The Sacrifice Feels Shared

“We’re receiving about double our normal supplies these days – we saw about two million pounds of food donations come through last week,” says Steven Castro, who receives and logs donations at the Oregon Food Bank. “But these supplies go right out the door just as soon as they come in.” 

(Photo courtesy Oregon Food Bank / Facebook)
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Environmental Injustice

The clear waters of Waldo Lake. Photo Credit By Coulee

As of Monday, June 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has put a new federal rule into effect regarding Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, that curb the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s ability to protect clean water for people in Oregon. DEQ described its opposition to the proposed rollback back in an October article.

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Patience requested as vehicle inspection stations reopen in Medford and some Portland-Metro area locations

Great news! The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is reopening many of its vehicle inspection stations this week. Today, the Medford-Ashland station will begin offering inspection services; while the Clackamas, Sherwood and Hillsboro/Sunset stations will reopen tomorrow, June 16; and the Scappoose station will reopen on Friday, June 19. The agency asks the public for patience as the staff works within new COVID-19-related procedures and through a backlog of vehicles. DEQ will continue to offer several other options for obtaining an inspection compliance certificate for those who do not want to wait in line.

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New hope for old bus station site in Salem

“Helping communities and good causes get needed facilities such as housing for domestic violence survivors is putting EPA’s brownfield funding to good use and makes my day.”

Mary Camarata, DEQ’s Western Region brownfields coordinator.

When the Center for Hope & Safety in Salem purchased the building next door in 2015 it was taking a gamble.

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We all play for Oregon

I served 40 days as part of the state’s response to COVID-19. Thirty-one of those days were as Deputy Media Public Information Officer in the Joint Information Center in Salem. My job was to lead a team of staff to respond to the 20 to 40 emails and calls we’d receive from the media every day. During this time, I learned innumerable things about communication, patience, dedication, compassion, service and friendship. But, for the sake of this blog, I’d like to share three.

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As DEQ prepares for wildfire season, the public may also take part

Garner Complex Base Camp, July 2018, Jackson County. Photo credit: Steve Timbrook, ODF

With a hot, dry summer forecast ahead of us, wildfire season has already begun in many counties across Oregon. As such, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has been working with a group of state agencies and regional organizations, including the National Weather Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry,  the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency and the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division, among many others, to prepare for busy months ahead. This includes reviewing the management and protocols for monitoring air quality and notifying the public of severe smoke events.

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We Have to Keep Going

“I’ve never seen this in my lifetime. It has been shocking to see how this virus can affect our whole world.”

– Lucy De Leon, owner of Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon
Lucy and Fidela prepping food at Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon

Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon is a restaurant and market that has served up authentic Mexican food for decades and partners with school districts and organizations dedicated to feeding children, families and seniors. 

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Beautiful Support from the Community

“We feel lucky to have business so that we can employ some people and provide food to the community.”

– Michael Marzano, who co-owns Hot Mama’s Wings in Eugene with his wife Angie.
Michael Marzano / Hot Mama’s Wings

Like so many restaurants across the state, Hot Mama’s has shifted its entire business to offer only take-out meals. Michael and Angie say they feel fortunate that they’ve been able to continuously adapt and pivot. “It’s tough, a continuing work in progress, but we’re figuring it out,” Angie adds. They cut the menu in half based on what they could do with proper social distancing in the kitchen and what would work best for takeout. They initially struggled to get enough to-go containers and all-natural chicken wings. As they worked through to find solutions, “it was nice to find out the new menu matched well to what customers really wanted,” Michael reflects. He has also been delightfully surprised to find that Hot Mama’s new menu is generating virtually no food waste.

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Everyone is Pitching In

“The great thing to see has been the teamwork. Everyone is supporting each other to find new ways to make this challenging situation work for our customers, our staff, and the community.”

– Rianna Koppel, Sustainability Coordinator at Ashland Food Co-op

As it continues to serve the needs of its members during the COVID-19 crisis, the Co-op has taken many steps to safeguard employees and customers. “It’s completely changed the way we work.”  The Co-op has added masks and hand sanitizer, one-way aisles, floor stickers for social distancing at checkout, plexiglass shields at checkout, and senior shopping hours in the morning.  

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DEQ extends vehicle inspection station closures to at least May 31, other inspection options available

Vehicle inspection station, Portland

UPDATED: May 15, 2020

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, which closed its vehicle inspection stations on March 17, has extended those closures through at least May 31, in an effort to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 among staff and customers.

Continue reading “DEQ extends vehicle inspection station closures to at least May 31, other inspection options available”