FORUM TO ADDRESS EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

September 26, 2001 12:00 am

By The Observer

With the terrorist attacks and crashes in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, the topic of the Union County Chamber of Commerces general membership meeting Oct. 3 has changed.

Responding to terrorism or other emergencies will be the focus.

Everything in the world is different now, said Colleen MacLeod, one of the organizers of the event. We were going to address business issues, such as administrative rules, with members of our congressional delegation. That doesnt seem very important now.

Instead, the 7 to 9 p.m. meeting at the La Grande Middle School will focus on emergency preparedness and what local residents can do in that regard.

We want to make people aware of what they can do in such situations, said Judy Loudermilk, executive director of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.

Were sponsoring this as a service to the whole community, she said. She emphasized the meeting is free and open to all.

The format calls for spokespersons from various agencies to speak about terrorist threats or any kind of emergency preparedness that might be associated with their agency, Loudermilk said. A question-and answer period will follow.

Agencies and individuals who will speak are from Grande Ronde Hospital, the Oregon National Guard, the American Red Cross, Mike Buchanan of the Oregon Department of Transportation, Union County Emergency Services Director Dara Decker, ham radio operator Graham Hicks, Verl Long of Adult and Family Services, law enforcement and fire department spokespersons from the Union County Sheriffs Office, the La Grande Police Department, the La Grande Fire Department and the La Grande Rural Fire Protection District.

Also invited are representatives of the Umatilla Army Depot, the Oregon State Police, the Bonneville Power Administration, the county works department and two local radio stations (KCMB-KWRL and KLBM-KUBQ).