I hope the Valentine's Day storms haven't caused you too much trouble. Some of our team here at 1000 Friends have been without power all week, and others have been dealing with the effects of burst pipes and falling trees, but so far everyone has come through through safe and sound. We're sending you our warmest and best wishes as the snow and ice continue to melt and things settle back into place.
Despite the weather, it's been a busy week and an even busier month. The legislative session is in full swing. Our two new Land Use Leadership Initiatives are up and running, training 50 new land use leaders for Oregon. We're bringing on several interns this month and next; two of them are introduced in the feature below, and the application window for our paid Gerhardt Internship is just two weeks away from closing. With our board, we're putting the finishing touches on our next strategic plan. Many of our staff are being invited to serve on numerous committees and coalitions throughout the state, covering everything from farmland to forests, housing to transportation, climate to clean energy—all things you're sure to hear more about in the coming months.
And that, of course, is on top of continuing our core work: providing permanent housing for the 4000 Oregonians who lost their homes in the wildfires last year, closing the gap on Oregon's pre-existing 140,000-home shortage (down from 155,000 a year ago), encouraging better transportation systems, maintaining urban growth boundaries (UGBs), protecting the farms and forests beyond those boundaries, and stopping the spread of exceptions to Oregon's exclusive farm use (EFU) zoning. Take a look, for instance, at our testimony opposing Senate Bill 16, and keep an eye out for upcoming action alerts, too.
Friend, it's times like this that I'm truly grateful for our shared commitment to our beautiful state and its unique land use planning program. You're the reason we can do what we do.
Thank you for protecting the heart of Oregon.
P.S. Please note that our offices remain closed while my staff and I remain fully accessible by phone and email from our home offices. Please feel free to contact us at any time.