purchasing options ($24.95 in hardback at the usual online bookstores, $9.99 to $13.99 for e-book versions).

Thinking about restoring that old axe in your shed? And maybe collecting more old axes? When I emailed McLeod to offer praise for “American Axe,” he added this to his reply: “Be warned, picking up an axe here and there has a way of spiraling out of control.”

Have a question about axes? Want to buy a high-quality axe made in Oregon? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

 

Well Adjusted – how hygge can help your life by Dr. Melanie Brown on 02/01/2022

It has been refreshing to get some winter sunshine on the mountain lately! But what can we do when the days are dark, gloomy and cold and the winter doldrums take hold. The Danes have a lifestyle concept called “hygge” (hyoo-guh). And despite their cold and dark winters, they are generally happier than other countries.

According to recent United Nations Happiness Reports, Nordic countries ranked highest in all six areas of life satisfaction regularly. This report, which started in 2012, was inspired by the King of Bhutan in the Himalayas. He coined the phrase “Gross National Happiness” in contrast with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1972. So how can WE tap into this Danish concept to improve our quality of life, especially in the winter months?

First is the attempt to define and understand hygge. You will get different answers if you ask different folks, but the general idea is a quiet happiness or stillness. It is being satisfied with how one’s life is going and taking small steps to insert comfort and coziness into your daily routine.

You can find objects and practices that are hyggelig or “hygge-like.” You can also have a hyggelig mentality. What hygge is not: being on your phone all day, being hard on yourself for past mistakes, trying to be perfect, staying indoors all winter, harsh chemicals, fluorescent lighting, having strict rules, clutter, excessive spending and purchasing products to be on-trend.

Although countries with higher GDP are generally happier, a LACK of wealth causes unhappiness. Once our basic needs are met, the correlation stops, and the smiles don’t follow the dollar signs. Oliver Enne of Denmark said, “If you have no money, you worry about money, but if you have money, you worry about other stuff!”

Hygge is the opposite of living outside our means. With all the keeping up with the Jones’s, we can create more chaos and the need for more work in our lives. Instead of focusing on more and more money, the focus is on life balance. Overachievers are often hailed in the U.S., but in Nordic countries, they may look at you sideways and wonder what’s wrong with you. Life balance is the goal – not to be best. To be average is considered good, and more hyggelig.

A large part of hygge is the art of creating a pleasant atmosphere. How do we achieve this comfort and coziness? You cannot talk about hygge without talking about lighting. The warmer, the better. Candles and salt lamps give us a warm glow.

With closed rooms, stick with unscented or naturally scented candles and air the room regularly. Good food, books, fireplaces, music, cozy drinks, small indulgences, the smell of soup cooking on the stove, wool socks, cozy sweaters are all very hygge! Take some time to hygge your home or pick a spot and make a hyggekrog or hygge corner. Tidy your space for a clear mind. You don’t have to go to the extremes of Marie Kondo. There is no need to get rid of everything, but see that it has a purpose, even if you just love to look at it.

Nature is essential. You can bring wood and natural fibers, plants and cut flowers into your home – anything to bring the outside in. Also, going outside is very hygge! There is a sense that we must accept the weather rather than hide from it. Get the gear on and meander quietly in nature every day. Move along slowly and try to spot the small details. Inhale the fresh scent of pine needles and listen to the soothing sounds of the forest. After meals is a great time to take a walk as it also aids in digestion! Time in nature reduces anxiety, promotes wellbeing and is generally inspiring.

Here is an excellent hygge concept: have a lazy day, and instead of feeling guilty about it, feel good! Be gentle with yourself. Don’t ruminate about past occurrences, and don’t put yourself down. Be happy with who you are and with the accomplishments you have made. Work hard when you need to, but also rest and honor and nurture your body and mind.

Nightly dinner is a great place to start your hygge practice. Eat together, encourage everyone to participate in the conversation, light a candle, set the table nicely and leave the phones in the other room. Or enjoy the sights and flavors of a purposefully set table if you dine alone. Take a walk after dinner, come back and light a fire, pray or meditate, call a friend or read a book with a cozy blanket.

Even though these may seem like small things, naming them and recognizing them gives them power. L.T. Baits summed it up nicely when she said, “Hygge is about having less, enjoying more: the pleasure of simply being. It is generous and celebratory, a way to remember the importance of the simple act of living itself.”

 

Melanie Brown is a Chiropractic Physician with the Mountain Life Clinic.

 

Earth is the best classroom when it comes to geology by Mt. Hood Community College on 02/01/2022

The best geology textbook on Earth is… the Earth! That’s what I tell my students at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC). As one recent student said at the end of a rainy field trip to Mount St. Helens, “You cannot get this same experience just in the classroom.”

Field trips are a necessary part of geology science, for students, scientists and professional geologists. To learn about the Earth and to study the Earth, one needs to look at the Earth. Virtual field trips are an option. However, I find that they are most useful when you already know something about geology or about the area. There is no substitute for the real thing! Field trips help geology students:

– Develop general field skills.

– Improve rock and mineral identification.

– Learn to look at the Earth in a different way.

– Sharpen observation skills.

This year field trips are planned for 200 level geology classes. In the winter we are going to Silver Falls State Park and the northern Oregon coast, where we will be staying in yurts. I also lead field trips throughout the rest of the year to Mount St. Helens, the southside of the Columbia River Gorge, the John Day Fossil Beds and the Newberry Volcano, where we camp inside the caldera.

I like using the Earth to teach geology because of the impact a field trip can make on a student’s comprehension. When I was a student at MHCC, way back in the 1980s, my favorite part of geology class was going on field trips. I still remember those trips! I remembered them better than any other part of the course.

Using these amazing places to illustrate, discuss and experience geology is beneficial to learning. For some students, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Even students who have visited these locations before learn a lot because they see these amazing places through the eyes of a geologist. I often say in my classes, “you’ll never look at the Earth the same again.”

Daina Hardisty is a Geology Instructor at MHCC.

View Points – Salem: Legislative session begins by Rep. Anna Williams on 02/01/2022

If you are reading this column, that probably means it is February, and the 2022 Regular Legislative Session is underway. Sessions aren’t such a rare thing these days... we’ve had six of them since COVID-19 first reached Oregon, where normally we would only have had one in that same timespan. Still, a regular session is a much larger event than the mostly single-day special sessions that have brought me to Salem so many times over the last two years.

As I write this, there is a flurry of activity in preparation for the session: legislators and community members alike are hustling to get the final changes to bills ready to go. I personally am working on five different concepts: two of my personal bills and three for the committee I chair. These are difficult conversations due to a variety of factors: communication lapses due to the pandemic, a decentralized process as so many people continue to work from home rather than coming together in the Capitol and changing priorities while many crises (health care, workforce, housing and more) continue to evolve every day.

The legislature alternates the length of its regular sessions every other year: in odd-numbered years, a session is six months long. In even-numbered years like this one, we only get five to six weeks to finish our work. This compressed timeline means that every bill needs to be in its final form, ready to pass and free from any unintended consequences before the session even starts. That makes the last week of January (the week in which I am writing) especially intense!

Among the bills I’m working on are a few very complex issues. One, for example, deals with residential treatment facilities for children with psychiatric and other therapeutic needs. Another deals with victims of domestic violence who need access to police reports about the crimes committed against them. As you can imagine, when you’re dealing with such weighty subjects, there are a lot of people with a lot of different perspectives and opinions who need to be consulted. As session draws closer, no matter how much advanced planning a legislator has done, there seem to always be last-minute issues, disagreements, objections and changes to these sorts of bills. (One of my bills will likely be rewritten entirely in the next five days!)

There’s an old saying, that “a camel is a horse designed by a committee.” In other words, when you try to accomplish something simple, the inclusion of too many conflicting perspectives and creative solutions can result in something that only barely resembles what you were originally trying to create. That’s a good summary of the legislative process, too.

But, in stressful periods like these while I’m working hard to find compromise, to take stakeholder and expert voices into account, and to create something that will actually work without causing unintended harm, I try to remind myself that every addition, subtraction and change to a bill is potentially important, and every complicating factor (and the headaches that each one may cause) is worth examining as fully as possible.

After all, every strange trait that a camel possesses serves a purpose. Without humps to retain fat for energy, without wide and spreadable feet to walk on sand and without long eyelashes and thin nostrils to keep them safe from blowing sand, a horse wouldn’t stand a chance in the desert. It’s my hope that every complicated, minute and sometimes stress-inducing adaptation to each legislative bill makes it uniquely suited to meeting Oregon’s needs.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: Mountain Festival will be back by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 02/01/2022

For the last 25+ years, I have refused to miss a single Sandy Mountain Festival. With that said, I’m proud to announce that after a two-year hiatus, the Sandy Mountain Festival will return for it’s 60th year anniversary celebration on its traditional weekend following the Fourth of July.

After two long years of missing out on so many special events as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandy Mountain Festival weekend will be back in all its glory. From the parade on Thursday night to the carnival at its traditional spot along Hwy. 26, to vendors and music in the park and long lines for elephant ears, corn dogs and noodles. Our neighbors and visitors alike will again rub shoulders in the park while looking at crafts or over a beer at the Music, Fair & Feast.

There will again be a kids parade with brothers, sisters and cousins. Teenagers will catch up on stories from their summer vacation while sitting on a carnival ride. Adults will again enjoy a barbeque or sitting down at one of our wonderful main street businesses before meeting up with the rest of our neighbors in Centennial Plaza. There will inevitably be the best music at Ria’s, long lines and great people watching at No Place and someone is going to drive their Harley into the Gateway. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We owe such a debt of gratitude to the army of volunteers and public servants that put on this special event each year, not to mention the grit and determination displayed to revive it after this hiatus. This event is a full community effort. The Sandy Mountain Festival Board of Directors is composed of all volunteers who put in hundreds of hours of work preparing for, conducting and cleaning up each year. Additionally, our team members at the city really go the extra mile on Mountain Festival weekend. From our law enforcement officers keeping us safe, to our transit and public works staff, library services, parks and recreation, planning and city hall, everyone puts in the extra time and helps make the weekend what it is. That’s not to forget the volunteers of all the community, civic and athletic organizations that turn out for the events and work the incredible food and beverage vendor booths.

The Sandy Mountain Festival is one of the largest festival events in Oregon and attracts thousands of people to town each year. According to the festival's website, its purpose is to enhance Sandy's business climate by showcasing products, allowing local nonprofit organizations to raise funds, providing artists a forum for their talents and promoting community pride and participation.

Basically, the Sandy Mountain Festival provides citizens opportunities and allows our city to put its best foot forward. This is only the first step in our efforts to create the best possible Mountain Festival experience for both our neighbors here in Sandy, as well as our visitors.

We want both our neighbors and visitors to have an experience when interacting with our community that leaves them wanting more and coming back to support our community and our local business owners. The Sandy Mountain Festival is a unique and outstanding opportunity to do just that.

The Sandy Mountain Festival is back! What a crucial piece to reaching our overarching goal – To Keep Sandy Wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Why tangibles are separate by Paula Walker on 02/01/2022

Why are tangibles called out in their own section in your estate plan? As stated in the December 2021 article, what means more may not always have high financial value. Such is the case for those items referred to as “tangibles.” But also, tangibles may in fact have high financial value. All of this takes careful planning on your part and requires that your estate plan cover certain aspects of this planning specifically. Considerations follow for you as you plan out which of your personal belongings go to a particular person.

Include a specific definition of tangibles in your estate plan: to set a proper understanding for your own planning and for the execution of your estate plan after your passing, your estate plan should contain a definition of what constitutes ‘tangible items,’ identifying what is included in that category.

Terms for the division of tangibles are unique to that category: some of the terms for the division and distribution of financial assets may not, likely will not, be well suited to tangibles. For instance, the common phrase specifying that assets are to be divided equally, or in shares of substantially equal value, among the beneficiaries, is not as easily accomplished with tangibles as it is with a mathematical calculation of financial assets. Tangibles are of disparate financial value, but how they are valued by any of the family members may exceed any financial worth.

Fairness is an important consideration: per my opening paragraph, the value of a tangible may be in the mind and heart of the beholder, not worth that can be objectively appraised. And even when the latter is the case, that may not determine the desirableness of that item to several family members. Then again, an item of high financial value may leave others feeling that they were given less than someone else when considering overall the financial worth each received. Distribution of tangibles is a sensitive pursuit that requires your understanding and attention to your family dynamics if you want to do now what you can to avoid family member conflicts in the future.

Tangibles are called out and handled specifically and separately from your real property or your remaining financial assets, those being intangibles, in large part because their very nature is a complex mixture of financial value and emotional attachment, wherein lies a potential challenge in specifying precisely the item(s) that merit specific distribution, addressing who receives them and the potential for family conflict where several members have a desire for a particular item. We will continue to develop this area of estate planning in subsequent articles.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

We are all Stars… we all share common dynamics of family relationships, and such is the case when it comes to the actions and reactions when deciding who receives personal belongings after the death of loved ones. The following is a link to a video published by the University of Minnesota Extension Service to help families make good decisions for distributing personal belongings that have sometimes financial value and sometimes personal and sentimental value, with a sensitivity to their family’s particular and unique circumstances, “Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?” It is an excellent guide in planning for distributing your personal belongings with understanding and sensitivity to avoid conflicts over your well intended inheritance. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3NNoVRQpI8.

 


Photo by Gary Randall
Favorite views of Mount Hood by Gary Randall on 01/01/2022

Here in the Mount Hood community, we’re closer to Mount Hood than it seems. Being located within a valley our views of the peak are blocked by Zigzag Ridge. As the crow flies, it’s only 13 miles directly from the town of Welches to the peak of Mount Hood.

 

For being so close to the mountain we have few places to stand to view it. Because of that I thought that I would list some of my favorite places to photograph Mount Hood that don’t require a hike to get to.

Timberline Lodge – Timberline Lodge is at 6,000-feet of elevation on Mount Hood. Timberline Lodge can give some of the most epic views on Mount Hood’s south face. A bonus is being able to stand inside of the historic Timberline Lodge while looking out the massive windows that face the mountain, sipping a warm cup of your favorite beverage.

Lolo Pass Road – Lower Lolo Pass Road has an epic view of Mount Hood’s west face. This is the most iconic side as it faces Portland. Lolo Pass Road is not plowed in the Winter so be cautious, but at the lower end of Lolo Pass Road one can usually drive up for a view without worrying about snow. In the summer months it’s a great drive from Zigzag to Hood River Valley. It’s a great route to visit Lost Lake, which has its own iconic view of the mountain as well.

White River – White River West Sno-park is a great place to view Mount Hood’s east side. The White River passes by a large parking area with access to some excellent hiking or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Be cautious if you wander down into the floodplain where the river winds its way down the mountain, creating varying river routes depending on the level of water. The whole area can be susceptible to flash floods, especially in the springtime when the mountain begins to thaw. Although it's not a frequent occurrence I’m always cautious when I’m near the river. Don’t let that deter you as there are plenty of safe places to stand for a photograph of Mount Hood with the river in the foreground.

Jonsrud Viewpoint – Jonsrud Viewpoint is one of my (and a great many photographers) favorite view. It’s a location that folks from all parts of the country, and many times around the world, come to photograph, especially at sunrise. Jonsrud Viewpoint is located on Bluff Road just past the high school. There’s a small park and limited parking there so get there early if you want to photograph a sunrise. The view at the overlook spreads out in front of you with the Sandy River below as it flows west from Mount Hood in the distance.

Trillium Lake – of course a list like this can’t exclude Trillium Lake. Trillium Lake is another view that photographers from all around the world come to photograph. And it’s easy to understand why. Trillium Lake was created in 1960 when wetlands were dammed creating the reflective lake that we call Trillium today. On the best windless days at Trillium Lake Mount Hood is reflected as if it were in a mirror. Because the mountain is so near, it is prominent in the photograph. It’s easily one of Oregon’s top iconic locations for a beautiful photograph.

Cloud Cap Inn – Cloud Cap Inn is on the north face of Mount Hood and is only accessible in the summer when the winding dirt road is clear of snow. I added Cloud Cap Inn for a couple of reasons. First is the view of Mount Hood’s north face from there. And Cloud Cap Inn is Mount Hood’s oldest building. Built in 1889 the hand-hewn log structure was once an inn for hearty souls that wanted to enjoy the hiking and snowshoeing that the area around the inn provides but is now maintained and preserved as a clubhouse for the Crag Rats climbing club. The inn is located at the 6,000-foot level, the same as Timberline on the south side, and gives you a short route to access above the tree line views of the mountain.

This is a short list, but I think that these are the best views that are accessible without much of a hike. Once one hits a few of the trails that we have available to us, a whole new world of epic views can be found.

 


Contributed photo by Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District
A New Year's resolution: root out invasive plants by Steve Wilent on 01/01/2022

I hate to start out the new year by writing about love – hate relationships, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of certain invasive plants. I love the way English ivy looks on the walls of university buildings, churches and other buildings, but I hate ivy when I see it in the forests in our area. I love picking and eating the delicious fruit of the Himalayan blackberry, aka Armenian blackberry, but I hate the dense mats of it in old pastures or other formerly open areas and along roadsides, streams, and trails. I love the glorious masses of yellow blossoms of Scotch broom in the springtime, but I hate the way it outcompetes native plants and takes over natural habitats.

 

These three plants were imported for what seemed like good reasons at the time, but now they are major problems.

According to the Oregon State Extension Service, English ivy is “a major invasive villain in the Pacific Northwest, from British Columbia to California.” It also is a baddie along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to New York. The Inavsive.org website explains that European colonists introduced English ivy as early as 1727 and since then it has been widely planted for its evergreen foliage and dependability as a year-round “carefree” groundcover. I’m ashamed to admit that in the two nursery operations classes I took on my way to a degree in forestry, I and my fellow students potted hundreds of ivy starts and sold them to raise funds for maintaining the greenhouse. We knew not what we were doing. This ivy has many forms: there are more than 400 varieties, or cultivars, that are grown in home gardens and even indoors. You may find ivy in retail nurseries, despite its reputation as an invasive plant.

“As a vine, it can completely engulf shrubs and encircles tree trunks of all sizes, leaving nothing uncovered,” wrote OSU Extension Service horticulturist Linda McMahan. “Shrubs shrouded in ivy may eventually die because light can’t reach their leaves. The sheer weight of the extra vegetation also weakens the plant it grows on, making it more susceptible to disease and blowdown. Trees usually survive ivy invasion, even though weakened by retaining a ‘broccoli head’ of foliage at the very top.”

Not only does English ivy blanket large portions of Portland’s 5,000-acre Forest Park, it also occupies beachheads in our area, such as along Barlow Trail Road just east and west of Brightwood Bridge Road. Please don’t plant English ivy in your yard, and if you do have it, don’t throw cuttings onto your compost pile or toss them into the woods or streams – these bits and pieces are likely to take root and then take over. Burn any trimmings, or seal them in plastic garbage bags and leave them in the sun for a few weeks. The same goes for ivy grown as houseplants. I once found an ivy plant growing in the woods along a road in Rhododendron — a variety with small, variegated leaves, that is often grown indoors. There were no other ivy plants nearby. Perhaps someone threw out some cuttings from a potted plant and a sprig fell off of the garbage truck and took root. That’s all it would take to start a new infestation of ivy.

Like ivy, our non-native Himalayan blackberry easily takes over any native vegetation wherever it gains a foothold. It was introduced into the U.S. by Luther Burbank, the famed American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. In the 1880s, Burbank was working to improve berry taste and color by cross-pollinating different varieties. He imported the seeds of what he would call Himalayan blackberry from Eurasia and found that they produced vigorous plants and large crops of fruit. Unfortunately, birds found the berries tasty and spread the seeds far and wide though their droppings.

Today the thorny vines are found throughout most of the COW states – California, Oregon and Washington – as well as in isolated (so far) areas across the nation.

Himalayan blackberry tends to form monocultures that are difficult to eradicate. The plants can produce up to 13,000 seeds per square meter, and seeds can remain viable in the soil for several years. The sturdy canes and sharp thorns make the blackberry difficult to remove – I have the scars to prove it – and any bits of root left in the soil are likely to resprout. Mt. Hood Community College and the Metro regional government have been battling Himalayan blackberry on the campus and adjacent greenspace for years, and repeated mowing, followed by the application of herbicides when spouts emerge, seem to be keeping the plant at bay. They’re also battling garlic mustard, another nasty invasive, but that’s another story.

Scotch broom, too, competes with native plants and forms dense stands that are difficult to remove. A mature plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds per year, and those seeds can remain viable in the ground for as long as 60 to 80 years, allowing Scotch broom to quickly re-occupy a site after trees or native plants and grasses are removed.

Scotch broom, which is native to northern Africa and parts of Europe, was planted as an ornamental in the US starting in the 1850s and was later used the Pacific Northwest for dune stabilization, erosion control and as an ornamental along highway corridors. According to OSU Extension, it is now well established throughout western Oregon and is the state’s most extensive forest weed species. It also is a significant source of the pollen that effects allergy sufferers.

To remove Scotch broom, OSU Extension recommends digging up mature plants, including the root crown, or cutting them close to the ground each year before they produce seed pods, and in the spring pulling up any sprouts, roots and all, while they are small. Small Scotch broom plants that grow from seed can easily be pulled by hand; those springing from mature root systems usually break off, leaving the roots intact.

English ivy, Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom are all noxious non-native weeds. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines noxious as physically harmful or destructive to living beings. We have enough noxious-ness in the world today, so how about making a New Year’s resolution to do something about these weeds when and where we can?

Have a question about invasive plants? Want to know how removing them can improve your mental health? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Leafless wonders – how plants survive the winter by Mt. Hood Community College on 01/01/2022

Plants are experts at responding to their surroundings. They may not be able to fly away from blustery conditions or sleep through the winter blues as many birds and mammals do, but plants react to the cold in other spectacular ways.

Some plants respond to dropping temperatures by:

– Hoarding sugars, making cells less prone to freezing. One example is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the plant that gives us maple syrup.

– Bulking up on fats and lipids, but instead of insulating themselves as we do, plant fats are used to alter the fluidity of cell membranes in an effort to prevent frost damage.

– Producing antifreeze proteins that bind to developing ice crystals, stalling ice growth before major damage can be done.

– Dying back to below ground hideouts, waiting until the weather warms to reemerge.

– Dropping their leaves, a process known as abscission. The word abscission comes from combining the Latin words "to cut” and “off.” It has the same root as the word “scissors.” Plants that lose their leaves are making the calculated decision to abandon the organs that are most likely to cause them winter harm.

Plants that shed their leaves are referred to as deciduous. The leaves they drop are often thin, flat and wide, much like pieces of paper. Thin flat leaves have a greater surface area to volume ratio than thick round leaves do. This makes them better at picking up sunlight for photosynthesis, which is the process plants use to make food.

Thin flat leaves are more likely to sustain freeze damage. Leaves are also the site of respiration and water loss. In areas with freezing winter temperatures, plants experience a time of drought because the water in the environment is frozen and unavailable. If a plant were to keep its leaves attached through winter, it could become deathly dehydrated while surrounded by snow.

The process of dropping leaves means a plant can retain water and avoid frostbite during the dry winter months, even if it means making do with less food.

Next time you look at your wintery garden or take a frosty hike through the woods, take a moment to reflect on the amazing survival skills of the plants that share our communities and wilderness with us.

Catherine Creech is a Biology Instructor at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: Addressing agriculture by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/01/2022

I won’t mince words: as a rural Democrat, I am no stranger to the fact that rural Oregonians’ interests sometimes get lost in the shuffle of statewide policy conversations. That’s why I was thrilled that the legislature, convening last month in a special session, passed a $100 million drought relief package with overwhelming bipartisan support.

 

In addition to Clackamas County’s Mountain communities, I represent all of Hood River County, where eight percent of privately owned land is dedicated to agriculture, and well over 75 percent of the irrigated cropland consists of pear and apple orchards. The majority of those orchards are family-owned, and they produce the bulk of our state’s 200,000 tons of pears each year (almost 300 pears per Oregonian!). Because this industry is such a major part of our shared regional economy, I have worked hard to ensure legislation we pass works to support the growers and farmworkers in the Mount Hood and Columbia Gorge regions.

Expanding my focus to the entire state, I am dismayed we don’t talk enough about Oregon’s role as an agricultural powerhouse. Over a quarter of our state by acreage is dedicated to agriculture, and these farms generate over $2.5 billion in annual exports from our state – 13 percent of the state’s gross product. Over 600,000 jobs in the state are ag- and food-related, paying about $30 billion in annual household wages.

But the future of agriculture in the Hood River Valley, Oregon and throughout the American West is uncertain, as 92 percent of our state is now facing severe drought. Back at home in Hood River, over 90 percent of the land is facing severe drought, and about ten percent of that land is classified as facing “extreme drought,” meaning even reservoirs and lakes are low. Clackamas County doesn’t fare much better, with 100 percent of the county rated “moderate drought” or worse. This points to potential trouble in 2022 for Oregon’s pear crops, not to mention the cherry and caneberry crops that are even more sensitive to heat and drought (and which suffered historically low harvests last year due to the heat dome).

As we confront climate change, Oregon is on the precipice of an agricultural emergency. Growers of major international commodities like corn and soy – crops primarily grown in central states – have the luxury of relying on federal subsidies to get them through spare years. Oregon’s specialty crops can’t fall back on any such relief. They need their state government to see them through, and I’m so happy that we answered their call.

This drought relief package includes $10 million in direct payments to farmworkers who have to miss work due to extreme heat or wildfire smoke – both of which are unfortunately likely to occur during the 2022 growing season. It also includes $40 million for an agricultural forgivable disaster loan program, in addition to other targeted investments in drought relief and resiliency our state so desperately needs.

When we protect the security of small farms in our state, we also protect the reliable jobs and incomes of almost 200,000 farmworkers. As we continue important and difficult conversations about historic injustices and the challenging work of correcting them, let’s not cause new problems for the farmworker community by allowing family farms to go under because of drought.

I’m proud that much-needed drought relief was among the few pressing priorities that were addressed by the legislature in this special session.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Tackling traffic by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/01/2022

When talking to neighbors in Sandy, it usually doesn’t take very long for the issue of traffic to come up. In fact, when I first announced my candidacy for mayor three years ago, I ran on a platform of addressing our communities’ transportations system and building new roads. As one of the fastest growing communities in Oregon, Sandy is at a critical juncture with our transportation system.

With the drastic growth in popularity of Central Oregon and the Mount Hood recreational area, what was once seasonal winter traffic, is now a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year thoroughfare right through heart of our community.

As a result, I challenged our local leaders to think both long term and big. Having worked in the state senate in the early 2000s, I was keenly aware of how long large infrastructure projects take to come to fruition. Back in 2005 we were in the middle of planning the Newberg-Dundee bypass. In 2016 only phase 1 of that project was completed with no plans to start the second phase.

Knowing this, I proposed that Sandy begin our process of looking at our own bypass options. We just couldn’t wait to begin our planning any longer. A community of our size needs to start early and be strategic in such a project. In my first term as mayor, I succeeded in negotiating a joint venture between the city and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a feasibility study.

Getting this study is a huge development for our community. It’s been more than a decade since there’s been any research, and never a full study, on the viability of an alternate route to alleviate traffic congestion. City leaders have been left in the dark on the potential cost, location, impact on local businesses or even public opinion on such a project. This study will allow us to finally begin to develop a long-term plan for our transportations system, while also taking important steps to enhance the commute through our town in the immediate future.

That study came back and was presented to our City Council in December. The results are incredibly hopeful. It found that not only is a bypass possible, but it’s much more affordable than originally expected. Additionally, the study found that if the bypass is not completed, certain intersections in Sandy on Hwy. 26 would exceed mobility targets, even with local street improvements.

According to the study, the target date for such a project would be 2040 and would include four lanes (two eastbound and two westbound) and would intersect with Hwy. 26 at Orient Rd and Shorty’s corner.

In today's dollars, the cost is estimated at approximately $250 million and nearly a $1 billion in 2040 dollars.

Additionally, the report found that currently 30 percent of traffic that goes through Sandy never stops in our town. The bypass would divert approximately 40 percent of commuters leaving a much more shopper-friendly and walkable downtown for both our neighbors and visitors alike.

To put the impact this project could have on future residents in perspective, it only takes a couple of minutes to dive through Sandy today. This study projects it would take nearly 12 minutes on average to get through Sandy in the year 2040. While 20 years feels like a long time now, imagine how long it will take if we wait 20 years from now to begin the process.

Infrastructure projects for streets, roads and bridges take a significant amount of planning and can often take years, if not decades, to complete. Leaders must develop a plan that is supported by local residents, business owners and local stakeholders, and then advocate on behalf of that plan to other elected leaders at the state and national level to secure financing, as well as land for such projects.

This is the first step in that process. Sandy needs to take our destiny into our own hands and look out for our future, which is currently headed towards worsening gridlock. Building a bypass will make Sandy an even more attractive destination, not just a passthrough.

Our city is committed to moving forward and addressing our major traffic congestion needs. We will carefully review the presented data and take action in the near future. We must, as it is always our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful now and long into the future.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Simmer down by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2022

Have you ever made stock? Made from scratch, it is delicious as a base to a soup or sauce, or just sip and savor in a mug.

Stock in a pot or a crock is perfect for a winter day.

Beef stock

2 lbs. soup bones with marrow

2 cups rough-chop onions

3 large stalks of celery, chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

3 sprigs rosemary, thyme, parsley

3 cloves garlic

1T peppercorns

1T kosher salt

Water to cover

1 T olive or avocado oil

Sear bones on each side with oil in large stock pot, then add garlic, onions, peppercorns and salt. Cook about five minutes and then add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook at least four hours.  Strain and let cool, spooning off excess fat. Cool completely, freeze flat in large container.

Pappardelle with beef ragu

1 lb. chuck roast cut into chunks

2 cups beef stock

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 t salt and pepper

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

2 T chopped parsley

1 lb. cooked pappardelle pasta reserve 1 cup pasta water

I thinly sliced small onion

1 T olive oil

Brown beef on all sides in olive oil with salt and pepper on medium-high heat, then add remaining ingredients, except cheese, parsley and pasta water.

Reduce heat to low and simmer two hours. Pull meat from mixture, shred and place back in pot, then add pasta, cheese, parsley and toss and a few tablespoons of the pasta water if needed to moisten.

Well Adjusted – New Year's tips for your back by Dr. Melanie Brown on 01/01/2022

Ever since my teen years painting roads, I notice the stripes as I travel. I never really saw them before. Never thought about how they got there. I didn't notice whether a re-trace was done well or if the bead coat still had its luster.

Similarly, being a chiropractor, I am in a constant state of gait and posture analysis, drastically changing my people-watching habits. I consistently observe a predominance of poor head posture in patients and the general population, specifically, an anterior head carriage. Like roads that need re-striping, I see necks that need rehabilitation.

Why is this such a common occurrence? What is causing this poor posture pandemic? Our neck vertebrae have a lot "stacked" against them:

– A bowling ball-sized head that needs support

– Phone use creating flexed positions for long periods

– A high incidence of whiplash injuries from sports and auto injuries

What can we do? We can start by looking at our posture. We tend to elevate our shoulders and jut our heads forward, creating a slumped position. When we are stressed, we wear our shoulders as earrings. Some of us were taught to have a ballet or military posture with the upper back arched backward, which can jam the upper back. There is a better way to create a neutral stance in the body:

– Start with a neutral pelvis.

– Activate your abdominal and low back muscles slightly to hold a good lower body posture.

– Bring your shoulders down like you are carrying heavy grocery bags, and then bring your chin and forehead back evenly, retracting the head.

– Picture a string on top of your head pulling up, stretching and elongating the spine, then wiggle a little to relax into that stance.

We can work on our posture when on our phones. A new phrase called "tech neck" describes what is happening to us. A ten-pound head turns into a 50-pounder with a four-inch forward lean, causing the muscles designed to move your body to become stabilizers. This creates an imbalance in the neck and upper back muscles. Try to bring your phone up when looking at it to save your neck and try to be on your phone less. Your neck AND your brain will thank you!

I was giving a talk to about 50 people and I asked how many had been in a car accident. Only one had not and most had been in more than one. Our bodies were not made to withstand these auto impacts and our neck is usually the weakest link. If you were one of the unlucky ones in the demolition derby that was Timberline Road on the 20th, you might be feeling the effects of whiplash.

The neck's sudden back and forth movement even at low speeds can cause neck pain and stiffness, shoulder pain and headaches. Without proper treatment and exercise, the damaged muscles and ligaments can lead to imbalances that result in a straightening of the cervical lordotic curve that should bring the head back on top of the body.

Chiropractic adjustments as you heal will help restore your alignment, mobility and function. In Oregon, your auto insurance pays for your treatments after an injury. Many people do not know that and miss the care they need.

Be sure to be evaluated by a chiropractor after an accident for damage "under the hood." We often remember to fix our cars and neglect to fix our bodies. If you do not get these injuries appropriately addressed, it can lead to long-term pain, degeneration and dysfunction.

Sleep and work positions are important to look at for a healthy neck. When sleeping on your back, make sure you have cervical support. I like the memory foam contour pillows, but really anything that fits you well and pushes into the dead space to support the neck curve works - even a rolled-up towel. See what feels good to you.

When side sleeping, your head should be neutral and your nose should align with your navel. Avoid raising your arm above your head when side sleeping. Instead, keep your arms in front, hugging a pillow (or your sweetie) or in a prayer position. Check your work ergonomics and use a sit-stand desk with frequent breaks to move and stretch if stationary. If your post-pandemic job situation finds you at home, make sure you aren't spending the day on the couch with your laptop. You can make a laptop ergonomic with a wireless mouse, keyboard and thick books to prop up the computer. Eyes should be about even with the top of the screen.

Stretching and strengthening the neck feels good and can make a significant difference if done consistently. Avoid bouncing when stretching. Go into the stretch slowly and then hold for 10-20 seconds while breathing.

Starting in a standing or seated position, bring your ear to your shoulder each way, next look to the right over your shoulder and then to the left. You can end with gentle slow neck circles both ways.

Lie on your back with your chin tucked and lift your head slightly from the pillow to strengthen the neck. Hold. Increase holding time as your neck becomes stronger. You feel good when you are more upright, but you also look and feel more confident.

As I people-watch in our mountain community this month, I hope to see some taller, straighter spines. Happy New Year, everyone!

Well Adjusted – hydration is one key to health by Dr. Melanie Brown on 01/01/2022

As we settle into winter, it is much more appealing to stay under the covers in the cold mornings as we start to feel those aches and pains and mental sluggishness. One thing that is often forgotten to ease this transition, and improve your overall health, is hydration.

 

We often think of thirst as our only indicator of dehydration. But 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and in 37 percent, the thirst sensation is so impaired that they might mistake thirst for feelings of hunger. The elderly start to lose their thirst sensation and may drink less than in their younger years, decreasing strength and memory function. Kids are dependent on their parents to make sure they are consistently drinking enough water to feel their best and function well in life and school.

For you aquaphiles out there, good for you! For the many people who don’t inherently crave water, it is more important to strategize about your daily consumption. I’m not sure if it’s the salty well water I grew up with or the fact that I’m “too busy” to pee all the time, but I have never enjoyed drinking water regularly. Being health-conscious, I try to focus on the “whys” to keep me motivated.

For starters, we can change the old adage to say, “An ounce of water is worth a pound of pills.” You can decrease your risk factors for disease by staying hydrated. Water is a cleansing agent that helps the kidneys to eliminate toxins from the body via the bladder. Water also helps with constipation. “The solution to pollution is dilution.” You should not have a book in the bathroom (unless you are hiding from your kids).

And if you eat every day, you should poop every day! Water helps the fiber clean the intestines like a broom. My great-grandpa lived to be 100 years old. I believe it was because he drank adequate water and ate oatmeal every morning, cleansing his body regularly of disease-causing toxins. In a study with 20,000 participants, consuming only five glasses of water per day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 46 percent in men and 59 percent in women. A significant reduction in breast and bladder cancers was also shown. Hydration prevents headaches, can improve mood and energy. Water is a natural Botox alternative. You will turn from a raisin into a grape with smoother, more glowing skin!

Now to put this hydration plan into action, where to start? First, when people offer you water, always say YES! Fill your bottles in the morning or have a favorite water bottle that you fill a few times per day. Drink a little a lot, don’t flood your body all at once. I set my timer to squawk at me every hour from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help me get a jump-start on changing my habit. My kids enjoyed hearing the alarm and bringing me my water. Start the day with a glass of warm lemon water. Not only will you be hydrating, but you will be supporting your liver and digestive systems too!

You can’t talk about hydration without discussing water quality, so let’s dive into that for a minute. So, the H2O has arrived at your sink, but what came with it? It is essential to know your water because not all water is the same. Depending on your location, there could be prescription drugs, radon, arsenic, aluminum, mercury, asbestos, coliform bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, lead or other contaminants. But hold on, we want to hydrate to detoxify here, not to increase our toxic exposure! With the state of our world and, subsequently, our environment, we must try our best not to contaminate our bodies as we hydrate them!

Most of our water comes from lakes, rivers, reservoirs and from groundwater. If you have city water, water then flows from intake points to a treatment plant, a storage tank and then to our houses through various pipe systems. Water reports are available to the public for your review. If you get your water from a private well, there is no “treatment plant” - you handle maintenance, testing and operation. Wells should be checked and tested annually for mechanical problems, cleanliness and the presence of contaminants. Whole house filters need to be changed regularly.

There are many ways to purify water beyond what comes from our city or from our well. The most common are fridge filters, for which you can upgrade your cartridge. There are pitcher-style purifiers, reverse osmosis filtration systems for under your sink and various other methods. Find what works best for you to get closer to pure H2O.

If you have perfected your home filtration system, take water on the go instead of investing in expensive bottled water. Most bottled water comes in bottles made of plastic #1, deemed the safest by the FDA. Still, some contain #7, which may contain BPA, the most dangerous form of plastic which is banned in many countries. Reusable water bottles can be made of these plastics, so check the codes stamped on the bottom. Some metal water bottles have BPA lining, so be diligent. My favorite water bottle is my glass bottle with a felt cover with a carrying clip. Works great for me since my hands are always full, and no plastic or metal aftertaste!

The hydration challenge comes with a reward. Whether you are drinking half your body’s weight in ounces, or eight glasses per day, just get it in there! You will feel more energized, and you will receive endless health benefits. It’s simple, it’s free and your body will thank you!

Where There’s a Will: Tangibles... continued by Paula Walker on 01/01/2022

You know what is tangible and intangible… or do you?

As conveyed in the prior article, assets are defined as either real property or personal property.

Tangibles are those items classified by law as ‘personal property’ that can be felt or touched and are moveable, i.e., can be physically relocated. Further these items have intrinsic value, rather than representative value.

Intangibles are defined as personal property, in comparison, as those assets that cannot be directly felt or touched e.g., stocks, bonds, bank accounts etc. regardless that they may have a paper embodiment, i.e., representative value.

“I’ve got it,” you say. But there are items that are not so immediately discernable that can leave the administrator of your estate looking to the legal definitions, or the counsel of an attorney, to determine how to account for, report on and distribute certain items.

Items like the grandfather clock, the wedding ring, the furniture in the home and the jewelry are obvious contenders as tangibles. But others may not be so clear cut.

Where do items like cash, coins, gold bullion and gold bars fall? The cash and coins used for currency or normal legal tender belong in the category of intangibles, along with the value of your bank accounts, stocks etc. But what about that coin collection? In general, that is often considered a ‘tangible’ asset. And what about gold bullion and gold bars. These are not used for normal legal tender. You cannot go to the local grocery store and present them to the teller to pay at the checkout stand. Nonetheless, at times these are considered tangible items, and at others intangible. By example, if the gold bullion is part of a coin collection, they may be considered tangible items. However, in one ruling the IRS declared that South African Krugerrands, one of the best-known types of gold bullion coin, are more akin to money than the coins of a coin collection. So, the money in the cookie jar, the dollar bills stashed under the bed or stuffed in the mattress and the bills and change in the deceased’s wallet are all intangible personal property to be accounted for and distributed according to the terms of the residuary estate generally speaking. The other assets mentioned in the paragraph can be handled either as tangible or intangible assets in developing the estate plan according to more complex determinations.

And here is another interesting one to contemplate. What about that front door to the homestead home, hand carved by your grandfather? As mentioned, real property, realty, is distinct from personal property, personally. Realty is defined as real estate and as property that is attached or fixed to real estate. Could the door be bequeathed as a ‘tangible item’ to a member of the family, because of the family value it holds? Bearing in mind that laws governing real property and therefore the definitions of such are dependent on the jurisdiction in which they are located, it is possible. The door is attached to the house; therefore, one could say it is realty. However, it might come under the definition of ‘fixture,’ i.e., that which can be removed without damaging the building to which it is attached. Therefore, it could be possible to designate the transfer of the homestead under the realty distributions of your estate plan, and designate the door as a separate transfer to a great-grand-nephew who would value having the door for his own home, under the tangibles distributions of your plan.

Interesting to consider and to know that tangibles hold more in the considerations of your estate planning than might meet the eye.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Thinking about the reference to the ‘old school practice’ of stashing cash and coins in hidden places, here are a few interesting accounts in response to a journalist’s research on the topic conducted by the Chicago Tribune:

One police chief reported that his mother kept cash and valuables in an empty ice cream container in the freezer.

This intrigued the chief so much that he conducted his own straw poll of the department’s staff and found most everyone had a story. One officer's grandmother tucked $100 bills inside sweatbands of old hats; others had relatives who stashed sums in a plastic container in the bottom of a dog food canister, phony outlets or toilet tanks.

Another person reported his 83-year-old mother had $13,000 in an envelope taped to the back of an antique bedroom mirror.

And then there was the person whose father had “a wad of emergency cash” stashed inside his central air-conditioning system.

All those intangible assets sequestered away in what the Chicago Tribune dubbed “inheritance hide and seek.”

 


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Head for the desert by Gary Randall on 12/01/2021

It’s that time of the year here in Oregon when the days are short and the cloud-covered skies block the light from the sun that’s filtered through the tall trees. Temperatures drop and the rain comes. If you don’t walk the dog before 5 p.m. you’re walking in the darkness.

 

I accept it and don’t usually complain until around the end of March. I acknowledge that the cool rainy season that we get is what provides the beauty in the forest that surrounds us here around Mount Hood, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to plan an escape to open roads and open skies. In my mind spring and fall are the best times for road trips. Summer is too hot and winter too cold, but spring and fall provide temperate weather with spring flowers and fall leaves an added gift.

My natural inclination when I want to find open space and solitude is to head to the desert. I have spent a lot of time solo hiking in the deserts of Eastern Oregon, Southern Utah and Arizona including a trip down the rugged Tanner Canyon to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I think that living in the forests of Oregon most of my life has made me appreciate the dryness and openness of the desert. Conditions that are completely opposite of the Mount Hood National Forest.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Bruce and I carpooled to Utah to spend some time camping in the desert. We explored some unique places and created some beautiful desert landscape photos. As fulfilling as creating beautiful photos at beautiful places is, spending time with a good friend with a common interest is even better.

Bruce and I are philosophically similar but politically dissimilar, which makes some interesting conversation while travelling 80 MPH down a road that stretches from one horizon to the other, but we respect each other and through conversations that last for miles and miles, have found that we’re not that far from common ground than the world that we escape on these trips wants to make us believe.

Day one started at daybreak in Bend at Bruce’s home and by sunset we were camped at a Bureau of Land Management campground in the no-where land of Nevada called Illipah Creek Reservoir. As we sat there around our propane fueled campfire, we could see a herd of wild horse grazing and drinking down by the shore of the reservoir while we were being serenaded by coyotes in the near distance. The next morning was frosty. We hit the road right away for our next stop, Hanksville, Utah.

Hanksville is an incredible place. It lies in the red rock country near Capitol Reef National Park, an amazing place full of canyons, cliffs, domes and natural bridges. Capitol Reef is a huge “wrinkle” in the earth that extends almost 100 miles.

Geologically it’s both breathtakingly beautiful and fascinating at the same time. The landscapes that have been weathered by time have no moss or forests to cover them. The erosion exposes layers of sediment of different colors and textures. When the sun rises or sets it casts a horizontal light across the land revealing the textures and patterns of the desert.

Our campsite was pretty epic as it sat on the edge of a 400-foot cliff that gave us a view of a landscape reminiscent of the moon. It was a stark contrast to the red rocks as it was primarily grey in color. Canyons and arroyos formed by thousands of years of scant rain created a scene that was simply beautiful to just sit on the edge of the cliff and observe as the light passed over it. During the daytime the sky was dappled with cotton ball clouds which made beautiful patches of shadow that moved through the scene.

The next morning, we were able to fly our drones around Factory Butte at sunrise which provided some incredible aerial landscape photos. After which we took an off-highway trip on primitive roads through Capitol Reef.

Through the grapevine several other landscape photographers that we know, who were in the area, stopped by camp to say hello. After some good conversation and a cold beverage or two, we ended the day with a sunset before getting ready to travel to Bryce Canyon National Park the next morning.

Ever since I was a boy looking through my View-Master at the incredible orange layers and towering spires I've wanted to visit Bryce Canyon. After spending a day and a half there, including photographing the canyon by moonlight, I’m planning my return to spend a week hiking the trails that wind through a geology fantasy land.

After a sunrise at the appropriately named Sunrise Viewpoint we headed back into Nevada and stopped by an incredible place that I had never heard of; Cathedral Gorge State Park, an interesting Bentonite mud formation weathered by time into amazing castellated formations and slot canyons that one can explore. This place showed me that there’s a lot more out there to see than just National Parks for those who take the time to explore the less travelled roads.

We ended our trip with a stop for lunch at Fields Station near the rugged Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert, and by nightfall we were back in Bend. In all we spent a week making a loop seeing some beautiful desert scenery.

I must say this though, once I was back home here on the Mountain the damp, moist air and the beautiful conifer forests were welcomed. I think that I’m prepared now for winter.

Ask me again how that’s going come March.

Well Adjusted – hydration is one key to health by on 12/01/2021

As we settle into winter, it is much more appealing to stay under the covers in the cold mornings as we start to feel those aches and pains and mental sluggishness. One thing that is often forgotten to ease this transition, and improve your overall health, is hydration.

We often think of thirst as our only indicator of dehydration. But 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and in 37 percent, the thirst sensation is so impaired that they might mistake thirst for feelings of hunger. The elderly start to lose their thirst sensation and may drink less than in their younger years, decreasing strength and memory function. Kids are dependent on their parents to make sure they are consistently drinking enough water to feel their best and function well in life and school.

For you aquaphiles out there, good for you! For the many people who don’t inherently crave water, it is more important to strategize about your daily consumption. I’m not sure if it’s the salty well water I grew up with or the fact that I’m “too busy” to pee all the time, but I have never enjoyed drinking water regularly. Being health-conscious, I try to focus on the “whys” to keep me motivated.

For starters, we can change the old adage to say, “An ounce of water is worth a pound of pills.” You can decrease your risk factors for disease by staying hydrated. Water is a cleansing agent that helps the kidneys to eliminate toxins from the body via the bladder. Water also helps with constipation. “The solution to pollution is dilution.” You should not have a book in the bathroom (unless you are hiding from your kids).

And if you eat every day, you should poop every day! Water helps the fiber clean the intestines like a broom. My great-grandpa lived to be 100 years old. I believe it was because he drank adequate water and ate oatmeal every morning, cleansing his body regularly of disease-causing toxins. In a study with 20,000 participants, consuming only five glasses of water per day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 46 percent in men and 59 percent in women. A significant reduction in breast and bladder cancers was also shown. Hydration prevents headaches, can improve mood and energy. Water is a natural Botox alternative. You will turn from a raisin into a grape with smoother, more glowing skin!

Now to put this hydration plan into action, where to start? First, when people offer you water, always say YES! Fill your bottles in the morning or have a favorite water bottle that you fill a few times per day. Drink a little a lot, don’t flood your body all at once. I set my timer to squawk at me every hour from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help me get a jump-start on changing my habit. My kids enjoyed hearing the alarm and bringing me my water. Start the day with a glass of warm lemon water. Not only will you be hydrating, but you will be supporting your liver and digestive systems too!

You can’t talk about hydration without discussing water quality, so let’s dive into that for a minute. So, the H2O has arrived at your sink, but what came with it? It is essential to know your water because not all water is the same. Depending on your location, there could be prescription drugs, radon, arsenic, aluminum, mercury, asbestos, coliform bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, lead or other contaminants. But hold on, we want to hydrate to detoxify here, not to increase our toxic exposure! With the state of our world and, subsequently, our environment, we must try our best not to contaminate our bodies as we hydrate them!

Most of our water comes from lakes, rivers, reservoirs and from groundwater. If you have city water, water then flows from intake points to a treatment plant, a storage tank and then to our houses through various pipe systems. Water reports are available to the public for your review. If you get your water from a private well, there is no “treatment plant” - you handle maintenance, testing and operation. Wells should be checked and tested annually for mechanical problems, cleanliness and the presence of contaminants. Whole house filters need to be changed regularly.

There are many ways to purify water beyond what comes from our city or from our well. The most common are fridge filters, for which you can upgrade your cartridge. There are pitcher-style purifiers, reverse osmosis filtration systems for under your sink and various other methods. Find what works best for you to get closer to pure H2O.

If you have perfected your home filtration system, take water on the go instead of investing in expensive bottled water. Most bottled water comes in bottles made of plastic #1, deemed the safest by the FDA. Still, some contain #7, which may contain BPA, the most dangerous form of plastic which is banned in many countries. Reusable water bottles can be made of these plastics, so check the codes stamped on the bottom. Some metal water bottles have BPA lining, so be diligent. My favorite water bottle is my glass bottle with a felt cover with a carrying clip. Works great for me since my hands are always full, and no plastic or metal aftertaste!

The hydration challenge comes with a reward. Whether you are drinking half your body’s weight in ounces, or eight glasses per day, just get it in there! You will feel more energized, and you will receive endless health benefits. It’s simple, it’s free and your body will thank you!


Photo by Steve Wilent
Green humor – moss by any other name is a liverwort by Steve Wilent on 12/01/2021

Do you think we had enough rain in mid-November? The atmospheric river that flowed across our region from Nov. 10-13 dropped 6.25 inches of liquid Oregon sunshine in my Mountain rain gauge (a flat-bottomed bucket), and another 1.5 inches from Nov. 15-16. That’s about two-thirds of the 12 inches Bend gets in an entire year. When I tell folks from outside of the wet side of the Pacific Northwest about how much rain we get, I mention the 10+ feet of rain we got in the winter of 1996-97. They ask how I can stand living in a rainforest. I love the rain, I say, because it’s free water for my well and it keeps the moss on my back green and luxuriant.

 

Mosses are everywhere in our area – on trees and shrubs, on the ground, on bare rock, on roofs and automobiles and in the cracks between paving stones and bricks. In winter, while the oxalis and bracken are in the midst of their winter slumber, the mosses keep the forest floor green and vibrant.

Not only mosses, but liverworts and hornworts, too, all of which are bryophytes. And which are not to be confused with lichens, some of which are commonly called mosses. The long light-green old man’s beard or Methuselah’s beard that we see hanging in long tendrils from tree branches are not “Spanish moss,” but types of lichen. Lichens are not plants, but a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, fungi and algae.

Estimates of the number of bryophyte species in the world range from 18,000 to 25,000. They live almost everywhere on Earth, including Antarctica. A publication by the U.S. Geological Survey, “Bryophytes and lichens: Small but indispensable forest dwellers,” explains that bryophytes are small green plants that, compared to flowering trees and plants, “have primitive tissues for conducting food and water, and they lack a protective outer surface to maintain water balance. Most bryophytes, because they lack tissues such as roots, obtain their water through direct surface contact with their environment. During dry weather they have the capacity to withstand complete dehydration. Bryophytes that are dry may appear dead but will regain normal function when moisture is available. Instead of producing seeds, bryophytes can either reproduce sexually by means of spores, or asexually when small pieces break off and grow into new individuals” (see tinyurl.com/dvw48ecx).

A book I’ve recommended in previous columns, “Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast,” by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, has sections devoted to mosses, liverworts and lichens. The iNaturalist web site has a wealth of photographs of mosses and liverworts and the locations where people have found them (tinyurl.com/3k6vhs4x). Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between mosses, liverworts and hornworts – to the untrained eye, they’re very similar in appearance.

“Living with Mosses,” an online publication produced by Oregon State University students and faculty (Go Beavs!), notes that mosses have important uses:

“Unknown to most of us, mosses actually have many uses, from ecological to medical with a suite of common household uses in between. One of the better known ecological uses of moss is as bioindicators of air pollution, such as those caused by factory emissions. They are very good indicators of acid rain damage to an ecosystem as well. Mosses are also used as erosion control agents as they aid in moisture control and stabilization of soil that would either be wind blown or washed away by water. Mosses occupy an important ecological niche in arctic and subarctic ecosystems where moss symbionts provide most nitrogen fixation in these ecosystems, as compared to the leguminous associations that are responsible for this job in temperate regions. Mosses can also be used as bioindicators of water pollution and treatment of wastewater. Throughout history mosses have been used in horticulture because they are beneficial to the soil. Mosses increase the amount of water soil can store and improve soil’s nutrient holding capacity.”

The publication also has information about controlling mosses where people don’t want them, such as on roofs and in lawns, as well as how to encourage mosses where people do want them, such as in residential gardens and formal moss gardens. The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Wash., has a moss garden with 40 species.

One thing I love about bryophytes are that many of them have interesting names. For example, crisped pincushion moss, goblin’s gold moss and hanging millipede liverwort. Lichens, do, too: bloody beard, pimpled kidney, punctured rocktripe and questionable rock-frog. No, I did not make up those names.

Go outside and look around you, even get down on your hands and knees sometime when it’s not so wet, and take a close-up look at the world of the bryophytes. These underappreciated plants are as beautiful and varied, if not more so, as the forests around and above them.

More on Resilience

A follow-up to last month’s column on forest resilience and climate change. I love the headline of this Nov. 5 article in the Sacramento Bee: “Beetles have more sex when it’s hot – and it’s killing pine trees in CA, study finds” (see tinyurl.com/yt5fffff). The article explains that “Hot temperatures usually make people tired and lazy, but for the western bark beetle, the heat just makes them want to have a lot of sex – and that’s bad news for giant pine trees scattered across the West Coast.” It’s actually the western pine beetle, which is one of many bark beetles.

Do beetles that prefer Douglas-fir also get randy when it’s hot? I don’t know, but if it turns out that they do, I’ll want to use “Beetles having more sex in Mountain trees!” as a headline in a Woodsman column.

Have a question about bryophytes? Want to know how to safely remove moss from your back? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: The proactive approach by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2021

In government, it’s important to strike a balance between responding to current crises and making policies that will avoid future ones. I think of these as “reactive policies” and “proactive policies,” and in a perfect and predictable world, we would only have to worry about the latter. Of course, this world is far from perfect, and it’s even less predictable.

 

As a result, a lot of decisions the people make (whether by electing legislators or by voting directly on ballot measures) are between reactive and proactive policies. Oregon’s housing crisis provides a good example: in order to address homelessness, we are working reactively to find temporary shelter for unhoused people with no better option than to camp outdoors. At the same time, we are establishing better services and economic support for people who may potentially face homelessness in the future, so we can avoid the need for even more emergency shelter.

It’s a tough decision, though, because for every dollar we spend on preventing future homelessness, we have one less dollar to put toward immediate shelter funding to address the current crisis. In so many cases, this one-to-one balance is the best we can do: to fix issues we’re confronting now, we have to turn a blind eye to the prevention of future ones, and vice versa. But what if we could do both at once?

Adult homelessness is complicated. There are a lot of factors that can lead to a person’s inability to find or maintain affordable housing: medical expenses, loss of employment, domestic violence, lack of access to mental health care, extensive debt or any of hundreds of other things. Above all else, though, the number one factor that leads to adult homelessness is youth homelessness. Deprived of the safety and security of a roof over their heads and stable family relationships, kids who experience homelessness are more likely than not to experience homelessness as adults.

In 2021, I was proud to support a bill that made significant investments to address youth homelessness. That bill provided $4.4 million to the Oregon Department of Human Services to award grants to service providers for homeless youth, as well as “host homes,” which provide unaccompanied homeless minors with safe housing without involving them in the already strained foster care system. Still, though, these resources aren’t nearly enough to address the full scope of the problem. The limited resources that were provided will be focused in areas with established service providers and host home networks, meaning homeless youth who live outside of major population centers may literally be left out in the cold.

For 2022, I have proposed a follow-up bill to direct funding specifically to parts of the state where few or no service providers for homeless youth exist. This new bill will also take existing support that’s available to foster youth, such as tuition support and funding for independent housing, and extend those same supports to homeless youth as well. Finally, it will establish an eviction prevention program within the Department of Education, to help school districts provide housing support to students experiencing homelessness or families that are about to lose their housing. A similar program that was recently piloted in Portland was able to keep 113 students housed with an investment of only $20,000. Directing funding for a similar program to areas with cheaper housing markets will go even further toward improving stability for students on the edge of homelessness.

These sound like small fixes, but they will have huge impacts. Every homeless child who is able to get a roof over their head is a child whose lower stress might lead to better educational outcomes, who can have a stable social life, who can grow up into a successful and self-reliant adult. It could make the difference in whether they get involved with the criminal justice system. It will reduce the likelihood they will struggle with drug abuse. This is the purpose of proactive policy: that small investments now can avoid bigger costs in the future. If that sort of proactive policy also has the direct and immediate result of getting a homeless child off of the streets, then that’s a win-win for Oregon.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: The holidays are back by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 12/01/2021

Every year I look the most forward to this annual December holiday season column. The holiday season in Sandy is always my favorite time of the year. From our city’s annual tree lighting to our charitable giving traditions, the holiday season is where Sandy really shines as the wonderful community we are.

Thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of our most cherished traditions have been drastically impacted over the last couple of years. While some of this year’s activities are of a “hybrid” nature, allowing for individuals to choose what works best for their personal comfort level, I am proud to say that our holiday traditions are back and for the most part will feel as special as ever.

Considering our current national supply chain logistics issues and the fact that many of our local businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, it has never been a better and more convenient time to both shop and dine local. It is said that a single dollar spent locally gets spent four additional times here in our community. Whether it be shopping for your gifts or a gift card at a local store or grabbing some food on your way to get the tree, Sandy has everything you need to spread holiday cheer.

Perhaps the most popular holiday tradition in Sandy is the annual Sandy Community Christmas Basket Program sponsored by the Sandy Kiwanis Club. Planning is already underway for their 66th anniversary of the program! Last year 350 families were able to be assisted. The Sandy High School Key Club is back up and going and will have their traditional canned food drives this year as well. To help the Kiwanis purchase food or to donate, please send checks to Sandy Community Christmas Baskets, P.O. Box 1261, Sandy, OR 97055 or find them online at sandykiwanis.org/ChristmasBasket.html.

This year each basket will have the same items as in the past for a holiday meal: a ham and all the sides to go with it.

Our annual Holiday Tree Lighting will be in person this year with a hybrid drive-through option as well. This year’s event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. The lighting will also be a live streamed event with holiday messages from well-known community members. Please visit the event Facebook page for the latest details for this incredibly special event.

Sandy’s Helping Hands is doing their annual “Christmas in the Community” program, where they provide Christmas dinner and gifts to local families in need. If you’re interested in helping, please visit the Sandy’s Helping Hands Facebook page to purchase gifts off of their Amazon list. This year, they’re hoping to give the gift of Christmas to nearly 25 families.

While the past couple of years has brought its share of challenges, sometimes we need these moments in our lives to remind us of how truly special this place we live truly is. Whether it’s our community gatherings, charitable opportunities or just wishing each other “Merry Christmas” while passing each other at the grocery store – this time of year reminds us why it’s so important to have our eye on our united mission, to always keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Wilderness training can help in life-or-death situations by Mt. Hood Community College on 12/01/2021

Standing on the summit of Mount St. Helens, my long-time friend and climbing partner beside me, I looked down into the horseshoe-shaped crater caused by the eruption in 1980. From our vantage point, we could see Mount Rainier to the north and Mount Hood to the south.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend New Year’s Day 2014. Summitting the mountain felt like the most memorable chapter of the day. Soon a scream for help would prove me wrong.

We started our descent from the 8,365-foot peak on schedule, with plenty of daylight left. Crampons strapped to our feet and ice picks in hand, we worked our way down the rugged snow and ice-covered route to the seismic station at 6,200 feet. There we removed our crampons and chatted about the weather with a man and woman heading up the mountain. They continue up and we began hiking down. A few minutes later, a cry for help rang out.

Wilderness Responder Training Kicks In

I am a Wilderness First Responder instructor. I teach people how to respond to emergency medical issues in remote settings where help is not readily available and perform evacuations.

When my friend and I reached the couple, the woman was sitting on the ground holding her leg. They had not donned their crampons yet, and during her ascent, she had stepped on an icy patch, twisted her left leg and fell. I quickly assessed her to make sure she did not have any life-threatening injuries.

Her left leg was unstable and any movement caused agony. I took stock of the materials we had on hand: one pair of trekking poles, ice axes, a small first aid kit, a tarp and some duct tape. Using trekking poles and straps from our backpacks I created a sandwich splint. Once the splint was in place, it relieved some of her pain.

Even with the splint on, any abrupt movement of her legs caused pain. The trailhead was three miles away, three miles of snow and ice.

911 is no Guarantee in the Wilderness

Many people assume 911 can come to the rescue, that wherever they are help is a phone call away. Aside from the risk of no cell phone service, most people don't realize that much of the Pacific Northwest’s rural areas have greatly reduced access to lifesaving medical care. If someone is severely injured in a rural area, their chance of dying is three to four times higher than in an urban area.

We did have cell coverage and called 911. The news was not good. Search and rescue would take at least six hours to reach us. Hypothermia was a serious risk if we waited for the rescue team on the cold barren mountainside. With the assistance of a large group of climbers who were on their way down the mountain, we decided to evacuate her ourselves and meet the rescue team during the descent.

Descent Toward Chocolate Falls

We created an improvised litter/stretcher using the tarp and some trekking poles to carry the injured woman. This type of litter allows six to eight people to carry it at the same time. Due to icy uneven terrain, it took us five hours to descend 2,500 feet to the top of Chocolate Falls, a 40-foot frozen and snow-covered waterfall hanging above Swift Creek. The sun was setting, stealing the last of our light.

In the growing darkness, I explained a method that allows rescuers to carry a litter up or down steep terrain. We carefully lowered the litter down the falls. Most of the group had been awake and climbing for more than 16 hours, but spirits were high after making it past this final obstacle.

We rounded a corner and met the search and rescue team and mountain paramedics. We learned that she sustained two fractures of her tibia, one just below the knee and the other above the ankle. Thankfully she made a full recovery and did not have any lasting injuries.

After a long and challenging day, I was grateful for my training and knowledge. I encourage everyone who ventures outside to take a course in wilderness medicine. As part of my course at MHCC, I teach all the life-saving techniques I used in this evacuation and many other wilderness medical skills. I always hope my students never have to use the training, but if they need it, I know they will be thankful for it.

Mt. Hood Community College offers a Wilderness First Responder course during the winter term. Contact Josh Stratman at 503-491-7201 or josh.stratman@mhcc.edu for more information. Find a full list of Community Education classes at learn.mhcc.edu.

By Josh Stratman/For the Mountain Times

Hot chocolate melts by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2021

Marshmallows

Grease a 9x9-inch square baking dish

2.5 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup water

7 t gelatin (about 3 packets)

1/4 t salt

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat combine granulated sugar with one cup water. Cook swirling pan often until candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees and set aside.

In a stand mixer add the 1/2 cup water and gelatin. Let proof 10 minutes with whisk attachment. Slowly pour sugar syrup into gelatin mixture. Whip on medium high about 6 minutes, add salt and vanilla  and then whip until thickened. Spread out in greased pan.

Whisk together powdered sugar and cornstarch, sprinkle 1/2 on top (you can add sprinkles at this time if you’d like) leave out on counter overnight to cure – cut in squares, toss with cornstarch mixture.

 

Hot chocolate melts

The idea is to melt one into a mug of hot milk. Gift a few in a nice mug with a few homemade marshmallows!

Over double boiler melt: 2 cups dark chocolate with 1 T coconut oil.

Pour half of mixture into bottom of greased loaf pan lined with parchment paper, allow to set for at least 45 minutes, then spread with cooled milk chocolate ganache:

Stir together over a double broiler until melted: 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, 1/2 t vanilla extract and 1/4 cup evaporated milk until smooth.

Set until thickened in fridge.

Heat and pour other half of chocolate on top, top with sprinkles, peppermint candies, mini chocolate chips, etc. Let set and cut with sharp knife into rectangular shapes.

Heat 8 oz milk and drop in a chocolate bar, stir until melted!

Tangibles and arcane language by Paula Walker on 12/01/2021

What means more may not always have high financial value…

When sitting down with clients for an estate planning session I often find that discussing their plans for 'tangibles' can bring out questioning looks at first but, in the end, may occupy the conversation more than higher valued assets like their home or their financial accounts. Your assets, property that comprises your wealth, those things that you will gift at your passing, consist of two broad categories, real property and personal property. Personal property is divided into tangible and intangible property.

Estate planning is filled with arcane terms, persistent remnants of our legal roots in English common law, as in, common to the king's courts throughout England. This system of law, hailing from the time of the Norman Conquest circa 1066, gives us such terms as “tangibles” and “chattels,” the latter included in the first.

In general, tangibles are personal property that can be felt or touched, and are moveable, i.e., can be physically relocated. These as opposed to intangibles, those assets that cannot be directly felt or touched e.g., stocks, bonds, bank accounts etc. regardless that they may have a paper embodiment.

Per Oregon law, the term tangibles includes, but is not limited to, all chattels and movables. The term chattel is a catch-all phrase in law that includes all movable assets that are not real estate and not attached to real estate. Tangibles can include everything from furniture, collectibles and personal effects in a home; boats, movable machinery, manufactured homes and vehicles; to living creatures such as livestock and our treasured animal companions, i.e., pets.

Frequently the planning for distributing tangibles consists of discussing many common every day objects in our lives such as clothing, jewelry, art, musical instruments, writings, furnishings, tools and other household goods. Very often a client's focus is on those items that are of relatively little monetary value, but of great sentimental worth. At times the discussion of this type of personal property eclipses discussing the transfer of financial assets. That favorite painting or antique chest, the tea set handed down from grandmother or that may have come with her from another country in emigrating to the U.S. The core value contained in these are many true-to-heart connections that bear intense consideration for their care and their passage

Stories of the Stars… If Only

In this case an item of sincere sentimental and nostalgic value collides with real monetary value as is discovered.

Not a celebrity story but a story of family and real life for the many of us. A BBC article offered a collection of people’s experiences of “being remembered” with a gift from a dear one upon their passing, and the unexpected turns such gifts can take - one person wrote that a small, seemingly insignificant item “almost caused a war within the family.” The grandmother left to the person writing to the BBC a cruet that she had kept on her dining table the many years. She left that cruet to the writer specifically because as a teenager the writer had told her grandmother that when they came to visit, seeing that cruet was the sign that they were “at Grandmas House.” This innocent comment made for no other particular purpose than its straightforward message resulted in the gift. The issue arose because, as it turned out unbeknown to the writer, the cruet was a valuable antique. The writer's uncle, who collected such things, knew its value and wanted it. Apparently, the writer's tenacious desire to keep the memento won the day. The writer closed with the comment that that cruet is still on her dining table “to this day.”

Who’s to know what you set in motion with those tangibles that you leave to someone that appear to have little in monetary value but are great in sentimental connection?


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: An ounce of preparation by Gary Randall on 11/01/2021

Preparing for a trip, even a simple day trip, should be pretty basic when it comes to packing your camera gear, or so it would seem. It’s easy to throw your gear in the backpack, grab it and go.

 

You must know that photographers take their backpacks pretty serious. For those who aren’t aware, I should explain that a photography backpack is very much like a typical rucksack, but they have little padded dividers that are fastened with Velcro in an arrangement decided upon by the owner of the backpack to hold their various camera bodies, lenses and other assorted accoutrement.

With these dividers it’s easy to take a quick inventory of your gear prior to heading out into the field. Zip open a panel, look inside and zip the panel back up and off you go.

Taking quick inventory in this way is typically straight forward. It’s easy to see if you have your camera and your lenses, but there are always those little details that will trip you up as this little story will show.

After taking my quick inventory on one day, I grabbed my gear for a hike to a waterfall that I had been meaning to photograph for a while.

The hike was going to be about a five-mile trip in, ten miles altogether. A good day hike but still a bit more laborious due to my backpack full of gear.

It’s usually like me to pull my camera from my backpack at the trailhead and carry it separately and take snaps along the way, but on this day the hike was familiar and I figured that I would just wait until I arrived at the spot that I had in mind. Besides, it would make the hike easier without carrying something in my hands.

I hiked with certain urgency as I was on a mission. I walked the five miles with no break for rest as I knew that where I was going would be a great spot to snack on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the apple that I had brought along with me.

How perfect. A beautiful waterfall to photograph and a nice little picnic all at the same time.

After the morning hike I arrived at my destination. The spot that I had in mind for the photograph that I had imagined since my last hike there. I walked to the creekside, peeled off my backpack, set up my tripod, unpacked my camera, set it up on the tripod and turned it on to check my settings.

As I look at the digital display, which shows me everything that I need to know to adjust my camera, I notice the available exposure count. It reads 0. Zero??? What?

As I stood there looking at the display, the cold realization hit that I forgot to check that I had put the memory cards back in after I had pulled them out to reformat and clear them to prepare for more photos of this trip. I was literally standing there with a camera without “film” in it.

All at once I felt emotions welling up inside. I’m not sure if they were feelings of frustration, anger or dismay or a combination of them all. It really didn’t matter as they weren’t good.

I dug through my pack to see if I had stashed a spare card, but found nothing. I felt pretty dumb. Without much more than a thought or two about what more that I could do, I packed my gear back into the backpack and sat down to eat my sandwich.

As I sat there, I lectured myself. I berated myself for forgetting to reinstall the card, and again for not checking when I packed the backpack, but in time I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to take a single photograph, and that I was in an incredibly amazingly beautiful place in a terrible state of mind and that I just needed to realize how my priorities were out of order.

I had to ask myself how taking the photo became more important than the experience of being there and experiencing the tangible part of the hike that a photo can never capture.

At that moment I closed my eyes and paid attention to those non-visual components of this beautiful location that make the experience complete.

I listened to the water as it tumbled over rocks. I listened to the breeze in the trees above my head. I felt the moss under me.

Once I did this, I started to pay attention to things that I may have ignored. I heard birds singing and squirrels quarreling. I smelled the fresh fragrance of a forest in the morning. I felt the mist from the falls on my face.

I could feel the stress leave as I concentrated. My feeling of frustration changed to resignation and then to a feeling of satisfaction as I realized the complete beauty of my surroundings.

In time I stood back up, grabbed my backpack and started back down the trail with the thought in my mind about lessons learned. Practical thoughts about how to prevent forgetting memory cards or batteries, but even more the thoughts and wonder if I would have taken the time to enjoy the experience of the waterfall if I had remembered to bring them.

To this day when I head out to hike to a waterfall, I will check everything, including the details. I haven’t left a card or a battery at home since, but more importantly after this experience, the first thing that I do when I arrive at a location is to close my eyes and experience everything that being there has to offer, and I think that it shows through the photos that I take afterward.


Photo by Steve Wilent
Forest resilience and climate change by Steve Wilent on 11/01/2021

I was happy to hear from several readers that they found my October column on Douglas squirrels informative. However, the International Douglas Squirrel Appreciation Society was not amused. In an unsigned email, they said that these squirrels are certainly not evil, are absolutely adorable and would never throw fir cones at people or their houses. Obviously, these well-intentioned folks don’t know the crafty critters as well as they think.

 

One reader responded to my September column on the likely effects of climate change on natural resources in our area with an excellent question: What did I mean when I wrote that, “foresters and fishery and wildlife managers will need to focus on increasing the resilience of these natural resources to ensure their health and survival.”

As you may recall, I wrote that, “With higher temperatures, more heat waves, and drier summers, our native trees and shrubs will be under more stress. Trees and plants that are weakened by drought and high temperatures are more susceptible to insect attack, so we may see more of them dying. Fish and wildlife will be affected, too. The earlier arrival of spring conditions and warmer, drier summers and early autumns may change the timing of salmon and steelhead migration and reproduction, for example.”

How can forests be made more resilient to higher temperatures, more heat waves and drier summers?

Imagine an acre of forest that has 50 conifer trees, most of which are 100 years old or more, with an understory of salal and sword fern – typical for our area. Over the last century, these trees and shrubs have thrived with relatively steady amounts of rain and snow during the fall, winter and spring, with little rain during the summer.

How will they respond to getting about the same amount of annual rainfall, but more of it coming in winter, with warmer, dryer summers that last a month or two longer than in the past? They may do fine during the wet season, but during the dry season the trees and shrubs will increasingly compete with each other for water. In nature, the strong survive: the trees and shrubs with root systems able to draw in enough water will survive, and others may not. At first, the weaker trees will have less energy to expend on defending themselves from insects and disease, and they may weaken and eventually die.

As summers continue to become longer, dryer and hotter, even the largest, most robust trees may struggle to survive, and a drought they might otherwise have survived could kill some or all of them.

That’s what happened in California over the past decade. An estimated 163 million trees – many of them well over 100 years old – died during a drought and subsequent bark beetle infestations. This figure does not include the millions of trees killed in recent years by wildfire. I visited the central Sierras in 2016 and saw huge numbers of dead ponderosa pines and sugar pines on the Sierra National Forest and Sequoia National Park, and the beginnings of a die-off in Yosemite National Park.

Trees in Oregon, too, are dying, as “The Oregonian” reported in a Sept. 17 article, “Climate change and hot, dry summers mean big trouble for Oregon’s trees.”

In California, the die-off began suddenly and progressed so quickly that little could be done but to remove the dead trees that posed the greatest threat to homes, businesses, power lines and so on.

What can be done here, other than waiting for a few or many of our trees to die?

On the example acre, removing some of the 50 trees would reduce the stress on the remaining trees. It wouldn’t guarantee their survival, but it would give them a better chance at living through the coming longer, dryer summers, as well as the occasional extraordinary heat wave, like the one we had this summer. In other words, it would help the trees become more resilient to the changes ahead. Landowners also might consider planting Douglas-fir trees grown from seed from trees in southern Oregon or Northern California, where summers are now similar to future summers here. Even now, some landowners in northwest Oregon are thinking about planting ponderosa pines, Oregon white oaks or other species accustomed to long, dry summers.

I am not saying that you ought to start thinning trees on your Hoodland property, at least not yet. I’m not planning to thin the trees on my Rhododendron land, other than to remove one or two that have a root disease, but I’m keeping a close eye on them and watching for advice from respected sources of information such as Oregon State University and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.

East of the Cascades, I’ve observed many ponderosa pines at lower elevations that are dying or dead. Drive Dufur Valley Road between Dufur and Camp Baldwin and you’ll see lots of ponderosas that are fading or are already dead. If I had property in that area, I would consider cutting some of the remaining pines and thinning the Oregon white oaks and grand fir, which would reduce moisture stress on the remaining trees.

As for wildlife in our area, there will be winners and losers in the coming decades. Woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds may thrive, as more trees are infested by bark beetles and other insects, but frogs and other amphibians may struggle as the timing of their mating and reproduction seasons change and as springs and wetlands dry up. Working to help forests adapt to the changes ahead would assure that forest-dwelling animals have resilient habitat. Active forest management can be done with an eye toward improving habitat, such as by creating openings in the forest canopy that offer food, shelter, and other benefits to wildlife.

Enhancing habitat for our native fish will be important, too. The U.S. Forest Service, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council and other organizations have worked for years to improve fish habitat by reopening old side channels and adding large logs and root wads to steams, which has several benefits to fish, such as creating deep pools that provide refuges during heat waves. This work is now more important than ever.

Oregon’s climate, along with the world’s, will continue to change for decades, regardless of what humanity does to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Hoodland, we can either stand by hope that our forests remain healthy, or prepare to take measured, science-based action to increase forest health and resilience before we have a mass die-off like California’s.

Have a question about forest health and resilience? Want to know how forests promote human health and resilience? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Rain gardens improve water quality and protect salmon by Mt. Hood Community College on 11/01/2021

Every fall, students in the Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) Fisheries Technology Program conduct spawning surveys in Beaver Creek. During these surveys, students often discover pre-spawn mortality – salmon that have died from exposure to pollution before they could lay their eggs. The MHCC Salmon Safe Clean Water Retrofit aims to change that trend.

In 2016, MHCC became the first community college in the U.S. to be certified Salmon Safe. The Salmon Safe Clean Water Retrofit decreases the college campus’ impact on salmon and improves water quality downstream.

For thousands of years, salmon have been a crucial part of the ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, spending part of their lives far up rivers, mountain streams and even creeks that now flow by residential and commercial areas like Beaver Creek, which passes through the MHCC campus.

Much of the campus was constructed in the 1960s and expanded as the college grew. Large parking lots are a necessity for students and staff, but runoff from these lots and roofs drive pollution into nearby creeks. Once the college discovered this impact on the environment, leadership explored ways to decrease the pollution.

The Salmon Safe Clean Water Retrofit captures runoff before it reaches the creeks through drywells, rain gardens and naturescapes that cool runoff and naturally filter pollutants. These changes capture 95 percent of pollution in retrofitted parking lots. MHCC is committed to being a steward of the environment, as well as a good neighbor.

Beaver Creek is a crucial part of our local ecosystem. Four to nine percent of Sandy River coho salmon pass through Beaver Creek each year. The Beaver Creek watershed is home to salamanders, herons, eagles, otters and lamprey. Beaver Creek starts as a spring near Dodge Park Blvd., flows through farms and nurseries and empties into the Sandy River near Glenn Otto Park.

The retrofit is just one part of a larger effort to restore the creek through a partnership between Sandy River Watershed Council, City of Gresham, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Metro and MHCC. Learn more and discover volunteer opportunities at Sandyriver.org/beavercreek.

Jenny Furniss is the public relations and marketing content strategist at MHCC.

View Points – Salem: Third step against child abuse by Rep. Anna Williams on 11/01/2021

One of the main things that short legislative sessions, which take place during even-numbered years, tend to focus on is unfinished business from previous sessions. The main piece of unfinished business that I hope to complete in the 2022 session is the last remaining piece of a three-part child abuse prevention and response bill that I sponsored in my first year as a State Representative. (When I commit to getting something done, I don’t give up!)

Since then, I have successfully convinced the Legislature to dedicate $3 million per year to Children’s Advocacy Centers, which provide victim services and collaborate with law enforcement to help kids recover from abuse and help ensure abusers in our communities face accountability (that was part one of my bill). I have also successfully directed and funded the Department of Education to hire additional staff who can help Oregon schools teach child abuse prevention curriculum to K-12 students (that’s part two). With these two policy wins, Oregon children will now be better equipped to identify, report and escape abuse. They will also be better supported if they are subjected to abuse in their households or communities.

The missing piece of this puzzle, though, is a lack of information about how big the problem of child abuse in Oregon truly is. The third part of my child abuse agenda would change that. Our state’s response to child abuse depends on understanding where and when abuse is taking place. During the pandemic, we saw a huge decrease in abuse reports because the majority of those reports come from mandatory reporters who encounter kids in a school setting. Those mandatory reports, however, are only filed when a teacher, counselor or other mandatory reporter comes across evidence that a child is suffering abuse. Many child abuse survivors are experts at hiding their abuse - for their own safety. Reporting specific abusive behavior, after all, could lead to even worse abuse. This leads to a situation where our data on the prevalence of child abuse shows potentially far fewer instances of abuse than what is actually taking place in Oregon. We need a better way of talking directly to kids who are experiencing abuse, and we need to be able to anonymously collect information in case some victims and survivors are afraid to identify their abusers.

Within the University of Oregon, a research team has developed and tested a new way of gathering data on child abuse. The Oregon Child Abuse Prevalence Study has already been conducted in Lane County, but my bill would expand it statewide. This study gives us a trauma-informed way to go talk to high school students in Oregon classrooms and learn whether they have experienced any abuse during their childhood years.

As an important part of the process, the research team also performs a post-survey debrief with students to acknowledge and help process any feelings they may have about the questions they’ve been asked. This discussion also helps us gather students’ thoughts on how the survey could be improved or how abuse issues could better be addressed or discussed, whether in classrooms or through state policy.

This survey would provide much-needed improvement in the child abuse data Oregon collects, which will help us provide appropriate prevention and response services. It would also empower Oregon’s kids to talk about a challenging (and potentially life-saving) topic that too often gets swept under the rug because it makes us all deeply uncomfortable. This final piece of my child abuse prevention and response agenda could dramatically change the ways we work to prevent and end child abuse in our state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: November's helping events by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 11/01/2021

Sandy is well known for our great pioneering spirit as that final stop for so many of our courageous ancestors who traveled across the west on the Oregon Trail. It’s this pioneering spirit that has seen our community continually lead the way. From our national leading high speed broadband internet service with SandyNet, world class transit system in Sandy Area Metro or our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – Sandy is a place where neighbors come together, dare to innovate, dream big and lead the way.

During the course of the pandemic, we have watched as our city government, sports leagues and charitable and civic organizations forged ahead with a can-do attitude that allowed us to continue on with many of our traditions and sense of community. Whether it was the city's drive-by Christmas tree lighting to last year's Sandy Chamber drive-by trick or treat trail, our community members showed tremendous leadership over the course of these past two years.

I’m excited to say that this tradition in Sandy of a pioneering spirit continues going into this year's holiday season. From the traditional Trick or Treat Trail with the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce to the return of Sandy Helping Hands iconic Sandy Camo Con and the Sandy Community Center’s Thanksgiving Morning Tickle Trot, Sandy is finally starting to feel normal again and get back to the wonderful place we cherish so much.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the community leaders who are working diligently behind the scenes to make these events happen. It is always amazing to see neighbors roll up their sleeves to put on these great events, and to forge ahead in the times we currently live is truly inspiring.

In addition to the benefits these events bring to the culture and vibrancy of our great city, these events also allow these organizations to do a tremendous amount of good throughout the year.

The Camo Con pub crawl for example has traditionally helped pay for the Christmas in the Community program that Sandy Helping Hands puts on each holiday season. The annual Tickle Trot Trail helps pay for many of the resources the Sandy Action Center offers to some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable neighbors.

Below is additional information on these upcoming events. The holiday season is always a special time in Sandy, watching as community members place a premium on our traditions and special way of life is quite special. It’s amazing to live at a place where so many people work so hard to keep Sandy wonderful.

November events

What: Sandy Helping Hands Camo Con ‘21.

When: 7 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 20.

For more info, visit http://sandyshelpinghands.com/camo-con/.

 

What: Sandy Community Action Center Tickle Trot

When: 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, in the Sandy Fred Meyer parking lot, 16625 SE 362nd Drive in Sandy.

For more information, search for the Sandy Tickle Trot on Facebook.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Flavors of fall by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2021

Time to get cozy with the sights, smells and especially the flavors of fall.

As far as Thanksgiving goes, do what I do and get invited to another home for dinner.

May I suggest bringing one of these fall-inspired recipes as a hostess gift?

Let’s cook!

 

Butternut squash carbonara

1/4 cup purιed butternut squash

1/4 cup diced butternut squash, roasted

1 lb. cooked pasta with 1 cup of the pasta water reserved (I used ravioli)

1/2 cup diced bacon, cooked tender crisp

1/4 cup minced shallot

1/2 t salt and fresh-cracked pepper

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (or 1 t dried)

2 T softened cream cheese

2 eggs, beaten

Put pasta, bacon, shallot and diced squash in large pot. Mix other ingredients in separate bowl. Gently toss sauce mixture into pot with pasta, cook over medium heat tossing constantly with two wooden spoons until sauce thickens.

 

Persimmon pound cake

This cake is dense, moist, bejeweled with fresh fruit and crowned with a simple icing.

2 large Fuyu persimmons peeled, cored and chopped

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

1/2 t each salt, baking soda and baking powder

1 cup buttermilk

2 sticks (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter (I use European or Irish)

1 t vanilla

1 t butter flavoring (optional)

Glaze

2 T cream

1/2 t vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

Whisk together glaze ingredients.

Grease and flour large Bundt pan (I had extra batter and made cupcakes) and heat oven to 375.

In a large electric mixer bowl cream butter, then slowly add the sugar and then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the extract.

Whisk dry ingredients in another bowl, then add mixture by thirds to the batter, alternating eaach time with the buttermilk.

Fold in persimmon chunks and bake for 50 minutes or until large toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Cell phone camera technology by Gary Randall on 10/01/2021

I have a new camera. It’s become my favorite camera. If not my favorite, it is certainly the one that I’ve been using the most. It even makes phone calls.

 

If you haven’t figured it out already, I have reached the annual and inevitable point of obsolescence of my cell phone. I fight the thought of this being a ploy to sell me a new phone every four years, but if I’m being honest, it’s something that I always look forward to. It’s not because the manufacturers have improved reception or call quality on the phone. Both aspects seem to be no different than they were four years prior when I upgraded to my previous phone. What I always look forward to is how the latest camera upgrades perform.

I’ve owned a cell phone for practically their whole existence. I used a Motorola brick at work in the early 1990s and then progressed through the flip phone era to the modern-day smartphones. I remember when the first camera came out as a feature in the better flip phones. It was a terrible little camera that took very small, out of focus and grainy photos. It was impractical and more of a novelty than a practical camera. At that time, point and shoot cameras were popular for taking snapshots. Today very few people have or need a point and shoot camera as our phones have easily replaced them.

My first cell phone camera created an image that was 484 pixels x 364 pixels, 14 KB file which yielded a 1 ¼-inch x 1 5/8-inch photo. My newest cell phone has a 9,000 x 12,000-pixel, 14 MB image that will print a 30-inch x 40-inch photo. The device features a 108 megapixel (MP) primary camera, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, two 10MP telephoto cameras (3X and 10X optical zoom) and a 40MP selfie camera that makes use of multiple lenses. This means that if you zoom in the image will be made using a lens to magnify the scene and not digitally, which tends to break the image apart. This particular cell phone that I’m using has three lenses.

Another feature that cell phones have these days is the ability to use what’s called Pro Mode. Pro Mode will allow you to switch the phone camera to manual which gives you the ability to adjust all of the settings – primarily shutter speed and ISO, and to save the file in a raw format. When set on automatic, the camera will take the photo and process it according to presets that are programmed into your camera. When it’s set to manual you can create and process your photo in the method that gives you the look that you want. After which there are programs/applications that you can use on your camera to process and save the photo.

You might ask why you would need a camera if a cell phone can take such incredible photos? The answer is that it’s about sensor size and not about megapixels. The pixel size on the cell phone is .8 micrometers while the pixel size on my professional camera is 4.35 micrometers. Why is this important? It’s important in dim lighting. Larger pixels gather more light. A cell phone will do fine for photos in optimal light but once the lighting becomes a challenge the camera will be challenged. As a matter of fact, when the cell phone camera is in night or low light mode it will use what's called binning to merge nine pixels into one, effectively making it a 12 MP sensor. And furthermore, a larger sensor will be able to gather more information which will make a sharper and clearer image. The simple answer is that it’s not realistic to expect a sensor the size of 8mm to perform as well as a camera with a 35mm.

I haven’t mentioned the video capability of the cell phone. It could be a whole separate article. It boasts the ability to record 8K video. It can record 3840 x 2160 at 30p but can also record 1920 x 1080 at up to 120p which can give you the ability to record super slow motion.

I’m finally excited about the camera on my cell phone. I have been having fun with it. In the past I would try but the image quality when I was through was discouraging. I relegated the cell phone to snap shots of friends and family and snaps of times that I wanted reminders of. Because the photos and the video from this camera are so good, I’m more willing to try to be creative with it. Will it replace my professional camera? Not at all, but it will allow me to get rid of all of the point and shoot cameras as well as all of the various video cameras that I have accumulated over the last few years. Cell phone cameras are starting to stand on their own as a viable option for quality imagery.

Autumn on the Mountain means squirrels are happy by Steve Wilent on 10/01/2021

I’d like to say that the Douglas squirrels that inhabit our Mountain woods are friendly little critters, but they’re not. I think they’re evil. I can’t tell you how many times Lara and I have been startled awake at dawn on September and October mornings by the sound of green fir cones hitting our metal roof. A gang of the dern squirrels scrambles up to the tops of several big Douglas-fir trees near our house, harvesting green cones for the winter. They nip the stem and let the cones fall – or throw them so they hit the roof – to be later gathered up and stripped of their nutritious seeds.

You wouldn’t think a little fir cone could make such noise – BAM! – but they do – BAM! BAM! The cones are green and solid as rocks – though not quite so hard as the gluten-free biscuits I made. Once. The cones fall (or are thrown) well over 100 feet from our 150-foot trees, and you can almost hear them hissing in the air, as when you when you’re a batter standing at the plate facing a pitcher throwing a baseball at 100 miles per hour. Hisssss – POP into the catcher’s mitt. At least the batter is supposedly awake. A fir cone hitting a metal roof while one is sound asleep much louder, especially just before sunrise, which is the squirrels’ prime time.

I’ve told Lara that I can hear the little monsters up there giggling as they aim for the roof, that I imagine them holding their bellies because they laugh so hard when they hear my cursing. Of course, curses only encourage the little devils. Lara, who says she can’t hear them giggling, has words for them that are not so mild as “dern” and that are unprintable in a family newspaper.

An aside: “dern,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is as a variant of “darn,” which is a polite substitute for “damn,” but dern also can mean crafty or underhanded – all of which apply when speaking of Douglas squirrels. “Dern” was used eloquently by Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae, as played by Robert Duvall, in Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove.” I ask you: Has there ever been a better American actor? But I digress.

The Douglas squirrel, aka chickaree or pine squirrel, measures 11 to 14 inches in length, including its tail, according to Tamara Eder’s excellent book, “Mammals of Washington and Oregon.” Its upper parts are reddish- or brownish-gray, and its underparts are orange-ish to yellowish. These pesky rodents are native to the Pacific Northwest coast, from British Columbia to northern California, including the Cascades. They eat mainly conifer seeds, but I’ve seen them eat vine maple and bigleaf maple seeds when Doug-fir seeds are scarce. At least maple trees don’t have cones. Their seeds are samaras, meaning they have wings that help them helicopter to the ground. Most conifer seeds have such wings, too, which lets the wind help disperse them after the cones open when they are ripe. I wouldn’t mind at all if the squirrels let the Doug-fir seeds loose from high in the trees – they’d spin slowly down and land without a sound. But no, that wouldn’t be much fun for the varmints, would it?

According to Oregon State University, in addition to seeds, including the seeds in bird feeders, chickarees will also devour berries, leaves, twigs, fungi, insects and even bird eggs and nestlings – I have seen evidence that they will chew their way into bird houses to get them. These squirrels are “known for their highly vocal (noisy) sputterings and scoldings.” OSU says they use distinctive calls during courtship, when defending their territory and as an alarm. Great. Couldn’t they raise an alarm before bombing my house? Douglas squirrels are prey for raptors, coyotes, bobcats. Well, good. Those critters need to eat, too, right? Domestic cats and dogs will eat them, too.

Eder’s books says chickarees have one litter per year, averaging four per litter – and as many of eight of the little rapscallions – but some references say they can have two litters per year, in early spring or summer and in August or September. They build their nests from moss, leaves, shredded western redcedar bark, bits of cloth or cardboard, wads of fiberglass house insulation or anything else that they can get their greedy little paws on. The nests are round or oblong and can be as large as a soccer ball or football, and they’re hollow inside, making a nice, cozy home. Chickarees have built nests in nooks and crannies in my well shed and woodpiles. I’ve explained to them that they aren’t welcome and even tried placing “No Squirrels!” signs, but that, too, seems only to egg them on.

You may have noticed that the squirrel and the tree share the name “Douglas.” That’s because both were “discovered” by David Douglas, the Scotsman who explored the Pacific Northwest in 1825 and 1826, studying trees and plants and collecting seeds and cuttings for England’s Horticultural Society. I may have mentioned a book about Douglas in a previous Woodsman column, “The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest.” Of course, the plants and animals of the Pacific Northwest were discovered by humans more than 14,000 years ago, long before there was anything like an England or a Horticultural Society.

Another aside: if this ancient history interests you, read “The Search for America’s Atlantis: Did People First Come to this Continent by Land or By Sea?” recently published in “The Atlantic” (see tinyurl.com/2mj9wx9p). Oregon is mentioned as the location of some of the earliest evidence that these Paleoindian people lived in the western U.S. about 14,300 years ago. Me, I think they came by land and sea.

Back to those dern squirrels…

If you don’t live directly under a big Doug-fir, you may think “cute” when you see a Douglas squirrel sitting on a branch and chewing its way through a cone, leaving piles of bracts, scales and stems below. A mature Douglas-fir tree can bear thousands of cones, but fortunately they usually do so only every five to seven years. Judging by the sagging branches on our trees, this is one of those years. The squirrels are rejoicing. I’m not.

Have a question about forest wildlife? Need a sure-fire way to get Douglas squirrels out of your shed or attic? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Finder – Salem: Battling addiction by Rep. Anna Williams on 10/01/2021

Long before COVID-19, Oregon was already suffering from an epidemic: according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in ten Oregonians struggles with substance use disorder. And, since the War on Drugs led to increased drug penalty laws in the early 1980s, Oregon has had laws on the books that could make criminals of 10 percent of its residents.

In November 2020, Oregonians overwhelmingly voted to pass Ballot Measure 110, which changed possession of drugs for personal use from a crime to a violation. In other words, a person will no longer be arrested if they are found to have small quantities of drugs. They will instead face a fine of no more than $100, which can be waived if they agree to complete a health assessment with an addiction treatment provider. This is a creative solution to the addiction crisis in our state, but it will require us to make major investments in social services and behavioral health care.

People in many parts of Oregon have very little access to addiction recovery services, even though our state has the fourth-highest addiction rate in the nation. This lack of access to treatment has caused our state’s houselessness crisis to grow out of control, straining our ability to provide housing assistance to people when evictions are spiking. Measure 110 was a clear demand from Oregon’s voters for new strategies to intervene with the addiction crisis, so the state legislature had to find a way to make Measure 110 a reality.

That’s where Senate Bill (SB) 755 comes in.

SB 755, which passed during the 2021 session and is now in the process of being implemented, is a massive bill (both in terms of its page count and in terms of what it does!). It creates a way to ensure – and require – that all 36 counties will have addiction recovery, harm reduction and other services. It funds these services to the tune of $100 million per year, which seems like a hefty price tag until you compare it to the long-term savings we will see as we stop funneling people with substance use disorders into expensive jails and prisons, treating overdoses in emergency rooms and struggling to keep people housed when their underlying problem is substance use disorder.

SB 755 also removes youth from adult courts for drug-related cases, meaning they can get targeted help from experts in juvenile development and treatment.

The law requires adult courts to refer adults to behavioral health and addiction screenings that will help identify their treatment needs. Courts will also establish a streamlined process for confirming those adults have fulfilled their addiction assessments, meaning fewer people will slip through the cracks of our overburdened justice system. Finally, the state will collect data to help us better understand how each county and city in Oregon can improve its response to the addiction epidemic in its own communities (rather than having the same statewide solution applied to every community regardless of each town’s unique strengths and struggles).

It’s worth noting that neither Measure 110 nor SB 755 legalized any drugs. Illegal drugs are (of course!) still illegal, and the resources we pour into law enforcement will now be focused on those who manufacture and sell those drugs, which is a more efficient and effective use of those limited resources. It will also not soften the penalties for crimes related to drug use, such as theft or driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

As a former social worker, I was proud to be able to use my background and expertise to counsel my colleagues on how this bill should be implemented. Readers won’t be surprised to learn that I was one of its most vocal supporters during the last legislative session.

I am thrilled to see our state finally prioritizing treatment over punishment, expanding access to recovery resources and moving away from the extremely harsh drug possession penalties to which we have been subjecting people with addictions for decades.

While this policy will require oversight and adjustment as time passes, I am confident that we have taken a meaningful (and massive) first step toward building a responsive service delivery model for treating Oregonians with substance use disorder. I am excited to help continue developing these systems and I look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can best do that.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: Addressing homelessness by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 10/01/2021

Years ago, homelessness was a mostly “downtown” issue. The cost of homelessness was concentrated in the city centers, which meant that service providers could concentrate their efforts in a relatively small area.

 

Today, homelessness is a crisis that plagues every corner of our state. From our community of Sandy to Ontario to Coos Bay, from Portland to Ashland, just about every community in our state has a homeless problem. Ten years ago, 40 percent of the homeless lived downtown. Today, it’s only 20 percent. Many homeless individuals have left the downtowns for the outskirts, residential areas and parks and natural areas.

The spread of homeless camps throughout the state has taken a toll on many of the natural wonders that Oregonians treasure. Locally in Sandy we’ve watched as camps have begun to show up in our more cherished locations like Tickle Creek Trail, the Sandy Community Campus and Meinig Memorial Park. And while not coming close to the crisis in neighboring communities, we have begun to see more homeless walking our sidewalks.

It’s easy to see this destruction and blight as a failure of federal, state and local governments to provide basic public safety and health services. It’s easy to see it as a breakdown in social norms that value private property and public welfare. We need policies to focus on restoring community livability and safety by moving the homeless off the streets and out of the parks to more sustainable and humane housing.

At the same time, homelessness is a deeply personal crisis for those experiencing it. Everyone who loses housing has his or her own unique circumstances: job loss, mental illness, physical disability, substance abuse, domestic violence, rising rent or eviction. Close to two-thirds of those who are homeless have mental health or substance abuse issues.

In many ways, homelessness is a breakdown in the social safety net. We need policies to help our homeless population find and obtain affordable housing and stay housed.

Addressing homelessness is not an either/or proposition. Homelessness presents a personal crisis, but a large and growing homeless population imposes incredible financial and quality-of-life costs on the community at large. While many unsheltered people would like nothing more than to be housed, there are also many who have little interest in their own – or their community’s – well-being. In Sandy, we’re striving to find policies that reach out to those who want help, be firm with those who don’t, and create an environment where residents can feel safe.

First, we need to help those who want it. Recently our Sandy City Council established the Sandy Social Services Taskforce. The taskforce and its leader, Maggie Holm, are tasked with surveying our community on the types of services needed and then to develop a strategic plan on how to work with private, public and local nonprofit organizations to address such needs. In the long-term, it is our hope that this taskforce allows our existing organizations such as the Sandy Community Action Center, Ant Farm and others to be more effective in their delivering of services through a strategic and holistic plan.

Second, we need to be firm with those who don’t want help. Sandy City Councilors Laurie Smallwood and Richard Sheldon are leading our newly formed homelessness taskforce. One of the immediate recommendations coming out of that group is strengthening our city ordinances to provide more tools to our police officers when working with our homeless population. While we should continue to be compassionate and willing to assist, we must also proceed with conviction as to what are acceptable and unacceptable camping and living conditions for our community.

Finally, we must create an environment where residents can feel safe. Our city council has done a lot in recent years to bolster the resources of our local police department. This has gone a long way in keeping our community safe. That said, we need the continued help of all of you – our neighbors. Last month, city councilor Kathleen Walker and I joined several other Sandy residents in a camp cleanup at the Sandy Community Campus. It’s an incredible feeling to see the difference one can make after just a couple of hours of work. We are all affected by the homeless issue, and it will take all of us taking action to fix it.

People are often taken aback when I say that I’m encouraged by our homeless problem. The reason I’m encouraged is the problem has risen to a level in our community where people must take notice but is not to a point where we can’t do anything about it. Now is the time for our local leaders and community members to raise our level of commitment to addressing our homelessness issue and taking it head on. It’s what will keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Party food by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2021

It’s time, you can do this. Beef Wellington only looks complex, this is what we’ve been practicing for.

Beef Wellington

2 lbs tenderloin tails (1 lb each), at room temperature

1 box frozen puff pastry

1 egg beaten with 1 t water

2 cloves garlic minced

2 T minced shallot (use onion if no shallot)

1/4 cup red wine (or beef stock)

2 cups diced mushrooms

1 T butter

Olive Oil for pan

Flour for dusting

1/2 t each of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, all mixed together

Heat oven to 400 F and thaw pastry until mailable.

Heat large skillet over medium-high, and rub spices all over tenderloin tails. Sear meat for one to two minutes on each side, then set aside.

Add the butter, mushrooms, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are tender and shallot is carmelized.

De-glaze the pan by pouring the wine  in (be careful of alcohol flare up), scraping the bottom and cook on low until most liquid is evaporated. Set aside.

Cut pastry in half. Spread mushroom mixture around tenderloin and then roll dough around tenderloin/mushroom mixture. Seal and brush with egg wash.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

 

You are never too young by Paula Walker on 10/01/2021

The adage “You are never too old…” has a reverse corollary in Estate Planning: “You are never too young.”

And in some circumstances better young than old. With many families sending their college bound children off this fall – finally rounding the corner to college in person, not just Zoom. Or maybe, finally, your child is off to explore parts known and unknown using this as a “gap year” before college or in between college semesters, this is a very timely topic. A topic that surprises many, if not most parents.

Turning 18, your child is legally an adult. This imposes legal requirements you’ve likely not yet considered. Although still their parents, and even perhaps they still live at home, you no longer have legal access to your 18-year old’s medical records or information about their medical condition; nor can you transact business on their behalf should they need you to do so.

This becomes especially relevant as your child heads for college, or that gap year of travel between high school and entering college; or otherwise ventures forth, independent and ready to be so, but, in emergencies, still looking to you for support and help.

Four documents each emerging young adult should have, are: 1) Healthcare Power of Attorney; 2) HIPAA Authorization; 3) Advance Directive; and 4) Durable Power of Attorney.

With these instruments in place, whomever the young adult appoints in those instruments can intervene on their behalf in cases of medical emergency, can support them with medical care, can have access to medical records as needed, can make life and death decisions and can manage financial affairs as needed.

Without these, even though you are paying the medical bills, you may not be able to speak with medical staff about medical conditions, prescriptions, handle insurance claims etc.

While the parent may be the best person to appoint in many cases, the young adult may appoint another trusted adult, aunt, uncle or older sibling instead of or in addition to a parent. It is advisable to appoint alternates in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

How long do these four documents remain in effect? Two answers to that. First, each document is ‘durable,’ meaning that they remain in effect during a time of incapacity. Second, the appointment lasts as long as the young adult wants.

They can revoke or amend the documents at any time appointing other persons to serve as their agent as they move into other stages of their lives and relationships, such as marriage.

Not only for medical events, having these proxy authorities in place can be useful in a variety of situations as your child ventures forth, perhaps travels overseas for a gap year or study, such as your ability to wire money from child’s bank account, contact the local embassy, sign a legal document for your child in their absence such as their lease, sign tax returns and pay bills. As well, a young adult may not want their parents to have access to certain information. They can stipulate not to disclose information they want to keep private.

Where forms may be state specific, it is advisable to prepare the forms for the state in which you live as well as those for the state of the school attended, and the school’s forms if they have their own. Once executed, scan and save the documents so that they are readily available on a computer or by smartphone.

Attending to these documents is a good investment; part of your back-to-school or next-stage-of-life support. This can give peace of mind to your child as well as you as they venture forth, that in those fledgling years between childhood and fully independent adulthood, you can still be there for them if they need you.


Photo by Francene Grew.
The View Finder: Alaskan excursion by Gary Randall on 09/01/2021

Alaska is a special place for my wife Darlene and me. We return as often as possible. We recently had the opportunity to return to spend five days with a small group of photographers to show them the beauty of the state.

 

We visited the Kenai Peninsula in our search for wildlife, especially bears, and we spent time at the Kenai and the Russian Rivers. We saw huge red-sided Coho salmon making their way upriver to spawn. We also photographed loons at Skilak Lake. We were disappointed that we saw no bears, but it was a day full of adventure and breathtaking scenery. The Chugach Mountains, Kenai Mountains and the scenic Turnagain Arm dominated the scenery that we enjoyed as we travelled the Seward Highway.

On our second day we took an excursion boat out of the coastal town of Seward. We cruised through Resurrection Bay into the ocean. It was drizzling with some fog, but it didn’t keep us from standing out in the clean ocean air photographing dreamscape-like images of the rugged, forested Alaska shoreline and the Kenai Fjord's towering, rocky Chiswell Islands. We saw wildlife including sea lions and a myriad of sea birds, puffins and bald eagles. We even had a humpback whale surface right next to our boat, raising its tail above the water. We then travelled to the face of the Aialik Glacier to watch the calving of the ice into the sea, while harbor seals floated on the dislodged chunks of ancient ice in an attempt to avoid being eaten by orca whales.

On day three we travelled north into the massive Talkeetna Mountains with their jagged peaks and glacial scoured valleys, green with tundra and decorated by the scattered late season wildflowers. We explored Hatcher Pass and the dilapidated Independence Mines. As we travelled through, we photographed sweeping vistas and aqua blue-green glacier fed rivers.

We eventually met the Parks Highway and turned north to our second lodge located in Talkeetna, an eclectic little tourist town south of our ultimate destination, Denali National Park and Preserve.

As we drove north, we passed through Broad Pass with forests stunted from the harsh winter conditions that they must endure to survive. The incredible scenery was dotted with beaver ponds that mirrored the foothills of the Alaska Range on their still surfaces.

On our last day we arrived at Denali National Park and Preserve early to another wet, drizzly day. We boarded the park bus and started our journey through the park, enjoying some of the most majestic scenery in the world in spite of the clouds and fog that came and went through our journey. We saw and photographed ptarmigan, caribou and grizzly bears in the distance along the way. We eventually made it to the Eielson Visitor Center deep in the park where we watched two grizzlies grazing on the tundra in the fog on a high ridge above us. When we left the visitor center the bears had made their way down the ridge to a hillside very near the road. Our bus stopped and we photographed them until they crossed over the hillside and out of our view. We were able to take some incredible Denali grizzly bear photos.

After an uneventful but scenic ride back to the park entrance we left the bus and then went to have a warm meal. As we ate, we talked about the two things that the group wanted to photograph but wasn't able to, a moose and the massive Denali, the third most prominent peak in the world.

We finished dinner and made our way south on the Parks Highway toward our lodge in Talkeetna. We had gone approximately ten miles when we came across a bull moose near the side of the highway, munching on the vegetation. We pulled over and carefully positioned ourselves to get the moose photos that the group had hoped for. We didn’t mind that it was along the side of the road.

The weather had been mostly clouds, drizzle and some rain throughout the week. Not enough rain to spoil our fun but enough to obscure the view of "The High One," Denali. We all went to bed on the last night of the workshop feeling satisfied for the amazing week, but a bit disappointed in not being able to see the mountain, our last piece of the puzzle.

The next morning was one of reflection on the week that we had just spent. Tired but satisfied. We packed our luggage in the van and proceeded to leave our lodge and make our way back to Anchorage. We left under a clear blue sky that morning. We drove up the road to a viewpoint with a clear view toward the Alaska Range, the home of the elusive Denali. We stood in front of a majestic crystal-clear view of a pure white snow-covered Alaska Range and standing head and shoulders over its neighboring peaks we finally saw Denali.

Our Alaska adventure was complete. My friends could hardly believe the week that we had. They left for home on their flights filled with memories that will last a lifetime and camera memory cards full of reminders.


Contributed photo.
Climate change and what's in store for the Mountain by Steve Wilent on 09/01/2021

In last month’s column I wrote about the June heat wave that scorched many trees and plants in our area and posed health risks to people and pets. We’re in the midst of another hot spell as I write this, though not so severe as the June event. I don’t know anyone who enjoys heat like this. On the other hand, my tomato plants are thrilled. In previous years I was lucky to get a few ripe cherry tomatoes by September, sometimes even one or two medium-size tomatoes, but I’ve never had a large one ripen. I’ve learned that there are lots of ways to cook green tomatoes.

 

This year I picked the first ripe cherry tomatoes and a medium-size one in late July, and a fat three-inch tomato will be ready to pick in a day or two. Beans, squash, basil and peppers are thriving, though lettuces, mustards and other delicate greens are not faring so well. Growing any vegetables at all in a small clearing in the middle of a western Oregon rainforest – a quarter-acre clearcut! – is difficult at best. Or at least it has been until recently. Maybe there is a silver lining to climate change.

You’ve probably read about the recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, a United Nations organization that analyzes research on climate change and periodically issues Assessment Reports on the topic. “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” released last month, is part of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. Three other parts are due in 2022: “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability;” “Mitigation of Climate Change;” and a “Synthesis Report.”

The Physical Science Basis report “provides a high-level summary of the understanding of the current state of the climate, including how it is changing and the role of human influence, the state of knowledge about possible climate futures, climate information relevant to regions and sectors, and limiting human-induced climate change.” The report was produced by 234 authors from 65 countries, who collectively assessed about 14,000 scientific publications.

United Nations Secretary-General Antσnio Guterres said the report is a “code red for humanity.” In my opinion, that’s overly sensational. More on that later, but here’s a brief look at some of the key findings from the Physical Science Basis and the potential impacts on our area:

– “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.”

– “The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.”

– “Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heat waves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5 [the Fifth Assessment Report, issued in 2014].”

I don’t disagree with these statements. On Aug. 13, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that July 2021 was “the world’s hottest month ever recorded.”

What about our region? The Physical Science Basis report gives some information about the changes ahead at the broad regional level, but not the state or county level. In Western North America – essentially the western third of the continental U.S. – the report says we’ll see:

– Higher average temperatures and more extreme high temperatures (heat waves).

– Increases in drought and fire weather (hot, dry, windy conditions like we had during last September’s wildfires).

– More extreme precipitation events.

– More flooding.

Note that higher temperatures and more heat waves doesn’t necessarily mean extreme fire danger. During the mid-August heat wave, winds in our area were relatively light and humidity was fairly high. According to my home weather station, relative humidity ranged from 30 percent during the day to 65 percent at night. With that much moisture in the air, fir needles, small branches, and other fine fuels – the main carrier of wildfire – quickly absorb moisture from the air. During this humid period, fine fuels certainly would have burned if ignited, but relatively slowly – a large, destructive wildfire was unlikely, especially absent high winds. During the September 2020 wildfires, relative humidity was much lower – single digits at times – so fuels caught fire easily and burned quickly.

Whether the Sandy River basin sees more flooding remains to be seen. According to the Physical Science Basis report, our area of the western US is likely to have an overall increase in precipitation, but with drier summers and wetter winters with less snow. Most of the severe flood events in our area are caused by rain falling on substantial amounts of low-elevation snow. In my reading of the IPCC’s projections, this scenario may be less likely in the future.

With higher temperatures, more heat waves and drier summers, our native trees and shrubs will be under more stress. Trees and plants weakened by drought and high temperatures are more susceptible to insect attack, so we may see more of them dying. Fish and wildlife will be affected, too. The earlier arrival of spring conditions and warmer, drier summers and early autumns may change the timing of salmon and steelhead migration and reproduction, for example.

A caveat to the IPCC’s projections: the authors of the Physical Science Basis report used models of several different scenarios of the future, based on various levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other factors. This is a reasonable approach. However, the authors relied heavily on what has been shown to be a highly unlikely worst-case scenario. Modeling such a scenario is worthwhile, of course, but many news articles have focused on the worst-case scenario without putting it into context though comparisons to likely and even best-case scenarios.

UN Secretary-General Antσnio Guterres’s “code red for humanity” may have been sincere, but wasn’t helpful, in my opinion. Either way, foresters and fishery and wildlife managers will need to focus on increasing the resilience of these natural resources to ensure their health and survival.

Have a question about forests and climate change? Want a recipe for green tomato pico de gallo? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Feeling fortunate to be here in this day and age by Mt. Hood Community College on 09/01/2021

At the college, we teach several courses that deal specifically with the causes and consequences of climate change. A common question from students is “how do we know [insert most recent extreme weather event – hurricane, heat wave, flood] is the result of climate change?”

The answer is relatively straightforward, though slightly re-directed. This heat wave, drought-fueled fire, hurricane or flood is not the direct result of a warmer planet. But the frequency and intensity are a direct outcome of more energy in a closed system.

We can illustrate this on our own stove top — turn the dial up on a pot of water and the boil increases, eventually bubbling and splashing and, if starch is involved, spilling over onto the range. For climate change, the simple science is this: a hotter atmosphere from increased carbon pollution is like turning up the dial.

There is more energy moving more hot air around the earth. More moisture is sucked out of the ground in one place and dropped in another. More heat means more lightning strikes in a storm (and more fire starts on the ground). More energy means changes in established weather patterns so rare events become commonplace.

Another useful comparison for sports fans is looking at a drug-enhanced athlete. This particular home run is not the result of steroid use, but the pattern is. The increased power and frequency of the hits would not have happened without the extra juice.

The second most common question of students also has a straightforward answer. “Is it too late to do anything about it?” The accurate reply is, “No, not yet!” As the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) details, alongside the dire warnings there is a message of hope.

The humans of earth have our collective hands on the dial of the atmospheric stove. We can stop turning the dial up and we can even start turning it down. We can stop the pot from boiling over, but we must act quickly and decisively and together.

At this point in the class discussion, there is often a noticeable hush in the room. It’s sobering to recognize that we have entered a time of climate chaos. This reality must be acknowledged, but we also point out that we are lucky to be alive right now.

Our actions matter more than ever. What we do as individuals, communities, companies and countries in the next few years will determine whether we experience the current level of chaos, or it gets truly bad. There have been only a few times in history where we could so clearly see the need for, and the results of, our actions. It’s never been truer that what we do today and tomorrow will determine the future for our children and their children.

So, like so many things, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the science is certain that the path of “business as usual” is toward an inhospitable world. The good news is that we can say with more certainty than ever that achieving net zero CO2 will end further warming, that our actions will make a difference.

It’s not yes or no, but rather how bad. The choice is ours. And if hope is the antidote to despair, then action is the path to hope. Now is not the time for indifference. Now is the time for action.

Walter M. Shringer, PhD, is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Getting Sandy back to work by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 09/01/2021

We’re all too aware what a challenging past couple of years it’s been for our local Main Street small businesses. Countless lockdowns, problems with stimulus and unemployment checks for our most vulnerable neighbors and now a workforce sluggish to return in many ways thanks to the unprecedented amount of federal money being funneled into a system that encourages many to not return to work.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, Sandy has been committed to taking bold and decisive action to help our neighbors and local small businesses in their greatest time of need. In the early months of the pandemic shutdowns, we implemented two rounds of our small business relief program which provided grants of $3,000 to several local businesses in need. We acted quickly and boldly utilizing Urban Renewal Funds to get the money into the hands of our small business owners almost immediately. After Congress passed and President Trump signed the CARES act to provide relief to those impacted by the pandemic, we learned we would be able to use those dollars to provide additional grants but also to reimburse our urban renewal fund for the funds we had already distributed. That ended up being an important lesson for us.

With this new knowledge, I worked with our economic development manager and our planning department to introduce a new program that became our Covered Structures Grant Program. This program allowed business owners to apply for a grant with the city to build beautiful “Sandy Style” outdoor structures at their business location to allow for additional capacity to serve patrons during a lockdown scenario and in the future. Under the program, the city’s Urban Renewal Fund would provide 80 percent of the investment, with the business owner being responsible for the remaining 20 percent upon completion of the project.

Recognizing that times are hard and that cash flow could be an issue, the city provided an option of a three-year, interest-free installment program. We moved quickly to implement this program because we knew our local businesses could not wait. The first round of covered structures is almost complete with many already being enjoyed by neighbors during the summer months. At our next city council and Urban Renewal Board meeting in September, we will be discussing the possibility of funding a second round of outdoor structures.

While our community has a lot to be proud of in our efforts to prop up our local Main Street – there is still much more left to do.

In 2020 we heard that it was direct financial assistance that was needed to help Main Street small businesses survive. We then heard that businesses needed help with re-investments to become more resilient against both the current and possible future pandemic shutdowns so we created our first of its kind Covered Structure Program. We now hear that the demand for business is growing, that our Main Street small businesses are ready to hit the ground running but simply cannot find employees who are readily available to return to work or are making far too much money on unemployment insurance and other government subsidies to be adequately incentivized to do so.

As a result, I am working with our city staff to create a Main Street Employee Incentive Program that I like to call, “Let’s get back to work.” While still in its early stages, we will look to incentivize employees to return to work through a signing bonus program for our Sandy businesses. By being the first to offer such a program for our community, we can provide local businesses with the opportunity to grab prospective talent from surrounding communities before other cities offer a similar incentive.

We are additionally discussing what can be offered as a tool for local businesses to onboard new employees in addition to a signing bonus. Perhaps assistance with paid childcare or even free access to SandyNet could provide good incentive to help our Main Street small business owners get employees to help share the workload.

Since our founding, Sandy has always had great pride in our pioneering spirit of boldness and innovation. We have continued this tradition with our response to this pandemic and lifting fellow neighbors and Main Street small businesses in the process. All part of our overarching goal to always keep Sandy wonderful.

 

 

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Easy does it by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2021

Fast, delicious recipes that need only a few minutes and readymade ingredients. Viola!

Easy peach cobbler

1 can biscuit dough (I use Annie’s Organic)

4 peaches chopped

1/2 cup peach nectar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 t salt

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 cup butter

1 t vanilla

In heavy bottomed saucepan, add all ingredients except biscuits and peaches. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until thickened. Spread peaches out into 9” baking dish, cover with sugar syrup mixture and then place biscuits on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until biscuits are done and peaches are soft. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Chicken over rice

1 small rotisserie chicken

4 cups cooked jasmine rice

1/4 cup minced onion

2 T chicken granules

1/4 cup cornstarch

Salt & pepper

2 T chopped parsley

4 cups cooking liquid

In large pot, cover rotisserie chicken with water and add in 1 T kosher salt. Put on a lid, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer chicken for 45 minutes, then take out chicken. Let cool a little, shred and set aside. Strain cooking liquid into large bowl and set aside.

In same pot add butter and onions, then whisk cornstarch into cooking liquid with chicken granules. Add cornstarch mixture and shredded chicken to pot, and bring to boil stirring constantly until the gravy is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve over rice.

Review and revise by Paula Walker on 09/01/2021

So, it’s done. Finally. After the many years you’ve had it in your mind to create that will or trust as the gift it’s meant to be to help your family take care of your affairs as cleanly and simply as possible after you’ve passed, you’ve done it. There now. Nothing more to do with it! Right? Well… not so fast.

One thing for certain, life doesn’t stand still. Your family, your circumstances and don’t forget the government are constantly on the move, growing, changing and imposing new laws respectively.

Too often people tuck their estate plan away and 20 years or more later, when the time comes to rely on the plan, it is discovered inadequate or inflexible to their current needs. Their life’s circumstances changed and the plan in many places is no longer relevant, or worse, undermines their intentions. While your estate plan may not be your favorite bedtime story every evening, as a practical matter for your benefit, it is best to review the plan you have in place every three to five years. Some circumstances that should trigger a review on that boundary or before, potentially as circumstances arise, follow:

– Moving to another state. Estate planning laws vary state to state; for example some states have an inheritance tax and/or an estate tax, others do not. The requirements for advance directives and durable powers of attorney vary, as another example.

– Births, those new family members: you may have a place in your heart that you want reflected in your estate plan.

– The three D’s: death, divorce and disinheritance. Major shifts in life that alter the way you originally intended to distribute your wealth and belongings impose a need to review and revise.

– Marriage: your own or one of your beneficiaries can impact your plan.

– Charitable giving: there is a cause you want to support that did not have your attention when you first created your plan.

– Your executor or successor trustee may need to be changed. They are no longer able or willing to serve in that capacity, or they are no longer a good fit for your life’s circumstances.

– Children reach the age of majority: i.e., they turn eighteen.

– Changes in the law: tax law and laws that govern aspects of your estate plan, like laws governing the durable power of attorney or advance directive.

This is just a sampling of the events that should trigger you to review your estate plan. Some of these, like changes in the law, you may not be aware of, which is why it is a good practice to review your estate plan regularly; every three to five years review your plan with your estate planner so that you can identify impacts - the obvious and the not so obvious.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Robin Williams, comedian extraordinaire, with his estate planning and revamping of that plan likely reduced the battle between his third wife and his children from becoming a wildfire out of control, to a mediated settlement that concluded in a relatively short amount of time by creating a prenuptial agreement with his third wife and then updating his revocable living trust in line with that agreement.

Paul Walker, The Fast & The Furious, in contrast to Williams stands as an example of missed opportunities by leaving his estate plan untouched for twelve years, omitting to review and revise. With forward thinking he created a revocable living trust to provide for his three-year old daughter, Meadow. Kudos. But in the twelve years intervening between that event and his untimely death, many of the life changes mentioned in this article occurred that went unattended to in his plan. At the time he created his plan his career was just taking off. He amassed significant wealth, an estate estimated to be in excess of $25 million at his death. And then there was his seven-year relationship with the person that many thought was destined to be his future spouse. None of these significant life changes were incorporated. Much to speculate on that could have better served his estate and his intentions for those that he provided for or may have wanted to provide for had he reviewed and revised his estate plan.


Photo by Gary Randall.
Leave it better than you found it by Gary Randall on 08/01/2021

I remember a quote that I read when I was a boy that has stayed with me my whole life. Robert Baden-Powell is quoted as saying, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it…” He was referring to being a good human, but in this day and age of increased recreational use of the outdoors, it is being used more as a way to increase the awareness of the proper care and use of our public lands. “Leave it better than you found it” is the new “Leave No Trace.” Those of us who care must do more than leave no trace. We need to try to offset the effects of those who won’t.

 

When the coronavirus came it changed almost every aspect of our lives. People started working from home. The travel restrictions cancelled a lot of people’s vacation plans. Cruise ship and air travel became impractical, as did hotel and resort stays. Even movie theaters and public places such as restaurants saw a dramatic decrease in business or were closed completely.

With these restrictions came a new form of vacation trend, visiting the open outdoors. Everyone, including many who had never spent time in nature, headed out to hike and camp, seeking something other than sitting inside until the coast is clear.

Hiking and camping have seen a huge surge. Lawrence Lujan, the United States Forest Service (USFS) public affairs specialist said, “The visitation that we typically saw on the weekend, we were seeing during the week. And the visitation that we typically saw during a holiday weekend, like the Fourth of July, we were seeing on weekends.”

What once was a weekend activity became one that was being done any day of the week.

The inevitable problems that come with the increased use of recreational lands are mostly wear and tear, but there are those who aren’t familiar with how to care for the outdoors, or just don’t care, that create other problems. Off trail hiking in sensitive terrain, off road driving or parking in restricted areas, trampling vegetation, illegal or abandoned campfires, vandalism and leaving trash behind have all increased.

The increase of visitation to the outdoors isn’t all bad news. With more people coming out to these beautiful natural places comes the appreciation of these places by more people. Typically, when someone visits a special place, one that they connect with and fall in love with, they are more apt to put forth an effort to preserve it. Volunteerism has increased with the increase in visitation, but it’s not enough to offset the effects of the public loving these places to death. Everyone needs to accept the responsibility to help care for the land that we use as we use it.

So how can we leave these places better? Many times, it’s just a matter of carrying a trash bag in your pack to gather trash and litter others leave behind. Volunteering with organizations that help to develop and maintain these places is becoming essential and popular. If you’re unable to volunteer, donating to these organizations helps them greatly – I support groups such as Trailkeepers of Oregon. We need to teach our children by setting an example for them to follow. Also raising the awareness of those that you associate with to adopt the “Leave It Better” principle of outdoor use.

Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to care for these special places. It’s up to us to assume that responsibility and apply it to how we use our shared public lands.

The seven Leave No Trace Principles

1. Plan ahead and prepare.

2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.

3. Dispose of waste properly.

4. Leave what you find.

5. Minimize campfire impacts.

6. Respect wildlife.

7. Be considerate of other visitors.


Photo by Steve Wilent.
Heatwave scorches Mountain trees and plants by Steve Wilent on 08/01/2021

So, was it hot enough for you during the June heat wave? Just kidding. It was way too hot, even for the folks I know who relish our typical warm summer weather. And it’s no joking matter. More than 100 people died in Oregon from the heat and its complications. No wonder. The record high in our northwest corner of the state was 116 degrees Fahrenheit in the Portland metro area on June 29, a temperature we usually associate with places like Phoenix, Ariz. or Death Valley National Park, Calif. On July 9, the temperature at the park’s Furnace Creek Visitor Center hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit, a new world record.

 

The highest temperature at our place in Rhododendron was “only” 105 on June 29. Lara and I have never been so grateful for the shade of the tall conifers around our house. But still, 105! 100 degrees warmer than the lowest temperature we’ve had here in the last 30 years, five degrees. We’ve hit the 100-degree mark once or twice in recent memory. I sure hope our new record is an outlier.

For most people, the heat wave caused discomfort at best. For some of our trees and plants, the heat caused significant stress. You’ve probably seen brown needles on western hemlock, Douglas-fir and western redcedar, usually on the side of the tree facing the afternoon sun. I’ve heard from forestry colleagues that they’ve seen such browning throughout the region.

It wasn’t just trees that were damaged. On our property, some of the leaves on rhododendron, sword fern, false Solomon’s seal, Oregon grape and other shrubs and plants also were scorched. It appears that the heat of direct sunlight was enough to cook all or parts of leaves. But some trees and shrubs seem to have been unaffected. The vine maple, bigleaf maple and golden chinquapin seem to have weathered the heat, as did my non-native cherry trees. However, in areas where these trees and shrubs were exposed to greater heat and more sunlight, these, too, may exhibit signs of damage.

The good news is that most of these trees and plants will survive. The conifers are already shedding the newly killed needles. Next year, with new green growth in the spring, they’ll look much better, despite a few bare branches. I’ve seen similar damage caused to conifers by very cold temperatures, low humidity and strong winds. About 20 years ago, a handful of Douglas-fir trees on the campus of Mt. Hood Community College, exposed to a very cold, dry east wind that whipped down the Columbia River Gorge, lost significant numbers of needles on the side of the trees facing the wind. However, most of the affected trees survived and today look undamaged.

Why did the heat and sunlight kill all those leaves? Trees need water to cool their leaf surfaces, and on a very hot day, a tree may not be able to move and evaporate enough water to keep its leaves cool, resulting in leaf stress and damage. And when the blazing sun hits stressed leaves, it can be scorched. See this The Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service web page for more information: tinyurl.com/p7jzje83.

Another OSU Extension page, tinyurl.com/2536aytr, explains that, “Mature trees are generally resilient. A loss of some foliage is a setback, but not typically fatal. Once they leaf out again next year, they should probably look much the same as before. But we will have to wait for some time to see the actual effects of the heat to leaves, and maybe buds. It is certainly possible that some individual branches or branch tips might be lost, without it being a danger to the tree.”

The bigger question is the severity of the current drought and how long it lasts. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (tinyurl.com/zf39tj7u), most of Clackamas County is experiencing severe drought, a category halfway between no drought and exceptional drought. Much of central Oregon, including the area where the Bootleg Fire is burning, is currently in extreme or exceptional drought.

Droughts have always occurred in Oregon, but as the global climate gradually warms, it is expected that our state may experience more of them, and that they may be more severe, on average, than they have been in the past.

What about heat waves in the future? Will they be as severe as our recent one? No one knows the answer with certainty, but it seems likely that they will.

In paper published in mid-July, “Rapid Attribution Analysis of the Extraordinary Heat Wave on the Pacific Coast of the US and Canada, June 2021,” a group of 27 scientists from around the world concluded that:

“Looking into the future, in a world with 2°C of global warming (0.8°C warmer than today which at current emission levels would be reached as early as the 2040s), this event would have been another degree hotter. An event like this – currently estimated to occur only once every 1,000 years, would occur roughly every 5 to 10 years in that future world with 2°C of global warming. In summary, an event such as the Pacific Northwest 2021 heat wave is still rare or extremely rare in today’s climate, yet would be virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. As warming continues, it will become a lot less rare.”

The paper is available for free at tinyurl.com/bz92br6h.

How will our beloved Pacific Northwest forests fare in this potential future? That topic will have to wait for a future edition of this column.

Have a question about forests and drought? Want to know how to conduct a successful rain dance? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

 

A life lesson: learning to cast one's eyes on nature by Mt. Hood Community College on 08/01/2021

Some of the best writing advice I ever got turned out to also be some of the best life advice: learn the names of the plants and animals around you. Don’t write “tree” when you can write “Douglas fir;” don’t write “bird” when you can write “black-capped chickadee” or “sandhill crane.”

My poetry teacher was wrong about a lot of the things (her suggestions that I was too young to write certain kinds of poems, or that writing about my life as a young woman wasn’t interesting, for example, are both instances of very bad advice) but she was right about how important it was to learn the names of the landscape around me.

I realized this also had practical implications when I was driving to pick my son up from his elementary school, down a long-wooded road in southwest lower Michigan. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, something fell out of the trees above the road and directly onto the hood of my car. I pulled over, expecting to see a giant boulder, tree limb or very large mammal and was confused when I saw a strange, bald-necked bird slide off my hood, shake itself off and waddle into the woods.

When I got to work at the college where I was teaching and walked into my first English class, I was still rattled and told my students what had happened. After struggling to describe what I’d seen, one of the boys started laughing – “Rivara,” he said, “that was a wild turkey!” He seemed shocked and aghast that not only did I not know how to identify a wild turkey, but I had no idea they even existed outside of the frozen turkeys at the grocery store.

I was raised in the sprawling suburbs outside of Chicago. I didn’t know how to identify almost any of the world around me that wasn’t in a strip mall. Whatever the “wilderness” was, it was somewhere else, not in Deerfield, Ill., where all of the lawns were manicured and antiseptic, or, I thought later, in Michigan where there were more trees, but they were just trees, right? What’s the difference between one or another?

But in my late 20s, I started learning. “Dude, if you know where to look for turkeys, you’ll see a bunch of them, they’re everywhere,” my student told me. He was right: once I started looking, there they were. As were grouse and woodcocks, white tailed deer and sandhill cranes, and there too, were beech-maple forests and marram grass along the Lake Michigan dunes. It turned out, there was a whole universe of living things I had never seen before. I had never cared to look.

Now, years and thousands of miles later, I find myself repeating the names I have learned on my walks through my neighborhood in northeast Portland, around the campus of Mt. Hood Community College, and on hikes with my family: western red cedar, Douglas fir, salal, sword fern, evergreen huckleberry. Vine maples grow near the kitchen window, the cotton from black cottonwoods dots the riverbank and I am greeted every morning by the song of the Swainson’s thrush, by Steller’s jays arguing and the regular thrumming of a sapsucker high in a snag above my head. Bushtits and house finches flock to the birdfeeders. They aren’t yet old friends – I’ve only been here eight years – but being able to call them by name, to recognize a few bars of birdsong, the waxy leaves of salal, salmonberry along the trail – helps to root me in my new home-place. That poetry teacher got a lot of things wrong, but she and my student definitely got this right: the world got a lot bigger, and wilder, once I committed myself to looking – and learning.

Sara Rivara is the Dean of Humanities and Social Science at Mt. Hood Community College.

 

View Points – Salem: Behavioral health investment by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/01/2021

There are a lot of things I could talk about in this column now that the 2021 legislative session has ended: historic funding for wildfire preparation, racial equity, education reform and more. I’ll certainly be using this space to discuss some of those topics in the months to come, but this month I’d like to discuss some of the work that was nearest and dearest to my heart: the groundbreaking investments our state has made in behavioral health.

Oregon has been deep in a behavioral health crisis since before the pandemic and COVID-19 has only made it worse. Whether people are waiting for beds in the Oregon State Hospital, in the State Hospital and waiting for care opportunities to open up elsewhere or homeless and unable to access services at all, countless Oregonians are struggling in our current behavioral health system.

As a result, we continue to face unprecedented rates of substance abuse, overdose deaths and suicide. It was already well past time for the state to take action when, at the end of the 2021 legislative session, my colleagues and I approved more than $500 million in funding for substance use disorder treatment and other behavioral health investments and reforms. I’m immensely proud of what we put forward, and I’m excited to tell you about some of the details.

Approximately $200 million will go toward implementing Ballot Measure 110, passed by voters last November. While the big news about Measure 110 was that it decriminalized the possession of small amounts of controlled substances under state law, the other changes it made were much more difficult (and much more expensive) to implement. This is an unprecedented investment into a first-in-the-nation system that prioritizes treatment over prosecution, and it could revolutionize how other states respond to the national addiction crisis.

Senate Bill 755, the bill that implements Measure 110, establishes that each county will have a “Behavioral Health Resource Network” (BHRN), which can be made up of one or several treatment-focused organizations. These BHRNs will fulfill screening, assessment and recovery needs for the people who receive citations for drug possession. With the significant funding we have provided, BHRNs will help with harm reduction, addiction counseling, peer support, mobile outreach and even transitional or supportive housing for those who need it. The thing I love about this program is that it acknowledges how intertwined addiction, mental health and housing are... again, this is a new approach and long overdue.

In addition to that funding for substance use disorder treatment and associated services, we invested $130 million into local in-patient and residential facilities. This will help ensure that people with behavioral health needs anywhere in the state can find appropriate levels of care in their communities when they need them. We also invested $80 million to increase the behavioral health workforce in Oregon, attracting new workers who can provide culturally- and linguistically-appropriate care for their communities. Very often, even when someone can access behavioral health services, they aren’t able to communicate with the service provider in their native language, or that service provider is unfamiliar with their cultural norms and traditions.

$90 million will go to peer respite, crisis services and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, all vital services that will increase our state’s capacity to treat people in need of care. A further $50 million will go toward aligning and transforming this newly expanded behavioral health system to ensure greater accountability, outcomes and sustainability.

Often, a big influx of money, like the federal funding we received through the American Rescue Plan, has only led to temporary improvements. With that in mind, this $50 million investment is focused on streamlining the system and making all of the other improvements cost-effective and long-lasting.

These funds will improve timely access to behavioral health care, reduce hospitalizations, reduce overdoses and ensure that physical and behavioral health care providers can work together to improve their services.

Most importantly, I spoke up throughout the session to ensure that these benefits reach patients across Oregon, including in rural and frontier areas. The behavioral health budget was designed to allow as few gaps as possible (geographic or otherwise), while maximizing entry points into the system.

This will be long-term work, certainly, but we should start seeing benefits in the very near future. As always, I remain committed to making improvements wherever they’re needed.

If you have any behavioral health policy concerns, or any questions about these investments, never hesitate to reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Bipartisan success by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 08/01/2021

I’m incredibly excited to announce that the City of Sandy has been awarded a $14.7 million grant for wastewater system improvements by the Oregon Legislature. This grant is the largest ever provided to our community in our history.

 

As many of you are aware, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requiring that the City of Sandy update our wastewater treatment process. This venture has an extremely expensive price tag of over $80 million.

As a result, our city has been forging ahead on a new wastewater treatment process that’s more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective.

Many may remember that the last Oregon Legislature provided the city with $500,000 for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis.

Those studies came back extremely positive and we’re looking to forge ahead with an innovative, environmentally friendly and cost-efficient plan – in the Sandy way.

A couple of years ago, our council and staff toured other communities’ water treatment facilities. We all came away excited about the possibilities of treatment alternatives after visiting the 700+ acre Fernhill facility in Forest Grove.

Fernhill is owned by Clean Water Services and uses natural treatment systems, or wetlands, to improve water quality by removing nutrients and then cooling and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment.

Fernhill is designated as an important bird area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyote and other wildlife. The old Roslyn Lake park location has been selected as a viable staging area for such a project and we’re excited about what the future has in store both for the site, as well as partnerships with Trackers Earth that could provide invaluable learning opportunities for youth in our area.

I’d like to thank our state legislative delegation of State Representative Anna Williams and State Senator Chuck Thomsen for their leadership in making this happen.

Thanks to our collective efforts, this has been the most successful stretch of legislative advocacy in memory for our community. Their bipartisan and cooperative efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated.

This is all on the heels of exciting news regarding our city’s application process to obtain a $63.8 million Water Infrastructure and Financing Act (WIFIA) loan administered by the federal government.

Our congressional delegation of Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senators Greg Walden and Jeff Merkley have worked diligently to help us secure WIFIA financing and as a result we have been told recently that there’s an extremely high likelihood that we’ll secure it.

In addition to a competitive interest rate, the first payment on WIFA loans can be deferred up to five years after completion of the project with a maximum term of 35 years. This allows us the time to continue to advocate for additional state and federal dollars for this project.

It also helps reduce the impact on ratepayers by allowing us to make small gradual increases in rates, rather than a large initial increase. WIFIA financing can be used for up to 80 percent of the project so we will have to seek out other financing sources for the remainder of the costs.

Our financial consultant has determined that ratepayers in Sandy would save more than $1.2 million a year with WIFIA financing as opposed to a conventional revenue bond, or approximately $25 million over the 20-year term of a revenue bond.

I’d like to thank our federal delegation for their critical assistance in working to make this a reality. Our community of Sandy faces a huge monetary challenge with meeting the DEQ requirements.

I have been humbled by the willingness of both our state and federal lawmakers’ willingness to set partisan politics to the side and work side by side with others to go to work for our community. This is both a critical and special time in Sandy’s wonderful story.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

A cook's day off by Taeler Butel on 08/01/2021

I’m off to my local co-op and it’s only getting lazier from there.

I still want something homemade and delicious, just with little effort.

 

Easy Strawberry pie

1 lb. strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup strawberry jam mixed with 1 T warm water

1 baked cooked pastry pie shell

"1-pot pastry cream":

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Pinch of kosher salt

2 cups half and half

4 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients for the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan cook, stirring constantly over medium/high heat until boiling.

Remove from heat, pass through sieve into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool completely, scoop into pie shell, level filing, cover with sliced strawberries, brush with warmed strawberry jam.


Ham & cheese croissant calzones

2 tubes croissant dough

1 8 oz package sliced ham

8 oz shredded Swiss cheese

1 T Dijon mustard

2 T melted butter mixed with 1/2 t each: salt, dry parsley

Garlic powder

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees and unroll one tube of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Spread mustard on dough, then layer cheese and ham. Unroll the other tube of dough. Seal the sides with a fork. Pour butter mixture over top. Bake 35 mins until cooked through (35 minutes).

 

Minors as beneficiaries by Paula Walker on 08/01/2021

You are starting a family or maybe your children are in first grade, middle school or just entering high school and you realize the importance of making sure they have what they need to carry them through to their emerging adulthood and beyond, should something happen to both you and your spouse.

Who that you trust will care for them? Who that you trust will manage all the many expenses and choices for their care? How to leave finances enough for that care and how to ensure that those finances are spent well in ways you consider in your children’s best interest if you are not there to make those decisions? Weighty considerations. As a parent you know these concerns to your core.

Except for a very small amount, minor children cannot receive monies directly. They can be named on various financial accounts, be beneficiaries of financial accounts, life insurance, be named on the title of real property, but until they reach the age of majority (in Oregon 18 years of age), they cannot take possession or receive the value themselves. Someone must be appointed to receive for them and manage that wealth, those assets for them and use those assets for their benefit and on their behalf.

And what of turning 18? What maturity is on-board at that age to manage an inheritance of significant value? How can you help your children in such circumstances, provide them with guidance that may involve receiving their inheritance over time? How can you help them achieve ‘maturity milestones’ before a final release of the remaining funds and therefore benefit from the guidance you have crafted to help them mature to be ready to fully receive and manage such assets as financial instruments and real property, or receive a significant amount of money in a lump sum?

This begins a series of articles addressing the ways in which you can designate your minor children and emerging adults the beneficiaries of your estate, and provide the guidance in managing the assets that you would want them to have to assist in meeting their needs; aid in shaping their lives and protecting what you have left to them from unwise spending or claims resulting from a variety of potential legal action. We will look at the types of vehicles and mechanisms that you can use and what your options are for putting in place the persons you trust to manage those assets until your minor children reach certain ages when, per your determination, they will be ready to handle the assets themselves.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

From the founding of the Constitution as controls against undue foreign influence, to the considerations of estate planning, this historic recount looks at what is given and how might it be managed according to the purpose the gifter intended.

Benjamin Franklin – perhaps you’ve heard the name – deployed to France as diplomat in October, 1776, settled in well with the French aristocracy, a sterling example of “New World Enlightenment,” among many other favorable traits. Nearing the time of Franklin taking leave of France and his return to Philadelphia in 1785, King Louis XVI, as was the custom, offered a token of his appreciation — a snuff box with the image of the monarch encircled by and the lid encrusted (literally) with 408 diamonds.

This set off two events, one honored and bound, the other not. The first, the establishment of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, carried over from the Articles of Confederation that preceded the Constitution, which prohibits the federal government, members thereof, from receiving gifts or "emoluments," i.e. salary, fee or profits, from the country in which they served diplomatically, in order to prevent the “corruption of the monarchies” that our young nation was severing ties to.

The second event, was the gifting of the box by Franklin in his will to his daughter, Sarah Bache, under the condition that neither she nor her daughters make jewelry of the diamonds, “thereby introduce or countenance the expensive, vain and useless Fashion of wearing Jewels in this Country.”

The Emoluments clause persisted. The snuff box – alas – under Sarah’s keeping and her generations that followed, was slowly dismantled to fund various undertakings (an excursion to France by Sarah for one) until in the mid 20th century only one diamond remained.

Perhaps had Franklin utilized some of the methods we are embarking on discussing, his intent may have held… at least for Sarah’s life.

As a bit more background: caught between a dual conflict of political proportions weighty to the new nation: 1) that of returning the gift thereby offending the French leader and potentially harming relations with a country of critical support in our war of Independence, and 2) that of keeping the gift and therefore, to this newly forming Congress, appearing to be indebted to the monarchy, Franklin took the dilemma to Congress.

With the approval of Congress, he was allowed to keep the gift and he then passed it on to his daughter in a special line item in his will. The Jefferson Papers include a letter from William Temple Franklin, a grandson of Ben Franklin, and himself also a diplomat to France in his lifetime, accounting for the value of the snuff box and the custom of giving and receiving gifts as part of the engagement of diplomacy by the emissary and the head of state in the country to which the envoy was deployed.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Oregon, a landscape photographer's dream by Gary Randall on 07/01/2021

I was host recently to a group of landscape photographers who had come from several parts of the United States; from New York to Florida to Texas and California. I was extolling the virtues of Oregon as a landscape photographer’s paradise and why I’m less apt to travel far to photograph epic landscapes than people who live elsewhere.

 

Now that I have taken the past 20 years to look at my state from the eyes of a landscape photographer, it makes me realize that Oregon has virtually anything that I could ever want to photograph in one form or another. The diversity of the landscapes available to us within a day's drive is incredible, especially considering the relatively small area that Oregon encompasses.

I can start at the Oregon coastline with its fabulous rocky shoreline and sea stacks to its sandy beaches and the lush forests that grow to the water's edge. I think that it’s the most scenic shoreline in the world. A sunset over the ocean on the Oregon coast is unparalleled.

There are the fertile valleys and rolling hills that meet glaciated mountain peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range. And speaking of mountains, the Wallowas, in the extreme northeastern corner of the state are nicknamed the Oregon Alps, and for good reason. Steens Mountain in the Southeastern corner of the state is almost 10,000 feet in elevation, more than 50 miles long and is surrounded by some of the most scenic and remote countryside in the state.

Oregon is covered by beautiful forests from coastal redwoods to Douglas firs in the Cascades to the incredible Ponderosa Pines of the Ochocos. There are many creeks that wind through moss filled rainforests and an uncountable number of waterfalls. The amazing Columbia River Gorge with its epic concentration of creeks and waterfalls are world-renowned for their unrivaled beauty.

Oregon has deserts similar in many ways to Death Valley, with a mud cracked playa, sandstorms and scorpions. A large part of Oregon is covered by sage and juniper with hundreds of hidden geological wonders, including massive rock formations like Smith Rock and the Painted Hills.

Oregon’s rivers are vast and varied and include one of the largest navigable rivers in the USA, the Columbia River. The John Day and the Deschutes River, tributaries to this incredible river, travel through many scenic areas in central Oregon. And don’t forget the canyons these rivers form, from the beautiful Owyhee to the Crooked River canyon in central Oregon. Many people are surprised to hear that Oregon and Idaho share a border that contains a canyon that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon, the epic Hells Canyon on the Snake River. This article only covers a small fraction of what can be found by explorers of this incredible state. There are so many more places that I could mention.

Take some time and explore for yourself. Take a camera along with you to capture your journey. And as always, while travelling to these Oregon gems, assume the responsibility to help to protect and to preserve them for those who will come after us.

 

'Slugging' it out with the benefits of a natural pest by Mt. Hood Community College on 07/01/2021

It is the time of year again where each morning I groggily stalk my vegetable garden hunting for my nemesis – slugs.

Grumbling as I pull their slimy booger bodies off my previously pristine lettuce, I wonder why I have not figured out a better solution to keep them away. As an ecologist, I am hesitant to add pesticides to my garden. I know all too well that every system is connected and that whatever I sprinkle below my kale will end up in the soil and water, as well as take out other unintended victims.

Our planet is a closed system, and what I do in my backyard may seem innocuous but can have far reaching effects. I have tried to quell the army of hungry mollusks that destroy my bok choy each spring using more benign approaches, such as eggshells, coffee grounds and beer traps. But each of the almanac’s suggestions have failed me, and I in return have failed my chard for yet another season.

Thinking like an ecologist often has unexpected benefits, and I feel my mindset shift as I stare at the muscular foot of the slug in my hand, its sinuous tentacles slowly extending. This hearty gastropod, albeit a nuisance in my garden, is an unsung hero of the soil.

Slugs play an important role in the ecosystem by recycling nutrients and removing decay. Their voracious appetite means that those old lettuce leaves will be transformed into nutrient rich fertilizer instead of becoming rot and leading to infection.

Most slugs are generalists, happy to consume plant and animal material alike. Some slugs will selectively seek out and consume fungi, as I do, and are referred to as fungivores. This sweet fact is enough for me to feel an affinity towards them. Not enough of an affinity that I will let them ruin my collards, but enough that I humanely collect them each morning instead of poisoning them to death. Once my cup is full of slugs and the radishes are safe from being nibbled for the day, I take my mucus covered cousins over to the compost pile and dump them out.

I know full well that by not killing them I am dooming my mustard greens to be munched again by tomorrow morning, but it is hard to hate something that plays such an important role in the world. My discomfort with a disfigured spinach leaf is a small price to pay for continued soil generation and fertilizer production.

If we take the time to look closely at the things that we dislike, there is a good chance we will find an unexpected benefit hidden in there as well.

Catherine Creech is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Inside the flames: a look at wildfire behavior by Steve Wilent on 07/01/2021

With all the talk about last year’s wildfires and the potential for more large, destructive fires this year – not to mention the big one burning on the Warm Springs reservation at this writing – I thought this might be a good time to look at why wildfires burn the way they do. Some people say they sometimes seem to have minds of their own, or that wildfires “rage” across a forest or are “ferocious,” that “he” will burn all the way up that canyon, or “she” will burn until the rains come. Such personifications are understandable reflections of our human emotions, our awe and fear of the power of wildfire. But wildfire behavior is entirely based on three main physical factors, as illustrated in the so-called wildland fire triangle: weather, fuels, and topography.

As you might expect, weather has the most influence over wildfires – especially wind. The Tillamook Burn, a series of four fires in the Coast Range west of Portland that covered a total area of 350,000 acres, were wind-driven fires (and, oddly, the fires occurred about six years apart, in 1933, 1939, 1945, 1951). These coastal forests are often far too wet to burn, the air too moist. Last year’s Riverside Fire also was a wind-driven fire. About 125,000 acres of the total of 138,000 acres affected by the fire burned in the first three days, Sept. 8 to 10, as strong winds from the east pushed the fire toward Estacada.

I’ve seen mature conifer trees “torch” during calm weather, when a relatively low-intensity fire around the tree heats and dries the green needles to the point that the lower branches catch fire, which heats and dries the branches higher up, and in a matter of moments the entire tree is aflame. In this situation, neighboring trees may be merely scorched on one side, if they are affected at all. However, when a tree torches on a warm day with winds of 25 to 50 miles per hour winds, with stronger gusts – the kind of winds that caused the Riverside Fire to spread so rapidly – its neighbors also catch fire and a fast-moving crown fire erupts. Crown fires are very difficult or impossible to put out, even by the most advanced firefighting crews, equipment and aircraft.

Wind can sometimes carry hot embers for miles. During the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire east of Portland, large embers were blown across the Columbia River, where they started spot fires in Washington.

Low relative humidity – very dry air – contributed to the Riverside Fire’s rapid spread. When the air is dry, the moisture in fuels quickly evaporates, especially in fine fuels such as fir needles and small branches, including those dead and on the ground and live, green leaves and twigs in shrubs and trees.

When relative humidity is expected to be 15 percent or less and sustained surface winds or frequent gusts of 25 miles per hour or greater are in the forecast, a “Red Flag Warning” is issued when both conditions are expected to occur simultaneously for at least three hours in a 12-hour period. On the Riverside Fire, those conditions existed for most of several days.

Fuel for the Fire

The amount, arrangement and moisture content of live and dead fuels also are important factors in fire behavior. Calls for thinning and fuels removal or reduction projects are heard frequently these days, because reducing the amount of fuel reduces a wildfire’s intensity and its ability to spread. Imaging putting a handful of dry wood shavings into an otherwise empty campfire ring in your back yard. Once lit, the tiny amount of fuel will burn for a minute or two and then go out, producing little heat and flame. Start again with shavings and pile of a dozen pieces of kindling and a small log or two, and leave some space between the pieces of fuel, and you have the beginnings of a cozy campfire.

Try building a fire with, say, 200 pounds of dry kindling and logs, and you have the makings of a large, hot fire. Make such a fire on a dry, windy summer day, and it may spread to the woods – and then maybe your house, too, if an ember falls into a gutter clogged with dry fir needles. Or your neighbor’s house.

This illustrates the fuel situation in many, but not all, forests in Oregon, where large amounts of fuel have built up over decades, including small trees that act as “ladder fuels” that carry fire into the tops of larger trees. Removing some dead and down fuel helps keep fires less intense. Making fuel breaks, or areas where most or all of the fuels have been removed except the largest trees, can slow or stop a fire. Thinning – removing some of the live trees in a crowded area of forest – helps prevent crown fires. Without ladder fuels, individual trees are less likely to torch, and with more space between the trees, fire is less likely to jump from one tree to the next.

Some people say thinning allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor, drying fuels on the ground and making them more flammable, and that winds can more easily penetrate more-open stands and thus can increase a fire’s rate of spread. This may be true in some cases. However, with less fuel to burn and more space between the trees, fires will be less intense and crown fires less likely.

There’s much more to the science of fire behavior and the forest management practices that influence the way wildfires burn, but I’m out of space for this month. Have a question about wildfire? Want to know what a fire whirl is? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: The finish line for bills by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2021

This month, I’m writing this column in the final few days of the 2021 regular legislative session, which will have ended by the time you read this. I don’t know exactly what bills will and won’t pass in the rush to finish our work before the constitutional deadline on June 27, but I want to highlight a few of the policies that I expect to make it across the finish line... with the caveat that sometimes there are surprises along the path a bill takes to becoming law.

House Bill 2927, which I cosponsored, passed the House unanimously. I expect it to pass the Senate with near-unanimous support (one Senator has voted no on every bill this pandemic-impacted session as a protest to COVID-related restrictions). The bill will streamline Oregon’s emergency response and recovery programs by consolidating them under a new agency, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (ODEM). As we struggled through the overlapping disasters of COVID-19 and the Labor Day wildfires, we learned that our state needs to re-examine our emergency preparation and response, focusing more on preparation and planning so that our response can be more effective. ODEM will do just that.

The bill will also make the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) an independent agency, which will help focus wildfire funding locally to improve fire-prone areas’ resiliency and defenses. That change will pair well with Senate Bill 762, a much more contentious bill that I hope will pass, even if it does so with a narrower majority. That bill is intended to identify areas of risk within the Wildland Urban Interface areas (WUI) and help landowners create defensible space around their properties – areas free of potential fuel for spreading wildfires. It will provide funding to local fire districts and departments to assist landowners in creating defensible space and will also require those departments to do their own planning and preparation for the future wildfires that we are certain to see across our state. One of my colleagues in the House, Rep. Dacia Grayber, is also a firefighter. She, along with firefighters from the most impacted areas of the state, are urging the legislature to pass SB 762 as soon as possible so they can better prepare for the 2021 fire season that has already gotten an early start.

My years-long priority of increasing state funding to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) appears to be set for passage. These non-profit organizations support our communities’ most vulnerable children as they work to heal from abuse. These agencies also work with law enforcement, the Department of Human Services and other nonprofit service providers to secure convictions against child abusers and coordinate services to traumatized children. Although state law requires CACs to conduct medical examinations of victims, the state provides only 17 percent of the funding they need to fulfill that requirement. This has been a personal priority of mine since I was elected. The funding increase of $6 million will provide services to hundreds of additional child victims. Additionally, it will save untold millions on future health care, criminal justice and economic costs, when you consider the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma that goes unaddressed when services such as these are underfunded.

Among the hundreds of other bills and funding packages that will pass, I will only mention one more: my search and rescue funding bill. I’ve written about this bill here before, but it’s finally becoming a law! The Clackamas and Hood River County Sheriffs’ Departments are required by law to perform search and rescue (SAR) duties when people go missing or get injured on trails, ski slopes or waterways. Yet, as with the CACs I already mentioned, the state doesn’t fund sheriffs to do this work. What this means is that counties are stuck with the bill to keep recreationists safe. In communities like ours, most of the people in need of rescue aren’t paying taxes in our counties, where they’re getting lost or injured. My bill will create a voluntary program that allows people to purchase a SAR Card at the same outlets where hunting and fishing licenses are available, and the proceeds of those cards will fund grants to reimburse county sheriffs’ offices for the costs of search and rescue operations and to help them pay for training and equipment.

Of course, these are only a few of the important bills and funding packages that will be coming out of Salem as this legislative session wraps up. If you would like to hear about more of them, email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov and ask to sign up for my newsletter. I will be sending out an end-of-session edition that covers many more policies than I have room to address here!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: Getting reacquainted by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/01/2021

The time is finally upon us. The clouds are parting and the sun is out, and it’s not just because summer has finally arrived. After over a year and a half of what feels like endless lockdowns, social distancing and not seeing each other’s faces, the time has finally come to open.

Just yesterday, I was able to attend the first Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce REACH event in over a year over at Ria’s Bar. We also hosted a ribbon cutting for the completion of our first outdoor covered structure during the Chamber event. Coincidently, Ria’s is the last location the chamber hosted a REACH event in the evening before the first lockdowns started.

What has always made Sandy so wonderful is our people. And with Sandy finally opening, along with the rest of Oregon, there will be many community events and gatherings for us to attend to get reacquainted with our neighbors again.

In addition to their monthly REACH happy hour networking events, the Sandy Chamber is bringing back their Good Morning Sandy and Lunch & Learn events. This fall on Sept. 10 and 11 Sandy will also see the return of the Chamber’s Music Fair & Feast. While this event is traditionally held on the same weekend as the Sandy Mountain Festival, this year it will come at the end of summer to give them adequate time to plan. The chamber felt it important to provide our community with this special event that so many of us look forward to each year and haven’t been able to enjoy in 2020 and 2021.

The City of Sandy is also preparing quite the celebration in August. 2021 marks Sandy’s 110 birthday and we’re throwing a party! Starting on Saturday, Aug. 14 with city-wide Bingo there will be a variety of events during the following two weeks that include a parade, ice cream trolley sponsored by Sandy Helping Hands, music and movies in the park and several other family-centric events.

We can’t of course forget to mention Sandy’s weekly Farmers Market hosted by AntFarm every Friday throughout the summer.

We have also started back with in-person meetings at the city. Our Sandy City Council, Planning Commission, advisory boards and committees are all returning to in-person meetings. One silver lining of this pandemic has been the adoption of advances in technology and how they can enhance our communication with the public. That’s why all of our meetings are set up to allow for virtual participation by both meeting participants as well as members of the public who wish to testify from their own homes. Our city government will be more accessible to our neighbors than ever before.

As I mentioned, we recently celebrated the completion of our first covered structure at a local Main Street restaurant. You’ll begin seeing structures like the one outside of Ria’s popping up at Le Happy, Sandlandia, Boring Brewing, Red Shed and No Place Saloon later this summer.

What an incredible opportunity for our citizens to get out and enjoy interacting with their neighbors while supporting a local business trying to get back on their feet after the prolonged lockdowns.

This has certainly been a trying year and a half. As a community we remained united, our unique independent pioneering spirit was on full display for all to see. We lifted each other and we made it through. Now let’s go enjoy all of the things that keeps Sandy wonderful – each other.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Sweet summer by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2021

Berries, melons and corn, oh my! Here are a couple of my favorite ways to prepare what’s fresh right now.

Happy Independence Day!

 

Berries & rhubarb cobbler

In a large bowl combine:

5 cups strawberries, chopped

1 cup rhubarb, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup sugar

 1/2 t salt

2 T cornstarch

Spoon into 9x13 baking dish

For cobbler:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 t baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 T cold butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup cold buttermilk (regular milk & 1 tbsp of lemon juice)

1-2 T of cold water

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

Add in the cold butter using a pastry cutter, then add buttermilk.

If still dry, add in a 1-2 tbsp of cold water.

Spoon over fruit mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

 

Mexican Corn salad

4 ears corn, kernels removed and set aside

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup heavy cream

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of one lime

1 t chili

1/2 t cumin

1/2 cup cotija cheese

1 T butter

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 T chopped jalapeño

1/2 t salt & pepper

In large skillet melt butter and sautι corn, jalapeño, salt and pepper until charred slightly. Remove from heat.

Mix in all other ingredients into a bowl, fold in corn.


Photo by Gary Randall.
A sunset at the Painted Hills by Gary Randall on 06/01/2021

I'll never forget this day. I decided to drive over to the Painted Hills on a day that would seem to be unlikely regarding the potential for epic conditions, but I decided to go anyway.

 

On the drive over the skies never cleared up. I had rain off and on during the whole trip over. When I arrived not a lot had changed. I was resigned to photographing the hills in even light, with no shadows, which can produce some excellent images but are more composition dependent than some with something in them like, ohhh I don't know... maybe a beautiful sunset with a rainbow, but that seemed completely unlikely.

I had packed a sandwich, some chips and a bottle of a nice malty beverage to enjoy while I was there. I like picnics as well as anyone... rain or shine. Betty and I roamed around and enjoyed the place in solitude. I decided that if I was going to drive all the way over there I wasn't going to just turn around and leave.

As it got close to sundown, I stood there in a soft rain contemplating my next move. I noticed the park ranger's truck driving up the road. He turned into the overlook parking area, got out of his truck and walked over to where Betty and I were standing. We had some small talk and I explained that I was waiting to see how the sunset would shape up. He looked at me, turned and looked at the horizon behind us in the distance, smiled and said, "Well, it looks unlikely today, but stranger things have happened.” He turned to leave while wishing me luck in my venture.

I went back to my vigil wondering if it was going to be a photographic loss, but still feeling grateful that I was there no matter the weather conditions. Just before sunset I was watching the western horizon with my attention completely 180 degrees away from the hills. I was noticing a thin opening in the clouds just above the horizon. As I watched the clouds it started to rain again. I crossed my fingers to help increase my luck.

With my attention off the Painted Hills, I watched as the sun came into the opening in the clouds projecting the most beautiful orange light onto the clouds in front and above me. I started taking photos but felt disappointment that the light show appeared to be in the wrong darned place.

Just as I was starting to think about my misfortune I turned around and looked at the hills behind me and what I saw just about made me fall over backwards.

The light from the opposite horizon was blasting its colorful bright orange light onto the hills and the clouds above them. I literally ran to set up at the spots that I had planned to be if something unlikely as this happened.

I love it when the unlikely become likely. It makes me feel lucky.

I was photographing the hills while I was watching this incredible light show when all of a sudden, I saw a rainbow starting to form. I was beside myself while standing there in the rain enjoying the gift that was presented to me.

I learned a huge lesson that day. One that I had always known but now had been reinforced in my mind. The lesson was to just go. Go and see what happens. Even on a miserable rainy day something special can happen. Even if the light had not shown up, I still would have had a good time having a picnic, in the rain, with my dog at a breathtaking location.

It is a law of nature that your luck will increase with action on your part. The landscape photographers with the best images have worked for them. They have had more disappointing days than they have had brilliant days. Even when success is unlikely, they're there when it becomes so, which makes them so incredibly lucky.

 


Photo by Steve Wilent.
Spring rhodies bring brilliance to the Mountain by Steve Wilent on 06/01/2021

Here on the Mountain, the weather is often unreliable as an indicator of the season, but you can be sure that we are well into spring when our native rhododendrons begin to bloom.

 

At this writing, the rhodies outside my home-office in Rhododendron are in full splendor. In Sandy the blooms are past their prime by now, but at higher elevations the flower buds have yet to break.

Our local native rhody flowers are usually pink, but can range from pale pink to pale purple. The rhodies with bright red, orange or deep purple flowers, which are very likely not native to this area, usually bloom at about the same time.

Native and nonnative rhodies alike are valued garden and landscape shrubs, as are azaleas, a closely related shrub. Wild azaleas grow in forests along the Oregon and California coasts.

Our ubiquitous native rhodies are Rhododendron macrophyllum, or Pacific rhododendron, sometimes called California rhododendron, coast rhododendron or California rosebay. Another native rhody, the white-flowered rhododendron (Rhododendron albiflorum), grows from British Columbia south to Oregon and east to Western Montana. Have you seen one of these shrubs in our area? I haven’t.

Rhododendron maximum – also known as American rhododendron, big rhododendron, great rhododendron, rosebay rhododendron and great laurel – is native to the Appalachians of eastern North America, from Alabama north to coastal Nova Scotia.

“Rhododendron” comes from the Greek words rhodo, meaning rose, and dendron, for tree. “Macrophyllum” is derived from the Greek macro, for large, and phyllum, for leaf, which is why another common name for Rhododendron macrophyllum is big leaf rhododendron. These shrubs, which can sometimes grow to the size of small trees, are native in coastal forests from British Columbia to northern California.

In 1959, the Washington state legislature officially named the Pacific rhododendron as the state flower. The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Wash. (rhodygarden.org), has one of the largest collections of rhododendrons in the world.

The Zigzag Ranger Station has a small but impressive collection of large, old rhodies.

According to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, there are more than 1,000 species in the genus Rhododendron as well as numerous hybrids. Wild rhodies are found in the temperate regions of Asia, North America and Europe, as well as the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia; none are indigenous to Africa or South America.

Asia is home to the largest number of wild rhododendron species. Wild rhododendrons grow from sea level to 16,000 feet in elevation, and they occur in a variety of habitats, including alpine regions, coniferous and broadleaved woodlands, temperate rain forests and even tropical jungles.

Rhododendrons range in size from low ground covers growing no more than a few inches high to trees more than 100 feet tall. Leaf sizes range from less than a quarter inch to almost three feet long.

If you want to know everything about rhodies, visit the website of the American Rhododendron Society (ARS, rhododendron.org). ARS publishes the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society, which has been in print since 1947.

A 1993 Journal article, “Concerning the Origin and Distribution of Rhododendrons,” by E. Irving and R. Hebda, offers a fascinating look at the history of the rhododendron over millions of years, which was profoundly affected by changes in earth’s climate:

“We propose that, during their early history, rhododendrons were much more evenly spread than they are now, and that their present discontinuous distribution was caused by the encroachment, in comparatively recent times, of conditions hostile to their existence, namely the extensions of glacial ice and of modern grassland and deserts. We also argue that the present remarkable concentration of species in southeastern Asia has arisen because it is there that habitats were developed in which rhododendrons found not only shelter from climatic vicissitudes, but in which they could flourish and speciate; apparently they were able to do this at a time when rhododendrons elsewhere were being driven from much of their former range.”

As beautiful as the modern-day plants and flowers are, rhodies and azaleas contain a toxin that can be harmful to people, pets and livestock. The National Capital Poison Center notes that it often receives calls in the spring and early summer “about children who put the flowers or leaves in their mouths or try to eat them, or when children mistake the flowers for honeysuckle and suck on the nectar of the azalea flower. Generally, only mild symptoms such as mouth irritation, nausea, and vomiting are expected from such cases. Still, it is important to keep a close eye on children and pets when they play outdoors to be sure they do not eat any flowers, leaves, fruits, or seeds.”

We call the village of Rhododendron “Rhody” for short. When I have to give my address information by phone, I say “Rhododendron,” which usually throws the person on the line for a loop. “Uh, how do you spell that?” they say. Although I have been tempted to reply, “Just like it sounds,” I usually spell it out for them, slowly. But sometimes I say, “Just use Zigzag, it has the same ZIP code.”

Have a question about rhodies? Want to know what “mad honey” is? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

 

Take a lesson from nature about the power of change by Mt. Hood Community College on 06/01/2021

The power of photosynthesis has been on display this month. With plenty of the three essential ingredients – water, air and light – life’s alchemy has changed invisible gas into verdant growth. Cellular factories and leaf structures have absorbed, captured and transformed. The result is astounding – tree canopies have gone from mostly bare to nearly opaque, garden seeds sprout and double in size daily, and lawns require (what seems like) constant cutting.

Animal alchemy surrounds us too. Doting parent birds stuff bug after bug into gaping mouths of chicks and, as if by magic, feathers appear and muscles gain the strength to fly. And perhaps, the most amazing of all, caterpillars feast on the new growth, then spin their covers of protection, dissolve into goo and reappear as the butterflies that flit in this month’s early summer sun.

Amazing transformations, but not always without mistakes. One of the blessings of “stay-at-home” is that I have been able to follow individuals as they perform the magic of growth and development. I’ve watched the squirrel in my backyard navigate its world with a partially furred tail, insects with wings that never fully formed, spiders with missing legs and a crow that walks our sidewalks because his injured wing drags behind. Damaged beings, making do. Reminders of our common fragility – that we walk a knife’s edge between success and failure. Oddly comforting as I navigate this moment in time when so much seems in need of repair, from people to policies, places to planet.

Observations of the crow provides other insights as well. It does not walk alone. Its crow family walks with it, keeps watch from the power lines above and as a group carries on as crows do. Whether their support will be enough to avoid the neighbor’s cat or a speeding car, I don’t know, but I hope. Just as I hope but remain unsure that our fellow humans will stand together, not apart. Our ancestors stood as one. Walking on two legs provided great advantages, but also great limitations. Successful clans must have provided for their sick and injured. Stand together or fall alone, literally. Our survival to this time is evidence that care and compassion are ancient strengths, some might say defining, providing the promise of our own alchemic transformation of hardship to triumph. Let’s make it so.

Walter M. Shriner, PhD is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: Bills and 'fizz-rizz' by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2021

In the legislature, around this time in the long session, the phrase "Hurry up and wait" gets thrown around a lot. Many things are pending at any given time, but when they start moving, they move quickly... and, more or less, all at once.

Late in May, you may have heard, the governor’s council of economic advisors provided their quarterly revenue forecast. The news was good (“stunning” was a word some legislators used), but that’s not the subject of my column this month. Instead, I’ve decided to explain what that forecast signifies in the legislative process.

Throughout the session, my colleagues and I propose, discuss and debate policy concepts. Those policy concepts get written into bills, which are referred to policy committees. I chair the House Committee on Human Services, but there are many others: committees on finance, revenue, economic recovery and prosperity, health care, housing, behavioral health, transportation and more.

When these committees debate bills, one of the steps in their process is to review each policy’s “fiscal impact statement” and “revenue impact statement” (or, in Capitol speak, the “FIS/RIS,” pronounced “fizz-rizz”). These reports are intended to answer the question, “What impact will each bill have on our state budget?”

As a weird quirk of the legislative process, policy committees are provided these “fizz-rizz” reports, but not really asked to consider budget impacts in their decision about whether a bill should or should not become law. Instead, any bill that a policy committee passes is referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, where it sits until the last month or so of the session.

Then comes the May revenue forecast (cue dramatic music). Once the legislators who sit on the Ways and Means Committee have a good idea of how much money they can expect to flow into the state, they can start deciding which bills we can and can’t afford to pass.

There’s a broad array of very challenging decisions to be made here, regarding bills of all sizes. One of my priorities, which would require the Department of Human Services to reimburse caregivers at 150 percent of minimum wage, is slated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Another of my priorities, which would create an inventory of publicly owned lands for potential use as affordable housing sites, would only cost about $34,000 a year for the first two years, then $8,000 a year ongoing. Yet there are dozens of legislators listing the hugely expensive bill as their priorities, where the land inventory is a pet project of my own that may not have many other legislators pushing for it. At this point, whether a bill gets funded is largely a question of how many people advocate for it, and how effectively they can pester (I mean, persuade) the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee.

Now that the revenue forecast has been released, the hundreds upon hundreds of bills currently sitting in the Ways and Means Committee will start to have their budget hearings, decisions will be made about whether those bills should be given a vote on the House and Senate floors will be made, and we will hopefully pass the most worthy policies and leave those least urgent, as well as those least deserving of taxpayer funding, on the cutting room floor.

In other words, May was a bit of a slow month, but we are about to see a torrent of legislative activity, and some of the most consequential decisions that will be made in our state for the next two years will be made in the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing from you about any policies that you’d like to see me support or oppose... as always, please reach out to Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov to make your voice heard!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: Budgeting for the future by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 06/01/2021

As I talk about often in this monthly column as well as in my remarks that I make while traveling around the state, my time as Mayor has left me with the belief that the biggest decisions should be made at the local level here in Oregon. This past budget planning cycle has instilled this belief in me now more than ever.

 

It is no secret that we have a diverse number of opinions, backgrounds and beliefs on our Sandy City Council. Every budget season, we enlist the help of our neighbors to participate on the budget committee along with members of the City Council in a process that brings our community together. This year every member of the Sandy community who applied was able to participate on the budget committee. It’s been said that a budget reflects your values. It is my belief that we can all be proud of Sandy’s 2021-23 fiscal budget.

The immediate past council showed true leadership by making the decision to tighten our budget and invest in our core functions of government, which led to one of the biggest budget surpluses in our community’s history. This allowed for our current budget committee to hear presentations from all of our city department heads about the status of their departments, as well as their planned investments over the next two years. After questioning, analyzing and approving those budgets our committee then had the opportunity to decide where to invest the $308,000 surplus from the previous budget cycle.

It has always amazed me how much the City of Sandy and its employees are responsible for managing our cities growth and infrastructure. While many cities choose to contract out to other government agencies like the county for services such as police, sewer, water, parks, parks maintenance and library services – Sandy handles all of these services ourselves. When you consider that we have also led the way with our own world class transit system (Sandy Area Metro) and our first of its kind, national leading broadband internet service (SandyNet), it truly is amazing how much the city government here in Sandy does for our size. Sandy really is the little engine that could.

The discussions our budget committee engaged in with our department heads was very insightful. As the result of our growth in size and a vastly changing world, all of our departments are at a state of transition with the ability to dream what the future of services for our neighbors could look like in the coming years.

There was also a lot of community dialogue concerning the future of the Sandy Aquatics Center during our budget sessions. As many of you may remember, our past city council committed to finding a plan for aquatics in Sandy, and our new city council remains committed to this goal. The budget committee approved the creation of an aquatics exploratory committee to continue exploring the future of aquatics in our community. We need to discuss the community’s vision for an aquatic center as well as a funding mechanism for such a project. I feel that it’s important that any plan for the aquatics center must be put in front of Sandy voters for approval.

After much debate, the budget committee allocated $152,000 to police training, body and vehicle cameras, and vehicle purchases; $75,000 to parks maintenance and repairs; and $81,000 to the aquatics center budget.

These recommendations go to our most needed areas and that is exactly why I support our state’s biggest decisions being made at the local level. As neighbors, we come together, set priorities and invest in our community. It’s all part of our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

Why do I need an estate plan? by Paula Walker on 06/01/2021

Seems like grandiose term “Estate Plan.” You say, “ I consider my wealth and belongings minimal and my intentions for who I will give these to, simple. Do I need an estate plan? And who does need an estate plan?”

The answer is yes and anyone 18 years of age and older needs one; before 18, you need one to protect them if you are the parent of children under that age.

Why do I need an estate plan? An estate plan is not only for those you consider to be wealthy. The term ‘estate’ refers to all you own, belongings and real property, and all that you have as financial assets. These will need to be transferred when you die, someone will have to manage that transfer and someone will in the end receive that transfer, no matter how little or how much; and the “simple” dispersal you have in mind will not be simple without an estate plan.

So, what does an estate plan do then? A proper estate plan is a comprehensive estate plan. Comprehensive refers to including not only a will or a trust as the cornerstone document but also those documents that provide for your care while you are living. Should you have a need for that support, you have the persons you trust in place to provide it or direct it. A comprehensive estate plan then provides for your own needs while you are living; gives clear, legally supportable directions for the transfer of your belongings and finances to those you choose, not those the state chooses, after your passing; can maximize the amount of wealth you have to transfer by minimizing costs associated with that transfer including transfer taxes such as estate taxes and capital gains; provide for supporting charities and non profits that you want to support and promote which in turn can contribute to reducing the potential taxes that may be owing in estate taxes; provides for transitional distribution of your assets, i.e. providing financial support to the young adults in your life helping them to manage the receipt of money by incremental distributions; and naming guardians for young children you have so that they are well-cared for by those you trust should you not be able to do so, and with your terms for such a transition to another home, if it was needed.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Not exactly a story of a current celebrity, but certainly one of the more interesting uses of a will. Reportedly a Bermuda Tycoon, named Henry Durell, in 1921 left to the roll of the dice the designation of his heir, the one who would receive the transfer of his grand estate, grounds and manor overlooking Hamilton Harbor, the natural harbor serving the city of Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. Being equally fond of three nephews his will stipulated that the estate would be given to the winner of the three nephews of a game of dice. The three nephews followed through, passing around a pair of dice and the winner, Richard Durrell, within minutes, emerged the owner of the palatial estate. And for the others, it was ‘paradise lost.’ Perhaps not a good idea though to leave your estate to the whims of fate and the outcome of chance.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Simple suppers by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2021

Crazy Bread

 

Use a couple of different breads and topping combinations, add a salad to make an easy summer supper.

I’m thinking these will be a hit at my daughter’s graduation party! Speaking of... congratulations to the grads of 2021!

The sky is the limit for the crazy bread filling, and this is an excellent way to use up leftovers.

Shrimp & Artichoke

1 loaf ciabatta bread

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup Parmesan

1/2 t each salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 T chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts

1 cup bay or cooked chopped shrimp

Olive oil

Slice bread in half lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil toast lightly, mix all other ingredients and pile on top of bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Ricotta, ham & asparagus

1 loaf focaccia bread

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup asparagus tips pan roasted with olive oil salt and pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

4 oz shaved ham

Spread ricotta over bread, layer on ham, Parmesan, mozzarella and asparagus. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Scratch Butterscotch Pudding

This is easy guys, just keep stirring, stirring, stirring…

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

4 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Whisk everything in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat until steaming. Switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring until thickened. Place plastic wrap directly onto pudding and chill completely.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Rules to follow... or not by Gary Randall on 05/01/2021

The subject and composition of a photograph or a painting is the most important component in creating an impactful image. Composition is something that is difficult for me to explain as it is something that feels as if it comes to me naturally. It is certainly something that can be taught but I had never studied composition at all until I tried to advance my photographic skills.

 

I was aware of the Rule of Thirds, as I was an artist prior to becoming serious with my landscape photography, but that was as far as my knowledge went. I am not a trained artist, at least not in the formal sense. I've always considered my artistic endeavors as a hobby. It’s only since I’ve made efforts to improve my photography that I have really become aware of the rules of composition.

Before I became aware of compositional guides and guidelines, I would be in the field creating a photograph without even thinking of compositional rules or formulas. I was just letting the scene speak to me. Imagine how surprised and satisfied in my skill I was when I laid a Golden Ratio over one of my photos and it lined up perfectly. How did I develop this skill? Was I born with it or was it something that I had somehow learned in my life? Can someone be born with the eye for composition?

I have wondered about this in my case and I think that I may have a clue. As a child I had this little mental and visual game that I would play, especially when I was idle or bored, where I would reduce my surroundings, be it outdoors in nature or indoors in a room filled with furniture. I would see steps, sections, spaces and shapes, and I used to try to line everything up in an order of symmetry and alignments and then find the center of it all.

I think that that obsessive mind game that I played was a way for my brain to develop a way for me to find order that would translate to artistic compositions in the photos that I make today of the chaotic nature of nature.

After I became aware of the rules of composition it allowed me to understand more of how my style of composition was developing. The most skilled artists develop their eye for composition. It is rare when an artist’s style does not change with practice and an increased awareness of their craft.

Through my experience as a landscape photographer there are a few tips that I can pass on to help those who want to develop their own eye for composition and to develop their own unique style. Some of these suggestions are directed toward photographers but the principles can be applied to drawing or painting, mostly landscapes.

Start with a wide view of the scene and then start to reduce it to the most important components of the scene. Many times, it is not what you include in a scene but what you choose to exclude that will make the biggest difference. Simple can be impactful to the viewer.

Find your subject or the reason for the photo and make it the focal point. A strong focal point is important and less frustrating for the viewer of your art who is trying to understand the message that you are conveying through your image.

Direct your viewer's eye through the scene toward your focal point with foreground elements, especially those that create leading lines. Foreground objects and leading lines will also create depth. Leading lines can be straight in or they can be diagonal lines, but their purpose is to lead the viewer’s eyes toward your focal point.

Next is to create depth or a sense of distance from the front to the back. As I have alluded to previously, a leading line can be a great way to create depth in a photo but there are other ways that can be used. An element like a rock or a flower anchors the foreground and establishes a base for distance. A scene that goes from a darker area toward light gives a sense of depth. A gateway, perhaps through branches or an arch to a distant focal point is an excellent way to create depth. Another way to create a sense of depth is a shallow depth of field, meaning a sharp focus on a subject with a soft, out of focus background.

The next is balance; create a balance in your composition. Make sure that your elements are distributed through the scene as evenly as you possibly can. If your focal point is centered it helps the balance if it is symmetric. If it’s offset to the side fill the opposing area. If you have movement into and out of your frame, try to take it from a back corner to the opposing front area in a diagonal direction. The best example that I can think of is a creek. I like photos in which a creek moves from the back, where light is brightest, to the front opposite corner and to a darker area where it leaves the frame. The diagonal line that it makes crosses through your photo and maintains a balance.

Try to limit negative space, especially in a clear and cloudless sky. I find negative space uninteresting, and it is my practice to try to eliminate it the best that I can in my compositions. I love cloudy skies as clouds fill blank skies nicely. If I do not have clouds but have a blank sky, I may place a branch from a tree or something similar in that area. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, which would include a scene that’s balanced to the side of your composition. Minimalistic images benefit from large areas of negative space. Picture a couple of people walking alone in the distance on a vast and empty beach on an overcast day.

Understand the rules but, like is commonly said, feel free to break the rules because we make our own rules when we are standing in front of a beautiful scene. Understand the rule of thirds but stretch its boundaries. It is rare when the natural world aligns with a grid. Understand the Golden Ratio. I will not spend a lot of time explaining these rules as you can research their purpose but, in my opinion, they are the two most important guidelines in composition. The Golden Ratio is magic.

As with any craft or skill the most important rule to follow is to follow your heart and your instincts. You are an artist, and you are original. And to be original you are the one who chooses which rules to follow, which rules to break and which rules to create for yourself. In that way your work becomes your own. It becomes original. It becomes your style.


Graphic by NFPA.
A clear five feet can save your house from wildfire by Steve Wilent on 05/01/2021

My column one year ago this month started out like this:

 

“Imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County – say, in the Bull Run watershed or between Rhododendron and Government Camp. There’s smoke in the air. You’re concerned, but the fire is a couple of miles away and firefighters are working to control it. And then burning embers start raining down. Your worry turns to panic as the embers ignite fir needles and dead leaves around your house – and the bone-dry debris in your gutters. Your only choice is to escape while you can as your house burns to the ground.

Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? Something like a scene from a movie? Something that can’t happen here in wet, green Oregon?”

We now know that this was far from melodramatic. We don’t have to imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County or preparing to evacuate. Starting just after Labor Day 2020, the Riverside Fire, driven by strong winds from the east, burned 138,000 acres southeast of Estacada and destroyed more than 50 homes. Many of us in Hoodland packed our most important belongings and prepared to bug out as we breathed smoke from the fire and other conflagrations burning to the south. We watched the sky for falling embers. We listened to the radio and checked social media for the evacuation order. The power was off for most of a week, more in some areas. We were fortunate that the fire did not spread into our area.

Mid-April brought gusty east winds and unusually dry conditions to our neck of the woods. Hoodland Fire District banned open fires. The danger of a large wildfire was relatively low, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking back to last September’s fire.

As those winds were blowing small branches from my trees, I received a press release about a recent study of the effects of removing vegetation around homes on the chances of those homes surviving a wildfire. The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and Zesty.ai, a company that “uses artificial intelligence to understand the impact of climate risk to each and every building.” (Editorial aside: Hmmm, I wonder if Zesty.ai is related to Ziply Fiber….)

The study is entitled “Wildfire Fuel Management and Risk Mitigation: Where to Start?” Here’s the main point: the researchers looked at 71,000 properties involved in wildfires between 2016 and 2019 and found that “buildings with a high amount of vegetation within five feet of the structure were destroyed in a wildfire 78 percent of the time – a rate nearly twice as high as those with small amounts of perimeter vegetation.

Five feet – that’s it! Walk around your home with your arms outstretched, touching the house with one hand. How many trees, branches, and shrubs fall within that span, above and below you? How much flammable bark/mulch, grass, and groundcover plants are within those five feet? Can you live without that? Can you live with decorative gravel and stepping stones, a brick walkway, or simply bare soil? Remove that flammable material and your home has a much better chance of surviving a wildfire.

There are some important caveats, of course. Five feet of space won’t make much of a difference if red-hot embers fall into gutters or roof valleys filled with dry fir needles. And five feet won’t matter much during a wind-whipped fire like the Riverside Fire. But with a lower-intensity, slower-moving fire burning through low-lying vegetation – the kind of fires that are much more common here – that five feet could make all the difference.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has much more information about managing flammable vegetation and materials around houses, in three zones: Immediate (five feet), Intermediate (five to 30 feet) and Extended (30-100 feet or more).

Here’s what the NFPA says about that first five feet and the home itself:

Immediate zone: The home and the area zero to five feet from the furthest attached exterior point of the home; defined as a non-combustible area. Science tells us this is the most important zone to take immediate action on as it is the most vulnerable to embers. START WITH THE HOUSE ITSELF then move into the landscaping section of the Immediate Zone:

– Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors (mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles), anything that can burn. Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.

– Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves and debris.

– Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent embers from getting in.

– Install 1/8-inch metal mesh screen in exterior attic and eaves vents to reduce the chance of embers passing through.

– Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating. Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows.

The NFPA also offers tips on reducing fire hazards in the Intermediate and Extended zones at tinyurl.com/3ecp8c3r.

Start with the first five feet (and keep your roof and gutters clean), then tackle the other zones. It’s a measure of peace of mind. Even if you have to evacuate, there’ll be a much better chance that you’ll have a house to come home to.

Have a question about protecting your home from wildfire? Want to know why you ought to convince your neighbors to take action, too? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Nature serves a reminder of what connects us all by Mt. Hood Community College on 05/01/2021

On campus, in our greenspaces and in our backyards, each day in May brings new additions to our community. Yesterday a Wilson’s Warbler, with his cap of black and his staccato song, joined the chorus of finches and towhees. Today a Black-headed Grosbeak lands on the top of a Douglas Fir, 2,500 miles from its winter home in the pine forests of Nayarit, Mexico.

These and other newcomers join a spectacle in full swing. The college backdrop is one of mixed conifer-deciduous forest, but the drama of spring plays in many venues. Here in Gresham, above the campus trails, the canopy closes as ashes and maples reach full splendor. Their broad leaves hide a tiny Ruby-Crowned Kinglet on her nest, protected from predators by height and camouflage. In the brambles below, a Song Sparrow disappears into a thorn-guarded home. Lower still, the Dark-eyed Juncos nest, deep in the grass on the forest edge — just as invisible to casual passersby as any bird in the canopy.

All around us the anticipation builds, and we are far from the final act! Each day new flowers burst into color and eggs transform into begging birds. Mothers (and fathers) fly forays back and forth, using every minute of the lengthening days to feed their future.

As this new life grows, we can look to the sky for what tomorrow’s wind brings*, perhaps a warbler from the jungles of Nicaragua or a swallow from the mangrove forests of Costa Rica. We can rejoice in the heartening message of each new arrival. These international travelers, who recognize no government’s boundary, but who are affected none-the-less by our human laws and practices, speak of the global community to which we all belong, of the shared planet we call home.

And we can pull a hopeful message from their presence. It tells us that their winter grounds still provide ample food and that our long spring days still bring an abundance of resources to sustain them here again. May we all rejoice in this message of hope and find the energy to carry it into our intertwined and shared future. May we use their arrival to commit (or commit anew) to doing what we must, collectively and individually, to ensure that they can continue to safely travel back and forth across our borders to bring color to our world.

(*Author's note: for a high-tech exploration of migration in real-time with daily forecasts for your area, check out BirdCast at https://birdcast.info.)

By Walter M. Shriner, PhD, an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Inside Salem: considering trauma by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2021

In every legislative session, there are a couple of difficult days in which bills that haven’t made enough progress through their respective committees are deemed “dead” for the year. This last “Deadline Day,” April 13, I had to say goodbye to a few important policies that didn’t quite have enough support to pass out of their committees in time. I’d like to tell you about one of them, since I plan on continuing to work on it in future sessions.

House Bill 2825 would have required courts to consider evidence of a criminal defendant’s having been subjected to domestic violence before sentencing them for their crimes. It would also have allowed people who were already in custody (including those serving mandatory minimum sentences) to petition for resentencing if they had committed their crimes as a result of coercion from an abusive partner.

It’s extremely important to me that our criminal justice system be more trauma-informed, and that survivors of domestic violence have their trauma acknowledged before we lock them up for crimes that they may have been coerced into committing. After hearing from brave women who shared their stories with the public (including my recent appearance alongside one survivor on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud”), this work feels even more urgent than when I started.

Our criminal justice system, by ignoring the impact that domestic violence can have on a person’s decision to commit or assist in committing a crime, in many ways feeds into and becomes a part of the cycle of abuse experienced by survivors. Survivors – primarily women – are sometimes punished for heinous acts that they did not want to participate in, but had little to no power to refuse. Other survivors are punished under harsh mandatory sentencing schemes for what could amount to self-defense against their abusers: proving self-defense in court is sometimes a high bar and often survivors are unable to convince juries that their actions were necessary.

Survivors who get wrapped up in our prison system as a result of these sentencing laws sometimes spend decades behind bars. That’s decades of missed birthdays, decades of not being there for those crucial developmental milestones with their kids: first steps, back to school nights, parent-teacher conferences, game-winning home runs, wiping away tears.

Each of us can try to imagine what that toll is like for the mothers, for the kids, for the family left behind. But most of us can’t fully relate to a nightmare of this magnitude. This system of “justice” is continuing to re-abuse and re-traumatize these women and their families. It’s destabilizing communities and further proliferating cycles of violence and pain.

Unfortunately, HB 2825 would have required a two-thirds majority vote in order to pass, because it would make a narrow exception to Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. (The state constitution requires that any sentences passed by ballot measure – which includes our mandatory minimum sentences – can only be changed by a two-thirds legislative vote, otherwise the question has to be decided by voters on the ballot.)

Because of the high hurdle of getting 40 Representatives’ and 20 Senators’ support in order to pass HB 2825, legislative leadership encouraged me to work a bit longer on gathering more robust bipartisan support for my idea. Now, the bill will go to an “interim workgroup,” where I can collaborate with defense attorneys, prosecutors and judicial experts to craft a bill that can pass in 2022. It’s past time for us to make this change, so I’m determined to make it happen next year. If you have any thoughts on how I might be able to improve this policy, or if you’d like more information, please let me know at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Spring into comfort by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2021

Cheesy spring risotto

You can use vegetable stock and omit the cream and cheese to make this a vegan dish if you’d like. Frozen artichoke hearts chopped work great for this, or substitute vegetables.

2 cups Arborio rice

6 cups chicken stock

2 T butter

1 T olive oil

2 crushed garlic cloves

1/4 cup fine chopped shallot

1/4 cup fine chopped fennel bulb

1/4 cup shaved asparagus

1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts

1 t salt

1/2 t white pepper

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese - cubed or shredded

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2T chopped parsley

1/4 cup white wine

1/3 cup heavy cream

In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the butter and oil, add rice and stir, coating and toasting for one minute (rice will sound like glass beads). Add in seasonings, shallot, garlic and fennel and keep stirring.

Add wine, keep stirring when wine has reduced by half and add one cup of stock, stir until thickened. Add another cup of stock and repeat. Once rice is tender add in the other ingredients and stir until creamy, adding more stock if it's dry.

Comfortable Food – Apple Bread

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ t ground cinnamon

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ t baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer cream sugars and butter, adding in vanilla and eggs one at a time.

Add the flour mixture, then milk. Fold in apples in a prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

You can make a delicious crumb topping and/or glaze but this bread is perfect as is!

 

How a will directs an estate by Paula Walker on 05/01/2021

Probate; many think that with a will their estate will not be subject to the court controlled procedure called ‘probate,’ however that is a misconception. with or without a will an estate is subject to probate. A Revocable Living Trust is the one estate planning instrument that renders probate unnecessary. However, as stated in other articles, better a will than no will and no plan at all. Let’s look at what happens when you pass and a will is your main estate planning instrument.

First and foremost, with a well-done will, the key is that you have left family and friends with a solid plan of action. You have appointed someone to administer your estate. You have made clear who receives what and how the many things that you have – from household furnishings and family mementos to charitable gifts and the disposal of your house and your various financial holdings – are to be distributed. If you have minor children, you have appointed their guardian(s). If you have animal companions you have identified who will take them and care for them. In both the last two situations, you have left money for their care and directions for their transition. All this is subject to court review, and in the case of the children subject to court through guardianship proceedings to review, confirm and approve the guardians.

Even though you have taken the solid step to designate the person you want to administer your estate, that person must be approved and officially appointed by the court. In Oregon that person is called your Personal Representative. For an estate with combined assets in real estate and financial holdings that equal or exceed $275,000 ($200,000 in real estate and $75,000 in financial assets), this petition to the court initiates a year-long engagement, perhaps longer but seldom shorter, with an attorney to navigate the complex process of court filings, which begin with petitioning the court to appoint the designated person as the Personal Representative for your estate.

Once the approval is made, the Personal Representative receives the necessary documents from the court to act on your estate’s behalf, proof to the many entities, banks, county, etc. that that person has such authority. That court approval initiates the arduous process of accounting for all that is in your estate that must be probated, communicating to the beneficiaries of the estate of your role and their place in your will, notifying a variety of state agencies for purposes of paying healthcare debts, paying taxes, recording your death, transferring title to real estate and identifying creditors to pay final debts.

This is just a glimpse of the duties and the many entities involved to give you a sense of the breadth and reach of what is to be undertaken by your Personal Representative. Providing finances to your Personal Representative to accomplish these tasks is an essential part of your planning in creating a will because your assets will be tied up for a year, or possibly more, from your passing until the court gives its final approval that your will has been properly interpreted, the distributions exactly prepared according to those terms, is ready to execute when that approval is received and that all creditors have been identified and all debts and taxes paid.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Tales of the interesting and unusual, from Vermont to New York and the beyond… Warren County, New York celebrated its bicentennial in 2013 with the tale of John Bowman the tanner-made-magnate, a legend in the area owing to the tannery business started in 1852 that spawned whole towns now in existence in that Adirondack region. Cuttingsville, Vt. Chamber of Commerce and state of Vermont promote Bowman to current-day tourists as a native son and legend in the area for the mansion and mausoleum he built for his family and the instructions in his will.

Having lost his first daughter in infancy and grief stricken at the early loss of his beloved wife and second daughter, both dying less than a year apart, he made plans for the construction of a mausoleum and a mansion, in his home state of Vermont where he had begun his work in the tannery business and returned to after the death of his wife. There, in Cuttingsville, he had the mansion built across the street from the mausoleum so that he could have a constant view of the place where he himself would finally, eventually rest. Convinced of reincarnation, with his will he established a trust fund for the maintenance of both his mansion and the mausoleum, with the instructions that the servants were to prepare a nightly dinner in case the Bowman family returned hungry. Mr. Bowman died in 1891, 12 years after his wife and daughter. The preparation of the nightly repast continued until the trust was depleted in 1950 – almost 60 years!

Note – should you visit Cuttingsville, in the town of Shrewsbury you can see the mausoleum in the Laurel Glen cemetery with the statue of Mr. Bowman, as he had constructed, eternally climbing the outer stairs of the mausoleum to rejoin his beloved family.

 


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Visualizing your photos by Gary Randall on 04/01/2021

I am glad to be known more for my landscape photography than I am for any other photography style or genre that I dabble in, although I certainly do not limit myself strictly to landscapes, it’s what drew me back to photography in the beginning. This brings clients to me who want a unique heirloom portrait of themselves in the outdoors.

 

I seem to have created a niche for myself. As a landscape photographer I have many locations that I have visited in the past in the back of my mind that would work for the photos that my clients expect from me.

These photos are an example of one such session. The clients wanted a photo of themselves with Mount Hood behind them as a formal wedding photo. That would be a dream shot considering that it’s March and the Oregon rains can be pretty predictable. I did promise them some beautiful forest photos though.

We were fortunate to have a window of time when the skies would be clear, and a view of the mountain could be had. I chose White River Snow Park on the east side of Mount Hood. The park is busy, but we did well, and I can always take out the errant person in the distance with a clone brush tool in Photoshop during post processing.

We walked up to an area with some trees which gave the photo the feel of being at the edge of a wilderness forest with the incredible mountain in the distance. The scene gave a sense of solitude to the feel of the photos even though there were people all around us.

I took a series of photos varying my focal length from 24 millimeter to 35 millimeter according to the composition that I was trying to achieve. They all turned out fine, but I had a vision in my head of a photo with the couple in the foreground with Mount Hood looming large in the background – an effect that I could not achieve with a wide-angle lens.

I had this idea before we arrived, and as we drove into the parking area I surveyed the location to find a place to get the shot. I know this location very well and so I drove right to where I knew that I would have the best luck in creating the photo. We did not have to walk far, fortunately, as the couple were surrounded by snow and dressed in their wedding clothes. I was prepared so we didn’t waste a lot of time standing in the cold.

Once we had finished the photos and were about to return to our cars, I asked my clients to stay behind with my assistant while I returned to my car to change lenses and take a photo of them from there. They were up on a ridge of snow above where I had parked with Mount Hood positioned perfectly behind them.

As I stood in the distance, I mounted my 200 mm lens to my Nikon D850 and then zoomed in to 160 mm to compose the frame. I then stopped the aperture down to f/14 for a clear depth of field. Once my assistant had posed the couple, I took the shot.

I had used a method of enlarging the mountain, in this case five miles distant, to fill the frame to give the illusion that the subject is much closer to the background than they were. It’s a technique called lens compression. All of us were pleased with the outcome.

The second portrait was made with another composition that I had in mind prior to arriving. This huge root ball seemed like a good prospect for a photo when I was scouting this location. Once I had the wedding couple stand in front of the natural vignetting that the roots created, I knew that it was a good choice.

Understanding your location and the capability of your gear makes it easier to visualize a photo prior to arriving at the location. And visualizing your photoshoot prior to the day of the event will allow you to be more prepared and to be more relaxed once you get to work.

In addition, knowing the capabilities of your equipment will allow you to understand basic concepts or methods such as lens compression to create more compelling photographs.

Gary Randall is an award-winning professional photographer, artist, writer, traveler and adventure seeker who lives in Brightwood.

 


Sunstrip Campground.
Salvage logging sparks a debate on the harms and benefits by Steve Wilent on 04/01/2021

Depending on who you talk to, salvage logging is either a reasonable response after trees have been killed by wildfires (or insects, disease or other damaging event), or a recipe for environmental destruction. The latter point of view is especially true when it comes to harvesting fire-killed trees on federal public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

 

Here are some of the arguments against post-fire salvage harvests offered by Bark (bark-out.org), an environmental advocacy group that focuses on the Mount Hood National Forest:

“Even the most severely burned forests are teeming with native biodiversity and rich wildlife habitats. As soon as the fire goes out, animal and plant species begin to return to the forest.”

True. I’ve seen plants sprouting within a couple of weeks of a wildfire, and these plants offer important food and habitat for a range of critters. Birds are happy to nest in and pick insects from charred trees. Even if some trees are harvested, there are usually lots of others that aren’t.

“Post-fire logging projects convert complex fire-impacted forests into monoculture tree plantations.”

Most land managers plant two, three or more species of tree seedlings after a fire, whether they harvest any of the dead trees or not. Once the trees grow up above the grasses and brush that sprout after a fire, the forest isn’t a monoculture.

In our area, in addition to planted Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western redcedar seedlings, you’ll likely see alder, bigleaf maple and other trees and shrubs. In fact, these new forests would look very much like most of the forests that surround the Hoodland area, which grew naturally after large wildfires a century ago. If these are “monocultures,” they are natural ones.

Logging harms water quality and degrades our drinking watersheds.

Post-fire timber harvesting operations can lead to runoff, especially if care isn’t taken to minimize soil disturbance. Bark cites studies that document this. However, modern logging equipment and practices are much better at reducing soil disturbance than in the past. In most cases, burned areas are more prone to erosion than unburned areas, because wildfires consume all or most of the organic material that otherwise protects soils from rain and runoff.

The three fires that burned in our neck of the woods last year killed millions of trees on federal, state, private and tribal lands. Together, the fires scorched more than 536,000 acres — the Riverside Fire (138,000 acres), which was closest to Hoodland; the Beachie Creek Fire (193,573 acres); and the Lionshead Fire (204,469 acres). Most of the forest burned by the Riverside Fire was Forest Service and BLM land, but about 42,000 acres of private land also burned. The Beachie Creek Fire burned more than 78,000 acres of private lands and more than half of the 48,000-acre Santiam State Forest. The Lionshead Fire burned primarily on the Willamette National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

On some private lands, salvage harvesting began before the smoke cleared. Many landowners are racing the clock to remove dead timber before it rots and becomes worthless for milling into lumber or other products. Safety also is a concern after fires.

The Oregon Department of Transportation began removing dead and dying trees along Hwy. 22 and other highways affected by the 2020 wildfires last fall, before the fires were out, and is still working to remove them. The Forest Service and BLM routinely remove hazard trees from along roadsides, near campgrounds and picnic areas and other places where falling trees might pose a risk to people.

In mid-March, I visited Mill City and Detroit to see some of the salvage logging for myself. I visited with loggers harvesting blackened trees on land owned by Freres Lumber Co., which manufactures veneer, plywood, lumber and mass plywood panels, or MPPs. Think of MPPS as plywood on steroids.

Freres can make panels up to 12 feet wide, 48 feet long and 24 inches thick, for use as structural panels in construction and as industrial mats that are used as bases for cranes and other very large, heavy machines.

I watched as one logging crew used small MPP panels as pads that allowed a large, tracked harvesting machine to cross a paved county road without damaging the asphalt. The logs the crews were harvesting were destined for Freres’s mills in Lyons, where they might be made into MPPs or other products.

The Beachie Creek Fire burned about 7,500 acres of timber on Freres’s land, more than one-third of the nearly 20,000 acres it owns in the area. A Freres forester told me that they may be able to harvest about three-quarters of the dead timber on its land; about one-quarter were trees too small to be useful as lumber and too expensive to harvest for producing chips and other products.

Some of the trees killed were only a few years old. From what I could see, the loggers were being careful to minimize soil disturbance. Freres has a vested interest in keeping its soils healthy and productive to assure future harvests.

Crews hired by the company began replanting the burned area last fall. Freres plans to plant 700,000 seedlings by this spring, perhaps 4.5 million more in the next two years.

For Freres and other companies, harvesting dead trees and replanting is essential to their long-term survival as businesses. For federal and state agencies, salvage harvesting is not essential to their long-term survival, but they do have a mandate to provide timber for producing forest products, and timber revenue can help pay for other post-fire restoration work.

For example, the Mount Hood National Forest might harvest dead trees along key roads east of Estacada, to remove the hazards to travelers. Income from selling the timber might be used to pay for restoring burned recreation sites along the Clackamas River.

My view is that salvage harvesting is appropriate in some areas, for a variety of reasons, but not in others – certainly not in wilderness areas. The Oregon division of the Society of American Foresters – I’ve been a member for 40 years – has an informative policy statement on the topic, “Salvage Harvesting on Public Forestlands in Oregon,” at tinyurl.com/4ykcd62s.

Want to know more about salvage logging? Want to know why deer and elk sometimes roll in the ash after a wildfire? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

 

View Points – Salem: Advancement in healthcare by Rep. Anna Williams on 04/01/2021

After over a year of pandemic legislating, it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come. There are many non-COVID-specific issues that we’ve learned a lot about because of how the law has functioned over the last year.

One such issue is telemedicine – virtual healthcare provided through remote technology like video-conferencing. Since long before the pandemic, my colleague Representative Rachel Prusak and I have been talking about the importance of using technology to help overcome access and justice issues in healthcare. Why, we wondered, was it so hard to get the healthcare industry to adopt fast-growing technologies like video-chat into their daily practice?

Some healthcare providers were resistant to the concept for years. They had concerns about the quality of care that could be provided, about whether patient privacy could be protected and about whether patients could access and navigate the technology needed for a quality telehealth experience.  Some resisted the interruption into their normal course of business, while others worried it could add to their costs without any real benefit. Most of all, though, many physicians and nurses who would be willing to adopt telemedicine into their practice were worried that insurance would not reimburse them for the time they spent “FaceTiming” with their patients.

Enter COVID-19. The pandemic has forced us to run the experiment that my colleagues and I were having trouble getting started: both public and private insurance providers have had to, by necessity, reimburse remote visits with medical providers. It turns out, not only were the providers able to provide quality care using technology, we also learned that it dramatically changed their ability to engage with their patients!

People are often uncomfortable in doctors’ offices, so having the option to see a doctor in the comfort of someone’s own home makes some people more able to be open about their medical issues. Providers can also get a sense of the patient’s home environment, which is often an important part of the context of their overall health. And for mental health visits, patients have expressed significant increases in their comfort with tough conversations when they’re able to do so over the phone from their own homes, as opposed to “on the provider’s turf,” in the clinical setting of a doctor’s office.

Perhaps most importantly, telehealth is a matter of equity and justice. It’s a matter of rural justice because it helps people see doctors and specialists without having to make long drives to visit them. It’s a matter of elder and disability justice because people who aren’t able to find easy transport to medical providers can get the help they need without having to request special accommodations. It’s a matter of racial and ethnic justice because people who may not speak English or feel comfortable visiting just any provider are able to more easily get in touch with the culturally appropriate care that they need.

Finally, it turns out to be a cost-saver: people who don’t need to visit a medical provider are better able to be screened through remote visits, which improves efficiency by allowing doctors to focus their in-office time on people who truly need to be there.

In such a challenging year, it’s refreshing that we’ve learned so much about what’s possible, and it’s great to see the leaps and bounds we have taken in policy while we’ve tried to creatively work around the pandemic. What else has COVID shown us was possible that we previously thought was impossible? Let me know your thoughts at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Stimulating businesses by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 04/01/2021

In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, like so many small communities, looked for ways to provide small business relief to our neighbors who were severely impacted by the Governor’s shutdowns. In Sandy, we utilized some flexibility within our urban renewal budget to help support these businesses. It was an easy decision to invest in both our local small businesses in their time of need, as well as the future of our community.

Shortly after we implemented our small business relief program, Congress passed and President Trump signed the CARES act to provide relief to those impacted by the pandemic. We learned we would be able to use those dollars to provide additional grants but also to reimburse our urban renewal fund for the funds we had already distributed. That ended up being an important lesson.

Shortly after the Governor’s second shut down, it became evident that our local restaurants and businesses needed help to provide outdoor seating options in the short term, but also a need to increase their square footage to comply with capacity requirements in a way that allowed their business to keep their lights on.

Having learned the lesson from our earlier relief efforts, I worked with our economic development manager and our planning department to introduce a new program that became our Covered Structures Grant Program. In this program business owners could apply for a grant with the City to build beautiful “Sandy Style” outdoor structures at their businesses. Under the program, the city’s Urban Renewal Fund would provide 80 percent of the investment with the business owner being responsible for the remaining 20 percent upon completion of the project. Recognizing that times are hard and that cash flow could be an issue, the city provided an option of a 3-year, interest-free installment program. We moved quickly to implement this program because we knew our local businesses could not wait.

Just like the lesson we learned with the small business relief program, we decided to use our Urban Renewal budget for the funds. I did not want to wait for Congress to act on a new relief package, but any passive observer could predict that we would be receiving another funding bill shortly that would most likely let us reimburse our fund again. So, we took the gamble and funded seven projects. The next week, Congress and President Biden passed the stimulus package and we discovered we’d be able to reimburse the program again. A huge victory for Sandy.

This program is a win for our struggling Main Street businesses during the tail end of this pandemic, but it also has long term benefits for our community. These restaurants now have a greater capacity for customers, which will hopefully help them recover faster. One local restaurant owner felt it would help grow their sales over 30 percent!

Some might remember that earlier in the year, our Sandy City Council removed additional System Development charges for local businesses who want to expand their outdoor seating and bolstered our economic tenant improvement program to help assist our businesses’ financial success.

Now is the time to invest in our Main Street businesses so that they can serve the public and employ our neighbors now and in the future.

This program supports our local businesses, their employees and will create a special dining experience for our community for years to come. It is things like this that will put Sandy on the map. This program is the first of its kind. We used to do bold, innovative things in Oregon, we still do those things in Sandy. It’s the Sandy way. All part of our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Oyster mushrooms a delicious decomposer by Mt. Hood Community College on 04/01/2021

Fungi generally fill one of two roles in an ecosystem. The first option is to be closely associated with living organisms, such as plants or insects. These liaisons are essential to our natural habitats, and the health of the fungi often determines the health of all those living around it.

The second role available for fungi is to make a living off the dead. These fungi are often called recyclers or decomposers, and true to their name they break down complex molecules releasing nutrients back to the soil so life can begin anew. These macabre fungi are vital for the ecosystem and are also a staple of the dinner table during the winter months when many plants reduce their photosynthesis output and many insects over winter until the weather warms.

This means that the fungi who chose the first role, association with the living, are forced to lay low while their friends take it easy. Decomposing fungi do not have such a barrier. As long as moisture is available, they will continue their work and if conditions are appropriate, they will produce a fruiting body which we call a mushroom.

The oyster mushroom, found in the genus Pleurotus, is one such decomposer that is also a wonderful edible. There are several species of oyster mushrooms, but all exhibit the following characteristics. They like rotting wood, which means you will find them on trees, logs, or branches. They have gills on the lower surface, and they are lacking a stem or the stem is short and off centered. The mushroom will be fleshy instead of hard, and white, gray or brown.

These delicious fungi tend to grow in clusters, and once properly identified, can make a wonderful addition to soups, pizza, pasta and stir fry.

Catherine Creech is an instructor of biology  at Mt. Hood Community College.

Happy spring! by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2021

The bunnies are hopping and so am I, to get the first fresh tendrils of spring onto our plates! Asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb and berries are fresh produce right now and lamb is just as easy as chicken.

Herbed rack of lamb

1-2 1b rack of Lamb roast (lamb chops)

Mix together 2 T olive oil

1/2 t each dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic granules

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper roast (or chops) to taste and place in roasting pan.

Roast uncovered for 30 minutes (1/2 that time if using cut chops), then spoon bread crumb mixture evenly over the fat cap for the roast, or spoon on individually if using chops. Roast another 10 minutes for chops, or 25 minutes for roast, then let each rest. Meat should be rare.

 

Lemon Cream coffee cake with fresh berries

One pint fresh seasonal or 1 cup frozen berries

1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

4 large eggs

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 T lemon zest

16 oz container sour cream

1 cup plus 4 T unsalted softened butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 T baking powder

2 t baking soda

2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup plus 2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup powdered sugar

Spray a large springform pan with cooking spray, cut a circle of parchment paper to cover the bottom and spray the parchment paper.

Mix streusel topping: combine 4 T butter with brown sugar, flour and toasted almonds and set aside.

In a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed beat butter with sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, add sour cream, vanilla and eggs.

In another large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Combine dry ingredients with the wet by folding in gently.

Pour half of the mixture into prepared pan, scatter berries all over the batter and top with half of the streusel and then with remaining batter. Top with remaining batter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Icing : make the icing by combining the lemon juice and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

If too watery add more sugar and if too thick add more lemon juice. Drizzle over cooled cake.

'Trusting' the outcome by Paula Walker on 04/01/2021

We’ve looked at the calamity of dying without even the most basic plan, a will, in place. We’ve looked at the process when you have a will. In this article we’ll look at the option of creating a type of trust, a Revocable Living Trust (Trust), as the cornerstone instrument to manage the transfer of your assets after your passing. It has many advantages and depending on your circumstances and your objectives it can be superior to a will.

What are the advantages? For starters, the Trust serves you during your life as well as providing the orderly transfer of assets after you die, where a will is only effective after your death. Other advantages: 1) The Trust, and only a Trust, avoids probate, i.e., the costly, time-consuming, lengthy and complex process of court oversight of the transfer of assets, tying up your assets until receiving the court’s approval of the accounting of the estate thence allowing actual distribution. Most often assets are tied up a year or more for this laborious process to grind its way to completion. With the Trust, your appointed person steps right in to do the administration as directed. Distribution and final accounting are a matter of completing the job, not additionally waiting on the court to approve the accounting and intended distribution. 2) Ensuring your and your family’s privacy. A Trust is private. Unlike a will. No one is privy to the contents of the Trust or the value of your estate. 3) Many other things can be accomplished with a Trust depending on the particulars of your goals, like keeping some parts of the estate’s asset in Trust to benefit minor children, or help emerging adult recipients manage the assets over a period of ‘maturity milestones’ or keeping safe a recipient’s public needs benefits. 4) Sheltering your estate from the potential for estate taxes. 5) In a blended family safeguard that your children will receive their inheritance if you should pass first; changes to the estate plan cannot displace what you initially designated for them by a rewrite of the estate plan after your passing.

These and more can be discussed with your estate planning attorney to create a Trust that serves you and your estate during your life as well as during the lives of those you intend to benefit.

What are the requirements? For a Trust to provide the advantages listed above, it requires that you place your assets in the Trust. This is an extra step not required by a will. For some this may be an extra step not worth the effort, however once done it is in place and needs no more tending to except if new assets are acquired, at which time those new assets must be placed into the Trust. With the assistance and guidance of your estate planning attorney this process, initially and on-going is straightforward and simple.

Cost – a disadvantage? Creating a Trust does cost more than creating a will, however the initial investment overall is significantly less than the cost of probate to your estate. The value in simplicity and ease of effort and the benefit in time taken and the immediate access to managing your assets for the person(s) on whom you place the huge responsibility of administering your estate provides a calculable return on investment that, in general, justifies that investment in cost up-front. The investment in time to create the Trust is marginally more, if at all.

Stories of the Stars… If only

Stars who did it right… the extraordinary extinguishing of two stars in close proximity provides a study of some of the benefits of establishing a Trust as the vehicle for managing your estate. When “Star Wars” star Carrie Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016 at age 60 from following a sudden cardiac arrest on a transatlantic flight London to Los Angeles, her fans were shocked. But then the passing of her iconic mother Debbie Reynolds within a mere 24 hours presented a time of loss and grief to their family difficult to imagine.

It is possible that that time was somewhat assisted by the fact that this mother and daughter each had the foresight to establish Trusts for their respective estates. Because one of the many advantages of a Trust is privacy, the estate does not go through probate and hence does not become accessible as public record and we will never know precisely the amount of the decedents’ estates and the terms of distribution.

From statements made by Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, following the death of their mother, we know that they each had established Trusts and that Carrie’s daughter, actress Billie Lourd, would be a primary beneficiary. It is estimated that the combined estates transferred in the neighborhood of $30 million.

Whatever the value, whatever the particular assets, whatever the distribution, the two stars ensured that the person(s) they appointed to fulfill their Trusts could simply step in immediately and accomplish the work to be done without delay waiting for the startup of court proceedings and the lengthy process required to come to court approval. The time of grief and loss thus separated from the practical matter of transferring the gifts left behind to their intended recipients.

Dear reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Using filters by Gary Randall on 03/01/2021

One of the most asked questions of me is one concerning lens filters. So, let’s talk about filters for a minute.

 

Filters are round glass elements that screw onto the end of your lens, or in some cases glass or resin panels that are placed on front of the lens. The purpose of these filters is to affect several different things when you’re taking a photo.

During the era of film photography many colored filters were used, mostly used with black and white film. These colored filters would block or cancel certain colors of light causing corresponding areas of color to respond in different ways. An orange or red filter will darken blue tones and lighten reds, while a blue one will darken reds and lighten blues. In digital photography these colored filters are not needed as the sensor can filter red, green and blue light.

In digital photography the most commonly used filters are a circular polarizer and neutral density filters.

A circular polarizer, or a CP filter, will do a couple of things to your photo according to how it’s used. The primary purpose is to reduce glare and reflections on things such as the surface of water or even wet leaves. It will also turn the sky a deeper blue. It is made with two elements, one which you can turn to adjust the amount or place of polarization. The filter glass will be somewhat dark, so it will stop light and the amount varies depending on the darkness of the particular filter, but a typical CP filter will stop about two f/stops.

The next filter that is most commonly used in digital photography is a neutral density filter. A neutral density filter modifies the intensity of all wavelengths of color. In short, its purpose is to block or stop light. The purpose typically is to extend or lengthen one’s shutter speed during bright light such as a sunny day. When a photographer mentions neutral density filters, they typically call them NDs or ND filters. ND filters come in a variety of “darknesses,” stopping different levels of light. They can vary in optical density from almost clear to nearly solid dark. The most common NDs are ND2, ND4 and ND8 with a corresponding 1, 2 and 3 f/stop reduction. Another common ND used for extreme stops of light is a 10 stop ND filter.

Neutral density filters also come in what is called a graduated neutral density filter. This filter has a graduation from top to bottom making half of the filter dark and the other half clear. This is used in neutralizing the exposure when you have an extremely bright sky and a dark foreground. It stops the light of the sky making the exposure more even.

As mentioned previously I use my circular polarizer to affect the blueness of the sky, to remove glare and reflections from water surfaces and wet foliage which will allow the color and texture to show. I love using it for creeks and waterfalls, especially on a rainy day or a day where it’s recently rained as the water will typically reflect the bright light from the sky. So too will the leaves and plants reflect this light from the sky. Once you polarize them the shine goes away and color and textures start to show through. An important thing to remember is that a CP filter works best when the light is coming from 90 degrees from the direction that you’re shooting. As the angle changes so does the amount of affect that the filter has on the photo. Also, the filter will allow me to extend my shutter speed to smooth the water a little more to give it a feeling of movement or flow.

My primary purpose for ND filters is to allow me to extend my shutter even longer under extremely bright light. They come in handy if you show up to a creek or a waterfall during midday sun.

As for graduated ND filters, I use them as little as possible as they tend to darken areas that don’t necessarily don't need to be. A good example is if you want to darken the sky but there are trees or buildings that extend into this area. The most ideal case for the use of one would be at the coast in a photo of the ocean with an even horizon line.

This can all sound a bit complicated, but once you use them it will become easy. If you use your camera on the Manual setting it’s also easier to understand as you probably have encountered some of these problems while trying to get that shot at less than an ideal time. If I want to extend my shutter at a creek or a waterfall I find it best to show up when the light is right. Good light from a creek or a waterfall is subdued light with little or no glare or reflection on the surfaces in your photo. I find it best early in the morning or later in the afternoon, but I love it best when it’s drizzling or an even overcast cloudy sky. Bright light is not your friend in these cases. Surprisingly, the CP works under cloudy skies too.

On a trip a couple years ago to visit Ricketts Glen and  photograph some waterfalls, I hiked in to get some photos but wasn't able to enter the park until 9 a.m. At that time of the day the light was harsh and was shining directly on the falls. I had to block light in any way that I could. I lowered my ISO, stopped down (narrowed) my aperture and applied my CP for two more stops of light. By doing this I was able to get some decent shots. Otherwise I would have gotten shots of crusty sharp water with blown out highlights. Instead I was able to extend my shutter enough to get the water to flow a little in the photo and get a better exposure.

I hope that this helps clear up this subject a little. If you’re serious about your photography put a CP and some NDs in your bag.

Preparing for the return of feathered friends by Mt. Hood Community College on 03/01/2021

Last month, students and staff from Mt. Hood Community College joined thousands of others from around the world to count birds. The Great Backyard Bird Count began in 1998 as a community-science project to encourage regular folks to count the birds (as the name suggests) in their backyards over a four-day winter period.

It has since expanded to the world and any habitat, but the goal of welcoming new bird enthusiasts to the flock remains. The data are valuable, but even more important is the recruitment of more advocates for birds.

And birds need our support. Like all wild things, their populations are in decline, hit hard by loss of habitat and poisoned by the toxic biproducts of a consumption economy.

They are also finding it harder and harder to navigate their human-altered world. Like us, they have been impacted by increasingly unpredictable weather events – the outcome of an Earth warmed by the burning of fossil fuels. Migratory birds face additional problems, literal navigation obstacles.

And here we, as individuals and communities, can take steps to clear a path for our returning feathered friends. We can reduce the risks of windows and lights.

Light pollution is a reality easily appreciated by those living where it still gets dark. Light at night is disorienting for us all, but especially for nocturnal migrants, and several good options for reducing its impact can be found online at https://bit.ly/3aU9pVG.

Window-strikes are another major risk for both migrant and resident birds as they mistake reflections of trees as passages to safety and crash fatally into the glass.

We can all help here. At the College we are working toward a “bird-safe campus” and have begun applying paints and stickers to the windows that cause the most problems.

You can join our efforts in your own homes and businesses. The solutions range from D.I.Y. and inexpensive to comprehensive and high-tech. At my own home, I use gift-wrap curling ribbon (salvaged from holiday packages) taped in strands that dangle and sparkle across a picture window – they don’t disrupt my view, but they break up the reflection for the birds.

Paint pens work well too (vertical lines) and can involve young painters who might be home (and underfoot!). Ultra-violet reflective stickers can be purchased from online venders.

Small changes multiplied by communities who care. Little efforts that pay large dividends for our feathered friends and those who watch them.

Walter Shriner, PhD is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: A bill's journey by Rep. Anna Williams on 03/01/2021

This month, I decided to use this column to walk readers through how the legislative process is working during the COVID era, using a bill that arose out of the mountain area as an example.

In late 2019, shortly before “coronavirus” was a familiar term, I was approached by a community water system manager in my district. He had concerns about how to ensure that private landowners were aware of the impacts their timber-related activities can have on drinking water quality. His hope was that I could sponsor a bill to require landowners to negotiate in good faith around offers from the state to purchase privately-owned land for what is called “source water protection (SWP) land acquisition.”

I thought it sounded reasonable to require landowners to participate in good faith with the negotiation process. I expected the SWP program wouldn’t be too burdensome – it would only apply to the areas immediately surrounding a stream used for drinking water. Also, the landowners would be handsomely rewarded for their land using public funds, which suggested to me that they would have good incentives to negotiate. So, I requested the bill from the attorneys who draft legislative concepts (early drafts of bills).

In a typical legislative session, I would have discussed this bill extensively with my colleagues in our frequent conversations in the hallways and meeting rooms in the Capitol, but because the pandemic has us all working remotely, every encounter with my colleagues is scheduled, time-limited and narrowly focused. So when I introduced the bill at the beginning of the 2021 session, I hadn’t talked through the full implications of what the bill as drafted directed the state to do: essentially, the outcome of a “requirement to negotiate” would be that the state could exercise eminent domain (i.e., paying a landowner and taking the land regardless of whether the landowner agreed), which was FAR more power than I was comfortable giving the state, and far more than the state agencies involved in this process even wanted!

Thankfully, everyone who had concerns about the bill I’d requested understood that it was a simple misunderstanding (legislators make mistakes, too!), and were happy to discuss other options for a more measured approach. So, going back to the drawing board, I consulted with experts in water conservation, forestry and environmental protection, and came up with a few minor tweaks to current laws that will go a long way toward keeping the water we drink safe. In short, my amended bill will allow community water system managers to petition the state to make specific rules for water quality protection for a single stream or watershed, if there is a risk of drinking water being polluted or cut off due to private landowners’ activities.

This new policy will strike the balance that I always try to find in the legislature: it will be narrowly tailored instead of broadly applied (since broad application can lead to unintended negative consequences); it will not be overly burdensome on private landowners’ rights, but it could have huge impacts for the public’s health; and it will directly address my constituent’s concern, while also giving communities in other parts of the state a new tool to keep their constituents safe and healthy.

I look forward to continuing to work with the people in the mountain community, state agencies and in our natural resources economy to find appropriate solutions to big problems, and to protect the people who are most vulnerable from harm. If you have any ideas for bills that I might propose to support struggling Oregonians or improve public health, please let me know at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Coming together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 03/01/2021

President Ronald Reagan once said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” President Reagan was right, and I believe that was the major theme coming out of our recent 2021-22 Sandy City Council retreat this past month.

Our Sandy neighbors have never been more engaged in our local civics process than they are now. As a result, we had one of the most highly contested elections for Sandy City Council positions in recent memory. The results provide our council with three new councilors that bring our community a diversity of ideas, viewpoints and backgrounds for the better.

At our recent council retreat, we were able to bring together our councils’ collected experience mixed with new ideas and fresh perspectives. As a result, we found that Reagan’s adage is true, those that agree 80 percent of the time are friends.

We developed an aggressive agenda for Sandy that puts our community first and plans for the long-term opportunity and prosperity we all believe is possible for Sandy.

We will be addressing traffic congestion by completing our Transportation System Plan that will include a feasibility study on the cost benefit of a local bypass in our future.

We will look to break ground on the extension of Bell Street to 362nd to alleviate the morning and afternoon school commutes and open up an exciting future of economic opportunity in that part of town.

As one of Oregon’s fastest growing cities, we will blaze ahead on a comprehensive plan for smart growth with extensive community outreach and direction.

Because of our growth in size along with side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest in Portland, Sandy has seen an increase in homelessness and petty crime. Our City Council will be appointing a task force to find innovative solutions to these issues in the Sandy way.

As many of our neighbors know, because of our rapid growth in size and improper planning by past leaders and staff, our sewer water treatment process is simply no longer viable. Our City Council is committed to working with our elected state and federal delegations to build upon the past successes of the previous council. In the next year we have a major ask in front of the state legislature and we also will be implementing WIFIA financing on the project.

We’ll also look to update our council policies, rules and processes. Finally, we’ll be providing our community with a visioning process for the Sandy Community Campus and aquatics center that will revitalize the Pleasant Street Neighborhood, provide opportunities for our residents and allow us to grow from our main street core, which is bisected by a state highway.

Additionally, in the year ahead our council will be holding a series of work sessions on a variety of major topics including public safety, homelessness, urban renewal, parks and enhancements to our business climate.

I know that our Sandy City Council is committed to heeding the words of Reagan, putting our community first and planning for our prosperous future. We’re already busy working together to reach our common goal – to keep Sandy wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.


Contributed graphic.
Another clearcut on the Mountain – why and what's next? by Steve Wilent on 03/01/2021

The big clearcut south of Hwy. 26 near Arrah Wanna Blvd. generated quite a bit of buzz in recent weeks. No wonder. All of a sudden, it seemed, there was a big hole where there had always been trees. Two parcels were cleared: 21.25 acres and 5.65. Call it 27 acres.

 

The smaller of the two parcels is slated to be developed for housing – see the article on Page 3 in this edition – but I don’t have any information about plans for development of the other one. Both parcels are zoned Hoodland Residential (HR), which has a minimum lot size of 1/4-acre.

Development would make sense, since the parcels are flat and have access to existing roads and the highway, and both are adjacent to the Welches sewer plant (the Hoodland Water Resource Recovery Facility) on Bright Avenue. And both parcels are surrounded by existing housing.

But the parcels may not be developed. The timber on a 11-acre property on Lolo Pass Road near my home was harvested in 2010, and the scuttlebutt was that homes would be built there. That rumor turned out to be untrue, so far. The 11 acres were planted with Douglas-fir seedlings that seem to be happy there.

Back then, I heard through the forestry grapevine that the owners had sold the 11 acres worth of timber to a logger (not from our area) who told them that timber prices were high (they were) and that prices were sure to drop like a rock in the near future (they didn’t). Not only did prices not drop, they reached new highs the following year. I’d like to think that the logger honestly believed that timber prices were about to drop.

It could be that the owner of the two Hwy. 26/Arrah Wanna parcels wanted to take advantage of the current high prices for timber. Perhaps they saw a headline such as “Relentless Home-Renovation Boom Sends Lumber Prices to Record” (Bloomberg, February 18). In mid-February, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the price of lumber and panels (such as plywood and oriented strand board, or OSB) hit a record high and had increased by more than 170 percent over the past 10 months.

Prices for logs and lumber will fall, eventually, but while prices are high, some landowners will decide to harvest their timber. My ballpark guestimate is that the timber on the Hwy. 26/Arrah Wanna parcels was worth at least $500,000, perhaps $600,000 or more. If you owned timber worth a half-million bucks, would you sell it?

 

What Happens Next?

In the old days, many landowners did little or no replanting. Fortunately, the forests in our area are very productive and, given time, they usually reestablish themselves. Most of the trees we see around us are less than 120 years old, having regrown after fires and harvesting. The Wildwood Recreation Site, which is managed by the US Bureau of Land Management, wasn’t always thick with timber. The BLM’s site brochure explains:

“Between 1926 and 1944, Wildwood and the surrounding areas were logged. In 1930, the Bruns and Jensrud Logging Company built a sawmill complex at Wildwood. The Salmon River was diverted to make holding ponds (now Wildwood wetlands) for timber. The logging company also built a steam-powered sawmill, a bridge, two homes, a machine shop, a cone burner, a cookhouse and three bunkhouses near the Old Mill Trail. Two families and 45-50 employees lived on the site. The steam boilers for the mill were fueled by sawdust. The mill burned down in 1932, but was rebuilt. It operated for several more years before being sold in 1937 to Bell Lumber Company. A year later, it closed and the county auctioned the property for unpaid taxes. The machinery and structures were subsequently removed and the bridge washed out in the 1964 flood.”

Even today you can see the remnants of the mill along the Old Mill Trail amidst large Douglas-fir, grand fir, western redcedar, alder and other trees that grew naturally after the logging ended.

Fortunately, Oregon has a law called the Forest Practices Act that requires replanting after a harvest. The law and the associated Forest Practices Administrative Rules also regulate logging along streams, road and stream crossings, the protection of wetlands, and so on. Oregon’s Forest Practices Act, which became law in 1971, was the first such law in the nation. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute has a wealth of information about the law and rules, including “Oregon’s Forest Protection Laws: An Illustrated Manual,” which I used as a textbook when I taught timber harvesting at Mount Hood Community College. You can download a free copy at oregonforests.org.

Under the law, the owner of the Hwy. 26/Arrah Wanna parcels must begin reforestation activities within 12 months of the harvest and complete the planting of seedling or seeds within 24 months of the harvest.

By Dec. 31 of the sixth year after the harvest, the harvested area must be an “adequately stocked, free-to-grow stand” – meaning that there will be lots of young, healthy trees.

As you know from reading this column, I generally support the use of clearcutting in Oregon. I’d prefer that large-scale clearcutting not be used in residential areas, and when harvesting is done in communities like ours, I’d prefer that landowners leave some trees, especially along property boundaries and roads. Leaving scattered trees and groups of trees throughout large parcels would probably make residential lots more valuable, if they are to be sold.

Want to know more about timber harvesting and reforestation? Want to know why deer and elk love clearcuts? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Irish breakfast by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2021

I’m so intrigued by this recipe, not only because it’s got beer and it’s for breakfast, but the story is that it’s from the 1700s and said to be made and set on a stove by the wives to simmer until the men came home from the pub.

As a former barmaid I appreciate this. Everything you need to make it you’ll probably have on hand. This is best made in a deep Dutch oven.

4 potatoes peeled and sliced thick (I use Yukon Gold)

4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped (drippings reserved)

1 lb sausages, such as bangers (I use kielbasa)

1 cup Irish beer

1 large yellow onion sliced thick

Salt and pepper

4 T chopped fresh parsley

4 eggs washed well and left whole (optional)

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a Dutch oven over medium high heat crisp the bacon, remove and chop, brown sausages in bacon fat and set the sausages aside. Turn off heat.

Add beer to deglaze, carefully layer in the potatoes, onions, sausages, parsley, 1/2 t salt and pepper, place the eggs in whole and pour broth on the top. Put the lid on. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, remove the eggs with tongs, set them aside and peel when cool enough (they should be soft boiled).

Remove the lid, continue to cook 20 minutes more and serve hot with the soft eggs.

 

Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 T baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

4 T unsalted Irish style butter (1/4 cup)

1 cup raisins or currants

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

Zest of one orange (optional)

Coarse sugar for the top

Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt and stir well to mix.

Cut in the butter using a fork or pastry cutter. Stir in the orange zest if used and the raisins or currants. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together and mix into the dough mixture with a rubber spatula.

Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and fold it over on itself several times, shaping it into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf to one cookie sheet or jelly roll pan covered with parchment or foil and cut a cross in the top. Sprinkle top with sanding sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes more until lightly browned and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool the soda bread on a rack and serve with plenty of Irish butter and orange marmalade.

 

No will could be a mess of stress by Paula Walker on 03/01/2021

“I will do it tomorrow.” How many times have you said that? Here’s why you may actually do it tomorrow…

When you die without a will the state’s laws of intestacy kick in and among the many things they do is make the determination of who will receive your assets. But that is the least of it. Because of leaving this decision making to the state, the mess to be sorted out is made the more costly, more burdensome and more stressful on those who are close to you, your spouse and your children, your friends.

First, through the court the state will name a representative, aka executor or personal representative, i.e., the person who will account for, manage and finally distribute your assets. However, many times that is not a job to envy - all responsibility, little payback and no glory to say the least. A lot of hard work with lots of liability, headache and dubious reward. Without a plan the drawbacks of this responsibility are amplified and will likely fall to your spouse or children, but maybe not. It may fall to someone you or your family would prefer not to be involved, or to a total stranger.

Who asks the court to appoint this critical role? If you have family, likely one of them will and even if one of them wants to take on the daunting job, they must make the case to the court that they are the right and rightful individual for the role. To the court they are generically “interested persons.” Their closeness to you as spouse or child lends no legal stature as the rightful one who should take on this responsibility. Maybe the court decides they are, maybe it decides they are not. And maybe someone else contests this appointment. Let the strife begin… But maybe nobody wants to take on this heavy load or no one in the ordinary line up of intestacy for representing your estate is available, then the state takes on the role.

And this process of deciding who will represent your estate takes time. All your assets are frozen until the state can decide. Real estate cannot be sold; bank accounts cannot be accessed. No matter that you intended for certain people to handle things for you or certain people to receive from what you have left behind, none of that can occur until the state can decide on a representative. That representative may be a total stranger. And the laws of intestacy may not recognize the people you had intended to receive from your estate as the rightful recipients even when it gets to the point of distributing assets, which will be a long time in coming.

And what about those precious ones in your life who depend on you – for everything. Children – the court will decide the guardian. It will likely be a family member, but it may not be the family member you would have preferred. It may be the member you would have avoided. And if there is no family member willing and able… who then? And what about animal companions/pets? Well, hopefully you have someone in your circle of family or friends who likes dogs, cats etc. who wants to give them a good new home. And for either children or pets, without a plan laid out and communicated, of which the will is a part, who will be there in the immediate if your passing is the result of an emergency?

And everything takes time, even with a plan, i.e., a will at minimum. Without a plan the nature of things is for these processes to drag on – identifying the right candidate to act as executor, filing for appointing an executor, securing the court’s appointment. An inordinate amount of time, especially when things are in the balance, assets frozen, creditors demanding, children moving through trauma, treasured animal companions shifted to who-knows-where.

The stress of the mess. No, you will not be around to care, but assuredly there are those who will.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Bringing the Stars down to earth. An account of someone you might know, or who could be you. Regarding the time-consuming and expensive process of handling the estate of someone who had not the simplest of estate plans – a will; and the toll it takes on those closest to that person. A Forbes financial advisor reports that it took many months and many court filings to get court approval to appoint the husband as the executor for the estate of his wife of 35 years who died suddenly in an accident and to get her assets transferred to his name. All the time the assets were locked up. Neither the financial managers nor the husband could touch or manage them.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

 


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Cell phone photography by Gary Randall on 02/01/2021

What did we ever do without our cell phones? In this era of miraculous technology, it's hard to remember how it was to wait until we got home to make a call or to search for a phone booth along the way, and there are some of us who have never had to. Cell phones have revolutionized communication, but these little devices have also revolutionized photography.

 

Gone are the days of limiting the number of photographs that you take or the need for delayed gratification due to having to send the film out to be developed. We just snap, smile, share with our friends on social media or email and then forget about them as we continue to record in more pictorial detail our day to day lives.

As cell phone camera technology has improved, the pictures have become better and better. They have become so good that they have replaced the point and shoot camera. They are all the average person will ever require for their personal photography needs and even though they have become incredibly capable, they still take a little experience to master, especially in challenging light. A few tricks can make your photos even better.

Clean your lens. As we carry our phone here and there, we can put them through a lot. Dust and dirt can collect on the lens of the camera. A little lens cleaner on a soft cloth will help to keep your photos clear and crisp.

Pay close attention to composition. Composition will make or break a photo. A photo can be technically flawed but if the subject and composition are interesting the photo will be interesting.

Don’t miss the shot. Cell phone cameras won’t give you an instant shutter actuation. They take a second or two to find and focus your subject. This is referred to as “shutter lag.” Anticipate this shutter lag and be prepared to get the shot a few moments prior to the moment. This is especially true with moving objects.

Don’t use direct sunlight when photographing people. Find bright shade to eliminate sharp contrast of glare and shadows. Your subject's eye won’t be as apt to be squinting.

Don’t use your flash. The stark light of your flash will wash out your photos. There’s an HDR (high dynamic range) setting - use it. And of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. I like to use a flash when my subjects are back lit, such as at sunset.

Don’t zoom. Zooming with your cell phone camera is not an optical zoom but it is an electronic enlargement of the image. The image quality suffers when you zoom in. Choose to move forward or back to fill the frame. If you have a cluttered background move in to fill the frame to make your subject dominate the scene.

Don’t use harsh light. If you are going to do portraits choose to do them in either mid-morning or late afternoon. The light during these times has a less harsh feel and is warmer and more welcoming. The camera will struggle less with the light and the photos will turn out nicer.

Don’t settle for straight out of the camera; post-process them. Your camera does, why not you? Download applications such as Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile to adjust the photo to make it look its best. Most camera phones come with their own image editing application.

Don’t be selective in what you shoot. Film is cheap when you’re shooting digital. You increase your odds of getting a great photo if you take more of them.

Don’t forget about your photos. In the past we would take our photos, print them and put them into a photo album. We can still do that today even though we’re no longer using film. You can either print them yourself if you have a printer, go to the drugstore and use their kiosk or you can send your digital file to a company online who can print them and send them back. Even better is that you can now self-publish your own book in any quantity, including a single issue of your vacation photos.

Do have fun with it. It’s always with us. In the past we would leave our cameras at home while today it’s usually within arm’s reach at any time. You have a much better chance these days to get a unique photo of life as it happens around us. With these few little tricks, you can make your photos better, but it takes practice and the willingness to tell your camera what to do.


Contributed photo courtesy of the National Archives
Doug-fir's history a must read for Mountain community by Steve Wilent on 02/01/2021

As we Hoodlanders know all too well, living amongst very tall trees can be – interesting. When the winds howl through the branches, the beauty we enjoy every day is forgotten and fear sets in – the dread that a tree will fall onto our homes, cars, well sheds and powerlines. My house was spared during the windstorm of Jan. 13–14, but those of some of our neighbors were not.

 

As far as I have seen, most of the downed trees are Douglas-fir, which is by far the most common species in our area. In calm weather, it is easy to see that Doug-fir is a remarkable species. A new book by Stephen F. Arno and Carl E. Fiedler explains why: “Douglas-Fir: The Story of the West’s Most Remarkable Tree.”

Arno and Fielder, who are highly experienced foresters as well as accomplished writers, also authored “Ponderosa: People, Fire, and the West’s Most Iconic Tree,” published in 2015. They have a gift for storytelling in a way that is interesting and informative to foresters and the general public alike.

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is named for two botanists, the authors write: David Douglas, who came to the U.S. from Scotland in 1823, and Archibald Menzies, who served as naturalist on a British voyage to the Pacific Northwest and collected a specimen of Douglas-fir twigs and needles on Vancouver Island in 1791. A 2009 book by Jack Nisbet, “The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest,” offers a fascinating account of Douglas’s travels in the region, including his interactions with Native Americans.

Of course, the native peoples of the western U.S. knew and valued the tree for millennia before Europeans arrived.

“North American Indian tribes have lived in relationship with Douglas-fir since the earliest of times, based on both folklore and archaeological evidence. The Tewa people of New Mexico, for example, claim that humankind first came to Earth by climbing up a tall Douglas-fir tree from under a lake,” Arno and Fiedler wrote.

Douglas-fir is an enigma:

“Its mix of distinctive structural features and physiological attributes produces a tree that is puzzling, exceptional, and in ways a marvel of nature. World class in height, geographic distribution, and wood quality, and unique in architecture and genetic composition, Douglas-fir also acquires nitrogen in novel ways, and at times even irrigates itself. Though this tree has long played an integral role in the lives of humans and animals, many of its secrets are only now being understood through modern science.”

Today, the world’s tallest trees are coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) – the tallest known is a hair over 380 feet tall – but in the past Douglas-fir has topped the redwoods:

“An article in a 1910 issue of the Western Lumberman reported a huge Douglas-fir east of Seattle that had grown to over 400 feet tall and 17.8 feet in diameter. A 1970 article in the MacMillan Bloedel News reported a Douglas-fir felled near Tacoma in early-day logging that measured 412 feet long, plus a stump five feet tall, for a total height of 417 feet. Al Carder, who was perhaps the world authority on big trees before he died in 2014, firmly believed that scattered Douglas-firs in the Pacific Northwest were the tallest trees that ever lived prior to heavy logging in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”

Many of the giant Douglas-firs are gone now, having been harvested for their valuable lumber, which is still today a highly useful and valuable product:

“Douglas-fir’s many desirable attributes account for its lofty status as the most economically important tree species in the world. Its wood is strong, stiff, stable in drying, and relatively durable. It can be machined well and is suitable for a very broad range of uses, including its superior application for construction lumber, high-quality boards, and large timbers. Douglas-fir constitutes about one-eighth of all commercial timber volume in the United States, dwarfing the volume of any other species.”

Doug-fir has been planted widely in Europe, South America, and New Zealand:

“In New Zealand, Douglas-fir doesn’t grow at the same phenomenal speed as Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), but at higher elevations it exceeds the pine’s growth rate. In some areas of New Zealand, Douglas-fir regenerates so well that it spreads into native grasslands and is considered a weed that threatens these habitats.”

Doug-Fir Forest Health

A decline in forest health throughout the western U.S. has been an issue of much concern to foresters and other land managers for decades. Much of the focus has been on ponderosa pine ecosystems, where fire suppression over the last decade has left vast areas overcrowded and with high levels of fuels. However, write Arno and Fiedler, Douglas-fir forests also have been profoundly affected.

“By the mid-twentieth century, most of the West’s Douglas-fir forests were out of sync with primeval conditions, which became obvious in overcrowded inland forests that had gone without burning for periods much longer than any pre-1900 intervals between fires. The historically dominant fire-resistant or fire-dependent conifers were being largely displaced by more shade-tolerant Douglas-fir or true firs. Douglas-fir was also starting to crowd out aspen groves, which provide key wildlife habitat. By the late 1900s, old, thick-barked, fire-resistant Douglas-firs were being killed by wildfires in high-elevation lodgepole pine and mixed conifer forests. The wetter coastal Douglas-fir forests that once went centuries between fires also came to exhibit effects of fire exclusion. Remaining virgin forests now have few young fire-generated Douglas-fir communities, and the historically dominant Douglas-fir is slowly being replaced by shade-tolerant western hemlock, Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis), grand fir, and white fir. Despite this seemingly bleak situation, there are some management alternatives for restoring greater resilience and sustainability in both inland and coastal Douglas-fir forests based on the historical role of fire. However, this “ecology-based forest management” cannot be carried out at any significant scale unless it garners strong public support, and its advocates can only succeed if they understand the public’s perception of forests.”

You need not live in Hoodland to appreciate “Douglas-Fir.” Arno and Fiedler’s story makes for fascinating reading. An appendix, “A Visitor’s Guide to Notable Douglas-Firs,” may inspire you to see more of these remarkable trees for yourself.

“Douglas-Fir: The Story of the West’s Most Remarkable Tree" is available in hardback from Mountaineers Books for $21.95 (tinyurl.com/y5jv65r7) and other retailers.

Song sparrows serenade as a preview to spring by Mt. Hood Community College on 02/01/2021

The darkness of winter, while felt deeply, is fleeting. Already we notice the day extending past mid-afternoon and even early risers can detect light on the horizon. Certainly, cold days lie ahead, heavy rains will play their percussive symphony on our roofs and snow will fall in the mountains for weeks to come, but the first bulbs have broken ground in our gardens and Melospiza melodia (song sparrows) have begun their early season singing.

Song sparrows are aptly named. They serenade our neighborhoods for much of the year. Like most songbirds, they learn their song through practice and song-matching – a process of taking snippets they have memorized and assembling them until they have created a full song. But unlike many birds, these troubadours add to and modify the basic tune throughout the season and from year to year. The variations are recognizable to other birds (and bird watchers) as “song sparrow,” but the length and complexity varies within and between individuals. Indeed, evidence suggests that the males with larger repertoires are more attractive as mates – the length of song serving as an indicator, perhaps, of keener genes to be passed on to young.

We don’t always hear the full song at this time of year, however. These early tunes are likely just practice, a warm-up, so to speak. It is still early for romance, after all. Hormones flow at rates matched to the length of day and we are still in the season when dark rules over light. Still, the sweet sound of spring is near, and a forest walk will gift you not only the sparrow’s partial song, but also the year-round melody of a Pacific wren and the contact calls of kinglets and chickadees. February wet does not deter those who winter here.

Nonetheless, partial or complete, the sounds have me looking ahead. I know that soon these birds will be joined by colorful warblers who are undoubtedly getting restless in their tropical wintering grounds – catching insects as fast as they can, laying on fat to fuel the long flight north, eager to join the symphony of a temperate spring. Eager, but not ready. A message to us all to rejoice in the current season of waterfalls, the re-filling of reservoirs and the peace and joy of snow-covered slopes that dampen sound as well as land and create the space for symphonies to come.

Walter Shriner, PhD is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: How committees work by Rep. Anna Williams on 02/01/2021

Among the duties I’ve taken on during the 2021 legislative session, I am honored to have been appointed as Chair of the House Human Services Committee. If you’re not familiar with the legislative process, a policy committee is a bill’s first stop on its way to passage.

Committees are where we hear testimony about the need for and problems with proposed bills, whether from experts, lobbyists, fellow legislators or (most importantly) members of the public who want to weigh in. Committees are where we debate and adopt amendments to bills after compromises have been worked out, or after serious flaws in the original bills have been identified.

A committee’s most important job is its final vote. Without passing through a committee, a bill never gets to the full House of Representatives for a floor vote... put more simply, the bill “dies” without the support of a majority of committee members. Because of the critical role that a committee has in the legislative process, and because of the leadership responsibilities that I have as this committee’s chair, I have some important ideas about how the House Human Services Committee should operate.

For one thing, I think the most successful legislation is that which has been deeply considered, thoroughly debated and amended as necessary. Put simply, I will focus on ensuring that this committee does things well, rather than simply tallying up as many accomplishments as possible.

When election season rolls around, it’s helpful in politics to have a long list of the topics you have addressed through your work, but that comes with a cost. For every additional policy we work to pass, it means we have spent less time on all the other policies we also put into effect. In my two years of serving this community in Salem, I’ve noticed a lot of the work of the Oregon Legislature involves revisiting past bills to tweak issues that should have been identified and fixed the first time around -- not an ideal way to spend our time. My hope is that bills passing through my committee will not need adjustments in the near future, except for perhaps adjusting to unforeseeable circumstances.

Another focus for my committee will be transparency and access. Among its many terrible impacts, the pandemic has provided us at least one positive change. The legislature has finally adopted what I’ve been asking for since I started my political career: the ability for everyone to testify remotely if they are unable to make it to a committee hearing in Salem! This is especially valuable for rural communities in Oregon. If you live in a mountain community and wish to testify on a bill, there is absolutely no reason you should be required to spend more than four hours in your car (assuming there are no traffic delays!) to sit in a chair in the Capitol and testify for a few minutes. The era of “work from home” has finally provided us with an improved opportunity for rural voices to be heard, and I look forward to inviting as many people from my district as possible to testify in the Human Services Committee.

Lately, some of my colleagues across the aisle have been claiming that it is unjust for the Capitol to be closed to the public due to the pandemic, but our new ability to hear remote testimony has in fact exponentially increased how accessible the legislative process is, and in my role as a committee chair, I will constantly encourage those from outside of the I-5 corridor to use this new opportunity to weigh in.

My personal priorities in the human services arena will focus on access to pandemic-related relief, services and prevention for domestic abuse and child abuse, improving Oregon’s foster care system for kids and parents alike and long-term care services. Regardless, my personal priorities may take a backseat to other legislators’ in the committee, because I am committed to serving Oregonians as best I can, even if it means admitting my colleagues’ legislative ideas might sometimes be better than my own!

I hope you’ll all engage with the legislative process throughout this session, however you see fit. If you’d like to get an overview of bills we’re working on in my committee, or if you’d like to testify on those or any other bills at a committee hearing, please write to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov and my staff will teach you how to receive notifications about hearings, to review the text and testimony of specific bills and of course how to sign up for my newsletter and learn about my “virtual open office hours” and constituent town hall events. Having engaged and informed constituents makes my job significantly easier, and a whole lot more fun!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Wastewater update by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 02/01/2021

I am excited to share some great news for the Sandy community. Midway through last month, the EPA announced that the City of Sandy has been invited to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan for assistance with our long-overdue wastewater treatment facility upgrades. The vast majority of communities that receive this invitation obtain the requested financing.

As many of you are aware, we’re facing the largest public infrastructure project in our city’s history with our DEQ-mandated wastewater treatment process upgrades. This venture has an extremely expensive price tag of $60-$80 million.

In addition to a competitive interest rate, the first payment on WIFIA loans can be deferred up to five years after completion of the project, with a maximum term of 35 years. This allows us the time to continue to advocate for additional state and federal dollars for this project. It also helps reduce the impact on ratepayers. WIFIA financing can only be used for up to 49 percent of the project so we will have to seek other financing sources for the remainder of the costs. Our financial consultant has determined that ratepayers in Sandy would save just over $800,000 per year with WIFIA financing as opposed to a conventional revenue bond, or about $16M over the 20-year term of a revenue bond.

I would like to thank our team at the City of Sandy for all of their hard work to help bring this to fruition, as well as our federal congressional delegation and their staff for all of your advocacy and help in achieving this invitation. Our previous City Council engaged early on with U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden’s offices, and several of us had a face-to-face meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer. I was also able to meet with Senators Merkley and Wyden during a visit to Washington D.C. early last year. Our entire congressional delegation also signed a letter and advocated for our community to obtain this critical financing. A large thanks goes to Senator Jeff Merkley and his team for leading and coordinating our efforts at the national level, as well as providing guidance and expertise throughout the application process.

This news is in addition to the exciting conclusions our Green Alternatives Analysis is starting to show. Some may remember that the previous Oregon State Legislature approved a budget that included an earmarked $500,000 for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis.

In 2019, our council and staff toured other communities’ water treatment facilities. We all came away excited about the possibilities of treatment alternatives after visiting the more than 700-acre Fernhill facility in Forest Grove. Fernhill is owned by Clean Water Services and uses natural treatment systems, or wetlands, to improve water quality by removing nutrients, cooling and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment. Fernhill is designated as an important bird area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyotes and other wildlife.

Thoroughly vetting alternative options is crucial for our community. If one of these options is viable, it would cut the cost of the current plan in half and would be much better for our environment.

The conclusions of our green alternative analysis are starting to point towards this being a very viable option for our community. We have already reached out, engaged with and come to mutual understandings with key stakeholders to make this become a reality. We look forward to exciting announcements in the years ahead.

When Sandy faces major challenges, we work together, innovate and lead, much like the pioneers that settled this area years ago. It’s the Sandy way in our overarching goal of keeping Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

The downside of not having a will by Paula Walker on 02/01/2021

Dying without a will – dying intestate – is a huge topic touching every aspect of our loved ones lives from the legal technicalities of the laws governing who gets what and how much, and who may get nothing even though they may have been your closest relationship of many, many years.

In continuation of the article published in January let us look at the basics of what occurs when you die intestate – that is, without having even a at minimum a will – from a ‘down to earth’ perspective of how these events play out in lives like yours and mine.

At its most basic, a will is a plan. A plan is not a foreign concept. We resort to planning for even the most routine functions of our lives, like buying groceries or going out to dinner. For bigger events like weddings or a vacation, we definitely plan because we know that a lack of planning leads to uncertain outcomes at the least and potentially all-time disasters of various sorts – missed destinations, frustrations, friction, disappointments. Add to this the untold weighty element of grief and loss in the mix, and you have a sense of what dying without even a will visits upon your closest relationships.

Fighting, confusion, unfair disbursement of belongings and wealth, unresolvable grief, distress, excessive red tape claiming rightful benefits and on. Sibling or family fighting over who makes the decisions about even the most basic things like the burial or cremation. Family friction over who receives what that can result in lifetime wounds to long-time relationships. The ex gets all the life insurance because the beneficiaries were never changed and maybe even still holds title to the house. While the existing spouse is entitled to some percentage of the assets’ value by law, it may not be at all the division the deceased intended. Obstacles to claiming spousal Veterans Administration (VA) benefits because proper beneficiary designations were never registered. The inability to gain rightful title to property because unbeknownst it was titled only in the deceased’s name.

And on.

The technical laws of intestate distributions are a topic I will cover in subsequent articles.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Do not wait till the “last minute.” Those minutes may be fewer than you would like.

In many of these articles I feature the battles of the Titans; those high-profile, dramatic, beyond real life warring over assets of dynasties. So remote, so interesting, so engaging – because it is not us and never will be. It is the stuff of modern Shakespearean drama.

But for this article, inspired by the many stories of Rhonda Green, whose book, “My Exit Plan,” provided material for my last article, I present you with a sobering account, close to home, in a land not-so-far-away and circumstances any one of us may face, and many of us do face with alarming predictability.

Dying intestate… the couple had been meaning for the last many years to create a trust so that the passing of the five pieces of real estate property, valuable acreage (some developed, some not) would be a smooth transfer without unnecessary red tape. At the least, ensure that all the property would pass without issue to the surviving spouse. At best, ensure that the property and all financial assets would be rightly transferred equitably to the cherished adult children upon the passing of both of them; no probate, no lengthy, costly administration through the court system.

One thing however, they never got around to it. The husband had one stroke. A wake-up call. Intent was re-kindled. But in close succession, without further action on the intended estate plan, the husband has a second severe stroke. Children are called from other parts of the country as “it may not be long.” An attorney is called to create that trust while there is still time. The problem is that there is not much time. Cognizance is declining rapidly. There is no time, really for the ideal probate avoidance by creating a trust, so the decision is to at minimum create a will to ensure that everything transfers to the dying man’s wife. The issues unfortunately that loom are: 1) is all the property in both their names? No way to know because no time to research and the paperwork is somewhere? Where? 2) no time to create deed transfers to ensure joint ownership if needed. 3) will mental clarity reside long enough for the husband to be able to sign a will? One of the key elements to a valid will is that the principal ( the person who’s will it is) has the mental capacity to know what they are doing and what the contents are; 4) will death be staved off long enough to execute the valid will so that at minimum, the surviving spouse will not incur additional time and expense proving to the court system that the interim document, written hastily with two neighbors as witness to the “everything to my wife” statement, is in fact her husband’s Last Will and Testament…?

In the end, death was not staved off. Although the attorney puts everything else on hold and draws up the basic documents, the attorney arrives at the house to find the husband has already begun to transition. There will be no interaction with ‘sufficient mental clarity’ much less a signing of legal documents. Two of the five properties are only in the husband’s name, so even if the court accepts the neighbor-witnessed ‘will’ as valid, the wife will need to go through a full and costly probate for a proper transfer of title to her of the properties bequeathed.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Low-fat food doesn't add up by Victoria Larson on 02/01/2021

Many have tried every single low-fat food and drink available to no avail. From planned meals to low-cal cocktails, nothing really worked, right? Well, you've been sold a bill of goods, about a billion dollars’ worth of foods that clearly don't lead to healthy weight management, or a healthy heart for that matter. Diabetes, heart disease and obesity continue to rise. What's wrong with this picture.

To this day the American Heart Association, in good faith I'm sure, advocates avoiding butter, cream, eggs and whole milk as the way to avoid heart attacks. Instead, you've been told to consume chicken without the skin, egg whites (but no yolks), margarine, skim milk and low-fat salad dressings made with questionable vegetable oils. If you followed this advice you are probably the first to say, "ugh," in addition to not losing any weight or maybe even not avoiding a heart attack. Why is this?

We tend to believe advertising. What we need to know is this: our human bodies are made of protein. These proteins are composed of amino acids, of which several are considered "essential.” That means they must be consumed in the diet as they cannot be manufactured by our bodies. And our bodies don't function well without these essential amino acids. Proteins are needed for all enzymatic processes that happen in daily life - like digestion, energy and heart function! The following is a list of several amino acids that must come from foods and which foods they come from:

Histidine comes from dairy, eggs, meat, poultry; Isoleucine from the same sources; Leucine from dairy, meat, poultry and wheat germ; Lysine from dairy, eggs, fish, meat, poultry; Methionine from dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds; Phenylalanine from dairy, eggs, meat, wheat germ; Threonine from beans, dairy, eggs, meat; Tryptophan from dairy, meat, nuts, poultry (especially turkey); and finally, Valine from dairy, eggs, meat poultry and wheat germ. Well, you get the idea...

Vegetables and fruits are wonderful for providing vitamins and minerals, but other sources of protein are important to keep us healthy. But wait, those amino acid, protein building blocks, are the very foods you've been told for the last few decades to avoid! While diabetes, heart disease and obesity have continued to skyrocket. What's going on here? We've been advertised to near death. Sold a bill of goods. Crisco, fake eggs, margarine and vegetable oils were 'sold' to us, via advertising, for heart health and weight loss. These things were touted as being better for you than real food!

Yet for thousands of years before advertising, humans have been consuming a traditional diet of dairy, eggs, meat and poultry. These are the foods that bring us amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and the good fats. The foods that don't make you fat (unless over-consumed) but have an important role in keeping you healthy with a managed weight.

If you still believe that fats raise your cholesterol, you're partially right. Bad fats and simple carbs do raise blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. The "bad fats" are things like hydrogenated fats found in baked goods, crackers and chips, any of the myriad of manipulated, colored, manufactured and preservative foodstuffs that advertisers push you to consider to be healthy food! But they're not.

The good fats don't make you fat or raise your cholesterol. Avocadoes, nuts oils, olive oil, sesame oil and even butter are not only real foods, but they are also foods (fats if you will) that are good for you! Most cholesterol is manufactured by your body and recycled. Surprised? That must mean that your body needs cholesterol. And that, in fact, is true. But why do we need cholesterol?

You have trillions of cells in your body and each and every cell has a membrane composed of lipids. Lipids are fats. Good fats keep those cell membranes fluid and "squishy" so they can move around your body and do their "chores.” The chores of a cell include taking in nutrients, building enzymes for metabolic processes and releasing waste materials. Each and every cell. If those cell membranes are composed of trans fats (from the above mentioned sources) the cells become stiff and unable to function properly, leading to illnesses and the inevitable endpoint.

The bottom line - get the trans fats out of your diet, put the good fats back in. Stop stressing about cholesterol, your body's going to make it anyway and you need it for cellular health. Eat real food, not fake food. Don't be cajoled or scared by advertising. Use your brain and think it through. Your brain, by the way, is composed of 40 percent fat, so that should convince you of the need for good fats. But more on that another time.

New Orleans cooking by Taeler Butel on 02/01/2021

Any time I travel I take in local flavors as much as the scenery.

The food in Louisiana is influenced from Native American, African and European cultures as well as the regional seafood and agriculture.

This month of course celebrates Mardi Gras, which in French translates to “Fat Tuesday.”

Jambalaya is the quintessential Cajun dish, is scrumptious and can be made in one pot!

Beignets deserve a National holiday all their own!

Jambalaya

In a large pot over medium heat add:

1 diced green bell pepper

4 sliced green onions

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 lb. sliced andouille sausage

2 garlic cloves

2 T butter

Sautee until sausage is browned and then add in:

1 t salt, plus 1/2 t each black pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika

1 small can chopped tomatoes

3 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1 cup long grain rice

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Add in 1/2 lb. raw, cleaned shrimp once the rice is tender. Cover and cook for five minutes. Serve warm with chopped parsley and hot sauce.

Beignets

In large bowl of an electric mixer bloom 2 tsp yeast in 1 cup warm water with 2 T granulated sugar. Set aside until its frothy.

Whisk in 1/2 t salt, 1/2 cup sugar, two eggs, one cup milk, 1/4 cup melted butter then add hook attachment and fold in 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time.

Knead for five minutes, then cover and let rise.

Roll dough on well-floured surface to 1/2-inch and cut into squares of 3x3” for large beignets.

In a large pot over medium/high, heat 4” of vegetable oil.

Test the oil: throw in a little flour – did it bubble? Ok, it’s ready.

Fry a few at a time for two minutes a side or until golden. Serve warm with powdered sugar, jam, chocolate sauce.

 


Composite image by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Artificial Intelligence by Gary Randall on 01/01/2021

The year 2020 will not be forgotten. It will be one of those years that when it’s mentioned we will all remember how our ability to simply go about our daily routines without taking precautions was curtailed.

 

For landscape photographers, that can severely limit how productive they are when it comes to producing new images. The year 2020 will also be remembered as the year when computers started to take control of many aspects of our lives, including photography.

Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, has finally arrived in the world of digital photography. There are now several programs that have started to use AI to process digital photos in a single click of a button. This also includes the ability to send one’s digital photography into the realm of graphic art.

These programs have the ability to add components of an image that didn’t happen. They also have the ability to create a sunset, a blue cloud-dotted sky or to even add a mountain onto the horizon. These programs do this by feeding a computer with thousands of sample images. This allows the computer to learn how to create these conditions in your photos.

There is a bit of a debate within the photographic community that discusses the ethics behind this kind of digital manipulation. It is not a new discussion, as photographers have been manipulating photos since photography was invented. The discussion is not as much about the action of making these composited images as it is considered art and nobody has a right to tell anyone how to create their art, and most people agree with that.

The discussion centers more around honesty and clarity. It is argued that when someone views a photo there is a certain expectation for the image to be real. This expectation is not applied to painting as much as it is a photograph as artistic license is expected in a painting.

Many people look at a photograph and do not expect to wonder if it actually happened. Therefore, many people feel that there should be clarity and honesty from the photographer when asked about their photo. Especially when asked if it is real.

There is a lot of ego in the art world, especially photography these days. Websites like Instagram promote the narrative above the image itself which can tempt a photographer to exaggerate the story of their lives, and digital manipulation of images can support this exaggeration with exaggerated images. Therein lies the question concerning truth and ethics.

I am certainly not opposed to manipulating photos. It can be fun and can produce some striking images, but what I am a proponent for is honesty. If an image is not real, I would like to know. I would simply like to know if it is a photo or a graphic art piece as I feel that these digital manipulations are no longer photographs once they are created in or by a computer program.

Maybe I am a photography snob but that is how I see this situation. I would like to differentiate between someone who has actually fought hard and lost more times than they’ve won to get an epic image, and one who didn't leave home. I’d like to know if someone sat at their desk and took numerous stock photography images and mashed them together or if they actually experienced what the image shows.

For me photography is not just about the image. It is also about the story and the experience behind the image. Reading about an actual experience is exciting and inspiring. Viewing a digital recreation of a scene just is not the same and should not be presented as such.

This trend has been exacerbated more this year than in previous years due to the inability of many to travel, further exaggerated by the advance of artificial intelligence in photo software. It’s my hope that we all can resume our lives and the ability to roam free once more and to be inspired to be at a location when the magic happens and not be tempted to create this false narrative supported by unreal computer created images.

The photograph that I have included with this article is an example of what a computer will do if you let it. I removed Mount Hood from this scene and then asked the computer program’s artificial intelligence to add clouds and a mountain. I ended up with Mount Fuji over Timberline Lodge. As you can see by this photo one can take a trip and never leave the farm.

Let's all hope that 2021 reverses many trends that were established as normal in 2020 and that truth is valued over vanity once more.


Contributed photo.
Looking to cure another pandemic – wildfires by Steve Wilent on 01/01/2021

A change of pace from last month’s article on holiday trees – a much more serious issue.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic dominated the national news in 2020, with the presidential election coming in a close second. The pandemic and presidential politics are sure to dominate 2021, too. Without so many barrels of ink and so many gigabytes of digital news devoted to the two topics, another pandemic might have drawn much more attention: wildfires in the western U.S.

From 2010 to 2019, wildfires burned an average of 6,613,017 acres in the first 11 months and 12 days of the year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center – an area nearly the size of the state of Massachusetts. As of this writing on Dec. 15, fires this year have burned more than 9.5 million acres, 145 percent of the 10-year average – an area about the size of New Hampshire and Connecticut combined.

Some local perspective: 9.5 million acres is an area eight times the area of Clackamas County, or about the area of the 14 counties in northwest Oregon – Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill.

A study published in “Geophysical Research Letters” in November found that wildfires in the West are more severe than in the past. The authors, Sean Parks, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station, and John Abatzoglou, a professor at the University of California, Merced, calculate that the area burned by severe fire – areas where more than 95 percent of trees are killed – has increased eight-fold in western U.S. forests over the past four decades.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urge us to wear masks, wash our hands frequently, avoid public places and take other measures to slow the spread of the disease and help reduce the burden on hospitals and medical personnel. Likewise, simple, common-sense measures can help reduce the frequency and intensity of wildfires. If there were a Dr. Anthony Fauci of forest and wildfire management, he or she would undoubtedly promote fuels reduction, both by mechanical removal and with prescribed fire, and other forest management activities.

The need “to get good fire on the ground” was the subject of an Aug. 28 article in “Propublica,” “They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?”

Some people and governments are listening. In August, the USFS and the State of California signed a Shared Stewardship Agreement aimed at addressing “a cycle of catastrophic wildfires, longer fire seasons, severe drought, intense wind, tree mortality, invasive species, and human population pressure threaten to convert conifer forests to shrublands and shrublands to invasive grasses.” The two partners plan to spend $1 billion on fuels reduction and watershed restoration, with a goal of treating one million acres annually by 2025. Oregon and the USFS signed a Shared Stewardship Agreement in 2019, and recently Gov. Kate Brown and the state legislature have been considering $50 million in spending to help reduce the risk of wildfire – a drop in the bucket.

Even with adequate funding, the prospect of treating vast areas in the west is daunting.

“Two of the basic problems with the current regime of prescribed fire are resources and staffing,” Amanda Monthei wrote in “Land Managers Can’t Burn the West Fast Enough,” an Oct. 28 article in “The Atlantic” (tinyurl.com/y5dognvo). “Federal lands often require qualified federal firefighters to perform a majority of the burning. These firefighters must understand the intricacies of prescribed burns – they must know the right weather conditions for a successful burn, understand the terrain, and anticipate how fire might interact with that landscape.”

“However, the greater part of federal funding and resources are allocated to suppression in the late summer and early fall, when fires are burning under more extreme conditions and communities are most at risk. Many federal firefighters are seasonal employees, hired primarily to battle the heat of the summer. They work from April to October or November and are then laid off until the following spring, for almost the entire window when the weather is mild and prescribed burning is most effective and safe. Permanent federal employees are capable of this work, but are small in number and often busy with administrative tasks.”

Articles like this are important insofar as they help educate the public and policymakers, but education isn’t enough. A plan of action is needed. Two prominent figures in forestry and wildland fire management – the equivalent of two Dr. Anthony Faucis – have written one. Dale N. Bosworth, a former chief of the USFS, and Jerry T. Williams, formerly the agency’s national director fire management, have outlined a comprehensive effort to address the wildfire problem in a recent paper, “The West’s Wildfire Crisis and the Urgency to Restore Safer, More Resilient Conditions in its Dry Forest Types.” The paper acknowledges the recent fires in the wetter forests in our area, west of the Cascades, but focuses primarily on drier east-side forests, such as the ponderosa pine-dominated forests around Bend and Sisters. I would argue that the Riverside Fire (more than 138,000 acres), Beachie Creek Fire (193,573 acres) and Lionshead Fire (204,469 acres) on the Mount Hood and Willamette National Forests show that addressing fire danger and promoting safer, more resilient conditions in these forests also is needed.

“Fundamentally, the crisis is not a fire operations failure,” Bosworth and Williams wrote. “It is a land management and land use failure abetted by regulations and policies that don’t reflect the realities of climate change or the ecologies of fire disturbance regimes. It is a failure to adequately manage fire-adapted, fire-dependent, fire-prone ecosystems. The onset of climate change has made manifest the deteriorated condition of the West’s dry forest types. It is a condition that history and science tell us bears the hand of man. At its core, the West’s wildfire crisis is also a failure of imagination. We seem unable to imagine that things can get much worse, when almost every year they do. We seem unwilling to imagine a whole new approach to wildfire protection; one rooted in how we might better manage the land.”

Bosworth and Williams propose looking at the issue through three lenses:

– Regulatory: most of the country’s environmental regulations were conceived and enacted before the onset of climate change and before the science of disturbance ecology emerged.

– Fiscal: fiscal policies are heavily weighted to reacting to disaster, rather than preventing disaster.

– Markets: there are few markets currently available for the kinds of material that, once removed, can reduce the severity of wildfires.

Among their proposed actions is “a rigorous cost-benefit assessment among the range of wildfire protection alternatives and conduct a trajectory analysis of where each alternative is headed, forecasting the social, economic, and ecological effects over time for each option.”

This is precisely the kind of approach that is needed – that has been needed for many years. The question is, “Will anybody listen?” If policymakers hear often from their constituents – people like you and me – about Bosworth and Williams’ blueprint for addressing the wildfire pandemic, perhaps they’ll do more than listen.

Want to know more about how to make forests more resilient to wildfire? Need a drone to deliver a copy of the Bosworth/Williams paper to Congress? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

A copy of the Bosworth/Williams paper is available for downloading from the National Association of Forest Service Retiree’s web site, tinyurl.com/yy8jfm5z.

A wonder of the season – the winter chanterelle by Mt. Hood Community College on 01/01/2021

Welcome to a new year and a new Our Community, Our Earth, where instructors from Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) will continue to provide insight on subjects related to our environment, ecology and more. We look forward to another fantastic year sharing our knowledge with the community.

Like many of us, fall is my favorite season. I adore the crisp bite in the air and the marvelous golds and reds of falling leaves. I look forward to filling our pantry with a rainbow of squashes and pulling on my galoshes for wet weekends foraging in the forest.

Fall lovers may feel a bit of despair creep in as the crispy air turns downright chilly and the days grow shorter, limiting our time outdoors. However, there is a cure for the winter blues, and it is mushrooms. There are several species of fungi that continue to fruit as the winter takes hold, and finding these brilliant creatures nestled amongst the frosty twigs may be the thrill we need to turn that winter frown upside down.

One such species is the winter chanterelle. This beautiful fungus has many common names; it is also called the yellow foot, the funnel chanterelle and (unhelpfully) the winter mushroom. The inexact nature of common names can lead to confusion, and in the worst-case scenarios can lead to misidentifications, so using scientific names is helpful when discussing our fungal friends.

The scientific name of this species is Craterellus neotubaeformis. Until recently it was called Craterellus tubaeformis, but molecular evidence indicates that our west coast variety is unique when compared to the east coast or European varieties, and thus it deserves a new name (hence “neo” which means “new”).

Craterellus neotubaeformis is a joy to find in the wild! It has a brown cap that is funnel shaped and sometimes the funnel extends all the way through the stem toward the forest floor. The stem is yellow and hollow, which contrasts beautifully with the brown hues of the cap.

The whole body of the fungus has a distinctive flexibility and pliability to it. You could practically bend it in half before it snaps in two, and it keeps this nice texture when cooked.

The gills of this fungi are important when it comes to correctly identifying it, as they are blunt ridges instead of sharp plates. These ridges are often forked, widely spaced, running down the stem and should be a shade of yellow to pale brown.

This fabulous edible is associated with conifers, which in our area means it is plentiful under Douglas fir trees. I love to eat these mushrooms fresh, although they may be dried or frozen if you find an abundance of them. A quick sautι with some oil is all you need, then this fabulous fungus is ready to be a welcome addition to eggs, pasta, tarts or your favorite winter stew.

Recipe suggestion: http://chocolateandmarrow.com/2014/10/19/chanterelle-and-gruyere-frittata/

Catherine Creech is an Instructor of Biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: 2021 session starts soon by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/01/2021

In the final ten days of a very chaotic year, my colleagues in the Oregon State Legislature and I came together for the third and final special legislative session of 2020. I wanted to take this opportunity to summarize the emergency policies we put into place. Although there were hours of public testimony and months of debate and compromise that went into the bills we passed, this is just a broad overview. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to me at the email address below.

First, I was thrilled that the legislature finally passed a bill that I have been pushing for as a priority since the summer: a bill to allow restaurants to serve “cocktails to go.” I’ve heard from restaurant owners in every community I represent about how they need more income to make it through the winter. Because our state constitution requires the legislature to raise revenue to pay for all its policies, the state isn’t able to provide the billions of dollars that would be needed to keep restaurants afloat - we need federal support to do that. But the legislature is able to loosen regulations to help restaurants make more income, and that’s what I tried to do when I joined a colleague from Portland in spearheading this bill.

Second, we passed a bill to protect school districts from frivolous lawsuits related to the pandemic, providing limited liability in order for schools to be able to re-open and get our kids back into the classroom. I supported this bill because I thought it was a reasonable compromise between people on both sides of the issue: it requires schools to follow all public health guidance in order to keep educators, students and students’ families safe and healthy, but it prevents a flood of litigation that could bankrupt our schools. People can still sue schools for reckless, wanton and intentional misconduct that puts them or their kids at risk.

Third, and maybe most importantly, we passed a bill to prevent the pandemic from worsening our state’s housing crisis any more than it already has. Our state’s eviction moratorium was set to expire Dec. 31 if the legislature did not extend it. But simply extending the eviction would have left landlords high and dry: many have not collected any rent from their tenants since last March and are suffering serious financial hardship as a result. The bill we passed (which I was proud to support) will create a fund for landlords to access state money on behalf of their tenants whose inability to pay rent is due to the pandemic.

The landlords will only be able to recover 80 percent of what they are owed, which is of course not ideal for them. Still, every landlord I’ve spoken to has said that the cost of collecting back-rent (through courts or collections agencies) would have left them with far less than 80 percent. Also, this bill allows landlords to forgo the 80 percent from the state and pursue 100 percent of the back-rent through their own legal means, or to encourage their renters to obtain rental support (up to 100 percent) through their local rental assistance programs. By providing both resources and choices for landlords and renters, the Oregon Legislature will protect people’s housing while offering much-needed support to the small landlords who depend on rental payments to make ends meet.

Finally, we passed a budget bill that allows $600 million from the state’s general fund to be released in the months to come. These funds may be needed to respond to emergency expenses related to the pandemic and wildfire recovery. Because the new congressional stimulus package does not include direct aid for states or local governments, we unfortunately need to continue to rely on our state’s revenue to be flexible as the pandemic evolves.

Preparations are still underway for the 2021 session that will begin later this month, but these issues urgently needed to be addressed before the end of the year. As I prepare to head back to Salem for the long haul of a six-month session, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and welcome you to reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov if you have any issues that you’d like to discuss.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

 

View Points – Sandy: City Council's accomplishments by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/01/2021

This past month, our 2018-20 Sandy City Council met for the final time. Sadly, three councilors will be stepping off of council after doing truly amazing things for this community.

When I was sworn in as Mayor two years ago, I had no idea how much I would grow both as a person and a leader through my experiences serving our great city. The individual members of our Sandy City Council and our ability to work together as a team is likely the biggest factor in my personal growth.

These community leaders, all coming from diverse backgrounds and opinions, showed me that it’s still possible for people to come together, put their community first and accomplish bold solutions to difficult challenges.

Despite a global pandemic, national civil unrest and an unprecedented wildfire season in our region, the work we’ve done as a city to enrich the lives of our neighbors, improve traffic congestion and keep our citizens safe is something I’m truly proud of.

To help keep Sandy moving, we negotiated a joint venture with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a feasibility study for a local bypass for our citizens. Additionally, we received approval for synchronized traffic lights from ODOT on Hwy. 26, secured funding for 362nd to Bell Street to alleviate the school time commute off Bluff Road, won county transportation funds for paved shoulders along 362nd Avenue and took over control from ODOT of a vital stretch of Hwy. 211, allowing our community to control our destiny on one of our most important stretches of road.

Our local Sandy Main Street small businesses are the heartbeat of our community and as promised, we stood up for them! We spearheaded two separate COVID-19 relief funds to provide $3,000 in aid to local small businesses. We slashed red tape by removing System Development Charges for patio seating at local restaurants and burdensome parking requirements. We also increased funding for the Tenant Improvement Program for local businesses.

Additionally, at our last meeting, we approved a new program for small businesses. The city will partner with local business owners to provide funds to build permanent outdoor structures like this one displayed in our Centennial Plaza. This will help our local restaurants and pubs provide outdoor dining options in compliance with current COVID-19 restrictions. This will have the added benefit of being a long-term addition to our Sandy community for years after this pandemic is over.

Now is the time to invest in our Main Street businesses so that they can serve the public and employ our neighbors now and in the future. This program is the first of its kind. We used to do bold, innovative things in Oregon, we still do those things in Sandy.

Finally, one of my most important responsibilities as your Mayor and council is to protect your pocketbook and your family. These past two years we’ve been enormously successful in doing precisely that. We adopted the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan Study that included $500,000 in funds from the State. If successful, this study could help us cut the facility costs in half. Perhaps even more importantly, we provided our Sandy Police Department with not only increased funding, but also a stable funding source that should pay huge dividends for the department in the years ahead.

These are just a few of our major accomplishments, and yet there is still so much left to do. We’ve done a terrific job laying the foundation for Sandy to flourish into the future.

Our Sandy City Council has a lot to be proud of. We’ve left a legacy that shows what can be accomplished by putting differences aside, working together as a team and putting your community first.

These next two years as your Mayor, I look forward to working with our new incoming City Councilors to continue to stand up for you and your family. I look forward to interacting with you over these coming years as we dream big about Sandy’s future. Let us together continue to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

 

It's not about you, it's about them by Paula Walker on 01/01/2021

As we head into this New Year it is a good time to reflect on those who have been the fabric of your life; those you will turn to for help and support should you ever need to do so in your lifetime; those you will ask to take care of your affairs when you pass.

A stark reality I know, but a truth undeniable, we all die eventually. We cannot avoid that outcome. What we can control and ensure, is what we leave as we exit… a legacy or a mess. We won’t be around to deal with it but someone, and often those most dear to us, will.

Creating a proper estate plan is about creating your “exit strategy.” And the results of that are a loving gift for the ones you love.

Preparing a proper estate plan is not only for the wealthy, it is about a process that applies to each of us. We all will have final bills to pay, taxes to settle, funerals to arrange, creditors to settle with, finances to distribute, property possibly to sell and personal belongings to disperse upon our passing. Depending on what we have accumulated in our life these functions can take on greater complexity, warrant more effort, be the source of conflict and lead to unnecessary cost and confusion when we leave with no directions to follow.

A proper estate plan provides sound instructions on helping us during our lives as well.

As this year starts, consider the following:

Do you have someone you know and trust to take care of you and your well being, if you should have the need, because you cannot do all for yourself?

Do you have someone you know and trust to take care of your children if you are not able to do so?

Do you have someone you know and trust to take care of and provide a home for your treasured animal companions should you suddenly be unable to do so?

Have you appointed someone to settle with the state and the federal government (the two certainties of death and taxes)?

Was there someone or something you wanted to provide for with what you leave behind? Have you put that in writing? Have you appointed the right person to make that happen?

Do you care if everything you have and everything you own falls to the state to decide who benefits from your life’s work and legacy?

Will your leaving be a source of potential conflict in the family you treasure, or have you given the gift of certainty to guide them and avoid the pitfalls confusion can generate?

Will the persons most dear to you inherit a “hot mess” for lack of planning or the benefits of clear direction so that they can take the time to honor your memory and attend to their own grief?

A proper estate plan does not have to be an insurmountable undertaking, it just has not to be put off. In that proper plan you want to create the documents that take care of your assets on your passing — a Will or a Trust — and that take care of you during your life — your Durable Powers of Attorney for finances and health, and your Advance Directive for critical life support decision making.

Remember, as you reflect on the many things important to you, that an estate plan in its essence is not only about you, it is really about those you love because with or without your direction they will be the ones called upon.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

I thought that I would kick of this year’s Stories of the Stars with a very down to earth star, Rhonda Green, and really, the people whose stories she represents are the Stars, as we all are.

Ms. Green’s book “My Exit Plan: Getting My House in Order” was developed from her many years as funeral services manager, acting — more often than one would like to think — as mediator for embattled families. Her book provides many sobering accounts of everyday people, you and I, whose lives are turned to turmoil when a family member dies without leaving even the most simple of valid wills.

And those stories are not all about rifts over riches; they can be more heart wrenching. By example, there is the account of the mother whose four adult children fought bitterly after her passing about burial versus cremation. Two wanted cremation to save on burial expenses. Two wanted to honor her wishes for burial. In the court battle that ensued it was discovered that their mother had purchased a burial plot for herself. Though in the end her wishes were consummated, and her decision made clear, the rift was without repair.

Ms. Green’s words at a recent symposium are a good way to end this article and start the year: “If you really love your family, then put your wishes in writing and make it legal.”

Dear reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

 

Who's got Roast Beast? by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2021

I’m going to do it. It’s time, I’m an adult now, I’m going to cook a real prime rib with Au Jus (awe juuz) and horseradish sauce. This is the roast that prime rib steaks are cut from.

Why is this meat so intimidating? I’m guessing it’s the price and reputation as a special dish reserved for special occasions.

Talk to your butcher – ask them to help you find the perfect prime rib roast (also known as standing rib roast) for your needs. They can pick one with nice marbling and a fat cap that’s not too thick.

Let the meat sit uncovered in the fridge 24 hours ahead of time to ensure crust.

Let the meat come to room temperature (leave on the counter, wrapped for two hours)

General cooking time is five minutes per pound. 10 lbs. equals 50 minutes.

Get your digital meat thermometer ready - you’ll need to do an internal temp check to make sure meat is 135 degrees which is med/rare inside.

Rest the meat. Take the pan out and let it rest for 20 minutes minimum before cutting.

What you’ll need

1 10 lb prime rib roast, bone in or out

Prime rib rub: mix 1 T each, salt, brown sugar, pepper, paprika, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder

3 large onions, sliced

1 head garlic cloves, peeled

Rub the mixture all over meat. Let it sit in fridge uncovered overnight then cover and let it sit at room temp for 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan place onions and garlic. Place the roast on top and add 1/2 inch of water. Place roast in oven and roast at 500 degrees for 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it sit for 2 hours with the door shut! Take out the meat and set on a cutting board to rest.

Au jus

Strain pan drippings into a large measuring cup. In saucepan add in: 1 cup water mixed with 1 T cornstarch and 1 cup of pan drippings. Add in 1 t Worcestershire and 4 cubes of beef bouillon - whisk until thickened.

Horseradish sauce

Mix together:

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipped cream

1 T Worcestershire

2 T Grated horseradish

1 T brown mustard

1 T white wine vinegar

Monthly resolutions can help the burden by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2021

A new day, a new week, a new year! Though many start a new year with resolutions, I've always found them either too stringent, too vague or just too overwhelming. So this year, let's try something different. Since it takes 28 to 30 days to make or change a habit, we actually have twelve chances to improve our lives!

In order to not be too stringent, we can pick only the ones that apply to our individual lives. But we won't be so vague as to let the new knowledge or habit fade out of consciousness. And by choosing only the ones that apply to each individual, it will not be so overwhelming.

Twelve months to make changes, somewhere:

1. Let's start with forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from within the forgiver and benefits that person just as much as the person being forgiven. And remember, the forgiven person is you, the one who ultimately needs it.

2. On a more practical side, avoid trans fats and vegetable oils as much as possible. Trans fats and vegetable oils are in all fast foods and virtually all packaged foods, including cakes, chips, crackers, cookies, breads, etc. Unless you are gluten sensitive, concern yourself more with trans fats and vegetable oils than gluten content. Oils such as coconut oil, fish oils, flax oil, nut oils and olive oil are all better for you than canola, corn and soy oils.

3. Fish – now there are new worries about plastics in seafood. A very valid concern. Ultimately, it's our fault. Many plastics are not recyclable, so we need to stop using them so much lest they end up in the ocean. Think plastic grocery bags, straws and cups, take-home containers from restaurants.

4. Turmeric needs to be warmed in order to be of benefit (antioxidant, arthritis). Warm your spices in a pan before using to make meals or tea. Pills taken cold just won't do the trick.

5. If you prefer coffee to tea, drink no more than two to three cups per day. At that amount coffee appears to be protective against diabetes. Take your coffee with a smidgen of butter and some coconut oil, but no sugar. It's called "bullet coffee" and helps your brain to function because of the good fats in it.

6. Try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar is the preferred fuel for cancer cells to grow. This also means only one or two servings of fruit per day. You may have more in the summer as it will keep you cooler.

7. Back to the good fats. Don't bother with low-fat anything. It's a longtime experiment that didn't work and many people bought into it. So many Americans bought into it that it undoubtedly contributes to the near epidemic of Alzheimer's that we now have in our nation. Though lowering fat intake is not the only cause, it's looking like a definite poor choice. Be like the French - enjoy anniversaries, birthdays, feast days and holidays. Then go back to avoiding sugar. Knowing that you can have some sugar in small amounts on special occasions will make avoidance more tolerable.

8. Detox. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It takes 15-30 days for skin cells to reach the epidermis layer to be sloughed off. Try skin brushing, using perhaps a baby hairbrush or a soft clothes brush, to help remove those top layers of already deceased skin cells. You don't need them, and this will help you to detoxify through your largest organ.

9. Then get into a detoxifying, relaxing bath of Epsom salts to which you may gently add a few drops of a favorite essential oil. Depending on the oil, start with four to five drops and don't go over 12 drops as it may burn, sending you running down the hall in your altogether!

10. If you are a smoker, STOP. It is the single worst thing you can do for your health, guaranteed to shorten your life. Any smoking. Period.

11. The second worst thing you can do for your health is sitting, just sitting. Couch potatoes get up. If you're already up, do something. Every hour. If you are in a wheelchair, wave your arms, lift weights, wiggle your feet every hour. Get rid of your "clickers" except the dog training one. That will get you off the couch as it is. In fact, get a dog. Also guaranteed to make you move.

12. Get more rest. Lack of sleep raises the possibility of illnesses, reduces efficiency and is estimated to cost our economy $280 billion per year. Employers, get tough. Employees, listen to your body. Quit the frazzle-dazzle which often leads to late nights and increased alcohol consumption. Before electricity people slept ten to twelve hours a night. They had less cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

I've left out the really obvious changes we all know about like eat more vegetables (six to ten servings per day), drink more water (to reduce risk of headaches and stroke), exercise more (or at least move more). But those ones you already know. Just pick one of the above to work on each month, adding a new challenge the next month. In a year you will be healthier. Just remember #1 and forgive yourself if you fall back. You've got a whole year to make changes!


The View Finder: Sharing your peace by Gary Randall on 12/01/2020

It's funny how a photographer can plan and plan to be at a location in hopes of capturing a beautiful sunset or even just an epic scene in nature just to have airplanes decide to fly through it casting a contrail as it goes. Most of the time it will ruin your epic photo, but sometimes... albeit very rarely, it works.

 

This is one of those photos where I really wanted a shot of the lenticular clouds thrown up into the sky by Mount Hood at Trillium Lake and just as I was ready here came an airplane. It's kind of funny how it headed straight for the mountain and then circled around it and kept flying. I'd like to think that it was giving the passengers a view of the mountain.

I remember back when I was in the military in the late 1970s when I took a United Airlines flight from Portland to San Diego. I took what was called a West Coaster flight, which was one where the aircraft purposely flew along the Cascade and the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges in a way that gave everyone on the flight a view. As we flew the pilot would name mountains and geographic scenes as we passed them. I'm sure that in this day and age a flight like that would be completely impractical, but I think it's a shame.

On this particular day when the aircraft came into view, I cussed a bit, but after I took the photo and noticed the symmetry of the lines and the reflections of them in the water. I decided that I liked it. I actually liked a photo of a sky with contrails in it.

I remember a day in the Columbia River Gorge when the whole gorge froze solid. I wanted to go out and document it. I arrived at Latourell Falls and was alone. As soon as I was set to take a shot I noticed a guy walking down the trail. He walked into the scene and stood on the edge of a small cliff edge and stood there. He was in stark contrast with the frozen scene with his red jacket. I stood there for a minute thinking. At first, I was irritated but I decided to snap a couple photos. I looked at the photos that I took and realized just how much of a story the photo told with this man standing there taking in such an amazing scene. I learned a bit of a lesson from the experience.

I have spent time in the field with a lot of photographers in my days and have witnessed a lot of people who get so upset when something happens to "ruin" their photo. It could be one of many things from another photographer walking into the scene or an airplane flying through the sky, but it is what it is. We don't go out to get frustrated or to be unhappy. We can't change the conditions that we're dealt.

We go out to be chill and be happy. That particular day or evening isn't the only one that you'll photograph. It's not the end of all sunrises or sunsets. It's just another one and whatever happens happens, and in some cases you end up with a unique photo.

We must remember why we are landscape photographers. In most cases we are landscape photographers because we love to capture peace and beauty in our images. It is my experience that the more that we’re in peace personally the more that it will show through in the images that we create.


Photo by Audrey Addison.
Opportunities abound during the season of darkness by Mt. Hood Community College on 12/01/2020

The season of darkness. Nature slides inexorably toward its shortest day.

 

Though, as with all things, point-of-view matters. For some, the shortest day is the longest night. Do nocturnal animals rejoice in the gift of time? Does December’s dark provide a bounty for an owl? Like the silent creatures that move through the night, these answers remain unheard.

For the light-bound souls the reality of shorter days means scarcer and more widely spaced food. The economic benefits of holding territories breaks down, but the benefits of more eyes looking for food, and out for predators, increases. As a result, birds who were competitors in June are traveling companions in December.

Mixed flocks of chickadees, kinglets, nuthatches and woodpeckers, move through the trees in search of quiescent bugs immobilized by cold. Bushels of Dark-eyed Juncos have gathered from northern environs or have been chased down the mountain by newly fallen snow. In the “lowland” neighborhoods and our college campus, they join noisy gatherings of robins who, themselves, may have summered in the far reaches of the Arctic.

These “snowbirds” likely move unnoticed by their human counterparts heading up the hill for winter recreation. Pity for them (the humans) for winter brings with it a chance for closer observation of a smaller set of species, gathered in larger numbers. Though a bird feeder helps, it isn’t required to watch the antics of a group of quarrelling crows, the frenetic foraging of finches or the strident declaration of ownership by a wintering hummingbird. Their intense concentration on gathering food means that they often allow longer inspection of their behaviors.

For me, these winter companions also bring light to the gray skies and provide a worthy distraction from the political darkness of our world. With their constant motion and attention to the task at hand, they remind us that the trade-off for year-round activity is an almost constant search for fuel.

As a fellow endotherm, I feel the urge myself, craving rich foods and finding myself wanting to eat even when not hungry, still stuffing myself with turkey dinners. Perhaps the darkness tugs at a primeval instinct to keep the furnace stoked, connecting me not only to the natural world, but also to a time long past when our ancestors lived closer to the edge…

Sitting in a warm house, I allow my mind to drift backwards in time, thankful for the option of inside, fire and blankets, and content to wait for future days and the light they bring.

Walter Shriner is an instructor of Biology and Natural Resources Technology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Going out on a limb to celebrate the Christmas tree by Steve Wilent on 12/01/2020

My family has had Christmas trees in the house during the holidays for as long as I can remember. Finding the perfect Christmas tree was an annual event, almost as fun as the holiday itself. From the time we were old enough to walk, my parents took my brother and me on tree-hunting expeditions, regardless of the weather or the amount of snow on the ground. Hot chocolate and cookies were administered to keep our energy and spirits up. My mother and grandmother would spend hours decorating the tree with lights, ornaments of all colors and shapes, and long strands of lead tinsel.

Lara and I continued the tradition. I have a photograph of me cutting a tree while a one-year-old Jeff, the first of our two sons, looked on from a kid-carrier backpack. As teenagers, the boys would argue over which one of them had found the best tree and which was strong enough to carry it to the truck. We’ve been empty nesters for many years now, but I still look forward to the annual tree hunt, the smell of fresh evergreens in the house and recalling happy memories as we hang lights and ornaments.

We’ve had a variety of Christmas tree species over the years. I prefer noble fir or the similar Pacific silver fir, because the wide space between the branches lets ornaments hang straight and you can see them from all sides. Both species are native to the higher elevations of the Cascades. We’ve had Douglas-fir and grand fir from lower elevations, too, and one year had a Nordmann fir from a tree farm near Sandy. The Nordmann fir, or Caucasian fir, is a tree native to the mountains along the Black Sea, in Georgia, Russia and Turkey.

One year we had a lodgepole pine as our holiday tree. We found it growing under the power lines near Lolo Pass, and it was unusually full and symmetrical for a lodgepole. Years ago it was easy to find nice trees to cut in the cleared area under those power lines, but somebody let the secret out and today you’ll find few trees, if any, worthy of the holiday.

Another year we had an Englemann spruce, a species that grows widely in the mountains of the western U.S. and Canada. I found this particular tree growing not far from the Top Spur trailhead, and it was perfectly symmetrical. This and some other spruces are known not only for their beauty, but also for their sharp, stiff needles. I carried the tree gingerly into the house, where Lara praised it — until she encountered the needles. But it turned out that the prickliness of the needles solved a problem: for years, one of our cats had the habit of playing with the decorations on the lower branches of our trees, and even managed to break a few treasured ornaments. But one swipe at that spiny spruce and she was cured of her penchant for creating Christmas tree mayhem.

I favor natural, unpruned trees, while some folks like the dense, heavily sheared, cone-like trees that some tree farms and stores sell. Don’t ask me what I think of artificial trees.

Speaking of stores and farms, we have purchased some very nice Christmas trees at Mountain Building Supply and at tree farms in the area, when snow kept us from finding a wild tree in the Mount Hood National Forest. We cut a nice grand fir one year at Harrison Farms (48080 SE Coalman Rd, Sandy, 503-668-9769, tinyurl.com/y34a6s23). In past years, Harrison’s has had a sign at its entrance off of Hwy. 26 just west of Cherryville. Rainy Mountain Farms also has nice trees (49400 Southeast Marmot Rd., Sandy, 503-351-0965, rainymountainfarms.com). Call or check the farms’ web sites before you go, as hours of operation may have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year. Oregon farms cut and sell more holiday trees than any other state – 4.7 million trees in 2017, according to the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association. Most of them were Noble fir (54 percent) and Douglas-fir (32 percent).

Nationwide, the average price of a Christmas tree in 2019 was nearly $77. At Rainy Mountain Farms, all trees regardless of size are $40 each, according to its web site. If you’re willing to put some effort into finding a tree on the Mount Hood National Forest, you can buy a permit to cut a tree up to 15 feet tall for $5. To buy a permit online, see tinyurl.com/y4luzdfj for information, along with a list of locations where you can buy permits in person, including the Zigzag Ranger District office and area stores.

Whatever the source of your tree, do it a favor and put the cut end in a bucket of water as soon as you get home. And keep the tree outside until you’re ready to bring it in to decorate it. Once it’s inside, keep the tree stand’s reservoir full of water. Take good care of your Christmas tree and you can reuse it as a Valentine’s Day tree and maybe even an Easter tree.

Want to know more about Christmas trees? Want to know how to tell the difference between a regular Christmas tree and an organic Christmas tree? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: Don't give up by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2020

This pandemic cannot end soon enough. No matter our political alignments, belief systems or how directly the coronavirus has impacted our lives, every Oregonian can agree on one thing: we are all tired of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

We’re tired of the risk of illness. We’re tired of the changes in our daily lives. We’re tired of worrying about the economic, social and emotional toll that business restrictions, remote learning and social distancing are taking on our communities.

But here’s the thing: we’re now seeing the result of what happens when we start giving up. When people get tired of missing out on connecting with friends and loved ones, they start gathering indoors again and case counts increase. When people stop wearing face coverings while spending time around their friends, case counts increase. When people ignore the advice of public health experts and host a dozen friends to celebrate a special occasion, case counts increase.

This latest “freeze” may feel like an overreaction until the pandemic touches your life. You may have asked yourself what right the government had to limit the size of your Thanksgiving gathering – after all, your family and friends should have been allowed to weigh the risks and decide for themselves whether they wanted to chance it, right? But these days, decisions like how to celebrate with friends and loved ones don’t just impact the people who attended that one event.

They may impact every person who interacts with anyone who attended that meal for days or weeks after the celebration – every fellow shopper in the grocery store you visit in December, every server in every restaurant at which you order takeout, every friend who you miss spending time with enough to feel it is worth the risk of exposure to visit.

This is why it feels like we are losing our hard-fought battle against the coronavirus: we are failing to appreciate that each decision we make can have profound impacts over long periods of time and huge geographic areas.

When we think about the people we may risk infecting with the virus, we often think of them as well-informed, rational people who have the power to decide how comfortable they are with risking exposure to the virus... but in fact, each of us may end up sharing this virus with a large number of people, some of them vulnerable to the worst impacts of COVID-19, before we’re even aware of our own infection.

It may seem compelling when influential voices – elected leaders, media figures or community members – tell us not to worry, that the virus isn’t a big deal. These voices may remind us that young people are much safer from tragic impacts of COVID-19 than the elderly and infirm, or that 98 percent of people infected will survive. But, as we know, young people can easily transmit the virus to their older and more susceptible neighbors and loved ones. If we were to allow the disease to spread freely through our state, a 98 percent survival rate would mean we all suffer as we witness the deaths of over 80,000 Oregonians.

Maybe you feel frustrated that the restrictions have gone on so long, and that’s reasonable. At the root of our temptation to stop following these guidelines is exhaustion. I feel it, too. It has been such a long year, and such a stressful month, filled with loss and trauma and chaos. But with encouraging news about vaccines, I can see an end in sight. Like marathon runners in their final mile, we need to dig deep, find the same kind of energy we applied at the beginning of this challenging pandemic, and take the necessary steps to keep our friends, families, neighbors and communities safe.

My mother in law, who lives in a tornado-prone area of the country, often calls to remind us to “hunker down” when the weather is bad. By this, she means stay inside, eat high-calorie foods and watch movies or do puzzles together.

Please, join me this holiday season in hunkering down, one more time, to protect our neighbors, healthcare workers and elders, from the worst impacts of this disease.

We may have to slim down our holiday celebrations, but at the end of it all, we will have so much to be grateful for – one another, the shared sense of community that comes from doing hard things together and the knowledge that whatever comes our way, we can weather the storm in partnership with our neighbors across the state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Keep the holidays wonderful by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 12/01/2020

With the winter chill in the air and a blanket of snow covering Mount Hood, it is once again the most wonderful time of the year here in Sandy. As I have said before, there’s no time more special in our community than the holidays.

 

Every year our neighbors in Sandy gather for festivities and charities that lift the spirits of our community. After a year like no other, the need of our community has never been greater. In the wake of Governor Brown’s COVID-19 “freeze” restrictions, we have local small business owners along with their employees and their families who also need us now more than ever.

Never has it been more important to both shop and dine local. It is said that a single dollar spent locally gets spent four additional times here in our community. Whether it be shopping for your gifts or a gift card at a local store or grabbing some food on your way to get the tree, Sandy has everything you need.

We will be proceeding with many of our annual traditions, though they look a little different this year. One of my family’s favorite traditions is the annual Sandy Community Christmas Basket Program sponsored by the Sandy Kiwanis Club. Planning is already underway for their 65th anniversary of the program! Last year 300 families were assisted, and this year with increased needs the goal is to help over 350 local families. As many know, in addition to community and local business support the Sandy Kiwanis depends heavily on the Sandy High School food drive that will not be able to happen this year. As a result, they need our help with donations more than ever.

This year each basket will have the same items as in the past that will provide a holiday meal: a ham and all the sides to go with it. The cost of each basket is $50. Please go to their website sandykiwanis.org/christmasbasket.html to donate to this amazing program.

Something else that will be a little different than previous years is our annual Holiday Tree Lighting. This year’s event will be held Friday, Dec. 4 from 6-8 p.m. The lighting will be a drive-thru and live streamed event with holiday messages from well-known community members. Please visit the event Facebook page for the latest details for this incredibly special event.

One event that doesn’t have to change this year is the Sandy Light Show! One of our favorite local traditions is to put the kids in the car on Christmas Eve and head over to the Scenic Meadows neighborhood to enjoy the lights. One of our local City Councilors, John Hamblin, and his family put on this amazing light show each year for our community. Because of the growing need for families to find activities during the holidays, they’ve decided to start even earlier this year and begin the show on Thanksgiving night. We greatly appreciate their efforts as the holidays in our community would not be the same without it!

While 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges, it has served as a stark reminder of the people and moments that are so important in making our lives meaningful. No other time in Sandy’s history has it been so important for our community to come together and look out for one another. We must remain vigilant in our united mission to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor if the City of Sandy.

Relax and have fun for the holiday season by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2020

There is no question that this has been a most challenging year. Since March of this year, we’ve all been facing the challenges of COVID-19 – hardship, loss, stress. We are still in the “season of the lungs,” which is known for grief and sadness. Now we all have a greater awareness of health – the greatest gift of all – for the trend is not yet behind us. We must still take precautions to reduce exposure.

Just because a neighbor or co-worker still travels often by airplane does not mean you should. To be extra careful, stay home as much as possible. Wear your mask when in groups. And build up your immune system. The elderly and some young people already have compromised lung function. Yet there are still many things we can do to work together to conquer these deficiencies. Epidemics have connected societies despite race, class, ethnicity and religion.

The past year has brought us closer together; families bonded, neighbors have gotten to know each other, our community has come together to help those in need in countless ways. We have survived in ways we never thought possible – through power outages, evacuations due to smoke and threats of fire, food shortages, loss of businesses, jobs or income. The evacuations are when I met my most excellent neighbor. He unloads my groceries from the car, takes out my garbage and recycling, even helps with the yard work.

Fungi, microbes, viruses, all want to survive in an inhospitable environment. Pandemics are on the rise because of our increasing population and unhealthy environment. The way to prevent epidemics (besides masks and social distancing) is to provide clean air, food and environment.

The Earth will abide, along with the bugs, because the sun keeps showing up, though in Oregon we may call it “liquid sunshine.” The seasons will return, tulips and daisies will come up again and won’t we be most thrilled. There will even come a day when we will complain about the heat. In the meantime, we need to stay warm. Especially keep your feet and neck warm. Wool socks work nicely. Cover your ears from a “cold wind invasion.” Wrap a scarf or some article of clothing around your neck as you head out the door. Wrapping your midriff with a large scarf or small blanket will help keep your kidneys warmer. Have a cup of hot tea or even a second cup of coffee, cider or hot milk with molasses. Invite your cats or dog onto your bed. Get out one cookbook and your favorite seed catalog and plan, or at least dream about, next year’s garden.

Taking care of your immune system takes a little more work during the holiday season, mostly because of the extra stress. When I was a schoolgirl, I always got sick as soon as the holiday break happened. My mom would let me take a sleeping bag and sleep under the holiday tree. I swear the pretty colorful lights cured me, or at least had me feeling better. Of course, maybe it was just the rest.

We tend to automatically lean towards the more warming foods during the cold weather, yin foods like soups, stews, root vegetables and the seasonal mushrooms, especially reishi, which block the uptake of viral particles. Not the teeny, tiny reishi pills, but foods. Or powders stirred into hot drinks. Since our source of Vitamins A and D are diminished in winter, we should eat more fish and seaweeds. Elderberry is helpful, too. Keep a diet diary so you can try to decrease sugar. It always used to amaze me that patients couldn’t recall what they’d eaten for that day’s breakfast or what they’d eaten for dinner the night before. A diet diary keeps you honest and helps you know when you’re veering off track.

Eating properly will help you to sleep better. Sleep is the best anxiety reducer there is. Try sauteed mushrooms over toast for breakfast. For a no-dishes-cleanup dinner, cook fish in foil packets with onions and peppers and tomatoes, if you still have some on the windowsill. Add lemon juice, olive oil and capers if you can afford them.

While the parents recuperate, perhaps with a glass of warm red wine with a splash of elderflower and slices of orange or lemon floating in it, have some fun with the kids. Let them make blanket forts in their rooms or the living room. Kids love to do this, and you’ll get a kick out of watching them. Take old wrapping paper or cards and make paper chains for the tree. String popcorn (better if stale for this) into chains for an outdoor remembrance of birds and critters that need our help, too. Make it the best season you possibly can. Have fun. Enjoy. I love you all.

Homemade goodies by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2020

Spoil the people on your list with thoughtful and creative homemade goodies.

 

Hot fudge sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 T corn syrup

2 T butter

2 t vanilla extract

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan heat 1 cup heavy cream with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 T light corn syrup.

Cook until boiling and continue to boil four to five minutes, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat, stir in 2 T butter and 2 t vanilla. Let cool uncovered in glass jars. Refrigerate until completely cooled then add lids.

Keeps well for about a week but won’t last that long! Reheat before serving.

 

Squirrel stash

1 cup corn kernels popped

4 cups mixed nuts

1 cup bite sized pretzels

1/2 cup corn syrup

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1-1/2 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 t shortening

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl toss nuts, pretzels and popcorn.

In a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat stir together the sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Cook stirring constantly until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about four minutes.

Stop stirring and continue cooking five minutes more until mixture turns pale. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

Pour sugar mixture over the popcorn and nut mixture and toss to coat. Pour onto rimmed baking sheets and bake, stirring every 15 minutes until almost dry (about one hour). Let cool completely.

In a medium sized glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening together - drizzle over popcorn mixture.


Mulling Spices

Peel of 2 oranges and two lemons

Whole cardamom

Whole cloves

Whole allspice

Whole star anise

Cinnamon sticks

Candied ginger

Bay leaves

4 x 2x9-1/2-inch treat bags (from the craft store)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, peel oranges and lemons in long strips avoiding as much of the pith as possible. Bake peels until dehydrated for about one hour – place in bags with two cinnamon sticks, 1/2 t each of cloves, allspice, star anise and cardamom. Add one bay leaf and a piece of candied ginger.

To make the cider: in a large pot set over medium heat add one gallon of unfiltered apple juice, one cup orange juice and the mulling spices. Heat to a gentle simmer and serve with a cinnamon stick.

 

The season of good will(s) by Paula Walker on 12/01/2020

In this age of convenience and efficiencies of effort, many products advertise “set it and forget it.” Sounds so good in our busy, sometimes harried lifestyles with family, work and social obligations to lighten the load of things to attend to with “do-it-for-you products.”

But estate planning is not one of those. Not set it and forget it but set it and tend to it – over time.

One of the many advantages in creating an estate plan, Trust or Will is providing the basis for family harmony as part of your legacy. The certainty and clear direction that you provide with a well-thought out and executed estate plan is one of the greatest gifts to those who will support you and fulfill your directives, as well as to the family and friends your plan encompasses. When it comes to who you will rely on to support you or your estate, this is not something to wait for an “unveiling” after you pass, or a plan to be discovered in a time of emergency. It is a plan whose intended outcome is best assured if you talk with those involved about it now.

The holiday season is a prime opportunity to have such a talk, with many/most of the family already gathered. Be thoughtful in planning for and launching into such a talk, for your sake and theirs. Tell them in advance that you want to have this discussion. Set aside a quiet time and space, a brief spell apart from the flurry of festivities. Create an agenda for yourself to help organize your thoughts and to be sure that you cover what you want in the way you want to express yourself. Keep this first foray short. Its purpose is to convey that you have a plan. Allot time for this discussion and stick to the time. Maybe this first foray, having broken the ice, may lead to follow up discussion. Allow yourself the benefit of discovery and see how this unfolds and what more you and yours may benefit from in further discussion if such seems the case. Explain your intentions, i.e. to provide clear direction and guidance to help them help you at some future date.

Talk process and framework, not content which is your private affair. Though discussions of death and incapacity can be awkward to initiate, often such conversations serve to bring the family closer. As well, you provide a model for your family to follow that can benefit them as they travel a similar path.

So, this season, whether you are having your holidays shared by Zoom or can gather in person, consider asking your family to set aside time to have this conversation with you.

Ask your estate planning attorney for guidance in preparing for a family discussion.

 

Stories of the Stars… If Only

We'll be back in the New Year with stories of the foibles, follies and fantastic tales of prominent persons, celebrities – stunning stories highlighting “things gone wrong” that you can avoid by doing things right in your estate plan.

For this article I leave you with my wishes for a joyous season of warm friendship and family, sharing in every innovative way this 2020 has called upon us to invent. For all its challenges, 2020 has also deepened our sense of the importance of our connection to friends, family, cherished times and cherished moments.

We will be on the other side of the difficulties and distances this time of social distancing and quarantine has imposed on us and when we do, as we breathe a sigh of relief, let us celebrate our resilience and preserve the good that emerged. And in the value we placed in the unmatchable source of well being that we have in the wellspring of our bond with each other, friends and family,  and the joy of hearing “that” voice, the purr of a snuggled cat, the never daunted wagging tail of the pup that accompanied us on our walks and kept our minds calm – those moments and many more that provided us some serenity when all else seemed up-for-grabs.

As this year comes to a close and you step forward into a new year, may your life grow in ways meaningful and fulfilling. Be well. Stay well. And thrive.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Photographer's code of ethics by Gary Randall on 11/01/2020

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We are blessed with many scenic locations that attract millions of people each year. Most of these locations are found by searching for the photos that we take and share on the World Wide Web. In most cases we don’t realize the potential for harm of the places that we love and photograph. It is natural for us to want to share the photos of these incredible places but I feel that we need to be aware of and to share with others how to protect the environment which, in most cases, is the reason that these places are so special.

 

In the years that I have spent as a full-time working landscape photographer I've been able to see the gradual damage that's being done to some of the most beautiful spots in the Pacific Northwest by its overuse. Most of the erosion and the denuding of the grasses, ferns and mosses is from repeated footfalls onto areas beside and beyond designated paths and fences.

I spend a lot of time in the field visiting these beautiful places and am a witness to so many people who shun the posted signs or fences that are placed to keep people from fragile environments or those that are being reclaimed due to the traffic that has ruined them. I feel that it’s easy for most people to think that it won’t hurt if they go because as an individual they won’t cause any harm. I personally feel that it’s a form of selfishness and greed to think that the signs and rules are for everyone else but them.

Although it is true that as individuals, we have little impact on the areas that we tread, we’re not individuals when we visit these areas. We are a part of a collective of humanity that causes an accumulative, damaging effect. It is not just the one person but the effects of us all wearing these places down. I feel that it is imperative that we develop a collective consciousness that instils a want to preserve these places. We each should develop a personal code of environmental ethics and to encourage others to do the same. We need to take responsibility for these places. We need to take care of them. Not doing so will further erode them to a point where access will be limited or closed completely.

As photographers who share photos of these places, we can take the lead in raising the awareness of the fragility of the places that we photograph. I think that every landscape photographer who shares their work online should create and adhere to their own photography code of ethics. One that addresses how we conduct ourselves while in the field. We can also add a short plea in the description of the photos that we share that urges those who go to be careful where they trod.

My personal code of ethics includes three parts: environment, social and self. I adopted the code from the League of Landscape Photographers, a group formed to urge photographers to become responsible stewards to the places that they visit and share online. If we all adopt a code of ethics and encourage others to do the same, perhaps we can turn this trend of abuse around and make it cool to protect the beauty of these photogenic places.


Photo by Nicole Ward.
Pandemic in autumn offers a closer look at wildlife by Mt. Hood Community College on 11/01/2020

Welcome to Our Community, Our Earth, which will be taking over the space where the Green Scene was previously published. This column will now be authored by instructors from Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) who teach subjects related to our environment, ecology and more.

 

We are excited to begin contributing to The Mountain Times and look forward to sharing the knowledge and observations of MHCC's faculty with the community.

The annual transition from fall to winter, while always dependable, brings its uniqueness each year. The day of first frost, salmon sighting or departure of a favorite warbler comes with a plus or minus date on the calendar, and collectively these events color the season (sometimes literally) with their own hues.

For some, myself included, this year’s transition has been muted and less dramatic than some. After a summer of natural drama and daily political theatre perhaps our senses are simply tired. Yet, as always, nature has a way of reaching us, surprising us, lifting our experience with color and life.

With our transition to remote learning, the Mt. Hood campus is uncharacteristically quiet. Only a few academic programs, where face-to-face instruction is essential, are located physically in classrooms. Not surprisingly, the campus wildlife has expanded their use of the grounds, a pattern many of us have noticed in our own backyards – deer browse on the lawns and coyotes pad along the drives.

This unique “COVID expansion” imitates the usual seasonal shift we see in bird communities. Many of our migrant birds have left our forests and the year-long residents have stopped defending territories.

Dark-eyed Juncos come together, then disband, as they search conifers and ground cover for insects and seeds. Bushtits, in their extended family groups chatter non-stop as they dart in and out of trees. If you hear them coming, stop and wait by the closest tree or bush and you may be blessed with a close-up view of these smallest of passerines. Standing still, you are just another obstacle to fly around, and they will enter the tree, one after another, like so many feathered puff balls blown by the wind.

Other creatures are spreading out as well, taking advantage of the changing moisture levels and stream flows from early rains. Salmon, of course, are coursing through the streams, in their contest for immortality.

Rough-skinned newts creep through the moistened leaf litter. Recent rain showers and morning fog creates paths for roaming tree frogs. They have begun moving away from their wetland reserves, calling now from vegetation far from ponds and pools. The trills of their calls are in tune with the cackling of geese overhead – classic sights and sounds of autumn.

The transition in visual landscape is also mirrored in the acoustic environment. The rustle of steps through dry leaves and the crackle of autumn’s wood fires will soon yield to the silence of the first winter snow. And as the yellows and reds of summer’s birds have gone from our yards and forests, so have the whistles and trills of their summer melodies. Left behind are the chits and chats of grey-scale nuthatches and chickadees, and the caws and croaks of the monochromatic crows and ravens.

From bright and noisy to cool and subdued – both sound and light shift in hue and spectrum, yielding novelty to season-adjusted lenses and allowing us to see and hear anew. Encouragement enough to open our eyes wide to absorb the last warm rays of autumn sunshine and the intensity of sight, then close our eyes and soak in the soothing sound of rain, the quiet of a resting forest and the serenity of silence in a noisy world.

Written by Walter Shriner, instructor of Biology and Natural Resources Technology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: Recovery work has begun by Rep. Anna Williams on 11/01/2020

In his column last month, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam wrote about the importance of community in times of chaos, calling for wildfire response through “a holistic approach that involves partners at every level of government, as well as local businesses and charitable service organizations.”

“This is a time that we must all work together,” he wrote. I couldn't agree more.

In that spirit, I want to tell you about some of the ways I’ve been working with partners at the federal, state and local levels to lay the groundwork for our region to recover from the overlapping disasters of COVID-19 and the wildfires.

As more than one million acres across the state of Oregon have burned (including more than 100,000 acres in Clackamas County), Representative Mark Meek (D-Gladstone) and I have co-convened the Metro Region Wildfire Economic Recovery Team. This group includes state and local leaders, as well as representatives from community-based organizations and non-profits. We are identifying the needs of different Clackamas County communities and working to ensure that the resources which are available get where they most need to go. Whether we’re discussing assistance for individuals and businesses, hazardous waste cleanup, infrastructure investments, restoring natural resources or rebuilding lost housing, we are working together to identify and solve problems.

So far, we have heard from the Oregon Housing and Community Services about the need for long-term temporary shelter for people to stay in while their homes are cleaned up and rebuilt. We have heard from county commissioners about the unique challenges faced by farmworkers who lost their homes due to the fires. Community-based organizations have pointed out the difficulties faced by displaced people who speak languages other than English, and the concerns many people share about relying on the government for support. One of the fundamental goals of the Economic Recovery Teams is to focus on the fact that rural and low-income Oregonians, as well as Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities have been hardest hit by both COVID-19 and the fires. No matter our political alliances, every member of this team understands that our region’s recovery should focus on helping those who are suffering the most as our top priority.

On the other side of the mountain, I am doing similar work for the North Central Region’s Equity in Recovery Council, focusing on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in coordination with the Governor’s Office. Just like the wildfires’ impacts, Oregon’s BIPOC communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic and will have the steepest climb in recovering from its health and economic impacts. The Equity in Recovery Council aims to improve access for all Oregonians to the basic resources they need to survive and thrive, so that a person’s success in life is not determined by their race. We’ll be looking at how the state can prioritize equity as it responds to the many COVID-related crises that are all happening at the same time: housing and homelessness, education and business recovery are only the most pressing concerns on a much longer list.

There are a number of different voices on each of these teams, and a number of opinions about how we should approach the challenges we face as a state. Yet we are focused on the same goals, and we are committed to achieving them through cooperation. I plan to approach the rest of my time in office with this same attitude, because our community and the people depending on my leadership, expect nothing less.

Recovering from this difficult year, in all the many ways that we will need to recover, will require all of us to work together in good faith. We don't have to agree which problems are most pressing or on how each of them should be solved, but we do need to see each other as neighbors who are in this together. In the midst of all the problems confronting us, I remain hopeful. I believe in our community – in Oregon, in House District 52 and in every member of these two groups I’m working with – to disagree with respect, to work together in good faith and to accomplish something good together that will leave Oregonians better off in the long run.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

View Points – Sandy: Thanksgiving unity by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 11/01/2020

As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of a long and divisive election season, we have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season! As Mayor, this holiday season has taken on an even stronger meaning to me.

 

While December brings many of Sandy’s more high-profile events, November also offers many ways for our community to come together and help our fellow neighbors.

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Sandy Community Action Center always springs into action with their annual food box program. As in previous years, the Action Center is partnering with Suburban Auto Group to fund the box program. Over 200 local families are helped each Thanksgiving holiday thanks to their efforts. Please keep an eye on the Sandy Community Action Center Facebook page for updates on how to get involved with this wonderful program.

One annual tradition that will be a little different this year is the Action Center’s annual Tickle Trot. Each year on Thanksgiving morning our family joins other neighbors in the parking lot of the Sandy Fred Meyer and then take to Tickle Creek Trail for our kinda, sorta run. Perhaps, that is why they call it a “Trot.” This year due to COVID-19 restrictions the Tickle Trot is going virtual! There will be “swag” offered to anyone who registers and all are encouraged to participate on the Facebook event page and take the time to share you participating in this annual event with your family and friends.

COVID-19, civil unrest, wildfires and perhaps the most divisive election in our nation’s history has led to an incredibly difficult year. This past year has tested us and like all times of great challenge it has also shown us the things that are most important to us in our lives. This holiday season provides us with an opportunity to remember those things and to come together with our loved ones and neighbors in solidarity.

The story of the first Thanksgiving is one of hope and unity. It is about people with different backgrounds and cultures coming together for the common good. In times like these, we can all take solace in such a story. Last month, I reminded readers to remember what we learned over this past wildfire season. That it will be important to remember how much more unites us than divides us. How, like family, at our time of greatest need, it was our neighbors who stood with us. We did not ask what your political party was or who you were going to vote for as President, neighbors only asked other neighbors if they needed help.

As Sandy turns into a more optimistic season and as we leave the election behind and turn towards the holidays, let us continue to remember the important message that far more unites us than divides us. We have all chosen this community of Sandy as our home. Most of us for the same reasons. Together let us unite to put our community first. Let us continue to put our people before politics. Let us keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

 

Divorce and Separation by Paula Walker on 11/01/2020

A difficult time under any circumstances, separation and divorce are rife evidence of the instability at hand. Estate planning attorneys advise clients to review their estate plans for necessary revisions upon the experience of a variety of “life events” and the process of separation and divorce factor in those.

In fact, this imposes two important milestones: you want to take stock of your estate plan during the divorce proceeding or separation and after your divorce settlement. You have the ability to amend or revoke your estate plan documents at any time.

Notes of caution to consider during a divorce involve the asset restraining order in place during every divorce. This may limit your ability to change the nature of assets held by a trust during the divorce.

Once the divorce is settled, Oregon law revokes provisions in the estate plan that favor the ex spouse as beneficiary or personal representative.

However, because during the divorce those provisions remain effective, you may consider amending those provisions during the divorce proceedings. Be certain to consider your pre nuptial agreement, if one exists, such that any changes you make to your estate plan are aligned with its terms.

As well, during and after the divorce settlement you will want to consider the appointments you have made in your Healthcare Power of Attorney, your Advance Directive and your Durable Power of Attorney.

Keep in mind as you consider the legal effects of a separation or divorce on your estate plan the “spousal elective share.” This law seeks to provide a measure of financial protection to a surviving spouse, saving them from financial destitution.

The elective share provides that a surviving spouse may make a claim on the assets of the deceased spouse regardless if the spouse was left out as a beneficiary or disinherited.

Ex-spouses may also make a claim which the court will consider conditional to a number of criteria in determining whether and to what extent to authorize such a claim.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

A battle raging in Manhattan … Ric Ocasek - lead singer of The Cars, at age 45 married Sport Illustrated swimsuit model Paulina Porizkova, age 24, in 1989. A marriage many thought would be short-lived given their twenty-year disparity in age lasted 30 years. When Ocasek passed away on Sept. 15, 2019, they were in the midst of divorce proceedings since May 2018. As a result, upon Ocasek’s death, they would be considered still married which ordinarily would have accorded Porizkova certain rights to the estate as spouse. However, weeks before he died, Ocasek took steps to cut off Porizkova’s rights by redoing his will, appointing a new personal representative (aka executor), disinheriting Porizkova and taking extra steps to also eliminate her right to the elective share by stating in the will that even if he died before the divorce was finalized, Porizkova had “abandoned” him and therefore should not have a rightful claim to an elective share. Although a disinherited spouse generally still has a right to claim an elective share, the court may deny such a claim upon finding that the spouse abandoned the decedent.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Edible resources in the forest are our treasures by Steve Wilent on 11/01/2020

I wish we could start the year on October 1 and end it on the last day of November. When the maple and cottonwood leaves turn to gold, the nights get chilly, the smell of wood smoke and damp earth is in the air, and a quilt on the bed brings comfort, I think I could learn to live without the other seasons. These are small pleasures, to be sure, but in times like these, we need them more than ever.

Our forests hold many such pleasures. If you’re old enough to remember television from the 1970s — I sure am — then you may recall the famous 1974 television commercial for Grape-Nuts cereal featuring Euell Gibbons, author of books such as “A Wild Way to Eat” and “Euell Gibbons' Handbook of Edible Wild Plants.” In the ad, Gibbons says, “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.”

Indeed they are, and some parts of pine trees (and other conifers) taste a lot better than Grape-Nuts. This summer I made a big batch of pesto, with fresh basil and parsley from Hood Hills Farm in Sandy, olive oil, garlic (of course), parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Most of the pine nuts available in stores these days come from Asia or Europe, but pinyon (piñon) pine nuts from high-desert states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah are an excellent — some say better — alternative. For Native Americans in these areas, pine nuts have long been a staple food. The seeds of western white pine and sugar pine also are delicious, as is the inner bark. I once had a job in a US Forest Service nursery that involved inspecting seeds and picking out nonviable ones. This was extremely boring work, but eating sugar pine seeds help pass the time. Until my supervisor reprimanded me for eating up the inventory.

Western white pine was once fairly common in our area, but white pine blister rust, a disease native to Asia that was introduced separately into North America early in the 20th century, has killed most of them off. The last one on my property died in the late 1990s.

I’ve never heard of anyone eating the seeds of the Douglas-fir, the most common tree in our area, but a tasty tea can be made from the needles. Pull a handful of fresh needles from the branches (young, light-green spring growth is best, but fall foliage is fine), coarsely chop them, and add about two tablespoons to a mug of hot water. Let the needles steep for a few minutes, add a bit of honey if you like, and you have a satisfying tea that is rich in vitamin C. Who needs fancy tea from a bottle, or Emergen-C “daily immune support” drink mix, when you can make your own?

Native huckleberries also are loaded with vitamin C. The picking season is over at our elevation, but you might find some up higher — say, 4,500 feet and above. On a late-October camping trip a few years ago in the vicinity of Ollalie Lake, I found a huckleberry patch loaded with sweet, dark-purple berries. I had planned to bring a bunch of them home, but none of them lasted that long. What tastes better than fresh huckleberry pancakes on a crisp mountain morning?

Up at that elevation, you’ll likely see brilliant yellow conifer trees. These are western larch, one of the handful of deciduous conifers in the world, most of which are larches. When the needles on these majestic trees turn bright yellow, they can rival our maples and cottonwoods for fall color.

Vine maple, so common in our area, often displays brilliant fall colors, too, especially when we have an early fall cold snap. If you see a tree that looks very similar to a vine maple, but with vibrant red and orange fall foliage, that’s probably a Rocky Mountain maple. You’ll see lots of these trees along Highway 35 between Mt. Hood Meadows and Parkdale. Vine maple leaves have five to nine lobes or points, while Rocky Mountain maple leaves have three.

Autumn is the main wild mushroom season on the Mountain. A friend recently gave us a big bag full of morels that he’d picked in a super-secret location — delicious. Lara knows the location of a prolific chanterelle patch, but she won’t tell me — her own husband — where it is. I offered to tell her where my favorite huckleberry patch is, in exchange for the coordinates of the chanterelle patch, but no deal. Look, I said, we’ll need this kind of information about wild foods so we can survive the zombie apocalypse. She agreed, and said she’d reveal the coordinates as soon as the zombie apocalypse starts.

Speaking of zombies, while on a woods wander the other day, I met a couple of mushroom hunters. No, they weren’t zombies, though their eyes were glazed from focusing on the ground. Maybe I looked like a woodsman, so they asked me about the large, bright orange fungi they’d found, and whether they are edible.

Zombie mushrooms, I said.

They looked askance at me.

Seriously, I said, those are lobster “mushrooms.” They’re not really mushrooms, but a parasitic fungus that grows on other mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that looks like the shell of a cooked lobster. Are they edible? I've heard that, unless one knows what type of mushroom they’ve parasitized, you can’t be sure.

However, according to the University of Washington's Burke Museum Herbarium, “Hypomyces lactifluorum, the lobster mushroom, grows in the tissue of certain russulas and lactariuses in the PNW, especially R. brevipes, and turns the host mushroom into a dense mass of mummified tissue.”

Okay, mummies, not zombies.

And in our area, they’re safe to eat: “Lobster mushrooms are edible and can often be found at PNW produce stands and farmers’ markets. The warnings against eating them usually are based on the assumed uncertainty of the host mushroom’s identity. However, we are not aware of any serious poisonings caused by it.” That’s sort of comforting.

Doug-fir tea, huckleberries, fall color. Autumn’s small pleasures. Winter’s are on the way.

Want to know more about our Mountain trees? Need a strategy for surviving the zombie apocalypse? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Leftover magic! by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2020

Some amazing meals can be made with the scraps. I'm so thankful to share a few recipes with you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Leftover mashed potatoes pierogies

(makes about 20 large pierogies)

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 cup whole milk

1 t kosher salt

2 T cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

2 T unsalted butter

1 T chopped green onion

2 cups mashed potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Make the dough: in a large bowl whisk together eggs and salt until frothy, add milk. Whisk in flour one cup at a time and switch to a spoon to incorporate and knead for one minute, adding the flour to make a tacky dough.

Spray dough with nonstick oil spray or coat top with thin layer.

Boil large pot of salted water.  In a large skillet, brown butter lightly, and put skillet aside.

Mix together the mashed potatoes, sour cream, onion, cream cheese and salt and pepper with a wooden spoon.

Roll the rested dough on a floured surface and cut circles three inches in diameter using a biscuit cutter or glass.

Wrap the pierogi dough around 1 T of potato filling, pinch the sides together and boil in salted water until floating.

Warm the browned butter and carefully remove the boiled dumplings from the water and put into the skillet. Toast on one side in butter, then turn and toast the other side until light brown. Serve hot.

 

Cranberry chutney

A chutney is a chunky fruit-based sauce that contains different textures and pairs wonderfully with savory. Try this with a cheese plate or charcuterie.

1 1/2 cups whole cranberry sauce

1/2 cup apple cider

2 oranges zested, then peeled and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup walnuts chopped large

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 to 1 t ground ginger

1/4 t cloves ground

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t allspice ground

Splash of vinegar

Place everything into a medium saucepan, bring to the boil, and reduce to simmer for 20 mins until thickened.

 

Vote with your grocery dollars and support local businesses by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2020

You’ve probably heard of a one-horse town, though I must admit even I am not old enough to envision that. But two-stoplight towns I know and love… and support. They are friendlier and keep your dollars out of the hands of big corporations.

When you buy cheap, industrial food from a Big Box Store, a large portion of your dollars are going to support the already wealthy corporate head honchos, not those doing the work of harvesting. One out of every four dollars goes for your healthcare because I see many of you still buying the same foods always purchased – sugary drinks and packaged snack foods.

My favorite small two-stoplight town has opportunity for human connection and keeps your money local. For more than ten years I’ve taken my car to a locally owned auto mechanic for everything from oil changes to “what’s that noise.”

The people there know me so when checks were stolen from my mailbox they readily accepted my temporary checks from my bank a mile away. Run by a very friendly family, they and their workers bring their dogs to work.

Across the street is a locally owned soup, sandwich and coffee shop, not an international chain of unhealthy industrial fast foods. Tastes way better, too. The local auto mechanic suggested I try it as they often get their lunches there.

Next door to the sandwich stop is a garden center – also locally owned for many, many years. I spend one nice moment gazing at the koi fish that live in their pond year round, discussing with a nice young man how I’d once had koi that I trained to come up out of the water to eat out of my hand. This human connection is somewhat rare during COVID-19.

If you do not want to, or cannot, grow your own food, next door to the local garden center is a local fruit stand. Go early enough and you’ll see berries from the surrounding fields coming in. Talk about fresh – not from out of state or the county and sitting on a grocery shelf until almost dead!

But there are other reasons to buy locally too. While in Costa Rica driving through a banana plantation, they were spraying pesticides on the bananas while workers’ kids were playing in the streets of the housing development in the middle of the plantation. I don’t and cannot abide that… so I don’t buy bananas.

Then there are the animal welfare protagonists. Do you really support de-beaked chickens being raised in tiny cages? A ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be about four-to-one or less. Industrial chickens have more than 1,000 omega 6 factors, which causes inflammation. Pastured eggs have more than 1,000 omega 3 factors for a ratio of one-to-one.

Industrial meat (especially burger) has more than 1,000 omega 6, while pasture-raised and finished meat has 4,000 omega 3, leading to a ratio of two-to-one. Much healthier. Most omega 6 comes from soy or corn oils, which lead to obesity and inflammation. Margarine has a ratio of six-to-one, while pastured butter is closer to one-to-one.

We don’t need more food so much as we need more nutrition! Our kids and grandkids are likely to die younger than we are. Maybe that’s why their lives are so busy, busy, busy. No time to cook. We tend to believe that “busy” makes us important, with Facebook and technology.

There was a time when life was governed by people, not technology. Do you know that huge warehouses containing huge computers know everything you buy or look at online? Remember the book “1984?” It’s here now. I’m not comfortable splatting my life out there for strangers to see- hence I have no computer or credit cards.

What we need is more integrity, hard work, knowledge. So, vote with your grocery dollars. If you really do want organic food, then buy it. Put your money where your mouth is. We have 20 years of voting by mail in Oregon with only 15 instances of voter fraud! So vote early and then continue to vote daily with your grocery money!


Contributed photos.
The View Finder: Community photographs by Gary Randall on 10/01/2020

Living on The Mountain has always been a matter of pride for me and many of my friends and neighbors. I have always felt a part of this community through good times and bad times. We have always considered ourselves as being of heartier stock than most “Flatlanders.”

 

For the most part our lives seem simpler and a bit more primitive but living here has its own set of problems. The results of natural disasters seem just a little bit more severe up here. Trees fall over roads, power lines and homes. Floods can come from the rivers or from rapid snow melt from the mountain tops, and both can destroy homes. We consider losing our electricity for days if a wind blows a somewhat common event. It is often the case that the power will go out during freezing weather and then once the power is out the water lines freeze which, once thawed, can result in broken pipes and water leaks.

I can remember several times in the past when our community would gather at the firehouse for sandbags during a flood. I remember relief efforts and food distribution for those who had lost everything. When these times come, our Mountain neighbors have always stepped up to the challenge to help each other. And after living through this latest challenge I’m proud to say that our community unity is still intact.

I can recall several bad situations since I’ve lived here but this is the first time that I can remember where we had to consider evacuating the complete community to escape a forest fire. And seeing other rural communities devastated by the fires and a map showing how close the fires and evacuation zones were coming to us, it felt like an absolute real possibility. Looking back now that the rains have returned, we are all fortunate that our community is still whole.

Traditionally communication during these storms or floods is disabled due to fallen phone and electrical lines and most of the news we would hear at the post office or at the Thriftway store. These days we have the Internet and our battery powered cell phones equipped with a camera with us at all times. Even though connecting to the web during these disasters can be a bit dodgy, the connectivity can usually be found. Websites such as Facebook and the NextDoor app allows us all to not only check in for information but they also allow us to document these events and share them with each other. I was fascinated, heartbroken, inspired and encouraged by the images that my neighbors were posting up online. I was seeing everything from tragedy, broken homes and dense unhealthy smoke-filled air to kindness and charity.

I wanted to share just a small portion of some of the photos that tell the story of how our community dealt with an event that we will all remember for a very long time. I am proud to be a part of our Mountain community family.

View Points – Sandy: We are all together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 10/01/2020

Like so many of our fellow neighbors, this past month we were forced to make the unimaginable decision to decide what personal belongings we would take when evacuating our homes in the event of an emergency. Many people in neighboring communities like Estacada and Molalla had to evacuate quickly without many personal belongings and will return home to find their houses destroyed and their lives forever changed.

The needs of these neighbors will not end when the smoke clears on their burnt properties. It will take a holistic approach that involves partners at every level of government, as well as local businesses and charitable service organizations. This is a time that we must all work together.

In the case of a natural disaster, one does not have to look hard to find stories of unity and heroism. I’ve been humbled by local public servants putting political differences to the side and instead putting community first. The first morning after the evacuations started in our community, our congressman Earl Blumenauer reached out to offer help.

The next morning, we were sitting in Sandy along with Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine. Mayor Drinkwine and I both left encouraged with the congressman’s eagerness to work with us as we rebuild and plan for necessary federal resources for disaster relief in the future.

We are already beginning to hear the tales of valor and courage. Stories of siblings, parents, children, friends and neighbors with their tanker truck of water and heavy equipment working side by side to save their communities.

Speaking of local heroes, the relief efforts offering fresh food, water and other supplies that began shortly after the evacuation notices were simply incredible. Sandy local Brad Magden sprang into action and enlisted the help of Sandy Les Schwab and nonprofits Sunshine Division along with Hood-To-Coast. By Thursday they had a full Fresh Food Relief Center up and going for local evacuees. Soon after they had the board members from Sandy Helping Hands mobilizing volunteers, while local businesses, service organizations and citizens donated much needed items.

Within days, with help from Estacada Neighborhood Watch and local officials, Brad set up a much needed secondary relief center in the heart of Estacada located at the Cazadero.

I’ve been asked why, as the Mayor of Sandy, was I so involved in relief efforts for other neighboring communities. My answer was simple, the communities of east Clackamas County are more than neighbors, we’re like family and family takes care of each other. Like so many families throughout Oregon who have helped relatives this wildfire season, we are also taking care of our relatives in their great time of need.

2020 has been a year of challenges, and as with most election years, this next month looks to be contentious, perhaps the most contentious in our nation’s history. It will be important to remember what we learned over these past several weeks. It will be important to remember how much more unites us then divides us. How, like family, at our time of greatest need, it was our neighbors who stood with us. We did not ask what your political party was or who you were going to vote for as President, neighbors only asked other neighbors if they needed help. As long as we stay united, we’ll keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

View Points – Salem: Disagree with kindness by Rep. Anna Williams on 10/01/2020

This month, I am writing my column not only as your state representative, but also as a community member, a mother and an educator in a polarized time. Most of all, though, I’m writing as a social worker who believes that a strong sense of community and solidarity will get each of us further than division and self-interest.

 

Compared to any other year of my life, 2020 has presented unheard of challenges: a pandemic that has caused more deaths in America than in any other nation, a resulting economic crisis that has left millions struggling, a national protest movement and reckoning over racial justice and now unprecedented wildfires devastating entire communities and leaving thousands of our fellow Oregonians without a place to call home. Even people in our community who have remained healthy, employed and safe throughout this difficult year are reeling from the stress of so many compounding crises piling on top of one another and affecting their neighbors.

My background as a social worker tells me that we all need to give ourselves permission to process everything we’re feeling right now. Even if you’ve been largely untouched by these crises, you’re allowed to be sad. You’re allowed to be tired. You’re allowed to be grumpy and frustrated and, yes, each of us has good reason to be angry about the challenges and uncertainty we’re facing.

Let’s also be mindful of the reasons for those feelings and express them in healthy ways. Let’s not resort to scapegoating when it comes to the complex problems that are confronting us, and let’s avoid directing our anger at our neighbors simply because they may hold different values than we do.

As your state legislator, I have always governed in an independent, open-minded way that puts the needs of our community first. I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in or what my constituents ask of me, even if it means deviating from party lines. I am always looking for ways to support small businesses, to invest in and improve our education systems, and have fought for our essential workers to have access to adequate PPE during the COVID-19 crisis. I believe in the power of working together and finding common ground.

During these trying times, I encourage everyone to pursue their conversations with the same critical approach as I pursue my work in the legislature. Before you cement your opinion about a topic you’re learning more about, think about other perspectives on the issue. Before you believe something you read on social media, consider its source and do your own research.

Our brains are designed to believe information that confirms our pre-existing opinions and to agree with people we care about without thinking critically about their perspectives. That’s human nature. However, in an effort to work together to heal the divides that have grown in our communities in recent years, we need to learn to discern between opinion and fact, and to speak respectfully and honestly with one another when we disagree.

Disagreement and debate are essential in a democratic republic like ours, but compassion and understanding are just as fundamental.

Today, I challenge you to be kind to someone who you disagree with – in person, online, or in your home. It is in our most spirited debates that we learn the most, and in our kindest moments when we heal the most. Let’s come together to listen to one another, for the sake of our struggling neighbors, for the sake of our great state and for the sake of our collective future.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.


Contributed map.
There will be a next time – are you ready for a fire? by Gary Randall on 10/01/2020

We dodged a bullet in September. The Riverside Fire sent us thick smoke and gave us plenty of reason to worry, but no homes in Hoodland were damaged or destroyed, no one here was killed by the fire. Other communities in Oregon weren’t so fortunate, and I grieve for those who have lost homes and loved ones.

 

As I write this, our forests are damp from recent light rain, and heavy rain is in the forecast for Sept. 23. These rains will very likely douse the Riverside Fire with enough moisture to stop it in its tracks until the snow flies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few smokes pop up next spring, as happened after the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, but the threat to our community is probably over.

Probably? Yes, because hot spots will remain even after a soaking, and another east wind event could whip the embers into a raging wildfire. Even so, the flames would have a long way to run before they could get here. The northeast side of the fire is a bit more than 12 miles as the raven flies from Welches.

Even if the chances of a flareup are miniscule, it is wise to remember how frightening the fire was only a couple of weeks ago when the skies were filled with smoke and we were under Level 1 of the three “Ready, Set, GO!” alerts: Be ready to evacuate. Sandy was at Level 2 for a few days: Be set to leave at a moment’s notice. Level 3 means Go NOW!

During the Level 1 alert, Lara and I had two of our vehicles packed with our most treasured possessions, pet supplies, sleeping bags, food and water. We planned to load our cats and computer gear at the last minute. The two cars were gassed up and ready to go. My faithful old Ford pickup would have stayed, along with so many things in the house and sheds, a lifetime’s worth of stuff. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to get ready. What if we had suddenly been given the Go NOW! order?

What would you have done?

Years ago, when I taught wildland fire management classes at Mt. Hood Community College, one of the videos I showed to students captured a scene of panic inside a home in southern Oregon. As flames approached, a woman ran around inside her house with a framed photograph in one hand and an antique chair in another, trying to decide which of her valuables to take. She was in a panic and couldn’t think straight. The captain of a fire engine stationed nearby, but ready to bug out while they still could, ran into the house and shouted to the woman, “Leave now! Those things aren’t worth your life! Get out NOW!”

It could come to that, for us. You may not have believed it before, thinking that you were safe here on the wet west side of the Cascades. Now that you know you’re not, take time to prepare for the worst.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has an excellent web site with guidelines for preparing to evacuate during a wildfire. It offers a range of tips for creating a comprehensive Wildfire Action Plan, which includes a Family Communication Plan (designation of an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation) and an Emergency Supply Kit for each person. Cal Fire urges you to remember the six “P’s”: people and pets; papers, phone numbers and important documents; prescriptions, vitamins and eyeglasses, pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia; personal computer hard drive and disks; and “plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash.

If you’d like to learn about how to help your family, your neighbors and the community prepare for wildfire, think about joining Hoodland Fire’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Go to www.hoodlandfire.us and click Join.

As I wrote in the January 2020 installment of “The Woodsman,” the forests we live in are sure to burn. It’s a question of when, not if. Some dry summer day, a campfire or burn pile will escape, an arsonist will do his evil work or lightning will strike dry fuels and we’ll have a wildfire. Maybe a campfire on Old Maid Flat will escape and east wind will push it down the Sandy River valley toward Zigzag and Welches. The Riverside Fire was human caused, according to the U.S. Forest Service; an investigation is under way. Regardless of the cause, take a look at the map that accompanies this article and note the size of fire compared to Hoodland. Most of the 138,000 acres scorched by the fire burned in just 24 hours after the fire started on Sept. 8, pushed by a dry wind from the east.

Are you prepared to evacuate within 24 hours? What will you do if you get the Go NOW! alert? Read those Cal Fire web pages while you have time to get ready.

Want to know more about preparing for wildfire? Want to hear about a great way to reuse, repurpose and recycle our Oregon wildfire smoke? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

The season for scary, wacky and always interesting by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2020

We all get a thrill out of being scared sometimes. Hence the popularity of Ferris wheels, zip lines and even Halloween. Though this year may “take the cake” for scariness, let’s look at some of those things – some you may have heard before and some you may not know.

In no particular order here are some things that are scary, wacky and weird… but always interesting.

We don’t always use good moral judgement – the goal of our society has become commerce, the god of greenbacks. If large corporations don’t make money, the shareholders abandon it! Next month how to vote with your dollars.

Did you know that wooden cutting boards and spoons are less “germy” than glass or especially plastic? Wood “self-heals” any cuts, whereas plastic takes longer to do so.

Whether you live in an area that went to Level 3 during the fires or not, pay attention to your community. Any firefighter will tell you that in any major disaster, you will undoubtedly have to rely on neighbors for help. Our heroes will be overwhelmed with the big stuff.

Here are a few things that may seem counter-intuitive: tearing up your lettuce before you store it may double its antioxidant value. Just remember to dry it before storing or it will rot faster. Apricots that have been sulfured actually have more antioxidants than the dark, unsulfured ones (be sure you are not allergic to sulfur).

 You probably already know that purple carrots, radishes, cabbage, etc. have more antioxidants than the orange ones, but did you know that carrots should always be cooked in oil or butter or a good fat source (never margarine) so they will have a better source of beta carotene than raw carrots? Buy carrots with the tops still on to  make sure they are fresh, but remove the tops before storing so they don’t dry out.Cook carrots whole and slice them later to get eight times more beta carotene. Don’t bother getting those little bags of carrot nubbins. They’ve simply been whittled down and the most nutrient dense part thrown away, to the point where they have zero flavor.

Whether your kids are doing online school or taking the bus, in Chinese medicine we say that now is the time to “close the gates,” stay home as much as possible. Perhaps you’ve noticed the “cold wind invasion.” When it’s windy out, cover your ears with flap hats, stocking caps or earmuffs. Stay well.

Remember that spiritual values will always out-trump monetary ones. If you need more food, learn about foraging and look to your own back yard. Those “weeds” are quite edible (some are tastier than spinach) and those weeds can become part of your diet.

Europeans routinely eat dandelions in their salads. Good for the liver.

The water you cook your green leafies in has almost 300 antioxidants compared to the spinach itself, which has less than 100. Drink the spinach water or at the very least cool it to water your plants.

We currently live in a world of wastefulness. The “clean your plate club” began between WWI and WWII. Now Americans throw out almost half of the food we purchase, while children are starving throughout the globe. This is shameful.

The reasons we want to maintain biodiversity are because if one crop fails utterly, we have a chance that the seeds of another crop won’t. If we are all eating the same few foods, and that one fails, it won’t be pretty.

The potato famine in Ireland happened because only one strain of potato was being grown. When that crop failed, all of Ireland was in trouble and mostly abandoned.

Buy your garden seeds from a company that signs the “safe seed pledge,” vowing to avoid genetically modified (GM) seeds. Local companies may have seeds better adapted to your environment. Most of the world refuses to buy GM foods. But in the U.S. it’s a growing monetary concern. Aren’t we at least as smart as the rest of the world? Buy organic.

Read up on Jeffery Smith’s works on GM foods – it’s very scary. I was once at a seminar of 300 physicians and numerous speakers from around the world. Smith was the only speaker who got a standing ovation. Three hundred healthcare workers stood to applaud Smith, who had no fancy letters behind his name. Information comes from many sources.

It’s not that we don’t have hope. If we all start doing our part, we will survive to leave a workable Earth for generations to come. We own a lot of stuff and we make a lot of garbage. We use up 70 percent of the world’s resources though we’re only 40 percent of its make up. But we can change. Are you up for the challenge?

The role of an inventory by Paula Walker on 10/01/2020

Perhaps it seems so commonplace, as to be surprising, that something as basic as a list of items could be so important to the legal system, when you are acting as Personal Representative (PR), aka “Executor,” of a will. But such is the case that your key responsibility after being appointed to this position by the court is to turn your efforts to begin creating a list of the decedent’s property that has fallen to you to manage, account for, value and some of which eventually to distribute.

As court-appointed PR, once you have thoroughly reviewed the will with legal counsel and before anything is removed from the home, take stock of the decedent’s personal belongings. Some of those will possibly be designated as a gift to someone in particular. You must track those to account that they were distributed as designated in the will.

Your inventory is the start of that final accounting. You want to know what the home holds: e.g. jewelry, clothing, household furniture, furnishings and fixtures, chinaware, silver, photographs, works of art, books, sporting goods, electronic equipment, musical instruments, etc., and those assets not directly in the home that are part of the house and property, including boats, automobiles, shop tools, yard equipment, etc. Each are listed with your estimated or appraised value of a particular item or a category of items.

In addition to household items, personal effects and other personal property as listed prior, your inventory will contain a listing of the decedent’s real property and personal property: e.g. bank accounts, contracts and loans with balances outstanding, investment accounts, stocks, bonds, and could include other financial accounts such as life insurance and retirement accounts, depending on the provisions in the will.

There is a universe of items that must be included in your inventory unique to the holdings and possessions of the decedent.

This provides just an example of the task before you as PR to account to the court and manage transfers to the designated beneficiaries.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Anthony Bourdain, international chef, provides insight into the likely contents of an estate inventory that would have been prepared for the court by his PR/Executor, his estranged wife Ottavia Busia. The contents of his will that directed the distribution and management of his $1.21M estate upon his death by suicide in the Hotel Le Chambard in the Alsace region of France in June 2018, account for items that fall along the lines described in the prior section.

According to court papers his assets included: personal property cash and savings of $425,000, a brokerage account of $35,000, other personal property valued at $250,000 and intangible property including royalties and residuals valued at $500,000. The court documents did not list real property, such as Bourdain’s East 94th Street New York City condo, purchased for $3.35M in 2014 and listed for sale three months after his death for $3.7M. Wonder how that missed the court records? Well, in addition to his will, Bourdain did also have a trust. Trusts are not a matter of public record. Something to keep in mind as you make your decisions on your own estate plan.

Break out the stock pot by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2020

Goodbye summer, you were... something. We will need some comfort this fall. Here's some piping hot recipes that will feel like a cashmere sweater for your soul.

Sausage and potato beer cheese soup

I love to use ale for this soup. If you'd like to switch out potatoes for cauliflower you would make it keto friendly.

1/2 package kielbasa sausage diced

2 cups peeled, diced Yukon gold potatoes

1 small onion minced

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 cloves minced garlic

1t Italian seasoning

1t salt

1/2t pepper (white pepper is best here)

1T butter

2T all-purpose flour

1T olive oil

1 cup good quality ale

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese

Over medium high heat in a large pot add the oil and butter, then add in the sausage. Cook until the edges are crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside, add the veggies including potatoes and seasonings. Cook, stirring often until veggies are almost tender.

Add beer (it will bubble) and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer covered for 30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool slightly - ladle the soup one cup at a time into blender, pouring back into the pot until the soup is chunky smooth. Whisk together the cheese, cream and flour, add mixture to soup and bring to a simmer stirring constantly until thickened. Garnish with sausage.

 

Apple pie cookie skillet

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

4 Grannie Smith apples peeled and diced

1t corn starch

1T lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2t cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

One recipe of homemade or prepared sugar or oatmeal cookie dough. Press into the cast iron skillet and set aside.

Optional toppings:

Chopped pecans

Caramel sauce

Ice cream

Whipped cream

Mix juice and cornstarch and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to skillet and cook over medium heat until apples are tender. Add juice mixture adding some water if too dry (consistency should be syrupy). Add corn starch if too much liquid.

Pour apples over cookie dough, bake for 20 minutes and serve warm topped with ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream and chopped pecans.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Wildlife photography by Gary Randall on 09/01/2020

I enjoy being a landscape photographer. Being a landscape photographer allows me opportunities to be out within nature to photograph its beauty, many times in breathtaking conditions. Being out in nature also allows me to enjoy encounters with the creatures that inhabit these beautiful sceneries.

 

Landscape photographers are typically unprepared to photograph an encounter with a deer, a squirrel or even an occasional bear, primarily since a landscape lens is a wide-angle focal length. A wide-angle lens will not do justice to any kind of wildlife photography. Most of the creatures will be small and obscure within the scene. A typical focal length for a landscape scene will be somewhere around 18mm/24mm. In the world of wildlife photography life begins at 600mm and so an investment in a long focal length zoom lens must be made. I use a 150mm – 600mm lens.

Photographing wildlife takes a different approach as well. A landscape photographer will set their camera up on a tripod and, basically, take their time constructing the shot. There is usually no rush at all, and the shot is usually made with manual settings. But with wildlife, the animals do not pose for you and they are usually fleeting in their appearance. Your photos usually must be made in a blink of an eye and handheld.

My method for photographing wildlife is to set my camera up on either Aperture Priority or even Shutter Priority. I then will set my ISO to Auto and make sure that the range will cover all lighting conditions. In Aperture Priority you will set the aperture and the camera will choose the best shutter speed and ISO, again making sure that the shutter speed is quick enough to get a shot without any kind of motion blur. Open the aperture all the way and push the ISO. Some photographers prefer to set the shutter speed and not the aperture to make sure that it is always fast enough. In that case you set the shutter speed and the camera adjusts the aperture and ISO. Either method works and depends on personal preference or conditions. But it is important to make sure that you have a fast enough shutter speed. Either way these settings will be preferred over manual operation as it allows you to make a shot quickly without having to manually adjust as the animal is moving. Give it a try.

I had the opportunity to photograph wildlife in Alaska recently. Black bears, grizzly bears, moose, harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, eagles and other animals, but the grizzly bears were the most thrilling. This allowed me to use these techniques to nail the photos as the bears were going about their business feeding on fish in the river. Grizzly bears are very focused on fishing and are not aggressive toward humans in this situation unless they were to feel threatened. Using a 600mm focal length allowed plenty of room between us and the bears and allowed them to go about their business as we went about ours. We sat on the opposite side of the Kenai River and watched them as they pulled fish from the river.

Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority works well in other situations as well. Photographing people in quick moving situations, such as candid photos of wedding guests for example, will allow you to pay attention to your subjects and not have to deal with the camera settings. Also, a longer focal length zoom lens works well for that too as you don’t have to get up close to your subject, allowing for more candid photos.

I recommend any photographer that wants to photograph wildlife to invest in a “long lens” and practice. Try the automatic settings Aperture and Shutter Priority. Use it in your yard on squirrels and birds and then go out to a wildlife refuge or a natural place frequented by animals and become a wildlife photographer. While you are out in the wild please be careful of your safety as well as being respectful of the animal’s space and safety. And as always when in nature, leave it better than you found it.

Clearcuts are ugly – but they can also be useful by Steve Wilent on 09/01/2020

What’s wrong with clearcuts? I’ll tell you what I think: They’re ugly. A patch of trees is prettier than a patch of stumps.

Some clearcuts are done in the wrong place, such as on steep slopes with houses or roads downhill. Sometimes runoff from clearcuts gets into streams and fouls habitat for fish and other aquatic critters. There are other valid objections to clearcutting. However, clearcutting in our western Oregon forests often is an appropriate forest-management practice.

I’m a forester, and I’ve objected to clearcuts in some cases. Many years ago, when I worked for the US Forest Service on the El Dorado National Forest in California, part of my job was measuring and marking timber to be harvested. Sometimes I objected to the use of clearcutting. For example, one 20-acre parcel had a few large, old-growth Ponderosa pine trees and lots of relatively young pines and firs, the result of a seed-tree harvest 40 years previously. The Forest Service’s prescription was to cut everything and plant seedlings. My opinion was that a better option would have been to leave most or all of the large trees and cut about half of the younger ones, since many of them were too close together and not growing well. Such a thinning would have allowed the remaining young trees to grow faster and taller. The next harvest, say in 20 or 30 years, might have been another seed-tree harvest, where all but the largest trees were left to scatter their seeds to start a new generation of young trees.

In other cases, the use of clearcutting was justified. My colleagues and I mapped and marked trees on many areas with 60- to 80-year-old Douglas-fir, white fir and other species. Logs from these clearcuts were sent to lumber mills and seedlings were planted. Today, those seedlings are close to 40 years old, and most visitors wouldn’t know that the site had been clearcut decades ago. Yes, a seed-tree cut or a thinning could also have been implemented, but in this case timber production was the primary goal. I’m okay with that. I live in a house made from lumber from clearcuts, and I’m okay with that, too.

Many people object to the use of clearcutting, period. That’s understandable, since they’re ugly and, if used improperly, can cause environmental damage. But consider this: just about everyone who lives in the Hoodland area lives in a clearcut. Trees once stood where your home is. The same goes for Welches school, Hoodland Plaza and other businesses and restaurants – and the roads we use to get to them. If you use Hwy. 26, you drive on a clearcut. The city of Portland was first known as Stumptown, and most of the metro area was once covered in forest. Sandy, too.

Do you enjoy the delicious apples, pears and cherries grown in the Hood River area? What was on the land before the orchards were planted? Much of it was timbered.

Do you enjoy the superb wines made by Oregon wineries? Last year, according to the Oregon Wine Board, nearly 2,000 acres of new vineyards were planted in our state, bringing the total number of acres of wine grapes to nearly 36,000. Before they were vineyards, most of those acres were covered with trees, grass and other vegetation.

Do you use electricity? The Bonneville Power Administration power line corridor that runs from The Dalles to Troutdale, known as Big Eddy–Troutdale No. 1, cuts across the Mt. Hood National Forest and a bit of private land from Parkdale to Sandy, then heads north to Corbett, a distance of about 43 miles (measured via Google Earth Pro). Drive up Lolo Pass Road and you’ll see miles of the corridor. Most of the corridor was cleared of timber when it was built in the 1950s; these days, BPA crews regularly cut seedlings cut and/or use herbicides on the brush before it grows tall enough to interfere with the lines. At roughly 375 feet wide, this section of the corridor is essentially a clearcut that covers about three square miles. (For what it’s worth, I hope that someday we’ll get our electricity from small, local, solar arrays or generators that use hydrogen as a fuel, making such powerline corridors unnecessary.)

Clearcuts to make way for housing and commercial development, orchards, vineyards and power lines are permanent clearcuts. They’ll never be forest again. Clearcutting for timber production and other purposes – yes, there are other purposes – almost always become forest again. Under Oregon law, all areas where timber is harvested must be replanted or have certain levels of natural regeneration within a few years.

Believe it or not, clearcutting can have positive impacts on wildlife habitat. I’ve been following a story from the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area in New Jersey, where the state Division of Fish and Wildlife and partner New Jersey Audubon have harvested small areas of mature timber in the 3,500-acre reserve. One of their main goals was to create habitat for bird species that need brushy areas, not dense timber. At least one of those birds, a golden-winged warbler – a candidate for the federal endangered species list – showed up in June, and it may have a mate and a nest. This was six years after the harvest – a clearcut that had drawn loud protests from people who object to the use of clearcutting, period. New Jersey Audubon reports that bird diversity increased almost twofold in the clearcut, to an average of about 30 species, including 10 species of concern. The same sort of thing happens here in Oregon.

Clearcuts are ugly, sure, but sometimes some good comes from them. I’m okay with that.

Have a question about clearcutting? Want to take a walk in a clearcut area to see birds and other critters? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: Wildfire season by Rep. Anna Williams on 09/01/2020

As I navigate the uncharted territory of representing our communities during a pandemic, I’ve been spending a lot of time calling people throughout Sandy, the mountain communities and the Hood River Valley, asking them what they’re concerned about. A few things have understandably been coming up over and over again since spring: unemployment, racial justice and public health. One thing I’ve only just begun to hear about, though, is something people in our part of the state should all be aware of: wildfire season is upon us.

Since fire season began in early July, dry conditions, high heat and wind have led to fires throughout Oregon. As I write this, the Mosier Creek Fire, a nearly 1,000-acre fire that ignited mere miles outside of the boundaries of my legislative district, has only just been contained after spreading rapidly and burning for days. Despite that single success in our state’s wildfire response, Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfires throughout the state.

Wildfire is a serious concern for people in this part of the state. I’ve heard the same sentence uttered by many people in our mountain communities: “I’m afraid we could be the next Paradise, California.” With one road into these communities and one road out, atop a mountain covered with wildfire fuel, it is clearer to people in the Sandy and Hoodland area than to most others throughout the state that we need to invest significantly in our wildland firefighting programs.

The first bill I signed on to co-sponsor when I was sworn into the legislature was aimed at increasing our state’s preparedness for fire season. Community resiliency in the face of fire threats has been a top priority for me after hearing from so many people who were impacted by the Eagle Creek fire in 2017. Unfortunately, political gamesmanship – namely, the repeated walkouts by my Republican colleagues – have kept us from passing several bills that would have provided crucial assistance to Oregon’s fire response efforts.

Thankfully, in April, the legislature’s Emergency Board approved a spending increase of $3.6 million to assist crews in fire suppression efforts. However, this investment pales in comparison to the roughly $4 billion that our state will spend over the next 20 years to adapt to the new fire management challenges that climate change has forced upon us. That’s why, no matter what other disagreements we may have, I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide robust wildfire prevention funding.

Rest assured, we have seen successes despite our limited resources. In the Mosier Creek Fire, for example, the state’s pandemic-ready fire response teams had their first successful deployment. The “COVID fire module,” a new tool for firefighting during the pandemic, allows the men and women at the fire line to do their brave and essential work with reduced risk of spreading illness to their colleagues. Thanks to the deployment of this state resource, the Mosier Creek fire was quickly and safely contained, and I remain optimistic that any other fires that may flare up in the months to come will be managed quickly and effectively.

That said, we all need to do our part. This year, a higher than usual percentage of fires have been human caused. So please, if you’re visiting a campground to safely distance while getting outside, be sure to completely extinguish any campfires you set (and, of course, follow all fire bans if they are in place). If you smoke, put your cigarettes out completely and be sure you toss them in a trash can when you’re done. Finally, make sure your car is in good condition if you’re driving through dry areas: metal dragging from cars, worn brake pads that throw off sparks and even hot exhaust pipes or mufflers (if driven through dry brush), can start wildfires.

If we all do our part – on an individual and statewide level – we can confront the threat of wildfires even with limited resources to invest in prevention and preparedness.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

View Points – Sandy: Planning for Sandy's future by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 09/01/2020

As a precocious teenager interested in civics and public service at Sandy High School, my Civics teacher nominated me for a “shadow councilor” position for the Sandy City Council. As a shadow councilor, we would receive meeting briefing packets in the mail at school, meet with our City Councilor and sit behind them during council meetings. At the end of the meeting we would even get to participate in councilor reports and provide our own as a shadow councilor.

I would sit there as a young high school student and watch as our local leaders debated issues and planned for the future of our city. During that time and over the next 20 years, I would often think about the actions I would take and the kind of leader I would be if I were ever to have that kind of responsibility to the city that so many of us love so dearly.

These past two years as your Mayor has been one of the greatest highlights of my life. To serve the community that I both grew up in and then later decided to raise my own family in has been a true honor. The only better feeling is knowing how much we have accomplished with the help of my fellow Sandy City Councilors!

Despite a global pandemic, the work we’ve done as a city to enrich the lives of our neighbors, improve traffic congestion and keep our citizens safe is something I’m truly proud of.

I made a lot of promises two years ago, and as your Mayor I’ve been able to keep every one of them.

To help keep Sandy moving, we negotiated a joint venture with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a feasibility study for a local bypass for our citizens. Additionally, we received approval for synchronized traffic lights from ODOT on Hwy. 26, secured funding for 362nd to Bell Street to alleviate the school time commute off Bluff Road and won county transportation funds for paved shoulders along 362nd Ave.

Our local Sandy small businesses are the heartbeat of our community and as promised, we stood up for them! We spearheaded a COVID-19 relief fund to provide $3,000 in aid to local small businesses. We slashed red tape by removing System Development Charges for patio seating at local restaurants and burdensome parking requirements, and we increased funding for the Tenant Improvement Program for local businesses.

Finally, one of my most important responsibilities as your Mayor is to protect your pocketbook and your family. These past two years we’ve been enormously successful in doing precisely that. We adopted the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan that included $500,000 in funds from the State. If successful, this study could help us cut the facility costs in half. Perhaps even more importantly, we provided our Sandy Police Department with not only increased funding, but also a stable funding source that should pay huge dividends for the department in the years ahead.

These are just a few of our major accomplishments and yet there is still so much left to do. We’ve done a terrific job laying the foundation for Sandy to flourish into the future. Now is the time to work with our neighbors to collectively plan for our future as a community.

As one of Oregon’s fastest growing cities, now is the time to properly plan for our potential. These next two years need to be about making good on my promise for a community-led effort to plan for what we want Sandy to look like in the years ahead. This coming year, I want our Sandy City Council to make it a goal to both identify funding for and officially kick-off our comprehensive planning efforts for growth. This endeavor should include a community outreach and engagement effort. Every neighbor, small business owner and community volunteer or activist should have the opportunity to participate in the planning of our community.

We will also look to this same kind of community-led effort for the Sandy Community Campus. Now is the time for our neighbors to engage and collectively develop a long-term plan and strategy for this major project.

Let us together continue to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Fantastic flavors by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2020

Crab Boil

A whole meal in a pot, fit for a crowd. Sausage, potatoes, corn and shellfish simmering in a spicy broth. Add a loaf of crusty bread and you'll have the perfect summer meal alfresco!

2-3 lbs crab legs

2 lbs shell on shrimp

4 ears of corn, each cut into four pieces

1 lb baby potatoes

1 lb andouille sausage

1 onion, diced

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup minced garlic

2 cups chicken broth

1 stick unsalted butter

Bay leaf

1/4 cup Cajun seasoning

Grab a large pot, and over medium heat melt the butter, then add the seasoning. To the pot add onion, celery and garlic. Sautee for a few minutes then add the sausage, corn, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a summer, add the shellfish and cook for five minutes more.

Key lime bars

A cool citrus desert is the perfect ending to a hot summer night.

For the crust:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 t salt

Process in a food processor or mix with a pastry cutter. Press into square pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling:

6 oz soft cream cheese

4 egg yolks

1 T key lime zest

1 t vanilla

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Mix all the ingredients together using a whisk or electric mixer. Pour onto the cooled crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until set. Cool completely.

Even the smallest garden can offer empowerment by Victoria Larson on 09/01/2020

The most rewarding money and stress reliever is gardening, empowering your food security. I gave my son-in-law a tomato plant for Father’s Day. Hie lives in an apartment and was thrilled when he got his first tomato!

Even if you only grow one plant on your porch, you empower yourself. Even if you only grew one zucchini you probably ended up with a lot of food. One eight-inch zucchini shredded will fill a one-quart freezer container. A quart of frozen zucchini mixed with cooked rice or quinoa makes lovely fritters for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or there’s always zucchini chocolate cake!

Of course, if you had/have a larger garden, you may need to lock your car door at church to avoid anyone dropping a baseball-bat-sized zucchini into your car. Though they may be sliced lengthwise for lasagna or crosswise for sautιing.

Never waste food. In addition to the Victory Gardens being promoted between WWI and WWII, there was the “clean your plate” endeavor as part of those global efforts. Now we’ve somehow come back as almost half of all food in America is tossed as “garbage.” No wonder starving nations think we are wasteful. Start a compost heap, get chickens or even pet Guinea pigs to eat your vegetable “waste.”

If you have a larger garden, it’s not too late to preserve food for winter. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting may consume your time, but if you’re currently out of work it’s a good way to empower yourself. And it feels great to look at those filled pantry shelves. You’ll be “prepared” for surprises.

There’s still a lot coming out of the garden – cukes, peppers, tomatoes, beans and of course, kale. Make kale chips or kale guacamole, or zucchini hummus. Simply substitute whatever you have a lot of in your favorite recipes.

And forage – actually pick all those apples on your or your neighbor’s apple trees (with permission, of course). When I lived on my five-acre homestead, I owned Clackamas County’s oldest living Gravenstein apple tree.

After applesauce, juice and dried cinnamon apples, my four donkeys and two llamas got the rest. Chickens cleaned up any pests under the trees. Alas, while also something of a homesteader, the new owner of that farm has cut down that tree, as well as the pear tree next to it (which once gave me 96 quarts of pears in one year). Is buying applesauce in little plastic containers a better option? Not any more.

That new farmer also tore down the old cabin that was always cool, under that historical apple tree. It was built in the 1930s as a place to live, with an outhouse and no electricity or running water. I had used it as a guest house, a bunkhouse for farm workers and my ex-husband wrote several books there. Now it’s history that is gone forever.

But my new property, while not even an acre, may have one of the last free-standing fruit rooms around. Eight-foot by nine-foot, all four walls are fifteen inches thick. A perfect place to store my home-canned goods, potatoes, squash, onions, fruit and eggs. Even t.p. in case of the next unforeseen disaster.

I am no longer part of the “consume all you can” society, thought I’ll admit that previously living alone in a 2,200 square foot house left lots of room for “acquiring.” Maybe the pendulum is now swinging back to “less is More” – even my 12-year-old grandson requested no gifts for his birthday party. Buying things for a moment’s pleasure that end their lives in the landfill is no longer sustainable. Let’s build up spiritual abundance and peace instead of “stuff.”

As the time to “gather up” the garden nears, remember to tithe to the soil which provides for you. While continuing to plant lettuce and other green leafies, every couple of weeks, you can still plant starts of cabbage, kale, garlic, onions, potatoes and root crops to see you through the winter. With store squashes, that’s a lot of food. So you can maybe stop buying industrial and packaged food and eating out so often.

We each need enough food to see us through the “lean months” of February and March. Those home-canned tomatoes become the “fast food” of the end of the year – think soup, sauces, casseroles. Many grocery stores still don’t have fully filled shelves and may never again! What if our next crisis is over oil and gas? Transportation will become different. Though we’re all getting used to staying home more, it never hurts to be prepared.

The cooler air of September makes us restless, we know change is in the air. Time to gather up sweatshirts and blankets for we know cooler times are coming. Learn new skills and teach the children. Publications like Mother Earth News, the New Pioneer and this newspaper will help you learn – and empower yourselves! Even if I never make a bone needle or hook up my own solar heating, I like knowing where to find acorns and black walnuts and which plants on my own property are useful for medicine or food. I feel empowered.

Aren't all trusts revocable? by Paula Walker on 09/01/2020

When we talk about a Trust as opposed to a Will as your basic estate plan document, we are in general referring to a Revocable Living Trust. A ‘brain-ful’ to remember and a mouthful to repeat. But why the term “revocable” and what about the term “living?” And are all trusts “revocable?”

First off what is a Trust? It is a legal entity you set up to manage your assets and possessions, such as investment accounts, real estate, qualified tax accounts, cars, art, jewelry etc. You place your assets inside the Trust to manage them during your life and to provide the means to manage them and/or their distribution upon your death. There are two types of “living trusts,” i.e. trusts made effective during your lifetime. They are revocable and irrevocable.

A Revocable Living Trust provides you the means to change the terms of the trust, retain control of your assets or cancel the trust altogether, i.e. ‘revoke’ it. Powers over the trust include adding and removing assets, naming beneficiaries, changing, adding and/or removing beneficiaries, changing what and how much is distributed to each beneficiary, dictating how distributions occur and when. This is in contrast to an Irrevocable Trust, which can also be a ‘living’ trust that is by contrast cast in stone. Except for rare circumstances, the terms of an irrevocable trust are set upon signing the agreement. Once signed, the Irrevocable Trust may not be changed, altered, modified or revoked after its creation.

Some of the key advantages to a Revocable Living Trust as the main estate planning document include avoiding probate, eliminating or minimizing estate taxes, eliminating or minimizing other tax consequences and other advantages to assist you in passing the value in your estate to those you intend to benefit from all that you worked to achieve.

More to come in subsequent articles on types of trusts and how they might work together or independently to meet your estate planning goal(s)

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Just for fun… an interesting story about a pair of jeans. Who would think that an old pair of jeans would be a treasure found and a valuable inheritance? Well such was the case for Jock Taylor. When rummaging in an old wooden trunk handed down in the family, Taylor—the great great grandson of Arizona pioneer Solomon Warner, a storekeeper in the Arizona Territory – found an old pair of jeans that dated back to the 19th century. The design of the jeans showed that they were made by Levi Strauss & Co. before 1901, in part because they had just one back pocket. Like archaeological finds, the size of the jeans, indicate that Solomon Warner was a “larger than-life character” as the jeans had a size 44 waist and 36-inch inseam; and because their pristine condition indicates that he had worn them very few times before his death. Not accepting the eager offer from Levi Strauss of $50,000 for the artifact jeans, Taylor eventually sold these jeans—a replica from the American Old west, sold in Maine, to a buyer living somewhere in Southeast Asia whose representative purchased them on May 15, 2018 – for nearly $100,000. Could a storekeeper in pioneer territory ever imagine that his practical purchase of a pair of jeans in 1893 would fetch a small fortune nearly 125 years later and travel the country and the globe in winding their way to a new owner?

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

 


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Focus for effect by Gary Randall on 07/30/2020

Focus and clarity in a photograph is something that we try our best to achieve when making a photograph. It’s a part of the process that takes time and practice to study and to understand. It’s important to be able to understand how to focus properly and to direct that focus to where it will benefit the impact and quality of the photo. But does the photo need to be completely “tack sharp” in its focus and clarity? Let’s discuss how to use focus and depth of field to create better images.

 

There are two ways to eliminate, or cause, areas in your photograph that are not in focus, but only one can be affected by focusing. Focus typically affects the whole photograph while a shallow depth of field will cause softness and clarity in areas of the photo. Focus is easily explained and affected by the action of turning the focus ring to bring the image into clear focus. The next that I’ll discuss is more complicated. Affecting the depth of field, or the depth of the focused area in the photo is controlled by the aperture.

A lens aperture will have the effect of deeper depth of field when the lens is “stopped down.” The action of stopping down a lens is simply changing the aperture opening to a smaller hole (a larger number on the aperture ring). When you reduce the size of the aperture opening you are stopping more light from entering the lens, but you are also increasing the depth of field - the amount of area in focus. Stopping down will usually create more focus from front to back in the photograph. Conversely opening up the aperture will cause a shallower focused area.

One element of focusing that must be understood is that the closer an object that’s being focused on will also create a shallower depth of field. Every lens has a minimum focus distance.

This minimum focus distance is the area when the lens can no longer focus as the foreground of the object that needs to be focused is too close to the lens. And the closer that you get to this minimum focus distance, the shallower your depth of focus will be, causing things in the distance to be less clear.

There are calculations that can be used, called hyperfocal distance, but just understanding how this works will allow you to use it to better understand how to maximize or control your focus. Just keep in mind that if you stop down, you maximize the depth of field and if you open your aperture up you will minimize the depth of field. In addition, your depth of field will narrow the closer that the subject gets to the lens.

Now, how can we use this knowledge to make better photos? It’s pretty simple really when you understand that it can be used to separate the subject from a background, for instance.

You can open up the aperture, creating a narrow depth of field, to focus just on a flower or a person while blurring out the background. Or if you’re struggling with keeping as much as possible in focus, understanding that you need to stop down and/or back up a little bit from the foreground will help you achieve that.

Having a camera that allows you to control the settings gives one the ability to craft better photos. Understanding how to achieve focus or soft out of focused areas according to the effect that one wants to achieve will elevate your photography to a whole new level.

 

MHGS: the end of an environmentally excellent era by on 07/30/2020

It all began five years ago. I had responded to a classified ad in The Mountain Times, and soon I found myself having coffee and listening to a man share a vision he had for creating sustainability opportunities on the mountain. Doug Saldivar had cut his teeth with the pioneering nonprofit organization Portland Recycling Team that operated at a time when recycling was far from the norm.

Now through his position as President of The Villages board, he had recruited Dave Fulton and they were seeking others to join their efforts. The new organization had launched five years earlier by holding a contest for the Welches school children to choose a name. Second-grader Benny's entry won, and the Mt. Hood Green Scene was born.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene later merged with the Portland Recycling Team, becoming a 501(c) non-profit organization. Through our efforts on the mountain, we were able to bring the community a number of collection events for items that are not recyclable curbside, thus preventing much toxic waste from going into the landfills.

We are proud of the partnerships we formed with the Hoodland community. Page’s Auto & Tire collected used tires. We worked with the Hoodland Thriftway to bring about used plastic bag collection.

Together with the Welches Mountain Building Supply Company, we initiated a used paint collection program. We collaborated with youth from the Ant Farm to clear the land at the Welches School for use in their outdoor school program.

We worked with some local lodging facilities to collect bath soap for donation to homeless shelters in Portland. With the support of Clackamas County Environmental Services, we collected things such as used fluorescent lightbulbs and batteries to keep toxic elements from seeping into the groundwater. We cleared English Ivy, an invasive species, from a local community.

Much of our work has focused in the area of community education. We held a movie series at the Wraptitude, various lectures at Wy’East Book Store & Art Gallery. We worked with the Sandy High School Science Department to involve kids in our events in hopes of inspiring them. They developed a drama version of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” long before the film came out. And of course, for the past five years a monthly column thanks to the wonderful support of the Mountain Times.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene has been embraced by the community and even had some detractors. In spite of it, we persevered and are proud of the work we have done. Now the time has come for us to pass the baton. Our non-profit organization is closing its doors.

The remaining funds have been “recycled” to the Environmental Learning Center at Clackamas Community College. It is intended to support their work of teaching the youth to become stewards and defenders of the planet they will inhabit.

In the name of all of the Board of Directors and myself, thank you for the years of community support and please continue to tread lightly on our Mother Earth.

 

View Points – Salem: One voice can make a difference by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/30/2020

Civil unrest in our state and the constantly evolving pandemic brings about new, major public health measures every week. With all this going on, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the small but important policy changes taking place in Oregon, and it can be hard to feel like one person’s voice can really make a difference. Recently one of my constituents contacted me, leading to small change that could have vast impacts on the quality of tens of thousands of Oregonians’ lives.

I received an email from a Hood River resident asking about a program put in place by Colorado’s state health department. The department’s guidance allowed for outdoor visitation at residential care facilities – putting an end to the state’s ban on any visitation to long-term care residents that had been in place since the beginning of the pandemic.

My constituent wondered whether Oregon could implement a similar program. At the time, long-term care residents in Oregon had been almost completely isolated for months and I’d fielded several messages from long-term care residents’ frustrated family members about the psychological impacts of loneliness and spoken to older constituents who were suffering from isolation in their care homes. Earlier in the pandemic, the science on viral transmission indoors versus outdoors was not as clear as it is now, so outdoor visitation didn’t seem like a safe solution to the issue.

However, by June, all it took was an email. I reached out to the director of the Division on Aging and People with Disabilities within the Department of Human Services (DHS). He got back to me, emphasizing that the agency had been struggling with how to approach resumption of visitation. He said he would look into whether Oregon could implement such a program in the near future and agreed with my constituent and me that it would probably be low-risk for residents and family members alike.

Less than three weeks later, I’m proud to say Oregon released new guidelines that are nearly identical to Colorado’s. Starting July 21, long-term care facilities are now permitted to offer outdoor visitation as long as they put required safeguards in place. This will make a huge difference. Although visits to loved ones do carry some risk, they are also essential to well-being and I’m thrilled at this quick action to provide our long-term care residents some much-needed support.

While the policy itself is worth celebrating, I also share this story to highlight something that many people may have forgotten at a time when so much seems out of our hands: your voice matters. Whether it’s testifying at a school board meeting about racial equity, contacting elected officials to find solutions that help your small business navigate regulations (something else I was recently involved in) or writing your state representative about your policy ideas, a single person really can make a difference in this community, this state and this world. As always, I welcome your input on any changes you would like to see in Oregon. Email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or call 503-986-1452. I look forward to hearing from you!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

 

View Points – Sandy: A lifetime of service by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/30/2020

The late American Civil Rights icon and United States Congressman John Lewis once said, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

John Lewis was the epitome of a lifetime of service. In recent years there has been an uprising of populist activism across not just our nation and the globe, but also in our local communities like Sandy. Whether it be demonstrations for second amendment rights, against vaccines, opposing cap and trade policies, supporting cap and trade policies, the Black Lives Matter movement or the Blue line in support of local police departments, activism is on the rise.

While this activism, along with the right to protest and rally, are an important part of American life and what makes our nation so great, our democracy demands more of us than to simply participate in these kinds of activities and do nothing more.

Too often people get engaged too late in a process to invoke change and are only left with the ability to complain after the fact. What I have found through my own volunteerism is that the real difference needs to be made on the front end. This is not the easy work, but it is effective and the best way to invoke real change.

Too often local committees and board positions on local government bodies and nonprofits go unfulfilled. People notice things they don’t like happening or local festivals diminishing and are willing to go online to complain but are too often unwilling to roll up their own sleeves to help out to do the heavy lifting to get things done.

In his farewell address President Barack Obama said, “Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere.”

President Obama was right. While there are many things I disagreed with him on, it was these words that began to motivate me to run for Mayor of our community of Sandy.

My service has been one of the greatest highlights of my life.       While extremely challenging and frustrating at times, service at the local level is incredibly rewarding. At this level, you can see the change you’re making. You get to know the names and personalities of your neighbors. You learn their backstories and their hopes and dreams.

There is nothing more intimate or important than local community public service.

In Sandy, we have several open City Council seats available to run for as well as committee and board positions, from planning and parks to the library and arts. All of these positions have a direct impact on the community in which you live.

Our community needs you. We want you involved. We want you to show up when you can. We’d love a lifetime of service.

We want this because we know that with you involved, we can keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

 

Why did my tree die? (Or, there's a fungus among us) by Steve Wilent on 07/30/2020

Have you heard the one about the mushroom who walks into a bar and orders a beer?

The bartender says, “Hey, we don’t serve your kind in here!”

The mushroom says, “Why not? I’m a fungi!”

Here on the Mountain, if the mushroom who walks into the bar is a chanterelle or a morel, the bartender will probably welcome the “fun guy” and invite a few hundred of its closest friends to join them. And they’ll never be seen again — unless they’re on a plate or in a bowl.

Seriously, certain fungi are a serious topic in my neighborhood and elsewhere in the area, and not because they’re delicious. Some of them are tree killers. And those dead trees can be dangerous if they fall on you or your house. Ask me how I know.

I’ll tell you how: About 20 years ago, during a December windstorm, Lara and I were watching through a window as the very tall trees on our property whipped and bent in the wind. We heard a deep subterranean snapping sound, and another, and then watched a 150-foot Douglas-fir fall onto the house. We weren’t hurt—we were 20 feet from the point of impact, but we sure felt the impact. The tree “only” clipped one corner of the house, but smashed a sizable portion of the roof, broke a couple of windows, and did other damage. Fortunately, our insurance company paid our claim quickly and the damage was repaired within six weeks, thanks to Jim Gunesch of Cherryville Construction and his crew.

Several other large trees on our 1.5 acres have blown down or died since then. Three that were apparently healthy blew down without doing much damage. Two died but remained standing, and I cut them down before they could fall where we didn’t want them. All of these trees died because they were infected with a fungal root disease. Several trees on my neighbors’ properties also have died recently, but — so far, fingers crossed — no homes or cars have been hit by falling trees. Asplundh crews have been in the neighborhood this summer to cut down trees that had died and threatened power lines. I have a feeling that the crew will be back before long.

The three trees on my property that blew down, including the one that hit our house, and the two I cut down, had a fungal disease called laminated root rot. I suspect that many of the Douglas-fir trees that are dead or dying in our area also have laminated root rot, alone or in combination with other diseases and insects. When a tree’s roots are weakened by a fungal disease, insects such as bark beetles are attracted to the tree and their attack can overwhelm the weakened tree’s natural defenses. But by the time the insects arrive, the tree is probably as good as dead anyhow.

According to Oregon State University, laminated root rot is one of the most damaging root diseases in Oregon. It affects all conifers, but is most damaging to Douglas-fir, the most common tree in our area. The fungus causes roots to decay and separate along annual growth rings, thus the term laminated. Unfortunately, evidence of the disease is usually not visible — often, the first indication of any trouble is when an apparently healthy Douglas-fir dies or is blown down.

Also unfortunately, even if a forester or arborist can determine if a tree is infected with laminated root rot — even experts have trouble doing so — there’s nothing they can do about it except to cut the tree down if it poses a danger to life and property. That can be spendy. Several years ago, when a large Douglas-fir across the road suddenly developed an ominous lean toward my house, I asked the neighbor to have the tree removed. He did so, at a cost of more than $1,000. Because the tree was close to several houses and power lines, it had to be removed in pieces from the top down—a labor intensive procedure. Of course, removing the tree also had the benefit of saving a house and other property from being squished. My neighbor said that the two cords of firewood in the tree made up for a portion of the cost of cutting it down.

To make matters worse, laminated root rot spreads from tree to tree underground through root contact. If one tree dies from laminated root rot, it is likely that nearby trees, though apparently green and healthy, are already infected. It is small consolation that the disease progresses slowly, once a tree is infected.

Several other root diseases may by affecting trees in your neighborhood. A publication from the Oregon State University Extension Service, “Ecology, Identification, and Management of Forest Root Diseases in Oregon,” has a wealth of information about laminated root rot and four other root diseases that are common in our state. See tinyurl.com/ybc46y68.

What to do? If you think a tree near your home is in poor health, consult an arborist or forester with experience in evaluating such trees.

Have a question about root diseases? A suggestion for a future column topic? Want to hear another great mushroom joke? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

What is fair about 'Fair Market Value' by Paula Walker on 07/30/2020

No – I didn’t switch over to real estate law since the last article, but the truth is that estate planning touches all aspects of law, because it is about people, their lives, their undertakings and their accumulations as a result. Real estate is a part of that formula. Very often, a person’s residence, or additional real estate holdings, is a key component of their plan. How they transition that asset, and the directions they want to codify for that purpose, constitute a core focus of their wealth, and often their legacy. A person’s home often is central to the life they have lived. The people that they intend to benefit with the transfer of that home, and its potential transfer of wealth financially or in terms of real property retained, deserve careful thought about how to handle the transfer and the distribution of interest in the real property. So, enter the concept of ‘fair market value,’ FMV.

In your estate plan you will leave your home and possibly other real property to one or more people to keep or to sell; or you may simply direct that the real property is to be sold, without option for retention. For the sake of your beneficiaries you want the best price possible if sold. FMV is often the standard set for that purpose. It differs from appraised value and market value though either of those may be used to help establish the FMV. The FMV, as a standard of guidance for the transfer of the wealth in that real property to your beneficiaries, is the price that the real property will fetch if placed on the open market for fair competition among multiple potential buyers and skillful negotiation on the part of the seller to bargain for the best price possible given the market at the time of sale. Or if the market is depressed, perhaps you create terms and conditions in your estate plan that support holding the property in the estate if that is the case, waiting for a market adjustment and return to better sales conditions.

The ‘fair’ in ‘fair market value’ refers to the conditions under which the price is established. i.e., the asset is (or would be) sold on the open market, both buyer and seller have reasonable knowledge of the asset — such as the condition, the features of the land and structure(s), what aspects of the property are in demand or are what the buyer is looking for, the competition for purchasing i.e., real estate in a high growth area will command a higher price; etc. — both are acting in their own best interest, each are free of undue pressure to trade and there is ample time to negotiate the terms of sale. That, in summary is the ‘fair’ of FMV.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Luis Carlos de Nornha Cabral de Camara.

Who??

None other than Luis Carlos de Nornha Cabral de Camara, the lonely, childless, wealthy Portuguese aristocrat whose valuable estate was distributed to 70 people that he did not know as orchestrated by his own deliberate action. As part of that estate, he owned a 12-room apartment in central Lisbon and a house near the northern town of Guimaraes. Wonder if he specified their sale at the Lisbon equivalent of FMV? At any rate, when he passed away at the age of 42, in 2001, seventy people that he had chosen from the Lisbon phone book some 13 years prior were his estate’s designated beneficiaries, having authenticated his will at a Lisbon registry office with two witnesses, one of them a friend of his who stated that, “He was determined that nothing should go to the state, which he thought had been robbing him of money all his life." Many of these strangers upon receiving a check from his estate, several thousand euros each, thought this was a scam. No wonder. Hopefully, all checked the facts and did not refuse the unexpected and unprecedented gesture of giving. Life is interesting – is it not?

The new normal – adjusting to less money and more stress by Victoria Larson on 07/30/2020

Here’s hoping all of you planted something last May as by now those gardens and plantings should be giving you a fair amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. With even some to put away for winter, for who knows what the future will bring us. It’s a different world now but hopefully you’ve found a way to fill your time while still staying in touch with family and friends.

Dealing with stress is a big part of daily life – computers and smart phones make huge amounts of information available to you… but do you need all that news? If it makes you anxious, you don’t. If it makes you sit, just sit, for eight hours at a time, you don’t. Spending time learning to knit or change a tire will help you become more self-sufficient and in control of your life. And it’s OK to turn off your phone for a period of time if the interruptions are causing stress. Use your phone to get in touch with, or keep in touch with, family and friends.

How do we deal with less money, more stress, health? Let’s start with laundry. Laundry can be easier (and the soaps much cheaper) if we do things in a new way. 90 percent of energy usage with laundry comes from heating the water. You don’t need to heat the water, as cold-water friction is as effective as hot water. Even though the fancy bright-packaged laundry soaps are back in the stores, you don’t need to go back to them. Natural cleaning products are as effective as the fancy ones. These include baking soda, borax, castile soap, white vinegar and even lemons and coarse salt. They are far cheaper and have less packaging, thereby saving you money and decreasing your carbon footprint.

Dishwashers are another energy hog due to their use of extremely hot water. And they break down. 90 percent of the people who own them rinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. “What does the dishwasher do?” Dishwasher detergents have enzymes in them to break down food particles. People actually do matter more than machines. Just stop pre-rinsing the dishes. Scraping plates into the compost bucket is OK.

When it comes to soap, remember that dishwasher soap is designed to break down food particles. If you use the cheapest kind, using more won’t make it work better. And while all those anti-bacterial liquid soaps have their place (the car, for instance), they are not necessarily anti-viral. COVID-19 is a virus. Anti-bacterials kill bacteria but they come in plastic containers with non-recyclable parts. Soap and water work as well as it’s the friction of scrubbing that really does the trick. Which is why we teach our kids to scrub their hands (often) and use a nail brush.

One of the biggest users of your energy dollars comes from driving. Though we’ve all been doing less of it, can we get it down even more? Gone is the “Sunday drive.” Do you really need to leave the house every day if you’re not currently working? Do you really need an SUV if there are only one or two people in your household? Do you really need to eat out three or more times per week? Fewer trips out will mean less exposure, less stress and less money spent.

Reduce your energy use as much as possible. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll have a sense of power (no pun intended) over your life. The absolute easiest thing you can do to decrease your energy use is dry clothes outside. Stop using your dryers, at least during the non-rainy months. Dryers use a tremendous amount of energy, as does anything that makes heat. Most of the world line dries their laundry, but in the U.S. 92 percent use dryers even when the sun is out! In China it’s hard to even find a clothes dryer to buy and only three percent use dryers. Brazil uses fewer than one percent dryers. Air is free (so far). Bring the smell of fresh air and sunshine into your home by drying clothes outside.

Back to gardening as it is a most rewarding money and stress reliever. One hour of gardening or 15 minutes outdoors if possible. Magnesium is important for the natural absorption of vitamin D. Men need 420 mg per day and women need 320 mg per day. Magnesium is in most vegetables. Best sources are almonds and spinach (80 mg), beans (60 mg), pumpkin seeds (70 mg). Eat these foods daily if you want to have more energy and stay healthy.

The simple life is just not so simple anymore. Google “simple life” and in a half a minute you will have more than a million responses! That is not exactly a simple start. Go slow in making changes. Start small with maybe one or two things per week. Children and the elderly are 50 percent less likely to experience depression and loneliness if they spend daily time outside. Give of yourself. It makes you feel good about yourself as well as your recipient. Be honest and kind in all of your dealings with others. Create connections by writing the story of your life and share that with grandkids, people in nursing homes or prisons. Share your life stories with those who are in quarantine.

 

One pan BBQ meal by Taeler Butel on 07/30/2020

All together now. Let's fire up those BBQ grills for one-pan meals!

Spatchcock chicken and veggies

Preheat the BBQ grill to 325 degrees.

1 whole chicken flattened, back bone removed (the butcher can do this for you). Coat with a dry rub.

Dry rub:

Mix together 2t each pepper, paprika, garlic powder, 1t salt, 1t cumin

4 sweet potatoes, halved

Sprinkle lightly with olive oil, salt and a pinch of cinnamon.

2 zucchini squash halved

1 large sweet onion – cut off one end and trim the other end – cut side up and quarter but not cutting quite through. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Place all ingredients on a large baking tray or cast-iron pan, bake on the grill for 45 minutes and serve with Alabama white BBQ sauce.

Alabama white BBQ sauce:

Mix together 1 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1T Worcestershire sauce, 1/2t each of onion powder, cayenne, pepper and water to thin. Refrigerate.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Rhododendron Season by Gary Randall on 07/01/2020

It’s rhododendron season again on Mount Hood. The “rhodies” are revered here on the Mountain as they are most likely the most popular wildflower. We even have a town that is named for the beautiful pink flowers that line our roads every springtime. They’re very photogenic and my wife Darlene and I are always glad to see rhododendron season arrive.

The name rhododendron is derived from the ancient Greek words for rose and tree. Of course, rhododendrons are neither a rose nor a tree. They’re a part of a genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heather family. They’re found mainly in Asia but are also widespread in the mountains of the American Pacific Northwest as well as in the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains. Azalea are related to rhododendrons.

Rhododendrons are so beautiful that they seem out of place in the forest. I have been asked several times by those friends not from here if they were planted along the highways as a beautification project. Of course, these beautiful flowers also grow far from roads throughout the forest but they love sunshine. You can find them growing along the roads because of that.

As photographers we can capitalize on that by going to a clearing with a beautiful view of Mount Hood for a photo. Many views can be found by taking a hike on many of the trails in the area.

The flower’s pastel pink blossoms in contrast with a beautiful blue sky is a perfect color combination and when blended with a beautiful snowcapped peak creates a classic composition. But these beautiful flowers will also grow in the forests among the trees. Many homes in the area have domestic rhododendrons of varying colors in their yards, but the beautiful native flowers are my favorite.

And furthermore, the bear grass blooms along with the rhododendrons on a typical year. The shape of these flowers, with their stem shooting up from the ground and their hundreds of small, white, sparkle-like blossoms flaring out into an orb reminds me of fireworks bursting in the sky.

The best news is that a photo such as that can be made with a cell phone. There’s no need to pack extra camera gear on a hike to the flowers, but if you want to create a more complex photo a digital camera will need to be used.

There is really not a lot more to say about these beautiful flowers besides my encouragement to take some time to appreciate this local flower that represents the beauty of our forests. 

If you have a burning desire, call the burn information line by Steve Wilent on 07/01/2020

Hello, my name is Steve, and I’m a pyromaniac. Well, not really — I don’t start fires that cause injury or harm, only small campfires that I and others enjoy. But when I was a small boy, my parents may have wondered whether they were raising a pyromaniac.

One day when I was about five years old, I saw smoke rising into the air from not far away. I hopped on my tricycle and raced off to investigate. A couple of streets away, firefighters had lit a field of tall, dry grass, presumably to burn it before a pyromaniac could do so. The fire was burning toward me; the firefighters were monitoring the blaze from across the field. As I sat on my trike on the sidewalk, I spied a telephone pole oozing with creosote set into the concrete a couple of feet from the edge of the field. I imagined that the pole would burn pretty well; I envisioned flames racing up its sides to make a huge torch.

But the pole was probably too far from the grass to be ignited by the flames. I decided to make sure the pole would catch. Working quickly, I gathered several armloads of dry grass and piled it around the pole, then added more dry grass between the pole and the edge of the field—a fuse of sorts. Satisfied that my plan was foolproof, I rode my trike across the street and sat back to watch the show.

As the flames approached the pole, a shadow came over me. I looked up and saw not a cloud, but a firefighter scowling down at me. He told me to stay put, then crossed the street and kicked all of the grass from around the pole into the field. He then escorted me home, explaining all the while what a terrible idea I’d had. After the firefighter explained my scheme to my mom, she escorted me directly to my room, where I imagine I was confined for at least the rest of the day.

These days, I confine most of my fires to the fire pit on my patio or in campgrounds. Once a year or so I burn a pile of forest debris, usually after a heavy rain when there’s no danger of the fire spreading to the woods. When fire danger is high, burning debris piles, otherwise known as backyard burning, is prohibited. Burning larger piles requires a permit from Hoodland Fire District. As most Hoodlanders know, all outdoor fires may be prohibited when fire danger is extreme, including campfires, also known as recreational fires.

What can you burn and when can you do it? As of June 15, 2020, all backyard burning is prohibited until further notice — even though the woods are still wet from recent rains. Recreational fires are still allowed.

In mid-June, I asked Scott Klein, a longtime Hoodland Fire officer who is temporarily serving as deputy chief, to explain.

“We have a seasonal closure on backyard debris burning from June 15, usually until October 1, depending on fire season. This is the standard season,” he said. “Right now it might be rainy, but we’re supposed to get temperatures into the 80s in the next few days, and if people have piles that are hot and smoldering, we could have the potential for fire spread.”

As of this writing, recreational fires are still allowed. However, conditions may change quickly.

“Recreational fires are allowed until the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Clackamas County Fire Defense Board shuts down all burning, and that’s usually when fire danger is very high or there’s a Red Flag Warning,” Klein said.

Red Flag Warnings are issued when warm temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

Last year was exceptionally warm and dry in our area, with several Red Flag Warnings, and recreational fires were prohibited for much of the summer, as were charcoal barbecues, outdoor fireplaces, and even smoking cigarettes outside.

When backyard burning is again allowed this fall, you won’t need a permit for debris piles five feet or less in diameter and five feet or less in height. For larger piles, you’ll need a free permit from Hoodland Fire.

Klein strongly advises anyone wanting to conduct a backyard burn or have a recreational fire to first call Hoodland Fire’s Burn Line, 503-622-3463, which provides a recorded message about current conditions and what, if any, burning is prohibited. Don’t rely solely on social media or other unofficial sources. Note that messages on Hoodland Fire’s Burn Line apply only to private lands in the area. Check with the Mount Hood National Forest (tinyurl.com/yc69s85s) and the Bureau of Land Management for restrictions on these federal lands (blm.gov/oregon-washington).

Klein said that most of the calls to the fire district are complaints about smoke that is irritating to neighbors. Check Hoodland Fire’s website for a list of materials that may not be burned, such as plastic, paint, household garbage, and other materials that create dense smoke or noxious odors.

Even when burning is allowed, it is important to monitor the fire and the surrounding area, even after the fire is out. Fire can burn underground along decomposed roots and spread to the woods. I saw this happen several years ago when a neighbor conducted a backyard burn, and two days later saw smoke arising from the ground across the road. Fortunately, he noticed the smoke before it could erupt into a fire that threatened his neighbors’ homes.

Have a question about wildfires? A suggestion for a future column topic? Need directions to the next meeting of Pyromaniacs Anonymous? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Viewpoints – Salem: Legislature returns by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2020

With protestors still marching in the streets across our nation on a daily basis, coronavirus cases on the rise in many Oregon communities and no end in sight to the economic uncertainty that has kept many of us up at night, the Oregon State Legislature is convening in a special session to address some of the most urgent issues affecting our state.

As I write this, the legislature hasn’t yet convened and we’re still finalizing the bills that will be discussed when we do. By the time you read this, we should be well on our way to passing policies that keep families safe and healthy, help them stay in their homes through the economic downturn and more. We’re also finalizing the procedures within the legislature that will keep legislators and staff safe and compliant with social distancing guidelines: this includes a limitation on how many Representatives are allowed on the House floor at one time, and it means that the business of legislating will be slower than we’re used to. Still, there’s a lot of important work to be done, and a lot of vital policies to help the people of Oregon.

With regard to pandemic response, the governor has used her executive powers extensively, and I think it’s time that the legislature be allowed to weigh in. As a co-equal branch of government, I’m happy she has sought our leadership in creating long-term policies that will support Oregonians in addressing the ongoing crisis.

At the risk of just giving a boring laundry list of bills, I want to keep everyone updated about why the legislature is going to Salem in the middle of a pandemic. We will be addressing the looming end of the governor’s eviction moratorium and providing utility bill assistance to low income Oregonians; we’ll also be looking at policies to address mortgage assistance and temporary restrictions on foreclosures for landlords who have stopped receiving rent during the moratorium. Other measures discussed could provide emergency shelter siting to combat homelessness during the pandemic, impose limited legal immunity for emergency isolation shelters and create rulemaking authority to make sure state agencies can react to this and other future viral crises.

I’ve written here before about the importance of bringing broadband service to rural areas, and one bill we’ll be discussing will do just that. As part of an economic recovery plan, the Rural Telecommunications Act will create a $5 million broadband fund to provide grants to service providers to create infrastructure in rural areas. While rural Oregonians have needed this sort of assistance for years, it’s especially pressing now as we rely more and more on remote teleconferencing, telehealth and distance learning during the pandemic.

We will be responding to a national call to action by taking up several timely police accountability measures introduced by our People of Color legislative caucus. We will be working to ban chokeholds as a method of restraint, as well as possibly banning the use of tear gas and sound cannons to disperse crowds. We’ll also discuss a proposed legal duty for law enforcement officers to report and intervene in fellow officers’ inappropriate uses of force, and a law that would require police departments to report officer disciplinary actions to a statewide, publicly accessible database. Finally, with regard to police use of force, we’ll discuss a bill that would assign the Attorney General as the independent investigating authority for all use of force cases that result in serious injury or death.

I’m hopeful that these measures, plus several other time-sensitive issues, will pass with bipartisan support, but I’m bracing for some heart-felt disagreements as we figure out how to navigate the process of legislating during a public health crisis. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues regardless of party affiliation to get important things done for hardworking families across Oregon.

Finally, we know that this session is only a first step. We will also need to come back to balance the state budget. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure we pass a responsible budget that doesn’t cause deeper harm to those already impacted by Coronavirus and the recession. If there are any policy or budgetary issues you would like to see us address before the 2021 session, please don’t hesitate to write or call and let me know your thoughts: Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: Sandy needs to be wonderful for everyone by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/01/2020

It is one of those moments in life that I’ll never forget where I was when I saw it. I will never forget that feeling of sheer horror and powerlessness as I watched as the officer knelt on the back of George Floyd’s neck and heard the pleas to the officers from onlookers to stop.

I felt the sudden urge to jump through the television screen as if I would be able to make it stop. As I watched, like so many of our fellow neighbors in Sandy and across America, I began to realize just how much work we have left to do.

I remember growing up as a kid in this community attending schools in the Oregon Trail School District. I remember learning in school about race relations, history and equality. I remember sitting in Brian Rausch’s class and listening to our nation’s history of civil rights in the way only he could teach. Like many of you, I also remember debating the issues of the day in Bert Key’s civics classes.

While in school, we were left with the sense that as Americans we had made mistakes, but everything was going to be different now. That all of the racism and discrimination would come to an end with our generation. For some, that fantasy came crashing down the day we witnessed that tragic scene through our screens.

We now had to face the reality that not only are we not going to see the end of these injustices in our lifetimes, our children would likely never see it in theirs either. For others, it was a stark reminder of the fear and intimidation they experience in their lives every day.

It is for these reasons that I strongly support and agree with our neighbors who have decided to speak out for the equality of black, indigenous and people of color in a peaceful manner.

The events that surround the murder of George Floyd at the hands of those who serve to protect us has rocked our nation to its very core, as it should. Our country, state and local communities, like Sandy, still have a lot of work left to do. Peaceful protests like the ones our neighbors have engaged in are an important first step in a dialogue that I hope leads to positive reflection and action. Additionally, our first amendment rights of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble go to the very core of what makes this country so great.

I also think it is important to point out that these neighbors of ours have decided to identify themselves separately from and chart a different more localized course than the national Black Lives Matter organization. Their name is The Stand-Up Movement and while they’re still figuring out their policy platform, decreasing or abolishing the police budget is not one of them. From my initial conversation with leaders of the group, they want to enhance the livability and wonderful experiences Sandy affords to all of us. They want to make sure those experiences are inclusive and equitable for all of our neighbors.

I am proud of how our neighbors participating in The Stand-Up Movement have proven their peaceful intentions. I have also been proud of how other neighbors have shown up in peaceful solidarity to ensure no violence and looting occurs, like in other larger more urban communities.

The support for our local Sandy Police Department has also been terrific. Like all of you, I am proud of our Sandy Police Department and the work our officers have done to become an integral part of our community. Their coordination with the leaders of The Stand-Up Movement to ensure the safety of all our neighbors is just a recent example of the exemplary work our local law enforcement officers have come to be known for here in Sandy. My understanding is that there is to be a rally in mid-July held by neighbors to show the much-deserved support for the officers. That’s outstanding.

I speak often about what a special place Sandy is to both grow up and raise your own family. We must work together to make sure those special qualities are extended to all of our neighbors who live here now and in the future. Together, we’ll keep Sandy wonderful for everyone.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Trying new things and staying healthy by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2020

We are not out of the woods yet. New Zealand sought to eliminate COVID-19 rather than merely “contain” the virus and had very few deaths per capita as a result. They did widespread testing for the disease and had strict lockdown policies. The more “industrial” nations (U.S., U.K., Italy, France) did less testing and had increased per capita deaths. Americans appreciate our freedoms, but where do we draw the line? Our own president refused to wear a mask even when there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in the White House.

Many believe the way to control disease lies in what kind of a field the germ (be it bacteria or virus) lands on. That “field” is your God-given body. The trick then appears to be to get healthy and stay as healthy as possible. Focus on the person, not the disease.

The vital force is that magic, that magic that makes us “alive.” We need to maximize essentials of health – good appetite, digestion and elimination; good sleep and moods; remove conditions such as pain and stressors. We can start with the basics – six to eight glasses of water per day, good food (fresh, organic – not packaged), adequate sleep (seven to 10 hours per night), sunshine (15 minutes per day) and movement (five minutes every hour or 30 minutes two or three times per week). If these seem too simple, ask yourself how many people you know who are even doing these simple things.

Simple things, like adequate sleep, can mean it’s easier for your body to stave off infections. Fifteen minutes a day of sunshine to your upper chest (where the thymus gland lives) goes a long way towards giving you a faster response to any infections. If you have trouble remembering these simple things, write them on your daily “to-do” list – how much water, how many servings of vegetables, etc. to get in the day.

During the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that devastated Europe and America, those patients who were exposed to fresh air and sunshine fared better than those who were more confined. Pandemics tend to occur every 10-20 years. In 1957 it was the Asian Flu, 1968 Hong Kong Flu, 1978 Russian Flu and so on. We still need to maintain some social distance, but more important is maintaining our health.

While maintaining social distance, I’ve watched shoppers coming out of upscale health markets carrying homogenized milk, sugared drinks and white bread. All of these are foods you should try to avoid if you want to maintain health. Lower your body’s inflammatory responses with green tea and a more plant-based diet. Avoid trans fatty acids as these raise triglycerides which increase insulin resistance leading to pre-diabetic conditions.

I know many are hurting for income, but sometimes buying the cheapest food possible is not the wisest choice. Healthcare is way more expensive than food. A bunch of carrots with the tops still on is way cheaper per pound than a plastic bag or box of whittleddown carrots. And there’s no garbage generated. The outer portion of a carrot has much more nutrition than the core. Cut off the tops of your carrots before you store them so they don’t dehydrate in your refrigerator. Carrots are healthier cooked than raw! The less contact with water, the better. Cook or steam them whole and slice and dice them after cooking. Serve them with a source of good quality fat (olive oil, butter) so they will have the 25 percent more falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound.

Potatoes are a popular vegetable in the U.S. and around the world. Purple (yes, purple) potatoes are more nutritious than white or Russet and can lower hypertension enough to decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack by 20-34 percent. Potatoes are not all bad. To avoid the high glycemic rush associated with potatoes, cook them then chill them overnight and reheat them later. This will decrease your glycemic response by as much as 25 percent. Then to slow digestion sprinkle potatoes with vinegar as the English do or consume them with mustard as the French do. It’s better for you than sugared ketchup.

Since it’s strawberry season, you should know that strawberries are one of the most pesticide contaminated fruits in the U.S. There can be traces of as many as 60 different agricultural chemicals on strawberries. So, buy organic whenever possible. Saving a few pennies may not be worth it. Organic strawberries have more vitamin C and more cancer fighting nutrients than conventionally grown strawberries. Shop farm markets to find local, organic berries and be sure to thoroughly wash any that aren’t.

I generally recommend only one to two fruits per day unless it’s extremely hot. Choose organic as much as possible. Make a fruit salad with three to five kinds of fruit and add nuts, seeds, fresh mint or basil, lemon or lime juice. If you must add sugar, use date sugar or honey as these have a modicum of nutritional value whereas white sugar has none.

People are fond of saying they “don’t like” something (fish, garlic, whatever) but try something new each time you go to the market. Maybe just one fruit or vegetable that you’ve never tried. You may find something you like. When did you last have chicory, kohlrabi or Lamb’s quarters? They’re out there! Seek and you shall find them!

Food like fireworks by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2020

Happy Fourth of July!! May your meal get as many ooohs and ahhhs as the fireworks!!


Red, white and blue potato salad

2 lbs. red potatoes, peel on

1 t salt plus more for potato cooking water

1 t pepper

2 scallions, sliced

1 T Dijon mustard

½ cup blue cheese crumbled

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs hard boiled and sliced

2 bacon slices baked crisp and chopped (optional, but why wouldn’t you?)

½ cup sliced black olives

In a large pot bring potatoes and two quarts of water with about ¼ cup of salt to a rolling boil, cover with a lid and turn heat down to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender for about eight minutes. Drain water off and let potatoes cool slightly then slice. Add the dressing while potatoes are still warm.

Dressing: In a large bowl add next seven ingredients and whisk until smooth, then add warm sliced potatoes and remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

 

Orange chicken satay

1 lb. chicken breast tenders cubed, thawed if frozen

½ cup orange marmalade

½ cup soy sauce

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 t sesame seed oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove smashed

½ t fresh ginger peeled and minced

12 bamboo skewers soaked in water or orange juice

Salt and pepper

Place the orange marmalade, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, garlic clove and red pepper flakes into a small saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let simmer until thickened, approximately five to ten minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at least five minutes.

Reserve ¼ cup of marinade for a glaze. Marinade the chicken in the rest of the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours.

Skewer the chicken and grill on med high for about three minutes on each side or until cooked through. Drizzle the glaze onto the skewers in the last minute or so of cooking. Sprinkle cooked chicken with sesame seeds (optional).

 

Easy peach raspberry galette

1 lb. peeled & sliced peaches

1 pint raspberries

1 T sanding or coarse sugar

1 tube sugar cookie dough

1 T corn starch

2 T orange juice

Whipped cream

Open the package and slice the cookie dough into quarter-inch rounds, place some of them on a cookie sheet or pizza stone in a 12-inch circle pressing the spaces together so that the circle is solid.

In a large bowl mix the juice, cornstarch and fruit. Pile onto middle of cookie dough circle, place remaining cookie dough rounds on top of fruit in a concentric circle leaving the top exposed. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream.

Dying without a will by Paula Walker on 07/01/2020

My first article written for the Mountain Times in 2018 reported the results of a Gallup poll conducted in 2016 showing that only 44 percent of Americans reported having a will and that the trajectory was downward, i.e. that percentage was down from 51 percent in 2005. Given that the results of a 2019 survey by one source, that deals with assisted living and elder care, reports the trend continues downward decreasing by nearly 25 percent since 2017, I thought it a good topic to discuss the rules of intestacy succession. What happens in Oregon to your assets if you die without an “asset transition instrument” of any sort, i.e. a will or a living trust? What are the rules governing how the State determines who gets what from your estate.

What follows is oversimplified, because, as with all things in law, everything “depends” on the particular circumstances of a given situation, in this case an individual’s life, relationships and circumstances, that play out in expected and unexpected legal interpretations. In other words, there are legal nuances to be determined in each of the steps evaluating who receives what and in what percentage.

Still it provides an initial sense of the hierarchy the state follows in determining who stands to receive what you have and in what measure if you leave this world without making a clear, and legally supportable transition of your assets, designating who is in charge of following through with that plan.

Initially, the state looks to determine your immediate family. If you have a spouse, that spouse is first in line to receive everything. If you have no spouse and you have children, your children will receive everything. If you have a spouse and children, if all the children are your children together, then your spouse still receives everything. However, if any of your children, i.e. your descendants, are with someone other than your spouse, your assets are divided between your spouse and your descendants. Then the circle widens from your immediate family. If you have no spouse and no children, if one or both of your parents survive you, they receive everything. Finding no living parent(s), your assets will be divided amongst your siblings, if you have any, or their descendants if your siblings predecease you. Finding no siblings, or their descendants, your assets will be distributed to your grandparents if they survive you, or their descendants. So, as you see it can get very involved finding who has the legal right to receive your assets when you have not made that clear.

Stories of the Stars, If Only…

Who gets what and how much from an estate of a wealthy individual has been the stuff of many entertaining legal battles – for those of us not involved, that is. And the estate of billionaire Howard Hughes, provides us with no less entertainment than the many in the annals of the wealthy who depart without an estate plan in place. An excerpt from an article by David Margolick of the New York Times from Oct. 5, 1997 speculating on the results of a battle that spanned 10 years, involving more than a thousand participants, gives a wry summation of the obsessed, complex, seemingly tortured personality we’ve come to know of Howard Hughes who died without so much as a simple will in place.

“Howard Hughes… didn't like anybody very much. He hated doctors. He fought with lawyers. He despised his relatives. And most of all, he loathed tax collectors. And yet these were the folks who laid their hands on his vast estate – in part because no one could ever find a bona fide Hughes will directing the money somewhere else . . . [and yet] . . . Howard Hughes's power to do something worthwhile with his billions . . . somehow survived the lawyers, the relatives, the leeches, the fakers and Hughes himself [because his most valuable asset, Hughes Aircraft was owned by a charity, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, incorporated in the state of Delaware]. ‘Howard Hughes, whatever he may have been, has left something of value to all American People’ the Attorney General of Delaware … declared after the divvying up. ‘But I just don't think that was ever his intention.’”


Photo by Gary Randall
Summer offers nighttime photography by Gary Randall on 06/01/2020

Summer is here. For a landscape photographer this time of the year means good weather, green forests, flowers, warmer nights and starry night skies. I enjoy heading out for a sunset and staying until the stars come out, and in many cases, staying out until sunrise. Sunsets and sunrises are always a wonderful time to get dramatic landscape photos, while landscape photos with an amazing Milky Way in the sky above can be unique and dramatic.

Night photography is a form of photography that seems mystical and magical. To many people night photography appears to be complicated and left only for those with the most acute photography skill, when in fact once you understand just the basics of the exposure triangle – shutter speed, aperture and Iso – you will realize that all that’s being done to get these dark night sky photos, in most cases, is to get as much light into your camera as possible.

Set your camera on Manual, set up your tripod and let’s get started.

As most photographers know when you use a long exposure you will need a tripod. Your tripod will keep your camera still during the exposure. You will want to ensure that no movement takes place at all during the exposure. Another device that helps with this is a shutter release. The shutter release will keep you from moving the camera when you press the button. If you have no shutter release you can usually set your camera timer to take the photo a few seconds after you click the shutter button.

Your exposure setting will need to be extended, in most cases up to 20 or sometimes 30 seconds. This will depend on how dark the sky is. Remember that the darker the sky, the brighter the stars, therefore a night without a moon will give the best starry sky. The only negative consequence will be less light on your subject or foreground. Many times, just a slight sliver of a moon will allow a more defined foreground while still allowing the stars to shine.

Concerning shutter speed, the only consideration that you must have is that the longer the shutter is open the more movement you will detect in the scene. Even in the stars as at some longer focal lengths the stars will streak slightly when you extend the exposure to 30 seconds. These star streaks turn into star trails if allowed to streak long enough, sometimes up to 30 minutes. This method will create amazing surreal images of streaks and circles of light above your subject. To do this requires another method, not explained here, to pull off.

The next thing that one must consider is how the aperture will block or allow light to pass through the lens and into the camera. When light is dim or it’s dark outside, you will want to allow as much light through as possible and to do this you must use a wider more open aperture - a smaller number. Without getting into the math involved just remember that when you open your aperture you will be allowed a quicker shutter and a lower Iso. Both are desirable, which I’ll explain later. A good quality lens will allow an f/2.8 aperture setting.

Next is your Iso setting. What is Iso? You know that the longer that you keep your shutter open the more light will pass through the lens and into the camera.

We also know that an aperture that’s open wider allows more light in. In digital photography we have no film but we do have electronic film in the form of the image sensor. The image sensor’s sensitivity to light can be adjusted. The higher the Iso number the more sensitive to light your camera becomes. Iso 1000 will be more sensitive to light than Iso 100, for instance. Therefore you will need to raise your Iso to get your starry night photos.

It’s easy to think that all one needs to do is raise their Iso, but there are negative effects in the form of noise in the image. In film it’s called grain. To get a cleaner image you want to keep your Iso as low as possible. Extending your shutter speed and opening your Iso allows you to do this.

One thing that one must remember when setting up is that in the dark it’s more difficult, or in many cases impossible to use your light meter to determine your settings. Therefore, one must take a couple test shots before they get the exposure right.

Another important part, and in many cases the most difficult part, of getting setup for the shot is focus. Unfortunately, on a zoom lens when you set the focus to infinity the stars will not be in focus. And at night it’s dark and difficult to focus manually.

I recommend taking your camera out in the daylight and setting the focus to an object far away and then marking the lens. I have used tape where when I line up the edges of the tape it’s in focus. There are other methods, but this is the simplest until you gain more experience.

And so, once we understand this we can let more light into the camera using these three settings and we can start taking photos in low light. Tripod, long exposure, open aperture and a higher Iso. The next thing to do is to go out and practice. Once you do this a few times your photos will get better and your understanding of what settings to start with will become more second nature.

Viewpoints – Salem: Protecting farmworkers by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2020

As our state starts down its path toward reopening, I am mindful of the ongoing risk that the coronavirus poses. Of course, those of us who have been practicing physical distancing within the state will be exposed to possible infection when we venture back out into our communities.

However, I’m also paying close attention to the large wave of newcomers that have already begun entering our state to perform essential services for our state’s economy: I’m talking, of course, about migrant farmworkers.

Oregon is home to about 160,000 farmworkers every year, and a significant number of them work in House District 52, in orchards, nurseries and elsewhere. These essential workers come to our beautiful district to help make sure the food grown here gets to markets and to our families’ dinner tables. They are critical to the supply chain of the food we all eat. They often live in close quarters and work long hours with limited access to hand washing and other preventive health measures. Many of these essential workers don’t speak the same language as their employers or even many of their coworkers. All of this creates an unprecedented challenge to our state as we work to avoid the outbreaks that other states have seen in meat packing plants and other food processing facilities.

I support farmworker advocates’ petition for new emergency rules from Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect these workers from catching and transmitting the coronavirus. I have said from the outset that our state and federal governments need to help farmers cover the costs of complying with those rules.

I’m proud that the state of Oregon came through: after a series of conversations that I was happy to be a part of, almost $30 million of our state’s discretionary CARES Act funding will be dedicated to help cover the costs of keeping our agricultural workforce safe and healthy through the pandemic. In this crisis, it has become clearer than ever: our food system depends on collaboration between farmworkers and farmers, and it requires that we protect the health and well-being of this critical work force. Without this investment, our state’s agricultural economy would face additional risks beyond the export challenges and increased costs we’ve seen recently.

Still, while Congress gave states some discretion in how to spend its first round of relief funds, other federal officials have undermined efforts to protect workers’ health. The White House has declared that farmworkers are “essential” to our economy while refusing to require safety regulations to protect them, and actively working to cut migrant farmworkers’ pay. It’s long past time for the federal government to step up and provide protective equipment and testing, not just for farmworkers, but for all businesses that are beginning to reopen and workers who are returning to work.

I’m thrilled that Oregon is doing our part to keep essential farmworkers healthy and protect our communities in the process. As we know, our community is strongest when we look out for our neighbors, and the security of our food systems and our economy depend on thoughtful implementation of these updated public health guidelines.

Thanks for reading. I hope you are healthy and well, however you’re responding to the ongoing nature of this pandemic. If you need help accessing resources, please reach out to my office by emailing Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov. As a social worker and legislator, I am grateful to be able to serve our district at this time.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: The place for grub by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 06/01/2020

As the Governor begins to lift her Stay-At-Home order and Sandy’s local dining and entertainment businesses begin to open back up, there is one misnomer that I’ve consistently heard in the past that I would like to clear up about our community. I constantly hear that we do not have enough good dining options in Sandy. That is simply not true.

First and foremost, and while this is not at all an all-encompassing list, we are the community of iconic establishments such as Joe’s Doughnuts, Tollgate Inn, Paola’s Pizza Barn, No Place Saloon and Mountain Mocha.

Have you seen the newer additions to our dining scene? Brady’s Brats & Burgers, Scooters, Boring Brewing and Le Happy? These places are fantastic, and you can bring the entire family.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertainment at places like Sandy Family Restaurant/Ria’s and Stephanie’s Cafι are simply terrific.

Like pizza? Grab and go or dine in, you’ve got Wallstreet and Sparky’s. Dinner and a movie? Smokey Hearth is a must. Thai? Thai Home and Try My Thai restaurants are unbelievable. Chinese? Double Dragon and Golden Key are delicious. You like craft beer where everyone knows your name? The Beer Den and Bunsenbrewer are among places to be. Do you enjoy a good glass of wine? Alder Tree Vineyard, Buddha Kat Winery and Boring Winery and Taproom are wonderful places to find yourself. Especially on a spring or summer evening.

Have you seen the improvements people are making to their buildings downtown in Sandy? Look how nice some of the fast food restaurants look after their “Sandy Style” remodels. Does the remodeled Best Western look good or what? How about that Safeway remodel? People are reinvesting in our community. I think that’s awesome.

Whether you want a night out with a good dinner and drinks, a cool “dive bar” hangout, a coffee meeting at local nonprofit AntFarm, lunch or a quick grab and go at our Sandlandia food carts - there is absolutely zero reason why we’re not dining local right here in Sandy.

Our community has vastly upgraded dining and entertainment experiences and it’s only getting better. We have Sandy Transit services and a local business hub trolley shuttle to help you get around, and all of our businesses are powered with access to first class amenities such as internet powered by SandyNet, our lightning fast internet service.

Whether you’re catching dinner and a movie on Champion Way, hanging at the Local Buzz getting a haircut, letting the kids burn off energy at Wippersnappers, taking a date night at Red Shed Public House or La Bamba or walking down Pioneer or Proctor Blvd’s - Sandy’s the place to be. We are all doing our job to Keep Sandy Wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Recreation can be confusing in the time of COVID-19 by Steve Wilent on 06/01/2020

Some of my earliest memories are of playing outside, in the yard at first, and then in the field at the end of the road. Though the field was perhaps five acres, it was a vast wilderness for me as a five-year-old. Its narrow game trails became my own, the shrubby hedge with its green tunnels my castle, the majestic oaks at one end the guardians of my kingdom. And it was all accessible — by tricycle.

My first memory of recreation beyond my neighborhood was a campground at Yosemite National Park, where my parents and brother and I slept on the ground wrapped in blankets — we had little camping gear aside from a brand-new Coleman stove and an ice chest. The aroma of frying bacon and wood smoke on the chilly mountain air was intoxicating. As a six-year-old, the trails to the park’s awesome waterfalls, wading in the Yosemite River, and eating meals by a campfire made for an adventure far beyond any I had known.

My first car, a 1964 Pontiac Tempest station wagon — a sport utility vehicle, as far as I was concerned — took me all across western North America. I kept camping gear in the back so I could strike out for a national forest or state or county park on a whim, after school or work.

When I told my parents that I would go to college not to study engineering or business, but forestry, I wondered why they were surprised.

We Hoodlanders have an amazing wealth of recreation opportunities right in our back yard. Or at least we did until so many sites were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I miss those places. Personally, I think many of the sites can be safely re-opened, with guidelines for visitors such as those issued by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department when it reopened some state parks: bring all supplies — food, water, hand sanitizer — needed for a short trip, wear a face covering in congested areas, stay at least six feet away from people who aren’t from your household and so on.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reopened the Sandy Ridge Trail System on May 9 — it is a very popular place for mountain biking. At this writing, the Wildwood Recreation Site is open only to people on foot. A sign at the gate on May 13 read, “Wildwood has been temporarily closed to motor vehicle access. Restrooms are closed and portable toilets have been positioned in family picnic, trailhead, and group areas. Please practice social distancing, hand sanitizing, and other recommendations from the CDC. These are difficult times. Stay safe and healthy.” I wish the BLM would open the gates, so people don’t have to park along the highway, but I’m glad that the policies for using the park are clear.

The BLM’s website states that “Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly.”

On March 19, the Mount Hood National Forest (MHNF) closed all campgrounds, day-use sites, trailheads, OHV areas, Sno-Parks, cabin rentals and other developed recreation sites. In theory, other areas on the forest are open, but signs on Forest Road 19 (Mountain Drive) and at the gate to Old Maid Flats don’t say so, nor does the MHNF’s web site. The signs say, “Following guidance from the centers for disease control and prevention and recommendations from state and local public health authorities, the Forest Service is temporarily closing this location to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).” This is confusing. The three campgrounds and several trailheads on the flats are developed recreation sites, but other trails, roads, and woods certainly aren’t “developed.” Was I technically violating a regulation by walking past the sign and onto the flats? I wish the Forest Service had made it clear that National Forest lands remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly.

It’s easy to opine that these lands ought to be reopened. Doing so would bring more folks to The Mountain, thus increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 locally. On the other hand, the local businesses that are open seem to be handling the pandemic well enough. At Thriftway, for example, employees wear masks and Plexiglas shields separate cashiers from customers.

As our recreation sites reopen, site managers will need to provide clear information about what is required of visitors — and what is off limits.

Recreation in forests and on rangelands still calls to me. I don’t keep camping gear in my SUV, a 21-year-old Ford Explorer, but I head for a trail or a campground as often as work and family obligations — and COVID-19 closures — allow. An hour or two on a trail or a couple of days in a campground never seem like enough.

Have a question about forest recreation? A suggestion for a future column topic? Want to buy a map of super-secret dispersed camping sites? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Genuine food and finding the fundamental natural rhythms of life by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2020

Genuine food is food that is grown with respect for the environment, the produce itself and the people who consume it. It implies the absence of chemicals and industrial processes. We call it “biodynamic” but most of the world grows food this way, just not in the United States. Maybe it’s why we are not the happiest nation in the world, nor the healthiest.

Last spring this column explored the Blue Zones of the Earth, those areas where the people were known to live a long time. Yet there are still many places on Earth where people live long, like several villages in Italy. Outside of these villages, the average lifespan for males is 75 years and 82 years for females. But in the Italian village of Campodimele, the average lifespan is 95 years for both males and females! It’s from lifestyle as much as anything. These people get up when the sun comes up and retire when it goes down, a rhythm in sync with nature that has been known to aid in longevity due to the healthful impact on melatonin levels in the body. They all live in pure, mountain air, know the restorative powers of sunlight (anti-bacterial for the immune system, increased levels of vitamins that decrease depression) and they live by nature’s tranquil rhythms, not the frazzle dazzle we’ve been known to experience.

This does not mean life is always tranquil. If you want to live a long time, you have to work at it, not the least of which lies in what you choose to eat. Not only in growing your own food, but in eating what’s fresh and in season, foraging some and not eating packaged food. In a garden there is always something to do! With food, if you put energy in, you will get health out.

I moved to Oregon in 1970 to a 100-acre farm. Before making the major decision to move here, I had dinner on a farm owned by the family of friends. At this farm in rural Oregon, everything, repeat everything, on the table came from the farm we were on – the main dish, the sweet peas and the potatoes, the home-baked bread and home-churned butter. It was enough to make a person swoon. But when coffee was served (the only purchased item), they asked if I’d like cream, then pulled a gallon jar of cream out of the refrigerator. That was the moment I decided to move to Oregon.

So we moved from a gorgeous home in Marin County, Calif. to a dilapidated farm in rural Oregon where you could literally peek through the walls to the outside. But I learned the value of leading a seasonal life. If we didn’t grow it, we didn’t eat it. Food was picked daily, in season and prepared within hours (sometimes minutes) of the harvest. There was an incredible abundance, as you may just be experiencing now.

In villages or areas conducive to feelings of community, people talk to each other in real life. We’d talk while shucking corn in an old barn with owls in the rafters. Talk to the check-out person, the postal workers, even strangers (if you’re an adult). Make someone’s day. Perhaps this accounts for the success of the farmers’ markets. Don’t shove elders off if you can help it. Get out in nature as much as possible, at least 15 minutes a day if we’re not having the most horrible weather. Sunlight on the thymus gland (your upper chest) is good for the immune system.

I went from that 100-acre farm through a circuitous route (a death, divorce, disease) to a five-acre small-holding where money was more of a problem, but I learned to waste nothing. I once knew someone who threw away mushroom stems (you can dry them), celery leaves (dry them, too) and even stale bread (Panzanella salads, unless you have critters to feed). A hundred years ago land supplied the only form of income, or at least a way to eat.

During and after World War II, many people didn’t have enough food and there was much hunger in the European villages. For many, the only food choices were beans and legumes (the pulses also known as “poor man’s meat”). Unless you lived on a farm – then there was meat, eggs and dairy, and tons of zucchini.

Genuine food is the antithesis of fast food. Time spent preparing food is an investment in health and happiness. Live life with a new/old philosophy where you celebrate food with gratefulness. You worked rather hard to get it. Spend time living with the fundamental natural rhythms of life.

Relief for your retirement by Paula Walker on 06/01/2020

The pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways and not the least of which has been our work life and the financial climate. Of the efforts the government is marshalling to provide relief as we recover and the economy recovers, there are two pieces of legislation, one enacted and one currently in review in the Senate, the CARES Act and the HEROES Act, respectively. Both have elements that do, or may if enacted, directly impact our retirements savings plans, IRAs, 401(k)s and their ilk, and inherited retirement accounts.

The CARES Act, (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), a giant relief package totaling more than $2 trillion, signed into law March 27 to support American businesses, hospitals and individuals, provided significant changes to the rules for retirement account holders’ required minimum distributions (RMDs). RMDs are suspended for 2020. This allows retirees and inheritors of their plans to leave these investments alone for a year to reap the benefit of the potential recovery from the market downturn. This also makes Roth conversions easier because retirees will not have to take out their RMDs before making the conversion. Those who have experienced a coronavirus adversity, or have been diagnosed with the virus, have the ability to take a withdrawal of up to $100,000 from their retirement account, without incurring the 10 percent penalty tax if doing so before the age of 59 and a half. This draw can come from an IRA which does not usually allow loans to be taken, as well as from other retirement plans that do, and take up to three years to repay the loan.

The HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions), a bill that has passed the House and is now in review by the Senate, could be another gigantic relief package totaling more than $3 trillion. While it is aimed more at providing relief to state and local governments, frontline healthcare workers and other specific groups and programs, it also has provisions that could impact individuals’ retirement accounts. If passed, it could address a few of the gaps in the CARES Act handling of RMDs. For instance, the CARES Act allows account owners to skip their 2019 RMDs if it is their first year to make those RMDs. All well and good if you did not withdraw before the CARES Act was enacted, but what if you did? Under the current law an owner has the option to rollover a withdrawal into an IRA, thereby avoiding the taxable distribution in 2020 if the rollover is done within 60 days of making the RMD. But again – what if you missed that window? If passed, the HEROES Act would suspend RMDs for all 2019 not just for those first time RMDs due, and it would waive the 60-day rollover rule for 2019 and most of 2020. Thus, people could potentially reclaim the RMDs paid out and put them back into the shelter of their retirement plan and do a tax adjustment when filing for the taxes that would have been incurred. This is all speculative right now. Based on the Senate’s determination of the bill before them this may or may not become a reality to act upon.

There is much more detail to this that may apply to you.

The most important take-away from any information provided here is to consult your financial advisor and tax accountant if you have investments in qualified retirement plans, to develop a strategy that may provide you some benefit and turn some of this pandemic mayhem into some advantage.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes… ” a variation on the famous, oft repeated quote from Benjamin Franklin in his letter to French physicist Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1790. The statement holds as true today as when it was first written. And sometimes those two certainties coincide, as in the case of Joe Robbie who died in 1990 owning 85 percent of the Miami Dolphins and 50 percent of the Dolphins home stadium. His intention that the business would remain in the family was thwarted by family feuds and an estate tax liability. Until 2015, the NFL did not permit trusts to own any part of an NFL franchise. This placed a heavy burden on the owner’s estate taxes for an illiquid but appreciating asset. The result for Robbie’s legacy is that in 1994 the estate sold the ownership of the Dolphins and the stadium for $109 million, $43 million of which went to pay estate taxes. A mere fifteen years later the team and the stadium sold for a whopping $1 billion…

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Strawberry season! by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2020

Get them while they are at the peak of perfection, add them in almost any recipe for a sweet tart pop of color and flavor.

Strawberry creme scones

These are luscious and melt in your mouth thanks to the addition of lots of butter and cream.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1T baking powder

1 cup cold diced unsalted butter

1 egg

1/2 cup cream or Half & Half

1/2 cup diced strawberries

1t sea or kosher salt (fine)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1t vanilla extract.

Heat the oven to 365F. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk together the egg, vanilla and cream. Cut butter into dry ingredients making large crumbs, stir in the cream mixture until just moistened, then fold in the strawberries. I use a two-inch ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto a parchment lined baking tray, leaving two inches in between the scones. Bake 14-16 minutes until lightly golden.

For the icing, whisk together until smooth:

4oz cream cheese at room temp

4oz softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1t vanilla extract

Ice once cooled.

 

Strawberry jalapeño BBQ sauce

1 cup seedless strawberry jam

1 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1T oil

1t salt

1/2t pepper

1t stone ground mustard

2 jalapeños, chopped/seeded

1T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup water

In a saucepan heat oil, add onion, garlic, jalapeños and strawberries. Cook on medium heat five minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Photography close to home by Gary Randall on 05/01/2020

If you are like most of us, you have been spending a lot of time around the house lately. We can only spend so much time working or doing chores before we start to try to figure out something that will occupy our creative minds between obligations. I like to give my mind a break by taking time to be creative. As photographers, and creatives, we have a lot of options for making some creative artistic images at home.

Macro Photography – Macro photography is a type of photography that involves photographing small things. It is Springtime and the flowers are blooming and the bugs are starting to crawl. They both make excellent subjects for macro photos. You do not necessarily need a lens that is made specifically for macro if you have a zoom lens that will shoot at a focal length of about 90mm or more. Something that I like to do with flowers is to take a spray bottle and spray water drops on the flowers. I also like the look of a shallow depth of field. Using an open aperture and getting close to your lens will create a soft feel around the narrow-focused area in your shot. Give it a try.

Abstract Photography – Everyone knows about abstract painting, but abstract images can be created with your camera too. An observant eye can find patterns and textures that could be interpreted as impressionistic paintings. Structural shapes, angles and patterns can be framed in a beautiful yet abstract way. Not only are you able to create abstracts by observing your surroundings but you can use the camera adjustments to alter the reality of the scene. Something that I enjoy doing is to extend the shutter speed to a second or more and move the camera to create patterns of movement. This technique is called Intentional Camera Movement. Try varying the degree of focus. Shoot into the sunshine through leaves. Be creative.

Portraiture – Portraiture Photograph your family or your pets. Artful portraiture is something that can challenge you. Try using your family members or your pets as subjects for your photos. Be mindful of the background and consider the lighting on your subject. Some beautiful portraits can be made using the light that comes in from a window. Set up a sheet as a backdrop and use shop lights with a fabric or some translucent paper in front to reduce the harshness of the light. Be creative.

The best thing about a digital camera is that we are not limited on how many photos there are on a roll of film. This allows us to just get lost in taking photos. It allows us to experiment. You can take a photo, preview it, correct or change a setting and try it again. It allows you to be able to occupy yourself creating artistic images all day. So, do not despair if you are agonizing about not being able to get out and take photos like you would like to. Play and practice close to home in the meantime.


Contributed photo.
The lesson of Paradise: act now to save your house by Steve Wilent on 05/01/2020

Imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County – say, in the Bull Run watershed or between Rhododendron and Government Camp. There’s smoke in the air. You’re concerned, but the fire is a couple of miles away and firefighters are working to control it. And then burning embers start raining down. Your worry turns to panic as the embers ignite fir needles and dead leaves around your house – and the bone-dry debris in your gutters. Your only choice is to escape while you can as your house burns to the ground.

Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? Something like a scene from a movie? Something that can’t happen here in wet, green Oregon?

Wrong.

Take a look at the photo on this page. It was taken from a drone shortly after the Camp Fire destroyed much of Paradise, Calif., in November 2018. The image shows the remains of some of the thousands of homes destroyed by the fire. In all, more than 19,000 homes, condominiums, apartments and commercial buildings were destroyed or severely damaged in the space of a few hours. Notice the green trees and shrubs amidst the ashes? Embers fell on them and filtered to the ground. Embers also fell on the houses, ignited pine needles in gutters, under decks, or on the ground near the walls, and the houses burned. Some of the trees were scorched by the heat of the burning buildings, but many of them survived.

Does your home have a chance of surviving an onslaught of flying embers? Of flames that burn though the woods in and around your neighborhood?

If you take action now, you can give your house that chance – not a guarantee, but a chance of surviving a wildfire.

After the fire in Paradise, analysis by the McClatchy news service found that more than half of the single-family homes built after 2008, when California updated its building code to help make structures more likely to survive wildfires, survived the Camp Fire. Only 18 percent of the homes built prior to 2008 remained intact. The new building code required houses to have  fire-resistant roofs, exterior walls, decks and so on.

If your house has metal or asphalt shingle roof, as most houses in the heartland area do, you already have an advantage. However, wooden siding and decks can be a disadvantage. In that case, there is much you can do to increase your home’s chances of survival.

Websites such as the National Fire Protection Association’s firewise.org and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s readyforwildfire.org offer a wealth of information on preparing your house and property for wildfire. Hoodland Fire District also has information and a helpful video on creating a “defensible space” around your home (hoodlandfire.us).

Start by performing regular cleaning and maintenance on the house itself, especially when dry weather is in the offing. Clean debris from accumulating in gutters, roof valleys, behind chimneys, and along walls. Install eighth-inch metal mesh screens on attic and foundation vents; small embers can easily pass through mesh with quarter-inch or larger holes.

Next, remove flammable vegetation and other materials within five feet of the house. Rake fallen fir needles cones, leaves, and branches in that five-foot zone down to bare earth. That includes bark dust and mulch—when dry, it can burn. Better yet, place a layer of gravel around the house and keep it clear of debris. Is your firewood stacked up against the house? Move it.

Once you’ve cleared that five-foot immediate zone, work on the intermediate zone, between 5 feet and 30 feet from your home. Remove live and dead “ladder fuels” so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune branches that hang over or near the house – keep them at least ten feet from the house.

Beyond that 30-foot zone, out to 100 feet or more, especially if your property is sloped, remove small conifers growing between mature trees and thin larger trees so that there is at least 12 feet of clear space between them.

These are just a few of the steps you can take. Visit the websites I mentioned for more information.

Still not convinced here at risk from wildfire, even a distant one? Remember the Eagle Creek Fire that burned in the Columbia River Gorge in 2017? The fire burned on the Oregon side of the river, but at least two spot fires were created when large embers rose into the air and drifted across the Columbia River into Washington, more than two miles away.

Take advantage of the time you have while self-quarantined during the Covid-19 pandemic to get started. Come on, you know you need the exercise anyway.

Viewpoints – Salem: Exercising care in a return by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2020

It’s been almost two months since Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Oregon, and about seven weeks since the World Health Organization officially declared a global pandemic. This span of time has been filled with unprecedented levels of stress, and though it has been different for each of us, I would venture to guess that it hasn’t been easy for anyone. For me, it has been a struggle to address the needs of the many people who depend on me, whether family, students or constituents; others have struggled just as hard to find a way to occupy their time or to keep themselves content. Many people are worried about their jobs, their ability to pay the bills or their access to health insurance. Some people’s lives have been occupied by a fear of the virus or the reality of its health impacts on them or their loved ones; for others, the relatively small number of cases in our state has begged the question, “was social distancing even necessary?”

To be clear, social distancing was not an overreaction: instead, it is the reason some now find themselves with the luxury of thinking we may have overreacted. Without the strong measures imposed in our state, experts agree that we would face very different prospects for our economy, our health care infrastructure and our hopes of returning to normal life. Even with the relative success we have achieved through social distancing, many challenges lie ahead. Very few of us have gained immunity to the virus, and it remains unclear whether the few who have been infected will remain immune in the long term. As of the time I’m writing this, no effective treatments for the virus have been developed, and a vaccine is still at least a year away. Our best defenses are still vigilance and caution: even after the state “reopens,” we will not return to life as we knew it in December or January.

I have spent most of my hours during this pandemic thinking about the pain and loss people are facing, and will continue to face, as our economy reels. Yet still, the steps we take to reopen must be taken slowly and carefully. We can’t safely take our first steps toward that goal until our state’s case count has dropped, we see fewer people with suspicious symptoms, and the rate of new infections has fallen. We also need to increase our testing capacity, our ability to trace contacts and contain new outbreaks, and our supply of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers.

Our first steps toward reopening will probably look a lot like our current way of life: we will continue to stress the importance of handwashing, of face coverings and of staying home when you feel at all ill. We will still need to limit our travel and to avoid unnecessary physical contact with others. We will continue to forego handshakes in favor of the awkward “elbow bump.” As they reopen for non-remote work, businesses will need to take care that employees aren’t exhibiting symptoms of illness and will need to be generous with allowing sick time. Restaurants and bars will need to limit the number of people admitted for seating and maintain a safe distance between tables and chairs. People who loosen their own social distance from friends and loved ones will still need to gather in small groups and limit the size of their social circles to minimize the risk of passing on the virus.

The last two months have been chaotic, and they have taken a tremendous toll on our state, on our communities and on each of us individually. I am as eager as anyone to put this crisis behind us. Unfortunately, that is not a simple task. If we don’t exercise extreme care as we inch back toward our normal way of life, we will find ourselves having to return to this one: isolated from one another, worrying about what lies ahead and dreaming of a return to our former routines. I hope you will join me in optimistically awaiting a post-COVID-19 Oregon, and in expecting and accepting that we will need to endure many challenges before we get there.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: In this together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 05/01/2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, many of Sandy’s iconic events that so many of our neighbors look forward to each spring and summer have been forced to cancel. Sadly, this is a year that we won’t be enjoying such incredible annual events as the annual Sandy Fire Pancake breakfast, Kiwanis Easter Egg hunt in Meinig Memorial Park and our beloved Sandy Mountain Festival.

While it is true that 2020 will be a year that many of us think back to the community events we are not able to enjoy, I believe it will also be a time that we remember neighbors coming together to uplift each other in our time of need.

I’ll think back to Kirsten Pitzer and her team at the Sandy Community Action Center working diligently to ensure access to food to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

I’ll think back to Machel Heldstab and her board at Sandy Helping Hands who stepped up to team with Sandy Transit to deliver groceries to those in need of assistance, as well as helped collect much needed supplies for local seniors.

Speaking of seniors, I’ll think back to our city staff and the way they’ve stepped up for Meals on Wheels delivery to Sandy-area seniors in the wake of us having to close the Sandy Senior Center. I’ll also remember how one of our longest Meals on Wheels volunteers contributed his and his wife’s federal economic stimulus money to go towards seniors in need.

I’ll think of our team at the Sandy Library and how they felt a need to provide their invaluable services and became the first in the Portland metro area to re-open and establish curbside service.

All of our city employees have been terrific. Whether it’s our team at City Hall, Public Services, Transit, Community Services, Police, Library, Planning or SandyNet - everyone has stepped up their “A” game during the crisis. It’s been incredible as they’ve adapted to the crisis and put together services to add economic relief for our local businesses.

I’ll think back to how we realized we have new patriots in our midst with our front-line workers in healthcare, grocery and many other essential services. The city has realized just how crucial SandyNet is to our way of life. It’s been so vital as our neighbors work, learn and entertain their families at home.

I’ll think back to our education system and how quickly our local teachers, administrators and school board leaders adapted to the change to provide our children with ongoing learning. I’ll also remember how much parents stepped up to make sure our community’s future continues to look bright.

I’ll remember how Sandy’s first responders continued to be heroic and display why they’re the very best in our community.

Most importantly, I’ll remember how our community came together to show everything I knew we were – special.

The months and year ahead will be difficult. This crisis will not end with the end of the stay at home order. There are many local businesses and employees that will feel the effects into the future. We will be tested, but we’ve been tested before and come out the other end.

Now more than ever, we need to intentionally dine and shop local. We need to donate to our local charitable nonprofits, service organizations and faith-based institutions.

Now more than ever your community needs you and you need your community. We’re in this together and I know that we’ll succeed. We’ll keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

A Meal for May by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2020

An easy and elegant meal for May and Mother’s Day. Oh momma! If anybody deserves a day of honor it’s you!

Blackened rockfish

Blackened seasoning: Mix together and set aside - 1T each garlic powder, salt, onion powder and 1 t each chili powder, black pepper, paprika, oregano and thyme.

2 T fresh chopped parsley

2 lbs. rock fish or another sustainable white fish

1 T each butter and olive oil

One lemon zest and juice

Heat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and dry the fish, and coat with about a t of seasoning on each side of a filet. In a large oven-safe skillet heat the oil over medium high/heat until hot (but not smoking), and carefully lay in filets cooking for around 4 minutes on one side. Do not move the fish as you want the seasonings to form the crust. Flip the fish using a spatula, add butter and lemon juice and zest to pan over the fish, place in hot oven until firm (about 6 minutes more)

 

Quinoa & Lentil medley

1 T butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 t sea salt

1/2 cup each zucchini & artichoke hearts (canned or frozen)

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 cup diced carrot and celery

1 cup lentils cooked al dente

1 cup uncooked quinoa

In a large stockpot add butter, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook for five minutes. Add salt and pepper, quinoa, stock and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and steam for ten minutes. Add in the veggies, cover again and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the veggies and quinoa are tender.

Gardens offer security and a source of nutrition by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2020

In fixing the Earth with permanent agriculture, or permaculture, we begin the process of fixing ourselves. A pandemic is the embodiment of widespread disease (usually viral, as COVID-19 is), but it seems to me we’ve had pandemics of disease going on for years already, like cancer, chronic fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and the list goes on.

We have a nation (a world?) where 80 percent of citizens have insulin resistance and don’t even know it. Insulin resistance from so-called “convenience foods,” high sugar intake and decreased exercise.

After WWII, all those war chemicals had to go somewhere! Fresh foods diminished as people left the farms. Heavy marketing of shelf-stable junk foods became the norm. In the 1940s, pesticide and preservative use was virtually zero. In the 1950s, we had TV dinners and access to cheap food 24/7. Our ancestors never had such luxury, if you want to call it that.

Perhaps we can find a compromise. If you want good health (and who doesn’t?), you should grow your own food. When shelf-stable, industrial foods became available, nutrition was no longer taught in medical schools. It was abandoned in favor of pharmaceuticals. All doctors used to be “natural,” but after WWII the MDs no longer used or touted nutrition. This led to the break between MDs and NDs, and nutrition was no longer taught in medical schools, except the few remaining naturopathic ones. Even as late as the 1990s during my pre-med schooling, I literally had chemistry teachers saying that food had nothing to do with health!

There are many, many reasons to grow at least some of your own food. Its good exercise, good for your nutrition, saves money, can be shared and taught to the kids and is good for bees, soil and your soul. Among those many reasons are the feeling of being in control of your own well-being and realizing self-reliance.

Those of us who believed it was wise to be prepared for whatever disaster (earthquake, terrorism, tornado or war) already had a year’s worth of food stored. We were not the ones who panicked because of a “toilet paper shortage.” Even now, there are those people who have “enough” and rarely need to go to the grocery stores. Fewer outings means less exposure to any virus.

Lots of resources are available for learning to grow food, though seat-of-the-pants may be the best teacher. I was a neophyte during the 1970 back-to-the-land movement. I began by subscribing to Mother Earth News. Living on 100 acres with a new baby and no car meant it was time to learn to grow food. Maybe because of the proverbial beginner’s luck my first garden there produced 150 lettuce plants. What does one do with 150 lettuce plants? Besides making lettuce soup, which is delicious in the springtime, I sold my lettuce to the only local health food store, then owned by Ken Kesey’s family.

Now I still have thousands of different seeds, but I admit to trying to use up the older ones. Some seeds don’t keep well, notably onion seeds. Whether you have an apartment porch or a back 40, now is the time to seek out a modicum of self-reliance, rather than relying on stores that no longer have shelves that are filled to the brim. Even if you only have buckets or 100 square feet, you can grow a lot of food.

And fresh food is so much better for you. If you do go to a store, make smart purchases. Buying from bulk bins is liable to be fresher and cheaper than preservative-laden, over-packaged stuff on the shelves. In the same vein, make your own soups, stews and casseroles with leftovers. Calculate the price per pound to make sure this all makes sense to you. If you don’t cook, learn. All it takes is practice.

And if you don’t know how to garden, it’s time to learn. Again, all it takes is practice. If you are new to it, start with the easy stuff: beans and radishes, cukes and zukes. Then there are the can’t-kill-‘ems like Swiss chard and kale. Kale is over-priced and over-packaged in the stores, but pretty much guaranteed to grow in a bucket or your back yard. All it needs is a little sun and some water. Save the cooking water from your veggies and if you are not using it for soup stock, cool it and use it to water your plants. The extra nutrients in the cooking water will benefit your growing crops.

Seek guidance from your local and regional newspapers (like this one). Establish your purchasing choices now (do I need it, or just want it?). Grow what you are most likely to eat. Use locally abundant foods, like berries and filberts, and that ever-present health food, kale. Eat more plant-based foods, use up leftovers and use scissors to cut ribbons of green from your unsprayed dandelions. Eat in season or by reaping the abundance from your garden. Feel more secure by being prepared. The more you grow, the less you need to buy.

Tales (and Tails) of Trust by Paula Walker on 05/01/2020