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Rogue Valley News, Thursday, 10/22 – ‘RIGHT OF ENTRY’ for clean up of private properties for free DEADLINE is OCTOBER 23

Of 967 “Right of Entry” forms sent out by the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center, a little fewer than 600 have been signed. That is according to EOC Director John Vial. Vial announced the update during a press conference at the Jackson County Courthouse on Wednesday.

“Right of Entry” forms will allow for government agencies to clean up private properties for free. With the deadline fast approaching (October 23), hearsay is still causing some property owners to not sign. “It continues to be something that Jackson County hears about and other counties are hearing about this as well. People are reluctant to sign a “Right of Entry” form because they are afraid it is going to impact their insurance,” said Vial. 

Simply put, Vial says that there will be no insurance impact when the form is signed. In fact, not signing it may be what costs a property owner in the long run. Trying to cleanup with your own insurance may not cover the cost. After that, you could be left paying out of pocket. 

“It is very likely that property cleanup is going to cost the owner more than the amount in the insurance policy. So, you run a very high risk of spending more of your own money to clean up the property. Whereas if you had signed the right of entry form and allowed the government to that for you, you would have been better off,” said Vial.

Vial says some confusing insurance scenarios are also playing a role. He explained that you may have money that is specifically for debris cleanup in your insurance policy. If this is the case, that specified money may be taken out of your insurance. However, that money is only available for debris cleanup anyways. After using that money, the government would take no extra money from your insurance policy.  If you have not signed a “Right of Entry” form yet, you can do so at www.jacksoncounty.org/ore. You can also call 1-682-80-5737. 

Lithia Motors Inc. (LAD) on Wednesday reported third-quarter earnings of $158.8 million. The Medford, Oregon-based company said it had net income of $6.86 per share. Earnings, adjusted for costs related to mergers and acquisitions and non-recurring costs, came to $6.89 per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $6.21 per share.

The auto dealership chain posted revenue of $3.62 billion in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $3.57 billion.

Headlines Around the State of Oregon

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Oregon reports 331 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, two new deaths

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 635, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning.

Oregon Health Authority reported 331 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 40,443.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (1), Clackamas (27), Columbia (2), Coos (4), Crook (2), Deschutes (9), Douglas (7), Harney (2), Hood River (3), Jackson (36), Josephine (1), Lane (40), Linn (6), Malheur (8), Marion (43), Multnomah (56), Polk (2), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (19), Union (2), Wasco (1), Washington (55) and Yamhill (4).

The Oregon Health Authority has submitted its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan to the federal government.  The plan includes a public review of the process to make sure communities of color that have been disproportionately affected in the past get access to the vaccine.  Priorities will be to have people critical to the pandemic response and those who are at highest risk of the virus vaccinated first.

As the next step in Oregon’s wildfire rebuilding and recovery,  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) and the State of Oregon to collect household hazardous materials from burned properties to protect residents and to ensure these materials are disposed of properly and safely.

To accomplish this task and aid Oregon’s recovery, EPA is now assembling teams and setting up a temporary equipment staging area to help residents in Marion County and surrounding counties recover from the fire and begin rebuilding their lives. This Response Staging Area will be similar to the one recently established in Central Point, Oregon, as part of EPA’s operations in Jackson County.

The Response Staging Area will occupy 5.4 acres of a parking areawithin the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center, located at 2330 17th Street NE, in Salem.  Additional, satellite “Transfer Station” areas are being planned for other areas as cleanup operations expand and accelerate.

The staging area is expected to be operational by October 26, 2020. EPA is deeply grateful for the State Fair, State of Oregon and City of Salem’s assistance and flexibility, allowing EPA’s Response Staging Area to temporarily share the fairgrounds property and assist the community in recovery.

EPA and their contractors will operate the facility, which will be secured 24 hours a day, where response workers will evaluate, organize and consolidate materials that EPA field teams will be recovering from burned properties in the area. It will also serve as the main assembly, assignment and dispatch point for agency responders and contractors each morning as they head to area worksites.

To protect workers and neighbors, air monitors will be used around the work site to be sure asbestos fibers and other harmful chemicals are not released to the air. In addition, locals may see the workers in HAZMAT suits to protect them from prolonged exposure to potentially harmful materials. EPA response officials ask everyone except authorized personnel to avoid the area due to the expected volume of vehicle traffic and construction activity over the next few months.

Fire-affected Oregon property owners now have a dedicated phone number – 541-225-5549 – to ask questions about EPA’s work at their property or to provide additional details about their property that will help speed the EPA removal work. The hotline offers service in both English and Spanish. Property owners now have another tool, the EPA Fire Recovery Story Map to view work progress in the area and get the latest information available about their property.

EPA and state officials want to stress that Response Staging Areas are NOT Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) drop-off centers for the community. Only authorized personnel will be allowed access to the site. Residents should contact their city or county recycling coordinators or public works departments to learn more about HHW collection services in their area.

Once the materials and containers arrive on site in sealed plastic containers and packaging, they will be inspected, organized and secured for shipment. They will be removed promptly by truck to be safely disposed of at a licensed & permitted disposal facility. Materials handled at the site may include:

  • BBQ & outdoor stove propane tanks
  • Cylinders, contents unknown, that can be transported safely
  • Batteries, ballasts, full and partial containers of household chemicals
  • Pool chemicals and household cleaners, polishes, varnish solvents and degreasers

The Response Staging Area is expected to operate between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, seven days a week, for approximately two months. EPA expects moderate levels of vehicle activity during operating hours, there will be bright lights illuminating the area for safety and unfortunately some unavoidable noise. Response officials are thanking local residents in advance for their patience and understanding during the construction, operation and dismantling of the facility when EPA’s work in the area is complete.

EPA’s Response Staging Area is part of federal, state and local actions responding to the recent tragic wildfires, aimed at helping Oregon residents recover and rebuild their lives.  For more information about the Wildfire Response please visit:  Wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup

Deputies are asking for help finding a missing southern Oregon teen who may be on her way to Texas.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said 15-year-old Athena Calvin was last seen Oct. 14 when she left a home on Alexander Lane in Glide. Deputies think she could possibly be trying to travel to Texas. Athena, a Glide resident, is described as being 5-foot-3 and 110 pounds with light brown and blond hair. She was last known to be wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, jeans and white shoes. Deputies ask anyone who has information about her location to call 541-440-4471. 

For the week of Monday, Oct.12 through Sunday, Oct.18, OHA recorded 2,327 new daily cases, a 4% decline from the previous week’s pandemic high of 2,418.

The number of newly tested Oregonians rose to 28,960, as did those who tested positively, to 6.5%.

Twenty-seven COVID-19 associated deaths were reported during the week—compared to 25 during the previous week. And people hospitalized with the virus remained the same at 143.

The age group with the highest incidence of reported infection has been in persons aged 20 to 49. They represent 39% of Oregon’s population and they account for 56% of COVID-19 cases.

Hospitalization and death rates increase with age, with persons 80 or older accounting for 51% of COVID-19 associated deaths.

PORTLAND MAN ACCUSED OF CIVIL DISORDER

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Portland, Oregon man has been charged with Civil Disorder and Theft of Government Property during protest activities in Portland.

            Jeffrey Richard Singer, 33, is charged in an two-count indictment with Civil Disorder in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 231(a)(3) and, in a separate incident, Theft of Government Property in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section 641.

            According to the court record, on the evening of October 4, 2020, Singer was one of a number of individuals protesting near the Portland City Hall in Downtown Portland.  Singer charged at two officers with his shoulder lowered.  He slammed into the officers, causing one of them to stagger backwards from the force of the impact and injuring that officer’s hands.  After colliding with the officers, Singer was arrested.  

In a separate incident on September 19, 2020, a group of individuals were protesting near the Gus Solomon Courthouse in downtown Portland. Singer is alleged to have stolen the U.S. flag from the Court’s flagpole.

Singer made his initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Youlee Yim You. He was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and ordered released pending a two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on December 22, 2020.  While on release, he must abide by strict conditions, including a curfew from 8:30 p.m. until 6:00 a.m.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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