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Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Head for the desert by Gary Randall on 12/01/2021

It’s that time of the year here in Oregon when the days are short and the cloud-covered skies block the light from the sun that’s filtered through the tall trees. Temperatures drop and the rain comes. If you don’t walk the dog before 5 p.m. you’re walking in the darkness.


I accept it and don’t usually complain until around the end of March. I acknowledge that the cool rainy season that we get is what provides the beauty in the forest that surrounds us here around Mount Hood, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to plan an escape to open roads and open skies. In my mind spring and fall are the best times for road trips. Summer is too hot and winter too cold, but spring and fall provide temperate weather with spring flowers and fall leaves an added gift.

My natural inclination when I want to find open space and solitude is to head to the desert. I have spent a lot of time solo hiking in the deserts of Eastern Oregon, Southern Utah and Arizona including a trip down the rugged Tanner Canyon to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I think that living in the forests of Oregon most of my life has made me appreciate the dryness and openness of the desert. Conditions that are completely opposite of the Mount Hood National Forest.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Bruce and I carpooled to Utah to spend some time camping in the desert. We explored some unique places and created some beautiful desert landscape photos. As fulfilling as creating beautiful photos at beautiful places is, spending time with a good friend with a common interest is even better.

Bruce and I are philosophically similar but politically dissimilar, which makes some interesting conversation while travelling 80 MPH down a road that stretches from one horizon to the other, but we respect each other and through conversations that last for miles and miles, have found that we’re not that far from common ground than the world that we escape on these trips wants to make us believe.

Day one started at daybreak in Bend at Bruce’s home and by sunset we were camped at a Bureau of Land Management campground in the no-where land of Nevada called Illipah Creek Reservoir. As we sat there around our propane fueled campfire, we could see a herd of wild horse grazing and drinking down by the shore of the reservoir while we were being serenaded by coyotes in the near distance. The next morning was frosty. We hit the road right away for our next stop, Hanksville, Utah.

Hanksville is an incredible place. It lies in the red rock country near Capitol Reef National Park, an amazing place full of canyons, cliffs, domes and natural bridges. Capitol Reef is a huge “wrinkle” in the earth that extends almost 100 miles.

Geologically it’s both breathtakingly beautiful and fascinating at the same time. The landscapes that have been weathered by time have no moss or forests to cover them. The erosion exposes layers of sediment of different colors and textures. When the sun rises or sets it casts a horizontal light across the land revealing the textures and patterns of the desert.

Our campsite was pretty epic as it sat on the edge of a 400-foot cliff that gave us a view of a landscape reminiscent of the moon. It was a stark contrast to the red rocks as it was primarily grey in color. Canyons and arroyos formed by thousands of years of scant rain created a scene that was simply beautiful to just sit on the edge of the cliff and observe as the light passed over it. During the daytime the sky was dappled with cotton ball clouds which made beautiful patches of shadow that moved through the scene.

The next morning, we were able to fly our drones around Factory Butte at sunrise which provided some incredible aerial landscape photos. After which we took an off-highway trip on primitive roads through Capitol Reef.

Through the grapevine several other landscape photographers that we know, who were in the area, stopped by camp to say hello. After some good conversation and a cold beverage or two, we ended the day with a sunset before getting ready to travel to Bryce Canyon National Park the next morning.

Ever since I was a boy looking through my View-Master at the incredible orange layers and towering spires I've wanted to visit Bryce Canyon. After spending a day and a half there, including photographing the canyon by moonlight, I’m planning my return to spend a week hiking the trails that wind through a geology fantasy land.

After a sunrise at the appropriately named Sunrise Viewpoint we headed back into Nevada and stopped by an incredible place that I had never heard of; Cathedral Gorge State Park, an interesting Bentonite mud formation weathered by time into amazing castellated formations and slot canyons that one can explore. This place showed me that there’s a lot more out there to see than just National Parks for those who take the time to explore the less travelled roads.

We ended our trip with a stop for lunch at Fields Station near the rugged Steens Mountain and the Alvord Desert, and by nightfall we were back in Bend. In all we spent a week making a loop seeing some beautiful desert scenery.

I must say this though, once I was back home here on the Mountain the damp, moist air and the beautiful conifer forests were welcomed. I think that I’m prepared now for winter.

Ask me again how that’s going come March.

Well Adjusted – hydration is one key to health by Dr. Melanie Brown, DC on 12/01/2021

As we settle into winter, it is much more appealing to stay under the covers in the cold mornings as we start to feel those aches and pains and mental sluggishness. One thing that is often forgotten to ease this transition, and improve your overall health, is hydration.

We often think of thirst as our only indicator of dehydration. But 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, and in 37 percent, the thirst sensation is so impaired that they might mistake thirst for feelings of hunger. The elderly start to lose their thirst sensation and may drink less than in their younger years, decreasing strength and memory function. Kids are dependent on their parents to make sure they are consistently drinking enough water to feel their best and function well in life and school.

For you aquaphiles out there, good for you! For the many people who don’t inherently crave water, it is more important to strategize about your daily consumption. I’m not sure if it’s the salty well water I grew up with or the fact that I’m “too busy” to pee all the time, but I have never enjoyed drinking water regularly. Being health-conscious, I try to focus on the “whys” to keep me motivated.

For starters, we can change the old adage to say, “An ounce of water is worth a pound of pills.” You can decrease your risk factors for disease by staying hydrated. Water is a cleansing agent that helps the kidneys to eliminate toxins from the body via the bladder. Water also helps with constipation. “The solution to pollution is dilution.” You should not have a book in the bathroom (unless you are hiding from your kids).

And if you eat every day, you should poop every day! Water helps the fiber clean the intestines like a broom. My great-grandpa lived to be 100 years old. I believe it was because he drank adequate water and ate oatmeal every morning, cleansing his body regularly of disease-causing toxins. In a study with 20,000 participants, consuming only five glasses of water per day decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 46 percent in men and 59 percent in women. A significant reduction in breast and bladder cancers was also shown. Hydration prevents headaches, can improve mood and energy. Water is a natural Botox alternative. You will turn from a raisin into a grape with smoother, more glowing skin!

Now to put this hydration plan into action, where to start? First, when people offer you water, always say YES! Fill your bottles in the morning or have a favorite water bottle that you fill a few times per day. Drink a little a lot, don’t flood your body all at once. I set my timer to squawk at me every hour from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help me get a jump-start on changing my habit. My kids enjoyed hearing the alarm and bringing me my water. Start the day with a glass of warm lemon water. Not only will you be hydrating, but you will be supporting your liver and digestive systems too!

You can’t talk about hydration without discussing water quality, so let’s dive into that for a minute. So, the H2O has arrived at your sink, but what came with it? It is essential to know your water because not all water is the same. Depending on your location, there could be prescription drugs, radon, arsenic, aluminum, mercury, asbestos, coliform bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, lead or other contaminants. But hold on, we want to hydrate to detoxify here, not to increase our toxic exposure! With the state of our world and, subsequently, our environment, we must try our best not to contaminate our bodies as we hydrate them!

Most of our water comes from lakes, rivers, reservoirs and from groundwater. If you have city water, water then flows from intake points to a treatment plant, a storage tank and then to our houses through various pipe systems. Water reports are available to the public for your review. If you get your water from a private well, there is no “treatment plant” - you handle maintenance, testing and operation. Wells should be checked and tested annually for mechanical problems, cleanliness and the presence of contaminants. Whole house filters need to be changed regularly.

There are many ways to purify water beyond what comes from our city or from our well. The most common are fridge filters, for which you can upgrade your cartridge. There are pitcher-style purifiers, reverse osmosis filtration systems for under your sink and various other methods. Find what works best for you to get closer to pure H2O.

If you have perfected your home filtration system, take water on the go instead of investing in expensive bottled water. Most bottled water comes in bottles made of plastic #1, deemed the safest by the FDA. Still, some contain #7, which may contain BPA, the most dangerous form of plastic which is banned in many countries. Reusable water bottles can be made of these plastics, so check the codes stamped on the bottom. Some metal water bottles have BPA lining, so be diligent. My favorite water bottle is my glass bottle with a felt cover with a carrying clip. Works great for me since my hands are always full, and no plastic or metal aftertaste!

The hydration challenge comes with a reward. Whether you are drinking half your body’s weight in ounces, or eight glasses per day, just get it in there! You will feel more energized, and you will receive endless health benefits. It’s simple, it’s free and your body will thank you!

Photo by Steve Wilent
Green humor – moss by any other name is a liverwort by Steve Wilent on 12/01/2021

Do you think we had enough rain in mid-November? The atmospheric river that flowed across our region from Nov. 10-13 dropped 6.25 inches of liquid Oregon sunshine in my Mountain rain gauge (a flat-bottomed bucket), and another 1.5 inches from Nov. 15-16. That’s about two-thirds of the 12 inches Bend gets in an entire year. When I tell folks from outside of the wet side of the Pacific Northwest about how much rain we get, I mention the 10+ feet of rain we got in the winter of 1996-97. They ask how I can stand living in a rainforest. I love the rain, I say, because it’s free water for my well and it keeps the moss on my back green and luxuriant.


Mosses are everywhere in our area – on trees and shrubs, on the ground, on bare rock, on roofs and automobiles and in the cracks between paving stones and bricks. In winter, while the oxalis and bracken are in the midst of their winter slumber, the mosses keep the forest floor green and vibrant.

Not only mosses, but liverworts and hornworts, too, all of which are bryophytes. And which are not to be confused with lichens, some of which are commonly called mosses. The long light-green old man’s beard or Methuselah’s beard that we see hanging in long tendrils from tree branches are not “Spanish moss,” but types of lichen. Lichens are not plants, but a symbiotic partnership of two separate organisms, fungi and algae.

Estimates of the number of bryophyte species in the world range from 18,000 to 25,000. They live almost everywhere on Earth, including Antarctica. A publication by the U.S. Geological Survey, “Bryophytes and lichens: Small but indispensable forest dwellers,” explains that bryophytes are small green plants that, compared to flowering trees and plants, “have primitive tissues for conducting food and water, and they lack a protective outer surface to maintain water balance. Most bryophytes, because they lack tissues such as roots, obtain their water through direct surface contact with their environment. During dry weather they have the capacity to withstand complete dehydration. Bryophytes that are dry may appear dead but will regain normal function when moisture is available. Instead of producing seeds, bryophytes can either reproduce sexually by means of spores, or asexually when small pieces break off and grow into new individuals” (see tinyurl.com/dvw48ecx).

A book I’ve recommended in previous columns, “Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast,” by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, has sections devoted to mosses, liverworts and lichens. The iNaturalist web site has a wealth of photographs of mosses and liverworts and the locations where people have found them (tinyurl.com/3k6vhs4x). Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between mosses, liverworts and hornworts – to the untrained eye, they’re very similar in appearance.

“Living with Mosses,” an online publication produced by Oregon State University students and faculty (Go Beavs!), notes that mosses have important uses:

“Unknown to most of us, mosses actually have many uses, from ecological to medical with a suite of common household uses in between. One of the better known ecological uses of moss is as bioindicators of air pollution, such as those caused by factory emissions. They are very good indicators of acid rain damage to an ecosystem as well. Mosses are also used as erosion control agents as they aid in moisture control and stabilization of soil that would either be wind blown or washed away by water. Mosses occupy an important ecological niche in arctic and subarctic ecosystems where moss symbionts provide most nitrogen fixation in these ecosystems, as compared to the leguminous associations that are responsible for this job in temperate regions. Mosses can also be used as bioindicators of water pollution and treatment of wastewater. Throughout history mosses have been used in horticulture because they are beneficial to the soil. Mosses increase the amount of water soil can store and improve soil’s nutrient holding capacity.”

The publication also has information about controlling mosses where people don’t want them, such as on roofs and in lawns, as well as how to encourage mosses where people do want them, such as in residential gardens and formal moss gardens. The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, Wash., has a moss garden with 40 species.

One thing I love about bryophytes are that many of them have interesting names. For example, crisped pincushion moss, goblin’s gold moss and hanging millipede liverwort. Lichens, do, too: bloody beard, pimpled kidney, punctured rocktripe and questionable rock-frog. No, I did not make up those names.

Go outside and look around you, even get down on your hands and knees sometime when it’s not so wet, and take a close-up look at the world of the bryophytes. These underappreciated plants are as beautiful and varied, if not more so, as the forests around and above them.

More on Resilience

A follow-up to last month’s column on forest resilience and climate change. I love the headline of this Nov. 5 article in the Sacramento Bee: “Beetles have more sex when it’s hot – and it’s killing pine trees in CA, study finds” (see tinyurl.com/yt5fffff). The article explains that “Hot temperatures usually make people tired and lazy, but for the western bark beetle, the heat just makes them want to have a lot of sex – and that’s bad news for giant pine trees scattered across the West Coast.” It’s actually the western pine beetle, which is one of many bark beetles.

Do beetles that prefer Douglas-fir also get randy when it’s hot? I don’t know, but if it turns out that they do, I’ll want to use “Beetles having more sex in Mountain trees!” as a headline in a Woodsman column.

Have a question about bryophytes? Want to know how to safely remove moss from your back? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: The proactive approach by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2021

In government, it’s important to strike a balance between responding to current crises and making policies that will avoid future ones. I think of these as “reactive policies” and “proactive policies,” and in a perfect and predictable world, we would only have to worry about the latter. Of course, this world is far from perfect, and it’s even less predictable.


As a result, a lot of decisions the people make (whether by electing legislators or by voting directly on ballot measures) are between reactive and proactive policies. Oregon’s housing crisis provides a good example: in order to address homelessness, we are working reactively to find temporary shelter for unhoused people with no better option than to camp outdoors. At the same time, we are establishing better services and economic support for people who may potentially face homelessness in the future, so we can avoid the need for even more emergency shelter.

It’s a tough decision, though, because for every dollar we spend on preventing future homelessness, we have one less dollar to put toward immediate shelter funding to address the current crisis. In so many cases, this one-to-one balance is the best we can do: to fix issues we’re confronting now, we have to turn a blind eye to the prevention of future ones, and vice versa. But what if we could do both at once?

Adult homelessness is complicated. There are a lot of factors that can lead to a person’s inability to find or maintain affordable housing: medical expenses, loss of employment, domestic violence, lack of access to mental health care, extensive debt or any of hundreds of other things. Above all else, though, the number one factor that leads to adult homelessness is youth homelessness. Deprived of the safety and security of a roof over their heads and stable family relationships, kids who experience homelessness are more likely than not to experience homelessness as adults.

In 2021, I was proud to support a bill that made significant investments to address youth homelessness. That bill provided $4.4 million to the Oregon Department of Human Services to award grants to service providers for homeless youth, as well as “host homes,” which provide unaccompanied homeless minors with safe housing without involving them in the already strained foster care system. Still, though, these resources aren’t nearly enough to address the full scope of the problem. The limited resources that were provided will be focused in areas with established service providers and host home networks, meaning homeless youth who live outside of major population centers may literally be left out in the cold.

For 2022, I have proposed a follow-up bill to direct funding specifically to parts of the state where few or no service providers for homeless youth exist. This new bill will also take existing support that’s available to foster youth, such as tuition support and funding for independent housing, and extend those same supports to homeless youth as well. Finally, it will establish an eviction prevention program within the Department of Education, to help school districts provide housing support to students experiencing homelessness or families that are about to lose their housing. A similar program that was recently piloted in Portland was able to keep 113 students housed with an investment of only $20,000. Directing funding for a similar program to areas with cheaper housing markets will go even further toward improving stability for students on the edge of homelessness.

These sound like small fixes, but they will have huge impacts. Every homeless child who is able to get a roof over their head is a child whose lower stress might lead to better educational outcomes, who can have a stable social life, who can grow up into a successful and self-reliant adult. It could make the difference in whether they get involved with the criminal justice system. It will reduce the likelihood they will struggle with drug abuse. This is the purpose of proactive policy: that small investments now can avoid bigger costs in the future. If that sort of proactive policy also has the direct and immediate result of getting a homeless child off of the streets, then that’s a win-win for Oregon.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: The holidays are back by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 12/01/2021

Every year I look the most forward to this annual December holiday season column. The holiday season in Sandy is always my favorite time of the year. From our city’s annual tree lighting to our charitable giving traditions, the holiday season is where Sandy really shines as the wonderful community we are.

Thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of our most cherished traditions have been drastically impacted over the last couple of years. While some of this year’s activities are of a “hybrid” nature, allowing for individuals to choose what works best for their personal comfort level, I am proud to say that our holiday traditions are back and for the most part will feel as special as ever.

Considering our current national supply chain logistics issues and the fact that many of our local businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, it has never been a better and more convenient time to both shop and dine local. It is said that a single dollar spent locally gets spent four additional times here in our community. Whether it be shopping for your gifts or a gift card at a local store or grabbing some food on your way to get the tree, Sandy has everything you need to spread holiday cheer.

Perhaps the most popular holiday tradition in Sandy is the annual Sandy Community Christmas Basket Program sponsored by the Sandy Kiwanis Club. Planning is already underway for their 66th anniversary of the program! Last year 350 families were able to be assisted. The Sandy High School Key Club is back up and going and will have their traditional canned food drives this year as well. To help the Kiwanis purchase food or to donate, please send checks to Sandy Community Christmas Baskets, P.O. Box 1261, Sandy, OR 97055 or find them online at sandykiwanis.org/ChristmasBasket.html.

This year each basket will have the same items as in the past for a holiday meal: a ham and all the sides to go with it.

Our annual Holiday Tree Lighting will be in person this year with a hybrid drive-through option as well. This year’s event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. The lighting will also be a live streamed event with holiday messages from well-known community members. Please visit the event Facebook page for the latest details for this incredibly special event.

Sandy’s Helping Hands is doing their annual “Christmas in the Community” program, where they provide Christmas dinner and gifts to local families in need. If you’re interested in helping, please visit the Sandy’s Helping Hands Facebook page to purchase gifts off of their Amazon list. This year, they’re hoping to give the gift of Christmas to nearly 25 families.

While the past couple of years has brought its share of challenges, sometimes we need these moments in our lives to remind us of how truly special this place we live truly is. Whether it’s our community gatherings, charitable opportunities or just wishing each other “Merry Christmas” while passing each other at the grocery store – this time of year reminds us why it’s so important to have our eye on our united mission, to always keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.


Wilderness training can help in life-or-death situations by Mt. Hood Community College on 12/01/2021

Standing on the summit of Mount St. Helens, my long-time friend and climbing partner beside me, I looked down into the horseshoe-shaped crater caused by the eruption in 1980. From our vantage point, we could see Mount Rainier to the north and Mount Hood to the south.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend New Year’s Day 2014. Summitting the mountain felt like the most memorable chapter of the day. Soon a scream for help would prove me wrong.

We started our descent from the 8,365-foot peak on schedule, with plenty of daylight left. Crampons strapped to our feet and ice picks in hand, we worked our way down the rugged snow and ice-covered route to the seismic station at 6,200 feet. There we removed our crampons and chatted about the weather with a man and woman heading up the mountain. They continue up and we began hiking down. A few minutes later, a cry for help rang out.

Wilderness Responder Training Kicks In

I am a Wilderness First Responder instructor. I teach people how to respond to emergency medical issues in remote settings where help is not readily available and perform evacuations.

When my friend and I reached the couple, the woman was sitting on the ground holding her leg. They had not donned their crampons yet, and during her ascent, she had stepped on an icy patch, twisted her left leg and fell. I quickly assessed her to make sure she did not have any life-threatening injuries.

Her left leg was unstable and any movement caused agony. I took stock of the materials we had on hand: one pair of trekking poles, ice axes, a small first aid kit, a tarp and some duct tape. Using trekking poles and straps from our backpacks I created a sandwich splint. Once the splint was in place, it relieved some of her pain.

Even with the splint on, any abrupt movement of her legs caused pain. The trailhead was three miles away, three miles of snow and ice.

911 is no Guarantee in the Wilderness

Many people assume 911 can come to the rescue, that wherever they are help is a phone call away. Aside from the risk of no cell phone service, most people don't realize that much of the Pacific Northwest’s rural areas have greatly reduced access to lifesaving medical care. If someone is severely injured in a rural area, their chance of dying is three to four times higher than in an urban area.

We did have cell coverage and called 911. The news was not good. Search and rescue would take at least six hours to reach us. Hypothermia was a serious risk if we waited for the rescue team on the cold barren mountainside. With the assistance of a large group of climbers who were on their way down the mountain, we decided to evacuate her ourselves and meet the rescue team during the descent.

Descent Toward Chocolate Falls

We created an improvised litter/stretcher using the tarp and some trekking poles to carry the injured woman. This type of litter allows six to eight people to carry it at the same time. Due to icy uneven terrain, it took us five hours to descend 2,500 feet to the top of Chocolate Falls, a 40-foot frozen and snow-covered waterfall hanging above Swift Creek. The sun was setting, stealing the last of our light.

In the growing darkness, I explained a method that allows rescuers to carry a litter up or down steep terrain. We carefully lowered the litter down the falls. Most of the group had been awake and climbing for more than 16 hours, but spirits were high after making it past this final obstacle.

We rounded a corner and met the search and rescue team and mountain paramedics. We learned that she sustained two fractures of her tibia, one just below the knee and the other above the ankle. Thankfully she made a full recovery and did not have any lasting injuries.

After a long and challenging day, I was grateful for my training and knowledge. I encourage everyone who ventures outside to take a course in wilderness medicine. As part of my course at MHCC, I teach all the life-saving techniques I used in this evacuation and many other wilderness medical skills. I always hope my students never have to use the training, but if they need it, I know they will be thankful for it.

Mt. Hood Community College offers a Wilderness First Responder course during the winter term. Contact Josh Stratman at 503-491-7201 or josh.stratman@mhcc.edu for more information. Find a full list of Community Education classes at learn.mhcc.edu.

By Josh Stratman/For the Mountain Times

Hot chocolate melts by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2021


Grease a 9x9-inch square baking dish

2.5 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup water

7 t gelatin (about 3 packets)

1/4 t salt

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat combine granulated sugar with one cup water. Cook swirling pan often until candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees and set aside.

In a stand mixer add the 1/2 cup water and gelatin. Let proof 10 minutes with whisk attachment. Slowly pour sugar syrup into gelatin mixture. Whip on medium high about 6 minutes, add salt and vanilla  and then whip until thickened. Spread out in greased pan.

Whisk together powdered sugar and cornstarch, sprinkle 1/2 on top (you can add sprinkles at this time if you’d like) leave out on counter overnight to cure – cut in squares, toss with cornstarch mixture.


Hot chocolate melts

The idea is to melt one into a mug of hot milk. Gift a few in a nice mug with a few homemade marshmallows!

Over double boiler melt: 2 cups dark chocolate with 1 T coconut oil.

Pour half of mixture into bottom of greased loaf pan lined with parchment paper, allow to set for at least 45 minutes, then spread with cooled milk chocolate ganache:

Stir together over a double broiler until melted: 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, 1/2 t vanilla extract and 1/4 cup evaporated milk until smooth.

Set until thickened in fridge.

Heat and pour other half of chocolate on top, top with sprinkles, peppermint candies, mini chocolate chips, etc. Let set and cut with sharp knife into rectangular shapes.

Heat 8 oz milk and drop in a chocolate bar, stir until melted!

Tangibles and arcane language by Paula Walker on 12/01/2021

What means more may not always have high financial value…

When sitting down with clients for an estate planning session I often find that discussing their plans for 'tangibles' can bring out questioning looks at first but, in the end, may occupy the conversation more than higher valued assets like their home or their financial accounts. Your assets, property that comprises your wealth, those things that you will gift at your passing, consist of two broad categories, real property and personal property. Personal property is divided into tangible and intangible property.

Estate planning is filled with arcane terms, persistent remnants of our legal roots in English common law, as in, common to the king's courts throughout England. This system of law, hailing from the time of the Norman Conquest circa 1066, gives us such terms as “tangibles” and “chattels,” the latter included in the first.

In general, tangibles are personal property that can be felt or touched, and are moveable, i.e., can be physically relocated. These as opposed to intangibles, those assets that cannot be directly felt or touched e.g., stocks, bonds, bank accounts etc. regardless that they may have a paper embodiment.

Per Oregon law, the term tangibles includes, but is not limited to, all chattels and movables. The term chattel is a catch-all phrase in law that includes all movable assets that are not real estate and not attached to real estate. Tangibles can include everything from furniture, collectibles and personal effects in a home; boats, movable machinery, manufactured homes and vehicles; to living creatures such as livestock and our treasured animal companions, i.e., pets.

Frequently the planning for distributing tangibles consists of discussing many common every day objects in our lives such as clothing, jewelry, art, musical instruments, writings, furnishings, tools and other household goods. Very often a client's focus is on those items that are of relatively little monetary value, but of great sentimental worth. At times the discussion of this type of personal property eclipses discussing the transfer of financial assets. That favorite painting or antique chest, the tea set handed down from grandmother or that may have come with her from another country in emigrating to the U.S. The core value contained in these are many true-to-heart connections that bear intense consideration for their care and their passage

Stories of the Stars… If Only

In this case an item of sincere sentimental and nostalgic value collides with real monetary value as is discovered.

Not a celebrity story but a story of family and real life for the many of us. A BBC article offered a collection of people’s experiences of “being remembered” with a gift from a dear one upon their passing, and the unexpected turns such gifts can take - one person wrote that a small, seemingly insignificant item “almost caused a war within the family.” The grandmother left to the person writing to the BBC a cruet that she had kept on her dining table the many years. She left that cruet to the writer specifically because as a teenager the writer had told her grandmother that when they came to visit, seeing that cruet was the sign that they were “at Grandmas House.” This innocent comment made for no other particular purpose than its straightforward message resulted in the gift. The issue arose because, as it turned out unbeknown to the writer, the cruet was a valuable antique. The writer's uncle, who collected such things, knew its value and wanted it. Apparently, the writer's tenacious desire to keep the memento won the day. The writer closed with the comment that that cruet is still on her dining table “to this day.”

Who’s to know what you set in motion with those tangibles that you leave to someone that appear to have little in monetary value but are great in sentimental connection?

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: An ounce of preparation by Gary Randall on 11/01/2021

Preparing for a trip, even a simple day trip, should be pretty basic when it comes to packing your camera gear, or so it would seem. It’s easy to throw your gear in the backpack, grab it and go.


You must know that photographers take their backpacks pretty serious. For those who aren’t aware, I should explain that a photography backpack is very much like a typical rucksack, but they have little padded dividers that are fastened with Velcro in an arrangement decided upon by the owner of the backpack to hold their various camera bodies, lenses and other assorted accoutrement.

With these dividers it’s easy to take a quick inventory of your gear prior to heading out into the field. Zip open a panel, look inside and zip the panel back up and off you go.

Taking quick inventory in this way is typically straight forward. It’s easy to see if you have your camera and your lenses, but there are always those little details that will trip you up as this little story will show.

After taking my quick inventory on one day, I grabbed my gear for a hike to a waterfall that I had been meaning to photograph for a while.

The hike was going to be about a five-mile trip in, ten miles altogether. A good day hike but still a bit more laborious due to my backpack full of gear.

It’s usually like me to pull my camera from my backpack at the trailhead and carry it separately and take snaps along the way, but on this day the hike was familiar and I figured that I would just wait until I arrived at the spot that I had in mind. Besides, it would make the hike easier without carrying something in my hands.

I hiked with certain urgency as I was on a mission. I walked the five miles with no break for rest as I knew that where I was going would be a great spot to snack on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the apple that I had brought along with me.

How perfect. A beautiful waterfall to photograph and a nice little picnic all at the same time.

After the morning hike I arrived at my destination. The spot that I had in mind for the photograph that I had imagined since my last hike there. I walked to the creekside, peeled off my backpack, set up my tripod, unpacked my camera, set it up on the tripod and turned it on to check my settings.

As I look at the digital display, which shows me everything that I need to know to adjust my camera, I notice the available exposure count. It reads 0. Zero??? What?

As I stood there looking at the display, the cold realization hit that I forgot to check that I had put the memory cards back in after I had pulled them out to reformat and clear them to prepare for more photos of this trip. I was literally standing there with a camera without “film” in it.

All at once I felt emotions welling up inside. I’m not sure if they were feelings of frustration, anger or dismay or a combination of them all. It really didn’t matter as they weren’t good.

I dug through my pack to see if I had stashed a spare card, but found nothing. I felt pretty dumb. Without much more than a thought or two about what more that I could do, I packed my gear back into the backpack and sat down to eat my sandwich.

As I sat there, I lectured myself. I berated myself for forgetting to reinstall the card, and again for not checking when I packed the backpack, but in time I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to take a single photograph, and that I was in an incredibly amazingly beautiful place in a terrible state of mind and that I just needed to realize how my priorities were out of order.

I had to ask myself how taking the photo became more important than the experience of being there and experiencing the tangible part of the hike that a photo can never capture.

At that moment I closed my eyes and paid attention to those non-visual components of this beautiful location that make the experience complete.

I listened to the water as it tumbled over rocks. I listened to the breeze in the trees above my head. I felt the moss under me.

Once I did this, I started to pay attention to things that I may have ignored. I heard birds singing and squirrels quarreling. I smelled the fresh fragrance of a forest in the morning. I felt the mist from the falls on my face.

I could feel the stress leave as I concentrated. My feeling of frustration changed to resignation and then to a feeling of satisfaction as I realized the complete beauty of my surroundings.

In time I stood back up, grabbed my backpack and started back down the trail with the thought in my mind about lessons learned. Practical thoughts about how to prevent forgetting memory cards or batteries, but even more the thoughts and wonder if I would have taken the time to enjoy the experience of the waterfall if I had remembered to bring them.

To this day when I head out to hike to a waterfall, I will check everything, including the details. I haven’t left a card or a battery at home since, but more importantly after this experience, the first thing that I do when I arrive at a location is to close my eyes and experience everything that being there has to offer, and I think that it shows through the photos that I take afterward.

Photo by Steve Wilent
Forest resilience and climate change by Steve Wilent on 11/01/2021

I was happy to hear from several readers that they found my October column on Douglas squirrels informative. However, the International Douglas Squirrel Appreciation Society was not amused. In an unsigned email, they said that these squirrels are certainly not evil, are absolutely adorable and would never throw fir cones at people or their houses. Obviously, these well-intentioned folks don’t know the crafty critters as well as they think.


One reader responded to my September column on the likely effects of climate change on natural resources in our area with an excellent question: What did I mean when I wrote that, “foresters and fishery and wildlife managers will need to focus on increasing the resilience of these natural resources to ensure their health and survival.”

As you may recall, I wrote that, “With higher temperatures, more heat waves, and drier summers, our native trees and shrubs will be under more stress. Trees and plants that are weakened by drought and high temperatures are more susceptible to insect attack, so we may see more of them dying. Fish and wildlife will be affected, too. The earlier arrival of spring conditions and warmer, drier summers and early autumns may change the timing of salmon and steelhead migration and reproduction, for example.”

How can forests be made more resilient to higher temperatures, more heat waves and drier summers?

Imagine an acre of forest that has 50 conifer trees, most of which are 100 years old or more, with an understory of salal and sword fern – typical for our area. Over the last century, these trees and shrubs have thrived with relatively steady amounts of rain and snow during the fall, winter and spring, with little rain during the summer.

How will they respond to getting about the same amount of annual rainfall, but more of it coming in winter, with warmer, dryer summers that last a month or two longer than in the past? They may do fine during the wet season, but during the dry season the trees and shrubs will increasingly compete with each other for water. In nature, the strong survive: the trees and shrubs with root systems able to draw in enough water will survive, and others may not. At first, the weaker trees will have less energy to expend on defending themselves from insects and disease, and they may weaken and eventually die.

As summers continue to become longer, dryer and hotter, even the largest, most robust trees may struggle to survive, and a drought they might otherwise have survived could kill some or all of them.

That’s what happened in California over the past decade. An estimated 163 million trees – many of them well over 100 years old – died during a drought and subsequent bark beetle infestations. This figure does not include the millions of trees killed in recent years by wildfire. I visited the central Sierras in 2016 and saw huge numbers of dead ponderosa pines and sugar pines on the Sierra National Forest and Sequoia National Park, and the beginnings of a die-off in Yosemite National Park.

Trees in Oregon, too, are dying, as “The Oregonian” reported in a Sept. 17 article, “Climate change and hot, dry summers mean big trouble for Oregon’s trees.”

In California, the die-off began suddenly and progressed so quickly that little could be done but to remove the dead trees that posed the greatest threat to homes, businesses, power lines and so on.

What can be done here, other than waiting for a few or many of our trees to die?

On the example acre, removing some of the 50 trees would reduce the stress on the remaining trees. It wouldn’t guarantee their survival, but it would give them a better chance at living through the coming longer, dryer summers, as well as the occasional extraordinary heat wave, like the one we had this summer. In other words, it would help the trees become more resilient to the changes ahead. Landowners also might consider planting Douglas-fir trees grown from seed from trees in southern Oregon or Northern California, where summers are now similar to future summers here. Even now, some landowners in northwest Oregon are thinking about planting ponderosa pines, Oregon white oaks or other species accustomed to long, dry summers.

I am not saying that you ought to start thinning trees on your Hoodland property, at least not yet. I’m not planning to thin the trees on my Rhododendron land, other than to remove one or two that have a root disease, but I’m keeping a close eye on them and watching for advice from respected sources of information such as Oregon State University and the Oregon Forest Resources Institute.

East of the Cascades, I’ve observed many ponderosa pines at lower elevations that are dying or dead. Drive Dufur Valley Road between Dufur and Camp Baldwin and you’ll see lots of ponderosas that are fading or are already dead. If I had property in that area, I would consider cutting some of the remaining pines and thinning the Oregon white oaks and grand fir, which would reduce moisture stress on the remaining trees.

As for wildlife in our area, there will be winners and losers in the coming decades. Woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds may thrive, as more trees are infested by bark beetles and other insects, but frogs and other amphibians may struggle as the timing of their mating and reproduction seasons change and as springs and wetlands dry up. Working to help forests adapt to the changes ahead would assure that forest-dwelling animals have resilient habitat. Active forest management can be done with an eye toward improving habitat, such as by creating openings in the forest canopy that offer food, shelter, and other benefits to wildlife.

Enhancing habitat for our native fish will be important, too. The U.S. Forest Service, the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council and other organizations have worked for years to improve fish habitat by reopening old side channels and adding large logs and root wads to steams, which has several benefits to fish, such as creating deep pools that provide refuges during heat waves. This work is now more important than ever.

Oregon’s climate, along with the world’s, will continue to change for decades, regardless of what humanity does to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here in Hoodland, we can either stand by hope that our forests remain healthy, or prepare to take measured, science-based action to increase forest health and resilience before we have a mass die-off like California’s.

Have a question about forest health and resilience? Want to know how forests promote human health and resilience? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Rain gardens improve water quality and protect salmon by Mt. Hood Community College on 11/01/2021

Every fall, students in the Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) Fisheries Technology Program conduct spawning surveys in Beaver Creek. During these surveys, students often discover pre-spawn mortality – salmon that have died from exposure to pollution before they could lay their eggs. The MHCC Salmon Safe Clean Water Retrofit aims to change that trend.

In 2016, MHCC became the first community college in the U.S. to be certified Salmon Safe. The Salmon Safe Clean Water Retrofit decreases the college campus’ impact on salmon and improves water quality downstream.

For thousands of years, salmon have been a crucial part of the ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, spending part of their lives far up rivers, mountain streams and even creeks that now flow by residential and commercial areas like Beaver Creek, which passes through the MHCC campus.

Much of the campus was constructed in the 1960s and expanded as the college grew. Large parking lots are a necessity for students and staff, but runoff from these lots and roofs drive pollution into nearby creeks. Once the college discovered this impact on the environment, leadership explored ways to decrease the pollution.

The Salmon Safe Clean Water Retrofit captures runoff before it reaches the creeks through drywells, rain gardens and naturescapes that cool runoff and naturally filter pollutants. These changes capture 95 percent of pollution in retrofitted parking lots. MHCC is committed to being a steward of the environment, as well as a good neighbor.

Beaver Creek is a crucial part of our local ecosystem. Four to nine percent of Sandy River coho salmon pass through Beaver Creek each year. The Beaver Creek watershed is home to salamanders, herons, eagles, otters and lamprey. Beaver Creek starts as a spring near Dodge Park Blvd., flows through farms and nurseries and empties into the Sandy River near Glenn Otto Park.

The retrofit is just one part of a larger effort to restore the creek through a partnership between Sandy River Watershed Council, City of Gresham, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Metro and MHCC. Learn more and discover volunteer opportunities at Sandyriver.org/beavercreek.

Jenny Furniss is the public relations and marketing content strategist at MHCC.

View Points – Salem: Third step against child abuse by Rep. Anna Williams on 11/01/2021

One of the main things that short legislative sessions, which take place during even-numbered years, tend to focus on is unfinished business from previous sessions. The main piece of unfinished business that I hope to complete in the 2022 session is the last remaining piece of a three-part child abuse prevention and response bill that I sponsored in my first year as a State Representative. (When I commit to getting something done, I don’t give up!)

Since then, I have successfully convinced the Legislature to dedicate $3 million per year to Children’s Advocacy Centers, which provide victim services and collaborate with law enforcement to help kids recover from abuse and help ensure abusers in our communities face accountability (that was part one of my bill). I have also successfully directed and funded the Department of Education to hire additional staff who can help Oregon schools teach child abuse prevention curriculum to K-12 students (that’s part two). With these two policy wins, Oregon children will now be better equipped to identify, report and escape abuse. They will also be better supported if they are subjected to abuse in their households or communities.

The missing piece of this puzzle, though, is a lack of information about how big the problem of child abuse in Oregon truly is. The third part of my child abuse agenda would change that. Our state’s response to child abuse depends on understanding where and when abuse is taking place. During the pandemic, we saw a huge decrease in abuse reports because the majority of those reports come from mandatory reporters who encounter kids in a school setting. Those mandatory reports, however, are only filed when a teacher, counselor or other mandatory reporter comes across evidence that a child is suffering abuse. Many child abuse survivors are experts at hiding their abuse - for their own safety. Reporting specific abusive behavior, after all, could lead to even worse abuse. This leads to a situation where our data on the prevalence of child abuse shows potentially far fewer instances of abuse than what is actually taking place in Oregon. We need a better way of talking directly to kids who are experiencing abuse, and we need to be able to anonymously collect information in case some victims and survivors are afraid to identify their abusers.

Within the University of Oregon, a research team has developed and tested a new way of gathering data on child abuse. The Oregon Child Abuse Prevalence Study has already been conducted in Lane County, but my bill would expand it statewide. This study gives us a trauma-informed way to go talk to high school students in Oregon classrooms and learn whether they have experienced any abuse during their childhood years.

As an important part of the process, the research team also performs a post-survey debrief with students to acknowledge and help process any feelings they may have about the questions they’ve been asked. This discussion also helps us gather students’ thoughts on how the survey could be improved or how abuse issues could better be addressed or discussed, whether in classrooms or through state policy.

This survey would provide much-needed improvement in the child abuse data Oregon collects, which will help us provide appropriate prevention and response services. It would also empower Oregon’s kids to talk about a challenging (and potentially life-saving) topic that too often gets swept under the rug because it makes us all deeply uncomfortable. This final piece of my child abuse prevention and response agenda could dramatically change the ways we work to prevent and end child abuse in our state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.


View Points – Sandy: November's helping events by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 11/01/2021

Sandy is well known for our great pioneering spirit as that final stop for so many of our courageous ancestors who traveled across the west on the Oregon Trail. It’s this pioneering spirit that has seen our community continually lead the way. From our national leading high speed broadband internet service with SandyNet, world class transit system in Sandy Area Metro or our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – Sandy is a place where neighbors come together, dare to innovate, dream big and lead the way.

During the course of the pandemic, we have watched as our city government, sports leagues and charitable and civic organizations forged ahead with a can-do attitude that allowed us to continue on with many of our traditions and sense of community. Whether it was the city's drive-by Christmas tree lighting to last year's Sandy Chamber drive-by trick or treat trail, our community members showed tremendous leadership over the course of these past two years.

I’m excited to say that this tradition in Sandy of a pioneering spirit continues going into this year's holiday season. From the traditional Trick or Treat Trail with the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce to the return of Sandy Helping Hands iconic Sandy Camo Con and the Sandy Community Center’s Thanksgiving Morning Tickle Trot, Sandy is finally starting to feel normal again and get back to the wonderful place we cherish so much.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the community leaders who are working diligently behind the scenes to make these events happen. It is always amazing to see neighbors roll up their sleeves to put on these great events, and to forge ahead in the times we currently live is truly inspiring.

In addition to the benefits these events bring to the culture and vibrancy of our great city, these events also allow these organizations to do a tremendous amount of good throughout the year.

The Camo Con pub crawl for example has traditionally helped pay for the Christmas in the Community program that Sandy Helping Hands puts on each holiday season. The annual Tickle Trot Trail helps pay for many of the resources the Sandy Action Center offers to some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable neighbors.

Below is additional information on these upcoming events. The holiday season is always a special time in Sandy, watching as community members place a premium on our traditions and special way of life is quite special. It’s amazing to live at a place where so many people work so hard to keep Sandy wonderful.

November events

What: Sandy Helping Hands Camo Con ‘21.

When: 7 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Nov. 20.

For more info, visit http://sandyshelpinghands.com/camo-con/.


What: Sandy Community Action Center Tickle Trot

When: 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 25, in the Sandy Fred Meyer parking lot, 16625 SE 362nd Drive in Sandy.

For more information, search for the Sandy Tickle Trot on Facebook.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.


Flavors of fall by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2021

Time to get cozy with the sights, smells and especially the flavors of fall.

As far as Thanksgiving goes, do what I do and get invited to another home for dinner.

May I suggest bringing one of these fall-inspired recipes as a hostess gift?

Let’s cook!


Butternut squash carbonara

1/4 cup puréed butternut squash

1/4 cup diced butternut squash, roasted

1 lb. cooked pasta with 1 cup of the pasta water reserved (I used ravioli)

1/2 cup diced bacon, cooked tender crisp

1/4 cup minced shallot

1/2 t salt and fresh-cracked pepper

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (or 1 t dried)

2 T softened cream cheese

2 eggs, beaten

Put pasta, bacon, shallot and diced squash in large pot. Mix other ingredients in separate bowl. Gently toss sauce mixture into pot with pasta, cook over medium heat tossing constantly with two wooden spoons until sauce thickens.


Persimmon pound cake

This cake is dense, moist, bejeweled with fresh fruit and crowned with a simple icing.

2 large Fuyu persimmons peeled, cored and chopped

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

1/2 t each salt, baking soda and baking powder

1 cup buttermilk

2 sticks (1/2 cup) softened unsalted butter (I use European or Irish)

1 t vanilla

1 t butter flavoring (optional)


2 T cream

1/2 t vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

Whisk together glaze ingredients.

Grease and flour large Bundt pan (I had extra batter and made cupcakes) and heat oven to 375.

In a large electric mixer bowl cream butter, then slowly add the sugar and then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the extract.

Whisk dry ingredients in another bowl, then add mixture by thirds to the batter, alternating eaach time with the buttermilk.

Fold in persimmon chunks and bake for 50 minutes or until large toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Cell phone camera technology by Gary Randall on 10/01/2021

I have a new camera. It’s become my favorite camera. If not my favorite, it is certainly the one that I’ve been using the most. It even makes phone calls.


If you haven’t figured it out already, I have reached the annual and inevitable point of obsolescence of my cell phone. I fight the thought of this being a ploy to sell me a new phone every four years, but if I’m being honest, it’s something that I always look forward to. It’s not because the manufacturers have improved reception or call quality on the phone. Both aspects seem to be no different than they were four years prior when I upgraded to my previous phone. What I always look forward to is how the latest camera upgrades perform.

I’ve owned a cell phone for practically their whole existence. I used a Motorola brick at work in the early 1990s and then progressed through the flip phone era to the modern-day smartphones. I remember when the first camera came out as a feature in the better flip phones. It was a terrible little camera that took very small, out of focus and grainy photos. It was impractical and more of a novelty than a practical camera. At that time, point and shoot cameras were popular for taking snapshots. Today very few people have or need a point and shoot camera as our phones have easily replaced them.

My first cell phone camera created an image that was 484 pixels x 364 pixels, 14 KB file which yielded a 1 ¼-inch x 1 5/8-inch photo. My newest cell phone has a 9,000 x 12,000-pixel, 14 MB image that will print a 30-inch x 40-inch photo. The device features a 108 megapixel (MP) primary camera, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, two 10MP telephoto cameras (3X and 10X optical zoom) and a 40MP selfie camera that makes use of multiple lenses. This means that if you zoom in the image will be made using a lens to magnify the scene and not digitally, which tends to break the image apart. This particular cell phone that I’m using has three lenses.

Another feature that cell phones have these days is the ability to use what’s called Pro Mode. Pro Mode will allow you to switch the phone camera to manual which gives you the ability to adjust all of the settings – primarily shutter speed and ISO, and to save the file in a raw format. When set on automatic, the camera will take the photo and process it according to presets that are programmed into your camera. When it’s set to manual you can create and process your photo in the method that gives you the look that you want. After which there are programs/applications that you can use on your camera to process and save the photo.

You might ask why you would need a camera if a cell phone can take such incredible photos? The answer is that it’s about sensor size and not about megapixels. The pixel size on the cell phone is .8 micrometers while the pixel size on my professional camera is 4.35 micrometers. Why is this important? It’s important in dim lighting. Larger pixels gather more light. A cell phone will do fine for photos in optimal light but once the lighting becomes a challenge the camera will be challenged. As a matter of fact, when the cell phone camera is in night or low light mode it will use what's called binning to merge nine pixels into one, effectively making it a 12 MP sensor. And furthermore, a larger sensor will be able to gather more information which will make a sharper and clearer image. The simple answer is that it’s not realistic to expect a sensor the size of 8mm to perform as well as a camera with a 35mm.

I haven’t mentioned the video capability of the cell phone. It could be a whole separate article. It boasts the ability to record 8K video. It can record 3840 x 2160 at 30p but can also record 1920 x 1080 at up to 120p which can give you the ability to record super slow motion.

I’m finally excited about the camera on my cell phone. I have been having fun with it. In the past I would try but the image quality when I was through was discouraging. I relegated the cell phone to snap shots of friends and family and snaps of times that I wanted reminders of. Because the photos and the video from this camera are so good, I’m more willing to try to be creative with it. Will it replace my professional camera? Not at all, but it will allow me to get rid of all of the point and shoot cameras as well as all of the various video cameras that I have accumulated over the last few years. Cell phone cameras are starting to stand on their own as a viable option for quality imagery.

Autumn on the Mountain means squirrels are happy by Steve Wilent on 10/01/2021

I’d like to say that the Douglas squirrels that inhabit our Mountain woods are friendly little critters, but they’re not. I think they’re evil. I can’t tell you how many times Lara and I have been startled awake at dawn on September and October mornings by the sound of green fir cones hitting our metal roof. A gang of the dern squirrels scrambles up to the tops of several big Douglas-fir trees near our house, harvesting green cones for the winter. They nip the stem and let the cones fall – or throw them so they hit the roof – to be later gathered up and stripped of their nutritious seeds.

You wouldn’t think a little fir cone could make such noise – BAM! – but they do – BAM! BAM! The cones are green and solid as rocks – though not quite so hard as the gluten-free biscuits I made. Once. The cones fall (or are thrown) well over 100 feet from our 150-foot trees, and you can almost hear them hissing in the air, as when you when you’re a batter standing at the plate facing a pitcher throwing a baseball at 100 miles per hour. Hisssss – POP into the catcher’s mitt. At least the batter is supposedly awake. A fir cone hitting a metal roof while one is sound asleep much louder, especially just before sunrise, which is the squirrels’ prime time.

I’ve told Lara that I can hear the little monsters up there giggling as they aim for the roof, that I imagine them holding their bellies because they laugh so hard when they hear my cursing. Of course, curses only encourage the little devils. Lara, who says she can’t hear them giggling, has words for them that are not so mild as “dern” and that are unprintable in a family newspaper.

An aside: “dern,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is as a variant of “darn,” which is a polite substitute for “damn,” but dern also can mean crafty or underhanded – all of which apply when speaking of Douglas squirrels. “Dern” was used eloquently by Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae, as played by Robert Duvall, in Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove.” I ask you: Has there ever been a better American actor? But I digress.

The Douglas squirrel, aka chickaree or pine squirrel, measures 11 to 14 inches in length, including its tail, according to Tamara Eder’s excellent book, “Mammals of Washington and Oregon.” Its upper parts are reddish- or brownish-gray, and its underparts are orange-ish to yellowish. These pesky rodents are native to the Pacific Northwest coast, from British Columbia to northern California, including the Cascades. They eat mainly conifer seeds, but I’ve seen them eat vine maple and bigleaf maple seeds when Doug-fir seeds are scarce. At least maple trees don’t have cones. Their seeds are samaras, meaning they have wings that help them helicopter to the ground. Most conifer seeds have such wings, too, which lets the wind help disperse them after the cones open when they are ripe. I wouldn’t mind at all if the squirrels let the Doug-fir seeds loose from high in the trees – they’d spin slowly down and land without a sound. But no, that wouldn’t be much fun for the varmints, would it?

According to Oregon State University, in addition to seeds, including the seeds in bird feeders, chickarees will also devour berries, leaves, twigs, fungi, insects and even bird eggs and nestlings – I have seen evidence that they will chew their way into bird houses to get them. These squirrels are “known for their highly vocal (noisy) sputterings and scoldings.” OSU says they use distinctive calls during courtship, when defending their territory and as an alarm. Great. Couldn’t they raise an alarm before bombing my house? Douglas squirrels are prey for raptors, coyotes, bobcats. Well, good. Those critters need to eat, too, right? Domestic cats and dogs will eat them, too.

Eder’s books says chickarees have one litter per year, averaging four per litter – and as many of eight of the little rapscallions – but some references say they can have two litters per year, in early spring or summer and in August or September. They build their nests from moss, leaves, shredded western redcedar bark, bits of cloth or cardboard, wads of fiberglass house insulation or anything else that they can get their greedy little paws on. The nests are round or oblong and can be as large as a soccer ball or football, and they’re hollow inside, making a nice, cozy home. Chickarees have built nests in nooks and crannies in my well shed and woodpiles. I’ve explained to them that they aren’t welcome and even tried placing “No Squirrels!” signs, but that, too, seems only to egg them on.

You may have noticed that the squirrel and the tree share the name “Douglas.” That’s because both were “discovered” by David Douglas, the Scotsman who explored the Pacific Northwest in 1825 and 1826, studying trees and plants and collecting seeds and cuttings for England’s Horticultural Society. I may have mentioned a book about Douglas in a previous Woodsman column, “The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest.” Of course, the plants and animals of the Pacific Northwest were discovered by humans more than 14,000 years ago, long before there was anything like an England or a Horticultural Society.

Another aside: if this ancient history interests you, read “The Search for America’s Atlantis: Did People First Come to this Continent by Land or By Sea?” recently published in “The Atlantic” (see tinyurl.com/2mj9wx9p). Oregon is mentioned as the location of some of the earliest evidence that these Paleoindian people lived in the western U.S. about 14,300 years ago. Me, I think they came by land and sea.

Back to those dern squirrels…

If you don’t live directly under a big Doug-fir, you may think “cute” when you see a Douglas squirrel sitting on a branch and chewing its way through a cone, leaving piles of bracts, scales and stems below. A mature Douglas-fir tree can bear thousands of cones, but fortunately they usually do so only every five to seven years. Judging by the sagging branches on our trees, this is one of those years. The squirrels are rejoicing. I’m not.

Have a question about forest wildlife? Need a sure-fire way to get Douglas squirrels out of your shed or attic? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Finder – Salem: Battling addiction by Rep. Anna Williams on 10/01/2021

Long before COVID-19, Oregon was already suffering from an epidemic: according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in ten Oregonians struggles with substance use disorder. And, since the War on Drugs led to increased drug penalty laws in the early 1980s, Oregon has had laws on the books that could make criminals of 10 percent of its residents.

In November 2020, Oregonians overwhelmingly voted to pass Ballot Measure 110, which changed possession of drugs for personal use from a crime to a violation. In other words, a person will no longer be arrested if they are found to have small quantities of drugs. They will instead face a fine of no more than $100, which can be waived if they agree to complete a health assessment with an addiction treatment provider. This is a creative solution to the addiction crisis in our state, but it will require us to make major investments in social services and behavioral health care.

People in many parts of Oregon have very little access to addiction recovery services, even though our state has the fourth-highest addiction rate in the nation. This lack of access to treatment has caused our state’s houselessness crisis to grow out of control, straining our ability to provide housing assistance to people when evictions are spiking. Measure 110 was a clear demand from Oregon’s voters for new strategies to intervene with the addiction crisis, so the state legislature had to find a way to make Measure 110 a reality.

That’s where Senate Bill (SB) 755 comes in.

SB 755, which passed during the 2021 session and is now in the process of being implemented, is a massive bill (both in terms of its page count and in terms of what it does!). It creates a way to ensure – and require – that all 36 counties will have addiction recovery, harm reduction and other services. It funds these services to the tune of $100 million per year, which seems like a hefty price tag until you compare it to the long-term savings we will see as we stop funneling people with substance use disorders into expensive jails and prisons, treating overdoses in emergency rooms and struggling to keep people housed when their underlying problem is substance use disorder.

SB 755 also removes youth from adult courts for drug-related cases, meaning they can get targeted help from experts in juvenile development and treatment.

The law requires adult courts to refer adults to behavioral health and addiction screenings that will help identify their treatment needs. Courts will also establish a streamlined process for confirming those adults have fulfilled their addiction assessments, meaning fewer people will slip through the cracks of our overburdened justice system. Finally, the state will collect data to help us better understand how each county and city in Oregon can improve its response to the addiction epidemic in its own communities (rather than having the same statewide solution applied to every community regardless of each town’s unique strengths and struggles).

It’s worth noting that neither Measure 110 nor SB 755 legalized any drugs. Illegal drugs are (of course!) still illegal, and the resources we pour into law enforcement will now be focused on those who manufacture and sell those drugs, which is a more efficient and effective use of those limited resources. It will also not soften the penalties for crimes related to drug use, such as theft or driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

As a former social worker, I was proud to be able to use my background and expertise to counsel my colleagues on how this bill should be implemented. Readers won’t be surprised to learn that I was one of its most vocal supporters during the last legislative session.

I am thrilled to see our state finally prioritizing treatment over punishment, expanding access to recovery resources and moving away from the extremely harsh drug possession penalties to which we have been subjecting people with addictions for decades.

While this policy will require oversight and adjustment as time passes, I am confident that we have taken a meaningful (and massive) first step toward building a responsive service delivery model for treating Oregonians with substance use disorder. I am excited to help continue developing these systems and I look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can best do that.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.


View Points – Sandy: Addressing homelessness by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 10/01/2021

Years ago, homelessness was a mostly “downtown” issue. The cost of homelessness was concentrated in the city centers, which meant that service providers could concentrate their efforts in a relatively small area.


Today, homelessness is a crisis that plagues every corner of our state. From our community of Sandy to Ontario to Coos Bay, from Portland to Ashland, just about every community in our state has a homeless problem. Ten years ago, 40 percent of the homeless lived downtown. Today, it’s only 20 percent. Many homeless individuals have left the downtowns for the outskirts, residential areas and parks and natural areas.

The spread of homeless camps throughout the state has taken a toll on many of the natural wonders that Oregonians treasure. Locally in Sandy we’ve watched as camps have begun to show up in our more cherished locations like Tickle Creek Trail, the Sandy Community Campus and Meinig Memorial Park. And while not coming close to the crisis in neighboring communities, we have begun to see more homeless walking our sidewalks.

It’s easy to see this destruction and blight as a failure of federal, state and local governments to provide basic public safety and health services. It’s easy to see it as a breakdown in social norms that value private property and public welfare. We need policies to focus on restoring community livability and safety by moving the homeless off the streets and out of the parks to more sustainable and humane housing.

At the same time, homelessness is a deeply personal crisis for those experiencing it. Everyone who loses housing has his or her own unique circumstances: job loss, mental illness, physical disability, substance abuse, domestic violence, rising rent or eviction. Close to two-thirds of those who are homeless have mental health or substance abuse issues.

In many ways, homelessness is a breakdown in the social safety net. We need policies to help our homeless population find and obtain affordable housing and stay housed.

Addressing homelessness is not an either/or proposition. Homelessness presents a personal crisis, but a large and growing homeless population imposes incredible financial and quality-of-life costs on the community at large. While many unsheltered people would like nothing more than to be housed, there are also many who have little interest in their own – or their community’s – well-being. In Sandy, we’re striving to find policies that reach out to those who want help, be firm with those who don’t, and create an environment where residents can feel safe.

First, we need to help those who want it. Recently our Sandy City Council established the Sandy Social Services Taskforce. The taskforce and its leader, Maggie Holm, are tasked with surveying our community on the types of services needed and then to develop a strategic plan on how to work with private, public and local nonprofit organizations to address such needs. In the long-term, it is our hope that this taskforce allows our existing organizations such as the Sandy Community Action Center, Ant Farm and others to be more effective in their delivering of services through a strategic and holistic plan.

Second, we need to be firm with those who don’t want help. Sandy City Councilors Laurie Smallwood and Richard Sheldon are leading our newly formed homelessness taskforce. One of the immediate recommendations coming out of that group is strengthening our city ordinances to provide more tools to our police officers when working with our homeless population. While we should continue to be compassionate and willing to assist, we must also proceed with conviction as to what are acceptable and unacceptable camping and living conditions for our community.

Finally, we must create an environment where residents can feel safe. Our city council has done a lot in recent years to bolster the resources of our local police department. This has gone a long way in keeping our community safe. That said, we need the continued help of all of you – our neighbors. Last month, city councilor Kathleen Walker and I joined several other Sandy residents in a camp cleanup at the Sandy Community Campus. It’s an incredible feeling to see the difference one can make after just a couple of hours of work. We are all affected by the homeless issue, and it will take all of us taking action to fix it.

People are often taken aback when I say that I’m encouraged by our homeless problem. The reason I’m encouraged is the problem has risen to a level in our community where people must take notice but is not to a point where we can’t do anything about it. Now is the time for our local leaders and community members to raise our level of commitment to addressing our homelessness issue and taking it head on. It’s what will keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.


Party food by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2021

It’s time, you can do this. Beef Wellington only looks complex, this is what we’ve been practicing for.

Beef Wellington

2 lbs tenderloin tails (1 lb each), at room temperature

1 box frozen puff pastry

1 egg beaten with 1 t water

2 cloves garlic minced

2 T minced shallot (use onion if no shallot)

1/4 cup red wine (or beef stock)

2 cups diced mushrooms

1 T butter

Olive Oil for pan

Flour for dusting

1/2 t each of salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, all mixed together

Heat oven to 400 F and thaw pastry until mailable.

Heat large skillet over medium-high, and rub spices all over tenderloin tails. Sear meat for one to two minutes on each side, then set aside.

Add the butter, mushrooms, shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are tender and shallot is carmelized.

De-glaze the pan by pouring the wine  in (be careful of alcohol flare up), scraping the bottom and cook on low until most liquid is evaporated. Set aside.

Cut pastry in half. Spread mushroom mixture around tenderloin and then roll dough around tenderloin/mushroom mixture. Seal and brush with egg wash.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.


You are never too young by Paula Walker on 10/01/2021

The adage “You are never too old…” has a reverse corollary in Estate Planning: “You are never too young.”

And in some circumstances better young than old. With many families sending their college bound children off this fall – finally rounding the corner to college in person, not just Zoom. Or maybe, finally, your child is off to explore parts known and unknown using this as a “gap year” before college or in between college semesters, this is a very timely topic. A topic that surprises many, if not most parents.

Turning 18, your child is legally an adult. This imposes legal requirements you’ve likely not yet considered. Although still their parents, and even perhaps they still live at home, you no longer have legal access to your 18-year old’s medical records or information about their medical condition; nor can you transact business on their behalf should they need you to do so.

This becomes especially relevant as your child heads for college, or that gap year of travel between high school and entering college; or otherwise ventures forth, independent and ready to be so, but, in emergencies, still looking to you for support and help.

Four documents each emerging young adult should have, are: 1) Healthcare Power of Attorney; 2) HIPAA Authorization; 3) Advance Directive; and 4) Durable Power of Attorney.

With these instruments in place, whomever the young adult appoints in those instruments can intervene on their behalf in cases of medical emergency, can support them with medical care, can have access to medical records as needed, can make life and death decisions and can manage financial affairs as needed.

Without these, even though you are paying the medical bills, you may not be able to speak with medical staff about medical conditions, prescriptions, handle insurance claims etc.

While the parent may be the best person to appoint in many cases, the young adult may appoint another trusted adult, aunt, uncle or older sibling instead of or in addition to a parent. It is advisable to appoint alternates in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

How long do these four documents remain in effect? Two answers to that. First, each document is ‘durable,’ meaning that they remain in effect during a time of incapacity. Second, the appointment lasts as long as the young adult wants.

They can revoke or amend the documents at any time appointing other persons to serve as their agent as they move into other stages of their lives and relationships, such as marriage.

Not only for medical events, having these proxy authorities in place can be useful in a variety of situations as your child ventures forth, perhaps travels overseas for a gap year or study, such as your ability to wire money from child’s bank account, contact the local embassy, sign a legal document for your child in their absence such as their lease, sign tax returns and pay bills. As well, a young adult may not want their parents to have access to certain information. They can stipulate not to disclose information they want to keep private.

Where forms may be state specific, it is advisable to prepare the forms for the state in which you live as well as those for the state of the school attended, and the school’s forms if they have their own. Once executed, scan and save the documents so that they are readily available on a computer or by smartphone.

Attending to these documents is a good investment; part of your back-to-school or next-stage-of-life support. This can give peace of mind to your child as well as you as they venture forth, that in those fledgling years between childhood and fully independent adulthood, you can still be there for them if they need you.

Photo by Francene Grew.
The View Finder: Alaskan excursion by Gary Randall on 09/01/2021

Alaska is a special place for my wife Darlene and me. We return as often as possible. We recently had the opportunity to return to spend five days with a small group of photographers to show them the beauty of the state.


We visited the Kenai Peninsula in our search for wildlife, especially bears, and we spent time at the Kenai and the Russian Rivers. We saw huge red-sided Coho salmon making their way upriver to spawn. We also photographed loons at Skilak Lake. We were disappointed that we saw no bears, but it was a day full of adventure and breathtaking scenery. The Chugach Mountains, Kenai Mountains and the scenic Turnagain Arm dominated the scenery that we enjoyed as we travelled the Seward Highway.

On our second day we took an excursion boat out of the coastal town of Seward. We cruised through Resurrection Bay into the ocean. It was drizzling with some fog, but it didn’t keep us from standing out in the clean ocean air photographing dreamscape-like images of the rugged, forested Alaska shoreline and the Kenai Fjord's towering, rocky Chiswell Islands. We saw wildlife including sea lions and a myriad of sea birds, puffins and bald eagles. We even had a humpback whale surface right next to our boat, raising its tail above the water. We then travelled to the face of the Aialik Glacier to watch the calving of the ice into the sea, while harbor seals floated on the dislodged chunks of ancient ice in an attempt to avoid being eaten by orca whales.

On day three we travelled north into the massive Talkeetna Mountains with their jagged peaks and glacial scoured valleys, green with tundra and decorated by the scattered late season wildflowers. We explored Hatcher Pass and the dilapidated Independence Mines. As we travelled through, we photographed sweeping vistas and aqua blue-green glacier fed rivers.

We eventually met the Parks Highway and turned north to our second lodge located in Talkeetna, an eclectic little tourist town south of our ultimate destination, Denali National Park and Preserve.

As we drove north, we passed through Broad Pass with forests stunted from the harsh winter conditions that they must endure to survive. The incredible scenery was dotted with beaver ponds that mirrored the foothills of the Alaska Range on their still surfaces.

On our last day we arrived at Denali National Park and Preserve early to another wet, drizzly day. We boarded the park bus and started our journey through the park, enjoying some of the most majestic scenery in the world in spite of the clouds and fog that came and went through our journey. We saw and photographed ptarmigan, caribou and grizzly bears in the distance along the way. We eventually made it to the Eielson Visitor Center deep in the park where we watched two grizzlies grazing on the tundra in the fog on a high ridge above us. When we left the visitor center the bears had made their way down the ridge to a hillside very near the road. Our bus stopped and we photographed them until they crossed over the hillside and out of our view. We were able to take some incredible Denali grizzly bear photos.

After an uneventful but scenic ride back to the park entrance we left the bus and then went to have a warm meal. As we ate, we talked about the two things that the group wanted to photograph but wasn't able to, a moose and the massive Denali, the third most prominent peak in the world.

We finished dinner and made our way south on the Parks Highway toward our lodge in Talkeetna. We had gone approximately ten miles when we came across a bull moose near the side of the highway, munching on the vegetation. We pulled over and carefully positioned ourselves to get the moose photos that the group had hoped for. We didn’t mind that it was along the side of the road.

The weather had been mostly clouds, drizzle and some rain throughout the week. Not enough rain to spoil our fun but enough to obscure the view of "The High One," Denali. We all went to bed on the last night of the workshop feeling satisfied for the amazing week, but a bit disappointed in not being able to see the mountain, our last piece of the puzzle.

The next morning was one of reflection on the week that we had just spent. Tired but satisfied. We packed our luggage in the van and proceeded to leave our lodge and make our way back to Anchorage. We left under a clear blue sky that morning. We drove up the road to a viewpoint with a clear view toward the Alaska Range, the home of the elusive Denali. We stood in front of a majestic crystal-clear view of a pure white snow-covered Alaska Range and standing head and shoulders over its neighboring peaks we finally saw Denali.

Our Alaska adventure was complete. My friends could hardly believe the week that we had. They left for home on their flights filled with memories that will last a lifetime and camera memory cards full of reminders.

Contributed photo.
Climate change and what's in store for the Mountain by Steve Wilent on 09/01/2021

In last month’s column I wrote about the June heat wave that scorched many trees and plants in our area and posed health risks to people and pets. We’re in the midst of another hot spell as I write this, though not so severe as the June event. I don’t know anyone who enjoys heat like this. On the other hand, my tomato plants are thrilled. In previous years I was lucky to get a few ripe cherry tomatoes by September, sometimes even one or two medium-size tomatoes, but I’ve never had a large one ripen. I’ve learned that there are lots of ways to cook green tomatoes.


This year I picked the first ripe cherry tomatoes and a medium-size one in late July, and a fat three-inch tomato will be ready to pick in a day or two. Beans, squash, basil and peppers are thriving, though lettuces, mustards and other delicate greens are not faring so well. Growing any vegetables at all in a small clearing in the middle of a western Oregon rainforest – a quarter-acre clearcut! – is difficult at best. Or at least it has been until recently. Maybe there is a silver lining to climate change.

You’ve probably read about the recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, a United Nations organization that analyzes research on climate change and periodically issues Assessment Reports on the topic. “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” released last month, is part of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. Three other parts are due in 2022: “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability;” “Mitigation of Climate Change;” and a “Synthesis Report.”

The Physical Science Basis report “provides a high-level summary of the understanding of the current state of the climate, including how it is changing and the role of human influence, the state of knowledge about possible climate futures, climate information relevant to regions and sectors, and limiting human-induced climate change.” The report was produced by 234 authors from 65 countries, who collectively assessed about 14,000 scientific publications.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said the report is a “code red for humanity.” In my opinion, that’s overly sensational. More on that later, but here’s a brief look at some of the key findings from the Physical Science Basis and the potential impacts on our area:

– “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred.”

– “The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.”

– “Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heat waves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since AR5 [the Fifth Assessment Report, issued in 2014].”

I don’t disagree with these statements. On Aug. 13, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that July 2021 was “the world’s hottest month ever recorded.”

What about our region? The Physical Science Basis report gives some information about the changes ahead at the broad regional level, but not the state or county level. In Western North America – essentially the western third of the continental U.S. – the report says we’ll see:

– Higher average temperatures and more extreme high temperatures (heat waves).

– Increases in drought and fire weather (hot, dry, windy conditions like we had during last September’s wildfires).

– More extreme precipitation events.

– More flooding.

Note that higher temperatures and more heat waves doesn’t necessarily mean extreme fire danger. During the mid-August heat wave, winds in our area were relatively light and humidity was fairly high. According to my home weather station, relative humidity ranged from 30 percent during the day to 65 percent at night. With that much moisture in the air, fir needles, small branches, and other fine fuels – the main carrier of wildfire – quickly absorb moisture from the air. During this humid period, fine fuels certainly would have burned if ignited, but relatively slowly – a large, destructive wildfire was unlikely, especially absent high winds. During the September 2020 wildfires, relative humidity was much lower – single digits at times – so fuels caught fire easily and burned quickly.

Whether the Sandy River basin sees more flooding remains to be seen. According to the Physical Science Basis report, our area of the western US is likely to have an overall increase in precipitation, but with drier summers and wetter winters with less snow. Most of the severe flood events in our area are caused by rain falling on substantial amounts of low-elevation snow. In my reading of the IPCC’s projections, this scenario may be less likely in the future.

With higher temperatures, more heat waves and drier summers, our native trees and shrubs will be under more stress. Trees and plants weakened by drought and high temperatures are more susceptible to insect attack, so we may see more of them dying. Fish and wildlife will be affected, too. The earlier arrival of spring conditions and warmer, drier summers and early autumns may change the timing of salmon and steelhead migration and reproduction, for example.

A caveat to the IPCC’s projections: the authors of the Physical Science Basis report used models of several different scenarios of the future, based on various levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other factors. This is a reasonable approach. However, the authors relied heavily on what has been shown to be a highly unlikely worst-case scenario. Modeling such a scenario is worthwhile, of course, but many news articles have focused on the worst-case scenario without putting it into context though comparisons to likely and even best-case scenarios.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s “code red for humanity” may have been sincere, but wasn’t helpful, in my opinion. Either way, foresters and fishery and wildlife managers will need to focus on increasing the resilience of these natural resources to ensure their health and survival.

Have a question about forests and climate change? Want a recipe for green tomato pico de gallo? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Feeling fortunate to be here in this day and age by Mt. Hood Community College on 09/01/2021

At the college, we teach several courses that deal specifically with the causes and consequences of climate change. A common question from students is “how do we know [insert most recent extreme weather event – hurricane, heat wave, flood] is the result of climate change?”

The answer is relatively straightforward, though slightly re-directed. This heat wave, drought-fueled fire, hurricane or flood is not the direct result of a warmer planet. But the frequency and intensity are a direct outcome of more energy in a closed system.

We can illustrate this on our own stove top — turn the dial up on a pot of water and the boil increases, eventually bubbling and splashing and, if starch is involved, spilling over onto the range. For climate change, the simple science is this: a hotter atmosphere from increased carbon pollution is like turning up the dial.

There is more energy moving more hot air around the earth. More moisture is sucked out of the ground in one place and dropped in another. More heat means more lightning strikes in a storm (and more fire starts on the ground). More energy means changes in established weather patterns so rare events become commonplace.

Another useful comparison for sports fans is looking at a drug-enhanced athlete. This particular home run is not the result of steroid use, but the pattern is. The increased power and frequency of the hits would not have happened without the extra juice.

The second most common question of students also has a straightforward answer. “Is it too late to do anything about it?” The accurate reply is, “No, not yet!” As the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) details, alongside the dire warnings there is a message of hope.

The humans of earth have our collective hands on the dial of the atmospheric stove. We can stop turning the dial up and we can even start turning it down. We can stop the pot from boiling over, but we must act quickly and decisively and together.

At this point in the class discussion, there is often a noticeable hush in the room. It’s sobering to recognize that we have entered a time of climate chaos. This reality must be acknowledged, but we also point out that we are lucky to be alive right now.

Our actions matter more than ever. What we do as individuals, communities, companies and countries in the next few years will determine whether we experience the current level of chaos, or it gets truly bad. There have been only a few times in history where we could so clearly see the need for, and the results of, our actions. It’s never been truer that what we do today and tomorrow will determine the future for our children and their children.

So, like so many things, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the science is certain that the path of “business as usual” is toward an inhospitable world. The good news is that we can say with more certainty than ever that achieving net zero CO2 will end further warming, that our actions will make a difference.

It’s not yes or no, but rather how bad. The choice is ours. And if hope is the antidote to despair, then action is the path to hope. Now is not the time for indifference. Now is the time for action.

Walter M. Shringer, PhD, is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Getting Sandy back to work by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 09/01/2021

We’re all too aware what a challenging past couple of years it’s been for our local Main Street small businesses. Countless lockdowns, problems with stimulus and unemployment checks for our most vulnerable neighbors and now a workforce sluggish to return in many ways thanks to the unprecedented amount of federal money being funneled into a system that encourages many to not return to work.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, Sandy has been committed to taking bold and decisive action to help our neighbors and local small businesses in their greatest time of need. In the early months of the pandemic shutdowns, we implemented two rounds of our small business relief program which provided grants of $3,000 to several local businesses in need. We acted quickly and boldly utilizing Urban Renewal Funds to get the money into the hands of our small business owners almost immediately. After Congress passed and President Trump signed the CARES act to provide relief to those impacted by the pandemic, we learned we would be able to use those dollars to provide additional grants but also to reimburse our urban renewal fund for the funds we had already distributed. That ended up being an important lesson for us.

With this new knowledge, I worked with our economic development manager and our planning department to introduce a new program that became our Covered Structures Grant Program. This program allowed business owners to apply for a grant with the city to build beautiful “Sandy Style” outdoor structures at their business location to allow for additional capacity to serve patrons during a lockdown scenario and in the future. Under the program, the city’s Urban Renewal Fund would provide 80 percent of the investment, with the business owner being responsible for the remaining 20 percent upon completion of the project.

Recognizing that times are hard and that cash flow could be an issue, the city provided an option of a three-year, interest-free installment program. We moved quickly to implement this program because we knew our local businesses could not wait. The first round of covered structures is almost complete with many already being enjoyed by neighbors during the summer months. At our next city council and Urban Renewal Board meeting in September, we will be discussing the possibility of funding a second round of outdoor structures.

While our community has a lot to be proud of in our efforts to prop up our local Main Street – there is still much more left to do.

In 2020 we heard that it was direct financial assistance that was needed to help Main Street small businesses survive. We then heard that businesses needed help with re-investments to become more resilient against both the current and possible future pandemic shutdowns so we created our first of its kind Covered Structure Program. We now hear that the demand for business is growing, that our Main Street small businesses are ready to hit the ground running but simply cannot find employees who are readily available to return to work or are making far too much money on unemployment insurance and other government subsidies to be adequately incentivized to do so.

As a result, I am working with our city staff to create a Main Street Employee Incentive Program that I like to call, “Let’s get back to work.” While still in its early stages, we will look to incentivize employees to return to work through a signing bonus program for our Sandy businesses. By being the first to offer such a program for our community, we can provide local businesses with the opportunity to grab prospective talent from surrounding communities before other cities offer a similar incentive.

We are additionally discussing what can be offered as a tool for local businesses to onboard new employees in addition to a signing bonus. Perhaps assistance with paid childcare or even free access to SandyNet could provide good incentive to help our Main Street small business owners get employees to help share the workload.

Since our founding, Sandy has always had great pride in our pioneering spirit of boldness and innovation. We have continued this tradition with our response to this pandemic and lifting fellow neighbors and Main Street small businesses in the process. All part of our overarching goal to always keep Sandy wonderful.



Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Easy does it by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2021

Fast, delicious recipes that need only a few minutes and readymade ingredients. Viola!

Easy peach cobbler

1 can biscuit dough (I use Annie’s Organic)

4 peaches chopped

1/2 cup peach nectar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 t salt

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 cup butter

1 t vanilla

In heavy bottomed saucepan, add all ingredients except biscuits and peaches. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until thickened. Spread peaches out into 9” baking dish, cover with sugar syrup mixture and then place biscuits on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until biscuits are done and peaches are soft. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Chicken over rice

1 small rotisserie chicken

4 cups cooked jasmine rice

1/4 cup minced onion

2 T chicken granules

1/4 cup cornstarch

Salt & pepper

2 T chopped parsley

4 cups cooking liquid

In large pot, cover rotisserie chicken with water and add in 1 T kosher salt. Put on a lid, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer chicken for 45 minutes, then take out chicken. Let cool a little, shred and set aside. Strain cooking liquid into large bowl and set aside.

In same pot add butter and onions, then whisk cornstarch into cooking liquid with chicken granules. Add cornstarch mixture and shredded chicken to pot, and bring to boil stirring constantly until the gravy is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve over rice.

Review and revise by Paula Walker on 09/01/2021

So, it’s done. Finally. After the many years you’ve had it in your mind to create that will or trust as the gift it’s meant to be to help your family take care of your affairs as cleanly and simply as possible after you’ve passed, you’ve done it. There now. Nothing more to do with it! Right? Well… not so fast.

One thing for certain, life doesn’t stand still. Your family, your circumstances and don’t forget the government are constantly on the move, growing, changing and imposing new laws respectively.

Too often people tuck their estate plan away and 20 years or more later, when the time comes to rely on the plan, it is discovered inadequate or inflexible to their current needs. Their life’s circumstances changed and the plan in many places is no longer relevant, or worse, undermines their intentions. While your estate plan may not be your favorite bedtime story every evening, as a practical matter for your benefit, it is best to review the plan you have in place every three to five years. Some circumstances that should trigger a review on that boundary or before, potentially as circumstances arise, follow:

– Moving to another state. Estate planning laws vary state to state; for example some states have an inheritance tax and/or an estate tax, others do not. The requirements for advance directives and durable powers of attorney vary, as another example.

– Births, those new family members: you may have a place in your heart that you want reflected in your estate plan.

– The three D’s: death, divorce and disinheritance. Major shifts in life that alter the way you originally intended to distribute your wealth and belongings impose a need to review and revise.

– Marriage: your own or one of your beneficiaries can impact your plan.

– Charitable giving: there is a cause you want to support that did not have your attention when you first created your plan.

– Your executor or successor trustee may need to be changed. They are no longer able or willing to serve in that capacity, or they are no longer a good fit for your life’s circumstances.

– Children reach the age of majority: i.e., they turn eighteen.

– Changes in the law: tax law and laws that govern aspects of your estate plan, like laws governing the durable power of attorney or advance directive.

This is just a sampling of the events that should trigger you to review your estate plan. Some of these, like changes in the law, you may not be aware of, which is why it is a good practice to review your estate plan regularly; every three to five years review your plan with your estate planner so that you can identify impacts - the obvious and the not so obvious.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Robin Williams, comedian extraordinaire, with his estate planning and revamping of that plan likely reduced the battle between his third wife and his children from becoming a wildfire out of control, to a mediated settlement that concluded in a relatively short amount of time by creating a prenuptial agreement with his third wife and then updating his revocable living trust in line with that agreement.

Paul Walker, The Fast & The Furious, in contrast to Williams stands as an example of missed opportunities by leaving his estate plan untouched for twelve years, omitting to review and revise. With forward thinking he created a revocable living trust to provide for his three-year old daughter, Meadow. Kudos. But in the twelve years intervening between that event and his untimely death, many of the life changes mentioned in this article occurred that went unattended to in his plan. At the time he created his plan his career was just taking off. He amassed significant wealth, an estate estimated to be in excess of $25 million at his death. And then there was his seven-year relationship with the person that many thought was destined to be his future spouse. None of these significant life changes were incorporated. Much to speculate on that could have better served his estate and his intentions for those that he provided for or may have wanted to provide for had he reviewed and revised his estate plan.

Photo by Gary Randall.
Leave it better than you found it by Gary Randall on 08/01/2021

I remember a quote that I read when I was a boy that has stayed with me my whole life. Robert Baden-Powell is quoted as saying, “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it…” He was referring to being a good human, but in this day and age of increased recreational use of the outdoors, it is being used more as a way to increase the awareness of the proper care and use of our public lands. “Leave it better than you found it” is the new “Leave No Trace.” Those of us who care must do more than leave no trace. We need to try to offset the effects of those who won’t.


When the coronavirus came it changed almost every aspect of our lives. People started working from home. The travel restrictions cancelled a lot of people’s vacation plans. Cruise ship and air travel became impractical, as did hotel and resort stays. Even movie theaters and public places such as restaurants saw a dramatic decrease in business or were closed completely.

With these restrictions came a new form of vacation trend, visiting the open outdoors. Everyone, including many who had never spent time in nature, headed out to hike and camp, seeking something other than sitting inside until the coast is clear.

Hiking and camping have seen a huge surge. Lawrence Lujan, the United States Forest Service (USFS) public affairs specialist said, “The visitation that we typically saw on the weekend, we were seeing during the week. And the visitation that we typically saw during a holiday weekend, like the Fourth of July, we were seeing on weekends.”

What once was a weekend activity became one that was being done any day of the week.

The inevitable problems that come with the increased use of recreational lands are mostly wear and tear, but there are those who aren’t familiar with how to care for the outdoors, or just don’t care, that create other problems. Off trail hiking in sensitive terrain, off road driving or parking in restricted areas, trampling vegetation, illegal or abandoned campfires, vandalism and leaving trash behind have all increased.

The increase of visitation to the outdoors isn’t all bad news. With more people coming out to these beautiful natural places comes the appreciation of these places by more people. Typically, when someone visits a special place, one that they connect with and fall in love with, they are more apt to put forth an effort to preserve it. Volunteerism has increased with the increase in visitation, but it’s not enough to offset the effects of the public loving these places to death. Everyone needs to accept the responsibility to help care for the land that we use as we use it.

So how can we leave these places better? Many times, it’s just a matter of carrying a trash bag in your pack to gather trash and litter others leave behind. Volunteering with organizations that help to develop and maintain these places is becoming essential and popular. If you’re unable to volunteer, donating to these organizations helps them greatly – I support groups such as Trailkeepers of Oregon. We need to teach our children by setting an example for them to follow. Also raising the awareness of those that you associate with to adopt the “Leave It Better” principle of outdoor use.

Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to care for these special places. It’s up to us to assume that responsibility and apply it to how we use our shared public lands.

The seven Leave No Trace Principles

1. Plan ahead and prepare.

2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.

3. Dispose of waste properly.

4. Leave what you find.

5. Minimize campfire impacts.

6. Respect wildlife.

7. Be considerate of other visitors.

Photo by Steve Wilent.
Heatwave scorches Mountain trees and plants by Steve Wilent on 08/01/2021

So, was it hot enough for you during the June heat wave? Just kidding. It was way too hot, even for the folks I know who relish our typical warm summer weather. And it’s no joking matter. More than 100 people died in Oregon from the heat and its complications. No wonder. The record high in our northwest corner of the state was 116 degrees Fahrenheit in the Portland metro area on June 29, a temperature we usually associate with places like Phoenix, Ariz. or Death Valley National Park, Calif. On July 9, the temperature at the park’s Furnace Creek Visitor Center hit 130 degrees Fahrenheit, a new world record.


The highest temperature at our place in Rhododendron was “only” 105 on June 29. Lara and I have never been so grateful for the shade of the tall conifers around our house. But still, 105! 100 degrees warmer than the lowest temperature we’ve had here in the last 30 years, five degrees. We’ve hit the 100-degree mark once or twice in recent memory. I sure hope our new record is an outlier.

For most people, the heat wave caused discomfort at best. For some of our trees and plants, the heat caused significant stress. You’ve probably seen brown needles on western hemlock, Douglas-fir and western redcedar, usually on the side of the tree facing the afternoon sun. I’ve heard from forestry colleagues that they’ve seen such browning throughout the region.

It wasn’t just trees that were damaged. On our property, some of the leaves on rhododendron, sword fern, false Solomon’s seal, Oregon grape and other shrubs and plants also were scorched. It appears that the heat of direct sunlight was enough to cook all or parts of leaves. But some trees and shrubs seem to have been unaffected. The vine maple, bigleaf maple and golden chinquapin seem to have weathered the heat, as did my non-native cherry trees. However, in areas where these trees and shrubs were exposed to greater heat and more sunlight, these, too, may exhibit signs of damage.

The good news is that most of these trees and plants will survive. The conifers are already shedding the newly killed needles. Next year, with new green growth in the spring, they’ll look much better, despite a few bare branches. I’ve seen similar damage caused to conifers by very cold temperatures, low humidity and strong winds. About 20 years ago, a handful of Douglas-fir trees on the campus of Mt. Hood Community College, exposed to a very cold, dry east wind that whipped down the Columbia River Gorge, lost significant numbers of needles on the side of the trees facing the wind. However, most of the affected trees survived and today look undamaged.

Why did the heat and sunlight kill all those leaves? Trees need water to cool their leaf surfaces, and on a very hot day, a tree may not be able to move and evaporate enough water to keep its leaves cool, resulting in leaf stress and damage. And when the blazing sun hits stressed leaves, it can be scorched. See this The Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service web page for more information: tinyurl.com/p7jzje83.

Another OSU Extension page, tinyurl.com/2536aytr, explains that, “Mature trees are generally resilient. A loss of some foliage is a setback, but not typically fatal. Once they leaf out again next year, they should probably look much the same as before. But we will have to wait for some time to see the actual effects of the heat to leaves, and maybe buds. It is certainly possible that some individual branches or branch tips might be lost, without it being a danger to the tree.”

The bigger question is the severity of the current drought and how long it lasts. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (tinyurl.com/zf39tj7u), most of Clackamas County is experiencing severe drought, a category halfway between no drought and exceptional drought. Much of central Oregon, including the area where the Bootleg Fire is burning, is currently in extreme or exceptional drought.

Droughts have always occurred in Oregon, but as the global climate gradually warms, it is expected that our state may experience more of them, and that they may be more severe, on average, than they have been in the past.

What about heat waves in the future? Will they be as severe as our recent one? No one knows the answer with certainty, but it seems likely that they will.

In paper published in mid-July, “Rapid Attribution Analysis of the Extraordinary Heat Wave on the Pacific Coast of the US and Canada, June 2021,” a group of 27 scientists from around the world concluded that:

“Looking into the future, in a world with 2°C of global warming (0.8°C warmer than today which at current emission levels would be reached as early as the 2040s), this event would have been another degree hotter. An event like this – currently estimated to occur only once every 1,000 years, would occur roughly every 5 to 10 years in that future world with 2°C of global warming. In summary, an event such as the Pacific Northwest 2021 heat wave is still rare or extremely rare in today’s climate, yet would be virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. As warming continues, it will become a lot less rare.”

The paper is available for free at tinyurl.com/bz92br6h.

How will our beloved Pacific Northwest forests fare in this potential future? That topic will have to wait for a future edition of this column.

Have a question about forests and drought? Want to know how to conduct a successful rain dance? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.


A life lesson: learning to cast one's eyes on nature by Mt. Hood Community College on 08/01/2021

Some of the best writing advice I ever got turned out to also be some of the best life advice: learn the names of the plants and animals around you. Don’t write “tree” when you can write “Douglas fir;” don’t write “bird” when you can write “black-capped chickadee” or “sandhill crane.”

My poetry teacher was wrong about a lot of the things (her suggestions that I was too young to write certain kinds of poems, or that writing about my life as a young woman wasn’t interesting, for example, are both instances of very bad advice) but she was right about how important it was to learn the names of the landscape around me.

I realized this also had practical implications when I was driving to pick my son up from his elementary school, down a long-wooded road in southwest lower Michigan. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, something fell out of the trees above the road and directly onto the hood of my car. I pulled over, expecting to see a giant boulder, tree limb or very large mammal and was confused when I saw a strange, bald-necked bird slide off my hood, shake itself off and waddle into the woods.

When I got to work at the college where I was teaching and walked into my first English class, I was still rattled and told my students what had happened. After struggling to describe what I’d seen, one of the boys started laughing – “Rivara,” he said, “that was a wild turkey!” He seemed shocked and aghast that not only did I not know how to identify a wild turkey, but I had no idea they even existed outside of the frozen turkeys at the grocery store.

I was raised in the sprawling suburbs outside of Chicago. I didn’t know how to identify almost any of the world around me that wasn’t in a strip mall. Whatever the “wilderness” was, it was somewhere else, not in Deerfield, Ill., where all of the lawns were manicured and antiseptic, or, I thought later, in Michigan where there were more trees, but they were just trees, right? What’s the difference between one or another?

But in my late 20s, I started learning. “Dude, if you know where to look for turkeys, you’ll see a bunch of them, they’re everywhere,” my student told me. He was right: once I started looking, there they were. As were grouse and woodcocks, white tailed deer and sandhill cranes, and there too, were beech-maple forests and marram grass along the Lake Michigan dunes. It turned out, there was a whole universe of living things I had never seen before. I had never cared to look.

Now, years and thousands of miles later, I find myself repeating the names I have learned on my walks through my neighborhood in northeast Portland, around the campus of Mt. Hood Community College, and on hikes with my family: western red cedar, Douglas fir, salal, sword fern, evergreen huckleberry. Vine maples grow near the kitchen window, the cotton from black cottonwoods dots the riverbank and I am greeted every morning by the song of the Swainson’s thrush, by Steller’s jays arguing and the regular thrumming of a sapsucker high in a snag above my head. Bushtits and house finches flock to the birdfeeders. They aren’t yet old friends – I’ve only been here eight years – but being able to call them by name, to recognize a few bars of birdsong, the waxy leaves of salal, salmonberry along the trail – helps to root me in my new home-place. That poetry teacher got a lot of things wrong, but she and my student definitely got this right: the world got a lot bigger, and wilder, once I committed myself to looking – and learning.

Sara Rivara is the Dean of Humanities and Social Science at Mt. Hood Community College.


View Points – Salem: Behavioral health investment by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/01/2021

There are a lot of things I could talk about in this column now that the 2021 legislative session has ended: historic funding for wildfire preparation, racial equity, education reform and more. I’ll certainly be using this space to discuss some of those topics in the months to come, but this month I’d like to discuss some of the work that was nearest and dearest to my heart: the groundbreaking investments our state has made in behavioral health.

Oregon has been deep in a behavioral health crisis since before the pandemic and COVID-19 has only made it worse. Whether people are waiting for beds in the Oregon State Hospital, in the State Hospital and waiting for care opportunities to open up elsewhere or homeless and unable to access services at all, countless Oregonians are struggling in our current behavioral health system.

As a result, we continue to face unprecedented rates of substance abuse, overdose deaths and suicide. It was already well past time for the state to take action when, at the end of the 2021 legislative session, my colleagues and I approved more than $500 million in funding for substance use disorder treatment and other behavioral health investments and reforms. I’m immensely proud of what we put forward, and I’m excited to tell you about some of the details.

Approximately $200 million will go toward implementing Ballot Measure 110, passed by voters last November. While the big news about Measure 110 was that it decriminalized the possession of small amounts of controlled substances under state law, the other changes it made were much more difficult (and much more expensive) to implement. This is an unprecedented investment into a first-in-the-nation system that prioritizes treatment over prosecution, and it could revolutionize how other states respond to the national addiction crisis.

Senate Bill 755, the bill that implements Measure 110, establishes that each county will have a “Behavioral Health Resource Network” (BHRN), which can be made up of one or several treatment-focused organizations. These BHRNs will fulfill screening, assessment and recovery needs for the people who receive citations for drug possession. With the significant funding we have provided, BHRNs will help with harm reduction, addiction counseling, peer support, mobile outreach and even transitional or supportive housing for those who need it. The thing I love about this program is that it acknowledges how intertwined addiction, mental health and housing are... again, this is a new approach and long overdue.

In addition to that funding for substance use disorder treatment and associated services, we invested $130 million into local in-patient and residential facilities. This will help ensure that people with behavioral health needs anywhere in the state can find appropriate levels of care in their communities when they need them. We also invested $80 million to increase the behavioral health workforce in Oregon, attracting new workers who can provide culturally- and linguistically-appropriate care for their communities. Very often, even when someone can access behavioral health services, they aren’t able to communicate with the service provider in their native language, or that service provider is unfamiliar with their cultural norms and traditions.

$90 million will go to peer respite, crisis services and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, all vital services that will increase our state’s capacity to treat people in need of care. A further $50 million will go toward aligning and transforming this newly expanded behavioral health system to ensure greater accountability, outcomes and sustainability.

Often, a big influx of money, like the federal funding we received through the American Rescue Plan, has only led to temporary improvements. With that in mind, this $50 million investment is focused on streamlining the system and making all of the other improvements cost-effective and long-lasting.

These funds will improve timely access to behavioral health care, reduce hospitalizations, reduce overdoses and ensure that physical and behavioral health care providers can work together to improve their services.

Most importantly, I spoke up throughout the session to ensure that these benefits reach patients across Oregon, including in rural and frontier areas. The behavioral health budget was designed to allow as few gaps as possible (geographic or otherwise), while maximizing entry points into the system.

This will be long-term work, certainly, but we should start seeing benefits in the very near future. As always, I remain committed to making improvements wherever they’re needed.

If you have any behavioral health policy concerns, or any questions about these investments, never hesitate to reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Bipartisan success by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 08/01/2021

I’m incredibly excited to announce that the City of Sandy has been awarded a $14.7 million grant for wastewater system improvements by the Oregon Legislature. This grant is the largest ever provided to our community in our history.


As many of you are aware, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requiring that the City of Sandy update our wastewater treatment process. This venture has an extremely expensive price tag of over $80 million.

As a result, our city has been forging ahead on a new wastewater treatment process that’s more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective.

Many may remember that the last Oregon Legislature provided the city with $500,000 for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis.

Those studies came back extremely positive and we’re looking to forge ahead with an innovative, environmentally friendly and cost-efficient plan – in the Sandy way.

A couple of years ago, our council and staff toured other communities’ water treatment facilities. We all came away excited about the possibilities of treatment alternatives after visiting the 700+ acre Fernhill facility in Forest Grove.

Fernhill is owned by Clean Water Services and uses natural treatment systems, or wetlands, to improve water quality by removing nutrients and then cooling and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment.

Fernhill is designated as an important bird area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyote and other wildlife. The old Roslyn Lake park location has been selected as a viable staging area for such a project and we’re excited about what the future has in store both for the site, as well as partnerships with Trackers Earth that could provide invaluable learning opportunities for youth in our area.

I’d like to thank our state legislative delegation of State Representative Anna Williams and State Senator Chuck Thomsen for their leadership in making this happen.

Thanks to our collective efforts, this has been the most successful stretch of legislative advocacy in memory for our community. Their bipartisan and cooperative efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated.

This is all on the heels of exciting news regarding our city’s application process to obtain a $63.8 million Water Infrastructure and Financing Act (WIFIA) loan administered by the federal government.

Our congressional delegation of Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senators Greg Walden and Jeff Merkley have worked diligently to help us secure WIFIA financing and as a result we have been told recently that there’s an extremely high likelihood that we’ll secure it.

In addition to a competitive interest rate, the first payment on WIFA loans can be deferred up to five years after completion of the project with a maximum term of 35 years. This allows us the time to continue to advocate for additional state and federal dollars for this project.

It also helps reduce the impact on ratepayers by allowing us to make small gradual increases in rates, rather than a large initial increase. WIFIA financing can be used for up to 80 percent of the project so we will have to seek out other financing sources for the remainder of the costs.

Our financial consultant has determined that ratepayers in Sandy would save more than $1.2 million a year with WIFIA financing as opposed to a conventional revenue bond, or approximately $25 million over the 20-year term of a revenue bond.

I’d like to thank our federal delegation for their critical assistance in working to make this a reality. Our community of Sandy faces a huge monetary challenge with meeting the DEQ requirements.

I have been humbled by the willingness of both our state and federal lawmakers’ willingness to set partisan politics to the side and work side by side with others to go to work for our community. This is both a critical and special time in Sandy’s wonderful story.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

A cook's day off by Taeler Butel on 08/01/2021

I’m off to my local co-op and it’s only getting lazier from there.

I still want something homemade and delicious, just with little effort.


Easy Strawberry pie

1 lb. strawberries, sliced

1/4 cup strawberry jam mixed with 1 T warm water

1 baked cooked pastry pie shell

"1-pot pastry cream":

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Pinch of kosher salt

2 cups half and half

4 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients for the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan cook, stirring constantly over medium/high heat until boiling.

Remove from heat, pass through sieve into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool completely, scoop into pie shell, level filing, cover with sliced strawberries, brush with warmed strawberry jam.

Ham & cheese croissant calzones

2 tubes croissant dough

1 8 oz package sliced ham

8 oz shredded Swiss cheese

1 T Dijon mustard

2 T melted butter mixed with 1/2 t each: salt, dry parsley

Garlic powder


Heat oven to 375 degrees and unroll one tube of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Spread mustard on dough, then layer cheese and ham. Unroll the other tube of dough. Seal the sides with a fork. Pour butter mixture over top. Bake 35 mins until cooked through (35 minutes).


Minors as beneficiaries by Paula Walker on 08/01/2021

You are starting a family or maybe your children are in first grade, middle school or just entering high school and you realize the importance of making sure they have what they need to carry them through to their emerging adulthood and beyond, should something happen to both you and your spouse.

Who that you trust will care for them? Who that you trust will manage all the many expenses and choices for their care? How to leave finances enough for that care and how to ensure that those finances are spent well in ways you consider in your children’s best interest if you are not there to make those decisions? Weighty considerations. As a parent you know these concerns to your core.

Except for a very small amount, minor children cannot receive monies directly. They can be named on various financial accounts, be beneficiaries of financial accounts, life insurance, be named on the title of real property, but until they reach the age of majority (in Oregon 18 years of age), they cannot take possession or receive the value themselves. Someone must be appointed to receive for them and manage that wealth, those assets for them and use those assets for their benefit and on their behalf.

And what of turning 18? What maturity is on-board at that age to manage an inheritance of significant value? How can you help your children in such circumstances, provide them with guidance that may involve receiving their inheritance over time? How can you help them achieve ‘maturity milestones’ before a final release of the remaining funds and therefore benefit from the guidance you have crafted to help them mature to be ready to fully receive and manage such assets as financial instruments and real property, or receive a significant amount of money in a lump sum?

This begins a series of articles addressing the ways in which you can designate your minor children and emerging adults the beneficiaries of your estate, and provide the guidance in managing the assets that you would want them to have to assist in meeting their needs; aid in shaping their lives and protecting what you have left to them from unwise spending or claims resulting from a variety of potential legal action. We will look at the types of vehicles and mechanisms that you can use and what your options are for putting in place the persons you trust to manage those assets until your minor children reach certain ages when, per your determination, they will be ready to handle the assets themselves.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

From the founding of the Constitution as controls against undue foreign influence, to the considerations of estate planning, this historic recount looks at what is given and how might it be managed according to the purpose the gifter intended.

Benjamin Franklin – perhaps you’ve heard the name – deployed to France as diplomat in October, 1776, settled in well with the French aristocracy, a sterling example of “New World Enlightenment,” among many other favorable traits. Nearing the time of Franklin taking leave of France and his return to Philadelphia in 1785, King Louis XVI, as was the custom, offered a token of his appreciation — a snuff box with the image of the monarch encircled by and the lid encrusted (literally) with 408 diamonds.

This set off two events, one honored and bound, the other not. The first, the establishment of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, carried over from the Articles of Confederation that preceded the Constitution, which prohibits the federal government, members thereof, from receiving gifts or "emoluments," i.e. salary, fee or profits, from the country in which they served diplomatically, in order to prevent the “corruption of the monarchies” that our young nation was severing ties to.

The second event, was the gifting of the box by Franklin in his will to his daughter, Sarah Bache, under the condition that neither she nor her daughters make jewelry of the diamonds, “thereby introduce or countenance the expensive, vain and useless Fashion of wearing Jewels in this Country.”

The Emoluments clause persisted. The snuff box – alas – under Sarah’s keeping and her generations that followed, was slowly dismantled to fund various undertakings (an excursion to France by Sarah for one) until in the mid 20th century only one diamond remained.

Perhaps had Franklin utilized some of the methods we are embarking on discussing, his intent may have held… at least for Sarah’s life.

As a bit more background: caught between a dual conflict of political proportions weighty to the new nation: 1) that of returning the gift thereby offending the French leader and potentially harming relations with a country of critical support in our war of Independence, and 2) that of keeping the gift and therefore, to this newly forming Congress, appearing to be indebted to the monarchy, Franklin took the dilemma to Congress.

With the approval of Congress, he was allowed to keep the gift and he then passed it on to his daughter in a special line item in his will. The Jefferson Papers include a letter from William Temple Franklin, a grandson of Ben Franklin, and himself also a diplomat to France in his lifetime, accounting for the value of the snuff box and the custom of giving and receiving gifts as part of the engagement of diplomacy by the emissary and the head of state in the country to which the envoy was deployed.

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Oregon, a landscape photographer's dream by Gary Randall on 07/01/2021

I was host recently to a group of landscape photographers who had come from several parts of the United States; from New York to Florida to Texas and California. I was extolling the virtues of Oregon as a landscape photographer’s paradise and why I’m less apt to travel far to photograph epic landscapes than people who live elsewhere.


Now that I have taken the past 20 years to look at my state from the eyes of a landscape photographer, it makes me realize that Oregon has virtually anything that I could ever want to photograph in one form or another. The diversity of the landscapes available to us within a day's drive is incredible, especially considering the relatively small area that Oregon encompasses.

I can start at the Oregon coastline with its fabulous rocky shoreline and sea stacks to its sandy beaches and the lush forests that grow to the water's edge. I think that it’s the most scenic shoreline in the world. A sunset over the ocean on the Oregon coast is unparalleled.

There are the fertile valleys and rolling hills that meet glaciated mountain peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range. And speaking of mountains, the Wallowas, in the extreme northeastern corner of the state are nicknamed the Oregon Alps, and for good reason. Steens Mountain in the Southeastern corner of the state is almost 10,000 feet in elevation, more than 50 miles long and is surrounded by some of the most scenic and remote countryside in the state.

Oregon is covered by beautiful forests from coastal redwoods to Douglas firs in the Cascades to the incredible Ponderosa Pines of the Ochocos. There are many creeks that wind through moss filled rainforests and an uncountable number of waterfalls. The amazing Columbia River Gorge with its epic concentration of creeks and waterfalls are world-renowned for their unrivaled beauty.

Oregon has deserts similar in many ways to Death Valley, with a mud cracked playa, sandstorms and scorpions. A large part of Oregon is covered by sage and juniper with hundreds of hidden geological wonders, including massive rock formations like Smith Rock and the Painted Hills.

Oregon’s rivers are vast and varied and include one of the largest navigable rivers in the USA, the Columbia River. The John Day and the Deschutes River, tributaries to this incredible river, travel through many scenic areas in central Oregon. And don’t forget the canyons these rivers form, from the beautiful Owyhee to the Crooked River canyon in central Oregon. Many people are surprised to hear that Oregon and Idaho share a border that contains a canyon that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon, the epic Hells Canyon on the Snake River. This article only covers a small fraction of what can be found by explorers of this incredible state. There are so many more places that I could mention.

Take some time and explore for yourself. Take a camera along with you to capture your journey. And as always, while travelling to these Oregon gems, assume the responsibility to help to protect and to preserve them for those who will come after us.


'Slugging' it out with the benefits of a natural pest by Mt. Hood Community College on 07/01/2021

It is the time of year again where each morning I groggily stalk my vegetable garden hunting for my nemesis – slugs.

Grumbling as I pull their slimy booger bodies off my previously pristine lettuce, I wonder why I have not figured out a better solution to keep them away. As an ecologist, I am hesitant to add pesticides to my garden. I know all too well that every system is connected and that whatever I sprinkle below my kale will end up in the soil and water, as well as take out other unintended victims.

Our planet is a closed system, and what I do in my backyard may seem innocuous but can have far reaching effects. I have tried to quell the army of hungry mollusks that destroy my bok choy each spring using more benign approaches, such as eggshells, coffee grounds and beer traps. But each of the almanac’s suggestions have failed me, and I in return have failed my chard for yet another season.

Thinking like an ecologist often has unexpected benefits, and I feel my mindset shift as I stare at the muscular foot of the slug in my hand, its sinuous tentacles slowly extending. This hearty gastropod, albeit a nuisance in my garden, is an unsung hero of the soil.

Slugs play an important role in the ecosystem by recycling nutrients and removing decay. Their voracious appetite means that those old lettuce leaves will be transformed into nutrient rich fertilizer instead of becoming rot and leading to infection.

Most slugs are generalists, happy to consume plant and animal material alike. Some slugs will selectively seek out and consume fungi, as I do, and are referred to as fungivores. This sweet fact is enough for me to feel an affinity towards them. Not enough of an affinity that I will let them ruin my collards, but enough that I humanely collect them each morning instead of poisoning them to death. Once my cup is full of slugs and the radishes are safe from being nibbled for the day, I take my mucus covered cousins over to the compost pile and dump them out.

I know full well that by not killing them I am dooming my mustard greens to be munched again by tomorrow morning, but it is hard to hate something that plays such an important role in the world. My discomfort with a disfigured spinach leaf is a small price to pay for continued soil generation and fertilizer production.

If we take the time to look closely at the things that we dislike, there is a good chance we will find an unexpected benefit hidden in there as well.

Catherine Creech is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Inside the flames: a look at wildfire behavior by Steve Wilent on 07/01/2021

With all the talk about last year’s wildfires and the potential for more large, destructive fires this year – not to mention the big one burning on the Warm Springs reservation at this writing – I thought this might be a good time to look at why wildfires burn the way they do. Some people say they sometimes seem to have minds of their own, or that wildfires “rage” across a forest or are “ferocious,” that “he” will burn all the way up that canyon, or “she” will burn until the rains come. Such personifications are understandable reflections of our human emotions, our awe and fear of the power of wildfire. But wildfire behavior is entirely based on three main physical factors, as illustrated in the so-called wildland fire triangle: weather, fuels, and topography.

As you might expect, weather has the most influence over wildfires – especially wind. The Tillamook Burn, a series of four fires in the Coast Range west of Portland that covered a total area of 350,000 acres, were wind-driven fires (and, oddly, the fires occurred about six years apart, in 1933, 1939, 1945, 1951). These coastal forests are often far too wet to burn, the air too moist. Last year’s Riverside Fire also was a wind-driven fire. About 125,000 acres of the total of 138,000 acres affected by the fire burned in the first three days, Sept. 8 to 10, as strong winds from the east pushed the fire toward Estacada.

I’ve seen mature conifer trees “torch” during calm weather, when a relatively low-intensity fire around the tree heats and dries the green needles to the point that the lower branches catch fire, which heats and dries the branches higher up, and in a matter of moments the entire tree is aflame. In this situation, neighboring trees may be merely scorched on one side, if they are affected at all. However, when a tree torches on a warm day with winds of 25 to 50 miles per hour winds, with stronger gusts – the kind of winds that caused the Riverside Fire to spread so rapidly – its neighbors also catch fire and a fast-moving crown fire erupts. Crown fires are very difficult or impossible to put out, even by the most advanced firefighting crews, equipment and aircraft.

Wind can sometimes carry hot embers for miles. During the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire east of Portland, large embers were blown across the Columbia River, where they started spot fires in Washington.

Low relative humidity – very dry air – contributed to the Riverside Fire’s rapid spread. When the air is dry, the moisture in fuels quickly evaporates, especially in fine fuels such as fir needles and small branches, including those dead and on the ground and live, green leaves and twigs in shrubs and trees.

When relative humidity is expected to be 15 percent or less and sustained surface winds or frequent gusts of 25 miles per hour or greater are in the forecast, a “Red Flag Warning” is issued when both conditions are expected to occur simultaneously for at least three hours in a 12-hour period. On the Riverside Fire, those conditions existed for most of several days.

Fuel for the Fire

The amount, arrangement and moisture content of live and dead fuels also are important factors in fire behavior. Calls for thinning and fuels removal or reduction projects are heard frequently these days, because reducing the amount of fuel reduces a wildfire’s intensity and its ability to spread. Imaging putting a handful of dry wood shavings into an otherwise empty campfire ring in your back yard. Once lit, the tiny amount of fuel will burn for a minute or two and then go out, producing little heat and flame. Start again with shavings and pile of a dozen pieces of kindling and a small log or two, and leave some space between the pieces of fuel, and you have the beginnings of a cozy campfire.

Try building a fire with, say, 200 pounds of dry kindling and logs, and you have the makings of a large, hot fire. Make such a fire on a dry, windy summer day, and it may spread to the woods – and then maybe your house, too, if an ember falls into a gutter clogged with dry fir needles. Or your neighbor’s house.

This illustrates the fuel situation in many, but not all, forests in Oregon, where large amounts of fuel have built up over decades, including small trees that act as “ladder fuels” that carry fire into the tops of larger trees. Removing some dead and down fuel helps keep fires less intense. Making fuel breaks, or areas where most or all of the fuels have been removed except the largest trees, can slow or stop a fire. Thinning – removing some of the live trees in a crowded area of forest – helps prevent crown fires. Without ladder fuels, individual trees are less likely to torch, and with more space between the trees, fire is less likely to jump from one tree to the next.

Some people say thinning allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor, drying fuels on the ground and making them more flammable, and that winds can more easily penetrate more-open stands and thus can increase a fire’s rate of spread. This may be true in some cases. However, with less fuel to burn and more space between the trees, fires will be less intense and crown fires less likely.

There’s much more to the science of fire behavior and the forest management practices that influence the way wildfires burn, but I’m out of space for this month. Have a question about wildfire? Want to know what a fire whirl is? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: The finish line for bills by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2021

This month, I’m writing this column in the final few days of the 2021 regular legislative session, which will have ended by the time you read this. I don’t know exactly what bills will and won’t pass in the rush to finish our work before the constitutional deadline on June 27, but I want to highlight a few of the policies that I expect to make it across the finish line... with the caveat that sometimes there are surprises along the path a bill takes to becoming law.

House Bill 2927, which I cosponsored, passed the House unanimously. I expect it to pass the Senate with near-unanimous support (one Senator has voted no on every bill this pandemic-impacted session as a protest to COVID-related restrictions). The bill will streamline Oregon’s emergency response and recovery programs by consolidating them under a new agency, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management (ODEM). As we struggled through the overlapping disasters of COVID-19 and the Labor Day wildfires, we learned that our state needs to re-examine our emergency preparation and response, focusing more on preparation and planning so that our response can be more effective. ODEM will do just that.

The bill will also make the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) an independent agency, which will help focus wildfire funding locally to improve fire-prone areas’ resiliency and defenses. That change will pair well with Senate Bill 762, a much more contentious bill that I hope will pass, even if it does so with a narrower majority. That bill is intended to identify areas of risk within the Wildland Urban Interface areas (WUI) and help landowners create defensible space around their properties – areas free of potential fuel for spreading wildfires. It will provide funding to local fire districts and departments to assist landowners in creating defensible space and will also require those departments to do their own planning and preparation for the future wildfires that we are certain to see across our state. One of my colleagues in the House, Rep. Dacia Grayber, is also a firefighter. She, along with firefighters from the most impacted areas of the state, are urging the legislature to pass SB 762 as soon as possible so they can better prepare for the 2021 fire season that has already gotten an early start.

My years-long priority of increasing state funding to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) appears to be set for passage. These non-profit organizations support our communities’ most vulnerable children as they work to heal from abuse. These agencies also work with law enforcement, the Department of Human Services and other nonprofit service providers to secure convictions against child abusers and coordinate services to traumatized children. Although state law requires CACs to conduct medical examinations of victims, the state provides only 17 percent of the funding they need to fulfill that requirement. This has been a personal priority of mine since I was elected. The funding increase of $6 million will provide services to hundreds of additional child victims. Additionally, it will save untold millions on future health care, criminal justice and economic costs, when you consider the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma that goes unaddressed when services such as these are underfunded.

Among the hundreds of other bills and funding packages that will pass, I will only mention one more: my search and rescue funding bill. I’ve written about this bill here before, but it’s finally becoming a law! The Clackamas and Hood River County Sheriffs’ Departments are required by law to perform search and rescue (SAR) duties when people go missing or get injured on trails, ski slopes or waterways. Yet, as with the CACs I already mentioned, the state doesn’t fund sheriffs to do this work. What this means is that counties are stuck with the bill to keep recreationists safe. In communities like ours, most of the people in need of rescue aren’t paying taxes in our counties, where they’re getting lost or injured. My bill will create a voluntary program that allows people to purchase a SAR Card at the same outlets where hunting and fishing licenses are available, and the proceeds of those cards will fund grants to reimburse county sheriffs’ offices for the costs of search and rescue operations and to help them pay for training and equipment.

Of course, these are only a few of the important bills and funding packages that will be coming out of Salem as this legislative session wraps up. If you would like to hear about more of them, email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov and ask to sign up for my newsletter. I will be sending out an end-of-session edition that covers many more policies than I have room to address here!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.


View Points – Sandy: Getting reacquainted by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/01/2021

The time is finally upon us. The clouds are parting and the sun is out, and it’s not just because summer has finally arrived. After over a year and a half of what feels like endless lockdowns, social distancing and not seeing each other’s faces, the time has finally come to open.

Just yesterday, I was able to attend the first Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce REACH event in over a year over at Ria’s Bar. We also hosted a ribbon cutting for the completion of our first outdoor covered structure during the Chamber event. Coincidently, Ria’s is the last location the chamber hosted a REACH event in the evening before the first lockdowns started.

What has always made Sandy so wonderful is our people. And with Sandy finally opening, along with the rest of Oregon, there will be many community events and gatherings for us to attend to get reacquainted with our neighbors again.

In addition to their monthly REACH happy hour networking events, the Sandy Chamber is bringing back their Good Morning Sandy and Lunch & Learn events. This fall on Sept. 10 and 11 Sandy will also see the return of the Chamber’s Music Fair & Feast. While this event is traditionally held on the same weekend as the Sandy Mountain Festival, this year it will come at the end of summer to give them adequate time to plan. The chamber felt it important to provide our community with this special event that so many of us look forward to each year and haven’t been able to enjoy in 2020 and 2021.

The City of Sandy is also preparing quite the celebration in August. 2021 marks Sandy’s 110 birthday and we’re throwing a party! Starting on Saturday, Aug. 14 with city-wide Bingo there will be a variety of events during the following two weeks that include a parade, ice cream trolley sponsored by Sandy Helping Hands, music and movies in the park and several other family-centric events.

We can’t of course forget to mention Sandy’s weekly Farmers Market hosted by AntFarm every Friday throughout the summer.

We have also started back with in-person meetings at the city. Our Sandy City Council, Planning Commission, advisory boards and committees are all returning to in-person meetings. One silver lining of this pandemic has been the adoption of advances in technology and how they can enhance our communication with the public. That’s why all of our meetings are set up to allow for virtual participation by both meeting participants as well as members of the public who wish to testify from their own homes. Our city government will be more accessible to our neighbors than ever before.

As I mentioned, we recently celebrated the completion of our first covered structure at a local Main Street restaurant. You’ll begin seeing structures like the one outside of Ria’s popping up at Le Happy, Sandlandia, Boring Brewing, Red Shed and No Place Saloon later this summer.

What an incredible opportunity for our citizens to get out and enjoy interacting with their neighbors while supporting a local business trying to get back on their feet after the prolonged lockdowns.

This has certainly been a trying year and a half. As a community we remained united, our unique independent pioneering spirit was on full display for all to see. We lifted each other and we made it through. Now let’s go enjoy all of the things that keeps Sandy wonderful – each other.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Sweet summer by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2021

Berries, melons and corn, oh my! Here are a couple of my favorite ways to prepare what’s fresh right now.

Happy Independence Day!


Berries & rhubarb cobbler

In a large bowl combine:

5 cups strawberries, chopped

1 cup rhubarb, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup sugar

 1/2 t salt

2 T cornstarch

Spoon into 9x13 baking dish

For cobbler:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 t baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 T cold butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup cold buttermilk (regular milk & 1 tbsp of lemon juice)

1-2 T of cold water

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

Add in the cold butter using a pastry cutter, then add buttermilk.

If still dry, add in a 1-2 tbsp of cold water.

Spoon over fruit mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.


Mexican Corn salad

4 ears corn, kernels removed and set aside

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup heavy cream

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of one lime

1 t chili

1/2 t cumin

1/2 cup cotija cheese

1 T butter

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 T chopped jalapeño

1/2 t salt & pepper

In large skillet melt butter and sauté corn, jalapeño, salt and pepper until charred slightly. Remove from heat.

Mix in all other ingredients into a bowl, fold in corn.

Photo by Gary Randall.
A sunset at the Painted Hills by Gary Randall on 06/01/2021

I'll never forget this day. I decided to drive over to the Painted Hills on a day that would seem to be unlikely regarding the potential for epic conditions, but I decided to go anyway.


On the drive over the skies never cleared up. I had rain off and on during the whole trip over. When I arrived not a lot had changed. I was resigned to photographing the hills in even light, with no shadows, which can produce some excellent images but are more composition dependent than some with something in them like, ohhh I don't know... maybe a beautiful sunset with a rainbow, but that seemed completely unlikely.

I had packed a sandwich, some chips and a bottle of a nice malty beverage to enjoy while I was there. I like picnics as well as anyone... rain or shine. Betty and I roamed around and enjoyed the place in solitude. I decided that if I was going to drive all the way over there I wasn't going to just turn around and leave.

As it got close to sundown, I stood there in a soft rain contemplating my next move. I noticed the park ranger's truck driving up the road. He turned into the overlook parking area, got out of his truck and walked over to where Betty and I were standing. We had some small talk and I explained that I was waiting to see how the sunset would shape up. He looked at me, turned and looked at the horizon behind us in the distance, smiled and said, "Well, it looks unlikely today, but stranger things have happened.” He turned to leave while wishing me luck in my venture.

I went back to my vigil wondering if it was going to be a photographic loss, but still feeling grateful that I was there no matter the weather conditions. Just before sunset I was watching the western horizon with my attention completely 180 degrees away from the hills. I was noticing a thin opening in the clouds just above the horizon. As I watched the clouds it started to rain again. I crossed my fingers to help increase my luck.

With my attention off the Painted Hills, I watched as the sun came into the opening in the clouds projecting the most beautiful orange light onto the clouds in front and above me. I started taking photos but felt disappointment that the light show appeared to be in the wrong darned place.

Just as I was starting to think about my misfortune I turned around and looked at the hills behind me and what I saw just about made me fall over backwards.

The light from the opposite horizon was blasting its colorful bright orange light onto the hills and the clouds above them. I literally ran to set up at the spots that I had planned to be if something unlikely as this happened.

I love it when the unlikely become likely. It makes me feel lucky.

I was photographing the hills while I was watching this incredible light show when all of a sudden, I saw a rainbow starting to form. I was beside myself while standing there in the rain enjoying the gift that was presented to me.

I learned a huge lesson that day. One that I had always known but now had been reinforced in my mind. The lesson was to just go. Go and see what happens. Even on a miserable rainy day something special can happen. Even if the light had not shown up, I still would have had a good time having a picnic, in the rain, with my dog at a breathtaking location.

It is a law of nature that your luck will increase with action on your part. The landscape photographers with the best images have worked for them. They have had more disappointing days than they have had brilliant days. Even when success is unlikely, they're there when it becomes so, which makes them so incredibly lucky.


Photo by Steve Wilent.
Spring rhodies bring brilliance to the Mountain by Steve Wilent on 06/01/2021

Here on the Mountain, the weather is often unreliable as an indicator of the season, but you can be sure that we are well into spring when our native rhododendrons begin to bloom.


At this writing, the rhodies outside my home-office in Rhododendron are in full splendor. In Sandy the blooms are past their prime by now, but at higher elevations the flower buds have yet to break.

Our local native rhody flowers are usually pink, but can range from pale pink to pale purple. The rhodies with bright red, orange or deep purple flowers, which are very likely not native to this area, usually bloom at about the same time.

Native and nonnative rhodies alike are valued garden and landscape shrubs, as are azaleas, a closely related shrub. Wild azaleas grow in forests along the Oregon and California coasts.

Our ubiquitous native rhodies are Rhododendron macrophyllum, or Pacific rhododendron, sometimes called California rhododendron, coast rhododendron or California rosebay. Another native rhody, the white-flowered rhododendron (Rhododendron albiflorum), grows from British Columbia south to Oregon and east to Western Montana. Have you seen one of these shrubs in our area? I haven’t.

Rhododendron maximum – also known as American rhododendron, big rhododendron, great rhododendron, rosebay rhododendron and great laurel – is native to the Appalachians of eastern North America, from Alabama north to coastal Nova Scotia.

“Rhododendron” comes from the Greek words rhodo, meaning rose, and dendron, for tree. “Macrophyllum” is derived from the Greek macro, for large, and phyllum, for leaf, which is why another common name for Rhododendron macrophyllum is big leaf rhododendron. These shrubs, which can sometimes grow to the size of small trees, are native in coastal forests from British Columbia to northern California.

In 1959, the Washington state legislature officially named the Pacific rhododendron as the state flower. The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Wash. (rhodygarden.org), has one of the largest collections of rhododendrons in the world.

The Zigzag Ranger Station has a small but impressive collection of large, old rhodies.

According to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden, there are more than 1,000 species in the genus Rhododendron as well as numerous hybrids. Wild rhodies are found in the temperate regions of Asia, North America and Europe, as well as the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia; none are indigenous to Africa or South America.

Asia is home to the largest number of wild rhododendron species. Wild rhododendrons grow from sea level to 16,000 feet in elevation, and they occur in a variety of habitats, including alpine regions, coniferous and broadleaved woodlands, temperate rain forests and even tropical jungles.

Rhododendrons range in size from low ground covers growing no more than a few inches high to trees more than 100 feet tall. Leaf sizes range from less than a quarter inch to almost three feet long.

If you want to know everything about rhodies, visit the website of the American Rhododendron Society (ARS, rhododendron.org). ARS publishes the Journal of the American Rhododendron Society, which has been in print since 1947.

A 1993 Journal article, “Concerning the Origin and Distribution of Rhododendrons,” by E. Irving and R. Hebda, offers a fascinating look at the history of the rhododendron over millions of years, which was profoundly affected by changes in earth’s climate:

“We propose that, during their early history, rhododendrons were much more evenly spread than they are now, and that their present discontinuous distribution was caused by the encroachment, in comparatively recent times, of conditions hostile to their existence, namely the extensions of glacial ice and of modern grassland and deserts. We also argue that the present remarkable concentration of species in southeastern Asia has arisen because it is there that habitats were developed in which rhododendrons found not only shelter from climatic vicissitudes, but in which they could flourish and speciate; apparently they were able to do this at a time when rhododendrons elsewhere were being driven from much of their former range.”

As beautiful as the modern-day plants and flowers are, rhodies and azaleas contain a toxin that can be harmful to people, pets and livestock. The National Capital Poison Center notes that it often receives calls in the spring and early summer “about children who put the flowers or leaves in their mouths or try to eat them, or when children mistake the flowers for honeysuckle and suck on the nectar of the azalea flower. Generally, only mild symptoms such as mouth irritation, nausea, and vomiting are expected from such cases. Still, it is important to keep a close eye on children and pets when they play outdoors to be sure they do not eat any flowers, leaves, fruits, or seeds.”

We call the village of Rhododendron “Rhody” for short. When I have to give my address information by phone, I say “Rhododendron,” which usually throws the person on the line for a loop. “Uh, how do you spell that?” they say. Although I have been tempted to reply, “Just like it sounds,” I usually spell it out for them, slowly. But sometimes I say, “Just use Zigzag, it has the same ZIP code.”

Have a question about rhodies? Want to know what “mad honey” is? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.


Take a lesson from nature about the power of change by Mt. Hood Community College on 06/01/2021

The power of photosynthesis has been on display this month. With plenty of the three essential ingredients – water, air and light – life’s alchemy has changed invisible gas into verdant growth. Cellular factories and leaf structures have absorbed, captured and transformed. The result is astounding – tree canopies have gone from mostly bare to nearly opaque, garden seeds sprout and double in size daily, and lawns require (what seems like) constant cutting.

Animal alchemy surrounds us too. Doting parent birds stuff bug after bug into gaping mouths of chicks and, as if by magic, feathers appear and muscles gain the strength to fly. And perhaps, the most amazing of all, caterpillars feast on the new growth, then spin their covers of protection, dissolve into goo and reappear as the butterflies that flit in this month’s early summer sun.

Amazing transformations, but not always without mistakes. One of the blessings of “stay-at-home” is that I have been able to follow individuals as they perform the magic of growth and development. I’ve watched the squirrel in my backyard navigate its world with a partially furred tail, insects with wings that never fully formed, spiders with missing legs and a crow that walks our sidewalks because his injured wing drags behind. Damaged beings, making do. Reminders of our common fragility – that we walk a knife’s edge between success and failure. Oddly comforting as I navigate this moment in time when so much seems in need of repair, from people to policies, places to planet.

Observations of the crow provides other insights as well. It does not walk alone. Its crow family walks with it, keeps watch from the power lines above and as a group carries on as crows do. Whether their support will be enough to avoid the neighbor’s cat or a speeding car, I don’t know, but I hope. Just as I hope but remain unsure that our fellow humans will stand together, not apart. Our ancestors stood as one. Walking on two legs provided great advantages, but also great limitations. Successful clans must have provided for their sick and injured. Stand together or fall alone, literally. Our survival to this time is evidence that care and compassion are ancient strengths, some might say defining, providing the promise of our own alchemic transformation of hardship to triumph. Let’s make it so.

Walter M. Shriner, PhD is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: Bills and 'fizz-rizz' by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2021

In the legislature, around this time in the long session, the phrase "Hurry up and wait" gets thrown around a lot. Many things are pending at any given time, but when they start moving, they move quickly... and, more or less, all at once.

Late in May, you may have heard, the governor’s council of economic advisors provided their quarterly revenue forecast. The news was good (“stunning” was a word some legislators used), but that’s not the subject of my column this month. Instead, I’ve decided to explain what that forecast signifies in the legislative process.

Throughout the session, my colleagues and I propose, discuss and debate policy concepts. Those policy concepts get written into bills, which are referred to policy committees. I chair the House Committee on Human Services, but there are many others: committees on finance, revenue, economic recovery and prosperity, health care, housing, behavioral health, transportation and more.

When these committees debate bills, one of the steps in their process is to review each policy’s “fiscal impact statement” and “revenue impact statement” (or, in Capitol speak, the “FIS/RIS,” pronounced “fizz-rizz”). These reports are intended to answer the question, “What impact will each bill have on our state budget?”

As a weird quirk of the legislative process, policy committees are provided these “fizz-rizz” reports, but not really asked to consider budget impacts in their decision about whether a bill should or should not become law. Instead, any bill that a policy committee passes is referred to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, where it sits until the last month or so of the session.

Then comes the May revenue forecast (cue dramatic music). Once the legislators who sit on the Ways and Means Committee have a good idea of how much money they can expect to flow into the state, they can start deciding which bills we can and can’t afford to pass.

There’s a broad array of very challenging decisions to be made here, regarding bills of all sizes. One of my priorities, which would require the Department of Human Services to reimburse caregivers at 150 percent of minimum wage, is slated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Another of my priorities, which would create an inventory of publicly owned lands for potential use as affordable housing sites, would only cost about $34,000 a year for the first two years, then $8,000 a year ongoing. Yet there are dozens of legislators listing the hugely expensive bill as their priorities, where the land inventory is a pet project of my own that may not have many other legislators pushing for it. At this point, whether a bill gets funded is largely a question of how many people advocate for it, and how effectively they can pester (I mean, persuade) the co-chairs of the Ways and Means Committee.

Now that the revenue forecast has been released, the hundreds upon hundreds of bills currently sitting in the Ways and Means Committee will start to have their budget hearings, decisions will be made about whether those bills should be given a vote on the House and Senate floors will be made, and we will hopefully pass the most worthy policies and leave those least urgent, as well as those least deserving of taxpayer funding, on the cutting room floor.

In other words, May was a bit of a slow month, but we are about to see a torrent of legislative activity, and some of the most consequential decisions that will be made in our state for the next two years will be made in the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing from you about any policies that you’d like to see me support or oppose... as always, please reach out to Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov to make your voice heard!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.


View Points – Sandy: Budgeting for the future by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 06/01/2021

As I talk about often in this monthly column as well as in my remarks that I make while traveling around the state, my time as Mayor has left me with the belief that the biggest decisions should be made at the local level here in Oregon. This past budget planning cycle has instilled this belief in me now more than ever.


It is no secret that we have a diverse number of opinions, backgrounds and beliefs on our Sandy City Council. Every budget season, we enlist the help of our neighbors to participate on the budget committee along with members of the City Council in a process that brings our community together. This year every member of the Sandy community who applied was able to participate on the budget committee. It’s been said that a budget reflects your values. It is my belief that we can all be proud of Sandy’s 2021-23 fiscal budget.

The immediate past council showed true leadership by making the decision to tighten our budget and invest in our core functions of government, which led to one of the biggest budget surpluses in our community’s history. This allowed for our current budget committee to hear presentations from all of our city department heads about the status of their departments, as well as their planned investments over the next two years. After questioning, analyzing and approving those budgets our committee then had the opportunity to decide where to invest the $308,000 surplus from the previous budget cycle.

It has always amazed me how much the City of Sandy and its employees are responsible for managing our cities growth and infrastructure. While many cities choose to contract out to other government agencies like the county for services such as police, sewer, water, parks, parks maintenance and library services – Sandy handles all of these services ourselves. When you consider that we have also led the way with our own world class transit system (Sandy Area Metro) and our first of its kind, national leading broadband internet service (SandyNet), it truly is amazing how much the city government here in Sandy does for our size. Sandy really is the little engine that could.

The discussions our budget committee engaged in with our department heads was very insightful. As the result of our growth in size and a vastly changing world, all of our departments are at a state of transition with the ability to dream what the future of services for our neighbors could look like in the coming years.

There was also a lot of community dialogue concerning the future of the Sandy Aquatics Center during our budget sessions. As many of you may remember, our past city council committed to finding a plan for aquatics in Sandy, and our new city council remains committed to this goal. The budget committee approved the creation of an aquatics exploratory committee to continue exploring the future of aquatics in our community. We need to discuss the community’s vision for an aquatic center as well as a funding mechanism for such a project. I feel that it’s important that any plan for the aquatics center must be put in front of Sandy voters for approval.

After much debate, the budget committee allocated $152,000 to police training, body and vehicle cameras, and vehicle purchases; $75,000 to parks maintenance and repairs; and $81,000 to the aquatics center budget.

These recommendations go to our most needed areas and that is exactly why I support our state’s biggest decisions being made at the local level. As neighbors, we come together, set priorities and invest in our community. It’s all part of our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.


Why do I need an estate plan? by Paula Walker on 06/01/2021

Seems like grandiose term “Estate Plan.” You say, “ I consider my wealth and belongings minimal and my intentions for who I will give these to, simple. Do I need an estate plan? And who does need an estate plan?”

The answer is yes and anyone 18 years of age and older needs one; before 18, you need one to protect them if you are the parent of children under that age.

Why do I need an estate plan? An estate plan is not only for those you consider to be wealthy. The term ‘estate’ refers to all you own, belongings and real property, and all that you have as financial assets. These will need to be transferred when you die, someone will have to manage that transfer and someone will in the end receive that transfer, no matter how little or how much; and the “simple” dispersal you have in mind will not be simple without an estate plan.

So, what does an estate plan do then? A proper estate plan is a comprehensive estate plan. Comprehensive refers to including not only a will or a trust as the cornerstone document but also those documents that provide for your care while you are living. Should you have a need for that support, you have the persons you trust in place to provide it or direct it. A comprehensive estate plan then provides for your own needs while you are living; gives clear, legally supportable directions for the transfer of your belongings and finances to those you choose, not those the state chooses, after your passing; can maximize the amount of wealth you have to transfer by minimizing costs associated with that transfer including transfer taxes such as estate taxes and capital gains; provide for supporting charities and non profits that you want to support and promote which in turn can contribute to reducing the potential taxes that may be owing in estate taxes; provides for transitional distribution of your assets, i.e. providing financial support to the young adults in your life helping them to manage the receipt of money by incremental distributions; and naming guardians for young children you have so that they are well-cared for by those you trust should you not be able to do so, and with your terms for such a transition to another home, if it was needed.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Not exactly a story of a current celebrity, but certainly one of the more interesting uses of a will. Reportedly a Bermuda Tycoon, named Henry Durell, in 1921 left to the roll of the dice the designation of his heir, the one who would receive the transfer of his grand estate, grounds and manor overlooking Hamilton Harbor, the natural harbor serving the city of Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda. Being equally fond of three nephews his will stipulated that the estate would be given to the winner of the three nephews of a game of dice. The three nephews followed through, passing around a pair of dice and the winner, Richard Durrell, within minutes, emerged the owner of the palatial estate. And for the others, it was ‘paradise lost.’ Perhaps not a good idea though to leave your estate to the whims of fate and the outcome of chance.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Simple suppers by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2021

Crazy Bread


Use a couple of different breads and topping combinations, add a salad to make an easy summer supper.

I’m thinking these will be a hit at my daughter’s graduation party! Speaking of... congratulations to the grads of 2021!

The sky is the limit for the crazy bread filling, and this is an excellent way to use up leftovers.

Shrimp & Artichoke

1 loaf ciabatta bread

8 oz cream cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup Parmesan

1/2 t each salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 T chopped parsley

1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts

1 cup bay or cooked chopped shrimp

Olive oil

Slice bread in half lengthwise, drizzle with olive oil toast lightly, mix all other ingredients and pile on top of bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Ricotta, ham & asparagus

1 loaf focaccia bread

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 cup asparagus tips pan roasted with olive oil salt and pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

4 oz shaved ham

Spread ricotta over bread, layer on ham, Parmesan, mozzarella and asparagus. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Scratch Butterscotch Pudding

This is easy guys, just keep stirring, stirring, stirring…

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

4 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 t salt

1 t vanilla

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Whisk everything in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat until steaming. Switch to a wooden spoon and continue stirring until thickened. Place plastic wrap directly onto pudding and chill completely.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Rules to follow... or not by Gary Randall on 05/01/2021

The subject and composition of a photograph or a painting is the most important component in creating an impactful image. Composition is something that is difficult for me to explain as it is something that feels as if it comes to me naturally. It is certainly something that can be taught but I had never studied composition at all until I tried to advance my photographic skills.


I was aware of the Rule of Thirds, as I was an artist prior to becoming serious with my landscape photography, but that was as far as my knowledge went. I am not a trained artist, at least not in the formal sense. I've always considered my artistic endeavors as a hobby. It’s only since I’ve made efforts to improve my photography that I have really become aware of the rules of composition.

Before I became aware of compositional guides and guidelines, I would be in the field creating a photograph without even thinking of compositional rules or formulas. I was just letting the scene speak to me. Imagine how surprised and satisfied in my skill I was when I laid a Golden Ratio over one of my photos and it lined up perfectly. How did I develop this skill? Was I born with it or was it something that I had somehow learned in my life? Can someone be born with the eye for composition?

I have wondered about this in my case and I think that I may have a clue. As a child I had this little mental and visual game that I would play, especially when I was idle or bored, where I would reduce my surroundings, be it outdoors in nature or indoors in a room filled with furniture. I would see steps, sections, spaces and shapes, and I used to try to line everything up in an order of symmetry and alignments and then find the center of it all.

I think that that obsessive mind game that I played was a way for my brain to develop a way for me to find order that would translate to artistic compositions in the photos that I make today of the chaotic nature of nature.

After I became aware of the rules of composition it allowed me to understand more of how my style of composition was developing. The most skilled artists develop their eye for composition. It is rare when an artist’s style does not change with practice and an increased awareness of their craft.

Through my experience as a landscape photographer there are a few tips that I can pass on to help those who want to develop their own eye for composition and to develop their own unique style. Some of these suggestions are directed toward photographers but the principles can be applied to drawing or painting, mostly landscapes.

Start with a wide view of the scene and then start to reduce it to the most important components of the scene. Many times, it is not what you include in a scene but what you choose to exclude that will make the biggest difference. Simple can be impactful to the viewer.

Find your subject or the reason for the photo and make it the focal point. A strong focal point is important and less frustrating for the viewer of your art who is trying to understand the message that you are conveying through your image.

Direct your viewer's eye through the scene toward your focal point with foreground elements, especially those that create leading lines. Foreground objects and leading lines will also create depth. Leading lines can be straight in or they can be diagonal lines, but their purpose is to lead the viewer’s eyes toward your focal point.

Next is to create depth or a sense of distance from the front to the back. As I have alluded to previously, a leading line can be a great way to create depth in a photo but there are other ways that can be used. An element like a rock or a flower anchors the foreground and establishes a base for distance. A scene that goes from a darker area toward light gives a sense of depth. A gateway, perhaps through branches or an arch to a distant focal point is an excellent way to create depth. Another way to create a sense of depth is a shallow depth of field, meaning a sharp focus on a subject with a soft, out of focus background.

The next is balance; create a balance in your composition. Make sure that your elements are distributed through the scene as evenly as you possibly can. If your focal point is centered it helps the balance if it is symmetric. If it’s offset to the side fill the opposing area. If you have movement into and out of your frame, try to take it from a back corner to the opposing front area in a diagonal direction. The best example that I can think of is a creek. I like photos in which a creek moves from the back, where light is brightest, to the front opposite corner and to a darker area where it leaves the frame. The diagonal line that it makes crosses through your photo and maintains a balance.

Try to limit negative space, especially in a clear and cloudless sky. I find negative space uninteresting, and it is my practice to try to eliminate it the best that I can in my compositions. I love cloudy skies as clouds fill blank skies nicely. If I do not have clouds but have a blank sky, I may place a branch from a tree or something similar in that area. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, which would include a scene that’s balanced to the side of your composition. Minimalistic images benefit from large areas of negative space. Picture a couple of people walking alone in the distance on a vast and empty beach on an overcast day.

Understand the rules but, like is commonly said, feel free to break the rules because we make our own rules when we are standing in front of a beautiful scene. Understand the rule of thirds but stretch its boundaries. It is rare when the natural world aligns with a grid. Understand the Golden Ratio. I will not spend a lot of time explaining these rules as you can research their purpose but, in my opinion, they are the two most important guidelines in composition. The Golden Ratio is magic.

As with any craft or skill the most important rule to follow is to follow your heart and your instincts. You are an artist, and you are original. And to be original you are the one who chooses which rules to follow, which rules to break and which rules to create for yourself. In that way your work becomes your own. It becomes original. It becomes your style.

Graphic by NFPA.
A clear five feet can save your house from wildfire by Steve Wilent on 05/01/2021

My column one year ago this month started out like this:


“Imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County – say, in the Bull Run watershed or between Rhododendron and Government Camp. There’s smoke in the air. You’re concerned, but the fire is a couple of miles away and firefighters are working to control it. And then burning embers start raining down. Your worry turns to panic as the embers ignite fir needles and dead leaves around your house – and the bone-dry debris in your gutters. Your only choice is to escape while you can as your house burns to the ground.

Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? Something like a scene from a movie? Something that can’t happen here in wet, green Oregon?”

We now know that this was far from melodramatic. We don’t have to imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County or preparing to evacuate. Starting just after Labor Day 2020, the Riverside Fire, driven by strong winds from the east, burned 138,000 acres southeast of Estacada and destroyed more than 50 homes. Many of us in Hoodland packed our most important belongings and prepared to bug out as we breathed smoke from the fire and other conflagrations burning to the south. We watched the sky for falling embers. We listened to the radio and checked social media for the evacuation order. The power was off for most of a week, more in some areas. We were fortunate that the fire did not spread into our area.

Mid-April brought gusty east winds and unusually dry conditions to our neck of the woods. Hoodland Fire District banned open fires. The danger of a large wildfire was relatively low, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking back to last September’s fire.

As those winds were blowing small branches from my trees, I received a press release about a recent study of the effects of removing vegetation around homes on the chances of those homes surviving a wildfire. The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and Zesty.ai, a company that “uses artificial intelligence to understand the impact of climate risk to each and every building.” (Editorial aside: Hmmm, I wonder if Zesty.ai is related to Ziply Fiber….)

The study is entitled “Wildfire Fuel Management and Risk Mitigation: Where to Start?” Here’s the main point: the researchers looked at 71,000 properties involved in wildfires between 2016 and 2019 and found that “buildings with a high amount of vegetation within five feet of the structure were destroyed in a wildfire 78 percent of the time – a rate nearly twice as high as those with small amounts of perimeter vegetation.

Five feet – that’s it! Walk around your home with your arms outstretched, touching the house with one hand. How many trees, branches, and shrubs fall within that span, above and below you? How much flammable bark/mulch, grass, and groundcover plants are within those five feet? Can you live without that? Can you live with decorative gravel and stepping stones, a brick walkway, or simply bare soil? Remove that flammable material and your home has a much better chance of surviving a wildfire.

There are some important caveats, of course. Five feet of space won’t make much of a difference if red-hot embers fall into gutters or roof valleys filled with dry fir needles. And five feet won’t matter much during a wind-whipped fire like the Riverside Fire. But with a lower-intensity, slower-moving fire burning through low-lying vegetation – the kind of fires that are much more common here – that five feet could make all the difference.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has much more information about managing flammable vegetation and materials around houses, in three zones: Immediate (five feet), Intermediate (five to 30 feet) and Extended (30-100 feet or more).

Here’s what the NFPA says about that first five feet and the home itself:

Immediate zone: The home and the area zero to five feet from the furthest attached exterior point of the home; defined as a non-combustible area. Science tells us this is the most important zone to take immediate action on as it is the most vulnerable to embers. START WITH THE HOUSE ITSELF then move into the landscaping section of the Immediate Zone:

– Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors (mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles), anything that can burn. Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.

– Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves and debris.

– Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent embers from getting in.

– Install 1/8-inch metal mesh screen in exterior attic and eaves vents to reduce the chance of embers passing through.

– Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating. Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows.

The NFPA also offers tips on reducing fire hazards in the Intermediate and Extended zones at tinyurl.com/3ecp8c3r.

Start with the first five feet (and keep your roof and gutters clean), then tackle the other zones. It’s a measure of peace of mind. Even if you have to evacuate, there’ll be a much better chance that you’ll have a house to come home to.

Have a question about protecting your home from wildfire? Want to know why you ought to convince your neighbors to take action, too? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

Nature serves a reminder of what connects us all by Mt. Hood Community College on 05/01/2021

On campus, in our greenspaces and in our backyards, each day in May brings new additions to our community. Yesterday a Wilson’s Warbler, with his cap of black and his staccato song, joined the chorus of finches and towhees. Today a Black-headed Grosbeak lands on the top of a Douglas Fir, 2,500 miles from its winter home in the pine forests of Nayarit, Mexico.

These and other newcomers join a spectacle in full swing. The college backdrop is one of mixed conifer-deciduous forest, but the drama of spring plays in many venues. Here in Gresham, above the campus trails, the canopy closes as ashes and maples reach full splendor. Their broad leaves hide a tiny Ruby-Crowned Kinglet on her nest, protected from predators by height and camouflage. In the brambles below, a Song Sparrow disappears into a thorn-guarded home. Lower still, the Dark-eyed Juncos nest, deep in the grass on the forest edge — just as invisible to casual passersby as any bird in the canopy.

All around us the anticipation builds, and we are far from the final act! Each day new flowers burst into color and eggs transform into begging birds. Mothers (and fathers) fly forays back and forth, using every minute of the lengthening days to feed their future.

As this new life grows, we can look to the sky for what tomorrow’s wind brings*, perhaps a warbler from the jungles of Nicaragua or a swallow from the mangrove forests of Costa Rica. We can rejoice in the heartening message of each new arrival. These international travelers, who recognize no government’s boundary, but who are affected none-the-less by our human laws and practices, speak of the global community to which we all belong, of the shared planet we call home.

And we can pull a hopeful message from their presence. It tells us that their winter grounds still provide ample food and that our long spring days still bring an abundance of resources to sustain them here again. May we all rejoice in this message of hope and find the energy to carry it into our intertwined and shared future. May we use their arrival to commit (or commit anew) to doing what we must, collectively and individually, to ensure that they can continue to safely travel back and forth across our borders to bring color to our world.

(*Author's note: for a high-tech exploration of migration in real-time with daily forecasts for your area, check out BirdCast at https://birdcast.info.)

By Walter M. Shriner, PhD, an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Inside Salem: considering trauma by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2021

In every legislative session, there are a couple of difficult days in which bills that haven’t made enough progress through their respective committees are deemed “dead” for the year. This last “Deadline Day,” April 13, I had to say goodbye to a few important policies that didn’t quite have enough support to pass out of their committees in time. I’d like to tell you about one of them, since I plan on continuing to work on it in future sessions.

House Bill 2825 would have required courts to consider evidence of a criminal defendant’s having been subjected to domestic violence before sentencing them for their crimes. It would also have allowed people who were already in custody (including those serving mandatory minimum sentences) to petition for resentencing if they had committed their crimes as a result of coercion from an abusive partner.

It’s extremely important to me that our criminal justice system be more trauma-informed, and that survivors of domestic violence have their trauma acknowledged before we lock them up for crimes that they may have been coerced into committing. After hearing from brave women who shared their stories with the public (including my recent appearance alongside one survivor on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud”), this work feels even more urgent than when I started.

Our criminal justice system, by ignoring the impact that domestic violence can have on a person’s decision to commit or assist in committing a crime, in many ways feeds into and becomes a part of the cycle of abuse experienced by survivors. Survivors – primarily women – are sometimes punished for heinous acts that they did not want to participate in, but had little to no power to refuse. Other survivors are punished under harsh mandatory sentencing schemes for what could amount to self-defense against their abusers: proving self-defense in court is sometimes a high bar and often survivors are unable to convince juries that their actions were necessary.

Survivors who get wrapped up in our prison system as a result of these sentencing laws sometimes spend decades behind bars. That’s decades of missed birthdays, decades of not being there for those crucial developmental milestones with their kids: first steps, back to school nights, parent-teacher conferences, game-winning home runs, wiping away tears.

Each of us can try to imagine what that toll is like for the mothers, for the kids, for the family left behind. But most of us can’t fully relate to a nightmare of this magnitude. This system of “justice” is continuing to re-abuse and re-traumatize these women and their families. It’s destabilizing communities and further proliferating cycles of violence and pain.

Unfortunately, HB 2825 would have required a two-thirds majority vote in order to pass, because it would make a narrow exception to Oregon’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. (The state constitution requires that any sentences passed by ballot measure – which includes our mandatory minimum sentences – can only be changed by a two-thirds legislative vote, otherwise the question has to be decided by voters on the ballot.)

Because of the high hurdle of getting 40 Representatives’ and 20 Senators’ support in order to pass HB 2825, legislative leadership encouraged me to work a bit longer on gathering more robust bipartisan support for my idea. Now, the bill will go to an “interim workgroup,” where I can collaborate with defense attorneys, prosecutors and judicial experts to craft a bill that can pass in 2022. It’s past time for us to make this change, so I’m determined to make it happen next year. If you have any thoughts on how I might be able to improve this policy, or if you’d like more information, please let me know at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Spring into comfort by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2021

Cheesy spring risotto

You can use vegetable stock and omit the cream and cheese to make this a vegan dish if you’d like. Frozen artichoke hearts chopped work great for this, or substitute vegetables.

2 cups Arborio rice

6 cups chicken stock

2 T butter

1 T olive oil

2 crushed garlic cloves

1/4 cup fine chopped shallot

1/4 cup fine chopped fennel bulb

1/4 cup shaved asparagus

1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts

1 t salt

1/2 t white pepper

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese - cubed or shredded

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2T chopped parsley

1/4 cup white wine

1/3 cup heavy cream

In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the butter and oil, add rice and stir, coating and toasting for one minute (rice will sound like glass beads). Add in seasonings, shallot, garlic and fennel and keep stirring.

Add wine, keep stirring when wine has reduced by half and add one cup of stock, stir until thickened. Add another cup of stock and repeat. Once rice is tender add in the other ingredients and stir until creamy, adding more stock if it's dry.

Comfortable Food – Apple Bread

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ t ground cinnamon

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ t baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer cream sugars and butter, adding in vanilla and eggs one at a time.

Add the flour mixture, then milk. Fold in apples in a prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

You can make a delicious crumb topping and/or glaze but this bread is perfect as is!


How a will directs an estate by Paula Walker on 05/01/2021

Probate; many think that with a will their estate will not be subject to the court controlled procedure called ‘probate,’ however that is a misconception. with or without a will an estate is subject to probate. A Revocable Living Trust is the one estate planning instrument that renders probate unnecessary. However, as stated in other articles, better a will than no will and no plan at all. Let’s look at what happens when you pass and a will is your main estate planning instrument.

First and foremost, with a well-done will, the key is that you have left family and friends with a solid plan of action. You have appointed someone to administer your estate. You have made clear who receives what and how the many things that you have – from household furnishings and family mementos to charitable gifts and the disposal of your house and your various financial holdings – are to be distributed. If you have minor children, you have appointed their guardian(s). If you have animal companions you have identified who will take them and care for them. In both the last two situations, you have left money for their care and directions for their transition. All this is subject to court review, and in the case of the children subject to court through guardianship proceedings to review, confirm and approve the guardians.

Even though you have taken the solid step to designate the person you want to administer your estate, that person must be approved and officially appointed by the court. In Oregon that person is called your Personal Representative. For an estate with combined assets in real estate and financial holdings that equal or exceed $275,000 ($200,000 in real estate and $75,000 in financial assets), this petition to the court initiates a year-long engagement, perhaps longer but seldom shorter, with an attorney to navigate the complex process of court filings, which begin with petitioning the court to appoint the designated person as the Personal Representative for your estate.

Once the approval is made, the Personal Representative receives the necessary documents from the court to act on your estate’s behalf, proof to the many entities, banks, county, etc. that that person has such authority. That court approval initiates the arduous process of accounting for all that is in your estate that must be probated, communicating to the beneficiaries of the estate of your role and their place in your will, notifying a variety of state agencies for purposes of paying healthcare debts, paying taxes, recording your death, transferring title to real estate and identifying creditors to pay final debts.

This is just a glimpse of the duties and the many entities involved to give you a sense of the breadth and reach of what is to be undertaken by your Personal Representative. Providing finances to your Personal Representative to accomplish these tasks is an essential part of your planning in creating a will because your assets will be tied up for a year, or possibly more, from your passing until the court gives its final approval that your will has been properly interpreted, the distributions exactly prepared according to those terms, is ready to execute when that approval is received and that all creditors have been identified and all debts and taxes paid.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Tales of the interesting and unusual, from Vermont to New York and the beyond… Warren County, New York celebrated its bicentennial in 2013 with the tale of John Bowman the tanner-made-magnate, a legend in the area owing to the tannery business started in 1852 that spawned whole towns now in existence in that Adirondack region. Cuttingsville, Vt. Chamber of Commerce and state of Vermont promote Bowman to current-day tourists as a native son and legend in the area for the mansion and mausoleum he built for his family and the instructions in his will.

Having lost his first daughter in infancy and grief stricken at the early loss of his beloved wife and second daughter, both dying less than a year apart, he made plans for the construction of a mausoleum and a mansion, in his home state of Vermont where he had begun his work in the tannery business and returned to after the death of his wife. There, in Cuttingsville, he had the mansion built across the street from the mausoleum so that he could have a constant view of the place where he himself would finally, eventually rest. Convinced of reincarnation, with his will he established a trust fund for the maintenance of both his mansion and the mausoleum, with the instructions that the servants were to prepare a nightly dinner in case the Bowman family returned hungry. Mr. Bowman died in 1891, 12 years after his wife and daughter. The preparation of the nightly repast continued until the trust was depleted in 1950 – almost 60 years!

Note – should you visit Cuttingsville, in the town of Shrewsbury you can see the mausoleum in the Laurel Glen cemetery with the statue of Mr. Bowman, as he had constructed, eternally climbing the outer stairs of the mausoleum to rejoin his beloved family.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Visualizing your photos by Gary Randall on 04/01/2021

I am glad to be known more for my landscape photography than I am for any other photography style or genre that I dabble in, although I certainly do not limit myself strictly to landscapes, it’s what drew me back to photography in the beginning. This brings clients to me who want a unique heirloom portrait of themselves in the outdoors.


I seem to have created a niche for myself. As a landscape photographer I have many locations that I have visited in the past in the back of my mind that would work for the photos that my clients expect from me.

These photos are an example of one such session. The clients wanted a photo of themselves with Mount Hood behind them as a formal wedding photo. That would be a dream shot considering that it’s March and the Oregon rains can be pretty predictable. I did promise them some beautiful forest photos though.

We were fortunate to have a window of time when the skies would be clear, and a view of the mountain could be had. I chose White River Snow Park on the east side of Mount Hood. The park is busy, but we did well, and I can always take out the errant person in the distance with a clone brush tool in Photoshop during post processing.

We walked up to an area with some trees which gave the photo the feel of being at the edge of a wilderness forest with the incredible mountain in the distance. The scene gave a sense of solitude to the feel of the photos even though there were people all around us.

I took a series of photos varying my focal length from 24 millimeter to 35 millimeter according to the composition that I was trying to achieve. They all turned out fine, but I had a vision in my head of a photo with the couple in the foreground with Mount Hood looming large in the background – an effect that I could not achieve with a wide-angle lens.

I had this idea before we arrived, and as we drove into the parking area I surveyed the location to find a place to get the shot. I know this location very well and so I drove right to where I knew that I would have the best luck in creating the photo. We did not have to walk far, fortunately, as the couple were surrounded by snow and dressed in their wedding clothes. I was prepared so we didn’t waste a lot of time standing in the cold.

Once we had finished the photos and were about to return to our cars, I asked my clients to stay behind with my assistant while I returned to my car to change lenses and take a photo of them from there. They were up on a ridge of snow above where I had parked with Mount Hood positioned perfectly behind them.

As I stood in the distance, I mounted my 200 mm lens to my Nikon D850 and then zoomed in to 160 mm to compose the frame. I then stopped the aperture down to f/14 for a clear depth of field. Once my assistant had posed the couple, I took the shot.

I had used a method of enlarging the mountain, in this case five miles distant, to fill the frame to give the illusion that the subject is much closer to the background than they were. It’s a technique called lens compression. All of us were pleased with the outcome.

The second portrait was made with another composition that I had in mind prior to arriving. This huge root ball seemed like a good prospect for a photo when I was scouting this location. Once I had the wedding couple stand in front of the natural vignetting that the roots created, I knew that it was a good choice.

Understanding your location and the capability of your gear makes it easier to visualize a photo prior to arriving at the location. And visualizing your photoshoot prior to the day of the event will allow you to be more prepared and to be more relaxed once you get to work.

In addition, knowing the capabilities of your equipment will allow you to understand basic concepts or methods such as lens compression to create more compelling photographs.

Gary Randall is an award-winning professional photographer, artist, writer, traveler and adventure seeker who lives in Brightwood.


Sunstrip Campground.
Salvage logging sparks a debate on the harms and benefits by Steve Wilent on 04/01/2021

Depending on who you talk to, salvage logging is either a reasonable response after trees have been killed by wildfires (or insects, disease or other damaging event), or a recipe for environmental destruction. The latter point of view is especially true when it comes to harvesting fire-killed trees on federal public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).


Here are some of the arguments against post-fire salvage harvests offered by Bark (bark-out.org), an environmental advocacy group that focuses on the Mount Hood National Forest:

“Even the most severely burned forests are teeming with native biodiversity and rich wildlife habitats. As soon as the fire goes out, animal and plant species begin to return to the forest.”

True. I’ve seen plants sprouting within a couple of weeks of a wildfire, and these plants offer important food and habitat for a range of critters. Birds are happy to nest in and pick insects from charred trees. Even if some trees are harvested, there are usually lots of others that aren’t.

“Post-fire logging projects convert complex fire-impacted forests into monoculture tree plantations.”

Most land managers plant two, three or more species of tree seedlings after a fire, whether they harvest any of the dead trees or not. Once the trees grow up above the grasses and brush that sprout after a fire, the forest isn’t a monoculture.

In our area, in addition to planted Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western redcedar seedlings, you’ll likely see alder, bigleaf maple and other trees and shrubs. In fact, these new forests would look very much like most of the forests that surround the Hoodland area, which grew naturally after large wildfires a century ago. If these are “monocultures,” they are natural ones.

Logging harms water quality and degrades our drinking watersheds.

Post-fire timber harvesting operations can lead to runoff, especially if care isn’t taken to minimize soil disturbance. Bark cites studies that document this. However, modern logging equipment and practices are much better at reducing soil disturbance than in the past. In most cases, burned areas are more prone to erosion than unburned areas, because wildfires consume all or most of the organic material that otherwise protects soils from rain and runoff.

The three fires that burned in our neck of the woods last year killed millions of trees on federal, state, private and tribal lands. Together, the fires scorched more than 536,000 acres — the Riverside Fire (138,000 acres), which was closest to Hoodland; the Beachie Creek Fire (193,573 acres); and the Lionshead Fire (204,469 acres). Most of the forest burned by the Riverside Fire was Forest Service and BLM land, but about 42,000 acres of private land also burned. The Beachie Creek Fire burned more than 78,000 acres of private lands and more than half of the 48,000-acre Santiam State Forest. The Lionshead Fire burned primarily on the Willamette National Forest and the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

On some private lands, salvage harvesting began before the smoke cleared. Many landowners are racing the clock to remove dead timber before it rots and becomes worthless for milling into lumber or other products. Safety also is a concern after fires.

The Oregon Department of Transportation began removing dead and dying trees along Hwy. 22 and other highways affected by the 2020 wildfires last fall, before the fires were out, and is still working to remove them. The Forest Service and BLM routinely remove hazard trees from along roadsides, near campgrounds and picnic areas and other places where falling trees might pose a risk to people.

In mid-March, I visited Mill City and Detroit to see some of the salvage logging for myself. I visited with loggers harvesting blackened trees on land owned by Freres Lumber Co., which manufactures veneer, plywood, lumber and mass plywood panels, or MPPs. Think of MPPS as plywood on steroids.

Freres can make panels up to 12 feet wide, 48 feet long and 24 inches thick, for use as structural panels in construction and as industrial mats that are used as bases for cranes and other very large, heavy machines.

I watched as one logging crew used small MPP panels as pads that allowed a large, tracked harvesting machine to cross a paved county road without damaging the asphalt. The logs the crews were harvesting were destined for Freres’s mills in Lyons, where they might be made into MPPs or other products.

The Beachie Creek Fire burned about 7,500 acres of timber on Freres’s land, more than one-third of the nearly 20,000 acres it owns in the area. A Freres forester told me that they may be able to harvest about three-quarters of the dead timber on its land; about one-quarter were trees too small to be useful as lumber and too expensive to harvest for producing chips and other products.

Some of the trees killed were only a few years old. From what I could see, the loggers were being careful to minimize soil disturbance. Freres has a vested interest in keeping its soils healthy and productive to assure future harvests.

Crews hired by the company began replanting the burned area last fall. Freres plans to plant 700,000 seedlings by this spring, perhaps 4.5 million more in the next two years.

For Freres and other companies, harvesting dead trees and replanting is essential to their long-term survival as businesses. For federal and state agencies, salvage harvesting is not essential to their long-term survival, but they do have a mandate to provide timber for producing forest products, and timber revenue can help pay for other post-fire restoration work.

For example, the Mount Hood National Forest might harvest dead trees along key roads east of Estacada, to remove the hazards to travelers. Income from selling the timber might be used to pay for restoring burned recreation sites along the Clackamas River.

My view is that salvage harvesting is appropriate in some areas, for a variety of reasons, but not in others – certainly not in wilderness areas. The Oregon division of the Society of American Foresters – I’ve been a member for 40 years – has an informative policy statement on the topic, “Salvage Harvesting on Public Forestlands in Oregon,” at tinyurl.com/4ykcd62s.

Want to know more about salvage logging? Want to know why deer and elk sometimes roll in the ash after a wildfire? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.


View Points – Salem: Advancement in healthcare by Rep. Anna Williams on 04/01/2021

After over a year of pandemic legislating, it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come. There are many non-COVID-specific issues that we’ve learned a lot about because of how the law has functioned over the last year.

One such issue is telemedicine – virtual healthcare provided through remote technology like video-conferencing. Since long before the pandemic, my colleague Representative Rachel Prusak and I have been talking about the importance of using technology to help overcome access and justice issues in healthcare. Why, we wondered, was it so hard to get the healthcare industry to adopt fast-growing technologies like video-chat into their daily practice?

Some healthcare providers were resistant to the concept for years. They had concerns about the quality of care that could be provided, about whether patient privacy could be protected and about whether patients could access and navigate the technology needed for a quality telehealth experience.  Some resisted the interruption into their normal course of business, while others worried it could add to their costs without any real benefit. Most of all, though, many physicians and nurses who would be willing to adopt telemedicine into their practice were worried that insurance would not reimburse them for the time they spent “FaceTiming” with their patients.

Enter COVID-19. The pandemic has forced us to run the experiment that my colleagues and I were having trouble getting started: both public and private insurance providers have had to, by necessity, reimburse remote visits with medical providers. It turns out, not only were the providers able to provide quality care using technology, we also learned that it dramatically changed their ability to engage with their patients!

People are often uncomfortable in doctors’ offices, so having the option to see a doctor in the comfort of someone’s own home makes some people more able to be open about their medical issues. Providers can also get a sense of the patient’s home environment, which is often an important part of the context of their overall health. And for mental health visits, patients have expressed significant increases in their comfort with tough conversations when they’re able to do so over the phone from their own homes, as opposed to “on the provider’s turf,” in the clinical setting of a doctor’s office.

Perhaps most importantly, telehealth is a matter of equity and justice. It’s a matter of rural justice because it helps people see doctors and specialists without having to make long drives to visit them. It’s a matter of elder and disability justice because people who aren’t able to find easy transport to medical providers can get the help they need without having to request special accommodations. It’s a matter of racial and ethnic justice because people who may not speak English or feel comfortable visiting just any provider are able to more easily get in touch with the culturally appropriate care that they need.

Finally, it turns out to be a cost-saver: people who don’t need to visit a medical provider are better able to be screened through remote visits, which improves efficiency by allowing doctors to focus their in-office time on people who truly need to be there.

In such a challenging year, it’s refreshing that we’ve learned so much about what’s possible, and it’s great to see the leaps and bounds we have taken in policy while we’ve tried to creatively work around the pandemic. What else has COVID shown us was possible that we previously thought was impossible? Let me know your thoughts at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Stimulating businesses by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 04/01/2021

In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we, like so many small communities, looked for ways to provide small business relief to our neighbors who were severely impacted by the Governor’s shutdowns. In Sandy, we utilized some flexibility within our urban renewal budget to help support these businesses. It was an easy decision to invest in both our local small businesses in their time of need, as well as the future of our community.

Shortly after we implemented our small business relief program, Congress passed and President Trump signed the CARES act to provide relief to those impacted by the pandemic. We learned we would be able to use those dollars to provide additional grants but also to reimburse our urban renewal fund for the funds we had already distributed. That ended up being an important lesson.

Shortly after the Governor’s second shut down, it became evident that our local restaurants and businesses needed help to provide outdoor seating options in the short term, but also a need to increase their square footage to comply with capacity requirements in a way that allowed their business to keep their lights on.

Having learned the lesson from our earlier relief efforts, I worked with our economic development manager and our planning department to introduce a new program that became our Covered Structures Grant Program. In this program business owners could apply for a grant with the City to build beautiful “Sandy Style” outdoor structures at their businesses. Under the program, the city’s Urban Renewal Fund would provide 80 percent of the investment with the business owner being responsible for the remaining 20 percent upon completion of the project. Recognizing that times are hard and that cash flow could be an issue, the city provided an option of a 3-year, interest-free installment program. We moved quickly to implement this program because we knew our local businesses could not wait.

Just like the lesson we learned with the small business relief program, we decided to use our Urban Renewal budget for the funds. I did not want to wait for Congress to act on a new relief package, but any passive observer could predict that we would be receiving another funding bill shortly that would most likely let us reimburse our fund again. So, we took the gamble and funded seven projects. The next week, Congress and President Biden passed the stimulus package and we discovered we’d be able to reimburse the program again. A huge victory for Sandy.

This program is a win for our struggling Main Street businesses during the tail end of this pandemic, but it also has long term benefits for our community. These restaurants now have a greater capacity for customers, which will hopefully help them recover faster. One local restaurant owner felt it would help grow their sales over 30 percent!

Some might remember that earlier in the year, our Sandy City Council removed additional System Development charges for local businesses who want to expand their outdoor seating and bolstered our economic tenant improvement program to help assist our businesses’ financial success.

Now is the time to invest in our Main Street businesses so that they can serve the public and employ our neighbors now and in the future.

This program supports our local businesses, their employees and will create a special dining experience for our community for years to come. It is things like this that will put Sandy on the map. This program is the first of its kind. We used to do bold, innovative things in Oregon, we still do those things in Sandy. It’s the Sandy way. All part of our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Oyster mushrooms a delicious decomposer by Mt. Hood Community College on 04/01/2021

Fungi generally fill one of two roles in an ecosystem. The first option is to be closely associated with living organisms, such as plants or insects. These liaisons are essential to our natural habitats, and the health of the fungi often determines the health of all those living around it.

The second role available for fungi is to make a living off the dead. These fungi are often called recyclers or decomposers, and true to their name they break down complex molecules releasing nutrients back to the soil so life can begin anew. These macabre fungi are vital for the ecosystem and are also a staple of the dinner table during the winter months when many plants reduce their photosynthesis output and many insects over winter until the weather warms.

This means that the fungi who chose the first role, association with the living, are forced to lay low while their friends take it easy. Decomposing fungi do not have such a barrier. As long as moisture is available, they will continue their work and if conditions are appropriate, they will produce a fruiting body which we call a mushroom.

The oyster mushroom, found in the genus Pleurotus, is one such decomposer that is also a wonderful edible. There are several species of oyster mushrooms, but all exhibit the following characteristics. They like rotting wood, which means you will find them on trees, logs, or branches. They have gills on the lower surface, and they are lacking a stem or the stem is short and off centered. The mushroom will be fleshy instead of hard, and white, gray or brown.

These delicious fungi tend to grow in clusters, and once properly identified, can make a wonderful addition to soups, pizza, pasta and stir fry.

Catherine Creech is an instructor of biology  at Mt. Hood Community College.

Happy spring! by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2021

The bunnies are hopping and so am I, to get the first fresh tendrils of spring onto our plates! Asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb and berries are fresh produce right now and lamb is just as easy as chicken.

Herbed rack of lamb

1-2 1b rack of Lamb roast (lamb chops)

Mix together 2 T olive oil

1/2 t each dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic granules

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper roast (or chops) to taste and place in roasting pan.

Roast uncovered for 30 minutes (1/2 that time if using cut chops), then spoon bread crumb mixture evenly over the fat cap for the roast, or spoon on individually if using chops. Roast another 10 minutes for chops, or 25 minutes for roast, then let each rest. Meat should be rare.


Lemon Cream coffee cake with fresh berries

One pint fresh seasonal or 1 cup frozen berries

1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds

4 large eggs

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 T lemon zest

16 oz container sour cream

1 cup plus 4 T unsalted softened butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 T baking powder

2 t baking soda

2 t vanilla extract

1/4 t salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup plus 2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup powdered sugar

Spray a large springform pan with cooking spray, cut a circle of parchment paper to cover the bottom and spray the parchment paper.

Mix streusel topping: combine 4 T butter with brown sugar, flour and toasted almonds and set aside.

In a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed beat butter with sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, add sour cream, vanilla and eggs.

In another large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Combine dry ingredients with the wet by folding in gently.

Pour half of the mixture into prepared pan, scatter berries all over the batter and top with half of the streusel and then with remaining batter. Top with remaining batter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Icing : make the icing by combining the lemon juice and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

If too watery add more sugar and if too thick add more lemon juice. Drizzle over cooled cake.

'Trusting' the outcome by Paula Walker on 04/01/2021

We’ve looked at the calamity of dying without even the most basic plan, a will, in place. We’ve looked at the process when you have a will. In this article we’ll look at the option of creating a type of trust, a Revocable Living Trust (Trust), as the cornerstone instrument to manage the transfer of your assets after your passing. It has many advantages and depending on your circumstances and your objectives it can be superior to a will.

What are the advantages? For starters, the Trust serves you during your life as well as providing the orderly transfer of assets after you die, where a will is only effective after your death. Other advantages: 1) The Trust, and only a Trust, avoids probate, i.e., the costly, time-consuming, lengthy and complex process of court oversight of the transfer of assets, tying up your assets until receiving the court’s approval of the accounting of the estate thence allowing actual distribution. Most often assets are tied up a year or more for this laborious process to grind its way to completion. With the Trust, your appointed person steps right in to do the administration as directed. Distribution and final accounting are a matter of completing the job, not additionally waiting on the court to approve the accounting and intended distribution. 2) Ensuring your and your family’s privacy. A Trust is private. Unlike a will. No one is privy to the contents of the Trust or the value of your estate. 3) Many other things can be accomplished with a Trust depending on the particulars of your goals, like keeping some parts of the estate’s asset in Trust to benefit minor children, or help emerging adult recipients manage the assets over a period of ‘maturity milestones’ or keeping safe a recipient’s public needs benefits. 4) Sheltering your estate from the potential for estate taxes. 5) In a blended family safeguard that your children will receive their inheritance if you should pass first; changes to the estate plan cannot displace what you initially designated for them by a rewrite of the estate plan after your passing.

These and more can be discussed with your estate planning attorney to create a Trust that serves you and your estate during your life as well as during the lives of those you intend to benefit.

What are the requirements? For a Trust to provide the advantages listed above, it requires that you place your assets in the Trust. This is an extra step not required by a will. For some this may be an extra step not worth the effort, however once done it is in place and needs no more tending to except if new assets are acquired, at which time those new assets must be placed into the Trust. With the assistance and guidance of your estate planning attorney this process, initially and on-going is straightforward and simple.

Cost – a disadvantage? Creating a Trust does cost more than creating a will, however the initial investment overall is significantly less than the cost of probate to your estate. The value in simplicity and ease of effort and the benefit in time taken and the immediate access to managing your assets for the person(s) on whom you place the huge responsibility of administering your estate provides a calculable return on investment that, in general, justifies that investment in cost up-front. The investment in time to create the Trust is marginally more, if at all.

Stories of the Stars… If only

Stars who did it right… the extraordinary extinguishing of two stars in close proximity provides a study of some of the benefits of establishing a Trust as the vehicle for managing your estate. When “Star Wars” star Carrie Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016 at age 60 from following a sudden cardiac arrest on a transatlantic flight London to Los Angeles, her fans were shocked. But then the passing of her iconic mother Debbie Reynolds within a mere 24 hours presented a time of loss and grief to their family difficult to imagine.

It is possible that that time was somewhat assisted by the fact that this mother and daughter each had the foresight to establish Trusts for their respective estates. Because one of the many advantages of a Trust is privacy, the estate does not go through probate and hence does not become accessible as public record and we will never know precisely the amount of the decedents’ estates and the terms of distribution.

From statements made by Carrie Fisher’s brother, Todd Fisher, following the death of their mother, we know that they each had established Trusts and that Carrie’s daughter, actress Billie Lourd, would be a primary beneficiary. It is estimated that the combined estates transferred in the neighborhood of $30 million.

Whatever the value, whatever the particular assets, whatever the distribution, the two stars ensured that the person(s) they appointed to fulfill their Trusts could simply step in immediately and accomplish the work to be done without delay waiting for the startup of court proceedings and the lengthy process required to come to court approval. The time of grief and loss thus separated from the practical matter of transferring the gifts left behind to their intended recipients.

Dear reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Using filters by Gary Randall on 03/01/2021

One of the most asked questions of me is one concerning lens filters. So, let’s talk about filters for a minute.


Filters are round glass elements that screw onto the end of your lens, or in some cases glass or resin panels that are placed on front of the lens. The purpose of these filters is to affect several different things when you’re taking a photo.

During the era of film photography many colored filters were used, mostly used with black and white film. These colored filters would block or cancel certain colors of light causing corresponding areas of color to respond in different ways. An orange or red filter will darken blue tones and lighten reds, while a blue one will darken reds and lighten blues. In digital photography these colored filters are not needed as the sensor can filter red, green and blue light.

In digital photography the most commonly used filters are a circular polarizer and neutral density filters.

A circular polarizer, or a CP filter, will do a couple of things to your photo according to how it’s used. The primary purpose is to reduce glare and reflections on things such as the surface of water or even wet leaves. It will also turn the sky a deeper blue. It is made with two elements, one which you can turn to adjust the amount or place of polarization. The filter glass will be somewhat dark, so it will stop light and the amount varies depending on the darkness of the particular filter, but a typical CP filter will stop about two f/stops.

The next filter that is most commonly used in digital photography is a neutral density filter. A neutral density filter modifies the intensity of all wavelengths of color. In short, its purpose is to block or stop light. The purpose typically is to extend or lengthen one’s shutter speed during bright light such as a sunny day. When a photographer mentions neutral density filters, they typically call them NDs or ND filters. ND filters come in a variety of “darknesses,” stopping different levels of light. They can vary in optical density from almost clear to nearly solid dark. The most common NDs are ND2, ND4 and ND8 with a corresponding 1, 2 and 3 f/stop reduction. Another common ND used for extreme stops of light is a 10 stop ND filter.

Neutral density filters also come in what is called a graduated neutral density filter. This filter has a graduation from top to bottom making half of the filter dark and the other half clear. This is used in neutralizing the exposure when you have an extremely bright sky and a dark foreground. It stops the light of the sky making the exposure more even.

As mentioned previously I use my circular polarizer to affect the blueness of the sky, to remove glare and reflections from water surfaces and wet foliage which will allow the color and texture to show. I love using it for creeks and waterfalls, especially on a rainy day or a day where it’s recently rained as the water will typically reflect the bright light from the sky. So too will the leaves and plants reflect this light from the sky. Once you polarize them the shine goes away and color and textures start to show through. An important thing to remember is that a CP filter works best when the light is coming from 90 degrees from the direction that you’re shooting. As the angle changes so does the amount of affect that the filter has on the photo. Also, the filter will allow me to extend my shutter speed to smooth the water a little more to give it a feeling of movement or flow.

My primary purpose for ND filters is to allow me to extend my shutter even longer under extremely bright light. They come in handy if you show up to a creek or a waterfall during midday sun.

As for graduated ND filters, I use them as little as possible as they tend to darken areas that don’t necessarily don't need to be. A good example is if you want to darken the sky but there are trees or buildings that extend into this area. The most ideal case for the use of one would be at the coast in a photo of the ocean with an even horizon line.

This can all sound a bit complicated, but once you use them it will become easy. If you use your camera on the Manual setting it’s also easier to understand as you probably have encountered some of these problems while trying to get that shot at less than an ideal time. If I want to extend my shutter at a creek or a waterfall I find it best to show up when the light is right. Good light from a creek or a waterfall is subdued light with little or no glare or reflection on the surfaces in your photo. I find it best early in the morning or later in the afternoon, but I love it best when it’s drizzling or an even overcast cloudy sky. Bright light is not your friend in these cases. Surprisingly, the CP works under cloudy skies too.

On a trip a couple years ago to visit Ricketts Glen and  photograph some waterfalls, I hiked in to get some photos but wasn't able to enter the park until 9 a.m. At that time of the day the light was harsh and was shining directly on the falls. I had to block light in any way that I could. I lowered my ISO, stopped down (narrowed) my aperture and applied my CP for two more stops of light. By doing this I was able to get some decent shots. Otherwise I would have gotten shots of crusty sharp water with blown out highlights. Instead I was able to extend my shutter enough to get the water to flow a little in the photo and get a better exposure.

I hope that this helps clear up this subject a little. If you’re serious about your photography put a CP and some NDs in your bag.

Preparing for the return of feathered friends by Mt. Hood Community College on 03/01/2021

Last month, students and staff from Mt. Hood Community College joined thousands of others from around the world to count birds. The Great Backyard Bird Count began in 1998 as a community-science project to encourage regular folks to count the birds (as the name suggests) in their backyards over a four-day winter period.

It has since expanded to the world and any habitat, but the goal of welcoming new bird enthusiasts to the flock remains. The data are valuable, but even more important is the recruitment of more advocates for birds.

And birds need our support. Like all wild things, their populations are in decline, hit hard by loss of habitat and poisoned by the toxic biproducts of a consumption economy.

They are also finding it harder and harder to navigate their human-altered world. Like us, they have been impacted by increasingly unpredictable weather events – the outcome of an Earth warmed by the burning of fossil fuels. Migratory birds face additional problems, literal navigation obstacles.

And here we, as individuals and communities, can take steps to clear a path for our returning feathered friends. We can reduce the risks of windows and lights.

Light pollution is a reality easily appreciated by those living where it still gets dark. Light at night is disorienting for us all, but especially for nocturnal migrants, and several good options for reducing its impact can be found online at https://bit.ly/3aU9pVG.

Window-strikes are another major risk for both migrant and resident birds as they mistake reflections of trees as passages to safety and crash fatally into the glass.

We can all help here. At the College we are working toward a “bird-safe campus” and have begun applying paints and stickers to the windows that cause the most problems.

You can join our efforts in your own homes and businesses. The solutions range from D.I.Y. and inexpensive to comprehensive and high-tech. At my own home, I use gift-wrap curling ribbon (salvaged from holiday packages) taped in strands that dangle and sparkle across a picture window – they don’t disrupt my view, but they break up the reflection for the birds.

Paint pens work well too (vertical lines) and can involve young painters who might be home (and underfoot!). Ultra-violet reflective stickers can be purchased from online venders.

Small changes multiplied by communities who care. Little efforts that pay large dividends for our feathered friends and those who watch them.

Walter Shriner, PhD is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: A bill's journey by Rep. Anna Williams on 03/01/2021

This month, I decided to use this column to walk readers through how the legislative process is working during the COVID era, using a bill that arose out of the mountain area as an example.

In late 2019, shortly before “coronavirus” was a familiar term, I was approached by a community water system manager in my district. He had concerns about how to ensure that private landowners were aware of the impacts their timber-related activities can have on drinking water quality. His hope was that I could sponsor a bill to require landowners to negotiate in good faith around offers from the state to purchase privately-owned land for what is called “source water protection (SWP) land acquisition.”

I thought it sounded reasonable to require landowners to participate in good faith with the negotiation process. I expected the SWP program wouldn’t be too burdensome – it would only apply to the areas immediately surrounding a stream used for drinking water. Also, the landowners would be handsomely rewarded for their land using public funds, which suggested to me that they would have good incentives to negotiate. So, I requested the bill from the attorneys who draft legislative concepts (early drafts of bills).

In a typical legislative session, I would have discussed this bill extensively with my colleagues in our frequent conversations in the hallways and meeting rooms in the Capitol, but because the pandemic has us all working remotely, every encounter with my colleagues is scheduled, time-limited and narrowly focused. So when I introduced the bill at the beginning of the 2021 session, I hadn’t talked through the full implications of what the bill as drafted directed the state to do: essentially, the outcome of a “requirement to negotiate” would be that the state could exercise eminent domain (i.e., paying a landowner and taking the land regardless of whether the landowner agreed), which was FAR more power than I was comfortable giving the state, and far more than the state agencies involved in this process even wanted!

Thankfully, everyone who had concerns about the bill I’d requested understood that it was a simple misunderstanding (legislators make mistakes, too!), and were happy to discuss other options for a more measured approach. So, going back to the drawing board, I consulted with experts in water conservation, forestry and environmental protection, and came up with a few minor tweaks to current laws that will go a long way toward keeping the water we drink safe. In short, my amended bill will allow community water system managers to petition the state to make specific rules for water quality protection for a single stream or watershed, if there is a risk of drinking water being polluted or cut off due to private landowners’ activities.

This new policy will strike the balance that I always try to find in the legislature: it will be narrowly tailored instead of broadly applied (since broad application can lead to unintended negative consequences); it will not be overly burdensome on private landowners’ rights, but it could have huge impacts for the public’s health; and it will directly address my constituent’s concern, while also giving communities in other parts of the state a new tool to keep their constituents safe and healthy.

I look forward to continuing to work with the people in the mountain community, state agencies and in our natural resources economy to find appropriate solutions to big problems, and to protect the people who are most vulnerable from harm. If you have any ideas for bills that I might propose to support struggling Oregonians or improve public health, please let me know at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Coming together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 03/01/2021

President Ronald Reagan once said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.” President Reagan was right, and I believe that was the major theme coming out of our recent 2021-22 Sandy City Council retreat this past month.

Our Sandy neighbors have never been more engaged in our local civics process than they are now. As a result, we had one of the most highly contested elections for Sandy City Council positions in recent memory. The results provide our council with three new councilors that bring our community a diversity of ideas, viewpoints and backgrounds for the better.

At our recent council retreat, we were able to bring together our councils’ collected experience mixed with new ideas and fresh perspectives. As a result, we found that Reagan’s adage is true, those that agree 80 percent of the time are friends.

We developed an aggressive agenda for Sandy that puts our community first and plans for the long-term opportunity and prosperity we all believe is possible for Sandy.

We will be addressing traffic congestion by completing our Transportation System Plan that will include a feasibility study on the cost benefit of a local bypass in our future.

We will look to break ground on the extension of Bell Street to 362nd to alleviate the morning and afternoon school commutes and open up an exciting future of economic opportunity in that part of town.

As one of Oregon’s fastest growing cities, we will blaze ahead on a comprehensive plan for smart growth with extensive community outreach and direction.

Because of our growth in size along with side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest in Portland, Sandy has seen an increase in homelessness and petty crime. Our City Council will be appointing a task force to find innovative solutions to these issues in the Sandy way.

As many of our neighbors know, because of our rapid growth in size and improper planning by past leaders and staff, our sewer water treatment process is simply no longer viable. Our City Council is committed to working with our elected state and federal delegations to build upon the past successes of the previous council. In the next year we have a major ask in front of the state legislature and we also will be implementing WIFIA financing on the project.

We’ll also look to update our council policies, rules and processes. Finally, we’ll be providing our community with a visioning process for the Sandy Community Campus and aquatics center that will revitalize the Pleasant Street Neighborhood, provide opportunities for our residents and allow us to grow from our main street core, which is bisected by a state highway.

Additionally, in the year ahead our council will be holding a series of work sessions on a variety of major topics including public safety, homelessness, urban renewal, parks and enhancements to our business climate.

I know that our Sandy City Council is committed to heeding the words of Reagan, putting our community first and planning for our prosperous future. We’re already busy working together to reach our common goal – to keep Sandy wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

Contributed graphic.
Another clearcut on the Mountain – why and what's next? by Steve Wilent on 03/01/2021

The big clearcut south of Hwy. 26 near Arrah Wanna Blvd. generated quite a bit of buzz in recent weeks. No wonder. All of a sudden, it seemed, there was a big hole where there had always been trees. Two parcels were cleared: 21.25 acres and 5.65. Call it 27 acres.


The smaller of the two parcels is slated to be developed for housing – see the article on Page 3 in this edition – but I don’t have any information about plans for development of the other one. Both parcels are zoned Hoodland Residential (HR), which has a minimum lot size of 1/4-acre.

Development would make sense, since the parcels are flat and have access to existing roads and the highway, and both are adjacent to the Welches sewer plant (the Hoodland Water Resource Recovery Facility) on Bright Avenue. And both parcels are surrounded by existing housing.

But the parcels may not be developed. The timber on a 11-acre property on Lolo Pass Road near my home was harvested in 2010, and the scuttlebutt was that homes would be built there. That rumor turned out to be untrue, so far. The 11 acres were planted with Douglas-fir seedlings that seem to be happy there.

Back then, I heard through the forestry grapevine that the owners had sold the 11 acres worth of timber to a logger (not from our area) who told them that timber prices were high (they were) and that prices were sure to drop like a rock in the near future (they didn’t). Not only did prices not drop, they reached new highs the following year. I’d like to think that the logger honestly believed that timber prices were about to drop.

It could be that the owner of the two Hwy. 26/Arrah Wanna parcels wanted to take advantage of the current high prices for timber. Perhaps they saw a headline such as “Relentless Home-Renovation Boom Sends Lumber Prices to Record” (Bloomberg, February 18). In mid-February, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the price of lumber and panels (such as plywood and oriented strand board, or OSB) hit a record high and had increased by more than 170 percent over the past 10 months.

Prices for logs and lumber will fall, eventually, but while prices are high, some landowners will decide to harvest their timber. My ballpark guestimate is that the timber on the Hwy. 26/Arrah Wanna parcels was worth at least $500,000, perhaps $600,000 or more. If you owned timber worth a half-million bucks, would you sell it?


What Happens Next?

In the old days, many landowners did little or no replanting. Fortunately, the forests in our area are very productive and, given time, they usually reestablish themselves. Most of the trees we see around us are less than 120 years old, having regrown after fires and harvesting. The Wildwood Recreation Site, which is managed by the US Bureau of Land Management, wasn’t always thick with timber. The BLM’s site brochure explains:

“Between 1926 and 1944, Wildwood and the surrounding areas were logged. In 1930, the Bruns and Jensrud Logging Company built a sawmill complex at Wildwood. The Salmon River was diverted to make holding ponds (now Wildwood wetlands) for timber. The logging company also built a steam-powered sawmill, a bridge, two homes, a machine shop, a cone burner, a cookhouse and three bunkhouses near the Old Mill Trail. Two families and 45-50 employees lived on the site. The steam boilers for the mill were fueled by sawdust. The mill burned down in 1932, but was rebuilt. It operated for several more years before being sold in 1937 to Bell Lumber Company. A year later, it closed and the county auctioned the property for unpaid taxes. The machinery and structures were subsequently removed and the bridge washed out in the 1964 flood.”

Even today you can see the remnants of the mill along the Old Mill Trail amidst large Douglas-fir, grand fir, western redcedar, alder and other trees that grew naturally after the logging ended.

Fortunately, Oregon has a law called the Forest Practices Act that requires replanting after a harvest. The law and the associated Forest Practices Administrative Rules also regulate logging along streams, road and stream crossings, the protection of wetlands, and so on. Oregon’s Forest Practices Act, which became law in 1971, was the first such law in the nation. The Oregon Forest Resources Institute has a wealth of information about the law and rules, including “Oregon’s Forest Protection Laws: An Illustrated Manual,” which I used as a textbook when I taught timber harvesting at Mount Hood Community College. You can download a free copy at oregonforests.org.

Under the law, the owner of the Hwy. 26/Arrah Wanna parcels must begin reforestation activities within 12 months of the harvest and complete the planting of seedling or seeds within 24 months of the harvest.

By Dec. 31 of the sixth year after the harvest, the harvested area must be an “adequately stocked, free-to-grow stand” – meaning that there will be lots of young, healthy trees.

As you know from reading this column, I generally support the use of clearcutting in Oregon. I’d prefer that large-scale clearcutting not be used in residential areas, and when harvesting is done in communities like ours, I’d prefer that landowners leave some trees, especially along property boundaries and roads. Leaving scattered trees and groups of trees throughout large parcels would probably make residential lots more valuable, if they are to be sold.

Want to know more about timber harvesting and reforestation? Want to know why deer and elk love clearcuts? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Irish breakfast by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2021

I’m so intrigued by this recipe, not only because it’s got beer and it’s for breakfast, but the story is that it’s from the 1700s and said to be made and set on a stove by the wives to simmer until the men came home from the pub.

As a former barmaid I appreciate this. Everything you need to make it you’ll probably have on hand. This is best made in a deep Dutch oven.

4 potatoes peeled and sliced thick (I use Yukon Gold)

4 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped (drippings reserved)

1 lb sausages, such as bangers (I use kielbasa)

1 cup Irish beer

1 large yellow onion sliced thick

Salt and pepper

4 T chopped fresh parsley

4 eggs washed well and left whole (optional)

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a Dutch oven over medium high heat crisp the bacon, remove and chop, brown sausages in bacon fat and set the sausages aside. Turn off heat.

Add beer to deglaze, carefully layer in the potatoes, onions, sausages, parsley, 1/2 t salt and pepper, place the eggs in whole and pour broth on the top. Put the lid on. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, remove the eggs with tongs, set them aside and peel when cool enough (they should be soft boiled).

Remove the lid, continue to cook 20 minutes more and serve hot with the soft eggs.


Irish Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 T baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

4 T unsalted Irish style butter (1/4 cup)

1 cup raisins or currants

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

Zest of one orange (optional)

Coarse sugar for the top

Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt and stir well to mix.

Cut in the butter using a fork or pastry cutter. Stir in the orange zest if used and the raisins or currants. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together and mix into the dough mixture with a rubber spatula.

Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and fold it over on itself several times, shaping it into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf to one cookie sheet or jelly roll pan covered with parchment or foil and cut a cross in the top. Sprinkle top with sanding sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes more until lightly browned and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool the soda bread on a rack and serve with plenty of Irish butter and orange marmalade.


No will could be a mess of stress by Paula Walker on 03/01/2021

“I will do it tomorrow.” How many times have you said that? Here’s why you may actually do it tomorrow…

When you die without a will the state’s laws of intestacy kick in and among the many things they do is make the determination of who will receive your assets. But that is the least of it. Because of leaving this decision making to the state, the mess to be sorted out is made the more costly, more burdensome and more stressful on those who are close to you, your spouse and your children, your friends.

First, through the court the state will name a representative, aka executor or personal representative, i.e., the person who will account for, manage and finally distribute your assets. However, many times that is not a job to envy - all responsibility, little payback and no glory to say the least. A lot of hard work with lots of liability, headache and dubious reward. Without a plan the drawbacks of this responsibility are amplified and will likely fall to your spouse or children, but maybe not. It may fall to someone you or your family would prefer not to be involved, or to a total stranger.

Who asks the court to appoint this critical role? If you have family, likely one of them will and even if one of them wants to take on the daunting job, they must make the case to the court that they are the right and rightful individual for the role. To the court they are generically “interested persons.” Their closeness to you as spouse or child lends no legal stature as the rightful one who should take on this responsibility. Maybe the court decides they are, maybe it decides they are not. And maybe someone else contests this appointment. Let the strife begin… But maybe nobody wants to take on this heavy load or no one in the ordinary line up of intestacy for representing your estate is available, then the state takes on the role.

And this process of deciding who will represent your estate takes time. All your assets are frozen until the state can decide. Real estate cannot be sold; bank accounts cannot be accessed. No matter that you intended for certain people to handle things for you or certain people to receive from what you have left behind, none of that can occur until the state can decide on a representative. That representative may be a total stranger. And the laws of intestacy may not recognize the people you had intended to receive from your estate as the rightful recipients even when it gets to the point of distributing assets, which will be a long time in coming.

And what about those precious ones in your life who depend on you – for everything. Children – the court will decide the guardian. It will likely be a family member, but it may not be the family member you would have preferred. It may be the member you would have avoided. And if there is no family member willing and able… who then? And what about animal companions/pets? Well, hopefully you have someone in your circle of family or friends who likes dogs, cats etc. who wants to give them a good new home. And for either children or pets, without a plan laid out and communicated, of which the will is a part, who will be there in the immediate if your passing is the result of an emergency?

And everything takes time, even with a plan, i.e., a will at minimum. Without a plan the nature of things is for these processes to drag on – identifying the right candidate to act as executor, filing for appointing an executor, securing the court’s appointment. An inordinate amount of time, especially when things are in the balance, assets frozen, creditors demanding, children moving through trauma, treasured animal companions shifted to who-knows-where.

The stress of the mess. No, you will not be around to care, but assuredly there are those who will.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Bringing the Stars down to earth. An account of someone you might know, or who could be you. Regarding the time-consuming and expensive process of handling the estate of someone who had not the simplest of estate plans – a will; and the toll it takes on those closest to that person. A Forbes financial advisor reports that it took many months and many court filings to get court approval to appoint the husband as the executor for the estate of his wife of 35 years who died suddenly in an accident and to get her assets transferred to his name. All the time the assets were locked up. Neither the financial managers nor the husband could touch or manage them.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.


Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Cell phone photography by Gary Randall on 02/01/2021

What did we ever do without our cell phones? In this era of miraculous technology, it's hard to remember how it was to wait until we got home to make a call or to search for a phone booth along the way, and there are some of us who have never had to. Cell phones have revolutionized communication, but these little devices have also revolutionized photography.


Gone are the days of limiting the number of photographs that you take or the need for delayed gratification due to having to send the film out to be developed. We just snap, smile, share with our friends on social media or email and then forget about them as we continue to record in more pictorial detail our day to day lives.

As cell phone camera technology has improved, the pictures have become better and better. They have become so good that they have replaced the point and shoot camera. They are all the average person will ever require for their personal photography needs and even though they have become incredibly capable, they still take a little experience to master, especially in challenging light. A few tricks can make your photos even better.

Clean your lens. As we carry our phone here and there, we can put them through a lot. Dust and dirt can collect on the lens of the camera. A little lens cleaner on a soft cloth will help to keep your photos clear and crisp.

Pay close attention to composition. Composition will make or break a photo. A photo can be technically flawed but if the subject and composition are interesting the photo will be interesting.

Don’t miss the shot. Cell phone cameras won’t give you an instant shutter actuation. They take a second or two to find and focus your subject. This is referred to as “shutter lag.” Anticipate this shutter lag and be prepared to get the shot a few moments prior to the moment. This is especially true with moving objects.

Don’t use direct sunlight when photographing people. Find bright shade to eliminate sharp contrast of glare and shadows. Your subject's eye won’t be as apt to be squinting.

Don’t use your flash. The stark light of your flash will wash out your photos. There’s an HDR (high dynamic range) setting - use it. And of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. I like to use a flash when my subjects are back lit, such as at sunset.

Don’t zoom. Zooming with your cell phone camera is not an optical zoom but it is an electronic enlargement of the image. The image quality suffers when you zoom in. Choose to move forward or back to fill the frame. If you have a cluttered background move in to fill the frame to make your subject dominate the scene.

Don’t use harsh light. If you are going to do portraits choose to do them in either mid-morning or late afternoon. The light during these times has a less harsh feel and is warmer and more welcoming. The camera will struggle less with the light and the photos will turn out nicer.

Don’t settle for straight out of the camera; post-process them. Your camera does, why not you? Download applications such as Snapseed or Lightroom Mobile to adjust the photo to make it look its best. Most camera phones come with their own image editing application.

Don’t be selective in what you shoot. Film is cheap when you’re shooting digital. You increase your odds of getting a great photo if you take more of them.

Don’t forget about your photos. In the past we would take our photos, print them and put them into a photo album. We can still do that today even though we’re no longer using film. You can either print them yourself if you have a printer, go to the drugstore and use their kiosk or you can send your digital file to a company online who can print them and send them back. Even better is that you can now self-publish your own book in any quantity, including a single issue of your vacation photos.

Do have fun with it. It’s always with us. In the past we would leave our cameras at home while today it’s usually within arm’s reach at any time. You have a much better chance these days to get a unique photo of life as it happens around us. With these few little tricks, you can make your photos better, but it takes practice and the willingness to tell your camera what to do.

Contributed photo courtesy of the National Archives
Doug-fir's history a must read for Mountain community by Steve Wilent on 02/01/2021

As we Hoodlanders know all too well, living amongst very tall trees can be – interesting. When the winds howl through the branches, the beauty we enjoy every day is forgotten and fear sets in – the dread that a tree will fall onto our homes, cars, well sheds and powerlines. My house was spared during the windstorm of Jan. 13–14, but those of some of our neighbors were not.


As far as I have seen, most of the downed trees are Douglas-fir, which is by far the most common species in our area. In calm weather, it is easy to see that Doug-fir is a remarkable species. A new book by Stephen F. Arno and Carl E. Fiedler explains why: “Douglas-Fir: The Story of the West’s Most Remarkable Tree.”

Arno and Fielder, who are highly experienced foresters as well as accomplished writers, also authored “Ponderosa: People, Fire, and the West’s Most Iconic Tree,” published in 2015. They have a gift for storytelling in a way that is interesting and informative to foresters and the general public alike.

Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) is named for two botanists, the authors write: David Douglas, who came to the U.S. from Scotland in 1823, and Archibald Menzies, who served as naturalist on a British voyage to the Pacific Northwest and collected a specimen of Douglas-fir twigs and needles on Vancouver Island in 1791. A 2009 book by Jack Nisbet, “The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest,” offers a fascinating account of Douglas’s travels in the region, including his interactions with Native Americans.

Of course, the native peoples of the western U.S. knew and valued the tree for millennia before Europeans arrived.

“North American Indian tribes have lived in relationship with Douglas-fir since the earliest of times, based on both folklore and archaeological evidence. The Tewa people of New Mexico, for example, claim that humankind first came to Earth by climbing up a tall Douglas-fir tree from under a lake,” Arno and Fiedler wrote.

Douglas-fir is an enigma:

“Its mix of distinctive structural features and physiological attributes produces a tree that is puzzling, exceptional, and in ways a marvel of nature. World class in height, geographic distribution, and wood quality, and unique in architecture and genetic composition, Douglas-fir also acquires nitrogen in novel ways, and at times even irrigates itself. Though this tree has long played an integral role in the lives of humans and animals, many of its secrets are only now being understood through modern science.”

Today, the world’s tallest trees are coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) – the tallest known is a hair over 380 feet tall – but in the past Douglas-fir has topped the redwoods:

“An article in a 1910 issue of the Western Lumberman reported a huge Douglas-fir east of Seattle that had grown to over 400 feet tall and 17.8 feet in diameter. A 1970 article in the MacMillan Bloedel News reported a Douglas-fir felled near Tacoma in early-day logging that measured 412 feet long, plus a stump five feet tall, for a total height of 417 feet. Al Carder, who was perhaps the world authority on big trees before he died in 2014, firmly believed that scattered Douglas-firs in the Pacific Northwest were the tallest trees that ever lived prior to heavy logging in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”

Many of the giant Douglas-firs are gone now, having been harvested for their valuable lumber, which is still today a highly useful and valuable product:

“Douglas-fir’s many desirable attributes account for its lofty status as the most economically important tree species in the world. Its wood is strong, stiff, stable in drying, and relatively durable. It can be machined well and is suitable for a very broad range of uses, including its superior application for construction lumber, high-quality boards, and large timbers. Douglas-fir constitutes about one-eighth of all commercial timber volume in the United States, dwarfing the volume of any other species.”

Doug-fir has been planted widely in Europe, South America, and New Zealand:

“In New Zealand, Douglas-fir doesn’t grow at the same phenomenal speed as Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), but at higher elevations it exceeds the pine’s growth rate. In some areas of New Zealand, Douglas-fir regenerates so well that it spreads into native grasslands and is considered a weed that threatens these habitats.”

Doug-Fir Forest Health

A decline in forest health throughout the western U.S. has been an issue of much concern to foresters and other land managers for decades. Much of the focus has been on ponderosa pine ecosystems, where fire suppression over the last decade has left vast areas overcrowded and with high levels of fuels. However, write Arno and Fiedler, Douglas-fir forests also have been profoundly affected.

“By the mid-twentieth century, most of the West’s Douglas-fir forests were out of sync with primeval conditions, which became obvious in overcrowded inland forests that had gone without burning for periods much longer than any pre-1900 intervals between fires. The historically dominant fire-resistant or fire-dependent conifers were being largely displaced by more shade-tolerant Douglas-fir or true firs. Douglas-fir was also starting to crowd out aspen groves, which provide key wildlife habitat. By the late 1900s, old, thick-barked, fire-resistant Douglas-firs were being killed by wildfires in high-elevation lodgepole pine and mixed conifer forests. The wetter coastal Douglas-fir forests that once went centuries between fires also came to exhibit effects of fire exclusion. Remaining virgin forests now have few young fire-generated Douglas-fir communities, and the historically dominant Douglas-fir is slowly being replaced by shade-tolerant western hemlock, Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis), grand fir, and white fir. Despite this seemingly bleak situation, there are some management alternatives for restoring greater resilience and sustainability in both inland and coastal Douglas-fir forests based on the historical role of fire. However, this “ecology-based forest management” cannot be carried out at any significant scale unless it garners strong public support, and its advocates can only succeed if they understand the public’s perception of forests.”

You need not live in Hoodland to appreciate “Douglas-Fir.” Arno and Fiedler’s story makes for fascinating reading. An appendix, “A Visitor’s Guide to Notable Douglas-Firs,” may inspire you to see more of these remarkable trees for yourself.

“Douglas-Fir: The Story of the West’s Most Remarkable Tree" is available in hardback from Mountaineers Books for $21.95 (tinyurl.com/y5jv65r7) and other retailers.

Song sparrows serenade as a preview to spring by Mt. Hood Community College on 02/01/2021

The darkness of winter, while felt deeply, is fleeting. Already we notice the day extending past mid-afternoon and even early risers can detect light on the horizon. Certainly, cold days lie ahead, heavy rains will play their percussive symphony on our roofs and snow will fall in the mountains for weeks to come, but the first bulbs have broken ground in our gardens and Melospiza melodia (song sparrows) have begun their early season singing.

Song sparrows are aptly named. They serenade our neighborhoods for much of the year. Like most songbirds, they learn their song through practice and song-matching – a process of taking snippets they have memorized and assembling them until they have created a full song. But unlike many birds, these troubadours add to and modify the basic tune throughout the season and from year to year. The variations are recognizable to other birds (and bird watchers) as “song sparrow,” but the length and complexity varies within and between individuals. Indeed, evidence suggests that the males with larger repertoires are more attractive as mates – the length of song serving as an indicator, perhaps, of keener genes to be passed on to young.

We don’t always hear the full song at this time of year, however. These early tunes are likely just practice, a warm-up, so to speak. It is still early for romance, after all. Hormones flow at rates matched to the length of day and we are still in the season when dark rules over light. Still, the sweet sound of spring is near, and a forest walk will gift you not only the sparrow’s partial song, but also the year-round melody of a Pacific wren and the contact calls of kinglets and chickadees. February wet does not deter those who winter here.

Nonetheless, partial or complete, the sounds have me looking ahead. I know that soon these birds will be joined by colorful warblers who are undoubtedly getting restless in their tropical wintering grounds – catching insects as fast as they can, laying on fat to fuel the long flight north, eager to join the symphony of a temperate spring. Eager, but not ready. A message to us all to rejoice in the current season of waterfalls, the re-filling of reservoirs and the peace and joy of snow-covered slopes that dampen sound as well as land and create the space for symphonies to come.

Walter Shriner, PhD is an instructor of biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: How committees work by Rep. Anna Williams on 02/01/2021

Among the duties I’ve taken on during the 2021 legislative session, I am honored to have been appointed as Chair of the House Human Services Committee. If you’re not familiar with the legislative process, a policy committee is a bill’s first stop on its way to passage.

Committees are where we hear testimony about the need for and problems with proposed bills, whether from experts, lobbyists, fellow legislators or (most importantly) members of the public who want to weigh in. Committees are where we debate and adopt amendments to bills after compromises have been worked out, or after serious flaws in the original bills have been identified.

A committee’s most important job is its final vote. Without passing through a committee, a bill never gets to the full House of Representatives for a floor vote... put more simply, the bill “dies” without the support of a majority of committee members. Because of the critical role that a committee has in the legislative process, and because of the leadership responsibilities that I have as this committee’s chair, I have some important ideas about how the House Human Services Committee should operate.

For one thing, I think the most successful legislation is that which has been deeply considered, thoroughly debated and amended as necessary. Put simply, I will focus on ensuring that this committee does things well, rather than simply tallying up as many accomplishments as possible.

When election season rolls around, it’s helpful in politics to have a long list of the topics you have addressed through your work, but that comes with a cost. For every additional policy we work to pass, it means we have spent less time on all the other policies we also put into effect. In my two years of serving this community in Salem, I’ve noticed a lot of the work of the Oregon Legislature involves revisiting past bills to tweak issues that should have been identified and fixed the first time around -- not an ideal way to spend our time. My hope is that bills passing through my committee will not need adjustments in the near future, except for perhaps adjusting to unforeseeable circumstances.

Another focus for my committee will be transparency and access. Among its many terrible impacts, the pandemic has provided us at least one positive change. The legislature has finally adopted what I’ve been asking for since I started my political career: the ability for everyone to testify remotely if they are unable to make it to a committee hearing in Salem! This is especially valuable for rural communities in Oregon. If you live in a mountain community and wish to testify on a bill, there is absolutely no reason you should be required to spend more than four hours in your car (assuming there are no traffic delays!) to sit in a chair in the Capitol and testify for a few minutes. The era of “work from home” has finally provided us with an improved opportunity for rural voices to be heard, and I look forward to inviting as many people from my district as possible to testify in the Human Services Committee.

Lately, some of my colleagues across the aisle have been claiming that it is unjust for the Capitol to be closed to the public due to the pandemic, but our new ability to hear remote testimony has in fact exponentially increased how accessible the legislative process is, and in my role as a committee chair, I will constantly encourage those from outside of the I-5 corridor to use this new opportunity to weigh in.

My personal priorities in the human services arena will focus on access to pandemic-related relief, services and prevention for domestic abuse and child abuse, improving Oregon’s foster care system for kids and parents alike and long-term care services. Regardless, my personal priorities may take a backseat to other legislators’ in the committee, because I am committed to serving Oregonians as best I can, even if it means admitting my colleagues’ legislative ideas might sometimes be better than my own!

I hope you’ll all engage with the legislative process throughout this session, however you see fit. If you’d like to get an overview of bills we’re working on in my committee, or if you’d like to testify on those or any other bills at a committee hearing, please write to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov and my staff will teach you how to receive notifications about hearings, to review the text and testimony of specific bills and of course how to sign up for my newsletter and learn about my “virtual open office hours” and constituent town hall events. Having engaged and informed constituents makes my job significantly easier, and a whole lot more fun!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Wastewater update by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 02/01/2021

I am excited to share some great news for the Sandy community. Midway through last month, the EPA announced that the City of Sandy has been invited to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan for assistance with our long-overdue wastewater treatment facility upgrades. The vast majority of communities that receive this invitation obtain the requested financing.

As many of you are aware, we’re facing the largest public infrastructure project in our city’s history with our DEQ-mandated wastewater treatment process upgrades. This venture has an extremely expensive price tag of $60-$80 million.

In addition to a competitive interest rate, the first payment on WIFIA loans can be deferred up to five years after completion of the project, with a maximum term of 35 years. This allows us the time to continue to advocate for additional state and federal dollars for this project. It also helps reduce the impact on ratepayers. WIFIA financing can only be used for up to 49 percent of the project so we will have to seek other financing sources for the remainder of the costs. Our financial consultant has determined that ratepayers in Sandy would save just over $800,000 per year with WIFIA financing as opposed to a conventional revenue bond, or about $16M over the 20-year term of a revenue bond.

I would like to thank our team at the City of Sandy for all of their hard work to help bring this to fruition, as well as our federal congressional delegation and their staff for all of your advocacy and help in achieving this invitation. Our previous City Council engaged early on with U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden’s offices, and several of us had a face-to-face meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer. I was also able to meet with Senators Merkley and Wyden during a visit to Washington D.C. early last year. Our entire congressional delegation also signed a letter and advocated for our community to obtain this critical financing. A large thanks goes to Senator Jeff Merkley and his team for leading and coordinating our efforts at the national level, as well as providing guidance and expertise throughout the application process.

This news is in addition to the exciting conclusions our Green Alternatives Analysis is starting to show. Some may remember that the previous Oregon State Legislature approved a budget that included an earmarked $500,000 for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis.

In 2019, our council and staff toured other communities’ water treatment facilities. We all came away excited about the possibilities of treatment alternatives after visiting the more than 700-acre Fernhill facility in Forest Grove. Fernhill is owned by Clean Water Services and uses natural treatment systems, or wetlands, to improve water quality by removing nutrients, cooling and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment. Fernhill is designated as an important bird area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyotes and other wildlife.

Thoroughly vetting alternative options is crucial for our community. If one of these options is viable, it would cut the cost of the current plan in half and would be much better for our environment.

The conclusions of our green alternative analysis are starting to point towards this being a very viable option for our community. We have already reached out, engaged with and come to mutual understandings with key stakeholders to make this become a reality. We look forward to exciting announcements in the years ahead.

When Sandy faces major challenges, we work together, innovate and lead, much like the pioneers that settled this area years ago. It’s the Sandy way in our overarching goal of keeping Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

The downside of not having a will by Paula Walker on 02/01/2021

Dying without a will – dying intestate – is a huge topic touching every aspect of our loved ones lives from the legal technicalities of the laws governing who gets what and how much, and who may get nothing even though they may have been your closest relationship of many, many years.

In continuation of the article published in January let us look at the basics of what occurs when you die intestate – that is, without having even a at minimum a will – from a ‘down to earth’ perspective of how these events play out in lives like yours and mine.

At its most basic, a will is a plan. A plan is not a foreign concept. We resort to planning for even the most routine functions of our lives, like buying groceries or going out to dinner. For bigger events like weddings or a vacation, we definitely plan because we know that a lack of planning leads to uncertain outcomes at the least and potentially all-time disasters of various sorts – missed destinations, frustrations, friction, disappointments. Add to this the untold weighty element of grief and loss in the mix, and you have a sense of what dying without even a will visits upon your closest relationships.

Fighting, confusion, unfair disbursement of belongings and wealth, unresolvable grief, distress, excessive red tape claiming rightful benefits and on. Sibling or family fighting over who makes the decisions about even the most basic things like the burial or cremation. Family friction over who receives what that can result in lifetime wounds to long-time relationships. The ex gets all the life insurance because the beneficiaries were never changed and maybe even still holds title to the house. While the existing spouse is entitled to some percentage of the assets’ value by law, it may not be at all the division the deceased intended. Obstacles to claiming spousal Veterans Administration (VA) benefits because proper beneficiary designations were never registered. The inability to gain rightful title to property because unbeknownst it was titled only in the deceased’s name.

And on.

The technical laws of intestate distributions are a topic I will cover in subsequent articles.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Do not wait till the “last minute.” Those minutes may be fewer than you would like.

In many of these articles I feature the battles of the Titans; those high-profile, dramatic, beyond real life warring over assets of dynasties. So remote, so interesting, so engaging – because it is not us and never will be. It is the stuff of modern Shakespearean drama.

But for this article, inspired by the many stories of Rhonda Green, whose book, “My Exit Plan,” provided material for my last article, I present you with a sobering account, close to home, in a land not-so-far-away and circumstances any one of us may face, and many of us do face with alarming predictability.

Dying intestate… the couple had been meaning for the last many years to create a trust so that the passing of the five pieces of real estate property, valuable acreage (some developed, some not) would be a smooth transfer without unnecessary red tape. At the least, ensure that all the property would pass without issue to the surviving spouse. At best, ensure that the property and all financial assets would be rightly transferred equitably to the cherished adult children upon the passing of both of them; no probate, no lengthy, costly administration through the court system.

One thing however, they never got around to it. The husband had one stroke. A wake-up call. Intent was re-kindled. But in close succession, without further action on the intended estate plan, the husband has a second severe stroke. Children are called from other parts of the country as “it may not be long.” An attorney is called to create that trust while there is still time. The problem is that there is not much time. Cognizance is declining rapidly. There is no time, really for the ideal probate avoidance by creating a trust, so the decision is to at minimum create a will to ensure that everything transfers to the dying man’s wife. The issues unfortunately that loom are: 1) is all the property in both their names? No way to know because no time to research and the paperwork is somewhere? Where? 2) no time to create deed transfers to ensure joint ownership if needed. 3) will mental clarity reside long enough for the husband to be able to sign a will? One of the key elements to a valid will is that the principal ( the person who’s will it is) has the mental capacity to know what they are doing and what the contents are; 4) will death be staved off long enough to execute the valid will so that at minimum, the surviving spouse will not incur additional time and expense proving to the court system that the interim document, written hastily with two neighbors as witness to the “everything to my wife” statement, is in fact her husband’s Last Will and Testament…?

In the end, death was not staved off. Although the attorney puts everything else on hold and draws up the basic documents, the attorney arrives at the house to find the husband has already begun to transition. There will be no interaction with ‘sufficient mental clarity’ much less a signing of legal documents. Two of the five properties are only in the husband’s name, so even if the court accepts the neighbor-witnessed ‘will’ as valid, the wife will need to go through a full and costly probate for a proper transfer of title to her of the properties bequeathed.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Low-fat food doesn't add up by Victoria Larson on 02/01/2021

Many have tried every single low-fat food and drink available to no avail. From planned meals to low-cal cocktails, nothing really worked, right? Well, you've been sold a bill of goods, about a billion dollars’ worth of foods that clearly don't lead to healthy weight management, or a healthy heart for that matter. Diabetes, heart disease and obesity continue to rise. What's wrong with this picture.

To this day the American Heart Association, in good faith I'm sure, advocates avoiding butter, cream, eggs and whole milk as the way to avoid heart attacks. Instead, you've been told to consume chicken without the skin, egg whites (but no yolks), margarine, skim milk and low-fat salad dressings made with questionable vegetable oils. If you followed this advice you are probably the first to say, "ugh," in addition to not losing any weight or maybe even not avoiding a heart attack. Why is this?

We tend to believe advertising. What we need to know is this: our human bodies are made of protein. These proteins are composed of amino acids, of which several are considered "essential.” That means they must be consumed in the diet as they cannot be manufactured by our bodies. And our bodies don't function well without these essential amino acids. Proteins are needed for all enzymatic processes that happen in daily life - like digestion, energy and heart function! The following is a list of several amino acids that must come from foods and which foods they come from:

Histidine comes from dairy, eggs, meat, poultry; Isoleucine from the same sources; Leucine from dairy, meat, poultry and wheat germ; Lysine from dairy, eggs, fish, meat, poultry; Methionine from dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds; Phenylalanine from dairy, eggs, meat, wheat germ; Threonine from beans, dairy, eggs, meat; Tryptophan from dairy, meat, nuts, poultry (especially turkey); and finally, Valine from dairy, eggs, meat poultry and wheat germ. Well, you get the idea...

Vegetables and fruits are wonderful for providing vitamins and minerals, but other sources of protein are important to keep us healthy. But wait, those amino acid, protein building blocks, are the very foods you've been told for the last few decades to avoid! While diabetes, heart disease and obesity have continued to skyrocket. What's going on here? We've been advertised to near death. Sold a bill of goods. Crisco, fake eggs, margarine and vegetable oils were 'sold' to us, via advertising, for heart health and weight loss. These things were touted as being better for you than real food!

Yet for thousands of years before advertising, humans have been consuming a traditional diet of dairy, eggs, meat and poultry. These are the foods that bring us amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and the good fats. The foods that don't make you fat (unless over-consumed) but have an important role in keeping you healthy with a managed weight.

If you still believe that fats raise your cholesterol, you're partially right. Bad fats and simple carbs do raise blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. The "bad fats" are things like hydrogenated fats found in baked goods, crackers and chips, any of the myriad of manipulated, colored, manufactured and preservative foodstuffs that advertisers push you to consider to be healthy food! But they're not.

The good fats don't make you fat or raise your cholesterol. Avocadoes, nuts oils, olive oil, sesame oil and even butter are not only real foods, but they are also foods (fats if you will) that are good for you! Most cholesterol is manufactured by your body and recycled. Surprised? That must mean that your body needs cholesterol. And that, in fact, is true. But why do we need cholesterol?

You have trillions of cells in your body and each and every cell has a membrane composed of lipids. Lipids are fats. Good fats keep those cell membranes fluid and "squishy" so they can move around your body and do their "chores.” The chores of a cell include taking in nutrients, building enzymes for metabolic processes and releasing waste materials. Each and every cell. If those cell membranes are composed of trans fats (from the above mentioned sources) the cells become stiff and unable to function properly, leading to illnesses and the inevitable endpoint.

The bottom line - get the trans fats out of your diet, put the good fats back in. Stop stressing about cholesterol, your body's going to make it anyway and you need it for cellular health. Eat real food, not fake food. Don't be cajoled or scared by advertising. Use your brain and think it through. Your brain, by the way, is composed of 40 percent fat, so that should convince you of the need for good fats. But more on that another time.

New Orleans cooking by Taeler Butel on 02/01/2021

Any time I travel I take in local flavors as much as the scenery.

The food in Louisiana is influenced from Native American, African and European cultures as well as the regional seafood and agriculture.

This month of course celebrates Mardi Gras, which in French translates to “Fat Tuesday.”

Jambalaya is the quintessential Cajun dish, is scrumptious and can be made in one pot!

Beignets deserve a National holiday all their own!


In a large pot over medium heat add:

1 diced green bell pepper

4 sliced green onions

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 lb. sliced andouille sausage

2 garlic cloves

2 T butter

Sautee until sausage is browned and then add in:

1 t salt, plus 1/2 t each black pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika

1 small can chopped tomatoes

3 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1 cup long grain rice

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Add in 1/2 lb. raw, cleaned shrimp once the rice is tender. Cover and cook for five minutes. Serve warm with chopped parsley and hot sauce.


In large bowl of an electric mixer bloom 2 tsp yeast in 1 cup warm water with 2 T granulated sugar. Set aside until its frothy.

Whisk in 1/2 t salt, 1/2 cup sugar, two eggs, one cup milk, 1/4 cup melted butter then add hook attachment and fold in 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time.

Knead for five minutes, then cover and let rise.

Roll dough on well-floured surface to 1/2-inch and cut into squares of 3x3” for large beignets.

In a large pot over medium/high, heat 4” of vegetable oil.

Test the oil: throw in a little flour – did it bubble? Ok, it’s ready.

Fry a few at a time for two minutes a side or until golden. Serve warm with powdered sugar, jam, chocolate sauce.


Composite image by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Artificial Intelligence by Gary Randall on 01/01/2021

The year 2020 will not be forgotten. It will be one of those years that when it’s mentioned we will all remember how our ability to simply go about our daily routines without taking precautions was curtailed.


For landscape photographers, that can severely limit how productive they are when it comes to producing new images. The year 2020 will also be remembered as the year when computers started to take control of many aspects of our lives, including photography.

Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, has finally arrived in the world of digital photography. There are now several programs that have started to use AI to process digital photos in a single click of a button. This also includes the ability to send one’s digital photography into the realm of graphic art.

These programs have the ability to add components of an image that didn’t happen. They also have the ability to create a sunset, a blue cloud-dotted sky or to even add a mountain onto the horizon. These programs do this by feeding a computer with thousands of sample images. This allows the computer to learn how to create these conditions in your photos.

There is a bit of a debate within the photographic community that discusses the ethics behind this kind of digital manipulation. It is not a new discussion, as photographers have been manipulating photos since photography was invented. The discussion is not as much about the action of making these composited images as it is considered art and nobody has a right to tell anyone how to create their art, and most people agree with that.

The discussion centers more around honesty and clarity. It is argued that when someone views a photo there is a certain expectation for the image to be real. This expectation is not applied to painting as much as it is a photograph as artistic license is expected in a painting.

Many people look at a photograph and do not expect to wonder if it actually happened. Therefore, many people feel that there should be clarity and honesty from the photographer when asked about their photo. Especially when asked if it is real.

There is a lot of ego in the art world, especially photography these days. Websites like Instagram promote the narrative above the image itself which can tempt a photographer to exaggerate the story of their lives, and digital manipulation of images can support this exaggeration with exaggerated images. Therein lies the question concerning truth and ethics.

I am certainly not opposed to manipulating photos. It can be fun and can produce some striking images, but what I am a proponent for is honesty. If an image is not real, I would like to know. I would simply like to know if it is a photo or a graphic art piece as I feel that these digital manipulations are no longer photographs once they are created in or by a computer program.

Maybe I am a photography snob but that is how I see this situation. I would like to differentiate between someone who has actually fought hard and lost more times than they’ve won to get an epic image, and one who didn't leave home. I’d like to know if someone sat at their desk and took numerous stock photography images and mashed them together or if they actually experienced what the image shows.

For me photography is not just about the image. It is also about the story and the experience behind the image. Reading about an actual experience is exciting and inspiring. Viewing a digital recreation of a scene just is not the same and should not be presented as such.

This trend has been exacerbated more this year than in previous years due to the inability of many to travel, further exaggerated by the advance of artificial intelligence in photo software. It’s my hope that we all can resume our lives and the ability to roam free once more and to be inspired to be at a location when the magic happens and not be tempted to create this false narrative supported by unreal computer created images.

The photograph that I have included with this article is an example of what a computer will do if you let it. I removed Mount Hood from this scene and then asked the computer program’s artificial intelligence to add clouds and a mountain. I ended up with Mount Fuji over Timberline Lodge. As you can see by this photo one can take a trip and never leave the farm.

Let's all hope that 2021 reverses many trends that were established as normal in 2020 and that truth is valued over vanity once more.

Contributed photo.
Looking to cure another pandemic – wildfires by Steve Wilent on 01/01/2021

A change of pace from last month’s article on holiday trees – a much more serious issue.


The COVID-19 pandemic dominated the national news in 2020, with the presidential election coming in a close second. The pandemic and presidential politics are sure to dominate 2021, too. Without so many barrels of ink and so many gigabytes of digital news devoted to the two topics, another pandemic might have drawn much more attention: wildfires in the western U.S.

From 2010 to 2019, wildfires burned an average of 6,613,017 acres in the first 11 months and 12 days of the year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center – an area nearly the size of the state of Massachusetts. As of this writing on Dec. 15, fires this year have burned more than 9.5 million acres, 145 percent of the 10-year average – an area about the size of New Hampshire and Connecticut combined.

Some local perspective: 9.5 million acres is an area eight times the area of Clackamas County, or about the area of the 14 counties in northwest Oregon – Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington and Yamhill.

A study published in “Geophysical Research Letters” in November found that wildfires in the West are more severe than in the past. The authors, Sean Parks, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Research Station, and John Abatzoglou, a professor at the University of California, Merced, calculate that the area burned by severe fire – areas where more than 95 percent of trees are killed – has increased eight-fold in western U.S. forests over the past four decades.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, infectious disease experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urge us to wear masks, wash our hands frequently, avoid public places and take other measures to slow the spread of the disease and help reduce the burden on hospitals and medical personnel. Likewise, simple, common-sense measures can help reduce the frequency and intensity of wildfires. If there were a Dr. Anthony Fauci of forest and wildfire management, he or she would undoubtedly promote fuels reduction, both by mechanical removal and with prescribed fire, and other forest management activities.

The need “to get good fire on the ground” was the subject of an Aug. 28 article in “Propublica,” “They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?”

Some people and governments are listening. In August, the USFS and the State of California signed a Shared Stewardship Agreement aimed at addressing “a cycle of catastrophic wildfires, longer fire seasons, severe drought, intense wind, tree mortality, invasive species, and human population pressure threaten to convert conifer forests to shrublands and shrublands to invasive grasses.” The two partners plan to spend $1 billion on fuels reduction and watershed restoration, with a goal of treating one million acres annually by 2025. Oregon and the USFS signed a Shared Stewardship Agreement in 2019, and recently Gov. Kate Brown and the state legislature have been considering $50 million in spending to help reduce the risk of wildfire – a drop in the bucket.

Even with adequate funding, the prospect of treating vast areas in the west is daunting.

“Two of the basic problems with the current regime of prescribed fire are resources and staffing,” Amanda Monthei wrote in “Land Managers Can’t Burn the West Fast Enough,” an Oct. 28 article in “The Atlantic” (tinyurl.com/y5dognvo). “Federal lands often require qualified federal firefighters to perform a majority of the burning. These firefighters must understand the intricacies of prescribed burns – they must know the right weather conditions for a successful burn, understand the terrain, and anticipate how fire might interact with that landscape.”

“However, the greater part of federal funding and resources are allocated to suppression in the late summer and early fall, when fires are burning under more extreme conditions and communities are most at risk. Many federal firefighters are seasonal employees, hired primarily to battle the heat of the summer. They work from April to October or November and are then laid off until the following spring, for almost the entire window when the weather is mild and prescribed burning is most effective and safe. Permanent federal employees are capable of this work, but are small in number and often busy with administrative tasks.”

Articles like this are important insofar as they help educate the public and policymakers, but education isn’t enough. A plan of action is needed. Two prominent figures in forestry and wildland fire management – the equivalent of two Dr. Anthony Faucis – have written one. Dale N. Bosworth, a former chief of the USFS, and Jerry T. Williams, formerly the agency’s national director fire management, have outlined a comprehensive effort to address the wildfire problem in a recent paper, “The West’s Wildfire Crisis and the Urgency to Restore Safer, More Resilient Conditions in its Dry Forest Types.” The paper acknowledges the recent fires in the wetter forests in our area, west of the Cascades, but focuses primarily on drier east-side forests, such as the ponderosa pine-dominated forests around Bend and Sisters. I would argue that the Riverside Fire (more than 138,000 acres), Beachie Creek Fire (193,573 acres) and Lionshead Fire (204,469 acres) on the Mount Hood and Willamette National Forests show that addressing fire danger and promoting safer, more resilient conditions in these forests also is needed.

“Fundamentally, the crisis is not a fire operations failure,” Bosworth and Williams wrote. “It is a land management and land use failure abetted by regulations and policies that don’t reflect the realities of climate change or the ecologies of fire disturbance regimes. It is a failure to adequately manage fire-adapted, fire-dependent, fire-prone ecosystems. The onset of climate change has made manifest the deteriorated condition of the West’s dry forest types. It is a condition that history and science tell us bears the hand of man. At its core, the West’s wildfire crisis is also a failure of imagination. We seem unable to imagine that things can get much worse, when almost every year they do. We seem unwilling to imagine a whole new approach to wildfire protection; one rooted in how we might better manage the land.”

Bosworth and Williams propose looking at the issue through three lenses:

– Regulatory: most of the country’s environmental regulations were conceived and enacted before the onset of climate change and before the science of disturbance ecology emerged.

– Fiscal: fiscal policies are heavily weighted to reacting to disaster, rather than preventing disaster.

– Markets: there are few markets currently available for the kinds of material that, once removed, can reduce the severity of wildfires.

Among their proposed actions is “a rigorous cost-benefit assessment among the range of wildfire protection alternatives and conduct a trajectory analysis of where each alternative is headed, forecasting the social, economic, and ecological effects over time for each option.”

This is precisely the kind of approach that is needed – that has been needed for many years. The question is, “Will anybody listen?” If policymakers hear often from their constituents – people like you and me – about Bosworth and Williams’ blueprint for addressing the wildfire pandemic, perhaps they’ll do more than listen.

Want to know more about how to make forests more resilient to wildfire? Need a drone to deliver a copy of the Bosworth/Williams paper to Congress? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

A copy of the Bosworth/Williams paper is available for downloading from the National Association of Forest Service Retiree’s web site, tinyurl.com/yy8jfm5z.

A wonder of the season – the winter chanterelle by Mt. Hood Community College on 01/01/2021

Welcome to a new year and a new Our Community, Our Earth, where instructors from Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) will continue to provide insight on subjects related to our environment, ecology and more. We look forward to another fantastic year sharing our knowledge with the community.

Like many of us, fall is my favorite season. I adore the crisp bite in the air and the marvelous golds and reds of falling leaves. I look forward to filling our pantry with a rainbow of squashes and pulling on my galoshes for wet weekends foraging in the forest.

Fall lovers may feel a bit of despair creep in as the crispy air turns downright chilly and the days grow shorter, limiting our time outdoors. However, there is a cure for the winter blues, and it is mushrooms. There are several species of fungi that continue to fruit as the winter takes hold, and finding these brilliant creatures nestled amongst the frosty twigs may be the thrill we need to turn that winter frown upside down.

One such species is the winter chanterelle. This beautiful fungus has many common names; it is also called the yellow foot, the funnel chanterelle and (unhelpfully) the winter mushroom. The inexact nature of common names can lead to confusion, and in the worst-case scenarios can lead to misidentifications, so using scientific names is helpful when discussing our fungal friends.

The scientific name of this species is Craterellus neotubaeformis. Until recently it was called Craterellus tubaeformis, but molecular evidence indicates that our west coast variety is unique when compared to the east coast or European varieties, and thus it deserves a new name (hence “neo” which means “new”).

Craterellus neotubaeformis is a joy to find in the wild! It has a brown cap that is funnel shaped and sometimes the funnel extends all the way through the stem toward the forest floor. The stem is yellow and hollow, which contrasts beautifully with the brown hues of the cap.

The whole body of the fungus has a distinctive flexibility and pliability to it. You could practically bend it in half before it snaps in two, and it keeps this nice texture when cooked.

The gills of this fungi are important when it comes to correctly identifying it, as they are blunt ridges instead of sharp plates. These ridges are often forked, widely spaced, running down the stem and should be a shade of yellow to pale brown.

This fabulous edible is associated with conifers, which in our area means it is plentiful under Douglas fir trees. I love to eat these mushrooms fresh, although they may be dried or frozen if you find an abundance of them. A quick sauté with some oil is all you need, then this fabulous fungus is ready to be a welcome addition to eggs, pasta, tarts or your favorite winter stew.

Recipe suggestion: http://chocolateandmarrow.com/2014/10/19/chanterelle-and-gruyere-frittata/

Catherine Creech is an Instructor of Biology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: 2021 session starts soon by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/01/2021

In the final ten days of a very chaotic year, my colleagues in the Oregon State Legislature and I came together for the third and final special legislative session of 2020. I wanted to take this opportunity to summarize the emergency policies we put into place. Although there were hours of public testimony and months of debate and compromise that went into the bills we passed, this is just a broad overview. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to me at the email address below.

First, I was thrilled that the legislature finally passed a bill that I have been pushing for as a priority since the summer: a bill to allow restaurants to serve “cocktails to go.” I’ve heard from restaurant owners in every community I represent about how they need more income to make it through the winter. Because our state constitution requires the legislature to raise revenue to pay for all its policies, the state isn’t able to provide the billions of dollars that would be needed to keep restaurants afloat - we need federal support to do that. But the legislature is able to loosen regulations to help restaurants make more income, and that’s what I tried to do when I joined a colleague from Portland in spearheading this bill.

Second, we passed a bill to protect school districts from frivolous lawsuits related to the pandemic, providing limited liability in order for schools to be able to re-open and get our kids back into the classroom. I supported this bill because I thought it was a reasonable compromise between people on both sides of the issue: it requires schools to follow all public health guidance in order to keep educators, students and students’ families safe and healthy, but it prevents a flood of litigation that could bankrupt our schools. People can still sue schools for reckless, wanton and intentional misconduct that puts them or their kids at risk.

Third, and maybe most importantly, we passed a bill to prevent the pandemic from worsening our state’s housing crisis any more than it already has. Our state’s eviction moratorium was set to expire Dec. 31 if the legislature did not extend it. But simply extending the eviction would have left landlords high and dry: many have not collected any rent from their tenants since last March and are suffering serious financial hardship as a result. The bill we passed (which I was proud to support) will create a fund for landlords to access state money on behalf of their tenants whose inability to pay rent is due to the pandemic.

The landlords will only be able to recover 80 percent of what they are owed, which is of course not ideal for them. Still, every landlord I’ve spoken to has said that the cost of collecting back-rent (through courts or collections agencies) would have left them with far less than 80 percent. Also, this bill allows landlords to forgo the 80 percent from the state and pursue 100 percent of the back-rent through their own legal means, or to encourage their renters to obtain rental support (up to 100 percent) through their local rental assistance programs. By providing both resources and choices for landlords and renters, the Oregon Legislature will protect people’s housing while offering much-needed support to the small landlords who depend on rental payments to make ends meet.

Finally, we passed a budget bill that allows $600 million from the state’s general fund to be released in the months to come. These funds may be needed to respond to emergency expenses related to the pandemic and wildfire recovery. Because the new congressional stimulus package does not include direct aid for states or local governments, we unfortunately need to continue to rely on our state’s revenue to be flexible as the pandemic evolves.

Preparations are still underway for the 2021 session that will begin later this month, but these issues urgently needed to be addressed before the end of the year. As I prepare to head back to Salem for the long haul of a six-month session, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and welcome you to reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov if you have any issues that you’d like to discuss.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.


View Points – Sandy: City Council's accomplishments by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/01/2021

This past month, our 2018-20 Sandy City Council met for the final time. Sadly, three councilors will be stepping off of council after doing truly amazing things for this community.

When I was sworn in as Mayor two years ago, I had no idea how much I would grow both as a person and a leader through my experiences serving our great city. The individual members of our Sandy City Council and our ability to work together as a team is likely the biggest factor in my personal growth.

These community leaders, all coming from diverse backgrounds and opinions, showed me that it’s still possible for people to come together, put their community first and accomplish bold solutions to difficult challenges.

Despite a global pandemic, national civil unrest and an unprecedented wildfire season in our region, the work we’ve done as a city to enrich the lives of our neighbors, improve traffic congestion and keep our citizens safe is something I’m truly proud of.

To help keep Sandy moving, we negotiated a joint venture with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a feasibility study for a local bypass for our citizens. Additionally, we received approval for synchronized traffic lights from ODOT on Hwy. 26, secured funding for 362nd to Bell Street to alleviate the school time commute off Bluff Road, won county transportation funds for paved shoulders along 362nd Avenue and took over control from ODOT of a vital stretch of Hwy. 211, allowing our community to control our destiny on one of our most important stretches of road.

Our local Sandy Main Street small businesses are the heartbeat of our community and as promised, we stood up for them! We spearheaded two separate COVID-19 relief funds to provide $3,000 in aid to local small businesses. We slashed red tape by removing System Development Charges for patio seating at local restaurants and burdensome parking requirements. We also increased funding for the Tenant Improvement Program for local businesses.

Additionally, at our last meeting, we approved a new program for small businesses. The city will partner with local business owners to provide funds to build permanent outdoor structures like this one displayed in our Centennial Plaza. This will help our local restaurants and pubs provide outdoor dining options in compliance with current COVID-19 restrictions. This will have the added benefit of being a long-term addition to our Sandy community for years after this pandemic is over.

Now is the time to invest in our Main Street businesses so that they can serve the public and employ our neighbors now and in the future. This program is the first of its kind. We used to do bold, innovative things in Oregon, we still do those things in Sandy.

Finally, one of my most important responsibilities as your Mayor and council is to protect your pocketbook and your family. These past two years we’ve been enormously successful in doing precisely that. We adopted the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan Study that included $500,000 in funds from the State. If successful, this study could help us cut the facility costs in half. Perhaps even more importantly, we provided our Sandy Police Department with not only increased funding, but also a stable funding source that should pay huge dividends for the department in the years ahead.

These are just a few of our major accomplishments, and yet there is still so much left to do. We’ve done a terrific job laying the foundation for Sandy to flourish into the future.

Our Sandy City Council has a lot to be proud of. We’ve left a legacy that shows what can be accomplished by putting differences aside, working together as a team and putting your community first.

These next two years as your Mayor, I look forward to working with our new incoming City Councilors to continue to stand up for you and your family. I look forward to interacting with you over these coming years as we dream big about Sandy’s future. Let us together continue to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.


It's not about you, it's about them by Paula Walker on 01/01/2021

As we head into this New Year it is a good time to reflect on those who have been the fabric of your life; those you will turn to for help and support should you ever need to do so in your lifetime; those you will ask to take care of your affairs when you pass.

A stark reality I know, but a truth undeniable, we all die eventually. We cannot avoid that outcome. What we can control and ensure, is what we leave as we exit… a legacy or a mess. We won’t be around to deal with it but someone, and often those most dear to us, will.

Creating a proper estate plan is about creating your “exit strategy.” And the results of that are a loving gift for the ones you love.

Preparing a proper estate plan is not only for the wealthy, it is about a process that applies to each of us. We all will have final bills to pay, taxes to settle, funerals to arrange, creditors to settle with, finances to distribute, property possibly to sell and personal belongings to disperse upon our passing. Depending on what we have accumulated in our life these functions can take on greater complexity, warrant more effort, be the source of conflict and lead to unnecessary cost and confusion when we leave with no directions to follow.

A proper estate plan provides sound instructions on helping us during our lives as well.

As this year starts, consider the following:

Do you have someone you know and trust to take care of you and your well being, if you should have the need, because you cannot do all for yourself?

Do you have someone you know and trust to take care of your children if you are not able to do so?

Do you have someone you know and trust to take care of and provide a home for your treasured animal companions should you suddenly be unable to do so?

Have you appointed someone to settle with the state and the federal government (the two certainties of death and taxes)?

Was there someone or something you wanted to provide for with what you leave behind? Have you put that in writing? Have you appointed the right person to make that happen?

Do you care if everything you have and everything you own falls to the state to decide who benefits from your life’s work and legacy?

Will your leaving be a source of potential conflict in the family you treasure, or have you given the gift of certainty to guide them and avoid the pitfalls confusion can generate?

Will the persons most dear to you inherit a “hot mess” for lack of planning or the benefits of clear direction so that they can take the time to honor your memory and attend to their own grief?

A proper estate plan does not have to be an insurmountable undertaking, it just has not to be put off. In that proper plan you want to create the documents that take care of your assets on your passing — a Will or a Trust — and that take care of you during your life — your Durable Powers of Attorney for finances and health, and your Advance Directive for critical life support decision making.

Remember, as you reflect on the many things important to you, that an estate plan in its essence is not only about you, it is really about those you love because with or without your direction they will be the ones called upon.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

I thought that I would kick of this year’s Stories of the Stars with a very down to earth star, Rhonda Green, and really, the people whose stories she represents are the Stars, as we all are.

Ms. Green’s book “My Exit Plan: Getting My House in Order” was developed from her many years as funeral services manager, acting — more often than one would like to think — as mediator for embattled families. Her book provides many sobering accounts of everyday people, you and I, whose lives are turned to turmoil when a family member dies without leaving even the most simple of valid wills.

And those stories are not all about rifts over riches; they can be more heart wrenching. By example, there is the account of the mother whose four adult children fought bitterly after her passing about burial versus cremation. Two wanted cremation to save on burial expenses. Two wanted to honor her wishes for burial. In the court battle that ensued it was discovered that their mother had purchased a burial plot for herself. Though in the end her wishes were consummated, and her decision made clear, the rift was without repair.

Ms. Green’s words at a recent symposium are a good way to end this article and start the year: “If you really love your family, then put your wishes in writing and make it legal.”

Dear reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.


Who's got Roast Beast? by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2021

I’m going to do it. It’s time, I’m an adult now, I’m going to cook a real prime rib with Au Jus (awe juuz) and horseradish sauce. This is the roast that prime rib steaks are cut from.

Why is this meat so intimidating? I’m guessing it’s the price and reputation as a special dish reserved for special occasions.

Talk to your butcher – ask them to help you find the perfect prime rib roast (also known as standing rib roast) for your needs. They can pick one with nice marbling and a fat cap that’s not too thick.

Let the meat sit uncovered in the fridge 24 hours ahead of time to ensure crust.

Let the meat come to room temperature (leave on the counter, wrapped for two hours)

General cooking time is five minutes per pound. 10 lbs. equals 50 minutes.

Get your digital meat thermometer ready - you’ll need to do an internal temp check to make sure meat is 135 degrees which is med/rare inside.

Rest the meat. Take the pan out and let it rest for 20 minutes minimum before cutting.

What you’ll need

1 10 lb prime rib roast, bone in or out

Prime rib rub: mix 1 T each, salt, brown sugar, pepper, paprika, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder

3 large onions, sliced

1 head garlic cloves, peeled

Rub the mixture all over meat. Let it sit in fridge uncovered overnight then cover and let it sit at room temp for 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 500 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan place onions and garlic. Place the roast on top and add 1/2 inch of water. Place roast in oven and roast at 500 degrees for 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it sit for 2 hours with the door shut! Take out the meat and set on a cutting board to rest.

Au jus

Strain pan drippings into a large measuring cup. In saucepan add in: 1 cup water mixed with 1 T cornstarch and 1 cup of pan drippings. Add in 1 t Worcestershire and 4 cubes of beef bouillon - whisk until thickened.

Horseradish sauce

Mix together:

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup whipped cream

1 T Worcestershire

2 T Grated horseradish

1 T brown mustard

1 T white wine vinegar

Monthly resolutions can help the burden by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2021

A new day, a new week, a new year! Though many start a new year with resolutions, I've always found them either too stringent, too vague or just too overwhelming. So this year, let's try something different. Since it takes 28 to 30 days to make or change a habit, we actually have twelve chances to improve our lives!

In order to not be too stringent, we can pick only the ones that apply to our individual lives. But we won't be so vague as to let the new knowledge or habit fade out of consciousness. And by choosing only the ones that apply to each individual, it will not be so overwhelming.

Twelve months to make changes, somewhere:

1. Let's start with forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from within the forgiver and benefits that person just as much as the person being forgiven. And remember, the forgiven person is you, the one who ultimately needs it.

2. On a more practical side, avoid trans fats and vegetable oils as much as possible. Trans fats and vegetable oils are in all fast foods and virtually all packaged foods, including cakes, chips, crackers, cookies, breads, etc. Unless you are gluten sensitive, concern yourself more with trans fats and vegetable oils than gluten content. Oils such as coconut oil, fish oils, flax oil, nut oils and olive oil are all better for you than canola, corn and soy oils.

3. Fish – now there are new worries about plastics in seafood. A very valid concern. Ultimately, it's our fault. Many plastics are not recyclable, so we need to stop using them so much lest they end up in the ocean. Think plastic grocery bags, straws and cups, take-home containers from restaurants.

4. Turmeric needs to be warmed in order to be of benefit (antioxidant, arthritis). Warm your spices in a pan before using to make meals or tea. Pills taken cold just won't do the trick.

5. If you prefer coffee to tea, drink no more than two to three cups per day. At that amount coffee appears to be protective against diabetes. Take your coffee with a smidgen of butter and some coconut oil, but no sugar. It's called "bullet coffee" and helps your brain to function because of the good fats in it.

6. Try to avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar is the preferred fuel for cancer cells to grow. This also means only one or two servings of fruit per day. You may have more in the summer as it will keep you cooler.

7. Back to the good fats. Don't bother with low-fat anything. It's a longtime experiment that didn't work and many people bought into it. So many Americans bought into it that it undoubtedly contributes to the near epidemic of Alzheimer's that we now have in our nation. Though lowering fat intake is not the only cause, it's looking like a definite poor choice. Be like the French - enjoy anniversaries, birthdays, feast days and holidays. Then go back to avoiding sugar. Knowing that you can have some sugar in small amounts on special occasions will make avoidance more tolerable.

8. Detox. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. It takes 15-30 days for skin cells to reach the epidermis layer to be sloughed off. Try skin brushing, using perhaps a baby hairbrush or a soft clothes brush, to help remove those top layers of already deceased skin cells. You don't need them, and this will help you to detoxify through your largest organ.

9. Then get into a detoxifying, relaxing bath of Epsom salts to which you may gently add a few drops of a favorite essential oil. Depending on the oil, start with four to five drops and don't go over 12 drops as it may burn, sending you running down the hall in your altogether!

10. If you are a smoker, STOP. It is the single worst thing you can do for your health, guaranteed to shorten your life. Any smoking. Period.

11. The second worst thing you can do for your health is sitting, just sitting. Couch potatoes get up. If you're already up, do something. Every hour. If you are in a wheelchair, wave your arms, lift weights, wiggle your feet every hour. Get rid of your "clickers" except the dog training one. That will get you off the couch as it is. In fact, get a dog. Also guaranteed to make you move.

12. Get more rest. Lack of sleep raises the possibility of illnesses, reduces efficiency and is estimated to cost our economy $280 billion per year. Employers, get tough. Employees, listen to your body. Quit the frazzle-dazzle which often leads to late nights and increased alcohol consumption. Before electricity people slept ten to twelve hours a night. They had less cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

I've left out the really obvious changes we all know about like eat more vegetables (six to ten servings per day), drink more water (to reduce risk of headaches and stroke), exercise more (or at least move more). But those ones you already know. Just pick one of the above to work on each month, adding a new challenge the next month. In a year you will be healthier. Just remember #1 and forgive yourself if you fall back. You've got a whole year to make changes!

The View Finder: Sharing your peace by Gary Randall on 12/01/2020

It's funny how a photographer can plan and plan to be at a location in hopes of capturing a beautiful sunset or even just an epic scene in nature just to have airplanes decide to fly through it casting a contrail as it goes. Most of the time it will ruin your epic photo, but sometimes... albeit very rarely, it works.


This is one of those photos where I really wanted a shot of the lenticular clouds thrown up into the sky by Mount Hood at Trillium Lake and just as I was ready here came an airplane. It's kind of funny how it headed straight for the mountain and then circled around it and kept flying. I'd like to think that it was giving the passengers a view of the mountain.

I remember back when I was in the military in the late 1970s when I took a United Airlines flight from Portland to San Diego. I took what was called a West Coaster flight, which was one where the aircraft purposely flew along the Cascade and the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges in a way that gave everyone on the flight a view. As we flew the pilot would name mountains and geographic scenes as we passed them. I'm sure that in this day and age a flight like that would be completely impractical, but I think it's a shame.

On this particular day when the aircraft came into view, I cussed a bit, but after I took the photo and noticed the symmetry of the lines and the reflections of them in the water. I decided that I liked it. I actually liked a photo of a sky with contrails in it.

I remember a day in the Columbia River Gorge when the whole gorge froze solid. I wanted to go out and document it. I arrived at Latourell Falls and was alone. As soon as I was set to take a shot I noticed a guy walking down the trail. He walked into the scene and stood on the edge of a small cliff edge and stood there. He was in stark contrast with the frozen scene with his red jacket. I stood there for a minute thinking. At first, I was irritated but I decided to snap a couple photos. I looked at the photos that I took and realized just how much of a story the photo told with this man standing there taking in such an amazing scene. I learned a bit of a lesson from the experience.

I have spent time in the field with a lot of photographers in my days and have witnessed a lot of people who get so upset when something happens to "ruin" their photo. It could be one of many things from another photographer walking into the scene or an airplane flying through the sky, but it is what it is. We don't go out to get frustrated or to be unhappy. We can't change the conditions that we're dealt.

We go out to be chill and be happy. That particular day or evening isn't the only one that you'll photograph. It's not the end of all sunrises or sunsets. It's just another one and whatever happens happens, and in some cases you end up with a unique photo.

We must remember why we are landscape photographers. In most cases we are landscape photographers because we love to capture peace and beauty in our images. It is my experience that the more that we’re in peace personally the more that it will show through in the images that we create.

Photo by Audrey Addison.
Opportunities abound during the season of darkness by Mt. Hood Community College on 12/01/2020

The season of darkness. Nature slides inexorably toward its shortest day.


Though, as with all things, point-of-view matters. For some, the shortest day is the longest night. Do nocturnal animals rejoice in the gift of time? Does December’s dark provide a bounty for an owl? Like the silent creatures that move through the night, these answers remain unheard.

For the light-bound souls the reality of shorter days means scarcer and more widely spaced food. The economic benefits of holding territories breaks down, but the benefits of more eyes looking for food, and out for predators, increases. As a result, birds who were competitors in June are traveling companions in December.

Mixed flocks of chickadees, kinglets, nuthatches and woodpeckers, move through the trees in search of quiescent bugs immobilized by cold. Bushels of Dark-eyed Juncos have gathered from northern environs or have been chased down the mountain by newly fallen snow. In the “lowland” neighborhoods and our college campus, they join noisy gatherings of robins who, themselves, may have summered in the far reaches of the Arctic.

These “snowbirds” likely move unnoticed by their human counterparts heading up the hill for winter recreation. Pity for them (the humans) for winter brings with it a chance for closer observation of a smaller set of species, gathered in larger numbers. Though a bird feeder helps, it isn’t required to watch the antics of a group of quarrelling crows, the frenetic foraging of finches or the strident declaration of ownership by a wintering hummingbird. Their intense concentration on gathering food means that they often allow longer inspection of their behaviors.

For me, these winter companions also bring light to the gray skies and provide a worthy distraction from the political darkness of our world. With their constant motion and attention to the task at hand, they remind us that the trade-off for year-round activity is an almost constant search for fuel.

As a fellow endotherm, I feel the urge myself, craving rich foods and finding myself wanting to eat even when not hungry, still stuffing myself with turkey dinners. Perhaps the darkness tugs at a primeval instinct to keep the furnace stoked, connecting me not only to the natural world, but also to a time long past when our ancestors lived closer to the edge…

Sitting in a warm house, I allow my mind to drift backwards in time, thankful for the option of inside, fire and blankets, and content to wait for future days and the light they bring.

Walter Shriner is an instructor of Biology and Natural Resources Technology at Mt. Hood Community College.

Going out on a limb to celebrate the Christmas tree by Steve Wilent on 12/01/2020

My family has had Christmas trees in the house during the holidays for as long as I can remember. Finding the perfect Christmas tree was an annual event, almost as fun as the holiday itself. From the time we were old enough to walk, my parents took my brother and me on tree-hunting expeditions, regardless of the weather or the amount of snow on the ground. Hot chocolate and cookies were administered to keep our energy and spirits up. My mother and grandmother would spend hours decorating the tree with lights, ornaments of all colors and shapes, and long strands of lead tinsel.

Lara and I continued the tradition. I have a photograph of me cutting a tree while a one-year-old Jeff, the first of our two sons, looked on from a kid-carrier backpack. As teenagers, the boys would argue over which one of them had found the best tree and which was strong enough to carry it to the truck. We’ve been empty nesters for many years now, but I still look forward to the annual tree hunt, the smell of fresh evergreens in the house and recalling happy memories as we hang lights and ornaments.

We’ve had a variety of Christmas tree species over the years. I prefer noble fir or the similar Pacific silver fir, because the wide space between the branches lets ornaments hang straight and you can see them from all sides. Both species are native to the higher elevations of the Cascades. We’ve had Douglas-fir and grand fir from lower elevations, too, and one year had a Nordmann fir from a tree farm near Sandy. The Nordmann fir, or Caucasian fir, is a tree native to the mountains along the Black Sea, in Georgia, Russia and Turkey.

One year we had a lodgepole pine as our holiday tree. We found it growing under the power lines near Lolo Pass, and it was unusually full and symmetrical for a lodgepole. Years ago it was easy to find nice trees to cut in the cleared area under those power lines, but somebody let the secret out and today you’ll find few trees, if any, worthy of the holiday.

Another year we had an Englemann spruce, a species that grows widely in the mountains of the western U.S. and Canada. I found this particular tree growing not far from the Top Spur trailhead, and it was perfectly symmetrical. This and some other spruces are known not only for their beauty, but also for their sharp, stiff needles. I carried the tree gingerly into the house, where Lara praised it — until she encountered the needles. But it turned out that the prickliness of the needles solved a problem: for years, one of our cats had the habit of playing with the decorations on the lower branches of our trees, and even managed to break a few treasured ornaments. But one swipe at that spiny spruce and she was cured of her penchant for creating Christmas tree mayhem.

I favor natural, unpruned trees, while some folks like the dense, heavily sheared, cone-like trees that some tree farms and stores sell. Don’t ask me what I think of artificial trees.

Speaking of stores and farms, we have purchased some very nice Christmas trees at Mountain Building Supply and at tree farms in the area, when snow kept us from finding a wild tree in the Mount Hood National Forest. We cut a nice grand fir one year at Harrison Farms (48080 SE Coalman Rd, Sandy, 503-668-9769, tinyurl.com/y34a6s23). In past years, Harrison’s has had a sign at its entrance off of Hwy. 26 just west of Cherryville. Rainy Mountain Farms also has nice trees (49400 Southeast Marmot Rd., Sandy, 503-351-0965, rainymountainfarms.com). Call or check the farms’ web sites before you go, as hours of operation may have changed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25 to 30 million Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. every year. Oregon farms cut and sell more holiday trees than any other state – 4.7 million trees in 2017, according to the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association. Most of them were Noble fir (54 percent) and Douglas-fir (32 percent).

Nationwide, the average price of a Christmas tree in 2019 was nearly $77. At Rainy Mountain Farms, all trees regardless of size are $40 each, according to its web site. If you’re willing to put some effort into finding a tree on the Mount Hood National Forest, you can buy a permit to cut a tree up to 15 feet tall for $5. To buy a permit online, see tinyurl.com/y4luzdfj for information, along with a list of locations where you can buy permits in person, including the Zigzag Ranger District office and area stores.

Whatever the source of your tree, do it a favor and put the cut end in a bucket of water as soon as you get home. And keep the tree outside until you’re ready to bring it in to decorate it. Once it’s inside, keep the tree stand’s reservoir full of water. Take good care of your Christmas tree and you can reuse it as a Valentine’s Day tree and maybe even an Easter tree.

Want to know more about Christmas trees? Want to know how to tell the difference between a regular Christmas tree and an organic Christmas tree? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: Don't give up by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2020

This pandemic cannot end soon enough. No matter our political alignments, belief systems or how directly the coronavirus has impacted our lives, every Oregonian can agree on one thing: we are all tired of the COVID-19 pandemic.


We’re tired of the risk of illness. We’re tired of the changes in our daily lives. We’re tired of worrying about the economic, social and emotional toll that business restrictions, remote learning and social distancing are taking on our communities.

But here’s the thing: we’re now seeing the result of what happens when we start giving up. When people get tired of missing out on connecting with friends and loved ones, they start gathering indoors again and case counts increase. When people stop wearing face coverings while spending time around their friends, case counts increase. When people ignore the advice of public health experts and host a dozen friends to celebrate a special occasion, case counts increase.

This latest “freeze” may feel like an overreaction until the pandemic touches your life. You may have asked yourself what right the government had to limit the size of your Thanksgiving gathering – after all, your family and friends should have been allowed to weigh the risks and decide for themselves whether they wanted to chance it, right? But these days, decisions like how to celebrate with friends and loved ones don’t just impact the people who attended that one event.

They may impact every person who interacts with anyone who attended that meal for days or weeks after the celebration – every fellow shopper in the grocery store you visit in December, every server in every restaurant at which you order takeout, every friend who you miss spending time with enough to feel it is worth the risk of exposure to visit.

This is why it feels like we are losing our hard-fought battle against the coronavirus: we are failing to appreciate that each decision we make can have profound impacts over long periods of time and huge geographic areas.

When we think about the people we may risk infecting with the virus, we often think of them as well-informed, rational people who have the power to decide how comfortable they are with risking exposure to the virus... but in fact, each of us may end up sharing this virus with a large number of people, some of them vulnerable to the worst impacts of COVID-19, before we’re even aware of our own infection.

It may seem compelling when influential voices – elected leaders, media figures or community members – tell us not to worry, that the virus isn’t a big deal. These voices may remind us that young people are much safer from tragic impacts of COVID-19 than the elderly and infirm, or that 98 percent of people infected will survive. But, as we know, young people can easily transmit the virus to their older and more susceptible neighbors and loved ones. If we were to allow the disease to spread freely through our state, a 98 percent survival rate would mean we all suffer as we witness the deaths of over 80,000 Oregonians.

Maybe you feel frustrated that the restrictions have gone on so long, and that’s reasonable. At the root of our temptation to stop following these guidelines is exhaustion. I feel it, too. It has been such a long year, and such a stressful month, filled with loss and trauma and chaos. But with encouraging news about vaccines, I can see an end in sight. Like marathon runners in their final mile, we need to dig deep, find the same kind of energy we applied at the beginning of this challenging pandemic, and take the necessary steps to keep our friends, families, neighbors and communities safe.

My mother in law, who lives in a tornado-prone area of the country, often calls to remind us to “hunker down” when the weather is bad. By this, she means stay inside, eat high-calorie foods and watch movies or do puzzles together.

Please, join me this holiday season in hunkering down, one more time, to protect our neighbors, healthcare workers and elders, from the worst impacts of this disease.

We may have to slim down our holiday celebrations, but at the end of it all, we will have so much to be grateful for – one another, the shared sense of community that comes from doing hard things together and the knowledge that whatever comes our way, we can weather the storm in partnership with our neighbors across the state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

View Points – Sandy: Keep the holidays wonderful by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 12/01/2020

With the winter chill in the air and a blanket of snow covering Mount Hood, it is once again the most wonderful time of the year here in Sandy. As I have said before, there’s no time more special in our community than the holidays.


Every year our neighbors in Sandy gather for festivities and charities that lift the spirits of our community. After a year like no other, the need of our community has never been greater. In the wake of Governor Brown’s COVID-19 “freeze” restrictions, we have local small business owners along with their employees and their families who also need us now more than ever.

Never has it been more important to both shop and dine local. It is said that a single dollar spent locally gets spent four additional times here in our community. Whether it be shopping for your gifts or a gift card at a local store or grabbing some food on your way to get the tree, Sandy has everything you need.

We will be proceeding with many of our annual traditions, though they look a little different this year. One of my family’s favorite traditions is the annual Sandy Community Christmas Basket Program sponsored by the Sandy Kiwanis Club. Planning is already underway for their 65th anniversary of the program! Last year 300 families were assisted, and this year with increased needs the goal is to help over 350 local families. As many know, in addition to community and local business support the Sandy Kiwanis depends heavily on the Sandy High School food drive that will not be able to happen this year. As a result, they need our help with donations more than ever.

This year each basket will have the same items as in the past that will provide a holiday meal: a ham and all the sides to go with it. The cost of each basket is $50. Please go to their website sandykiwanis.org/christmasbasket.html to donate to this amazing program.

Something else that will be a little different than previous years is our annual Holiday Tree Lighting. This year’s event will be held Friday, Dec. 4 from 6-8 p.m. The lighting will be a drive-thru and live streamed event with holiday messages from well-known community members. Please visit the event Facebook page for the latest details for this incredibly special event.

One event that doesn’t have to change this year is the Sandy Light Show! One of our favorite local traditions is to put the kids in the car on Christmas Eve and head over to the Scenic Meadows neighborhood to enjoy the lights. One of our local City Councilors, John Hamblin, and his family put on this amazing light show each year for our community. Because of the growing need for families to find activities during the holidays, they’ve decided to start even earlier this year and begin the show on Thanksgiving night. We greatly appreciate their efforts as the holidays in our community would not be the same without it!

While 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges, it has served as a stark reminder of the people and moments that are so important in making our lives meaningful. No other time in Sandy’s history has it been so important for our community to come together and look out for one another. We must remain vigilant in our united mission to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor if the City of Sandy.

Relax and have fun for the holiday season by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2020

There is no question that this has been a most challenging year. Since March of this year, we’ve all been facing the challenges of COVID-19 – hardship, loss, stress. We are still in the “season of the lungs,” which is known for grief and sadness. Now we all have a greater awareness of health – the greatest gift of all – for the trend is not yet behind us. We must still take precautions to reduce exposure.

Just because a neighbor or co-worker still travels often by airplane does not mean you should. To be extra careful, stay home as much as possible. Wear your mask when in groups. And build up your immune system. The elderly and some young people already have compromised lung function. Yet there are still many things we can do to work together to conquer these deficiencies. Epidemics have connected societies despite race, class, ethnicity and religion.

The past year has brought us closer together; families bonded, neighbors have gotten to know each other, our community has come together to help those in need in countless ways. We have survived in ways we never thought possible – through power outages, evacuations due to smoke and threats of fire, food shortages, loss of businesses, jobs or income. The evacuations are when I met my most excellent neighbor. He unloads my groceries from the car, takes out my garbage and recycling, even helps with the yard work.

Fungi, microbes, viruses, all want to survive in an inhospitable environment. Pandemics are on the rise because of our increasing population and unhealthy environment. The way to prevent epidemics (besides masks and social distancing) is to provide clean air, food and environment.

The Earth will abide, along with the bugs, because the sun keeps showing up, though in Oregon we may call it “liquid sunshine.” The seasons will return, tulips and daisies will come up again and won’t we be most thrilled. There will even come a day when we will complain about the heat. In the meantime, we need to stay warm. Especially keep your feet and neck warm. Wool socks work nicely. Cover your ears from a “cold wind invasion.” Wrap a scarf or some article of clothing around your neck as you head out the door. Wrapping your midriff with a large scarf or small blanket will help keep your kidneys warmer. Have a cup of hot tea or even a second cup of coffee, cider or hot milk with molasses. Invite your cats or dog onto your bed. Get out one cookbook and your favorite seed catalog and plan, or at least dream about, next year’s garden.

Taking care of your immune system takes a little more work during the holiday season, mostly because of the extra stress. When I was a schoolgirl, I always got sick as soon as the holiday break happened. My mom would let me take a sleeping bag and sleep under the holiday tree. I swear the pretty colorful lights cured me, or at least had me feeling better. Of course, maybe it was just the rest.

We tend to automatically lean towards the more warming foods during the cold weather, yin foods like soups, stews, root vegetables and the seasonal mushrooms, especially reishi, which block the uptake of viral particles. Not the teeny, tiny reishi pills, but foods. Or powders stirred into hot drinks. Since our source of Vitamins A and D are diminished in winter, we should eat more fish and seaweeds. Elderberry is helpful, too. Keep a diet diary so you can try to decrease sugar. It always used to amaze me that patients couldn’t recall what they’d eaten for that day’s breakfast or what they’d eaten for dinner the night before. A diet diary keeps you honest and helps you know when you’re veering off track.

Eating properly will help you to sleep better. Sleep is the best anxiety reducer there is. Try sauteed mushrooms over toast for breakfast. For a no-dishes-cleanup dinner, cook fish in foil packets with onions and peppers and tomatoes, if you still have some on the windowsill. Add lemon juice, olive oil and capers if you can afford them.

While the parents recuperate, perhaps with a glass of warm red wine with a splash of elderflower and slices of orange or lemon floating in it, have some fun with the kids. Let them make blanket forts in their rooms or the living room. Kids love to do this, and you’ll get a kick out of watching them. Take old wrapping paper or cards and make paper chains for the tree. String popcorn (better if stale for this) into chains for an outdoor remembrance of birds and critters that need our help, too. Make it the best season you possibly can. Have fun. Enjoy. I love you all.

Homemade goodies by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2020

Spoil the people on your list with thoughtful and creative homemade goodies.


Hot fudge sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 T corn syrup

2 T butter

2 t vanilla extract

In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan heat 1 cup heavy cream with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 2 T light corn syrup.

Cook until boiling and continue to boil four to five minutes, stirring constantly until thickened.

Remove from heat, stir in 2 T butter and 2 t vanilla. Let cool uncovered in glass jars. Refrigerate until completely cooled then add lids.

Keeps well for about a week but won’t last that long! Reheat before serving.


Squirrel stash

1 cup corn kernels popped

4 cups mixed nuts

1 cup bite sized pretzels

1/2 cup corn syrup

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1-1/2 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 t shortening

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

In a large bowl toss nuts, pretzels and popcorn.

In a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat stir together the sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Cook stirring constantly until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about four minutes.

Stop stirring and continue cooking five minutes more until mixture turns pale. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.

Pour sugar mixture over the popcorn and nut mixture and toss to coat. Pour onto rimmed baking sheets and bake, stirring every 15 minutes until almost dry (about one hour). Let cool completely.

In a medium sized glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening together - drizzle over popcorn mixture.

Mulling Spices

Peel of 2 oranges and two lemons

Whole cardamom

Whole cloves

Whole allspice

Whole star anise

Cinnamon sticks

Candied ginger

Bay leaves

4 x 2x9-1/2-inch treat bags (from the craft store)

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, peel oranges and lemons in long strips avoiding as much of the pith as possible. Bake peels until dehydrated for about one hour – place in bags with two cinnamon sticks, 1/2 t each of cloves, allspice, star anise and cardamom. Add one bay leaf and a piece of candied ginger.

To make the cider: in a large pot set over medium heat add one gallon of unfiltered apple juice, one cup orange juice and the mulling spices. Heat to a gentle simmer and serve with a cinnamon stick.


The season of good will(s) by Paula Walker on 12/01/2020

In this age of convenience and efficiencies of effort, many products advertise “set it and forget it.” Sounds so good in our busy, sometimes harried lifestyles with family, work and social obligations to lighten the load of things to attend to with “do-it-for-you products.”

But estate planning is not one of those. Not set it and forget it but set it and tend to it – over time.

One of the many advantages in creating an estate plan, Trust or Will is providing the basis for family harmony as part of your legacy. The certainty and clear direction that you provide with a well-thought out and executed estate plan is one of the greatest gifts to those who will support you and fulfill your directives, as well as to the family and friends your plan encompasses. When it comes to who you will rely on to support you or your estate, this is not something to wait for an “unveiling” after you pass, or a plan to be discovered in a time of emergency. It is a plan whose intended outcome is best assured if you talk with those involved about it now.

The holiday season is a prime opportunity to have such a talk, with many/most of the family already gathered. Be thoughtful in planning for and launching into such a talk, for your sake and theirs. Tell them in advance that you want to have this discussion. Set aside a quiet time and space, a brief spell apart from the flurry of festivities. Create an agenda for yourself to help organize your thoughts and to be sure that you cover what you want in the way you want to express yourself. Keep this first foray short. Its purpose is to convey that you have a plan. Allot time for this discussion and stick to the time. Maybe this first foray, having broken the ice, may lead to follow up discussion. Allow yourself the benefit of discovery and see how this unfolds and what more you and yours may benefit from in further discussion if such seems the case. Explain your intentions, i.e. to provide clear direction and guidance to help them help you at some future date.

Talk process and framework, not content which is your private affair. Though discussions of death and incapacity can be awkward to initiate, often such conversations serve to bring the family closer. As well, you provide a model for your family to follow that can benefit them as they travel a similar path.

So, this season, whether you are having your holidays shared by Zoom or can gather in person, consider asking your family to set aside time to have this conversation with you.

Ask your estate planning attorney for guidance in preparing for a family discussion.


Stories of the Stars… If Only

We'll be back in the New Year with stories of the foibles, follies and fantastic tales of prominent persons, celebrities – stunning stories highlighting “things gone wrong” that you can avoid by doing things right in your estate plan.

For this article I leave you with my wishes for a joyous season of warm friendship and family, sharing in every innovative way this 2020 has called upon us to invent. For all its challenges, 2020 has also deepened our sense of the importance of our connection to friends, family, cherished times and cherished moments.

We will be on the other side of the difficulties and distances this time of social distancing and quarantine has imposed on us and when we do, as we breathe a sigh of relief, let us celebrate our resilience and preserve the good that emerged. And in the value we placed in the unmatchable source of well being that we have in the wellspring of our bond with each other, friends and family,  and the joy of hearing “that” voice, the purr of a snuggled cat, the never daunted wagging tail of the pup that accompanied us on our walks and kept our minds calm – those moments and many more that provided us some serenity when all else seemed up-for-grabs.

As this year comes to a close and you step forward into a new year, may your life grow in ways meaningful and fulfilling. Be well. Stay well. And thrive.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Photographer's code of ethics by Gary Randall on 11/01/2020

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We are blessed with many scenic locations that attract millions of people each year. Most of these locations are found by searching for the photos that we take and share on the World Wide Web. In most cases we don’t realize the potential for harm of the places that we love and photograph. It is natural for us to want to share the photos of these incredible places but I feel that we need to be aware of and to share with others how to protect the environment which, in most cases, is the reason that these places are so special.


In the years that I have spent as a full-time working landscape photographer I've been able to see the gradual damage that's being done to some of the most beautiful spots in the Pacific Northwest by its overuse. Most of the erosion and the denuding of the grasses, ferns and mosses is from repeated footfalls onto areas beside and beyond designated paths and fences.

I spend a lot of time in the field visiting these beautiful places and am a witness to so many people who shun the posted signs or fences that are placed to keep people from fragile environments or those that are being reclaimed due to the traffic that has ruined them. I feel that it’s easy for most people to think that it won’t hurt if they go because as an individual they won’t cause any harm. I personally feel that it’s a form of selfishness and greed to think that the signs and rules are for everyone else but them.

Although it is true that as individuals, we have little impact on the areas that we tread, we’re not individuals when we visit these areas. We are a part of a collective of humanity that causes an accumulative, damaging effect. It is not just the one person but the effects of us all wearing these places down. I feel that it is imperative that we develop a collective consciousness that instils a want to preserve these places. We each should develop a personal code of environmental ethics and to encourage others to do the same. We need to take responsibility for these places. We need to take care of them. Not doing so will further erode them to a point where access will be limited or closed completely.

As photographers who share photos of these places, we can take the lead in raising the awareness of the fragility of the places that we photograph. I think that every landscape photographer who shares their work online should create and adhere to their own photography code of ethics. One that addresses how we conduct ourselves while in the field. We can also add a short plea in the description of the photos that we share that urges those who go to be careful where they trod.

My personal code of ethics includes three parts: environment, social and self. I adopted the code from the League of Landscape Photographers, a group formed to urge photographers to become responsible stewards to the places that they visit and share online. If we all adopt a code of ethics and encourage others to do the same, perhaps we can turn this trend of abuse around and make it cool to protect the beauty of these photogenic places.

Photo by Nicole Ward.
Pandemic in autumn offers a closer look at wildlife by Mt. Hood Community College on 11/01/2020

Welcome to Our Community, Our Earth, which will be taking over the space where the Green Scene was previously published. This column will now be authored by instructors from Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) who teach subjects related to our environment, ecology and more.


We are excited to begin contributing to The Mountain Times and look forward to sharing the knowledge and observations of MHCC's faculty with the community.

The annual transition from fall to winter, while always dependable, brings its uniqueness each year. The day of first frost, salmon sighting or departure of a favorite warbler comes with a plus or minus date on the calendar, and collectively these events color the season (sometimes literally) with their own hues.

For some, myself included, this year’s transition has been muted and less dramatic than some. After a summer of natural drama and daily political theatre perhaps our senses are simply tired. Yet, as always, nature has a way of reaching us, surprising us, lifting our experience with color and life.

With our transition to remote learning, the Mt. Hood campus is uncharacteristically quiet. Only a few academic programs, where face-to-face instruction is essential, are located physically in classrooms. Not surprisingly, the campus wildlife has expanded their use of the grounds, a pattern many of us have noticed in our own backyards – deer browse on the lawns and coyotes pad along the drives.

This unique “COVID expansion” imitates the usual seasonal shift we see in bird communities. Many of our migrant birds have left our forests and the year-long residents have stopped defending territories.

Dark-eyed Juncos come together, then disband, as they search conifers and ground cover for insects and seeds. Bushtits, in their extended family groups chatter non-stop as they dart in and out of trees. If you hear them coming, stop and wait by the closest tree or bush and you may be blessed with a close-up view of these smallest of passerines. Standing still, you are just another obstacle to fly around, and they will enter the tree, one after another, like so many feathered puff balls blown by the wind.

Other creatures are spreading out as well, taking advantage of the changing moisture levels and stream flows from early rains. Salmon, of course, are coursing through the streams, in their contest for immortality.

Rough-skinned newts creep through the moistened leaf litter. Recent rain showers and morning fog creates paths for roaming tree frogs. They have begun moving away from their wetland reserves, calling now from vegetation far from ponds and pools. The trills of their calls are in tune with the cackling of geese overhead – classic sights and sounds of autumn.

The transition in visual landscape is also mirrored in the acoustic environment. The rustle of steps through dry leaves and the crackle of autumn’s wood fires will soon yield to the silence of the first winter snow. And as the yellows and reds of summer’s birds have gone from our yards and forests, so have the whistles and trills of their summer melodies. Left behind are the chits and chats of grey-scale nuthatches and chickadees, and the caws and croaks of the monochromatic crows and ravens.

From bright and noisy to cool and subdued – both sound and light shift in hue and spectrum, yielding novelty to season-adjusted lenses and allowing us to see and hear anew. Encouragement enough to open our eyes wide to absorb the last warm rays of autumn sunshine and the intensity of sight, then close our eyes and soak in the soothing sound of rain, the quiet of a resting forest and the serenity of silence in a noisy world.

Written by Walter Shriner, instructor of Biology and Natural Resources Technology at Mt. Hood Community College.

View Points – Salem: Recovery work has begun by Rep. Anna Williams on 11/01/2020

In his column last month, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam wrote about the importance of community in times of chaos, calling for wildfire response through “a holistic approach that involves partners at every level of government, as well as local businesses and charitable service organizations.”

“This is a time that we must all work together,” he wrote. I couldn't agree more.

In that spirit, I want to tell you about some of the ways I’ve been working with partners at the federal, state and local levels to lay the groundwork for our region to recover from the overlapping disasters of COVID-19 and the wildfires.

As more than one million acres across the state of Oregon have burned (including more than 100,000 acres in Clackamas County), Representative Mark Meek (D-Gladstone) and I have co-convened the Metro Region Wildfire Economic Recovery Team. This group includes state and local leaders, as well as representatives from community-based organizations and non-profits. We are identifying the needs of different Clackamas County communities and working to ensure that the resources which are available get where they most need to go. Whether we’re discussing assistance for individuals and businesses, hazardous waste cleanup, infrastructure investments, restoring natural resources or rebuilding lost housing, we are working together to identify and solve problems.

So far, we have heard from the Oregon Housing and Community Services about the need for long-term temporary shelter for people to stay in while their homes are cleaned up and rebuilt. We have heard from county commissioners about the unique challenges faced by farmworkers who lost their homes due to the fires. Community-based organizations have pointed out the difficulties faced by displaced people who speak languages other than English, and the concerns many people share about relying on the government for support. One of the fundamental goals of the Economic Recovery Teams is to focus on the fact that rural and low-income Oregonians, as well as Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities have been hardest hit by both COVID-19 and the fires. No matter our political alliances, every member of this team understands that our region’s recovery should focus on helping those who are suffering the most as our top priority.

On the other side of the mountain, I am doing similar work for the North Central Region’s Equity in Recovery Council, focusing on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in coordination with the Governor’s Office. Just like the wildfires’ impacts, Oregon’s BIPOC communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic and will have the steepest climb in recovering from its health and economic impacts. The Equity in Recovery Council aims to improve access for all Oregonians to the basic resources they need to survive and thrive, so that a person’s success in life is not determined by their race. We’ll be looking at how the state can prioritize equity as it responds to the many COVID-related crises that are all happening at the same time: housing and homelessness, education and business recovery are only the most pressing concerns on a much longer list.

There are a number of different voices on each of these teams, and a number of opinions about how we should approach the challenges we face as a state. Yet we are focused on the same goals, and we are committed to achieving them through cooperation. I plan to approach the rest of my time in office with this same attitude, because our community and the people depending on my leadership, expect nothing less.

Recovering from this difficult year, in all the many ways that we will need to recover, will require all of us to work together in good faith. We don't have to agree which problems are most pressing or on how each of them should be solved, but we do need to see each other as neighbors who are in this together. In the midst of all the problems confronting us, I remain hopeful. I believe in our community – in Oregon, in House District 52 and in every member of these two groups I’m working with – to disagree with respect, to work together in good faith and to accomplish something good together that will leave Oregonians better off in the long run.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

View Points – Sandy: Thanksgiving unity by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 11/01/2020

As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of a long and divisive election season, we have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season! As Mayor, this holiday season has taken on an even stronger meaning to me.


While December brings many of Sandy’s more high-profile events, November also offers many ways for our community to come together and help our fellow neighbors.

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Sandy Community Action Center always springs into action with their annual food box program. As in previous years, the Action Center is partnering with Suburban Auto Group to fund the box program. Over 200 local families are helped each Thanksgiving holiday thanks to their efforts. Please keep an eye on the Sandy Community Action Center Facebook page for updates on how to get involved with this wonderful program.

One annual tradition that will be a little different this year is the Action Center’s annual Tickle Trot. Each year on Thanksgiving morning our family joins other neighbors in the parking lot of the Sandy Fred Meyer and then take to Tickle Creek Trail for our kinda, sorta run. Perhaps, that is why they call it a “Trot.” This year due to COVID-19 restrictions the Tickle Trot is going virtual! There will be “swag” offered to anyone who registers and all are encouraged to participate on the Facebook event page and take the time to share you participating in this annual event with your family and friends.

COVID-19, civil unrest, wildfires and perhaps the most divisive election in our nation’s history has led to an incredibly difficult year. This past year has tested us and like all times of great challenge it has also shown us the things that are most important to us in our lives. This holiday season provides us with an opportunity to remember those things and to come together with our loved ones and neighbors in solidarity.

The story of the first Thanksgiving is one of hope and unity. It is about people with different backgrounds and cultures coming together for the common good. In times like these, we can all take solace in such a story. Last month, I reminded readers to remember what we learned over this past wildfire season. That it will be important to remember how much more unites us than divides us. How, like family, at our time of greatest need, it was our neighbors who stood with us. We did not ask what your political party was or who you were going to vote for as President, neighbors only asked other neighbors if they needed help.

As Sandy turns into a more optimistic season and as we leave the election behind and turn towards the holidays, let us continue to remember the important message that far more unites us than divides us. We have all chosen this community of Sandy as our home. Most of us for the same reasons. Together let us unite to put our community first. Let us continue to put our people before politics. Let us keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy


Divorce and Separation by Paula Walker on 11/01/2020

A difficult time under any circumstances, separation and divorce are rife evidence of the instability at hand. Estate planning attorneys advise clients to review their estate plans for necessary revisions upon the experience of a variety of “life events” and the process of separation and divorce factor in those.

In fact, this imposes two important milestones: you want to take stock of your estate plan during the divorce proceeding or separation and after your divorce settlement. You have the ability to amend or revoke your estate plan documents at any time.

Notes of caution to consider during a divorce involve the asset restraining order in place during every divorce. This may limit your ability to change the nature of assets held by a trust during the divorce.

Once the divorce is settled, Oregon law revokes provisions in the estate plan that favor the ex spouse as beneficiary or personal representative.

However, because during the divorce those provisions remain effective, you may consider amending those provisions during the divorce proceedings. Be certain to consider your pre nuptial agreement, if one exists, such that any changes you make to your estate plan are aligned with its terms.

As well, during and after the divorce settlement you will want to consider the appointments you have made in your Healthcare Power of Attorney, your Advance Directive and your Durable Power of Attorney.

Keep in mind as you consider the legal effects of a separation or divorce on your estate plan the “spousal elective share.” This law seeks to provide a measure of financial protection to a surviving spouse, saving them from financial destitution.

The elective share provides that a surviving spouse may make a claim on the assets of the deceased spouse regardless if the spouse was left out as a beneficiary or disinherited.

Ex-spouses may also make a claim which the court will consider conditional to a number of criteria in determining whether and to what extent to authorize such a claim.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

A battle raging in Manhattan … Ric Ocasek - lead singer of The Cars, at age 45 married Sport Illustrated swimsuit model Paulina Porizkova, age 24, in 1989. A marriage many thought would be short-lived given their twenty-year disparity in age lasted 30 years. When Ocasek passed away on Sept. 15, 2019, they were in the midst of divorce proceedings since May 2018. As a result, upon Ocasek’s death, they would be considered still married which ordinarily would have accorded Porizkova certain rights to the estate as spouse. However, weeks before he died, Ocasek took steps to cut off Porizkova’s rights by redoing his will, appointing a new personal representative (aka executor), disinheriting Porizkova and taking extra steps to also eliminate her right to the elective share by stating in the will that even if he died before the divorce was finalized, Porizkova had “abandoned” him and therefore should not have a rightful claim to an elective share. Although a disinherited spouse generally still has a right to claim an elective share, the court may deny such a claim upon finding that the spouse abandoned the decedent.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Edible resources in the forest are our treasures by Steve Wilent on 11/01/2020

I wish we could start the year on October 1 and end it on the last day of November. When the maple and cottonwood leaves turn to gold, the nights get chilly, the smell of wood smoke and damp earth is in the air, and a quilt on the bed brings comfort, I think I could learn to live without the other seasons. These are small pleasures, to be sure, but in times like these, we need them more than ever.

Our forests hold many such pleasures. If you’re old enough to remember television from the 1970s — I sure am — then you may recall the famous 1974 television commercial for Grape-Nuts cereal featuring Euell Gibbons, author of books such as “A Wild Way to Eat” and “Euell Gibbons' Handbook of Edible Wild Plants.” In the ad, Gibbons says, “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.”

Indeed they are, and some parts of pine trees (and other conifers) taste a lot better than Grape-Nuts. This summer I made a big batch of pesto, with fresh basil and parsley from Hood Hills Farm in Sandy, olive oil, garlic (of course), parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Most of the pine nuts available in stores these days come from Asia or Europe, but pinyon (piñon) pine nuts from high-desert states such as Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah are an excellent — some say better — alternative. For Native Americans in these areas, pine nuts have long been a staple food. The seeds of western white pine and sugar pine also are delicious, as is the inner bark. I once had a job in a US Forest Service nursery that involved inspecting seeds and picking out nonviable ones. This was extremely boring work, but eating sugar pine seeds help pass the time. Until my supervisor reprimanded me for eating up the inventory.

Western white pine was once fairly common in our area, but white pine blister rust, a disease native to Asia that was introduced separately into North America early in the 20th century, has killed most of them off. The last one on my property died in the late 1990s.

I’ve never heard of anyone eating the seeds of the Douglas-fir, the most common tree in our area, but a tasty tea can be made from the needles. Pull a handful of fresh needles from the branches (young, light-green spring growth is best, but fall foliage is fine), coarsely chop them, and add about two tablespoons to a mug of hot water. Let the needles steep for a few minutes, add a bit of honey if you like, and you have a satisfying tea that is rich in vitamin C. Who needs fancy tea from a bottle, or Emergen-C “daily immune support” drink mix, when you can make your own?

Native huckleberries also are loaded with vitamin C. The picking season is over at our elevation, but you might find some up higher — say, 4,500 feet and above. On a late-October camping trip a few years ago in the vicinity of Ollalie Lake, I found a huckleberry patch loaded with sweet, dark-purple berries. I had planned to bring a bunch of them home, but none of them lasted that long. What tastes better than fresh huckleberry pancakes on a crisp mountain morning?

Up at that elevation, you’ll likely see brilliant yellow conifer trees. These are western larch, one of the handful of deciduous conifers in the world, most of which are larches. When the needles on these majestic trees turn bright yellow, they can rival our maples and cottonwoods for fall color.

Vine maple, so common in our area, often displays brilliant fall colors, too, especially when we have an early fall cold snap. If you see a tree that looks very similar to a vine maple, but with vibrant red and orange fall foliage, that’s probably a Rocky Mountain maple. You’ll see lots of these trees along Highway 35 between Mt. Hood Meadows and Parkdale. Vine maple leaves have five to nine lobes or points, while Rocky Mountain maple leaves have three.

Autumn is the main wild mushroom season on the Mountain. A friend recently gave us a big bag full of morels that he’d picked in a super-secret location — delicious. Lara knows the location of a prolific chanterelle patch, but she won’t tell me — her own husband — where it is. I offered to tell her where my favorite huckleberry patch is, in exchange for the coordinates of the chanterelle patch, but no deal. Look, I said, we’ll need this kind of information about wild foods so we can survive the zombie apocalypse. She agreed, and said she’d reveal the coordinates as soon as the zombie apocalypse starts.

Speaking of zombies, while on a woods wander the other day, I met a couple of mushroom hunters. No, they weren’t zombies, though their eyes were glazed from focusing on the ground. Maybe I looked like a woodsman, so they asked me about the large, bright orange fungi they’d found, and whether they are edible.

Zombie mushrooms, I said.

They looked askance at me.

Seriously, I said, those are lobster “mushrooms.” They’re not really mushrooms, but a parasitic fungus that grows on other mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that looks like the shell of a cooked lobster. Are they edible? I've heard that, unless one knows what type of mushroom they’ve parasitized, you can’t be sure.

However, according to the University of Washington's Burke Museum Herbarium, “Hypomyces lactifluorum, the lobster mushroom, grows in the tissue of certain russulas and lactariuses in the PNW, especially R. brevipes, and turns the host mushroom into a dense mass of mummified tissue.”

Okay, mummies, not zombies.

And in our area, they’re safe to eat: “Lobster mushrooms are edible and can often be found at PNW produce stands and farmers’ markets. The warnings against eating them usually are based on the assumed uncertainty of the host mushroom’s identity. However, we are not aware of any serious poisonings caused by it.” That’s sort of comforting.

Doug-fir tea, huckleberries, fall color. Autumn’s small pleasures. Winter’s are on the way.

Want to know more about our Mountain trees? Need a strategy for surviving the zombie apocalypse? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Leftover magic! by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2020

Some amazing meals can be made with the scraps. I'm so thankful to share a few recipes with you!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Leftover mashed potatoes pierogies

(makes about 20 large pierogies)

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 cup whole milk

1 t kosher salt

2 T cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

2 T unsalted butter

1 T chopped green onion

2 cups mashed potatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

Make the dough: in a large bowl whisk together eggs and salt until frothy, add milk. Whisk in flour one cup at a time and switch to a spoon to incorporate and knead for one minute, adding the flour to make a tacky dough.

Spray dough with nonstick oil spray or coat top with thin layer.

Boil large pot of salted water.  In a large skillet, brown butter lightly, and put skillet aside.

Mix together the mashed potatoes, sour cream, onion, cream cheese and salt and pepper with a wooden spoon.

Roll the rested dough on a floured surface and cut circles three inches in diameter using a biscuit cutter or glass.

Wrap the pierogi dough around 1 T of potato filling, pinch the sides together and boil in salted water until floating.

Warm the browned butter and carefully remove the boiled dumplings from the water and put into the skillet. Toast on one side in butter, then turn and toast the other side until light brown. Serve hot.


Cranberry chutney

A chutney is a chunky fruit-based sauce that contains different textures and pairs wonderfully with savory. Try this with a cheese plate or charcuterie.

1 1/2 cups whole cranberry sauce

1/2 cup apple cider

2 oranges zested, then peeled and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup walnuts chopped large

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 to 1 t ground ginger

1/4 t cloves ground

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t allspice ground

Splash of vinegar

Place everything into a medium saucepan, bring to the boil, and reduce to simmer for 20 mins until thickened.


Vote with your grocery dollars and support local businesses by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2020

You’ve probably heard of a one-horse town, though I must admit even I am not old enough to envision that. But two-stoplight towns I know and love… and support. They are friendlier and keep your dollars out of the hands of big corporations.

When you buy cheap, industrial food from a Big Box Store, a large portion of your dollars are going to support the already wealthy corporate head honchos, not those doing the work of harvesting. One out of every four dollars goes for your healthcare because I see many of you still buying the same foods always purchased – sugary drinks and packaged snack foods.

My favorite small two-stoplight town has opportunity for human connection and keeps your money local. For more than ten years I’ve taken my car to a locally owned auto mechanic for everything from oil changes to “what’s that noise.”

The people there know me so when checks were stolen from my mailbox they readily accepted my temporary checks from my bank a mile away. Run by a very friendly family, they and their workers bring their dogs to work.

Across the street is a locally owned soup, sandwich and coffee shop, not an international chain of unhealthy industrial fast foods. Tastes way better, too. The local auto mechanic suggested I try it as they often get their lunches there.

Next door to the sandwich stop is a garden center – also locally owned for many, many years. I spend one nice moment gazing at the koi fish that live in their pond year round, discussing with a nice young man how I’d once had koi that I trained to come up out of the water to eat out of my hand. This human connection is somewhat rare during COVID-19.

If you do not want to, or cannot, grow your own food, next door to the local garden center is a local fruit stand. Go early enough and you’ll see berries from the surrounding fields coming in. Talk about fresh – not from out of state or the county and sitting on a grocery shelf until almost dead!

But there are other reasons to buy locally too. While in Costa Rica driving through a banana plantation, they were spraying pesticides on the bananas while workers’ kids were playing in the streets of the housing development in the middle of the plantation. I don’t and cannot abide that… so I don’t buy bananas.

Then there are the animal welfare protagonists. Do you really support de-beaked chickens being raised in tiny cages? A ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be about four-to-one or less. Industrial chickens have more than 1,000 omega 6 factors, which causes inflammation. Pastured eggs have more than 1,000 omega 3 factors for a ratio of one-to-one.

Industrial meat (especially burger) has more than 1,000 omega 6, while pasture-raised and finished meat has 4,000 omega 3, leading to a ratio of two-to-one. Much healthier. Most omega 6 comes from soy or corn oils, which lead to obesity and inflammation. Margarine has a ratio of six-to-one, while pastured butter is closer to one-to-one.

We don’t need more food so much as we need more nutrition! Our kids and grandkids are likely to die younger than we are. Maybe that’s why their lives are so busy, busy, busy. No time to cook. We tend to believe that “busy” makes us important, with Facebook and technology.

There was a time when life was governed by people, not technology. Do you know that huge warehouses containing huge computers know everything you buy or look at online? Remember the book “1984?” It’s here now. I’m not comfortable splatting my life out there for strangers to see- hence I have no computer or credit cards.

What we need is more integrity, hard work, knowledge. So, vote with your grocery dollars. If you really do want organic food, then buy it. Put your money where your mouth is. We have 20 years of voting by mail in Oregon with only 15 instances of voter fraud! So vote early and then continue to vote daily with your grocery money!

Contributed photos.
The View Finder: Community photographs by Gary Randall on 10/01/2020

Living on The Mountain has always been a matter of pride for me and many of my friends and neighbors. I have always felt a part of this community through good times and bad times. We have always considered ourselves as being of heartier stock than most “Flatlanders.”


For the most part our lives seem simpler and a bit more primitive but living here has its own set of problems. The results of natural disasters seem just a little bit more severe up here. Trees fall over roads, power lines and homes. Floods can come from the rivers or from rapid snow melt from the mountain tops, and both can destroy homes. We consider losing our electricity for days if a wind blows a somewhat common event. It is often the case that the power will go out during freezing weather and then once the power is out the water lines freeze which, once thawed, can result in broken pipes and water leaks.

I can remember several times in the past when our community would gather at the firehouse for sandbags during a flood. I remember relief efforts and food distribution for those who had lost everything. When these times come, our Mountain neighbors have always stepped up to the challenge to help each other. And after living through this latest challenge I’m proud to say that our community unity is still intact.

I can recall several bad situations since I’ve lived here but this is the first time that I can remember where we had to consider evacuating the complete community to escape a forest fire. And seeing other rural communities devastated by the fires and a map showing how close the fires and evacuation zones were coming to us, it felt like an absolute real possibility. Looking back now that the rains have returned, we are all fortunate that our community is still whole.

Traditionally communication during these storms or floods is disabled due to fallen phone and electrical lines and most of the news we would hear at the post office or at the Thriftway store. These days we have the Internet and our battery powered cell phones equipped with a camera with us at all times. Even though connecting to the web during these disasters can be a bit dodgy, the connectivity can usually be found. Websites such as Facebook and the NextDoor app allows us all to not only check in for information but they also allow us to document these events and share them with each other. I was fascinated, heartbroken, inspired and encouraged by the images that my neighbors were posting up online. I was seeing everything from tragedy, broken homes and dense unhealthy smoke-filled air to kindness and charity.

I wanted to share just a small portion of some of the photos that tell the story of how our community dealt with an event that we will all remember for a very long time. I am proud to be a part of our Mountain community family.

View Points – Sandy: We are all together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 10/01/2020

Like so many of our fellow neighbors, this past month we were forced to make the unimaginable decision to decide what personal belongings we would take when evacuating our homes in the event of an emergency. Many people in neighboring communities like Estacada and Molalla had to evacuate quickly without many personal belongings and will return home to find their houses destroyed and their lives forever changed.

The needs of these neighbors will not end when the smoke clears on their burnt properties. It will take a holistic approach that involves partners at every level of government, as well as local businesses and charitable service organizations. This is a time that we must all work together.

In the case of a natural disaster, one does not have to look hard to find stories of unity and heroism. I’ve been humbled by local public servants putting political differences to the side and instead putting community first. The first morning after the evacuations started in our community, our congressman Earl Blumenauer reached out to offer help.

The next morning, we were sitting in Sandy along with Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine. Mayor Drinkwine and I both left encouraged with the congressman’s eagerness to work with us as we rebuild and plan for necessary federal resources for disaster relief in the future.

We are already beginning to hear the tales of valor and courage. Stories of siblings, parents, children, friends and neighbors with their tanker truck of water and heavy equipment working side by side to save their communities.

Speaking of local heroes, the relief efforts offering fresh food, water and other supplies that began shortly after the evacuation notices were simply incredible. Sandy local Brad Magden sprang into action and enlisted the help of Sandy Les Schwab and nonprofits Sunshine Division along with Hood-To-Coast. By Thursday they had a full Fresh Food Relief Center up and going for local evacuees. Soon after they had the board members from Sandy Helping Hands mobilizing volunteers, while local businesses, service organizations and citizens donated much needed items.

Within days, with help from Estacada Neighborhood Watch and local officials, Brad set up a much needed secondary relief center in the heart of Estacada located at the Cazadero.

I’ve been asked why, as the Mayor of Sandy, was I so involved in relief efforts for other neighboring communities. My answer was simple, the communities of east Clackamas County are more than neighbors, we’re like family and family takes care of each other. Like so many families throughout Oregon who have helped relatives this wildfire season, we are also taking care of our relatives in their great time of need.

2020 has been a year of challenges, and as with most election years, this next month looks to be contentious, perhaps the most contentious in our nation’s history. It will be important to remember what we learned over these past several weeks. It will be important to remember how much more unites us then divides us. How, like family, at our time of greatest need, it was our neighbors who stood with us. We did not ask what your political party was or who you were going to vote for as President, neighbors only asked other neighbors if they needed help. As long as we stay united, we’ll keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

View Points – Salem: Disagree with kindness by Rep. Anna Williams on 10/01/2020

This month, I am writing my column not only as your state representative, but also as a community member, a mother and an educator in a polarized time. Most of all, though, I’m writing as a social worker who believes that a strong sense of community and solidarity will get each of us further than division and self-interest.


Compared to any other year of my life, 2020 has presented unheard of challenges: a pandemic that has caused more deaths in America than in any other nation, a resulting economic crisis that has left millions struggling, a national protest movement and reckoning over racial justice and now unprecedented wildfires devastating entire communities and leaving thousands of our fellow Oregonians without a place to call home. Even people in our community who have remained healthy, employed and safe throughout this difficult year are reeling from the stress of so many compounding crises piling on top of one another and affecting their neighbors.

My background as a social worker tells me that we all need to give ourselves permission to process everything we’re feeling right now. Even if you’ve been largely untouched by these crises, you’re allowed to be sad. You’re allowed to be tired. You’re allowed to be grumpy and frustrated and, yes, each of us has good reason to be angry about the challenges and uncertainty we’re facing.

Let’s also be mindful of the reasons for those feelings and express them in healthy ways. Let’s not resort to scapegoating when it comes to the complex problems that are confronting us, and let’s avoid directing our anger at our neighbors simply because they may hold different values than we do.

As your state legislator, I have always governed in an independent, open-minded way that puts the needs of our community first. I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in or what my constituents ask of me, even if it means deviating from party lines. I am always looking for ways to support small businesses, to invest in and improve our education systems, and have fought for our essential workers to have access to adequate PPE during the COVID-19 crisis. I believe in the power of working together and finding common ground.

During these trying times, I encourage everyone to pursue their conversations with the same critical approach as I pursue my work in the legislature. Before you cement your opinion about a topic you’re learning more about, think about other perspectives on the issue. Before you believe something you read on social media, consider its source and do your own research.

Our brains are designed to believe information that confirms our pre-existing opinions and to agree with people we care about without thinking critically about their perspectives. That’s human nature. However, in an effort to work together to heal the divides that have grown in our communities in recent years, we need to learn to discern between opinion and fact, and to speak respectfully and honestly with one another when we disagree.

Disagreement and debate are essential in a democratic republic like ours, but compassion and understanding are just as fundamental.

Today, I challenge you to be kind to someone who you disagree with – in person, online, or in your home. It is in our most spirited debates that we learn the most, and in our kindest moments when we heal the most. Let’s come together to listen to one another, for the sake of our struggling neighbors, for the sake of our great state and for the sake of our collective future.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Contributed map.
There will be a next time – are you ready for a fire? by Gary Randall on 10/01/2020

We dodged a bullet in September. The Riverside Fire sent us thick smoke and gave us plenty of reason to worry, but no homes in Hoodland were damaged or destroyed, no one here was killed by the fire. Other communities in Oregon weren’t so fortunate, and I grieve for those who have lost homes and loved ones.


As I write this, our forests are damp from recent light rain, and heavy rain is in the forecast for Sept. 23. These rains will very likely douse the Riverside Fire with enough moisture to stop it in its tracks until the snow flies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few smokes pop up next spring, as happened after the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire, but the threat to our community is probably over.

Probably? Yes, because hot spots will remain even after a soaking, and another east wind event could whip the embers into a raging wildfire. Even so, the flames would have a long way to run before they could get here. The northeast side of the fire is a bit more than 12 miles as the raven flies from Welches.

Even if the chances of a flareup are miniscule, it is wise to remember how frightening the fire was only a couple of weeks ago when the skies were filled with smoke and we were under Level 1 of the three “Ready, Set, GO!” alerts: Be ready to evacuate. Sandy was at Level 2 for a few days: Be set to leave at a moment’s notice. Level 3 means Go NOW!

During the Level 1 alert, Lara and I had two of our vehicles packed with our most treasured possessions, pet supplies, sleeping bags, food and water. We planned to load our cats and computer gear at the last minute. The two cars were gassed up and ready to go. My faithful old Ford pickup would have stayed, along with so many things in the house and sheds, a lifetime’s worth of stuff. Fortunately, we had plenty of time to get ready. What if we had suddenly been given the Go NOW! order?

What would you have done?

Years ago, when I taught wildland fire management classes at Mt. Hood Community College, one of the videos I showed to students captured a scene of panic inside a home in southern Oregon. As flames approached, a woman ran around inside her house with a framed photograph in one hand and an antique chair in another, trying to decide which of her valuables to take. She was in a panic and couldn’t think straight. The captain of a fire engine stationed nearby, but ready to bug out while they still could, ran into the house and shouted to the woman, “Leave now! Those things aren’t worth your life! Get out NOW!”

It could come to that, for us. You may not have believed it before, thinking that you were safe here on the wet west side of the Cascades. Now that you know you’re not, take time to prepare for the worst.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has an excellent web site with guidelines for preparing to evacuate during a wildfire. It offers a range of tips for creating a comprehensive Wildfire Action Plan, which includes a Family Communication Plan (designation of an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation) and an Emergency Supply Kit for each person. Cal Fire urges you to remember the six “P’s”: people and pets; papers, phone numbers and important documents; prescriptions, vitamins and eyeglasses, pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia; personal computer hard drive and disks; and “plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash.

If you’d like to learn about how to help your family, your neighbors and the community prepare for wildfire, think about joining Hoodland Fire’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Go to www.hoodlandfire.us and click Join.

As I wrote in the January 2020 installment of “The Woodsman,” the forests we live in are sure to burn. It’s a question of when, not if. Some dry summer day, a campfire or burn pile will escape, an arsonist will do his evil work or lightning will strike dry fuels and we’ll have a wildfire. Maybe a campfire on Old Maid Flat will escape and east wind will push it down the Sandy River valley toward Zigzag and Welches. The Riverside Fire was human caused, according to the U.S. Forest Service; an investigation is under way. Regardless of the cause, take a look at the map that accompanies this article and note the size of fire compared to Hoodland. Most of the 138,000 acres scorched by the fire burned in just 24 hours after the fire started on Sept. 8, pushed by a dry wind from the east.

Are you prepared to evacuate within 24 hours? What will you do if you get the Go NOW! alert? Read those Cal Fire web pages while you have time to get ready.

Want to know more about preparing for wildfire? Want to hear about a great way to reuse, repurpose and recycle our Oregon wildfire smoke? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

The season for scary, wacky and always interesting by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2020

We all get a thrill out of being scared sometimes. Hence the popularity of Ferris wheels, zip lines and even Halloween. Though this year may “take the cake” for scariness, let’s look at some of those things – some you may have heard before and some you may not know.

In no particular order here are some things that are scary, wacky and weird… but always interesting.

We don’t always use good moral judgement – the goal of our society has become commerce, the god of greenbacks. If large corporations don’t make money, the shareholders abandon it! Next month how to vote with your dollars.

Did you know that wooden cutting boards and spoons are less “germy” than glass or especially plastic? Wood “self-heals” any cuts, whereas plastic takes longer to do so.

Whether you live in an area that went to Level 3 during the fires or not, pay attention to your community. Any firefighter will tell you that in any major disaster, you will undoubtedly have to rely on neighbors for help. Our heroes will be overwhelmed with the big stuff.

Here are a few things that may seem counter-intuitive: tearing up your lettuce before you store it may double its antioxidant value. Just remember to dry it before storing or it will rot faster. Apricots that have been sulfured actually have more antioxidants than the dark, unsulfured ones (be sure you are not allergic to sulfur).

 You probably already know that purple carrots, radishes, cabbage, etc. have more antioxidants than the orange ones, but did you know that carrots should always be cooked in oil or butter or a good fat source (never margarine) so they will have a better source of beta carotene than raw carrots? Buy carrots with the tops still on to  make sure they are fresh, but remove the tops before storing so they don’t dry out.Cook carrots whole and slice them later to get eight times more beta carotene. Don’t bother getting those little bags of carrot nubbins. They’ve simply been whittled down and the most nutrient dense part thrown away, to the point where they have zero flavor.

Whether your kids are doing online school or taking the bus, in Chinese medicine we say that now is the time to “close the gates,” stay home as much as possible. Perhaps you’ve noticed the “cold wind invasion.” When it’s windy out, cover your ears with flap hats, stocking caps or earmuffs. Stay well.

Remember that spiritual values will always out-trump monetary ones. If you need more food, learn about foraging and look to your own back yard. Those “weeds” are quite edible (some are tastier than spinach) and those weeds can become part of your diet.

Europeans routinely eat dandelions in their salads. Good for the liver.

The water you cook your green leafies in has almost 300 antioxidants compared to the spinach itself, which has less than 100. Drink the spinach water or at the very least cool it to water your plants.

We currently live in a world of wastefulness. The “clean your plate club” began between WWI and WWII. Now Americans throw out almost half of the food we purchase, while children are starving throughout the globe. This is shameful.

The reasons we want to maintain biodiversity are because if one crop fails utterly, we have a chance that the seeds of another crop won’t. If we are all eating the same few foods, and that one fails, it won’t be pretty.

The potato famine in Ireland happened because only one strain of potato was being grown. When that crop failed, all of Ireland was in trouble and mostly abandoned.

Buy your garden seeds from a company that signs the “safe seed pledge,” vowing to avoid genetically modified (GM) seeds. Local companies may have seeds better adapted to your environment. Most of the world refuses to buy GM foods. But in the U.S. it’s a growing monetary concern. Aren’t we at least as smart as the rest of the world? Buy organic.

Read up on Jeffery Smith’s works on GM foods – it’s very scary. I was once at a seminar of 300 physicians and numerous speakers from around the world. Smith was the only speaker who got a standing ovation. Three hundred healthcare workers stood to applaud Smith, who had no fancy letters behind his name. Information comes from many sources.

It’s not that we don’t have hope. If we all start doing our part, we will survive to leave a workable Earth for generations to come. We own a lot of stuff and we make a lot of garbage. We use up 70 percent of the world’s resources though we’re only 40 percent of its make up. But we can change. Are you up for the challenge?

The role of an inventory by Paula Walker on 10/01/2020

Perhaps it seems so commonplace, as to be surprising, that something as basic as a list of items could be so important to the legal system, when you are acting as Personal Representative (PR), aka “Executor,” of a will. But such is the case that your key responsibility after being appointed to this position by the court is to turn your efforts to begin creating a list of the decedent’s property that has fallen to you to manage, account for, value and some of which eventually to distribute.

As court-appointed PR, once you have thoroughly reviewed the will with legal counsel and before anything is removed from the home, take stock of the decedent’s personal belongings. Some of those will possibly be designated as a gift to someone in particular. You must track those to account that they were distributed as designated in the will.

Your inventory is the start of that final accounting. You want to know what the home holds: e.g. jewelry, clothing, household furniture, furnishings and fixtures, chinaware, silver, photographs, works of art, books, sporting goods, electronic equipment, musical instruments, etc., and those assets not directly in the home that are part of the house and property, including boats, automobiles, shop tools, yard equipment, etc. Each are listed with your estimated or appraised value of a particular item or a category of items.

In addition to household items, personal effects and other personal property as listed prior, your inventory will contain a listing of the decedent’s real property and personal property: e.g. bank accounts, contracts and loans with balances outstanding, investment accounts, stocks, bonds, and could include other financial accounts such as life insurance and retirement accounts, depending on the provisions in the will.

There is a universe of items that must be included in your inventory unique to the holdings and possessions of the decedent.

This provides just an example of the task before you as PR to account to the court and manage transfers to the designated beneficiaries.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Anthony Bourdain, international chef, provides insight into the likely contents of an estate inventory that would have been prepared for the court by his PR/Executor, his estranged wife Ottavia Busia. The contents of his will that directed the distribution and management of his $1.21M estate upon his death by suicide in the Hotel Le Chambard in the Alsace region of France in June 2018, account for items that fall along the lines described in the prior section.

According to court papers his assets included: personal property cash and savings of $425,000, a brokerage account of $35,000, other personal property valued at $250,000 and intangible property including royalties and residuals valued at $500,000. The court documents did not list real property, such as Bourdain’s East 94th Street New York City condo, purchased for $3.35M in 2014 and listed for sale three months after his death for $3.7M. Wonder how that missed the court records? Well, in addition to his will, Bourdain did also have a trust. Trusts are not a matter of public record. Something to keep in mind as you make your decisions on your own estate plan.

Break out the stock pot by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2020

Goodbye summer, you were... something. We will need some comfort this fall. Here's some piping hot recipes that will feel like a cashmere sweater for your soul.

Sausage and potato beer cheese soup

I love to use ale for this soup. If you'd like to switch out potatoes for cauliflower you would make it keto friendly.

1/2 package kielbasa sausage diced

2 cups peeled, diced Yukon gold potatoes

1 small onion minced

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 cloves minced garlic

1t Italian seasoning

1t salt

1/2t pepper (white pepper is best here)

1T butter

2T all-purpose flour

1T olive oil

1 cup good quality ale

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese

Over medium high heat in a large pot add the oil and butter, then add in the sausage. Cook until the edges are crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside, add the veggies including potatoes and seasonings. Cook, stirring often until veggies are almost tender.

Add beer (it will bubble) and the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer covered for 30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool slightly - ladle the soup one cup at a time into blender, pouring back into the pot until the soup is chunky smooth. Whisk together the cheese, cream and flour, add mixture to soup and bring to a simmer stirring constantly until thickened. Garnish with sausage.


Apple pie cookie skillet

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

4 Grannie Smith apples peeled and diced

1t corn starch

1T lemon juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2t cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

One recipe of homemade or prepared sugar or oatmeal cookie dough. Press into the cast iron skillet and set aside.

Optional toppings:

Chopped pecans

Caramel sauce

Ice cream

Whipped cream

Mix juice and cornstarch and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to skillet and cook over medium heat until apples are tender. Add juice mixture adding some water if too dry (consistency should be syrupy). Add corn starch if too much liquid.

Pour apples over cookie dough, bake for 20 minutes and serve warm topped with ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream and chopped pecans.

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Wildlife photography by Gary Randall on 09/01/2020

I enjoy being a landscape photographer. Being a landscape photographer allows me opportunities to be out within nature to photograph its beauty, many times in breathtaking conditions. Being out in nature also allows me to enjoy encounters with the creatures that inhabit these beautiful sceneries.


Landscape photographers are typically unprepared to photograph an encounter with a deer, a squirrel or even an occasional bear, primarily since a landscape lens is a wide-angle focal length. A wide-angle lens will not do justice to any kind of wildlife photography. Most of the creatures will be small and obscure within the scene. A typical focal length for a landscape scene will be somewhere around 18mm/24mm. In the world of wildlife photography life begins at 600mm and so an investment in a long focal length zoom lens must be made. I use a 150mm – 600mm lens.

Photographing wildlife takes a different approach as well. A landscape photographer will set their camera up on a tripod and, basically, take their time constructing the shot. There is usually no rush at all, and the shot is usually made with manual settings. But with wildlife, the animals do not pose for you and they are usually fleeting in their appearance. Your photos usually must be made in a blink of an eye and handheld.

My method for photographing wildlife is to set my camera up on either Aperture Priority or even Shutter Priority. I then will set my ISO to Auto and make sure that the range will cover all lighting conditions. In Aperture Priority you will set the aperture and the camera will choose the best shutter speed and ISO, again making sure that the shutter speed is quick enough to get a shot without any kind of motion blur. Open the aperture all the way and push the ISO. Some photographers prefer to set the shutter speed and not the aperture to make sure that it is always fast enough. In that case you set the shutter speed and the camera adjusts the aperture and ISO. Either method works and depends on personal preference or conditions. But it is important to make sure that you have a fast enough shutter speed. Either way these settings will be preferred over manual operation as it allows you to make a shot quickly without having to manually adjust as the animal is moving. Give it a try.

I had the opportunity to photograph wildlife in Alaska recently. Black bears, grizzly bears, moose, harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, eagles and other animals, but the grizzly bears were the most thrilling. This allowed me to use these techniques to nail the photos as the bears were going about their business feeding on fish in the river. Grizzly bears are very focused on fishing and are not aggressive toward humans in this situation unless they were to feel threatened. Using a 600mm focal length allowed plenty of room between us and the bears and allowed them to go about their business as we went about ours. We sat on the opposite side of the Kenai River and watched them as they pulled fish from the river.

Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority works well in other situations as well. Photographing people in quick moving situations, such as candid photos of wedding guests for example, will allow you to pay attention to your subjects and not have to deal with the camera settings. Also, a longer focal length zoom lens works well for that too as you don’t have to get up close to your subject, allowing for more candid photos.

I recommend any photographer that wants to photograph wildlife to invest in a “long lens” and practice. Try the automatic settings Aperture and Shutter Priority. Use it in your yard on squirrels and birds and then go out to a wildlife refuge or a natural place frequented by animals and become a wildlife photographer. While you are out in the wild please be careful of your safety as well as being respectful of the animal’s space and safety. And as always when in nature, leave it better than you found it.

Clearcuts are ugly – but they can also be useful by Steve Wilent on 09/01/2020

What’s wrong with clearcuts? I’ll tell you what I think: They’re ugly. A patch of trees is prettier than a patch of stumps.

Some clearcuts are done in the wrong place, such as on steep slopes with houses or roads downhill. Sometimes runoff from clearcuts gets into streams and fouls habitat for fish and other aquatic critters. There are other valid objections to clearcutting. However, clearcutting in our western Oregon forests often is an appropriate forest-management practice.

I’m a forester, and I’ve objected to clearcuts in some cases. Many years ago, when I worked for the US Forest Service on the El Dorado National Forest in California, part of my job was measuring and marking timber to be harvested. Sometimes I objected to the use of clearcutting. For example, one 20-acre parcel had a few large, old-growth Ponderosa pine trees and lots of relatively young pines and firs, the result of a seed-tree harvest 40 years previously. The Forest Service’s prescription was to cut everything and plant seedlings. My opinion was that a better option would have been to leave most or all of the large trees and cut about half of the younger ones, since many of them were too close together and not growing well. Such a thinning would have allowed the remaining young trees to grow faster and taller. The next harvest, say in 20 or 30 years, might have been another seed-tree harvest, where all but the largest trees were left to scatter their seeds to start a new generation of young trees.

In other cases, the use of clearcutting was justified. My colleagues and I mapped and marked trees on many areas with 60- to 80-year-old Douglas-fir, white fir and other species. Logs from these clearcuts were sent to lumber mills and seedlings were planted. Today, those seedlings are close to 40 years old, and most visitors wouldn’t know that the site had been clearcut decades ago. Yes, a seed-tree cut or a thinning could also have been implemented, but in this case timber production was the primary goal. I’m okay with that. I live in a house made from lumber from clearcuts, and I’m okay with that, too.

Many people object to the use of clearcutting, period. That’s understandable, since they’re ugly and, if used improperly, can cause environmental damage. But consider this: just about everyone who lives in the Hoodland area lives in a clearcut. Trees once stood where your home is. The same goes for Welches school, Hoodland Plaza and other businesses and restaurants – and the roads we use to get to them. If you use Hwy. 26, you drive on a clearcut. The city of Portland was first known as Stumptown, and most of the metro area was once covered in forest. Sandy, too.

Do you enjoy the delicious apples, pears and cherries grown in the Hood River area? What was on the land before the orchards were planted? Much of it was timbered.

Do you enjoy the superb wines made by Oregon wineries? Last year, according to the Oregon Wine Board, nearly 2,000 acres of new vineyards were planted in our state, bringing the total number of acres of wine grapes to nearly 36,000. Before they were vineyards, most of those acres were covered with trees, grass and other vegetation.

Do you use electricity? The Bonneville Power Administration power line corridor that runs from The Dalles to Troutdale, known as Big Eddy–Troutdale No. 1, cuts across the Mt. Hood National Forest and a bit of private land from Parkdale to Sandy, then heads north to Corbett, a distance of about 43 miles (measured via Google Earth Pro). Drive up Lolo Pass Road and you’ll see miles of the corridor. Most of the corridor was cleared of timber when it was built in the 1950s; these days, BPA crews regularly cut seedlings cut and/or use herbicides on the brush before it grows tall enough to interfere with the lines. At roughly 375 feet wide, this section of the corridor is essentially a clearcut that covers about three square miles. (For what it’s worth, I hope that someday we’ll get our electricity from small, local, solar arrays or generators that use hydrogen as a fuel, making such powerline corridors unnecessary.)

Clearcuts to make way for housing and commercial development, orchards, vineyards and power lines are permanent clearcuts. They’ll never be forest again. Clearcutting for timber production and other purposes – yes, there are other purposes – almost always become forest again. Under Oregon law, all areas where timber is harvested must be replanted or have certain levels of natural regeneration within a few years.

Believe it or not, clearcutting can have positive impacts on wildlife habitat. I’ve been following a story from the Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area in New Jersey, where the state Division of Fish and Wildlife and partner New Jersey Audubon have harvested small areas of mature timber in the 3,500-acre reserve. One of their main goals was to create habitat for bird species that need brushy areas, not dense timber. At least one of those birds, a golden-winged warbler – a candidate for the federal endangered species list – showed up in June, and it may have a mate and a nest. This was six years after the harvest – a clearcut that had drawn loud protests from people who object to the use of clearcutting, period. New Jersey Audubon reports that bird diversity increased almost twofold in the clearcut, to an average of about 30 species, including 10 species of concern. The same sort of thing happens here in Oregon.

Clearcuts are ugly, sure, but sometimes some good comes from them. I’m okay with that.

Have a question about clearcutting? Want to take a walk in a clearcut area to see birds and other critters? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

View Points – Salem: Wildfire season by Rep. Anna Williams on 09/01/2020

As I navigate the uncharted territory of representing our communities during a pandemic, I’ve been spending a lot of time calling people throughout Sandy, the mountain communities and the Hood River Valley, asking them what they’re concerned about. A few things have understandably been coming up over and over again since spring: unemployment, racial justice and public health. One thing I’ve only just begun to hear about, though, is something people in our part of the state should all be aware of: wildfire season is upon us.

Since fire season began in early July, dry conditions, high heat and wind have led to fires throughout Oregon. As I write this, the Mosier Creek Fire, a nearly 1,000-acre fire that ignited mere miles outside of the boundaries of my legislative district, has only just been contained after spreading rapidly and burning for days. Despite that single success in our state’s wildfire response, Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfires throughout the state.

Wildfire is a serious concern for people in this part of the state. I’ve heard the same sentence uttered by many people in our mountain communities: “I’m afraid we could be the next Paradise, California.” With one road into these communities and one road out, atop a mountain covered with wildfire fuel, it is clearer to people in the Sandy and Hoodland area than to most others throughout the state that we need to invest significantly in our wildland firefighting programs.

The first bill I signed on to co-sponsor when I was sworn into the legislature was aimed at increasing our state’s preparedness for fire season. Community resiliency in the face of fire threats has been a top priority for me after hearing from so many people who were impacted by the Eagle Creek fire in 2017. Unfortunately, political gamesmanship – namely, the repeated walkouts by my Republican colleagues – have kept us from passing several bills that would have provided crucial assistance to Oregon’s fire response efforts.

Thankfully, in April, the legislature’s Emergency Board approved a spending increase of $3.6 million to assist crews in fire suppression efforts. However, this investment pales in comparison to the roughly $4 billion that our state will spend over the next 20 years to adapt to the new fire management challenges that climate change has forced upon us. That’s why, no matter what other disagreements we may have, I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide robust wildfire prevention funding.

Rest assured, we have seen successes despite our limited resources. In the Mosier Creek Fire, for example, the state’s pandemic-ready fire response teams had their first successful deployment. The “COVID fire module,” a new tool for firefighting during the pandemic, allows the men and women at the fire line to do their brave and essential work with reduced risk of spreading illness to their colleagues. Thanks to the deployment of this state resource, the Mosier Creek fire was quickly and safely contained, and I remain optimistic that any other fires that may flare up in the months to come will be managed quickly and effectively.

That said, we all need to do our part. This year, a higher than usual percentage of fires have been human caused. So please, if you’re visiting a campground to safely distance while getting outside, be sure to completely extinguish any campfires you set (and, of course, follow all fire bans if they are in place). If you smoke, put your cigarettes out completely and be sure you toss them in a trash can when you’re done. Finally, make sure your car is in good condition if you’re driving through dry areas: metal dragging from cars, worn brake pads that throw off sparks and even hot exhaust pipes or mufflers (if driven through dry brush), can start wildfires.

If we all do our part – on an individual and statewide level – we can confront the threat of wildfires even with limited resources to invest in prevention and preparedness.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

View Points – Sandy: Planning for Sandy's future by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 09/01/2020

As a precocious teenager interested in civics and public service at Sandy High School, my Civics teacher nominated me for a “shadow councilor” position for the Sandy City Council. As a shadow councilor, we would receive meeting briefing packets in the mail at school, meet with our City Councilor and sit behind them during council meetings. At the end of the meeting we would even get to participate in councilor reports and provide our own as a shadow councilor.

I would sit there as a young high school student and watch as our local leaders debated issues and planned for the future of our city. During that time and over the next 20 years, I would often think about the actions I would take and the kind of leader I would be if I were ever to have that kind of responsibility to the city that so many of us love so dearly.

These past two years as your Mayor has been one of the greatest highlights of my life. To serve the community that I both grew up in and then later decided to raise my own family in has been a true honor. The only better feeling is knowing how much we have accomplished with the help of my fellow Sandy City Councilors!

Despite a global pandemic, the work we’ve done as a city to enrich the lives of our neighbors, improve traffic congestion and keep our citizens safe is something I’m truly proud of.

I made a lot of promises two years ago, and as your Mayor I’ve been able to keep every one of them.

To help keep Sandy moving, we negotiated a joint venture with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to conduct a feasibility study for a local bypass for our citizens. Additionally, we received approval for synchronized traffic lights from ODOT on Hwy. 26, secured funding for 362nd to Bell Street to alleviate the school time commute off Bluff Road and won county transportation funds for paved shoulders along 362nd Ave.

Our local Sandy small businesses are the heartbeat of our community and as promised, we stood up for them! We spearheaded a COVID-19 relief fund to provide $3,000 in aid to local small businesses. We slashed red tape by removing System Development Charges for patio seating at local restaurants and burdensome parking requirements, and we increased funding for the Tenant Improvement Program for local businesses.

Finally, one of my most important responsibilities as your Mayor is to protect your pocketbook and your family. These past two years we’ve been enormously successful in doing precisely that. We adopted the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan that included $500,000 in funds from the State. If successful, this study could help us cut the facility costs in half. Perhaps even more importantly, we provided our Sandy Police Department with not only increased funding, but also a stable funding source that should pay huge dividends for the department in the years ahead.

These are just a few of our major accomplishments and yet there is still so much left to do. We’ve done a terrific job laying the foundation for Sandy to flourish into the future. Now is the time to work with our neighbors to collectively plan for our future as a community.

As one of Oregon’s fastest growing cities, now is the time to properly plan for our potential. These next two years need to be about making good on my promise for a community-led effort to plan for what we want Sandy to look like in the years ahead. This coming year, I want our Sandy City Council to make it a goal to both identify funding for and officially kick-off our comprehensive planning efforts for growth. This endeavor should include a community outreach and engagement effort. Every neighbor, small business owner and community volunteer or activist should have the opportunity to participate in the planning of our community.

We will also look to this same kind of community-led effort for the Sandy Community Campus. Now is the time for our neighbors to engage and collectively develop a long-term plan and strategy for this major project.

Let us together continue to keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Fantastic flavors by Taeler Butel on 09/01/2020

Crab Boil

A whole meal in a pot, fit for a crowd. Sausage, potatoes, corn and shellfish simmering in a spicy broth. Add a loaf of crusty bread and you'll have the perfect summer meal alfresco!

2-3 lbs crab legs

2 lbs shell on shrimp

4 ears of corn, each cut into four pieces

1 lb baby potatoes

1 lb andouille sausage

1 onion, diced

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup minced garlic

2 cups chicken broth

1 stick unsalted butter

Bay leaf

1/4 cup Cajun seasoning

Grab a large pot, and over medium heat melt the butter, then add the seasoning. To the pot add onion, celery and garlic. Sautee for a few minutes then add the sausage, corn, potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a summer, add the shellfish and cook for five minutes more.

Key lime bars

A cool citrus desert is the perfect ending to a hot summer night.

For the crust:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup softened butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 t salt

Process in a food processor or mix with a pastry cutter. Press into square pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling:

6 oz soft cream cheese

4 egg yolks

1 T key lime zest

1 t vanilla

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Mix all the ingredients together using a whisk or electric mixer. Pour onto the cooled crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until set. Cool completely.

Even the smallest garden can offer empowerment by Victoria Larson on 09/01/2020

The most rewarding money and stress reliever is gardening, empowering your food security. I gave my son-in-law a tomato plant for Father’s Day. Hie lives in an apartment and was thrilled when he got his first tomato!

Even if you only grow one plant on your porch, you empower yourself. Even if you only grew one zucchini you probably ended up with a lot of food. One eight-inch zucchini shredded will fill a one-quart freezer container. A quart of frozen zucchini mixed with cooked rice or quinoa makes lovely fritters for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or there’s always zucchini chocolate cake!

Of course, if you had/have a larger garden, you may need to lock your car door at church to avoid anyone dropping a baseball-bat-sized zucchini into your car. Though they may be sliced lengthwise for lasagna or crosswise for sautéing.

Never waste food. In addition to the Victory Gardens being promoted between WWI and WWII, there was the “clean your plate” endeavor as part of those global efforts. Now we’ve somehow come back as almost half of all food in America is tossed as “garbage.” No wonder starving nations think we are wasteful. Start a compost heap, get chickens or even pet Guinea pigs to eat your vegetable “waste.”

If you have a larger garden, it’s not too late to preserve food for winter. Canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting may consume your time, but if you’re currently out of work it’s a good way to empower yourself. And it feels great to look at those filled pantry shelves. You’ll be “prepared” for surprises.

There’s still a lot coming out of the garden – cukes, peppers, tomatoes, beans and of course, kale. Make kale chips or kale guacamole, or zucchini hummus. Simply substitute whatever you have a lot of in your favorite recipes.

And forage – actually pick all those apples on your or your neighbor’s apple trees (with permission, of course). When I lived on my five-acre homestead, I owned Clackamas County’s oldest living Gravenstein apple tree.

After applesauce, juice and dried cinnamon apples, my four donkeys and two llamas got the rest. Chickens cleaned up any pests under the trees. Alas, while also something of a homesteader, the new owner of that farm has cut down that tree, as well as the pear tree next to it (which once gave me 96 quarts of pears in one year). Is buying applesauce in little plastic containers a better option? Not any more.

That new farmer also tore down the old cabin that was always cool, under that historical apple tree. It was built in the 1930s as a place to live, with an outhouse and no electricity or running water. I had used it as a guest house, a bunkhouse for farm workers and my ex-husband wrote several books there. Now it’s history that is gone forever.

But my new property, while not even an acre, may have one of the last free-standing fruit rooms around. Eight-foot by nine-foot, all four walls are fifteen inches thick. A perfect place to store my home-canned goods, potatoes, squash, onions, fruit and eggs. Even t.p. in case of the next unforeseen disaster.

I am no longer part of the “consume all you can” society, thought I’ll admit that previously living alone in a 2,200 square foot house left lots of room for “acquiring.” Maybe the pendulum is now swinging back to “less is More” – even my 12-year-old grandson requested no gifts for his birthday party. Buying things for a moment’s pleasure that end their lives in the landfill is no longer sustainable. Let’s build up spiritual abundance and peace instead of “stuff.”

As the time to “gather up” the garden nears, remember to tithe to the soil which provides for you. While continuing to plant lettuce and other green leafies, every couple of weeks, you can still plant starts of cabbage, kale, garlic, onions, potatoes and root crops to see you through the winter. With store squashes, that’s a lot of food. So you can maybe stop buying industrial and packaged food and eating out so often.

We each need enough food to see us through the “lean months” of February and March. Those home-canned tomatoes become the “fast food” of the end of the year – think soup, sauces, casseroles. Many grocery stores still don’t have fully filled shelves and may never again! What if our next crisis is over oil and gas? Transportation will become different. Though we’re all getting used to staying home more, it never hurts to be prepared.

The cooler air of September makes us restless, we know change is in the air. Time to gather up sweatshirts and blankets for we know cooler times are coming. Learn new skills and teach the children. Publications like Mother Earth News, the New Pioneer and this newspaper will help you learn – and empower yourselves! Even if I never make a bone needle or hook up my own solar heating, I like knowing where to find acorns and black walnuts and which plants on my own property are useful for medicine or food. I feel empowered.

Aren't all trusts revocable? by Paula Walker on 09/01/2020

When we talk about a Trust as opposed to a Will as your basic estate plan document, we are in general referring to a Revocable Living Trust. A ‘brain-ful’ to remember and a mouthful to repeat. But why the term “revocable” and what about the term “living?” And are all trusts “revocable?”

First off what is a Trust? It is a legal entity you set up to manage your assets and possessions, such as investment accounts, real estate, qualified tax accounts, cars, art, jewelry etc. You place your assets inside the Trust to manage them during your life and to provide the means to manage them and/or their distribution upon your death. There are two types of “living trusts,” i.e. trusts made effective during your lifetime. They are revocable and irrevocable.

A Revocable Living Trust provides you the means to change the terms of the trust, retain control of your assets or cancel the trust altogether, i.e. ‘revoke’ it. Powers over the trust include adding and removing assets, naming beneficiaries, changing, adding and/or removing beneficiaries, changing what and how much is distributed to each beneficiary, dictating how distributions occur and when. This is in contrast to an Irrevocable Trust, which can also be a ‘living’ trust that is by contrast cast in stone. Except for rare circumstances, the terms of an irrevocable trust are set upon signing the agreement. Once signed, the Irrevocable Trust may not be changed, altered, modified or revoked after its creation.

Some of the key advantages to a Revocable Living Trust as the main estate planning document include avoiding probate, eliminating or minimizing estate taxes, eliminating or minimizing other tax consequences and other advantages to assist you in passing the value in your estate to those you intend to benefit from all that you worked to achieve.

More to come in subsequent articles on types of trusts and how they might work together or independently to meet your estate planning goal(s)

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Just for fun… an interesting story about a pair of jeans. Who would think that an old pair of jeans would be a treasure found and a valuable inheritance? Well such was the case for Jock Taylor. When rummaging in an old wooden trunk handed down in the family, Taylor—the great great grandson of Arizona pioneer Solomon Warner, a storekeeper in the Arizona Territory – found an old pair of jeans that dated back to the 19th century. The design of the jeans showed that they were made by Levi Strauss & Co. before 1901, in part because they had just one back pocket. Like archaeological finds, the size of the jeans, indicate that Solomon Warner was a “larger than-life character” as the jeans had a size 44 waist and 36-inch inseam; and because their pristine condition indicates that he had worn them very few times before his death. Not accepting the eager offer from Levi Strauss of $50,000 for the artifact jeans, Taylor eventually sold these jeans—a replica from the American Old west, sold in Maine, to a buyer living somewhere in Southeast Asia whose representative purchased them on May 15, 2018 – for nearly $100,000. Could a storekeeper in pioneer territory ever imagine that his practical purchase of a pair of jeans in 1893 would fetch a small fortune nearly 125 years later and travel the country and the globe in winding their way to a new owner?

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.


Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Focus for effect by Gary Randall on 07/30/2020

Focus and clarity in a photograph is something that we try our best to achieve when making a photograph. It’s a part of the process that takes time and practice to study and to understand. It’s important to be able to understand how to focus properly and to direct that focus to where it will benefit the impact and quality of the photo. But does the photo need to be completely “tack sharp” in its focus and clarity? Let’s discuss how to use focus and depth of field to create better images.


There are two ways to eliminate, or cause, areas in your photograph that are not in focus, but only one can be affected by focusing. Focus typically affects the whole photograph while a shallow depth of field will cause softness and clarity in areas of the photo. Focus is easily explained and affected by the action of turning the focus ring to bring the image into clear focus. The next that I’ll discuss is more complicated. Affecting the depth of field, or the depth of the focused area in the photo is controlled by the aperture.

A lens aperture will have the effect of deeper depth of field when the lens is “stopped down.” The action of stopping down a lens is simply changing the aperture opening to a smaller hole (a larger number on the aperture ring). When you reduce the size of the aperture opening you are stopping more light from entering the lens, but you are also increasing the depth of field - the amount of area in focus. Stopping down will usually create more focus from front to back in the photograph. Conversely opening up the aperture will cause a shallower focused area.

One element of focusing that must be understood is that the closer an object that’s being focused on will also create a shallower depth of field. Every lens has a minimum focus distance.

This minimum focus distance is the area when the lens can no longer focus as the foreground of the object that needs to be focused is too close to the lens. And the closer that you get to this minimum focus distance, the shallower your depth of focus will be, causing things in the distance to be less clear.

There are calculations that can be used, called hyperfocal distance, but just understanding how this works will allow you to use it to better understand how to maximize or control your focus. Just keep in mind that if you stop down, you maximize the depth of field and if you open your aperture up you will minimize the depth of field. In addition, your depth of field will narrow the closer that the subject gets to the lens.

Now, how can we use this knowledge to make better photos? It’s pretty simple really when you understand that it can be used to separate the subject from a background, for instance.

You can open up the aperture, creating a narrow depth of field, to focus just on a flower or a person while blurring out the background. Or if you’re struggling with keeping as much as possible in focus, understanding that you need to stop down and/or back up a little bit from the foreground will help you achieve that.

Having a camera that allows you to control the settings gives one the ability to craft better photos. Understanding how to achieve focus or soft out of focused areas according to the effect that one wants to achieve will elevate your photography to a whole new level.


MHGS: the end of an environmentally excellent era by on 07/30/2020

It all began five years ago. I had responded to a classified ad in The Mountain Times, and soon I found myself having coffee and listening to a man share a vision he had for creating sustainability opportunities on the mountain. Doug Saldivar had cut his teeth with the pioneering nonprofit organization Portland Recycling Team that operated at a time when recycling was far from the norm.

Now through his position as President of The Villages board, he had recruited Dave Fulton and they were seeking others to join their efforts. The new organization had launched five years earlier by holding a contest for the Welches school children to choose a name. Second-grader Benny's entry won, and the Mt. Hood Green Scene was born.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene later merged with the Portland Recycling Team, becoming a 501(c) non-profit organization. Through our efforts on the mountain, we were able to bring the community a number of collection events for items that are not recyclable curbside, thus preventing much toxic waste from going into the landfills.

We are proud of the partnerships we formed with the Hoodland community. Page’s Auto & Tire collected used tires. We worked with the Hoodland Thriftway to bring about used plastic bag collection.

Together with the Welches Mountain Building Supply Company, we initiated a used paint collection program. We collaborated with youth from the Ant Farm to clear the land at the Welches School for use in their outdoor school program.

We worked with some local lodging facilities to collect bath soap for donation to homeless shelters in Portland. With the support of Clackamas County Environmental Services, we collected things such as used fluorescent lightbulbs and batteries to keep toxic elements from seeping into the groundwater. We cleared English Ivy, an invasive species, from a local community.

Much of our work has focused in the area of community education. We held a movie series at the Wraptitude, various lectures at Wy’East Book Store & Art Gallery. We worked with the Sandy High School Science Department to involve kids in our events in hopes of inspiring them. They developed a drama version of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” long before the film came out. And of course, for the past five years a monthly column thanks to the wonderful support of the Mountain Times.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene has been embraced by the community and even had some detractors. In spite of it, we persevered and are proud of the work we have done. Now the time has come for us to pass the baton. Our non-profit organization is closing its doors.

The remaining funds have been “recycled” to the Environmental Learning Center at Clackamas Community College. It is intended to support their work of teaching the youth to become stewards and defenders of the planet they will inhabit.

In the name of all of the Board of Directors and myself, thank you for the years of community support and please continue to tread lightly on our Mother Earth.


View Points – Salem: One voice can make a difference by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/30/2020

Civil unrest in our state and the constantly evolving pandemic brings about new, major public health measures every week. With all this going on, it’s easy to lose sight of some of the small but important policy changes taking place in Oregon, and it can be hard to feel like one person’s voice can really make a difference. Recently one of my constituents contacted me, leading to small change that could have vast impacts on the quality of tens of thousands of Oregonians’ lives.

I received an email from a Hood River resident asking about a program put in place by Colorado’s state health department. The department’s guidance allowed for outdoor visitation at residential care facilities – putting an end to the state’s ban on any visitation to long-term care residents that had been in place since the beginning of the pandemic.

My constituent wondered whether Oregon could implement a similar program. At the time, long-term care residents in Oregon had been almost completely isolated for months and I’d fielded several messages from long-term care residents’ frustrated family members about the psychological impacts of loneliness and spoken to older constituents who were suffering from isolation in their care homes. Earlier in the pandemic, the science on viral transmission indoors versus outdoors was not as clear as it is now, so outdoor visitation didn’t seem like a safe solution to the issue.

However, by June, all it took was an email. I reached out to the director of the Division on Aging and People with Disabilities within the Department of Human Services (DHS). He got back to me, emphasizing that the agency had been struggling with how to approach resumption of visitation. He said he would look into whether Oregon could implement such a program in the near future and agreed with my constituent and me that it would probably be low-risk for residents and family members alike.

Less than three weeks later, I’m proud to say Oregon released new guidelines that are nearly identical to Colorado’s. Starting July 21, long-term care facilities are now permitted to offer outdoor visitation as long as they put required safeguards in place. This will make a huge difference. Although visits to loved ones do carry some risk, they are also essential to well-being and I’m thrilled at this quick action to provide our long-term care residents some much-needed support.

While the policy itself is worth celebrating, I also share this story to highlight something that many people may have forgotten at a time when so much seems out of our hands: your voice matters. Whether it’s testifying at a school board meeting about racial equity, contacting elected officials to find solutions that help your small business navigate regulations (something else I was recently involved in) or writing your state representative about your policy ideas, a single person really can make a difference in this community, this state and this world. As always, I welcome your input on any changes you would like to see in Oregon. Email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or call 503-986-1452. I look forward to hearing from you!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative


View Points – Sandy: A lifetime of service by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/30/2020

The late American Civil Rights icon and United States Congressman John Lewis once said, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

John Lewis was the epitome of a lifetime of service. In recent years there has been an uprising of populist activism across not just our nation and the globe, but also in our local communities like Sandy. Whether it be demonstrations for second amendment rights, against vaccines, opposing cap and trade policies, supporting cap and trade policies, the Black Lives Matter movement or the Blue line in support of local police departments, activism is on the rise.

While this activism, along with the right to protest and rally, are an important part of American life and what makes our nation so great, our democracy demands more of us than to simply participate in these kinds of activities and do nothing more.

Too often people get engaged too late in a process to invoke change and are only left with the ability to complain after the fact. What I have found through my own volunteerism is that the real difference needs to be made on the front end. This is not the easy work, but it is effective and the best way to invoke real change.

Too often local committees and board positions on local government bodies and nonprofits go unfulfilled. People notice things they don’t like happening or local festivals diminishing and are willing to go online to complain but are too often unwilling to roll up their own sleeves to help out to do the heavy lifting to get things done.

In his farewell address President Barack Obama said, “Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere.”

President Obama was right. While there are many things I disagreed with him on, it was these words that began to motivate me to run for Mayor of our community of Sandy.

My service has been one of the greatest highlights of my life.       While extremely challenging and frustrating at times, service at the local level is incredibly rewarding. At this level, you can see the change you’re making. You get to know the names and personalities of your neighbors. You learn their backstories and their hopes and dreams.

There is nothing more intimate or important than local community public service.

In Sandy, we have several open City Council seats available to run for as well as committee and board positions, from planning and parks to the library and arts. All of these positions have a direct impact on the community in which you live.

Our community needs you. We want you involved. We want you to show up when you can. We’d love a lifetime of service.

We want this because we know that with you involved, we can keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy


Why did my tree die? (Or, there's a fungus among us) by Steve Wilent on 07/30/2020

Have you heard the one about the mushroom who walks into a bar and orders a beer?

The bartender says, “Hey, we don’t serve your kind in here!”

The mushroom says, “Why not? I’m a fungi!”

Here on the Mountain, if the mushroom who walks into the bar is a chanterelle or a morel, the bartender will probably welcome the “fun guy” and invite a few hundred of its closest friends to join them. And they’ll never be seen again — unless they’re on a plate or in a bowl.

Seriously, certain fungi are a serious topic in my neighborhood and elsewhere in the area, and not because they’re delicious. Some of them are tree killers. And those dead trees can be dangerous if they fall on you or your house. Ask me how I know.

I’ll tell you how: About 20 years ago, during a December windstorm, Lara and I were watching through a window as the very tall trees on our property whipped and bent in the wind. We heard a deep subterranean snapping sound, and another, and then watched a 150-foot Douglas-fir fall onto the house. We weren’t hurt—we were 20 feet from the point of impact, but we sure felt the impact. The tree “only” clipped one corner of the house, but smashed a sizable portion of the roof, broke a couple of windows, and did other damage. Fortunately, our insurance company paid our claim quickly and the damage was repaired within six weeks, thanks to Jim Gunesch of Cherryville Construction and his crew.

Several other large trees on our 1.5 acres have blown down or died since then. Three that were apparently healthy blew down without doing much damage. Two died but remained standing, and I cut them down before they could fall where we didn’t want them. All of these trees died because they were infected with a fungal root disease. Several trees on my neighbors’ properties also have died recently, but — so far, fingers crossed — no homes or cars have been hit by falling trees. Asplundh crews have been in the neighborhood this summer to cut down trees that had died and threatened power lines. I have a feeling that the crew will be back before long.

The three trees on my property that blew down, including the one that hit our house, and the two I cut down, had a fungal disease called laminated root rot. I suspect that many of the Douglas-fir trees that are dead or dying in our area also have laminated root rot, alone or in combination with other diseases and insects. When a tree’s roots are weakened by a fungal disease, insects such as bark beetles are attracted to the tree and their attack can overwhelm the weakened tree’s natural defenses. But by the time the insects arrive, the tree is probably as good as dead anyhow.

According to Oregon State University, laminated root rot is one of the most damaging root diseases in Oregon. It affects all conifers, but is most damaging to Douglas-fir, the most common tree in our area. The fungus causes roots to decay and separate along annual growth rings, thus the term laminated. Unfortunately, evidence of the disease is usually not visible — often, the first indication of any trouble is when an apparently healthy Douglas-fir dies or is blown down.

Also unfortunately, even if a forester or arborist can determine if a tree is infected with laminated root rot — even experts have trouble doing so — there’s nothing they can do about it except to cut the tree down if it poses a danger to life and property. That can be spendy. Several years ago, when a large Douglas-fir across the road suddenly developed an ominous lean toward my house, I asked the neighbor to have the tree removed. He did so, at a cost of more than $1,000. Because the tree was close to several houses and power lines, it had to be removed in pieces from the top down—a labor intensive procedure. Of course, removing the tree also had the benefit of saving a house and other property from being squished. My neighbor said that the two cords of firewood in the tree made up for a portion of the cost of cutting it down.

To make matters worse, laminated root rot spreads from tree to tree underground through root contact. If one tree dies from laminated root rot, it is likely that nearby trees, though apparently green and healthy, are already infected. It is small consolation that the disease progresses slowly, once a tree is infected.

Several other root diseases may by affecting trees in your neighborhood. A publication from the Oregon State University Extension Service, “Ecology, Identification, and Management of Forest Root Diseases in Oregon,” has a wealth of information about laminated root rot and four other root diseases that are common in our state. See tinyurl.com/ybc46y68.

What to do? If you think a tree near your home is in poor health, consult an arborist or forester with experience in evaluating such trees.

Have a question about root diseases? A suggestion for a future column topic? Want to hear another great mushroom joke? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

What is fair about 'Fair Market Value' by Paula Walker on 07/30/2020

No – I didn’t switch over to real estate law since the last article, but the truth is that estate planning touches all aspects of law, because it is about people, their lives, their undertakings and their accumulations as a result. Real estate is a part of that formula. Very often, a person’s residence, or additional real estate holdings, is a key component of their plan. How they transition that asset, and the directions they want to codify for that purpose, constitute a core focus of their wealth, and often their legacy. A person’s home often is central to the life they have lived. The people that they intend to benefit with the transfer of that home, and its potential transfer of wealth financially or in terms of real property retained, deserve careful thought about how to handle the transfer and the distribution of interest in the real property. So, enter the concept of ‘fair market value,’ FMV.

In your estate plan you will leave your home and possibly other real property to one or more people to keep or to sell; or you may simply direct that the real property is to be sold, without option for retention. For the sake of your beneficiaries you want the best price possible if sold. FMV is often the standard set for that purpose. It differs from appraised value and market value though either of those may be used to help establish the FMV. The FMV, as a standard of guidance for the transfer of the wealth in that real property to your beneficiaries, is the price that the real property will fetch if placed on the open market for fair competition among multiple potential buyers and skillful negotiation on the part of the seller to bargain for the best price possible given the market at the time of sale. Or if the market is depressed, perhaps you create terms and conditions in your estate plan that support holding the property in the estate if that is the case, waiting for a market adjustment and return to better sales conditions.

The ‘fair’ in ‘fair market value’ refers to the conditions under which the price is established. i.e., the asset is (or would be) sold on the open market, both buyer and seller have reasonable knowledge of the asset — such as the condition, the features of the land and structure(s), what aspects of the property are in demand or are what the buyer is looking for, the competition for purchasing i.e., real estate in a high growth area will command a higher price; etc. — both are acting in their own best interest, each are free of undue pressure to trade and there is ample time to negotiate the terms of sale. That, in summary is the ‘fair’ of FMV.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Luis Carlos de Nornha Cabral de Camara.


None other than Luis Carlos de Nornha Cabral de Camara, the lonely, childless, wealthy Portuguese aristocrat whose valuable estate was distributed to 70 people that he did not know as orchestrated by his own deliberate action. As part of that estate, he owned a 12-room apartment in central Lisbon and a house near the northern town of Guimaraes. Wonder if he specified their sale at the Lisbon equivalent of FMV? At any rate, when he passed away at the age of 42, in 2001, seventy people that he had chosen from the Lisbon phone book some 13 years prior were his estate’s designated beneficiaries, having authenticated his will at a Lisbon registry office with two witnesses, one of them a friend of his who stated that, “He was determined that nothing should go to the state, which he thought had been robbing him of money all his life." Many of these strangers upon receiving a check from his estate, several thousand euros each, thought this was a scam. No wonder. Hopefully, all checked the facts and did not refuse the unexpected and unprecedented gesture of giving. Life is interesting – is it not?

The new normal – adjusting to less money and more stress by Victoria Larson on 07/30/2020

Here’s hoping all of you planted something last May as by now those gardens and plantings should be giving you a fair amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. With even some to put away for winter, for who knows what the future will bring us. It’s a different world now but hopefully you’ve found a way to fill your time while still staying in touch with family and friends.

Dealing with stress is a big part of daily life – computers and smart phones make huge amounts of information available to you… but do you need all that news? If it makes you anxious, you don’t. If it makes you sit, just sit, for eight hours at a time, you don’t. Spending time learning to knit or change a tire will help you become more self-sufficient and in control of your life. And it’s OK to turn off your phone for a period of time if the interruptions are causing stress. Use your phone to get in touch with, or keep in touch with, family and friends.

How do we deal with less money, more stress, health? Let’s start with laundry. Laundry can be easier (and the soaps much cheaper) if we do things in a new way. 90 percent of energy usage with laundry comes from heating the water. You don’t need to heat the water, as cold-water friction is as effective as hot water. Even though the fancy bright-packaged laundry soaps are back in the stores, you don’t need to go back to them. Natural cleaning products are as effective as the fancy ones. These include baking soda, borax, castile soap, white vinegar and even lemons and coarse salt. They are far cheaper and have less packaging, thereby saving you money and decreasing your carbon footprint.

Dishwashers are another energy hog due to their use of extremely hot water. And they break down. 90 percent of the people who own them rinse their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. “What does the dishwasher do?” Dishwasher detergents have enzymes in them to break down food particles. People actually do matter more than machines. Just stop pre-rinsing the dishes. Scraping plates into the compost bucket is OK.

When it comes to soap, remember that dishwasher soap is designed to break down food particles. If you use the cheapest kind, using more won’t make it work better. And while all those anti-bacterial liquid soaps have their place (the car, for instance), they are not necessarily anti-viral. COVID-19 is a virus. Anti-bacterials kill bacteria but they come in plastic containers with non-recyclable parts. Soap and water work as well as it’s the friction of scrubbing that really does the trick. Which is why we teach our kids to scrub their hands (often) and use a nail brush.

One of the biggest users of your energy dollars comes from driving. Though we’ve all been doing less of it, can we get it down even more? Gone is the “Sunday drive.” Do you really need to leave the house every day if you’re not currently working? Do you really need an SUV if there are only one or two people in your household? Do you really need to eat out three or more times per week? Fewer trips out will mean less exposure, less stress and less money spent.

Reduce your energy use as much as possible. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll have a sense of power (no pun intended) over your life. The absolute easiest thing you can do to decrease your energy use is dry clothes outside. Stop using your dryers, at least during the non-rainy months. Dryers use a tremendous amount of energy, as does anything that makes heat. Most of the world line dries their laundry, but in the U.S. 92 percent use dryers even when the sun is out! In China it’s hard to even find a clothes dryer to buy and only three percent use dryers. Brazil uses fewer than one percent dryers. Air is free (so far). Bring the smell of fresh air and sunshine into your home by drying clothes outside.

Back to gardening as it is a most rewarding money and stress reliever. One hour of gardening or 15 minutes outdoors if possible. Magnesium is important for the natural absorption of vitamin D. Men need 420 mg per day and women need 320 mg per day. Magnesium is in most vegetables. Best sources are almonds and spinach (80 mg), beans (60 mg), pumpkin seeds (70 mg). Eat these foods daily if you want to have more energy and stay healthy.

The simple life is just not so simple anymore. Google “simple life” and in a half a minute you will have more than a million responses! That is not exactly a simple start. Go slow in making changes. Start small with maybe one or two things per week. Children and the elderly are 50 percent less likely to experience depression and loneliness if they spend daily time outside. Give of yourself. It makes you feel good about yourself as well as your recipient. Be honest and kind in all of your dealings with others. Create connections by writing the story of your life and share that with grandkids, people in nursing homes or prisons. Share your life stories with those who are in quarantine.


One pan BBQ meal by Taeler Butel on 07/30/2020

All together now. Let's fire up those BBQ grills for one-pan meals!

Spatchcock chicken and veggies

Preheat the BBQ grill to 325 degrees.

1 whole chicken flattened, back bone removed (the butcher can do this for you). Coat with a dry rub.

Dry rub:

Mix together 2t each pepper, paprika, garlic powder, 1t salt, 1t cumin

4 sweet potatoes, halved

Sprinkle lightly with olive oil, salt and a pinch of cinnamon.

2 zucchini squash halved

1 large sweet onion – cut off one end and trim the other end – cut side up and quarter but not cutting quite through. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Place all ingredients on a large baking tray or cast-iron pan, bake on the grill for 45 minutes and serve with Alabama white BBQ sauce.

Alabama white BBQ sauce:

Mix together 1 cup of mayo, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1T Worcestershire sauce, 1/2t each of onion powder, cayenne, pepper and water to thin. Refrigerate.

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Rhododendron Season by Gary Randall on 07/01/2020

It’s rhododendron season again on Mount Hood. The “rhodies” are revered here on the Mountain as they are most likely the most popular wildflower. We even have a town that is named for the beautiful pink flowers that line our roads every springtime. They’re very photogenic and my wife Darlene and I are always glad to see rhododendron season arrive.

The name rhododendron is derived from the ancient Greek words for rose and tree. Of course, rhododendrons are neither a rose nor a tree. They’re a part of a genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heather family. They’re found mainly in Asia but are also widespread in the mountains of the American Pacific Northwest as well as in the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains. Azalea are related to rhododendrons.

Rhododendrons are so beautiful that they seem out of place in the forest. I have been asked several times by those friends not from here if they were planted along the highways as a beautification project. Of course, these beautiful flowers also grow far from roads throughout the forest but they love sunshine. You can find them growing along the roads because of that.

As photographers we can capitalize on that by going to a clearing with a beautiful view of Mount Hood for a photo. Many views can be found by taking a hike on many of the trails in the area.

The flower’s pastel pink blossoms in contrast with a beautiful blue sky is a perfect color combination and when blended with a beautiful snowcapped peak creates a classic composition. But these beautiful flowers will also grow in the forests among the trees. Many homes in the area have domestic rhododendrons of varying colors in their yards, but the beautiful native flowers are my favorite.

And furthermore, the bear grass blooms along with the rhododendrons on a typical year. The shape of these flowers, with their stem shooting up from the ground and their hundreds of small, white, sparkle-like blossoms flaring out into an orb reminds me of fireworks bursting in the sky.

The best news is that a photo such as that can be made with a cell phone. There’s no need to pack extra camera gear on a hike to the flowers, but if you want to create a more complex photo a digital camera will need to be used.

There is really not a lot more to say about these beautiful flowers besides my encouragement to take some time to appreciate this local flower that represents the beauty of our forests. 

If you have a burning desire, call the burn information line by Steve Wilent on 07/01/2020

Hello, my name is Steve, and I’m a pyromaniac. Well, not really — I don’t start fires that cause injury or harm, only small campfires that I and others enjoy. But when I was a small boy, my parents may have wondered whether they were raising a pyromaniac.

One day when I was about five years old, I saw smoke rising into the air from not far away. I hopped on my tricycle and raced off to investigate. A couple of streets away, firefighters had lit a field of tall, dry grass, presumably to burn it before a pyromaniac could do so. The fire was burning toward me; the firefighters were monitoring the blaze from across the field. As I sat on my trike on the sidewalk, I spied a telephone pole oozing with creosote set into the concrete a couple of feet from the edge of the field. I imagined that the pole would burn pretty well; I envisioned flames racing up its sides to make a huge torch.

But the pole was probably too far from the grass to be ignited by the flames. I decided to make sure the pole would catch. Working quickly, I gathered several armloads of dry grass and piled it around the pole, then added more dry grass between the pole and the edge of the field—a fuse of sorts. Satisfied that my plan was foolproof, I rode my trike across the street and sat back to watch the show.

As the flames approached the pole, a shadow came over me. I looked up and saw not a cloud, but a firefighter scowling down at me. He told me to stay put, then crossed the street and kicked all of the grass from around the pole into the field. He then escorted me home, explaining all the while what a terrible idea I’d had. After the firefighter explained my scheme to my mom, she escorted me directly to my room, where I imagine I was confined for at least the rest of the day.

These days, I confine most of my fires to the fire pit on my patio or in campgrounds. Once a year or so I burn a pile of forest debris, usually after a heavy rain when there’s no danger of the fire spreading to the woods. When fire danger is high, burning debris piles, otherwise known as backyard burning, is prohibited. Burning larger piles requires a permit from Hoodland Fire District. As most Hoodlanders know, all outdoor fires may be prohibited when fire danger is extreme, including campfires, also known as recreational fires.

What can you burn and when can you do it? As of June 15, 2020, all backyard burning is prohibited until further notice — even though the woods are still wet from recent rains. Recreational fires are still allowed.

In mid-June, I asked Scott Klein, a longtime Hoodland Fire officer who is temporarily serving as deputy chief, to explain.

“We have a seasonal closure on backyard debris burning from June 15, usually until October 1, depending on fire season. This is the standard season,” he said. “Right now it might be rainy, but we’re supposed to get temperatures into the 80s in the next few days, and if people have piles that are hot and smoldering, we could have the potential for fire spread.”

As of this writing, recreational fires are still allowed. However, conditions may change quickly.

“Recreational fires are allowed until the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Clackamas County Fire Defense Board shuts down all burning, and that’s usually when fire danger is very high or there’s a Red Flag Warning,” Klein said.

Red Flag Warnings are issued when warm temperatures, low humidity, and strong winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger.

Last year was exceptionally warm and dry in our area, with several Red Flag Warnings, and recreational fires were prohibited for much of the summer, as were charcoal barbecues, outdoor fireplaces, and even smoking cigarettes outside.

When backyard burning is again allowed this fall, you won’t need a permit for debris piles five feet or less in diameter and five feet or less in height. For larger piles, you’ll need a free permit from Hoodland Fire.

Klein strongly advises anyone wanting to conduct a backyard burn or have a recreational fire to first call Hoodland Fire’s Burn Line, 503-622-3463, which provides a recorded message about current conditions and what, if any, burning is prohibited. Don’t rely solely on social media or other unofficial sources. Note that messages on Hoodland Fire’s Burn Line apply only to private lands in the area. Check with the Mount Hood National Forest (tinyurl.com/yc69s85s) and the Bureau of Land Management for restrictions on these federal lands (blm.gov/oregon-washington).

Klein said that most of the calls to the fire district are complaints about smoke that is irritating to neighbors. Check Hoodland Fire’s website for a list of materials that may not be burned, such as plastic, paint, household garbage, and other materials that create dense smoke or noxious odors.

Even when burning is allowed, it is important to monitor the fire and the surrounding area, even after the fire is out. Fire can burn underground along decomposed roots and spread to the woods. I saw this happen several years ago when a neighbor conducted a backyard burn, and two days later saw smoke arising from the ground across the road. Fortunately, he noticed the smoke before it could erupt into a fire that threatened his neighbors’ homes.

Have a question about wildfires? A suggestion for a future column topic? Need directions to the next meeting of Pyromaniacs Anonymous? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Viewpoints – Salem: Legislature returns by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2020

With protestors still marching in the streets across our nation on a daily basis, coronavirus cases on the rise in many Oregon communities and no end in sight to the economic uncertainty that has kept many of us up at night, the Oregon State Legislature is convening in a special session to address some of the most urgent issues affecting our state.

As I write this, the legislature hasn’t yet convened and we’re still finalizing the bills that will be discussed when we do. By the time you read this, we should be well on our way to passing policies that keep families safe and healthy, help them stay in their homes through the economic downturn and more. We’re also finalizing the procedures within the legislature that will keep legislators and staff safe and compliant with social distancing guidelines: this includes a limitation on how many Representatives are allowed on the House floor at one time, and it means that the business of legislating will be slower than we’re used to. Still, there’s a lot of important work to be done, and a lot of vital policies to help the people of Oregon.

With regard to pandemic response, the governor has used her executive powers extensively, and I think it’s time that the legislature be allowed to weigh in. As a co-equal branch of government, I’m happy she has sought our leadership in creating long-term policies that will support Oregonians in addressing the ongoing crisis.

At the risk of just giving a boring laundry list of bills, I want to keep everyone updated about why the legislature is going to Salem in the middle of a pandemic. We will be addressing the looming end of the governor’s eviction moratorium and providing utility bill assistance to low income Oregonians; we’ll also be looking at policies to address mortgage assistance and temporary restrictions on foreclosures for landlords who have stopped receiving rent during the moratorium. Other measures discussed could provide emergency shelter siting to combat homelessness during the pandemic, impose limited legal immunity for emergency isolation shelters and create rulemaking authority to make sure state agencies can react to this and other future viral crises.

I’ve written here before about the importance of bringing broadband service to rural areas, and one bill we’ll be discussing will do just that. As part of an economic recovery plan, the Rural Telecommunications Act will create a $5 million broadband fund to provide grants to service providers to create infrastructure in rural areas. While rural Oregonians have needed this sort of assistance for years, it’s especially pressing now as we rely more and more on remote teleconferencing, telehealth and distance learning during the pandemic.

We will be responding to a national call to action by taking up several timely police accountability measures introduced by our People of Color legislative caucus. We will be working to ban chokeholds as a method of restraint, as well as possibly banning the use of tear gas and sound cannons to disperse crowds. We’ll also discuss a proposed legal duty for law enforcement officers to report and intervene in fellow officers’ inappropriate uses of force, and a law that would require police departments to report officer disciplinary actions to a statewide, publicly accessible database. Finally, with regard to police use of force, we’ll discuss a bill that would assign the Attorney General as the independent investigating authority for all use of force cases that result in serious injury or death.

I’m hopeful that these measures, plus several other time-sensitive issues, will pass with bipartisan support, but I’m bracing for some heart-felt disagreements as we figure out how to navigate the process of legislating during a public health crisis. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues regardless of party affiliation to get important things done for hardworking families across Oregon.

Finally, we know that this session is only a first step. We will also need to come back to balance the state budget. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure we pass a responsible budget that doesn’t cause deeper harm to those already impacted by Coronavirus and the recession. If there are any policy or budgetary issues you would like to see us address before the 2021 session, please don’t hesitate to write or call and let me know your thoughts: Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: Sandy needs to be wonderful for everyone by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 07/01/2020

It is one of those moments in life that I’ll never forget where I was when I saw it. I will never forget that feeling of sheer horror and powerlessness as I watched as the officer knelt on the back of George Floyd’s neck and heard the pleas to the officers from onlookers to stop.

I felt the sudden urge to jump through the television screen as if I would be able to make it stop. As I watched, like so many of our fellow neighbors in Sandy and across America, I began to realize just how much work we have left to do.

I remember growing up as a kid in this community attending schools in the Oregon Trail School District. I remember learning in school about race relations, history and equality. I remember sitting in Brian Rausch’s class and listening to our nation’s history of civil rights in the way only he could teach. Like many of you, I also remember debating the issues of the day in Bert Key’s civics classes.

While in school, we were left with the sense that as Americans we had made mistakes, but everything was going to be different now. That all of the racism and discrimination would come to an end with our generation. For some, that fantasy came crashing down the day we witnessed that tragic scene through our screens.

We now had to face the reality that not only are we not going to see the end of these injustices in our lifetimes, our children would likely never see it in theirs either. For others, it was a stark reminder of the fear and intimidation they experience in their lives every day.

It is for these reasons that I strongly support and agree with our neighbors who have decided to speak out for the equality of black, indigenous and people of color in a peaceful manner.

The events that surround the murder of George Floyd at the hands of those who serve to protect us has rocked our nation to its very core, as it should. Our country, state and local communities, like Sandy, still have a lot of work left to do. Peaceful protests like the ones our neighbors have engaged in are an important first step in a dialogue that I hope leads to positive reflection and action. Additionally, our first amendment rights of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble go to the very core of what makes this country so great.

I also think it is important to point out that these neighbors of ours have decided to identify themselves separately from and chart a different more localized course than the national Black Lives Matter organization. Their name is The Stand-Up Movement and while they’re still figuring out their policy platform, decreasing or abolishing the police budget is not one of them. From my initial conversation with leaders of the group, they want to enhance the livability and wonderful experiences Sandy affords to all of us. They want to make sure those experiences are inclusive and equitable for all of our neighbors.

I am proud of how our neighbors participating in The Stand-Up Movement have proven their peaceful intentions. I have also been proud of how other neighbors have shown up in peaceful solidarity to ensure no violence and looting occurs, like in other larger more urban communities.

The support for our local Sandy Police Department has also been terrific. Like all of you, I am proud of our Sandy Police Department and the work our officers have done to become an integral part of our community. Their coordination with the leaders of The Stand-Up Movement to ensure the safety of all our neighbors is just a recent example of the exemplary work our local law enforcement officers have come to be known for here in Sandy. My understanding is that there is to be a rally in mid-July held by neighbors to show the much-deserved support for the officers. That’s outstanding.

I speak often about what a special place Sandy is to both grow up and raise your own family. We must work together to make sure those special qualities are extended to all of our neighbors who live here now and in the future. Together, we’ll keep Sandy wonderful for everyone.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Trying new things and staying healthy by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2020

We are not out of the woods yet. New Zealand sought to eliminate COVID-19 rather than merely “contain” the virus and had very few deaths per capita as a result. They did widespread testing for the disease and had strict lockdown policies. The more “industrial” nations (U.S., U.K., Italy, France) did less testing and had increased per capita deaths. Americans appreciate our freedoms, but where do we draw the line? Our own president refused to wear a mask even when there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in the White House.

Many believe the way to control disease lies in what kind of a field the germ (be it bacteria or virus) lands on. That “field” is your God-given body. The trick then appears to be to get healthy and stay as healthy as possible. Focus on the person, not the disease.

The vital force is that magic, that magic that makes us “alive.” We need to maximize essentials of health – good appetite, digestion and elimination; good sleep and moods; remove conditions such as pain and stressors. We can start with the basics – six to eight glasses of water per day, good food (fresh, organic – not packaged), adequate sleep (seven to 10 hours per night), sunshine (15 minutes per day) and movement (five minutes every hour or 30 minutes two or three times per week). If these seem too simple, ask yourself how many people you know who are even doing these simple things.

Simple things, like adequate sleep, can mean it’s easier for your body to stave off infections. Fifteen minutes a day of sunshine to your upper chest (where the thymus gland lives) goes a long way towards giving you a faster response to any infections. If you have trouble remembering these simple things, write them on your daily “to-do” list – how much water, how many servings of vegetables, etc. to get in the day.

During the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic that devastated Europe and America, those patients who were exposed to fresh air and sunshine fared better than those who were more confined. Pandemics tend to occur every 10-20 years. In 1957 it was the Asian Flu, 1968 Hong Kong Flu, 1978 Russian Flu and so on. We still need to maintain some social distance, but more important is maintaining our health.

While maintaining social distance, I’ve watched shoppers coming out of upscale health markets carrying homogenized milk, sugared drinks and white bread. All of these are foods you should try to avoid if you want to maintain health. Lower your body’s inflammatory responses with green tea and a more plant-based diet. Avoid trans fatty acids as these raise triglycerides which increase insulin resistance leading to pre-diabetic conditions.

I know many are hurting for income, but sometimes buying the cheapest food possible is not the wisest choice. Healthcare is way more expensive than food. A bunch of carrots with the tops still on is way cheaper per pound than a plastic bag or box of whittleddown carrots. And there’s no garbage generated. The outer portion of a carrot has much more nutrition than the core. Cut off the tops of your carrots before you store them so they don’t dehydrate in your refrigerator. Carrots are healthier cooked than raw! The less contact with water, the better. Cook or steam them whole and slice and dice them after cooking. Serve them with a source of good quality fat (olive oil, butter) so they will have the 25 percent more falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound.

Potatoes are a popular vegetable in the U.S. and around the world. Purple (yes, purple) potatoes are more nutritious than white or Russet and can lower hypertension enough to decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack by 20-34 percent. Potatoes are not all bad. To avoid the high glycemic rush associated with potatoes, cook them then chill them overnight and reheat them later. This will decrease your glycemic response by as much as 25 percent. Then to slow digestion sprinkle potatoes with vinegar as the English do or consume them with mustard as the French do. It’s better for you than sugared ketchup.

Since it’s strawberry season, you should know that strawberries are one of the most pesticide contaminated fruits in the U.S. There can be traces of as many as 60 different agricultural chemicals on strawberries. So, buy organic whenever possible. Saving a few pennies may not be worth it. Organic strawberries have more vitamin C and more cancer fighting nutrients than conventionally grown strawberries. Shop farm markets to find local, organic berries and be sure to thoroughly wash any that aren’t.

I generally recommend only one to two fruits per day unless it’s extremely hot. Choose organic as much as possible. Make a fruit salad with three to five kinds of fruit and add nuts, seeds, fresh mint or basil, lemon or lime juice. If you must add sugar, use date sugar or honey as these have a modicum of nutritional value whereas white sugar has none.

People are fond of saying they “don’t like” something (fish, garlic, whatever) but try something new each time you go to the market. Maybe just one fruit or vegetable that you’ve never tried. You may find something you like. When did you last have chicory, kohlrabi or Lamb’s quarters? They’re out there! Seek and you shall find them!

Food like fireworks by Taeler Butel on 07/01/2020

Happy Fourth of July!! May your meal get as many ooohs and ahhhs as the fireworks!!

Red, white and blue potato salad

2 lbs. red potatoes, peel on

1 t salt plus more for potato cooking water

1 t pepper

2 scallions, sliced

1 T Dijon mustard

½ cup blue cheese crumbled

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs hard boiled and sliced

2 bacon slices baked crisp and chopped (optional, but why wouldn’t you?)

½ cup sliced black olives

In a large pot bring potatoes and two quarts of water with about ¼ cup of salt to a rolling boil, cover with a lid and turn heat down to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender for about eight minutes. Drain water off and let potatoes cool slightly then slice. Add the dressing while potatoes are still warm.

Dressing: In a large bowl add next seven ingredients and whisk until smooth, then add warm sliced potatoes and remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.


Orange chicken satay

1 lb. chicken breast tenders cubed, thawed if frozen

½ cup orange marmalade

½ cup soy sauce

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 t sesame seed oil

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 garlic clove smashed

½ t fresh ginger peeled and minced

12 bamboo skewers soaked in water or orange juice

Salt and pepper

Place the orange marmalade, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, garlic clove and red pepper flakes into a small saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Let simmer until thickened, approximately five to ten minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool at least five minutes.

Reserve ¼ cup of marinade for a glaze. Marinade the chicken in the rest of the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to four hours.

Skewer the chicken and grill on med high for about three minutes on each side or until cooked through. Drizzle the glaze onto the skewers in the last minute or so of cooking. Sprinkle cooked chicken with sesame seeds (optional).


Easy peach raspberry galette

1 lb. peeled & sliced peaches

1 pint raspberries

1 T sanding or coarse sugar

1 tube sugar cookie dough

1 T corn starch

2 T orange juice

Whipped cream

Open the package and slice the cookie dough into quarter-inch rounds, place some of them on a cookie sheet or pizza stone in a 12-inch circle pressing the spaces together so that the circle is solid.

In a large bowl mix the juice, cornstarch and fruit. Pile onto middle of cookie dough circle, place remaining cookie dough rounds on top of fruit in a concentric circle leaving the top exposed. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream.

Dying without a will by Paula Walker on 07/01/2020

My first article written for the Mountain Times in 2018 reported the results of a Gallup poll conducted in 2016 showing that only 44 percent of Americans reported having a will and that the trajectory was downward, i.e. that percentage was down from 51 percent in 2005. Given that the results of a 2019 survey by one source, that deals with assisted living and elder care, reports the trend continues downward decreasing by nearly 25 percent since 2017, I thought it a good topic to discuss the rules of intestacy succession. What happens in Oregon to your assets if you die without an “asset transition instrument” of any sort, i.e. a will or a living trust? What are the rules governing how the State determines who gets what from your estate.

What follows is oversimplified, because, as with all things in law, everything “depends” on the particular circumstances of a given situation, in this case an individual’s life, relationships and circumstances, that play out in expected and unexpected legal interpretations. In other words, there are legal nuances to be determined in each of the steps evaluating who receives what and in what percentage.

Still it provides an initial sense of the hierarchy the state follows in determining who stands to receive what you have and in what measure if you leave this world without making a clear, and legally supportable transition of your assets, designating who is in charge of following through with that plan.

Initially, the state looks to determine your immediate family. If you have a spouse, that spouse is first in line to receive everything. If you have no spouse and you have children, your children will receive everything. If you have a spouse and children, if all the children are your children together, then your spouse still receives everything. However, if any of your children, i.e. your descendants, are with someone other than your spouse, your assets are divided between your spouse and your descendants. Then the circle widens from your immediate family. If you have no spouse and no children, if one or both of your parents survive you, they receive everything. Finding no living parent(s), your assets will be divided amongst your siblings, if you have any, or their descendants if your siblings predecease you. Finding no siblings, or their descendants, your assets will be distributed to your grandparents if they survive you, or their descendants. So, as you see it can get very involved finding who has the legal right to receive your assets when you have not made that clear.

Stories of the Stars, If Only…

Who gets what and how much from an estate of a wealthy individual has been the stuff of many entertaining legal battles – for those of us not involved, that is. And the estate of billionaire Howard Hughes, provides us with no less entertainment than the many in the annals of the wealthy who depart without an estate plan in place. An excerpt from an article by David Margolick of the New York Times from Oct. 5, 1997 speculating on the results of a battle that spanned 10 years, involving more than a thousand participants, gives a wry summation of the obsessed, complex, seemingly tortured personality we’ve come to know of Howard Hughes who died without so much as a simple will in place.

“Howard Hughes… didn't like anybody very much. He hated doctors. He fought with lawyers. He despised his relatives. And most of all, he loathed tax collectors. And yet these were the folks who laid their hands on his vast estate – in part because no one could ever find a bona fide Hughes will directing the money somewhere else . . . [and yet] . . . Howard Hughes's power to do something worthwhile with his billions . . . somehow survived the lawyers, the relatives, the leeches, the fakers and Hughes himself [because his most valuable asset, Hughes Aircraft was owned by a charity, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, incorporated in the state of Delaware]. ‘Howard Hughes, whatever he may have been, has left something of value to all American People’ the Attorney General of Delaware … declared after the divvying up. ‘But I just don't think that was ever his intention.’”

Photo by Gary Randall
Summer offers nighttime photography by Gary Randall on 06/01/2020

Summer is here. For a landscape photographer this time of the year means good weather, green forests, flowers, warmer nights and starry night skies. I enjoy heading out for a sunset and staying until the stars come out, and in many cases, staying out until sunrise. Sunsets and sunrises are always a wonderful time to get dramatic landscape photos, while landscape photos with an amazing Milky Way in the sky above can be unique and dramatic.

Night photography is a form of photography that seems mystical and magical. To many people night photography appears to be complicated and left only for those with the most acute photography skill, when in fact once you understand just the basics of the exposure triangle – shutter speed, aperture and Iso – you will realize that all that’s being done to get these dark night sky photos, in most cases, is to get as much light into your camera as possible.

Set your camera on Manual, set up your tripod and let’s get started.

As most photographers know when you use a long exposure you will need a tripod. Your tripod will keep your camera still during the exposure. You will want to ensure that no movement takes place at all during the exposure. Another device that helps with this is a shutter release. The shutter release will keep you from moving the camera when you press the button. If you have no shutter release you can usually set your camera timer to take the photo a few seconds after you click the shutter button.

Your exposure setting will need to be extended, in most cases up to 20 or sometimes 30 seconds. This will depend on how dark the sky is. Remember that the darker the sky, the brighter the stars, therefore a night without a moon will give the best starry sky. The only negative consequence will be less light on your subject or foreground. Many times, just a slight sliver of a moon will allow a more defined foreground while still allowing the stars to shine.

Concerning shutter speed, the only consideration that you must have is that the longer the shutter is open the more movement you will detect in the scene. Even in the stars as at some longer focal lengths the stars will streak slightly when you extend the exposure to 30 seconds. These star streaks turn into star trails if allowed to streak long enough, sometimes up to 30 minutes. This method will create amazing surreal images of streaks and circles of light above your subject. To do this requires another method, not explained here, to pull off.

The next thing that one must consider is how the aperture will block or allow light to pass through the lens and into the camera. When light is dim or it’s dark outside, you will want to allow as much light through as possible and to do this you must use a wider more open aperture - a smaller number. Without getting into the math involved just remember that when you open your aperture you will be allowed a quicker shutter and a lower Iso. Both are desirable, which I’ll explain later. A good quality lens will allow an f/2.8 aperture setting.

Next is your Iso setting. What is Iso? You know that the longer that you keep your shutter open the more light will pass through the lens and into the camera.

We also know that an aperture that’s open wider allows more light in. In digital photography we have no film but we do have electronic film in the form of the image sensor. The image sensor’s sensitivity to light can be adjusted. The higher the Iso number the more sensitive to light your camera becomes. Iso 1000 will be more sensitive to light than Iso 100, for instance. Therefore you will need to raise your Iso to get your starry night photos.

It’s easy to think that all one needs to do is raise their Iso, but there are negative effects in the form of noise in the image. In film it’s called grain. To get a cleaner image you want to keep your Iso as low as possible. Extending your shutter speed and opening your Iso allows you to do this.

One thing that one must remember when setting up is that in the dark it’s more difficult, or in many cases impossible to use your light meter to determine your settings. Therefore, one must take a couple test shots before they get the exposure right.

Another important part, and in many cases the most difficult part, of getting setup for the shot is focus. Unfortunately, on a zoom lens when you set the focus to infinity the stars will not be in focus. And at night it’s dark and difficult to focus manually.

I recommend taking your camera out in the daylight and setting the focus to an object far away and then marking the lens. I have used tape where when I line up the edges of the tape it’s in focus. There are other methods, but this is the simplest until you gain more experience.

And so, once we understand this we can let more light into the camera using these three settings and we can start taking photos in low light. Tripod, long exposure, open aperture and a higher Iso. The next thing to do is to go out and practice. Once you do this a few times your photos will get better and your understanding of what settings to start with will become more second nature.

Viewpoints – Salem: Protecting farmworkers by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2020

As our state starts down its path toward reopening, I am mindful of the ongoing risk that the coronavirus poses. Of course, those of us who have been practicing physical distancing within the state will be exposed to possible infection when we venture back out into our communities.

However, I’m also paying close attention to the large wave of newcomers that have already begun entering our state to perform essential services for our state’s economy: I’m talking, of course, about migrant farmworkers.

Oregon is home to about 160,000 farmworkers every year, and a significant number of them work in House District 52, in orchards, nurseries and elsewhere. These essential workers come to our beautiful district to help make sure the food grown here gets to markets and to our families’ dinner tables. They are critical to the supply chain of the food we all eat. They often live in close quarters and work long hours with limited access to hand washing and other preventive health measures. Many of these essential workers don’t speak the same language as their employers or even many of their coworkers. All of this creates an unprecedented challenge to our state as we work to avoid the outbreaks that other states have seen in meat packing plants and other food processing facilities.

I support farmworker advocates’ petition for new emergency rules from Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to protect these workers from catching and transmitting the coronavirus. I have said from the outset that our state and federal governments need to help farmers cover the costs of complying with those rules.

I’m proud that the state of Oregon came through: after a series of conversations that I was happy to be a part of, almost $30 million of our state’s discretionary CARES Act funding will be dedicated to help cover the costs of keeping our agricultural workforce safe and healthy through the pandemic. In this crisis, it has become clearer than ever: our food system depends on collaboration between farmworkers and farmers, and it requires that we protect the health and well-being of this critical work force. Without this investment, our state’s agricultural economy would face additional risks beyond the export challenges and increased costs we’ve seen recently.

Still, while Congress gave states some discretion in how to spend its first round of relief funds, other federal officials have undermined efforts to protect workers’ health. The White House has declared that farmworkers are “essential” to our economy while refusing to require safety regulations to protect them, and actively working to cut migrant farmworkers’ pay. It’s long past time for the federal government to step up and provide protective equipment and testing, not just for farmworkers, but for all businesses that are beginning to reopen and workers who are returning to work.

I’m thrilled that Oregon is doing our part to keep essential farmworkers healthy and protect our communities in the process. As we know, our community is strongest when we look out for our neighbors, and the security of our food systems and our economy depend on thoughtful implementation of these updated public health guidelines.

Thanks for reading. I hope you are healthy and well, however you’re responding to the ongoing nature of this pandemic. If you need help accessing resources, please reach out to my office by emailing Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov. As a social worker and legislator, I am grateful to be able to serve our district at this time.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: The place for grub by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 06/01/2020

As the Governor begins to lift her Stay-At-Home order and Sandy’s local dining and entertainment businesses begin to open back up, there is one misnomer that I’ve consistently heard in the past that I would like to clear up about our community. I constantly hear that we do not have enough good dining options in Sandy. That is simply not true.

First and foremost, and while this is not at all an all-encompassing list, we are the community of iconic establishments such as Joe’s Doughnuts, Tollgate Inn, Paola’s Pizza Barn, No Place Saloon and Mountain Mocha.

Have you seen the newer additions to our dining scene? Brady’s Brats & Burgers, Scooters, Boring Brewing and Le Happy? These places are fantastic, and you can bring the entire family.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertainment at places like Sandy Family Restaurant/Ria’s and Stephanie’s Café are simply terrific.

Like pizza? Grab and go or dine in, you’ve got Wallstreet and Sparky’s. Dinner and a movie? Smokey Hearth is a must. Thai? Thai Home and Try My Thai restaurants are unbelievable. Chinese? Double Dragon and Golden Key are delicious. You like craft beer where everyone knows your name? The Beer Den and Bunsenbrewer are among places to be. Do you enjoy a good glass of wine? Alder Tree Vineyard, Buddha Kat Winery and Boring Winery and Taproom are wonderful places to find yourself. Especially on a spring or summer evening.

Have you seen the improvements people are making to their buildings downtown in Sandy? Look how nice some of the fast food restaurants look after their “Sandy Style” remodels. Does the remodeled Best Western look good or what? How about that Safeway remodel? People are reinvesting in our community. I think that’s awesome.

Whether you want a night out with a good dinner and drinks, a cool “dive bar” hangout, a coffee meeting at local nonprofit AntFarm, lunch or a quick grab and go at our Sandlandia food carts - there is absolutely zero reason why we’re not dining local right here in Sandy.

Our community has vastly upgraded dining and entertainment experiences and it’s only getting better. We have Sandy Transit services and a local business hub trolley shuttle to help you get around, and all of our businesses are powered with access to first class amenities such as internet powered by SandyNet, our lightning fast internet service.

Whether you’re catching dinner and a movie on Champion Way, hanging at the Local Buzz getting a haircut, letting the kids burn off energy at Wippersnappers, taking a date night at Red Shed Public House or La Bamba or walking down Pioneer or Proctor Blvd’s - Sandy’s the place to be. We are all doing our job to Keep Sandy Wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Recreation can be confusing in the time of COVID-19 by Steve Wilent on 06/01/2020

Some of my earliest memories are of playing outside, in the yard at first, and then in the field at the end of the road. Though the field was perhaps five acres, it was a vast wilderness for me as a five-year-old. Its narrow game trails became my own, the shrubby hedge with its green tunnels my castle, the majestic oaks at one end the guardians of my kingdom. And it was all accessible — by tricycle.

My first memory of recreation beyond my neighborhood was a campground at Yosemite National Park, where my parents and brother and I slept on the ground wrapped in blankets — we had little camping gear aside from a brand-new Coleman stove and an ice chest. The aroma of frying bacon and wood smoke on the chilly mountain air was intoxicating. As a six-year-old, the trails to the park’s awesome waterfalls, wading in the Yosemite River, and eating meals by a campfire made for an adventure far beyond any I had known.

My first car, a 1964 Pontiac Tempest station wagon — a sport utility vehicle, as far as I was concerned — took me all across western North America. I kept camping gear in the back so I could strike out for a national forest or state or county park on a whim, after school or work.

When I told my parents that I would go to college not to study engineering or business, but forestry, I wondered why they were surprised.

We Hoodlanders have an amazing wealth of recreation opportunities right in our back yard. Or at least we did until so many sites were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I miss those places. Personally, I think many of the sites can be safely re-opened, with guidelines for visitors such as those issued by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department when it reopened some state parks: bring all supplies — food, water, hand sanitizer — needed for a short trip, wear a face covering in congested areas, stay at least six feet away from people who aren’t from your household and so on.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reopened the Sandy Ridge Trail System on May 9 — it is a very popular place for mountain biking. At this writing, the Wildwood Recreation Site is open only to people on foot. A sign at the gate on May 13 read, “Wildwood has been temporarily closed to motor vehicle access. Restrooms are closed and portable toilets have been positioned in family picnic, trailhead, and group areas. Please practice social distancing, hand sanitizing, and other recommendations from the CDC. These are difficult times. Stay safe and healthy.” I wish the BLM would open the gates, so people don’t have to park along the highway, but I’m glad that the policies for using the park are clear.

The BLM’s website states that “Despite facility closures, millions of acres of BLM-managed public lands across Oregon remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly.”

On March 19, the Mount Hood National Forest (MHNF) closed all campgrounds, day-use sites, trailheads, OHV areas, Sno-Parks, cabin rentals and other developed recreation sites. In theory, other areas on the forest are open, but signs on Forest Road 19 (Mountain Drive) and at the gate to Old Maid Flats don’t say so, nor does the MHNF’s web site. The signs say, “Following guidance from the centers for disease control and prevention and recommendations from state and local public health authorities, the Forest Service is temporarily closing this location to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).” This is confusing. The three campgrounds and several trailheads on the flats are developed recreation sites, but other trails, roads, and woods certainly aren’t “developed.” Was I technically violating a regulation by walking past the sign and onto the flats? I wish the Forest Service had made it clear that National Forest lands remain open to enjoy, as long as you do so responsibly.

It’s easy to opine that these lands ought to be reopened. Doing so would bring more folks to The Mountain, thus increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 locally. On the other hand, the local businesses that are open seem to be handling the pandemic well enough. At Thriftway, for example, employees wear masks and Plexiglas shields separate cashiers from customers.

As our recreation sites reopen, site managers will need to provide clear information about what is required of visitors — and what is off limits.

Recreation in forests and on rangelands still calls to me. I don’t keep camping gear in my SUV, a 21-year-old Ford Explorer, but I head for a trail or a campground as often as work and family obligations — and COVID-19 closures — allow. An hour or two on a trail or a couple of days in a campground never seem like enough.

Have a question about forest recreation? A suggestion for a future column topic? Want to buy a map of super-secret dispersed camping sites? Let me know. SWilent@gmail.com.

Genuine food and finding the fundamental natural rhythms of life by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2020

Genuine food is food that is grown with respect for the environment, the produce itself and the people who consume it. It implies the absence of chemicals and industrial processes. We call it “biodynamic” but most of the world grows food this way, just not in the United States. Maybe it’s why we are not the happiest nation in the world, nor the healthiest.

Last spring this column explored the Blue Zones of the Earth, those areas where the people were known to live a long time. Yet there are still many places on Earth where people live long, like several villages in Italy. Outside of these villages, the average lifespan for males is 75 years and 82 years for females. But in the Italian village of Campodimele, the average lifespan is 95 years for both males and females! It’s from lifestyle as much as anything. These people get up when the sun comes up and retire when it goes down, a rhythm in sync with nature that has been known to aid in longevity due to the healthful impact on melatonin levels in the body. They all live in pure, mountain air, know the restorative powers of sunlight (anti-bacterial for the immune system, increased levels of vitamins that decrease depression) and they live by nature’s tranquil rhythms, not the frazzle dazzle we’ve been known to experience.

This does not mean life is always tranquil. If you want to live a long time, you have to work at it, not the least of which lies in what you choose to eat. Not only in growing your own food, but in eating what’s fresh and in season, foraging some and not eating packaged food. In a garden there is always something to do! With food, if you put energy in, you will get health out.

I moved to Oregon in 1970 to a 100-acre farm. Before making the major decision to move here, I had dinner on a farm owned by the family of friends. At this farm in rural Oregon, everything, repeat everything, on the table came from the farm we were on – the main dish, the sweet peas and the potatoes, the home-baked bread and home-churned butter. It was enough to make a person swoon. But when coffee was served (the only purchased item), they asked if I’d like cream, then pulled a gallon jar of cream out of the refrigerator. That was the moment I decided to move to Oregon.

So we moved from a gorgeous home in Marin County, Calif. to a dilapidated farm in rural Oregon where you could literally peek through the walls to the outside. But I learned the value of leading a seasonal life. If we didn’t grow it, we didn’t eat it. Food was picked daily, in season and prepared within hours (sometimes minutes) of the harvest. There was an incredible abundance, as you may just be experiencing now.

In villages or areas conducive to feelings of community, people talk to each other in real life. We’d talk while shucking corn in an old barn with owls in the rafters. Talk to the check-out person, the postal workers, even strangers (if you’re an adult). Make someone’s day. Perhaps this accounts for the success of the farmers’ markets. Don’t shove elders off if you can help it. Get out in nature as much as possible, at least 15 minutes a day if we’re not having the most horrible weather. Sunlight on the thymus gland (your upper chest) is good for the immune system.

I went from that 100-acre farm through a circuitous route (a death, divorce, disease) to a five-acre small-holding where money was more of a problem, but I learned to waste nothing. I once knew someone who threw away mushroom stems (you can dry them), celery leaves (dry them, too) and even stale bread (Panzanella salads, unless you have critters to feed). A hundred years ago land supplied the only form of income, or at least a way to eat.

During and after World War II, many people didn’t have enough food and there was much hunger in the European villages. For many, the only food choices were beans and legumes (the pulses also known as “poor man’s meat”). Unless you lived on a farm – then there was meat, eggs and dairy, and tons of zucchini.

Genuine food is the antithesis of fast food. Time spent preparing food is an investment in health and happiness. Live life with a new/old philosophy where you celebrate food with gratefulness. You worked rather hard to get it. Spend time living with the fundamental natural rhythms of life.

Relief for your retirement by Paula Walker on 06/01/2020

The pandemic has impacted our lives in many ways and not the least of which has been our work life and the financial climate. Of the efforts the government is marshalling to provide relief as we recover and the economy recovers, there are two pieces of legislation, one enacted and one currently in review in the Senate, the CARES Act and the HEROES Act, respectively. Both have elements that do, or may if enacted, directly impact our retirements savings plans, IRAs, 401(k)s and their ilk, and inherited retirement accounts.

The CARES Act, (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), a giant relief package totaling more than $2 trillion, signed into law March 27 to support American businesses, hospitals and individuals, provided significant changes to the rules for retirement account holders’ required minimum distributions (RMDs). RMDs are suspended for 2020. This allows retirees and inheritors of their plans to leave these investments alone for a year to reap the benefit of the potential recovery from the market downturn. This also makes Roth conversions easier because retirees will not have to take out their RMDs before making the conversion. Those who have experienced a coronavirus adversity, or have been diagnosed with the virus, have the ability to take a withdrawal of up to $100,000 from their retirement account, without incurring the 10 percent penalty tax if doing so before the age of 59 and a half. This draw can come from an IRA which does not usually allow loans to be taken, as well as from other retirement plans that do, and take up to three years to repay the loan.

The HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions), a bill that has passed the House and is now in review by the Senate, could be another gigantic relief package totaling more than $3 trillion. While it is aimed more at providing relief to state and local governments, frontline healthcare workers and other specific groups and programs, it also has provisions that could impact individuals’ retirement accounts. If passed, it could address a few of the gaps in the CARES Act handling of RMDs. For instance, the CARES Act allows account owners to skip their 2019 RMDs if it is their first year to make those RMDs. All well and good if you did not withdraw before the CARES Act was enacted, but what if you did? Under the current law an owner has the option to rollover a withdrawal into an IRA, thereby avoiding the taxable distribution in 2020 if the rollover is done within 60 days of making the RMD. But again – what if you missed that window? If passed, the HEROES Act would suspend RMDs for all 2019 not just for those first time RMDs due, and it would waive the 60-day rollover rule for 2019 and most of 2020. Thus, people could potentially reclaim the RMDs paid out and put them back into the shelter of their retirement plan and do a tax adjustment when filing for the taxes that would have been incurred. This is all speculative right now. Based on the Senate’s determination of the bill before them this may or may not become a reality to act upon.

There is much more detail to this that may apply to you.

The most important take-away from any information provided here is to consult your financial advisor and tax accountant if you have investments in qualified retirement plans, to develop a strategy that may provide you some benefit and turn some of this pandemic mayhem into some advantage.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes… ” a variation on the famous, oft repeated quote from Benjamin Franklin in his letter to French physicist Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1790. The statement holds as true today as when it was first written. And sometimes those two certainties coincide, as in the case of Joe Robbie who died in 1990 owning 85 percent of the Miami Dolphins and 50 percent of the Dolphins home stadium. His intention that the business would remain in the family was thwarted by family feuds and an estate tax liability. Until 2015, the NFL did not permit trusts to own any part of an NFL franchise. This placed a heavy burden on the owner’s estate taxes for an illiquid but appreciating asset. The result for Robbie’s legacy is that in 1994 the estate sold the ownership of the Dolphins and the stadium for $109 million, $43 million of which went to pay estate taxes. A mere fifteen years later the team and the stadium sold for a whopping $1 billion…

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Strawberry season! by Taeler Butel on 06/01/2020

Get them while they are at the peak of perfection, add them in almost any recipe for a sweet tart pop of color and flavor.

Strawberry creme scones

These are luscious and melt in your mouth thanks to the addition of lots of butter and cream.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1T baking powder

1 cup cold diced unsalted butter

1 egg

1/2 cup cream or Half & Half

1/2 cup diced strawberries

1t sea or kosher salt (fine)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1t vanilla extract.

Heat the oven to 365F. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk together the egg, vanilla and cream. Cut butter into dry ingredients making large crumbs, stir in the cream mixture until just moistened, then fold in the strawberries. I use a two-inch ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto a parchment lined baking tray, leaving two inches in between the scones. Bake 14-16 minutes until lightly golden.

For the icing, whisk together until smooth:

4oz cream cheese at room temp

4oz softened butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1t vanilla extract

Ice once cooled.


Strawberry jalapeño BBQ sauce

1 cup seedless strawberry jam

1 cup chopped strawberries

1/4 cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1T oil

1t salt

1/2t pepper

1t stone ground mustard

2 jalapeños, chopped/seeded

1T Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup water

In a saucepan heat oil, add onion, garlic, jalapeños and strawberries. Cook on medium heat five minutes, stirring often. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then lower heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Photography close to home by Gary Randall on 05/01/2020

If you are like most of us, you have been spending a lot of time around the house lately. We can only spend so much time working or doing chores before we start to try to figure out something that will occupy our creative minds between obligations. I like to give my mind a break by taking time to be creative. As photographers, and creatives, we have a lot of options for making some creative artistic images at home.

Macro Photography – Macro photography is a type of photography that involves photographing small things. It is Springtime and the flowers are blooming and the bugs are starting to crawl. They both make excellent subjects for macro photos. You do not necessarily need a lens that is made specifically for macro if you have a zoom lens that will shoot at a focal length of about 90mm or more. Something that I like to do with flowers is to take a spray bottle and spray water drops on the flowers. I also like the look of a shallow depth of field. Using an open aperture and getting close to your lens will create a soft feel around the narrow-focused area in your shot. Give it a try.

Abstract Photography – Everyone knows about abstract painting, but abstract images can be created with your camera too. An observant eye can find patterns and textures that could be interpreted as impressionistic paintings. Structural shapes, angles and patterns can be framed in a beautiful yet abstract way. Not only are you able to create abstracts by observing your surroundings but you can use the camera adjustments to alter the reality of the scene. Something that I enjoy doing is to extend the shutter speed to a second or more and move the camera to create patterns of movement. This technique is called Intentional Camera Movement. Try varying the degree of focus. Shoot into the sunshine through leaves. Be creative.

Portraiture – Portraiture Photograph your family or your pets. Artful portraiture is something that can challenge you. Try using your family members or your pets as subjects for your photos. Be mindful of the background and consider the lighting on your subject. Some beautiful portraits can be made using the light that comes in from a window. Set up a sheet as a backdrop and use shop lights with a fabric or some translucent paper in front to reduce the harshness of the light. Be creative.

The best thing about a digital camera is that we are not limited on how many photos there are on a roll of film. This allows us to just get lost in taking photos. It allows us to experiment. You can take a photo, preview it, correct or change a setting and try it again. It allows you to be able to occupy yourself creating artistic images all day. So, do not despair if you are agonizing about not being able to get out and take photos like you would like to. Play and practice close to home in the meantime.

Contributed photo.
The lesson of Paradise: act now to save your house by Steve Wilent on 05/01/2020

Imagine watching news and social media reports of a forest fire in Clackamas County – say, in the Bull Run watershed or between Rhododendron and Government Camp. There’s smoke in the air. You’re concerned, but the fire is a couple of miles away and firefighters are working to control it. And then burning embers start raining down. Your worry turns to panic as the embers ignite fir needles and dead leaves around your house – and the bone-dry debris in your gutters. Your only choice is to escape while you can as your house burns to the ground.

Sounds a bit melodramatic, doesn’t it? Something like a scene from a movie? Something that can’t happen here in wet, green Oregon?


Take a look at the photo on this page. It was taken from a drone shortly after the Camp Fire destroyed much of Paradise, Calif., in November 2018. The image shows the remains of some of the thousands of homes destroyed by the fire. In all, more than 19,000 homes, condominiums, apartments and commercial buildings were destroyed or severely damaged in the space of a few hours. Notice the green trees and shrubs amidst the ashes? Embers fell on them and filtered to the ground. Embers also fell on the houses, ignited pine needles in gutters, under decks, or on the ground near the walls, and the houses burned. Some of the trees were scorched by the heat of the burning buildings, but many of them survived.

Does your home have a chance of surviving an onslaught of flying embers? Of flames that burn though the woods in and around your neighborhood?

If you take action now, you can give your house that chance – not a guarantee, but a chance of surviving a wildfire.

After the fire in Paradise, analysis by the McClatchy news service found that more than half of the single-family homes built after 2008, when California updated its building code to help make structures more likely to survive wildfires, survived the Camp Fire. Only 18 percent of the homes built prior to 2008 remained intact. The new building code required houses to have  fire-resistant roofs, exterior walls, decks and so on.

If your house has metal or asphalt shingle roof, as most houses in the heartland area do, you already have an advantage. However, wooden siding and decks can be a disadvantage. In that case, there is much you can do to increase your home’s chances of survival.

Websites such as the National Fire Protection Association’s firewise.org and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s readyforwildfire.org offer a wealth of information on preparing your house and property for wildfire. Hoodland Fire District also has information and a helpful video on creating a “defensible space” around your home (hoodlandfire.us).

Start by performing regular cleaning and maintenance on the house itself, especially when dry weather is in the offing. Clean debris from accumulating in gutters, roof valleys, behind chimneys, and along walls. Install eighth-inch metal mesh screens on attic and foundation vents; small embers can easily pass through mesh with quarter-inch or larger holes.

Next, remove flammable vegetation and other materials within five feet of the house. Rake fallen fir needles cones, leaves, and branches in that five-foot zone down to bare earth. That includes bark dust and mulch—when dry, it can burn. Better yet, place a layer of gravel around the house and keep it clear of debris. Is your firewood stacked up against the house? Move it.

Once you’ve cleared that five-foot immediate zone, work on the intermediate zone, between 5 feet and 30 feet from your home. Remove live and dead “ladder fuels” so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune branches that hang over or near the house – keep them at least ten feet from the house.

Beyond that 30-foot zone, out to 100 feet or more, especially if your property is sloped, remove small conifers growing between mature trees and thin larger trees so that there is at least 12 feet of clear space between them.

These are just a few of the steps you can take. Visit the websites I mentioned for more information.

Still not convinced here at risk from wildfire, even a distant one? Remember the Eagle Creek Fire that burned in the Columbia River Gorge in 2017? The fire burned on the Oregon side of the river, but at least two spot fires were created when large embers rose into the air and drifted across the Columbia River into Washington, more than two miles away.

Take advantage of the time you have while self-quarantined during the Covid-19 pandemic to get started. Come on, you know you need the exercise anyway.

Viewpoints – Salem: Exercising care in a return by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2020

It’s been almost two months since Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Oregon, and about seven weeks since the World Health Organization officially declared a global pandemic. This span of time has been filled with unprecedented levels of stress, and though it has been different for each of us, I would venture to guess that it hasn’t been easy for anyone. For me, it has been a struggle to address the needs of the many people who depend on me, whether family, students or constituents; others have struggled just as hard to find a way to occupy their time or to keep themselves content. Many people are worried about their jobs, their ability to pay the bills or their access to health insurance. Some people’s lives have been occupied by a fear of the virus or the reality of its health impacts on them or their loved ones; for others, the relatively small number of cases in our state has begged the question, “was social distancing even necessary?”

To be clear, social distancing was not an overreaction: instead, it is the reason some now find themselves with the luxury of thinking we may have overreacted. Without the strong measures imposed in our state, experts agree that we would face very different prospects for our economy, our health care infrastructure and our hopes of returning to normal life. Even with the relative success we have achieved through social distancing, many challenges lie ahead. Very few of us have gained immunity to the virus, and it remains unclear whether the few who have been infected will remain immune in the long term. As of the time I’m writing this, no effective treatments for the virus have been developed, and a vaccine is still at least a year away. Our best defenses are still vigilance and caution: even after the state “reopens,” we will not return to life as we knew it in December or January.

I have spent most of my hours during this pandemic thinking about the pain and loss people are facing, and will continue to face, as our economy reels. Yet still, the steps we take to reopen must be taken slowly and carefully. We can’t safely take our first steps toward that goal until our state’s case count has dropped, we see fewer people with suspicious symptoms, and the rate of new infections has fallen. We also need to increase our testing capacity, our ability to trace contacts and contain new outbreaks, and our supply of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers.

Our first steps toward reopening will probably look a lot like our current way of life: we will continue to stress the importance of handwashing, of face coverings and of staying home when you feel at all ill. We will still need to limit our travel and to avoid unnecessary physical contact with others. We will continue to forego handshakes in favor of the awkward “elbow bump.” As they reopen for non-remote work, businesses will need to take care that employees aren’t exhibiting symptoms of illness and will need to be generous with allowing sick time. Restaurants and bars will need to limit the number of people admitted for seating and maintain a safe distance between tables and chairs. People who loosen their own social distance from friends and loved ones will still need to gather in small groups and limit the size of their social circles to minimize the risk of passing on the virus.

The last two months have been chaotic, and they have taken a tremendous toll on our state, on our communities and on each of us individually. I am as eager as anyone to put this crisis behind us. Unfortunately, that is not a simple task. If we don’t exercise extreme care as we inch back toward our normal way of life, we will find ourselves having to return to this one: isolated from one another, worrying about what lies ahead and dreaming of a return to our former routines. I hope you will join me in optimistically awaiting a post-COVID-19 Oregon, and in expecting and accepting that we will need to endure many challenges before we get there.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: In this together by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 05/01/2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, many of Sandy’s iconic events that so many of our neighbors look forward to each spring and summer have been forced to cancel. Sadly, this is a year that we won’t be enjoying such incredible annual events as the annual Sandy Fire Pancake breakfast, Kiwanis Easter Egg hunt in Meinig Memorial Park and our beloved Sandy Mountain Festival.

While it is true that 2020 will be a year that many of us think back to the community events we are not able to enjoy, I believe it will also be a time that we remember neighbors coming together to uplift each other in our time of need.

I’ll think back to Kirsten Pitzer and her team at the Sandy Community Action Center working diligently to ensure access to food to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

I’ll think back to Machel Heldstab and her board at Sandy Helping Hands who stepped up to team with Sandy Transit to deliver groceries to those in need of assistance, as well as helped collect much needed supplies for local seniors.

Speaking of seniors, I’ll think back to our city staff and the way they’ve stepped up for Meals on Wheels delivery to Sandy-area seniors in the wake of us having to close the Sandy Senior Center. I’ll also remember how one of our longest Meals on Wheels volunteers contributed his and his wife’s federal economic stimulus money to go towards seniors in need.

I’ll think of our team at the Sandy Library and how they felt a need to provide their invaluable services and became the first in the Portland metro area to re-open and establish curbside service.

All of our city employees have been terrific. Whether it’s our team at City Hall, Public Services, Transit, Community Services, Police, Library, Planning or SandyNet - everyone has stepped up their “A” game during the crisis. It’s been incredible as they’ve adapted to the crisis and put together services to add economic relief for our local businesses.

I’ll think back to how we realized we have new patriots in our midst with our front-line workers in healthcare, grocery and many other essential services. The city has realized just how crucial SandyNet is to our way of life. It’s been so vital as our neighbors work, learn and entertain their families at home.

I’ll think back to our education system and how quickly our local teachers, administrators and school board leaders adapted to the change to provide our children with ongoing learning. I’ll also remember how much parents stepped up to make sure our community’s future continues to look bright.

I’ll remember how Sandy’s first responders continued to be heroic and display why they’re the very best in our community.

Most importantly, I’ll remember how our community came together to show everything I knew we were – special.

The months and year ahead will be difficult. This crisis will not end with the end of the stay at home order. There are many local businesses and employees that will feel the effects into the future. We will be tested, but we’ve been tested before and come out the other end.

Now more than ever, we need to intentionally dine and shop local. We need to donate to our local charitable nonprofits, service organizations and faith-based institutions.

Now more than ever your community needs you and you need your community. We’re in this together and I know that we’ll succeed. We’ll keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

A Meal for May by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2020

An easy and elegant meal for May and Mother’s Day. Oh momma! If anybody deserves a day of honor it’s you!

Blackened rockfish

Blackened seasoning: Mix together and set aside - 1T each garlic powder, salt, onion powder and 1 t each chili powder, black pepper, paprika, oregano and thyme.

2 T fresh chopped parsley

2 lbs. rock fish or another sustainable white fish

1 T each butter and olive oil

One lemon zest and juice

Heat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and dry the fish, and coat with about a t of seasoning on each side of a filet. In a large oven-safe skillet heat the oil over medium high/heat until hot (but not smoking), and carefully lay in filets cooking for around 4 minutes on one side. Do not move the fish as you want the seasonings to form the crust. Flip the fish using a spatula, add butter and lemon juice and zest to pan over the fish, place in hot oven until firm (about 6 minutes more)


Quinoa & Lentil medley

1 T butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 t sea salt

1/2 cup each zucchini & artichoke hearts (canned or frozen)

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1/4 cup diced carrot and celery

1 cup lentils cooked al dente

1 cup uncooked quinoa

In a large stockpot add butter, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook for five minutes. Add salt and pepper, quinoa, stock and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and steam for ten minutes. Add in the veggies, cover again and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the veggies and quinoa are tender.

Gardens offer security and a source of nutrition by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2020

In fixing the Earth with permanent agriculture, or permaculture, we begin the process of fixing ourselves. A pandemic is the embodiment of widespread disease (usually viral, as COVID-19 is), but it seems to me we’ve had pandemics of disease going on for years already, like cancer, chronic fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and the list goes on.

We have a nation (a world?) where 80 percent of citizens have insulin resistance and don’t even know it. Insulin resistance from so-called “convenience foods,” high sugar intake and decreased exercise.

After WWII, all those war chemicals had to go somewhere! Fresh foods diminished as people left the farms. Heavy marketing of shelf-stable junk foods became the norm. In the 1940s, pesticide and preservative use was virtually zero. In the 1950s, we had TV dinners and access to cheap food 24/7. Our ancestors never had such luxury, if you want to call it that.

Perhaps we can find a compromise. If you want good health (and who doesn’t?), you should grow your own food. When shelf-stable, industrial foods became available, nutrition was no longer taught in medical schools. It was abandoned in favor of pharmaceuticals. All doctors used to be “natural,” but after WWII the MDs no longer used or touted nutrition. This led to the break between MDs and NDs, and nutrition was no longer taught in medical schools, except the few remaining naturopathic ones. Even as late as the 1990s during my pre-med schooling, I literally had chemistry teachers saying that food had nothing to do with health!

There are many, many reasons to grow at least some of your own food. Its good exercise, good for your nutrition, saves money, can be shared and taught to the kids and is good for bees, soil and your soul. Among those many reasons are the feeling of being in control of your own well-being and realizing self-reliance.

Those of us who believed it was wise to be prepared for whatever disaster (earthquake, terrorism, tornado or war) already had a year’s worth of food stored. We were not the ones who panicked because of a “toilet paper shortage.” Even now, there are those people who have “enough” and rarely need to go to the grocery stores. Fewer outings means less exposure to any virus.

Lots of resources are available for learning to grow food, though seat-of-the-pants may be the best teacher. I was a neophyte during the 1970 back-to-the-land movement. I began by subscribing to Mother Earth News. Living on 100 acres with a new baby and no car meant it was time to learn to grow food. Maybe because of the proverbial beginner’s luck my first garden there produced 150 lettuce plants. What does one do with 150 lettuce plants? Besides making lettuce soup, which is delicious in the springtime, I sold my lettuce to the only local health food store, then owned by Ken Kesey’s family.

Now I still have thousands of different seeds, but I admit to trying to use up the older ones. Some seeds don’t keep well, notably onion seeds. Whether you have an apartment porch or a back 40, now is the time to seek out a modicum of self-reliance, rather than relying on stores that no longer have shelves that are filled to the brim. Even if you only have buckets or 100 square feet, you can grow a lot of food.

And fresh food is so much better for you. If you do go to a store, make smart purchases. Buying from bulk bins is liable to be fresher and cheaper than preservative-laden, over-packaged stuff on the shelves. In the same vein, make your own soups, stews and casseroles with leftovers. Calculate the price per pound to make sure this all makes sense to you. If you don’t cook, learn. All it takes is practice.

And if you don’t know how to garden, it’s time to learn. Again, all it takes is practice. If you are new to it, start with the easy stuff: beans and radishes, cukes and zukes. Then there are the can’t-kill-‘ems like Swiss chard and kale. Kale is over-priced and over-packaged in the stores, but pretty much guaranteed to grow in a bucket or your back yard. All it needs is a little sun and some water. Save the cooking water from your veggies and if you are not using it for soup stock, cool it and use it to water your plants. The extra nutrients in the cooking water will benefit your growing crops.

Seek guidance from your local and regional newspapers (like this one). Establish your purchasing choices now (do I need it, or just want it?). Grow what you are most likely to eat. Use locally abundant foods, like berries and filberts, and that ever-present health food, kale. Eat more plant-based foods, use up leftovers and use scissors to cut ribbons of green from your unsprayed dandelions. Eat in season or by reaping the abundance from your garden. Feel more secure by being prepared. The more you grow, the less you need to buy.

Tales (and Tails) of Trust by Paula Walker on 05/01/2020

We are thriving on smiles these days. Sharing things that make us grin to get us by; keep us focused on the things that matter; things of the heart, humor and happiness. And who better for that role for many of us then our furry, sometimes purry, companions. From Betty the Weather Cat whose cameo debut at the start of April with Indiana meteorologist Jeff Lyons, triggered an avalanche of letters from as far away as Australia — to a little Yorkie with a set of false teeth whose video went viral replete with his human friend and “cameraman” collapsing in laughter in the background.

Estate planning is, in large part, about taking care of our loved ones. For many of us those can include four legged companions. Of course not to imply that there may not also be non furry, non human companions that need our protection if we are not able to provide the care they are accustomed to, the care that we’ve lavished on them for the joy they lavish on us. All right – fair enough, there are those chewed shoes, indoor ‘oopsies’ and raids on the delicacies left on the kitchen counter. So maybe they teach us how to forgive as well as teaching us the many aspects of unconditional love that they bring to us.

Back to estate planning, an important consideration in creating an estate plan is the on going care of our chirping, purring, tail wagging, bridle wearing, lizard lounging non human companions. There are a number of means by which an estate plan can provide for these “family members.” They range from making sure that you have specifically designated someone in your family or a friend you know you can trust to give your animal companion a good home, someone who knows your companion and vice versa, to creating what is called a Pet Trust that provides for the on-going care of your companion(s) with the legal protections and oversight in place to ensure that the care continues according to your directives.

You want to consider providing for their care if you have a time of incapacity as well as providing for giving them a new home after you are no longer here, a home that understands their emotional needs as well attending to their various physical needs for shelter, comfort, exercise, proper diet, special needs and veterinary care. Your estate plan can provide the funds to support someone taking this responsibility for a limited time (incapacity) or as a permanent new home. Having someone at the ready to step in and take care of your companion(s) at a sudden time of incapacity, having the means to alert first responders that you have animals at home can forestall an extended time of deprivation that might otherwise happen to your companions, abandoned because in an emergency no one knows that there are those waiting at home for you.

One well-thought out program available to Oregonians is the Oregon Humane Society’s (OHS) Friends Forever Program. For any amount bequeathed in a Will or Trust to OHS, OHS commits to finding a home for your companion(s) for times of incapacity and after death. You incorporate this planned gift in your estate plan. Making the necessary communications of your intent to OHS assures you that the OHS will go into action immediately to receive your companions and find a placement based on the particulars for care that you have conveyed in your estate plan, where your companions will be cared for, in good hands, for a temporary stay or permanently, if you have such a need. Check out: https://legacy.oregonhumane.org/friends-forever and https://legacy.oregonhumane.org/ollie-and-rusty.

So, when you consult with an attorney to create your estate plan, remember the “other” family member(s) who fill your life with joy and maybe, a sense of purpose.

Betty the Weather Cat : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d98Rl49H91A and https://www.facebook.com/143109659110100/videos/247416563311566/

Yorkie with a big smile : https://nypost.com/2020/04/22/dog-steals-fake-teeth-runs-around-with-gigantic-smile-in-viral-video/

Stories of the Stars… If Only

And let us not forget those with feathers, not fur… taken from a 2015 Vanity Fair article about a “Manhattan woman” who left $100,000 and “very specific instructions” for the care of her “32 pet cockatiels — Wheetie, Port, Blackie, Zippy, Tara, Zara, Shasha, Pigeon, Victory, Alie, Zack 12, Dart, Cubby, Max, Baby, Ruthie, Pumpkin, Tattoo, Susie, Tracy, Margie, Sammy, Angel, Inky, Sara, Tunra, Tanteleah, Eva, Cody, Nicki, Avis and Dragon — along with her cat, Kiki, and dog, Frosty.”

Dear Reader… We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Organizing backups.
The View Finder: Seven Social Distancing Activities by Gary Randall on 04/01/2020

As I write this the whole world is dealing with and addressing a worldwide pandemic called Coronavirus – COVID-19. This is a serious situation that we all can affect. Social distancing and self-isolating has become a part of our lives. Those who are able to work from home are doing just that.

As photographers we can take this time to catch up with certain chores that are usually left for more opportune times. If you find yourself with some time on your hands during this odd time, I have a few suggestions for you to consider that will help you in the long run. Let's just call them chores – necessary chores that are easily put off for later. These really don't have to be unenjoyable, especially if there's really no rush.

So here you go...

Seven Things a Photographer Can Do While Social Distancing

Clean your camera and sensor – Dust bunnies sound cute and cuddly, but they're certainly no friend to the photographer. Most modern cameras have a self-cleaning feature that one can use for most common dust specks, but in time there will eventually accumulate more stubborn particles that will need to be dealt with a direct cleaning of the surface of the sensor.

Sensor cleaning sounds scary. We've all been warned how we could ruin our sensor if we do it wrong or have heard horror stories about how a friend ruined their camera for good trying to clean their sensor. And, in fact, the earlier methods of sensor cleaning could cause scratches if an abrasive dust particle was dragged across the surface of the sensor. I was scared for years to even try it until one day I decided to take an older camera that I had replaced with an upgraded body and attempt to clean the sensor. This sensor was terrible.

I had done some research into the different methods and kits available for one to clean their own sensor. I decided upon one that had a sticky pad that you would dab onto the surface of the sensor. It worked great and at this time it's the type of sensor cleaner that I would recommend.

But if you still are unable to build up the nerve to try this yourself you can still take some time to clean your camera body and lenses. Once this situation is resolved and we're all able to mix and mingle again, take your camera body to a camera shop and let them handle the sensor. It doesn't usually cost a lot.

Clean your lenses – Purchase some good lens cleaner spray and some soft cloths and take some time to carefully clean the front and back elements (glass part) of your lenses. While you're at it pull out your filters and do the same to them.

Clean and adjust your tripod – We don't think a lot about our tripod until it breaks or quits working. And when it does it's usually because we have neglected it. We've allowed the parts and pieces to corrode or to become out of adjustment.

Most all tripods have some sort of metal parts, be it a screw or the whole thing. Even carbon fiber tripods can have places where corrosive or abrasive material can hide. Saltwater and sand are the worst and it's recommended that you clean your tripod completely as soon as possible after getting it wet with saltwater. Aluminum can corrode quickly and make disassembly difficult. Rinse your tripod with fresh water right away and disassemble and clean it as soon as you can.

Disassembling your tripod can be a bit intimidating at first but once you do it once you'll remember the next time. Especially if you do it with a certain amount of frequency. If you're unsure of your ability to reassemble it, take photos as you disassemble it so that you have some reference when you put it back together again. You can do one leg at a time so that you have the others to reference.

Once it's apart wash and dry the pieces in fresh soapy water and then rinse and dry completely. Never use oil or WD-40 on your tripod as it will attract and adhere dirt particles which will hinder operation and wear the tripod out prematurely.

Calibrate your monitor – I've heard so many people complain that their photos, when viewed on a different computer or their phone, don't look the same as they did when they processed it on their computer. Sometimes the photo is darker or brighter than it looked or that the colors aren't right. There are times when someone is printing their photo and it comes back from the printer looking completely wrong.

Computer monitors need to be calibrated every so often. It's not a difficult chore to do but you will need to invest in a monitor calibration device. It's a good investment and once you buy one you will own it and use it forever. I use a Spyder 5 Pro but most all are good.

Organize and backup files – It's easy to come in from a trip out in the field and download all of your photos and then forget about them until you have time to process one or two. They can all add up and then left unattended, including backing them up. Redundancy isn't just a fun word to say, it's something that's important to a photographer when it comes to keeping their work secure for the future. Hard drives and memory cards fail. Accidents happen.

If you're anything like me, you will have ten times more unprocessed files than you will keepers. Create some hard drive space. Thin them out and backup the keepers. In addition to any hard drive backups consider uploading the master files for any photos that you process and finish to some cloud space. Most of us have some free space available to us from our cell phone providers, for instance. Secure some cloud space and create a folder in a file that contains the raw file, the finished processed file in a high resolution/non-lossy format such as PSD or TIFF and even your formatted jpegs for sharing on social media, etc. If you do that you won't need to worry about hours of uploading all of your files, good or bad, and you will have a secure copy of your finished photos, the most important ones.

Clean cards/charge batteries – Don't wait until the night before a shoot to clean your cards and check your battery charge. If you have multiple batteries, consider getting some small round sticky tags to stick onto the batteries that are charged so that you don't have to put the battery in the camera to check the charge. Take it off of the charger, tag it on the end. Once you use the battery take the sticker off of the end of the battery and stick it on the side so you know that it's been used and needs to be charged once you get back home.

Learn something new – What a great time to sit down in front of YouTube and pull up a few processing videos. YouTube can be a good place to learn something new or to completely run in the other direction, but you have the power to know if someone there aligns with your vision or not. Whether they have value in their video that you can use to make your photos better.

We have finally come to a place in photography where people understand that digital photos can be shot in a format that allows the photographer to decide how the finished photos will look. They are understanding that many of the processes are similar to what was done back in film days in the darkroom by artistic photographers like Ansel Adams. Talented photographers are usually also expected to be talented in how they process their photos in Lightroom, Photoshop or both. Find some videos that will push your understanding of them.

Also, in this day and age, there are so many other options for photographers than Lightroom or Photoshop. Give one of them a try, you may like it better. Process some of your photos using the help of a tutorial video using software such as one of my favorite alternatives to Adobe, On1. Give some new software a try. You might like it. You can usually download and install a program for free for 30 days to try it out.

These are all ideas for things to do, but in reality, they're all things that we are doing or should be doing anyway. Zombie apocalypse or not. This is just as short list of six things. I'm sure that you'll discover more things that you've not had time to do because you had too much time away from your desk. I didn't mention cleaning out Clif Bar wrappers from your backpack. Now's the time. Make social distancing work in your favor. Then once it's over you'll be raring to go. Your camera and sensor will be clean, your tripod will be smooth and functioning properly, your monitor will be calibrated, your files will be organized and backed up, your cards will be clean and your batteries will be charged. And furthermore, you'll be smarter than you were before because you've taken the time to learn something new in your down time.

Now. Tell me how bored you are.

Viewpoint – Salem: Facing the challenge together by Rep. Anna Williams on 04/01/2020

These are strange and uncertain times, but I remain optimistic despite the challenges ahead. As I write this column (about a week before the newspaper’s publication), I can’t predict what the coronavirus outbreak will look like by the time you read it. Presently, there have been 209 confirmed cases and eight deaths. Sadly, those numbers will certainly have increased significantly by April. However, it’s important that we look at this crisis in terms of how things could have gone if we had not acted decisively, if we had not come together (metaphorically, of course, given the importance of physical isolation) and sacrificed our comfort for the welfare of our communities.

Oregon is unique among the nation’s smaller states in how it has responded to the crisis. We were one of the first to identify a positive case as a result of community spread, but by that point we had already begun to prepare for what seemed like an inevitable outbreak. Even as I write this, when news on the pandemic is changing by the hour, the state government is responding quickly to every development and sharing as much information as possible with the public.

With regard to the legislature specifically, a Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response was announced on March 12. It has since met publicly for dozens of hours to discuss a huge number of proposed ideas for economic relief, housing support, health care expansion and other issues. These concepts will be drafted into bills for the legislature to pass during a special session, probably sometime in early April. After that, help will be on the way. I am hopeful that we will be able to keep Oregon’s thousands of small businesses operational after this crisis is over. We will do everything we can to keep renters from losing their housing due to financial hardship and we will help small landlords avoid hardships of their own due to nonpayment of rent. We will do everything in our power to help Oregon’s hospitals and health care workers see us through the months to come and we will try to find relief for every Oregonian struggling as a result of this outbreak.

But the legislature can’t do this without your help. We need every Oregonian to remain vigilant in the face of this disease and hopeful in the face of the economic struggles that await us. This means practicing responsible social distancing to minimize the spread of the virus: stay home unless you absolutely need to leave for groceries, health care or other essentials, and keep six feet of distance from others if you do go out. It also, importantly, means taking care of your mental health – minimize the amount of time you spend reading dire news reports or scrolling through social media and focus instead on what is within your control. Call your loved ones, call your neighbors and give yourself space to process your worries, your fears and your grief. Share your gratitude for the people who are keeping our communities running: health care workers, grocery workers, farm workers and first responders. Expressing this appreciation and strengthening your relationship with your community will help you cope with the stress that we’re all feeling.

We will get through this. Our communities, our state, our nation and all of humanity have been resilient throughout our history. There will be significant challenges in the months to come, of course, but when we act collectively to address these sorts of challenges, we not only survive them – we emerge from them stronger than before. If you have thoughts on how to strengthen our communities in the midst of this crisis, or if you have stories, questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: Weathering the COVID-19 storm by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 04/01/2020

I have been truly humbled by our community’s response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic currently facing us. Our wonderful city employees, the Oregon Trail School District, our service organizations, local small businesses or our fellow neighbors – everyone has stepped up to the plate to lift our community during this trying time.

First, I’d like to just remind everyone that we have both President Donald Trump and Governor Kate Brown saying this is an extremely serious situation and when those two agree, I think we all should take note.

I agree with Governor Brown’s Stay-At-Home order and thank her for listening to leaders from all over Oregon. These measures are vitally important to flatten the curve and provide our hospital system with much needed relief. When this pandemic is done, we need to have a nuanced conversation on the cost/benefit analysis of whether shutting down our local economies has been worth it.

At the city, we’ve had to take unprecedented steps to close our public library and programs, senior center along with community programming, City Hall, the business office of the police station and much of our public parks system.

To help provide a helping hand to our neighbors, we’ve suspended all shut-off’s and late fees for our public utilities and are committed to ensuring seamless operations of SandyNet, which is incredibly vital during this time.

So, what can we do with all of this newfound time on our hands? First, let’s use this unique opportunity to spend much needed time in our busy lives with our loved ones. I for one have really enjoyed this newfound time with MacKensey and our girls.

Additionally, maybe use this opportunity to finally fix that fence, improve your back yard or garden and finish up those home projects you’ve been putting off.

Also, please help our local Sandy small businesses. I’m very concerned for our local businesses and employees. I’d like to encourage everyone to both dine and shop local. While we may be confined to our own spaces and homes for the next several weeks, we all must still eat. Please consider ordering food from one of our local favorites for pick up to eat at home.

Additionally, if you’re unable to leave the house to pick up groceries, Sandy’s Helping Hands and the City of Sandy Transit Department are partnering to provide Clicklist delivery from Fred Meyer in Sandy. You can visit the Sandy’s Helping Hands Facebook page for more details.

If you need groceries or supplies, please consider buying or getting supplies along with a gift card from one of Sandy’s local businesses.

As many of you know, I grew up here in Sandy. I like to believe that my core beliefs about giving back, putting your community first and providing a helping hand to a neighbor are all a result of growing up in this special place we call Sandy. Together, we will get through this difficult time. Together, let’s keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

The Woodsman: beyond toilet paper by on 04/01/2020

Toilet paper was, until recently, on the very bottom of my list of article ideas for this column. However, at this writing, TP — and the people buying it as they hunker down during the coronavirus pandemic — have been in the news for weeks. Some folks have been accused of hoarding, of buying years’ worth of TP, and there have even been reports of people fighting in store aisles over the last package. Coming to blows over toilet paper? I can see fighting over beer or bacon, or maybe a bottle of bourbon (which I would use for medicinal purposes only, of course). But bathroom tissue?

At the risk of being accused of over-stocking up, I went to Bi-Mart a couple of weeks ago and was relieved to see dozens of 12-roll packages on the shelves, with a sign saying, “One per Household.” I bought my one package. So did everyone else in the store that morning. No forest product has ever been so popular.

As one who closely follows the forest-products industry, I can tell you that there is no need to worry about a shortage of TP. In mid-March, the American Forest & Paper Association issued a statement saying that, “This situation is highly dynamic and changing daily, and the industry is working diligently to respond to the spike in demand for tissue products due to coronavirus (COVID-19) purchases. Rest assured, tissue products continue to be produced and shipped — just as they are 52 weeks each year as part of a global market.”

We Americans use paper every day: TP, paper towels, newsprint, writing papers, sales receipts and paper grocery bags (which we now have to pay five cents each for), to name a few. Newsprint production is declining, as Americans read fewer newspapers (with the exception of The Mountain Times and other local papers). Corrugated cardboard is increasing along with the popularity of online shopping. Toilet paper production is growing slowly along with the US population. One area of growth in the US paper industry: adult diapers, which are made primarily of absorbent wood fibers, also known as wood pulp or fluff pulp.

Aside from being a key ingredient in TP and Depends diapers, wood pulp is a highly versatile product that can be used in making a surprisingly wide range of products, from concrete to solar cells. 

More than Paper

The pulp-making process starts with hardwood or softwood logs that are debarked and chipped. The chips are broken down mechanically or chemically to separate out the cellulose fibers needed for paper. In addition to cellulose, wood also contains hemicellulose, which is a minor ingredient in paper, as well as waxes, oleoresins and ethanol; and lignin, which is used for making glues, biofuels and other chemicals. Together, these three elements of wood are called lignocellulose or lignocellulosic biomass, which is the most abundant organic substance on Earth.

In recent years, scientists have discovered some interesting uses for cellulose, especially when the fibers are broken down to much smaller particles, called nanocellullose or cellulose nanomaterials (CNs). I recently interviewed Robert J. Moon, a materials research engineer at the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Wisconsin. Moon is an internationally recognized CN researcher who works closely with scientists at Purdue University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. According to Moon and other scientists, the addition of CNs to cement may have a significant impact on global climate change. Research by the FPL, Purdue, and Oregon State University has shown that the addition of CNs to cement makes concrete stronger. What’s more, because less concrete is required to provide the same strength, less carbon dioxide is emitted during the production of cement, which currently accounts for an estimated eight percent of global carbon-dioxide emissions.

Another promising use of CNs is in producing flexible, transparent films that serve as a platform for electronic circuits — flexible electronics.

“The substrate [film] is fully recyclable, and you can put electronic circuits on it,” Moon said. “You take regular pulp and disintegrate it about 10,000 times. The particles are super small, and they don’t interact with light in the same way, so instead of having an opaque substrate, you have a transparent substrate. And because the particles are so small and they’re packed together very tight, the surface roughness is much less. When you try to print micron-size lines or smaller on regular paper, they get lost in the roughness of the paper and you lose your connection. But on substrates made from much smaller particles — cellulose nanocrystals — you can print circuits on it and do a lot of other things to it.”

Nanocellulose films are strong, flexible and less prone to thermal expansion — a critical property for electronic circuits. That makes CNs useful in flexible cell phones and displays, and in solar panels that can bend.

Examples of other innovative uses for cellulose nanomaterials include paper food packaging with a CN coating that serves as a barrier to oxygen and is impenetrable to oils and grease. CN films also hold great promise in biomedical uses, such as skin tissue engineering and wound healing. As a covering for severe burns, CN dressings help promote new skin growth, block germs that could cause infections, allow for the application of medicines without removing the dressing and don’t stick to wounds when removed.

Say “forest products” and most people think of lumber, plywood and paper, even toilet paper, but forest products are all around us and will be in future products that we can only dream about. The great thing about all of these products is that they come from a renewable natural resource: trees.

Have a question about toilet paper or cellulose nanomaterials? Want to buy some two-ply TP, cheap? Let me know. Email: SWilent@gmail.com.

A happy and healthy Earth makes us all happy and healthy by Victoria Larson on 04/01/2020

If we don’t “fix” the Earth, the Earth won’t take care of us, we the people. We cannot have the economic success without the support of our Earth. In the U.S., undesirable nutritional choices lead to diseases such as cancer, chronic fatigue, diabetes, depression and heart disease. The inner person reflects the outer environment. In Chinese medicine, we say, “The microcosm is the macrocosm.”

That means we are responsible for the condition of our local landscape and the earth as a whole. We can no longer hide our heads in the sand and wait for our neighbors to make a change!

Yes, we are making some steps in the right direction: air pollution in northern China has been reduced, for instance, and that was the most polluted area I’d ever seen on Earth when I was there in 1996. But China still had millions of plastic bags snagged in trees and clogging waterways (which often were roadway ditches). So, we’ve made some steps in dealing with pollution and the future of our Earth by banning plastic bags. Quit-cher complaining – I’ve been using cloth bags since 1986 when I went to Europe where they don’t provide shopping bags in stores. Easy change and I’m glad to see so many doing it.

Ever notice how Mother Nature doesn’t like barren Earth, so she fills in with what we call “weeds?” Another word for many of our weeds is “edible food.” Author Bill Mollison coined the word “permaculture,” a contraction of “permanent” and “agriculture.” He was not the first to espouse this style of restoring the Earth, but he’s been around in our lifetime. Bill Mollison worked for the Division of Wildlife, the Fisheries Commission and universities in Australia. In the 1970s, the “green revolution” hit America and Mollison and David Holmgren began the concept of permaculture, based on ethics not greed.

If we don’t take care of the Earth, it won’t take care of us. Hence, we had the back-to-the-land movement, the interest in herbal medicine, vegetarianism and new ways of living. I moved to 100 acres and had a radio program called “The Wildflower Farm Report.” I learned a lot but we’re all still learning.

Now we have moved so far in the other direction, money before people, that we are in danger of losing our global health. DDT once was widely used until it was discovered that the bird population was declining. Chemically resistant bugs proliferated. The National Pesticide Use Database states the pesticide use in the 1940s was about zero. Post-World War II left us with a lot of war chemicals and nowhere to get rid of them. Hence the growth of the pesticide industry. Now we use half-a-billion pounds per year of pesticides. A greed-based move in the wrong direction.

DDT is now banned but what about its half-life? Some farms claim to be organic probably used DDT from 1950-70. RoundUp will be banned next as it’s been proven to cause cancer in some. Yet, Monsanto claimed it to be a “dream come true” herbicide (for Monsanto, maybe) and you can still buy it over-the-counter. Start saving the Earth by not buying RoundUp, which is an endocrine disrupter. And patients wonder why they have thyroid imbalances, cancer, depression. Were you born before 1970, or even after?

Every one of us can start on the road to permaculture, restoring the Earth to increased safety. Covering the Earth with green, growing things is a start. Everyone can garden, whether on the windowsill or the “back forty.” Before our industrial food system (which makes money for stores, refrigeration specialists and packaging companies), how did people feed themselves? We all need to eat. How about more money in your own back pocket? Invest in yourself, your local economy, your local farmer. A natural ecosystem is ethics-based – people before money. After all, you cannot eat money. In study after study, it’s been shown that backyard gardening can produce more food than large-scale, monoculture farming. Food security means “enough for all,” not just the rich.

Personal food security makes you feel “rich.” A freezer stocked with berries, a pantry filled with home-raised and canned tomato products can decrease your food bill by up to (and sometimes more than) $1,000 per year. And you can save more if you dry beans, garlic, peppers and ferment herbal vinegars, sauerkraut, pickles. Store foods in that pantry mentioned in last month’s column. All this will create a feeling of abundance, the ability to share in times of disaster, such as we’re all experiencing. Now, doesn’t that just beat the “dog-eat-dog” culture of money?

This is the month to plant most anything, whether on your apartment porch of in the back forty. Start with things that take the longest to mature – your personal permaculture. Trees take longest to mature, especially nut trees. Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) yield very high amounts of food calories per year. A consortium of universities (including Oregon State University), the Arbor Day Foundation and several state agencies are working to come up with a hardy European hazelnut that is cold-hardy and more resistant to previous species.

The devastation of hazelnut tree-shrubs that occurred locally in 1988 did not include the stand of trees next to my (then) recently purchased farm. I referred to that grove as “kittywoods” and vowed to leave the farm if that grove was ever removed. It was cut down and I left the farm after living there for 30 years, almost half of that on my own. I admonished my cats to not go in there as sometimes they didn’t come out. Coyotes, don’t you know. But, while I did lose a few animals, that grove continued to provide healthy nuts for the 30 years I lived on that farm, as long as I got the nuts before the jays did!

I’m reminded of the humbling experience I had while working at Northwoods Nursery (now defunct), where we sold fruit trees. Elderly people, some on crutches or in wheelchairs, came to purchase trees that wouldn’t even begin to bear fruit for three to five years. What faith! What trust and care these elderly people taught me – me being the naive whippersnapper who could lift those potted or balled-root trees.

Now I, too, am of an age where lifting trees is more difficult. But I have trust and faith. Permaculture will see us through, even if I’m not around to see the results. I am no longer on that five-acre small holding but a year and a half ago, I began permaculturing my land, which is now less than an acre. I put in my “Victoria” rhubarb (of course) which I should wait another year to harvest, lest I weaken the plant. The one-fruit-tree-per-year that I plant will give me Anjou pears this year. My only dilemma is where to put my next tree. Make that your dilemma, too. But have faith and trust in your goals. Wendell Barry said it succinctly: “Nature includes us, we are in it and part of it. If it does not survive, we cannot thrive.” Be a part of nature’s permaculture!

Time for some levity by Paula Walker on 04/01/2020

If there was ever a time for levity, this is certainly among them. So, let’s take a look at some of the laughable, zany and strange in the world of Wills & Testaments as we navigate our own often zany** and strange time of COVID-19.

I’ll start with the top of the list pick approved by my two feline owners. Yes… they have established clearly who “owns” who in this household.

British pop singer Dusty Springfield who left us with memorable ballads, among them “Son of a Preacher Man” and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” put her elderly cat at a place of prominence in her will. Thirteen-year-old Nicholas was to be fed baby food imported to the U.K. from the United States and serenaded to sleep each night with her songs.

Leaving nothing unattended to for his care and happiness, Dusty also arranged that Nicholas would sleep on a bed lined with Dusty’s pillowcase and would be wed to the female cat of the caretaker Dusty had appointed. A devoted animal rights activist all her life, Dusty Springfield, born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, died in 1999 just two weeks before being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but not before she was awarded as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for “services to popular music.”

Knowing of her advanced illness, the Queen gave permission for Dusty to receive her medal of honor in the hospital, a few months before her passing.

Next, there is Harry Houdini, in a tale of life’s fabrication that will rival the creative talents of the best novelist in piecing together events and circumstances for a sensational read. For starters, Houdini died on Halloween. Now who could have arranged better than that?

Intrigued with the idea that communication was possible between the living and the dead, he had created a ten digit secret code with his wife Beth, which only she would know and by which she could be certain that he was communicating to her. His will contained provisions of the pact with his wife that she would hold a séance each year, for ten years, on the anniversary of his death.

Beth held the last séance in 1936, however the tradition has continued in various places, gaining in popularity over the years. Google “Houdini séance 2020” as the time for this event approaches. Perhaps there is a trip in store for you for next Halloween?

And then there’s Tom Shewbridge. You’ve not heard of him?! Neither had I. A California prune rancher, his fame was little assured until his will, in which he guaranteed that his two “Heinz 57” variety canine companions, Mac and George, would continue to live a life of comfort after his passing.

Tom’s estate, valued at $112,000 in 1958 (more than $1 million in today’s dollars), was invested, in the dogs’ names, in 29,000 shares of stock in the local power and light company. The dogs were regular attendees of the stockholders’ and board of directors’ meetings.

Finally, oscillating between stories framed by animal heirs, and bequests with an occult shadow, the last story for this article regards Nina Wang, who at the time of her passing in 2007 was reported to be the richest woman in Asia. She left her entire $12.8 billion fortune to the charity that she and her late husband founded. Her lover and former feng shui advisor, Tony Chan, contested this, finally losing his battle of many years with the courts. The judge described Chan as a fortune teller and “opportunist” who was guilty of forging a fake will in his attempt to make his claim on Nina Wang’s fortune.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

In this episode, I celebrate ‘US’. We are the Stars and the creators of interesting tales and tellings.

**The zany… who knew peanut butter and toilet paper would top the list of items to hoard as a bulwark against the flu and the top items to have if you’re stuck at home for an extended period of time to minimize exposure to the flu?! Who knew even a month ago that we’d be stuck at home for such an extended amount of time?!

And the admirable… from the stories and accounts I hear personally, in the news and through social media, the human spirit is indomitable. We always find a way to play, to laugh, to pull together to help each other to get through challenging times.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Comfort Food by Taeler Butel on 04/01/2020

Take pleasure in the stirring, the aroma and the mouthfuls of comforting dishes. These dishes are simple and frugal to make, have few ingredients and will feed everyone.

Baked Orzo

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 t granulated garlic

¼ t each salt & ground black pepper

2 T grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces orzo pasta, cooked al dente and drained

2 T Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

1 cup Half & Half

1½ cups Mozzarella, leave a little for sprinkling on top

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine ricotta, 1¼ cups mozzarella, Half & Half, garlic, eggs and pepper in bowl. Combine the hot pasta and sauce in a separate large bowl. Stir in ricotta mixture. Spoon into 11x7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup mozzarella, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, removing foil for the last five minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and cheese is melted.

Chocolate chip cookie pie

2 eggs

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup chopped walnuts

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high speed until light and foamy. Add the softened butter, flour and both sugars to the bowl and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts and mix gingerly. Bake for 30 minutes until just set.

Serve with ice cream.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: A discussion about composition by Gary Randall on 03/01/2020

In all forms of art there are compositional rules that are applied to its creation. Music, painting, sculpting - they all have standard methods that are used to create them that have been observed to be pleasing to those who enjoy it. These methods have been developed or discovered, documented and taught through time to the students of the selected art. Understanding these rules during the initial layout of the painting, for instance, helps to establish a more compelling image, but the painter usually has creative freedom to place elements into the scene or arrange them in a more pleasing way. They are starting with a clean canvas, but a photographer doesn’t have that freedom. We are handed an unmovable scene and then tasked with interpreting the scene in an artful way.

Composition as it’s applied to photography, especially landscape photography, doesn’t have the freedom to place or arrange elements within the frame as we create our photo. Therefore, it’s critical for landscape photographers to be aware and observant of the scenery that surrounds us. In landscape photography it’s important to understand classical compositional rules so that they can recognize them when they’re discovered in our adventures.

So, what are these compositional rules? How strict are these rules, and what happens when we break them? First of all, never be afraid to break any compositional rule, and try your best to stretch the rules to fit your situation. They are no more than a “rule of thumb.” There are no consequences for breaking these rules other than creating a total failure, or in many instances creating something unique. So, go for it.

Now that we know that there’s no consequences worth worrying about, let’s try to understand the basic rules that I keep in mind as I’m composing a photo. The first is the one that most all artists are aware of and it’s most likely the one rule that’s considered universal. That’s the Rule of Thirds. The second being the Fibonacci Curve or the Golden Ratio, and in cases where I’m dealing with diagonal lines, the Golden Triangles.

The Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds creates guidelines as a grid of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines equally spaced to divide the frame into nine different parts. Important components of the composition are lined up along the lines or at their intersections.

The Fibonacci Curve: The Fibonacci Curve or The Golden Ratio is a curve whose shape is created using the Fibonacci Sequence of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. Plotted out on paper it creates a spiral similar to the spiral of a snail shell. This pattern can be found in nature in many things besides the snail shell, such as the arrangement of flower pistils and petals. It can even be seen in the rotation of a hurricane as it’s observed from above.

The Golden Triangles: Diagonals in a scene can be used as compositional elements. Not everything in the world lines up with the Rule of Thirds. Hills, valleys and sometimes even chaotic elements can be organized into a direction, usually in a diagonal.

There are more rules, but for the sake of simplicity, and the lack of need for more rules, I feel that it’s important to learn these three rules and to understand them in a way that they can be recognized when you’re in the field. As I said before, we don’t have the freedom that a painter has to move elements around on our canvas, so we have to observe and recognize these harmonious arrangements when we come across them. Although we’re not able to move the elements we are able to move our camera left, right, up, down, forward or back to try to place them within our frame.

Besides a basic understanding of types of harmonious arrangements of elements within our frame, there are other important elements or components in a scene that can be used to make a more compelling composition.

Lines: Lines within a scene are very important elements that can be used to create separation of elements or even depth in a scene. Leading lines are lines that typically start in the foreground and lead the viewer’s eyes into the background of the scene. They can be most anything from a creek or a canyon to a crack in the earth. Another important line is the horizon and its placement between the bottom of the frame and the top of the frame, usually depending on the importance of one area over the other to the image.

Shapes: The shapes of the elements in the scene and how they interact with each other is an important part of composition. Let’s say that we have a mountain peak in the background with trees in the foreground. You would try to place the trees in a complimentary way to frame or emphasize the mountain.

Color and Light: A lot of people don’t consider how color can affect composition. Even the brightness or intensity of color can affect how the scene is viewed. An example would be a darker cool color in shadows in the foreground, with warm light in the back creating depth in the photograph. Colors can also create mood in a photo. Brighter, more saturated colors are typically viewed as more cheerful, whereas cooler or darker colors are more solemn or moody.

Textures, Patterns and Space: Texture and patterns are excellent components in a composition. They give the image a look or feeling how it would be to the touch. It is also important to try to use textures and patterns to replace negative space. Negative space being an area in your photo with no subject, element or pattern. It could be a flat gray overcast sky, or even a blue cloudless sky. There are times when negative space can be used as an effect, but it’s typically avoided.

Simplify: When you’re composing your photograph, I feel that it is important to leave out of the frame all that is not needed to create a compelling photo. Take time to look at the scene, recognize subject elements and zoom into it to solidify and simplify the scene. Position the frame of the photo in a way that excludes clutter, distracting or hard to photograph areas.

Combining Elements: There are times when one can combine characteristics of more than one element into their composition. You could line up a complete scene with the rule of thirds, yet leave a distant mountain centered on the horizon for instance.

“So many rules, how can I remember them all?” I hear you. But remember what I said earlier. Understand these things but don’t dwell on them. It’s best to understand that the scene that you’re photographing will speak to you and tell you how it should be composed. You don’t know what elements will face you when you arrive. You don’t know their placement or relationship with each other. It’s our job as photographers to read the scene and try to determine what elements are presented to us and how we can arrange them within the frame of the photo. We can move left, right, forward or back. We can zoom in or out to include or eliminate that which isn’t needed to tell the story that you hope that your photo will tell. We can raise or lower our camera until the scene fits comfortably and harmoniously within the frame of our photo.

I tell photographers that once you understand the rules of composition to a point where you no longer think about them, your eye will recognize these elements when they’re presented to you automatically. When you have practiced enough, they become second nature. And when you get to a point where you can take a photo without relying on using these grids and patterns, and then apply the grid to the photos and it all lines up, then composition has become second nature to you.

Learn composition and then forget it. Let the scene talk to you. Most of the time it will tell you how it wants to be photographed. Composition is, in most cases, the most important part of creating an interesting and compelling photo. Become familiar with the rules, but don’t be afraid to break them.

Viewpoints – Salem: The broadband conundrum by Rep. Anna Williams on 03/01/2020

The science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick once said, “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” Anyone who has tried to log on to the internet in rural Oregon knows exactly what he was talking about. Over the last 20 years, the web has changed every aspect of our lives, from how we make phone calls to how we shop and run our businesses. However, across large portions of our state, internet access is spotty in some areas and non-existent in others.

According to a recent report, 27.6 percent of people in our state live in places - mostly rural - that are not “Future Ready,” meaning they have internet speeds lower than 100mbps. This may seem fast to those of us who remember the screech of dial-up modems, but in our tech-driven economy, high speed internet is a necessity, not a luxury. More than 50 rural Oregon schools don’t have access to broadband internet. In an age where healthcare is undergoing a technological revolution, patients and providers in rural communities are being left behind.

This is bad for Oregon on several fronts. Instead of staying in the towns where they grow up, talented young people are relocating to bigger cities, increasing housing scarcity and reducing the tax base in rural areas. This deepens the ‘rural brain drain’ problem and contributes to a cycle of decline. There are some high-tech industries setting up in places like Hood River, Bend and Pendleton, but further growth in smaller communities is inhibited by the lack of broadband infrastructure.

High-speed internet is perhaps our state’s most powerful economic development tool, and every community deserves to have access to it. However, the very thing that attracts so many people to our state - wide open spaces - makes installing high speed internet incredibly expensive. Engineers estimate that the total cost of providing broadband internet fiber to all unconnected households in Oregon is about $1.3 billion. Providing broadband to only Senate District 26, which includes the House district I serve, would cost $18 million.

The state simply doesn’t have the funds to cover these costs. What we can do, however, is provide meaningful assistance to help small communities access partnerships with companies that could connect them, and incentives for those companies to do so. In theory, small communities are eligible for USDA grants to cover the massive costs of providing fiber connectivity, but these grants require extensive administrative work and a 25 percent cash match (which many small communities can’t afford). Even if a community does manage to secure a grant, they are still on the hook for ongoing costs to provide the internet service.

As I write this, about ten days before publication, Senate Republicans stand poised to walk out and the House is due to hear House Bill 4079 (the Rural Telecommunication Investment Act). If it passes, the RTIA will allocate $5 million per year to expand broadband investment, including funding to help rural communities apply for federal funds and secure private partnerships. Despite widespread support, however, there is a strong chance it won’t get to the floor for a vote.

If my Republican colleagues follow through on their threatened walkout, it isn’t only the controversial cap-and-invest bill that will die. While they claim to take a stand on behalf of their rural constituents, they are also threatening legislation like HB 4079 that could help transform education, healthcare and commerce throughout the rural parts of our state.

It is difficult to write speculatively about the future – I’m no Philip K. Dick, after all – so I hope that by the time you read this column, there has been no walkout. One thing you can be certain of is that whatever happens in the coming weeks, I will keep looking for ways to support broadband expansion and other initiatives that help rural Oregon to build an economy ready for the 21st Century.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: Addressing childcare by on 03/01/2020

In a town full of young working families, Sandy is severely lacking in providing enough quality childcare for residents. According to recent data gathered by Clackamas Workforce Partnership, we currently only have spots for six infants and toddlers in licensed childcare settings. There are about 162 spots for preschool aged kids and 63 for school-age. To put this in perspective, Sandy is estimated to have about 1,400 children under the age of 5.

What does this mean for our families? It means that we are having to send our kids to childcare centers outside of our community. Families have constant stress about finding and keeping quality childcare so they can continue working. If you are lucky enough to secure a spot in a setting that works for your family, you are then faced with the barrier of how to afford to keep that spot while still paying the rest of your bills. According to data from the Partnership, the average cost of providing infant care in the United States is about $15,000. That amounts to around 20 percent of a typical family’s income. We even see amounts much higher than that.

The flip side of this equation is that our childcare providers are also struggling to pay the bills. Childcare standards for facilities, education level of providers, child to teacher ratios and safety standards mean that the people providing care for our children are making barely over minimum wage in a lot of cases. As we know, it is very hard to raise a family on $10-15 per hour. As a result, this is an industry with a lot of turnover.

This conversation was started towards the end of 2019 when Clackamas Workforce Partnership reached out to the City of Sandy to see if we could come together to find solutions. I am so pleased with the leadership our city has taken to explore this issue. We have had two formal convenings with city staff, elected officials, Clackamas County ESD, local childcare providers and more! House District 52 Representative Anna Williams was even in attendance at our January gathering. She is especially interested in focusing on this issue with us during the 2021 legislative session.

With so many voices and so much passion, I am feeling confident that we will be able to address this childcare crisis in a way that will meet the needs of both our families and our childcare providers. At a very local, practical level, city staff is working towards changing some of our codes to make childcare businesses more profitable. These include parking code modifications, possible creation of a tenant improvement grant solely for childcare businesses and grant programs for facade and public infrastructure.

This is a timely and important topic as we continue to see more young families settle down in our wonderful city. The City of Sandy is a leader in this conversation that is gaining momentum and being discussed all across the county. We have made it an official goal of our Sandy City Council for this year.

We will continue to have discussions and move toward positive results to keep Sandy the most amazing place to live and raise a family.

Bethany Shultz is a Sandy City Councilor

The Emerald Season offers greens by Victoria Larson on 03/01/2020

Unless you are living in outer space eating entirely chemical food, you no doubt realize that food does not come from grocery stores. Food comes from your beautiful green Earth. Every ounce of food in any grocery store has traveled using petroleum to get there! The average distance your food has traveled is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles. That’s a lot of gas. And doesn’t include the rest of it – like processing, packaging and refrigeration.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you only use food from your hundred-mile radius. Or better yet, grow your own food in your own backyard, at least some of it. Or forage in your own yard if you are not using cancer-causing chemicals (glyphosphate, otherwise known as Round-Up). Or learn to do without some things. There are no strawberries growing in our area at this time of the year. Soon though.

In fact, a hundred or so years ago there were NO grocery stores as we know them. They were mostly called general stores, for you could get cloth, thread and tools, as well as staples such as flour, coffee and tea. But some of the general stores were few and far between so most everyone outside of the cities grew most, if not all, of what they ate. Of course, they didn’t eat packaged foods in those days. Our ancestors had a real sense of what grew on their own land, when in was in season, what keeps through the winter and how to preserve those foods.

Among rural people were many farms providing food for rather large families. Most had a large garden, a cow, some chickens, an orchard. I’ve now, in my brief lifetime, lived in two places that have had a free-standing fruit room – one was a hundred-acre farm outside of Eugene, the other where I live now.

A “fruit room” is a thick-walled building which allows cool air in with just a small screen (about four inches) to allow for an exchange of air. Sometimes they were root cellars or rooms in the back of a house. This was in the era before refrigeration was everywhere. Most food was kept in these cool rooms and not mechanically refrigerated like today.

Root crops such as beets, garlic, onions and potatoes were kept there as well as home-canned goods and some orchard fruits. Even eggs and milk may have been stored there if there was not a spring house on the land. Where else would you put these things? A cooler perhaps? Think emergency. What will you do if disaster strikes?

Our grandparents also knew from those who came before them, what wild greens to look for in the spring and which mushrooms were safe to eat. Few of us know this information anymore, though there are still foods out there to be foraged, if you care to learn them. It takes years, so start now.

By March, fruits and produce in the fruit rooms were drying up, literally. Not only had most of the home-grown and canned foods been used up by then, but even the flour and coffee from the general stores were about gone. We would then be approaching “the bottom of the barrel” by March. This was known as “the hunger month” as new crops had yet to be planted and harvested. Hence the reliance on neighbors and learning to forage for food. No Cheetos for our ancestors.

As we wait for spring vegetables to come into season perhaps it’s time to try some of those greens, known nowadays as weeds, while we wait for asparagus, greens and eggs to come fully into season. If you are lucky enough to have these foods in your backyard, you are truly lucky. You can have beautiful, nourishing meals by using up the root veggies in your fruit room and learning to forage in your own or your neighbors’ yards. With permission of course.

But don’t do this at home if you are using cancer-causing Round-Up chemicals in your yard. Do NOT forage near railroad tracks or golf courses. There are deadly chemicals in the soils there. Also, some farms where DDT (now outlawed) was used in the 1950s. But if you have a chemical-free lawn, or back 40, it’s time to learn about foraging

I once asked a midwife I worked with if I could pick the chickweed in her garden. She was astonished as I picked two black garbage bags full of chickweed. I have chickens so I never have chickweed growing on my property. It’s named “chickweed” for a reason!

In medical school there was a small, local restaurant we went to almost daily. In fact, my best friend and I would go for both first lunch and second lunch. In a terraced garden next to the restaurant Miner’s lettuce grew. It tends to grow through our mild winters and it is very distinctive, extremely nutritious and more delicious than spinach. I would take a bag and some scissors and cut enough every day for the nightly dinner salad. Even my fellow Naturopathic medical students thought I was a bit weird. But I had spent years in advance herb classes taught by the woman instrumental in starting the National Herbalist Guild.

A lot of people are now trying to get off the industrial food train – not buying foods that are overly packaged or with ingredients that are unpronounceable, reading labels, buying more local produce.

Only about one quarter of American households have food-producing gardens. To keep our Earth green there needs to be more local orientation. It’s the beginning of the Emerald Season. Soon we will be inundated with greens from the Earth. Maybe even your own patch of earth. Enjoy it all.

State prefers you don’t die intestate by Paula Walker on 03/01/2020

These articles in the past have covered the concept of “dying intestate,” i.e. without at minimum a will to direct the proper disposition of your assets, and other estate planning vocabulary that amuses or hangs in the air with a sense of the strange and arcane; remnants of legal concepts born in medieval ages.

This month I’ll take a closer look at the term “intestate” and its potential companion, “escheat.”

Dying intestate calls upon the state to undertake the search to find the people in your family relations, that could legally inherit your assets. Failing to find people who are qualified by law to inherit the value of your estate, the state holds the proceeds from liquidating your estate, and in some cases the tangible item itself, for a ten-year period as it continues to search for rightful heirs and as a waiting period for rightful heirs to come forward. Last October, Fox 12 reported that the State had holdings of approximately $600 million in unclaimed assets.

This is where “escheat” comes to play. Those unclaimed assets having remained unclaimed for ten years escheat to the State. The word having its origins in 13th and 14th century “old French” and Latin; literal meaning “that which falls to one,” i.e. falls to the State.

In this month’s Stories of the Stars I present you a link to an interview with a representative from the Oregon agency that deals with intestate estates. Considering why people may not create a will, often people think that really, they don’t have much and can’t afford to, but says the representative straightforwardly, “you can’t afford not to.”

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Sometimes you discover allies and collaborators in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected and often propitious times. Such was the case with Fox 12 Portland News and the occasion of writing this article this month. Instead of a celebrity gawking story of the mishaps of the very wealthy, I invite you this month to consider an account of the “close to home.” A tale of the every day person, like you and me, Fox 12’s recent airing on its nightly news of why everyone should at least have a will, if not a complete estate plan.

Interviewing Sally Wells, Estate Representative for Oregon’s Department of State Lands, this broadcast walks us through several estates of ordinary folks who died fairly recently without a will and shows how the state must intervene to determine what must be done with everything they’ve left behind. The proceeds, if no legal beneficiaries are discovered, eventually allot to a worthy purpose, the State’s Common School Fund.

Nonetheless, the State of Oregon aired this news broadcast to advise Oregonians: 1) to at minimum, create a will; 2) that the State would prefer not to be called upon to find the legal beneficiaries for people’s unappointed assets; 3) that the search is costly and time consuming; 4) that this effort likely does not result in the outcome you’d prefer; 5) that the cost to your estate for the State to do this search, many times spanning a decade, robs the value of your hard work and life’s effort that could go to people and causes that you would otherwise like to take care of and promote; 6) that state assumed estates are on the rise. Since 2009 the state handled estate cases have grown by a factor of seven.

Take a look. You’ll be interested to know, may be surprised, may be appalled at the potential for your own situation.

Check out the embedded video of the interview. https://www.kptv.com/news/fox-investigators-look-into-what-happens-to-oregon-estates-when/article_a27db22c-519b-11ea-847b-c7d2b7ed1d81.html

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Butter cookies by Taeler Butel on 03/01/2020

With half their weight in butter these simple cookies are rich but not expensive. There are only a few steps and ingredients between you and a plateful of happiness. Use the best organic butter you can find. European butter really makes a difference.

Shortbread with chocolate chips

1 cup softened unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour (unbleached if available)

1/2 t sea salt

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 t cornstarch

1 T vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

In an electric mixer beat butter with sugar for three minutes until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla.

Mix salt, cornstarch and flour together, then add the flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on medium until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap making a disc and chill for half an hour. Roll out the cookies to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and bake for 11 minutes or just until the edges get color.

Pistachio wedding cookies

2 cups flour

3/4 cup chopped, shelled, unsalted pistachios

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 t vanilla

1 t almond extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place the powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside. With a paddle attachment beat remaining ingredients on a slow speed, scraping the bowl as needed just until well mixed. Shape dough into one-inch balls and place the cookies on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove cookies from the oven and cool the cookies slightly before rolling in the powdered sugar.

Photo by Gary Randall
The View Finder: Intimate Landscape Photography by Gary Randall on 01/31/2020

Landscape photography has a reputation for being one that includes travelling to epic corners of the earth to bring back photos of places that are rarely seen by most people. Or places that we’ve seen in National Geographic magazine or a TV documentary. But from my point of view, landscape photography should include the photographer’s artistic touch. It should be separate from documentary photography or marketing photos that are seen in magazines. It shouldn’t always need to depend on a location to send a message. I think that a beautiful landscape photo can be taken on the side of the road in most any community, especially ours.

As an example, where we live the first subject that we’re drawn to is Mount Hood in the distance. It’s iconic and known all around the world. But we have so much more available to us that we could use to make our photos, and many are along the side of our side roads. Don’t ignore our mountain, but maybe consider taking a photo of a group of flowers that happen to have a snow-capped volcano behind them. Be creative in choosing your subjects and be creative in how you compose and photograph them.

A photographer can consider that landscape photography can be reduced to two basic types, grand landscapes and intimate landscapes. A grand landscape typically is a territorial view, or one where there’s a view off into the distance that includes a lot within its frame, whereas an intimate landscape is typically one that’s a smaller part of a larger scene. A grand landscape is more apt to include a recognizable location, certainly a photograph that includes Mount Hood in the distance is going to be considered a grand landscape. It’s going to be location dependent and in a lot of cases weather dependent. I feel that a landscape photographer really spreads their wings when they embrace intimate landscapes.

Intimate landscapes can include a small part of or a detail within a grander scene such as a small segment of a creek or maybe a section of the scene that is affected by some atmospheric conditions, think fog and sunlight as it filters through the forest, or maybe sunlight illuminating a curtain of moss that is draped across the limbs of the trees. I also look for designs and patterns within the scene. An intimate landscape can include a part of the scene that, when extracted from the larger view and seen separate from the context of the larger scene, stands alone and on its own merits. Put the wide-angle lens away and use your zoom lens. Get closer to the scene.

It’s said, in painting as well as photography, that it’s not what’s included within the frame but what’s excluded that strengthens a composition. And this is very true in simplifying complex or generally unappealing scenery, at first glance. Analyzing a scene and trying to find an interesting composition for a photo allows us to look deeper into the scene and to recognize what more that it has to offer. The first glance at a scene is like looking at a book’s cover. Looking further into a scene is like reading the book.

I tell my students that as artists we shouldn’t take the scenery at its first impression. In most cases we will take all it has to offer all at once. Instead take some time to stop and analyze the components of the scene and separate these smaller scenes and abstracts. Be creative and I’m confident that you will be able to stop along most any side road and find a photograph within sight of your car.

Viewpoints – Salem: What is missing in some data by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/31/2020

Sometimes, statistics hide as much as they reveal. Inaccurate data may be worse than misleading; it may have real-world negative impacts on people’s lives.

As an example, I recently learned that official state data estimates that there is one homeless person in all of Sherman County. Just one. This paints a rosy picture: you might guess that there are tons of housing resources available to people in Sherman County. However, if you ask local authorities about homelessness, they will tell you that there are well over a dozen homeless camps throughout the county.

There are several reasons that state records drastically under-report the number of homeless people in places like Sherman County. The main one is because the methods used to collect that data rely on a voluntary “point in time” count where agencies who provide services to people at risk of homelessness counts the total number of homeless clients who come through their doors on a single day. Lacking social service providers in rural areas to count clients, the state could only verify that one person lacked housing. In fact, the number may be closer to one hundred. Put simply: in areas where no services exist, the people who most need those services become invisible within the state’s official data.

This creates a vicious circle: if the state doesn’t allocate enough funding to a particular rural area, then very few people in that area can access needed services. When fewer and fewer people in the area are recorded as accessing the services, the state interprets that as a reduced need for funding.

When I took office, I sought to ensure that nobody is invisible when it comes to the allocation of resources or the creation of new policies. That’s why, as my colleagues in the legislature push for Oregon to declare a “homelessness state of emergency,” I’m reminding them that the focus can’t just be on the Portland metro area. Portland may have the highest concentration of unhoused people in the state, but an estimated 75 percent of our homeless population lives outside of the metro, many of them in rural areas like ours. Furthermore, far too many rural Oregonians live paycheck-to-paycheck and could be just one financial emergency away from losing their housing. If our state government is going to address the homelessness crisis, its allocation of resources must reflect the needs of the state as a whole, not just areas that our imperfect data highlights as homelessness hotspots.

The dilemma of the invisible homelessness in Central and Eastern Oregon is echoed in other areas of decision-making at the Capitol. Despite having the best of intentions, Salem doesn’t always know the true picture in Sandy, in our mountain towns or in other more distant communities. This session, I’m presenting three bills that tackle state-wide problems in ways that are sensitive to how rural Oregonians live, work and access services.

One of those bills is particularly relevant to the relationship between statistics and services: HB 4112 will vastly improve the way we gather data on the prevalence of child abuse in Oregon. Currently, the legislature makes its policy decisions regarding child welfare based on the number of abuse incidents that are reported to the Department of Human Services. As a result, because abuse is less commonly reported in rural areas, those regions lack sufficient funding for victim services or for specialized law enforcement units. This is despite some experts’ estimates that abuse is twice as prevalent in rural areas as in cities.

If you have other ideas about how I can correct the provision of services in rural areas, I would love to hear from you. You can contact me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or by phone at 503-986-1452. Also, let me know if you have any questions or concerns about upcoming bills and how they might impact the people in our community. I look forward to hearing from you!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints – Sandy: Building on the momentum by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/31/2020

Last spring, our Sandy City Council had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our community swimming pool because of inherited budget deficits. During this process, several of our community members said they’d be willing to pay more for increased recreational opportunities, primarily for aquatics.

As a result, we conducted a survey to see if this opinion was shared by the community of Sandy, as well as nearby communities of Estacada and Boring, which could potentially broaden the proposed Parks and Recreation District and tax base.

The goal of the survey was to gauge support for the pool, provide options for possible future outcomes of the pool, ask additional questions about what the community would like to see done with the Sandy Community Campus, along with additional community parks, and seek community interest in funding such proposals through the creation of a Parks and Recreation District.

The results we received from the survey show overall support for this effort to the tune of 76 percent.

Next, we’ll conduct a phone survey and additional community meetings to get direction on what the final proposal and boundaries of the Parks and Recreation District may be, which will give us the best opportunity for success in November.

I don’t love the idea of taxes going up, especially on my watch. However, I feel the message is pretty clear from the community for our council to develop a proposal for the voters to decide on. I prefer voters make decisions for themselves when it comes to paying more for something they want. That’s democracy.

Our City Council believes strongly that we must capitalize on the momentum behind this effort and to do everything we can to place this decision in front of our neighbors on the November ballot in 2020. Even if successful, our community will still have to wait on construction for the renovations and improvements to be made before re-opening the pool. This holds true for all of the projects that will be funded within this proposal.

As a result, we feel the need to get this process moving. All of this means reduced timelines so there with be limited time to flesh out all of the details of this proposal for our citizens before the vote in November.

There are some decisions in front of us that should be relatively easy. For example, the boundaries of the district seem to be self-apparent. The boundary lines will most likely go as far east as Firwood Road, west to the METRO boundary in Boring and north to the Sandy River. We will need to work with the leadership of Estacada to determine their interest in participating, which will determine the southern boundary.

There are only so many people that live within that boundary and as the result of something called “compression,” that limits the tax rate for the district. This determines how much we’ll be able to raise on a yearly basis. This result, and the fact that swimming pools are expensive, a large portion of the budget will go towards the pool renovations in the first few years.

As a result of these factors, our City Council is leaning towards a plan that would create a new Parks and Recreation District governed by a board of local community members representing zoned districts. They would be responsible for managing the budget and deciding how to allocate the funds, after first addressing the pool.

If this proposed Parks and Recreation District passes in November, our City Council may potentially use some reserved funds to renovate a portion of the old Cedar Ridge Middle School into a revamped community center with community meeting spaces that will be a part of the new Sandy Community Campus.

I believe this to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for our greater Sandy community. A Parks and Recreation District would be a complete gamechanger in livability and recreation opportunities for all of us. It would enable us to remain close to home to access amenities and recreational opportunities after spending our weeks commuting to work. From that point forward, on weekends – we’ll stay. This is for us and will help us keep Sandy wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

A will doesn’t make an estate plan by Paula Walker on 01/31/2020

Words to the wise drawn from one of the wisest… Aristotle. Considering his turn of phrase, advice that one experience or thing does not provide the whole — “One swallow does not the summer make.” (Aristotle’s Ethics) So too, this advice applies to creating your estate plan, or considering whether you have one, or examining whether what you have will do the job for you when the time comes.

“When the time comes” is not only after your passing, but during your life as well as after your death. An estate plan, whether based on a Trust or a Will, should consist of a number of interrelated documents that support you while you are alive, not only serve to distribute your assets when your estate is to be administered upon your passing.

And those documents should contain language that covers certain areas that can affect you, your estate and your beneficiaries; that have are known to be areas of legal vulnerability leading to complications, conflict, confusion and that unnecessarily prolong the ability for taking action on your behalf or on behalf of your estate.

A comprehensive estate plan includes documents that provide or convey: 1) Directions for distributing your estate according to your design, i.e. a Trust and/or a Will. 2) Legal control of your assets to extend the benefit for beneficiaries you know will need assistance in managing the assets that you leave to them, i.e. a Trust. 3) Your decisions on managing your finances in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself, that appoint the persons you know you can depend on, i.e. a Durable Power of Attorney. 4) Directions for your care if you cannot care for yourself; that appoint the person(s) that you can rely upon to talk to your doctors, make critical medical decisions, take care of your day to day affairs, i.e. a Healthcare Power of Attorney and an Advance Directive. 5) The necessary authority and means to access your digital assets, passwords to online accounts of photos and family memories. 6) Those ideas and thoughts not contained in your Trust or Will; that “speak” from your heart to your loved ones or carry information and instructions that will help them in carrying out your directives, ideas that impart your intent in creating your plan. 7) A list of those documents and their location that will be necessary to administering your estate and/or that will have meaning to your family’s history, such as life insurance policies, birth, death and marriage certificates, real estate deeds, divorce records, bank and other financial accounts.

A comprehensive estate plan is the solid compass you provide to those you care about and support to navigate life’s transitions with you and for you. It is the essence of the generosity and an act of love that you undertake to leave those who will carry you in their memories as part of their lives. It is the means by which you have confidence now that you will be well taken care of should you face a time where you must rely on someone else to make the decisions for you that you have always made for yourself.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

According to Wikipedia, Snoop Dogg carries a long list of accomplishments and achievements, “American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, media personality, entrepreneur and actor…” Model for an approach to estate planning that others should follow and aspire to is not among them.

When a Business Insider reporter in 2016 asked Snoop Dogg after the sudden death of Prince, who left behind an estate estimated at $300 million and no will, whether he, unlike Prince, had a will, Snoop Dogg replied, “ I don’t give a f--- when I’m dead. What am I gonna give a f--- about?”  Adding that he hopes to be reincarnated as a butterfly and watch the ruckus of fighting over his estate.

Well I can’t say about the butterfly, but with a net worth of $124 million reported in 2017, his position promises to place his estate among the annals of famous celebrity inheritance fights, with his accumulated wealth pouring into the accounts of those hired to fight for the spoils, rather than supporting people and causes Snoop Dogg may have championed or cared for during his life.

Simply delicious by Taeler Butel on 01/31/2020

Thinking of a special dinner for a valentine?

These dishes are simple yet elegant and most important, scrumptious!

Browned Butter seared scallops

1 lb. sea scallops, dried on paper towels, room temperature.

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/2 t fresh cracked pepper

1/2 t sea salt

1 T olive oil

1 garlic clove, smashed

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat. Sprinkle half the salt and pepper over the scallops. Swirl pan until the butter is lightly browned, and using tongs, carefully place in the scallops with the hot oil.

Sear for two minutes on one side, then turn the scallops, salt and pepper the other side and cook two more minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with fettuccine if you like.

Simple fettuccine Alfredo

The first recipe was said to be made by a husband for his wife after the birth of their first son, now that’s amore!

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 lb. fettuccine cooked al dente

In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan heat the cream and butter to steaming, whisking in the cheese, salt and pepper and stir until thickened. Add in the noodles and remove from heat.

Chocolate pots de creme

These are individual, which means you don’t need to share. They taste like a rich chocolate pudding with a custard like consistency.

4-6 Ramekins

1 1/2 cups half & half

1 cup heavy cream

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chopped

1 t vanilla

6 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

Whisk the yolks and sugar together until a ribbon consistency. In a medium saucepan scald the cream and half & half. Slowly stir the cream mixture into the egg mixture, pour back into the pan, whisking slowly over medium heat until it just steams. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate and vanilla, divide into ramekins. Refrigerate for six hours.

Photo by Gary Randall
Christmas Valley Sand Dunes by Gary Randall on 01/01/2020

I love the diversity of landscape in Oregon. We have most everything that a landscape photographer could want to photograph.

Oregon has a pretty awesome ocean coastline abutted against forested mountains and hills, valleys, glacial peaked mountains, sage and juniper high desert plains, low elevation desert mud playas and a canyon that’s deeper than the Grand Canyon – Hells Canyon on the Idaho border.

We also have windswept sand dunes, not just along the coastline, but right in the center of the state in Central Oregon.

Christmas Valley Sand Dunes in Central Oregon are some of the remnants of the catastrophic volcanic explosion of Mount Mazama just 7,000 years ago that blew 1,600 meters (almost a mile in elevation) of the 3,700-meter (12,000-foot) mountain completely off and created a caldera that contains the iconic 1,943-foot-deep Crater Lake that we know today.

The Christmas Valley sand is composed of ash and pumice that was ejected during the eruption. Although the dunes are majestic on their own, they’re only a small part of the evidence of an event that changed what we know as Oregon forever, and greatly affected the people who lived there.

What’s thought-provoking to me is the fact that humans were in the area and were witness to this event. Incredibly preserved reed sandals have been unearthed in a cave near the little town of Fort Rock, not far from Christmas Valley, and have been dated from 9,000 to 13,000 years old.

Life for the native Klamath people in the area changed forever after the massive eruption. Their legends tell of an angry battle between Llao, their “Chief of the Below World” who inhabited Mount Mazama (Giiwas in the Native American Klamath language), and his rival Skell, their “Chief of the Above World.”

Llao fell in love with a beautiful Klamath maiden but she refused his offer of immortality if she would become his wife. This angered Llao and he rained rocks and fire down from the sky onto the people below. During the battle, Skell tried to protect the people from above while standing atop Mount Shasta. The battle ended when Skell was able to force Llao back into the mountain. All of this commotion formed the crater on Mount Mazama which filled with torrential rains that followed the battle.

The mountain became sacred ground to the natives and the people were forbidden from going there. Some shaman forbade them from looking in the direction of the mountain. 7,000 years ago, all of this would make perfect sense. The human catastrophe and the pure terror that they witnessed must have been something that we as modern humans can hardly understand.

Today we can still witness the effects of the massive geological battle that formed so much of the landscapes that we photograph. I feel that understanding the science as well as the legend of these areas works to enhance our appreciation for them and allows us to better translate their meaning and message through our photos.

The winds in Central Oregon blow with some regularity in this area and create dunes as well as ripples in the sand. The patterns that they create are perfect for a photographic foreground. Unique conditions such as a vivid sunrise or sunset can complete a breathtaking scene.

Christmas Lake, Christmas Valley and nearby Peter’s Sink and Peter’s Creek were named for pioneer stockman Peter Christman, who grazed his cattle there and had a house at Silver Lake, 18 miles to the southwest. The name “Christmas” was an early corruption of the name Christman that became entrenched in the vernacular by 1900.

The Christmas Valley Sand Dunes are administered by the Bureau of Land Management, are easily accessible and are designated as a recreational area for campers and wanderers as well as off-highway vehicle use. Camping areas are available for extended camping stays. If you find yourself wandering in Central Oregon, exploring our amazing public lands a trip to Christmas Valley should be on your list of places to stop and experience.

Viewpoints – Salem: Rural-urban partnerships by Rep. Anna Williams on 01/01/2020

In conversations about lawmaking for the entire state, I often hear about the “rural-urban divide” in Oregon. I don’t use that phrase – in fact I don’t even like hearing it – because I don’t think there is a divide. On the contrary, I think the rural and urban parts of our state are more connected than a lot of people realize. What Oregon needs is not some metaphorical bridge between rural and urban communities. Instead, we need to build a strong rural progressive movement that extends services into the communities that need them most; and we need to have more frank conversations in large population centers about how drastically underserved rural communities are.

I am proud to constantly voice these concerns in the House Democratic Caucus (to the occasional irritation of my colleagues), and I think it has won some hard-earned recognition for the people in this district and in rural communities throughout the state. I have been working to build a coalition of other progressive lawmakers who represent rural, frontier and agriculturally focused districts, and I think we’re starting to make significant headway in statewide policy. I worked hard to get historically unprecedented funding to our state’s farm-to-schools program. I pressed my colleagues to ensure that everyone in rural parts of the state, where car travel is necessary for survival, had access to a driver’s license and car insurance regardless of their citizenship status. The list goes on.

In conversations around the climate policy that will again be a major focus in the 2020 legislative session, I have tried to bring together the diverse voices in my district. Climate activists and farmers, timber producers and farm workers, business owners and underrepresented communities... all of these voices belong at the table, but many of them feel their concerns are not being heard in Salem. I have listened to all of them and urged my colleagues to consider the unintended consequences that may result from sweeping statewide policies. Problems that impact our entire state need solutions that meet the needs of our entire state. This includes (and maybe should especially take into account) the parts of our state that are already struggling the most.

That’s why I’m helping craft the Oregon House Democrats’ policy platform to better reflect rural communities’ interests. The lack of affordable childcare affects every community in the state, but none more so than small cities and towns like ours. Many communities are underserved by social workers, healthcare providers and qualified caregivers, but many rural areas effectively have no access to those services. The issue, as I see it, is that progressive policies have often been crafted with urban centers in mind, then implemented statewide in a uniform way. A truly progressive policy would take into account the differences between rural and urban areas, and support each of them in catering services for the most effective delivery.

I agree with most progressives in believing that the state should set expected outcomes when implementing a new policy; I also agree that the state should provide the financial means to reach those outcomes. But I sometimes feel like an outsider in my party when I believe that the state should refrain from prescribing the specific methods that rural communities should undertake to reach expected outcomes. Each small community of Oregonians has its own way of relating to one another, and oftentimes there is no way a person without roots in one community could ever know the best way to address a problem there. Where such a problem exists, the state government should not command a fix; it should be a partner in finding one. I hope to use my position to build those partnerships.

If you would like to share your thoughts on issues confronting rural communities, please let me know. You can reach me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov or 503-986-1452. Happy New Year!

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: A chance to go big by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 01/01/2020

Like many of our neighbors here in Sandy, the coming of the new year gives us at City Hall the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set goals for the year ahead.

2019 marked a year of transition and change for Sandy. In January, I was sworn in as our Mayor. That meeting also marked the first day of our new City Manager, Jordan Wheeler. Together, along with our City Council and our dedicated and hardworking staff, we forged ahead on one of the most ambitious agendas in our city’s history.

As a result, we didn’t just dream big in 2019, we accomplished some big things. We were able to get the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to agree on a joint venture to conduct a feasibility study for a local bypass for our citizens. We secured funding and a timeline for the 362nd to Bell Street connection. We kickstarted our master planning efforts for transportation, transit and parks. We adopted our Wastewater Treatment Facilities Plan that included $500,000 from the State Legislature for a green alternative analysis which was our top 2019 legislative priority. We created an Economic Development Committee and adopted a budget that included a dedicated and stable source of funding for our police department. We also increased funding for our economic tenant improvement program and invested more into a reserve fund in case of a rainy day.

2019 was about laying the right foundation for Sandy to build off in the future. And 2020 is about adopting that vision and beginning our building process.

While our City Council is committed to continuing progress on our successful projects from 2019, we are now transitioning our focus onto the Sandy Community Campus project, Pleasant Street development and beginning the process of updating our Master Plan for growth.

As I’ve discussed in previous columns, the Sandy Community Campus is an exciting project that can serve as the starting point for a bright future for all of us. This project could allow us to completely revitalize the Pleasant Street neighborhood into a vibrant gathering place for our community and allow us to not rely so heavily on a downtown core that has a state highway running through it.

Recently in order to determine our vision and direction, we commissioned a public opinion survey which asked neighbors to share their opinion on what amenities they’d like to see in such a project as well as what they’d be willing to pay for such amenities. The results of this survey will be released to the public at our City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6, at City Hall, 39250 Pioneer Blvd. Additionally, citizens will have the opportunity to express what the City Council should do for next steps at our City Council Open House held at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Sandy Senior Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd.

If this public opinion survey comes back favorably, our community will have an important decision in front of us. Will the community decide to support a Parks & Recreation District that would provide our community with new and ongoing recreational, athletic and aquatic opportunities for all of us? In 2020, Sandy will have the opportunity to go big and not just dream big.

Additionally, our City Council and urban renewal board will be looking for opportunities to invest in Pleasant Street to help generate more economic activity. A vibrant Pleasant Street that provides a walkable gathering space for our neighbors with retail and entertainment-based business establishments that interface with a new Sandy Community Campus is something to get excited about.

Together, we can develop a vision for Sandy’s future that provides a great sense of community for generations to come. Together, we can Keep Sandy Wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of City of Sandy

The Season of Good Will(s) by Paula Walker on 01/01/2020

A time for conversations…

In this age of convenience and efficiencies of effort, many products advertise “set it and forget it.” Sounds so good in our busy, sometimes harried lifestyles with family, work and social obligations to lighten the load of things to attend to with “do-it-for-you products.”

But estate planning is not one of those. Not set it and forget it but set it and tend to it – over time.

One of the many advantages in creating an estate plan, Trust or Will, is providing the basis for family harmony as part of your legacy. The certainty and clear direction that you provide with a well-thought out and executed estate plan is one of the greatest gifts to those who will support you and fulfill your directives, as well as to the family and friends your plan encompasses.

This is not something to wait for an “unveiling” after you pass, or a plan to be discovered in a time of emergency. It is a plan whose intended outcome is best assured if you talk with those involved about it now.

The holiday season is a prime opportunity to have such a talk, with many/most of the family already gathered. Be thoughtful in planning for and launching into such a talk, for your sake and theirs. Tell them in advance that you want to have this discussion. Set aside a quiet time and space, a brief spell apart from the flurry of festivities. Keep this first foray short. Its purpose is to convey that you have a plan. Explain your intentions i.e. to provide clear direction and guidance to help them help you at some future date. Talk process and framework, not content which is your private affair. Though discussions of death and incapacity can be awkward to initiate, often such conversations serve to bring the family closer. As well, you provide a model for your family to follow that can benefit them as they travel a similar path.

Ask your estate planning attorney for guidance in preparing for a family discussion.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

We’ll be back in the New Year with stories of the foibles, follies and fantastic tales of prominent persons, celebrities—stunning stories highlighting “things gone wrong” that you can avoid by doing things right in your estate plan.

For this article I leave you with my wishes for a joyous season of warm friendship and family sharing. As this year comes to a close and you step forward into a new year, may your life grow in ways meaningful and fulfilling.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Opportunities abound in the New Year by Victoria Larson on 01/01/2020

The play “Our Town” is a favorite of mine and my favorite line is this: “Do any human beings ever realize every minute of life while they live it?” Clearly, the answer is “no,” but we can try. Change is constant -- maybe the only constant. But change begets more change and one step in the right direction can lead to more steps. Go slow, if possible, as sudden change can be stressful.

This blessed year we actually have an extra day, it being a leap year and all. A whole extra 24 hours! But we feel the tug to start as early as January first, so let’s do it!

The cells of your body live 21 days. At the end of 21 days all your cells will be new ones, though in a relative stage of “newness” as they don’t all change at once. What an opportunity we all have here. Interestingly people who live in developing nations have a much greater diversity of healthful bacteria in their gastro-intestinal systems than most Americans. Hmm, why is that? It’s because they eat a much wider diversity of foods than we do, especially vegetables.

Maybe this partially explains why the United States has sky-high healthcare costs, but a decreased life expectancy compared to those developing nations. In America the choice of vegetables runs to corn, green beans and potatoes. Lower fiber foods in general. And we have tons of packaged foods available. And sugar. Tons and tons of sugar. Sugar kills the good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods feed the good bacteria in your gut. Prebiotics like garlic, grains, onions and root vegetables and plant fibers in general will ferment in your colon to increase the good bacteria. All from what you choose to eat. We need the trillions (literally) of gut bacteria. Fermented foods can be eaten to help the cause. Fermented foods include such foods as aged cheeses, kefir, sourdough, yogurt, vinegar. Even three to four ounces of aged wine is acceptable, but only one glass a day and not every day.

Eliminating white foods is a good opportunity to start your health improvement. Eliminate or at least cut down on milk, potatoes, sugar and white flour. But not cauliflower, Daikon or other radishes, or mushrooms! Tend towards the Mediterranean lifestyle not just the nutritional aspects. Use good quality fats like cold-pressed oils, flax oil, palm oil, olive oil and even butter (but not margarine). Eat seeds -- sesame, fennel, even two Brazil nuts a day can be enough. Eat organic as much as you can afford and remember that YOU run the economy by what you choose to purchase. One to three times a week eat beans (canned or dry beans are fine), lentils or peas. And eat as many whole foods as possible, as they come from nature, not packaged foods. What an opportunity!

After my frantic harvest of Bok Choy, lettuce and Swiss chard before the freezing temperatures, I was still harvesting herbs almost daily. Hundreds of years ago we humans paid close attention to the seasons, the stars, the plants. Using herbs was our way of relating to the awesome universe. Rosemary and pomegranate protect against Staph aureus (otherwise known as methicillin resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA). The spices that appeal to us are now readily available -- cinnamon, cloves and ginger for instance. I currently am using a hefty dose of cardamom in my coffee, but you could make Golden Milk, an ages old recipe of milk (any kind) with butter or ghee, a scant teaspoon of both powdered ginger and turmeric. Add a pinch of nutmeg or pepper and you have a very healing bedtime drink.

Most experts agree that lack of movement is a huge risk to our health. Decreased movement leads to decreased muscle mass, a big risk factor not only for elders but for all of us. Women lose muscle mass and gain an average of five pounds of fat per decade, or maybe even per season. This is not good for your bones or your heart. Moderate exercise -- walking, carrying laundry, even walking to the end of the driveway -- it all helps. Try for some moderate exercise of 30 minutes at least three times a week. At home get up and move around after every chapter in that book or every commercial on TV. For those who are more ambitious there are fitness classes, dance classes, running or yoga. At my favorite health store in Eugene, The Kiva, the workers used to dance while stocking the shelves. It put a smile on everyone’s face.

Winter in our area is the traditional time to slow down, look inward, re-evaluate. Moderate alcohol intake. A study of Japanese and Americans found increased mental well-being in those who abstained from alcohol. Interestingly, women who had quit drinking were even better off. Alcohol can interfere with sleep and you really need your sleep to de-stress in the winter. Try cooking more with rosemary to enhance sleep and mood. But don’t go beyond ten hours of sleep unless you are overworked, as this could lead to a higher risk of heart disease.

Danish people live by the concept of Hygge (pronounced hoo-guh). This is a call for simplicity and coziness. Being half Danish (don’t ask about the spelling of my name, though it is a good story) coziness can include just slowing down, lighting a candle and wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket with cats on the bed. It could include a relaxing bath which includes Epsom salts and a very few drops of your favorite essential oil. For the much more adventurous it might mean taking the Polar Bear Plunge into cold water, or simply turning your shower to cold for the last few minutes to invigorate you and build your immunity.

Spend some time outdoors in green spaces. Fifteen to twenty minutes in sunlight gives you enough Vitamin D for the day and decreases stress hormones. Children who spend that amount of time outside are almost half as likely to develop mental health issues. And our children clearly need our help. Take the dog for a walk, check out the neighborhood, take that holiday popcorn string out to feed the wild birds.

While outdoors look for the “good” all around you. Always be aware of your blessings. Be grateful that you woke up this morning and say “thank you” for everything. When you think there are no more possibilities, there still are. Chances are good that the sun will come up tomorrow (though we may not always see it) and February will be here in no time with that extra 24 hours. What an opportunity!

More treats, less cheats! by Taeler Butel on 01/01/2020

If you’re eating for health this year check out a couple of recipes that are as yummy as they are healthy. Tips:

*Remember to think of it as an eating plan not a diet.

*Eat for health, not weight loss, losing weight is a byproduct.

*At a restaurant? Take half of your food home for later, you’ll have a nice snack.

*Sugar cravings? Eat a piece of fruit and wait.

*Have a fiber rich soup – split pea, bean, vegetable soups are all good for your body and soul!

Happy New Year!


Roasted veggie enchiladas

3 T olive oil

1 red pepper

1/2 small zucchini

1/2 small yellow squash

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen

1/2 cup black beans rinsed and drained

8 corn tortillas

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

For sauce:

1/2 cup half & half

2 cans diced green chiles

1 1/2 t cumin

1/4 t salt

2 garlic cloves minced

2 T chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Chop vegetables into 3/4-inch pieces, toss all vegetables (omitting beans) with 3 T olive oil and spread on a large rimmed baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside. Add black beans to roasted vegetables. Heat corn tortillas slightly to soften, then fill each tortilla with approximately 1/3 cup roasted vegetable mixture. Roll tightly and place seam-side down in 9x13 inch pan. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled. Prepare the sauce by combining half & half, diced green chiles, cumin, salt and garlic cloves. Pour sauce evenly over enchiladas. Top with shredded cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Top with cilantro.


Skinny apple crisp

3 lbs. Granny Smith or Fuji apples, 1-inch slices

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 T cornstarch


1 cup oat or nut flour

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)

1/2 cup brown coconut sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 sticks butter chilled and diced into cubes

1 T lemon juice

1/2 t nutmeg

2 t cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples. Place them in a 9×12 baking dish and pour the rest of the filling ingredients over the apples. Toss with a large spoon to coat evenly. This can be done in a large mixing bowl if you prefer, I just like to save dishes. Combine all streusel topping ingredients in a food processor with the ‘s’ blade, pulse until crumbly and pour evenly over the fruit. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Check with a knife or fork to make sure apples are soft. Cool slightly and serve warm with vanilla frozen yogurt.


Eat Cake

Can you even celebrate without cake. Confidence is key, cakes can smell fear! Just prepare well, easy on mixing after the flour and don’t open that oven door! Bake one of these up for your favorite mom or to celebrate any day of the week. Remember... boxed mix is out. Here’s a couple of my family’s favorite cakes.


Flourless chocolate cake

For the cake:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup soft unsalted butter

1/4 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 t espresso powder

For the glaze:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a circle out of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan and put inside the pan. Spray the inside of the cake pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Put the butter and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a small heat-safe bowl over a pan with an inch of boiling water (make sure water doesn’t touch the bowl). Continue heating and stirring until the butter and chocolate are melted and combined. Put the chocolate and butter mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and espresso. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Run the knife around the edges of the cake to separate it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate.

For the glaze:

Put the heavy cream and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a small pot. Heat it over medium heat and stir until the cream is hot and the chocolate chips are melted. Glaze the cake.


Confetti cake

Childhood goes by like confetti in the wind and I hope you’ll remember all of its sweetness! This cake is so much fun, almond and vanilla extract give it depth of flavor.

For the cake:

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

3/4 soft unsalted butter

3 egg whites

1 t almond extract

2 t vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sprinkles

For the buttercream:

2 sticks unsalted soft butter

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 t milk

3 t vanilla extract

1 drop pink food coloring

1/3 cup sprinkles

Mix the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured pans. Cool layers while making buttercream. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the sprinkles at the very end and mix at little as possible.

Bake at 340 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until the centers are springy to the touch. Whip butter with electric mixer until fluffy while slowly adding sugar, add vanilla and food coloring, Frost and sprinkle cake.

Photo by Gary Randall
Tools of the trade: the tripod by Gary Randall on 12/01/2019

There’s no other piece of equipment that a photographer possesses that elevates the perception of skill and professionalism than a tripod. Walk down a pathway or a trail with just a camera and you’ll blend in, but put it on a tripod and walk down the trail and you’ll be noticed and recognized as someone who must obviously be taking more than snapshots.

A tripod is usually the first accessory that photographers will acquire after they buy their first fancy camera, but I have found that it’s also the most misunderstood. A tripod doesn’t elevate a photographer’s skill or professional ability. Sometimes it’s the photographer without a tripod that knows when and how to use one, but understanding your tripod (as with any other tool that you use) will certainly allow you to elevate the quality of certain photos.

The purpose of a tripod can be to steady the camera to prevent it from shaking during extended shutter speeds that are longer than is practical by hand, such as for smooth water photographs of creeks and waterfalls. It can also be used to simply allow for a brighter exposure or to give the photographer a platform to rest their camera on while they compose their photos. You can maintain the same position while you wait for conditions to change for instance. The most practical purpose is that it’s used when the shutter speed isn’t fast enough to hold the camera by hand for the photo that you are trying to make.

The times where your tripod is indispensable is when light is dim and the shutter speed needs to be extended, but the average photographer isn’t taking photos during this time. Daytime lighting can typically allow photographers to have a shutter speed that’s fast enough to eliminate motion blur for a clear and focused photo while handheld. Making sure that you have a shutter speed that’s quick enough is usually nothing more than choosing the proper ISO or aperture setting, as both can allow increased exposure without extending the shutter speed.

Taking photos without a tripod can be liberating, especially while hiking. A tripod can be cumbersome, heavy and usually unnecessary.

Using a tripod can also limit creativity in composing a shot. You must fiddle around with the tripod to get it positioned properly to get the photo, when if you didn’t have it you can simply come up to the scene, focus and frame the shot and snap it. A photographer is typically more apt to wander around and find different compositions if not tethered to a planted tripod.

A tripod comes in handiest to landscape photographers as they tend to take their time composing, focusing, adjusting and reshooting the scene. In that case it’s handy to set up on the tripod and take the time to make sure that everything is perfect. It’s also used to maintain a composition while conditions change. It’s most indispensable to a landscape photographer than most other genres of photography. In the case where there’s a lot of moving from one shot to the next, such as candid photos during an event, being able to react quickly prohibits the use of one.

Tripods can come in varied levels of quality, sizes and types and made, basically, from two kinds of material – aluminum or carbon fiber. Weight is a very important consideration, especially while travelling, hiking or in cases where the tripod is carried throughout the day, but weight saving should never compromise stability. Make sure that it’s sturdy enough for the camera that you use and the conditions that you plan to use it in. Remember that we use tripods to steady our cameras, so having a steady tripod is a must.

When choosing a tripod, I’ve found that paying a bit more for one that is of a higher quality, like most things in life, will pay dividends in time.

When I first started in photography I used cheap tripods, but after having a few break, typically with no way to repair them, usually at the most inopportune times, or being frustrated by unstable versions that would move in the slightest breeze, I decided to save my money and buy a sturdy carbon fiber tripod that will last a lifetime. If I had done so in the beginning it would have eventually paid for itself.

No tripod is complete without an accessory that attaches the camera called a head. The more inexpensive versions may have a head that is attached permanently, but most tripods will need a separate head.

There are typically two types that are most commonly used – pan-tilt or ball head. My experience is that a ball head is the most versatile, reliable and most simple to use. A ball head has a spherical joint that can be easily positioned in many ways and then locked down with a single knob. A pan-tilt head has two levers that are used to adjust the tilt, elevation and direction separately. As with the tripod legs, buying a sturdy head will save you a lot of frustration and will last longer.

Carbon fiber or aluminum? Carbon fiber is always preferred, but carbon fiber tripods are usually more expensive. Carbon fiber is lighter and will not oxidize or rust. There have been many times where I’ve been in creeks or lakes or even worse, in the surf at the ocean with my old aluminum tripods where I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning it before it started to seize up due to the corrosive nature of saltwater. Saltwater is terrible for aluminum. Carbon fiber and plastic parts will not corrode and will give you more time to get around to rinsing or cleaning your tripod. Keeping your tripod clean is an absolute must, so learn how to disassemble it and reassemble it.

I hope that this helps to better understand your tripod and how and why it’s used. My advice is to learn your camera and the basic principles of photography to allow you to know when a tripod is needed and when it’s not.

As with any tool, using your tripod properly will enhance not only your photography but your experience of creating photos.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: options beyond gift cards by on 12/01/2019

It’s the holidays! That wonderful time of the year when we spend time with friends and loved ones, coming together to share expressions of gratitude and love. We express our friendship and love through symbolic gestures such as sharing food, spending time together engaged in seasonal activities and in giving gifts. Whether Chanukah, Christmas or whatever your religious or world view is, it is a time when the world seems to soften.

When we are exchanging gifts, something that we in the social sciences refer to as reciprocity, we put much thought into what we would like to gift to say. A new sportscar, for example, would have a very different message if given to a spouse than if it was given to a member of the local cleaning crew. Another example would be if you gave that same car to your teenage offspring while giving your spouse a new power drill (may God take pity on your soul!).

In a different time, holiday gift shopping was a special event where one would contemplate what might please the recipient. The objective of this is that you are demonstrating that you care enough about the individual, are aware of their tastes and have spent both time and money in finding just the right gift for them, wrapping it in a way that pleases the eye and in general shows how much you care for that person. To illustrate this, while working in a retail jewelry store once, a customer asked me to help him select a gift for his mother that would “make her cry.” He later reported success in his endeavor. Jewelry is marketed as equating cost to “show how much you love her.”

In this day and age, we live in a virtual world where shopping is as simple as the click of a computer keyboard, especially when living in a remote location where shopping options are limited. Online shopping gives the benefit of comparison shopping and access to a wider variety of merchandise. At the time, the day of shopping in downtown Portland or at the mall, window shopping, seeing the holiday décor in the hustle and bustle, stopping for lunch or meeting with friends for dinner are gone. Shopping has become more of a tedium than an adventure, coming across something unexpected that will put a smile on Bobby’s face. The holidays have become more about the merchandise than about the act of shopping. Stores start putting out their holiday merchandise as soon as Halloween is over, hoping to entice people to buy from them rather than waiting until the last minute to buy online.

The other aspect that has changed is that we no longer try to find the “perfect” gift to express our care. The stigma of not choosing the right color, size or item has resulted in our taking the easiest way out of shopping – hence the gift card. It’s our way of saying, “I didn’t know what to buy for you, so go buy something for yourself.” While it takes the guessing out of the game, it also removes the element of surprise and delight, which in my opinion is half the fun. And the recipient doesn’t remember who gave them the card after it’s spent.

To be fair, prior to the advent of gift cards, gift certificates were used when we wanted to give someone a gift of their choice at their favorite store. Those have been replaced with plastic gift cards that can be found in abundance in nearly every retail store. We asked what the environmental impact of plastic gift cards is, and learned from giftbit.com that “In 2013, physical gift cards have an estimated annual CO2 footprint of 585,300 tons. That’s more than all the daily air flights in Europe combined. What’s worse is that 8%-19% of all gift cards go unused.”

What are the alternatives to plastic gift cards? As I’ve stated previously, my favorite gift is a voucher made by someone with an invitation to spend time together. Rather than a physical object, their time is their gift. It’s always the right gift! A homemade gift (especially food) is always a welcome expression of friendship. A wrapped gift with a gift receipt for exchange if something is not the right one is another option. If a gift card is still the preferred choice, there are many digital options for sending a gift card. They have a significantly reduced footprint compared to physical cards, so the environmental impact of gifting can be reduced.

Happy holidays to you from all of us at the Mt. Hood Green Scene!

Viewpoints – Sandy: The Holidays in Sandy by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 12/01/2019

Whether it be the holiday tree lighting at Centennial Plaza, breakfast with Santa or the Sandy Light Show – our local businesses, service organizations and talented neighbors are on display. It’s truly the most wonderful time of year in our community of Sandy.

The holidays are all about family, community and giving, and in Sandy we have no shortage of ways to get into the holiday spirit.

In Sandy, we kick off the holiday season with our annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony held at Centennial Plaza. This year’s ceremony is on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. In addition to the lighting, Sandy area families get to mingle with Santa, enjoy treats and hot cocoa from local Sandy businesses, caroling by the SHH Choir, free trolley rides and more. My girls Lucy and Olivia love the Sandy Historical Museum’s free kids craft projects during the event inside the museum adjacent to the plaza. And I’ll be there lighting the tree at 7 p.m.! The annual tree lighting is an event that our family looks forward to every year. With this being the first year as Mayor lighting the tree, my girls, MacKensey and I are incredibly excited.

Growing up in Sandy, no annual event had a bigger impact on me as a person than the annual Sandy Community Christmas Basket Program sponsored by the Sandy Kiwanis Club. Every year this program helps assist more than 400 families within our community with baskets filled with food and toys to make the holidays a little brighter to families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a special dinner or presents.

According to their website, Kiwanis purchases the fresh food, meat and basic canned goods that are included in each box. The Oregon Trail School District supplies additional canned food and non-perishable items collected through their annual canned food drive as part of high school Leadership and Key Club activities.

Last year, my wife, MacKensey, and I took our girls to deliver baskets to locals, just like I did as a student at Sandy High School. There’s nothing like looking into the eyes of your child as they give to another in need and realize the impact they have on that individual. You can find more information about this program by visiting the Sandy Kiwanis Facebook page or their website at www.sandykiwanis.org.

Every year in early December, the city of Sandy’s Senior Center puts on our “Breakfast with Santa.” This year’s breakfast will be held at the Senior Center on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 7 a.m. to noon. In addition to treats and getting to visit Santa, there are crafts and activities for kids, and vendors for parents to shop. This is one of the most well attended and highly anticipated local events of the year and all proceeds help benefit our local Meals-on-Wheels programs. More details will be available soon on the city’s Facebook page.

One of our favorite local traditions is to put the kids in the car on Christmas Eve and head over to the Scenic Meadows neighborhood to enjoy the Sandy Light Show. One of our local City Councilors, John Hamblin, and his family put on this amazing light show each year for our community. We greatly appreciate their efforts, as the holidays in our community wouldn’t be the same without it!

The light show begins the evening of Saturday, Nov. 30 and will run nightly from 5:30-8 p.m. This year we may need to make a trip over to the Sandy Light Show a little earlier as Santa is coming to town! The Sandy Light Show is teaming up with local area charitable nonprofit Sandy’s Helping Hands on Dec. 20. Santa will be visiting the light show and Sandy’s Helping Hands will be collecting canned food and non-perishables to help local families. Make sure to check out the Facebook pages for both organizations for future updates.

As a community leader, I tend to spend a majority of my time thinking and focusing on our future. The holiday season allows all of us the opportunity to take a moment, reflect and be reminded of what it is we’re working so hard to preserve. This column only scratches the surface of local activities and charitable efforts of Sandy’s local businesses, charitable organizations, churches and neighbors that helps spread holiday cheer each year. It is this reminder of why we must continue to work so hard together to Keep Sandy Wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints – Salem: Funding SAR by Rep. Anna Williams on 12/01/2019

Most people in our mountain communities are fans of outdoor recreation and are aware of the risks that go along with it. Unfortunately, some of the millions of people who come here from around the world are less experienced on slopes and trails, and less aware of the dangers that Mount Hood and its surrounding attractions pose. When tourists venture away from trails or injure themselves in the wilderness, it falls on the people in our communities to conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.

Under state law, county sheriffs are responsible for SAR, which makes sense. Sheriffs know the terrain of their counties better than just about anyone. They are on the front lines when someone needs rescue: they know all of the local resources available and they have relationships with groups and individuals who can help effectively conduct SAR operations. Often, this means that they rely on the generosity of volunteers and non-profit groups to help find and rescue people in need.

Unfortunately, volunteers and non-profit groups are necessary for this work to get done, because the financial cost for SAR operations also falls on county sheriffs. In rural counties especially, sheriffs’ offices are overwhelmed by these expenses. Yet some rural areas like ours are points of pride for our state’s tourism industry; so the state works hard to draw people to the mountain, but doesn’t provide adequate resources for mountain communities to address the SAR needs that result from this booming tourism.

During the short session, I will be co-sponsoring a bill with Representative Paul Evans to create a voluntary outdoor recreation SAR card program. Put simply, this will create a card that will be advertised and sold to recreators at locations where fishing and hunting licenses, ATV permits, and other outdoor recreation passes are available. The card will cost $10 for an individual and $25 for a family, and the proceeds will go to the Office of Emergency Management, who will distribute the funds to county sheriffs’ offices as partial reimbursement for their SAR expenses.

This is nowhere near a complete solution to the massive funding problem that SAR poses to our counties, but it is an excellent way to highlight the issue for the public and to bring in some of the direly needed funds. My hope is that this program will be a steppingstone to a more robust SAR funding policy in the near future. In addition to pushing to pass this bill, I will keep working with a coalition of sheriffs, business owners, outdoor recreation groups, volunteer rescue units and government organizations who developed this plan. I’m confident that, with this large group of diverse voices that are as motivated as I am to solve Oregon’s SAR problem, we can find the funding our sheriffs need to keep performing this essential function. They deserve the state’s help in keeping our communities safe for everyone to enjoy.

If you have thoughts about SAR costs or ideas about how to help counties cover them, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or to call us at 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

The e-state of passwords by Paula Walker on 12/01/2019

Passwords, passwords, passwords. In our world steadily moving to online everything from buying your daily groceries, to auto-pay for all your utilities, to the family photo album… managing all those passwords maybe challenging for you. But imagine the task of accessing, closing and/or retrieving the data in those accounts after your death. Managing your accounts, increasingly takes a prominent role in estate planning. Our various on-line accounts, aka digital assets, demand attention if you want your accounts to be settled, final bills paid and your mementos secured. Without the necessary provisions in your estate plan, your electronic bill pays go unattended and your auto pays continue to pay out months after your passing.

In short, you have a “digital legacy” to consider and provide directives for. You may think that this information does not apply to because you don’t have a Facebook account or don’t use social media, but your digital assets are much broader than whether you have a social media account or not. Our most every day dealings involve some form of cyber asset, PayPal, frequent flyer miles, NetFlix, Flickr photos, email, Amazon subscription orders, cloud storage like Google Drive and even cryptocurrency.

Cyber intestacy: dying without a will is called “intestacy” and for digital assets there is a phenomena called “cyber intestacy,” dying without a will (or Trust) and leaving your cyber assets unaddressed along with all your other assets; or with a will that does not specifically authorize your estate administrator access to your digital assets.

Consequences: without provisions in your estate plan authorizing your estate administrator to access your digital assets, the companies holding those assets, the “custodians” can (nay, most likely will) refuse access. The TOSAs (terms of service agreements) that we say “yes” to — clicking through without reading as we sign on to one of the many accounts with which we conduct our every day affairs — result in our agreeing to the terms of the custodian. Those terms often reserve the custodian’s right to refuse access to those accounts by a third party. While that may be a valuable privacy protection to you during life, it can pose significant challenges to the persons you ask to act on your behalf when administering your estate.

What to do: if you do not have an estate plan, create at minimum a will that includes provisions designating authority to the person you trust to access your accounts when administering your estate. If you do have an estate plan, check that it has those provisions. If it does not, take action to create them. In addition to ensuring that you have the necessary digital assets management provisions, create and store in a secured place an inventory of your digital assets along with the detailed information necessary to access the associated accounts. Include in that list links to the custodian’s detailed information on how to make contact on behalf of the estate and what information to provide to access and close your account(s). Tell your estate administrator where they can access that information when the time comes. This information may be needed by your Agent, acting as your fiduciary in a time of incapacity, so these provisions should be part of your Durable Power of Attorney as well.

Examples of links to custodian websites detailing their processes for handling the removal of a deceased members account include this page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/1111566045566400 and this one on Twitter: https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/contact-twitter-about-a-deceased-family-members-account.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

John Ajemian – not a household name or a celebrity, but a name that holds prominence in the struggle to create laws that both protect the data privacy of the initial account holder, as well as dictating the rights of the estate to access those accounts after that person’s passing where such is the decedent’s intent. In the Massachusetts case Ajemian v. Yahoo!, Yahoo denied access to Mr. Ajemian’s email accounts to the estate administrators after Mr. Ajemian’s death in 2006 based on Yahoo’s terms of service agreement, which denied third party access to accounts. In a court battle that yet ensues, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) concluded in fall 2017 that neither state nor federal law prohibited the personal representative from acting on the decedent’s behalf to give “lawful consent” to release the contents of the email account.

The SJC however stopped short of requiring Yahoo to release the emails to the family. It instead sent the case back to the lower court to address particular fact issues regarding Yahoo’s terms of service. Yahoo meanwhile petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Yahoo’s petition.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Trees are part of the holidays and nature by Victoria Larson on 12/01/2019

While many will indulge in holiday trees and honor them, we must remember that ALL trees are sacred and honor them. It’s the season of peace and love, of a need for light, a time for sharing.

The lunar month of the birch tree is Dec. 23 thru Jan. 20. At the winter solstice we are smack in the middle of the darkest time of the year. Heat and light become important to us. The burning of the Yule log (traditionally birch) was more about the need for light and warmth around the time of the solstice according to the ancient druids. It was not yet a celebration of Christian beliefs, but more about the Yule log later in this column.

In this season of peace and love we recognize the importance of trees. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or some Celtic ceremony, it’s more about peace and love than about war. War is not healthy for children and other living things. The “real” things in life are air, water, food, shelter and love or community.

Without a thriving ecology we will never really achieve a thriving economy. We first need to revive our ecology. We are leaving an inherited Earth to our children and grandchildren. Will it be a living, green planet filled with lush trees and plants...or will it lead us into another ice age. A restored and healthy landscape will give us more continued food, medicine and resources than a planet of bare, exposed, cemented-over earth!

The National Science Foundation (NSF), which studies our ecology, has had no funding increase in over ten years. The amount of funding for non-defense research has been frozen for most scientific research. Since 1983, spending on government allocated scientific research has been just over $7 billion per year. If that sounds like a lot, note that our government spends over two times that much on defense, more than $18 billion per year. Yikes.

Looked at from outer space, which we’ve been able to do since the startling Mother Earth News Catalog of 1970, it reveals that our planet appears less green each year. With the health of our planet being closely tied to human health, is it any wonder that we now have increased rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer pretty much worldwide. We are destroying our ecosystem at a rate that is faster and greater than any other culture in history. We’ve polluted water and air, degraded our soils and toxified the Earth at a rate never known before. Certainly not known by our grandparents. We no longer have enough trees to return oxygen to our living bodies. Increased carbon dioxide from our destruction of our atmosphere has led to increased drought, floods, heat, hurricanes and tornados. We might need to decide what’s more important - the essences of life or big screen TVs and plastic grocery bags.

We’ve relied upon trees and green vegetation since the dawn of civilization, approximately 10,000 years ago. One of the oldest trees on earth is a chestnut tree growing on the rocks composing the side of Mount Etna in Sicily. It is more than 4,000 years old. Another tree of the same age is the Ginkgo tree found growing on the top of Mount Qingcheng in China. The ginkgo tree was thought to be lost for years until discovered there in China. All ginkgo trees now grown are descended from this one tree. I heard this historic story in 1991 in a Biology 101 class so when I went to China, in 1996, I made a special effort to visit that sacred tree. I laughed when I found its huge trunk embedded in the earth around a pig sty!

Closer to home, I had on my small holding, Clackamas County’s oldest living Gravenstein apple tree. Alas it was undocumented. It grew next to an old cistern that seeped water even during the summer months. When I got tired of canning applesauce and pie fillings, I simply threw the fruit over the fence to my rescued donkeys and llamas. Next to the apple tree was a pear tree of similar lineage and age though not girth. The pear tree once gave me 96 quarts of pears before I realized that living alone, I’d probably never finish all those home-canned pears. I should have thrown those over the fence too! Needless to say, most everyone got quarts of pears or applesauce for Christmas that year.

Wendall Berry said that nature include humans, we are part of it. If nature does not thrive, we will not thrive. Whether you choose a real tree or a fake tree to honor this season, think at least of the future. How will you dispose of said tree when you are done with it? The real tree can become firewood or mulch. How will you dispose of the fake tree? This is the kind of forward-thinking we need to be doing.

Now back to that Yule log. Engage your family and friends in locating a log that would be appropriate for honoring the season. One that will give back heat and light for your fireplace, firepit or woodstove. Decorate that log by gluing on things like berries, herbs, cinnamon sticks, moss or star anise for ceremonial and fragrant burning. Sing carols around the fire, share stories or pray silently in the tradition of honoring trees. Then save the ashes to spread round trees in your yard and surely spring will come. Have a peaceful, loving season.

Gifts from the kitchen by Taeler Butel on 12/01/2019

This is the season for indoorsy fun and sharing calories. Pie kits are fun to make and give!

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Decorative glass jars, medium size

– Crushed candy canes, mini M&Ms

– Double recipe pâte sucrée (store bought pie crust works also)

– Wax and parchment paper

– Kitchen twine

– Gift tags, bows, etc.

– Pie tins

– Printed Recipe/Directions

Pâte Sucrée (sweet pie dough)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 T cornstarch

1 egg yolk

1 t salt

2 T sugar

1 cup unsalted diced chilled butter

1/4 cup chilled water

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Using forks or a food processor, cut in the butter until crumbly. Mix water with the egg yolk and gently mix in. Make two disks, chill. Roll out on a floured surface and roll up with a sheet of greased wax paper. Wrap in parchment and tie with kitchen twine. Keep refrigerated.

Apple cherry pie filling

In a large saucepan add in four sliced and peeled Granny Smith apples with:

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1 T lemon juice

1 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup cornstarch

Bring to a boil over medium/high heat then reduce the heat to medium stirring often and cook for six minutes until the apples release their juice and mixture thickens slightly. Allow to cool completely, spoon ingredients into a pretty glass jar with a lid, secure lid, add a nice ribbon to the pie dough and place in a nice pie tin.

Chocolate cream pie filling

In a saucepan over med heat whisk together:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

2 T cornstarch

1/2 t salt

3 cups Half & Half

Increase the heat and bring to a boil whisking constantly. Reduce heat and cook until thickened, then add in 2 t vanilla and 2 T butter. Pour into a jar, cover with plastic on the surface and cool completely. Gift with the pie dough, a pie tin and a bag of mini M&M candies and crushed peppermint.

Rhododendron circa 1940.
Mount Hood’s photographic legacy by Gary Randall on 11/01/2019

Since photography was invented it has been an important part of the preservation and interpretation of history. I have an enthusiastic interest in the history of Mount Hood as well as photography and so it’s not hard to imagine that I’d also be interested in historic photos of Mount Hood and its surrounding areas.

It’s easy for those who live on or around Mount Hood today to become familiar with how things are without having anything to compare how it once was. We may think that this area hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years.

But buildings come and go. Forests grow and die. Flooded rivers change landscapes. Fashions change and transportation methods improve. The activities of the people who live on or visit Mount Hood change through time as well. All of these things have changed through time but are captured in their own moment with a photograph. 

Most of the towns on Mount Hood were established and grew during the age when the average tourist could own a Kodak camera and not need the bulky cameras from the past that required a professional to operate. Government Camp has been photographed by visitors since before it was a town. Once it was a town, thousands of photographs were taken by tourists while they hiked, climbed the summit or skied its slopes and relaxed afterwards. Documented from these activities are photos of early Mount Hood scenes, buildings and the people that made Government Camp a town.

Further down the south face of the mountain Samuel and Billy Welch were creating their own situation in the Salmon River Valley, where Sam homesteaded and built his ranch. A couple of decades later Billy turned the ranch into a tourist destination and Welches was soon established, and with that came more photographs by those who came to visit.

Not long after came the town of Rhododendron as an attractant of folks from Portland that wanted to get away and relax in the woods with their cameras. The old Rhododendron Inn was a popular destination for out of towners.

During the golden age of postcards for those who didn’t have a camera, professional photographers created what are called Real Photo Postcards to be sold at the inns, resorts and tourist attractions. Many depicted the places that the tourists visited including inns, hotels and restaurants. Many also depicted the surrounding countryside, much of which has changed over the last 100 years.

I’ve included several old photos of familiar locations that have changed over time. These old photos are invaluable to understanding the history of our home here on Mount Hood. I wonder if, in this day and age where photographs aren’t printed, if the digital images that are being made will still be around for those in the future to understand us and what Mount Hood is to us today.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Rate increase explained by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 11/01/2019

For the past year I have talked often about the issues with our Wastewater Treatment process. In previous months, I’ve attempted to provide background as well as updates on the what, when, where and why in this column. Now, our community is faced with the reality of our first rate increase in order to help pay for the project.

At the City Council meeting held in October, we were forced to raise our wastewater rates by an average of $22.44 a month for our ratepayers. Land and housing developers will see a hefty increase as well. New commercial and residential development projects in Sandy pay a one-time System Development Charge (SDC) to purchase wastewater system capacity. Sandy’s SDC will increase from $1,834 to $4,889 for a single-family residence.

As you can imagine, this was absolutely gut wrenching for our City Council. This is the result of years of deferred maintenance, not budgeting for upgrades, a resistance to raising rates after the recent recession, and basically ignoring a giant elephant in the room.

The truth of the matter is that we do not have a choice. As a community, it’s not realistic to say we’ll stop running water or flushing toilets. There is no possible future without a new plant. We are currently at capacity. The Department of Environmental Quality will not allow us to legally discharge any more water into the Clackamas River Basin and they are mandating that we update our process by 2024.

City Council and I are doing everything we can to minimize this impact on our community ratepayers. We’ve engaged with our state legislative delegation and have successfully advocated for funds for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis. Thoroughly vetting these options are crucial. If one of these options is viable, it would cost approximately half the price of the current plan and would be much better for our environment.

We have also engaged with our federal delegation to advocate for federal loans, grants and budget earmarks.

Despite these opportunities to decrease costs, we still must increase the rate now to start saving funds for this massive project. If our efforts are successful, we will be able to lower or eliminate planned future increases.

The lack of strategic budgeting for this current project is frustrating. For years, there were no wastewater rate increases and the facility has continued to deteriorate. The first fines from DEQ began in 2003, and we are just now taking substantial steps towards fixing our issues in 2019. Small rate increases should’ve been planned for gradually over the past 16 years, but that never happened. We will need to do a better job of long-term budgeting and rate forecasting in the future.

It should be noted that our wastewater rates are still on the lower end compared to other Portland-area communities. The only communities with rates lower than ours in the area are Gladstone and Estacada. I recently had a chance to speak with the Mayors and staff of those cities and they’re both under the same mandate from DEQ that we are and plan to raise rates dramatically in the near future as well. My guess is that once they raise their rates, we’ll be back at the bottom for the area again. Our project webpage has the graphics that compares our current and future wastewater rates to other Clackamas County cities for your reference: https://www.ci.sandy.or.us/wastewater-system-improvements

Together, we will address the future needs for our community while protecting the rivers and streams that run through our town. Together, we can Keep Sandy Wonderful.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints – Salem: Fixing a gap in the law by Rep. Anna Williams on 11/01/2019

Every now and then, an omission in the law is so glaring that I’m amazed it hasn’t already been dealt with. For example, I was shocked when I recently learned of a gap in our state’s child labor regulations: there are currently no labor laws that keep child employees from coming into contact with adult coworkers who are registered sex offenders. Even more shocking is the fact that no other state in the country seems to have any law that provides that protection!

In Oregon, employers that want to hire anyone younger than eighteen need to apply for an employment certificate from the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI). In limited circumstances, even kids as young as nine years old are eligible to be hired as long as their parents consent. The application for a child labor certificate asks employers what sorts of duties the minor employees might perform, where they will be working, and whether they will be using any potentially dangerous machinery or other equipment.

These questions are all intended to protect kids from hazardous workplace situations, but the laws that created this application didn’t take one significant risk into account: there is nothing in the application process to require employers to ensure that the minors they hire won’t come into contact with registered sex offenders. Worse, there is no law that gives BOLI the authority to look into whether an employee who will work alongside those minors is a registered offender, or to deny an application on those grounds.

When BOLI brought this issue to my attention, it was immediately clear that something needed to be done. Since agricultural districts like mine are the main employers of minors in Oregon, I decided that correcting this disturbing gap in our labor laws would be one of my priorities in the 2020 session. I plan on introducing a bill (the first of its kind in our nation!) that will require employers to attest that none of its employees who will likely come into contact with young workers is a registered sex offender. It will also empower BOLI to perform background checks on applicants and their employees.

Sometimes, the gears of government grind slowly. Here, though, is a chance to fix a potentially serious problem quickly and effectively within months of my having learned about it. Even better, Oregon has the chance to be a national leader on this issue. There are a lot of good life lessons and fundamental values that young Oregonians can learn from part-time employment. I will see to it that they remain as safe as possible while they do so.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: bagging our pooch’s poop by on 11/01/2019

I love dogs. Over the past three decades, I have had at least one dog in my household. My current dogs, Joe Cockerpoo (a Cockapoo) and Dogma (a Rottweiler/German Shepherd mutt) keep me active, entertained, protected and healthy. Dogs can have such wonderful health benefits. Among the benefits are that they improve your heart health by keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, so that dog owners are likely to have fewer heart attacks.

Dogs have to exercise and guess who has to do it? If it weren’t for my dogs, I don’t know if I would be hiking along the Salmon River in the rain or traipsing all over Mt. Hood in all kinds of weather instead of only on nice days. Research indicates that people with dogs are more fit and active (even if reluctantly) and as a result require fewer doctor visits.

We used to think the opposite was true, but owning a pet can help children become up to a third less likely to develop allergies to pets. In fact, pets can help them develop their immune system.

Dogs, like children, are good for the social life. Dogma’s predecessor was Karma (don’t judge me!), who loved to roam the neighborhood around my cabin. The neighbors all knew the 120-pound gentle giant. After spending some time in Portland, I once had a call from one mountain neighbor asking if I was okay because she hadn’t wandered into their home to say hello. In town, people tend to live more reclusive lifestyles, but those who own dogs are forced to be outdoors at dog parks or walking in their neighborhood and share a common bond.

There’s a good reason why dogs make great therapy animals. Spend a few minutes with a dog to reduce stress, lower anxiety, increase levels of serotonin and dopamine to calm and relax you. They’re good for easing tension at work or at home. If my husband and I would ever argue, Karma would stoically stand between us until we finished.

Retirees find that dogs give structure to the day and all dog owners have a sense of not being alone or isolated when they have a best friend with them. For that same reason, dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. Dog owners feel a sense of responsibility because their pets depend on them and give them a sense of purpose.

Dogs do so much for us and we, in turn, treat them like family. We want to protect them and make sure that they are getting the healthiest nutrition possible. We take them to the vet for their vaccines and check-ups. We should also be cautious of what types of toys they play with. Plastic toys can be ingested, or plastic containers and even plastic-lined dog food cans leach into their food. We already know how plastic can harm other animals, and we’re slowly realizing the extent of damage it can have on our beloved pets as well.

So as much as we love and care for our dogs, we must also be aware that when we take our dogs for a walk where we need to collect the dog waste, we need to think about how we’re doing it. I often wonder what some archeologist of the future is going to think when they discover that I and the other 60 million pet households have been collecting dog poop and encasing it in plastic bags as though it were something to be treasured. Plastic bags that don’t decompose and are packed tightly in a landfill will “mummify” the waste rather than allowing it to break down.

Until recently, I had been using what were supposedly “biodegradable” dog poop bags that were misrepresented. Apparently, there is much controversy about what is authentically so. I’ve now discovered compostable bags made of natural ingredients. If we lived in Portland, we could avoid the hassle and subscribe to a low-cost service that will collect dog waste from your yard and dispose of it in a composting site. Other people choose to collect the waste and flush it down the toilet. Still others use paper bags to avoid using plastic bags.

The best part of this is that people have realized that the volume of dog poop being preserved in plastic bags is an environmental catastrophe and that we are looking for solutions to the problem of how to balance the needs of the environment with the needs of our best friend. We will all be happier for it.

A great trust – accept or not? by Paula Walker on 11/01/2019

Your friend, perhaps a member of your family, is preparing their estate plan. One part of that plan is the healthcare document set that contains two key documents, the Advance Directive and the Healthcare Power of Attorney. You’ve been asked to be the healthcare representative, i.e. the person appointed to perform responsibilities called out in those documents should your friend face a time that they cannot make their own healthcare decisions. It is a gesture of immeasurable trust. Still - should you accept or decline?

Acting as someone’s healthcare representative, aka healthcare proxy, in the event that they cannot make medical decisions on their own behalf is a huge and potentially weighty responsibility. Here are things to consider as you make your decision.

The Healthcare Power of Attorney conveys the fiduciary responsibility for the day to day; that, for an indeterminate amount of time of incapacity, you are seeing to that person’s daily affairs. It may mean that you make sure that they have what they need for their medical care as well as daily fundamentals such as groceries, heat and other utilities in their home; that you or someone you’ve arranged for prepares meals and provides the fundamental care needed, ensures transportation to doctors’ appointments and arranges medical care as required by their condition.

The Advance Directive requires that you step into the narrow margins of life and death decisions according to the document prepared and person to person interactions that person may have, hopefully did have, with you so that you have the intimate knowledge needed in a high intensity, often emotionally charged circumstance to make decisions acting with the knowledge of their preferences that may or may not be supported in writing. You may be, likely will be called upon to make tough choices in tough circumstances regarding medical treatment and life support.

The range of circumstances in which you will be called upon to decide on another’s behalf will require you to be ready to make firm decisions timely, at times within limited timeframes, i.e. you must make a decision and make it now. It will require a strength of character, a backbone in standing firm on behalf of the person you represent in the presence of possible opposition from the medical staff with whom you are dealing and from other friends or family members. It may require you to make one of the toughest decisions you may ever be called upon to make, the decision to pull life-support – or continue life support – according to what the person who entrusted his or her care to you made clear as their desire should you be faced with certain circumstances in their condition that present or limit the medical options remaining.

Another consideration in accepting this awesome responsibility is practical in its nature. Will you be around? If you travel often for various reasons and it is reasonable to foresee that you may not be available in an emergency or to provide that day to day oversight, this is not a role that you could reasonably assume, regardless of how you might otherwise serve in this role, i.e. understanding the intimate decisions of the person you’d represent and possessing the strength to follow the course if ever called upon.

Another practical consideration involves who will be the financial counterpart to you. Determine whether you are compatible with the person who has been asked to manage your friend’s finances because acting as healthcare proxy requires that you interface that person. You will be dependent upon their support for the work that you could be called upon to perform and the services and supplies you may need to provide.

And yet another fundamental examination of your fit for the role is your ethical position on the treatments that may be required and/or the continuation of life, or not, decisions that may present themselves. Do your religious, spiritual or intellectual guideposts conflict with what you may be called upon to support?

Saying yes to a person honoring you with their trust in you, anticipating the most intimate decisions in a time when their life depends on you, requires some careful and thorough introspection before yes should be your answer.

Stories of the Stars… If Only

Equal to preparing the asset management components of your estate plan is “end of life planning.” Joan Rivers may be a grand star shining in the universe of ideas discussed in this month’s article when it comes to knowing that and showing the way. Joan Rivers, who found material for her comedy even in this topic, gave the responsibility for making the decision of her continued life or its end to her daughter Melissa.

In Time Magazine’s tribute to Joan following her death, calling Joan “the boundary busting comedian” carried the line Joan liked to quote from Sally Marr: “I ain’t afraid of death, I’m in show business. I died a million times,” in humorous recognition of the many rejections survived on the way to fame.

Making her wishes known regarding the trust and confidence she had place in her daughter, even publicly, with a spot in her reality show in 2014 prior to her death in September of that year, Joan candidly advised her daughter to be ready in case Joan did not recover from upcoming surgery; assuring Melissa that she would be fine when the time came.

Not an “If Only” example of estate planning that could have gone better, but instead a model to consider as you ask someone to support you in this most profound undertaking and as you respond to taking such a mantle.

Dear Reader… we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

The fabulous flavors of the fall feast by Victoria Larson on 11/01/2019

Fall is the season where we harvest the fruition of what was planted in spring and summer. We gather in the fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, and all the abundance of fall vegetables. We turn to inward thoughts, our homes and our families. We take quiet walks to enjoy the coloring of the leaves. We rest more to keep that immune system in tip-top shape. The Days of Thanks (which should actually be every day) are a good time to do a little fall cleanse of our digestive system in which you might include the juices of beets, celery, carrots, parsley, zucchini and such though always diluted with water or apple, grape, or pear juices.

Chinese medicine states this is the season of the lungs and the large intestine. After the mine-cleanse of juices you may be eating fewer fruits than you did in the summer. We turn now more to the grains and vegetables, which are especially nice roast in the oven or even over an open fire or the grill. Those who eat meat may include more, while the vegetarians may increase beans, nuts, seeds and even some eggs. Either way, the Instapot and crockpot will play a greater role in the preparation of soups, stews and bone broths. Fall is the start of the yin cycle, the inward turning cycle. It is the time to finish those projects of spring and summer, and to put the garden temporarily to bed. Thus, may we prepare for a day (or more) of feasting.

There will be an abundance of recipes for stuffing, whether you stuff a turkey, bell peppers, squash or cook the stuffing in a pan. We are so scared of gluten that gluten-free is on most every menu in every restaurant now. But the real problem may be in buying average bread from a big box store or regular grocery store. Our bodies are not made to digest that amount of gluten at one sitting. If you make an effort to locate organic, heirloom grains, preferably sprouted or soured, you may digest better than most of America’s quickly grown, high-gluten bread! In our country everything is all about the money, so everything is fast, fast, fast. While there is currently no genetically modified wheat in the United States (yet), it would be a good thing to avoid. Pita bread has no yeast but should be avoided by anyone with a grain allergy.

Broccoli is being harvested now and even the children learn to love those “little trees.” It is very nutrient dense and easy to prepare. It is high in vitamins C, B complex, calcium, potassium and chromium (which helps to prevent diabetes). Broccoli is among the cruciferous vegetables which include cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and more. These cruciferous vegetables are all anti-cancer foods, though you should try to avoid any vegetable grown in high nitrate soils or where Round-Up is used. Opt for the freshest and darkest broccoli you can find and roast in a hot oven or steam it just until the color turns a very bright green.

Cranberries, that traditional accompaniment, are very high in vitamin C, bioflavonoids and fiber. Also pretty on the plate and a nice tangy side dish for the other rather salty and rich foods of the fall feast. Most women are aware of the reputation that cranberries have for alleviating urinary tract infections. But don’t stop just with the cranberry sauce, put the dried ones in your green salad or bake a cranberry and pear pie.

Mushrooms are body-building and anti-aging foods that can be eaten after your mini-cleanse and at any big feast. Use them when they are very fresh or totally dried as a base for broths, gravies, soups and stews. Called “fungus” in Asian cultures, they are very low in calories but high in minerals and will boost your immune system, which is a good thing to do in the fall as preparation for winter colds and flu. According to Paul Stamets, PhD, it is best to not eat mushrooms raw (even the common white ones found in most grocery stores). Though I can’t imagine that three or four in a salad would cause much harm. Probably best to serve mushrooms on the side as one never knows who among your guests might not enjoy mushrooms.

Olives are usually served as an appetizer or worn on the fingers of any children present. Olives are a big part of the Mediterranean diet as they are high in monosaturated fats which help control cholesterol levels. Plus, they too are low in calories (for those who are still counting them). My belief is there’s no need to count calories if you just eat healthy foods and not many of the packaged, processed, junk foods on the supermarket shelves. Olive oil is one great oil to use on your salad with just a little fresh lemon juice and herbs of your choice added.

Onions, which can be so well used in the fall feast, are a good source of trace minerals, especially germanium, which is also in mushrooms and many herbs. Onions help decrease food allergies, fungal overgrowth, viruses and cancer as well as being beneficial for the heart. I eat onions daily, both cooked and raw, and have been told that my heart is two years younger than my actual age! You can fill your onions with stuffing or nuts, make pickled onions or even cook the small ones with your broccoli.

Mashed potatoes are known to be a big part of the fall feast, but you can serve them in any form that appeals to you. Commercial onions and potatoes have been treated with sprout inhibitors which have been known to cause cellular changes in tests, so try to buy organic potatoes, or better yet, grow your own potatoes. Try to harvest them before there are too many rains as that can cause them to rot in the ground. Do not make the mistake of thinking that potatoes should not be grown because they are so cheap to buy. The flavor of a home-grown potato is superb! You can even use any potatoes you have that may have sprouted to grow new ones next spring. The lifeforce is so strong that they will grow even if coated in sprout inhibitors (which obviously don’t work anyway). Potatoes are a staple in some of the Mexican cancer clinics because of their potassium content. To make a high potassium broth, just cook potatoes with carrots, celery and parsley. Strain out the broth and store it in your refrigerator to be warmed up for recovery from illness.

Ahh pumpkin, the piece-de-resistance. Pumpkins are plentiful and being harvested right now. Their lovely color makes them a rich source of beta-carotene, as well as vitamins A, C and potassium. The seeds are a source of iron, vitamins B, E and fiber. The seeds can be baked or roasted, used to top soups or stews. You can roast the seeds for a snack and flavor them with your favorite herbs. You can purchase them already shelled or roasted as well. Try to buy them packaged rather than from open bins as the ones in the bins may have been already oxidized. This is the opposite of my usual advice to not buy packaged foods.

The Day-of-Thanks is a feast day in the United States and many people serve turkey. Though I once had a friend who had a freezer full of trout that her husband had caught and she decided that would make a perfect Thanksgiving meal. So, you don’t have to serve turkey, but poultry is an excellent source of protein. You could serve anything from game hens to Tofurkey as they all have less saturated fat than any other meats. Turkey is high in vitamins A, B and minerals. The latest studies say to not wash your poultry as that leads to kitchen-wide contaminants. If you can afford a free-range and organic turkey go for it as supermarket pre-packaged turkeys are preserved with formaldehyde. Whether you cook your poultry in an oil-coated paper bag or a deep-fryer, remember to be thankful for your food.

Last but not least, the pies if you are serving them. Whether apple, berry, nut, pear, pumpkin, squash or Vegan be sure to enjoy! It’s ok to treat yourself and your guests and they will be thankful. 

Thanksgiving for two by Taeler Butel on 11/01/2019

A Thanksgiving dinner using just a few ingredients. This meal is casual and scrumptious. Great for Friendsgiving!


Mustard & cranberry turkey thighs

4 turkey thighs, skin on and pat dried with paper towels

1 T each olive oil and butter

1/2 t dried thyme

1 T sea salt

1 t cracked black pepper

1 t onion powder

1/4 cup flour

1 T baking powder

1 T stone ground mustard

1/2 cup prepared whole cranberry sauce

Heat the oil and butter on medium high heat in a large, oven-safe skillet. Mix together flour, baking powder, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Dredge turkey thighs in mixture, place skin side down in hot oil. Sauté skin side down for five minutes, flip and place in oven. Bake at 365 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the juices run clear. Mix cranberry sauce and mustard, pour over the thighs and place back in oven for ten minutes.


Roasted Brussels with Parmesan

1 lb Brussels sprouts

2 T olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 each t salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Trim bottoms of sprouts, peel off any tough leaves and cut in half. Mix salt, pepper and parmesan cheese together. Toss mixture with sprouts and roast for 30 minutes, turning once.


Butternut squash fries

1 med-sized butternut squash

1 each t salt and pepper

1 T olive oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash and slice into steak fries. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the fries onto a large baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes turning every so often.


Pie apples

Medium size peeled apples, any type, with bottom cored, leaving the top intact

1/2 cup light brown sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks

1 package thawed puff pastry

Egg wash

Caramel sauce

Heat the oven to 365 degrees. Push a cinnamon stick into the top of each apple. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a dish and roll the peeled apple in the sugar. Cut pastry into squares, and wrap around the apples using the scraps to make leaves. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm with caramel sauce.

Photo by Gary Randall.
Do-it-yourself senior portraiture by Gary Randall on 10/01/2019

It’s autumn once again and for many parents and photographers it means senior portrait season.

There are many photographers to choose from these days when it comes to creating portraiture, but what if you would like to attempt it yourself? In this day and age, you have the tools to do it, even if you use your smartphone camera. All you would need to provide would be your own artistic touch, but there are a few tricks to learn and remember that could help your success.

The first thing to keep in mind is composition. As in all forms of visual art a strong and creative composition is imperative. A photo can be technically imperfect, but if the subject is interesting and the composition is strong then the photo will still be effective. Remembering the basics of composition, especially the “Rule of Thirds” will help to create that perfect composition. Avoid centering your subject or having them stand facing directly at the camera. Turn their body in one direction and have them turn their head toward the camera for instance. Take some time to research poses before your go out with your subject.

Find an interesting location. The location should not be a part of the subject of the photo but should enhance the experience of the moment that you’re capturing. Places such as a garden or a park with landscaping or features such as rock walls, interesting buildings or trees. Allow your subject to be a part of the scene. Have them lean against or stand in front of the feature. It’s autumn, so many times a location with some beautiful fall leaves will be a great backdrop, especially if the leaves are illuminated by warm morning or afternoon light from behind.

Second only to composition in importance is lighting. Portraiture can be created outdoors in natural light without external lighting in certain situations. Try to find filtered light or a shady spot for even tones. I try to avoid direct sunlight on my subjects. This can be done by standing in a shaded area or by blocking the light with a piece of cardboard or matboard. If the subject is too dark in the area that you choose, then either a soft flash or a reflector to direct ambient light onto the subject can illuminate them. You can use a simple piece of white matboard, or something similar, to reflect indirect sunlight onto your subject. This method also works well when the subject is backlit.

Choosing a camera is less important these days, especially considering the resolution that modern smartphones possess. It’s completely practical to use a smartphone for your photos. Today’s phones are capable of taking excellent images and there are apps that will allow you to artfully edit the photos. The only limitation may be the size of which that you’re capable of printing the photos, but in most all cases it’s not an issue. Most smartphones can allow you to set certain settings manually and to save the image as a raw file which enables the photo to be edited more extensively, including creating a shallow depth of field to blur the background. The phone app will also give you editing options for your photos. Take out your phone and give it a whirl.

If you own a digital single lens reflex camera, or a similar solid body camera, with interchangeable lenses, make sure that your shutter speed is fast enough so as not to have any kind of motion blur from movement of your hand or the subject. An open aperture, smaller f/stop number will help by allowing more light into the camera while also creating a shallow depth of field, blurring the background while keeping the subject sharp. This will also help to separate your subject from the background.

Post processing, or developing, your photos can be fairly easy with some of the apps for smartphones or programs for desktop computers that are available. Many are similar to Instagram filters where you have a list of effects that you can click on to preview to see what your photo would look like. Just click until you find one that works or is close, you can do fine tuning in most cases, and then save the high-resolution file.

In most cases there’s no substitute for a professional with experience in working with composition and light who uses professional level equipment. But if you’re wanting to try it yourself first, go for it. What do you have to lose but a little time? It’s fun to photograph your children or your grandchildren and will give you some quality time with them, and you’ll gain some valuable photography experience and, perhaps, some beautiful senior portraits.

Viewpoints – Sandy: Community Campus update by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 10/01/2019

The Sandy Community Campus is an exciting project that can help our community grow into the future. This project would allow us to revitalize the Pleasant Street neighborhood into a vibrant gathering place for our community. It would also allow us to create a more business and community friendly area for businesses off of our downtown core that has a state highway running through it.

To make this project a reality, our community must first go through a process that engages our citizens, local business leaders, neighborhood advocates and taxpayers to create something that we all want.

First a little background. The City of Sandy purchased the former Cedar Ridge Middle School Campus and neighboring aquatic center in 2017 for about $3 million. Included in this purchase was two parcels of land to the north of the old Cedar Ridge Middle School: the existing football field and the adjacent wooded areas. This gives the city 35.08 acres of land to work with.

This purchase allows our community to control the plans for nearly 40 acres of land that sits just adjacent to our downtown core. Rarely are communities afforded an opportunity to dream so big. That said, as is usually the case with big dreams – there are also significant challenges.

Our City Council is embarking on a process that will begin with community feedback. We are commissioning a public opinion survey that will gather the opinions of our neighbors regarding what amenities they’d like to see in such a project, as well as what they’d be willing to pay for them. Additionally, there will be a large amount of community feedback gathered through our Parks Master Planning process that our Parks Committee is embarking on over the next several months.

This information will help determine if we move forward with a proposal to put in front of voters.

In the past, leaders have simply decided to pay to keep the aquatic center open. The recent result of this decision was the draining of our city’s general and contingency (rainy day) funds to the tune of nearly $500,000 a year. This put our city budget into a very precarious situation. To move forward, both the pool and the community campus will need proper and stable funding. Taxpayers need to be the ones to decide the future of the project since they will be the ones funding it.

If this public opinion survey comes back favorably, our council would look to support the consideration of a ballot measure for our community to decide whether they’d like to fund such a project in the form of an Oregon Trail Recreation District. Not only would this district provide a long-term and stable funding source for the Community Campus Project, but it could additionally provide funding to improve Sandy’s current parks and trails.

Additionally, our Council is looking at alternative solutions that can help us reach and/or enhance these same collective goals through public/private partnerships in a more efficient and cost-effective way utilizing the skills and entrepreneurial spirit of America’s private sector. The idea would be to provide a service to our community from the private sector that could stimulate commercial retail activity along Pleasant Street. It would also provide our community with a plethora of greatly enhanced recreational activity choices and parkland on the back portion of the property.

Together, we will develop a vision for Sandy’s future that provides a great sense of community for generations to come. Together, we can Keep Sandy Wonderful.

Viewpoints - Salem: Supporting Child Welfare by Rep. Anna Williams on 10/01/2019

Last month, the legislature gathered in Salem for September Legislative Days, a time for the House and Senate to check in, set priorities for the next session and hear how the bills we passed in previous sessions are being implemented. During Legislative Days, I was honored to sit as Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Human Services and Housing for the first time. The committee held an informational hearing on a wide variety of topics, and I took in a huge amount of information. The two issues that most stuck with me, though, were child welfare oversight and children’s advocacy center funding.

It’s no secret that Oregon has struggled with our Child Welfare agency in recent years. That’s why Governor Kate Brown instituted the Child Welfare Oversight Board, which provided our committee with an update on its progress. Child Welfare is in the process of hiring more than 300 new caseworkers, which should end the current backlog of reports of abuse and neglect. As a social worker, I know that massive caseloads are a primary reason people can’t access needed services, as well as the main reason for high turnover at agencies like the Department of Human Services. I worked hard to ensure the legislature would fund these new caseworker positions, and I will continue to push for strong oversight of our state’s child welfare programs as the new caseworkers and managers get to work.

Unfortunately, no matter how effective our child welfare programs become, some children will still be subject to abuse. That’s why funding for our state’s children’s advocacy centers (CAC) is a top priority for me. By working with law enforcement officers, mental health counselors and forensic interviewers, CACs are critically important to our state’s response to violence against children. They expertly investigate reports of abuse, which allows law enforcement to hold perpetrators accountable, but most importantly they help children heal from the trauma of abuse. By all accounts, communities that have access to CACs have vastly better outcomes in terms of offender accountability, and also in terms of children and their families having access to the supports needed to overcome these traumatic experiences.

CACs, like many other services, are disproportionately underfunded in rural areas. The Columbia Gorge CAC, for example, serves five sprawling, rural and frontier counties, and only has a single part-time medical provider to see patients. Some patients have to drive for more than two hours just to get to the facility, and if the medical provider is unavailable for any reason, they are sometimes referred to a similar facility in Portland. The Columbia Gorge CAC and other facilities facing similar struggles deserve assistance from the state government.

This investment would pay for itself: in over ten years of operating, only three cases investigated by the Columbia Gorge CAC have gone to a jury trial, because the quality of evidence produced there almost always leads to a guilty plea.

That’s not to mention the future health care costs that may be avoided when children receive specialized counseling and begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. While abuse can impact a child’s life forever, effective treatment can drastically reduce those impacts and empower victims to thrive.

Until the state improves our funding model for these programs, CACs are forced to do their own fundraising to pay for the services they provide. It’s a travesty that Oregon isn’t doing a better job to support facilities like the Columbia Gorge CAC, and I pledge to work for state funding during the upcoming legislative session. Still, in the meantime, fundraisers are essential for these organizations, so I encourage you to join me and the Columbia Gorge CAC at its annual fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 26 at The Ruins in Hood River. The Children’s Center (serving Clackamas County) is also holding a fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Embassy Suites Washington Square in Tigard.

If you would like information about either of these events, or want to reach me for any other reason, please email me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or call my office at 503-986-1452.

I am committed to addressing these challenging issues and would love to hear your feedback as I do so.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: Library of Things opens by on 10/01/2019

In May I wrote a column about toy-sharing programs and I’m giddy with excitement about something that is happening in our community – a Library of Things! “What is a Library of Things,” you ask? Well, according to the Clackamas County Library website, “A Library of Things is a collection of items such as kitchenware, musical instruments and games hosted at a library that library patrons can check out with their Libraries in Clackamas County (LINCC) library card.” Imagine that you are hosting friends for the weekend and would like to have games for their kids to use, and maybe you want to make an extra special meal that you haven’t made because you don’t have the equipment you need. You can just go down to the library and check them out. When you’re finished, you return them. There’s no expense of purchasing equipment that you’ll rarely use again. And the best part of all is that you don’t have to find space to store things you won’t need again.

Ours is a material culture that embraces the idea of owning more and more things. If you’ve never watched the classic video by comedian George Carlin on our accumulation of “stuff,” I highly recommend it. He states that when we run out of room in our houses to store our stuff, we need to get a bigger house to place it in. Or we need to avail ourselves of the one of the fastest-growing industries – personal storage space. According to the website Curbed, one in 11 Americans pays for space to store our overflow, making it a $38 billion industry. They cite that “The volume of self-storage units in the country could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothing, skis and keepsakes more than 26 times.” This is due to people relocating, young people being forced to live in tiny urban residences, and retirees who have downsized into a home where their accumulated stuff doesn’t fit.

I’ve had occasion to check out a piece of equipment from a library in Portland. It was a VHS to DVD converter. I had a favorite exercise video (from the 1980s) that I had held on to just in case I ever had a VHS player again. Alas, I didn’t, but I was loathe to part with the video, so it languished in a drawer for years. Until I learned of the lending library. There was a waiting list, but eventually I got the email telling me that the converter was mine for two weeks. I laughed uproariously when I saw the big hair and the shimmery leotards, but I was happy to have my video again.

One of the best parts of having a Library of Things is that you can experiment with something before you decide to invest in one of your own. Let’s say you’ve always wanted to learn to play the bass guitar. You can try it out and see if you actually have the time and patience to develop musical mastery. If you decide that it was a passing fancy, you won’t feel guilty about having invested heavily in it.

Of course, another benefit to the community is that a Library of Things promotes sustainability. If each household purchased the same baking mold, it would require the use of more resources and eventually the disposal of those molds. However, if we as a community shared those molds, the demand for resources would be diminished and waste would be reduced.

The Library of Things became available on Monday, Sept. 23 at eight Clackamas County libraries including the Hoodland and the Sandy libraries. The funding for this innovative program is through Clackamas County Sustainability and Solid Waste (SSW). Please check the website for updates on what types of things are available. As the program grows in popularity, so will the number of things that are available.

Although there will be all types of stuff available to borrow, you won’t find any power tools at the library at this time. My guess is that would create a liability if some novice hurt themselves misusing one of the library’s power saws. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of other things that you can borrow. Please share this information with others and make this exciting community program a huge success!

Is your diet beneficial to your brain? by Victoria Larson on 10/01/2019

Last month’s column brought up more questions that we may need to address – like why is increasing fats in your diet a better idea for our brains and why we should avoid the current Standard American Diet (SAD) of high carbohydrates and sugar and prepackaged foods?

Some of the interesting things to note are that we all should know that doing the same thing over and over while getting the same results just doesn’t get us anywhere. The Federal Drug Association (FDA) currently lists five drugs to help with Alzheimer’s and dementia symptoms. None of these drugs is a cure. The cost of this drug development has been more than five billion dollars, and that is approximately twice the cost of research and development for every other drug on the market! Yearly deaths from heart disease, HIV and strokes are going down while deaths from Alzheimer’s have gone up by 89 percent over the last 20 years. One in two people over the age of 85 gets Alzheimer’s. Death occurs because the central nervous system of the brain no longer signals the body to function, like breathing or heart rate. We are no closer to a cure than we were twenty years ago.

The cost of taking care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients was almost $300 billion in 1918. The cost of healthcare in the US is expected to be more than $20 trillion between 2018 and 2050. Somebody is watching these numbers. Yet in the past year, a half a dozen drugs have gone away due to failures. The debate continues to focus on whether the amyloid plaques or some other biomarker for the disease. Drugs from companies like Astra Zenica, Ely Lilly, Johnson and Johnson, Merck and Takena are rarely advertised now as they didn’t really work and were very expensive, as are most drugs in the US. So, the ads have been quietly removed.

Amyloid plaques are the biomarkers currently found in the brains of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. These are the neurofibrillary tangles of proteins, also called tau. These markers usually show up in people who get brain scans and are over 65 years of age. They show up in even younger people now. They also show up in ALS.

Paul Cox, a 65-year-old with a PhD in biology from Harvard, wanted to know more before it was too late. His in-depth studies led him to Guam where citizens were 100 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s/dementia than people anywhere else in the world. What was going on? It seemed like a good place to start his research, but it gets complicated from here on.

It turns out that cycad tree seeds with a certain blue-green alga contain the toxic substance called BMAA, which interferes with amino acids crucial to brain health. Then bats ate the seeds and the toxin accumulated in their fat store. Now I know you’re not eating bat stew like the people of Guam were, but it was a delicacy to the people of Guam. So much so that the bats were actually hunted to extinction. Good, right? But there’s more. The increase in the concentration of the toxins have been found in Africa and Asia. Also, in some lakes in Arizona, Lake Erie, New England and Utah. Blue crabs, a delicacy I’ve always wanted to try off the coast of Florida, have a concentration of the toxin as high as the bats in Guam. Some toxins are now getting into the crabs, shrimp and other marine life off Florida. Talk about “bats in the belfry…”

It turns out that the toxin replaces serine (an amino acid) in the brain by getting into the protein chains in the amino acids. This triggers a misfolding that can kill the neurons (but serine is safe for humans as it is neuroprotective against the protein folding). There’s a lot of protein in bacon… or do you think you should go out and buy a lot of expensive supplements? I don’t think that’s the answer, especially if you have a compromised digestive system as most people over 65 years of age do. My experience can tell you that most people over 45 years of age have compromised digestive systems.

Now let’s go back to Okinawa, the subject of my May 2019 column. The small area of the north side of the island of Japan is known as the Village of Longevity (though hardly a “village” as 4,000 people life there). Many have now studied the area, including the researcher of the Blue Zones. They have decided that reasons for such longevity are multifactorial. They include a diet high in tofu (locally made and without GMO materials), diet, intimate communities, matriarchal societies (women live particularly long there) and years of exercise. These are people who do not eat bread, eggs or milk. A typical breakfast is seaweed and miso soup with a small amount of rice and mushrooms, which is what I was served in my month-long stay in China. While an unfamiliar taste, I was told that the greens had been collected at dawn and the mushrooms (known as fungi there) were also freshly picked. Other meals in “the Village of Longevity” were stir-fried greens with burdock (like a cross between a carrot and a parsnip), mushrooms (fungi) and other vegetables over rice and a small amount of fish or meat.

The people of this Okinawa are consuming three to four times more serine that Americans get. But we do have these foods available, it’s just that few people are eating them. While you probably cannot get locally made tofu unless you are making it yourself, many places like healthy markets provide burdock and dried seaweed (kids love it and it makes a great snack), and sweet potatoes.

We can all decrease meat, have fish two to three times a week and small amounts of rice. Keep trying and keep trying different recipes. Don’t you want to live to be over 100? Many of my friends are in their 90s and even Rose Kennedy lived to be 106. Maybe we can too?

Revoking a will, let me count the ways by Paula Walker on 10/01/2019

You’ve completed your will and now life’s changes bring you to the point that it no longer serves your purposes, what can you do in Oregon to revoke that will.

Slash and burn: starting with the possibly more dramatic approaches, you can completely or partially destroy your existing will — burn, tear, cut, otherwise mutilate. Physical destruction or damage to the will invalidates the entire will. You can also have another person take those destructive actions for you, however, for that to be determined as your willful and intentional act that person must destroy the will in your presence with two witnesses, and you must make it clear to each that it is your intention to revoke your will by this destroying it, whether the destruction is complete or partial in its damage.

Physically alter: you can write ‘VOID’ on each of the pages, or X out your signature to invalidate your entire will.

Replacement: a bit less dramatic and a whole lot more effective is to create another will to replace the prior version; the replacement stating your intent to “revoke all prior wills.” Not only more effective in conveying your clear intent, replacing with a new will does not leave your estate to the consequences of dying “intestate,” i.e. without a will, without any direction of your intent for who should receive what, leaving instead to the state and the court system to decide.

Revoke in full or in part (i.e. change it in part or fully change it): the replacement approach above, constitutes revoke in full. Revoking in part requires other methods. The ‘slash and burn’ tactics mentioned above do not serve to change specific portions of your will and leave the remaining provisions serviceable; neither does physically altering only portions or certain provisions of your will. In Oregon those techniques are all inclusive, the entire will is invalidated. To revoke in part under Oregon law you must create a codicil, which is a written amendment to your will. Like the original will, a codicil requires two witness signatures to be legally valid.

Legal presumption: in Oregon, if the will is lost the presumption is that it was intentionally destroyed or never existed and hence the estate falls to the Oregon’s rules of intestacy.

The do it yourself approach of physically destroying or altering a will, its disappearance, especially without credible evidence in writing of some sort that it was your intent to completely invalidate the will you had prior, leaves your family in a limbo regarding your intent and can cause timely, costly legal proceedings to try to uncover your true intent, the rightful administrator of your estate and the rightful recipients of what you’ve left behind. The rules of intestacy identify the legally “rightful” recipients according to those rules; however, they may not be your intended recipients.

Stories of the Stars, If only…

This September, a year since her death, finds Michigan courts and the potential beneficiaries of Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” embroiled in the effort to determine whether of three hand written documents found in her Michigan home there exists a valid will. These include one found under her couch cushions.

About the family “in limbo,” Aretha’s four sons, Clarence, Jordan, Ted and Kecalf had filed for probate in Michigan court shortly after her death simply as “interested persons.” Most recently, the discovery of the handwritten documents has upended the agreement by the four sons to accept Sabrina Owens as the executor of the estate. Court proceedings have begun on petitions to appoint instead Kecalf, Aretha’s youngest, based on information found in those documents.

And the legal wrangling continues. . .

Dear reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Preserving the summer by Taeler Butel on 10/01/2019

Summer is gone, but these late crop recipes can help the sunshine linger longer. Store and eat within a week or can for the winter, when you need a sunny day.

Zucchini relish

So good on hamburgers, hot dogs and spoons!

3 medium size zucchinis, shredded

1 bell pepper, sliced thin

1 onion, sliced thin

1 t caraway seeds

1 t celery salt

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup organic or raw sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 T pink peppercorns

Mix squash, onion, salt and pepper and place in a large covered glass bowl overnight.

Drain water the next day, combine with the other ingredients and place in jars. Process or refrigerate.

Summer Succotash

This veggie-filled side is making a comeback!

3-4 ears of corn or 2 cups frozen

2 cups frozen lima beans

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 T olive oil

1 T heavy cream (optional)

1 T red wine vinegar

1 t each black pepper and kosher salt

Chopped basil or parsley

Cut the kernels off the corn cobs over a bowl. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and heat the olive oil in the skillet. Add the corn, red onion and red bell pepper. Add salt and pepper. Sauté for about six to eight minutes. Everything should be soft but not mushy. Add in the lima beans, heavy cream, red wine vinegar and pinch of salt. Stir and let the flavors come together for a couple minutes. Finish with some chopped herbs.

Photo by Gary Randall.
The View Finder: Fall’s photogenic phenomenon by Gary Randall on 08/31/2019

It’s summer here in Oregon but it won’t be long before the leaves start to turn to their autumn colors. The viney-maples up Lolo Pass are turning red, particularly those that are in direct sunlight most of the day, so once the process starts the leaves will change quickly. I love summertime and, considering the approach of the long stretch of wet grey winter weather, never really want it to leave, but I love the colors of autumn for photos.

I don’t make my most beautiful photos in the warm, clear, long summer days. It’s the spring or autumn days that I wait for each year to make the photos that I like the best, especially autumn. I even dare to say that I like photographing these landscapes in the rain. The rain creates a lush, rich feel to the photos. I like the rain because it dampens and cleans the forest. A wet forest allows me to use my circular polarizer filter to remove the glare and reflections of the sky from the forest foliage and allows the lush, bright color to come through in the photograph. It’s not the same with dry leaves, but wet leaves polarized make the colors pop in the photo.

It’s not like summertime is devoid of photography opportunities, I can take some nice photos in the summertime, but at that time of the year the bulk of the photos that I make are sunrises or sunsets which require a little sacrifice of sleep at times, and then once the sky is filled with bright sunlight I’m done until the light changes again. And winter is fine, but the trees are stark and bare, and the best photos are made in the fresh snow so timing can be critical. And besides, it’s cold outside.

I enjoy photographing the forests, creeks and waterfalls of our area a lot. We have so many little creeks or views into the forest from the edge of our local side roads that I don’t even need to hike to create a beautiful photo, which really makes it handy if it’s raining. The creeks are full in the fall and are usually lined with bright yellow viney-maples and devil’s club, with broad leaf maples arching overhead and backed by columns of Douglas fir trees. And when there’s a mist in the trees, especially with soft light sifting through, it creates an ethereal scene. Add the colors of the autumn leaves and these scenes take on a new life of warm light. And when the sun does shine into the wet forest, some amazing misty conditions can be created. Shafts of light cut through soft mists as they filter through the trees.

It’s natural to think that the best time of the year for photos is during the dry weather of summertime, but don’t discount the wet weather of autumn. Instead of dreading the end of summer, embrace it as it’s inevitable and have a great time taking photos.

Viewpoints – Salem: Better support for survivors of violence by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/31/2019

As I consider my priorities for the short session in 2020, one topic keeps coming back to me: our state needs to do better at providing accessible and appropriate services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

As a social worker, I spent more than a decade working directly with these survivors, finding them support, counseling and basic needs like food and housing.

Survivors face struggles well beyond the direct physical impacts of the violence inflicted upon them. As their injuries heal, their trauma can accumulate and cause long-term emotional harm. Their children and loved ones also suffer as a result, which in turn impacts educational attainment, housing security, health outcomes and financial well-being. In this way, an act of domestic or sexual violence can impact a family for generations after the violence takes place.

I am proud to say that Oregon does a great job of helping survivors in some very specific circumstances: when a victim reports abuse to law enforcement or to emergency medical providers. Some areas of our state have robust violence prevention programs in their schools, taking advantage of the excellent work done by the Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

However, in many parts of our state, particularly the rural areas, the only points of intervention the state provides exist in law enforcement and hospital settings. These are crisis response services, and they’re critical, but if this is all we provide we are addressing the problem far too late. Many of the struggles survivors face are indirectly caused by the fact that they lack access to health care (physical and mental) as well as supportive services like child care until they are faced with a medical emergency.

In addition to the personal impacts of abuse, the fact that so many survivors receive no assistance until they check into an emergency room results in massive, unnecessary costs to the state. In the coming legislative session, I will propose that Oregon should use its public healthcare funding to provide qualified domestic and sexual violence advocates to survivors. These advocates will connect survivors with the care that they need before their situations become medical emergencies, which is better for survivors, their children and our communities as a whole.

It is incredibly difficult for a survivor to tell their doctor, “I’m coming to you because I am a victim of domestic violence, which is impacting my health, my parenting, my job and my connections to my community.” With an advocate to help them articulate these struggles to service providers before a crisis takes place, survivors can get the help they need when it can do the most good.

The benefits of such a system would be widespread: it could bring about reduced health care costs, improved housing outcomes, increased high school graduation rates and higher economic prosperity in communities where abuse has disproportionately negative impacts.

Domestic and sexual violence are not only criminal justice issues: they are health care issues, educational issues, economic issues and fundamental societal issues. It’s time that we started treating them that way, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Oregon Legislature to continue to improve our services for survivors of violence across the state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Viewpoints - Sandy: Traffic update by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 08/31/2019

I’m thrilled to announce that at this past month’s City Council Meeting, we directed our city staff to advance forward with a proposed timeline for the SE 362nd to Bell St. Extension Project. This project is critical to improving the bottleneck that is created every morning and afternoon during the school year as a result of most of our schools’ single access point of Bluff Road.

As someone who commutes to work and has two young daughters enrolled in Oregon Trail Schools, we drive to and from school each day, I can attest to the frustration! This extension of 362nd Ave to Bell St. (the street which Sandy High School is on) will provide another access point, giving parents and neighbors the alternative route to and from schools off of Bluff Road.

The following is the approved timeline:

– January, 2020: solicit qualifications statements for design and construction management services and shortlist consultants (three maximum)

– February, 2020: negotiate scope of work and fee

– March, 2020: begin survey, design and environmental

– August, 2020: define right-of-way requirements, perform appraisals

– September, 2020: submit offers to property owners, submit removal - fill permit application

– October, 2020: February, 2021 - complete right-of-way acquisition, design and permitting process

– January, 2021: set up project financing in conjunction with budget adoption process

– March, 2021: advertise for bids

In addition to City Council approving this timeline, it was announced that our efforts in advocating for more funds out of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the Vista Loop – Ten Eyck Pedestrian Sidewalk Project was successful. The Oregon Transportation Commission approved an additional $1.1 million of funding for the project last week. This project and funding is critical for the safety of our neighbors and young families that continually walk that stretch of highway.

This is hot on the heels of our recent announcement of ODOT agreeing to conduct and fund a feasibility study on a local bypass and their willingness to install signal timers for our lights through town in the next year.

Our Council and I are committed to working to improve our traffic conditions in town, as well as work towards a more citizen-friendly and walkable community. As you can see in our proposed timeline for the SE 362nd to Bell St. Extension Project, these things take time. That said, we’re moving at a rapid pace for a local government in order to reach our overarching goal to keep Sandy wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: sustainability on the run by on 08/31/2019

My favorite grocery store is a local Portland-based chain that features local, organic and fair-trade items. When in their area, I like to cruise the bulk snacks to restock the snack jar in the car. It comes in handy when I have no time for lunch or just want some road food. I also get prepared food from the deli department to eat on the run or take home and reheat. As a conscientious consumer, I carry a reusable covered container similar to a three-section plate so that I can put everything in one container. Voila! Lunch on the go with zero waste. Just wash the dish when I get home and toss it back in the car. It also comes in handy to take leftovers from restaurants.

Then I learned about a service that allows individuals to subscribe to a lunch box to-go program. When you go to the grocery counter, or into a growing number of delis and restaurants, you can ask for food to go in a nice reusable plastic box, and then return the box to any vendor and it will be cleaned and re-used. Kind of like when we used to refill glass pop bottles rather than recycling them.

One of the benefits of using “to go” boxes is the idea of no packaging and no food waste, of course. Another is that after you’ve consumed the food, you won’t dispose of the container. You purchase a subscription for the number of containers you want. When you return the ones you’ve taken, you’re eligible for new ones.

I love the current movement to cut down on the amount of waste produced by food and beverage containers. One group that has espoused the idea are the promoters of the Hood to Coast Relay, held on Aug. 23-24 this year. Although the event is good for local economies, it is also a mixed blessing, in part because of the debris left in its wake. This year, they partnered with a sustainability event organizer, Elysium Events. They began with sending information to participants about sustainability. It included a recycling sorting guide (via app to avoid printing) so that recyclable goods are not sent to landfills due to contamination from non-recyclable materials.

According to a recent article in the Seaside Signal newspaper, “Elysium has a strategy for helping in this area by providing back-of-house sorting to remove contaminated items. Groups of students from Glencoe High School and Roosevelt High School have volunteered to help with sorting in exchange for bottles and cans that can be deposited for money at the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative.” This program allows money from bottles and cans collected to be diverted to the organization of their choice.

Another campaign asked participants to sign a pledge to use refillable containers. According to the Hood to Coast website, “If every team pledges to use a refillable water jug and bottles, we can collectively avoid over 150,000 single-use plastic bottles!” Similarly, they asked people to make home-made snacks or purchase snacks in bulk rather than individually wrapped items.

As this is the first year that sustainability measures were taken for Hood to Coast, it will set a baseline that will inform how efforts can be improved upon in the future.

While the Hood to Coast is working to decrease its footprint on the mountain, there are other marathons and other events and sports that have yet to follow in their footsteps in thinking about their environmental impact. We all understand that when hiking, skiing, snowshoeing or bicycling, we need nourishment and hydration to keep us going. Whether you’re running errands or running a marathon, it is not so difficult to think outside the box and to plan ahead. The choices are much more appealing, healthier and a lot less expensive.

Don’t be a pirate with an estate plan by Paula Walker on 08/31/2019

In equal importance to leaving your affairs neat and tidy with a well-drafted Trust or Will is the comprehensive checklist that supports this instrument. The biggest gift you can give to those you leave behind, is to make it easy for the person you’ve appointed to administer your estate to identify and access your numerous assets. Make the contents, location and means of access to your entire treasure trove — those many things that constitute your estate and your legacy — easy and straight forward to locate and manage according to your plan. Do not make the transition a search for buried treasure.

Provide a map: a single point of information that provides the all-in-one guide to what you have and who to contact for the assistance your administrator will need to wrap things up, close things out and properly maintain them until that occurs. Help them, help you fulfill your objective for a smooth, orderly and efficient accounting and transfer of your assets. Your comprehensive Trust or Will serves the purpose of clearly stating to whom and how to distribute your estate, but it does not identify, in needed detail, the complete listing of all assets, where they are and the means to access them.

This “one stop” source of information is truly the key. This comprehensive list must include not only each asset or type of asset but the means of accessing it; the code, if you will, to the treasure chest. Internet accounts, including social media accounts, email and online banking to name a few, require passwords and possibly other coded information, such as your first car, your favorite first grade teacher, your mother’s maiden name and more, while financial institutions and banks require personal identification information.

What should you list? Everything. Financial accounts: list the financial institutions, the accounts, the account purpose if relevant to managing their closure, such as the payments need to be made from them or payments received in them. Retirement accounts. Credit Cards. Internet accounts, including social media, email, photo repository. Real Estate holdings and the location of deeds. Key Advisors, including your attorney, financial planner, accountant, insurance agent and your spiritual/religious advisor. For all of these provide the contact information and location if, for instance, you deal with a particular branch and representative; and access information, user IDs and passwords. Property maintenance: in the interim between your passing and selling your real estate, list the person(s) to call if that property needs maintenance. Property Security, including how to access your home, keep it secure, not trigger alarms. Personal relationships: add to this a list of personal relationships. These are just a few ideas for the many and varied list of assets that you may have that belong on “your map.”

After creating it, maintain it. Equal in importance to creating your map is maintaining it. As you know, this critical information is always in flux; changes of bank accounts, new investments, changes of passwords. Review this information annually. Set a date that makes it easy to remember this important task; New Year’s or another date that is key to you and is a convenient time to attend to this. It is a bit of a chore to create your first edition, but revisions can be fairly quick and take reasonably little time to accomplish.

And remember to safeguard this highly sensitive information, such as keeping your map in a safe deposit box, a locked safe or a securely password protected file. Give only your administrator the information necessary to access this map, so that they have it when the time comes.

A treasure trove it is. This information is literally gold, the key to the realm for your administrator who will be grateful that you left them everything needed to do the job you’ve asked of them, straightforwardly and efficiently. Good for them, and good for those you intend to benefit from your life.

Stories of the Stars

If Only...

Billionaire Matthew Mellon II, heir to a banking dynasty, died suddenly of a heart attack in Cancun, Mexico on April 16, 2018, reportedly leaving behind him cryptocurrency, XRP, that had risen to $1 billion at its peak in January 2018 from his initial $2 million investment and placing him on Forbes’ “First-Ever List Of Cryptocurrency’s Richest People.” This asset may never be recovered due to Mr. Mellon keeping his digital keys to this currency in different cold storage locations across the U.S., rented under different names. Ingenious. Interesting. Inaccessible.

Taking a clue from this intriguing tale of the most contemporary of asset types: remember to provide the map; the administration of your estate plan should not be an Easter egg hunt or search for Spanish doubloons.

Dear Reader, we welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you. Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

The Ketogenic Plan: food for thought and focus by Victoria Larson on 08/31/2019

With school starting, we want to help our kids and grandkids focus. For that matter, many of us adults could use some help in this matter. Though changing what you eat, or what your kids eat, may not be easy it’s certainly worth the effort. Especially if you want them to focus and think.

I’ve been writing these columns for nearly twenty years now (!), so longtime readers know that I don’t like the word “diet.” So, let me start with calling it the Ketogenic Food Plan. The Ketogenic Plan has grown out of the Paleo style of eating which is what our ancestors did -- from early humans up to about 100 years ago. Then things changed. Face it, our grandparents ate simple, home-grown, home-prepared food. Not the overly preserved, packaged stuff that dazzles the eye in modern supermarkets and big box stores.

What we eat today is responsible for our health tomorrow... or next year. Approximately three percent of chronic disease is caused by genetics. The rest is caused by lifestyle choices. Most chronic disease today, from diabetes to heart disease, is caused by those choices. The generation behind me may not live as long as I will, and the generation after them may live even less. When money and the economy are people’s biggest concerns, we’ve lost perspective. What does it matter if you are rich if you don’t feel well or our Earth is gasping it’s last breath?

Each of you must make your own choices regarding what you eat, but you may have some control over what the kids eat. All – repeat, all - modern food plans stress the need to avoid packaged, sugared food. Yet stores, which are money-making enterprises, continually include more packaged foods, leaving the poor oranges and avocadoes to languish. The simple truth is that low- or no- sugar foods, high good-fat foods and less-packaged foods, like our ancestors lived on, are the way things should be.

The Ketogenic Plan has lots of good fats, protein and less than 5 percent carbohydrates. The healthy fats include fish (two to three times per week), nuts (a handful per day), full-fat dairy, eggs, nuts and even butter. Some say the brain needs glucose to function, but sugar has compromised out health. The brain is composed of 90 percent fat and functions better with good quality fat, but not the manipulated fats found in many of today’s foodstuffs. The good fats include avocadoes, unprocessed full-fat cheese, sardines and other foods, but not cakes, French fries, etc.

When food enters your stomach, it triggers receptors to signal the hypothalamus to register that feeling of satiety (being full enough). Good fats do this readily but manipulated fats and carbohydrates make you want to eat more and more to achieve that state. Eating carbs makes you want to eat more carbs as you’ve no doubt discovered. Eggs have been given a bad rap for years. Yet dementia and heart disease continue to rise. Eggs are a very good source of good fat. And for the record, the yolk contains lecithin, which keeps cholesterol under control. Most cholesterol is made by your body anyway.

The Ketogenic Food Plan means fewer grains, sugars and legumes. You, and your kids, will do better with a breakfast of eggs, avocadoes and nuts than an expensive bowl of over-processed grains known as cold cereal. Today’s children (and many adults) cannot think straight on just air and that is most of what’s being eaten. They, and we, become befuddled, confused and sluggish. The Ketogenic Plan encourages a very low carbohydrate intake in order to cause your body to use ketones from healthy fats to fuel your brain instead of glucose. Very low manipulated fats mean bread, grains and legumes, as well as starchy vegetables are restricted.

The Ketogenic food plan was researched to help those who had seizures. I have a friend who asked about his seven-year-old granddaughter who was having dozens of seizures every month. I’m retired now and not practicing so couldn’t treat her, but I could tell him what I know or learn. Just like this column does every month. My advice was the Ketogenic Plan. His kids put their daughter on the plan and within one day her teachers noticed she was calmer and more focused with fewer seizures.

Aim for 70 percent of your calories coming from the good fats (again that’s eggs, avocadoes, full fat dairy, nuts, seafood, etc.) and less than 50 grams of carbs. That’s still plenty, so you can occasionally give the kids tortillas or rice or beans. While the Ketogenic food plan is also touted as a weight loss program, I think that ANY plan that decreases junk food, packaged food and simple sugars will go a long ways towards weight loss.

Give it a trial but realize it may take a few days for the body to switch from burning glucose (sugars) for energy to burning ketones (fats) for energy so a few days of tiredness could ensue. Vegans and vegetarians will need to find sources of proteins that do not include manipulated soy products (most of which are genetically modified) unless they include some fish, eggs and dairy. Increased protein may cause some constipation so be sure to drink two quarts to one gallon of water per day, depending on weather and activity level. If a little more fiber is needed increase whole grain foods and vegetables. Check with your doctor if you have kidney problems as the high protein can be irritating to kidneys.

Now just watch those brains focus. You’ll see changes in yourself and your kids and your grandkids. Focus! Think!

Fabulous Labor Day menu by Taeler Butel on 08/31/2019

Peach Brined Pork chops

3 lbs. 1-inch thick sirloin pork chops (5-6 chops)

3 fresh yellow peaches

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (optional)

vegetable oil



1 T chopped fresh rosemary

2 cups peach nectar or peach juice

1 T black peppercorns

3 bay leaves

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup kosher salt

1 T fresh thyme.

6 cups boiling water

Place brine ingredients in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cool brining liquid to room temperature, add pork chops to the brine and chill two to four hours. Heat outdoor grill or grill pan and place pork on grill for five minutes each side until cooked through. Cut peaches in half, discard pits then brush cut sides with oil. Grill cut side down for two minutes or until grill marks form, top with a dollop of mascarpone cheese if you like. Serve with the pork chops.


Grilled corn on the cob with herb butter

6 ears yellow or white corn 

Herb butter:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 T chopped fresh basil

1 T chopped fresh tarragon

1 t fresh thyme leaves

1 t chopped fresh rosemary

1 t fresh oregano

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

Heat grill to 350. Grill the corn in husks for five minutes on each side until tender. Place ingredients for herb butter in food processor and pulse until combined. Husk the corn and spread 2 T of the butter on each ear. Leftover herb butter can be served over noodles, in soups, on hot crusty bread.

Roasted Potato salad

3 lbs small red potatoes cut into one-inch pieces

1 small red onion cut into wedges

6 cloves minced garlic

2 t olive oil

2 T cider vinegar

1 1-oz envelope dry ranch dressing mix

1 cup mayo

4 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled

3 hard boiled eggs, sliced

1 green onion, sliced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 avocado, chopped

Salt, pepper, fresh chopped parsley

On a large baking sheet toss together potatoes, onion, garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Stir, and continue to roast 10-15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender and browned. In a large bowl whisk together mayo, vinegar and ranch dressing, toss in roasted vegetables and celery, eggs, bacon, onion and avocado. Salt and pepper to taste and top with chopped fresh parsley.


Blueberry panna cotta with lime mint syrup

3 cups heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

1 cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, cut and scraped or 2 T vanilla extract

2 cups sour cream or crème fraiche

2 envelopes unflavored powdered gelatin

4 strips lemon peel (yellow only)

1-pint blueberries picked over


For the syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 T chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup water

Zest from 2 limes

“Bloom” the gelatin by sprinkling over two tablespoons cold water, set aside.

Place the cream, milk, sugar, lemon peel and vanilla bean with seeds in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, bring to just a simmer, turn off heat and add the sour cream or crème fraiche. Take out the vanilla bean pod and lemon peel and discard. Stir in the bloomed gelatin until dissolved, then add blueberries. Carefully pour mixture into eight one-cup ramekins or into muffin tins that have been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Let chill in refrigerator three hours or overnight. To loosen the panna cotta run a thin clean knife around edges and invert onto serving plate.

To make syrup bring water and sugar to a boil and stir constantly until sugar dissolves, then add lime zest and fresh mint. Cool completely and serve over panna cotta.

(Taeler Butel shares her culinary gifts exclusively with The Mountain Times.)

Family photo.
The View Finder: family photos by Gary Randall on 08/01/2019

My family has always valued our photo albums. When I was a boy, I enjoyed looking at the photos that were passed down through generations: my great grandparents, when they were young through to their senior years; my grandfather, from his childhood through his time in the military, including World War II. My own family photos, mom and dad as children, fascinated me, as did seeing photos of places that the family had lived through the years. As time passed the album started holding my own memories: my childhood through high school, Navy days, as well as photos of my own children.

Many old photos were made to remember places as well as family members. Since the advent of the portable Kodak camera at the turn of the 20th century, a camera accompanied family vacations. This was also the era of picture postcards. A lot of locations that attracted tourists usually had a postcard stand that included views that would have been photographed by visitors if they would have had a camera. These location photos have become valuable documentations of change through time.

Although we have more options for printing and collecting photographs, digital photography has made printing photos and photo albums almost obsolete. A lot of people don’t associate printing their photos with digital photography but there are a lot of companies that will print your digital photos in the same manner as film photos. The motivation to take a photo these days has little to do with documenting moments that would be valuable to others in the future, but are usually motivated by bragging about a passing moment in time that will be forgotten by the time the next photo is made and shared on social media. These are mostly never printed and with the chances for hard drive crashes or computer failure, these photos are prone to loss or deletion. I know that many people who make these photos these days probably won’t be proud of them in the future. In most cases they will document the person but not really the experience or the place, and certainly not in a way that would be valuable to historians or curious people or family in the future. On the other hand, digital photos have made documenting our children as they grow much easier, but printing them and putting them in an album is rarely done.

As a photographer and a local history fanatic I am so thankful for the people in the past who had taken the time to capture important moments and places in their more primitive form. If photographers such as Carlton Watkins had not photographed the Columbia River Gorge prior to the loss of the native culture or the commercial development and the damming of the river we would have little idea of just what it was actually like back then. Once photography was practical for the average hobby photographer, more and more images were made of these areas as they evolved into what they are today.

For those of us who live on or are in love with Mount Hood and its history, we’re fortunate to have many photos that were made by those who came here to recreate. The early days of climbing are well documented and as skiing became popular, photographs followed. Mount Hood’s only town, Government Camp, was the launching place for most of these activities and coincided with the boom of photography. Because of that there are a lot of great old images from that era available for collecting, research or just the enjoyment of seeing the changes that have happened through the years.

Government Camp has changed a lot in the last 120 years. It’s a great place to show examples of the changes that have been documented with photographs. I’m thankful that those who made the photos of their times on Mount Hood back in its early days and wonder if the photos made today will be available to those curious in the future.

Besides providing strangers a glimpse into the past, printing photos today for family in the future will be a more reliable way to preserve those memories. I urge everyone to do it and to save these photos in an old-fashioned photo album. Put it on your coffee table to share with friends and family. Make it an heirloom for future generations.

Viewpoints – Salem: Less heralded legislation by Rep. Anna Williams on 08/01/2019

With the 2019 session behind us, plenty has been written about the major accomplishments of the legislature this year. We passed a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program (which I’ve written about in this paper before), we raised $1 billion per year for education funding (also the subject of a past column) and stabilized funding for Oregon’s Medicaid system, which provides care for about 400,000 children in the state. I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the less headline-grabbing accomplishments from the session – legislation and action that was every bit as important to people in our mountain community.

One thing I was especially proud to help make happen this session was bringing home $4.6 million that will be directly invested into cities in House District 52. This includes $1.7 million of state funding for storm line repairs in Hood River, $2.4 million for economic development in Cascade Locks and $500,000 for the first phase of wastewater treatment improvements in Sandy. These vital public works will help our growing cities continue to thrive.

One piece of legislation we passed that hasn’t gotten much press is a bill I chief-sponsored that will expand the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Volunteer ombudsmen from that office are charged with extremely important work: visiting long-term care facilities to build relationships with staff and residents and addressing their questions and concerns about the quality of care. However, some of the long-term care facilities in our state (especially in rural areas) receive only one to two visits a year from these volunteers because the staff that oversees them did not have funding to adequately supervise enough volunteers to ensure full coverage. House Bill 3413 adds three paid staff to the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, which in turn will allow them to recruit and oversee more than 100 new volunteers. This funding increase will improve quality of life as well as health and safety for Oregonians living in long-term care facilities in communities like ours.

Finally, I want to highlight some behind-the-scenes work that I did on behalf of our communities’ natural resource protection efforts. When the Sandy River Watershed Council sought a permit to begin work on their annual floodplain reconnection project, which helps native salmon in both their migration and rearing, they struggled to get timely approval. Because it was crucial that they be allowed to begin their work as soon as possible (so they could finish in time for the salmon spawning season), they reached out to me for any help I could offer. I reached out to the offices involved with permitting and was able to help coordinate with all parties to ensure that the process was completed in a timely manner, saving the state money and protecting critical salmon spawning habitat.

My efforts to help these environmental advocates achieve their goals highlights the fact that not all of the work I do as a legislator necessarily involves legislating. We don’t always need new laws to solve problems in our state; we just need to figure out ways to more efficiently administer the laws already in place. I hope to continue working toward this type of solution – the type that doesn’t involve unrolling additional red tape – whenever possible. I would love to hear from the people in my district about similar issues they’ve been having in their daily lives. You can contact me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or by phone at 503-986-1452.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative.

Viewpoints - Sandy: Wastewater updates by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 08/01/2019

As many of you are aware, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is requiring that the City of Sandy update our Wastewater Treatment Process. This venture has an extremely expensive price tag of $60-80 million. We are hoping to explore other options that are more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, and we are in luck. When the Oregon Legislature convened last week, they approved a budget that included an earmarked $500,000 for additional Sandy River water quality studies and green alternative analysis.

In the last few months, our council and staff have toured other communities’ water treatment facilities. We all came away excited about the possibilities of treatment alternatives after visiting the more than 700-acre Fernhill facility in Forest Grove. Fernhill is owned by Clean Water Services and uses natural treatment systems, or wetlands, to improve water quality by removing nutrients, cooling and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment. Fernhill is designated as an important bird area and is also home to beavers, frogs, coyote and other wildlife.

Thoroughly vetting alternative options is crucial for our community. If one of these options is viable, it would cut the cost of the current plan in half and would be much better for our environment.

I’d like to thank our state legislative delegation of State Representative Anna Williams and State Senator Chuck Thomsen for their leadership in making this happen. Between this and our Oregon Department of Transportation negotiations, this past legislative session had some of the most successful outcomes for the City of Sandy in our community’s history. Their bipartisan and cooperative efforts on our behalf are greatly appreciated.

Additionally, we have exciting news regarding our city’s application process to obtain a $25 million Water Infrastructure and Financing Act (WIFIA) loan administered by the federal government. Our congressional delegation of Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Greg Walden and Senator Jeff Merkley have agreed to co-sign a letter to help us get this crucial financing.

In addition to a competitive interest rate, the first payment on WIFA loans can be deferred up to five years after completion of the project with a maximum term of 35 years. This allows us the time to continue to advocate for additional state and federal dollars for this project. It also helps reduce the impact on ratepayers by allowing us to make small gradual increases in rates, rather than a large initial increase. WIFIA financing can only be used for up to 49 percent of the project so we will have to seek out other financing sources for the remainder of the costs. Our financial consultant has determined that ratepayers in Sandy would save just over $800,000 per year with WIFIA financing as opposed to a conventional revenue bond, or about $16 million over the 20-year term of a revenue bond.

I’d like to thank our federal delegation for their critical assistance in working to make this a reality. Our community of Sandy faces a huge monetary challenge with meeting DEQ requirements. I have been humbled by the willingness of both our state and federal lawmakers to set partisan politics to the side and work side by side with others to go to work for our community. This is both a critical and special time in Sandy’s wonderful story.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy.

The journey to happiness can start with slowing down by Victoria Larson on 08/01/2019

“Living well is the best revenge” was always on the back page of a regional newspaper in Marin County, in the San Francisco Bay Area 50 years ago! A nice reminder that always made me smile. While “revenge” is not necessarily a goal it could be restated as “living well is the best revenge against aging and unhappiness!” The Blue Zones represent not only the healthiest areas on Earth, but also the happiest places. Social scientists have been studying almost 100 countries for happiness levels since the early 1980s. Health and happiness go hand in hand. Face it, it’s harder to be happy when you’re unhealthy.

But what can you do to “get happier” and “healthier?” People often ask this saying they want a simpler lifestyle or more happiness in their lives. You can do this, but it means lifestyle changes, attitudinal changes. Studies of the happiest places on Earth have shown lots of consistencies. And surprisingly the areas where the rich live are not the happiest areas!

The happiest areas are Denmark, Mexico, and even the city of San Luis Obispo, Calif. Singapore comes in fourth but it’s more of a manufactured happiness than a lifestyle. For the record, the United States came in 20th on the list of happiest nations! The least stressed states in the U.S. are those with the most space – Alaska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Maybe you have no intention of moving to these slower, roomier states but you can change your lifestyle and become happier and healthier.

The Danish people cultivate “hygge” which translates as the “art of relaxing in a warm and cozy environment.” This could mean anything from candles to street vendors selling herring instead of sweets! A relaxed attitude means slowing down – better to arrive late than to not arrive at all. In 1988, I made my move to this area. I’d spent the previous months packing up our small 800 square-foot house and was spending the weekend on an herbal retreat. I was late and stressed about meeting a friend of mine on time. Though dusk was fast approaching, the greeters to the retreat sat in the parking lot waiting for the last-minute arrivals. While apologizing for my lateness profusely they let me know it was no problem and pointed me in the direction of the cabins, assuring that my pickup full of household goods would be perfectly safe there. We had touched on the happiness factor.

The Monterey area of Mexico also has a laid-back attitude when it comes to stress. Let’s face it, less stress is going to be better for your health all around. The Mexican people are much more family oriented than most U.S. citizens. They spend six to seven hours a day in social time, which includes helping each other accomplish tasks, long Sunday dinners with lots of laughter and church activities. Laugh therapy (for it is therapy) does not mean putting down others, but instead humor is aimed at corrupt government (otherwise ignoring it), poverty (most are considered very poor) and even death (the only guarantee in life).

San Luis Obispo, Calif. took it upon itself to make this university town livable and lovable. In 1990 they were the first city in the world to ban smoking in workplaces! This town limits growth to a mere one percent a year. They discourage distracting signage and fast food restaurants. The nearest fast food location is in a city twenty minutes away. They encourage bicycle and pedestrian lanes, encourage tolerance and support the arts. Is it any wonder this city of decreased stress is considered the healthiest city in the United States?

Americans (U.S. citizens) tend to think more is better. They work more than 40 hours a week to earn money for the gym, a bigger car or refrigerator or just to buy more stuff, most of which ends up in thrift stores and landfills. Where’s the satisfaction in that? Americans take six to eight days of vacation a year. Europeans are required to take six weeks of vacation. If you’re on vacation right now, enjoy it! You will go back to work renewed. Extend your vacation if you can.

There are plenty of things you can do to increase your happiness level, and thereby your health level:

– pay off your house (no matter what catastrophe you’ll have a roof over your head).

– then pay off your car and try to have only one car per household, or at least per person.

– have not more than one credit card (if any). I was recently writing a check in a store and the man in line explained to his daughter what I was doing. I told her that no credit cards means no debt.

– decrease screen time. One TV per household is plenty. If you want interaction with your kids, take the TVs out of their rooms. Set a good example and turn the TV OFF!

– invest in experiences instead of stuff. You only get one life, and this is it. Play games, read books, cook, sew, garden, work on the car, take a walk.

– get outside more. Most Americans in the U.S. do not get enough Vitamin D. 15 minutes in direct sunlight will give as much vitamin D as a gallon of milk! Take a walk or a bike ride, garden, socialize more outside, go on a picnic.

– just socialize more, with people of all ages (it teaches tolerance). It might be hard to get six or seven hours of socializing in each day, but you could do it.

Few will make these changes in their lives. Even getting rid of the alarm clock and getting a smaller refrigerator is probably not going to happen. Start small -- take your own bags to reuse at the grocery store, take your own containers to restaurants for bringing home leftovers. Use bars of soap instead of expensive plastic containers of mostly water with a little soap that become non-recyclable garbage.

Put family before friends and make time for socializing. Chat with the people you meet. Facebook and Twitter are not real face-to-face socializing. Don’t get a fancier phone or a bigger TV or more clothes. You don’t need them. Strive for decreased use of electronics, less garbage, more time for pleasurable activities. You can be happier!

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: perfecting your portions by on 08/01/2019

I had a wonderful surprise at a restaurant recently. While browsing through the menu, I noticed that each entrée had a large and a small option, with corresponding differences in prices.

This was something I have only come across on rare occasions, yet serving size is something that I struggle with each time I go to a restaurant to eat. In a world where we believe that anything “bigger is better,” many restaurants have a mindset that everyone wants to be served a portion suitable for a 19-year old football player. But the reality is that a petite middle-aged woman whose body does not need a huge amount of calories is going to be overserved. So will a younger person.

The assumption, of course, is that we will take our leftover meal home and eat it later. Personally, sometimes I do, and there have been times that there’s enough food for three meals. But I am sorry to confess that despite my best intentions of eating re-heated leftovers from last night’s meal, it gets less appealing each day until I can be forgiven for throwing it away when it is no longer edible.

The point of this was driven home over the past month while traveling. I visited family in the Midwest where we went out to breakfast. My dining companion’s chicken fried steak arrived on a separate platter from the eggs because it was nearly the size of a pizza! The next time I was invited out to breakfast, I was so afraid of what might be placed in front of me that I limited my order to a couple of side dishes.

On another recent trip where my sisters and I celebrated one of their birthdays in Las Vegas, we quickly learned that rather than ordering individual entrees, we had more than plenty of food by ordering and sharing fewer entrees. Not only did we have enough by eating family style, but we could each have a broader selection of food.

In retrospect, perhaps this propensity for oversized portions that overwhelm me is what has driven me to enjoy Happy Hour as my preferred meal when I go out with friends. Not only can I order food that comes in smaller portions, but we can order and share a wider variety of food.

Restaurants are also becoming aware that the “Supersize Me” model is not ideal. Americans are beginning to demand changes. According to the website MenuCal.com, “With portions of many food items exceeding the USDA recommended serving size by up to 700 percent and obesity rates skyrocketing, Americans are well aware that something needs to change with respect to their food. And given that over one-third of the calories the average American consumes is eaten outside the home, the public wants more choice when it comes to restaurant food.” Offering healthy options with smaller portions will be what creates a strong repeat clientele, will reduce food costs for the restaurants and will also avoid food waste.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans waste approximately 30-40 percent of the food we produce, or about half of the world’s supply of food. In 2010, that was the equivalent of 133 billion pounds (218.9 pounds per person a year), worth $161 billion. According to their website, “This amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change…The land, water, labor, energy and other inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food are pulled away from uses that may have been more beneficial to society – and generate impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet. Food waste, which is the single largest component going into municipal landfills quickly generates methane, helping to make landfills the third largest source of methane in the United States.” Not only are large portions unhealthy for our bodies, but they also impact our environment.

Taking all of that into consideration, you can imagine my delight when I sat down at the aforementioned restaurant and saw that I could order a “small” meal and be served an entrée with a portion suitable for enjoying at that time without the inevitable to-go box haunting me afterward (Don’t make me take that Styrofoam box!). I look forward to going back there again. Bon appetit!

Got to get a witness by Paula Walker on 08/01/2019

Marvin Gaye sang, “Can I get a witness.” Don’t know if he ever got one, but to have a valid will, you’ll need one; in fact, you’ll need two.

To be valid, a will must not only be in writing and signed and dated by the person creating the will, it must also be signed by two competent witnesses.


The main purpose is to protect against fraud or forgery. But why does a will, in particular, need this safeguard? Why not require witnesses to the signing of all contracts or other legally binding documents dealing with finances and assets? The main reason is that simply, when the will is submitted to the probate court the person who created it is no longer living — cannot validate to the court that this is their will, their true last and final will.

Disputes, if they arise, generally take aim at the validity of the will. It is the witnesses, one or both, who are in the position to testify to the validity or lack should such disputes arise.

What is the role/purpose of the witnesses?

First let’s say what it is not — it is not the witnesses’ role to know the content of the will.

Their purpose is strictly to know that the document being signed is a will and that at the time of the signing the following conditions are true: the person creating and signing the will is an adult or allowed by law to create a will; understands the task they are undertaking; is not under duress; and has the mental capacity to create the will (“is of sound mind”) i.e. has “testamentary capacity,” the ability to make rational decisions about giving their assets.

Who can be a witness, i.e. what is a “competent” witness?

A “competent witness” is a legal adult over 18. It is best that the witness is a “disinterested” person, not a beneficiary of the will. In Oregon, having a beneficiary as a witness does not invalidate the will per se, but because it can be a weak point in a challenge to the will it gives support by circumstance to a claim of undue influence. In general, estate planners advise clients to select a “disinterested person” as witness.

The witness may be a “stranger,” however, be sure to get their address and if possible, their phone number so they can be found to testify to the validity of your will if ever needed.

What is the process of witnessing a will?

During the will signing, the attorney presiding or the person creating the will — testatrix (female) or testator (male) — states to the witnesses that they are about to watch the signing of the will. The testatrix/testator signs the will. Then the witnesses sign the will. In Oregon, the witnesses must be in the presence of the testatrix/testator. In addition to witnessing and signing the will itself, witnesses may sign an affidavit attesting to their witnessing the signing of the will and the capacity of person whose will it is. An affidavit is an oath-in-writing, thus lending legal weight to the witnesses’ validations for the document when it is eventually submitted to the probate court.

Stories of the Stars, If Only...

Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, who died in August of last year at the age of 76, as it turns out, needed a witness. It was initially thought that she had died intestate — without a will. In May of this year reports surfaced that she had not only one will, but three wills including one discovered (that was the most recently dated and nearly illegible due to cross outs and margin notes) under couch cushions in her living room. Two wills were dated 2010. The most recent dated March 2014. It is reported that her attorney had been advising her to create a will and it appears perhaps she did so but without involving or informing him. As of this July, reports are that three of Aretha’s sons, Teddy Jr., Kecalf and Edward are engaging in court battles over the control of her estate and seeking a restraining order from the court against Franklin’s niece, Sabrina Owens, the estate’s current acting representative — perhaps self-appointed — from further actions and decisions on distributions from Franklin’s estate until the court decides who has authority as representative. Seems Owens has been self-serving in a number of distributions, creating a mess that perhaps the presence and evidence of two witnesses may have helped to minimize.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Lolo Pass
The View Finder: depth of focus by Gary Randall on 07/01/2019

We’re focusing on focusing this month. “How do I focus my photos?” is one of the most asked questions of me by other photographers. It’s a great question and one would think would be pretty basic and simple to answer. It’s usually the last skill that a beginning photographer considers when starting out but seems to be the toughest to master.

I mean it seems that it would be pretty basic, what with the sophistication of the auto focus features in modern digital cameras, but once one takes a few photos and is let down by the auto focus mode it’s easy to see why in many cases, especially landscape and portraiture, you will want to manually focus your photo.

There are several things that will affect the focus or clarity of our photos including a completely out of focus image, one where the focus is so far off that nothing is clear or in focus. That issue is obvious, of course, so we won’t discuss this in depth.

We will assume that we are focusing but want to refine the clarity and focus of the shot. I’m going to try to proceed without citing mathematics or terms and theories such as Hyperfocal Distance, Circle of Confusion etc. The purpose of this article is to just understand the basics enough to understand how to overcome a common problem with focusing. Trust that this could become so lengthy that it would require another ten pages of the Mountain Times to cover it. Sometimes when someone is learning something new more information beyond what it takes to understand the concept causes confusion and discouragement. Once the basics are learned the understanding can be broadened in the future. I always tell people that if it requires mathematics to take photos, I’d be a C-minus photographer.

First let’s consider blurring caused by the camera moving or objects in the scene moving. This is not a focus issue, but it can affect the clarity and areas of focus in the photo as you affect it. If movement is causing problems, then your shutter speed is too slow. You’ll need to make sure that your shutter speed is sufficiently fast to freeze the movement. There are times where a slow shutter blur effect is desirable such as in creeks or waterfalls. This typically requires one to make an aperture adjustment to vary the shutter speed. Opened more to make it quicker and closed more to make it slower, but the depth of field will change with each aperture change.

So, what’s this depth of field, you ask? The depth of field is how deep the area that will be in focus is from front to back. The wider your aperture the shallower or narrower your depth of field will be and then when you stop down, or close the aperture down, the depth of field becomes deeper. Remember that the larger the aperture opening the smaller the f/stop number and the smaller the aperture opening is the larger the f/stop number. Something to consider when you’re trying to maximize your focus is that the closer you are to the subject or foreground, the narrower your depth of field will be. If you’re having trouble getting everything in the scene within acceptable focus stand back a little. The same with portraiture. if you’re shooting with a wide aperture to blur the background intentionally, you may have trouble getting the person’s whole face in focus. There’s not a lot worse in portrait photography than having the eyes in focus but the nose out of focus or vice-versa. Either stop down (close the aperture) or stand back a little further or both. This works best with a zoom lens so you can recompose as you move away.

Hyperfocal distance - I know. I said that I was going to try not to mention this, but I think that curiosity will eventually lead a photographer to wonder. Simply and basically, the hyperfocal distance is the point where you will focus to allow everything from the foreground to the background to be in “acceptable focus.”

There’s a mystical mathematical formula to determine what the hyperfocal distance is, but if you remember this advice you will get by like I have been for a long time without taking a calculator into the field with me. Here goes – I remember that I want to be in my lens’s sweet spot, which is the upper and lower limit of the aperture’s clearest settings.

Each lens is different, but the average lens is approximately f/8 to f/14. Compose your shot but try not to get too close to the foreground unless you don’t mind the background to be soft (remember the closer to your foreground the less likely the object in the background will be in focus), and then focus to infinity on your lens focus ring and focus back until the foreground just comes into focus. Then you will usually have the depth of field maximized and pushed out as far as possible while still maintaining a focused foreground. It’s easy to understand once you try it.

That may have been a long road to a short conclusion but just a basic understanding of how your aperture and depth of field affects focus allows you to take control of exactly how you will focus your photo. I hope that I made that as clear as possible.

Viewpoints – Salem: Putting a bow on the bills by Rep. Anna Williams on 07/01/2019

The legislature is almost ready to adjourn, but there are a few things I hope to get done before we head home. A few of my priorities include Family and Medical Leave Insurance (or FAMLI), The Equal Access to Roads Act, The Clean Energy Jobs bill and a bill I brought forward, House Bill 3413. So, I have plenty to do as we wrap up the session.

One of the main reasons I ran for office was to advocate for state-wide family and medical leave insurance. If Oregon creates a FAMLI program, workers won’t have to worry about financial hardship when taking time away from work to care for a loved one or to welcome a new child to their home. I was personally affected by the lack of a FAMLI program in our state when I was fired for taking maternity leave after I had my youngest son. The small company where I worked could not afford to keep the person who replaced me and also rehire me. Because every family deserves to be able to care for one another and make a living, I am working hard to ensure that House Bill 2005 passes this session.

Another bill I’m excited to support is House Bill 2015, The Equal Access to Roads Act, which ensures every Oregonian who can pass a driver’s test can get a driver’s license. This bill will ensure that our roads are safe, and that our neighbors are able to drive their kids to school, get to work and take care of their families. In states with similar policies, the rates of drivers who are insured have risen significantly, making roads safer and saving drivers millions through reduced insurance rates. To be clear, this program does not provide citizenship or voting rights to anyone who is not eligible. The House passed HB 2015 this week, and it’s on its way to the Senate.

Of course, I am excited about Clean Energy Jobs, or House Bill 2020. Throughout the legislative session, I have heard the concerns of many farmers who are nervous about how this bill may hurt their businesses. I’ve also heard from hundreds of supporters who want to see Oregon lead the way for other states to create carbon-reduction programs that can have a real impact on climate change. I worked to help these two sides communicate with one another, find compromises and understand one another’s perspectives. I passed their concerns along to my colleagues who were working on HB 2020, and the final version is stronger as a result.

Finally, House Bill 3413 is a bill that will expand the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or OLTCO, by adding three full-time employees. That office’s function is to address complaints about the care and treatment of Oregonians who reside in long term care facilities. Currently, there are seven deputy ombudsmen, each of whom manages about 35 volunteers who serve at facilities across the state. The addition of three deputies will add critical support for seniors and people with disabilities in rural communities like ours. This bill passed unanimously on the House floor and I am optimistic it will pass in the Senate before the end of session.

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas for the future, reach out to my office at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov, or visit me in the Capitol. We will be opening an office in Sandy soon, so you will have another way to connect with me. I’m looking forward to some rest in July, and to getting out to see you in your communities this summer.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: a ‘step’ for greener shoes by on 07/01/2019

I went shoe shopping a couple of weeks ago. Who doesn’t love shoe shopping? I try to limit the amount of clothes shopping I do in order to lessen my carbon footprint, so to speak. Once or twice a year, I allow myself the luxury of shopping for a pair of shoes that I will wear over and over again that season, and hopefully for many seasons to come. I try to purchase good quality shoes that will endure. One of my guilty secrets is that I still have a pair of black suede heels that I purchased in the early 1980s that still get tons of compliments because they are chic but classic.

So, on this particular shopping trip, I set out to find a pair of comfortable flats that would not go out of style next year when the manufacturers would try to convince us that the shoes they are all raving about this season are now outdated. All in an effort to try and get us to part with our hard-earned cash and buy more shoes.

I ventured into a couple of different stores at the large mall complex and I was surprised (but not really) to see how many shoes are now made of “Man-made materials.” This means plastic, of course. Plastic shoes are inexpensive to produce, yet if manufacturers can convince a designer to put their name on it, the price goes up into the hundreds of dollars. Personally, I prefer leather shoes because they’re waterproof, breathable, and over time, they conform to the shape of your foot, making them much more comfortable. Plastic, on the other hand, while also waterproof, is not breathable, and there is less flexibility in the shape. But leather shoes are harder and harder to find because they’re more expensive to produce.

I finally found the right pair of loafers, stylish enough that I could wear them for to a nice restaurant, yet comfortable enough to wear for a full day of business. A little spendier than shopping at the discount shoe mart, but worth it. When we purchase quality over quantity, we may be spending a little more for the better pair of shoes, but in the end, we won’t be replacing them over and over again, so the cost will actually be less over time.

One of the reasons that I spend so much time thinking about what to purchase is because unlike in my youth, I take a longer range look at each purchase. What will happen with the shoes that I bought nearly a decade ago that are still in good enough shape because they weren’t worn much, but they sit in the closet gathering dust? I can donate them to the local non-profit, of course. That will make me feel less guilty than tossing them in the trash, headed for the landfill. But let’s be realistic. The amount of clothing that doesn’t get re-sold and re-used is staggering. Although those shoes might take a more circuitous route, they will likely still end up in the landfill. There are a few non-profits around the country that collect shoes and donate them to those in poverty around the world. But the cost of shipping can be its own problem.

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, each year we produce about 20 billion pairs of shoes. And Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes each year. Those shoes end up in landfills, where they can take 30 to 40 years to decompose. In the case of athletic shoes, the Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, which usually makes up the midsole of most running shoes, can last for as long as 1,000 years in a landfill. Some companies are trying to address the problem. Nike will collect unusable used shoes so the materials can be converted to athletic equipment and surfaces. Nike, Adidas, and New Balance are using manufacturing methods to curb the amount of waste during the production process. And Adidas is working on producing a shoe that uses recycled gill nets that have been abandoned in the ocean and are responsible for killing large amounts of marine life.

Athletic shoes and dress shoes aren’t the only problem. I remember those expensive snow boots I bought with the polyurethane soles. I put them back on one winter and as I began to walk around Sandy, the soles started to disintegrate. Apparently, this disintegration process, called hydrolysis, is a result of our damp environment after they’ve been stored for a while. Learn to store your boots in a dry place, away from the heat, and put newspaper and silica packs in them to keep them dry. It will help your expensive boots last longer.

We can help also by being mindful of the shoes we buy and what type of materials they’re made of. Also, taking good care of our footwear will give them a longer life and save us some money in replacing them. It’s a small step toward solving the problems that we have with waste and excess.

To trust a trust, you must fund it by Paula Walker on 07/01/2019

Getting your estate organized for a smooth transition when the time comes was important to you. Furthermore, for many factors, one of the main ones being avoiding probate, you elected to create a revocable living trust. You expended time, energy and money to accomplish this. The document is done. The plan is in place. All is taken care of. Right? Yes and no… depending on whether you complete that final step called “funding” your trust.

For your trust to do one of the primary jobs for which you created it — avoiding the complexity, cost and lengthy process of probate — you must fund it. This is often a well-intended but not attended to task. Some estate planning practices incorporate the funding phase into the development and delivery of a trust. Others leave it to the client to undertake. In either case, the responsibility eventually falls to you, the owner of the trust, to keep the funding current. Even if you walk out of your attorney’s office with a fully funded trust you must remember to fund newly acquired assets to the trust as your life moves forward. Nothing is static. Life is dynamic. You open a new investment account. You sell your home, buy a condo, purchase a rental, etc. These new acquisitions must be funded to your trust. Assets of value (e.g. bank accounts, real estate, investment accounts) that are not funded to your trust could be subject to probate. What a headache for your trust administrator and beneficiaries; and after you so diligently attended to making this process as simple as possible for them.

Funding involves re titling assets from your individual name to the name of your trust or designating the trust as a beneficiary. Your attorney will guide you in determining which type of asset requires which funding approach.

With your revocable living trust, you are the trustee, meaning that you manage the trust and the assets funded. You can add or remove assets. Keeping your funding current is a task that you can perform independently. In creating your trust, with guidance from your attorney, you learn what to fund to your trust and how to do it so that you can stay current as you acquire and release assets.

So, remember, in order to trust your trust to do the job of avoiding the public, costly, time consuming court processes of probate, you must fund it and keep that funding current.

Stories of the Stars - If only…

Superstar Michael Jackson who died untimely in June 2009 at age 50, unlike many superstars whose legacy of intestacy abound, had the foresight to create a revocable living trust, but not the follow through to fund it. As a result, his estate — currently valued by some estimates at approximately $600 million — fell to probate. Court disputes continue to this day. His estate is still open. His beneficiaries wait. All assets are held until, by court approval, the probate process is completed.

Dear Reader … We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Recapping the Blue Zones: lessons learned to live longer by Victoria Larson on 07/01/2019

The columns of the past few months have all been about the Blue Zones. Those areas on Earth where many citizens live longer, healthier lives than most people in the United States. Greece, Japan, Sardinia and Costa Rica all qualify as Blue Zones. Even Loma Linda, Calif. where most people are vegetarians and live an average lifespan of ten years longer than the rest of the United States as a whole.

First of all, almost all of the Blue Zones are in areas that Americans tend to think of as “underdeveloped” and cut off by water. When I look at the Blue Zone areas (with the possible exception of Loma Linda) I sometimes think that just living in such a beautiful area, surrounded by gorgeous, blue unpolluted water would be enough to lead to a better life. And these places have plenty of natural sunlight without smog. And few roads. I’m reminded of the couple (he was a doctor and she was a judge) on my Costa Rica trip who wanted “the roads fixed.” That would of course bring in a bigger population and totally changed the character of Costa Rica. I was there twenty years ago. Maybe it’s already happened. Maybe our worldwide population is already growing that rapidly.

The average person in the United States eats about 80 lbs. of fat per year and most of it from vegetable oils used in fast food cooking! The Blue Zone areas use mostly olive oil and lard, natural sources of brain reviving fats. And there are no fast food places in “underdeveloped” places. Most Americans consume 8,000 teaspoons of sugar a year, most of it hidden in breakfast cereals and packaged foods. And then there are the 60 gallons of sodas consumed per year. Yikes. And we wonder what’s wrong?

A couple of generations ago our grandparents and great grandparents burned at least five times more calories than we do now. There was no Internet, TV, cellphones, microwaves or dishwashers, among other so-called “timesavers” that sometimes aren’t “saving” any time at all. Blue Zones rarely have those “helps.” Food is kneaded or blended by hand, cast iron pots are lifted into brick ovens or open fires, dishes are washed by hand and sometimes in community troughs. I loved the sight of the children washing doll clothes in those community troughs during the day. In one month spent in the outlying areas of China I saw exactly one TV and it was black and white. Most areas only had electricity for two hours per day.

In America most of us live a life of abundance and ease – can openers, microwaves, computers, fast food. Yet it is entirely possible that this is part of our downfall. Because we are NOT the healthiest nation on the planet, nor are we the happiest. We do, however, spend the most on healthcare! Here we rush through our frazzle-dazzle lives to get to the next thing, never savoring where we are now. We stress about health yet spend the most on healthcare, yet we suffer more cancer, diabetes and heart disease than people in the Blue Zones. We put value on money but not on lifestyle.

In order to spend less money, we cut food costs in general. Americans spend less on food than most other industrial countries. In the Blue Zone area, most food consumed is grown in backyard gardens and what markets there are, are used mostly for cleaning supplies and staples like flour. In the United States we buy packaged food with all its extra packaging and wonder why we have a garbage problem. But we worry that it might not be organic or gluten-free. Maybe it’s time we open our eyes.

We seem to have lost perspective on reality. Most food from the supermarket tastes like the cardboard it’s packaged in! And why not, it’s packaged and has been on the shelves for weeks longer than it would take to pick it from your trees and gardens. Do you really think food comes (delivered mind you) only from grocery stores? We get little enjoyment from most of what we eat.

We also get little energy from what we eat. All areas of Blue Zones rely most heavily on fresh (and I do mean fresh) fruits and vegetables. Maybe meat or fish one to three times a week. Eggs, if home raised. A little wine, but no more than one or two glasses per day. Lots of slow-cooked beans, soups and stews. Now that’s inexpensive food. Also, some hand-kneaded, home-baked sourdough bread, mostly. Handmade cheeses.

Rates of dementia in Greece are half what they are in the United States. Half of their diet is vegetables. Women live a long time in Okinawa, where seaweed,sea veggies, beans (pulses) and vegetables make up close to 50 percent of the diet. Sardinia, Italy and Costa Rica boast the longest-lived men on Earth, where vegetables and grains make up 50 percent of the diet. And in Loma Linda, a very Biblical and unprocessed diet of a whopping 72 percent is beans (pulses), vegetables and fruits.

There are lessons to be gleaned here. We need to stress less. Maybe garden more, sing and dance. Move every hour and put down the phone, turn off the TV. Instead, slow down and commit to what really matters in life – family first, friends next, community as well. And make a global commitment to create less garbage, less technological use, less consumerism. Perhaps consider more yoga, more foreign meals and less Facebook and Twitter time.

Make it fun. Go slow and enjoy more. Try one new food a week (but not packaged), reduce your garbage by buying in bulk and at farmers’ markets, not so much in the dollar-oriented grocery store. Drive less. Take up music, sewing, reading. Play with the kids – outside. And remember to always be grateful.

The View Finder - Moss by Gary Randall on 06/01/2019

“Only farmers and summer guests walk on the moss. What they don’t know – and it cannot be repeated too often – is that moss is terribly frail. Step on it once and it rises the next time it rains. The second time, it doesn’t rise back up. And the third time you step on moss, it dies.”

¯ Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

Living in the Pacific Northwest and near Mount Hood, we’re surrounded by lush green forests full of majestic trees of many kinds and bushes that contain berries and flowers. Usually the last thing to be mentioned in the list is moss. Moss is an important component of the forest ecosystem that is easily overlooked and sometimes even walked over without a thought. When we do notice it, we usually notice it when it grows on our roofs and sidewalks.

As a photographer I’m keen to notice all of the details in the scene that I’ll be photographing. Through that close attention to the details I’ve become a “mossaholic.” I love moss and seek out mossy scenes in forests and near creeks and waterfalls. Another thing that I’ve noticed as a photographer is how many of the areas that once were covered with moss are becoming muddy worn out areas due to increased traffic. Many are being closed due to the erosion that this causes.

Because of these reasons my attention has been drawn to moss, how it grows, why it grows and how to best live with moss without damaging it in nature and how to deal with it around my home. So, let me explain moss.

Moss was the first plant on Earth. Algae adapted to life on earth eventually evolving into lichen, liverworts and moss. Moss grows all over the earth with more than 10,000 different varieties. Mosses prefer damp shaded areas, but some can grow in deserts or even in frozen regions. In severe dry spells they can go into dormancy until moisture returns.

Moss doesn’t have roots but instead has rhizoids, string like structures that anchor the moss to trees or rocks but can grow on practically anything. These rhizoids don’t draw water like a root system does and the moss itself has no vascular system to carry nutrients like other plants with stems, leaves and flowers. It absorbs water and nutrients like a paper towel. Mosses are not parasitic and seldom damage the plants that they’re attached to. Mosses get their nutrients from absorbing rain, fog or dew and sunshine. They use photosynthesis to convert sunshine and carbon dioxide to sugar as a nutrient.

Mosses are able to absorb large amounts of water and release it slowly which reduces erosion and helps keep the forest moist. Typical mosses can absorb 25 times their weight in water. Moss is sensitive to air pollution and actually is used by scientists to measure the level of certain types of pollutants in the air. Moss, actually the bacteria that grows on moss, is a perfect nitrogen fixer, meaning that it gathers nitrogen from the air and distributes it into the forest as a fertilizer. Mosses collectively absorb more carbon than all the trees in the world.

The list of benefits moss provide can go on and on, but as a photographer the primary benefit is its beauty in a forest scene. It’s my goal, while I’m in the forest, to affect the moss as little as possible. When I’m walking along a mossy stream, I will choose to walk on forest duff or in the water if possible, limiting the effect that my boots have on the integrity of the plants and moss that hold the stream bank together.

Some may argue that the little bugs in the water may suffer but besides not going into the forest I feel that this is the best method to preserve a pristine area in the forest. Those bugs will benefit from a healthy stream bank.

Most all problems with wear and tear of a mossy area are the result of a lot of foot traffic. The most popular and easily accessible areas are the most susceptible. Most people who go and walk over these fragile areas consider their contribution to be insignificant, but when there are lines of others waiting to stand in the same spot the accumulation of the effects of this traffic adds up over time.

As photographers, it benefits us to help to mitigate damage being caused to these areas for several reasons, but most important, besides the health of the forest, is to maintain the aesthetics and beauty of the area for future photographers. It’s important to keep these areas open to visitation in the future. I know of several areas that once were iconic photography locations that have now been closed just because people wouldn’t stay on the pathway in these sensitive areas and the damage warranted closure for remediation.

I urge everyone who goes adventuring into the outdoors to be mindful of their effect on these places, especially those with large amounts of visitation. If we don’t, the consequences will be the loss of these locations to visitation by ruination. Moss may seem insignificant until you understand its value and importance in the lifecycle, health and beauty of our forests.

Viewpoints - Sandy: Call to action to help the most vulnerable by Gary Randall on 06/01/2019

There are people in our community that must make tough decisions when it comes to feeding their families. There are community members that must choose between paying bills and feeding their children. One in seven of our neighbors face food insecurity, meaning they are unable to access a significant quantity of nutritious, affordable food.

I write to you today requesting help for these neighbors, these most vulnerable citizens.

Because of new regulatory changes enacted by the Oregon Food Bank, our community’s food bank and largest non-profit food provider, the Sandy Community Action Center, needs to purchase a new refrigerated van to serve their clients as soon as possible.

As you may know, the Sandy Community Action Center serves the Oregon Trail School District. The District is made up of 424 square miles and includes the Sandy, Boring and Mt. Hood communities and approximately 30,000 people. The Oregon Trail School District is the seventh largest school district out of 156 in our state. According to Clackamas County, small rural towns and communities tend to have larger concentrations of people living in poverty, and often, isolated seniors in need of basic resources. These are the people that Sandy Community Action Center serves.

The primary mission of the Sandy Community Action Center is to provide hunger relief, assistance and encouragement to those facing food insecurity in our community. The Action Center serves the elderly, disabled, families and homeless.

These recent regulatory changes from the Oregon Food Bank require constant temperature monitoring of products; this could be avoided with a refrigerated van. The Sandy Community Action Center could also pick up additional food from partners like Starbucks, who require that we use an active cooling method for transporting food. This helps reduce food waste, which is a primary goal of many of our partners.

Through one of our local business partners, Sandy Suburban Auto Group, the Sandy Community Action Center has secured a great deal on a van with the refrigeration unit insulation package.

Through contributions from local businesses like Clackamas County Bank, community members and awarded grants, we are only $8,000 away from reaching our goal to fund our new refrigerated van.

J. Frank Schmidt Family Charitable Foundation has approved a challenge matching grant of up to $4,000. If we can raise just $4,000, they will match those funds and we will be able to purchase the van to provide much needed services to our community for years into the future.

Please consider making a contribution to help us meet the matching grant offer. Any amount helps. You can contribute by visiting the Sandy Community Action Center website at sandyactioncenter.org, visiting their Facebook page or by stopping by the store. Thank you for supporting such an outstanding local organization as they work to build a hunger-free community.

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Viewpoints - Salem: The Student Success Act by Rep. Anna Williams on 06/01/2019

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve almost made it to the end of the legislative session. We still have a lot of work to do to get some important bills across the finish line, but I want to highlight one bill that I’m extremely proud to have supported: the Student Success Act.

The Student Success Act is a landmark investment in Oregon’s students that will change the course of public education in our state. This bill is the product of the Joint Committee on Student Success, a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators who have been working for years to improve the way our schools are funded and operated. This group of legislators traveled for 15 months around the state, listening to educators, administrators, parents and students about what improvements were necessary within their schools.

By combining accountability, transparency and a focus on historically underserved students, the Student Success Act will, in many ways, rebuild Oregon’s statewide education system. This bill creates strategic new investments that enhance pre-kindergarten funding, keep class sizes down and ensures struggling schools have the resources and technical support they need to help their students succeed. This investment in our schools will build a brighter future for students, families, communities and businesses in every community in Oregon.

The legislature will fund this proposal through a Modified Corporate Activities Tax (MCAT) which was developed in partnership with a broad coalition, including small business owners, educators and corporations across the state. The MCAT will yield approximately $2 billion per biennium (or $1 billion per year) and will result in approximately $16 million towards schools within House District 52 in just the upcoming biennium. That will grow in the years to come.

This is a significant investment for students in our district and across the state. One of the exciting things about this bill is that it provides for a major increase in resources for early childhood education, summer programs and brings back the kinds of programs that get kids to love school - like arts, music and engineering. Schools will be able to hire more teachers to keep class sizes down, provide long-deferred maintenance for their facilities, fully fund career and technical education, increase mental health and behavioral supports for students and more.

One of the main concerns that was brought to me was that the newly-raised revenue would go directly into the unfunded liability for our state’s pension system, and I wanted to make sure that this record investment would actually go to serve Oregon’s students before I voted for this package. The bill includes the creation of a dedicated fund that is only able to make focused investments in education. Money in the Student Success Fund cannot go toward paying for retirement costs and schools must submit proposals on how these funds will be used to access those resources. Again, I appreciate the work done by my colleagues to keep us accountable in how we allocate these funds.

Thanks to everyone who has engaged with my office and shared their thoughts on the Student Success Act. As always, if you have a question or an idea, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Rep.AnnaWilliams@oregonlegislature.gov.

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: planting a pollinator garden by on 06/01/2019

It’s wildflower season and this year seems to be more resplendent than ever, with flowers blooming everywhere you go. I constantly marvel at nature’s paintbrush and seeing that we humans aren’t the only ones loving the explosion of colors competing against each other. The birds and the bees seem to be equally active.

Last month I had the pleasure of attending a lecture by Thomas Seeley, Biology Professor at Cornell University. He was discussing his new book, “The Lives of Bees,” which explores survival strategies by wild bees at a time when managed beekeepers’ colonies are threatened by severe population decline and extinction of different species of bees. He theorized that wild bees, especially native species, may be better adapted and will hold the key to bee survival.

The reason it is important to learn about bees and how we can help them survive is that our own food supply is at stake. We now understand that bees and other pollinators are key to the survival of our own species, as without them our supply of fruits and vegetables is severely threatened. According to Green Schools Alliance, “It is estimated that bees produce over 10 billion dollars’ worth of agricultural crops annually in the United States.” They cite statistics from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that “over 80% of all crops, especially fruits and vegetables, depend on pollination in order for their output to keep up with public demand.” (https://www.greenschoolsalliance.org/blogs/16/427)

However, for a variety of reasons, bee populations are declining by as much as 30 percent per year. One reason is that temperature shifts caused by changing climate means that bees are not able to pollinate in time and therefore cannot gather nectar at the time of year that they need it.

There are ways that we can help bees, as well as hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, bats and other pollinators to survive in these difficult times, especially native species that are adapted to our unique climate. A simple computer search lead me to the USDA’s “Gardening for Pollinators” (https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/gardening.shtml). Among their recommendations are the following:

– Plant a variety of native flowers that bloom from early spring until late fall, but avoid hybrid plants that have been genetically altered, especially those that have “double blossoms.” And don’t forget those flowers that bloom at night in order to attract our vast population of moths and bats as well.

– Whenever possible avoid the use of pesticides, especially the most toxic ones. If you must spray, wait until dark when bees have gone into their hives.

– Plant a butterfly garden that will allow larvae to eat the leaves and flourish. You can attract butterflies with moist soil mixed with ashes from your fireplace or wood stove, or a bit of sea salt. They also like pieces of rotting fruit.

– Leave fallen or dead trees or branches – provided that they aren’t a safety hazard – so that bees can build their hives inside them. According to Seeley, bees build their hives inside trees that provide insulation for a more constant temperature than managed beehives.

– Attract hummingbirds with a feeder using four parts water to one part sugar. Do not use honey, artificial sweeteners or fruit juice. And please wash the feeder with hot soapy water twice a week to prevent mold that will kill the birds.

While it’s wonderful that springtime brings with it a cacophony of color in our wildflowers, we should all do our part to ensure that pollinators are getting the nutrients that they need during the time they need it. Planting native flowers will ensure that by helping bees in the wild survive, we will actually be doing a good thing for the planet and for our own well-being.

Blue Zone finale – Sardinia, where the men live long lives by Victoria Larson on 06/01/2019

In honor of Father’s Day and men everywhere, we’ve come to our final Blue Zone. Not that there aren’t other places and other peoples who live long on this earth, but this Blue Zone is where, proportionally speaking, men live longer than anywhere else on our planet! In America only one in 5,000 people live to the age of 100; in the Ogliastra villages of Sardinia, Italy, five people out of 2,500 live to be 100 years old. Blue Zones are those areas where it was discovered that people lived longer than other areas of habitation. Circled in blue ink by researchers, they became the Blue Zones.

In most of the world where a man reaches the age of 100, there are five women who do so. In Sardinia that ratio is one to one, probably because men are able to stave off heart disease longer. But how do they do that? For starters older people don’t retire they just change jobs. In America it is not uncommon for a man to die of a heart attack within three years of retirement. However, changing what work men do keeps them alert and active and using their brains. Not sitting in front of a computer or the TV and just sitting.

I recently went to lunch at Bob’s Red Mill with friends, and who was standing in line behind me but Bob Moore himself. I took that moment to shake his hand and thank him for the thousands of dollars he’s donated to the medical school I attended -- NUNM (National University of Natural Medicine) formerly known as NCNM (National College of Naturopathic Medicine). Bob is now 90 years old and still goes to work every day, though he may be considering lunch as “work.” Such a deal.

Sardinians claim their longevity is due to clean air, local wine, and, despite the movie “Never on Sunday,” physical intimacy at least once a week. It is also important to note that electricity and roads didn’t come to the area until the 1960s, bringing other changes and a taste for carbs and sugars. At the same time, we saw an increase in diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Prior to the 1960s most men worked as shepherds slowly following their sheep in the sometimes steep hills, while women traditionally cared for children, elders, gardens and home.

We tend to think of the Mediterranean diet as the best diet in the world (see April column). There is no question that the Mediterranean diet is healthier than the Standard American Diet (SAD). Almost half of the Greek Mediterranean diet is greens, pulses (beans and legumes) and vegetables. Yet in Sardinia that same portion of the diet is grains. Dairy, in the form of sheep’s mild cheese, comprises over a quarter of the daily diet. None of the Blue Zones use much sugar.

Protein comes primarily from the beans and legumes (the pulses), mostly as Fava beans and Ceci beans, as they are called in Italy (they are known as chickpeas in the African areas of the Mediterranean and in the United States). A low protein diet is associated with decreased risk of diabetes and cancer in people under the age of 65. However, for people over 65, a high protein intake was associated with a 28 percent decrease of those diseases. This at the age when many elders are onto the “tea and toast” diet usually due to a decrease in the ability to smell food, whether from nasal surgeries, injuries or just aging. In Sardinia, meat was consumed no more often than weekly and mostly for festivals. Barley and the pulses are the main sources of protein otherwise.

Fava beans were grown extensively in England and in the United States as John Seymour tells us in his gardening classic. Barley was the grain found to be most closely associated with living to be 100, at least for the Sardinian male! Ground into flour for bread it has a much lower glycemic index than wheat bread. Barley was also added to daily soup as well as the addition of tomatoes, the beans (Fava and chickpeas) and sheep’s cheese.

Other breads include a high protein, low gluten bread made with hard duram wheat that is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. This bread does not cause the spike in blood sugar found with many of our quickly manufactured American breads. On the other hand, sourdough bread made with whole wheat and using live lactobacilli (see April column) converts the sugars and gluten to lactic acid, thereby lowering the glycemic index.

A dark red wine made locally in Sardinia from the Grenache grape is consumed almost daily by adults. At the level of three 3-ounce glasses per day it does not usually lead to disruptive behaviors. This does NOT mean you can save up your quota of wine for the weekend and consume more. And of course, if you don’t imbibe alcohol there’s no need to begin the habit at all.

Americans consume about 2,000-3,000 calories a day, but we sit a lot -- in cars, at desks, in front of the TV. It is now known that the second worst thing you can do to your health is sitting (first worst thing is smoking). Sardinians of Italy consume about 3,000 calories a day but they move more. They engage in more cooking, gardening, walking and chasing kids, whether human or sheep. The latest studies show that even ten minutes per hour while awake can extend your life. So set your computer alarm, get up after every chapter or with each commercial on the TV. At the very, very least move your arms and legs at least once an hour. Then feel energized and go back to whatever you were doing.

Episode XXXIV: Bruised, battered amid poolside pulchritude by Max Malone, Private Eye on 06/01/2019

CIA section head Bryan Brodsky filled out his swivel chair like Kim Kardashian seated in a Yugo. He leaned forward, elbows on a desk in an interview room that had seen more guest appearances than a Johnny Carson retrospective. The interview room itself was a masquerade, looking more like an abandoned meat locker with the refrigeration shut off.

Seated on the opposite side of what was passed off as a conference table was Wildewood World editor Nigel Best with 8-by-10 glossy photos strewn atop the tired ridges of the table like a scene from Alice’s Restaurant. Nigel sat as erect as he could manage, which amounted to all of 5 and ½ feet of muster.

Brodsky’s jaw would give Rocky Marciano second thoughts. He clenched his teeth together after decades of cigar smoking that was no longer allowed in government buildings much to the eternal disgust of the CIA section head. The jaw remained permanently set and the teeth gnashed together, even when he spoke.

“Nigel Best?” he belched, as if finding long-lost relief from an ill-advised taco and overdose of Pepto Bismo.

Nigel nodded, his back as straight as a terrified prairie dog.

“What kinda name is that?” Brodsky managed without surrendering to a lower colon eruption.

“English, maybe some Swedish.” Nigel muttered.

“Mmmmm.” Brodsky fumbles with the photos, tossing one after another aside as if surveying his losing cards in a low-stakes poker game. “I think I saw most of these in the Miami Herald, didn’t I?” He doesn’t wait for an answer. “And this Cavendish broad. Why don’t you think her death was a run-of-the-mill car wreck? And do you actually believe this MI6 chick is a double agent?” Again, no hesitation. “And who in the hell is this Andy Campanaro dude and that two-bit private eye?”

“Max Malone, sir.” Nigel’s response surprisingly clears the lump in his throat.

Brodsky studies the newspaper guy through slitted eyes that have seen more espionage plots than George Smiley, and a furrowed brow that has suspected every Joe he’s run from Serbia to the Seychelles.

“And according to your story, there’s no evidence that munitions were actually shipped from the Caymans to who the hell knows where, right?” Brodsky skillfully keeps the information of the pharmaceutical shipment tucked in his already overtight shirt.

“Well, Mr. Brodsky, the evidence is all circumstantial, admittedly. But (Nigel clears his throat and reaches for all the investigative reporter that hopefully lives somewhere deep down inside him), there’s simply too much evidence to brush off as mere coincidence. U.S. Attorney Cavendish hires Max Malone to investigate this Campanaro guy, who Max believes blew up a resort in Oregon killing three people, including Campanaro’s twin brother, and the attorney believes is running munitions to our enemies, then Max gets plugged and is now being held against his will at Campanaro’s estate in Grand Cayman, all the while Max has been set up by Dolly Teagarden who happens to be a British double agent, and U.S. Attorney Cavendish conveniently dies in an auto accident on Capitol Circle in Tallahassee with a 45-mile-per hour speed limit. And there’s my photos of Max being taken captive. He’s an American citizen.” Nigel lets out his breath, then offers rather meekly, having exhausted the last of his bravado,

“That convinces me of a terrible conspiracy against my country, and a job for someone like you.” Then, after a life-saving gulp of air, “Sir.”

“And why exactly should I give a damn,” Brodsky claims, spreading his arms around the shabby expanse of the conference room, then realizing his point has been rendered much less important than it was intended, tries again. “We have big problems to solve here.”

“Because it’s not just my country, sir. It’s also yours.”

*   *   *

Max gets wheeled poolside once a day for the amusement of Andy Campanaro. He’s shackled to a wheelchair. His ribs remind him of every breath he takes. He takes his meals through a straw. One eye remains closed beneath a purple haze. And the other eye is forced to witness the parade of bikini-clad beauties who find Max too disgusting to look at. Max thinks: Dear me, let that skinny newsie Nigel Best deliver me from this hell.

After all, bruised, battered, and shunned by poolside pulchritude, he remains Max Malone, private eye.

Review and Revise by Paula Walker on 06/01/2019

So, it’s done. Finally. After the many years you’ve had it in your mind to create that will or trust as the gift it’s meant to be to help your family take care of your affairs as cleanly and simply as possible after you’ve passed, you’ve done it. There now. Nothing more to do with it! Right? Well … not so fast.

One thing is for certain, life doesn’t stand still. Your family, your circumstances, and (don’t forget) the government are constantly on the move, growing, changing and imposing new laws respectively.

Too often people tuck their estate plan away and twenty years or more hence, when the time comes to rely on the plan, it is discovered inadequate or inflexible to their current needs. Their life’s circumstances changed and the plan in many places is no longer relevant, or worse, undermines their intentions. While your estate plan may not be your favorite bedtime story every evening, as a practical matter for your benefit it is best to review the plan you have in place every three to five years. Some circumstances that should trigger a review on that boundary or before, potentially as circumstances arise, follow:

– Moving to another state. Estate planning laws vary state to state, by example, some states have an inheritance tax and/or an estate tax, others do not. Another example, the requirements for advance directives and durable powers of attorney vary.

– Births; those new family members, you may have a place in your heart that you want reflected in your estate plan.

– The three D’s: death, divorce, disinheritance. Major shifts in life that alter the way you originally intended to distribute your wealth and belongings, impose a need to review and revise.

– Marriage - your own or one of your beneficiaries can impact your plan.

– Charitable giving - there is a cause you want to support that did not have your attention when you first created your plan.

– Your executor or successor trustee may need to be changed. They are no longer able or willing to serve in that capacity, or they are no longer a good fit for your life’s circumstances.

– Children reach the age of majority, i.e. they turn eighteen.

– Changes in the law, tax law and laws that govern aspects of your estate plan, like laws governing the durable power of attorney or advance directive.

This is just a sampling of the events that should trigger you to review your estate plan. Some of these, like changes in the law, you may not be aware of which is why, as I started with, it is a good practice to review your estate plan regularly. Every three to five years review your plan with your estate planner so that you can identify impacts, the obvious and the not so obvious.

Stories of the Stars...  If Only

Examples from a few celebrities.

Robin Williams, comedian extraordinaire, with his estate planning and revamping of that plan likely reduced the battle between his third wife and his children from becoming a wildfire out of control, to a mediated settlement that concluded in a relatively short amount of time by creating a prenuptial agreement with his third wife and then updating his revocable living trust in line with that agreement.

Paul Walker, The Fast & The Furious, in contrast to Williams stands as an example of missed opportunities by leaving his estate plan untouched for twelve years, omitting to review and revise. With forward thinking, he created a revocable living trust to provide for his three year old daughter, Meadow. Kudos. But in the twelve years intervening between that event and his untimely death, many of the life changes mentioned in this article occurred that went unattended to in his plan. At the time he created his plan his career was just taking off. He amassed significant wealth, an estate estimated to be in excess of $25 million at his death. And then there was his seven-year relationship with the person that many thought was destined to be his future spouse. None of these significant life changes were incorporated. Much to speculate on that could have better served his estate and his intentions for those that he provided for or may have wanted to provide for had he reviewed and revised his estate plan.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Contributed photo
The View Finder: OC Yocum by Gary Randall on 05/01/2019

I love Mount Hood, history and photography, and when I can bring all three together in one place, I’m happy.

Loyal readers of my column may remember the article that I wrote about Jennie Welch, her photography and its importance to the history of Welches and the Mount Hood area (August 2018 Mountain Times). Before Jennie Welch took her first photo another Mount Hood icon was bringing cutting-edge photography technology that would eventually allow consumers, such as Jennie, an easier method to create their own photos to the Pacific Northwest.

Oliver C. Yocum, known to everyone as “OC,” came to Oregon in a wagon on the old Oregon Trail as a five-year-old child with his parents in 1847, and by the time that his life ended, he became a legend indelibly etched into the history of Mount Hood.

His family settled in Yamhill County, where he spent his childhood working on the family farm and odd jobs in between. By the time he was 17 he had worked as a clerk in the family hotel in Lafayette, was an apprentice saddle maker, a builder and in his spare time studied law. In time he struck out on his own.

He loved Shakespearean novels and travelled mining camps with a troupe reenacting the plays on a portable stage.

He eventually made it back to Lafayette where he met Ann Robertson, herself an Oregon Trail immigrant who travelled to Oregon as a two-year-old, and they were married. OC did some building, cabinet making and grain buying before the couple moved to Portland in 1881, where OC became a photograph printer and eventually a professional photographer.

Photography, back in the old days, was a messy and complicated procedure. It required a glass photo plate to be prepared with chemicals, exposed and developed all within a 15-minute period of time and required a portable darkroom in the form of a tent if you were taking photos in the outdoors. This form of photography was called wet plate photography.

But in 1871 a process called dry plate was invented and by 1879 factories were being made to manufacture glass dry plates.

Oliver Yocum was the first person in Oregon and perhaps the Pacific Northwest to manufacture dry plates. Dry plates were portable and able to expose the photo quicker, allowing for hand-held photos and were able to be stored for a time after the photo was made before it needed to be developed. This allowed more people to be able to enjoy photography and even though the cameras were still rather bulky, they allowed folks to carry their cameras into the outdoors.

In 1883 Oliver Yocum climbed Mount Hood for the first time. During the trip he carried a large 8” x 10” wooden camera and all of its accessories, weighing close to 50 pounds.

It was on this trip that the first photos taken on the summit of Mount Hood were made. It was also on this trip that Yocum fell in love with the countryside on the south side of Mount Hood.

For several seasons Yocum did photography in Portland during the winter and came to Government Camp in the summer. He took every opportunity to climb the mountain. In 1887 he was a member of the party that illuminated the summit and was one of the founding members of the Portland climbing club, the Mazamas, in 1894.

 He guided people to the top of Mount Hood until he turned 67.

In his quest to spend time outdoors in clean air, due to “pulmonary problems” caused by smoky air in Portland (and no doubt the chemicals from the photography process), he changed his occupation to surveyor.

In 1890 Yocum moved to Mount Hood, homesteaded, operated a sawmill and started guiding people to the top of Mount Hood.

In 1900 he built the first hotel in the town that was named Government Camp.

Oliver lived on Mount Hood until 1911, when he sold most of his holdings in Government Camp and moved back to Portland where he decided to study dentistry and accepted a position at the North Pacific Dental College. He was 69 years old at that point and had sold most of the business to the soon-to-become-legendary Lige Coalman, including the hotel.

OC lived a long and varied life and will forever be associated with the history of Mount Hood, but will also be a part of Mount Hood’s photographic history. OC died in 1928 and was followed into eternity by his wife Ann two years later.

Although his legacy rarely mentions his contributions to photography, his name will be preserved in some of the geographic locations on and around Mount Hood. Yocum Ridge, a very challenging ridge on the southeastern side of the mountain was named for him, as well as the picturesque waterfall on Camp Creek, Yocum Falls.

Viewpoints - Salem: Looking out for rural Oregon by Rep. Anna Williams on 05/01/2019

The 2019 legislative session has reached its midpoint and we have a number of important policies still to work through. The legislature’s main priorities are coming into focus now that many bill proposals have fallen by the wayside, and I want to discuss three important bills that could make an impact in our local communities.

First, House Bill 2007, a diesel pollution reform bill, is one that I strongly support. Some areas in Oregon have some of the worst diesel pollution in the country. This raises both environmental and public health concerns. HB 2007 would require owners of certain older trucks to install model 2010 or newer engines by January 1, 2029. This bill will also use the remaining funds from the Volkswagen Settlement to help fund that transition to cleaner diesel engines. Although 2029 may seem like a long timeline for such an important law, the longer timeline will give agricultural producers in the Mount Hood area time to budget and plan for the transition.

House Bill 2020, another measure I plan to support, would launch a “cap and invest” program to regulate carbon gas emissions in our state. Under this bill, the state will auction off “allowances” for companies to emit those gases and use the money from the sale of the allowances to help Oregonians transition to lower-emission practices. I strongly support this concept, but I have heard from farmers in our communities about their concern that they may be more negatively impacted than other industries by this law.

In my conversations with those farmers, I have learned about their fears for their farms’ futures and the challenging reality of our ever-changing economy. I have passed their concerns along to my colleagues who are managing the amendments proposed for this bill. My hope is that the final bill will avoid unintended hardships for farmers while creating effective tools to combat climate change. I will keep pushing to ensure that these farmers’ voices have an impact on the bill’s final language.

Finally, there are several bills that propose to ban various pesticides, including chlorpyrifos and neonicotinoid chemicals. Although I have heard from some of my constituents about the risks of recklessly using these chemicals, I have also heard from Hood River Valley and East Multnomah farmers about the challenges that total bans might create.

I worry that farmers will be forced to turn to more damaging or even dangerous alternatives to avoid pest outbreaks if a total ban is passed by the Legislature. Another possibility is that no alternative would exist at all for certain specialized farms in our part of the state, such as blueberry, peppermint and Christmas tree farms.

This would mean that some crops would be exposed to serious and potentially devastating infestations while farmers scrambled to find non-chemical means to combat them. So, while I would probably support restrictions on how certain pesticides are used, I have been proud to stand by the agricultural community in opposing these total bans.

All of these policy ideas may make sense to legislators and voters from more urban areas of our state. However, I am concerned that many farmers feel the cumulative impact of many bills this session are having an outsized negative impact on the agricultural sector and rural communities. It is essential that we protect our farms and small towns, while we find ways to encourage better environmental practices. So, I am open to your thoughts and ideas about how to strike a balance between environmental responsibility and security for rural Oregon that helps make our beautiful district such a powerful economic force in the state.

Anna Williams is the House District 52 Representative

Viewpoints - Sandy: The Mountain Festival Carnival is back! by Mayor Stan Pulliam on 05/01/2019

I’m excited to announce the return of one of Sandy’s most sacred traditions – The Sandy Mountain Festival Carnival!

A big thank you to the Sandy Mountain Festival Committee, especially to Martin Montgomery and Steven Brown. Additionally, this event does not happen without outstanding community partners like AntFarm and the Leathers Family and Leather’s Fuel.

As someone who grew up in this community, I have fond memories of attending the carnival as a child. As a father of two little girls, I’m excited to see this annual tradition continue for future generations.

As some may remember, even prior to me making the decision to run for Mayor, I was a vocal critic of the lack of proactive leadership displayed by the city for such a popular event.

In an editorial that garnered lots of local attention, I stated that while “I understand that most of the work and planning for the festival is done by the committee, it’s imperative that the city begins to coordinate logistics and show this kind of proactive leadership to troubleshoot issues. How is it possible that one simply cannot find a local business owner, a community organization or a parcel of publicly-owned land for a carnival one weekend out of the year?”

I’m happy to say that as Mayor, this is exactly how I have chosen to lead. I’ve had several meetings with the leadership of the Sandy Mountain Festival Committee, as well as the property and business owners affected by the event. I also hosted a joint meeting with all the event stakeholders including our city department heads who interact with the Mountain Festival, like police, public works, recreational services, transit and economic development.

The Sandy Mountain Festival is one of the largest festival events in Oregon and attracts thousands of people to town each year. According to the festival’s website, its purpose is to enhance Sandy’s business climate by showcasing products, allowing local nonprofit organizations to raise funds, providing artists a forum for their talents and promoting community pride and participation.

Basically, the Sandy Mountain Festival provides citizens opportunities and allows our city to put its best foot forward. This is only the first step in our efforts to create the best possible Mountain Festival experience for both our neighbors here in Sandy, as well as our visitors.

In the years ahead, we hope to better incorporate our transit services with the overall visitor experience and help alleviate some of the traffic and parking concerns that arise during this popular event.

We want both our neighbors and visitors to have an experience when interacting with our community that leaves them wanting more and coming back to support our community and our local business owners. The Sandy Mountain Festival is a unique and outstanding opportunity to do just that.

The Sandy Mountain Festival Carnival is back at its usual location! What a crucial piece to reaching our overarching goal – To Keep Sandy Wonderful!

Stan Pulliam is the Mayor of the City of Sandy

Welcome to adulthood by Paula Walker on 05/01/2019

Our theme of “never too young” continues from last month with a topic that surprises many, if not most parents. The fact that your child, just turned 18, is now legally an adult, imposes legal requirements you’ve likely not yet considered. Although still their parents, and they still live at home, you no longer have legal access to your 18-year old’s medical records or information about their medical condition; nor can you transact business on their behalf should they need you to do so. This becomes especially relevant as your child heads for college, or that gap year of travel between high school and entering college; or otherwise ventures forth, independent and ready to be so, but, in emergencies, still looking to you for support and help.

Four documents each emerging young adult should have, are: 1) Healthcare Power of Attorney; 2) HIPAA Authorization; 3) Advance Directive; and 4) Durable Power of Attorney. With these instruments in place, whomever the young adult appoints in those instruments can intervene on their behalf in cases of medical emergency; can support them with medical care; can have access to medical records as needed; can make life and death decisions; can manage financial affairs as needed. Without these, even though you are paying the medical bills, you may not be able to speak with medical staff about medical conditions, prescriptions, handle insurance claims etc.

While the parent may be the best person to appoint in many cases, the young adult may appoint another trusted adult, aunt, uncle, older sibling, instead of or in addition to a parent. It is advisable to appoint alternates in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

How long do these four documents remain in effect? Two answers to that. First, each document is ‘durable,’ meaning that they remain in effect during a time of incapacity. Second, the appointment lasts as long as the young adult wants. They can revoke or amend the documents at any time appointing other persons to serve as their agent as they move into other stages of their lives and relationships, such as marriage.

Not only for medical events, having these proxy authorities in place can be useful in a variety of situations as your child ventures forth, perhaps travels overseas for a gap year or study, such as your ability to wire money from child’s bank account, contact the local embassy, sign a legal document for your child in their absence such as their lease, sign tax returns and pay bills. As well, a young adult may not want their parents to have access to certain information. They can stipulate not to disclose information they want to keep private.

Where forms may be state specific it is advisable to prepare the forms for the state in which you live as well as those for the state of the school attended and the school’s forms, if they have their own. Once executed, scan and save the documents so that they are readily available on a computer or by smartphone.

Attending to these documents is a good investment; part of your back-to-school/next-stage-of-life support. This can give peace of mind to your child as well as you as they venture forth, that in those fledgling years between childhood and fully independent adulthood, you can still be there for them if they need you.

Stories of the Stars, If Only …

Sobering statistics emphasize the importance of considering this. One source reports that each year, a quarter-million Americans between 18 and 25 are hospitalized with nonlethal injuries, and that accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults. However, there are numerous incidents, less drastic than this that may call upon a parent to be there for their child and act on their child’s behalf.

For this article I offer up, not stories of the celebrities, but stories from our common shared experience as parent and young emerging adult. One father recounts a scary episode in which his nineteen-year-old, who had traveled to Mexico on spring break, developed a severe intestinal bug and was admitted to the college infirmary. His father rushed to visit him there, however, doctors would not discuss his son’s condition citing privacy concerns.

Another parent recounts the events following a phone call informing her that her son, in college 270 miles away, was being rushed by ambulance to the emergency room due to severe chest pains. She called the ER only to be told that she had no legal right to talk with the doctor about her son’s condition. Even though in this case the son would not have wished to keep his parents in the dark, he was in too much pain to authorize their access to his medical information.

In both cases the children recovered, thankfully. Each story, though, goes to underscore the importance that these documents can provide in that transitional period of your and your children’s lives.

Dear Reader… We welcome your questions on matters related to estate planning. These will provide grist for future articles and enhance the potential for those articles to be of interest and value to you.

Please submit your questions to Garth Guibord, at garth@mountaintimesoregon.com.

Paula Walker is the founding attorney of Confluence Law Center in Welches, www.confluencelawcenter.com.

Blue Zone delicacies: seaweed, turmeric and mushrooms by Victoria Larson on 05/01/2019

Okinawa, Japan is the Blue Zone where women tend to live longer than other areas on our earth. In honor of women and mothers everywhere, let’s look at the lessons from this Blue Zone. Blue Zones are those areas in the world where it was discovered that inhabitants had better health and lived longer than most other areas on earth. The areas were circled on a map in blue ink and henceforth became known as the Blue Zones.

Okinawa, Japan is about a thousand miles south of Tokyo, an island of white sandy beaches and palm trees. Maybe that alone is enough to lead to longevity? Early Chinese explorers called this “the land of immortals.” Life expectancy for males is 84 years and for females it is almost 90 years! In addition, they have one-fifth the rate of breast cancer and prostate cancer and half the rate of dementia compared to the United States! I know both men and women in our immediate area who are in their 90s too, but for now let’s look at what has been discovered in Okinawa.

While yoga is performed almost daily, it was presumed that the Japanese diet had more to do with the longevity than any other factor. This is now presumed to be the cause of longevity almost everywhere, but a best-selling book, The Okinawan Diet Plan, written by brothers Craig and Bradley Wilcox, proves interesting. Investigation into the eating habits of Okinawans has now been divided into pre-1940 and post WWII. Hmm ... The pre-1940 diet was intensely focused on ingesting a sweet potato, related to our delicious orange ones, but purple and called “imo” in Japanese. This sweet potato used to constitute 60 percent of the daily caloric intake of the people. After WWII and our Western influences, consumption of those sweet potatoes fell to only five percent. In addition, consumption of foods like white bread, white rice, milk and eggs increased considerably. At the same time, cancers of breast, colon, lung and prostate about doubled.

A typical breakfast was miso soup with seaweed and “green leafy things.” Even as late as the mid-1990s, I remember being served a watery soup with rice and mushrooms (called ‘fungus’ in China) on a month-long trip to China. Added to this breakfast soup were greens foraged from nearby hills only hours before. Very fresh and highly nutritious. Main meals were stir-fried vegetables including burdock (we call it a weed) with a very small amount of fish or meat, if desired.

Before 1940, fish was eaten at least three times a week. Dairy and meat represented only three percent of daily caloric intake. Okinawans favored pork, usually only served on feast days, when it was stewed for days before until it was mostly collagen (which we tend to buy in plastic containers for a lot of money). It was believed that the protein substance actually repaired small tears in blood vessels, thereby reducing risk of stroke.

A typical meal was seaweeds, sweet potatoes and turmeric, a digestive mode now believed to mimic calorie restriction. And calorie restriction is believed to lead to greater longevity in Okinawans, at least in older citizens born before 1940. In 1940 Okinawans ate 40 percent fewer calories than the average American. It appears that seaweed, sweet potatoes and turmeric all provide genetic triggers to decrease free radical production without causing increase in hunger.

Tofu has been popular in Asian countries for hundreds of years, being made into everything from milk to ice cream and was the dairy consumed daily in Asian countries. Also consumed daily was green tea made wonderfully fragrant by adding jasmine flowers! You’ve all heard the phrase “all the tea in China?” In fact, while we brought our own tea to tea houses and eateries in China, it was weeks before we learned that we had to ask for hot water in order to brew it ourselves at our table.

Turmeric is used as both a tea and as a spice and is best warmed and served with a pinch of black pepper. Not as an encapsulate pill. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory now being further studied for its anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Add in mushrooms and the hundreds of kinds of fungus with their immune protecting compounds, lots of garlic and the many different kinds of seaweed and you have a very healthy diet.

It’s no wonder that older Okinawans have the longest life expectancy, especially for women. Live well, live long. Sushi anyone?

The Mt. Hood Green Scene: toy exchange programs by on 05/01/2019

It’s May already and summer is just around the corner. The kids will be on vacation before you know it. What are you going to do? How will you keep them busy and out of trouble all day? Apparently, they disallowed child labor some time ago. And child development experts strongly recommend that you limit a child’s screen time (TV, phone, computer, tablet, etc.) to two hours per day. So, it remains up to parents and grandparents to keep them busy and entertained while making learning a part of the play experience during the summer break.

One of the best things when we were kids was receiving a monthly subscription of Highlights for Children, a magazine that began publishing in 1946 and continues in popularity today. It is filled with activities, reading and puzzles. Geared primarily for children ages 6-12 it has kept up with the times by launching a mobile app, Highlights Every Day, in 2017. While an app is nice, it’s not the same as receiving a surprise package in the mail addressed to your child(ren). Luckily, there is a new type of service that has become quite popular that will keep the kids from saying they’re bored. It’s called a toy exchange subscription.

With this type of service, your child receives a used and sanitized toy each month that they play with and then return. When they’ve returned the toy, they get a new one. If the child has fallen in love with the toy, they can keep it for the cost of the toy. There are different types of programs available, based on the type of play that the child enjoys and on their age.

Some popular services such as Toy Library or Pley boast brands such as Lego, Minecraft, Disney, among others, and have hundreds of toys to choose from. Often the cost of the monthly subscription is less than the cost of purchasing new toys and the quality of toys is top-notch.

Other services offer a packet of activities that the child can engage in and there is nothing to return. Companies such as KiwiCo or Spangler Science Club both focus on play as a way of developing a child’s intellectual curiosity. Each month, kids ranging from infants to teenagers receive a box with various arts and crafts activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Dress-up was always a favorite at our house. If your child is into playing pirates and princesses, My Pretend Place is the company for them. Each month, the package includes costumes, books and activities surrounding a specific theme that will set their imagination free.

The advantage of using a toy exchange program is that the toybox won’t get full of toys that the kids will have grown bored with or have outgrown. From an environmental perspective, the toy exchange programs use the “reduce” and “re-use” philosophy in a great way. By sharing or exchanging toys, it reduces the number of toys that end up in the landfill. One environmentally-friendly company, Green Piñata, ensures that their high-end toys “use sustainably-sourced wood or recycled plastic” as well as being toxin-free.

It’s inspiring to see the creative ways that individuals are finding to bring about new models for doing things. Toy exchange programs solve the problem of getting tired of the same toys, keeping them busy, helping the child develop through play, all while saving parents money. Of course, a subscription would also make a great gift for those grandchildren, nephews, and nieces who are far away.

Adventures in meal prep by Taeler Butel on 05/01/2019

As someone who works in nutrition, I’ve seen diet fads come and go as I’m sure many more will come and go. Such is the cycle of life. Recently, I was hired to prepare (or “meal prep” as the streets call it) a keto style menu. This new language included words like “Macros” and “Ketosis.” So, I researched a little and decided on a menu, and now I’ll share a few recipes with you.

Happy Ketosis!

Italian cream cake

(Gluten free also)

Heat oven to 325

Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

For the cake cream together:

2 sticks soft butter

1 cup sweetener such as swerve

1 T vanilla

Add four egg yolks, one at a time. Put whites in a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk following dry ingredients:

1.5 cups Almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 t baking powder

1 t salt

Add dry ingredients about 1/2 at a time alternate adding 1/2 cup heavy cream.

Beat egg whites with 1/4 t cream of tartar.

Carefully fold egg whites into the mix.

Bake 40-45 minutes, let cool in pans, frost when cool with cream cheese frosting.

Use mixer to beat together:

1 8 oz package cream cheese

2 sticks soft butter

1 cup sweetener

1 t vanilla

1/2 cup heavy cream


1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Toast and add around sides and top of cake.

 Creamy Tuscan chicken

Between plastic pound out four large boneless skinless chicken breasts.

On a large plate toss together:

1/4 cup almond flour

1 t salt

1/2 t pepper

1 T lemon zest

1 t Italian seasoning

Dredge chicken in mixture, set aside.

In a large skillet heat on medium, melt together:

2 T unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

Brown the chicken 4-5 minutes on each side one at a time, place in warm oven.

Wipe out skillet. Then add:

1 T each butter and olive oil

1 t chopped garlic

Juice from 1 lemon

4 oz cream cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup each chopped sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Bring to a bubble, stir until everything is melty and serve over chicken.

(Taeler Butel shares her culinary gifts exclusively with The Mountain Times.)

Episode XXXIII: Rolexes and a Palisade of Pain by Max Malone, Private Eye on 05/01/2019

Max tried to shake the fuzzy gauze from his eyes. Slowly, he began to focus. The wall in front of him, viewed from the floor, the hideous pastels of island architecture from hell. Despite the four-alarm fire in his head, he was still able to feel the humid air clinging to him like an iguana in heat. He forced himself to a seated position, saw, figures in the room, thought: I probably have these knuckleheads to thank for my headache.

He heard a door open and the footfall of two men, one very heavy. The big one stopped in front of him. Max looked up and managed a sinful hobgoblin smile.

“Ah, Mr. Fong. So good to see you again. (beat, fighting against the continuing cobwebs in his brain.) You really need to take a dip in the ocean. You smell like fish guts.”

The big Chinaman didn’t appreciate the reference to where he had been tied up by Max and friends, and Max didn’t expect him to. Rather, Max knew he was in deep trouble, but had already guessed he wasn’t going to be killed, because if he was, he’d already be there – call it private eye instincts – so he might as well get in a few licks of his own, albeit only of the verbal nature.

“You stink in a worse way, Mr. Private Dick,” Fong slavered. “But soon it won’t matter to me.”

Max managed a laugh, impressing even himself at its authenticity. The blow came suddenly and with such force Max could only guess it was delivered by Mr. Fong. It sent him reeling across the floor, and Max could feel his nose exploding through the pain. He squinted at the shoes. There were four. Two moccasin types, brown, and two as shiny as a marine’s dress low quarters. He forced himself to look up at his tormenters, got as far as their hands, noticed both wearing Rolex watches, wondered to himself why cheap thugs sought legitimacy through expensive watches.

He almost got back to a seated position when he was sent reeling – a serious blow to his ribs. Had to be a foot, he thought, of the shiny shoe variety. He searched deep inside for a breath, found one, then regretted it as the pain shot through like a bullet train from Brussels.

More blows came. The pain seemed to fall away, like a rock down a deep well. He knew he was losing consciousness as the pastel walls faded with the torment and he began to drift toward a distant shore.

He tried to focus on something he could hang on to. Being Max, he thought of women: Valerie Supine, the meanest little woman in thirteen western states; Hope, who had ventilated his fedora, and was doing time for a murder she didn’t commit; Francoise, his faithful secretary now in the good hands of Frank Strong, the former porn star Feral Strong; Natasha, dead on the fecund soil of rural France; Katrina, who swept through his cabin like her hurricane namesake; Anna Belle Wilde, the supposed innocent widow of Paul Kimatian-turned-Andy Campanaro; Jemma Gayle, the delightful and helpful Jamaican nurse who made a habit of pulling him out of trouble; then, before giving in to the gathering darkness, Dolly Teagarden.

Did Mr. Fong see Max smile, or try to smile? If so, his work wasn’t finished.

Max thought of the morality of Dolly, the MI6 agent from England. What cause did she serve? What was her reward? Where does she go from here? After all, he had accompanied her through France while cuffed to various versions of interior furniture, afterward here to the Caymans.

Then it came to him, his final thought before the lights went out: Why is it that as soon as I get to know a woman, I suddenly don’t like her anymore? Is that a flaw, or a salvation? Bah. A split lip and a bother of women.

* * *

Jemma Gayle got off work, checked her watch, and hurried down the crowded street of her neighborhood, finally reaching the Internet Café. She got her phone cabin number from the clerk and went in, closed the door, took a slip of paper from her purse and dialed a series of numbers.

She thought: After all, I’m doing this for my new friend, Max Malone.

Dalles Mountain, Wash.
Wildflower season by Gary Randall on 04/01/2019

It’s April again, and we photographers all know what that means - it’s wildflower season again! Especially around the Mount Hood area as we have so many options and a very long season to photograph them.

Early in the season the flowers such as the purple lupine and bright yellow balsamroot sunflowers start in the lower elevations, especially along the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. Places such as Rowena Crest or Dalles Mountain on the Washington side of the river are both very popular locations for those who seek these wildflowers in the springtime. As the season progresses the flowers work their way up into the foothills of Mount Hood and in time onto the slopes of the mountain during the summer months. Most of the best wildflowers on Mount Hood are accessible from the many hiking trails available to us but a drive on some of the forest roads will be lined with everything from lupine and paintbrush to a wide assortment of orchids and lilies.

When photographing the flowers, I like to get up before sunrise to be able to be there during the best light available to me, especially for my landscape photos (but a sunset can be just as nice). I typically avoid the light of midday but a nice blue sky with some fluffy clouds is also striking. As the light changes, I like to take more close-up photos of the flowers. Macro photography is fun, but bring some knee pads. I spend a lot of time on my knees during wildflower season.

When out in the wild and roaming among the fields of flowers be aware of your surroundings so as not trample or destroy any plants or areas surrounding them. Don’t break new trails as there will be many opportunities for photos along the pathways and trails. As outdoor enthusiasts we need to practice and preach proper stewardship of the lands, especially in these days of increased usage.

Some of my favorite secret locations:

Rowena Crest Viewpoint, Mosier – early season

Rowena Crest Viewpoint is located on and is a part of the old Historic Columbia River Highway. Located between Mosier and The Dalles, it gives you a commanding view of the Columbia River Gorge, especially to the east which makes it a great place to photograph a sunrise. Lupine and balsamroot sunflowers dominate the scene, but it is home to an amazing variety of native wildflowers. There are great trails through the area, including the Tom McCall Preserve.

Columbia Hills State Park, Dalles Mountain, Wash. – early season

Across the Columbia River from The Dalles, Oregon lies a whole world of exploration. One of my favorite places to photograph is Dalles Mountain Ranch near Dallesport. It once was a ranch and several of the buildings, including barns and the original farm house are still there and a part of the historical history of the area. With views over fields of wildflowers in the Springtime that overlook the southern skyline including Mount Hood amazing photos are made here.

Mt Hood National Forest roads – after snow clears

I love to just go for drives on many of the roads that are open for travel that are on National Forest land, especially while the rhododendrons and bear grass are blooming. Many of these roads come to views of Mount Hood. As you drive you will also notice a wide variety of wildflowers that grow along the road. Just pack up your camera and go for a drive.

Mount Hood’s Wy’east Basin –late season

For those who enjoy a beautiful hike that will get you onto the upper slopes of Mount Hood I recommend a hike up Vista Ridge to Wy’east Basin. It can be strenuous to some but if you pack a lunch and water, take your time and stop and photograph the flowers along the way, a wonderful day can be had. The trail weaves its way through the ghost forest created by the Dollar Lake fire, the floor of which can be covered in flowers including beautiful white fawn lilies. As you break out of the forest, views of Barrett Spur and Mount Hood bear grass and rhododendrons line the trail. When you arrive above the timber line and into Wy’east basin you will be greeted with areas covered with beautiful mountain heather.

These are only a small sample of the amazing scenery that can yi