Changes at Siuslaw News; Hybrid Training Change; Electric Infrastructure Changes

Changes at Siuslaw News

Remodeling, staffing cuts, and a change in publication dates are all a part of the changes undergoing at the Siuslaw News.  The paper reported in it final Wednesday edition yesterday that while the publication will continue there is a need to make changes in the way it operates. Their parent company News Media Corporation, according to the article, had recently made cuts forcing changes throughout the company.  Publisher Jenna Bartlet told Coast Radio that the sudden change to a Friday publication was out of her hands.  In the article interim Editor, Jared Anderson outlined the staffing cuts, the remodel to allow for a tenant in half of the building and other challenges facing the publication in the coming months.  The date for the first Friday publication is February 10th.

Hybrid Training Change

Just a day after announcing their Hybrid Training Event the Lane Preparedness Coalition has made some changes to its Virtual portion of its course.  The live portion of the meeting will still be in springfield at 230 4th street, but the virtual portion will not be  a gotomeeting webcast.  Instead the city of Eugene, who is hosting the online portion has changed to a zoom meeting.  The meeting will be about Auxiliary communication tools and will feature presentations from the Western Lane Amateur Radio Emergency Services, the Florence Emergency Communications Network and the ShakeAlert Earthquake Warning System.  The time and date will remain the same, Wednesday February 15th from 2:30 until 4pm.  Passcode: LPC2023!

Electric Infrastructure Changes

Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage power lines to facilitate the transition. An Oregon law requires utilities to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040. However, the Northwest’s aging transmission lines will need a reboot to ensure wind and solar resources on the east side of the Cascades make their way west. Emily Moore with the Northwest-based think tank Sightline Institute says lines can take ten to twenty years to build and the grid is nearing capacity.

“We need to be looking much farther into the future in order to start those complicated processes now and not wait a decade or 20 years until it’s much more urgent.”

Moore says creating a plan for building power lines in the region is going to be critical. She says a glut of wind and solar projects in the Northwest can’t come online because there isn’t the necessary transmission capacity yet. There are several hurdles to siting transmission lines. Negotations are required with landowners and tribes, and not every community likes the idea of having tall lines stretch across the land. Fred Heutte is based in Portland with the Northwest Energy Coalition and says public engagement is key, especially with the communities where these lines may end up going.

“Their voices are really important and getting benefits to those communities as a result of the new transmission is also very important, and being protective of the environmental and cultural resources that may be affected by new transmission is also important. So all of those things come into play here.”

Moore says the biggest transmission line player in the region is the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal entity that owns about three-quarters of the high-voltage lines in the Northwest and feeds power to Florence’s utility provider Central Lincoln PUD.