Weekday Wrap: Windy and snowy weather, money for rural health care, illegal forest camping


Winter weather coming to parts of Oregon

Winter storm warnings went into effect Tuesday for the Columbia River Gorge and the Upper Hood River Valley. The National Weather Service said some parts of the Gorge could see up to 12 inches of snow and wind gusts as high as 40 miles per hour. Travel could be very difficult through Wednesday morning. In the Coast Range, a winter weather advisory lasts through late Tuesday night. Several inches of snow could fall above 2,000 feet. Winds could also reach 40 miles per hour. And along the Cascades and foothills, several winter storm watches will go into effect late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. Up to 2 feet of snow could fall at higher elevations Wednesday through Thursday. (OPB staff)

High rents fuel surge in Oregonians living in forests

As Oregon’s housing crisis spills from urban centers onto forest lands, what it means to be homeless is changing. Gerald “Buddy” Blair’s home is a couple of trailers and three cars parked at a dispersed campsite with his family just outside Sisters in Central Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest. As climbing rents and limited social support networks send lower-income Oregonians searching for refuge on public lands, many camp illegally for long periods, sometimes utilizing public transportation to regions where metropolitan areas touch national forests. (Cole Sinanian/Statesman Journal)

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Merkley, Wyden announce $800,000 for rural health care

U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced Tuesday that Oregon will receive a grant to support organizations and facilities across Oregon. The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grant program will be $801,300 to provide vital emergency rural health care and food assistance. “These grants awarded to Oregon will help provide crucial support in ensuring Oregon’s rural families have access to the health care and food on the table they need to thrive,” Merkley said. (Cannon Beach Gazette)

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Scientists appeal for help to save sunflower sea stars

Scientists along the West Coast are calling for immediate action to aid the recovery of sunflower sea stars, decimated in recent years from sea star wasting disease. That disease is estimated to have killed over 5.75 billion sunflower sea stars, according to the scientists, causing a 94.3% decline in the global population. The sea stars, which are among the largest in the world and can span more than 3 feet, are predators to the kelp-eating sea urchin. Without the predator, sea urchin populations have increased, causing a troubling decline in kelp forests along the West Coast, especially in northern California. (Nicole Bales/Daily Astorian)

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Report documents effects of Cedar Creek Fire

An assessment of the damage caused by the 127,000-acre Cedar Creek Fire has been completed. Fred Levitan, the Willamette National Forest Burned Area Emergency Response coordinator, said there were places that burned quite hot and damaged the soil, mostly north of Waldo Lake where an old wildfire scar burned again. “We did suffer fairly significant damage to forest recreation facilities around Waldo Lake,” he said. “A lot of those are going to have to be reassessed and reconstructed and the forest is looking at a reimagined Waldo Lake recreation facility program.” Levitan said there was no loss of facilities around Shadow Bay. He said the effects to the pristine waters of Waldo Lake are expected to be relatively minor and short-term. (Karen Richards/KLCC)

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