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Our view: Tips and kicks

Published on February 15, 2018 8:42PM

Last changed on February 15, 2018 10:23PM

Volunteers and members of the nonprofit disaster relief organization Team Rubicon work Saturday to clear fencing from flood debris on a home near Milton-Freewater.

Photo contributed by Umatilla County Emergency Management

Volunteers and members of the nonprofit disaster relief organization Team Rubicon work Saturday to clear fencing from flood debris on a home near Milton-Freewater.


A tip of the hat Emergency responders and volunteers answered the call last weekend to help Milton-Freewater area flood victims Ginger and Brian Afdahl.

The North Fork Walla Walla River flooded the 10 acres of their homestead on Feb. 4. Ginger Afdahl said most of the water receded but left a big mess, with mud and gravel covering much of their land.

That’s when the Northwest Region of Team Rubicon got involved

Team Rubicon is an international nonprofit that unites military veterans with first responders to take on disasters. The organization has sent teams to hurricanes Maria and Harvey and the wildfires in Sonoma County, California. Coming to Umatilla County was a first, as was teaming up with Umatilla County emergency management.

Ginger Afdahl said the flood buried irrigation lines, fencing and more under rocks and gravel, and the volunteers removed much of that from the muck. They also removed hay from the shed so it could dry and put up fences.

“I couldn’t thank them enough,” she said. “If it wasn’t for their help, I don’t know what we would have done. It would have taken us forever. There was a lot of rock, a lot of tangled mess. They helped us a lot.”

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A tip of the hat to a new bill speeding its way through the Oregon legislature that will benefit local farmers.

Early organization has proved advantageous for supporters of a bill establishing minimum contract protections for all Oregon seed growers, which the House unanimously approved Tuesday.

Under House Bill 4068, dealers must pay farmers market prices for seed by certain deadlines enforced by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Grass seed crops have received similar protections since 2011 under a statute aimed at preventing “slow pay, no pay” problems, but other types of seed were excluded from the legislation.

Before the idea of expanding the contract protections was brought to the Oregon lawmakers, the specifics were hashed out by farmers, seed dealers and trade groups.

By the time HB 4068 was introduced, all the details had been hammered out and the bill sailed through the House Agriculture Committee without any opposing testimony or even an amendment.

It’s the kind of pre-planning that should be required of bills brought up during the short session.



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