Oregon News, Tuesday, Sept. 16 – Classified College Workers Ready To Strike

The latest News from around the Rogue Valley, from RogueValleyMagazine.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Rogue Valley Weather

Rain likely with a high near 67. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 11am. High near 65. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Partly sunny, with a high near 72.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 78.

Today’s Headlines…

College Classified Employees may strike soon.

SEIU who represents the classified workers at seven Oregon colleges in the state may plan to go on strike just as the school year begins later this month with fall classes.

Classified workers at Oregon’s seven public universities have been bargaining for changes in their labor contracts for the past few weeks, represented by SEIU Local 503, Oregon’s Public Services and Care Provider Union.

With bargaining sessions that took place from September 11th through the 13th between the universities and the classified workers’ union not reaching the worker’s goals, some say a worker’s strike may be imminent. SEIU wants to add an extra step to these wage increases so that long-term employees who have “topped out” on their step increases can continue to see their earnings grow. they have also proposed that classified workers receive a 3.75 percent cost of living increase in 2019 and a 3.5 percent in 2020.

The last time that SEIU-represented workers at Oregon universities went on strike was in 1995.

The recent rain and cooler temperatures have made it possible to decrease fire restrictions across Southwest Oregon, affecting the City of Grants Pass. The public fire danger within the City of Grants Pass will lower to “low” (green), effective as of yesterday, Monday, September 16, 2019.

Under low fire danger, public fire restrictions in effect include:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
  • Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, and on private land with the landowner’s permission. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used as well.
  • Motorized vehicles are allowed only on improved roads; one shovel and one gallon of water, or one 2.5 pound or larger fire extinguisher, is required while traveling.
  • Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.


Catch the colors of autumn from atop Table Rocks! Building on the popular spring hike series, The Nature Conservancy and Medford District Bureau of Land Management are sponsoring three educational hikes in late September and early October. The public is invite to join “Autumn Outings on the Rocks!”

There will be a ukulele hike for all ages and skill levels; a night hike to learn about bats; and a family hike that will focus on the changes and adaptations that take place as the seasons change at the Rocks. Registration opens September 13. Information about the hikes and online reservations are available at https://table-rocks-hikes-fall2019.eventbrite.comThe hikes are free, but registration is required.

Saturday, September 28, 10 a.m., UPPER TABLE ROCK

Table Rocks Unplugged: BYOU (bring your own ukulele) and join Tish McFadden, founder and leader of the Southern Oregon Ukulele Players (SOUP), and Jeff Kloetzel, local musician and songwriter, for a musical trip along the trail. A sing-along and jam session will be held at spots along the trail and at the top of the rock. All skill levels and ages are invited to make music in nature. Music booklets will be provided. (https://ukulele-hike-fall2019.eventbrite.com)

Saturday, October 5, 6:30 p.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK LOOP TRAIL

Batty about Bats: Join retired BLM wildlife biologist Tony Kerwin on a night hike to learn about the mysteries of bats as they come out to feed on flying insects. Dispel some common misconceptions about these amazing mammals that are critical to the ecosystem. Look for and listen to other creatures that are active at night on the Lower Table Rock Loop Trail (1/2-mile accessible trail). Bring a flashlight and wear good hiking shoes. (https://bat-hike-fall2019.eventbrite.com)

Saturday, October 12, 9 a.m., LOWER TABLE ROCK LOOP TRAIL

Adapt, Hibernate or Migrate?Join Mandy Noel, environmental educator, and Kate Halstead, ornithologist, for a family friendly hike on the Lower Table Rock Loop Trail (1/2-mile accessible trail) to learn how the wildlife and plants living at the Table Rocks prepare for winter. The hike will include activities for young naturalists. Dress for fall weather and bring your rain gear just in case! (https://family-hike-fall2019.eventbrite.com)

Hikers will meet at the designated trailhead for a 2.5 to 4.5 mile round trip hike up 800 feet along a moderate grade trail — or ½-mile accessible trail in the case of the Lower Table Rock Loop hikes. Participants should dress for the weather and terrain and bring water and snacks since hikes may last three to four hours. Restrooms are available only at each trailhead; there is no drinking water. Because of limited parking at the trailheads, carpooling is encouraged. To help protect this special place, dogs and vehicles are not allowed on the trail.

Additional information about Table Rocks is available at: www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/recreation-activities/oregon-washington/tablerocks

Inside a room at the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians’ new tribal community center are three framed sketch drawings by a Native artist. K’Ehleyr McNulty, the tribe’s youth development specialist, pointed to a drawing of a traditional Cow Creek home — a plankhouse, with planks partially in the ground.

McNulty is part of a team collaborating with the South Umpqua School District on curriculum specific to the Cow Creek tribe. It’s one element of a major change for Oregon’s public schools: Starting this year, Oregon schools are required to teach tribal history and the Native American experience in class.

The curriculum will roll out as 45 lessons for fourth, eighth and 10th grade classrooms, with plans to add more grades in the future. Signed in 2017, Senate Bill 13 requires the curriculum, called “Tribal History/Shared History.” It’s part of the state’s strategy to implement “historically accurate, culturally embedded, place-based, contemporary, and developmentally appropriate” American Indian and Alaska Native curriculum. The curriculum won’t be available until January and there’s a lot of work to be done before then.

A cancer survivor from Bend won 4.6 million dollars in the Oregon Lottery Megabucks game last week. Stu MacDonald said he was a very lucky guy having survived cancer twice.

MacDonald won the Oregon’s Game Megabucks jackpot on a quick pick ticket he purchased at Ashley’s Café on Northeast 3rd Street in Bend. MacDonald opted to take the bulk sum payment of $2.3 million, and after taxes took home $1.56 million. For selling the winning ticket Ashley’s Cafe will receive a 1-percent selling bonus of $46,000.

It’s Watch Out For Wildlife Week

There’s deer on the road!

It’s the time of year when motorists share our central Oregon highway system with migrating deer. To raise awareness and encourage vigilance, it’s “Watch Out For Wildlife” week.   Mule deer are moving from the highlands to lower elevations for winter. In many cases, they must cross our regional highways, including U.S. 97 and OR 31.

“We want motorists to know that deer are moving across our region right now, and be on the lookout for them, especially in the early morning and late evening hours,” said ODOT Wildlife Biologist Cidney Bowman.

Many of the deer cross U.S. 97 at a “hot spot” just south of Bend …where we have built two wildlife undercrossings and we’re building another one just north of Gilchrist. Many partners, including ODFW, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Oregon Hunters Association and others, have stepped up to provide about $500,000 to help build it.

To learn more see a video explaining the project at: https://www.facebook.com/OregonDOT/videos/721859454935001/  and be sure to “Watch Out For Wildlife!”

Temporary rules for adult wild chinook harvest on South Coast rivers

Wild fall chinook temporary restrictions begin October 1 on some South Coast rivers, while bag limit reductions began August 1 for the Coos, Coquille, Elk, and Sixes. It’s important for anglers to note the Elk and Sixes rivers are now included with the Coos and Coquille river basins for the wild fish aggregate bag limit

The Rogue River is not included in these temporary regulations.

Anglers should carefully check the SW Zone regulations: https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/southwest-zone

Restrictions were set due to poor wild chinook escapement in 2018 and low forecasted returns this year. Poor ocean conditions in recent years is the likely cause for low wild chinook salmon runs.

Based on public input, some low flow closure angling boundaries were changed. For example, the Sixes boundary was moved from the mouth to Hughes House Boat Ramp. Low flow closures will be lifted once fall rains arrive and flows are expected to remain high enough for chinook to freely migrate upstream.

Low flow closure maps:

·         Chetco River: https://myodfw.com/sites/default/files/2019-09/Chetco_low_Closure.pdf

·         Elk River: https://myodfw.com/sites/default/files/2019-09/Elk_low_Closure.pdf

·         Sixes River: https://myodfw.com/sites/default/files/2019-09/Sixes_low_Closure.pdf

·         Winchuck River: https://myodfw.com/sites/default/files/2019-09/Winchuck_low_Closure.pdf

Lower South Coast river restrictions won’t begin until October 1 to keep trout fishing open as long as possible and so anglers who catch a wild chinook before October 1 won’t have to count it toward the reduced bag. Anglers can still keep five wild jacks per Zone regulations.

These temporary restrictions are conservation measure in line with actions developed through the 2014 Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan for addressing wild fall chinook abundance and in the 2013 Rogue Fall Chinook Conservation Plan.

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