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
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today Sunny, with a high near 86. Overnight low around 51.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 92. Low overnight of 59.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 86.
Monday A chance of rain, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 74.
Here in Jackson County after nearly 11 days of not having a reported case, public health officials announced one new case of Covid-19 yesterday to bring the total number of cases to 50.
In the state of Oregon, the state’s death toll is now at 115 with two more deaths overnight, the Oregon Health Authority reported today.
They also reported 70 new confirmed cases and seven new presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 8 a.m. today bringing the state total to 2,916.
The new confirmed and presumptive cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (1), Clackamas (4), Columbia (1), Deschutes (1), Jefferson (4), Lane (2), Lincoln (1), Linn (1), Marion (18), Multnomah (24), Polk (7), Umatilla (4), Wasco (1), Washington (6), Yamhill (1).
Oregon’s 114th COVID-19 death is an 88-year-old man in Multnomah County, who tested positive on April 30 and died on May 2 at Adventist Medical Center. He had underlying medical conditions. Oregon’s 115th COVID-19 death is a 95-year-old man in Polk County, who tested positive on April 27 and died on May 4 at Salem Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions.
The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax.
The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan emergency advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. More information can be found in the Beyond the FAQ section of the CAT page on the department’s website. PPP loans provide small businesses with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.
EIDL emergency advances of up to $10,000 are available to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently struggling with a temporary loss of revenue.
SBA loan subsidies cover six months of payments for “covered loans” in regular servicing status.
Republican Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas wants the 90-member Oregon Legislature to convene in person and pass a resolution to end Gov. Kate Brown’s state of emergency issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
That almost certainly won’t happen, as it would take a majority vote in both chambers or a call by the governor to make a special session happen. And the House and Senate Democratic supermajorities would nearly inevitably side with Brown over the Dallas Republican. But that won’t stop Boquist from pushing to overrule the governor’s social distancing orders.
In a letter Wednesday to Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem and House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland, Boquist wrote that states with coronavirus emergency declarations are “self-destroying their economies that will continue to cause future injury and deaths to Oregonians.”
He claimed without evidence that states which did not declare coronavirus emergencies had “fewer virus deaths” and requested that, if a lawmaker in the House submits a similar special session request, legislative leaders take a ballot of all 90 members on the question of whether to call lawmakers back to the Capitol.
Oregon children who get free or reduced price meals at school will now get cash benefits, since they’re not getting those meals at school.
If a student’s family is already on SNAP and they have an Oregon Trail card the money will be added to the card. If they don’t already get SNAP benefits they’ll receive a card in the mail. They’ll get the benefits for March, April and May deposited into the account at the end of May. Benefits will be retroactive.
The Oregon Air National Guard is scheduled to fly multiple F-15 Eagle flyovers over hospitals and other locations throughout Oregon during the month of May in order to salute Oregonians on the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic and lift morale during a time of severe health and economic impacts.
The tribute is scheduled to be conducted by Oregon’s 173rd Fighter Wing, based in Klamath Falls and the 142nd Wing, based in Portland.
“This is a joint effort to demonstrate support and give thanks to healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 response; the goal is to unite all Oregonians during this time,” said Stephen Bomar, Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department. “This effort also demonstrates the full capabilities of our Oregon National Guard Citizen Soldiers and Airmen. Whether on the ground delivering needed Personal Protective Equipment throughout Oregon or in the skies protecting the Pacific Northwest, the Guard is in this together with Oregonians.”
Anyone living in and around these hospitals should see and hear the jets. People are encouraged to view the flights from the safety of their own homes and practice physical distancing.
The flyovers are scheduled for the following locations at the approximate designated times Friday, May 8.
Northern Oregon Flyovers:
8:50 a.m. Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center, Vancouver, Wash.
8:58 a.m. Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, Hood River, Ore.
9:00 a.m. Oregon Veterans Home, The Dalles, Ore.
9:00 a.m. VA Healthcare System the Dalles CBOC, The Dalles, Ore.
9:01 a.m. Mid-Columbia Medical Center, The Dalles, Ore.
9:11 a.m. Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center, Gresham, Ore.
9:12 a.m. Vibra Specialty Hospital of Portland, Portland, Ore.
9:12 a.m. Adventist Medical Center, Portland, Ore.
9:13 a.m. Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center, Clackamas, Ore.
9:13 a.m. Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center, Oregon City, Ore.
9:15 a.m. Providence Milwaukie Hospital, Milwaukie, Ore.
9:15 a.m. OHSU Towers (Over Willamette River), Portland, Ore.
9:16 a.m. Providence Portland Medical Center, Portland, Ore.
9:16 a.m. Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Portland, Ore.
9:17 a.m. Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center, Portland, Ore.
9:17 a.m. OHSU Hospital, Portland, Ore.
9:17 a.m. Shriners Hospitals for Children, Portland, Ore.
9:17 a.m. VA Portland Healthcare System, Portland, Ore.
9:18 a.m. Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center, Tualatin, Ore.
9:19 a.m. Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Portland, Ore.
9:20 a.m. Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center, Hillsboro, Ore.
9:21 a.m. Tuality Community Hospital, Hillsboro, Ore.
9:28 a.m. Coastal Family Health Center, Astoria, Ore.
9:30 a.m. Providence Seaside Hospital, Seaside, Ore.
9:36 a.m. Adventist Medical Center, Tillamook, Ore.
9:46 a.m. Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, Newport, Ore.
9:52 a.m. Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Corvallis, Ore.
9:54 a.m. Samaritan Albany General Hospital, Albany, Ore.
9:56 a.m. Oregon Veteran’s Home, Lebanon, Ore.
9:56 a.m. Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, Lebanon, Ore.
9:59 a.m. Santiam Hospital, Stayton, Ore.
10:04 a.m. Salem West Valley Hospital, Dallas, Ore.
10:07 a.m. Salem Health Hospital, Salem, Ore.
10:08 a.m. Department of Public Safety, Standards, and Training, Salem, Ore.
10:10 a.m. Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Salem, Ore.
10:10 a.m. Oregon State Capitol, Salem, Ore.
10:13 a.m. Legacy Silverton Hospital, Silverton Ore.
10:17 a.m. Willamette Valley Medical Center, McMinnville, Ore.
10:20 a.m. Providence Hospital, Newberg, Ore.
Southern Oregon Flyovers:
10:10 a.m. Lake District Hospital, Lakeview, Ore.
10:25 a.m. Harney District Hospital, Burns, Ore.
10:40 a.m. Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Ontario, Ore.
11:10 a.m. Saint Charles Prineville, Prineville, Ore.
11:15 a.m. Saint Charles Redmond, Redmond, Ore.
11:20 a.m. Saint Charles Bend, Bend, Ore.
“We are honored to pay tribute to everyone who has served on the frontlines during this pandemic,” said Brig. General Donna Prigmore, Commander of the Oregon Air National Guard.
“This is a small way of showing our gratitude for the big sacrifices that our healthcare workers, emergency responders, and so many others have made. We thank all of you.”
All flyover plans have been coordinated as a part of OPERATION: AMERICAN RESOLVE to salute those at the forefront of the COVID-19 response and will be done in conjunction with regularly scheduled training. Pilots must perform a minimum number of flight hours to maintain proficiency. These flyovers will incur no additional cost to taxpayers and are done in leu of regularly scheduled training.
Additional Oregon Air National Guard flyovers are scheduled to continue next Friday, May 15 with a follow-on press release indicating the flyover locations and times.
The Air Force Salutes flyover plan also includes flyovers from the United States Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team, which are scheduled to fly over the Pacific Northwest in late May.
All passes are approximately 1,500 feet above ground level at approximately 400 mph airspeed. Flights could be canceled or times changed due to inclement weather or operational contingencies.
Anyone who gets video or photos of the F-15s flying overhead are encouraged to post on social media using the hashtags: #AirForceSalutes, #AFFlyover, #FlyoverFriday, #Inthistogether
The Oregon Air National Guard has been an integral part of the nation’s air defense since 1941. Pilots from the 173rd Fighter Wing and the 142nd Wing train for a variety of mission skill sets in order to maintain combat readiness for the defense of our state and nation.
Additionally, the 142nd Wing provides around-the-clock Aerospace Control Alert for the defense of our homeland, while the 173rd FW is home to the sole F-15C pilot training facility for the United States Air Force. Both units also respond to state and national emergencies as directed by the Governor of Oregon.
At the same time, approximately 60 Oregon National Guard Soldiers assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment along with six of their CH-47 Chinook helicopters departed today for Fort Hood, Texas as they prepare to be mobilized for deployment to Afghanistan.
“This departure shows the strength of the National Guard. The Citizen-Soldiers of Bravo Company, 1-168 Aviation have stepped up to meet their federal mission and done so flawlessly,” said Brig. Gen. William J. Prendergast IV, Commander, Oregon Army National Guard Land Component Command.
The unit will be using their Chinooks to carry cargo and equipment while resupplying areas around Afghanistan. “With the potential to drawn down troops, Chinooks are important for their heavy lift capabilities as they can carry equipment from one location to another efficiently,” said Lt. Col. Joe Mendel, Facility Commander, Army Aviation Support Facility #2, Pendleton.
“The unit did a great job, doing what they had to do during this pandemic — they adjusted to everything being thrown at them, took everything in stride, and most importantly they were mission focused,” said Mendel.
The unit is scheduled to train in Texas for several weeks prior to departing overseas.
Cycle Oregon is canceling all of its events for 2020. Event organizers had originally moved the Gravel event from May to October but now say they’re calling off all events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Registered riders will receive a 70-percent refund, which will cover all expenses to date. They’ll get a 100-percent refund for add-on purchases. They’re asking riders to donate their refund to Cycle Oregon or the Cycle Oregon Fund.
Safe Boating for Summer
There have been five boating fatalities on Oregon’s waterways during COVID-19 this spring, all have two things in common: not wearing life jackets, and cold water.
The Oregon State Marine Board is urging boaters headed to the water during the first warm weekend of the year – especially people in canoes, kayaks, and on stand-up paddleboards, to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. The water is cold.
“We are concerned,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board. “People are anxious to get out and have fun, but water is serious business. If you go boating, wear your life jacket, buckle it up, and make sure it’s a snug fit. Always dress appropriately, and if you’re paddling, dress for the water. A dunking this time of year can be deadly.”
The breakdown of the five boating fatalities: four of the five were not wearing life jackets. The other is unknown. Four of the victims were male and one female. Three were recreating in paddlecraft (kayaks and a canoe) and two were in motorboats. All of the victims fell overboard unexpectedly into cold water, which is trending unlike what the Marine Board has seen in past years.
This season, many people new to paddling or people who haven’t paddled in a while are strongly encouraged to take a free, online Paddling Course to learn about self-rescue, how to re-board your paddlecraft, important equipment/requirements and other safety skills to develop. Start out on calm, flat water, and slowly progress to other waterbodies as skills develop. There are also paddling clubs in many communities as well as online forums with local safety information.
Additionally, the agency has received many reports of debris and obstructions this spring, so all paddlers and motorboaters should be especially cautious, keeping a sharp lookout on all waterways and starting out slow. Visit the agency’s waterway obstruction page to learn where obstructions have been reported and recommendations on how to avoid them. Many obstructions cannot be immediately cleared.
The open/closed status of boating access changes frequently. The agency’s interactive Boat Oregon Map is a resource for finding facility contact information to help boaters with their planning and preparation. Remember to respect any closures, stay local, be self-contained, boat with members of your immediate household, and maintain physical distance for your own safety and for those around you.
For more Paddle Smart boating safety tips from the Marine Board and the U.S. Coast Guard, visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Documents/News-Releases/Media%20Kit/PaddleSmart.pdf.
A completed audit of the Oregon State Police’s information technology systems by the Secretary of State’s auditing arm found that the agency “lacks basic cybersecurity safeguards,” according to a statement from Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno.According to Clarno’s office, auditors found that the agency was missing basic IT implementation of all six Center for Internet Security controls that were reviewed as part of the assessment.
The auditors also concluded that OSP did not have enough of a security management program to even identify necessary security measures. The Federal Bureau of Investigation requires that law enforcement agencies like OSP follow Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) IT security standards, Clarno’s office said. OSP is also responsible for making sure that other agencies around the state with access to CJIS data are following the same security standards. OSP’s management reportedly agrees with the findings and recommendations from the audit, and promised to request two more IT staff members to help it kickstart the added cybersecurity measures. According to Clarno’s office, OSP plans to have all of those recommendations in place by August of 2022.
Oregon gas stations to provide self-service on a voluntary basis, in order to address shortages of workers experienced by gas retailers statewide.
The rules change was first announced on March 28 and then extended on April 11 to April 25. Friday, April 24, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker extended the deadline another two weeks, through May 9. The extension of the change will still allow station attendants to help customers while avoiding face-to-face and hand-to-hand contact. It also continues to ensure physical distancing measures are in place. Attendants will continue to sanitize station equipment and fuel nozzles and assist customers with their refueling as needed.
Battelle cleaning system being installed at UofO. Will extend lifespan of masks to up to 20 uses for health care workers.
A machine being installed today at the University of Oregon (UO) will decontaminate N-95 respirators, allowing the critical personal protective equipment to be used up to 20 times by frontline health care workers. The decontamination unit is coming to Oregon courtesy of the U.S. government and to the Eugene campus through an agreement with the state and the university, which will house the unit.
N-95 respirators have been in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic and are typically used just once and then thrown away. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of decontamination units, which sterilize the masks so they can be reused. While state and private procurement of PPE has improved in recent weeks, the new decontamination system will significantly increase the lifespan of Oregon’s supply of N-95 respirators.
“We are happy to be able to support our healthcare workers and first responders in this way,” said Cass Moseley, senior associate vice president for research and innovation. “All the pieces fell into place quickly and, in a week or so, agencies across most of the state will be able to send masks here to be sterilized.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has contracted with the Battelle Memorial Institute of Ohio. The agency plans to cover the cost of installation and will manage the operations, providing decontamination free of
charge for public and private personnel who use N-95 masks from across Oregon.
“An emergency of this scale requires partnerships across all levels of government and with the private sector,” said Andrew Phelps, Director of Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management. “This is a great example of partners working together to bring an innovative solution forward to help save lives.”
The unit consists of eight shipping containers that have been converted into airtight chambers that use vaporized hydrogen peroxide to sterilize the masks. The state, U.S. government and Battelle are collaborating to ensure the chambers operate under peak safety conditions to protect the local area. The UO will house the containers for a nominal charge in facilities at the Romania lot, at the corner of Franklin Boulevard and Orchard Street. Oregon’s decontamination unit is one of 60 being placed around the country.