The Old Schoolhouse. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Heritage Foundation gets grants, elects officers

CRESWELL — The Creswell Heritage Foundation has been awarded additional grants for the project of upgrading the electrical, plumbing and heating systems and a new ADA compliant bathroom in the Old Schoolhouse. In addition to the $15,000 grant from Kinsman Foundation, it received $5,000 from Pacific Power, $2,500 from Lane County Cultural Coalition, $3,000 from the City of Creswell Community Services Fund via Creswell 1st, and $20,000 from Three Rivers Foundation, with other grants pending and planned. 

In other news from the foundation, at its annual meeting in January, officers were sworn in, including: Verlean McCoy, president; Don Ehrich, vice president; Mary Ann Howard, secretary, and Patty Birch, treasurer. It also welcomed a new board member, Jordan Rosenthal.

CHF will be participating in the BottleDrop’s Earth Day Give campaign, in which non-profits will receive a 20% match on funds raised between April 11-23, whether through their Blue Bag account or by transfer from Green Bag accounts. Last year, CHF raised $850 through BottleDrop.  

CHF tables will be set up at the Creswell Community-Wide Yard Sale on May 6 and 7. The sale will be at the Old Schoolhouse from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations are being accepted now.

CHF is also developing a long-range landscape plan for its Old Schoolhouse grounds. Some of that will be visible this summer and fall.

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Oregon sees decrease in suicide, remains above national average:

Oregon had the nation’s 13th highest suicide rate across all ages in 2020—an improvement from the year before when the state was ninth in suicide deaths, according to suicide mortality data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The state had 18.3 deaths by suicide per 100,000 people in 2020 with a total of 833 deaths. In 2019, the suicide death rate was 20.4 per 100,000, which amounted to 906 total deaths. Oregon was one of seven states that showed a decrease in suicide rates between 2019 and 2020, according to CDC data released in February 2022.

According to the recently published Youth Suicide Invention and Prevention Plan annual report, Oregon had success in reduction of suicide deaths for youth. The number and rate of suicides for youth aged 24 and younger decreased in 2020 by nearly 14%, from 118 deaths in 2019 to 102 deaths in 2020. The decrease placed Oregon 18th highest in the nation – an improvement from 2019 and 2018, when Oregon ranked 11th highest in the nation for youth suicides.

“While we are encouraged by 2020’s downward trend that shows our work with partners to address youth suicide is helping in some counties, we still have a long way to go to improve outcomes among all Oregon communities,” said Oregon Health Authority Behavioral Health Director Steve Allen. “Racial and economic inequalities impact the overall health of many of our communities and we have much work to do to alleviate this injustice. Our hearts grieve alongside the Oregon communities and families that have experienced suicide loss.”

Call volume to Lines for Life, a regional substance abuse and suicide prevention nonprofit that operates several crisis helplines, has increased annually since 2016. Of the crisis calls staff answered, roughly the same percent of callers reported thinking about suicide in 2020 as in 2019.

Preliminary 2021 data for Oregon indicate a three-year decreasing trend in youth suicide numbers for youth aged 24 and younger. While Oregon’s youth suicide deaths have decreased, Oregon’s youth suicide rate was much higher than the national average for the years preceding the decrease. Despite the downward trend, far too many Oregon families and communities experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide in 2021, and preliminary data for all ages combined indicate an increase in the number of suicides in 2021.

The number of youth suicide deaths in 2021 did not decrease in every county in Oregon. Last week, Lane County Public Health declared a public health emergency due to an increase in youth suicides since November 2021. In response to this increase, additional resources and support are being made available to Lane County schools, healthcare providers, and community members.