Oregon’s Population is on the Rise

Oregon’s Population is on the Rise

According to Koin6, it has been estimated that Oregon’s population is now at 4.1 million, according to an annual report from Portland State University’s Population Research Center. The research report stated that the population increased by almost 65,00 residents since 2016. The biggest factor was people migrating to the state, accounting for 88% of the increase. The other 12% was attributed to an increase in the amount of births in the state over deaths.

The tri-county Portland metropolitan areas unsurprisingly reported the largest population gains since last year. Multnomah and Washington Counties also added over 12,000 residents while Clackamas County added a little over 8,000 residents. The City of Portland saw the greatest growth over any other city in Oregon; it’s population now estimated at 639,100.

Finally, Deschutes County, located in Central Oregon, saw in increase of 3.6%, which was the greatest increase by percentages, adding around 3,265 new citizens to its most popular city, Bend.


New beach-accessible wheelchairs purchased so visitors can enjoy Cannon Beach

New beach-accessible wheelchairs purchased so visitors can enjoy Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach will soon have beach-accessible wheelchairs so visitors with mobility challenges can enjoy the sand and the surf.

“It’s making our beach, which is free for everyone, free for everyone,” said Pooka Rice, outreach coordinator for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program in Cannon Beach. “It’s very exciting.”

The Cannon Beach Police Department will oversee the checkout and return process of the wheelchairs. The chairs will be available on the east side of the city hall building and are free to use. They can be reserved and visitors can leave their regular wheelchairs at the Police Department.

“People didn’t even know something like this existed,” Dan Haag said. Haag is the manager of the visitor’s center in nearby Manzanita. “And the reaction is joy just to be able to get down to the beach.”

In Manzanita, they’ve had free beach wheelchairs available for nearly 10 years, said Haag. “We’re happy that our partners up in Cannon Beach are providing this for people so when we don’t have them available, we know where to send people.”

Court Carrier, the executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, hopes that wheelchairs will soon be available throughout Oregon’s entire coast.

“We know there’s a lot of other people that have begun doing this,” said Carrier. “And we hope to help spread this idea up and down the entire coast so that everyone makes it their mission to have an accessible beach.”

Cannon Beach currently has two wheelchairs, valued at $2,500 each. The funds for those chairs were privately donated.

The goal is to have 4 or 5 wheelchairs and some specialized walkers available so everyone can enjoy the beach. Fundraising is currently ongoing and anyone interested in making a donation should contact the Haystack Rock Awareness Program or the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce.


New Oregon Law Changes Car Seat Requirements

New Oregon Law Changes Car Seat Requirements

Oregon governor Kate Brown recently signed a new mandate into law that requires children age two and under to ride in rear-facing car seats. This requirement previously ended when children turned one. Anyone who fails to follow this mandate will be fined up to $250. Oregon is the sixth state to implement rear-facing car seats for children two and under.

In an interview, Dr. Bend Hoffman explained the dangers of young children sitting in forward-facing car seats. “What’s going to happen is they’re going to be thrown forward, the arms and legs are going to go forward, head and neck forward. What’s going to stop the child are the harness straps. All sorts of horrible things can happen from paralysis to death.” Dr. Hoffman is a professor of pediatrics at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

When the car seat is rear-facing during an accident, it absorbs the shock and the child’s spine, head and neck stay aligned.

“We know that kids rear-facing, between the age of one and two, are over five times less likely to be injured in a crash compared to kids facing forward,” said Dr. Hoffman.

Parents like Adrianna Morales are grateful for the change in the car seat laws. “I’m happy, really happy. I think it’s the best choice they made for our little ones, we need to protect them.”

Doernbecher and Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland provide free car seat installations by appointment.

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.


Bicyclists ride in support of a family devastated by a racially motivated attack

Bicyclists ride in support of a family devastated by a racially motivated attack

Bicyclists in Portland were out in force on Sunday, September 25, to ride in support of an African American family that was attacked in what police called a racially motivated incident.

A passing bicycle rider attacked Patricia Garner and her daughter, Foia Frazier as they were helping Foia’s three sons into a car on September 13. The man on the bicycle used pepper spray on the children and screamed racial slurs at the family. The oldest child had to be taken to a hospital later that evening due to breathing difficulties from the pepper spray.

The rally was organized by bicyclist Taz Loomans and as it got underway, Ms. Garner sat in front of a home near where the attack occurred. Ms. Garner was given notes of support written by those participating in the rally.

“I’m so grateful for the bicyclists who came together so that my grandkids know that everybody who rides bikes is not bad,” she said. “I’m just so overwhelmed with the love and support.”

“We’re out to support a family who’s part of our local community,” said Kelly Decklar, a rally participant who attended with her husband and their two young children. “On a micro level, this is just our community and our people. And on a macro level, it’s easy to feel very powerless. And when we can step up and support and just show that we care, I think that’s a good first start for our family and for the local community.”