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Rogue Valley News, Tuesday, 10/27 – Talent Maker City Workshop Providing Bed Frames for Fire Victims

Sunday’s at Talent Maker City are filled with the sounds of power tools as students from Talent and Phoenix build bed frames. Those bed frames represent more than a place for someone to lay their head. They represent hope. That’s because the bed frames the students are learning to build are being donated to victims of the Almeda Fire who lost everything. The Sunday workshops are geared to children between the ages of 11 and 17 to teach them trade skills. Carpentry is the main focus of this workshop, although many more are offered through Talent Maker City. Bed frames for fire victims are provided at no cost to the families thanks to local donations and the Girls Build program. And some of the students are making their own bed frames after losing their homes and most of what they owned in the Almeda Fire. https://www.talentmakercity.org/gb-tmc

CAVE JUNCTION, ORE. — Pacific Power continues to closely monitor weather in high-fire risk areas in the Illinois Valley area and Happy Camp, Calif. The company has deployed additional line and vegetation management crews to patrol lines and address hazard trees as needed.  

The PSPS watch covers the communities of Selma, Dryden, Kerby, Cave Junction, Holland, O’Brien, Takilma and Happy Camp. Approximately 5,800 customers are in the PSPS watch area.

“With the combination of high, gusty winds, low humidity and elevated factors on key weather indexes, we want to take every precaution to protect these communities,” said Erik Brookhouse, vice president of system operations. “Our teams will continue to be on location throughout the day to monitor weather and power lines so we can respond quickly to any issues.”

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.  Pacific Power encourages customers to be prepared making sure contact information is updated and the company has your correct phone number and email address on file.

Customers have been notified of the watch through phone calls, email and text messages. Customers under the PSPS watch area will receive an additional update once the PSPS watch concludes or if conditions warrant a PSPS. Customers can use the interactive map at www.pacificpower.net/psps to see if they are located in a PSPS area.  

For all non-emergency questions about the PSPS, 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

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COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 655, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Monday, Oct. 26, according the latest numbers. Oregon Health Authority reported 339 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 42,436.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (41), Clatsop (1), Columbia (7), Coos (8), Crook (2), Deschutes (10), Douglas (1), Jackson (15), Josephine (1), Klamath (9), Lake (2), Lane (37), Linn (7), Malheur (2), Marion (40), Multnomah (90), Polk (4), Sherman (1), Umatilla (5), Union (1), Washington (56) and Yamhill (6).

Early mornings in October are chilly, but the parking lot of the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission somehow still felt warm on Thursday as volunteers helped distribute boxes of food throughout Oregon and Northern California.

Forklifts transferred pallets of produce, dairy and meat boxes from vast refrigerated cargo trailers and onto a line of cars and trucks. Mostly wearing bright orange, the volunteers jovially greeted the visitors, making small talk as they filled their vehicles to the brim with fresh, free food. The cars drove off to deliver their bounty across the county and even the state. Ammond Crawford, the Mission’s executive director, said this is the only major distribution point for hundreds of miles.

People have come from as far away as Lakeview, Medford and even Salem to pick up food and distribute it further within their own communities.

Groundbreaking research on industrial hemp and the best ways to grow the crop are underway in Klamath Falls. Workers on Wednesday finished harvesting their crop of industrial hemp for Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center at Rock Creek Ranch, located off Highway 140 West.

The approximately one-acre, two-year operation is part of a multi-state, regional water efficiency trial aimed at identifying the best ways to grow and irrigate industrial hemp. The project has additional sites in Hermiston and Ontario, as well as Fresno and Davis, California. The overall project is mainly funded by about $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is designed to help determine best practices for irrigating the crop. OSU has a long history with hemp research, having been the site of the National Hemp Center from 1880 to 1934, according to GHIC Director Jay Noller.

Hemp was outlawed in the United States in 1936, though Noller, founder of the GHIC, said that some OSU faculty continued to unofficially grow the crop on campus for research purposes until it was removed in 1970.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District will be performing aerial herbicide applications across 20,700 acres starting on Monday, Nov. 2, and is expected to be completed by Nov. 15, depending on weather conditions, according to a news release. The goal of the proposed herbicide applications in South Warner, North Warner, Picture Rock, Clover Flat, Silver Lake, Dragon Rock Fire, Double J Fire area, and Windy Ridge annual grass project is to restore wildlife habitat invaded by invasive annual grass species that have the potential to create fuel loads and increase wildfire return intervals.

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.

Ducks scrimmage canceled as some 5 players test positive for Covid-19 over the weekend. 

University of Oregon Athletic Communications announced Saturday evening that five football players have tested positive for COVID-19. These are the first positive tests since the program began daily testing in September. 

Head coach Mario Cristobal told the media that the individuals are asymptomatic, in isolation and working with the local medical staff. 

“The scrimmage was canceled,” Cristobal said. “Tomorrow we are testing the entire team again and following up with PCR tests for the other guys that tested positive.” 

The university has reported the positive cases to health authorities and contact tracing is in progress.    It is unclear as to when the group of players will be back in action and participating in group practices. The program is scheduled to kick-off their season against Stanford on Nov. 7 at Autzen Stadium. 

A Veterans Administration police officer in Roseburg has been arrested after admitting he hid cameras in a 14-year-old girl’s bedroom, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday. Robert Wayne Roady, 48, faces multiple charges, including invasion of personal privacy. The sheriff’s office says Roady “admitted to placing the cameras in the room of a 14-year-old female for sexual purposes.” The department says that, after searching Roady’s home, detectives found evidence indicating there might be other victims. The investigation is ongoing. The sheriff’s office asks anyone with information about this case to contact the detectives’ division at (541) 440-4458.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Monday said authorities will soon announce a plan for dealing with possible civil unrest on election night. Wheeler, speaking during a news conference at City Hall, said local, state and federal authorities have been working to establish a mutual aid agreement to address potential violence or disruptions on election night, which is a week from Tuesday. Wheeler did not divulge specifics but said federal deputization of officers, crowd dispersal techniques and the roles of various law enforcement agencies are among the topics that have been discussed. He expects an announcement about the interagency plan to come early this week.

Multnomah County Commissioners are again talking about whether the Portland Police Bureau should be merged with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.  The idea would be to use the money savings to fund social services.  There would be extensive issues to be worked out, including who leads the new agency.  The Police Chief is appointed by the Portland Police Commissioner, while the Sheriff is elected.

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that a Hillsboro, Oregon, resident has been charged with assaulting a federally deputized Portland Police officer with the pointed end of an umbrella and interfering with law enforcement officers performing their official duties during a civil disorder event.

A federal grand jury in Portland has returned a two-count indictment charging Skyler Roy Rider, 18, with Civil Disorder and Assaulting a Federal Officer.

According to court documents, late on the evening of October 6, 2020 and into October 7, a crowd gathered and a march began at Elizabeth Caruthers Park located in the 3500 block of South Moody Avenue. The group walked to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building on South Macadam Avenue. Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers observed many in the crowd carrying shields, wearing helmets, gas masks, and body armor. As the group marched towards the ICE building, support vehicles followed them as they blocked streets.  

As the crowd arrived at the ICE building, people in the crowd were observed flashing lights in the eyes of Federal Protection Services (FPS) officers as they stood outside the ICE building. People in the crowd were observed throwing rocks at the FPS officers and at one point, someone in the crowd threw a flaming object onto the roof of the ICE building. Due to the criminal acts, FPS officers moved the crowd back towards Elizabeth Caruthers Park.

Later, the crowd again began marching towards the ICE building, blocking the streets. The PPB incident commander declared the event an unlawful assembly and the crowd was given multiple warnings over a loudspeaker to leave the area or face possible arrest, use of crowd control munitions to include tear gas.  The crowd did not leave the area, but remained in the middle of the street. A PPB officer assigned to the Rapid Response Team, deputized as a U.S. Marshal to protect federal personnel and property during civil disorder events, observed a subject later identified as Skyler Roy Rider, holding a distinct blue and white umbrella, in a line of others blocking the street holding shields. The PPB officer determined there was probable cause to arrest Rider for disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.  As the officer approached Rider to arrest him, Rider lowered the umbrella with both hands and forcibly jabbed the officer in the chest with the pointed end of the umbrella. The force caused the officer to gasp and curl over in pain. Rider ran from the officer and other officers came to assist and placed Rider into custody for assaulting a public safety officer.

Following the arrest of Rider, he was found to be dressed in all black wearing a gas mask and body armor. In his pockets were two water bottles. Video was later viewed by the PPB officer showing Rider throwing a water bottle at FPS officers earlier in the evening.

Skyler Roy Rider, made an initial appearance in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie Russo, was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and ordered released pending a two-day jury trial scheduled to begin on December 29, 2020.

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