Letters to the Editor 3/18/21 | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Letters to the Editor 3/18/21

Lies, Lies, Lies, Civic Clarity, Seniors on the Pandemic, Race Relations and Warm Springs is experiencing overlapping crises: donate your stimulus check

Editor's note:

It is a coincidence but not entirely surprising to me that on the week we are rolling out a feature story on a new effort to track and seek justice for the many Indigenous men and women who are missing or murdered in this country, we are also seeing the confirmation of the first Indigenous woman to the president's cabinet. The coalescence of these two threads seems completely fitting, and a turning toward healing. That, coupled with Central Oregon counties' lowered COVID risk levels, gives me some hope about where we are headed.

Letters to the Editor 3/18/21
@elisha.zep / Instagram
Whether you are looking for adventure on a snowy mountain or an escape to the wild high desert, Central Oregon has the best of both worlds. Thanks to @elisha.zep for the reminder of the magic of Smith Rock! Tag @sourceweekly for your chance to be featured here and in our daily digital newsletter.

This week we're also rolling out yet another edition of Central Oregon Pets—a fun project that our team enjoys both writing and reading. While many of our "pandemic pets" are in for a rude awakening as many of us trade kitchen tables and makeshift home desks for our office spaces once again, we hope some of our "C.O. Pets" coverage gives you something to smile about.

Lies, Lies, Lies

Deschutes County's COVID-19 vaccination program seems to be broken.  On their website and when calling their hotline (that is a recording) the statement is that priority is given to older adults who are placed in a queue by age. You are told not to contact them, but they will contact you. 

I am 73 years of age and have filled out their online application form at least a dozen times since I have been qualified to receive the vaccine. Since then, I have waited at home religiously for a call that has yet to come.  

I would be happy to volunteer to help make a call to those patiently waiting in line. The least that could be done is to notify those like me that their application has been received, thus verbally verifying that it has been placed in a queue. Instead, Deschutes County's COVID website says the county does not need any more volunteers and don't bother applying.  

Meanwhile I heard from my sister who lives in Portland that a friend of hers who is 65 and couldn't schedule an appointment in the Portland area easily drove over and received a Covid vaccination in Deschutes County. Apparently, this was thanks to her owning a second home in Sisters. Such tales tied in with a lack of response from our county's vaccine hotline (that is seems colder and more inhospitable than the freezers that they preserve the vaccine in) is very discouraging.  

—Jonathan Stewart

Civic Clarity

In the disorienting smoke and haze
from the ongoing barrage
of culture war talking points,
and the flagrant use of untruth
to serve the cause,
however opaque,

-coherence is a razors edge
that involves constant resistance
to delirium.

Amidst the spread of delusion,
It has becomes a civic responsibility
to remain calm,
lucent. And
keep a firm grip on
the full use of one's mind and
control over one's actions.

Insanity. n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality,

(...the result when weapons of deception hit their mark)

—Donnie D. Bockle

RE: Seniors on the Pandemic, Race Relations and More

I must add that our society is very remiss when it comes to our elders. A huge majority of our elder population are full of wisdom, volumes of experience and have more knowledge than can ever be found in any book. They are bright, active and enjoy life, their families & friends. They have so much to offer our society because of these things. But we have been programmed as a society to diminish them and consider them less than. And that my friends is a colossal mistake on our part. There is gold in them there elders, and the loss is yours.

—Sonja Werke, via bendsource.com

Warm Springs is experiencing overlapping crises: donate your stimulus check

New stimulus checks mark another essential opportunity to recognize the pandemic's disproportionate impacts on communities of color and to act accordingly. If you, like me, did not lose work this year, we have the chance to redistribute funds to prioritize equity. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have been one of the hardest hit communities in Central Oregon. In July 2020, the infection rate in Warm Springs reached 16 times the state average for white Oregonians.  The pandemic has also highlighted and exacerbated existing educational disparities. As an educator running a college-readiness program for Native American high school students through COCC, I have witnessed these impacts first-hand. Warm Springs students face living in remote settings where hotspots will not operate, isolation, mental health difficulties, and grief from the loss of elders and community leaders. These effects stem from centuries of oppressive federal polices and chronic underfunding.

Perhaps there is no clearer example of underfunding than the ongoing water crisis on the Warm Springs Reservation. Over the summer, one water line break left 60% of the reservation without safe water (many without running water) for over a month, right when COVID-19 cases were spiking. Another recent issue has again led many Simnasho residents to rely on bottled water. The entire system needs to be rebuilt. As fellow Central Oregonians, we can step up by donating to the Chúush Fund, established by the MRG Foundation. No one should have to go without water, particularly during a global pandemic. Donate at https://mrgfoundation.org/the-chuush-fund-water-for-warm-springs/

—Kelsey Freeman

Letter of the Week:

Thanks for that valuable suggestion, Kelsey. You raise some very good points. Come on by for your gift card to Palate!

—Nicole Vulcan

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