The Observer. (La Grande, Or.) 1968-current, August 25, 2022, THURSDAY EDITION, Page 27, Image 27

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    Thursday, augusT 25, 2022
Continued from Page A1
Staff needed in urban,
rural areas
Portland Public Schools,
the state’s largest district by
enrollment, currently has
226 open teaching and clas-
sified school staff positions.
Among them are openings
for four school psycholo-
gists, 12 counselors and 29
special education teachers.
“We will fill any vacan-
cies at the beginning of the
school year with substitutes
and other contingencies,
if necessary,” said Sydney
Kelly of the district’s media
relations department.
Beaverton Public
Schools, the state’s third
largest district by enroll-
ment, also needs staff. It
is looking for more coun-
selors, special education
teachers, music, math and
science teachers, according
to Susan Rodriguez, chief
human resources officer.
Rural districts need staff
as well.
The Umatilla School
District has long sought
special education teachers.
“They’re so hard to find
so we are always on the
lookout,” Superintendent
Heidi Sipe said.
In Hermiston, a push last
school year to get substi-
tute teachers and classified
staff licensed to work full-
rachel alexander/Salem Reporter
As students prepare to return to classrooms for the 2022-23 school
year, districts are offering bonuses and pay raises to attract and
retain much needed teachers and school staff.
time in classrooms has left
the district with shortages
of substitutes and classified
staff, like paraprofessionals
who work with students
with disabilities and as
teaching assistants.
Superintendent Tricia
Mooney said emergency
teacher and substitute
teacher licenses will con-
tinue to be helpful but she
said they’re a “Band-Aid.”
“We need to be thinking
further down the road, too,
about how we’re going to
grow our own teachers,”
Mooney said.
Last year, teacher
burnout led to a greater
strain on staffing.
“We did have teachers
resign mid-year, and we
haven’t really had that in
the past,” Mooney said.
“The fallout of that we’re
going to feel for several
years to come.”
Her district is working
with Western Governors
University, a private online
four-year college in Utah,
to offer tuition reimburse-
ment for non-certified staff
who complete a teacher
degree program and teach
in Hermiston schools.
Bonuses, raises offered
The Parkrose School Dis-
trict in Portland will offer
all returning teachers from
last year a $1,000 bonus in
November, Superintendent
Michael Lopes Serrao said.
Tillamook used fed-
eral COVID-relief dol-
lars last school year to pro-
vide teachers with one-time
$3,500 appreciation sti-
pends. It gave classified staff
10% raises last year and
will add another 7.5% this
year. Full-time teachers who
return this year will receive
another $1,000 bonus.
In Beaverton, teachers
who return this year will
get a $1,000 bonus. Dual
language teachers will be
ThE OBsErVEr — A7
eligible for an additional
$2,000 in bonuses as will
psychologists and speech
therapists. Licensed staff
with Spanish proficiency
can get an extra $1,200
To combat bus driver
shortages, Beaverton
schools will pay $30 an hour
for drivers, the highest rate
in Washington County.
In North Bend, which is
south of Florence, teachers
who work at schools out-
side city limits could get
stipends for gas, according
to Superintendent Kevin
“We are hoping to pro-
vide some relief that will
also help in staff recruit-
ment,” he said.
Sipe in Umatilla said last
year her teachers and clas-
sified staff wanted money
invested in staff, rather
than bonuses, so she used
COVID-relief money to pay
for more full-time substitute
teachers and mental health
professionals. The substi-
tutes gave each teacher in
the district a couple days
of extra support, she said.
Sipe also used the money to
give each teacher one paid
hour per month to collab-
orate with and mentor one
This year, the district
will use federal dollars to
double tuition reimburse-
ments for school staff to
become teachers in Uma-
Continued from Page A1
will result in confu-
sion among hunters, and
potentially discourage
some longtime hunters
from continuing their
Reedy argues that if
ODFW wants to bolster
bull numbers, the agency
should either temporarily
ban hunters from killing
bulls, or change the bag
limit to branch-antlered
bulls only.
The bag limit for many
units in Northeastern
Oregon for this year’s elk
archery hunt is one bull
elk. The traditional bag
limit for archery hunting
— any elk — remains in
some units.
Reedy said he’s also
concerned that the
changes will contribute
to animosity between
archery and rifle hunters.
“We’re all hunters,”
Reedy said.
More tags than
applicants in many
of the units
Although the shift
from general to con-
Statewide group seeks
long-term solutions
Since December of 2021,
Sen. Michael Dembrow,
D-Portland, has convened
a working group that’s
been studying Oregon’s
teacher shortages and poten-
tial solutions. The group
includes teachers; repre-
sentatives from the Oregon
Department of Education;
the state’s largest teachers
union, the Oregon School
Boards Association; the
Coalition of Oregon School
Administrators; and several
colleges and universities
around the state.
The group is collecting
data on teacher attrition.
It last met in July to dis-
cuss findings, and Dem-
brow said a big one is an
especially high turnover in
“Teachers need to be
supported, and that support
needs to be stable,” he said.
Short term, besides
hiring and retention
bonuses, an idea the group
has pushed is to have
Oregon join a national com-
pact on educator licensing,
allowing teachers from out
of state to work in Oregon
without having to get
Long term, Dembrow
said the group needs to
address working conditions
in schools and make the job
appeal to a new cohort of
“I’m reminded of what
really important work
teachers do and how deeply
satisfying that work can be
under the right conditions.
If we can make those con-
ditions right, we can attract
more young and mid-career
people into the profession,”
Dembrow said.
Many of the newer
teachers the working group
has talked with are saying
they need dedicated time
and resources to receive
mentorship and training.
“What’s clear is, if you’re
not giving new teachers
— whether they’re coming
straight out of education
programs or if they are sort
of commissioned to deal
with an emergency — the
support they need in their
first years, they won’t stay.
It’s becoming even clearer,”
he said.
The group will recon-
vene in September to dis-
cuss policy options that can
be proposed during the next
legislative session in 2023.
“We owe it to teachers to
not come up with flashy pro-
posals that look good and
sound good to our constitu-
ents but to ask ourselves: Do
they have staying power?
Are they well thought out?”
Dembrow said.
The proposed route for a 500-kilovolt transmission line, shown in red, would
run from Boardman to the Hemingway transmission line substation near Melba,
Idaho, and crossing through Northeastern Oregon. It has been the cause of much
opposition. Public hearings for appeals to the Energy Facility Siting Council will
be held in La Grande Aug. 29-31, 2022.
Continued from Page A1
each session, the organiza-
tion or individual appealing
the segment of the proposed
site plan will speak along
with those there to provide
clarification. All sessions
will be open to the public
but only those who are peti-
tioners or litigants will be
allowed to speak.
In many
cases those
in support
of elements
being chal-
lenged will
be repre-
of Idaho Power, a major
funder of the proposed
B2H project, which would
run from Boardman to
the Hemingway transmis-
sion line substation near
Melba, Idaho.
Sven Berg, an Idaho
Power public information
officer, said he respects the
concerns people have but
stressed that throughout
the process of attempting
to get the B2H trans-
mission line to become
a reality, Idaho Power
has strived to work with
those who have worries
and those who could be
“We also want to find
common ground with
landowners and stake-
holders. In all but a few
cases, we have been able
to do this,” he said. “We
have tried to find pathways
tilla. The district has up to
$20,000 to offer employees
for the 2022-23 school year,
Sipe said.
EO Media group, File
A crew works on a transmission line tower outside Boardman in this undated photo. The Oregon
Energy Facility Siting Council will meet at Eastern Oregon University’s Gilbert Center for three days
starting Monday, Aug. 29, to hear oral appeals for 30 contested portions of its proposed site plan for the
controversial Boardman to Hemingway transmission line project.
to address concerns, while
balancing this with the
need to provide clean and
affordable energy to our
Berg supports the
opportunity the meeting of
the Energy Facility Siting
Council in La Grande will
provide to those who are
on opposite sides of the
B2H fence.
“We trust the process
and want to give those
who oppose and support
the project a chance to be
heard,” he said.
The transmission line
would cost between $1
billion and $1.2 billion.
Towers along the trans-
trolled hunts means some
hunters who are accus-
tomed to being able to
hunt every year might not
draw a tag through the
lottery, ODFW has set
tag allocations for most
units at levels similar
to the number of people
who actually hunted
during recent general
However, in some pop-
ular units the number of
controlled hunt tags is
well below the number of
hunters in recent years.
For this year’s archery
deer season — the bag
limit is one buck with
a visible antler — the
number of tags in most
units is well above the
number of first-choice
applications for 2021, the
first year with controlled
archery hunts.
Examples include:
• Imnaha unit — 308
tags in 2022, 77 first-
choice applicants in 2021
• Sled Springs unit —
193 and 87
• Keating unit — 275
and 99
• Starkey unit — 770
and 107
• Catherine Creek unit
— 495 and 101
mission line would be
as high as 180 feet tall.
In comparison, standard
towers are between 75 and
90 feet tall. The proposed
line would run through the
Grande Ronde Valley.
Idaho Power is leading
the effort to gain approval
for the 300-mile, 500-kilo-
volt B2H line with the help
of its partner, PacifiCorp.
Elements of the pro-
posed site plan that will
be challenged include the
decibel level of the sound
that would come from the
B2H power lines. Kreider
said the site plan states
that the sound level would
exceed the Oregon Noise
Continued from Page A1
festival, but life has a way
of bringing things about.
“I wanted to develop
some sort of entertainment
for Union County,” she said.
“I’ve always loved music.”
Hampton met Randy
Woody — of Randy Woody
and the Southbound Band
— in Texas. The Tennes-
see-based artist wanted to
play more shows out West
and Hampton helped book
him gigs. She got Woody
a number of smaller, but
higher paying shows.
Eventually, Woody asked
Hampton if she would be
his manager.
In 2021, Hampton asked
the country singer if he
would come to Oregon and
play at her boyfriend’s 50th
birthday party. Woody was
excited to do so and even
offered to play for free,
asking only that the price of
the flight be covered.
So Hampton crafted a
plan. She reached out to her
boyfriend’s friends to see
if anyone would be inter-
ested in donating to help
pay for the flight. The dona-
tions poured in and then
Control level standards by
10 decibels. Kreider said
she does not believe a vari-
ance should be granted for
this within the site plan.
Berg said Idaho Power
representatives at the
hearing may indicate
the utility could provide
homeowners near B2H
power lines windows that
would better block out the
At each hearing the
Energy Facility Siting
Council will take a straw
poll among its members
to determine how they
feel about the issue. The
council will vote at a later
meeting on its official
Oregon department of Energy/Contributed Graphic
response to each element
that was appealed. Kreider
said it is unclear how the
council’s response to the
appeals will influence its
decision on whether to
support or reject the B2H
site plan. This decision
will be made sometime
after leaving La Grande.
Should the council vote
to support the site plan,
Kreider said the Stop B2H
Coalition may then appeal
the decision to the Oregon
Supreme Court.
What: Live music, Blue Mountain Ranch Rodeo, a semi-truck contest and
a light show
When: Aug. 26-27
Where: Union County Fairgrounds, La Grande
More: Visit for full details, including
performers, schedule and tickets.
kept coming. Hampton
raised around $14,000 —
way more than the amount
needed for the airfare.
She wanted to do some-
thing more with the money
— and the Eastern Oregon
Country Music Festival was
The inaugural event was
held last year at the Eastern
Oregon Livestock Show
Grounds in Union. In spite
of poor weather, Hampton
said the first year was a big
success and an estimated
200 people attended.
After the first festival,
Hampton received a lot of
interest from other people
looking to get involved
the following year. This
helped the festival grow
into a more all-encom-
passing event, and Hampton
is working to ensure it
continues to evolve in the
coming years.
In addition to a new
venue — the Union County
Fairgrounds, La Grande —
this year the festival also
includes the Blue Moun-
tain Ranch Rodeo, a semi-
truck contest and a light
show. Hampton hopes that
the variety of events at the
festival will help her reach a
larger audience.
“We’ve been able to
incorporate three different
events into one,” she said.
The 2022 festival will
be twice the length of the
inaugural event — two days
filled with country music
performances and fun for
the whole family. Hampton
applied for grant funding,
which stipulated the event
was at least two days long.
This requirement is part
of the reason for the move
to the Union County Fair-
grounds. According to
Hampton, the EOLS com-
mittee did not want to host a
multi-day event or the rodeo
at the fairgrounds.
So far, Hampton said that
Ultimate approval of
the site plan is not a guar-
antee that B2H would
become a reality, since
other steps would have to
be taken. For example, the
public utilities commis-
sions of both Oregon and
Idaho would have to vote
to authorize construction
of the B2H line, Berg said.
Berg said that Idaho
Power’s goal is to break
ground for B2H in 2023
and have lines for the
project electrified by 2026.
she has sold more than 290
tickets and 135 VIP passes.
Tickets can also be pur-
chased at the door.
As if creating a
brand-new music festival for
the people of Union County
was not enough, Hampton
also wants to give back to
the community. The pro-
ceeds from the event will be
donated to Veterans Back
40 Adventure — a nonprofit
organization led by veterans
that aims to provide support
and camaraderie to other
veterans through outdoor
activities, mainly off-road
motorcycle riding.
In the future, Hampton
wants to donate to addi-
tional nonprofits, particu-
larly one that helps children.
She would also like to get
school districts involved, so
that they can raise money at
the festival.
It was important to
Hampton that the festival
was family friendly. Many
of the events — like the
rodeo and semi-truck con-
test — are happening ear-
lier in the day. Musical per-
formances start at 6 p.m.
— early enough for fami-
lies with children to enjoy
— and continue late into the
night on Aug. 26 and 27.