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Commissioners updated about COG programs

Some 1,113 Linn County residents enjoyed 140,681 Meals on Wheels meals in 2022, Cascades West Council of Governments Executive Director Ryan Vogt told the Linn County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning, April 4.

Vogt also said there the program had 7,634 congregate dining meals and more than $93,000 in donations.

Some 240,103 meals were served – 228,841 of which were home-delivered – in Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties.

Other numbers:

♦ 16 foster grandparent volunteers in Albany, Lebanon and Sweet Home (volunteer drivers are always needed), with 40 people taking advantage of the money management program.

♦ Business lending has seven active loans in play, totaling $1.12 million.

According to Vogt, Cascades West does not compete with banks and makes loans only to companies that have been turned down by banks.

He said interest appears to be picking up and in five years, there have been no defaults on loans.

♦ 1,885 Linn and Benton county residents were assisted with care services in 2022. Of those, 1,166 received in-home care, 514 received community-based care and 205 were in nursing homes.

♦ 517 seniors received one-on-one counseling regarding Medicare benefits through the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program. Four live and virtual “Medicare 101” presentations were made.

In other business, the commissioners:

♦ Were told by Veterans Services Director Dee Baley-Hyder that her office has seen continued growth in veterans helped. Her office assisted 8,900 veterans last year, and that number has increased to 9,190.

“We are averaging 715 calls per month,” she said.

Her staff has helped veterans, or their families, recover $389,152 in claims in the first quarter of the year and $1.6 million from July 1, 2022 to March 21, 2023. She said her staff is excited to transport Honor Flight participants to the Portland airport later this month.

♦ Directed Linn County staff to connect with staff from the City of Millersburg regarding the March 14 denial of a comprehensive plan map amendment concerning property in and outside Millersburg’s urban growth boundary.

A Linn County ordinance allows for such a meeting “to attempt to work out differences in position.”

Millersburg Mayor Scott Cowan said the paper-making company that wants to come could mean up to 1,000 jobs and a $1 billion investment, adding that the city sought to discuss a potential compromise on concerns heard in the land use process.

Nyquist said that bringing this matter before the board after the commissioners have made a decision could be problematic.

However, he and fellow Commissioner Sherrie Sprenger said they were willing to listen, as long as the process did not run afoul of the legal land-use process.

Commissioner Will Tucker left the meeting early for speaking engagement in Salem.

♦ Approved creating a new job position within the Health Department: developmental disabilities assurance specialist.

The position will provide investigations and oversight of activities and services focused on ensuring health and safety of clients, plus ensure compliance with county, state and federal requirements. The position does not involve general fund monies.

♦ Were updated on work to complete a new 20-year contract between the Linn Benton Juvenile Detention Facility out of the Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility and the Oregon Youth Authority.

The current contract was extended until Aug. 31.

– Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer