The Observer. (La Grande, Or.) 1968-current, March 19, 2022, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 3, Image 3

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to become
Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter strives
to out fundraise competitors in tournament
East Oregonian
Pioneer Humane Society/
Pendleton Animal Wel-
fare Shelter is vying in a
national fundraising tour-
nament to come out as top
The local humane
society and the no-kill
shelter it operates at 517
SE Third St., Pendleton,
have made it to the “Furry
4” in March Muttness.
The Humane Society of
Southern Arizona hosts the
tournament, patterned after
college basketball’s March
Madness to determine a
national champion. Instead
of hoops, shelters vie for
Shaindel Beers, vice
president of the Pioneer
Humane Society/PAWS
Board of Directors, said
the organization received a
fl yer in the mail about the
“We have never done
this before,” she said. “We
get invited to lots of things,
but we’re a small rescue
shelter … we don’t have
any full-time employees. So
some fundraisers are just
way too big for us. But this
looked fun, and I thought
sure, we’ll do it.”
She brought it to the
board, which agreed with
her to jump in and at least
The tournament began
March 1 with 64 shelters
across the United States.
Pendleton in Round 1 faced
off against the Humane
Society of El Paso in El
Paso, Texas.
“To be honest, I freaked
out when I saw we were
against El Paso,” Beers
said, because the city has
a population of almost
700,000. Pendleton’s is
about 17,100.
Beers said she even con-
tacted the tournament orga-
nizers to make sure the
matchup was correct. She
said she found out a com-
puter selects the competi-
tors at random. But she also
said organizers assured her
size does not always matter.
Last year’s winner was a
small no-kill cat shelter.
“So that was really
crazy,” Beers said. “We
totally knew we were the
underdog, so we used that
in our social media.”
It worked. When the
round closed March 3,
El Paso reported raising
$4,222.69. Pendleton won
with $4,728.12.
“I was just thrilled,”
Beers said. “I did not think
we could beat El Paso. They
are just so big.”
And Pendleton has con-
tinued knocking off the
In Round 2: Thrilling 32,
Pendleton faced off against
the Floyd County Humane
Society in Floyd, Virginia.
This time, Pendleton was
the big dog against little
Floyd, population about 725.
Ben Lonergan/East Oregonian
Night, a 1-year-old Labrador/border collie mix, clutches a ball Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at the Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter. Pioneer
Humane Society/PAWS have made it to the “Furry 4” in the nationwide March Muttness Tournament fundraising competition.
March Muttness
The Pioneer Humane Society and Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter have
made it to the Furry 4 in the March Muttness Tournament, in which 64
animal shelters nationwide compete to out fundraise one another until
there is a champion.
Rounds last 60 hours each, from 8 a.m. the day they open to 8 p.m. the
night they close two days later.
Round 1: All Tails In! 64 March 1 to March 3
Round 2: Thrilling 32 March 5 to March 7
Round 3: Snuggly 16 March 9 to March 11
Round 4: Excellent 8 March 13 to March 15
Round 5: Furry 4 March 17 to March 19
Round 6: Championship March 21 to March 23
As of Wednesday, March 16, the participating shelters raised more than
$207,000. For more information and to support PAWS in the tournament,
Ben Lonergan/East Oregonian
Still, the small town gave
a doggone good showing,
raising $1,431.44, just not
enough to oust Pendleton,
which brought in $1,699.81.
Pendleton in Round 3:
Snuggly 16, took down the
Animal Friends Humane
Society of Hamilton, Ohio,
$2,019.47 to $1,701.16.
And in Round 4: Excel-
lent 8, Pendleton again
took down a bigger player,
but with its smallest dollar
amount so far. The Gulf
Coast Humane Society in
Corpus Christi, Texas —
population about 326,000
— raised $836.83, while
Pendleton raised $931.48.
Now Pendleton takes
on Hermitage No-Kill
Cat Shelter and Sanctuary
in Tucson, Arizona, in
the Furry 4, which began
Thursday, March 17, and
ends two days later.
Hermitage looks to be
Pendleton’s toughest oppo-
nent yet.
In Round 1, Hermitage
faced Stray Rescue of St.
Louis in St. Louis, Mis-
souri. Stray Rescue raised
$22,054.21 — more than
what PAWS has raised
through the tournament so
far. But Hermitage raised
While Hermitage has
continued to trounce its
opponents, its fundraising
A 5-week-old puppy looks up
from a kennel Wednesday,
March 16, 2022, at the Pendleton
Animal Welfare Shelter.
also dropped to an average
of $4,551.48 across the last
three rounds.
Still, Beers said, Her-
mitage appears to have
donors with deep pockets.
Spreading the word
To generate interest in
supporting PAWS, Beers,
who handles most of the
social media for the orga-
nization and shelter, has
been posting on Twitter and
Facebook about animals the
shelter has rescued.
“We’ve had great sto-
Baker City issues notice about bacteria
in wastewater released into river
Powder River north
of town affected
Baker City Herald
Baker City issued a notice
Thursday, March 17, urging
people to avoid entering the
Powder River or drinking
untreated water from the
river north of the city’s
sewer treatment lagoons,
which are near Imnaha
Road about a mile north of
The warning does not
aff ect the reach of the river
through Baker City.
Wastewater from four
lagoons, which is released
into the river, have con-
tained higher than usual
levels of E. coli bacteria,
some types of which can
make people ill.
The bacteria is not a
health concern for cattle,
according to the press
release from the city.
The river runs through
private property north of
the lagoons, so there is
little, if any, public access
to or use of the river in that
The city has been
releasing wastewater that
exceeds the E. coli con-
centration limits in its
permit due to a leak discov-
ered March 7 in a dike on
the largest lagoon, which
covers about 70 acres, said
Michelle Owen, the city’s
public works director.
City workers plugged the
leak with soil and bentonite,
but as a precaution the city
also lowered the water level
in that lagoon to below the
area where the leak was
found, moving some of the
water to the three smaller
lagoons, each about 10
acres, Owen said.
Now, the city is releasing
into the river about the
same amount of wastewater
that is coming into the
lagoon complex each day,
to avoid overfl ows from
the three smaller lagoons,
Owen said. That’s been
running at about 0.9 million
gallons per day.
That’s actually slightly
less water than the city usu-
ally releases into the river
in early spring once the ice
melts off the lagoons, Owen
said. Typically the city
lowers the reservoir levels
to make space for the higher
volumes of wastewater that
start when residents begin
to use more water in the
warmer days of spring.
Owen explained the
wastewater being released
now contains higher-
than-usual bacteria levels
because the natural organ-
isms that consume some
of the bacteria aren’t yet
active due to recent cold
Ice still covers the
lagoons, she said, and “we
need the ice to come off ,
and warmer water” to spur
the organisms that help to
reduce bacteria levels.
The city continues to
treat wastewater with chlo-
rine, but that disinfec-
tant isn’t suffi cient to keep
bacterial levels below the
limits in the city’s waste-
water permit, Owen said.
The city uses sulfur dioxide
to remove the chlorine
from wastewater before it’s
released into the river.
Owen said the city’s
newly constructed treat-
ment lagoon, which is east
of Interstate 84, isn’t yet
available because the pipe-
line that leads from the
current lagoons to the new
facility has not yet passed
a pressure test. Once that
pipeline is available, the
city could potentially divert
wastewater into the new
More information about
E. coli is available at www.
Owen said the city will
be testing water from the
Powder River upstream
from the lagoons to estab-
lish a baseline of E. coli
levels and compare the
levels there with those in
the wastewater the city
is releasing into the river
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ries,” she said, including
about Astrid and Butch and
their fi ve puppies.
PAWS received tips
about people feeding a
female dog with pup-
pies that lived in a junk
yard behind the Pendleton
“There’s a junk yard
there,” Beers said, “and this
gentleman had the mother
dog, father dog and fi ve
puppies under his RV.”
The man agreed to let
PAWS rescue the whole lot,
and the shelter took them
in Feb. 21, when overnight
temperatures were again
dipping into single digits.
“He surrendered them,
so we’re really grateful for
that,” she said.
PAWS has worked to
fi nd homes for the dogs,
and the father dog, Butch,
was a bit of a worry. He is
old, Beers said, and blind,
and perhaps even hard of
hearing. But a family took
him in March 15, with the
goal of rehoming him.
“We’re really hoping it
works out with him because
they have another blind
dog, and they know how
to work with special needs
dogs,” she said.
Saturday 9:00 am–5:00 pm
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5 Buck Breakfast
While supplies last
Sponsored by McDonalds
All proceeds to benefit Perfect Balance
Clint Johnson Working
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