Weekday Wrap: Report details Oregon weather disasters, Shakespeare Festival gets $10M gift and drought conditions ease in Northeastern Oregon

By OPB staff (OPB)
Nov. 17, 2022 9:41 p.m.

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region.

Autumn leaves are on full display at North Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

Autumn leaves are on full display at North Falls at Silver Falls State Park.

Courtesy of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Oregon Parks will waive parking fees the day after Thanksgiving

THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will waive day-use parking fees in state parks on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, for “Green Friday.” The parking waiver has become a tradition in recent years, with OPRD partnering with business-like REI to encourage Oregonians to get outside during the holidays. The waiver applies to the 25 parks that usually charge $5 for parking. “We’re proud to promote this tradition and offer Oregonians an alternative to the busiest shopping day of the year,” said Lisa Sumption, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department director. (OPB Staff)

Report: Oregon has experienced a dozen weather disasters in the past decade

Though it didn’t suffer from as many weather-related disasters as some states, a new federal report shows Oregon had its share of destruction in the past decade. According to the report, the state experienced 12 such disasters from 2011 to 2021 that resulted in $879 million in federal relief funds. Lane County received the largest chunk with $66 million, much of that going toward winter storm and wildfire damage. The report also examined who is most vulnerable in those disasters, finding that regions with people of color are more frequently hit by disasters and don’t receive as much money as areas that are typically more affluent. (Drew Costley/Associated Press)

Read the full story here.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival receives a $10M grant

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival received a $10 million gift on Wednesday from the Hitz Foundation. The foundation, run by OSF board member David Hitz, traditionally supports projects in the arts, science and in environmental efforts. The money will be paid out over the next five years, about how long OSF executive director David Schultz estimates it will take the festival to recover from the pandemic. During the pandemic, OSF laid off 90% of its staff and shut down for 18 months. Now, it’s dealing with inflation and supply chain issues. (Jenna King/KOBI)

THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

Read the full story here.

Drought conditions ease in Northeastern Oregon

Winter is coming and with it cooler and wetter weather conditions. That precipitation can’t come soon enough for some parts of Northeastern Oregon. Already recent rain and snow have helped provide relief after several counties suffered through drought conditions brought on by a hot, dry summer. That easing of drought conditions comes after farmers endured a topsy-turvy year beginning with a dry winter, followed by late spring snow that provided irrigation through the growing season. (Katy Nesbitt/The La Grande Observer)

Read the full story here

Apply to join Burnside Bridge advisory group in Portland

Multnomah County residents interested in having a say on the construction of a new earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge connecting downtown Portland to the city’s east side are being sought for a group tasked with providing input on the bridge’s design. The environmental review phase of the project is nearing completion, and the next phase is about to begin as the county seeks input on the final design before construction begins in 2025. The application period to join the advisory group will close on Sunday, Dec. 4. People can apply online at Burnsidebridge.org. (Max Egener/Portland Tribune)

Read the full story here.

Oregon’s Bonamici announces bill to address public defense shortcomings

Oregon’s U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici has introduced a bill, called the EQUAL Defense Act, to help address the state’s public defense crisis. Hundreds of people in Oregon are facing criminal charges and don’t have court-appointed attorneys. Dozens of them are in custody.

Public defenders are overwhelmed, and Oregon’s public defense system alone is short more than a thousand attorneys, according to the American Bar Association. Bonamici, a Democrat, said in a statement on Thursday that the EQUAL Defense Act will provide $250 million in funding for public defense grants. It will also address workload and pay parity issues, and it will provide comprehensive training for public defenders. For the second time this year, Oregon is being sued by civil rights attorneys over the lack of access to public defenders. (OPB Staff)

THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:
THANKS TO OUR SPONSOR:

Related Stories