Area Briefs

Area briefs: June 8

Local Afghans to share their stories on World Refugee Day 

On World Refugee Day on June 20, Afghan refugees who have resettled in our Lane County community will gather at First United Methodist Church at 1376 Olive St. in Eugene to share their stories. 

Starting at 6 p.m.,  this free Eugene-Springfield-based Catholic Community Services (CCS) event will feature a speaker panel, a question and answer session, and a  documentary film directed by an Afghan refugee who resettled in the Eugene area with assistance from CCS’s Refugee and Immigrant Services Program (RISP). 

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population remains in  need of humanitarian and protection assistance. This ongoing crisis has displaced millions of Afghans, with the number of  refugees swelling in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 2021. 

Since 2021, RISP has helped over 30 Afghans resettle in Lane County and become a part of the community. This number will grow dramatically next year, with RISP expecting to welcome up to 60 more Afghan refugees through the U.S. Refugee Admission Program in 2024. 

“Most people may have no reason to connect tragic world events to our communities here in Lane County,” said Lorri Perreault,  executive director of Catholic Community Services. “But the truth is  that Lane County is a safe and wonderful destination for fleeing refugees and other immigrants.

Perreault said that work that Catholic Community Services does through its Refugee and Immigrant Services Program and its collaborating volunteers at Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane  County is the bridge that creates successful transitions and resettlements. 

“We hope that celebrating World Refugee Day  with our stories will shine a light on the plight of refugees everywhere, but more specifically here in Lane County,” she said. 

Those interested in attending can register by visiting To support RISP’s efforts with a donation, visit Catholic Community Services online at 

Outdoor Burning Season Ends Early in Lane County Due to Elevated Fire Risk.

In light of dry conditions and an escalating fire danger, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) announces an early closure of the outdoor burning season. The season, normally scheduled to close on June 15, ended on June 2. 

The decision to conclude the outdoor burning season ahead of schedule comes from the Lane Fire Defense Board and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). The extended dry period, coupled with forecasted conditions, has prompted the revision of the burning season dates.

“Given the current conditions, the only way to mitigate fire risk without relying on weather changes is through our actions,” said Travis Knudsen, the public affairs manager for LRAPA. “That’s why the Fire Defense Board and ODF are closing the season now.”

Residents are reminded that disposing of yard debris is crucial in defending against wildfires. To facilitate this, Lane County offers several collection depots where residents can dispose of woody yard debris for a minimal fee. Alternatives to burning, such as chipping and composting, are also recommended.

As the fall open burning season is set to begin on Oct. 1, any changes to this date due to fire risk will be announced by the Lane County Fire Defense Board.

To stay updated on the burning season status, visit, or call the LRAPA daily open burning advisory line at 541-726-3976. Coastal residents may reach out at 541-997-1757. For further information about the decision and fire danger, please contact Lane Fire Defense Board’s Chief Chad Minter at 541-686-1573.

Deadline extended: Nominations invited for Springfield Heritage Awards

SPRINGFIELD – The deadline has been extended to submit nominations for the 2023 Springfield Heritage Awards, a program to recognize significant achievements in stewardship of the physical and cultural heritage of the geographic area. 

The deadline for nominations has been extended to 5 p.m., June 23. The nominations will be accepted online, and packets may be found at

Presented by the Springfield Historic Commission and the Springfield History Museum, these awards recognize a broad array of stewardship activities that increase awareness, appreciation, and support an inclusive perspective of local heritage. 

There are two award categories. The “Preservation Excellence Award” celebrates outstanding projects of many types including historic preservation, historical research, and community outreach. The “History Maker Award” celebrates a person or entity that demonstrates leadership in shaping, preserving, and fostering appreciation of local heritage – past, present, and future. Up to three awards per category may be presented each year.

Award recipients will be selected by ,ayor Sean VanGordon, with input from a jury that includes representatives of the Historic Commission, the History Museum Committee, past award recipients, and members of the community selected by the mayor. 

Anyone who wishes to serve on the Springfield Heritage Award jury or has questions is invited to contact Historic Commission staff liaison Tom Sievers, at [email protected] or 541-726-2333.

Noxious vegetation season starts June 15 in Creswell

CRESWELL – Noxious vegetation enforcement season runs from June 15 through Sept. 30 of every year.

Residents should be sure to mow their property’s grass and weeds so they don’t grow over 10 inches.

Residents are also expected to trim back other vegetation which can include poison oak, poison ivy, or blackberry bushes that might also be on your property. Making sure this vegetation is maintained prevents fire hazards from happening.



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