News from around Southern Oregon and across the state, from RogueValleyMagazine.com
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Sunny, with a high near 62.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.
A 50% chance of showers after some patchy morning fog. Snow level 4100 feet rising to 5300 feet in the afternoon. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 5.
Slight chance of rain. High of 57.
Oregon has denied a key permit for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas pipeline project, citing its significant effects on the environment.
The denial came in a letter just before a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meeting on Thursday delayed a vote on the proposed natural gas pipeline and marine export terminal where regulators would have considered the project for approval.
In a letter to Canadian-owned Pembina Pipeline Corporation the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development pointed to the proposed project’s negative impact on Oregon’s coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, a variety of endangered and threatened species, critical habitat and ecosystem services, fisheries resources, commercial and recreational fishing and boating, and commercial shipping and transportation, among other sectors critical to the state as the reason for the denial.
Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development said that with its objection neither FERC nor the Army Corps of Engineers can grant a license or permit for this project unless the U.S. Secretary of Commerce overrides this objection on appeal.
The proposed 229-mile natural gas pipeline would span from Malin, Oregon to a proposed export terminal in Coos Bay. Oregon has denied all three of the primary permits that the project has sought from the state.
Jackson County administrator Danny Jordan and others have Officials in joined together in claiming “strong, cohesive opposition” to Senate Bill 1530, the new version of a divisive cap-and-trade bill that roiled the state government last year. Jordan made his statement on Thursday.
“I am providing you with the attached letters, orders, proclamations, and resolutions expressing strong, cohesive opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 1530,” Jordan said. “The attached documents have been signed by Commissioners representing 64 percent of Oregon’s counties. These counties cover almost 82 percent of Oregon’s land mass and their Commissioners serve over 1.3 million citizens.”
Oregon’s population as of 2018 was estimated at almost 4.2 million.
Commissioners from Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Curry, Coos, Yamhill, Wheeler, Polk, and Linn counties each sent individual statements opposing the bill.
Another proclamation issued by the Eastern Oregon Counties Association (EOCA) included the signatures of at least some officials from Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Umatilla, Union, and Wallowa counties.
State Senator Dennis Linthicum has a new challenger in this year’s general election. Oregon Liquor Control Commissioner and General Manager of Sunriver Owners Association, Hugh Palcic, announced on Wednesday his candidacy for the Oregon State Senate.
Filing as a Democrat, Palcic sees a clear advantage for making the district’s case in Salem. Improving the regional economy, securing infrastructure projects, and developing affordable housing are all major focal points for Palcic.
Using the arts as a means of addressing community need is at the heart of 36 projects awarded $205,386 by the Oregon Arts Commission’s Arts Build Communities grant program for FY2020. The Arts Build Communities program targets broad geographic impact and arts access for underserved audiences in Oregon.
“This program provides financial support to arts and other community-based organizations for projects that address a local community problem, issue or need through an arts-based solution,” said Arts Commission Vice Chair Jenny Green, who led the review panel. “Local citizens employ creative thinking and collective response to identify a local need and provide an arts-based solution.”
The grants also spark and leverage many other investments and resources, serving as a catalyst for greater economic and civic impact, said Green.
In recent years Arts Build Communities projects attracted more than $600,000 in additional investment, much of it representing salaries paid to artists and others as well as products and services purchased in the funded communities.
Arts Build Communities grants are made possible through a funding partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
In Southern Oregon, grants were made to:
Rogue Valley Chorale Association, Medford: $4,019
To support “Spring Sing,” three concerts performed by students for their peers to motivate them to seek out musical opportunities. Grant award funds will be support transportation, stipends for conductors and accompanists, and promotional materials.
The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at: www.oregonartscommission.org.
William Gregory Douglas, 37, of Cave Junction, Oregon, pleaded guilty yesterday for threatening to shoot YouTube employees at the company’s San Bruno, California headquarters after his account was removed for violating the video-sharing platform’s terms of service.
“Threatening a mass shooting is a serious crime whether or not an individual plans to act. This is a crime that undermines Americans’ fundamental right to live and work without fear,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We will continue to diligently respond to and prosecute criminal threats of violence to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Using social media outlets to threaten violence of any kind victimizes individuals and undermines the safety of our communities,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The FBI remains committed to working with our state and local partners to respond quickly to threats and keep our communities free from violence and intimidation.”
According to court documents, sometime on or before August 22, 2018, YouTube removed Douglas’ video channel for violating the platform’s terms of service. In response, on August 23, 2018, Douglas posted five tweets threatening violence against YouTube employees. In one of the tweets, Douglas threatened a “bigger mass casualty” event, appearing to reference a prior shooting incident at YouTube’s headquarters in April 2018 that injured three employees.
Later, on September 8, 2018, Douglas posted a tweet stating “Hey why do you guys keep ignoring me would it be better if I leave you with no other options like your leaving me…I’m beyond pissed…I wonder how I should deal with this frustration.” Finally, on September 17, 2018, Douglas tweeted a direct threat at one of YouTube’s senior leaders saying “…I’m coming for you today #pray.”
On October 4, 2018, a federal grand jury in Medford, Oregon returned a one-count indictment charging Douglas with cyberstalking. Later, on January 14, 2020, he was charged by criminal information with one count of making interstate communications with the intent to extort. Douglas pleaded guilty today to the latter charge.
As part of the plea agreement, Douglas has agreed to pay restitution in full to his victims as determined and ordered by the court at sentencing.
Douglas faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release. He will be sentenced on May 14, 2020 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann L. Aiken.
This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Judi R. Harper, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Anyone with information about real or perceived threats of violence should call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov. For immediate threats to life and safety, please call 9-1-1.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our department at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
Around the state
The Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into the officer-involved shooting in Silverton, Oregon.
Preliminary investigation has revealed that William Bluestone was in possession of a handgun at the time of the shooting. The Silverton Officer was wearing a body worn camera and the incident was recorded. It is unable to be released at this time as this is an open/active investigation.
The Oregon State Police and Marion County DA’s office understands the public’s desire to know immediate information when an officer is involved in a deadly use of force. However in an effort to complete a fair and thorough investigation information needs to be withheld until after a Grand Jury can be convened to hear the facts of the case, as is Marion County District Attorneys standard practice.
No more information is available to be released at this time.
Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon announced that the DEA will direct enforcement resources to methamphetamine “transportation hubs” — areas where methamphetamine is often trafficked in bulk and then distributed across the country. While continuing to focus on stopping drugs being smuggled across the border, DEA’s Operation Crystal Shield will ramp up enforcement to block their further distribution into America’s neighborhoods.
DEA has identified eight major methamphetamine transportation hubs where these efforts will be concentrated: Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Together, these DEA Field Divisions accounted for more than 75 percent of methamphetamine seized in the U.S. in 2019.
Methamphetamine seizures in the Pacific Northwest are continuing to rise. In 2019, DEA seizures throughout the region were an all-time high of more than 3,200 pounds. Recent seizure amounts for the region are on pace to surpass last year. “The increased volume of high grade methamphetamine flooding our Pacific Northwest neighborhoods coupled with increased overdose rates is alarming,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. He further added, “Operation Crystal Shield will further enhance law enforcement efforts in key distribution points throughout the Pacific Northwest linked to the identified transportation hubs in the southwest.”
Virtually all methamphetamine in the United States comes through major ports of entry along the Southwest Border and is transported by tractor trailers and personal vehicles along the nation’s highways to major transfer centers around the country. It is often found in poly-drug loads, alongside cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.
Information regarding illicit drug trafficking activities can be anonymously submitted at www.dea.gov
Bureau of Land Management will publish six draft supplemental environmental impact statements today for management of Greater Sage-Grouse habitat on public lands in seven Western states, highlighting the collaborative process undergone in 2019 to develop plans that reflected the needs of Western communities and Greater Sage Grouse habitat.
The draft statements address issues identified in an October order issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho which placed a preliminary injunction on the implementation of 2019 BLM sage-grouse plans in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada/northeastern California and Oregon.
Suspending implementation of the 2019 plans has affected programs and projects across the BLM and in Western states from authorizations of renewable energy projects and oil and gas leases to grazing permit renewals and wildfire management.
The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is pleased to announce the
2020 recipients of the Oregon History Makers Medal. First awarded in 2009, the
History Makers Medal is one of Oregon’s most prestigious honors, and the
Society presents the award annually to individuals and organizations that are
positively shaping the history, culture, and landscape of Oregon.
The 2020 Oregon History Makers Medal recipients are:
Lillian Pitt: Acclaimed artist
Pitt has created a lifetime of works in a variety of media, including clay,
bronze, wearable art, prints, glass, and jewelry. Born and raised on the Warm
Springs reservation, with ancestors who have lived in and near the Columbia
Gorge for over 10,000 years, Lillian’s emphasis is on creating contemporary
fine art pieces that honor the history and legends of her people. Her works are
regularly exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as nationally and
Punit Renjen: Visionary business leader
and raised in India, Punit Renjen came to Oregon in 1984 on a Rotary Foundation
Scholarship to Willamette University. After receiving a master’s degree in
management, he began his career at Deloitte. In 2015, he became the company’s
global CEO, and the first Asian born person to head one of the world’s largest
professional services firms. In 2018, Punit launched WorldClass, Deloitte’s
global initiative to advance education and skills for communities at risk,
beginning with girls and women in India.
Dr. Geraldine Richmond: Renowned scientist and educator
Geraldine Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and a chemistry
professor at the University of Oregon. She has served on the National Science
Board since 2012, and was awarded a National Medal of Science for her
fundamental research on the chemistry and physics of complex surfaces and
interfaces, which is relevant to energy production and environmental
remediation. Throughout her career, Dr. Richmond has worked to promote women in
science around the globe.
The Greenbrier Companies: International leader in the transportation industry
began in 1919 as a wire wheel manufacturer, founded by brothers Chester and
Alvin Gunderson, has since grown into a group of companies that is one of the
leading designers, manufacturers, and marketers of railroad car equipment in
North America and Europe, and one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of
ocean-going barges. As the fourth largest publicly traded company based in
Oregon, Greenbrier also boasts over 1,100 employees in Oregon and more than 16,000
“For over a decade, the Oregon Historical Society has had the pleasure of highlighting the accomplishments of the business leaders, philanthropists, artists, and cutting-edge thinkers that have shaped our communities,” said OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. “Oregon would not be where it is today without the individuals and organizations that continue to innovate and push boundaries across every industry.”
The Oregon Historical Society will present the Oregon History Makers Medals at a gala celebration at the Portland Art Museum on Sunday, October 4, 2020. Table sponsorships and individual tickets are available; for more information, please contact Ally Huffman at 503.306.5226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Oregon Historical Society
For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all.We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.