Sams: Donations to Cultural Trust help preserve Oregon’s quality of life

To the Editor:

Google Oregon’s top attributes, and along with the great outdoors, audacious beer and green living you will find our famous quality of life. One of our best-kept secrets is how the Oregon Cultural Trust protects and enhances that quality of life.

As uniquely Oregonian as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established in 2001 to support art, heritage, history and humanities — which together define our diverse cultural character.

The Cultural Trust empowers Oregonians to double the impact of their cultural giving at no additional cost to them. Here’s how it works: Make a donation to one or more of Oregon’s 1,400-plus cultural nonprofits, then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust by Dec. 31. You get 100 percent of the Cultural Trust donation back when you file your state taxes — by claiming the cultural tax credit — and the state Legislature invests that same amount in Oregon culture.

That’s right: The state of Oregon funds our music, our libraries, our museums and our monuments, but only when you demonstrate how important they are to you.

In 2017 alone, gifts to the Cultural Trust totaled close to $5 million. Working with statewide and regional partners, the Trust redistributed more than $3 million of that amount in 2018 grants and funding and invested the remaining donations into a growing permanent fund for future projects.

In Umatilla, Morrow, Union and Wallowa counties, grants were awarded to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, $40,195; Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, $11,116; Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council, $11,131; Liberty Theatre Foundation, $28,171; Umatilla County Historical Society, $30,513; Morrow County Cultural Coalition, $7,645; Umatilla County Cultural Coalition, $15,409; Union County Cultural Coalition, $9,344; and the Wallowa County Cultural Coalition, $7,114.

According to our 10-year impact study, by ECONorthwest, the Trust’s geographic reach is “remarkable.” The study will serve us well when we ask the Oregon Legislature to renew the cultural tax credit during the 2019 Oregon legislative session.

I encourage you to total your cultural donations, give a matching amount to the Cultural Trust and claim your cultural tax credit on your state taxes. We are trusting you won’t keep this important secret to yourself. Thank you for preserving Oregon’s quality of life.

Charles F. Sams III

Chair, Oregon Cultural Trust


McHaddad: BMTD explains KTVB outage

To the Editor:

Many TV viewers in Union County found themselves without the ability to view KTVB last week. The problem was worse in Baker County — a power outage on the Blue Mountain Translator District’s Baker translator, located on Beaver Mountain, resulted in a complete blackout of channels in Baker County.

We are thankful for OTEC’s quick work to restore power, and want to take this opportunity to remind viewers how signals are delivered here. KATU, KOIN, KGW, KRCW, KPTV and KPDX are sent to Island City over a fiber optic network and microwaved to Mt. Fanny above Cove. These channels are hopped to Mt. Harris above Imbler and Beaver Mountain south of Baker City. KTVB is sent directly from Boise to Beaver Mountain then hopped to Mt. Fanny before reaching Mt. Harris.

Problems in Island City or Mt. Fanny can prevent Portland channels from being broadcast anywhere in Union and Baker counties. Problems on Mt. Harris can prevent all channels from being broadcast in northern Union County. Problems on Beaver Mountain, such as last week’s power outage, can prevent all channels from being broadcast in Baker City, also affecting the transmission of KTVB in Union County.

BMTD continues to work with partners to improve the resilience of our network, most recently by installing new components on Mt. Fanny in October that make our equipment less vulnerable to lightning-induced power surges. For more information, visit, email, call 541-963-0196 or visit our new office on the third floor of the Joseph Building in La Grande.

Alex McHaddad

Blue Mountain Translator District Secretary/Treasurer