June 2022 * No 11

Dear Sustainable Silverton supporters,

Welcome to June and sunnier weather. Great things are happening. Sustainable Silverton has received its Federal designation as a 501(c)(3) as well as becoming a designated charity in the state of Oregon. This means that any donation to Sustainable Silverton is tax deductible. Please help support us by sending your contributions to Sustainable Silverton, 1205 Tenino Dr., Silverton, OR 97381. Your donations are greatly appreciated!

Many thanks to our May Saturday market volunteers

Kelley Morehouse, Teresa Foster, Michael Finkelstein,

our recycling drivers: Joe and Pam Craig/Steve Siemenda,

and especially to Meagan Griffin for helping us get our cartons and Terracycle items recycled!

We absolutely can't do this without your help



We've had an astounding response from folks recycling cartons. Thank you for bringing in your cartons. However, we need you to PLEASE follow the guidelines below. These cartons are shipped to the Carton Council and if they contain any liquid, they'll leak and stink!

Cartons must be:

* Clean

* Dry

* Flattened

* Caps on (if you have them)

* Keep straws in the package (juice boxes)

We'd appreciate your donation to help with shipping costs

Make a Difference Week

June 4-11, 2022 9am - 12pm

Join us for a week of global restoration action hosted by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and Sustainable Silverton.

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, at 9 am, meet at the fountain

in Coolidge-McClaine Park

How can you make a difference in the Willamette Valley? Here's how. Help us remove invasive ivy from the trees. A simple job, it only requires hand tools like pruning saws, clippers or loppers to sever the stems near ground level. The vines are left in the trees.

Wear long pants and long sleeves because there is some poison oak in the woods. Bring a water bottle, gloves and your cutting tool of choice. We will talk about invasive species, why they matter and how their removal will help the habitat in Silverton. You'll also learn how to identify ivy, holly, and poison oak.

To register - just show up Saturday June 4th with your clipper, lopper, and/or pruning saws. If you have questions, please email Eric Hammond at onlygrowinthesun@gmail.com. For additional information on this event, visit the SER website: Find Restoration Events - Make a Difference Week

Bird Walk & Poetry Workshop at Oregon Garden

Last Saturday almost two dozen bird and poetry enthusiasts gathered in Silverton for a morning jaunt through the forests and wetlands of the Oregon Garden. The bird watching event, a prelude to the Poetry Writing workshop organized by Kelley Morehouse, was led by Ron Garst and Jim Esch of Silverton. Ron and Jim are long time bird watching enthusiasts.

Some of the group had traveled from as far away as Seattle and the Oregon Coast to participate and enjoy the spring beauty of the Garden. They ranged in age from 5 to 85 years and from seasoned bird watchers to total newcomers. We split into two groups to be more stealthy and took a leisurely walk with frequent stops to scan the vegetation and sky for birds native to the area. We also took time to look at the water and plants that make good bird habitat and talk about bird ecology and identification.

A comprehensive list was not kept but Ron and Jim estimate that over 20 different bird species were observed. These included a Turkey Vulture, Anna’s hummingbird, Yellow-rumped warbler, Bewicks Wren, Song Sparrow, Wilson’s warbler and Goldfinch. Not bad for a short walk in “The Garden”!!!

More bird walks are being planned for the future.

Successful City of Silverton Public Works Fair

It was cold, sunny, thundering, and windy, all at different times during the day. That didn't stop the children and their families from popping into the McClain-Coolidge Park for the City's Interactive Fair to celebrate National Public Works Week.

There were big machines children dream of climbing and could climb. There was a backhoe that was working like crazy to keep up with the tennis balls the children collected and recollected, that were then poured into the machine's hungry mouth, and spilled out onto the lawn again and again, over the course of the day. And the kids loved it! Children from Molalla, Stayton and Silverton enjoyed the Public Works Fair at the park.

Some of these children found the cookies and other sweet treats, while parents meandered under the dry pavilion. The water quality specialist, Troy Kemper with the Public Works department, explained what clean water looked like from our two resources for drinking water, Abiqua and Silver Creeks. And he explained how they processed muddy or silty water into drinkable water.

Some children found themselves painting on large newsprint at the Sustainable Silverton table as part of the activity, "Paint Your Town." They gladly painted trees, their homes and streets in their towns. Participants included kids from 2-18, from as far away as Stayton and Molalla. With friends, neighbors, family and strangers, they enjoyed making these paintings.

Look for an opportunity at the First Saturday Farmer's Market for the “Paint Your Town” activity at the Sustainable Silverton table.

Air purifiers —Available through OHA for high risk Wildfire zones

From the Oregon Health Authority online newsletter:

The summer of 2020 broke records in terms of wildfires in Oregon. Flames destroyed approximately 4,000 homes and 1 million acres of land. Smoke entered homes and lungs in every corner of the state.

Oregon lawmakers responded by funding air purifiers for people in communities where wildfires are common.

The air purifiers make up a tiny slice of a $220 million investment in wildfire prevention and response planning, power plant safety, new building code standards and more.

For the air purifiers, the plan is underway. With $4.7 million, Oregon has purchased 5,000 new home air purifiers. The purifiers will be distributed to selected homes, primarily along the California border where communities historically experience 20 or more days of “unhealthy” air from wildfire smoke per year.

To further reach people who most need protection against wildfire smoke in high-risk regions, the state identified Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members who have been diagnosed with chronic heart, lung or cerebral vascular (strokes) conditions. These conditions can be worsened by exposure to wildfire smoke.

The initiative is a first for Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

“We’re very good at distributing things like wheelchairs and medicines, things we can track through a doctor’s prescription, but this is completely different,” said Nathan Roberts, OHA’s Medicaid/OHP programs unit manager.


Let's begin a conversation . . .

around a healthy community and toxic air quality due to wildfire smoke. We have been affected in Silverton by smoke coming from California, Southern Oregon, Washington and Canada.

We need to ask - does our community qualify for these filters? And what can we do for those who don't qualify? Can people afford air conditioners, air filters or sealing their houses to protect themselves in the future?

What can people do about evacuating for a few days when the air is toxic everywhere? And what about those who have nowhere to go nor money to evacuate when it becomes really dangerous?

Shouldn't we start conversations about these eventual needs of our community? Are you interested? Contact Kelley Morehouse at sustainablesilverton@gmail.com

Water service in restaurants

From Karen Garst, Sustainble Silverton president: Recently at a restaurant, my husband and I ordered drinks. A little later, the waitress brought us a large carafe of water with two full glasses. I ended up having one sip and my husband none. She said that their policy was to bring water.

So…. Next time I order drinks, I am going to say, “And we don’t need any water.”

How about you? Imagine how many meals I have eaten in a restaurant and how much water was wasted.

What are your thoughts? Let us know at sustainablesilverton@gmail.com

Recycling updates

Pill Bottles

Check with your local pharmacy to see if they will take your used pill bottles

as they can't be placed in your recycling bin.


Republic Services is no longer accepting batteries in Silverton.

Please bring your used batteries to the Sustainable Silverton

Saturday Farmers' Market table and we will get them recycled.

However, we can't accept Lithium batteries.

Please refer to the EPA website to find out where Lithium batteries can be recycled.

Case Study in Solar and Energy Efficiency upgrades

Subtitle: Part 1: Trees lost in ice storm create rooftop solar potential

By Elyce Hues

In the Silverton Ice Storm 2021, we watched three Oregon white oaks fall, right outside our window. Immediately after patching the broken water main from the first one, we had stepped back to breathe a sigh of relief, only to watch the next tree fall. The third tree went down early the next morning and uprooted every service line to the house: gas, electricity, internet, and the water main a second time. The house was unoccupiable for over a month; my two daughters and I felt like veritable climate refugees, living for that time in a single hotel room. Maybe that’s too dramatic, but we felt it. Still, I couldn’t miss the potential silver lining: did this mean I could now get solar PV (photovoltaic) panels on my roof?

I started clicking on ads for solar. I got calls from out-of-town companies who told me I didn’t qualify, based on the pre-storm satellite imagery (“I don’t even see a roof!”). I began searching locally; a Salem company came out and said I could do it, if I removed four more trees. Then I found Silverton-based Pure Energy; their simulation suggested that I could get enough sunlight without taking down any more trees. Pure Energy also taught me about the actual panel options - the different materials and technologies used, as well as differences in durability, performance, and longevity. We even went over end-of-life recycling options for the panels.

I was amped (pun not intended), and ready to sign on the dotted line. Energy prices are expected to rise and inflation is here. Could I stabilize my energy bills, save money in the long term, AND help the planet?? I want my footprint to wander but not plunder. Let thy footprint be light, and quickly grown over. I was ready to transform my home to net zero, but my 60-year old home simultaneously needs other big work: the original galvanized plumbing needs to be replaced, along with the water heater. I discovered I could add the cost of that job to my solar financing contract, which offered a great rate. I began to look at my solar install within the total context of my home.

With a new water heater, I think, maybe I’ll use less electricity and could downsize my PV system. While I’m at it, I think, why not get solatubes to increase the natural light in my home? I’ve always wanted more natural light, and how much energy might that save? As the complexity grew, my head began to spin. Also, the price tag for all this work had started to feel impossible. Lucky for me, right at this time, Megan Benedict announced that Sustainable Silverton would be hosting a solar informational event. I breathed deep, and resolved to put all decisions on hold until after the event.

At the solar event, I met guest speaker Nancy Evenson, a volunteer with Seeds for Sol, a Corvallis-based organization partnering with Sustainable Silverton to help lower-income households get solar energy systems installed and experience financial relief in the way of miniscule electricity bills. Two weeks later, Nancy and I were on a Zoom call for a totally free home energy audit. I’d sent her my completed “homework” before the call, and she came to the meeting with a pressing question: Why was I using so much electricity? The question surprised me; I didn’t know I was using more than expected. My focus has now shifted from “Get Solar!” to “Get Efficient!”

Next up is an in-home visit with Nancy and Seeds for Sol founder, Julie Williams, to help identify any energy guzzlers in my home. I may be able to reduce both my electricity use AND my solar system size!

What will happen next for our PV hopeful??

Will she and her Seeds for Sol team be able to identify the electricity wasting culprits??

Just how much will she be able to downsize her solar system design???

STAY TUNED for the next installment in the live case study in Solarizing in Silverton!