Spanning the State: Pestilence Edition

Carla Axtman

Looks like we could be in for a long, virus-y winter.

The swine flu, also known as H1N1, has made its way to Oregon. So far, 2 deaths and 81 hospitalizations have been reported. This strain of flu was the culprit in the 2009-2010 pandemic that killed 284,000 people around the globe, according to the CDC. The best way to prevent the flu is to get yourself vaccinated. The state has tried to make that a little easier with this website that helps you find locations near you that give flu vaccines.

Oregon isn't alone in fighting H1N1. Right now, about half of the US is seeing widespread flu activity. Texas seems to be hardest hit, with 25 flu-related deaths reported. Their state has issued an "influenza health alert" as of December 20. They've advised clinicians to consider antiviral treatment even if an initial rapid-flu test comes back negative.

Stock up on that Vitamin C and wash your hands regularly. And don't BREATHE ON ME.

And now, let's Span the State!

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On Friday, the Oregon Court of Appeals shot down Woodburn’s attempt to expand its urban growth boundary into 409 acres of prime farmland. The decision was in response to an appeal made by 1000 Friends of Oregon (give them money, they do amazing work). The court noted that the city and the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission/LCDC (who approved the plan at the state level) did not meet the legal justification for the expansion. The city is deciding whether to revamp the expansion proposal or take it to the Oregon Supreme Court. This is the second time that the court has overruled both Woodburn and LCDC for this expansion request.

Mirror Pond in Bend is kind of a mess. Silt has built up in the waterway and the 103 year old dam is leaking. Pacific Power, which owns the dam, doesn't want to mess with it anymore. They say that generating power there isn't cost effective and they want out. Bend's City Council recently voted to explore preserving the dam, but it's going to be messy and probably expensive. But it's a city landmark that many are loathe to let go. The Source Weekly has a great piece on the potential options and lays out the chess board for the fights to come.

It's bone-dry in Baker City. The area had only 8.94 inches of rain last year, making it the second year in a row for below normal precipitation. In addition, almost 1/3 of that total occurred on 4 separate days, which saved the city from an even dryer year.

The 21 mile Springwater Trail is officially complete. Paving was recently finished on the last two remaining unpaved miles, giving bicyclists, joggers and hikers an unfettered stretch between Portland and Boring. The Cazadero Trail, which will one day connect Estacada to Boring, begins across the street from the Boring Station Trailhead Park, where Springwater Corridor Trail starts. Oregon State Parks hopes to eventually have a system in which a cyclist could ride from downtown Portland to Estacada via the Springwater Corridor and Cazadero Trails.

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