The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, September 18, 2015, Image 3

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Dedicated to the birds
Wildlife Center
of the North
Coast honors
late founder,
Sharnelle Fee
The Daily Astorian
Sharnelle Fee, a former
paralegal who founded the
Wildlife Center of the North
Coast and dedicated much
of her life to helping ani-
mals, especially seabirds,
passed away Monday. She
was 68.
The wildlife center an-
nounced earlier this week
that Josh Saranpaa, Fee’s
understudy for nearly eight
years and assistant director
for the last year and a half,
would take over as director.
“I spent the last eight
years learning from her,”
Saranpaa, 23, said of Fee,
adding he thought of her
like family.
For the last five years,
Saranpaa said, he’s been the
only other licensed animal
rehabilitator. Fee trained
him as if he was taking over,
he said, but the expectation
was he’d leave and go to col-
lege. But life took a different
turn, Saranpaa said, and he’s
happy to be doing what he
loves at the wildlife center.
The center will soon an-
nounce a celebration of life
for Fee, who is survived by
a brother in Dayton.
A change of life
After spending a quar-
ter century as a paralegal
at Davis Wright Tremaine
in Portland, Fee took a sab-
batical in 1991. She started
volunteering with the owl
rehabilitation program at
the Oregon Zoo, which Fee
said sparked her interest in
For the next eight years,
Fee balanced her career and
volunteer work with the
Audubon Society of Port-
land, a turtle rehabilitation
program in Beaverton and
even weekends at the Avi-
an Medical Center in Lake
Oswego, where she learned
surgical skills.
Fee eventually became
licensed by the state and
federal governments to re-
habilitate animals out of her
home, and applied for non-
profit status to start a wild-
life center. After a divorce,
the death of her father and
hip replacement, Fee sold
her house in Portland, left
her job and made her way to
Olney, where she had pur-
chased 105 acres.
Coming to the coast
In a 2008 interview, Fee
said she moved to the North
Coast to help seabirds.
because most of them live
way out in the ocean,” she
said. “If they’re in on land,
they’re not only out of their
element, but they’re in bad
shape and so it’s difficult to
get them back into condi-
tion, treating their wounds.”
Her pet project at the
wildlife center has grown
to handle between 2,000
and 3,000 animals a year,
Daily Astorian/File Photo
Sharnelle Fee, longtime director of the Wildlife Center of
the North Coast, died this week.
mostly birds. Saranpaa said
the center has more than
100 murres, a penguin-like
bird of the cooler northern
oceans found all along the
West Coast, that have been
washing up on beaches. The
wildlife center’s specula-
tion is that the murres are
having a harder time finding
food in warm ocean tem-
The center has more
room for birds, he said, but
they are asking people to
bring the birds to the center,
which is short on staff and
The center receives no
direct government funding,
other than a small grant it
applies for from Cannon
Beach. It depends largely on
donations and volunteers,
with only Saranpaa and an-
other part-time staffer.
Flat minimum wage invigorates Oregon students shaky on Common
Core, but exceed low expectations
drive for economic security
Pressure for
wage Àoor
hike expected
to increase in
Capital Bureau
SALEM — Oregon’s
minimum wage won’t rise
in 2016, which is expected
to save money for farms and
other businesses but also
invigorate advocates of a
higher rate.
Due to stagnant inflation,
as measured by the federal
consumer price index for ur-
ban areas, the state’s Bureau
of Labor and Industries will
keep the minimum wage at
$9.25 per hour next year.
Both supporters and op-
ponents of a higher wage
floor believe the flat rate
will be used as an argument
in favor of a substantial in-
“It’s a mixed blessing,
politically,” said Jenny
Dresler, state public poli-
cy director for the Oregon
Farm Bureau.
While it should be good
news for low-income work-
ers that prices aren’t rising
sharply, the unchanged min-
imum wage will likely spur
political action, said Steve
Buckstein, senior policy an-
alyst for the Cascade Policy
Institute, a free market think
“It probably will in-
crease pressure in the Leg-
islature, or through a ballot
initiative, to raise the min-
imum wage next year,” he
said. “Both efforts will be
bolstered politically by the
fact the minimum wage is
staying flat.”
Some want $15 an
Proponents say the un-
changed rate is based on a
nationwide measurement of
inflation and doesn’t reflect
unique factors, such as in-
creased housing costs, seen
in Portland and elsewhere in
“To bring people out of
poverty, we need at least
$15 and in places like Port-
land, more than that,” said
Jamie Patridge, chief peti-
tioner for a 2016 ballot ini-
tiative to raise the minimum
Patridge said he was dis-
appointed by the flat rate
but acknowledged that it
will likely convince peo-
ple that the current infla-
tion-based system is inade-
quate and persuade them to
take action at the ballot box.
“It’s probably positive
for our campaign but nega-
tive for low-wage workers,”
he said. “Workers should
not be living in poverty. Ev-
ery worker should be paid a
living wage.”
The Oregon Center for
Public Policy, a nonprof-
it that supports increasing
the minimum wage, said
the rate would be $19 per
hour if it had tracked work-
er productivity for the past
“We’re seeing growing
support for some action,”
said Tyler Mac Innis, a poli-
cy analyst for the center.
Economic security
To achieve economic
security in Oregon, a sin-
gle adult with a child needs
to earn roughly $45,000-
$51,000 per year, depending
on the region, according to
the group. With the current
minimum wage, a worker
earns $19,240 per year.
“It’s certainly not good
news that it’s staying flat.
It highlights the fact mini-
mum wage workers need a
significant increase in the
minimum wage,” said Mac
Dresler, of the Oregon
Farm Bureau, counters that
farmers in the state compete
against others in the U.S.
and internationally, so a
higher minimum wage puts
them at a disadvantage.
Oregon already has the
second highest minimum
wage in the nation behind
Washington state, she said.
“That keeps us less com-
petitive than it does our
neighbors” in the Midwest
and South, Dresler said.
Farms in Oregon are cur-
rently highly diverse, but a
major hike in the minimum
wage would likely convince
growers to transition to
crops that are less labor in-
tensive. “That would be one
of the reactions to that sort
of increase,” she said.
Other types of companies
will have to raise prices, lay
off workers or reduce ben-
efits to cope with a higher
minimum wage — or they’ll
simply go out of business,
said Buckstein of the Cas-
cade Policy Institute.
“There are always unin-
tended consequences,” he
said. “There’s no magic pot
of money that businesses
have to pay more wages.”
The Capital Bureau is a
collaboration between EO
Media Group and Pamplin
Media Group.
Associated Press
education of¿cials warned
that Smarter Balanced exams
would be more dif¿cult, and
they were right.
The new tests, taken by
nearly 300,000 Oregon stu-
dents this spring, were de-
signed to show how well
schools helped students meet
the rigorous Common Core
standards for reading, writing
and math.
Based on a trial run at
some schools last year, of¿-
cials projected 30 to 40 per-
cent of students would pass.
Scores released Thursday
show students performed a
bit better than that, with 54
percent meeting the standards
for English and 40 percent
meeting the standards for
“I am encouraged that
our students exceeded initial
projections,” Oregon schools
chief Salam Noor said in a
The new standards are
meant to reÀect college and
career readiness. Fewer stu-
dents met the standards on
Smarter Balanced compared
to the old test, but that’s the
point. These are tougher stan-
dards and students are being
asked to master concepts ear-
Beyond ¿ll-in-the-bubble
questions, Smarter Balanced
requires students to provide
rationales and do multi-step
analyses in addition to getting
the answers right. In English,
the primary focus is having
students read challenging
passages and articles, then
construct arguments about
the material.
The scores revealed a di-
vide in Oregon schools, even
if they’re allotted similar dol-
lars per student.
Research has shown that
family income and parent
education levels have a large
effect on student achievement.
Schools that serve low-income
students must deliver more in-
struction to get similar results
as schools in afÀuent areas.
Schools that draw students
from wealthy neighborhoods
in Beaverton, Lake Oswe-
go and Portland’s west side
performed very well, The
Oregonian reported. At oth-
er schools, barely 10 percent
of students have the writing
and math skills that experts
say are essential. Examples
include the lone school on
the Warm Springs reservation
and many elementary schools
in poor neighborhoods of Sa-
lem and east Portland.
But some schools bucked
the trend.
Clackamas High, for ex-
ample, equipped more than
80 percent of its low-income
juniors to read and write at
a college-ready level. And
a pair of Ashland elementa-
ry schools got 75 percent of
their low-income students
pro¿cient in reading and writ-
ing, twice the state average
for low-income elementary
More than 90 percent of
Oregon students took the ex-
ams despite parental concerns
that schools overemphasize
testing. State of¿cials have
warned that schools risk los-
ing $344 million in federal
money if too many parents
have their kids opt-out.
Salamanders may qualify for protection
Associated Press
Fish and Wildlife Service
says two salamanders in Or-
egon and Washington state
may qualify for Endangered
Species Act protection.
The ¿ndings on Tuesday
about the Cascade torrent sal-
amander and Columbia tor-
rent salamander mean the
agency will initiate full sta-
tus reviews for the species to
see if they warrant protection.
The ¿ndings come in re-
sponse to a petition by the
Center for Biological Diver-
sity. The Center ¿rst asked
for protection for the sala-
manders in 2012. The peti-
tion said they are increas-
ingly rare because of habitat
loss due primarily to logging
and road building.
The four-inch brown
salamanders live in forest
streams and are found only
in a small stretch of the Cas-
cades and Coast range.
Biologists say their health
is an indicator of the overall
health of streams.
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