Rogue Valley News, Tuesday, Feb. 11 – Gov Brown Reaches Agreement to Protect Oregon Forest Lands

The latest news stories from around the Rogue Valley and across the state of Oregon from


Rogue Valley Weather

Today  Sunny, with a high near 56 with light winds.  Cloudy overnight, low near 36.

Wednesday  Mostly sunny, with a high near 54. Calm wind.

Thursday  A 40% chance of rain after 11am. Snow level 3300 feet rising to 5200 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50.  Overnight a slight chance of rain showers with a low of 35. Snow level 4300 feet lowering to 2900 feet after midnight .

Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 50. Slight chance of rain overnight.

Saturday A chance of rain, mainly after 10am. Snow level 2700 feet rising to 5200 feet in the afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 49.

Today’s Headlines

Governor Kate Brown announced a historic agreement between representatives from the state’s forest industry and major environmental groups to chart a collaborative course toward meaningful, science-based forest management in Oregon.

The agreement takes a significant step toward a new era of cooperation, leaving behind the conflicts of the past.   According to the Governor the conversations that brought forth this agreement coupled with sound science will bring certainty for everyone involved while protecting Oregon’s environment and endangered species.

The signed memorandum of understanding addresses three key issues. It will drive a process for Oregon to update its timber practices, Support passage of new legislation for the 2020 session on aerial spraying of pesticides and expand forest stream buffers in the Rogue-Siskiyou region.

The newly-announced deal also includes restrictions on stream-side logging in southern Oregon’s Siskiyou region, rules meant to protect fish. The region was exempted from those logging buffers, which are in place throughout the rest of the state’s coastal forests.

Helping your neighbors and their families stay warm just got easier. Pacific Power will match every dollar you donate to the Oregon Energy Fund with $2 more.

Pacific Power customers who receive their bills by mail in February will find it includes an Oregon Energy Fund contribution envelope. Customers who pay their bills electronically can send a check or enroll in the fixed donation program. This program allows customers to donate any dollar amount, starting at $1 per month, which is then incorporated into their monthly bill. Fixed donations will also be matched 2-for-1 by Pacific Power.

To enroll in the fixed donation program call Pacific Power toll-free at 1-888-221-7070.

Jo Rae Perkins, an Oregon senatorial candidate opposing Democratic incumbent Jeff Merkley is busy traveling the state and will visit Southern Oregon soon.

Perkins is hoping to meet with prospective voters of Josephine and Jackson Countiess to discuss her stance on important issues and hear citizen concerns. She will visit the Rogue Valley on Thursday, Feb. 27th at Black Bear Diner at 1900 NW 6th in Grants Pass.

Perkins who is a resident of Albany previously ran for Oregon’s fourth congressional district on the Republican ticket in 2014, 2016, and 2018. She had filed for the seat again in 2020, but withdrew to instead declare candidacy for Oregon’s U.S. Senate seat.

The Republican primary is scheduled for May 19th.

The Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) will host a series of meetings across the state in March to provide information to business taxpayers and tax professionals about the administrative rules for Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT).

Department representatives used input collected from stakeholders during a 12-stop tour in fall 2019 in prioritizing and writing the rules. March’s meetings will include a presentation and discussion of the initial temporary rules—the last of which will be filed with the Secretary of State March 1.

“Our CAT team will personally engage our taxpaying communities in March to provide important compliance information. We consistently strive to help taxpayers comply with the law. 

The CAT team will also solicit feedback on the temporary rules completed to date,” said Nia Ray, director of the Oregon Department of Revenue. Locally on Tuesday, March 10 6 to 7:30 p.m., Stevenson Union, Room 323, Southern Oregon University, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd in Ashland.

Small grants that often make a large difference in ensuring arts access for Oregonians, especially in rural areas, have been awarded to 101 statewide arts organizations by the Oregon Arts Commission for FY2020.

Awarded to arts organizations in virtually every region of the state, Small Operating Grants are designed to provide operating support to arts organizations with budgets under $150,000. Eligibility is limited to organizations who have operated as an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit for two years or more and provide ongoing, sustained artistic programming and outreach programs. Each organization received $1,494.

For the volunteer Inland Northwest Musicians, who travel Northeast Oregon presenting orchestral concerts, that $1,494 literally puts gas in the tank. At the Coquille Valley Arts Association, a FY2019 Small Operating Grant award transformed a barren art room into a bustling creative center where community members produce pottery to benefit the local food bank.

“This grant program was developed to increase the Arts Commission’s support of Oregon’s small arts providers,” said Arts Commission Chair Anne Taylor. “These organizations frequently represent the only arts presenter for remote and underserved regions of the state.”

Locally, FY2020 Small Operating Grants were awarded to:

Anima Mundi Productions, Phoenix
Ashland New Plays Festival, Ashland
Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre, Medford
Rogue World Music, Ashland
Southern Oregon Guild, Cave Junction

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. 

Mount Ashland Race League begins on Friday February 21. Teams must be co-ed with a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 racers per team.

Races take place 5-7pm on race Friday Nights: February 21, February 28, March 6, and March 13. Times will be posted each night in the T-Bar in the Lodge by 8pm. Hang out with all of the other teams and share your stories of heroism and valor on the hill!

Around the state

Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, provides the below statement on the sanctuary jurisdiction legal action announced today by Attorney General William P. Barr.

“Today, Attorney General Barr announced new legal actions in several states being taken by the Justice Department to address sanctuary jurisdictions. I share the Attorney General’s belief that sanctuary status declarations directly contravene federal immigration law and threaten public safety. In our country, the Congress makes immigration law and has directed federal authorities to enforce it. The notion that states and other jurisdictions can interfere in the sharing of critical public safety information involving criminal conduct ignores the supremacy of federal law. Each year, many preventable crimes are committed when jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with lawful federal immigration enforcement activities.

Oregon sheriffs and other law enforcement officers are caught in the middle of a highly politicized local and national debate over these policies. Many are left to choose whether to violate state or federal law. This is an untenable position for the men and women who work tirelessly to protect our communities. Since 2015, we have worked with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners here in Oregon to cure this impasse. Our work will continue tomorrow when we will again convene a large group of law enforcement partners to discuss these new lawsuits and other related issues.”

Concordia University an institution since the early 1900s in Portland has announced it will close. The private nonprofit Lutheran university’s Board of Regents voted Friday to cease operations at the end of its spring semester.

The university’s 24-acre campus is expected to eventually go up for sale. In a statement Concordia said “The Board made this decision to prioritize the well-being of students, faculty, and staff and fulfill its fiduciary obligations.The university said the closure comes “after years of mounting financial challenges, and a challenging and changing educational landscape.” Nearly 5,900 students attended Concordia in 2018 according to its website. The university said it’s in talks to provide students the chance to continue their educations elsewhere.

Authorities say a sheriff’s deputy in Clark County Washington, was hurt after driving into the path of an intoxicated driver to stop him from going the wrong way on Interstate 5.

The Washington State Patrol said Deputy Gregory Agar drove into the path of the wrong-way driver about 2:45 a.m. Sunday on the northbound interstate. The two cars hit head-on and they came to rest on the interstate. 28 year old Agar was hurt and taken to a hospital. Troopers didn’t describe the extent of his injuries. The other driver, a 27-year-old man, was jailed on suspicion of intoxicated driving and remained in custody early Monday.

Through its emergency mobilization plan, the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has activated eight members of a Type 2 Incident Management Team to support the ongoing response to flooding in eastern Oregon by Umatilla County Emergency Management, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, the Oregon State Police, the Oregon Department of Transportation, other state agencies, and affected counties.

On Friday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties, all impacted by rains, snow melt, and flooding. As of this morning, the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast for the Pendleton area indicated that a colder front was moving in with drier weather expected through Thursday this week.

The NWS reported a flood warning was in effect for urban areas and small streams in northwest Umatilla County through this afternoon. High water remains across much of this area along the Umatilla River. The river is receding and water levels reportedly will continue to decrease through today.

The OSFM’s eight team members will be assisting the Umatilla County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with support in functional areas including conducting community damage assessments, developing a plan for disaster recovery operations, ordering supplies and other logistics, and organizing financial records.

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