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End of federal shutdown a relief to veterans headed to D.C.

 Posted: 10:45 AM October 17, 2013

News that the federal shutdown had ended was a relief to Grants Pass resident Gail Yakopatz and her elderly entourage of World War II veterans, who won't have to storm the barricades.

"This will make it a lot easier for us — we are now back on our normal itinerary," said the president of Honor Flights of Oregon, which flies World War II veterans to visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Legislation passed late Wednesday night ending the 16-day shutdown means all sites in D.C. that the 104-member group planned to visit have been reopened. The group is scheduled to fly out of Portland Friday morning, returning on Sunday.

"We will be able to see the museums as well as the memorial without any problems," she said Thursday, although noting the group had planned to see the outdoor memorial regardless of the shutdown. There are 50 World War II veterans in the group, including four from Southern Oregon.

"We were going anyway — this just makes it so much easier for us," she reiterated.

Roughly 400 permanent employees on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District are back to work, along with their counterparts at the Crater Lake National Park and the Oregon Caves National Monument.

— Paul Fattig

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