By Representative David Gomberg, House District 10
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Largely as a result of the ongoing pandemic, we’re now facing a national blood crisis.
According to the American Red Cross, this is the worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care. Blood product distributions are outpacing donations. Red Cross supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood. At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met.
Why is this happening?
- Since the pandemic began, we have seen about a 10% decline in the number of people giving blood.
- At schools and colleges, we’ve seen a 62% drop in blood drives.
- The pandemic also caused ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations.
- The current surge in COVID-19 cases may compound an already dire situation.
What this means is that hospitals are forced to delay elective or non-critical surgery and doctors must decide who gets help and who waits.
You can be part of the solution!
The best way to find out when and where blood drives are scheduled is to go to www.redcrossblood.org and search by zip code. Then sign up for an appointment. Appointments minimize wait times and help organizers with scheduling.
As an example, I entered a Newport zip code and found 12 sites with times available between now and July. My own appointment is in Lincoln City next week. Also, please understand that some immediate drives may already have a full schedule. We’ll still need blood 2, 3, or even 4 weeks from now just as importantly as we’ll need blood tomorrow. So scheduling a donation in a few weeks is just as necessary as right now.
One of the major issues we expect to address during the February session is Oregon’s new Private Forest Accord.
Management of Oregon’s state and private forests has been mired in controversy for decades. Fish and wildlife habitat was depleted, water quality degraded and communities dependent on timber harvest were weighed down by regulatory uncertainty. There was plenty of debate but little changed. Until now. Private forest representatives, small forestland owners, conservation leaders and fishing organizations, tired of fighting, put aside their differences and sought common ground. After months of negotiations, an agreement known as the Private Forest Accord (PFA) was reached that heralds a new way of business for nearly 10 million acres of private forests.
The Audubon Society of Lincoln City and Oregon Coast Community College’s Office of Engagement has invited the public to a webinar to learn more about the Accord at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, January 27th.
You will learn how forest practices in Oregon are changing for the better for all and what you can do to help support this historic turning point in our state’s management of our abundant natural resources. A question-and-answer session is included in the hour-long webinar.
Please join this free program to learn how the PFA will protect threatened and endangered fish through a Habitat Conservation Plan, safeguard water quality, and provide rural timber communities with greater economic certainty. The panel speakers were at the table throughout the negotiations. They will share how this historic agreement came to be, what it means, and what still needs to happen to make it a reality for how Oregon moves forward into a new era of forest management.
Pre-registration requested. All registrants will receive an email with a Zoom link. Register here.
I remain a huge supporter of our community colleges and the work they do to support our students, seniors, small businesses and the future of our communities. You can be part of that future as well by learning more about the colleges and contributing to scholarships that help students stay enrolled and engaged.
In Lincoln County, the annual Pearls of Wisdom event will be held virtually on March 5th.
Participation in this lively, online event – streamed direct from the OCCC Central County Campus in Newport – will support student success and the OCCC Foundation. Great food, wonderful wine, entertaining online emcees (including me!), and much more can be delivered to your home for this year’s Pearls of Wisdom.
Learn a bit more with this video I recorded. And save the date, March 5th, for the 2022 Pearls of Wisdom program
I often talk about the art community and the arts industry here at the Coast. It’s a story I hear frequently as people, particularly in their active retirement, turn their talent, hobby or interest into an avocation that evolves into a business. It is no surprise that we enjoy a wealth of small workshops, galleries, art and culture centers, and the remarkable Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.
Just like everyone else, art entrepreneurs have been affected by COVID. And now, some financial support is available through the Oregon Arts Commission.
The Artist Resilience Program provides relief funding to Oregon artists who have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic due to loss of income, loss of opportunity or other unanticipated impacts to their artistic practice. Oregon artists may now apply.
Awards generally range from $1,000 to $5,000. The Arts Commission determines awards based on peer panel review, number of applications and available grant funds. There are limited resources and not all applicants will receive funding. Learn more by reviewing the Grant Guidelines.
I talk often in these weekly reports about the importance of emergency preparedness. I’ve been pleased to support the Shake Alert program in the Oregon legislature. It is basically an earthquake early warning system and I urge you to sign up.
Earthquake early warning (EEW) systems use earthquake science and the technology of monitoring systems to alert devices and people when shaking waves generated by an earthquake are expected to arrive at their location.
What could we do with even a few seconds of warning?
- Move to safe locations. Turn off stoves. Safely stop vehicles. Drop, cover, and hold on.
- Businesses could activate systems to ensure elevator doors open, production lines are shut down, and that sensitive equipment is placed in a safe mode.
- Surgeons, dentists, and others medical services could stop delicate procedures.
- Emergency responders could open firehouse doors, alert personnel, and activate response decisions.
- Power infrastructure could protect power stations and grid facilities.
The federal government launched a new website on January 19, where you can order free at-home rapid antigen tests, delivered to your home address by the U.S. Postal Service.
Order your tests now so you can have them if you need them.
Current supply limits orders to four tests per residential address. It will take at least a week after an order is placed for tests to be shipped by first-class mail.
Click here for more information on the federal government’s plans to make COVID-19 testing accessible to everyone.
Winter on the Oregon Coast is anything but boring. When powerful Pacific winds meet turbulent ocean waters, it’s a spectacular sight. Tall waves crash into rocky cliffs and sandy shores, offering an awe-inspiring display by Mother Nature. And when off-shore storms combine with high tides, they create King Tide events – a nonscientific term that refers to the highest winter tides each year.
Storm-watching season on the Oregon Coast generally occurs in the winter months, from November through March. King Tides take place in November, December and January. During winter storms, wind gusts can reach more than 50 miles per hour, with waves towering more than 30 feet.
Here is more information on storm watching from the People’s Coast.
When I sat down to write this update, I didn’t expect to share such doom-and-gloom. Blood shortages, earthquakes, sneaker waves, and COVID tests. Maybe I’m just getting into the right mindset for the legislative session next week. 😉
The fact is that there is plenty of good news out there and the weather is crisp, cold, and simply spectacular! Please make the most of every day.
As always, please let me know if you need any assistance. My office will work to connect you with resources and get your questions answered as quickly as possible.
address: 900 Court St NE, H-480, Salem, OR, 97301