Ore. shutdown fallout: Forest Service, BLM, Natl. Guard

From washed-out road surveys to furloughed workers

BEND, Ore. - From a stop to surveys of washed-out forest roads to furloughed Military Department employees and BLM campsite closures. it didn't take long for the impacts of the partial federal government shutdown to become evident Tuesday in Central Oregon.

Here are a few news releases we received:

Road Damage from Recent Storms Prompts Warning

Forest Roads on both the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests

should be driven with caution

The rain over the past weekend caused washout of roads on the Deschutes National Forest, and, potentially has damaged roads on the Ochoco National Forest and the Crooked River National Grassland. 

Forest officials want to warn recreationists and hunters to drive forest roads with caution as not all damaged can be assessed or repaired during the government shutdown.

Forest Roads 15 and 16 on the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest have sustained storm damage and forest employees have worked to sign and repair the damage between Monday and Tuesday morning. 

However, due to the government shutdown, further assessment or repair of forest roads on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forest and the Crooked River National Grassland cannot occur because employees are furloughed due to the federal government shutdown.

"We really want people to know that there might be washouts or hazards on roads that we cannot address at this time and we urge them to drive with additional caution until we can assess the damage," said Peggy Fisher, engineering staff officer for the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland.


Most Activities on BLM Oregon & Washington Managed lands to be
Suspended due to Federal Government Shutdown

Portland, Ore. -- As a result of the Federal government shutdown, essentially all services provided by the Bureau of Land Management will be suspended, with the exception of law enforcement and emergency response functions.

Approximately 4,000 recreation facilities, including visitor centers, facilities,  campgrounds, boat ramps and other recreation sites will be closed.

With an estimated $4.8 billion in revenues in 2012, the BLM nationally returns more than four dollars for every budget dollar it receives. The BLM manages 245 million acres – more than any of the nation's major natural resource agencies, with the smallest budget, the fewest employees, and the lowest cost.

While the BLM will maintain the minimum staffing levels required to ensure continued safe management of the nation's energy resources, issuing new oil and gas leases and permits will cease.

Limited work will continue to ensure safe operations of domestic energy supplies, including inspection and enforcement activities for more than 190 oil and gas leases in Oregon and Washington, covering over 320,000 acres.

Recreation activities on BLM-managed lands will be similarly impacted. Public lands receive more than 57 million visitors every year, contributing more than $7 billion to local economies. In Fiscal Year 2012, Oregon and Washington received more than 8.4 million visitors every year contributing more than $713 million to local economies.

The BLM in Oregon and Washington will furlough 1,967 of its approximately 1,994 employees during the funding lapse. After the initial shutdown procedures are completed, the BLM will maintain a total of 27 excepted employees with an additional 142 employees on call.

Suspended activities and services will include:
-- non-emergency Abandoned Mine Land and hazardous-materials mitigation;
-- processing of oil and gas drilling permits;
-- processing of lease sales, permits and other non-emergency authorizations of onshore oil and gas, coal and other minerals;
-- permits and approvals for renewable energy and other rights-of -way issuances;
-- Endangered Species Act and cultural clearances;
-- range management restoration;
-- wild horse and burro adoptions;
-- sand and gravel permits;
-- timber sales; and
-- work on resource management plans, including those driven by court deadlines.

Suspended activities will resume once Congress approves a budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

Because the BLM website will not be maintained for the duration of the shutdown, the BLM will be redirectingto Interior's site, where additional information will be available at: www.doi.gov/shutdown



The Oregon Military Department is comprised of approximately 9,000 Citizen-Soldiers, Airmen and civilians, of which nearly 2,000 are full-time employees.

Approximately 1,000 federally funded employees, including 790 federal technicians and 220 federally reimbursed state employees, are scheduled to be furloughed beginning Oct. 1 until funding is approved by Congress.

Operations and activities which are essential to the security, safety and protection of human life and property are exempted from furlough, to include emergency management and national security missions. State Active Duty is still authorized in the event of a domestic emergency.

"Public safety and security, as well as the security of military installations are the Oregon National Guard's priority and plans are in place to ensure these priorities are met," said Capt. Stephen Bomar, director of public affairs, Oregon Military Department.

According to the Department of Defense, furlough decisions are dictated solely by the law and are in no way a reflection of the importance of the work of any employee or department within the agency. Supervisors will be the immediate source of information for their employees.

Drill-weekend training scheduled for the month of October for all part-time Soldiers and Airmen may be rescheduled for a later date. The chain of command will communicate with Soldiers and Airmen to adjust drill training dates as necessary.

Approximately 965 Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) military personnel will continue to serve in a normal duty status.

In addition, another 250 Army and Air Guard military federal technicians, and 100 federally-funded state employees have been requested as exempt from furlough for fire, security, and emergency management operations.

The Oregon National Guard will continue to support the governor and State of Oregon with the Civil Support Team (CST) and a 24/7 Joint Operations Center - the conduit to emergency management, and all armories will remain open.

The Oregon Air National Guard will continue to support the Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) mission with the 142nd Fighter Wing and the 173rd Fighter Wing will continue to support the Air Force's only F15 Fighter pilot training school.

The Military Funeral Honors program, Sexual Harassment/Assault programs, and Recruiting and Retention force will remain functional and the Oregon Military Department will continue the responsible close-out of 2013 fiscal responsibilities.

"Half of our full-time force is affected," said Bomar.  "The longer the shutdown, the more likely there will be serious long-term effects. However, we will do everything we can to assist employees who find themselves in serious financial trouble due to furlough."

Service members are scheduled to continue receiving education benefits and Veterans Affairs medical facilities will remain open. For more information visit the VA website at http://www.va.gov/opa/appropriations_lapse_plan.asp. Furloughed employees may also be eligible for unemployment compensation.

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