Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 3/2 – Red Cross Cascades Region Offering Free Virtual Preparedness Classes Every Tuesday in March, Rise in Fatal Overdoses in Jackson County

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Sunny, with a high near 64. Calm wind.

Wednesday- Sunny, with a high near 66. Light and variable wind.

Thursday- Partly sunny, with a high near 62. South wind 6 to 10 mph.

Friday- A 20 percent chance of rain. Snow level 4300 feet rising to 5300 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 61.

Saturday- A chance of rain. Snow level 4200 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Coronavirus-update-1-4.jpg

Oregon reports 197 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 4 new deaths

There are four new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,212. The Oregon Health Authority reported 197 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 155,787.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Clackamas (19), Columbia (5), Coos (6), Deschutes (4), Douglas (11), Jackson (12), Jefferson (2), Josephine (3), Lane (33), Lincoln (1), Linn (2), Marion (20), Multnomah (16), Polk (3), Umatilla (1), Washington (54) and Yamhill (1).

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 13,794 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 6,169 doses were administered on Feb. 28 and 7,625 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Feb. 28.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 986,816 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 1,241,415 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

Oregon to Receive Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the federal government, making it the third COVID-19 vaccine available for use in the United States.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the first single-dose vaccine against COVID-19. It can be stored in a refrigerator for months, making it easier to distribute without the need for ultra-cold storage.  

OHA estimates Oregon will receive 34,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. OHA is working with Local Public Health Authorities, state retail pharmacy partners and hospital systems to administer the vaccine.

It is anticipated that less of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available in the next few weeks following this week’s initial allocation. OHA is planning for strategic deployment of the vaccine to speed up vaccinations in Oregon.

“Having access to a third highly effective COVID-19 vaccine is a game changing development for Oregonians,’ said Paul Cieslak, M.D, medical director for communicable diseases and immunization, OHA Public Health Division. “We believe this vaccine is effective against the virus, and a one-dose regimen will allow us to vaccinate more Oregonians more quickly.”

The process for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine review and approval was the same as it was for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The company submitted its application for EUA on Feb. 4.  

In its review of Johnson & Johnson’s application, the FDA reported the vaccine was 66% effective for moderate to severe/critical COVID-19 in all groups across all regions studied starting at 28 days after vaccination. The observed efficacy in the United States was 72%. The clinical trial involved 43,783 participants in the United States, Latin America, Brazil and South Africa.

“The best thing is that this one-dose vaccine was 85% efficacious in preventing severe COVID-19,” Dr. Cieslak said.

Reported vaccine side effects include pain at the injection site, mild to moderate headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

Test reporting change provides more detailed estimate of COVID-19 testing in Oregon

OHA continues to adapt how it reports COVID test results to provide a more detailed estimate of testing volume and percent positivity. The change will add test results reported via the Oregon COVID-19 Reporting Portal (OCRP) to the current Electronic Lab Reports (ELRs) totals.

OHA changed from the person-based test counts (i.e., number of people who test positive, negative, total people tested) to test-based counts on Dec. 3 by reporting the number of positive, negative and total COVID-19 electronic laboratory reports, representing the majority of COVID-19 test results reported statewide.

COVID-19 test results may also be reported by the secure, web-based confidential reporting system: Oregon COVID-19 Reporting Portal (OCRP). These reports were automatically routed to the appropriate local health department for public health action. Recent database improvements have made reporting these additional data possible.

These additional testing data will be published starting today in the Tableau dashboards and in risk level metrics for schools and counties. While there may be some changes to previously reported test positivity rates, case counts, and case rates have not changed.

OHA recommends that all Oregonians continue to follow the safe practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That includes wearing a mask or face covering, maintain physical distancing, minimize indoor social get-togethers, stay home if you feel sick, and frequently wash your hands.

ROGUE VALLEY HEADLINES:

Rise in Fatal Overdoses in Jackson County

OD Deaths Increase 21.5% | Jackson County Combat, MO

On Sunday, Jackson County Public Health issued an Overdose Alert, after health officials say that the county experienced three overdose fatalities over the last two weeks. According to JCPH, some of the overdoses are suspected to be from fentanyl, is a synthetic opioid approved for treating severe pain.

Health officials say that the drug is about 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. The drug is usually is prescribed in the form of transdermal patches or lozenges and can be diverted for misuse and abuse in the United States. Jackson County Public Health says that cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdoses, and deaths in the United States, are linked to illegally made fentanyl.

Health officials say that it is often mixed with heroin or other drugs and is sold as a counterfeit prescription opioid pill, with or without the user’s knowledge. Street fentanyl can be in the form of white, gray, or tan powder, dropped on blotter paper, eye dropper or nasal sprays. JCPH says that the alert has been issued to inform the medical
community, law enforcement, and the county of the rise in fatal overdoses in Jackson County.

Here is a short list of some of the things that JCPH says could help reduce the risk of some overdosing:

1. Using illicit opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl increases the risk of overdosing. There is no safe way to use illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, but precautions can be taken that may help reduce the risk. The street drug supply has always been unpredictable and inconsistent. Assume overdose risk no matter what drug you are using.

2. Abstaining from drug use is the best way to eliminate the risk of overdose. Ask the person about their willingness to begin medication-assisted treatment or drug treatment. A list of resources can be found on the Oregon Recovers website https://oregonrecoverynetwork.org/. Call the SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This is a free, confidential,
24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. The Jackson County Syringe Exchange Program provides referrals for medication-assisted treatment or drug treatment to people who utilize the program’s services.

3. It is critical to call 911 when someone is overdosing from opioids. If you use naloxone, the effects are temporary, and the person still needs medical attention. After the medication wears off, the person could fall back into a coma. If you call 911 for someone having a drug overdose, Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law protects you from being arrested or prosecuted for drug-related charges or parole/probation violations based on information provided to emergency responders. If someone is overdosing from using fentanyl, it may take more naloxone to reverse the overdose. It can take about 2-3 minutes for the naloxone to take effect.

4. Even people who haven’t used in a while may relapse and are at increased risk of overdosing. It is important to be aware of your tolerance and always use less.

5. Have an overdose plan, make sure someone can get to you when you use it, and it is safest to use when you are with someone you trust. Smoking or snorting illicit opioids may help reduce the risk. A person can still overdose by using these methods, especially with fentanyl. Always assume there is a risk of overdosing.

6.  BE PREPARED. GET NALOXONE. SAVE A LIFE. Even if you do not use illicit opioids, but you know someone who does, you will want to carry naloxone in case you are in the position to use it on someone. Oregon law allows lay people to carry and use naloxone on
others. You can get naloxone through these avenues: Any pharmacist in Oregon can prescribe naloxone to you. You do not need a
prescription in Oregon to access naloxone through a pharmacy. List of Oregon pharmacies distributing naloxone. Anyone who can prescribe medication can send a naloxone prescription to your pharmacy. People who utilize the Syringe Exchange Program can receive free naloxone. Free naloxone is available through Max’s Mission and HIV Alliance. Max’s Mission is holding a naloxone distribution event at Hawthorne Park, Thursday,March 4, 2021, from 2-4 pm.

7. It is important not to mix drugs because drugs taken together can interact in ways that
increase their overall effect and increase the risk of overdosing

Jackson County Health & Human Services https://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/

Bill To Permanently Ban Mining In Parts Of Southwest Oregon Passes

Southwestern Oregon Mineral Withdrawal | Kalmiopsis Rivers

Conservationists have been resisting a proposed nickel mine in Southern Oregon for many years.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a permanent mining ban in the area as part of a new public lands bill.

Just before he left office, former president Barack Obama ordered a temporary ban on mining near the headwaters of several rivers that flow through Southwest Oregon and Northern California. Now, the House has approved a bill to make that ban permanent.

Ann Vileisis is president of the Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, an environmental group in Curry County. She says these protections are important for the communities surrounding the rivers.

“Several communities rely on the rivers for drinking water, but also for recreation like fishing and the recreation economy and tourism economy that we all care about,” says Vileisis. “And just our way of life. So the idea of allowing strip mining to get a toehold in our region just makes no sense to me.”

Nickel mining can destroy landscapes and pollute waterways. Vileisis says conservationists hope make this ban permanent.

“We want to make it so that these places will forever be protected,” says Veleisis. “So that’s what this legislation is about. It kind of extends what’s in place now and makes it permanent. We’re hoping that now that it’s moved along in part of this big house bill, our senators will take it up and make it happen finally.”

The bill would protect headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Smith, Rogue and Illinois Rivers and Hunter Creek and North Fork Pistol rivers.

The measure is an amendment to a national public lands bill. It was introduced by Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio and California Representative Jared Huffman. The Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protect Act will now go to the Senate, where Oregon and California Senators have already signaled their support.

Medford Police Dept. School Zone Safety Operation

City of Allen to install school zone at Preston Elementary | News |  starlocalmedia.com

            With students from kindergarten through 6th grade returning to the classrooms the Medford Police Department provided extra patrol in some school zones today with an emphasis on traffic safety and an education first approach.  It is the goal of the Medford Police Department to improve traffic safety through education and enforcement. During the morning of March 1st our Traffic Team and School Resource Officers issued 29 warnings for speed violations in various school zones in just 2 hours. There were 5 citations issued to drivers traveling at excessive speeds ranging from 17 mph to 22 mph over the posted speed limit. During the operation several citations were issued for other various violations and they are listed below.   

            We ask that drivers be aware of school zones and use caution when driving through them. It is important to know that fines for speed violations increase significantly when they are within a designated school zone. To help with public awareness we have included descriptions for the two categories of reduced school speeds in school zones. We have also included a link to the ODOT website with information on School Zones.

Other Citations Issued:

Driving While Suspended = 2

Driving Uninsured = 2

Operating Without Driving Privileges = 1

Fail to Use Seatbelt = 4

Violation of the Open Container Law = 1

Minor in Possession of Alcohol = 1

Zones Adjacent to School Grounds:

Will have signage displaying the speed limit at 20 MPH When Flashing or School Days 7AM – 5PM.

Zones at School Crosswalks away from Schools Grounds:

Will have signage displaying the speed limit at 20 MPH When Flashing or When Children are Present.

ODOT School Zone Information Link: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Engineering/Pages/School-Zones.aspx Medford Police Dept.

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Red Cross Cascades Region Offering Free Virtual Preparedness Classes to Encourage Everyone To Prepare For Disasters

The devastating winter storms our region just experienced, and this past summer’s wildfires, serve as a painful reminder that disasters can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime – even during a pandemic.  

So, in honor of March being Red Cross Month, the Red Cross Cascades Region is hosting a series of free emergency preparedness presentations throughout the month. All presentations are virtual, and everyone is welcome to attend. Red Cross volunteers are available for virtual media interviews today.

How to prepare for emergencies:  

Starting today and taking place every Tuesday in March from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., classes will cover the most common disasters we face in the Pacific Northwest and how to prepare for them. Whether you’re motivated to start building your preparedness kit, or need a refresher course, these classes are designed to help families and individuals learn how to be better prepared. Information and links can be found at redcross.org/cascades.  

  • March 2nd: Winter Storm Safety 
  • March 9th: Wildfire Safety 
  • March 16th: Earthquake Safety 
  • March 23rd: Flooding Safety 
  • March 30th: Home Fire Safety 

We recognize that preparing for emergencies looks a little different right now, but the three basic action steps remain the same: Build a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed. In addition to the preparedness series, the Red Cross Cascades Region has a free downloadable Prepare! Guide available in four languages, EnglishSpanishVietnamese and Russian. Red Cross B-roll is available here.

WHAT IS RED CROSS MONTH For nearly 80 years, U.S. presidents have proclaimed March as Red Cross Month to recognize people giving back through its lifesaving mission — which is powered by more than 90% volunteers. 

They include people who volunteer to provide emotional support, psychological first aid and referrals to community assistance for families coping with disasters during the pandemic. 

HOW TO HELP You can help ensure that families don’t face emergencies alone — especially during a pandemic: 

  • DONATE: Support our Disaster Relief efforts at redcross.org/GivingDay. A gift of any size makes a difference to provide shelter, food, relief items, emotional support and other assistance. Your donation will be part of our annual Giving Day on March 24 to aid families in need across the country. 
  • VOLUNTEER: Visit redcross.org/VolunteerToday for most-needed positions and local opportunities. 
  • GIVE BLOOD: If you’re healthy and feeling well, make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org. Your donation can make a lifesaving difference for a patient in need. As a thank you, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma on March 15-26 will receive a Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. 
  • LEARN LIFESAVING SKILLS: Take a class in skills like CPR and first aid to help in an emergency at redcross.org/TakeAClass. Online options include our Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 course, which covers how to manage stress and support yourself and others. 

About the American Red Cross: 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/cascades or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossCascAmerican Red Cross – Cascades Region

Oregon’s Secretary of State, who as a lawmaker championed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, has joined the advisory board of a movement that is pushing states to adopt the one person-one vote system.

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan joins push for national popular vote  - oregonlive.com

Shemia Fagan, a Democrat, will now be advising National Popular Vote, a non-profit dedicated to advancing the compact in
states across the country, her office announced Monday.

The movement needs 270 Electoral College votes for national popular vote to be adopted in America. It already has secured 196 and aims to gain more this year. Under the current system, each state’s electoral votes go to the candidate who won the popular vote in that state, with the runner-up getting nothing.

Nebraska and Maine are the only exceptions. The board she’s joining advises the non-profit National Popular Vote organization in its mission of reforming the electoral college through the enactment of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Oregon Could Become 2nd State to Permit Human Composting

Oregon Could Become 2nd State To Permit Human Composting | 98.7 The Bull

A bill before the Oregon Legislature would make it the second state to allow human composting as an alternative to traditional burial or cremation.

House bill 2574, sponsored by Reps. Pam Marsh and Brian L. Clem, would allow bodies to be disposed of by alternative processes, including natural organic reduction — an accelerated decomposition process that turns bodies into soil within weeks. It also clarifies rules surrounding alkaline hydrolysis, known as aqua cremation, and extends other funeral industry privileges and responsibilities to include natural organic reduction.

A public hearing for the bill was set for Monday afternoon in the House Committee on Business and Labor.

Almost 100 people had submitted written testimony as of Monday morning, overwhelmingly in support of the bill. Most cited environmental reasons for their desire to be composted. Cremation uses more energy than composting and traditional burial involves harsh chemicals and takes up land.

“Knowing that my remains could benefit the environment that has given me so much joy over the years gives me peace,” wrote Milwaukie resident Darin MacRae.

If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, 2022.

Washington became the first state to allow natural organic reduction in 2020. In late December, two facilities began performing the service. –The Associated Press

Oregon’s Logging Industry Says It Can’t Afford New Taxes Even Though Prices Have Never Been Higher and Profits Soaring

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Thirty years after Oregon lawmakers began giving the state’s timber industry tax cuts that cost rural counties an estimated $3 billion, industry lobbyists warned them not to follow through on efforts to reinstate the tax this year.

Legislators are considering whether to add to taxes paid by the logging industry after an investigation published last year by Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Oregonian/OregonLive and ProPublica found that timber companies, increasingly dominated by Wall Street real estate trusts and investment funds, benefited from the tax cuts at the expense of rural counties struggling to provide basic government services.

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During hearings last week, a parade of industry lobbyists and supporters said now would be the worst possible time to reinstate the tax. What they didn’t tell lawmakers: Lumber prices are at record highs. The huge demand for lumber and the accompanying high prices have helped to boost stock prices and profits for some of Oregon’s biggest timber companies.

The COVID-19 pandemic and record wildfires, which burned hundreds of thousands of acres of private timberland last year, put the timber industry “up against the ropes,” lobbyist Chris Edwards said in testimony last week.

Edwards is a former Democratic state senator who now represents the Oregon Forest & Industries Council, a lobbying group for the state’s biggest timber companies. He suggested that if lawmakers restored the tax, companies might be forced to cut rural jobs or withdraw from a landmark accord struck last year with Oregon environmental groups to negotiate tightening the state’s logging laws, which are weaker than those in California and Washington.

“This all comes from the same pot of money,” Edwards said. “Additional taxes right now could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”a group of people sitting at a table© Provided by ProPublicaChris Edwards, a former Democratic state senator, in 2013. Edwards now represents the state’s biggest timber companies as a lobbyist.

Despite the wildfires and the pandemic, lumber producers are “generating unbelievable margins right now, record margins and profits,” said Brooks Mendell, president of the forest investment consultancy Forisk.

Small-scale timber owners who lost most of their timber in last year’s wildfires suffered major financial hits. Others lost valuable equipment. But large corporations and lumber manufacturers are thriving, Mendell said.

“You can see it’s showing up in their financial statements, and the publicly traded guys and the private guys are doing really well,” Mendell said. “They’re investing in their mills and they’re just doing extremely well.”

Sara Duncan, a spokesperson for the industry council, didn’t directly address questions about record lumber prices. In an email, Duncan instead pointed to the impact that restoring the tax would have not on the council’s large member companies but on smaller forest landowners who also testified before lawmakers.

“There are over 65,000 forest landowners in Oregon, many of whom lost land in the Labor Day fires, and all of whom would be negatively impacted by new timber taxes,” Duncan said.

The stock price for the largest timber company in Oregon, Weyerhaeuser, is sitting at a three-year high. The Seattle-based investment trust — which owns 1.6 million acres in Oregon, three times more than the next-largest landowner — saw 125,000 acres of its timberlands burn during the Labor Day wildfires that scorched more than a million acres across Oregon. The company didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Despite losing $80 million to the fires, the company reported net earnings of $797 million last year, its highest mark since 2016.

Weyerhaeuser executives sounded bullish in their Jan. 29 earnings release. The company’s CEO, Devin Stockfish, called its 2020 performance “remarkable” and said he was increasingly confident that demand would continue to bolster the housing market, which uses the company’s lumber.

Charles Gross, a Morningstar senior equity analyst who follows Weyerhaeuser, said the company’s earnings last year showed “a huge net increase. It’s one of the best years they have on record.”

Wildfire losses for Weyerhaeuser and other large investment companies “pales in comparison to how much they gain from high lumber prices,” Gross said. “This is especially true for Weyerhaeuser,” which not only owns forestland but also owns mills that turn logs into lumber and other products, he said.

Gross said he did not forecast any significant financial effect on the companies if lawmakers reinstated a severance tax of 5%, which would be assessed based on the value of trees at the time they’re cut down.

For decades, private timber owners in Oregon paid a severance tax. But in the 1990s, lawmakers passed a series of tax cuts that phased out the severance tax, which in turn lowered the funding provided to schools and local governments. Then they eliminated the tax for all but the smallest timber owners, who can opt to pay it in exchange for reduced property taxes.

If the tax were reinstated, Gross said, companies would adjust prices and shift the cost to consumers.

“I don’t think there would be any net impact to the timber industry over time for profitability,” Gross said. “This wouldn’t harm the long-term profitability of a company like Weyerhaeuser.”

Since cratering at the beginning of the pandemic last year, lumber prices have tripled, setting a record as wildfires reduced supplies and low interest rates helped fuel a strong demand from the housing market. Prices soared so high that in January home builders asked President Joe Biden for help as they struggled with lumber costs and delivery times.

High prices for lumber, wood that has been milled, have not boosted prices for logs in all of the country’s wood-growing regions, like the South, where production is higher than it’s ever been, said Rocky Goodnow, vice president of North American Timber Service at Forest Economic Advisors.

But the rise in lumber prices has increased the cost of trees harvested in Western Oregon, the state’s dominant tree-growing region, Goodnow said, where log prices are up about 40% since the early days of the pandemic.

A severance tax would reduce Oregon’s competitiveness with other timber-producing regions and “on the margin lead to less production,” Goodnow said, particularly if the market for lumber weakens.

Mendell, the forestry consultant, said his firm forecasted Oregon’s timber production to change little over the next 20 years, seeing a decline of perhaps 2% based on wildfire damage and estimates of when most of the state’s trees will be old enough to be logged.

“Markets are really strong right now,” Goodnow said. “We think the demand for forest products is going to remain strong.”

Proponents of the severance tax told lawmakers that the industry’s strong position means there’s no better time to restore the tax.

Jody Wiser, founder of Tax Fairness Oregon, a tax watchdog, told state representatives that fires that burned 3% of the state’s private timberlands were no reason to delay restoring taxes that could fund sheriff’s deputies, mental health workers and economic development officers in rural counties that bore the brunt of the cuts.

“Those are the kinds of jobs rural communities have lost because they lost revenue,” Wiser said. “They are also good-paying rural jobs, which should be restored with a robust severance tax.”

Disagreement exists about where the money should go if a tax is reinstated. The current proposal to restore the tax, introduced by state Rep. Paul Holvey, a Eugene Democrat, would institute a 5% tax to be paid by timber owners. Half of the money would fund wildfire fighting and a quarter of it would return to the counties where the logging occurs. The rest would go to the Oregon Department of Forestry and research projects at Oregon State University.

Counties want to see all of the money returned to them. But lawmakers have sidelined two early bills to restore a severance tax that would serve entirely as local government revenue, while Holvey’s proposal received its first hearing last week.

Meanwhile, small landowners with less than 5,000 acres, which together own about a third of Oregon’s private forests, have protested the use of tax revenue to pay to prepare private homes for wildfires.

“These costs should be shared by all citizens. We are very happy to support OSU forestry and the Department of Forestry and pay our share for fire,” Sarah Deumling, whose company manages 1,300 acres in Polk County, told lawmakers, “but please think twice before trying again to tax us out of business.”

The Association of Oregon Counties, representing the 36 counties that once received the tax revenue, echoed the timber lobbyist’s statements about the timing being wrong to raise taxes and urged lawmakers to delay beyond the 2021 session.

Speaking on behalf of the association, John Sweet, a county commissioner from coastal Coos County, which has lost an estimated $208 million in severance tax payments since 1991, told state lawmakers they should not restore the tax without taking time to study it. If they do act now, Sweet said, they should direct the money where it once went, to local governments and schools, not to state responsibilities like firefighting.

Sweet said in an interview that while timber companies are currently seeing strong returns, lawmakers still need to be careful in their efforts to restore the tax.

“This may be a reasonable tax,” he said. “I don’t want it to be imposed when we’re shooting from the hip.”

Sweet has received $29,000 in campaign contributions, nearly 20% of what he’s raised in nine years, from timber interests including Weyerhaeuser. He said the contributions did not influence his position.

(( This article was produced in partnership with Oregon Public Broadcasting and The Oregonian/OregonLive. You can sign up for The Oregonian/OregonLive special projects newsletter and Oregon Public Broadcasting’s newsletter. Oregon Public Broadcasting is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network. ))

2 Oregon Projects Win Wood Design Awards

The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design in Atlanta won a national award at the 2021 Wood Design Awards. (Photo courtesy of The Miller Hull Partnership in collaboration with Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra Co., Uzun + Case/Jonathan Hillyer)

WoodWorks – Wood Products Council has announced the winners of its 2021 Wood Design Awards, which include two projects in Oregon. The awards celebrate excellence in wood building design and spotlight its continued rise in popularity across the U.S. Awards, are an opportunity to recognize building designers for their skill and ingenuity, and to showcase projects that demonstrate the attributes of wood.

Nominations from across the country were evaluated by an independent jury that included:

  • Clare Archer, vice president/senior director, Gilbane Building Co., Washington, D.C.;
  • Kate Diamond, FAIA, LEED AP, civic design director, HDR, Los Angeles;
  • Julie Hiromoto, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, director of integration, principal, HKS Inc., Dallas; and
  • John Mitchell, associate partner, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, Chicago.

National award categories include:

• Multi-Family Wood Design• Commercial Wood Design – Mid-Rise• Commercial Wood Design – Low-Rise• Wood in Government Buildings• Wood in Schools• Institutional Wood Design• Green Building with Wood• Beauty of Wood• Durable & Adaptable Wood Structures

National Winners:

Wood in SchoolsOregon State University Forest Science Complex | Corvallis, OR

DEVELOPER/OWNER: Oregon State University
ARCHITECT: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Equilibrium, a Katerra Co.
CONTRACTOR: Andersen Construction

Commercial Wood Design – Mid-RiseOutpost | Hood River, OR

DEVELOPER/OWNER: Key Development
ARCHITECT: Skylab Architecture
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Valar Consulting Engineering
CONTRACTOR: Key Development

By: BridgeTower Media Newswire in ConstructionNews March 2, 2021 6:52 am

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