Sherman County eNews #286


  1. Holiday Open House, Free Admission, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Nov. 30

  2. State Fire Marshal: Add Fire Safety to Your Holiday Menu

  3. Snow due on Central Oregon Highways

  4. Tips for sharing your community’s story in the digital age

  5. Oregon State Capital Insider Index: This week by the numbers

  6. The Strength of a Sugar Pill

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward

1. Holiday Open House, Free Admission, Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, Nov. 30

Christmas.holly1THE DALLES— Mark your calendar for the annual Holiday Open House and Community Appreciation Day at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum on November 30, 2019 from 9 am to 5 pm.

This day is the museum’s chance to thank everyone for their support during the past year by offering free museum admission. Celebrate the holidays with complimentary cookies, hot cider, and cocoa. For lunch, the café’s regular menu will be available, as well specials on homemade soup, specialty salads, and meatball sub sandwiches from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. Santa Claus will visit from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Live holiday music will be provided, featuring music from several area choirs, bands and ensembles. Share what you can to help those who are less fortunate during the holidays by bringing a non-perishable food item, blanket, or winter coat to donate to local families in need.

Gift Locally! Columbia River Trading Company, the museum store, is open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store showcases products from over 40 artisans and suppliers from the Columbia River Gorge and Pacific Northwest. There is a selection of educational toys, books, jewelry, lotions & soaps, jams, fruit & salmon treats, wine, pottery, artwork, home decor, t-shirts, Pendleton blankets & bags.

Shoppers receive 20% off all store merchandise and free gift wrapping during the Holiday Open House. As a holiday season special, spend $100 in the store and receive a free first-time one-year museum membership, a $75 value! Need a gift suggestion? Museum Store manager Shawn McCleary loves to create custom gift baskets for your family, colleagues, and friends.

Columbia Gorge Discovery Center is located off I-84 exit 82, at 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, Oregon, 97058.  Take I-84, exit 82, one mile west on Hwy. 30. The museum is open 7 days a week, 9 am to 5 pm, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For information, call 541-296-8600 x 20 or visit

2. State Fire Marshal: Add Fire Safety to Your Holiday Menu  

food.pie.hotThanksgiving is just around the corner, and State Fire Marshal Jim Walker wants to remind Oregonians to add fire safety to their cooking and holiday meal plans.

“The holiday is a time to give thanks and enjoy friends and family,” said Walker. “By following basic fire-prevention tips, you can keep yourself and loved ones safe and avoid cooking-related fires.”

In Oregon, cooking was the leading known cause of residential structure fires over the past five years (2013-17), causing an average of 19 percent of Oregon’s total residential structure fires, according to state fire agency data submitted to the National Fire Incident Reporting System.

On average, there are 533 cooking-caused residential structure fires in Oregon per year.

Statewide the range/stove was the most frequently reported equipment involved in cooking fires. Of these, 73 percent were from an electric-powered range/stove.

All told, there were 10 deaths in Oregon from residential cooking fires during the past five years, or an average of two deaths per year.

Cooking safety tips:

  • Don’t leave cooking food on your stovetop unattended, especially when frying and sautéing with oil.
  • While your turkey is cooking, check on it frequently.
  • Use a timer to monitor cooking times when simmering, baking, or roasting foods that require long cooking times. Check the stove or oven frequently.
  • Remember to keep items that may catch fire, like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels, at least three feet from the cooking area.
  • Roll up your shirt sleeves and avoid using clothing that may come in contact with open flames or other heat sources.
  • Don’t cook if you are drinking alcohol or using other substances that make you drowsy.
  • Keep children three feet or more away from all cooking areas, hot food, and liquids to avoid burns.
  • Keep pot and pan handles turned inward on the stove to avoid bumping them and spilling hot foods.
  • Heat cooking oil slowly and never leave it unattended.

If you have a cooking fire:

  • Always keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner and don’t move the pan until it is completely cool.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire; it can splatter the grease and spread the fire.
  • In the event of a fire in your oven or microwave, turn the appliance off and keep the doors closed.
  • When in doubt, get out! Call 9-1-1 after you leave.

Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.

3. Snow due on Central Oregon Highways

snowflakesmallNovember 21, 2019

BEND– The National Weather Service has issued a forecast for next week that includes a chance for snow on the floor of the high desert in Central Oregon.

The snow forecast means that travelers should be ready for hazardous travel conditions, with the possibility of slick, snow covered roads during the morning commutes.

In Central Oregon, ODOT is already staffed up for winter, and has moved snow removal equipment into strategic locations, but motorists should anticipate the potential for hazardous driving conditions during early morning hours.

ODOT urges motorists to drive for the inclement weather by slowing down and turning off cruise controls.

Drivers traveling throughout Oregon during hazardous weather should or call 511 to be aware of current highway hazards.

In addition ODOT recommends the following safety precautions:

→ Be patient. Go slow.

→ Keep fuel tank full (in case you get stuck in a road closure).

→ Use appropriate tires for your winter driving needs.

→ Carry emergency supplies (water, food, warm clothes, flashlight, etc.).

→ Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you.

→ Keep cell phone charged up (but don’t use it while driving).

→ Watch weather conditions throughout the day and anticipate the next snow storm. Current road conditions may get worse.

→ Tune to local radio stations for update travel information.

ODOT appreciates the patience of travelers who delay their trips and the cooperation of the traveling public to keep our highways passable.  For the latest driving conditions visit, or call 511 for highway information.

4. Tips for sharing your community’s story in the digital age

Main Street Directors, Chambers of Commerce, Visitor Centers and other organizations tasked with promoting all your community has to offer will benefit from a formal plan to tell your story in today’s digital world. Before you create a more detailed and comprehensive plan, a good place to start is a simple checklist.

  • Google’s search engine results depend on the mobile friendliness of your website. Check your website URL in the Google Mobile Friendly Test and also the Mobile Loading Speed. Each provides specific recommendations for improvement.
  • Review your website content with a critical eye, asking yourself: What are visitors to my site looking for? Experience has shown they want to know what’s going on, where to park, eat, shop and what to do during their visit. They could care less that you are a 501C3 with a four-point approach and don’t want to spend time reading what all of that means. Your home page should provide easy navigation to your businesses by category, event info and pictures and descriptions of what makes your community special, unique and worth a visit.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. The images and videos on your website and social media channels should be high quality and include people having a great time! Your Main Street story should focus not on the what, and more about the why. Show prospective visitors why they should visit your downtown through pictures, videos and descriptions showing people actually experiencing your town.
  • We live in a mobile world. Search for information about your community on mobile devices, starting with a simple Google search. Next, try an “OK Google” voice search, as well as other digital assistants. What do Siri, Alexa and Cortana have to say?
  • Take control of your Google My Business listing, making sure pictures and information are current and best represent your community. Check to see what available local info apps such as TripAdvisor and Yelp have listed for your community. Participate in the free national Main Street mobile network and use your free mobile app to reach today’s huge mobile audience.
  • Transition your historic or art walking tour to provide it on mobile devices. Printed maps and brochures are a thing of the past. Your visitors have a powerful tool in the palm of their hand. They don’t want to know when and where you would like them to go find a brochure to take a tour. They want to start right here, right now. More importantly, a smartphone-based tour can include scrollable pictures and descriptions, as well as rich and immersive audio narration, providing “local color” and presenting the vibrant history of your community.

This list could go on and on, but following these six simple steps is a good start in the right direction.  —Dr. Ron Cook is CEO and co-founder of distrx, a mobile marketing platform and application designed exclusively for Main Streets. He presented at the 2019 Oregon Main Street Conference and is a frequent lecturer on trends for Main Street communities and the practical use of technology.

5. Oregon State Capital Insider Index: This week by the numbers

Oregon.Flat.poleCreated: 21 November 2019 | Written by Oregon Capital Insider

Here are 10 numbers that illustrate some of this week’s big, and small, Oregon news stories.

$1,060,000,000: Amount a Linn County jury awarded to 13 Oregon counties Wednesday, saying the state breached its contract with them to log them for revenue, according to OPB. 

11: Years Oregon Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, has spent in the Oregon Legislature. Bentz announced this week that he would be resigning in January to devote more time to his run for Congress.

2: Longtime coastal Democrats who said they’re not running for the legislature again. Oregon Rep. Caddy McKeown, D-Coos Bay, and Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, announced their departures Tuesday.

30,000: People who have signed up for the Oregon Lottery’s new sports betting app, Scoreboard, according to Willamette Week. 

$13,000,000: Amount those users have bet. 

900: Approximate workers at farmers’ cooperative NORPAC who were notified last week that they would be laid off from their jobs in Salem, according to The Oregonian.

4: Rough percentage of Oregon workers who are unemployed, according to The Oregonian. That rate has stayed steady for the last three years.

40,000: Amount by which Oregon’s population increased last year, according to OPB.

$1,000,000: Amount Portland businessman Gordon Sondland’s companies gave to President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, according to Willamette Week. Sondland, appointed as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union in July 2018, testified as part of the impeachment inquiry Wednesday.

5: Times Oregon voters rejected the measure to allow women to vote here, before it finally passed in 1912, according to KGW.

6. The Strength of a Sugar Pill

What does the sugar pill have in common with potential? More than you might think. Read on.

A placebo, sometimes called a sugar pill, is a substance sometimes given to people who are sick, in pharmaceutical research studies, to compare against the “real” or test medication. It has no medicinal qualities at all, but quite often people who are given placebos get better anyway. This is powerful testimony to the strength of beliefs and expectations.

People can be healed of illnesses because they strongly believe they are being healed. It is not just in medicine that the power of expectations is apparent. School children perform up to the expectations of their parents and teachers, or down to them. Employees perform up to the expectations of their employers, and elected officials perform according to the expectations of their constituents. Most important of all, you perform up or down to what you expect of yourself.

As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.” It is that simple. Beliefs are that powerful. Fortunately, as adults, we have the ability to choose our beliefs and to reject the ones that stand in our way or ones that restrict our performance.

What do you believe to be true about yourself? Try making a list of those beliefs you have about you, and mark the ones that are holding you back. For the ones you determine are holding you back, why keep them if they don’t do you any good? You have the right, indeed, the personal responsibility to get rid of beliefs that no longer serve you in a positive way. Replace them with positive, helpful beliefs that allow you to move forward.

You will be a lot happier for it – and so will those around you. It will be your own, personal, positive ripple effect on your world. ~The Pacific Institute