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Rogue Valley News, Monday, 10/26 – Pacific Power ends Public Safety Power Shutoff watch for Illinois Valley and Northern California areas

CAVE JUNCTION, ORE. — After closely monitoring dry, windy weather conditions throughout the day, Pacific Power ended its Public Safety Power Shutoff watch early Sunday evening for high-fire risk areas in the Illinois Valley area of southern Oregon and Happy Camp, Calif. Weather conditions did not necessitate a power shutoff. The weather watch and line patrol was part of a proactive effort to provide situational awareness in the face of potentially hazardous weather conditions.

“Our top priority is the safety of our communities,” said Erik Brookhouse, vice president of system operations. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers throughout this effort.”

Public Safety Power Shutoff events are part of the utility’s comprehensive wildfire prevention plan, which includes additional safety inspections, upgrades to the grid system, and weather stations to monitor for hazardous conditions.

Customers in the watch areas have been notified of the watch conclusion. For all non-emergency questions about the Public Safety Power Shutoff watch, customers and the public should call Pacific Power at 1-888-221-7070.

Visit pacificpower.net/psps for additional information on Public Safety Power Shutoffs, wildfire safety and emergency preparedness. 

HEADLINES AROUND THE STATE OF OREGON

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 is unchanged from yesterday and remains at 653.  Oregon Health Authority reported 366 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, today bringing the state total to 42,101.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (6), Benton (5), Clackamas (17), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Coos (2), Crook (4), Deschutes (13), Douglas (4), Jackson (20), Jefferson (1), Josephine (3), Klamath (2), Lake (1), Lane (30), Lincoln (2), Linn (5), Malheur (6), Marion (88), Morrow (2), Multnomah (82), Polk (1), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Washington (57), and Yamhill (3).

Friday, the Oregon Health Authority reported its highest daily case count since the beginning of the pandemic with 550 cases overnight.

OHA says: Our thoughts are with all those who are affected by this virus. These numbers are alarming; preliminary data show this increase is due to continued widespread community transmission resulting in small clusters and outbreaks across the state.

Friday’s case count is again a reminder that we cannot let our guards down. Oregon Health Authority published new face covering guidance this week, which requires that people consistently wear face coverings while indoors at their workplace and all other places where they will be in contact with people from outside their household.

OHA has also asked people to rethink Halloween – avoid traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, avoid costume parties with people outside their own households and wear a face covering, because a Halloween mask won’t protect against COVID-19.

“We all need to aggressively adhere to the face covering guidance and always wear a mask,” said Shimi Sharief, MD, OHA senior health advisor. “We know everyone is tired and we all wish this would go away, but the reality is this disease is spreading in Oregon, and it’s on all of us to protect ourselves and each other.”

As always, thank you for all you are doing to help stem the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Each person’s actions really do make a difference.

SNAP Program Waiver Approved
A waiver approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Disaster SNAP recipients in the following 23 counties to purchase hot or prepared foods from authorized SNAP retailers until Nov. 20.

Approved counties: Benton, Clackamas, Columbia Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill.

Normally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase “hot food products prepared for immediate consumption.” This restriction is being waived following the severe winds and wildfires that led to the displacement of many residents and left them without access to a kitchen to prepare meals. Examples of allowable prepared foods include hot deli foods, fountain drinks, including but not limited to coffee and tea, a slice of hot/prepared pizza, hot soup, salad bars, and sandwiches.

This waiver will last through Nov. 20 and allows SNAP and DSNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy prepared food at any participating retailer that accepts SNAP EBT cards. Restaurant purchases are still prohibited.

For more information about the hot food waiver, visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/DSNAP-Hot-Foods-Waiver.aspx.

With the November 3rd Election night just around the corner, Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is pushing to place stringent restrictions on the 56 Portland police officers who remain federally deputized.

Despite the city’s request, the U.S. Department of Justice has refused to end the federal deputation of local officers, who were deputized ahead of a far-right rally in September. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has since barred these officers from making arrests under federal law, but some remain concerned about what could happen on Election Night with the DOJ insisting that local officers patrolling the demonstrations have the ability to bring federal charges against protesters.

On Wednesday this week, Hardesty will introduce a resolution to the City Council that would limit the authority of these officers, who make up most of the bureau’s Rapid Response Team, the unit responsible for responding to protests. If passed, the rule would place new restrictions on who the deputized police can take orders from and communicate with during demonstrations.

“Building on the mayor’s order to take no further action of any kind pursuant to the federal deputation, I am proposing a resolution that creates safeguards to further ensure these deputized officers remain under local control and protect Portlanders from being charged with bogus federal charges,” Hardesty said in a statement.

Winter arrived in the northwest with cold temperatures and even snow in Spokane over the weekend. Roads in the Spokane area were slick and some lost power throughout the city after a record-breaking 7 inches of snow fell in the region.

Avista Utilities reported more than 2,100 customers without power about 3 p.m. Friday.  Outages continued through the weekend. The storm marks the second year in a row that Spokane has been hit by a significant October snow storm.

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