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Twins again!

A Roseburg couple was surprised when they had a set of twins five years ago. But when Torry and Tatum Smith found out they were having a second set of twins, it was a shocker.

“The first time, it was a little overwhelming,” Tatum Smith said. “This time, I just started laughing. When they put the ultrasound on the screen. I immediately knew, that’s twins again, and I told Dr. Hollander, he better not retire yet.”

Dr. William Hollander delivered both sets of twins for the Smiths. On Tuesday, their latest pair arrived at CHI Mercy Medical Center’s Family Birthplace just after noon.

“I’ve seen two sets of twins before, but it’s pretty rare,” Dr. Hollander said. “Everything went beautifully both times, and the older sisters are so excited about it that each has picked out a twin and say this is their baby.”

What made this so rare, he said, was that it was all natural, no fertility drugs.

Renley Reese Smith was born first, and weighed in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, and Jensyn June Smith was born five minutes later, at 6 pounds, 12 ounces.

The older twins, Presley Ann Smith and Karsyn Tate Smith are 5-and-a-half years old and both have been waiting with great anticipation for their new little sisters. Great-grandmother Kay Anderson of Glide said watching the older sisters’ reactions has been heartwarming.

“At one point Karsyn put her head on Tatum’s tummy and she was talking to the twins and whispered, I can’t wait till you get here,” Anderson said.

Karsyn and Presley are already helping out mom, holding their new siblings as often as they can.

“I love them and I love holding them when they cry,” Karsyn said. “When I get home I’m going to take good care of them.”

“I like holding them,” said Presley.

Tracey Harwood, the mother of Tatum, said after the couple had the first set of twins, she wasn’t that surprised that it happened again. But it was an experience that she never saw in the future.

“After going to her first appointment, we were not shocked that there were twins again,” Harwood said. “Tatum was blessed with a twin gene that can be passed down from the mom or dad, But Torry was the girl producer.”

Torry Smith works for Knife River Materials and has been on the street project at Northwest Edenbower Boulevard and Northwest Stewart Parkway just a short distance from the hospital. He got a lot of visitors right after the babies were born.

“My co-workers all came up from the job Wednesday and said hi,” he laughed.

When the first set of twins was born, the Smiths had to move into a larger house, but just a few months ago, they moved to Torry’s grandparents’ house on a 90-acre cattle ranch in the Roberts Creek area so they don’t have to move this time. They have plenty of room now, but he’s outnumbered 5 to 1 by the females in the house . He had been hoping for at least one boy.

“Hopefully, I’ll have a couple of tomboys to help me out, but I think Tatum’s done having kids,” he said.

Torry said he is thrilled with the two new additions to their family, and he said the older twins will be a big help, but there will be challenges.

“They’re lots of help, but the toughest thing will be trying to get ready in the morning with all girls,” Torry said. “I may have to put a Porta-Potty at the house.”


Fires
Firefighters continue to battle South Umpqua Complex fire

On Saturday, firefighters continued to fight fires in the South Umpqua Complex located 45 miles southeast of Roseburg. As of 8 a.m. Saturday, Umpqua National Forest Service officials said the fires had grown to 2,229 acres and are 10 percent contained.

Thirty different crews consisting of over 927 personnel worked to contain the blaze with the help of five helicopters, 19 fire engines, nine bulldozers and 19 water tender trucks Saturday. It is believed the fire started June 15 from a lighting strike.

The largest of the three South Umpqua Complex fires is dubbed the Miles Fire and is burning an area of 300 acres near Hawk Mountain and Tison Road. In order to better tackle the Miles Fire, two fire crews spent Friday night conducting controlled burns between the blaze and a pre-established dug-out fire line. Progress was hindered by high humidity in the evening which kept fuel from burning.

Pumps and hoses were installed along the bottom edge of the fire, and a newly arrived Skycrane helicopter was used to drop water on the edges of the fire. The wind created in the canyons pushed the fire further southeast. These winds moved the Snowshoe Fire onto lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management while the Cripple Creek Fire has been contained.

Weather in the South Umpqua Complex is expected to get hotter, drier and smokier.

As the wind changes, it is predicted the smoke from the fires will gradually shift southwest and affect the Tiller area. Pacific Power electrical lines, two campgrounds, private land, homes and several historical areas are at risk from the fires.

The Umpqua National Forest has issued an emergency fire closure for several trails and roads.

A community meeting to discuss the fires in the South Umpqua Complex is planned for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Tiller Fire station.

In addition to the fires burning in the South Umpqua Complex, Douglas Forest Protective Association crews have been monitoring several wild fires closer to Roseburg.

Around 7:15 p.m. Friday, fire crews responded to two small brush fires, each smaller than an acre in size. The first was located near Highway 42 and Kingsway Lane while the second was located about three-quarters of a mile west of the first fire.

Dubbed the Campus Mountain Fires, crews quickly put out the flames and were mopping up hot spots by 10 p.m. Friday.


Oregon timber, environmental advocates reviewing Endangered Species Act revisions

In the days after the Trump administration proposed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act, forestry and environmental advocates in Oregon were struggling to determine what the proposed changes could mean.

The U.S. Department of the Interior on Thursday unveiled a series of proposed rollbacks to longstanding animal and plant protections, such as the end of automatic extensions of habitat protections for species that are considered threatened. A threatened species is a step below the “endangered” designation.

Other changes would remove language from federal laws ordering policymakers to ignore economic factors in wildlife protection decisions. Such a change would give greater weight to business and agricultural voices in environmental policy.

While the outline of the changes was announced Thursday, federal officials said the full text of the proposal wasn’t expected to be published for several days.

That left Oregon groups, from those pushing for more logging to those fighting for wilderness protections, to content themselves with news articles on the proposal while watching for the rules to be uploaded to the Federal Register.

Once published, the rules will available online for review and public comment for 60 days.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a clear sense (of the changes) until we see what’s posted in the Federal Register,” said Rocky McVeigh, executive director of the Association of O&C Counties. “We’re anxiously waiting to take a look at it.”

The Association of O&C Counties represents 18 Oregon counties, including Lane County, with more than 2 million combined acres of federally owned forests in their boundaries. The group has long advocated for increased logging on those lands, arguing that federal environmental restrictions have left forests overgrown and underlogged, shortchanging rural counties of timber revenue and jobs.

“We feel like the law needs to be revisited in several ways,” McVeigh said.

But for environmental groups, the changes could mark a major setback in efforts to save species from extinction.

Some of the industries pushing for environmental rollbacks, like oil and natural gas firms, have enjoyed record profits in recent years, said Arran Robertson, spokesman for the Portland-based nonprofit Oregon Wild.

In Oregon, cattle has become the state’s top agricultural good, even as industry officials have warned of economic harm from grazing restrictions on federal lands, he added.

“When they say, ‘These industries are struggling, we need to have all of these economic considerations,’ it isn’t an economic burden,” Robertson said. “These industries are very successful.”

He said Oregon Wild would read and weigh in on the proposed rules once they’re posted.

The rules may have less of an impact on one of the longest standing fights between Oregon business and environmental interests: the fight over the northern spotted owl.

Listed as a threatened species in 1990, logging advocates blame spotted owl habitat protections for steep declines in timber harvests that have crippled rural economies. Many environmental groups argue lower harvests are due more to overlogging and a lack of sustainable forestry practices in the decades prior.

But the new Department of the Interior rules wouldn’t affect species already listed as threatened. That could exempt the spotted owl from any changes, should the rules take effect — a decision that could draw protest from logging advocates.

“If these rule changes are not applied to past listings and critical habitat designations, they will not do much good here in Western Oregon,” Tim Freeman, a Douglas County commissioner and president of the Association of O&C Counties, said in a statement. “We intend to look carefully at that question, and if the improvements are not retroactive as they are being proposed, we will push hard in the rulemaking process to see if the agencies can be persuaded to make them retroactive.”