The Random Post (10.17.21)

I’ve veered away from a previous intention to channel to this website (first) and follow up that channeling with posts on social (later). No doubt there is some urgency on my end to reach people and create awareness of “Casey Miller – Public Figure” (clock is ticking) and I doubt that many look at my website with any kind of frequency. Lately, I let things land on social to get the ball rolling and do the heavy lifting. Thus, Ocean18 is a kind of void.

So much going on:

  • Structural management changes, coworkers on leave at the County, making the return to the new normal a break from the addiction of the “old normal”  
  • Targeted home improvement and the financing of these projects allow us to put our family to work
  • Moving and managing family member in crisis
  • Kids MTB activities taking us all over the State of Oregon
  • Shuttling the boy from school, work, getting to practice (including coaching those practices) has its own lifeforce draw

Compartmentalizing these activities so that I am “present” and “mindful”: the desire for equitable distribution of life energy to all the aforementioned experiences takes time in itself! Yet, I need to remind myself that these are blessings when put into context. It’s good to be so busy and to have generally good health and loving people in my life.

(Clockwise from upper left) My babies – dinner at Common Block Brewing, Medford. The food was incredible! The amazing Jessica Palma. Asst. emergency Manager. Passionate about our community – stellar work ethic! My wife combining dried flowers with pumpkins – class coming soon to Newport Florist. reed get a haircut (after school photos). Fortunate to film Oregon Coast Jazz Party, yet again! Sewing new Velcro onto the pop up trailer panels.

I’ve been feeling the tug to get my LinkedIn in page updated and am afraid to even look at it! Talk about denial. Ugh. Even my journal entries are all over the place for the last few months. Last night I committed myself to starting this day with a well thought out journaling, time management and “intention” session and now I am 4 hours into photo/video management and general wandering through life (finally a Sunday at home) doing content management. It’s rather stunning how much time an “influencer” and multi-media communication specialist spends gathering, storing, and arranging content for future access and production.

HOWEVER, a BIG success this morning was FINALLY figuring out the technical issues preventing me from connecting an external microphone to my iPhone. So many videos, internet searches, purchases, cord swapping: two years of trouble shooting. Last week’s purchase of a new phone was driven partly by the desire to fix this issue that I thought might also be firmware problem unique to the Xs.  And, guess what?! Drum roll… It was my third-party lightning connector! I borrowed my wife’s official Apple connector and voila. Unbelievable, man. And soooooo glad to have this resolved.  The iPhone is quite useful for video projects and mystery has been solved.

We are #inthistogether – FEMA Region 10. I see the light at the end of the tunnel – still more complicated than I wish it was. I do have a post office box. However, its been 3 months since I checked it?! Ernest Bloch sign reveal commences. Unfortunately, while moving my sister’s belongings to the coast I swiped the neighbors van with the U-Haul truck. Ugh.

Work has been hammers and it hasn’t changed much. It’s slightly less vigorous compared to previous months. It’s certainly less vigorous than post Echo Mountain Fire. The recovery process continues, and it is terribly slow. Intriguing how concepts are so vastly different from the reality that follows. Thinking is not the doing. And the doing is what’s needed. We have been fortunate to have a Commissioner Jacobson dedicated to the task of recovery. We have team meetings every other week that includes internal team members and members of or emerging LTRG and LCSD.  Thankfully, we also have a FEMA community and capacity building liaison to help us decipher, contemplate and strategize a forthcoming project that will provide a “lite” recovery plan. Other jurisdictions have a dedicated recovery director. In fact, one of the candidates for the new County Administrator is the recovery director for Marion County. We are still in the process of selecting a new administrator.  Perhaps, if we had had such an individual – it might – help up us with the current task of restoring North County in the fire’s aftermath. The former Wayne Belmont our previous defacto “legal counsel/administrator” retired in July. The result was an interim administrator Kristin Yuille who replaced Belmont as lead counsel. However, she has not joined the effort of internal recovery project management. It is basically, Kaety and I who are managing (spending the most time) on the current trajectory. The process of recovery is rather nebulous. But, this opportunity to work with OAPA to engage stakeholders and create a document that will help us wrap our head around recovery is going to be tremendously useful IMO. We are currently working on an application (or letter) for technical assistance to the EPA/FEMA. While the possible $$$ provided ($500,000 across six jurisdictions) is small the process of identifying what kind of technical assistance is needed is extremely valuable.

How do we measure and identify baseline community health? Think of the Otis area. Rural and unincorporated. There is need: child care, broadband, drinking water, road integrity, hazard mitigation, spiritual/mental health, etc.  All this soft and hard infrastructure are the building blocks of modern living. Yet, we don’t normally by function, measure and evaluate and restore these components for their viability to our communities by course. We are presented with the opportunity to modify and provide funding to these aspects of our rural community and how do we do that? We are County Government: not the provider of all the services needed and limited in or own capacity. Yet, here we are… doing our best as partner, as adjacent services provider to help oversee and support the mission.

Philosophically/sociologically I have found the whole situation full of contemplative relationships. It is the wildfire that has pulled the levers of restorative processes.  What of any rural neighborhood throughout the County that experiences housing shortages, poor internet connectivity, childcare and food desertification? What of our resiliency and preparations for climate change? What of equity for community health outside of disaster recovery?

Here is my point. We have thresholds. We measure these things in the aftermath of disaster. Yet, we know that many communities and struggling outside of the disaster case scenario.  Perhaps, we are all living in the in the disaster that is yet to come and the disaster that is currently incremental. Isn’t that the slow and devious nature of climate change? We are like the frog in boiling water. This fire – echo Mountain Fire is casting a light on a specific crisis. Its is also casting a light on the crisis that existed before the fires that preceded it. Might we begin looking at and measuring community health now and into the future as a regular part of what we do? Let us not move forward in denial of establishing baseline as something we do as mature humans – reflecting periodically on the just how well we are thriving at any point in time. Might the Census be expanded to include proximity to food, water, housing, health care, internet, transportation. A real time and living analysis of livability at any point in time.  

Survival Tips: Go Bag & Foraging

I recently put together a quick video demonstrating the contents of my go bag. Each member of our family has one and we keep them our in our vehicles. It’s my call to action for you. Put together both a go bag and a plan. Are you ready to evacuate quickly? And where exactly do you plan to go?

Oregon Coast residents are now painfully aware of the potential for wildfire. In September of 2020 we lost 300 residences to the Echo Mountain Fire Complex. Additionally, we are located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone and live with the anticipation of “when – not – if” for earthquake and tsunami hazards.

Lot’s of resources on the Emergency Management section of Lincoln County’s website.

Several weeks ago, Reed and I learned how to forage for seafood during Newport Parks and Recreation’s “Low Tide Learning; Survival Foods”. Since then we have made a couple of trips on our own and seemed to have remembered enough to gather more goodies.

This field trip is one example of the many engaging opportunities offered by Parks and Rec. Check out the City’s online catalogue for their upcoming programs.