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, July 22, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today: Sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 89. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
On Monday, at approximately 5:57 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a head-on crash on Hwy 97 near milepost 275.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a red Hyundai, operated by Norman Shell (75) of Chiloquin, was traveling northbound when it veered into the southbound lane and struck a BMW operated by Natalie Carlson (50) of Glendale. Shell is believed to have had a medical event just prior to the crash.
Shell and Carlson were transported to the hospital with serious injuries. Shell was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.
COVID-19 has claimed seven more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 269, the Oregon Health Authority reported. They also reported 299 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday.
Five new cases were reported in Jackson County. 1 in Klamath and 1 in Lake. 2 new cases reported in nearby Josephine county.
The authority also said an outbreak of 23 cases of COVID-19 has been reported at a Walmart Distribution Center in northeastern Oregon’s Umatilla County. The case count includes every person linked to the outbreak, which officials said may include household members and other close contacts to an employee. The investigation started June 30, but the initial case count was below the threshold for public disclosure, officials said. State and county public health officials are working jointly to address the outbreak and protect workers’ health. The rural county had the state’s largest amount of cases per capita as of last week.
Around the state of Oregon
Portland parent groups marched in droves Monday night to join downtown protests in response to the repeated and nightly use of force by federal agents on demonstrators.
Portlanders first started protesting police violence against Black Americans in late May. It wasn’t until 31 days later that federal officers were first seen at the nightly demonstrations. In the weeks since, federal agents have used less-lethal munitions and gas on protesters numerous times. Federal officers again set off gas and shot projectiles towards demonstrators gathered early Tuesday morning. The nearly hour-long confrontation began after midnight. Hundreds of people had packed into the courthouse entrance, and some people near the front line tore off plywood attached to the building. Federal officers responded in force.
On July 18, a Trooper from the Central Point Area Command stopped a 2010 Toyota Camry for following to close on Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 36.
During the traffic stop, the Trooper was granted consent to search the vehicle by the driver and passenger. The consent search revealed approximately 2.5 pounds of heroin concealed in a natural void of the vehicle. The driver was identified as Luis Enrique Torres-Sandoval (22) from La Vegas, Nevada and the passenger was identified Edward Ivan Prieto (24) of North Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Torres-Sandoval and Mr. Prieto were lodged at the Jackson County Jail for Unlawful Possession and Delivery of Heroin. Troopers were assisted during the investigation by Homeland Security Investigations-Medford Office.
On July 21, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office acted on a tip received from the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Task Force (MADGE) regarding an armed and wanted subject possibly in possession of a large quantity of narcotics in the parking lot of Dairy Queen, located at 7635 Hwy 62, White City.
Upon arrival, deputies contacted the suspect and a struggle ensued. During the struggle, a deputy discharged his firearm, striking the suspect. The man was transported via ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. A firearm, that was in the suspect’s possession, was located at the scene.The Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigative Unit (MADIU) responded to the scene; Oregon State Police is the lead agency. Personnel from the following agencies are assisting: Medford Police Department, Ashland Police Department, Jackson County District Attorney’s Office and Jackson County Fire District 3.
The suspect has been identified. However, his name, as well the names of the involved deputies will not be released at this time. The case remains under investigation.
Detectives with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office were “unable to substantiate” the report of a noose found hanging outside of a yurt at Whistlers Bend Park in June, according to the agency. DCSO said that it learned on June 22 about a social media post where a man reported finding the noose outside of his yurt during a weekend trip to Whistlers Bend Park. The agency said that it launched an investigation immediately. Regardless, investigators did not come up with any answers in the case. DCSO said that it has closed the investigation “based upon all leads available to investigators.” DCSO said that it will continue to investigate “to the fullest extent” if more information comes to light.
Yesterday, the Oregon Health Authority announced it has published a COVID-19 test site locator to help Oregonians across the state find testing sites in their community.
The interactive map is available on pages in both English and Spanish and can be toggled into multiple other languages: The COVID-19 testing site locator was developed by Castlight, a health navigation platform that connects the information of hundreds of health vendors, benefits resources and plan designs into an online tool. Oregonians can locate nearby testing sites by entering their address or selecting state, county and zip. Oregonians should call the COVID-19 testing site before they go to learn about testing criteria, availability and hours.
The data on the testing locator was submitted to Castlight by both the OHA and local public health authorities. OHA cannot guarantee that people will be able to get tested at one of the sites. It is always best to contact a health care provider about getting a COVID-19 test.
A federal judge has denied Move Oregon’s Border petition to bypass state-required signatures to qualify as a ballot measure for its proposal for 17 counties to divorce from Oregon and become part of Idaho.
U.S. District Judge Michael J. McShane ruled Monday that the petitioner, president of Move Oregon’s Border movement, was not “reasonably diligent” in attempting to collect signatures, even amid the unusual limitations due to the coronavirus global pandemic. While the judge found that the right to petition the government is at the core of First Amendment protections, he found Move Oregon’s Border provided scant evidence of a conscientious effort to obtain signatures thus far.
The plaintiffs only held one rally in Roseburg on March 7, collecting 389 signatures from about 500 people who attended. The group also pointed to the approximately 9,195 members on its “Facebook group, the judge noted.
While many of Oregon’s coronavirus restrictions have been lifted under the first two phases of reopening, long-term care facilities have been on lockdown since March — with visits to residents all but completely banned in an attempt to limit COVID-19 exposure for those most at risk.
Now providers can begin allowing visits as long as they are held outdoors with proper precautions in place, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services. Facilities have to develop a plan in order to adhere to “required safeguards” that will continue to keep coronavirus from spreading to the elderly and those with health conditions, the agency said. Those prerequisites include health screenings for visitors, use of face coverings, physical distancing, and limits on the number of visitors. The outdoor visitation change applies to all nursing homes, assisted living centers, residential and memory care facilities, and adult foster homes. Any facilities that are currently dealing with COVID-19 cases or suspected cases cannot offer outdoor visits until “DHS determines that the outbreak has resolved.”
The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal’s Bigfoot: Believe in Fire Safety campaign, asking Oregonians to protect their communities by preventing wildfires, has expanded for the 2020 fire season, collaborating with fire agency partners.
Now in its second season, the OSFM’s popular messenger, Bigfoot, continues to be seen on highway billboards, entrances to campgrounds, on beaches, in Oregon airports, on Portland metro-area buses and on social media shared by residents, visitors, businesses and fire agencies.
“Fire prevention education plays a critical role in reducing the impact of human-caused wildfires in Oregon, particularly in areas at the highest risk — the wildland urban interface,” says Claire McGrew, assistant chief deputy. “Our campaign began in 2019. Because of its appeal to many Oregonians and visitors, our office expanded it for 2020. Bigfoot is an icon beloved by many Oregonians, and firefighting and resource management agencies have enthusiastically welcomed the region’s new friend in wildfire prevention.”
To reduce the number of incidents for the 2020 fire season, OSFM pushed out its “Bigfoot in box” media kits to more than 140 fire agency partners statewide. These included Bigfoot stickers; pop-up Bigfoot displays; and information on yard debris removal, campfire safety, recreational vehicles and wildfire prevention — all to support ongoing community-based prevention education.
On its website, the OSFM is sharing more than 20 new and downloadable images for 2020, showing Bigfoot responsibly extinguishing campfires, clearing defensible space and recreating in familiar Oregon natural areas. Messages for July focus on campfire safety, fire risks from motor vehicles, outdoor grilling and more.
Bigfoot billboards encouraging travelers to “protect your community” and “prevent wildfires” can be seen on Interstate 5 in southern Oregon, on Interstate 84 in Portland, on State Highway 97 near Bend and State Highways 20/26 at 101, near Cairo. The sign near Cairo is now in its second year, through a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.
The U.S. Forest Service based in Prineville is displaying the OSFM’s mobile Bigfoot billboard at various locations in central Oregon. In the Portland metro region, the OSFM has teamed up with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, which placed a Bigfoot image on Metro buses in its service area with the tagline, “What do we say to wildfire…not today.” Clackamas Fire District No. 1 has used outdoor Bigfoot images throughout the county.
On the Oregon Coast, North Lincoln Fire & Rescue placed Bigfoot on stickers affixed to beach buckets, as part of its efforts to reduce injuries from beach campfires and to remind tourists to put out their campfires. The Corvallis Fire Department turned the Bigfoot stand-up character into a larger than life cardboard pop-up that is being moved around town for fire prevention education efforts all summer.
The Sublimity Rural Fire Protection District’s volunteer firefighters are wearing Bigfoot T-shirts saying “believe in fire safety” to help spread the word about fire safety and prevention including fire dogs.
Bigfoot images can also be found in Portland International Airport (check the baggage terminal area to do a selfie) and the Redmond and Eugene airports.
The OSFM continues to encourage Oregonians to share Bigfoot’s message to “believe in fire safety” with the hashtag #BelieveInFireSafety.
To learn more about wildfire prevention and preparedness, or to find and download your favorite Bigfoot image and spread the word, visit the OSFM website. You can also follow the OSFM and Bigfoot on the OSFM Facebook and Twitter pages.