At the April 24, 2016 membership meeting in La Grande, the members of Oregon Rural Action voted overwhelmingly to keep their organization intact and rebuild ORA to its former capacity for addressing issues important to its communities. Members’ responses to surveys motivated and guided the board in its next steps towards working with foundations like the McKenzie River Gathering and submitting additional proposals to the Meyer Memorial Trust, Resist, Oregon Community Foundation and Penney.

The board is happy to report that the McKenzie River Gathering recently awarded ORA a grant for $20,000 which will help Oregon Rural Action move forward with emphasis on fundraising, developing a stable funding base to re-staff and follow through with assessment plans in early 2017. Thank you MRG!

Recent events like the railroad oil tanker spill in Mosier and Oregon health insurers’ call for exorbitant rate hikes in consumer premiums highlight the need for concerned citizens to remain vigilant and continue working on local and statewide initiatives that call for improving the health and safety of all Oregonians. Read on for more information and renew your commitment to Oregon Rural Action. Consider becoming a sustainer and/or increasing your current contribution to help ORA achieve its goals.

Highlights & Updates from Chapters and Issue Teams

Food &  Ag Team – Three meetings were held at Eastern Oregon University with student and faculty regarding local food at EOU; discussion will be continued next fall. The ORA Food and Ag team plans to conduct tabling this summer to develop public support for a local food procurement campaign at EOU. The team is also working on identifying and eliminating barriers that prevent people from using the SNAP match program.

Community Garden – For the first time ever, the La Grande community garden is full to capacity with more interest than we have space. The Community Garden Committee is discussing possibilities for expanding access, including greater access for community members with disabilities. The goal for next year is to build a number of raised beds and explore more accessible parking and garden paths. For more information on the La Grande community garden, or to get involved, contact Ellen Hartstirn at ellenhartstirn@gmail.com.


Energy Team – What are the implications for Oregonians as more oil is transported by rail through our communities? Can an incident like the one that took place recently in Mosier, OR happen here? Read the OregonLive report and The La Grande Observer interview with Energy Team and board member, Norm Cimon:

Oregon Live

La Grande Observer

Health Care Reform Action Team – Summer Solstice Pot Luck & Gathering

Come celebrate the longest day of the year with other Health Care for All advocates on Tuesday, June 21 at Dwight and Anna Maria Dill’s home at 707 Aquarius Way, La Grande. The potluck starts at 6:00 p.m. and there will be hamburgers on the grill. Bring a side dish, salad or dessert to share.

We will hear an update about the statewide Heath Care for All Oregon membership meeting held in May (four folks from our group attended); and, decide on future dates for activities (house parties & “Fix It: Healthcare at a Tipping Point” film.) Meeting time will be short because socializing is the focus for this month! Let’s gather, enjoy each other’s company, catch up on things and celebrate the sun! Please join us! RSVP or questions: 541-786- 5471 or by email at amdill707@gmail.com by Sunday, June 19.

Health Care Action Alerts – Feeling like you haven’t done much to support “Health Care for All” lately? Here’s an action you can do right away! Oregon health insurers have proposed ratehikes as high as 32.3% for next year, the second year in a row of big double-digit increases. Not only is this outrageous, it’s also unsustainable. Our friends and allies at Oregon Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) are mobilizing a campaign to address the outrageous increases being proposed by health insurers! Go to this link NOW to find out more and sign their petition!


Serve as a Board Member – Share your talents and vision with Oregon Rural Action and consider running for a board position or nominating others. Contact Nominating Committee members Jason Rosvold at jasonrosvold1234@hotmail.com or Austin Saunders at austin@oregonrural.org. Elections will take place in October at our Annual meeting.

Saturday, October 8, 2016 – Oregon Rural Action Annual Meeting

The focus will be on community organizing. Watch for more details to follow regarding time and place.


A Note of Gratitude – Thanks to all the people who have stepped up and supported Oregon Rural Action over the last several months. A special thank you goes out to those individuals who have become sustaining members in response to our internal fund-raising campaign. Sustaining memberships help the organization build a more predictable budget and demonstrate to external funding agencies and foundations that our members are invested in the work of ORA. If you have not yet become a sustaining donor, please consider doing so, and check out our donor page or visit the Oregon Rural Action Facebook page and click on the “Donate Now” button. You may also call Dawn Schillar at 541-975- 2411 or 541-910- 0359.