Weekday Wrap: Wolves are quietly returning to Oregon’s oceanside forests

By OPB staff (OPB)
July 31, 2023 9:41 p.m.

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region.

Gray wolves are returning to the Oregon Coast Range

Gray wolves once roamed the forests and canyons along Oregon’s Coast Range, patrolling cliffs above the ocean and hunting deep ravines for deer and elk before settlers blitzed the predators using guns and poison, exterminating them by 1920. More than a century later, wolves are quietly returning to Oregon’s oceanside forests and communities. A 2022 state report confirms wolf tracks in the Coast Range, and officials say at least three radio-collared wolves have crossed west of I-5. Sightings, scat and tracks have been observed by scientists and state game managers, and that has led to tension about what wolves on the coast might mean for farmers. (Paul Lask/for The Salem Statesman Journal)

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Nearly 3,000 so far this year: Overdose 911 calls are up in Multnomah County

Calls to 911 reporting an overdose in Multnomah County jumped significantly in May and June of this year, doubling the number of calls made during those months last year, according to data obtained by The Lund Report. That spike has placed more strain on the local health system, a strain that paramedics say is growing. It also comes as different policy responses are being floated publicly, ranging from a crackdown on tent camping and an abandoned effort to ban public drug use from the mayor’s office to the county’s consideration of designating sites for safer drug use and a plan to distribute tinfoil and straws — a plan that was put on hold after public and political outcry. (Emily Green/The Lund Report)

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Bend North wins NW Regional and heads to Little League World Series

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Bend North Little League Softball is one of eight teams from the United States and four international teams headed to the Little League World Series in Greensboro N.C. starting Aug. 6. The softball team emerged victorious from the Northwest Regional following an 8-4 win over Boulder Arrowhead Little League of Billings, Montana. “After the game, it was magical. A once-in-a-lifetime feeling that you will probably never have again. Doesn’t get better than that,” said Dominic Gatto, president of the team. (Brian Rathbone/The Bend Bulletin)

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National group wants Josephine County to reverse defunding of 4-H

A national group that advocates for separation of church and state — and sometimes sues over it — has asked the Josephine County Board of Commissioners to reconsider its decision last month to defund the local 4-H and OSU Extension Service office, contending the decision violated religious neutrality. The Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 on June 7 to halt the local tax for the 4-H and Extension Services District. There were other complaints such as shrinking membership and excess spending. But there were also allegations that 4-H and the Extension Service were pushing “woke” agendas and “brainwashing” people. “It just saddens me, you taking God out of 4-H,” Commissioner Herman Baertschiger Jr. said at the meeting. (Lisa Dunlap/The Daily Courier)

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Threat to Jacksonville bookstore owner brings intolerance to light

Eileen Bobek owns Rebel Heart Books in Jacksonville, Oregon, and is also a retired emergency room doctor. A threatening letter sent to a bookstore owner has caused her to speak out about rising intolerance and the behavior it generates both locally and across the nation. “It’s time for people to recognize that these things are happening every day. That they are making (some) feel threatened or unsafe,” Bobek said. Some displays that have been the subject of complaints were related to Pride Month, Black History Month and Native Americans. (Tony Boom/The Rogue Valley Times)

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Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region.
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