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E-News Spring 2011
Spring 2011

 
 
In this newsletter


DSL budget passes House, Senate
Oregon State Capitol  
On May 31, the Oregon Senate approved the 2011-13 budget for the Department of State Lands, which now goes to the Governor for signing. The House of Representatives passed the budget bill in mid-May. The $42,406,994 two-year budget is about $1.8 million less than the legislatively approved 2009-11 biennial budget, and reflects a slight reduction in the number of positions (108).
 
Other legislation affecting DSL programs is still in play in the Legislature, including bills relating to removal-fill permits, forest management, submersible lands, marine reserves and state agency operations.
 
A complete legislative recap will be available on the DSL Web site in July.
 
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Online claims process launched in May
Unclaimed Property Search  
Searching for unclaimed property just got easier. DSL's Unclaimed Property Section now offers an online claims service which allows people to search for unclaimed property and file a claim online. The new service has a number of new features:
  1. The assignment of a claim number for easier tracking of your claim
  2. Ability for a claimant to attach more than one item to a claim
  3. A customized claim form showing specific proof you need to provide
"We think Oregonians will find the new service much more understandable and customer friendly compared to the simple owner search database we had in the past," said Pat Tate, Oregon's unclaimed property program manager. A big plus is the ability to register with the service, he said.
 
With over $50 million dollars and a quarter million items added each year, registered users will be able to come back on a regular basis and check to see if they have funds reported. "The system remembers your details and you can update them if you change names or addresses. If you find money, your registered information will be automatically inserted in your claim information. While you will have the option to change it before submitting your claim, it will definitely speed up the process for most folks." said Tate.
 
Chances are about one in four that you will find your name or a relative’s when you search. Most accounts are less than $500, but claims occasionally are worth over $100,000. Currently, there is more than $380 million waiting to be claimed and more than two million individual properties listed for individuals, businesses and organizations.
 
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Business seminars focus on unclaimed property reporting
Unclaimed Property holder brochure  
All organizations and businesses holding unclaimed property for people whose last known address is in Oregon are required to report the funds to the Department of State Lands. After conducting a good-faith effort to locate unclaimed property owners, the “holders” send unclaimed funds - such as uncashed checks, customer credits, inactive bank accounts, and unapplied deposits - to DSL every October.
 
This spring and summer, staff in DSL's Unclaimed Property Section are offering specialized seminars to help businesses learn about complying.
 
Seminars were conducted in Salem and Portland in May, and are being offered in June in Eugene, Bend and Portland on the following topics:
  • Unclaimed Property overview
  • Preparing your report
  • Common property types
  • Recommendations for maintaining and updating your potential unclaimed items
  • Internal control basics
  • Due diligence and owner contact
  • IRAs and similar retirement or special-purpose accounts
  • Abandoned safe deposit boxes
  • What to expect from an audit
  • Record keeping requirements
  • What to do if you get contacted or pay an owner after reporting
Register now for the free seminars.
 
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New Removal-Fill Guide published
Work on the Calapooia River  
Redesigned Web pages follow guide's format
 
Oregon's Removal-Fill Law requires people who plan to remove or fill material in waters of the state to obtain a permit from the Department of State Lands. The law applies to all landowners, whether private individuals or public agencies. The purpose of the law, enacted in 1967, is to protect public navigation, fishery and recreational uses of Oregon's waters, including wetlands.
 
The Department recently completed a Removal-Fill Guide to help permit applicants better understand the various options and steps involved. "Our goal was to provide a user-friendly guide to make the permit application process less confusing," said Lori Warner-Dickason, northern region removal-fill manager and the project leader. "When staff and applicants are working from the same information, it makes it much easier for everyone involved."
 
The removal-fill Web pages were redesigned to reflect the format of the guide. The redesign has improved overall usability and reduced duplication, said Warner-Dickason.
 
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Land management updates
Central Oregon planning takes shape
 
With more than 7,000 acres of land under its purview in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties, the Oregon Department of State Lands is in the final stages of developing a Central Oregon Area Management Plan (COAMP). Staff in the Asset Management Section have conducted research, met with area residents, consulted with city and county planners and elected officials, and sought formal comments related to crafting a first-ever central Oregon plan.
 
"The purpose of this effort is to get a better handle on the current status of state-owned properties, and how we might work together with lessees and others to develop a vision for our land in this tri-county region," said Doug Parker, asset planner.
 
Staff will provide all public comments and testimony to the State Land Board for their review this fall. Once corrections and updates are made, and the board has formally adopted the plan, the implementation recommendations will be pursued according to identified priorities and timelines, said Parker. Such actions may include feasibility investigations, additional field data gathering, land sales or acquisitions, trades or exchanges, and development activities.
 
Revenue from state lands is deposited into the Common School Fund, a trust fund established at statehood for Oregon public schools. Earnings distributed in 2010 to Oregon's 197 K-12 school districts totaled $50.45 million.
 
The department's 2006-2016 Asset Management Plan provides guidance for managing state lands. More information on the plan, as well as properties in the Central Oregon region, is on the department's Web site.
 
Elliott State Forest plans available for public review
 
Three draft plans that provide guidance to the Department of State Lands and Department of Forestry in managing the Elliott State Forest are available for public review and comment:
Forest Management Plan
(comment period: May 4 – Aug. 1)
Forest Land Management Classification maps
(comment period: June 1 – Aug. 29)
10-year Implementation Plan
(comment period: June 1 – Aug. 29)
In addition, two public hearings on the FMP have been scheduled this summer:
July 19: North Bend Public Library, 1800 Sherman Avenue, North Bend, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
 
July 20:  Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 4192 North Umpqua Highway, Roseburg, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
The Forest Management Plan covers 95,273 acres of state-owned forest in the Coos District, the majority located within the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest near Reedsport. Ninety percent of the Elliott State Forest is Common School Fund land, overseen by the State Land Board. The board oversees management of the forest to provide timber revenue for K-12 schools using sound techniques of land management. 
 
"Our goal is to increase harvest levels to provide additional revenue for Oregon schools, while still preserving important habitat" said DSL Director Louise Solliday. "Over the years, the Elliott has been managed to a high ecological standard and we have no plans to change that. However, we have a constitutional mandate to generate funds for public education on this land and we take that obligation very seriously."
 
Additional information on the Elliott planning documents is available on the ODF Web site.
 
Asset Management Plan to be updated
 
Staff in the Asset Management Section have begun updating the 10-year plan that guides management of the State Land Board's real estate assets. Adopted in October 2006, the 2006 -2016 plan lays out general guidelines for the various land classes (forestlands, rangelands, industrial/commercial, waterways, mineral resources and special stewardship lands), and strategic management priorities. From investing in high-potential lands to selling isolated or difficult-to-manage parcels, the AMP provides a roadmap for staff in carrying out day-to-day planning for and oversight of state lands.
 
Specific updates will include:
  • Improving the screening process for evaluating low-performing land assets to ensure important assets are retained.
  • Expanding DSL's real estate investment expertise to ensure a balanced land portfolio and prudent investment strategy.
  • Focusing on shorter-term investments to generate immediate revenue for the Common School Fund.
  • Determining acceptable levels of returns from various land classes.
The goal is to complete the review by the end of 2011.
 
New Fact Sheet - check out the fact sheet on state trust lands funding K-12 public education in Oregon. The Oregon Constitution and subsequent legislative action dedicates trust lands and their mineral, timber, other resources and related income to the Common School Fund. The State Land Board, established under the Oregon Constitution, is trustee of the fund.
 
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Awards recognize wetland restoration, partnership
Multnomah County Sheriff's River Patrol receives Land Board award  
The State Land Board on April 12 presented two awards honoring responsible stewardship of Oregon's natural resources: the 2010 Wetland Project Award for the Miami Wetlands Enhancement project in Tillamook County; and the Partnership Award to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office-River Patrol.
 
Secretary of State Kate Brown commended the wetland project proponents, led by the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP), for their efforts to voluntarily restore habitat for five species of salmonids: Coho, Chinook and chum salmon; and steelhead and cutthroat trout in the Miami River watershed.
 
In presenting the Partnership Award, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler praised the River Patrol for their "years of outstanding assistance in a wide range of situations occurring on state-owned land." The patrol is now the largest marine enforcement unit in Oregon.
 
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"Green Machine" arrives at South Slough
 
Americorps volunteers help with maintenance, tree planting
 
Six young adults from across the country are lending their muscle power to projects at the South Slough Reserve this spring and summer. The group, part of the National Civilian Community Corps, arrived in March and will work throughout the next few months on trail maintenance, groundskeeping and tree planting.
 
Calling themselves the Green Machine, their chief focus has been planting Port Orford cedar saplings in a series of test plots. It's part of an experiment to learn whether certain varieties of cedar are resistant to an infectious disease that kills cedars, especially saplings. Port Orford cedar grows in a narrow coastal belt from Coos Bay to northern California and east into Douglas County.
 
"The species is not endangered," said Hans Klausner, stewardship coordinator at the South Slough. "In fact, one of the problems is that new Port Orford cedars sprout and grow so prolifically there's always plenty of opportunity for new infections to take hold."
 
South Slough is working with the Forest Service to learn if some varieties, including specimens from the Reserve, might bear disease-resistant genes. If such strains are found, scientists might be able to lessen the overall impact of the disease, said Klausner.
 
The results of the experiment will provide important data for South Slough's own forest management plan, which calls for protecting or restoring Port Orford cedar where possible throughout the Reserve.
 
The Green Machine also is helping rebuild portions of the Ten Minute Trail; has assisted the Friends of South Slough with native plant sales; and helped remove weeds and debris from popular paddling routes in Winchester Creek.
 
The team includes Angela Smith of Illinois; McKenna Collins of Missouri; Casey Ashlock of San Diego; Celia Olson of Wisconsin; Molly Moran of Vermont; and Joshua Masterson and crew leader Meg Lynch of Massachusetts.
 
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Wetlands Manager Janet Morlan to retire June 30
Wetlands Manager Janet Morlan receives ELI award  
After 21 years of dedication to Oregon's wetlands program, Janet Morlan announced her plans to retire. The announcement came on the heels of receiving a prestigious national award from the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. "While I'm incredibly honored to receive the ELI award, it recognizes many years of hard work by numerous individuals," Janet said. The institute commended her for "leadership in pioneering wetland assessment methods and advancing sound mitigation policies, and her willingness to make the extra effort to ensure that government programs are implemented effectively."
 
In her tenure at DSL, Janet was instrumental in developing the Oregon Rapid Wetlands Assessment Protocol, a valuable tool for assessing wetlands in the field. She also leads a team of six professional wetlands staff who review approximately 350 wetland delineation reports yearly; work with local governments on preparing local wetland inventories and natural resource protection programs; work with other state and federal agencies to improve wetland conservation and protection; and help property owners identify wetlands on their land.
 
Janet has been with the Department of State Lands' wetlands program since December 1989, just after the Oregon Legislature passed the Wetlands Conservation Act. She was hired as an inventory specialist and moved into a managerial position in 1997. "Janet is one of those rare professionals who have the ability to blend scientific rigor with a friendly communication style," said DSL Director Louise Solliday. "We'll miss her tremendously, but wish her nothing but the best!"
 
Other long-time staff leave agency in March
 
Cheryl Gladden, who worked for more than 27 years at DSL, retired on March 31. Cheryl started as a clerical assistant, but is mostly remembered for her work in the Unclaimed Property Section where she headed up the claims program.
 
Jenni Vickers, the land management assistant for 16 years, also retired at the end of March. Jenni lent her legendary organizational skills to keeping the waterway authorization program "afloat."
 
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NOAA project nears completion

 
 
The NOAA Homeport Project at South Beach in Newport is nearly completed, and the first vessels are anticipated to arrive shortly. During construction, the Port of Newport removed about 50,000 cubic yards of fill material from Yaquina Bay between the wharf and upland. The project included mitigation to replace about one acre of eelgrass and mudflat habitat impacted by the dredging, restoring over two acres of eelgrass/mudflat habitat. This month, the restored area will be planted with eelgrass that was meticulously collected from the dredged area last fall and held over the winter near the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
 
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Contact Information:
Julie Curtis
Communications Manager
Oregon Department of State Lands
775 Summer St NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1279
503-986-5298
 
 

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