Protect our water
I’d like to thank the folks that hosted the people’s town hall on August 31 to listen to Oregonians about the River Democracy Act, a bill that would protect critical rivers and streams across the state as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
In Oregon, there are about 16,000 total miles of streams that supply public drinking water, and 9,000 miles of them are intermittent, ephemeral or headwater streams. Over 1.7 million Oregonians depend on these small, sometimes non-flowing waterways for drinking water. These streams are also critical for maintaining the flow and temperature of downstream rivers, sustaining Oregon’s iconic trout and salmon populations, and providing vital habitat to countless other species of wildlife.
A recent poll showed that almost all Oregon residents support legislation for enhancing protection of our rivers, and I am one of the many. I was born and raised in Deschutes County, and live and work here now because I love the public lands and waters all around us. I studied intermittent water resources in Oregon’s rural high desert in graduate school, and I’m particularly encouraged to see that the bill would protect many of the often overlooked, but critically important seasonal waterways and headwaters in Oregon’s high desert.
I’m all for conservation protections for our state’s iconic rivers, streams and seasonal creeks that are vital to the ecology and economy of eastern Oregon. I hope to see the River Democracy Act cross the finish line this year, with all of its lesser known tributaries included.
—Sara Bouska, Bend
A managed camp can work
Many recent articles have created a vision of what a “managed camp” looks like visually and conceptually that are not necessarily correct. As an example, the proposed Oasis Village in Redmond will be a fenced and gated area where several tiny bedrooms will be placed for our guests to live in relative comfort and safety. The site will also provide shower and toilet units as well as meeting and consultation space and a fenced dog run. Each guest will be screened before they are admitted and they will be required to sign a “contract” to help support the village and to make themselves available to the medical and personal counseling services in order to improve their condition and to re-enter society as quickly as possible or advance to transitional shelter such as Bethlehem Inn or Shepherd’s House.
A shelter / safe parking area can set criteria for those being served from the working poor with families to the chronically homeless to veterans to senior citizens, etc. each category or level of homelessness carries it’s distinct and unique challenges and is generally created for a specific clientele.
As a result, some shelters may house nurses and public servants who simply cannot find or afford proper living spaces. In today’s society, a significant number of homeless people actually have jobs but cannot afford to keep a roof over their heads and maintain transportation or day care in order to get to and from work. Shelters / safe parking can be efficiently, safely and holistically operated while being positive and contributing factors in any community.
— Bob Bohac, Redmond
OSU-Cascades should have a managed, homeless camp
I am responding to the guest column in Saturday's paper by Naomi Sigler.
I began reading this thinking it was another vexed citizen complaining about our homeless population in Bend. But her next to last paragraph was different. Here is an intriguing idea! The OSU-Cascades campus has the brightest young minds, full of energy and void of defeatist thinking. As Ms. Sigler pointed out, there are many opportunities for internships and post- grad work for students and possibly opportunity for the homeless to improve their lives with the interaction with students in a controlled environment . There are many details that Ms. Sigler touched on. The big plus is the campus is a modified community that has many resources at it's fingertips that your average neighborhood does not. You would not likely get the "NIMBY" pushback from something like this because the student and faculty can go home at night leaving security staff to keep watch. I hope someone who is involved who has vision can take this to the next step. Brilliant!
— Lori Sloan, Bend