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Kam Wah Chung main room
Kam Wah Chung main room
Kam Wah Chung museum open for tours during spring break March 25-29 (Photo) - 03/04/24

JOHN DAY, Oregon— Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site opens its doors for tours during the week of spring break, March 25-29, before reopening for the full season May 1 through Oct. 31.

The Kam Wah Chung building and museum is a National Historic Landmark that preserves the home and businesses of two Chinese immigrants, Ing "Doc" Hay and Lung On. For more than 60 years the building was a social, medical and religious center for Oregon's Chinese community.

The Kam Wah Chung building will be open for guided tours March 25-29. The free, 45-minute tour begins at the Interpretive Center at 125 NW Canton Street in John Day. It runs every hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., except from noon to 1 p.m. 

“We’re excited to offer this opportunity once again during spring break so visitors can experience this incredible heritage site,” said Museum Curator Don Merritt.

Space is limited to 8 people per tour so reservations are recommended. Call 541-575-2800 for more information and to make a reservation.

Oregon Main Street Adds Two New Affiliated Main Street Communities to the Network - 02/29/24

SALEM, Oregon – Oregon Main Street (OMS) has accepted the City Club of Forest Grove and Main Street Cascade Locks at the Affiliated Main Street level of the OMS Network. 

Communities participating at this level have a high degree of commitment to using the nationally recognized place-based Main Street Approach™ methodology to create lasting impact in enhancing their historic downtowns. 

Affiliated Main Street level communities must have a cohesive core of historic or older commercial and mixed-use buildings that represent the community’s architectural heritage and may include compatible in-fill. They must also have a sufficient mass of businesses, buildings, and density to be effective, as well as be a compact and pedestrian-oriented district.

The primary emphasis of the Affiliated Main Street level is to provide technical assistance to program’s in their formative years.  Acceptance into this level allows communities to participate in training, community assessments, technical assistance, and receive local capacity building support. There isn’t a fee to participate in the Oregon Main Street Network. 

The selection process included submitting an application that describes their district, previous efforts to improve downtown, readiness to implement the Main Street Approach™, board development efforts, in addition to other criteria. 

Currently, there are 100 communities in Oregon participating in one of the four levels of the Oregon Main Street Network: Accredited Main Street, Designated Main Street, Affiliated Main Street, and Connected Communities. Both communities were represented by their cities at the Connected Communities level prior to being accepted at the Affiliated Main Street level. In Cascade Locks, a local Main Street group is just forming so the timing is good to benefit the assistance Oregon Main Street can provide. In Forest Grove, they have been exploring the right structure for the main street effort and found a willing partner in the City Club of Forest Grove.

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage in Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For questions, contact Oregon Main Street Coordinator Sheri Stuart, sheri.stuart@oprd.oregon.gov.

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Lake Billy Chinook
Lake Billy Chinook
Boaters asked to use caution, patience at Cove Palisades during temporary lower water levels (Photo) - 02/27/24

Culver, Oregon— Oregon State Parks is asking boaters to use caution and patience when boating during temporary lower-than-typical reservoir levels at The Cove Palisades State Park this winter and spring.

Lake Billy Chinook will experience temporary lower reservoir levels as PGE and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs complete planned maintenance and repairs to Round Butte Dam. The reservoir will be held at a lower level until mid-April, but boat ramps at The Cove Palisades State Park will still be accessible.

The docks will sit lower in the water than usual, which means potential boat contact with rocks and debris. The ramps will also extend farther into the reservoir exposing potential drop-off points. Please follow posted signs for the best docks and ramps to use and exercise patience with fellow boaters if there are longer wait times. 

“We apologize for any inconvenience, and we appreciate everyone’s patience this spring as water levels return to normal,” said Steve Bifano, Park Manger at The Cove Palisades State Park.

PGE will begin refilling the reservoir when construction is complete and anticipates that Lake Billy Chinook will reach regular summer levels (1,944’ elevation) no later than June 5, 2024. PGE anticipates that the temporary change in water level will have no impact to water quality, fish, or wildlife populations in the reservoir.

If visitors have any questions about The Cove Palisades State Park and its three boat landings, please reach out to the park or visit the website: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=park.profile&parkId=24

If visitors have any questions about the construction and reservoir levels, please reach out to PGE Parks and Recreation at pgeparks@pgn.com or 503-464-8515. For updates on launch closures and reservoir access for PGE’s Perry South Campground, visit https://portlandgeneral.com/about/parks-campgrounds/perry-south-campground

Attached Media Files: Lake Billy Chinook
Flowering cherry tree landscaping set for Feb. 28-29 in the North Mall at State Capitol State Park - 02/26/24

SALEM, Oregon— Three Akebono flowering cherry trees will be removed from State Capitol State Park on Feb. 28, 2024, because the trees are in poor health. On Feb. 29, four new Akebono cherry trees will be planted to replace these three and another tree that died. In addition, eight more will be placed near existing trees to increase the overall canopy of Akebono cherry blossoms. 

The planned work is part of a 20-year strategy to keep healthy and vigorous trees in the North Mall. A recent detailed inventory of 149 cherry trees assessed the health, aesthetics, and visible impacts to the area infrastructure. The results were included in the 2022 Tree Canopy Management Plan. The three trees to be removed this week were identified for removal in the plan based on their very poor condition and damage from ice storms in recent years. 

Kevin Strandberg, Valley Region operations manager for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, says the replacement trees are at least eight years old and about 3.5 inches diameter at breast height. He added that people will be able to walk beneath the trees when they are mature.

“We’re moving and planting the trees now while they are dormant and during late winter, so they have time to establish strong root systems before warm weather arrives,” he added. “I expect they will blossom this year and continue to grow and flourish.”



Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
Oregon State Parks recruiting about 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for 2024 (Photo) - 02/23/24

SALEM, Oregon— Oregon State Parks is not just a beautiful place to visit – it’s also a spectacular place to work. 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is recruiting 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for positions across the state that range anywhere from four to nine months. The peak season is from April to September, but some of the positions start as early as March and run as late as December. 

Seasonal staff help visitors access world-class experiences and ensure clean and safe park areas for everyone to enjoy. Duties include janitorial work, landscape maintenance, visitor education and visitor services.

Salaries start at $17.34 per hour for seasonal assistants and $20.06 for seasonal rangers. Both positions include comprehensive medical, vision and dental plans for employees and qualified family members. The positions also include paid sick leave, vacation, personal leave and 11 paid holidays per year. Student workers, ages 16 and older, start at $17.32 or more per hour depending on experience (no benefits). 

OPRD promotes from within and several of our top leaders started as seasonal employees. 

“We love what we do at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department,” said Director Lisa Sumption. “We get to preserve and share some of Oregon’s most treasured landscapes and resources. Whether you’re here for a season or your entire career, you’re part of that OPRD family.”

For more information about current openings, visit stateparks.oregon.gov. If you have any questions or need additional assistance in accessibility or alternative formats, please email Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Recruiting OPRD.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, committed to diversity and pay equity.

Trails advisory committee to meet Feb. 28-29 to evaluate grant applications - 02/20/24

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Advisory Committee will meet February 28-29 to evaluate grant applications from around the state for projects to develop, improve or expand recreational trails. 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) administers this federally funded grant program. 

The meeting is open to the public but does not include time for public comments. The committee will meet 9 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Feb. 28 and 9 a.m. to close of business Feb. 29. 

Members will evaluate 22 applications over two days. Agenda for meeting information and a list of project proposals: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/GRA/Documents/RTP-Agenda-Feb2024.pdf

Options for attending:

In Person: Best Western Mill Creek, 3125 Ryan Dr SE, Salem, OR 97301 

Online: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85971565536

One tap mobile: (253)205-0468, 85971565536#

Phone: (253)205-0468, Webinar ID: 859 7156 5536

The RTP Advisory Committee will submit recommendations to the Oregon State Parks Commission for review and approval at their April meeting. OPRD will then forward approved project proposals to the Federal Highway Administration for final approval. 

The RTP Advisory Committee consists of 10 members who represent various trail user groups and land managers. Eligible RTP applicants include local governments, state agencies, federal land management agencies, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations.

RTP is an assistance program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The program provides funds to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized trail uses, including hiking, biking, equestrian use, cross-country skiing, paddling, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel driving or using other off-road motorized vehicles.

For more information contact Jodi Bellefeuille, Program Coordinator at 503-856-6316 or Jodi.bellefeuille@oprd.oregon.gov or visit the RTP webpage.

If special accommodations are needed to attend the meeting, contact Jodi Bellefeuille at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission to hold online meeting Feb. 26 and 27 - 02/12/24

SALEM, Oregon — The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission will convene an online meeting Feb. 26 and 27. 

On Feb. 26, commissioners will meet for a work session and training from 1 to 4 p.m. The meeting includes a commission bylaws work session, budget development and legislative process, rule making, real estate, park development and grants.

On Feb. 27, commissioners will convene an executive session online at 8:45 a.m. to discuss acquisition priorities and opportunities and potential litigation. Executive sessions are closed to the public. A business meeting will begin at 10:15 a.m. and will be open to the public.

The business meeting is open to the public and will be available via livestream at https://bit.ly/oprdlive. Those who wish to make informal public comments related to any items not on the agenda must sign up at https://bit.ly/registerfeb2024commission. The deadline to register to speak at the meeting virtually is 5 p.m., Feb. 23. Time per speaker is limited to three minutes. Please submit written public comments by 5 p.m. Feb. 23 to chris.havel@oprd.oregon.gov

The full agenda and supporting documents will be posted on the commission web page. Notable requests: 

  • Requests to adopt updates to two administrative rules. (The public comment periods on the rules have closed so comments will not be taken at the commission meeting before they vote):
  • OAR 736-010-0020- Amending General Park Area Rules to update Exclusion Process (https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/PRP/Pages/PRP-Rule-2023-ExclusionRules.aspx)
  • OAR 736-021-0090–Amending Territorial Sea Plan Rocky Habitat Site Designation. (https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/PRP/Pages/PRP-Rule-2023-MarineplantandMacroalgaecollection.aspx).
  • Request to approve state park construction contracts at Beverly Beach, Peter Skene Ogden Wayside, Silver Falls and Milo McIver.
  • Request to approve County Opportunity Grant Program awards for 2024 and ATV Grant Recommendations.
  • Request to accept the donation of two small parcels of land adjacent to Brian Booth State Park from McKenzie River Trust. The land would allow greater access for employees and contractors to inspect and maintain OPRD parklands.

Anyone needing special accommodations to attend the meeting should contact Denise Warburton, commission assistant, at least three days in advance: denise.warburton@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-779-9729. 

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission promotes outdoor recreation and heritage by establishing policies, adopting rules and setting the budget for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The seven members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. They serve four-year terms and meet several times a year at locations across the state. 

Three open house sessions to discuss draft Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan - 02/06/24

SALEM, Oregon— Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will host three virtual open house sessions, Feb. 15, Feb. 29 and March 2, to discuss the draft Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for 2024-2028.

The five-year plan is a comprehensive look at Oregon’s outdoor recreation needs and priorities based on a survey of more than 3,000 people in a representative sampling of Oregon residents as well as a survey of recreation providers. The research was conducted in collaboration with Oregon State University. 

The primary purpose of the plan is to provide guidance for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program and other Oregon Parks and Recreation Department grant programs. Results also help guide federal, state, and local government, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors, in making policy and planning decisions. It also provides up-to-date, high-quality information to assist recreation providers with park system planning in Oregon.

The current draft plan, titled “Balance and Engagement: Sustaining the benefits for all Oregonians,” also takes a deeper dive in three areas: 

  • Examining the benefits of outdoor recreation
  • Balancing conservation and recreation
  • Engaging with underserved communities

Residents can learn more about the draft plan during the three online open house sessions:

  • Feb. 15, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 29, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • March 2, 10-11:30 a.m.

Attendees can register at https://outdooreconomy.oregonstate.edu/scorp2024. The registration form includes an opportunity to request accommodations for accessibility. The meetings will include an overview of the draft plan and an opportunity to offer brief public comments, which will be included in the final draft. The goal of the open house is to gather public comments to ensure that the report is clear and relevant to users across the state.

The final draft of the 2024-2028 SCORP will be available in spring or summer of 2024 and include an official public review process. The final draft will be presented to the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission with a request for its approval and also shared with the National Park Service for review. After any last revisions, the final plan is then sent to the U.S. National Park Service for adoption. 

Learn more about the 2024-2028 SCORP including the goals, benefits and research team at https://outdooreconomy.oregonstate.edu/scorp2024.