Oregon News, Tuesday, Sept. 3rd – Undersea Gardens in Newport to Close Permanently

The latest news from around the state of Oregon, from RogueValleyMagazine.com

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Rogue Valley Weather

Sunny, with a high near 91 with light winds.  Mostly clear overnight with a low of 59.

Sunny, with a high near 95.

A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 92

Sunny, with a high near 89.

Mostly sunny, with a high near 88.

Today’s Headlines…

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies have completed grant-funded traffic safety periods focused on the enforcement of impaired driving and passenger restraint laws. Below are the associated statistics:

August 19 – September 1

  • Seatbelt, child safety seat violations:  18 citations

August 16 – September 2

  • Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII): Alcohol, 13 arrests; Marijuana, 1 arrest.

The next grant-funded DUII enforcement period will be planned for Halloween. 

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives have added charges related to the possession of images of child sexual abuse to a man already in jail from Trail, Oregon.  The suspect is the same man recently accused of trying to photograph girls in a Talent school locker room.

On May 29, 2018, JCSO detectives were alerted to suspicious online activity by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force.  The DOJ had received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children (NCMEC) regarding images of child sexual abuse that were uploaded by a Facebook user. 

Through information obtained by ICAC investigators and JCSO detectives, the suspect in the case was identified as Curtis Bradley Stevenson (AKA Smith), 40, of the 7200-block of Crowfoot Road, Trail.  Stevenson was a registered sex offender. 

Detectives served a search warrant at Stevenson’s residence on June 14, 2018.  Several items of evidence were seized, including electronic devices.  The devices were transferred to the DOJ lab to complete a forensic search.  Detectives were further assisted in the investigation by agents with the US Department of Homeland Security. 

In the meantime, JCSO detectives were asked to assist the Talent Police Department (TPD) with a separate case involving Stevenson, now age 41.  TPD arrested Stevenson on June 3, 2019, after he was suspected of entering the girls’ locker room at Talent Middle School and attempting to take photographs.  Stevenson remained lodged in jail as detectives continued the investigation.

In August 2019, JCSO detectives received a report from DOJ investigators regarding the search of Stevenson’s devices from the 2018 case.  DOJ forensic investigators reported finding multiple images depicting child sexual abuse on the devices. 

In the early morning yesterday Medford Police Officers were dispatched to a mobile home at 1500 S. Peach Street for a shooting. Upon arrival, officers found two subjects suffering from gunshot wounds.

The shooter was on scene and cooperating.  The initial investigation indicates that the 17 year old shooter was involved in a dispute with a 15 year old aquaintance. The dispute went on throughout the evening at a different location. The 17 year old came home to his mobile home alone as his parents were out of town. Shortly thereafter the 15 year old aquaintance arrived at the house with his 22 year old brother. Both subjects either forced entry, or somehow entered the home to apparently assault the 17 year old. One of the subjects may have been armed with an object similar to a tire iron.

The 17 year old obtained a 30-30 rifle and shot both the 15 year old and the 22 year old brother. The 15 year old sustained non life threatening injuries and the 22 year old is in critical condition. Alcohol is a factor in this case. This is not gang related and the case remains under investigation.

On Friday at about 12:10PM, the Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to the report of a vehicle crash on Hwy 26 near milepost 41.

Preliminary investigation revealed a maroon Toyota Yaris, operated by Ken Duong (48) of Beaverton, was eastbound when for unknown reasons the vehicle left the roadway and struck the tunnel. 

Duong sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Hwy 26 was closed for approximately 3 hours. Oregon State Police was assisted by ODOT, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Gaston Fire Department.

EUGENE, Ore.—Phillip Allan Beach, 49, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, has pleaded guilty to one count of acquiring or obtaining a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception of subterfuge.

According to court documents, in May 2015, an evidence coordinator at the Cottage Grove Police Department (CGPD) reported to their supervisor that Beach accessed the department’s evidence locker more frequently than other officers and seemed to do so for no apparent purpose. The coordinator said that Beach would repeatedly access the same evidence bag. A CGPD commander later examined the bag and observed that it was open and two plastic bags inside containing several ounces of methamphetamine crystals had been sliced open.

In June 2015, CGPD began an investigation of Beach’s conduct and placed two hidden cameras inside the evidence locker. On June 11, 2015, Beach was recorded on video entering the locker without signing the evidence log and accessing the evidence bag previously examined by the commander. The video shows Beach taking a small plastic baggie from his pants pocket and using it to take a small portion of meth from the evidence bag. Investigators later weighed the evidence bag and found a 7.3 gram reduction in weight.

Beach faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release. He will be sentenced on November 26, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

Meet Buck, the new Oregon State Police Wildlife Detection K-9

This Thursday, Sept. 5th at 10:30 A.M. the Oregon State Police will be hosting a short event at the Oregon State Police General Headquarters located at 3565 Trelstad Ave. Salem, OR 97317.

Trooper Josh Wolcott and K-9 Buck will be onsite.  Buck will provide a demonstration of his abilities and Trooper Wolcott will be available for questions.  Representatives of Oregon Wildlife Foundation who partnered with OSP in November 2018 to purchase Buck will also be onsite.

SALEM – Two programs that fund public transit in Oregon are being merged: the Special Transportation Fund and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund.

The consolidation will reduce redundancies and improve funding reliability for public transportation providers throughout the state; it is a requirement of House Bill 5039 (ODOT’s 2019-2021 Legislatively Adopted Budget). To guide a smooth transition, ODOT is launching a Consolidation Advisory Committee to inform changes needed to consolidate the two programs.

The STF and STIF Consolidation Advisory Committee will hold its first two meetings this month. The goal is to advise ODOT on the key elements that would guide statutory changes needed for the merger. The advisory committee will hold a minimum of five meetings in September and October.

The committee includes representatives from public transportation service providers and advocates from several groups: those representing seniors, people with disabilities, equity and environmental justice, and social and human service agencies.

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s (OPRD) All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Advisory Grant Subcommittee will meet Sept. 25-26 in Lakeview.

On Sept. 25, the subcommittee will tour ATV riding areas outside the town. On Sept. 26, the subcommittee will convene for a business meeting 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Bureau of Land Management’s offices, 1301 S. G St., Lakeview. The meeting is open to the public.

On the meeting agenda: discuss subcommittee vacancies, discuss the upcoming November meeting of the ATV Advisory Committee and provide general ATV Program updates. No grant applications will be reviewed at this meeting.

Preparing for Weather and Winter Storms

(Salem) – Lightning storms lit up the night skies sparking new wildfires, and a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shook the ground in Oregon right before National Disaster Preparedness Month. These stern warnings make it critical for Oregonians to get prepared for both natural and human-caused disasters.

September is National Preparedness Month, and it is kicked-off by Home Inventory Week.  To recognize this often overlooked part of disaster preparation, the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation encourages all Oregonians to do two simple tasks that will save time, money, and stress when disaster strikes:

  1. Build a home inventory – Take video or photos of each room in your home, paying close attention to walls, drawers, closets, and storage areas. Recalling your personal property is a daunting task following a disaster. A home inventory eases the post-disaster stress, and enables your insurance company to move forward with processing your claim.   
  2. Review your insurance coverage – Take time to discuss your policies with your insurance company or agent. Make sure you have the right coverage and know what to expect when you file a claim for disasters such as fire, earthquake, flood, tornado, theft, and ice storms.

“Recent wildfires and earthquakes reminds us how important it is for every Oregonians to build a home inventory and make sure they have the right insurance coverage to protect their families,” said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “These projects are easy to do and now is the time to add these money-saving, stress-reducing tasks to your to-do list.”

Oregonians are encouraged to visit dfr.oregon.gov/preparenow for videos, apps, and resources to help complete these simple tasks. The site also provides social media tools to help residents share their experience and encourage their families, friends, and neighbors to get prepared as well.

The division has joined several state and county agencies in a month long effort to help Oregonians get prepared for both natural and human-caused disaster. Follow the conversation on social media using these hashtags: #2WeeksReady, #NatlPrep. #PrepareNow.

Red Rock Biofuels, a producer of renewable, low-carbon jet and diesel fuels, will open a new plant in Lakeview with production beginning in January of 2020.

In an effort to recruit and hire for 24 open positions, Red Rock Biofuels, in conjunction with WorkSource Klamath and Klamath Community College, will host a series of job fairs at 513 Center Street in Lakeview.Job Fair Dates are Friday and Wednesday, Sept. 13 and 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursday, Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Positions available include: operation manager, environmental health and safety manager, plant operators, accounting clerks, lab technician, logistics operators, utility operators, maintenance technicians, electrician, custodian and environmental health and safety technician.

A floating Oregon tourist attraction is set to close after more than 50 years in business. The Undersea Gardens in Newport is scheduled to end operations Sept. 8.

Owner Mariner Square announced the closure of the attraction in Newport’s Historic Bayfront on social media Sunday. The Undersea Gardens will be open for free public tours September 3rd through the 8thhowever its dive shows will end September 2nd. Undersea Gardens opened in 1966 as a floating “people-quarium” allowing visitors inside the attraction to look out and view sea life in Yaquina Bay. Mariner Square says it is renovating its other two attractions, The Wax Works and Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

The Canyon 66 prescribed burn, which will treat just over 5,000 acres between Ochoco Ranger Station and Walton Lake is tentatively planned to begin Wednesday pending favorable weather and fuels conditions.

Ignitions for the Canyon 66 prescribed burn are expected to last two to three days. The interior will be burned using aerial ignition devices delivered from a helicopter. Forest Service Road 22 will remain open to public travel but all roads within the unit and some nearby dispersed camping sites will temporarily close during burn operations to allow for public and fire fighter safety.

Smoke will impact nearby recreational facilities at Ochoco Forest Camp and Walton Lake during ignitions and for several days after. Fire managers will work to divert smoke away from residents using predicted winds but smoke will be present and settle in adjacent communities overnight.

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