The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley, RogueValleyMagazine.com
Friday, April 10, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Sunny, with a high near 77. Light and variable wind. Cloudy overnight, low of 47.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 71.
Sunny, with a high near 74. Calm wind.
Sunny, with a high near 74.
Sunny, with a high near 76.
Sunny, with a high near 77.
COVID-19 claims 6 more lives; Oregon reports 83 new cases overnight, 1321 total known cases. The state’s death toll stands at 44.
The new COVID-19 cases reported are in the following counties: Clackamas (6), Columbia (1), Curry (1), Deschutes (5), Jackson (4), Klamath (1), Lane (2), Linn (3), Marion (17), Morrow (2), Multnomah (16), Polk (1), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (3), Washington (16), and Yamhill (4).
The deaths include a 74-year-old man in Linn County, a 97-year-old man in Linn County, a 87-year-old woman in Multnomah County, a 41-year-old woman in Multnomah County, a 66-year-old man in Multnomah County, and a 74-year-old man in Benton County, who tested positive on March 26 and died on April 8 at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. He had underlying medical conditions.
Oregon Health updates its website once a day: www.healthoregon.org/coronavirus.
Much-awaited stimulus cash will begin flooding into millions of bank accounts next week in the first wave of payouts to shore up the nation’s wallets.
The agency paid $28 million in benefits to Oregonians the week of March 29. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, continued to see the greatest number of initial claims for unemployment benefits. Amid the economic turmoil, Oregon State University said Thursday that it will postpone its commencement ceremonies at its Corvallis and Bend campuses for the first time in its history.
The university surveyed graduating students and staff and there was overwhelming support for a postponement, possibly until the fall, OSU said in a statement.
AROUND THE STATE OF OREGON
Message from the outdoors to Oregonians: stay home for now
Sunny, warm weather typically sends Oregonians out in droves to their favorite outdoor recreational destinations. However, the message from state leaders, health care workers, and those on the front lines responding to the COVID-19 outbreak is: please continue to stay home to save lives … even when it’s sunny.
State parks, many federal trailheads, and all private and public recreational campgrounds are closed to prevent people from congregating and to protect the staff that maintain these areas.
Some local parks are still open, but physical distance of at least six feet needs to be maintained to stay safe. Whether indoors or outdoors, the virus can still be easily passed from person to person, even if individuals are not showing symptoms.
All non-essential travel (such as for boating, hunting, or fishing) should be short and minimal, if at all. Oregonians who do not live at the beach should not travel there; most public access points are closed. Minimizing travel will lessen the chance of spreading COVID-19, especially to rural communities that do not have the hospital capacity to treat an influx of patients from other parts of the state.
Visiting a closed area poses a danger to the visitor, the limited park staff, and the area itself. Parking and restrooms are closed and trash collection has been suspended. Parking illegally may result in a citation or your vehicle being towed.
For now, the best way to get outside while keeping yourself and others safe is to stick close to home:
- Backyard picnics on the lawn or patio with those in your immediate household
- Walks or jogs in your neighborhood while maintaining physical distance
- Gardening, washing your car, or just soaking up the sunshine in your yard
It is crucial for the health and safety of Oregonians to follow Governor Brown’s directive to stay home in order to save lives. The most recent trend show that, if Oregonians maintain current social distancing measures, the state will slow the spread significantly and help Oregon hospitals meet demand. Now is a critical time to stay the course so we can continue this progress.
US Forest Service:https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/home/?cid=fseprd716206
US Bureau of Land Management:https://www.blm.gov/oregon-washington/covid-access-restrictions
US Army Corps of Engineers:https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/
US Fish and Wildlife Service:https://www.fws.gov/home/state-by-state-closures.html
Oregon State Parks:https://bit.ly/OPRD-covid
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:https://myodfw.com/COVID-19
Oregon Department of Forestry:https://www.oregon.gov/odf/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Oregon Recreation and Parks Association:https://www.orpa.org/page/covid19
From the State of Oregon Employment Dept
In three weeks’ time, the Oregon Employment Department has received 269,900 initial claims for unemployment benefits. By comparison, net job losses in Oregon totaled 147,800 for the duration of the Great Recession almost a century ago.
During the week starting March 29 alone, the Oregon Employment Department received 100,700 initial claims, continuing the record levels of initial claims received the previous two weeks.
The agency continues rapidly adding staff to take claims, and processing claims at a record pace. The federal CARES Act payments of $600 will also start processing through Oregon’s system by the end of this week.
In one month’s time, the Oregon Employment Department more than quadrupled the number of staff dedicated to taking claims. Those staff continue to process record numbers of claims week after week. The Employment Department processed more claims during the first quarter of 2020 than the total for all of 2019. The agency’s newly re-designed COVID-19 page includes expanded resource guides for employers and workers filing claims, and a new dashboard of measures showing our response to the unprecedented need for unemployment benefits.
The agency paid $28 million in benefits to Oregonians during the week starting March 29. That figure should increase rapidly as the additional CARES Act benefits of $600 per week start for those already eligible for unemployment benefits. The agency continues receiving guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, and is working to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program into its systems. The PUA benefits allow the self-employed, contract workers, and gig workers not already eligible to receive unemployment benefits for the first time.
While it remains critically important that all who can file claims online do so, the agency has also extended contact center hours to 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays for filing claims by phone. Even with rapid expansion of staff to take claims, wait times averaged 106 minutes on claims phone lines.
The Employment Department has detailed information for 54,500 of the initial claims processed during the week starting March 29. The leisure and hospitality sector, which includes hotels and restaurants, continued to see the greatest number of initial claims for unemployment benefits (14,400). This reflects impacts of public health and safety measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 15, there have been about 40,600 initial claims filed in the leisure and hospitality sector. Many initial claims also came from workers in health care and social assistance (8,800) and retail trade (7,100) during the week of March 29.
Multnomah (12,100), Washington (6,600), and Lane (5,300) were the counties with the largest number of claims (see table on next page). More initial claims data by industry and area can be found on the QualityInfo.org COVID-19 page.
To file an online claim for unemployment benefits, go to Oregon.gov/employ or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI. For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to WorkSourceOregon.org.
Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.
Salem, OR—The Oregon Department of Revenue reminds businesses and individuals who pay their corporate or personal income tax quarterly that estimated payments for first quarter 2020 are due April 15.
Additionally, first quarter estimated payments for Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) are due April 30.
Extensions of tax filing and payment deadlines for 2019 personal income taxes and 2019 corporate income and excise taxes announced March 25 do not include estimated quarterly tax payments on corporate and personal income tax otherwise payable or estimated payments for the CAT.
Personal income tax filers who expect to owe $1,000 or more when they file their 2020 return next year are required to make first quarter payments by April 15.
Generally, personal income tax filers who are required to make quarterly payments include those who are self-employed or others who don’t have taxes withheld by their employer.
Corporate income tax filers who file on a calendar year basis and expect to owe tax of $500 or more when they file their 2020 return next year must make first quarter 2020 estimated payments by April 15.
Because of the governor’s recent executive orders related to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, taxpayers who are not able to estimate 2020 tax by preparing a 2019 Oregon return by April 15, 2020, may use the safe harbor (100% of the prior year’s tax—Oregon Administrative Rule 150-316-0493). The department also has an interest waiver rule (Oregon Administrative Rule 150-316-0487), that may be applicable for the 2020 tax year. Waivers are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Corporate excise or income taxpayers should look to the exceptions to underpayment of estimated tax located at OAR 150-314-0315(3). Specifically, an annualization exception to underpayment of estimated tax is available. See OAR 150-314-0315(3)(c).
Taxpayers who expect to have a CAT liability of $5,000 or more are required to make estimated first quarter payments by April 30. The CAT applies to all business entities and is measured on annual Oregon commercial activity–the total amount a business realizes from transactions and activity in Oregon.
The department understands that the pandemic may impact commercial activity, up or down, to an extent that makes it difficult for businesses to estimate their first payment. The department will not assess underpayment penalties to taxpayers making a good faith effort to estimate their first quarter payments. Taxpayers can find more information about CAT estimated tax payments at Beyond the FAQon the CAT page.
Visitwww.oregon.gov/dor to get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments; call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish); 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon; or email email@example.com. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), call 800-886-7204.
Oregon will provide an additional $60 million in extra SNAP benefits in April and May
The Oregon Department of Human Services announced today that the Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will provide an additional $30 million each for the months of April and May 2020 to eligible SNAP households.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregonians are facing unprecedented economic instability and food insecurity,” said DHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “This emergency assistance will help address the food needs our neighbors and communities are suddenly facing.”
SNAP households will automatically receive the additional allotment in the same way they receive their current benefits. For most customers this is an EBT card. The additional benefit amount will be disbursed on the schedule below.
|Month||Day||Description of household receiving emergency allotment|
|April||10||Current SNAP households not receiving the SNAP maximum allotment|
|29||New SNAP customers who did not receive the April 10 allotment and are not receiving the maximum benefit|
|May||8||Current SNAP households not receiving the SNAP maximum allotment|
|28||New SNAP customers who did not receive the April 10 allotment and are not receiving the maximum benefit|
No additional action is needed from Oregonians already enrolled in SNAP. Households that already receive the maximum benefit will not receive any additional benefits.
|Household size||Max SNAP benefit|
|Each additional person||+$146|
This allotment will not permanently change a household’s monthly benefit amount. It is a temporary supplement to help during the current health crisis. DHS will not be sending individual notices to households about the emergency allotments.
Learn how to apply for SNAP and other benefits online or by phone at https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/COVID-19/Pages/Home.aspx.
SNAP customers can contact their local DHS SSP or AAA office for more information. Find a local office at: oregon.gov/DHS/Offices/Pages/index.aspx
For other ways to connect with DHS, contact 211info:
Find other food resources at https://oregonhunger.org/covid-19/.
Fatal Accident near Perrydale
On Thursday afternoon, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded the a report of a two vehicle crash on Hwy 99W at Bethel Rd, which is approximately two miles east of Perrydale.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a Scion XB, operated by Jose Parejas-Iraheta (50) of Eugene, was traveling eastbound on Bethel Rd at Hwy 99W. A Kenworth semi-truck pulling an empty trailer, operated by John Litsin (60) of Independence, was traveling southbound on Hwy 99W.
For unknown reasons the Scion attempted to cross Hwy 99W directly in front of the Kenworth and was struck on the driver’s side.
Parejas-Iraheta and his front passenger, Morena Iraheta-Hernandez (56) of Eugene, sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased.
A third passenger in the Scion, Juana Cortez (72) of Eugene, was flown to the Salem Hospital by Life Flight with serious injuries. Hwy 99W was closed for five hours following the crash. OSP was assisted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Amity Fire Department, ODOT and Life Flight.
Winning while Social Distancing
When Jason Hagey and his coworker were going to stop for a cup of coffee, he decided to check his Oregon’s Game Megabucks ticket with the Oregon Lottery Mobile App.
“I scan the ticket and all these balloons start showing up on the screen,” said Hagey, who lives in Cove.. “I thought I had won a free ticket, but I won $6,200! I scanned it at the Minute Mart where we got coffee, and sure enough, I won. I’m ahead!”
Hagey, who is an electrician who lives in Eastern Oregon said that with the Oregon Lottery offices being temporarily closed, he decided to mail in his $6,215 winning ticket. He also said with everything going on in the economy, he is going to save his winnings for now.
To protect the health and safety of its employees and the public, the Oregon Lottery has temporarily closed the Salem and Wilsonville Lottery offices. Officials with the Lottery continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely. If players have a winning ticket, they can fill out a claim form on the Oregon Lottery website, https://oregonlottery.org/about/claim-prizes , and then mail in the signed ticket and claim form.
Players who have winning tickets of $50,000 or more, will need to make an appointment to come to the Oregon Lottery office in Salem. Call 503-540-1000 for assistance. As always, players should be certain to sign the back of their tickets.
“It was the first time I had won that much, and the first time I mailed it in. I was impressed with the turnaround time and how fast I got the winnings,” he said.
Ron Williams, of Hermiston agreed.
“When I mailed my $22,000 Lucky Lines winner, I registered it and put insurance on it,” Williams said. “I may continue doing that after this, it saved me a four-and-a-half-hour trip one way in my truck.”
Williams said he is a “faithful” player and that he, too, is going to be holding onto his winnings.
“I have won a big prize on Keno, and now Lucky Lines,” he said. “Good things happen in threes, so I am going to try for Powerball next.”
The Oregon Lottery reminds players to always sign the back of their Lottery tickets, regardless of the game. In the event of winning a jackpot, they should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings.
Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veterans services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org