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News Releases
Scenic Bikeways Committee to meet Feb. 8 - 01/30/23

SALEM, Ore—The Scenic Bikeways Committee will meet Feb. 8 to discuss membership updates, rulemaking updates and route updates in a virtual meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. 

The meeting is open to the public. The agenda and link for the meeting is posted on the Scenic Bikeways website at https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/BWT/Documents/BW-Committee-Agenda-Feb-2023.pdf.

The Scenic Bikeways program was established in 2009 by Cycle Oregon, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Travel Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation. It now includes 17 of the state’s best designated mostly-roadway bicycle routes that showcase Oregon’s breathtaking landscapes, cultural treasures and western hospitality. The program is currently managed under a partnership agreement between Cycle Oregon and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. 

The Scenic Bikeways committee is an advisory group for the management and designation of routes nominated by the public for state scenic bikeways designation. Its members include citizen representatives, tourism organization, local governments and state agencies involved in bicycle recreation or transportation. 

For more information, contact program manager Clint Culpepper at 971-235-5994 or clint@cycleoregon.com. 

Drinking water tub at Tub Springs Wayside closed due to water quality concerns - 01/26/23

The historic drinking water tub at Tub Springs Wayside about 20 miles southeast of Ashland is closed due to water quality concerns. The wayside remains open.

The Oregon Health Authority ordered the historic tubs closed to the public due to high turbidity, which can make drinking water unsafe for consumption. The wayside is located along Green Springs Highway 66. 

Jackson County currently operates the wayside through an intergovernmental agreement with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. County officials shared the following statement on their website earlier this week:

“For unknown reasons, most likely associated with recent heavy rain events, the water produced by the springs does not meet state water quality parameters.  We are currently in consultation with Oregon Health Authority and the Jackson County Health Department to evaluate the next steps and will share that information as we learn more.  Thank you for your patience and understanding, as we work to protect public health associated with this drinking water supply” 

The tubs will remain closed to the public until further notice at the direction of the Oregon Health Authority Drinking Water Services Program.  Oregon State Parks, the Oregon Health Authority and Jackson County are working together to further evaluate the situation.

For more information contact Steve Lambert, Jackson County Roads and Parks director at (541) 774-6238.

Sink hole with person for scale
Sink hole with person for scale
Small sink hole discovered at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area (Photo) - 01/23/23

PACIFIC CITY, Ore— A small sink hole measuring 20-feet wide and 15-feet deep was discovered at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area Sunday in the lower northwest corner of the dune.

Oregon Park and Recreation Department staff were alerted to the presence of the sink hole Sunday morning and cordoned off the area for safety. We ask that visitors respect this barrier and all park safety barriers. Also, please keep pets on leashes and children away from the edges. 

“The cape is a dynamic environment. Please be aware of your surroundings, stay clear of any dangerous areas, including this one,” said Park Manager Jason Elkins. 

 “Obviously people are curious and may want to see if for themselves,” he said, “but we ask that you respect the barriers that are in place and observe from a distance.”

Cape Kiwanda is a rarity for the Oregon Coast: a sandstone outcropping. Sandstone is naturally much weaker and prone to sudden changes compared with hardier rock like basalt. While any natural area carries risk, enjoying Cape Kiwanda safely requires visitors to pay special attention.

Even though the spot is marked with barriers, this hole could change at any moment, and others could appear. If you see something that concerns you, leave the area and report it to Cape Lookout State Park staff at 503-842-4981. In an emergency, call 911.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is looking into possible causes of the sink hole, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We will share additional details as they become available. 

Historic cemeteries commission meets February 3 - 01/20/23

The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries will meet via online meeting on February 3 at 1:00 p.m. The agenda includes discussion of invasion species, Association for Gravestone Studies, recovery of cremains from fire, and future workplan items. The meeting is open to the public and the agenda includes an opportunity for public comment. Follow this link to register for meeting access information. 

State law established the seven-member Commission to maintain a listing of all historic cemeteries and gravesites in Oregon; promote public education on the significance of historic cemeteries; and help obtain financial and technical assistance for restoring, improving and maintaining their appearances. For more information about commission activities or to attend in person, contact coordinator Kuri Gill at 503-986-0685 or by e-mail at kuri.gill@oprd.oregon.gov

Special accommodations for the meeting – including translation services – may be made by calling (503) 986‐0690 at least 72 hours prior to the start of the meeting. For more historic cemetery resources or more information about the commission, visit www.oregonheritage.org.

Smith Rock pedestrian bridge
Smith Rock pedestrian bridge
Construction at Smith Rock will interrupt access to some areas this summer (Photo) - 01/19/23

SALEM, Ore— Smith Rock State Park is slated to get a new, wider pedestrian bridge this summer, which means there will be no bridge access for up to four weeks during construction in mid to late summer. The exact dates depend on nesting season and streamflow.

The bridge spans the Crooked River in Central Oregon near Bend and connects the entrance of the park with many, but not all, of its hiking trails and climbing destinations. There will be no temporary bridge, and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department discourages wading across the river due to sensitive habitat and safety concerns.

“We know that this closure will have an impact on our park users, but our current footbridge must be replaced,” said Park Manager Matt Davey.

“Fortunately, we have many areas of the park for visitors to explore that don’t use this bridge, including Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop. Stop in to the welcome center, visit our website or go to SmithRock.com to learn about these other great areas. Thank you for your understanding and patience while this critical project takes place.”

The old bridge was built nearly 50 years ago and reconstructed about 30 years ago. The new bridge will measure 8 feet wide, about 2 feet wider than the current bridge, and better accommodate visitors and first responders during the park’s frequent rescue operations. 

The exact dates of the bridge closure will not be set until closer to construction because they depend on two environmental factors:

  • Construction activity and noise near active nests is not permissible during raptor nesting season, which runs through Aug. 1. The work can begin before Aug. 1 if nests have fledged or failed.
  • The in-water work period for the Crooked River is July 1 through August 15.  This might be extended past Aug. 15 in coordination with other agencies if needed and allowed.

Crews will begin the initial work in July and continue through September if needed, but the biggest impact to visitors is the 4-week bridge closure. The goal is to complete as much of the bridge construction as possible between Aug. 1 and Aug. 15.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will update information on the footbridge closure dates and times on the Smith Rock webpage and through smithrock.com/ as information becomes available. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the park at 541-548-7501 or email the park manager at Matthew.DAVEY@oprd.oregon.gov.

  • Trails that will stay open include: Rim Rock Trail, Homestead Trail, Rope-de-Dope Trail, Canyon Trail and North Point loop
  • Climbing areas accessible during construction include: North Point area (accessible from the Homestead and North Point loop trails), Rope-de-Dope boulder (accessible from the Rope-de-Dope trail and Canyon Trail) and The Lower Gorge (Climber Access routes)

Grants available for historic cemetery projects - 01/13/23

The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries is offering grants for qualified historic cemeteries. The annual grants fund projects that preserve historic cemeteries. Projects funded in the past include marker repair workshops, fencing, signs, interpretive panels and brochures, security lighting, access improvements, records management, and more. 

Awards typically range between $1,000 and $8,000, but have been higher. Anyone may apply for a grant. Projects must be related to historic cemeteries listed with the Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries. Recent projects include marker repair and workshops in several cemeteries, installations of signs and informational kiosks, a preservation plan, and a fence replacement. 

“Our goal is to preserve Oregon’s historic cemeteries and offer support throughout the application process,” said historic cemeteries program coordinator Kuri Gill. Last year’s awards included projects in in Clackamas, Clatsop, Harney, Jackson, Lane, Malheur, Marion, Washington, and Yamhill Counties.

The online grant application is simple to use and includes plenty of support.  A free, online workshop specific to this grant and how to use the online grant application system will be offered February 14, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Registration is required. Recorded trainings and tips are also online.

State law established the seven-member historic cemeteries commission to maintain a listing of all historic cemeteries and gravesites in Oregon; promote public education on the significance of historic cemeteries; and help obtain financial and technical assistance for restoring, improving and maintaining their appearances. These grants support the goals of the Oregon Historic Preservation Plan and the Oregon Heritage Plan. To learn more about the grants or workshops visit www.oregonheritage.org. For additional information, translation, and accessibility needs contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0685.

Now accepting applications for park and recreation projects from local governments and agencies - 01/12/23

The Local Government Grant Program (LGGP) is accepting applications for the 2023 grant cycle. The program helps local government agencies fund outdoor park and recreation areas and facilities and acquire property for park purposes. 

Approximately $6 million in reimbursement grant funds are available for the 2023 cycle. 

Eligible applicants are cities, counties, metropolitan service districts, park and recreation districts and port districts. 

A live virtual workshop is scheduled from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8 to help new and returning applicants navigate the application process and learn about the program. Register for the workshop at: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_93JkGpkfRv6KniG9-tOKwA

A recording of the workshop will be available to view after Feb. 8 at oprdgrants.org (select the Grant Programs drop-down menu, then select Local Government or visit the webpage directly.)

Program grants are split into large, small and planning categories. Application deadlines vary for each grant type:

  • Large grant application deadline:  April 1
  • Small grant application deadline:  May 1
  • Planning grant application deadline:  May 15

Access to the LGGP application is online at oprdgrants.org (select the Grant Programs drop-down menu, then select Local Government or visit the webpage directly.)

The site also includes additional information about the LGGP, including the grant manual, application instructions and program schedule.

The Lottery-funded grant program is administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). The program has awarded more than $70 million in reimbursement grant funds since 1999.

Grants available for Oregon museum projects - 01/12/23

The Oregon Heritage Commission is offering grants to qualified museums for collections, heritage tourism, and education and interpretation projects. Awards typically range between $2,000 and $10,000.

Museums may apply for a variety of projects. Collections projects may include cataloging, archival storage, disaster preparedness, and conservation. Heritage tourism projects may include museum marketing and promotions, enhancing visitor experience, and training for museum staff. Education and interpretation projects may include exhibits, online education, school classes, workshops, and camps. Museums may also partner with other organizations for projects that might be outside of the museum, but still meet the museum’s mission. 

“This program is quite broad and can be used to collect the full spectrum of Oregon’s history, preserve it and raise awareness of it. We hope to see both creative and practical proposals,” said Oregon Heritage Coordinator, Katie Henry. Past projects include:

  • Interpretation and education projects at the City of Woodburn Museum, Columbia River Maritime Museum (Astoria), High Desert Museum (Deschutes County), the Museum at Warm Springs; 
  • Collections projects by Cape Blanco Heritage Society (Port Orford), Coos Historical Society, Dufur Historical Society Living History Museum, The Eugene Debbs Potts Foundation (Josephine county), Pacific Railroad Preservation Association (Portland), Rainier Oregon Historical Museum, Springfield Museum, Yaquina Pacific Railroad Historical Society (Toledo); and 
  • Tourism projects by the Hoover-Minthorn House (Newberg), Baker Heritage Museum. 

The online grant application is simple to use and includes plenty of support.  A free online workshop specific to this grant and how to use the online grant application will be offered February 7, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Advance registration is required. Recorded trainings and tips are also online.

The Heritage Commission is comprised of nine people representing Oregon’s heritage and geographical diversity who have been appointed by the Governor. There are also nine advisory representatives from state agencies and statewide organizations. The commission’s mission is to secure, sustain, and enhance Oregon's heritage by ensuring coordination of heritage initiatives by public and private organizations; advocacy on its behalf; education of the public about its extent and value; and promotion and celebration of its diversity. The commission supports Oregon Heritage Plan goals that include: including more voices of Oregon’s history, access to Oregon’s historic resources, attaining best practices and promoting the value of heritage. 

To learn more about museum grants, visit www.oregonheritage.org. For additional questions, translation and accessibility needs contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0685.

Grants Available for Veterans and War Memorials - 01/11/23

Oregon Heritage of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is offering grants for the construction or restoration of veterans and war memorials throughout Oregon. 


The grant application period is open now and closes March 31, 2023. 


Local and regional governments and federally recognized Tribes are eligible to apply for funding for monuments placed on publicly-owned properties.  Grants may fund up to 80 percent of projects and require a 10 percent match from grant recipients.


New monuments should acknowledge veterans and/or wars not already recognized in the community. Restoration projects may address broken monuments, missing elements, and/or additions to existing monuments.


Proposals must demonstrate active participation of a veteran organization and community support. 


A free online workshop about the grant program will be held February 16, 1:00-2:00 p.m. via Zoom. Registration is required. 


For more information about the Veterans and War Memorials grant and other grant programs, visit https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/gra/pages/gra-overview.aspx.

Grants available for historic properties and archaeology projects - 01/10/23

The State Historic Preservation Office is offering grants for work on historic properties and for archaeology projects. The annual grants fund up to $20,000 in matching funds for preservation projects. Both grant programs support the goals of the Oregon Historic Preservation Plan. 

The Preserving Oregon Grants fund preservation of historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Work may include non-maintenance preservation like window repair, roof work, foundation projects, plumbing, and electrical needs. Recently funded projects include preservation of the following historic properties.

  • Applegate House, Douglas County
  • Billy Webb Elks Lodge, Portland
  • Madras Municipal Airport WWII Hangar
  • Fort Stevens Guardhouse, Clatsop County
  • Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, Linn County
  • Lake Oswego Hunt
  • Rinehart Stone House, Malheur County
  • SPS 700 Steam Locomotive, Portland
  • Seaport Masonic Lodge#7, Astoria
  • The Tualatin Plains Presbyterian Church, Hillsboro
  • Wallowa History Center
  • Willamette Grange Hall, Benton County

Preserving Oregon Grants can also fund archaeology projects for significant work contributing toward identifying, preserving and/or interpreting archaeological sites. Archaeology projects by Forest Forever, Inc. and Maxville Heritage Center were funded last year. 

The Diamonds in the Rough Grants help restore or reconstruct the facades of buildings that have been heavily altered over the years. These grants return buildings to their historic appearance and potentially qualify them for historic register designation (local or national). Recent façade projects have taken place in Condon, Stayton, Spray, Albany, Eugene, and Tillamook. 

The online grant application is simple to use and includes plenty of support. Free, online grant workshops specific to these grant programs and how to use the online grant application will be offered. Visit the Oregon Heritage grants webpage to register. 

  • February 15, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. for Preserving Oregon Grants historic property projects.  
  • February 15, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. for Preserving Oregon Grants historic archaeology projects.
  • February 16, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. for Diamonds in the Rough building façade projects.


Recorded trainings and tips are also online. To learn more about the grants and workshops visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0685.

Oregon Heritage Commission to meet January 22-23 in Clackamas - 01/10/23

SALEM, Oregon – The Oregon Heritage Commission will meet Jan. 22-23 in Clackamas at the Oregon Military Museum. The agenda includes field trips in the local area on Jan. 22 and the business meeting on Jan. 23.

The business meeting will include information on the Oregon Military Department cultural resources management program, a presentation by and tour of the Oregon Military Museum, updates on Heritage Tradition Events and Northwest Digital Heritage. To view the full agenda and/or to register for the virtual meeting option visit here

The Heritage Commission’s nine members represent a diversity of cultural, geographic, and institutional interests. The Commission is the primary agency for coordination of heritage activities in the state. This includes carrying out the Oregon Heritage Plan, increasing efficiency and avoiding duplication among interest groups, developing plans for coordination among agencies and organizations, encouraging tourism related to heritage resources, and coordinating statewide anniversary celebrations.

The group meets four-six times per year in changing locations around the state and will offer virtual options to attend meetings. Commissioners are also asked to occasionally participate in meetings or events in their regions and work on other projects outside of meeting time. Appointed Commissioners are reimbursed for their travel and related expenses while conducting official commission business.

More information about the Oregon Heritage Commission is available online at www.oregonheritage.org and from Commission coordinator Katie Henry at 503-877-8834 or katie.henry@oprd.oregon.gov. 


Grants available for main street building projects statewide - 01/09/23

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is offering grants for up to $200,000 in matching funds for downtown revitalization efforts in communities participating in the Oregon Main Street Network. The Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant funds may be used to acquire, rehabilitate, and construct buildings on properties in designated downtown areas statewide.

Funded projects must facilitate community revitalization that will lead to private investment, job creation or retention, establishing or expanding viable businesses, or creating a stronger tax base. Projects may include façade improvement, accessibility enhancement, basic utilities, second floor renovations, and more. Only organizations participating in the Oregon Main Street Network are eligible to apply. Projects must be within approved Main Street areas. Eligible organizations may collaborate with the local governments and private property owners to apply for projects that will have the biggest benefit to the downtown. The grant application deadline is March 16, 2023. 

In 2015, legislation established a permanent fund for the grant and provided an initial $2.5 million of funding as part of a larger lottery bond package. In the 2017 legislative session, an additional $5 million was approved and was funded through the sale of the 2019 lottery bond package. The 2021 bond sale was canceled due to the economic impact of COVID-19, but the Oregon legislature included Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant in the bond packages slated for 2022 and 2023. 

Preservation office staff is happy to talk with applicants about potential grant projects and review applications prior to submitting. A free online workshop specific to the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant will be January 27, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Registration is required. 

Other resources available include:

To learn more about the grant and workshop, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-6085. To learn more about the Oregon Main Street Network contact Sheri Stuart at Sheri.Stuart@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0679.