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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View Entire Issue (Aug. 11, 2021)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2021
Forest Service begins plan
to remove ‘hazard trees’
Zach Urness Salem Statesman Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK
A plan to remove ﬁre-killed hazard
trees along a vast network of forest
roads east of Salem and Eugene will be-
gin moving forward as early as this
After a months-long delay, Willam-
ette National Forest announced
Wednesday that it would begin cutting
down trees that might fall across 404
miles of roads in areas burned by the
Beachie Creek, Lionshead and Holiday
Forest oﬃcials said the decision was
the ﬁrst step toward reopening access to
huge swaths of public land that have
been closed since the wildﬁres ignited
last September, primarily in the San-
tiam and McKenzie river canyons.
“This project provides a vital ﬁrst
step to reopen ﬁre-burned areas so we
may move forward with ﬁre restoration
and repair and help the landscape re-
cover,” Willamette National Forest Su-
pervisor Dave Warnack said in a news
The plan has been opposed by envi-
ronmental groups and some local resi-
dents who say the plan opens too much
land to post-ﬁre logging without the
type of analysis such programs normal-
ly require. They point to hazard tree re-
moval projects conducted by the state
earlier this year that brought accusa-
tions of cutting that was too aggressive
and removed trees that didn’t pose a
The plan authorizes removing trees
within 200 to 250 feet of 404 miles of
road — all told more than 20,000 acres.
Timber companies will pay to harvest
the trees in some cases, helping to oﬀset
the project’s cost, while in others, trees
would be cut and left on site for erosion
“There’s nothing wrong with their
premise — making roads safe from fall-
ing trees and selling commercially via-
ble timber to pay for it,” said Nick Cady,
legal director at Cascadia Wildlands.
“The problem is that they’ve authorized
commercial logging extremely broadly
across a huge area with limited over-
sight, including on a ton of roads that
are rarely traveled. They should focus
on only the most traveled roads and
then look carefully at whether the other
roads even make sense. Instead, they’re
rushing to get as many trees as possible
in a way that could damage rivers, habi-
tat and drinking water. And we’re talk-
ing about critical areas for the environ-
ment — the Opal Creek, Breitenbush
and McKenzie river areas.”
Forest Service spokeswoman Tammy
Robinson said that not all the roads in
the plan would need tree removal and
that the program would be overseen to
ensure only hazard trees were cut.
“If there are no danger trees along the
road, it will not be treated,” she said in
an email, adding that they’ll prioritize
major travel routes ﬁrst. “Danger tree
removal which is accomplished by tim-
ber sale will be monitored by our timber
sale administrators. Our interdisciplin-
ary team will also monitor project im-
plementation as we proceed.”
A breakdown of the project’s plan —
called a decision memo in this case —
lays out the criteria for cutting, or not
cutting, a potential hazard tree along a
road. For example, “trees with no green
needles are identiﬁed to be cut,” accord-
ing to the criteria, “while trees with
greater than 25% lean away from the
road are not to be cut.” There is a break-
down for each species in a 68-page
document laying out the project.
Timber groups said the concerns of
environmental groups are overstated.
They noted that the roadside hazard re-
moval represents a tiny fraction of the
forest burned in the ﬁres and that the
Forest Service is conducting very little
salvage logging overall, and actually
missing out on the chance to turn more
dead trees into lumber that could be
used to fuel the booming homebuilding
market, said Nick Smith, spokesman for
the American Forest Resource Council.
“Removing dead and dying trees
along roadsides is the very least our
public agencies can do to ensure the
safety of the public,” Smith said.
“We oppose eﬀorts to scale back
roadside removal, which directly threat-
ens access to public lands for ﬁreﬁght-
ing, recreation and forest manage-
Marion County Commissioner Kevin
Cameron said it was about time the For-
est Service began taking action.
“This is long awaited news,” he said.
“Speciﬁcally in the city of Detroit and
other areas, there are many residents
who have cleaned their property while
their ‘neighbor,’ the Forest Service,
hasn’t done a thing to this point. These
areas should be top priority.”
Zach Urness has been an outdoors re-
porter, photographer and videographer
in Oregon for 13 years. To support his
work, subscribe to the Statesman Jour-
nal. Urness can be reached at zur-
ness@StatesmanJournal.com or (503)
399-6801. Find him on Twitter at
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The Beachie Creek Fire took a heavy toll on Opal Creek Scenic Area and
Wilderness. Forest officials are moving ahead with a plan that will remove trees
burned along roads within the wildﬁre scar.
Healthcare workers: get vaccine or weekly tests
Tracy Loew Salem Statesman Journal
USA TODAY NETWORK
Healthcare workers must get vaccinated against
COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing, beginning Sept.
30, Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday.
The move comes just days after several health care
systems announced they would require employees to
be vaccinated, despite a state law prohibiting such a
Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority to is-
sue the new rule in response to a surge of infections
and hospitalizations from the more contagious delta
“This new safety measure is necessary to stop delta
from causing severe illness among our ﬁrst line of de-
fense: our doctors, nurses, medical students, and
frontline health care workers,” Brown said. “Protecting
our frontline health care workers through vaccination
will also enhance the safety of the patients in their
The new rule applies broadly to all paid and unpaid
workers in health care settings who have direct or in-
direct contact with patients or infectious materials.
That includes, but is not limited to licensed health pro-
viders, long-term care facilities, outpatient facilities,
in-home care, pharmacies, urgent care centers and
Oregon state law generally allows employers to re-
quire vaccinations as a condition of employment. But
that doesn’t apply to a few categories of workers, in-
cluding health care workers.
Brown said she plans to work with the health care
industry and legislators to change that during the Feb-
ruary 2022 legislative session. She also is examining
whether similar measures can be implemented in
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Gov. Kate Brown announced health care workers must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly
Some health care systems are moving ahead now.
Kaiser Permanente, PeaceHealth, Oregon Health
and Science University and the U.S. Veterans Admini-
stration all are requiring staﬀ in Oregon to get vacci-
nated against COVID, OPB reported Tuesday.
Salem Health isn’t going that far, spokeswoman Li-
sa Wood said.
Since Jan. 1, employees there have been required to
either get vaccinated, or sign a form saying they de-
cline to get vaccinated.
As of last week, those who decline vaccination will
be subject to regular COVID testing, likely weekly,
“Salem Health continues to encourage COVID-19
vaccination among employees and currently provides
resources including town halls in units to address vac-
cine concerns among employees and equip staﬀ to
navigate vaccine hesitancy with patients and commu-
nity members,” Wood said.
Salem Health’s overall employee vaccination rate is
75%, Wood said. For Salem Health’s medical staﬀ em-
ployees, the rate is 90%, and for non-employed med-
ical staﬀ it’s 92%.
Salem Health also supports changes to Oregon law
that would allow health care systems to decide wheth-
er to require mandatory vaccinations, Wood said.
Salem Hospital has had one of the state’s longest
and largest workplace COVID outbreaks, with 219
cases since May 2020.
Oﬃcials at Silverton Hospital and at Santiam Hos-
pital in Stayton did not respond to interview requests.
A fourth wave of COVID, driven by the delta variant,
threatens to overwhelm Oregon hospitals.
There were 379 hospitalized patients with COVID
Tuesday, far surpassing the 300 ﬁgure state oﬃcials
have previously used to raise alarms about hospital ca-
The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,575 new
cases of COVID Tuesday, one of the highest daily case
counts of the pandemic.
In June, 92% of COVID cases and 94% of COVID
deaths were among people who were not fully vacci-
nated, state health oﬃcials said.
Both the Oregon Association of Hospitals and
Health Systems and the Oregon Nurses Association
released statements supporting Brown’s vaccination
ONA called for health care employers to go further,
ensuring paid time oﬀ for workers who experience side
eﬀects from COVID vaccinations.
About 80% of registered nurses and nurse practi-
tioners in Oregon have been vaccinated, ONA said
Tracy Loew is a reporter at the Statesman Journal.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,
503-399-6779 or on Twitter at @Tracy_Loew.