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, July 24, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today: Sunny, with a high near 92. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 95. Light and variable wind.
Sunday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 105. Light and variable wind.
COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 273.
Oregon Health Authority reported 331 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 15,713.
To protect yourself, keep your distance by maintaining six feet of social or physical distancing between yourself and others. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, utilizing hand sanitizer when washing facilities are not available. Sanitize surfaces that are often touched. Avoid gatherings of any size where social or physical distancing is not possible. To protect others around you, cover coughs and sneezes. Stay home when sick. Wear a clean mask in public spaces, including outdoors when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
It looks like Oregon schools will be required to enforce face covering use for all K-12 students and teachers and staff following updated guidance from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) on Wednesday.
Governor Kate Brown announced that masks would be required publicly for children ages five and above in a press conference on Wednesday morning, indicating that the expanded mandate would result in changes to ODE guidance. Those changes came out within the hour. Face coverings will now be required for all students — kindergarten and up — and all K-12 staff, the agency said. ODE said that it would also be distributing 5 million face coverings to school districts for students and staff to use.
These are KN95 masks provided by FEMA to the state. They will be distributed out to districts “over the next few weeks.” Whether schools return with on-site learning, distance learning, or a hybrid model will depend on local conditions and readiness. Many districts have already rolled out drafts of their plans for the coming school year.
Around the state of Oregon
A riot was declared in Portland just after midnight Thursday morning after Mayor Ted Wheeler’s tense visit with protesters– where he was booed, told to resign, given a list of demands and tear-gassed by federal agents. It looks like few protesters or rioters are supporting the Portland mayor as he stood during the evening with his 5 armed bodyguards.
His visit ended with his security detail engaging in a struggle with protesters late Wednesday night as they worked to get the mayor to safety, a report said. Earlier, he moved with protesters to the fence outside of the federal courthouse where he stood at the front and was tear-gassed along with the crowd.
Wheeler called the tear-gassing an “egregious overreaction,” telling Baker he didn’t see anything in the crowd that warranted the reaction by federal officers.
As Wheeler left, a few protesters following him tried to push against his security team once he had entered a building. Others threw water bottles and other projectiles at the glass door, according to Baker. Wheeler, who has repeatedly said he opposes the deployment of federal officers to the city, was nearly drowned out by shouts and jeers and calls to resign and was loudly booed when he told a protester that he didn’t support abolishing the police department.
The Oregon Health Authority issued a recreational use health advisory Wednesday for Odell Lake due to the presence of a cyanobacteria, an algae bloom that historically produces harmful toxins.
A sample was collected, and the analysis of toxins is underway. Once the data becomes available, OHA will determine whether the advisory can be lifted or must stay in place. Until OHA can lift the advisory, people should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities, such as water skiing or power boating, in areas of the lake where blooms are identified. Although toxins are not absorbed through the skin, people who have skin sensitivities may experience a puffy red rash. People are encouraged to visit Odell Lake and enjoy activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, and bird watching. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray, which could lead to inhalation risk. Odell Lake is located in the northwest corner of Klamath County, near Willamette Pass.
With many Pacific Power customers experiencing difficulties paying bills in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency and the associated economic downturn, the company is encouraging customers to speak with a Pacific Power customer care representative who can help provide peace of mind and assistance.
Pacific Power understands the uncertainty many of our customers are facing and temporarily suspended disconnects earlier this spring. The company has several important resources available for those facing difficulty paying electric bills, including setting up a flexible payment plan, connecting with services offering financial assistance, and evaluating energy usage for insights on reducing costs. When speaking with a customer care representative, customers can request more time to pay bills or set up a payment plan tailored to their circumstances. Customers can also enroll in Equal Pay to even out seasonal bill differences. It’s easy to make payment arrangements online, too. Customer care representatives can connect customers with energy assistance through Oregon Energy Fund or Project HELP in Washington and California to help pay bills. To make a bigger impact for our neighbors facing financial hardships, Pacific Power matches contributions to these programs 2-to-1 for those wanting to help others in the community.
Members of the Oregon National Guard paid honors to a fellow service member, Private First Class Alexander Klass as his remains were returned home to Oregon with an honor flight and funeral procession from the Portland International Airport (PDX) to McMinnville.
He was deployed with the 162nd Infantry Regiment at Camp Novo Selo, Kosovo, during the time of his death on July 4, 2020.
Pfc. Klass will be laid to rest during a graveside memorial service on Sunday, July 26. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Oregon Meritorious Service Medal, and Oregon Superior Soldier Ribbon.
Today, OHA announced the launch of a new program to fund work by Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to help respond to COVID-19 in culturally- and linguistically-responsive ways in communities across the state.
OHA will provide 173 CBOs with $9.4 million in CARES Act funds. The CBOs are contracted to help with three specific areas, though not all organizations were contracted to carry out work in all areas.
– Outreach and community engagement
– Contact tracing together with local public health authorities
– Providing people with social services / wraparound supports
The organizations are located in every county in the state, with deep ties to the communities they serve. Grants range from $9,500 to $352,200 for the first three months of funding (July 1-September 30, 2020) and depend on the type and scope of work the organization has agreed to carry out. Additional CBOs may be funded as applications come in to OHA.
OHA recognizes the impact longstanding health inequities, rooted in systemic racism and oppression, are having on COVID-19 infections in Oregon. CBOs are key to preventing and mitigating COVID-19 in communities that are most impacted. With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting communities of color, including high infection rates among Latinx, Black and Pacific Islanders, among others, the need for this program was substantial.
“Today, we’re taking a step forward in addressing the inequities COVID-19 has laid bare,” said Patrick Allen, OHA director. “These CBOs are trusted messengers in their communities who have been trying to provide support with existing resources. This partnership with OHA and local public health authorities will give CBOs the resources they need to increase their outreach and add much-needed capacity for an equitable statewide response.”
Outreach and community engagement: CBOs can utilize their trusted connections to individuals, families and communities as a critical way to share accurate information about COVID-19. By sharing information about COVID-19 in culturally- and linguistically responsive ways, OHA will help address COVID-19 disparities that are a result of systemic racism and oppression.
Contact tracing: An important part of the COVID-19 response is ensuring that any contacts of COVID-19 cases are notified about their potential exposure and monitored for symptoms. In order to engage with communities, Community Health Workers, Traditional Health Workers and individuals who have similar training or skill sets can effectively build relationships and make contact tracing successful.
At its quarterly meeting this morning, the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training (BPSST) unanimously approved a request to add the name of Harney City Marshal Zachariah H. Stroud to the State’s Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Memorial through its historic recognition process. The nomination came from the Board’s Police Policy Committee which unanimously approved the nomination at its meeting on June 18, 2020.
The name of Marshal Stroud will be added to the State’s memorial during the 2021 ceremony in May in Salem. The Harney County Sheriff’s Office has also submitted a nomination for recognition of Marshal Stroud on the National Fallen Officer Memorial in our nation’s capitol.
While conducting off-duty historic research, Rebecca Hannon, of DPSST’s Standards & Certification Section, found online newspaper articles about a line-of-duty death of a Harney City Marshal Zachariah H. Stroud on Wednesday, September 11, 1912. She could not locate his name on either the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem or the National Fallen Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
DPSST staff reached out to Harney County Sheriff Dan Jenkins and Lt. Brian Needham regarding this matter who contacted the Harney County Museum for assistance. The Museum was able to conduct historic research which gleaned more details including an eyewitness statement from a local oral history collection.
Harney City Marshal Zachariah H. Stroud had encountered four individuals carelessly firing weapons in front of the post office. He cautioned the group to stop or else they would be arrested. The group resisted resulting in a fusillade of gunfire, injuries to several of those involved, and the death of Harney City Marshal Stroud. Stroud was 44 years of age at the time of his death, unmarried, and left behind his mother and father. Three of the four individuals involved in the incident were found guilty of manslaughter.
DPSST’s Director Eriks Gabliks said “we are thankful for the work that was done by many to help make this addition to the Oregon Fallen Officers Memorial possible. Even though the death occurred more than 100 years ago, it occurred in the line of duty and it helps tell the history of Oregon law enforcement. The historic recognition process was created specifically for incidents such as this so that all of the men and women who have served as law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty are honored and remembered for their sacrifice to keep Oregonians safe.”
The Oregon memorial is inscribed with the names of 187 law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty since the mid 1800s. This includes officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies who have served as law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and parole and probation officers.