Illinois Valley Schools and Community Partners

Illinois Valley Schools and Community Partners is a group of school and community agency administrators who have the goals of
1) collaborating effectively to better serve IV youth
2) ensuring that more intensive services (wraparound) are available to our most at-risk youth
3) training all our organization staff and our community members how to provide trauma informed care

Our group collaborates through quarterly meetings that are focused on updating each other about resources and are focused on our goals. We have identified intensive family wraparound services through Options and the Department of Human Services’ Self Sufficiency program and we support Youth Service Teams at local schools to become more effective in helping students with multiple needs succeed.

We are sharing our skills to educate all about the importance of providing trauma informed care. This type of care reflects information gathered in a survey by Kaiser Permanente that revealed a strong correlation between negative childhood experiences and later health and achievement problems. Trauma informed care is the skills and information needed to interact with people who have faced traumas in ways that helps them calm down, think more clearly, and maintain better relationships.

Allcare is sponsoring monthly trauma informed training for staff at all Three Rivers Schools. Scott Polen, Principal of Lorna Byrne Middle School, is sharing that training with several community partner agencies at the a monthly meeting at the Illinois Valley Family Resource Center Building. Nicole Rensenbrink form Healthy U has also provided trauma informed training at Project Baby Check and the Dome School and is coordinating a trauma informed subcommittee at Allcare’s Behavioral Health Network.

The Illinois Valley Schools and Community Partners group is working together with the ultimate goal that every child will have a safe and successful education.

IV Senior Connections Hosts Illinois Valley Senior Expo

Cave Junction, OR February 12, 2018— A free Senior Expo event will be held in Cave Junction to help Illinois Valley seniors find resources locally. The Senior Expo will be Saturday, March 10 from 10-2, at the IV Senior Center, 520 East River Street, Cave Junction. The Illinois Valley Senior Connections team, a project under the IV 20/20 Strategic Plan, is coordinating local senior services groups to present this free event, which will feature workshops on advanced directives, home energy savings, scam avoidance, Medicaid ins and outs, chair fitness, and much more, along with information tables and free health screenings. Soup, breads, and desserts will be for sale for lunch.

“The IV Senior Center is thrilled to host this interactive event for our local seniors so they can learn about services available right here in the Valley,” said Senior Center Board President Jean Shubert. “Several local service groups are working together to make this free event possible.”

Major sponsors for the IV Senior Expo are IV Wellness Resources, Mary Reynolds Insurance, and Siskiyou Community Health Center. Shop Smart, AllCare, and Options are also supporting this event. Groups interested in participating in the IV Senior Expo should contact IVCanDO Community Development Coordinator Kate Dwyer at

IV Senior Connections is an Action Collaborative under the IV 20/20 Community Vision and Strategic Plan working towards meeting goals for seniors. Members of this team include IV Wellness Resources, Healthy U, IVCanDO, Illinois Valley Family Coalition, UCan, RSVP, and the IV Senior Center. Agencies with a mission of service to seniors are invited to join.

Update from Kate: Mental Health Training for Our County Police

Under the 20/20 Plan, written by Illinois Valley residents, public safety is the number one priority, and coordinating mental health services, and sensitivity, with law enforcement is a key strategy. After two years of building an excellent relationship with Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel, who regularly attends the IV Public Safety Task Force, and afterI have had many other meetings with Shelly Uhrig, the Chief Operating Officer of Options, our mental health provider, trust is high and collaboration is proving worthwhile. So when I asked the Sheriff and Options to meet to discuss how to help IV’s indigent population, both groups said yes right away. On Thursday February 6 a group of IVPSTF folks went to Options in GP and met with their COO and their ED, as well as the Sheriff and Undersheriff. Although the resources are not in place to provide much immediate help to people we see on our streets, we all learned a lot about what (long) path we might take to help people in the future.

But convening has tremendous positive effects. People meet who had not known each other. Resources are discovered, and common goals can be reached. Shelly Uhrig offered Sheriff Daniel a series of evidence-based trainings for his patrol personnel, so that if a person is encountered who suffers from mental illness, officers will be far more likely to recognize the problem and respond appropriately, compassionately, and effectively. In the next few months, Josephine County Sheriff’s office patrol personnel will better understand what mental illness looks like, and I expect that the results will be profound.

Thank you to Sheriff Daniel and to Options for your cooperation!

-Kate Dwyer, Strategic Plan Implementation Coordinator

Passing the Torch: a New Executive Director for Illinois Valley Community Development Organization

Cave Junction, OR: The Board of Directors of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization (IVCanDo) is pleased to announce that Kenny Houck has been named the new Executive Director.  Houck succeeds Menno Kraai who served in the position for eight years. Kraai, who also serves as the General Manager of the Historic Oregon Caves Chateau, will continue in that position for one more season.

It is not Houck’s first run as a leader of IVCanDO.  He held the position of Interim Executive Director in 2001 when the organization was called the Illinois Valley Community Response Team. Since then, Houck has held positions on the IVCanDO Revolving Loan Fund Board of Directors including 3 years as the Board Chair.  He has also served on IVCanDo’s Board of Directors including 2 years as the Board Chair.

Kraai is confident in the Board’s decision: “I have a great deal of faith in our new director.  He has a lot of experience in our programs and projects.  We are looking at an exciting future with more projects focusing on people, place, and prosperity.  We have a good team and have developed excellent partnerships that continue to blossom and benefit the Illinois Valley.”

Houck praises Kraai’s successful tenure as Executive Director:  “He has led the organization through a strong period of growth and we are very glad to have him continue to manage the Chateau.  The Illinois Valley and southwest Oregon are in a time of transition, full of both challenges and opportunities.  IVCanDo has long played an important role in our local economic and community development and I look forward to building on that success.”

When Kraai announced his retirement from the position, the IVCanDo Board of Directors approached the transition with a deliberate, step by step process.  They held two retreats directed by Community Consultant, Roi Crouch and a succession plan was made.  The board was looking for an Executive Director who was committed to the area and held a depth of knowledge about the history of the valley.

Houck’s past experience speaks to his commitment here.  He has led several key projects in the valley for IVCanDo including the formation of the Kerby Water District, the Light Industrial Park at the Illinois Valley Airport, and the Pavilion Project at Illinois River Forks State Park.  Since these projects, Houck has held the positions of Business Development Coordinator for the Illinois Valley Business Entrepreneurial Center/Rogue Community College – Small Business Development Center and IVCanDo’s Community Development Manager.

The Illinois Valley Community Development Organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to develop, implement, and evaluate a living Illinois Valley Strategic Plan that encourages stable community development and aims to improve local economic, social, and cultural conditions through cooperative programs and partnerships in rural southwest Oregon.

RiverStars Performing Arts presents SuperReal

RiverStars Performing Arts, a program of the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization, presents our 4th holiday show, SuperReal, Saturday, December 9th at 7:00 PM and Sunday, December 10th at 5:00 PM in the Lorna Byrne Cafeteria.  Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can and there will be a talkback with the artists after the show.  Don’t miss your chance to see our town, onstage in this hilarious holiday romp about Scroogia, the Texas carpetbagger who has come to put our local economy asunder.   Fortunately, Scroogia meets her match in Tom and Jerry, the local cartoon and comics shop owners.  Now if they can just get her to laugh, they will free Cavetown from a villainous takeover.

SuperReal brings Cavetown’s own superheroes and villains under the lights in a delightful comic book format.  You’ll meet RiverRock, HotJock, MoneyMaxer, G.A.S. (Generic Attractive superhero) and the Guacamole Man.  Most powerful of all….Sparkwoman ends up saving the day!  The performers get real as they dance through Act 2.  A mysterious grandpa intervenes in excessive texting binges and introduces the philosophies of folk hero Utah Phillips.  The performers ultimately end their powerful journey of self-realization that lands them in the dance “I,” by Kendrick Lamar.

The process to create this show began in April 2017, when RiverStars performers began drawing comic strips about their town from their own imaginations.  Throughout the summer, they gathered comics from visitors at the Cave Junction Farmer’s Market.  Using these as research, the group then participated in two expansive weekend development sessions workshopping the comics, re-writing and editing.  Finally, this work was crafted into an original script by RiverStars performers and teachers, influenced by their town, for the stage show of SuperReal.

Arts Educator, Lindsey Gillette comments, “the work of the program participants and community members has been impressively detailed.  The inside jokes and winks to the audience are all locally sourced.  If there’s one thing the residents of the Illinois Valley can agree on, it’s that we value our autonomy and the sense of belonging in this place.  This show brings that to the stage.”  Lead Educator, Gina Angelique adds that, “What is most awesome is to see how the RiverStars performers have grown, and become their own source for heroic potential. There is something magical and powerful about witnessing their hard work culminate in a solid and moving theatrical product.  Watching them dance and act brings deep pride and confidence that the future is in good hands.”

RiverStars Performing Arts is in its 4th year of providing dance and theatre classes and performing opportunities to Illinois Valley youth.  The program’s success feeds from its dynamic partnership with Three Rivers School District, the Illinois Valley Community Development Organization and dancefarm.  SuperReal was was made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH’s grant program.  Additional funding was provided by the Oregon Community Foundation and the Collins Foundation.

Cave Junction Christmas Tree Lighting

Cave Junction, Ore.: Please join us, Saturday, November 25, 2017, at 5 pm, for the annual lighting of the town Christmas Tree. This event is brought to you by the Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce, to be held at the junction of Caves Highway and Redwood Highway.

• The Mayor will light the tree at promptly 5 pm.
• There will be a special snapchat filter available in the area of the tree during the event.
• Christmas caroling for all to start right after the tree light.
• Santa will make a guest appearance.
• Cocoa and cookies will be available for the kiddos.
• There will be a bake sale offering homemade goodies to take home, with profits going to the Rotary club’s “Cookies with Santa” program.
For more information or to volunteer please contact Angie Graves, Chamber Coordinator, 541-592-3326

Mission: The Illinois Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to strengthening the identity and enhancing the image of Illinois Valley business by providing services to its members that allow them to grow and prosper.