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Page 1

Helping Hands

a Grin at the End

Wildfire relief fund tops $1 million – Page 4

Vol. 17 No. 10

Oregon heroism – Page 18

COMMUNITY NEWS

Serving Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Lyons & Mehama

October 2020

Silver Falls State Park back from the edge – Page 12 Our Town 2340 Martin Drive #104, Stayton, Or 97383

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Sports & Recreation

New mountain biking club starts up – Page 16


Rediscover

a Better Downtown 7

Our heart goes out to all our customers and friends in the Santiam Canyon who have lost their homes and much more, we cannot even begin to imagine. Have faith that great things will rise from these ashes and be even better. It has been a TOUGH YEAR for all of us, reminds me of a saying I once heard, “When you reach the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on with everything you’ve got”. All of us here at NOT SO SHABBY continue our path to source and paint things we think people will love as much as we do. Our Motto has always been” Love is in the details” as we strive to be innovative. Let no one ever come to our store without leaving happier than when they came in.

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2 • October 2020

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Contents

16

Helping Hands Wildfire Relief Fund tops $1 million.......4

Something to Celebrate Silver Falls State Park reopens............. 12

Rep. Sprenger surveys disaster..............6

Dining Out..............................14

Nov. 3 voting dates, resources...............6 Update Schools finally begin school year...........7

Sports & Recreation Mountain biking club gets into gear......16 Fall sports in limbo................................17

A Slice of the Pie............. 8

Marketplace....................... 17

Datebook................................11

A Grin at the End........... 18

Sublimity inSurance company Protecting Oregonians since 1896

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Serving Americans andyours” Veterans “Ourproud family serving with caskets. The area’s only American-made locally-owned and owner-operated funeral home

Above Silver Falls Mtb – aka the Sasquatches. MELISSA WAGONER On the cover Fire crews in Silver Falls State Park assessing fire damage.

GUY RODRIGUE

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2340 Martin Drive #104, Stayton • 503-769-9525 ourtown@mtangelpub.com www.ourtownlive.com The deadline for placing an ad in the Nov. 1 issue is Oct. 20.

Calendar listings are free for community events. Submissions must include date, time, location and cost. Submissions for the Nov. 1 issue are due Oct. 20. Email calendar items to: datebook@mtangelpub.com Our Town is mailed free to residents and businesses in the 97383, 97385, 97358 and 97325 zip codes. Subscriptions outside the area are $36 annually.

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October 2020 • 3


Helping Hands

Relief in sight

Wildfire Relief Fund grows to $1,173,884 in second week

By Mary Owen Residents who lost their homes and belongings in the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires are getting a helping hand from their neighbors via the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund, which topped $1,173,884 in its second week. Service Integration Team volunteer Deana Freres believes the team’s message of “pivoting the story of the Santiam Fire into the story of Santiam Canyon resilience” is resonating strongly with people all over the United States, and especially here in Oregon. “Rural communities such as ours are a beacon of hope, determination, and the strength that comes from living and working closely with our state’s most precious natural resource, the forest,” said Freres. She credits Gates residents Bryan and Cindy Chauran as the catalyst for the fund’s creation. “While standing amidst the burned rubble that was their home, they made a decision to use the money that their family had begun collecting for them to make a longterm impact on the Canyon,” she said. “They began to focus on the rebuild.”   The newly formed relief fund raised $151,000 in mere days, Freres said. “We’ve had so many local contributions!” she said. “The whopper that surprised us all was the delivery of a $30,000 check along with much needed supplies from Saalfeld Griggs, an Oregon legal firm headquartered in Salem.” By Sept. 23, Melissa Baurer, coordinator for the Santiam Hospital Service Integration Teams, reported a significant climb to $893,411, with more donations pouring in. United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, a SIT member since its start in 2017, informed Baurer of a $25,000 donation it was planning for the fund. Foothills Church donated $10,000, and Maps Credit Union, another SIT member, donated $2,500.

The Knights of Columbus quickly transformed St. Anthony’s Hall in Sublimity into a relief supply distribution center.

them through this very challenging time and to provide the long term support that will be needed for many of our community members,” Baurer said. “Service Integration Teams have been formed and are linking family needs to people and organizations who can fulfill those needs. We are now taking those relationships we have formed and building upon them in order to begin helping families restore hope and rebuild.” Team member Todd Miller, superintendent of the Santiam Canyon School District, noted how quickly it became apparent there was a need to support Santiam Canyon residents impacted by the fires. “We had people wanting to give and we needed a mechanism to get that incoming support for our families, quickly and efficiently,” said Miller. “We also wanted to ensure that all donations stayed local and that all of it would go to families in crisis in the Canyon.” Baurer credited SIT members for “jumping right in” to help those impacted.

With help from SIT partners such as Oregon’s Department of Human Services, Family Building Blocks, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency and others, Baurer said the funds will help with long-term needs.

“They are completing drives for the immediate needs, volunteering at our distributions sites, volunteering to drive supplies to those evacuated outside of the area, and stepping in to help financially,” she said.

“The goal is for us to connect families to resources and financial support to help

“The Department of Human Services is stationing two workers at our SIT Mobile

4 • October 2020

office in Sublimity to field phone calls, sign families up for benefits, and create action follow-up plans with families.” According to Baurer, SIT has connected with 408 unduplicated households from Santiam Canyon. “Our new Gates Community Church location opened up this last Monday,” Baurer said on Sept. 23. “They are serving 400 meals a day and seeing 100 households a day coming through the ‘store.’” SIT is also working closely with Linn County and Marion County commissioners to have the Federal Emergency Management Agency onsite completing registration with families. “Marion County Health and Human Services will be onsite as well,” Baurer said. “The MWVCAA-SOCC office has committed employee, Amanda Hardin, to the Gates site. Linn Benton Lincoln ESD has committed their staff to completing evacuee forms remotely.” According to Baurer, Pastor Troy Gulstrom with Mehama Community Church and Pastor Mike Cline with Mountain View Church have joined the relief team, as has Ed Diehl, a member of the Santiam Hospital board, SIT and Knights of Columbus. “Knights of Columbus quickly got Anthony Hall up and running for us,” Baurer said. “They have found shelving

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for the hall as well as donated pods and storage trailers. I am very proud of our SIT members and appreciate them so very much!” Other relief SIT members include: Todd Reeser and Alex Nalivaiko, Santiam Canyon School District; Rhonda Wolfe of United Way of Mid-Willamette Valley; Nicole McIntyre, Columbia Bank; Christina Hoeckle, Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District; and Colleen Bradford, Department of Human Services as well as Freres, Baurer, Miller, Diehl, Cline, Chauran and Gulstrom. Distribution of funds will be overseen by a collaborative group of community members already vested in the SIT network. Monies raised will be used in three phases: getting people into safe shelter, making sure their basic needs are met; assisting people with cleanup needs from the fire; and rebuilding the affected communities. Gulstrom called the fund “a great model to help people who need help and leverage dollars donated to get the biggest ‘bang for the buck.’” Established in 2017, the SIT program serves as a safety net by facilitating resources and information for individuals and families in the Santiam Canyon region. SIT also coordinates community providers and services to identify needs, find solutions and avoid duplication of services.

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Team members fielding calls have heard many heart-rending stories of families who have lost everything to the Santiam Fire, Baurer said. “Families have been appreciative, hopeful, and optimistic in the future,” she said. “Many have asked how they can help their fellow neighbors. They have empathy for each other and the love for one another in this community is apparent.” Baurer credited Miller for saying it best, “the Santiam Canyon communities ‘stand together.’” Miller claimed the fire may have changed the landscape of the Canyon, but “it will not break our will.” “The support of others is critical in the rebuilding of the homes and communities,” he said. “I am so saddened to see the destruction, yet feel so fortunate to know that so many are rooting for us and willing to help in this time of need.” Out-of-the-area help is also arriving for Santiam Canyon families. Recently

a “nightly nod of thanks” on the new SCWR Fund Facebook page went to Aaron and Trina from St. Helens, Oregon, who coordinated with their community to secure much-needed items for victims of the Santiam Fire. The couple filled their horse trailer to the brim with dozens of boxes of paper goods, bedding, and flats of water. After unloading, they connected with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to offer the horse trailer for animal transport needs in the area. “This was amazing!” Baurer said on the post, “Right after they left, we had a family of nine who needed pillows. So grateful Aaron and Trina made their way from St. Helens to us just in time to provide this family with some comfort.” Another shout out went to Slick Licks Ice Cream in Salem which gave $1 from every item sold to the relief fund. Bentley’s Coffee on Mission Street in Salem opened Sunday, Sept. 13 with voluntary staffers just to donate $1 from every drink sold to

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to the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund are tax-deductible, as the fund is established with 501(c)3 status and held in a local account at Columbia Bank. Organizers have committed that 100 percent of monies contributed to the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund will be distributed specifically to meet the needs of Santiam Canyon residents.

Other businesses have held fundraisers, giving a portion of profits raised, and some are helping to collect items such as toiletries and clean clothing for those affected by the fire. The Willamette Valley Corvettes and Willlamette Valley Street Rods held a Cruise In that raised more than $20,000 for the fund. “It is really encouraging to see the outpouring of generosity of people,” Gulstrom said. “It has been a rough year for so many and these fires add yet another layer of stress and uncertainty. But we are strong people and through God’s grace we will come out of this stronger and a tighter community.” In-kind donation sites were set up at SIT Mobile in Sublimity, Immaculate Conception Church in Stayton, Cascade School District in Turner, and 13th Street Nursery in Salem. All monetary donations made directly

Donated resources will be coordinated through the Facebook page Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund. The resources will be matched to individuals and families whose needs will be presented to SIT via the extensive network of local service providers already established in the region. Monetary donations can be made to paypal.me/santiamhospital or mailed to Santiam SIT of Santiam Hospital, 1401 North 10th Ave., Stayton, OR 97383. Individuals or families in need of financial, material or service support can contact SIT directly. Call or text 503-409-3652, or email sitmobile@santiamhospital.org.

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Helping Hands

Surveying damage By Mary Owen Recently, Rep. Sherrie Sprenger visited Santiam Canyon communities impacted by the Beachie Creek Fire. “We just need to chat and figure out what we need to do to rebuild,” said Sprenger, who was in Gates to visit her friend, Dave White, who lost everything in the fire. “Because the last thing I want is for people to get discouraged and not rebuild in this town. I want this town to rebuild, and I will do anything I can to help people do that and not get bogged down in a bunch of red tape.” Gates resident Virginia Pierce told Sprenger, “Yes, and we’re going to do it!” Pierce lived in the house owned by Kelly Juhola, who is committed to rebuilding. Looking over the rubble, Juhola said he plans to clean up what’s left of the home he lived in for the past 30 years. “Then I’ll put down a foundation and

Sprenger visits fire sites

put on a manufactured home,” he said. “The sewer system is all in place – pressurized and up-to-date – but the pipes burned out at the house. I had a guy come by today to look at it. He told me, ‘Don’t worry Kelly, we’ll fix you up.’” On a lighter note, Juhola pointed to the front of his home and said, “That was a plant room with a bay window, and all the plants are gone.” Pausing, he smiled and added, “I guess I should have watered them.” Sprenger recently held two community meetings, one in Mill City and the other in Stayton, to listen to Santiam Canyon residents talk about their experiences with the fire and post-fire needs. Key points residents brought up included the need for a better emergency alert system, more effective information, and quicker response to shutting down powerlines due to high winds or other adverse conditions.

“Last night I was honored to hear the wildfire stories and struggles of the Canyon communities,” Sprenger said after the meetings. “It will be a long road to recovery and rebuilding, but it will be done. It is because of their great care for one another that so many were able to escape. It is communities and neighbors like these that make me proud to be an Oregonian.” Wildfire recovery is available, and those who sustained uninsured losses or damage due to wildfires beginning Sept. 7 may be eligible for disaster aid. Federal funds are available to help eligible individuals recover from wildfire in Marion and Linn counties. To date, more than 3,300 people having applied for individual assistance from FEMA. To apply, call 1-800-621-FEMA or find local resources at www.fema.gov, www.disasterassistance.gov or wildfire. oregon.gov or call 211. If in need of shelter, call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcross.org. To volunteer or donate, visit oregonrecovers.communityos.org.

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Update

Adaptation

School districts resume plans after unprecedented events

By Mary Owen Recent fires in the Santiam Canyon delayed local school openings and added stress to teachers and staff already adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions. “We began school on Sept. 28 with distance learning,” said Andy Gardner, superintendent of the North Santiam School District. “The fire has set us back a couple of weeks in terms of finalizing our plans to bring in some students for limited in-person instruction. This information will be forthcoming in the next two weeks.” Gardner said the shift to online learning is asking a lot of NSSD families and staff. “Staff is learning new software with the intent of improving our distance learning over last spring’s schooling, and this is an adjustment,” he said. “We also acknowledge the burden that families must bear in distance learning.” Connecting students online and supporting them to remain engaged are critical, Gardner said. “We have purchased hotspots to support families so they can connect online,” he said. “We still have work to do here, particularly in the Lyons and Mehama area.” Gardner said parents and students found it hard when

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in-person school was ruled out in August and that the district will closely watch health conditions in the area and plan ahead for opportunities to bring in students. “It’s my hope that beginning even the distance learning can begin to re-establish routines and connection with our staff and families,” Gardner said. “Once we get up and running, our focus will then shift to planning to return our students to school when our health metrics allow it, with a strong emphasis on safety.” For individual school updates, visit www.nsantiam.k12. or.us or www.facebook.com/nssd29j. Santiam Canyon School District schools started school on Sept. 30, a decision that Supt. Todd Miller did not take lightly. “We knew our families are in a wide range of different situations right now,” Miller said. “We wanted to start school to begin to get some normalcy and supports for our students.”

said. “Together, we can do this.” More information on SCSD schools can be found at www.santiam.k12.or.us or www.facebook.com/ SCSD129J. “Welcome to the start of the 2020-21 school year,” Darin Drill told Cascade families. “In my 13 years as superintendent, I can say without a doubt that this is the start of the most unique school year I’ve ever experienced. I can also say without a doubt that we have the staff and students that can handle these challenges.” Drill looks forward to viewing the creative ways staff members will connect with students and when students can return to their schools. For information on Cascade School District, visit www. cascade.k12.or.us or follow the district at www.facebook. com/CascadeSchoolDistrict.

Miller also acknowledged that some students faced obstacles to starting school, and although school is important, safety and security comes first.

Regis St. Mary Catholic School students and staff started their school year on Sept. 23 with the first all-school Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with the Fr. Luan Nguyen.

“The Santiam Canyon just took a big hit, but now is our time to stand together and support each other as we rebuild our communities and improve our future,” Miller

For more information on the 2020-21 school year, visit www.regisstmary.org or www.facebook.com/ regisstmarycatholicschool.

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October 2020 • 7


A Slice of the Pie

Fears and hopes

Even a crazy, overwhelming time offers bright spots

“I look at Facebook and the news every day and I try not to get upset by what is happening in our country. But I am scared. I wonder if that is everyone.” This post, written by a friend of mine and heartbreaking in its honesty, really made me think – is it everyone? After all, as we are so often reminded, these are unprecedented times and so many systems appear to be broken that it’s easy to feel that repairing them all might be out of the question. I don’t have a solution to the many problems our society now faces – how to end the pandemic, create social justice and overhaul our education system. And I don’t know how to end the fear that these looming issues create. But I do have a suggestion, it comes courtesy of my friend. She proposed, “[M]aybe if everyone just admits they are scared too it could comfort us that we are not alone.” So, with that in mind, I asked people: what do you fear most right now?

a world so divided and full of hate... How will this economy and national state of mind impact his future?” “[S]ome days I despair of ever having Americans be willing to endure inconvenience of masks and social distancing long enough to let us get it under control, so we can open again.”

Our fears: “[T]otal civil unrest... I don’t want to live in lawlessness with roaming gangs that take advantage of the weak.” “I’m being induced on Monday and am afraid for the physical, social, and emotional health of my son as we raise him in this world... With an increase in COVID and a decrease in respect and common sense, I fear one of his grandparents, aunts or uncles, cousins, or even a parent will die before he knows them. Worse yet, I’m afraid he’ll contract it himself and be killed before he has had a chance to live or be so heavily impacted by it, he will never know what it means to be healthy. I’m also afraid to raise him in

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“I feel so much sadness and lost faith in our fellow citizens. I worry for our future.” “Travel feels scary...” “That I’ll be accosted or yelled at for protecting myself in a mask.” “[I]t is a shame that our national leaders are so influential in the dissemination of fake news... I really think our democracy is threatened.” “[G]etting sick or losing someone close to me. I’m also very afraid of the divide in America.” “I know truly intelligent people on both sides of the chasm who have allowed emotion to hijack rational thought and research.”

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“I fear the division created between people now, between families, will last for years.” “I fear we’ll be driven out of our hometown due to the drastically rising home prices.” “I fear the long-term mental stress today’s world is putting on our kids. I worry about the lost opportunities...” “[W]ill I ever hug my grandkids again? This social distancing thing is just not the same.” “Afraid for my children... Afraid for the forced unemployment of single parents who have to choose between their children’s education and a roof over their heads. Afraid for division in our communities... Afraid that I can’t be pro-police without being called a racist, and pro-Black lives for equality without believing in a movement.” “I’m scared the kids not going back to school... will lead to further depression and social anxiety...” “Not knowing when the pandemic will Continued on page 15

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October 2020 • 9


Rebuilding Stronger As members of communities throughout Oregon and Northern California, everyone here at Pacific Power has shared in the heartbreak of these difficult days. The aftermath of the Labor Day storm is beyond anything that most of us have experienced before. At Pacific Power, we have been deeply saddened by these shared experiences, but we have also been inspired by the strength and resilience we’ve seen. We’ve been inspired by the restaurant that stayed open solely to provide food and comfort to fire fighters; by the outpourings of donations for evacuees; by the people who showed up to provide comfort and human connection in the face of profound loss; by the communities we’ve seen coming together when they needed each other most, and so much more. You are our inspiration as we work tirelessly to support our communities, even as some team members faced evacuation from their own homes. We have safely restored power to tens of thousands of homes so far. Of course, that work is still ongoing, and we will not rest until power is safely restored to everyone we serve. In the meantime, we are partnering with local communities to provide immediate support for those in need. We’ll be sharing more details about those commitments in the coming weeks. In the 100 years that Pacific Power has served this region, we’ve never seen anything quite like this. Rebuilding starts with all of us, and by partnering with others across our state, region and industry, we can move forward together. Rest assured, we’ll keep putting in the work to strengthen our system even more and continue to provide safe and reliable power. And we’ll work shoulder-to-shoulder with you, so that we can build back stronger and more resilient than ever before. Pacific Power is here with you and for you. Sincerely yours,

Stefan Bird President and CEO, Pacific Power HERE FOR YOU If you have any questions or concerns about your service, please contact our customer care specialists anytime – day or night – at 1-888-221-7070. We’re here to help.

pacificpower.net 10 • October 2020

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datebook Datebook Submission Information Get your events and fundraisers published in Our Town. If your ongoing event was postponed because of COVID-19 and is starting up again, please send a new listing. If you are meeting by Zoom or virtually, send those, too. Send your releases – including date, time, location, activity, cost, contact information – to datebook@mtangelpub.com. Or drop them off at 2340 Martin Dr., Stayton •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

City Meetings

Minutes and agendas for all cityrelated meetings and information on how to participate in/view the meetings are on each city’s website. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Frequent Datebook Addresses

Notices

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Thursday, Oct. 15

12 - 1:15 p.m. Grab-and-go breakfast, lunch. Children 1 - 18. Children do not have to be present. Locations: Aumsville Elementary, 572 N 11th St., Aumsville; Cloverdale Elementary, 9666 SE Parrish Gap Road, Turner; Turner Elementary, 7800 School Ave.

7 p.m., Stayton Public Library. Open to public. 503-769-3425

6 p.m., District Office, 1155 N First Ave., Stayton. Board meeting for district. Open to public. 503-769-6924, nsantiam.k12. or.us

Cascade Free Youth Meals

NSSD Free Youth Meals

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Grab-and-go breakfast, lunch. Children 1 - 19. Children do not have to be present. Locations: Stayton Elementary, 875 N Third Ave.; Stayton Middle, 1021 SE Shaff Road; Stayton High, 757 W Locust St.; Sublimity School, 376 E Main St.; Mari-Linn School, 641 Fifth St., Lyons.

Thursday, Oct. 1

Aumsville Planning Commission

Weekly Events Monday

9 a.m., Zoom. Marion Soil & Water Conservation District hosts Zoom meeting “Knotweed & Water Primrose Mania” with Jenny Meisel, Marion SWCD native and invasive plant specialist. Participants must register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/firstfriday-registration-113403047568

Virtual Storytime, 10 a.m., Zoom. Stayton Public Library will send out email the morning of to those who have registered. Register: staytonoregon.gov/page/library_ storytime

Wednesday

Stayton Sublimity Chamber Greeters, 8 a.m. Networking event for local business, non-profit professionals. Refreshments. Location varies. 503-769-3464.

Thursday

Mama’s Community Market, 1 - 6 p.m., Aumsville Pentecostal Church, 10153 Mill Creek Road, Aumsville. Food Pantry. 971-710-5665

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Red Cross Blood Drive

9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Aumsville Fire Station, 490 Church St. Appointments needed by visiting redcrossblood.org.

First Friday with SWCD

Saturday, Oct. 3 Fire Donation Drop-off

11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Stayton Moose Lodge, 352 E Florence St. The Moose Lodge is taking donations of items to assist victims of the Beachie Creek Fire and firefighters. To drop off donations before today, text Penny at 503-9327189 or call the Lodge, 503-769-2639. Victims of the fire can call and let their specific need be known.

Sunday, Oct. 4

Santiam Teen Center Reception

3 - 5 p.m., 705 E Pine St., Stayton. Hear about how you can be a champion and make a difference in the lives of Stayton youth. Hors d’oeuvres served. There is room inside and outside to follow social distancing guidelines. 503-769-3536, santiamteens@ gmail.com

Monday, Oct. 5 Stayton City Council

7 p.m., Stayton Community Center. Open to public. Agenda available. 503-769-3425, staytonoregon.gov

RDS Board

6 p.m. Join Revitalize Downtown Stayton in a virtual board meeting. Open to public. Email info@ downtownstayton.com for login instructions prior to meeting. Downtownstayton.org, 503-767-2317

North Santiam Watershed Council 6 p.m. Call 503-930-8202 for login information. All are welcome.

Aumsville Fire District

6:30 p.m., Aumsville Fire Station, 490 Church St. Agenda available. Open to public. 503-749-2894, aumsvillefire.org

Brown House Tour

Friday, Oct. 2

Tuesday

Thursday, Oct. 8

Sunday, Oct. 11

6:30 p.m., Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center. Open to the public. 503-749-2030

Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center, 555 Main St., Aumsville Stayton Community Center, 400 W Virginia St. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Stayton Community Food Bank, 9 a.m. - noon, 1210 Wilco Road. Repeats Monday - Friday. 503-769-4088 Senior Meals, 11:30 a.m. Delivery only. Age 60 and older. Serves Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Gates, Lyons, Marion, Mehama, Jefferson, Turner. Repeats Wednesday, Friday. $3 donation suggested. For delivery, call Ginger, 503-769-7995. Aumsville Food Pantry, 3 - 8 p.m., Aumsville Pentecostal Church of God, 10153 Mill Creek Road, Aumsville. 541228-0474

Stayton Parks and Rec Board

Noon - 2 p.m., Brown House Event Center, 425 N First Ave., Stayton. Tour historic Brown House. COVID guidelines followed. $5 suggested donation. Contact 503-769-8860, brownhouse.org to sign up.

Monday, Oct. 12 Sublimity City Council

7 p.m., Sublimity City Hall, 245 NW Johnson. Open to public. 503-7695475, cityofsublimity.org

Aumsville City Council

7 p.m., Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center. Open to public. 503-749-2030, aumsville.us

Lyons Fire District Board

7 p.m., Lyons Fire Station, 1114 Main St. Agenda available. Open to public. 503-859-2410, lyonsrfd.org

Stayton Fire District

7 p.m.,. Stayton Fire Station, 1988 W Ida St. Open to public. 503-769-2601, staytonfire.org

Tuesday, Oct. 13 Cascade School Board

7 p.m., Cascade District Office, 10226 SE Marion Road, Turner. Open to public. Agenda available. 503-7498010, cascade.k12.or.us

Wednesday, Oct. 14 Caregiver Connection

1 - 2:30 p.m. Offered by conference call. Contact Julie Mendez at 503304-3432, julie.mendez@nwsds. org for instructions on how to participate. For caregivers 60 or older or caregivers 55 or older caring for an adult 18 years or older living with a disability. Today’s topic: caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue.

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North Santiam School District Board

Aumsville Planning Commission

6:30 p.m., Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center. Open to the public. 503-749-2030, aumsville.us

Saturday, Oct. 17 Joseph’s Storehouse of Hope

11 a.m. - 1 p.m., Mari-Linn School, 641 Fifth St., Lyons. Food boxes. 503-881-9846

Monday, Oct. 19

Stayton Friends of the Library

11 a.m. Zoom. To attend, contact Shane Fritz at shaneelizabeth@me.com or 541-571-0300. Open to public.

Stayton City Council

7 p.m., Stayton Community Center. Open to public. 503-769-3425, staytonoregon.gov

Friday, Oct. 23 Red Cross Blood Drive

10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Santiam Hospital, 1401 N 10th Ave., Stayton. Appointments needed by visiting redcrossblood.org.

Red Cross Blood Drive

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1077 N Sixth Ave., Stayton. Blood and Power Red donations. Appointments needed by visiting redcrossblood.org.

Monday, Oct. 26 Aumsville City Council

7 p.m., Chester Bridges Memorial Community Center. Open to public. 503-749-2030, aumsville.us

Stayton Planning Commission

7 p.m., Stayton Community Center. Open to the public. Agenda available. 503-7693425, staytonoregon.gov

Sublimity Planning Commission

7 p.m., Sublimity City Hall, 245 NW Johnson St. Open to public. 503-7695475, cityofsubllmity.org

Tuesday, Oct. 27 Lyons City Council

6:30 p.m., Lyons City Hall, 449 Fifth St. Open to public. 503-859-2167, cityoflyons.org

Economic Vitality

Noon, The Box, 278 E High St., Stayton. Video conferencing and social distance. Open to public. Email info@downtownstayton. com for login instructions prior to meeting. Downtownstayton.org, 503-767-2317

Saturday, Oct. 31 Halloween October 2020 • 11


Something to Celebrate

Reopening

Silver Falls remains largely unscathed after recent wildfires

By Melissa Wagoner

and added tasks that could be performed safely such as the removal of volunteer RVs that had been left behind. Currently the concern will be monitoring the fire behavior as conditions change.”

With the Beachie Creek fire sprinting toward Silver Falls State Park in the predawn hours of Sept. 8 it quickly became an all-hands-on-deck situation. But thanks to the speedy evacuation of campers, staff and livestock as well as the fire mitigation tactics developed in the days that followed, not a single life or structure was lost.

Because, although the containment lines – largely protecting the park from further fire damage – were considered to be complete on Sept. 14, the fire is still not 100 percent contained.

“Park staff and fire personnel developed strategies for firefighter access, preservation of critical infrastructure (e.g. water, communications, etc.), protection of historic resources and prioritization of historic structures for fire protection,” Park Manager Guy Rodrigue said of the work completed in the hours and days that followed the park’s closure. “This evolved somewhat naturally from ‘protect the South Falls Lodge,’ to remove the historic paintings of June Drake, to ensure the alternate power supply continued, to function for the cell tower,”

“Despite the fire being lined, there is a way to go before the fire is out and there is no more danger for park resources,” Rodrigue said. “For now, the burning areas of the park are suppressed. This is mainly a result of the weather and lingering smoke.

A dividing line at Silver Falls State Park.

JASON WAGONER

Rodrigue said. Adding, “You sort through rather quickly, what takes priority. After

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Silver Falls State Park partially reopens Currently Open: • South Falls day-use area

parks 9,000 total acres. Less fortunately, that area does include two popular trails – the Catamount and Lost Creek trails – which are located in the southeast corner of the park. “There will be some reconstruction needed along the Catamount Trail,” Rodrigue admitted. Noting, that the majority of the reparations have yet to be fully assessed.

• Canyon Trail • Winter Falls Trailhead • North Falls Trailhead • South Falls Lodge Cafe • Silver Falls State Park Campground • Silver Falls Conference Center Closed Until Further Notice: • Silver Falls “backcountry” • 214 Trailhead • Howard Creek Trailhead

as the accumulated damage, is currently largely relegated to one area of the park

– encompassing an estimated 100 of the

“Much has to do with how hot the fire burned and the age of the timber,” Rodrigue said of the relatively minimal damage to the park’s ecosystem thus far. “From the initial assessment, we assume we’ll need to perform small salvage operations and reforestation work.” In the meantime, with overall park conditions and hazard trees currently receiving assessment and the parks infrastructure – electricity, water and sewer systems – resuming, Silver Falls State Park reopened in stages beginning

on Sept. 23.

closed until further notice.

“After another few successful days, the conditions at Silver Falls are continuing to look more and more promising,” Rodrigue wrote in a press release Sept. 19 – one day after soaking rains cleared much of the smoke that had been hanging low over both the fires and the park itself.

“We feel optimistic as to where things stand today but we need people to be aware that the park still has hazardous conditions remaining from the wind event as well as active fire areas,” Rodrigue said. “I’d ask the public to be patient and give the firefighters time and space to respond to the demands placed on them.”

“Evacuation levels are continuing to ease and we have a clearer picture about what’s in front of us,” Rodrigue continued. “Park staff have been working diligently to return the park to an operationally ready status.” The South Falls day-use area, the Canyon Trail, the Winter Falls Trailhead and the North Falls Trailhead all reopened Sept. 23, with the overnight facilities – the campground, cabins and Conference Center – planned for opening on Oct. 1. The “backcountry,” as well as the 214 and Howard Creek Trailheads will remain

Because without the dedication and hard work of those firefighters – many of them community members with a deep affection for Silver Falls State Park – the park would not be reopening so soon. “I would like to share my appreciation and give thanks to the local communities for their support,” Rodrigue stated. “The volunteer firefighters, food donations, and encouraging signs along the roadway reinforce the importance of this park and the impact it has on so many of us.”

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Taste of Hawaii Restaurant serving food from the Hawaiian Islands with a Northwest flair. Everything is made from scratch and when you order it. We are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Catering and banquet facilities available. Hours are: Mon.–Thu. 11:00am-8:00pm; Friday 11:00am-9:00pm; Saturday 8:00am-9:00pm; Sunday 8:00am-8:00pm. Bring this ad or mention this ad and receive half-off a terriyaki chicken plate with purchase of an entrée with equal or lesser value. 8724 Golf Club Rd. SE • Aumsville, Oregon

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“I fear that we will never put an end to racism and that our kids still won’t see in their lifetime a world with true equality for all people.” “Once upon a time, I had a nebulous fear of dying alone... It feels neither nebulous nor far-fetched now.”

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Fears, hopes “I’m afraid that my family won’t get to meet our baby when he is born in November. I’m afraid of massive economic collapse and not being able to provide or be provided for and being without healthcare. I’m afraid that our government is going to turn into a dictatorship. I’m afraid that Oregon is on the cusp of massive death due to coronavirus and that three months from now, when we all know someone close to us that has died, people will see it was mostly preventable. I’m afraid of permanent division and severed bridges between groups of people because of the unwillingness to see things another way. I’m afraid of [my husband] going back to school to teach... and getting sick and dying, or having long term health complications, or not being able to be present for the birth of our first baby, or the first little bit of his life, due to COVID.”

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“I fear Oregon being shut down again... Think of how this has impacted those who were close to retirement who can no longer retire, those of us who will have to work many more years if we will ever be able to retire, the elderly who have locked themselves away, and are missing out on life’s precious moments... some of them delaying care for ailments out of fear, sometimes waiting until it’s too late for treatment and recovery (fear can be a silent killer, a factor many don’t discuss).” “I am very concerned for the world my precious grandbabes will be living in as

Continued from page 8 adults. There is so much political unrest and such a grave divide between parties... I also am fearful of this virus and the impact on our world, even if we find a vaccine, do we have the right to force folks to take it, no... Most of all I am sad about the racist issues in our town, state and USA. We all are people, with hearts. What is going on?” “[T]he hate and vileness I see on Silverton FB pages and in real life. The absence of compromise or understanding that multiple points of view can exist.” And then, because I couldn’t leave it there, I asked – what gives you hope? Our hopes: “I have hope that people will learn from this.” “[M]y first child/daughter [is] on the way... I look forward to the things she will show me and teach me. She gives me hope that beautiful things are still in the works...” “I believe people are good and with assistance from others can overcome hate and anger.” “[T]o see my students again... I miss their goofy personalities and their even goofier faces. I love their questions... They have always made me laugh.” “My dad had a racquetball size tumor removed from the center of his brain weeks ago and he’s doing awesome... So listening to one of his stories I’ve heard a thousand times brings me joy again.” “Through adversity comes hope and growth... Something in this country is off balance and people are starting to fight back and stand up for their freedoms. That’s hope and that’s joy.” “[S]cience. Not always optimistic, but always realistic. Blended with an abiding faith in humanity’s ability to rise to a challenge...” “[T]he scientists that I know who are working around the clock to find us a treatment and vaccine for COVID... My hope is also in the medical professionals who are finding more and more ways to keep people alive.”

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October 2020 • 15


k

Sports & Recreation

Meet the Sasquatches

Mountain biking team gets into gear

By Melissa Wagoner Finding people to coach kids’ sports can be tricky, which is why Terrance Hawley was so surprised when, upon starting a brandnew mountain biking team – Silver Falls Mtb – the volunteer coaches showed up in droves. “We had so many coaches,” Terrance laughed. Noting that his team has a whopping 13 coaches for only seven riders. “But our coaching staff is awesome,” Cindy Hawley, Terrance’s wife and coaching assistant, enthused. “It’s a really neat group of adults and kids.” And their daughter, 15-year-old Trillian, agrees. “You get really close with the coaches, which doesn’t usually happen,” she noted. “And because the team is really small, the community among us is really tight. That makes me really happy.” That team spirit, no matter the level and no matter the experience, is what the Hawleys think makes mountain biking such an approachable sport. “We have a huge range of skills,” Terrance said. “We have a kid that’s an expert BMXer at state and then we have kids that it’s their first time.” “It’s a place for everybody,” Cindy agreed. “Everybody’s welcome.” Even those who find competitive sports intimidating. Because mountain biking, unlike many team sports, is largely based on personal performance. “It’s a bit like swimming in that you have a tight team but you compete individually,” Terrance described. Adding that, similar to

Teammates riding trails in Silver Falls State Park (above) with Silver Falls Mtb head coach Terrance Hawley (right). MELISSA WAGONER

swim meets, “Typically there are races set up with mass starts in an age group.” Of course, this is not a typical year and, as such, large groups of riders – and spectators as well – are currently out of the question. “This year they were going to do time trials,” Terrance noted. “But it was hard to keep everyone distanced and apart. And, if there was a race here, [at Silver Falls State Park] it would fill up five or six parking lots. So, this year they’re going to do challenges.” And so, while the coaches wait to find out what those challenges will be, the Silver Falls Mtb team – better known as the Sasquatches – have developed their own time trial competition.

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“We’ve been preparing our kids to do one loop around the Newt Loop,” Terrance said of the course – a 2.2-mile trail designed specifically for mountain biking at Silver Falls State Park. “We did awards for the three top improvements,” Cindy added. “That’s our little built-in competition. And when we’re doing the time thing, [the Newt Loop] becomes the Sasquatch Loop.” While the Sasquatches were enjoying the 2020 season, despite the lack of organized competitions, both Terrance and Cindy are already planning for next fall, when things will hopefully be a little more normal. That planning includes team signups – which will be held in the spring – and

fundraising – which, in a sport with entrance fees well over $200 and expensive equipment – is a very big deal. “We’re a nonprofit currently sponsored by Fall Line, Skyline Construction Services and Cascade Financial,” Terrance said. “They really made a lot of this happen. The finances to get this started is tough.” “So, if anybody wants to be a sponsor, email silverfallsmtb@gmail.com,” Cindy said. Adding that one of Silver Falls Mtb’s goals is to eventually sponsor bikes and bike maintenance for kids who cannot afford the cost of getting into the sport. “Even now we have kids with bikes that are not quite right,” she admitted. “And [sponsors] would get a lot of gratitude for helping get kids on bikes.”

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Still in limbo

Virus, fires force teams to regroup

GENERAL

So it’s Oct. 1. If things had gone the way they were supposed to this column would be chock full of updates on how local football, soccer, volleyball and cross country teams have been faring. But first we had the pandemic. And then we had fires and smoke. And even though the Big Ten (and likely the Pac-12) are joining other top college conferences in restoring football this fall, Oregon School Activities Association Executive Director Peter Weber told Our Town the association is not reconsidering its plan to hold off on “official” sanctioned practices and games until Dec. 28. Thus, we are left with the oddity of Season 1, kind of an off-the-grid open season for teams and schools to try things ... as long as they don’t run afoul of state orders, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Education. “Prior to the smoke,” Stayton athletic director Darren Shryock told Our Town, “we were self-imposing a two week break from workouts to help our students get acclimated to distance learning and so forth. “The fires have set school back a bit, but once we are up and going, we will be pursuing competitions for the sports that are allowed to compete following the state guidelines. Outside sports have much more flexibility right now. We will not have any fans in attendance, but the chance for our kids to safely get out and compete is something we are going to explore.” The Eagles also will have a new softball coach, Bill Baxter, when spring’s Season

4 takes place. Baxter, a Stayton resident, takes over for Jeff Silbernagel who retired earlier this summer. After many years coaching youth baseball and softball, Baxter was the head coach at Regis High School before moving to Molalla the past two years. He helped turn around a Molalla program that had struggled to be competitive prior to his arrival. “Bill is a man of integrity and comes highly recommended,’ Shryock said. “Our girls are in good hands. Now if we can just get to a place to play some games!” Alumni watch: Tyrell Williams, the former Cascade High standout who has caught 197 passes and scored 23 touchdowns in his past four professional seasons, is having to sit out as the Raiders start their new tenure in Las Vegas.

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Our Hearts

go out to those affected by the devastating wildfires.

The 6-4, 205-pound Williams, who turns 29 in February, currently is on the injured reserve list with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The Raiders putting Williams on the injured reserve list means he will miss the entire season. Williams, who played his college ball at Western Oregon, played his first four NFL seasons with the Chargers before signing a free-agent contract in 2019 with the Raiders. Follow me on Twitter.com @jameshday.

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October 2020 • 17


A Grin at the End

Heroism

The true spirit of Oregonians

It began on a recent Monday afternoon. A day that had begun with bright blue skies and happy chatter among house guests was transformed. First the wind started. Not a breeze, it was the kind of wind that knocked around the furniture on our back deck and sent planters flying. Then the sky turned, first gray, then to yellow and finally a dark orange that refused to let the sun through as the smoke piled into the area. In the dark, red and blue lights lit up the smoke that shrouded Highway 22. One after another, fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles raced eastward, chased by the sound of their sirens, disappearing into the black unknown. Through the night a realization settled in: the thousands of people who lived up the Santiam Canyon were caught in a fiery nightmare. The violent wind not only knocked out power – fallen electrical lines set fires up and down the canyon and even torched the firefighters’ headquarters.

repeated around Oregon, California and Washington state.

still working their white-hot evil. But the character and spirit of Oregonians is not dimmed. In fact, it glows brighter than ever. It is a spirit of resilience, of caring, of strength and community. The first responders, volunteers, those who have donated money, clothes and caring – all have stepped forward in this time of need.

As we packed up Tuesday to evacuate our home amid flickering lights, we knew one thing: we knew the strength of character of Oregonians was unique. Worse, the wind fanned the 500-acre Beachie Creek Fire near Jawbone Flats into more than 180,000 acres in a few days. People raced for their lives as the fires closed in on the highway, creating – in some places – a tunnel of flames. Unable to leave, others sought refuge in the waters of the North Santiam River until rescuers could arrive. Tuesday, the outlook was dire as much of the canyon burned, but it only got worse. The wind that had created the inferno started to push the flames northwest, ripping through the forests and heading toward another fire to join forces and continue the path of destruction. The scene was apocalyptic, and was being

Disaster is not new to Oregon. Windstorms, check... the 1962 Columbus Day windstorm. Forest fires, check... like the Tillamook Burns that started in 1933 and leveled 355,000 acres before they ended in 1951.

They say a hero is someone who runs into a burning building when others are running out. They say that adversity only makes you stronger.

But the combination of wind and fire caught us all in awe. The power and fury of fire spiraling through the crowns of trees and leveling house after house was unmatched. “It was like a locomotive,” one survivor said of the fire.

I believe that, and I believe that Oregonians will prevail through the pain, the suffering, the losses. I believe that by the time the last ember is extinguished Oregonians will have met the test. And I believe this about my friends and neighbors, acquaintances and total strangers who share this great state: I believe: You. Are. Heroes.

Except this locomotive doubled in size every hour. Up the canyon and around the state, we are still grieving over the losses of life and property. Some of the fires are subsiding – thank God – and others are

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Stayton.

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October 2020 • 19


A WAY TO HELP

SANTIAM CANYON Wildfire Relief Fund It is with great optimism and hope that the Santiam SIT (Service Integration Team) of Santiam Hospital announces the establishment of Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund to aid in the immediate relief efforts of those living in the Santiam Canyon who are affected by the 2020 Santiam Fire. MONETARY DONATIONS: Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund c/o Santiam SIT of Santiam Hospital 1401 North 10th Ave · Stayton, OR 97383 Or online at: www.SantiamHospital.org

If you have been impacted call, text or email:

503-769-9319

IN-KIND DONATION COLLECTION SITES • SIT Mobile: 101 Center Street Suite A, Sublimity Monday–Friday 10am to 4pm • Immaculate Conception Church Office (Main Doors): 1077 N 6th Ave., Stayton · Monday-Friday 8am to 4pm • Cascade School District: 10226 Marion Road SE, Turner Monday–Friday 7:30-3:30.

sitmobile@santiamhospital.org

For more information on what donation items are needed please visit us at facebook.com/SCWRfund Santiam SIT / Wildfire Relief meetings will be open to the community. Donated resources will be coordinated through facebook.com/SCWRfund. These resources will be matched to individuals and families whose needs will be presented to SIT via the extensive network of local service providers already established in the region.

20 • October 2020

Immediate and long term support available

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Santiam Canyon Stands Together

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Our Town South: Oct. 1, 2020  

Community news serving Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Lyons & Mehama.

Our Town South: Oct. 1, 2020  

Community news serving Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Lyons & Mehama.