Lane Transit District Memorial Day update

■ Lane Transit District (LTD) will operate on its Sunday bus schedules on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30. In addition, the Customer Service Center at Eugene Station will be open Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. LTD’s Administrative Offices will be closed.

Oregon unemployment down to 3.7% in April

■ Throughout the past two years, Oregon and the nation have experienced similar trends as their economies and labor markets have recovered from the pandemic recession. Both saw their unemployment rates spike to unusual highs of more than 13% by April 2020, followed by a drop to below 7% six months later.

LTD board hosts three finalists for GM role

Three job candidates were in town Monday-Wednesday this week applying for the District’s general manager position. Over their three-day stay in the community, the finalists met with employees, community members, and stakeholders, as well as tour LTD facilities and the surrounding area. The three finalists for the LTD general manager’s positions are: Jameson T. Auten, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, Kansas City (KCATA), Missouri; Amy Cummings, Statewide Planning Manager, Parametrix, Reno, Nevada; and David G. Trimble, Deputy General Manager, Salem Area Mass Transit District (Cherriots), Salem, Oregon. LTD’s board expects to announce the new general manager by June 31.

Avian flu detected in the southern Willamette Valley

■ Several Canada goose goslings collected from Alton Baker Park in Eugene have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), and a larger outbreak is suspected as more sick and dead waterfowl have been observed at the park. A red-tailed hawk from Eugene and an osprey collected from Dorena Reservoir (east of Cottage Grove) May 10 have also tested positive. These cases mark the first known detections of the new avian flu strain in wild birds in Oregon. 

Earlier this month, the first Oregon case in a backyard poultry flock was confirmed in Linn County and one additional case has been confirmed in Lane County. The risk of HPAI to human health is low, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you see sick or dead wild birds, do not collect or handle them but report the incident directly to ODFW at 866-968-2600 or [email protected] 

ODFW staff will be conducting surveillance and collecting/testing sick and dead wild birds to monitor for the presence of the disease.

Pioneer Homesteading summer experience

■ Singing Creek Education Center, 360 S. River Road, Cottage Grove, is offering a Pioneer Homesteading Summer Camp this year. This camp is open to boys and girls ages 6-10 and has two four-day sessions, the first starting July 4, and the second starting Aug. 15. This day camp allows children to immerse themselves in history, living like Oregon pioneers, with activities such as sewing, churning butter, and learning pioneer games. More info: singingcreekcenter.org

Summer opportunity: Youth Corps Community

■ The Youth Corps is offering teens an opportunity to help their community, earn college credit and get paid this summer. Members ages 15-19 spend 6-7 hours a day doing projects all over Lane County. Groups meet in a local area and take buses to project locations where they build trails, plant trees and remove invasive plant species. Over the five weeks – July 25 through Aug. 26 – members learn teamwork, and real-world skills and are compensated $300 a week. Application is open now. More info: nwyouthcorps.org.

OCCU donates to PeaceHealth child program

■ SPRINGFIELD - What if kids were not scared to go to the hospital? What if parents had someone to stand beside them to offer emotional support during a stressful time? 

Those are the goals of PeaceHealth’s Child Life Specialist program and, with a significant donation from the OCCU Foundation, the program will be expanded to help even more children and families in the future. OCCU Foundation has pledged to support the position for three years with a $300,000 donation. The contribution is a lead gift to PeaceHealth’s $1 million fundraising campaign. 

“OCCU Foundation is in awe of the support the Child Life Specialists provide every day for children and families in our community during their time in the hospital,” said Ron Neumann, OCCU Foundation Board Chair. “We believe in the impact this team makes on a daily basis for our community. We are proud to have the opportunity to offer the lead gift to expand this vital program to pediatric surgical patients and beyond.”

PeaceHealth’s certified Child Life Specialists help infants, children, youth and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, trauma and loss. The specialists provide evidence-based assistance that is both developmentally and psychologically appropriate. 

That assistance can include therapeutic play, preparation for procedures and education to help reduce fear, anxiety and pain. The current team of three Child Life Specialists provide aid to 1,500 pediatric patients annually.  

OCCU Foundation’s gift will help PeaceHealth hire additional Child Life Specialist staff at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. 

“We are incredibly thankful to continue partnering with OCCUF and grateful for their offer to invest in the further development of our Child Life program.” said Barb Blair, Lead Child Life Specialist at RiverBend. “This generous lead gift from OCCUF will have a tremendous impact on the emotional and developmental needs of children receiving healthcare throughout our region as well as their families.”