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.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
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.
No new cases reported for Tuesday by Jackson County Public Health. Officials said that it had received no new positive test results for COVID-19 for a couple of days now, leaving the countywide total at 48 cases.
Health officials say “Staying home as much as possible during this time and practicing physical distancing remains an important strategy. It is also important to continue washing your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water, stay home if you are sick, and wear an alternative mask when in public and accessing essential services”.
Statewide, the coronavirus has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 78, the Oregon Health Authority reported Tuesday afternoon.
OHA also reported 46 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 2,002.
The new COVID-19 cases reported are in the following counties: Clackamas (2), Coos (1), Klamath (2), Linn (1), Marion (10), Multnomah (22), Umatilla (2), Wasco (1), and Washington (7).
More than 41,000 Oregonians have been tested for the illness since the state confirmed its first case on Feb. 28.
On Friday, an Oregon State Police Trooper from the Central Point Area Command contacted a 2019 Nissan Rogue for a traffic violation on Interstate 5 near milepost 33.
A search of the vehicle was conducted and the Trooper located two manufactured compartments on the floor of the vehicle. Inside the compartments the Trooper found 7.2 pounds of cocaine and approximately 3.5 grams of heroin.
The driver was identified as Marisol Torres Cervantes (50) from Vancouver Washington.
Cervantes was lodged in the Jackson County Jail for Unlawful possession of cocaine, Unlawful delivery of cocaine, and Unlawful possession of heroin.
Oregon State Fire Marshal has asked all people in Oregon to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning activities.
The City of Grants Pass recognizes that residents utilize the open burn window to dispose of woody vegetation that has accumulated throughout the winter months. However, it’s important to weigh possible effects on the wider community. Smoke from fires during the current pandemic may result in the following negative consequences for the public and first responders:
Smoke inhalation can cause upper respiratory symptoms, which could be incorrectly attributed to COVID-19, leading to unnecessary testing or self-isolation. Exposure to smoke and other forms of air pollution can increase the risk of contracting an infectious respiratory disease such as COVID-19, increase the severity of existing respiratory infections, and worsen underlying chronic respiratory conditions. There is a severe shortage of personal protective equipment to reduce smoke exposure at this time.
First responders are on a heightened level of response to COVID-19 and reducing calls for smoke investigation and escaped open burns keeps resources available.
COVID-19 affects the respiratory system. Fever, cough and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms. While some people with COVID-19 are hospitalized, most patients recover at home, where smoke from a nearby outdoor burn could worsen their condition. To avoid additional health impacts, the Oregon State Fire Marshal has asked all people in Oregon to voluntarily refrain from conducting outdoor burning activities until further notice. We have elected to follow their guidance.
The City of Grants Pass encourages the public to compost, chip or take your yard debris to a recycling center. You can also contact your sanitation service for a green waste container.
Republic Services 541-479-3371
Southern Oregon Sanitation 541-479-5335
Please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau for questions. They may be reached Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (closed for lunch from 12:00 PM until 1:00 PM). Offices are closed to in-person contacts due to COVID-19.
AROUND THE STATE OF OREGON
The Oregon Department of Revenue today announced an expansion of the types of tax returns for which filing and payment deadlines have been extended due to COVID-19.
The director of the Department of Revenue has issued Director’s Order 2020–02 exercising her legal authority, during the COVID-19 state of emergency, to order further extensions for 2019 tax year filing and payment due dates for certain affected taxpayers as indicated below. As part of these relief initiatives, the department is also temporarily modifying some of its collection processes for individuals and businesses in Oregon.
For personal income, transit self-employment, estate, partnership, S-Corporation, and corporate excise/income taxpayers and filers:
• The Oregon return filing due date is automatically extended until July 15, 2020 for any returns due on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020.
• The Oregon return filing due date is automatically extended until July 15, 2020 for any returns with a valid six-month extension period ending on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020.
• The Oregon tax payment deadline for payments due with the tax year 2019 tax return is automatically extended to July 15, 2020.
Corporate excise/income or personal income tax returns required to be filed with regard to an estate or trust pursuant to ORS 316.267 to ORS 316.317 are also eligible for this relief.
Fiscal year returns and related payments due after July 15, 2020 are not extended at this time.
Revenue Director’s Order 2020–02 also provides a temporary extension of the time to submit written objections or requests for a conference and issue notices as follows:
• The deadline for filing a written objection or request for a conference with the department after issuance of a Notice of Deficiency, Notice of Proposed Refund Adjustment, or Notice of Liability is extended to 90 days after the date on the Notice of Deficiency, Notice of Proposed Refund Adjustment, or Notice of Liability. This provision applies to deadlines for filing a written objection or request for a conference that expire on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 16, 2020.
• The period within which the department may issue a Notice of Assessment, Notice of Refund Denial, or conference letter affirming, canceling, or adjusting the Notice of Liability is extended to 14 months after the date on the Notice of Deficiency, Notice of Proposed Refund Adjustment, or Notice of Liability with regard to a written objection or conference request received within the 90-day period allowed under this order.
Appeal timeframes to the Oregon Tax Court from a final notice or action of the department are not changed by this order.
Additionally, this order provides a temporary extension of time to request certain refunds and issue notices.
• The deadline for filing a claim for refund is extended to July 15, 2020, if the deadline for filing the claim for refund otherwise would have expired on or after April 1, 2020 and before July 15, 2020.
Finally, this order extends the deadline for filing an application with the county assessor for property tax deferral for tax year 2020–21 under ORS 311.672 to June 15, 2020.
Taxpayers should not skip or reduce current payments. Those who are unable to pay their debt in full can resolve outstanding debt and avoid automated collection by arranging a payment agreement with the department.
Find more information using the below links or contact numbers.
• Personal income payment plan or call 503-945-8200.
• Resources for businesses or call 503-945-8100.
• Other Agency Accounts or call 503-945-8199.
By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances. The department has taken temporary steps to reduce automatic garnishments. Taxpayers can request a temporary hold on wage garnishments by contacting the department before June 30, 2020.
Taxpayers can find more tax resources, tools, and COVID-19 tax-related information at www.oregon.gov/dor.
Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments. You can call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 (toll-free) or email email@example.com for additional assistance. For TTY for hearing- or speech-impaired, call 800-886-7204.
Oregon’s interagency facility support team, led by the Department of Human Services and Oregon Health Authority, has begun deploying two designated COVID-19 emergency health care centers. The centers are intended to:
• Support long-term care facilities in crisis with rising infections;
• Care for residents of facilities with only a few cases of the virus to reduce the chance that others could be exposed; and,
• Provide hospitalized COVID-19 patients with a place to recover before returning to the long-term care facility where they live.
The state has contracted with Pacific Health and Rehabilitation to open an emergency health care center at its 50-bed nursing facility in Tigard, which will be equipped to start accepting patients on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Laurelhurst Village Rehab in Portland, which has 47 beds, was the first emergency health care center to open.
The additional capacity from the designated centers will be a significant step towards helping to fulfill one of the requirements outlined in Governor Kate Brown’s framework for reopening Oregon, which is that residents of long-term care facilities be protected from COVID-19 infection.
“These centers will provide crucial support,” said Mike McCormick, interim director of the DHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities. “Making dedicated care centers available reduces the chance that more residents could be exposed.”
Some 27 nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities currently report to DHS that at least one resident or staff member has COVID-19. That represents about four percent of all larger facilities statewide. Seven adult foster homes, or less than one percent statewide, currently report at least one confirmed case.
The state’s interagency facility support team is working closely with Healthcare at Foster Creek. DHS is focused on supporting the facility and has taken additional regulatory action over the weekend to address alleged deficiencies and assist in transferring residents to mitigate against further spread of COVID-19 at the facility.