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Rogue Valley News, Friday, 10/16 – The new roundabout on Highway 140 just east of White City is now fully open

As you come into the Medford area, the new roundabout on Highway 140 just east of White City is now fully open to all four directions of traffic, as crews from the Oregon Department of Transportation wrap up their work.

While the roundabout was opened previously to east and westbound traffic on Highway 140, traffic from Foothill Road and Atlantic Avenue can now travel through. According to ODOT, safety studies show that roundabouts reduce traffic fatalities by 90 percent, and tend to be safer than traffic signals on high-speed rural highway intersections. The roundabout on Highway 140 is designed to handle “the largest legal freight trucks on the road,” the agency said.

“Drivers should slow down when approaching a roundabout and yield to traffic inside the roundabout. They should also yield to pedestrians, just like at a regular intersection,” ODOT said. This roundabout is the sixth on a state highway in Oregon and the first in southern Oregon.

Today’s Headlines Around the State of Oregon

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COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 611. The Oregon Health Authority reported 374 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday bringing the state total to 38,525.

The state’s new overnight cases  are in the following counties: Benton (15), Clackamas (21), Clatsop (2), Columbia (3), Coos (1), Crook (2), Deschutes (7), Douglas (5), Jackson (17), Josephine (5), Klamath (1), Lane (33), Lincoln (5), Linn (12), Malheur (14), Marion (34), Morrow (1), Multnomah (110), Polk (12), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (17), Union (2), Wallowa (1), Wasco (1), Washington (46), and Yamhill (6). 

Health officials say the number of COVID-19 cases in Oregon is increasing at its fastest pace since the pandemic began.  The Oregon Health Authority says new cases over the 1st week are up 18-percent.  The number of positive tests is also up slightly to six-point-four-percent.  Health officials want that number under five-percent.  Officials say there were also 147 new hospitalizations over the last week.  That’s the highest weekly figure since mid-July.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple reports from people receiving phone calls indicating their child has been kidnapped and demanding a ransom.

The reporting parties noted that they heard background screaming and other noise that they believed was recorded. The incidents appeared to be originating from a foreign number possibly from Mexico beginning with country code +52.  Virtual kidnapping is an extortion scam where a caller pretends to have kidnapped a child or relative and demands payment.

The scammers will often make it appear they know significant details about their loved ones. They threaten extreme violence against the victim and imply that they have hacked your cell phone. The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office encourages you to share this information with friends and family members.

After more than 210,000 meals served, the American Red Cross turns over the feeding mission for Oregon wildfire survivors to state agencies and local community vendors.

Since September 7 the American Red Cross has worked with a number of partners, including faith-based and community-based organizations, to provide meals to as many as 2,200 people per day who resided Red Cross sheltering options. As of Friday, October 16, the Red Cross will turn over the feeding mission for the approximate 2,000 wildfire survivors who are still sheltered in local hotels, and staying in RVs and other vehicles at outside venues such as county fairgrounds.

The Oregon Department of Human Services, in conjunction with other state agencies, has identified vendors in the fire-affected communities who have already been working with the Red Cross for meal preparation and service. These vendors have been selected to continue food service and will help to ensure that nutritionally balanced and culturally specific meals will continue to be delivered along the same schedule as was established under the Red Cross.

“It’s important to everyone involved in this transition that it is as seamless as possible,” said Ed Flick, director of emergency management, at Oregon Department of Human Services. “The Red Cross and partners have done a phenomenal job and we are committed to continuing to provide these critical resources until shelter clients move to other housing options.”

“Red Crossers have been working with Oregon wildfire survivors for more than a month,” said Dale Kunce of the American Red Cross. “Providing a warm place to stay, meals, and access to information and other resources is what we do. For many, the meals and snacks we serve are not just nourishment. They give people a small sense of normalcy, a bite to eat and a moment to take a breather.”

Oregon DMV officials acknowledged this week they still don’t how many people are stuck in limbo waiting for paperwork to be addressed or other services at the state office. Phone systems continue to be overloaded.

Appointments are booked solid at least two months out. New dates are opened up in two-week increments.  Availability depends on where you live. The DMV, long pilloried as the stereotype of a plodding government agency, has faced a full plate: The pandemic, wildfire-related office closures, the long-tortured rollout of Real IDs and a 2021 law taking effect that will expand driver’s license access to potentially more than 100,000 residents. DMV offices across the state shut their doors completely for 10 weeks due to the pandemic.

Fifty-eight of the state’s 60 offices reopened with a new appointment-only method, a system that was instantly overloaded, scrapped and redesigned after some 18,000 callers jammed up the system in the first hour on June 1. The original plan had customers call for appointments, which the state ultimately flipped on its head, calling customers instead.

The Oregon Health Authority is urging everyone 6 months and older to get an annual flu shot, especially as COVID-19 cases increase in Oregon, and the pandemic persists.

“Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, it is more important than ever to get a flu shot to keep the people around you healthy,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., public health physician at the Oregon Health Authority. 

While it is unclear how the pandemic will affect the flu season, OHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are preparing for COVID-19 and seasonal flu to spread at the same time. A “twindemic” of two potentially fatal viruses circulating at the same time could burden the state’s health care system and result in many illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, Cieslak said. Getting a flu vaccine is something easy people can do to protect themselves and their loved ones and help reduce the spread of flu this fall and winter.

The flu vaccine may take up to two weeks to become effective, so getting it earlier in the season – like now is ideal. That’s why OHA is promoting a “Don’t Wait to Vaccinate” campaign with social media cards and other messaging starting today. Flu vaccine is available from health care providers, local health departments and many pharmacies. The vaccine is free or low cost with most health insurance plans. To find a flu vaccine clinic, visit and use OHA’s flu vaccine locator tool.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the flu. Additional ways Oregonians can help prevent the spread of flu include:

  • Staying home from work or school when you are sick and limit contact with others.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may have flu germs on them.
  • Avoiding getting coughed and sneezed on.


On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle crash on Hwy 101 near milepost 358.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Toyota Camry, operated by Benjamin Demaris (64) of Crescent City, was southbound when he struck a pedestrian, Michael Christian (32) of Crescent City, as he walked across the highway. 

Christian sustained life threatening injuries and was transported to Sutter Coast Hospital for treatment and then to Rogue Valley Hospital.  Christian was pronounced deceased at the hospital.   OSP was assisted by Curry County Sheriff’s Office, Harbor Fire Department and Cal Ore Ambulance.

Here’s one you may not believe, but it’s true:, but Portland, home to “antifa radicals” and the “radical left,” has just been ranked the ninth best place to live in the whole country by U.S. News and World Report.

It’s a big win for a city that is supposedly “under siege.” According to the ranking, “Portland’s population toes the line between an innocent playfulness and a shameless wild side.” However, U.S. News and World Report made no mention of the chaos and rampant homelessness usually favored by national news outlets, and instead focused on donuts and the World Naked Bike Ride. Even though Portland is still in the top 10, the city moved down since the 2018 ranking, when it was ranked sixth.

Oregonians are looking for ways to protect their household budgets during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health care needs are not always something people can predict, but unexpected costs for care can cripple a budget. However, a window shopping tool allows Oregonians to see how much they can save on private health insurance coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

Oregonians can get quality coverage and financial savings through the Marketplace. The window shopping tool is now available at for consumers to preview plan options and receive estimates to lower costs for 2021 to prepare for open entollment.

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 and is the only time of year many people can buy private health insurance. In 2020, more than 70 percent of Oregonians who purchased individual health insurance qualified for financial help, lowering the average premium to just $142 per month.

Visiting can help you answer these questions:

  • What coverage do I qualify for?
  • How much financial help can I get?
  • What would my health plan cover?
  • What are my next steps?

“Health insurance through the Marketplace is quality coverage that protects Oregonians from current and future health issues,” said Chiqui Flowers, Marketplace administrator. “The updated tool can help Oregonians find the true cost of coverage available to them.”

For 2021, Oregonians will have more options than they had in the past few years. Regence and BridgeSpan join Providence in providing statewide coverage, and all Oregonians will be able to choose from at least 15 health insurance plans.

(SALEM, ORE.)—Today the Oregon Employment Department announced that its unemployment website ( is now available in 15 languages other than English. The agency’s previous COVID-19 site was also available in 16 languages; however this new site, which provides timely information about new unemployment programs, instructions for how to apply for benefits, and answers to frequently asked questions, is easier to navigate and is more accessible for those using a mobile device. Making the newer website available in 16 different languages is part of the agency’s ongoing work towards increasing language access and removing barriers to accessing important information about unemployment benefits online.

“The Oregon Employment Department is an equal opportunity agency. We value equity and inclusivity and we’re committed to ensuring that our Limited English Proficient customers have meaningful access to all of our agency’s programs, services, and benefits. We don’t want anyone to miss out on the unemployment benefits they’re eligible for because they weren’t able to access the information they needed from our website. With this significant expansion of services, we’re leveling the playing field so everyone has equal access to information and help.” is available in the following languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese
  • Russian
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Romanian
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Arabic
  • Farsi
  • Laotian
  • Somali
  • Hmong
  • Mien
  • Marshallese
  • Chuukese

Troopers with California Highway Patrol arrested a truck driver from Oregon on Wednesday night after his big rig overturned on I-5 south of Grenada.

CHP said that 52-year-old Rodney Cavan of Sheridan, Oregon was driving a 2019 Freightliner tractor-trailer southbound on I-5 shortly after 9 p.m. “while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage” when the crash occurred. The truck and trailer blocked both lanes of I-5 southbound. Cavan, apparently unhurt, then left the scene — heading east, CHP said. Officers later tracked him down and took him into custody. Cavan was arrested for driving under the influence, and police are investigating for other potential charges.

Harvests of many kinds are well underway in the many rural communities Pacific Power serves, from apples and pears to peas and pumpkins. The busy fall harvest season is the most highly productive yet most dangerous time of the year for farmers, ranchers and their work crews, according to the National Agricultural Safety Database.

“As the Northwest’s largest rural power supplier, we know that fall harvest is a critical time of year. This is when the year’s investment pays off, but only if you take the time to stay safe, which is why we are focused on this season as much as you are,” said Joe Cissna, director of safety for Pacific Power. “Electricity helps with the harvest, but if you take it for granted and try to cut corners, tragedy could result.”

Customers and the public can get important safety materials, including Pacific Power’s “Electrical Safety on Your Farm or Ranch” brochure, or “Alerta! Fuera de Casa” brochure in Spanish, and “Look Up and Live” irrigation safety stickers in both English and Spanish – or schedule a free safety presentation – by calling Pacific Power toll free at 1-800-375-7085 or by visiting

There are three main areas in which to concentrate safety efforts:

Power Line Safety

  • Be aware of overhead power lines. Lower augers, harvesters or other equipment to transport level to ensure adequate clearance when near power lines. Know the height of cultivators or planters in the fold-up position; the equipment may be taller than during field use.
  • If a tractor or vehiclecomes in contact with a power line, remain seated until help arrives. If there is danger of fire, jump as far away from the tractor as possible and keep your feet together when landing. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time. Many injuries have occurred when equipment operators attempted to get back on or touch equipment after dismounting.
  • Never attempt to raise or move a power line.
  • Watch for guy wires, which are attached to and support utility poles and the ground. Striking a guy wire can damage your equipment and weaken a pole or even bring live power lines down, creating an extremely hazardous situation.
  • Do not erect fence wire along the same route as an overhead line and do not string fence wire where it may come into contact with an overhead line.

Electrical Safety

  • Make sure all outlets are three-hole, grounded outlets with faceplates.
  • Install a lock-out switch that can turn off all electricity to one area, for fast action in an emergency.
  • If there are any doubts about the state of electrical circuits, wiring or equipment on a farm, have a licensed electrician inspect them.
  • Properly ground the entire electrical system and protect ground wires and rods from damage.

If a line has fallen on the ground or on some other object or piece of equipment, always assume it’s hot, live or energized. Stay clear, keep others away and call 911 and Pacific Power toll free at 1-888-221-7070.

Another great source for safety information is the National Agricultural Safety Database. Visit to find out more.

“By being extra careful and refreshing everyone on safety, especially with an expanded workforce on hand, we can all work together and enjoy a safe and bountiful harvest,” said Cissna.

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