Oregon state troopers save ducklings from storm drain

Oregon state troopers save ducklings from storm drain

Oregon police officers rescued two ducklings from a Salem storm drain, where they were trapped for several days. “Fish and Wildlife Division Senior Trooper Hunter (Salem Area Command) and Recruit Denny (OSU Patrol Office) were dispatched to a call of several baby ducklings trapped in a storm drain at the corner of Airport Road and Mission Street in Salem, Oregon,” the Oregon State Police Facebook page stated.

According to witnesses, a mother duck attempted to cross a street with her ten ducklings, when two of them fell through a grate and disappeared into the drain.

City workers contributed to the rescue operation, and removed storm grates and a manhole cover so the officers could lift the ducklings to safety in a net. The ducklings rejoined their mother and eight siblings in a nearby canal.

OSP’s Facebook page noted that individuals from several government departments–including Salem’s Public Works Department and ODOT–cooperated with the officers to assist the ducks. The page described the incident with the hashtag, “#Teamwork.”

Kelso students help teacher buy a new set of wheels

Kelso students help teacher buy a new set of wheels

When Kelso, Washington students heard that their teacher needed a new wheelchair, they decided to act. The students organized a GoFundMe campaign to purchase a new electric wheelchair for substitute instructor John Jankins. An overwhelming response from donors enabled them to collect over $32,000 in less than one week.

Jankins, who is affected by cerebral palsy, rides his motorized wheelchair to and from Kelso High School, where he has worked for almost thirty years. Jankins’ students couldn’t imagine Kelso High without him: “Rain or shine Mr. Janke has been a part of Kelso classrooms for years. His presence has touched the lives of countless students/staff and now it’s time to show our appreciation,” the students’ GoFundMe page read.

The students initially aimed to raise $25,000, but an outpouring of support for Jankins prompted the students to increase their fundraising goal to $30,000. Extra funds will cover the cost of future wheelchair repairs.




Portland homeowners asked to donate their backyards to build shelters for the homeless

Portland homeowners asked to donate their backyards to build shelters for the homeless

Multnomah County is searching for homeowners in the Portland area who are willing to donate their backyards so they can build tiny homes to shelter homeless people. Nearly 1,900 people sleep outside each night in Portland, with many more sleeping in shelters. The county would build the home, called an Accessory Dwelling Unit, at no cost to the homeowner. A homeless person or family would live in the ADU for five years and after that time, the homeowner would have unrestricted use of the building.

“Shelter beds are amazingly critical,” said Mary Li, the director of Multnomah Idea Lab. “They save lives but none of us wants to think of anyone, particularly a family of children living in a shelter for any period of time. What this does is offer the ability of the homeowner to utilize underutilized space in their backyard.”

Amy Talbert has been homeless for almost a year and is now pregnant with twins. Talbert and her husband have been looking for stable housing since their home in Baton Rouge was flooded.

“I have PTSD and my husband has PTSD, and in the shelters, you are in such close proximity…you don’t feel safe, you don’t feel secure, there’s no privacy,” said Talbert.

She explained that even married couples often get separated in shelters. She and her husband decided to stay in a tent instead. She likes the idea of a tiny home better.

“I think it would be a complete blessing,” Talbert said. “It wouldn’t be a tent. It would be safe and stable.”

According to Li, these homes aren’t meant to be “forever homes,” but safe places for families to live while they search for a permanent home. The county prefers that the donated backyards come from homes close to services such as public transit, public schools, grocery stores, and daycares. The tenants of the ADU would benefit from social services through A Home For Everyone. A tax abatement program is in the works which would exempt homeowners from paying additional taxes.

Multnomah County officials plan to start with just four housing units but hope to expand the program. The county is currently seeking homeowners interested in helping the homeless in a huge way. Two hundred homeowners have already expressed interest in donating their backyards. To sign up, click here.


Man rescues friend from frigid Willamette River

Man rescues friend from frigid Willamette River

A South Dakota man made an unexpected catch when he helped pull his drowning friend from the Willamette River after a fishing trip. Pete and Steve were pulling their boat onto a trailer when it broke free and slid back into the water. Steve waded into the Willamette’s icy current to recover the boat, but was soon struggling to keep his head above the water.

Pete directed bystanders to dial 911, but did not wait for help to arrive. After a moment of indecision, he plunged into the Willamette to rescue his friend. “Oh my god, what do I do? So I’m peeling clothes [off] and jumping in the water,” Pete explained.

Pete stepped into the boat and supported Steve, who couldn’t climb aboard due to the weight of his soaked clothes. After 20 minutes the friends began to tire, and Steve’s head slipped beneath the surface of the water. Just then, however, the Clackamas County water rescue team arrived and pulled Steve from the river. He was hospitalized, but remained conscious and alert, according to reports.

Reflecting on the event, Pete said, “I think I saved his life.”

Washington woman crochets stuffed animals for children with cancer

Washington woman crochets stuffed animals for children with cancer

Kinsey Price, of Vancouver, Washington, has a crocheted a zoo of all sorts of animals including seals, tarantulas, beavers, and newts, to name a few. She has spent eight months making all of these animals and intends to donate them to children in the cancer units of the Providence Cancer Center.

“Each day that comes and goes through their treatment, the kids need to know that somebody remembers them,” she said. “Not just the family but somebody out there made something special for them.”

Price has taken suggestions for what to crochet next from neighbors and friends. Price’s first creation was a dinosaur for her grandson.

“He said grandma, how come you can’t crochet a friend for my dinosaur. And I said well I’ll try,” she said.  Price had crocheted and donated blankets, hats, and scarves for years but this was her first attempt at something more complex. Price bought pattern books, yarn, and polyester stuffing for the animals and began working.

“I’m hoping this will give them [the kids] the smiles that they need,” Price said. She plans to continue crocheting for children and other hospital patients. She and a friend, Sherry Kleven, are taking yarn and other donations and can be reached at sherryandroger@gmail.com

Portland launches new first-of-its-kind bike rental program

Portland launches new first-of-its-kind bike rental program

Portland is introducing a new city-wide bike rental program sponsored by Nike called BIKETOWN.

The program includes 1,000 bikes located at 100 hubs across the city.  Spokesman Dylan Rivera of the Portland Bureau of Transportation says the goal is to make bike rides 25 percent of all trips in Portland by 2035.

No taxpayer money is going towards BIKETOWN’s upkeep as the start-up’s $4 million budget is covered by federal grants from Metro and Nike’s scholarship dollars.  Maintenance will be covered by the income from memberships and other scholarships.

The program is operated by Motivate.  The company is already operating in cities like Chicago, New York, and Seattle, but Portland is the first city to incorporate their bike program where the technology is all contained in the bikes rather than in the docks of the stations.

Not only does this technology make the program more affordable and expansive, it means more flexibility for the user.  In other cities, the bikes can be locked to their stations and BIKETOWN bike racks, but in Portland, they can be locked to any public bike rack for a small fee of $2.  However, users that return a bike from a public bike rack to a BIKETOWN bike rack earn $1 in their account towards future rides.  This is the company’s way of maintaining the supply of bikes at stations without using outside transportation.

The bikes themselves cost $1,500 apiece and are designed for safe commuting featuring a solar-powered LCD display, automatic lights, a chain-less shaft drive, and a front basket that holds up to 20 pounds.

Even current bike owners can find the program useful with the possibility of one-way trips.  BIKETOWN offers single trips, day passes, and annual memberships.  For more information, Portland’s BIKETOWN website is available.