Rogue Valley News – Wednesday, 8/5 – Oregon Reports 342 Covid-19 Cases, 5 More Deaths

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,

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Today: Sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 86. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 90. Light north northwest wind.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 94.

Sunday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 96.

Monday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 98.

Today’s Headlines

A Josephine County individual has died from complications relating to a COVID-19 infection, and a previously announced fatality has been removed from the county’s records at the direction of the Oregon Health Authority.  The 83-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 July 19 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass and died Aug. 3. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon reports 342 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 5 new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed five more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 333, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today. All deaths were elderly people between 83 and 96 years old.

Oregon Health Authority reported 342 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of this morning, bringing the state total to 19,699.

The new cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (3), Clackamas (21), Clatsop (1), Columbia (5), Coos (3), Crook (1), Deschutes (8), Douglas (5), Harney (2), Hood River (5), Jackson (17), Jefferson (13), Josephine (2), Klamath (4), Lane (12), Linn (1), Malheur (33), Marion (23), Morrow (11), Multnomah (57), Polk (4), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (61), Union (4), Wasco (1), Washington (29), and Yamhill (15).

The rate of positive coronavirus tests out of total tests performed in Oregon reached a high last week not seen since the very beginning of the pandemic, according to the latest testing report from the Oregon Health Authority.

The development is bad news for schools that are looking to reopen with in-person classes just a few weeks from now. One of the school metrics announced by Governor Kate Brown and OHA officials last week is a statewide test positivity rate of 5 percent or less for three weeks in a row before in-person classes will be allowed.

While Oregon’s test positivity rate did dip below 5 percent during the week of July 19 through July 25, it shot up to 6.1 percent last week — the highest that Oregon’s positivity rate has been since March, when testing was limited almost exclusively to a small number of people with obvious COVID-19 symptom

Test positivity rate, which uses the ratio of positive to negative results each week, serves as a more accurate representation of COVID-19’s spread in the state than using the number of new positive cases alone, which has almost certainly risen in part due to expanded testing

With summer comes recreation and outings but please remember to wear a mask and keep your physical distance from others. At least 25 campers and staff members at Trout Creek Bible Camp near Corbett have tested positive for COVID-19 — the first camp in Oregon to report an outbreak.

The disease was first detected July 18 when a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and the camp shut down for the season July 21. The outbreak has grown to a total of 11 campers and 14 staff members — all age 20 or younger, according to Multnomah County health officials.

The camp’s executive director, Joe Fahlman, said the camp diligently followed all requirements set forth by the Oregon Health Authority. Those include daily temperature checks of all campers and staff, frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer stations spaced throughout the 265-acre grounds and dividing children into static groups of 10 campers or less who didn’t mingle with campers from other groups.

The leader of a southern Oregon drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin in and around Klamath Falls was sentenced to federal prison yesterday.

Rogelio Gomez-Arias, 24, of Klamath Falls, was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in May 2018, southern Oregon law enforcement began investigating Gomez-Arias’ trafficking organization. Investigators learned than an individual in Mexico supplied the organization with methamphetamine in exchange for cash and firearms, and instructed it to transport narcotics to other west coast cities and beyond.

In August of 2019, investigators conducted three controlled buys with Gomez-Arias, purchasing a total of three pounds of methamphetamine. During these purchases, Gomez-Arias directed other members of his organization and openly explained his history of drug dealing. He explained in detail how he started selling small quantities of drugs and then moved up to ounces and, later, pounds. He bragged of making $500,000 in a single week and transporting drugs to other cities, including Seattle and New York. This information was corroborated when a co-conspirator was stopped on his way to New York with more than 700 grams of fentanyl.

On October 9, 2019, a coordinated, multi-agency law enforcement operation was conducted to dismantle Gomez-Arias’ drug trafficking organization. Four federal search warrants were executed in Klamath Falls and Dorris, California. Investigators seized more than 37 pounds of methamphetamine, 440 grams of heroin, 14 firearms, and nearly $50,000 in cash and arrested five co-conspirators, including Gomez-Arias.

A trip to Crater Lake may be a good idea today.  Today, will be a “fee-free” day at National Parks and other federally-managed public lands around the country, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced on Tuesday.

Entrance fees will be waived at all fee-collecting public lands under the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The waiver applies to day-use fees and site-specific amenities, but does not apply to overnight camping, cabin rentals, group day use, and use of special areas.

The Dept. of the Interior said that this spontaneous fee-free day was announced to mark President Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act into law — legislation for funding public lands that passed both chambers of Congress with widespread bipartisan support.

Around the state of Oregon

The USDA Forest Service plans to gather 500 wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory again this fall to continue moving toward the appropriate management level prescribed by the 2013 Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan.

A virtual public meeting to share information about the gather and accept comments on the use of motorized vehicles during gather operations is planned for Aug. 20 at 4:30 p.m.

The Modoc National Forest has contracted Cattoor Livestock Roundups to conduct the gather with a projected start date of Sept. 15-16. Reducing overpopulation helps address unsustainable impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, grazing and other traditional cultural practices.  Approximately 20 horses gathered in 2019 and held at the Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals are still in need of new homes. Please see for more information on how to apply. Get applications in now as well for horses to be gathered this fall.Top of Form

State and federal wildlife biologists in Klamath Falls said their agencies are working cooperatively to redue the number of livestock killed by wolves in the Klamath Basin.

Elizabeth Willy, senior wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Klamath Falls office, and Mike Moore, assistant district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Klamath Falls office, said two recent cattle kills in the Fort Klamath area have focused efforts on preventing more depredations. Moore said efforts continue to keep the four known wolves in the Rogue Pack away from cattle ranches and, instead, living in forests and feeding on deer and elk. The pack is known to travel consistently across the Southern Oregon Cascades in Klamath and Jackson counties.

Unusually, after last week’s two kills — Thursday and Friday near Fort Klamath — the wolves were chased off by humans before devouring the two yearling cattle.

 A majority of Oregonians appear to be in support of allowing businesses to offer cocktails to go.  That’s according to a new survey from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association.  The organization surveyed Oregon residents, asking if they would order a cocktail-to-go if they could.  Seventy-two-percent of respondents said yes. 

The Oregon Dept. of Public Safety and Standards releases 3-year review of police accountability and action taken against 67 police officers

here are two critical components of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) mission that work together to promote excellence in Oregon’s public safety professions — delivering quality training and upholding professional standards. DPSST training helps public safety providers protect their communities. Upholding professional standards ensures the integrity of Oregon’s criminal justice system by ensuring that officers meet and maintain all established training, physical, emotional, intellectual and moral fitness standards for all public safety disciplines.

In addition to statutes set by the Oregon State Legislature, DPSST’s overall mission is guided by the 24-member Board on Public Safety Standards and Training, and six discipline-specific, public safety policy committees. The board and committees are integrally involved in setting the agency’s Oregon Administrative Rules, which legally guide the implementation of our statutory obligations; the board and committees also provide input into, and make decisions regarding training standards and certification requirements; they review individual certification cases; and, they help set the agency’s high-level goals for the future. The board and committees meet quarterly.  

DPSST certifies more than 5,500 full-time law enforcement professionals in Oregon who work for city, county, state, tribal, university, railroad police agencies. 

Since August 1, 2017 (the effective date of Board’s expanded authority to review discretionary misconduct), 180 police officers or police officer applicants have had their eligibility for certifications reviewed (23 of those from the Portland Police Bureau). 

Of those 180 reviews, the Board took final action against 67 police officers. (62 revoked or denied – 8 from the Portland Police Bureau; 5 suspensions).

Of those 67 actions:

  • 4 involved female police officers;
  • 30 were for off-duty conduct;
  • 15 officers held Supervisory or above certifications
  • 51 had over 10 years experience as a police officer;
  • 19 over 25 years experience as a police officer
  • 12 involved alcohol or drug use;
  • 17 involved sexual conduct;
  • 4 involved domestic violence; and
  • 23 involved an element of dishonesty.

Oregon law enforcement officers who are decertified by DPSST are also entered into the the National Decertification Index (NDI) of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) which is a national registry of certificate or license revocation actions related to officer misconduct as reported by participating state government agencies. The NDI currently contains 28,555 actions reported by 45 certifying agencies as not all states issue certification to law enforcement officers and not all states have the ability to revoke or suspend police officer certifications, Oregon does both.

In accordance with HB 4207 passed during the recent special session of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, DPSST has created and published a statewide, online database of DPSST Professional Standards actions.  The database includes the names of all public safety officers who have been the subject of a DPSST certification action, their employing agency (when applicable), and a link to the DPSST investigation and Final Order once issued (which will include a description of the facts underlying the denial, suspension or revocation action) occurring on or after June 30, 2020 (The effective date of HB 4207). For broader transparency, a listing of all individuals who were the subject of a DPSST professional standards action prior to June, 2020 has also been published, along with a list of open, pending DPSST professional standards cases.  The database can be found on-line at

An article published in Science Advances on July 15 found the Paisley Caves were occupied by among the first people to arrive in North America.

For decades, many archaeologists believed that the earliest people to arrive in North America were the Clovis culture, named after their designs of arrowheads and other tools, which was around 13,000 years ago. But new evidence from the Paisley Caves now shows that people were living in the Paisley and Summer Lake area long before the Clovis culture began.

Professor Lisa-Marie Shillito, an archaeologist at the University of Newcastle in England, looked for radiocarbon evidence of the earliest human fecal in the caves.

In a statement, Shillito said that the Paisley Caves are one of the key case studies for pre-Clovis populations, because it is one of only a few places that have archaeological material that can be dated.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is extending the date to accept public comments on proposed changes to rules governing how the state protects important historical places until 5 p.m. Aug. 31, 2020. The extension comes with a new opportunity on Aug. 18 for local and tribal governments to learn more about the proposed rules and comment on them.

The state is proposing updates to the Oregon Administrative Rules that govern how the state administers the federal National Register of Historic Places Program, which lists buildings, districts and other sites important to local, state or national history. The Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) — an office of OPRD — administers the local program, which is run by the National Park Service.

In Oregon, 2,065 properties — including 133 historic districts located across the state’s 36 counties and representing many aspects of the state’s rich history — are now listed in the National Register.

In the last several years, several high-profile, controversial nominations exposed problems with the National Register process, including determining owner consent and public involvement. Proposed changes seek to establish a fair and transparent process in alignment with federal requirements.

In addition to extending the comment period, OPRD will have an informational webinar at 10 a.m. Aug. 18 for government staff and leaders to learn more about the proposed rules and potential impact on communities, local governments and tribes. The webinar will be open to the public and end with an opportunity to provide public comment. Register to attend at

“Local governments and Native American tribes are a critical partner in the national register program,” said Ian Johnson, associate deputy state historic preservation officer.

The Oregon SHPO provides local governments participating in the federal Certified Local Government (CLG) Program grants to list properties in the federal National Register of Historic Places. Using SHPO grant funds, the City of Jacksonville listed the Britt Gardens and the City of Gresham listed the Roy E. and Hildur L. Amundesen House in the National Register. 

Local governments may comment on National Register nominations. Local governments participating in the CLG program may object to a nomination, ending the nomination process unless appealed. The revised rule includes updated procedures for hearing notifications, including specific provisions to notify CLGs, as well as a provision that allows the SHPO to coordinate outreach efforts with local governments. The revised rule also now includes provisions for comments from Oregon’s nine federally-recognized Native American tribes.

OPRD will accept public comments on the proposed changes through 5 p.m. Aug. 31, 2020. Comments can be made online, in writing or via email:

The 2020 Scramble for Sight Golf Classic is ON!

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Oregon school students and younger children still are faced with undiagnosed vision issues that can be best discovered through high quality school vision screenings. The Lions of Oregon are as focused as ever in their efforts to help young people read better and do better in school and they have a fun way to help support that mission this summer with The 2020 Scramble for Sight Golf Classic!

Golfers all over Oregon are invited to register the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation, play at their community course during the week of August 30th to September 5th, 2020, donate at least $100 per player to OLSHF, post their 4-Man Scramble or individual 18-hole score and receive over $350 in “tee prizes” including a logo polo shirt, Bluetooth sports ear buds, Bridgestone golf balls and more!

Using the USGA Slope rating of each participating 18-hole golf course, team and individual winners in the following categories will win more great golf prizes like drivers, high-tech golf bags and more!

  • Low Net Team and Individual
  • Most money raised – Team and Individual
  • High Net Score – Team and Individual
  • Best Team and Individual Costumes

What golf formats are recognized? Almost all! Real USGA courses, community courses, mini-golf and even Wii Golf! Have fun and help children all over Oregon see to their potential so they can learn to their potential!

Please watch our commercial to learn more –

To register, simply email and he’ll get you started.

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