Rogue Valley News, Friday, Sept 18 – Showers To Help Firefighters in Rogue Valley

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, from Wynne Broadcasting.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

This Afternoon    A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 74. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Tonight   A 30 percent chance of showers before 11pm. Widespread haze between 11pm and 2am. Patchy smoke before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. Light and variable wind.

Saturday  Sunny, with a high near 81. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Sunday  Sunny, with a high near 87. Calm wind.

Monday  Sunny, with a high near 81.

Tuesday  Sunny, with a high near 81.

Wednesday  Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.

TODAY”S HEADLINES

Even with some showers in the forecast for Friday, Southwest Oregon is certainly experiencing high fire danger along with large fires and a high number of displaced residents.

To address the information needs of the community, the Bureau of Land Management Medford District, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and the Oregon Department of Forestry have activated a Wildfire Information Center.  The center’s mission is to answer questions and provide information about fire conditions, public lands closures and public use fire restrictions. 

The Wildfire Information Center is publishing an information blog that aggregates fire information being produced by the various Incident Management Teams and makes it available in one location creating a one-stop-shop. A call center is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. seven-days a week. 

Firefighting resources across the region are stretched thin due to the outbreak of numerous large fires across the Pacific Northwest that are threatening countless communities. In an effort to reduce the risk of wildfire on public lands and reduce the burden on initial attack resources, the Bureau of Land Management and USDA Forest Service have closed large amounts of public lands across the region. All federal roads and trails located within the closure areas are closed to public access.

More information on the closures, including maps, can be found on the Bureau of Land Management’s website at: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions and on the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest’s website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou/  

Over the weekend,the area is expecting a cooling trend potentially bringing lightening and some rain.  However, by Monday temperatures are expected to become warm and dry again.  We’re asking residents and visitors to the area to continue to be vigilant and take care not to accidently start a wildfire.  Working together, we can protect lives and property from wildfires. 

Before venturing out to enjoy southwest Oregon’s public lands, plan ahead and Know Before You Go.  Find more information on the Southwest Oregon Wildfire Information Center blog or contact the Wildfire Information Center (458) 206-3043. 

Oregon Heath Authority Update
The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 521, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning, Friday.

Oregon Health Authority reported 215 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of. yesterday bringing the state total to 30,060. The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory resumed normal operations yesterday after a three-day closure caused by HVAC problems and related poor indoor air quality. The lab is once again accepting and testing specimens.

The new cases are in the following counties: Benton (2), Clackamas (11), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Deschutes (7), Douglas (1), Grant (2), Hood River (1), Jackson (14), Jefferson (7), Josephone (2) Klamath (8), Lane (23), Linn (11), Malheur (11), Marion (28), Morrow (1), Multnomah (43), Polk (2), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (7), Washington (29) and Yamhill (3).

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Oregon. This major disaster declaration follows an earlier, more limited federal emergency declaration issued on September 10, which brought some resources from FEMA into the state.

Governor Kate Brown’s office said that the major disaster declaration allows for additional communications resources, search and rescue support, debris management, and shelter and medical assistance.

Representative Greg Walden stated that the supply of available housing will be tight in some areas, particularly southern Oregon. In the Phoenix and Talent areas, about 2,700 homes were destroyed, Walden said. Just 400 new housing units were built in all of Jackson County in 2019, he said.

Now families need almost seven times that many new homes. The congressman said he’s heard that a rumor is circulating about housing vouchers being necessaryto access temporary housing.

On Wednesday, Sept. 16th at around 6:45 am, Grants Pass RADE detectives with the assistance of GPDPS patrol units and narcotics detection K9 Match, arrested 73 year old William G. Van Tassell. RADE detectives obtained information Van Tassell was in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine and located him driving his vehicle southbound on Interstate 5 in Josephine County.

A traffic stop was attempted on Van Tassell as he neared exit 58. Van Tassell chose to not pull over and drove several miles before spike strips were deployed by a patrol unit, deflating 3 of Van Tassell’s tires. He eventually was stopped and after K9 Match alerted to narcotics in his vehicle, 228.4 grams (approximately 1/2 pound) of methamphetamine was located, hidden in his vehicle. Van Tassell was arrested and lodged in the jail for Unlawful Delivery and Possession of Methamphetamine. More charges are expected to be added by the DA’s Office. Anyone with questions can contact Det. Sgt. Doni Hamilton 541-450-6370 or email at dhamilton@grantspassoregon.gov.

Oregon Department of Human Services Offices Update for Friday:
The following ODHS offices are closed:
– Estacada: 320 SW Zobrist St
– Eugene: 1015 Willamette St
– Keizer: 3420 Cherry Ave
– McMinnville: 368 NE Norton Ln
– Portland: 8129 SE Malden St
– Salem: 4074 Winema Pl NE
– Sublimity: 11656 Sublimity Rd SE
Please call your local ODHS office before attempting to visit in person, or connect with us through 211info or the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Follow ODHS on Twitter and Facebook for the most up-to-date info.

 The Justice Department explored whether it could pursue either criminal or civil rights charges against city officials in Portland, Oregon after clashes erupted there night after night between law enforcement and demonstrators, a department spokesperson said Thursday.

The revelation that federal officials researched whether they could levy criminal or civil charges against the officials — exploring whether their rhetoric and actions may have helped spur the violence in Portland — underscores the larger Trump administration’s effort to spotlight and crack down on protest-related violence. The majority of the mass police reform demonstrations nationwide have been peaceful. For many nights, federal officials were told that Portland police officers were explicitly told not to respond to the federal courthouse as hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside, some throwing bricks, rocks and other projectiles at officers, and not to assist federal officers who were sent to try to quell the unrest.

Anticipated rainfall may be good news for air quality and ongoing fires, but Oregon officials warn that it could bring its own hazards. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for parts of the Cascade foothills within a list of counties — Hood River, Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion, Linn, Lane, Douglas, Coos, Jackson, and Klamath. The watch and lasts until noon today. The agency says that debris flows can be fast-moving, particularly destructive landslides — often carrying boulders and logs downhill with a surge of soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons.

The federal government is declaring a Public Health Emergency in Oregon due to wildfire smoke.  The declaration brings an Incident Management Team and regional emergency coordinators to work with state and local health authorities.  It also activates the National Disaster Medical System to provide technical assistance to state officials and provides tools to support counties’ emergency response.  Oregon has been suffocating under hazardous air quality conditions for about a week due to the ongoing wildfires.

With dozens of wildfires burning across Oregon, 911 call centers are noticing a concerning trend: a significant uptick in non-emergency calls related to wildfire evacuation. 911 centers taking calls from areas hit hardest by the wildfires are spending a significant amount of time looking up evacuation routes or urging residents to follow evacuation orders. But there’s a better number to call to get that information. Oregon residents who have questions about when or how to evacuate should contact 211info, a free, confidential referral and information service that connects residents to local health and human services. At the request of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, 211 recently set up a special wildfire line just for this purpose. Within 48 hours the team had fielded hundreds of calls pertaining to the wildfires. Residents should call 911 when there’s an immediate threat to life or property. For other non-life threatening issues that require police involvement, residents are asked to call the non-emergency number for their region. 

Victims of Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds that began Sept. 7 now have until Jan. 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. Following the recent disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced today that affected taxpayers in certain areas will receive tax relief. Individuals and households who reside or have a business in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties qualify for tax relief. Taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. 

Thousands of Oregonians have evacuated to escape wildfires that have damaged and destroyed homes throughout the state. Many who evacuated did not have time to take important documents with them, including ownership documents for their manufactured home, and those documents may now be destroyed.

The Oregon Building Codes Division’s online system can provide manufactured home owners with that information, including the record of ownership. Having these documents is important when navigating the insurance process.

The Oregon Manufactured Home Ownership Document (MHOD) system is available at https://aca-oregon.accela.com/OR_MHODS/. The system allows people to search for their documents and, once they find them, print or email them.

“These times are stressful enough without having to locate ownership documents in a damaged or destroyed manufactured home,” said Lori Graham, interim administrator of the Building Codes Division, which is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “Using the MHOD system is the easiest and quickest way for people to get their documents. Yet, if they need help, we can send them a printed copy.”

If customers need an existing ownership document mailed to them, but are displaced from their home, they can email or call, and the division can send it to any address customers want. Call 503-378-4530 or 800-442-7457 (toll-free) or email mhods.bcd@oregon.gov for help.

The MHOD system also has forms and applications, as well as other resources. People can access the records without needing to log in.

Areas around Weed, Calif., which is considered a high fire risk area, remain under a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) watch today. Peak gusts are expected in an area north of Weed. If a PSPS is required, the company may reduce the potentially impacted customers from 2,500 to 600 and issue a PSPS to a sectionalized area. This area encompasses north east of Weed, north of Alamo Avenue, out to the Carrick area, a section just west of Old Stage Road and Old Hwy 99 South. This includes an area north of Edgewood. It does not include areas in Hammond Ranch and the community of Lake Shastina. The measure is a proactive effort to mitigate wildfire risk in the face of hazardous fire weather conditions including extremely low humidity, dry vegetation, elevated levels on key weather indexes and sustained winds and gusts.    Customers have been notified of the watch through phone calls, email and text messages. Affected customers will continue to receive updates through ongoing communications. Customers can use the interactive map at www.pacificpower.net/psps to see if they are located in a PSPS area. Customers are encouraged to be prepared and have an outage kit ready.

OHA’s Weekly Report Shows Declining Case Count Trend

This week the report showed that new cases in Oregon have continued to decline as 1,294 cases were recorded from Sept. 7-13 —down 12% from last week’s tally of 1,477. In that same period, the number of Oregonians newly tested declined 35%, to 17,365, and the percentage of tests that were positive rose from 4.3% to 5.6%. This decline in the number of Oregonians tested occurred during the context of numerous active wildfires. OHA is closely monitoring this situation.

Twenty-nine Oregonians were reported to have died last week in association with COVID-19, compared to 23 last week. Eighty-three Oregonians were hospitalized; and with 47 in the previous week, the reported number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 is the lowest for any two-week period since mid-June.

As in past weeks of declining case counts, OHA reminds Oregonians that it remains very important to continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and avoid gatherings to sustain the progress the state has made.

The federal government is declaring a Public Health Emergency in Oregon due to wildfire smoke.  The declaration brings an Incident Management Team and regional emergency coordinators to work with state and local health authorities.  It also activates the National Disaster Medical System to provide technical assistance to state officials and provides tools to support counties’ emergency response.  Oregon has been suffocating under hazardous air quality conditions for about a week due to the ongoing wildfires.

With dozens of wildfires burning across Oregon, 911 call centers are noticing a concerning trend: a significant uptick in non-emergency calls related to wildfire evacuation. 911 centers taking calls from areas hit hardest by the wildfires are spending a significant amount of time looking up evacuation routes or urging residents to follow evacuation orders. But there’s a better number to call to get that information. Oregon residents who have questions about when or how to evacuate should contact 211info, a free, confidential referral and information service that connects residents to local health and human services. At the request of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, 211 recently set up a special wildfire line just for this purpose. Within 48 hours the team had fielded hundreds of calls pertaining to the wildfires. Residents should call 911 when there’s an immediate threat to life or property. For other non-life threatening issues that require police involvement, residents are asked to call the non-emergency number for their region. 

Victims of Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds that began Sept. 7 now have until Jan. 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. Following the recent disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced today that affected taxpayers in certain areas will receive tax relief. Individuals and households who reside or have a business in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties qualify for tax relief. Taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. 

Thousands of Oregonians have evacuated to escape wildfires that have damaged and destroyed homes throughout the state. Many who evacuated did not have time to take important documents with them, including ownership documents for their manufactured home, and those documents may now be destroyed.

The Oregon Building Codes Division’s online system can provide manufactured home owners with that information, including the record of ownership. Having these documents is important when navigating the insurance process.

The Oregon Manufactured Home Ownership Document (MHOD) system is available at https://aca-oregon.accela.com/OR_MHODS/. The system allows people to search for their documents and, once they find them, print or email them.

“These times are stressful enough without having to locate ownership documents in a damaged or destroyed manufactured home,” said Lori Graham, interim administrator of the Building Codes Division, which is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “Using the MHOD system is the easiest and quickest way for people to get their documents. Yet, if they need help, we can send them a printed copy.”

If customers need an existing ownership document mailed to them, but are displaced from their home, they can email or call, and the division can send it to any address customers want. Call 503-378-4530 or 800-442-7457 (toll-free) or email mhods.bcd@oregon.gov for help.

The MHOD system also has forms and applications, as well as other resources. People can access the records without needing to log in.

Areas around Weed, Calif., which is considered a high fire risk area, remain under a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) watch today. Peak gusts are expected in an area north of Weed. If a PSPS is required, the company may reduce the potentially impacted customers from 2,500 to 600 and issue a PSPS to a sectionalized area. This area encompasses north east of Weed, north of Alamo Avenue, out to the Carrick area, a section just west of Old Stage Road and Old Hwy 99 South. This includes an area north of Edgewood. It does not include areas in Hammond Ranch and the community of Lake Shastina. The measure is a proactive effort to mitigate wildfire risk in the face of hazardous fire weather conditions including extremely low humidity, dry vegetation, elevated levels on key weather indexes and sustained winds and gusts.    Customers have been notified of the watch through phone calls, email and text messages. Affected customers will continue to receive updates through ongoing communications. Customers can use the interactive map at www.pacificpower.net/psps to see if they are located in a PSPS area. Customers are encouraged to be prepared and have an outage kit ready.

OHA’s Weekly Report Shows Declining Case Count Trend

This week the report showed that new cases in Oregon have continued to decline as 1,294 cases were recorded from Sept. 7-13 —down 12% from last week’s tally of 1,477. In that same period, the number of Oregonians newly tested declined 35%, to 17,365, and the percentage of tests that were positive rose from 4.3% to 5.6%. This decline in the number of Oregonians tested occurred during the context of numerous active wildfires. OHA is closely monitoring this situation.

Twenty-nine Oregonians were reported to have died last week in association with COVID-19, compared to 23 last week. Eighty-three Oregonians were hospitalized; and with 47 in the previous week, the reported number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 is the lowest for any two-week period since mid-June.

As in past weeks of declining case counts, OHA reminds Oregonians that it remains very important to continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and avoid gatherings to sustain the progress the state has made.

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