(Photo courtesy of Heart of Oregon Corps)
A local project is improving wildfire resiliency while also preparing young people to enter the workforce through service to the community. Through the end of March, Heart of Oregon Corps (HOC) youth crews are reducing hazardous fuel loads and increasing wildfire protection for the users of Shevlin Park, residents of Shevlin Commons, and the surrounding Bend community.
“It’s great to have an organization like HOC help with fuel reduction in an area so close to downtown Bend,” said Jeff Amaral, Natural Resources Manager at Bend Park and Recreation District. “Nearly twenty-eight years ago, the Awbrey Hall fire swept through the current project area becoming one of the most destructive wildfires in Central Oregon’s history. We now know more about how to manage vegetation around homes in the wildland urban interface.”
Every year, Heart of Oregon’s AmeriCorps program engages over 60 members that perform fire fuels reduction projects throughout Central Oregon. Founded in 2000, Heart of Oregon Corps trains tomorrow’s workforce today. Through their hard work, local young adults earn their way to success.
“It’s great to perform national service on public lands right in Bend,” said HOC AmeriCorps member Kenny Fluty who has served in various roles with Heart of Oregon since 2014. “Residents have been really receptive to our presence here in Shevlin Park, and I love working to help keep their homes safe from wildfire.”
Editor’s note: To see the Heart of Oregon Corps youth crews in action, please schedule a specific appointment time with Laura Handy at 541-419-8500. With an appointment, reporters and/or photographers can visit the worksite location at the Shevlin Commons Trailhead between Park Commons Drive and Mt. Jefferson Place.
About Heart of Oregon Corps
Heart of Oregon Corps trains tomorrow’s workforce today. Heart of Oregon is a nonprofit organization invested in inspiring and empowering change in the lives of Central Oregon youth through jobs, education, and stewardship. Their programming creates pathways out of poverty while stimulating regional economic growth. Heart of Oregon’s “work-earn-learn” model invests in local young people, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, to prepare them for the workforce and to encourage their self-sufficiency. Heart of Oregon Corps’ six regional programs hire, train, and serve 300 local youth each year. Youth can apply at www.heartoforegon.org
About Bend Park and Recreation District
Bend Park and Recreation District maintains and operates more than 2,600 acres of developed and undeveloped parkland including 85 parks/open spaces and 65 miles of trail. The District offers more than 1,000 recreation programs for all ages and abilities throughout the community and at the Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, the Bend Senior Center, Art Station and The Pavilion. For information on District parks, programs and happenings, visit www.bendparksandrec.org.