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
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Mostly cloudy in the morning then clearing. High today 68 degrees.
Cloudy. Chance of rain in the morning, then rain in the afternoon. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. Southwest winds around 5 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent.
Partly cloudy. Slight chance of showers in the morning. Highs in the mid 60s to lower 70s.
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s to lower 70s. Lows in the lower to mid 40s.
In Southern Oregon local Jackson County health officials say Monday brought no new cases of Covid-19 in the community. Jackson sits at 48 total positive cases.
Total number of confirmed cases by county looks like this today:
- Jackson: 48
- Josephine: 19
- Klamath: 33
- Lake: 0
“Staying home as much as possible during this time and practicing physical distancing remains an important strategy,” Jackson County said on Monday.
The County provided the following guidance for things you can do outdoors:
- If you’re able to maintain physical distancing, enjoy the outdoor areas of your residence.
- Have an outdoor picnic at your residence with the people you live with.
- Have a virtual picnic with friends.
- Get things done at home, such as gardening or washing your car.
- Open doors and windows to get fresh air while remaining inside.
- Enjoy solo physical activities or those with members of your immediate household such as walking, biking, running or rollerblading.
- Wave to your neighbors from a distance. Let them know you’re happy to see them.
Oregon Health Authority is this morning reporting 47 new cases of COVID-19 from Monday, bringing the state total to 1,956 here on Tuesday.
The new COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (10), Douglas (1), Klamath (1), Lincoln (1), Linn (2), Marion (13), Multnomah (6), Polk (1), Umatilla (1), Washington (9), and Yamhill (1).
Republicans in the Oregon Senate are pressuring Governor Kate Brown to lift coronavirus restrictions on rural Oregon counties, exemplified in a statement issued by Senate Republican Leader Herman Baertschiger, R-Grants Pass, on Monday.
In early March, Republicans signaled support for the sort of measures that Governor Brown had implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, with Sen. Baertschiger saying that leaders “are and should be taking measures that have never been taken before.” Since then, and with the virus’ spread demonstrably slowed by those measures, the pressure from businesses and workers struggling under the restrictions has been building.
Last week Governor Brown introduced her “framework” for loosening coronavirus measures, which largely touched on state benchmarks that needed to be reached before any such steps would be taken.
Though Brown said that she would be taking input from local leaders and workers from impacted industries, the plan did not touch on a county-by-county rollback of restrictions.
Republican lawmakers have particularly taken umbrage with Brown’s announcement of the Western States Pact, an agreement to work with leaders in California and Washington state to make decisions in consultation with one another. Especially in the counties along the Oregon and Washington border, cases have often straddled state lines.
Last week the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) Police units responded to an alarm at Red Eye Hut, 220 SW 6th Street. It was discovered a burglary had occurred with windows broken and items were taken.
The suspects had fled the scene, prior to arrival. Later that morning, another downtown business burglary or attempted burglary was located at Siskiyou Sun Grown.
In between the two burglary calls there was an Unlawful Entry to a Motor Vehicle incident reported in the 600 block of SW Leonard Street.
GPDPS Officers were able to determine all three of these cases involved the same suspects from investigative leads. Officers were able to confirm the identities of four juvenile male suspects involved in the incidents. They are from 14 to 16 years-old and local residents. GPDPS Detectives responded and assisted Officers with locating the suspects. Interviews were conducted after they were placed in custody. Two of the juveniles were lodged at the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) and the other two will have charges referred. The charges for all three cases are as follows.
20-16522 – Burglary 2, Theft 3, Criminal Mischief 1
20-16537 – Unlawful Entry to a Motor Vehicle, Theft 2
20-16578 – Attempted Burglary 2, Criminal Mischief 2
There are more cases of Unlawful Entry to Motor Vehicles still being investigated and there could be more charges in the near future. If anyone has any information related to any of these incidents or other anything similar, the GPDPS would ask you to please call (541) 450-6260. We would like to thank our citizens for their continued support.
The Oregon Public Utility Commission has confirmed that utilities it regulates across the state have taken steps to ensure that customers have continued access to essential utility services during the COVID-19 health crisis.
The regulated energy utilities that have confirmed discontinuation of service disconnections and late payment fees include Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, Idaho Power, NW Natural, Avista, and Cascade Natural Gas.
Similarly, the state’s two largest landline telecommunications carriers, CenturyLink and Frontier Communications, as well as smaller landline companies, have confirmed these same customer protections are in place.
Regulated water utilities, including Avion, Cline Butte, and Running Y have also stepped up to protect their customers during this time. Although these efforts help ensure continuation of utility services during this unprecedented time, they do not relieve customers from having to pay their utility bills.
Individuals having trouble making utility payments are encouraged to contact their utility service provider directly to learn about bill payment options. For bill payment assistance information, visit www.211info.org.
The PUC will continue to work with the utilities they regulate to ensure continued access to utility services for Oregonians. If customers receive notification that their utility service will be disconnected for non-payment, or if future bills indicate late fee penalties, please contact the PUC’s Consumer Services office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-378-6600 or 800-522-2404.
Around the state of Oregon
The Oregon National Guard will distribute about 400,000 surgical masks and other pieces of protective equipment to long-term care facilities in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said Monday.
She said the rapid distribution of masks, gloves and face shields will reach all of the state’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The rapid deployment of gear is designed to prevent more workers and residents of such facilities from catching COVID-19.
About half of the coronavirus deaths in Oregon to date have been among nursing home residents. The material being provided to Oregon’s long-term care facilities includes about 177,000 surgical masks, 127,000 gloves, 55,000 N95 masks, 33,000 face shields, and 2,500 gowns, Brown said. Members of the Oregon National Guard began deliveries of this equipment Saturday.
Until Monday, Oregon was the only state that allowed nonunanimous jury convictions. The U.S. Supreme Court ended that in a decision involving a murder conviction in Louisiana which, until 2019, had also allowed nonunanimous jury convictions.
The Oregon District Attorneys Association said it is reviewing the opinion for its immediate impact on pending and closed criminal cases. State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum had warned the U.S. Supreme Court that the criminal justice system would be “overwhelmed” if it ruled that nonunanimous jury verdicts are unconstitutional.
She wrote in a brief to the court last August that the ruling could invalidate hundreds or even thousands of convictions.
On Friday, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 36 near milepost 1.Preliminary investigation revealed that a tan Nissan PU, operated by a 17 year old female from Florence, was westbound when it crossed into the eastbound lane and struck a blue Chevy Cavalier operated by Tara Ross (34) of Florence.
Ross sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Two juvenile females in the vehicle were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The operator of the Nissan PU was transported to the hospital with minor Injuries.
On Saturday, April 18, 2020 at approximately 2:47 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 18 near milepost 15.
Preliminary investigation indicates that a vehicle, believed to be an unknown color, early 2000’s (possibly 2004) Dodge Caravan was westbound on Hwy 18 when it left the roadway, struck a tree, and caught fire.
The operator was pronounced deceased.
OSP was assisted by Polk County Sheriffs Office, Grand Ronde Police Department, and West Valley Fire Department. As of this time the operator of the vehicle has not been identified and the vehicle registration is not able to be determined.
When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act three weeks ago, the bill included some much-needed economic support for Main Street.
For millions of Americans that is coming in the form of Economic Impact Payments of up to $1,200 for qualified individuals and additional dollars for households with children.
The first waves of these payments are being issued to people who have direct deposit information on file with the Internal Revenue Service or Social Security Administration.
Other qualified Americans will receive hard copy checks over the next several months.
While almost $150 billion has already landed in the hands of working families, not all eligible consumers have received their funds.
The delay is caused by an overwhelming volume of payments for the U.S. Treasury to distribute, and the effective dates the Treasury set on the payments. For example, while the Treasury announced the first wave of payments would be deposited into accounts April 13, the effective date set was April 15. The Treasury processed another wave of payments Friday, but the funding won’t likely post to consumers’ accounts this Monday, because the effective date is not until April 22.
The confusion between when payments are issued, vs. when the funds are actually posted to consumers’ accounts is frustrating. But the good news is, the payments are coming.
Consumers expecting Economic Impact Payments should verify the funds are indeed posted to their accounts before they attempt to spend the money.