As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

stateturnssymbolFunding Incarcerates Women’s Prison Program
When I woke up this morning I thought, Johnny, what is it Corvallisites want most of all when they’re reading the paper? Naturally, the first and only answer was this: more bad news. So to start off “As the State Turns” this week, I looked and looked until I found some. Yay!

This particular bit of terrible news involves the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, a women’s prison up in Wilsonville. Their highly successful Family Preservation Project, a system in place to help keep incarcerated mothers and their children in contact, has lost its $300,000 a year funding and will subsequently close. In addition to providing a room with a library and art supplies to foster this interaction, support groups were also provided that reached out to not just jailed mothers, but those caring for their children on the outside.

Over its five-year run, 30 women had participated in the program – none of which have since returned to prison. An online petition through currently has most of their current 3,000 signature goal and seeks to plead with Governor Kitzhaber to help preserve the program. Additionally, a documentary is being made by filmmaker Brian Lindstrom.

In a country that often publicly holds itself up as diverse, tolerant and caring… it’s painful to see a system that works, a system that helps keep families strong fall by the wayside because the same funding that could buy roughly 1.3 useless congressmen (or 37,500 bags of Tostino’s Pizza Rolls) apparently had to be diverted elsewhere.

Army Attacks Birds on Behalf of Fish
Last week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (also known as the Bird Death Squad) called for a sack of rusty trombones to be dropped on about 26,000 birds at the mouth of the Columbia River. But don’t get too fired up… these vicious fowl have been whoopin’ up on the threatened and endangered steelhead and salmon in the area, pilfering the hatcheries like a bunch of winged bandits. For shame! Can you believe they’d have the gull to try something like that? Oh yeah, I went there.

The preferred plan involves shooting about 11,000 of these double-crested cormorants, including 15,000 additional unborn chicks. The method? “Egg oiling.” The theory is that if you spray enough non-stick Pam all over the eggs, they can’t take in oxygen. My mind keeps searching for a way to apply this to cooking, but no luck yet. I just keep getting caught up on the part where they very simply explain that snuffing out the eggs saves them from having to shoot adult birds later.

One individual commented online, “The birds are not the problem, it’s those damn, naked [upright] apes…” Fair enough. And to perhaps more eloquent ends, many more oppose the plan as well, attacking the action as barbaric and short term in terms of solutions. All of this despite an environmental review showing that the actions wouldn’t damage the cormorant population in total. This review was conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers themselves, but I’m sure they can be trusted.

Think back to Hurricane Katrina… when Michael D. Brown was essentially hired to investigate his own actions. That worked out just fine. Moral of the story: if you like to eat fish, the Army has your back. If you really hate birds, there are opportunities for therapy along the Columbia.

Everyone living in Oregon that has been to or lived in other states that experience natural disasters will tell you the same thing: Oregon is held together by duct tape, and we’re all doomed. Last week Central Oregon was thrashed (trying out my sensationalist vocabulary) by devastating, “hurricane-strength winds,” as it was reported. Ignoring the fact that the maximum wind speed recorded was about 55mph, and the weakest hurricane class speed is 74mph, it still split trees, flung crap around and even closed a park in Bend. Deschutes County Dispatch says they received hundreds of calls, all of which were likely people just freakin’ the hell out because they saw a newspaper go flying by.

Meanwhile, officials in Washington and Oregon are just now trying to sort out how to keep fuel lines from collapsing in the event of a 9.0 earthquake. The big concern on the plate is that most of our 300 some odd bridges will go belly up, making it impossible to haul fuel anywhere. Current reports indicate that the massive Cascadia fault, which runs from Vancouver Island to northern California, has about a 37% chance of seeing some sort of powerful earthquake event in the next 50 years.

Anyway, point being, something is coming and we’re all going to die. To quote Chris Higgins, director of OSU’s Structural Engineering Research Lab, from a June 2013 Advocate article on earthquake denial in Corvallis, “It will be ugly, really ugly… I’ve often thought about moving.” Yes indeed, Corvallis is spackled together with 100-year-old bricks, dry rot and gluten.

Just thought you could use a reminder to brighten your day!