Adopt-A-Highway Journey at South Fork Forest Camp

SFFC Work Crew

South Fork Forest Camp started their Adopt-A-Highway Journey with a small 2.25 mile section of HWY 6. The adults in custody (AIC) would walk both sides of the highway, cleaning up litter. Not only did they take on cleaning up the litter as a challenging pursuit, but they also found the work very rewarding after seeing the impact of their efforts.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) noticed the litter cleanup efforts and the impacts it had on the section of the highway and agreed to allow the AIC crews to take on cleaning up the majority of HWY 6 – which is approximately 52 miles long. The AICs would walk roughly 10 miles per day! One day of picking trash, resulted in filling up a 10-yard dumpster with debris.

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Family First Summer Event

The Family First Club at Oregon State Correctional Institution hosted their annual family barbecue event on Saturday, August 26, 2023.  The club members and their families look forward to this event all year long. There is nothing quite like hanging out in the sun enjoying fun activities, good food, and time with family.

Families enjoyed a variety of activities ranging from family badminton to a bucket brigade race as well as participating in annual scavenger hunt, just to name a few. Fathers watched as their children bounced with glee from one wall to the next in the bouncy house. The squeals and laughter of children could be heard above all the festivities.

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Wildland Suppression Crew at South Fork Forest Camp

The Wildland Suppression Crew from the Oregon Department of Correction’s (DOC) South Fork Forest Camp (SFFC) deployed to Ball Bearing Fire, roughly 12 miles east of Carlton, Oregon. This was only day one of a three-day process. Adults in custody (AICs) and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) staff took hand tools and water hoses to the side of this mountain. The Wildland Fire Fighters pushed their way through acres of land, cutting and digging deep under stumps, roots, and rocks.

Since 1951, ODF has utilized Oregon Department of Corrections adults in custody to help reforest and protect state forest lands. ODF trains and supervises AIC crews to perform a variety of key forest management and protection projects. It is the largest and oldest work camp in the Pacific Northwest. Work crews perform forest management in eleven counties in northwest Oregon, assist with disaster relief efforts, and engage in fire suppression statewide. In a given year, South Fork Camp can produce up to 28,000-man days of skilled adults in custody labor saving the state millions in labor costs.

This interagency partnership allows adults in custody to gain valuable work skills while providing economic, social, and environmental benefits for Oregonians.

Art of Communication: Manuel’s Story

The Art of Communication is a program offered to qualifying adults in custody (AICs) at a number of Oregon Department of Corrections’ institutions across the state. Developed by Chaplain Trime Persinger at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), the course teaches AICs how to build positive relationships and manage conflict situations through everyday conversations. This post is part of a series which aims to share the stories of AICs who have been impacted by the program.

Below, AIC Manuel Arellano explains how the program has changed his mindset. AIC Arellano shared his experience with Trime Persinger, who wrote it down as follows:

A lot of times I’m very apprehensive to share my stories because I’m conscious of what the other person will think of me. That makes me shy to express these things from my past but if it will help someone it’s OK.

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South Fork Forest Camp Saves the Day

South Fork Crews spent 16 days providing Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) with the manpower to complete a very special task. ODFW needed to mark (fin clip) a very particular fin for the fish they are raising and did not have the manpower to get the task accomplished in time. The adults in custody (AICs) at South Fork stepped up and got just over 300,000 Fall Chinook clipped to make this a successful year for the Klaskanine Salmon Fish Hatchery project. The team at ODFW was so impressed with the hard work and effort put into this project, they provided the crew with BBQ ribs and Root beer. This is a well-deserved lunch for the adults in custody. They even ended their day tossing a football around.

South Fork has been invited back next year to help with the fin clipping project and will no doubt make the Department of Corrections proud once again!

On the Edge of Your Seat

Powder River Correctional Facility’s First Chess Tournament

Ms. Geddes makes the honorary opening move in the Championship game with AIC Cara vs. AIC Scalera

The first of hopefully many chess tournaments to be hosted for our AICs, concluded Saturday! AIC Cara took the top seat, beating out AIC Scalera in the championship game.

The tournament brought 13 participants together in the double elimination contest. Players had 15 minutes on their game clocks and would receive a 2 second bonus for each move. In total 32 games were played to complete the bracket.

To start things off one contestant would hold a pawn of each color, one in each hand. While his opponent would pick a hand to determine which pieces each would play for their game.

AIC Scalera finished in second place. AIC Scalera had faced off against AIC Cara in the semi-finals, losing a very competitive game, but won out to face him again in the finals.

AIC Peterson calculates his next move

AIC Peterson came in 3rd place, having fought back from an early loss in the opening rounds Friday. He started out Saturday with quick impressive wins over AIC Yaw and AIC Jackson.

PRCF started its chess club back in October named “en Passant,” a French expression meaning “in passing,” and is a unique rule in chess. The name was chosen as we recognize these AICs are “in passing” through PRCF.

The club goal is to take concepts in the game, such as, thinking of consequences before you move, and applying that in their own lives. We look forward to hosting the next tournament hopefully in July.

A Toast to the Toastmasters

There is no debate, Theron Hall, cherishes the Toastmasters Club at the Oregon State Penitentiary

The President of the Capital Toastmasters Club tells his story…

Theron Hall, President, Capital Toastmasters

“For twenty plus years, the Oregon State Penitentiary has had support from local colleges and universities, and we have been competing in debates with them. Our goal was to greatly improve our debate program and with the support of our prison administration, College Professors, and our members, we have done just that. In 2009, Professors from Willamette University, Linfield College, and Northwest Christian University began volunteering their time to teach a Parliamentary style debate class to our members. At that point, our debate program began to flourish. In addition to our monthly meetings, cognitive classes, and speech contests, we now hold three debates a year with local colleges and universities and one debate tournament a year.

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One Heart Transplant Done, What’s Next?

Enrichment Club Donation Recipient Receives Heart Transplant, Club Plans for Future Donations

A rare circumstance occurs when adults in custody (AIC) can so positively affect a community. The Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution’s Enrichment Club donation to the Children Oregon Transplant Association was one such rarity – an opportunity to raise funds for a local Pendleton student who required a life-saving heart transplant. High school student Miranda Case was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Now, after multiple heart surgeries and as a high school student with aspirations for college, she needed a complete heart transplant.

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Expression of Gratitude

AIC Galvin Lomboy

The Snake River Correctional Institution’s (SRCI) Resource Team recently participated in a very special dinner with Peer Mentor and Resource Team member, Galvin Lomboy who expressed how the Peer Mentorship has changed his life as an adult in custody (AIC). The dinner was made possible by the SRCI Correctional Rehabilitation team.

During the special event, AIC Lomboy articulated how he could not stop thinking about all the opportunities to better himself, and how he would dial in on the focus of his goals after incarceration and his desire to help others. In short, he expressed his goals to continue the humanitarian path after he has finished his sentence. He talked about his gratitude for all the support, advice, and guidance of the Resource Team. He continued to name each member and how much he has learned from each person in different ways. 

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Mission 22 Veteran Suicide Awareness Challenge

By Lt. Shelby Brown and PIO Stephanie Lane

From Left to Right: Blake Sitton, Lt. Shelby Brown, Joshua Gibson, Chase Bedford, David Savelieff, and Charles Lake

Mission 22 published a challenge on social media asking for support through a fundraiser for their foundation. Their foundation’s focus is to provide various personalized resources to help Veterans and their families to thrive. Lt. Shelby Brown’s best friend, a veteran of the war in Iraq, is now a representative of the foundation and works at the branch in Bend. Lt. Brown is pursuing an opportunity to become an ambassador for the foundation.

Through the foundation’s Facebook page, there was a promotion for a fitness challenge to help bring awareness to the struggles of Veterans and their families and raise money for their foundation. The challenge was to have supporters donate money or challenge themselves to complete 2,200 push-ups to show their support of veterans lost or struggling, and the families affected by either, including the struggle to reacclimate to the home environment after being on duty for so long. Lt. Brown knew right away, she wanted to participate in this challenge, to show support for her best friend.

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