How was the first weekend of the return of inside dining for everyone? Cheers to those who were able to secure a coveted spot at a cozy table without having to fight gauntlet-style battles to do so. Or, maybe you went back to the food cart pod that's been your go-to throughout this Era of Takeout.
My team and I have watched with cautious optimism as the daily COVID case counts have steadily gone down in Deschutes County in recent weeks—something we report out daily in our email newsletter, the Cascades Reader. In that newsletter we've also begun tallying vaccination counts; as we all know, the higher those numbers go, the closer we are to a return to a life that somewhat resembles the before-times.
So stay safe out there, try to avoid teenage Super Bowl parties that shut down entire schools, and enjoy this fine issue!
Guest Opinion: I am an essential health care worker. Treat me like it.When someone is life flighted to the hospital, has concerns raised over traumatic injuries or cancer, or has complications from COVID-19, they come to me. While you may have heard a lot about doctors, nurses and other frontline healthcare providers during this pandemic, my position has not been mentioned much. I'm a CT Technologist, a skilled position that provides essential care and diagnostics for most major health concerns. I am a part of a unit of "techs" at the hospital that includes other critical care positions: Respiratory therapists who help people with lung issues, X-Ray technologists who help with imaging and about 18 other positions that are absolutely crucial to saving lives. While our hospital could not treat patients without us, we are often invisible.
I have worked at St. Charles Medical Center for 29 years, and over the past several I feel let down. While the techs bring in income for the hospital for the important tests we run and provide the support necessary to keep us a Level 2 Trauma Center, our role is often treated as a luxury rather than an indispensable piece of the care system.
We voted to unionize in 2019 with the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals because we knew we needed a voice in improving our hospital. Because we are often forced into long overtime shifts, we are concerned that this can negatively affect patient care. We are drastically underpaid for the work we do compared to other hospitals, which creates a crisis given Bend's skyrocketing cost of living. I have lived in this community since 1972, this is where my family is, and I and my colleagues deserve to be able to afford to live in the community we serve. Most importantly, if our techs are not supported, and retention is not ensured, then it has the potential to affect patient care. These are my neighbors and family we care for, and we owe it to them to make this the best care center possible.
St. Charles Medical Center is the largest employer in Bend, the heart of its economic life and it is the only place for many of these technical professionals to work in the area. It's time that they live up to our community's expectations and make it one of the best places to work as well. We know that by treating our techs fairly, improving wages, creating an equitable overtime system and allowing us a union voice in the workplace, the entire community is better supported. It's time that St. Charles settles this contract so we can get back to the work we are best at, providing five-star care for the community we love.
—Tiffany Pilling is a 29 year employee of St. Charles Medical Center and works as a Computerized Technologist. She has lived in Bend since 1972.
Bend Parks & Rec District river access surveyBend Park & Recreation District erected fencing at Columbia Park in July 2020 & posted "temporary closure" signs preventing public river access. Currently, BPRD is considering permanently closing Columbia Park to river access. If you'd like to encourage BPRD to keep this a public river access, now is the time to participate. Your comments may convince BPRD to refurbish Columbia Park's eroded river access making it user-friendly for all. Go to this link to comment: bendparksandrec.org/riverplan
BPRD will hold public ZOOM meetings on Feb. 18 at 6pm, Feb. 20 at 10am, Feb. 20 at 3pm (in Spanish) Suggestions to consider:
* The Columbia Park river access is the only public access between McKay & Drake Parks. The site provides a necessary safety access along this stretch of river lined by private property.
* Bend's population is booming. Eliminating this site, due to overuse, is not the answer. Bend needs more public river access sites, not fewer. Doubling or tripling the size of this site would help absorb growing public pressure.
* This site has seen little/no general maintenance since its creation six years ago. Originally, it was not engineered for the public pressure it has sustained. Because this site is in a growing, thriving neighborhood of families, dogs, paddlers, waders, fishermen, floaters, swimmers, it deserves to be engineered for the heavy public demands.
* By eliminating this well-used public site, there will be increased car traffic & parking issues seen at other public sites from Columbia Park neighbors, who can currently walk to this river access site.
* The new Greenway path is routed through Columbia Park. What a perfect arrangement for cyclists, pedestrians, dog walkers, stroller-pushers, skateboarders...to be able to pause at the river, stop to wade, let the dog fetch, sit on the bank. Public river access in conjunction with the Greenway path makes sense.
* The City of Bend owns the Gilchrist Foot Bridge at Columbia Park. The City is concerned about the liability of bridge jumpers. BPRD believes that by preventing river access, there will be fewer/no bridge jumpers. Closing this public river access site to mitigate bridge jumping is counter-intuitive.
Focus on your healthAs I've watched the vaccine roll-out over the past few weeks I can't help but wonder what this pandemic would've looked like if our global population was in better health. While it likely still would've been deadly, my hunch is that it would have been much less so, and we probably would not have been scrambling to manufacture a vaccine to save the population. It's troubling that there has been no talk in the media or guidance from our public health officials about ways to be proactive in protecting our health during COVID. For example, it has been well documented since early in the pandemic that Vitamin D deficiency is a major contributor to severe COVID symptoms and death. Could the CDC have at least recommended seeing your doctor to determine whether your Vitamin D levels are low? Heck, even Dr. Fauci said he is taking a Vitamin D supplement! The point here is that we have more power than we think to take health into our own hands. Considering that the experts have openly admitted the vaccines will not likely prevent transmission and that they may not protect against mutations, we have an opportunity to entertain a more inclusive dialogue about proactive measures to take. For starters, dump the soda and drink water! Sign up for an organic CSA! Take a Vitamin D supplement and some probiotics! Waiting for the pharmaceutical companies to save the day will only cause more unnecessary death and long-term symptoms. Let's take responsibility for our health.
— Christian Baresic
Letter of the Week:Christian: I couldn't agree more—but to add to that, what would the outcomes have looked like if Americans (and everyone worldwide) had access to affordable health care and nutrition? Food for thought... In the meantime, come on in for your gift card to Palate!