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News Releases
New salmon plate
New salmon plate
Oregon's classic salmon license plate gets a new look (Photo) - 07/19/21

Joint News Release //  Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board + Oregon Parks and Recreation Department // FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE // Release Date: July 19, 2021 

Oregon’s classic salmon license plate gets a new look

A new salmon plate design will be on the road September 1st, with limited time left to purchase classic salmon plate design

SALEM, Oregon – Oregonians will soon have a choice about how they display their support for salmon habitat. A new salmon license plate design will be available September 1st, or Oregonians can opt for the classic salmon license plate until August. Lowest-numbered new plates will be available through a special auction in cooperation with Oregon nonprofits that support salmon habitat restoration.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department first debuted the salmon plate in 1998. Revenue from the specialty plate protects and restores native salmon habitat. To date over $8 million of salmon plate funding has been invested in Oregon.

“When coupled with voter-dedicated investments from the state’s Lottery, this plate allows salmon supporters to show their true colors and invest in a worthwhile cause – healthy salmon habitat,” says Meta Loftsgaarden, Executive Director of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

The original plate was one of the earliest custom designs available in Oregon, and the new design is a colorful upgrade, showing spawning salmon in a clear, cool stream. The new art was created by Gretchen Kirchner, an amateur artist and former graphic designer for Oregon Watershed Enhancement BoardThe public can continue to order the classic plate design before they retire in August and can keep the classic plates on their car if they choose, while still supporting habitat projects.

To launch the new salmon license plate, the Oregon Conservation Partnership (ORCP) is hosting a Salmon Plate VIP List Auction using eBay. On July 20, 2021, members of the public can go to https://www.ebay.com/ and search for “Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts Salmon License Plate.” The auction allows bidders to secure low number spots on the VIP list for plate numbers SM 00001 through SM 00020 when the new plates are released. Bids must be placed by 5:00pm on July 30, 2021 to be eligible. Proceeds from the auction will benefit statewide nonprofit organizations who strongly support on-the-ground salmon recovery in Oregon.

The new plates will be available for passenger vehicles through the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) beginning September 1, 2021, but when and how Oregonians apply for the new plate matters. To guarantee landing the new salmon plate design, vehicle owners need to apply in person, online at DMV2U, or by mail on or AFTER September 1, 2021. Orders online or in person before August 31, 2021 will receive the classic plate.

More information about the new Salmon License plate, and auction rules and eligibility, is available at orsalmonplates.com. Registration fees and ordering information are available on the DMV website at https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/Vehicle/index.aspx.  

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Attached Media Files: New salmon plate
State Parks near Umatilla National Forest remain open - 07/16/21

La Grande — State parks near the Umatilla National Forest remain open and unaffected by the July 16 Umatilla National Forest closure, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area, Red Bridge State Wayside, Hilgard Junction State Park and Ukiah-Dale Forest State Scenic Corridor campground are all open, with campfire restrictions in place. A statewide list of campfire and open flame restrictions is updated daily at stateparks.oregon.gov.

Officials advise visitors to research air quality conditions and wildfire status ahead of their visit. Air quality conditions are posted on the Oregon smoke blog and the Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Advisory map. A current map of wildfires burning in Oregon and evacuation levels are posted at publicalerts.org. State park closures are posted at stateparks.oregon.gov.  

Low water limits recreation on Prineville Reservoir - 07/16/21

Prineville —Visitors should plan for unusually low water levels on Prineville Reservoir this summer, the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, Bureau of Reclamation and Oregon Marine Board announced. The reservoir is more accessible for small watercraft, such as canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and inflatables. Officials warn the ramp slope and drop off pose a risk to trailered motorboats for safe launching and retrieving.

“We don’t typically see water levels this low until November or December,” said Prineville Reservoir State Park Manager Chris Gerdes. “It’s going to be a long walk to get to the water.”

Low water levels also mean fewer places to launch a boat. The boat ramps at Powderhouse Cove and Jasper Point are closed, and only one lane of the boat ramp in the main day-use area at Prineville Reservoir is open.

The Roberts Bay East and County boat ramps are open, but only safe for small, non-motorized watercraft to launch.

At Prineville Reservoir State Park, visitors will notice the swimming area is no longer protected by floating docks. “We had to remove them when the water level dropped so low. The usual swim area is dry, exposing the rocks and muddy bottom beneath,” Gerdes said.

Low water levels also have limited availability of potable water in the Prineville Reservoir campground. Campground showers are on limited hours, and the flush restroom facilities in the day-use area are closed (vault toilets available). If the water shortages continue, park officials may need to close additional flush restrooms and showers and limit water to RV sites.

The reservoir is about 40% full due to severe drought conditions in central Oregon. Gov. Kate Brown declared a drought emergency in Crook County on May 5, 2021.  

Planning resources are available on the Marine Board’s website for reservoir water levels and an interactive boating access map.

Historic cemeteries commission offers Interpretation in Historic Cemeteries presentation and meets July 15 - 06/29/21

The Oregon Commission on Historic Cemeteries will meet via online meeting on July 15 at 1:00 p.m. The agenda includes discussion of the Oregon Preservation Plan and the Oregon Heritage Plan and how the commission’s work relates to these. The meeting is open to the public and the agenda includes an opportunity for public comment. 

The commission is also offering an online presentation, Interpretation in Historic Cemeteries. Becky Soules will present an overview of recent work at the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery and discuss some of the challenges in creating engaging interpretative materials for the site. Established in 1888, the cemetery encompasses four acres of greenspace near downtown Coos Bay and has more than 2000 gravesites. However, it has suffered from extensive neglect and vandalism for much of its history. In recent years, grants from the commission and Travel Oregon have funded a new interpretative display at the cemetery’s main entrance. Becky will share some of the strategies that she used in designing the new signage -- endeavoring to provide an overview of the cemetery's history while also telling the stories of some of the diverse individuals buried in the cemetery. Register in advance to attend the free presentation.

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, contact coordinator Kuri Gill at 503-986-0685 or by e-mail at i.gill@oregon.gov">kuri.gill@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 call-in details and the agenda or more information about the commission, visit www.oregonheritage.org.

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Grants awarded to historic property and archaeology projects across the state - 06/28/21

 Oregon Heritage, a division of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, awarded 17 grants totaling $275,000 for historic properties and archaeology projects. Four of the grants were awarded in the Diamonds in the Rough category. This grant funds façade enhancements that restore the historic character of the property. The other 13 grants were in the Preserving Oregon category for properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and for archaeology projects.

Funded projects:

  • Façade restoration grants in Lincoln City, Oregon City, Rhododendron, and Wallowa.
  • Four archaeology projects:
    • City of North Bend for a study and development of a heritage management plan for Ferry Road Park.
    • Southern Oregon University in Ashland for work on the materials from a site related to Chinese history in The Dalles.
    • Vanport Placemaking Project in Portland to document the Vanport site working toward a possible National Register of Historic Places nomination.
    • Willamette University in Salem for a public archaeology project with Willamette Heritage Center, and the City of Salem.
  • Preservation of nine historic properties:
    • Aurora Colony Historical Society, Aurora
    • Churchill Baker LLC, Baker City
    • Creswell Heritage Foundation, Creswell
    • Friends of Santiam Pass Ski Lodge, Deschutes County
    • Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, Josephine County
    • Mt. Angel Blacksmith Shop, Mt. Angel
    • Union School District #5, Union
    • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Malheur
    • Willamette Community and Grange Hall Historical Building Foundation, Benton County

These grants are approved by the State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation, a nine-member group that reviews nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. The members are professionally recognized in the fields of history, architecture, archaeology and other related disciplines.

For more information about the grant program, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at i.gill@oregon.gov">Kuri.gill@oregon.gov or 503-986-0685.

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Oregon State Parks offers safety reminders for hot weather ahead - 06/25/21

With a historic heat wave predicted to hit many parts of the state this weekend, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) encourages everyone to be safe, be prepared, stay hydrated and follow posted campfire restrictions.

The hot weather drives people to the water, but parks at the coast and along rivers and lakes can quickly become overcrowded.

“Plan to arrive early, and pass by if the parking lot is full,” said OPRD spokesperson Chris Havel. “Have a plan B in case the destination you chose is at capacity.”

When enjoying river recreation, be aware that cold water and low water levels reveal in-water hazards. Be sure to check ahead for any reported obstructions and the recommended actions for safe navigation.

The forecasted hot and dry weather makes fire safety a top priority for OPRD and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. Conditions can change quickly, so be sure to check the state parks campfire restrictions web page in advance of your trip. Also review these campfire safety tips before you head out.  Be prepared for the possibility of a campfire ban during your stay.

To find out what state and federally managed properties are open or closed, go to Oregon's Recreation Site Status Map. More information about state parks is available at stateparks.oregon.gov.