Private Group Helps Preserve Pacific Crest Trail

Private Group Helps Preserve Pacific Crest Trail

Over 400 acres of land in the Stevens Pass area were purchased by a local group so as to prevent the Pacific Crest Trail from being severed. The Pacific Crest Trail Association is a private group focused on protecting and promoting the Pacific Crest National Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada including the famous Cascades in Washington. It’s a popular site to Pacific North-westerners and tourists alike.

In an interview with Megan Wargo, the PCTA’s director of land protection, she stated that “the Forest Service is the overall manager for the entire trail. Where the trail goes through private land, they have a trail easement to allow the public to pass through the private property.”

However, on part of the Stevens Pass, no one had obtained an easement. Wargo believes this mistake was an oversight since the path was built piece by piece. “In most likelihood, it was just an oversight. Somebody thought there was an easement there, but the easement was not recorded.”

The association managed to secure federal money with the help of the Forest Service from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase the land; however, the PCTA had to secure a loan from The Conservation Fund to help with the purchase because of the magnitude of the forest fires this summer.

Once the Forest Service can turn its focus away from the forest fires, the PCTA will sell the land to the Forest Service and repay the loan.

“It was a roller-caster ride getting it closed,” Wargo stated. “The risk of not closing that project would have been pretty large as far as the PCT and keeping it open.”

 

 

Portland Student Awarded Rhodes Scholarship

Portland Student Awarded Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships that allows awardees the chance to study at Oxford University in England. Only 32 Americans are awarded the scholarship every year, and this time, a fellow Portlander received this award.

JaVaughn T. “JT” Flowers was a student at Lincoln High School. He did not perform well academically and even stayed a fifth year in high school at a boarding school in Connecticut. His efforts payed off, and he went on to study at Yale, founding an organization called A Leg Even to assist low-income Yale students by offering mentoring and tutoring services as well as connections to faculty. During his years at the Ivy League school, he studied in six different countries to examine the various cultures and politics. His thesis investigated Portland’s sanctuary city policy for immigrants undocumented in the United States. His academic excellence also resulted in receiving the Truman scholarship in 2016, which gives gifted students graduate support to help them prepare for government or public service careers.

He currently works for Representative Earl Blumenaur in Portland. “I’m essentially getting paid to learn about all the incredible work going on across all these different silos in Portland,” Flowers said in an interview with The Oregonian.

The competition for the Rhodes Scholarship is intense and involves a difficult, time-consuming application process. Finalists were flown out to Seattle for several events, including standing in front of a seven-judge panel. Rhodes Scholars have their tuition and all expenses covered to study for two or three years at Oxford.

Flowers was floored by the news. “I really don’t know how to attach words to it. I’m really at a loss. I’m so humbled.”

Blumenaur was thrilled by Flowers’ success. In an interview with the Associated Press, he stated, “He’s just an outstanding candidate for the Rhodes. He’s a very quick study, very good wth people, an incisive listener who is able to translate that back to people who contact him and to the staff in our office. We’re excited for him, and we’re excited for what he’s going to do when he’s back.

Flowers plans to earn degrees in Comparative Social Policy and Public Policy in order to give back to his hometown, Portland. “Portland is home for me and will always be home for me. I was born and raised here in the heart of Northeast Portland. I want to set up permanent shop here. I’ll be gone for a couple years, but then I’ll be right back here.”

Portland Man Donates Kidney to Save Stranger’s Life

Portland Man Donates Kidney to Save Stranger’s Life

When Jen Feldman of Portland, Oregon, discovered she needed a kidney transplant and she first reached out to her family and friends, hoping they might qualify as organ donors.

None qualified.

Feldman, though, didn’t give up. She sent a letter to fellow members of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel in Portland. Perhaps a kind-hearted acquaintance would consider her need.

Feldman’s faith in the generosity of strangers was rewarded when Jonathan Cohen offered to donate a kidney. “No, I didn’t know much about kidney donation at all,” Cohen told KATU news. But, he felt convicted to help Feldman. “It’s gonna be me,” Cohen thought after contacting Feldman.

Cohen, in fact, turned out to be the only donor qualified to help Feldman.

After a successful transplant, he reflected on the opportunity to sacrifice for another person. “Who doesn’t like being the hero in the movies or whatnot,” he said. “So to be able to be that in real life I thought was a pretty cool opportunity.”

Feldman considers her survival a miracle. “I wake up every morning and think about, and go to bed every night and think about, that someone gave me a living organ to put in my body to save my life.”

PDX Adds New Feature For Further Convenience

PDX Adds New Feature For Further Convenience

The Portland International Airport (PDX) is certainly known for its great features and popularity, having been named the best domestic airport in the United States numerous times. But this won’t stop the airport from continually striving for excellence in pleasing its travelers, resulting in several new features to help passengers and traffic.

PDX plans to build columns at the airport labeled with large, noticeable numbers to help passengers and drivers connect more quickly. This should help the flow of traffic in front of the terminals so people won’t have to wait so long to get in and out of the airport.

The hotel and rental car shuttles will be moved closer to the terminal on Island 1 on the lower level to increase traffic flow. Lyft and Uber have an allotted areas on Island 2 as well. Signs will also be displayed in the terminals to help people find their cars faster in economy parking.

The last edition PDX will implement will include an app to let passengers know when the next parking shuttle will be passing by.

In an interview with Koin6, Kama Simonds, spokesperson for the airport, stated that the general goal is to save time for passengers. “Hopefully travelers get on the right bus at the terminals, saving themselves time.”

 

 

Food Network Chef Serves Fellow California Wildfire Victims

Food Network Chef Serves Fellow California Wildfire Victims

The smell of burning timber woke Guy Fieri in his Santa Rosa, California home earlier this month. “The smoke was really bad,” the Food Network chef told local radio station KQED. “We had to evacuate at two in the morning, and we grabbed what we could, taking pictures off the wall as fast as we could. Jumped in the truck, loaded in the dogs, and away we went.”

While Fieri’s home escaped the wildfires unscathed, other Santa Rosa residents were less fortunate. So, Fieri decided to help them in the way he knew best: by preparing and serving delicious meals. The chef and his staff cooked barbecue chicken, coleslaw and bean salad in a mobile wood-fired oven and smoker, which they parked outside of town. Nearly 4,000 evacuees and volunteers lined up to sample Fieri’s cuisine on the first day.

Fieri plans to continue operating his mobile kitchen, so he can keep serving 5,000 meals daily to fellow victims and personnel. A fundraiser in partnership with the Salvation Army is financing his efforts. To donate, click here.