The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Amur tiger sisters Bernadette and Eloise snuggle up for a nap at the Oregon Zoo. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Shervin Hess

Zoo will close to public starting March 17, following lead of public health authorities

The Oregon Zoo will be closing temporarily, effective Tuesday, March 17, following public health recommendations to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The zoo will tentatively remain closed through at least April 8, and will provide updates based on guidance from local and state authorities.

“Like most of this community, our goal right now is ‘flattening the curve’ so that our health system doesn’t get overwhelmed,” said Dr. Don Moore, zoo director. “We are committed to the safety of our staff, volunteers, guests and community. We’ll be ready to reopen as soon as health authorities recommend it.”

The zoo’s animal-care teams and staff responsible for other critical operations will continue working onsite, while other employees will work from home if possible.

“Our animals are doing well and we continue to provide them with dedicated, professional care,” Dr. Moore said. “All essential life-support and other vital systems continue to operate without disruption as well. We plan ahead for all sort of contingencies, and over the past weeks, we have developed plans to ensure our animals would be well cared for in the event of a disruption due to COVID-19.”

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and northern leopard frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.


Recently, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an abortion case out of Louisiana. The law in question mandates that an abortionist have access to a hospital in case something goes wrong.

Abortions go wrong more often than we are led to believe. Federal Law does not require clinics to report abortion complications and deaths to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) where most statistics are collated. Cheryl Sullenger, vice president of Operation Rescue, has written extensively on how abortions are often unsafe for the women seeking them. Yet, abortion advocates will fight tooth and nail against even the most common sense protections for women undergoing abortion.

While arguments were taking place inside the Court, protesters were speaking outside. The most famous of these was Chuck Schumer, Senate minority leader. He tried to intimidate the two Trump appointees to the High Court: “They’re taking away fundamental rights. I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind! And you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Continue reading

President Donald Trump

President George Washington

As if to punctuate the press conference Friday, with the unveiling of many preparations and plans to care for citizens in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, President Trump called for a National Day of Prayer on Sunday, March 15.  The President followed up with a tweet that expressed this:

“It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a country that throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these…No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together. we will easily PREVAIL!”

We can be thankful that we have a President who values the power of prayer!

Many of you have been faithfully praying about this health crisis since its inception, but there is power in unified prayer and humbling ourselves before the Lord.  Share this proclamation with friends, family members, fellow churchgoers and more, to join together in unified prayer about the coronavirus on Sunday.

Secretary of State Bev Clarno

Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle

We wanted to offer some guidance on a few employment laws that you may have questions concerning coronavirus. As always, it is critically important to understand and adhere to state laws that protect both workers and businesses.

The State of Oregon has many resources available for businesses and employers. Employers can call the Technical Assistance hotline at 971-673-0824 or email

Sick Time

  • All employees get sick time. If you have 10+ employees (or 6+ in Portland), that time must be paid.
  • Accrual rate is 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
  • Employees can use sick time to care for themselves, family members, for visits to medical professionals. Sick time can also be used if your child’s school is closed by order of a public official for a public health emergency, such as Governor Brown’s current closure of all K-12 schools.
  • Here is a poster about sick time you can share with employees.
  • You can find more information on sick time & coronavirus, including a fact sheet, here.

Continue reading

John R. Charles, Jr. President, Cascade Policy Institute

Cascade Policy Institute has submitted a letter to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requesting that the agency enforce contracts with TriMet for three light rail projects: the Yellow Line, the Green Line, and the Orange Line. Each project received substantial federal funding, which came with contractual obligations to provide minimum levels of service. TriMet has not met those obligations.

For both the Yellow and Green Lines, TriMet is supposed to be providing 8 trains per hour during peak periods. Current service on those lines is 4 trains per hour.

For the Orange Line, TriMet is supposed to be providing 6 trains per peak-hour. Current service provides only 4.6 trains per hour.

All three lines are also traveling at slower speeds than promised, and ridership projections have been missed by large margins.

Under FTA policy, the agency is empowered to demand repayment of federal funding if grant recipients fail to meet the terms of funding contracts. In its letter, Cascade Policy Institute is asking that FTA require TriMet to begin operating light rail lines in accordance with grant agreements within six months or begin paying back the federal funding. Continue reading

I have a collection of Disney figurines – Bambi’s, Thumper’s, Flower’s – all the charming characters given voices to gently teach children about the kindness of life – only hinting occasionally at possible danger. The Disney animals taught us joy, love, and safety, occasionally making us laugh in the bargain. My parents were, I am sure, confounded by my insistence that, yes, animals could talk; and yes, they could teach me about life; and, absolutely, my parents could sit through Bambi ten times! Not to mention, Wind in The Willows, which I called “English Disney.”

When I was a very young girl, and it was time for me to learn about my body and what to expect, Walt Disney came out with a movie called, The Story of Menstruation. Mothers everywhere were relieved that they wouldn’t have to explain it! Blue Birds, Campfire Girls and Girl Scouts were offered showings of the film. I remember my mom saying to my dad, “don’t hold your breath!” And so, I saw the movie with my fellow Blue Birds/Camp Fire girls. Arriving home from work, Daddy couldn’t wait to find out how it went! Mother said rather cryptically, “Go ahead, ask her!” “Oh, daddy,” I spurt forth, “it was the cutest movie! This little girl had this problem and then as she grew up, it wasn’t a problem anymore! And there were all these cute little helpers and I just loved it!” When dad quit laughing, mom said, “she wants to see it again!” Continue reading

Unless you are living in outer space eating entirely chemical food, you no doubt realize that food does not come from grocery stores. Food comes from your beautiful green Earth. Every ounce of food in any grocery store has traveled there using petroleum to get there! The average distance your food has traveled is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles. That’s a lot of gas usage. And doesn’t include the rest of it–like processing, packaging, and refrigeration.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you only use food from your hundred mile radius. Or  better yet, grow your own food in your own backyard, at least some of it. Or forage in your own yard if you are not using cancer-causing chemicals (glyphosphate, otherwise known as Round-Up). Or learn to do without some things. There ARE NO strawberries growing in our area at this time of the year. Soon, though. Continue reading

Ever felt like you’ve sinned too much? Feel too ashamed to face God again and confess the same sin one more time? Think He’s tired of hearing you, rolling His eyes and doubting that you really mean it since you keep repeating the same sin? Feel like giving up? Let me share three verses and thoughts that have helped me with this issue.

1 John 1:9“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and JUST and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

  • I capitalized the word “just” because when we confess our sins to God, He is not only faithful, but He is JUST to forgive us. It’s proper, above-board, for Him to forgive us. You can find no fault with God for doing so. We don’t have to convince Him to do something He is hesitant to do. We don’t have to plead with Him to forgive us. Because of our faith in Christ, God has already JUSTified us, declaring us free from any future judgment for our sin. Jesus took the brunt of God’s judgment against sin when He died on the cross. Therefore, God the Father is justified and willing to forgive all who come to Him and admit their sin.
  • The word “confess” doesn’t mean to cry or promise that we’ll never commit the sin again. It means “to say the same thing.” God is looking for us to agree with Him that what we did was wrong in His sight. He just wants us to admit we were wrong.

Continue reading

Tj Saling Caldwell, Director, Apple of His Eye Charities

“He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:34

Every mission to India we visit an old aged and widow’s home. Pastor Israel, one of our India partners, lovingly cares for these women by providing a home, daily food, blankets, clothing, and fellowship. His mother used to be a part of this ministry before passing away a few years ago. This has become a very special place for us to visit as we have fond memories of his mom and have gotten to know many of the other women. Even with the language barrier, smiles and hugs knit our hearts together.

After greeting everyone through our translator (Pastor Israel’s youngest daughter, Jennifer), I introduced another team member, Jim, to share a message. On the drive here, with nothing prepared, we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to lead us. I was thankful upon arriving when Jim spoke up and said God had put something on his heart to say.   Jim’s message was powerful as he told the women that their best days are yet to come. How can you say that to a group of women who are bent over with crippled knees and weathered skin; women in the last stage of life who have been through so much and are left alone with no other family then each other? You can say that because they know Jesus! Continue reading

After we buried Grandma in the New Hope Community Church cemetery, my sister Delta and I decided to walk the two miles back to the little crossroads settlement of Peace Valley. It was such a fine day, several of our cousins joined us. Most of them we hadn’t seen in twenty-five years, and some we had never met at all.

We picked our way along the edge of the dirt road as we got reacquainted. Approaching the town, I said I’d like to stop at Otis Williams’ store and take care of some old business with Otis. One of my cousins, who had never left Peace Valley, said, “Oh, you haven’t heard: Otis died eight years ago.”

Startled, I asked, “Then who owns the store now?” This was news that might change my whole plan of attack.

“His wife Mildred. You remember Mildred, don’t you?”

“Sure, nice looking lady in her late twenties?”

“Well, no, she’s almost sixty now, but she still runs the store, every day.”

Our cousins walked past the store on the gravel road that ran through the Continue reading

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