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Oregon Rocks visits Sutherlin Library

When the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon called Nancy Anderson to see if the Sutherlin library would be interested in hosting a presentation, she jumped at the opportunity.

“I think it is a wonderful opportunity for us,” Anderson said. “It’s great for the kids to see the displays from the museum that might otherwise be hard for them to get to and also to just learn about the different types of rocks and rock cycles in a fun, engaging way.”

Now, in its third year, the museum’s community outreach program visits communities all over the state, providing presentations and activities tailored to family audiences.

Each year, it adapts its materials to coincide with the Collaborative Summer Library Program’s reading theme. This year, the theme is “Libraries Rock.” The program followed suit by introducing “Oregon Rocks!,” which the museum’s website describes as “a geology adventure” meant to “explore our ever-changing Earth.”

More than two dozen children of various ages settled on the floor near the front of the C. Giles Hunt Memorial Library’s meeting room as many adults claimed the chairs at the back of the room, lined the walls and overflowed into the hallway.

Lydia Borowicz, who recently graduated from the University of Oregon with her master’s degree, began her presentation by reading “An Island Grows” by Lola M. Schaefer.

As the name might suggest, the book describes the birth of an island. Borowicz helped relate the story to her audience by explaining how the same process helped form Oregon. The audience connected by participating in various interactive activities placed around the room.

“(This program) is really meant to be interactive for really tiny kids, up through middle school,” Borowicz said. “Although high school students enjoy it too, they just don’t want to admit it.”

Kids crowded around a sand station that visually demonstrated the formation of sedimentary rock. Others followed dots on the floor to different stations representing the rock cycle, gathering colored beads to create bracelets they could take home. Structures were built on platforms that could be shaken to symbolize an earthquake. Several other stations filled the room, providing an educational experience for all.

Sutherlin Mayor Todd McKnight brought his two daughters, Lexie and Kelsie, to support the library and to provide an experience that would tie in learning and fun. Both girls participated in other library activities. McKnight tried to foster what they learned by discussing it at home.

“They tell me all about it,” McKnight said. “I try to interact with them to help make it stick.”

Lexie, an 8-year-old that will be going into third grade this year, said her favorite subject in school is science.

“I like doing the experiments,” she said.

Both McKnight sisters favored the sand station, especially being able to combine the different colors into a rainbow. Lexie liked that the library gives her the opportunity to read some of her favorite books.

“One of the things we really try to do is make the library a fun, interesting place to come,” she said.

Sutherlin Library Foundation Board Chairman Rick Troxel said Anderson worked hard to create programs that would make the library a place to learn, not just from books.

“It’s not just about books,” Troxel said. “It’s a meeting place and a place to learn in the city for people of all ages.”

The point, Anderson said, is to get children to make things and help them learn subjects they may not otherwise have the opportunity to explore. Oregon Rocks, she said, is a great example.

Two women file for Ward 4 Roseburg City Council seat

Two women have filed to run for the Ward 4 Roseburg City Council seat currently held by Steve Kaser.

Bev Cole is a retired Douglas County parole officer, while Ruth Smith is a community organizer who works for NeighborWorks Umpqua.

Kaser has said he will not seek re-election.

Cole was a longtime Douglas County government employee, serving more than 25 years as a parole officer and following that up with working for the county’s senior services department. During her time with the Douglas County Parole and Probation Office, Cole initiated a program that specifically supervised female parolees. She worked with women on probation for about the last 10 years of her time there. She retired as a parole officer in 2003.

“That women’s idea turned out to be the hardest caseload I ever had, but I still believe heavily in it,” she said.

She worked on a program called Baby Smiles, which was a University of Washington dental program administered through the county. It got pregnant women in to see the dentist and followed up by ensuring the babies were seen by a dentist in their first year. She also worked on a family care program for caregivers.

Cole said she’s always had an interest in City Council, and when she found out Kaser wasn’t running she thought this would be a perfect opportunity to run. She said she doesn’t have a big goal for what to accomplish on the council, but she would like to see more people get involved in city government.

“It’s easy to complain, but if you’re going to complain you need to get involved and do something about it,” she said.

She said Roseburg is a beautiful community, located in “one of the best spots there is,” close to the ocean, the mountains and bigger cities. She said the community is becoming a retirement community, which she said is not necessarily a bad thing.

Cole cites a lack of shopping as an issue and said it’s sad to see businesses like Macy’s and Sears leave town. She said a lot of city money is spent improving downtown, but other areas of the city also need financial help.

Cole is concerned about the city’s homelessness problem. She doesn’t yet have a solution, except to suggest that in her experience, one of the best ways to start a new program is to look at what’s working in other cities with similar issues.

“I don’t mean you have to be a carbon copy, but it would be nice to steal some good ideas,” she said.

Smith is an organizer of the Umpqua Dairy Community Garden, and of a neighborhood watch in Southeast Roseburg. She is also a member of the grassroots organization SERVICE, or South East Roseburg Voices In Community Enhancement, and a board member of the Roseburg Senior Center. She works as a resident services coordinator for NeighborWorks Umpqua.

An interview with Smith will appear in Saturday’s News-Review.

Ward 4 covers southeast Roseburg, including downtown.

Courts determine sale of Elliott State Forest parcel illegal

The Lane County Circuit Court of Appeals declared the sale of a portion of the Elliott State Forest in Douglas County to Seneca Jones Timber Company in 2014 illegal in a ruling Wednesday.

Several environmental groups petitioned the sale of the nearly 800-acre East Hakki Ridge in 2016, but courts struck the petition down because it determined the petitioners didn’t have standing.

The groups appealed that decision in 2016 and were successful on the basis that a 1957 Oregon law prohibits the sale of lands in the Elliott State Forest that were originally part of national forest land.

Casey Roscoe, a spokeswoman with the timber company, said she found out about the court’s decision Wednesday when a reporter called seeking comment.

She said the court usually sends out emails when decisions are made, but no one at the timber company got one.

The company is still trying to figure out how things will shake out.

“Honestly, we just don’t know yet,” Jones said.

A spokesperson with the Department of State Lands could not be reached for comment in time for deadline.

In an email to The News-Review Thursday, Seneca Jones’ Chief Executive Officer Todd Payne said the company was disappointed by the ruling.

“The Elliott State Forest was set up to be managed sustainably and provide critical funding for the Oregon common school fund in perpetuity. This was done with tremendous thought and wisdom. The Elliott has gone from a revenue generating asset worth hundreds of millions of dollars to a liability for the state. It’s unfortunate as the financial benefits would have accrued to the students of this state,” Payne wrote.

The forest was initially set aside to generate money for the Common School Fund through timber sales.

After being rocked with several lawsuits over the years to the point where maintaining the Elliott was costing more than it was generating, the state decided to sell off three separate parcels to recoup their losses.

Seneca Jones purchased the East Hakki Ridge parcel for nearly $1.9 million.

Roseburg Forest Products, through its subsidiary Scott Timber Company, bought the Benson Ridge and Adams Ridge One parcels for more than $2.6 million.

Josh Laughlin, with Cascadia Wildlands, said the East Hakki parcel should have never been privatized in the first place.

“We see the court decision as a monumental victory for clean water and old growth forest and imperiled species that call the Elliott State Forest home,” Laughlin said.

In court documents, Laughlin stated he visited the Elliott to “enjoy hiking, looking for wildlife, and experiencing the peace and solitude of some of the last intact and unlogged coastal forest in Oregon,” and that he was prevented from doing those things on the East Hakki Ridge when it was sold.

“When this sale was sold the steel gates were put up and ‘no trespassing’ signs were put in the trees,” Laughlin, who was also an individual plaintiff in the case, said.

The State Land Board initially considered selling off the state forest in 2015 but backed away from that idea after public pushback.

Instead, the Oregon Legislature allocated $100 million in bonds in 2017 to keep the forest public and continue to fulfill the state’s school funding obligations.

But the litigation isn’t over yet.

Next week, Laughlin said Cascadia Wildlands is going to trial in Eugene’s Federal District Court to challenge Scott Timber for allegedly violating the Endangered Species Act on the Benson ridge parcel because they say the area has occupied marbled murrelet habitat.