KWSO News for Wed., Jun. 10, 2020

2 more cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday afternoon according to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs daily coronavirus report.  There have now been 48 positive cases with 26 of those individuals recovered.  Of the 3 people hospitalized, 2 have been discharged.  719 total tests have been conducted with 640 tests returning negative.  3 tests were invalid and were redone.  28 test results were pending at the end of yesterday.  The Health and Wellness Center will continue contact tracing as well as random surveillance testing.

The Oregon Health Authority confirmed yesterday 5 more deaths due to COVID-19 raising the state’s death toll to 169.  There were 70 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 4,988.

Oregon Health Officials knew there would be an increase in COVID-19 cases with counties moving to Phase 1 and 2 re-openings in recent weeks.  They were a bit surprised by how high the spike in cases were in some counties.  Lincoln County has had the highest increase in the state with 165 cases including More than 120 workers at a Pacific Seafood plant in Newport.   According to OPB – Other counties with a significant rise in cases since reopening are Jefferson, Wasco and Hood River with numbers more than doubling.  Deschutes, Umatilla, Jackson, Yamhill and Lane counties have all seen steady increases as well.  Everyone is reminded to take precautions and

The Schoolie Flat water system is up and running as a result of Public Utilities temporary fix to make the system operational.  Water test samples have been sent to the lab and when results are available – they will be forwarded to the EPA for review of compliance.  Following that – its estimated that the EPA may rescind the Boil Water Notice as early as Friday afternoon.

Warm Springs Public Utilities Water and Waste Water Department also has completed the reseeding of the Warm Springs Agency Wastewater Treatment Plant.  They used 30,000 gallons of microbiology “food” stock from the City of Redmond wastewater facility on June 2nd.   The COVID-19 Pandemic made a severe impact on the wastewater treatment processes due to the vast majority of Tribal organization being closed and having only essential employees operating this resulted in having extremely low Influent flows to provide “food” to the facility treatment process.  When low flows occurs like in this situation it causes the treatment process to become unstable and causes starvation of the “bugs” that then die and causes the odor issue that was noticeable in the last few weeks.   It will take a few weeks and possibly a month for a noticeable change at the facility, Public Utilities will continue with daily operations and laboratory testing to track the entire process.

The Four Columbia River Tribes have set the 2020 SUMMER SEASON TRIBAL FISHERY.  Zone 6 Commercial Gillnet Fishery for all of Zone 6 will run 6am Monday, June 22nd  to 6pm Wednesday, June 24th.   The Tribes will consider additional commercial gillnet fishing at a later time.   For  Zone 6 Platform and Hook and Line Fishery  Fish caught after 6am Monday, June 22nd  may be sold commercially until further notice. All other Regulations for the ongoing Zone 6 platform and hook and line fishery remain unchanged.

We Count Oregon hosted a live virtual event yesterday on the Census and Sovereignty.  One of the participants was state representative for House District 43 which covers North and Northeast Portland – Tawna Sanchez who shared these comments:  “I’m only the 2nd Native American to ever serve in the Oregon Legislature.  The person before me was a citizen Potawatomi  and she represented Astoria in the mid-90s.  So what that says is that how we are represented even in our own state is very very thin at this point.  And I’m Shoshone Bannock and Ute I’m not even and Oregon Tribal Member.  We should be representing this state as Native People.  We should be making our voices heard.  We should be advocating for our lands and our resources, and  resources coming to us from the state itself.  And that’s what the most important thing is – if we are counted and our numbers are actually there to show people we are still here, that’s gonna be the important thing about getting those resources to our areas and getting that representation on a larger more federal level.   I remember as a young person back in the 70s – I remember hearing an estimate that by the year 2000 we would be all gone – that we would be melted into the big pot that was the original intention.  I remember this huge powwow – New Year’s Eve in 1999 and the dance was all about that we are still here.  And we are still here, we’ve been here but we are not being as counted, we are not being counted as well as we could be.  And we need to do that.  We need to have greater representation.  I need somebody else to be in the Oregon Legislature with me.  We need somebody to represent us on a federal level to make sure that people know we are here and to know that we are not giving up.  We’re not giving up one piece of land, not one ounce of water that we don’t have to.  We need to make sure that people know that Native people still  exist in this world and that we are not just a part of storybooks.”

Friday June 19th and again on June 26th the Warm Springs Complete Count Committee will recognize people who have already participated in the 2020 census.  If you have filled out the paper form and mailed it in or done the census online (or if you do that between now and next Friday) – you can pick up a thank you gift and lunch at the Community Center, the Simnasho Longhouse or the Seekseequa Fire Hall.   This will be drive through style and everyone is encouraged to wear masks.  That’s June 19th and 26th from 11am to 2pm.