Local News That Matters

UPDATES: Museums, archeology projects can apply for funding through state grants

January 29, 2021 at 4:33pm

Marion County to get fewer doses as Oregon tries to equalize Covid vaccination rates

Syringes of the Pfizer vaccine during a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Jan. 28. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Marion County will receive 3,225 fewer Covid vaccine doses next week as the Oregon Health Authority tries to speed vaccination efforts in the Portland Metro area.

Oregon Health Authority director Pat Allen announced the change during a media briefing Friday, saying the state will give fewer vaccines to counties that report they've finished vaccinating people currently eligible under the state's current schedule. Those groups include teachers and health care workers.

"If you're a county that believes you've vaccinated all of your eligible populations, we're not giving you additional doses to vaccinate your ineligible populations," Allen said during a media briefing Friday.

Thirteen Oregon counties, including Polk, will receive more doses next week to finish those vaccinations, according to documents from OHA. Eighteen, including Marion, will receive fewer.

Polk County is slated to receive 1,300 additional doses.

Allen said vaccination rates have varied by county because of differences in the distribution of eligible populations, willingness to get the vaccine and other factors.

"It's important that as the state we're addressing these local variations and moving through each phase together at a consistent pace," he said.

Vaccinations will open for Oregonians 80 and older on Feb. 8, then roll out gradually in February to those 65 and older.

Allen said Oregon expects to reach a "critical mass" of seniors in late April or early May and begin vaccinating the next eligible groups in May. That could include some "essential workers" like grocery store and food processing employees, as well as people under 65 with underlying health conditions. The state has not yet decided which of those groups will come first.

That process will go more quickly if Oregon receives more vaccine doses from the federal government, Allen said.

-Rachel Alexander

January 29, 2021 at 2:09pm

Oregon Latinos too often struggle to get quality mental health care, report says

Salud Medical Center on Wednesday, April 29. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Latinos in Oregon are less likely to seek out mental health care and less likely to complete treatment when they do, according to a new report from the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

The report, called Crisis de Nuestro Bienestar (Crisis of Our Emotional Well-Being) is the first state study of access to mental health care for Oregon’s growing Latino population, examining 30 years of data about treatment. It was published Thursday by the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs, with a goal of improving access to care.

Latinos now make up 13% of Oregon’s population and one in four public school students in the state. Marion County has the fifth largest share of Latino residents among Oregon counties, about 27%, and the largest share among urban counties.

The research identified several challenges in access to quality mental health care for Latinos in Oregon, including language and cultural barriers. It noted more specific data needs to be collected about why Latinos withdraw from treatment early so improvements can be made.

Additionally, the report highlights a need for a more diverse mental health workforce, noting bilingual providers often face added demands on their time.

“While caseloads may be similar across mental health professionals, bilingual and bicultural providers are often asked to consult on or provide translation and support to their coworkers for Latino/a/x patients, in addition to their own workloads,” the report found.

Schools are an important referral source for Latino teenagers, but the report noted many parents who want mental health care for their children are unsure where to get help.

-Rachel Alexander

January 29, 2021 at 10:27am

Museums, archeology projects can add exhibits, preserve sites through state grants

Bush Pasture Park.

Museums and archeology projects can now apply for funding through two state grant programs.

The Oregon Heritage Commission is accepting grant applications from museums for collections, heritage tourism, and education and interpretation projects until May 5. Grant awards typically range between $2,000 and $10,000.

The money is meant for things like exhibits, classes, staff training and marketing. Museums may also partner with other organizations for projects that might be outside of the museum, but still meet the museum’s mission.

“This program is quite broad and can be used to collect the full spectrum of Oregon’s history, preserve it and raise awareness of it. We hope to see both creative and practical proposals,” said Oregon Heritage Coordinator Katie Henry in a prepared statement.

The Bush House Museum and Polk County Historical Society and Museum previously received funding from the grant.

Another program is offering grants for work on historic properties and for archaeology projects. The State Historic Preservation Office grants fund up to $20,000 in matching funds for preservation projects.

It’s meant to fund preservation of historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Grant funding previously went to the Brunk House in Polk County.

A free online workshop for the Heritage Commission grant and how to use the online grant application will be offered on March 2 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Advance registration is required. 

-Saphara Harrell