A kick in the pants to Lifeways for its attacks on Community Counseling Solutions.

Umatilla County chose CCS over Lifeways to be its new provider for mental health and addiction services, and Lifeways responded with an appeal that called CCS underprepared, underqualified and a danger to Umatilla County residents.

Time will tell how Community Counseling Solutions does in its new role, but committee members tasked with scoring the two agencies’ proposals felt confident enough in the Heppner-based provider to bet more than $1 million a year and the mental health of thousands of county residents on it. The county board of commissioners has expressed unhappiness with Lifeways multiple times through the years, most recently in its handling of the closure of Aspen Springs, and if the board wants to try someone new, that’s fair enough.

We hope now their appeal has been rejected, Lifeways will be a good partner in helping with the transition, for the sake of county residents in need of services.

A tip of the hat to Pendleton Fire & Ambulance firefighters for their trip to Big Bend Community College to make sure personnel with the department stay current on their aircraft fire certification.

We hope they never need to use that training, but if the time comes, we’re glad they are prepared.

A tip of the hat to the city of Hermiston for deciding to move the parking lot and playground at Riverfront Park to a new location, outside the main flow of floodwaters when the Umatilla River jumps its banks.

The frequency and magnitude of floods along the Umatilla River has increased in recent years due to climate change, and modeling from Oregon State University researchers predicts that trend will continue across the Columbia Basin. Hermiston and similar cities need to be proactive in trying to mitigate future damage.

A tip of the hat to Blue Mountain Community College for its purchase of art for all of its campuses by American Indian artists, including from Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, a Umatilla Indian Reservation print studio and gallery.

A community college should display artwork that is meaningful and educational, not merely decorative. This purchase honors the heritage of the land BMCC was built on, and will hopefully spark new conversations about the history of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and their ceded territory.

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