The latest news stories in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from RogueValleyMagazine.com
MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Tonight A 50% chance of showers, low around 37 degrees. Snow level 3600 feet lowering to 2900 feet after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.
Tuesday Showers. Snow level 2700 feet. High near 51. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible. Rain overnight, low of 35.
Wednesday A 40 percent chance of showers after noon. Snow level 2200 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 52. Calm wind.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 56.
Friday A chance of rain and snow before noon, then a chance of rain. Snow level 1700 feet rising to 4400 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54.
Saturday A slight chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58.
It’s now official, Governor Kate Brown has issued a new executive order, directing Oregonians to “stay at home to the maximum extent possible” and adding to the list of businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon.
The order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until ended by the Governor.
Brown said the following in a statement issued Monday morning just before 11AM:
“We are learning more about this virus and how people react to it every day. Not just from a medical standpoint, but from a social and behavioral standpoint.
“I started by asking Oregonians to stay home and practice social distancing. Then I urged the public to follow these recommendations. Instead, thousands crowded the beaches of our coastal communities, our trails, our parks, and our city streets, potentially spreading COVID-19 and endangering the lives of others across the state. Now, I’m ordering it. To save lives and protect our community.
“Today, I am issuing a new executive order further requiring social distancing measures because we know this is the most effective way to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus. I hope everyone in Oregon abides by its core message: stay home unless absolutely necessary.
“Staying home both keeps you safe from infection, and ensures you do not unknowingly infect others.
“We’ve already put a number of measures forward specifically aimed at increasing hospital capacity, such as cutting down on non-emergency care so we conserve masks, gloves, and gowns to save the lives of the health care workers who are working so hard to save others. All of these things add up, and by slowing the infection rate, we preserve hospital beds so that there will be one available if and when you need it.
“None of us have ever been through this before, and that means there is no way to know exactly what lies ahead. We don’t know yet when this outbreak will end, or what changes this will bring for our state and for our country. But I want to make sure that we’ve done all we can to end it as quickly as possible.”
About the order:
- All non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. Gatherings of members of the same residential household are permitted.
- It closes and prohibits shopping at specific categories of retail businesses, for which close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as arcades, barber shops, hair salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks, theaters, and yoga studios.
- It requires businesses not closed by the order to implement social distancing policies in order to remain open, and requires workplaces to implement teleworking and work-at-home options when possible.
- It directs Oregonians to stay home whenever possible, while permitting activities outside the home when social distance is maintained.
- It closes playgrounds, sports courts, and skate parks, among other types of outdoor recreation facilities. Those that remain open are required to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- It outlines new guidelines for child care facilities, setting limits and rules on amounts of children allowed in care, and outlining that child care groups may not change participants.
- Failure to comply with the order will be considered an immediate danger to public health and subject to a Class C misdemeanor.
“Following this order will save lives, while still allowing businesses to function if they can protect employees and customers through social distancing. While many businesses and organizations that are heavily dependent on foot traffic and in-person interactions have already closed or will close under the expanded order, other businesses that make robust plans to meet social distancing requirements — and enforce those requirements — may remain in operation, preserving jobs while ensuring health.
“This distinction from closing all businesses except for those categorized as essential as mandated in other states, aims to minimize unintended consequences and add clarity for businesses who can adjust their business models to accommodate vital social distancing measures,” Brown’s office said.
COVID-19 has claimed another life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from four to five. The Oregon Health Authority reports 24 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 161, as of Sunday night.
The new COVID-19 cases reported are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (1), Deschutes (1), Lane (1), Marion (3), Multnomah (1), Washington (13) and Yamhill (2). Oregon Health Authority reports new cases once a day on its website: Oregon’s one COVID-19 death in Linn County is a veteran in his 90’s, who tested positive on March 11, and died this morning at the Oregon Veterans Home. He had underlying medical conditions.
The Oregon Health Authority and other officials announced details about $4 million in state funding that is going out to Local Public Health Authorities, Tribes and Native American Rehabilitation Association to support their COVID-19 response.
At the direction of Governor Kate Brown and in keeping with the guidance that all Oregonians should stay home and stay healthy, the Oregon State Park system will close at the end of the day, today.
Day-use areas will be closed starting tonight at 5 p.m.
Campers need to check out no later than 1 p.m. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department previously ordered a campground closure that would have started April 3rd and advised travelers to avoid day trips to full parks.
With new guidance from the Governor and clear signs that travelers are not following advice to avoid full parks a statewide state park closure is necessary. Beaches can be closed by OPRD at their discretion and will be closed if social distancing practices are not followed. All daytime park services will be closed statewide, including parking areas and restrooms. Campers will be refunded for all canceled nights.
All travelers are advised to follow the guidance to stay home to stay healthy. City and county parks and other public land managers are open at their discretion, with the recommendation they do so only if they can adhere to social distancing practices.
Know before you go:
- Travel Oregon travel alerts: https://traveloregon.com/travel-alerts/.
- State park service reductions and closures: https://bit.ly/OPRD-covid.
- Oregon Department of Forestry: https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: https://myodfw.com/visit-odfw-wildlife-areas
Stay informed about COVID-19:
Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Office of Emergency Management lead the state response.
United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.
Governor Brown yesterday issued Executive Order 20-11, placing a temporary moratorium on residential evictions for nonpayment in light of the public health emergency caused by the spread of coronavirus in Oregon. The order is effective for 90 days.
According to the Governor through no fault of their own, many Oregonians have lost jobs, closed businesses, and found themselves without a source of income to pay rent and other housing costs during this coronavirus outbreak
She further said the last thing we need to do during this crisis is turn out more Oregonians struggling to make ends meet from their homes and onto the streets.
Under the Governor’s emergency powers, the order places a temporary hold throughout Oregon on law enforcement actions relating to residential evictions for not paying rent.
Recognizing that landlords and property owners face their own costs if tenants are not able to pay rent, the Governor and her Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council are engaging lenders to find potential solutions and are exploring various state and federal policy options that might be available to provide assistance to borrowers or other options for relief.
Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Department of Consumer and Business Services are also pursuing relief options at the direction of the Governor.
Around the state
Press Release from the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs:
It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of one of the honored residents of the Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon due to complications related to COVID-19. The resident passed away early on the morning of March 22.
“Our hearts are heavy,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “This resident was a veteran who served our nation with honor and dignity in its hour of need. He was also a beloved member of our Lebanon community, and he will be deeply and truly missed. On behalf of everyone at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Oregon Veterans’ Home, we offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We grieve with them.
“At the Lebanon Home, staff continue to diligently follow established infectious disease prevention protocols and public health guidelines,” Director Fitzpatrick continued. “We know they are doing everything in their power to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep our community safe. All possible resources are being made available to support them in their critical work.”
Since the opening of the Home in 2014, every veteran resident who has passed away has been honored with the “Walk of Honor” in recognition of their service to our country. Typically, staff, residents and family would line the halls to salute and pay their last respects.
Today, amid the COVID-19 situation, staff adjusted this long-honored tribute. Outside, staff were invited to line the sidewalks (maintaining appropriate social distancing) while his body was escorted to the waiting transportation, draped with a burial flag and a handmade quilt from Quilts of Valor.
Staff fold the burial flag 13 times in accordance with honor guard standards and present it to a family member. Multiple precautionary sterilization measures were taken to protect against the spread of the virus.
“The Walk of Honor is the last form of respect we can offer to honor our veteran and their family,” said Director Fitzpatrick. “In these unprecedented times, traditions are more important than ever. We will continue to ensure our brothers and sisters in arms receive every honor they deserve while following public health guidelines.”
Out of consideration for the family and confidentiality required by HIPAA, ODVA will not be releasing the resident’s name or other personal information.
(Salem, Ore.) – Every Child, in direct partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services, is launching a comprehensive statewide emergency response to the fast-growing needs of children and families in Oregon’s foster care system.
The initiative—My NeighbOR will be fully operational by Monday, March 23 at 9:00am. Oregonians across all 36 counties are being asked to step forward and meet the tangible needs of foster families and youth in foster care.
Foster families across Oregon have needs due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Systems and networks meant to care for those in foster care—and the foster families who serve them—are being challenged and taxed with growing needs. School closures, significant economic changes, and a limited pool of foster homes are adding additional strain to our state’s current capacity. We need the community to step up.
My NeighbOR is a 36-county decentralized community mobilization effort designed to match community goods and services with foster families and youth in foster care who need them. “Those staying at home in fraying situations are going to need help. We need each neighbor in Oregon to consider how they can step forward safely. My NeighbOR will bring us all together,” says Ben Sand, CEO for The Contingent, Every Child’s parent organization.
There are more Oregonians on the internet than any other moment in human history. Leveraging this, My NeighbOR will deploy using a two-pronged approach: 1. Staff will be receiving needs from families and leverage social media, online affinity groups, and targeted ads to invite Oregonians to respond. 2. When goods and services are offered, My NeighbOR will either use pre-screened drivers to deliver or invite community members to drop goods designated “Community Anchor Sites,” which are highly local, public locations where items can be dropped off and picked up.
“The welfare of children, youth, and families is the responsibility of our entire community. This My NeighbOR collaboration is the perfect demonstration that partnerships, shared resources, and collective efforts are needed to best support children and families. This will be a shining example of how Oregonians support each other when in need,” says Rebecca Jones Gaston, DHS Child Welfare Director.
If you are an Oregon foster family or a youth in foster care, share your need at https://everychildoregon.org/need/
If you want to meet a need for foster families, visit https://everychildoregon.org/myneighbor/
On Saturday Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers and emergency personnel responded to Highway 138E near milepost 28 for a vehicle versus motorcycle crash.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a Honda motorcycle, operated by Joseph GAZAREK, age 28, from Roseburg, was westbound on Highway 138E at a high rate of speed. A Toyota Corolla, operated by Schyler HAMILTON (F), age 21, from Roseburg, was eastbound and was in the process of turning into the Susan Creek Falls parking area. The motorcycle impacted the right front of the Toyota Corolla and GAZAREK was ejected from the motorcycle.
GAZAREK was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency responders. HAMILTON and her passengers Enrique GONZALES (M), age 19, from Myrtle Creek, and a juvenile male, from Roseburg, were transported to Mercy Medical Center with possible injuries. The westbound lanes of the highway were closed for over three hours. Traffic was reduced to one lane for the duration of the investigation.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reminds Oregonians to take the following precautionary measures to protect themselves from known and emerging SCAMS:
- Independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts you regarding COVID-19.
- Check the websites and email addresses offering information, products, or services related to COVID-19. Be aware that scammers often employ addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating. For example, they might use “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov.”
- Be wary of unsolicited emails offering information, supplies, or treatment for COVID-19 or requesting your personal information for medical purposes. Legitimate health authorities will not contact the general public this way.
- Do not click on links or open email attachments from unknown or unverified sources. Doing so could download a virus onto your computer or device.
- Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is operating and up to date.
- Ignore offers for a COVID-19 vaccine, cure, or treatment. Remember, if there is a medical breakthrough, you won’t hear about it for the first time through an email, online ad, or unsolicited sales pitch.
- Check online reviews of any company offering COVID-19 products or supplies. Avoid companies whose customers have complained about not receiving items.
- Research any charities or crowdfunding sites soliciting donations in connection with COVID-19 before giving. Remember, an organization may not be legitimate even if it uses words like “CDC” or “government” in its name or has reputable looking seals or logos on its materials. For online resources on donating wisely, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.
- Be wary of any business, charity, or individual requesting payments or donations in cash, by wire transfer, gift card, or through the mail. Don’t send money through any of these channels.
- Be cautious of “investment opportunities” tied to COVID-19, especially those based on claims that a small company’s products or services can help stop the virus. If you decide to invest, carefully research the investment beforehand. For information on how to avoid investment fraud, visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website.
- For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites.