From the mayor’s desk: by Meadow Martell

I recently attended the 2022 Oregon Mayors Association Conference in Newport. The cooler weather was appreciated, and it was energizing being with over 100 mayors from around the state. Some of the sessions I attended included: social media networking, barriers to serving as a local government leader, financing city programs and services, and elements of successful mayor relationships. There was an awards ceremony for the student winners of the statewide “If I were a Mayor…” contest. Depending on the age group there was a poster, a written piece, or a digital media submission. It was moving to meet the winners and see their entries. I hope that next year we can organize entries from Cave Junction.
Do you know about Faster Internet Oregon? This is a coalition of nonprofit and governmental agencies working to create dynamic broadband maps that more accurately reflect the status of broadband in Oregon. They have a statewide speed test campaign to encourage Oregonians to measure their internet speeds at home or report if they do not have an internet connection due to availability or affordability. The goal is to help identify gaps in high-speed internet service and provide real data to ensure that future funding decisions on broadband infrastructure are based on accurate assessments of gaps in connectivity.
Why is this important? A lot of Federal money is available to create broadband infrastructure for historically un-served and under-served communities, Accurate data will result in more equitable decisions to ensure that broadband funds are distributed to communities that need it most. The Faster Internet Oregon website has a quick and easy-to-use speed test and asks a few simple location questions for mapping accuracy.
Data from the project will help decision makers Identify Oregon homes that lack high-speed internet and households that do not have an internet connection and why, and provide cost estimates and assess competitive viability for areas with identified gaps.
Privacy is of the utmost importance to this campaign. No personally identifiable information is stored beyond the address that residents provide, and the information will not be available for public viewing or sold.
You can help by taking the speed test and spreading the word. The more people in our communities who take the speed test will ensure that the coalition and decision makers are able to develop accurate maps of the state to assess broadband gaps. I have talked to other communities in Oregon who are using this information to negotiate better broad band services in their area.