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Friday, February 9, 2018

Bags on bags on bags

Where to recycle those plastic bags

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 5:15 PM

I try to be kind to our environment. I don't wash my car, sort my recycling like a good American and do my best to avoid using disposable grocery bags while shopping at the store.

“Do my best” is the key phrase here.

I’m only human, unfortunately, and a very forgetful human at that. While I have my reusable totes on hand quite often, there are times when I show up empty handed and end up leaving the store feeling guilty (about more than the impulse candy bar buy at checkout). 

Between the holidays and a full schedule, my plastic bag reserve has grown quite large over the past several months.

They are useful as trash bags and packing material, but I can only get so creative with ways to reuse plastic bags. My boyfriend’s mother loves when we bring her a fresh crop when we visit her at her home near Los Angeles (where, to her dismay, they've banned single-use plastic bags).

If you’re in the same boat, don’t throw them in your dumpster in the dead of night (these little guys cause a lot of trouble for sorting facilities and landfills when floating around loosey-goosey) and definitely don’t throw them in your curbside recycling bin. Plastic bags can’t be processed at sorting facilities and often damage equipment, so don’t recycle your recyclables in plastic bags either.

Instead, many stores in town have drop off receptacles where you can offload your single-use plastic bags. They can be recycled into bags and containers as well as composite lumber for decks or playgrounds.

Of course, this recycling single-use plastic bags isn't the ideal. We should all be doing our best to reduce our waste. After all, it is "reduce, reuse, recycle"— in that order.

A few drop off locations for plastic bags:

Albertsons - 61155 S Hwy 97 Bend, OR
Walmart Supercenter - 20120 Pinebrook Blvd BEND, OR
Fred Meyer - 61535 South Highway 97 Bend, OR
Whole Foods Market - 2610 NE Hwy 20 Bend, OR
Target - 63435 N Hwy 97 Bend, OR
Lowe’s - 20501 Cooley Rd Bend, OR

You can find more at recycling drop off locations at plasticfilmrecycling.com

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Friday, November 4, 2016

Fall Repair Café Coming Nov. 15

Fix Your Broken Stuff and Recycle

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 4:43 PM

For over 25 years, the Environmental Center has worked to encourage the people of Bend to incorporate environmentally conscious practices into their daily lives. Their Rethink Waste Project has been setting up Repair Cafés across Bend since 2013, helping to eliminate waste by repairing over 200 items.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m the organization will hold their Fall Repair Café at the local makerspace, DIYcave. Volunteers at the Fall Repair Café are prepared to fix a wide variety of household items including electronics, appliances and furniture, but also outdoor gear and more. DenFor the first time we will also be including a Hair Repair station. They have been done at Repair Cafés in other locations, and when a local hair stylist attended the event last spring she was open to trying it out. She will be doing minor things like trimming bangs, fixing self-cuts, and other quick things to fix people’s hair styles,” says Denise Rowcraft, Rethink Waste Project Manager.

The Repair Café will help fix furniture, electronics, and other faulty products. - PEXELS.COM
  • pexels.com
  • The Repair Café will help fix furniture, electronics, and other faulty products.
The timing of the event lines up with America Recycles Day, a national initiative that helps organize events in smaller communities. Attendants of this season’s Repair Café can trade in old compact fluorescent (CFL) lightbulbs for free LEDs. CFL bulbs contain mercury and are unusually difficult to recycle, so the event offers attendants an easy way to safely get rid of their old lightbulbs. Although the use of DIYcave usually requires a membership, attendance of this season’s Repair Café is free. DIYcave offers training and provides the use of their wide variety of equipment.

“We're excited to be hosting the Repair Café again. DIYcave is a perfect place to have this great event because we're all about using the resources we have to make something great,” said co-owner Dave Danek. “The goal of the Repair Café fits right in with that ideal.”

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Gov. Kate Brown Declares Deschutes County Drought Emergency

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2015 at 12:22 PM

Deschutes County joins a growing list of Oregon counties—now 15 deep—designated by Gov. Kate Brown as drought emergencies following today's announcement. With today's addition of eight counties, nearly half the state is experiencing an official drought emergency. In addition to Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Morrow, Umatilla, and Wasco counties have been added.

“The majority of our state is parched due to the warm winter and lack of snow,” Gov. Brown said in a release. “As we move into summer, many areas of the state are going to dry out very quickly, likely leading to a difficult fire season as well as water shortages. We need our state, local and federal partners to be prepared as our communities grapple with hot and dry conditions.”

In an effort to drive home the seriousness of these conditions, Gov. Brown is launching the #ORdrought campaign, which she kicked off with the video below. In it, she stresses that while the situation is dire, meaningful changes can still be made.

"It may look green now, but we are going to experience one the worst droughts in the history of our state," she says in the video.
"But the script hasn't been written yet. By working together, we can begin to make a difference right now."

The drought declaration directs agencies such as the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Department of Water Resources, the Water Resources Commission, and the Office of Emergency Management to assist water users and the state in mitigating the impacts of the drought.

Follow #ORdrought on social media for more.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Washington Declares Drought Emergency—Is Oregon Next?

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought emergency today, OPB reports. The emergency status was brought about by low snowpack. Insley said that while the state should have sufficient water for drinking, crops and fish may be threatened, and wild fires are an increased risk.

California has already declared a drought emergency. Is Oregon next?

A few counties have already received an emergency declaration from Gov. Kate Brown—Baker, Malheur, Harney, Lake, Klamath, Crook, and Wheeler. And others have requests one—Deschutes, Lane, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Wasco, Morrow, and Umatilla.

And a look at the Oregon Water Availability Committee's Water Supply Assessment shows that for most of the state's basins, drought is "inevitable," while in the remainder of the state drought is "likely."

Tell us what you think. Should Gov. Brown declare a statewide drought emergency? And if she does, how will that affect your water consumption? 
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Fidelity Sells Skyline Forest to Singapore-Based Company, Future of Conservation Efforts Unknown

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Skyline Forest - JAY MATHER
  • Jay Mather
  • Skyline Forest
Skyline Forest, the 33,000 square-acre swath of forest land northwest of Skyliners Road, has a new owner. Singapore-based company Whitefish Cascade Forest Resources, LLC, purchased the forest as part of an acquisition of 197,000 square acres of forest lands in Deschutes and Klamath counties previously owned by Fidelity Financial’s Cascade Timberlands.

The sale is controversial because local conservation groups, as well as the Klamath Tribes, had been in talks with Fidelity over the past six years seeking a solution that would allow the Skyline Forest to be protected from development and to return Mazama Forest lands to the Klamath Tribe. 

“This is obviously a disappointment," Don Gentry, Chairman of the Klamath Tribes, said in a release. "Land recovery is an essential bargained-for benefit of the KBRA [Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement]. Nothing less than significant land recovery will work for the Klamath Tribes. We are committed to securing a land base that will provide balance in the Agreement and economic opportunity for our people. Without land recovery, the Agreement simply will not work for the Klamath Tribes.”

Closer to home, Deschutes Land Trust has been working to ensure the conservation of that land for the past decade. In 2009, the State passed legislation that provided a five-year window in which to negotiate a deal. That agreement also granted public access, a boon to the mountain bikers, horseback riders and hikers who blazed their own trails through the area. But that agreement expired last August, and Fidelity opted not to renew.

The hope had been that Fidelity would accept a deal that allowed for development on a small portion of the land in exchange for selling the remainder to Deschutes Land Trust. The Trust then intended to create a community forest, helping fund the sale by allowing a limited amount of logging, which would also help mitigate fire danger.

It's unclear what the sale means for the future of the forest, but Deschutes Land Trust Executive Director Brad Chalfant is cautiously optimistic.

"The short answer is we don’t know what it means for the future," he told the Source. "The fact of the matter is that all of the parties that had been trying to negotiate with Fidelity had stalled out over the past six months and this explains why. Fidelity was looking to sell all its properties as a package."

Fidelity explained its motivation for the sale—for which it received a total cash distribution of approximately $63 million at closing—in a press release.

"We are excited to monetize the value of Cascade for our shareholders," said Fidelity National Financial Chairman William P. Foley, II. "We have been owners of Cascade for approximately eight years and believe it is in the best interest of our shareholders to monetize the value of this land at this time and seek another use for this cash in the hopes of maximizing the value of our FNFV assets."

Chalfant said that while he has not yet made contact with the new owner, he is hopeful that they will be more cooperative than Fidelity. 

"We see this as an opportunity. Fidelity had been difficult to work with," Chalfant said. "We’re hopeful we’ll be able to have a more direct and coherent dialogue."

Whitefish Cascade Forest Resource, LLC, is registered with the State of Oregon in October 2014. An attorney for the company—its only listed U.S. contact—was not immediately available for comment.

While the Land Trust is still interested in pursuing the community forest model with the new company, Chalfant says he isn't married to that approach and is instead focused on the long game and whatever strategy leads to the forest's conservation.

"We’re not locked into a particular model. Ultimately our goal is to see the property conserved, available to public, and managed sustainably," Chalfant said. "We’re committed to the longterm. We’re going to do everything we can to ensure the property is conserved for future generations."

But where Chalfant sees silver linings, Central Oregon LandWatch Executive Director Paul Dewey has a less rosy outlook.

"We’re concerned that this is going to be a new serious threat for partitioning and development in that area, the kind we’ve been fighting for the past 10 years," Dewey told the Source. "My concern is it’s bad enough having a Florida developer own it, and now Singapore? There’s even less appreciation for what this land has historically meant for this area."

He added that development of the forest land is bad for Central Oregon because it disturbs wildlife—mule deer and elk migrate through the areas—and because the forest is at high risk for fires. Two wit, last summer's Two Bulls fire burned parts of the forest and, Dewey said, would have destroyed a home that LandWatch blocked from being built a few years back.

Though the area is zoned for forest use, that zoning allows one dwelling every 240 acres, meaning that the new owner could open it up to low-density development. Until he knows what Whitefish Cascade Forest Resource, LLC, intends to do with the land, Dewey said he'll be watching out for county land use applications. 

"Frankly, any development in that area, given climate change and what we know now about fire risk after Two Bulls, doesn’t make sense," Dewey said.

For more on this story, check out next week's issue of the Source, in print and online February 25.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What Do You Do With A Dead Deer?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 2:18 PM

All day long the tune  "what do you do with a drunken sailor" has been skipping through my mind—except the replacing some of the key words with "dead deer." 

As I padded around my house this morning, with a cereal bowl in my hand, I looked out the window—and saw a deer laying dead by my backyard fence. Yes, I gagged, and then recouped and went into decision-making mode: What does one do with a dead deer in this yard? 

I rolled through the sequence of leaving the corpse in the yard—it's natural after all—but quickly realized that would mean rotting, bloating, stinking. I called two friends—each who told me that I should carve it up for venison. I responded the same each time, "There are black flies coming out of the anus."

Apparently, Deschutes County Animal Control is not the place to call either.

"We can't remove dead animals from private property," the man on the phone told me. "But, we can from BLM land. Or, you could bury it." 

A Google search didn't do much good either, although there was a phone number without much information on the second page of results.  Lee.  ARS (that's "animal removal service").  

I called Lee. He said he'll stop by after his doctor's appointment and take the deer away. 

Thanks, Lee's Animal Removal Service.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ugly Turtles Not Welcome?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 11:20 AM

A clunky and monsterous looking snapping turtle was recently found in Prineville Reservoir - and was quickly killed; sort of like a door man keeping out the dorky and uncools.

As reported and circulating on Yahoo News, the turtle not only is fu-ugly, it is an invasive species - and could disrupt the ecosystem.

See smiling photos of the biologist holding the unsmiling turtle.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

By the Way, Mirror Pond is Full Again. For Now.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 5:06 PM

Aaaannnd, were back to a shallow pond. For now.
  • Aaaannnd, we're back to a shallow pond. For now.

This morning as I rolled across the walking bridge on my way to work I noted the wide, frozen, muddy shoals that framed the narrow, in-town stretch of the Deschutes River [area formerly known as Mirror Pond] as it flowed past Drake Park.

(On Oct. 2 a significant leak burst in the 103-year-old Newport Avenue dam, the impoundment that creates Mirror Pond. Since then, there has been very little water in the pond. So little, in fact, that you could hardly call it a pond anymore. The water of the Deschutes looked more like a lazy river as it settled back in to its natural channel and expansive banks revealed land that could be reclaimed as parks space or landscaped with native plants.)

But when I rode home for lunch this afternoon, the pond was almost full again!

A quick call to Kyle Gorman, the Oregon Water Resource Department's south central regional manager, revealed why. The short answer is, irrigation season is officially over and water upstream of town is no longer being diverted into two major canals, thus—and as of 6am this morning—an extra 250 cfs or so started flowing into town. Just enough, apparently, to temporarily fill the pond back up, despite the fact that the leak in the dam remains. Gorman, who was as surprised as I was to hear that Mirror Pond was mostly full again, reckons that the new inflow is just enough to offset the amount leaking through the dam. But, he said, that could soon change as water continues to surge through the breach in the dam.

"So maybe the pond will start dropping back down again," Gorman concluded. As of the middle of the day today, 501 cfs were flowing through town.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

More Fires Follow Last Night's Lightning

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM

  • BLM Oregon

Just because it's raining, doesn't mean there can't be fires. According to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center, area fire crews had responded to 48 separate incidents as of this morning. Storms in Central Oregon started yesterday afternoon and continued through the night.

The lightning display made for some great front porch beer sipping but was causing headaches for fire suppression teams. Some fires have been extinguished, but at least 17 continue to burn.

Here's what's on fire:
-5 small fires on Little Round Top Mountain on the border of the Willamette National Forest and the Deschutes National Forest.
-2 fires west of Cultus Mountain
-1 fire NE of Odell Butte
-1 fire one mile NE of the Junction of the Forest Roads 46 and 41
-4 small fires north of Suttle Lake
-2 fire 2 miles NE of Trout Creek Butte
-1 fire on Green Ridge
-1 fire 2 miles north of the junction of Forest Roads 22 and 23

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Fire Photos We Couldn't Fit in the Paper

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Last week we sent a writer to the Warm Springs fire. She talked to fire management officials, Bureau of Indian Affairs officials, wildland firefighters and community members. Then she wrote a feature for this week's issue (on stands late tomorrow!) about what she saw, heard and learned. She snapped a lot of photos.
Below are her images of the Sunnyside Turnout fire, which consumed 51,340 acres before it was 100 percent contained.
All photos courtesy of Kristine Swann.


Continue reading »

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Lead in the Case of the Disappearing Bees

Posted By on Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 7:30 AM


Much has been made of the troubling spike in bee deaths and resulting scarcity of the industrious little pollinators. The bee-shortage, which we wrote about two weeks ago (See: Bend's Buzzing), is a big deal because A. bees pollinate 40 percent of the food we consume, and B. that's $30 billion worth of crops. Scientists have hypothesized that both parasites and pesticides are to blame for the so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has, according to Quartz this most recent study, "wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives."

What was found is that its both parasites and pesticides which are causing the bee apocalypse. It turns out at least eight different pesticides are causing bees to become more susceptible to a specific type of parasite, called, Nosema ceranae.

Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.

“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.

Continue reading »

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Here's what a chocolate bar buys you . . .

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Guest Commentary: Sustainability From the Inside Out
By Lawrence Messerman, Ph.D

It is a question, practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe. . . . For the truth is, we are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greater needs, we are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe. Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.
-D.H. Lawrence, writer

…shamans used to work by harmonizing the elements and bringing them back into balance wherever they went. This is a spiritual, archetypal form of environmentalism that we don't understand anymore because we tend to see environmentalism as just an external affair. Of course we then end up relying on the same external, scientific technologies to restore the environment that destabilized it and got us into this mess in the first place—which is totally hopeless. We have forgotten the secret that there are inner environmental practices, too.
Peter Kingsley, philosopher
This term sustainability from my perspective is…a disconnected term, taken simply out of context, used for whatever purpose any person wants, without a fundamental underlying foundation for its meaning that is connected in context with everything else with which we have to live…
-Larry Merculief, Aleut elder

I applaud those who look for ways to conserve energy, minimize CO2 and other forms of pollution, or seek to protect wild habitat. And I believe a great deal more can be done. Not just additional environmental policies, but a fundamental approach that begins with the understanding that our outer environmental challenges are not simply isolated phenomena, but a reflection of a whole way of life that is out of balance. What is unsustainable is thus felt socially, politically, economically and even psychologically.

Continue reading »

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