Rogue Valley News, Friday, 11/6 – OHA Reports Record 805 Covid-19 Cases In A Single Day in the State

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting and RogueValleyMagazine.com

Friday, November 6, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Today Showers likely, mainly before 10am. Snow level 4200 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 51. West northwest wind 3 to 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Overnight a 20% chance of showers before 10pm. Snow level 3800 feet. A low around 35.

Saturday A 20% chance of showers after 10am. Snow level 3700 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49.

Sunday A slight chance of showers before 10am. Snow level 2500 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 47.

Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 49.

TODAY’s HEADLINES

Oregon Health Authority is today reporting a record of 805 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, and five new deaths in the state.

COVID-19 has claimed five more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 710, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. OHA also reported 805 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 47,839.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (13), Benton (7), Clackamas (71), Clatsop (1), Columbia (7), Coos (2), Crook (4), Deschutes (45), Douglas (10), Grant (5), Hood River (2), Jackson (67), Jefferson (4), Josephine (9), Klamath (1), Lane (37), Lincoln (1), Linn (24), Malheur (18), Marion (79), Morrow (3), Multnomah (196), Polk (8), Umatilla (26), Union (7), Wallowa (1), Wasco (6), Washington (134), and Yamhill (17).

OHA released its COVID-19 Weekly Report Thursday, Nov. 5, which showed that during the week of Monday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Nov. 1, OHA recorded 3,542 new cases of COVID-19 infection — up 34% from last week’s tally of 2,642, according to a news release. This is the second consecutive week daily case counts set a record high for the pandemic. The number of newly tested Oregonians rose to 34,591 and the percentage of positive tests rose sharply to 8.4%.

To protect yourself: keep your distance by maintaining six feet of social or physical distancing between yourself and others. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, utilizing hand sanitizer when washing facilities are not available. Sanitize surfaces that are often touched. Avoid gatherings of any size where social or physical distancing is not possible. To protect others around you: cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, and wear a clean mask in public spaces, including outdoors when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown plans a 1 o’clock press conference today, a day after the state set a one-day record for new COVID-19 infections with 805 in a single day.

The state also reported 5 more deaths in Oregon on Thursday, including two women in Douglas County.   Those deaths and others bring the death toll in Oregon to 710.

To date, 47,839 Oregonians have tested positive for the virus.

“COVID-19 is spreading in Oregon at an unprecedented rate, driven in no small measure by in-person, indoor social gatherings,” said Brown.

“You are most likely to get COVID-19 from your family and friends. Let me be clear: we cannot allow this disease to continue to spread so rapidly in our communities. Lives are at stake. Oregonians have made tremendous sacrifices to help each other throughout this pandemic, which is why Oregon has done relatively better than many other states at containing COVID-19. We can’t let up now. I will take further action to stop the spread of COVID-19, and I need Oregonians to continue to do their part as well.”

As of 9:00 AM today fire season has officially come to an end in Southwest Oregon and the City of Grants Pass.  All restriction have been removed with the exception of open burning within the city limits.

With the end to fire season, we will be reinstating the open burn window November 14th through November 22nd.  Permits will be available starting Thursday, November 12th at the Parkway Public Safety Station located at 800 E. Park St.  Our office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM, excluding holidays.  The last day to purchase a permit will be November 20th.

While fire season is over, fire prevention must continue. Please be vigilant while burning debris, making sure that a burn pile is never left unattended. Also, please use caution while using machinery that could produce a spark. Fall weather in Southern Oregon can vary greatly.

For questions please contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 541-450-6200.

On November 6, 2020 at 0235 hrs, officers with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety conducted a traffic stop on a white 2015 Jaguar for minor traffic violations on SW 6th St near SW K St. When officers contacted the driver, later identified as Joseph Doyle, he drove away at a high rate of speed.

Doyle crashed his vehicle into a power pole at the corner of SW L St and SW 4th St, then fled the scene on foot. Located in the vehicle was over 40 lbs of marijuana.

An extensive search of the area was conducted, and a Police K9 unit tracked Doyle to a residence on SW Burgess St, where he was found hiding in the backyard. Doyle was arrested and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the listed charges.

Arrestee:  Joseph Doyle, 38 years old, Florida resident

Charges:  

  • Warrant (Florida), Trafficking in Heroin
  • Attempt to Elude Police
  • Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana
  • Unlawful Delivery of Marijuana
  • Fail to Perform Duties of a Driver (Hit & Run)
  • Criminal Mischief II

Case Number: 20-51214

Deputies are still searching for the suspect in a reported shooting outside of Rogue River on Wednesday night, according to the last update from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Just before 4 p.m. deputies responded to a report of “assault with a weapon” on East Evans Creek Road northeast of Wimer, near Neathammer Gulch. Investigators learned that the reported assault was a shooting, and that the suspect — 35-year-old Joshua Robert Miller — fled the scene, the Sheriff’s Office said. Miller is described as having sandy-blonde hair, five-foot ten-inches tall, and 185 pounds. He is considered armed and dangerous, and may either be on foot in the East Evans Creek area, or may be on a Polaris ATV.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office did not say if anyone was hurt or killed in the reported shooting, and underlined that further details are “not being released at this time.”

Around the State of Oregon

The Oregon National Guard’s parade of military-style Humvees rolling into downtown Portland on Wednesday night marked the first time the Guard has put boots on the ground in the city to do crowd control in 50 years.

The last time was for an anti-Vietnam War protest in 1970 during the annual convention for the American Legion, said Stephen Bomar, Oregon Military Department spokesman. This time, about 50 Guard members arrived in Portland and lined up with police after the joint command of Oregon State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office sought their activation and Gov. Kate Brown gave the green light.

The Guard remains on standby as part of the governor’s executive order through Friday.

Oregon Food Bank this week celebrated the passage of seven endorsed state and local ballot measures that have a direct and meaningful impact on the root causes of hunger.

From schools and libraries, to community safety, to addiction treatment and recovery, the 2020 elections presented an incredible opportunity to pass policies directly related to hunger at the ballot box. And Oregonians turned out in unprecedented numbers to support resilient, thriving communities. In the midst of rising food insecurity and economic uncertainty — and one of the most consequential elections of our time — Oregon Food Bank launched its 2020 #VoteOutHunger campaign to raise awareness and generate support for ballot measures that help to address the drivers of hunger and poverty. Through a combination of digital advocacy, social engagement and community-led grassroots organizing, the state’s leading anti-hunger organization coordinated a sustained voter education effort — mobilizing thousands of supporters and allies across Oregon in support of key ballot measures.

The endorsements are part of Oregon Food Bank’s ongoing efforts to not only address hunger as it occurs in Oregon and Southwest Washington — but to prevent hunger from happening in the first place. This holistic approach incorporates traditional food banking programs, advocacy for policy change and community organizing initiatives.

Pandemic-related job losses have increased the number of Oregonians eligible for help paying for health insurance.

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace estimates thousands of Oregonians may be newly eligible. In recent years, Oregon had made great strides in reducing the uninsured rate. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 94 percent of all Oregonians had health coverage. Since the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians either have lost their job or have experienced a loss in income. As a result, these Oregonians may be newly eligible for financial help to purchase health insurance. Insurance agents and community partner organizations throughout the state are available to help with applying for financial assistance and choosing private plans.

Consumers can also browse plans and find out how much savings they are eligible for by going to OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop. Oregonians who do not get health insurance through their job or a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare may qualify for help paying for 2021 coverage at OregonHealthCare.gov.

Even if people are temporarily uninsured, they can sign up for help by the Dec. 15 deadline to get health insurance for next year. To apply, go to OregonHealthCare.gov before Dec. 15 and answer a few Oregon-specific questions to get to the right application. Or they can search the “get help” directory on the site to find an insurance agent or community partner organization who can help them complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to the client. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following safety protocols.

Nonindustrial private forest landowners in 13 Oregon counties hit hard by wildfires have until the end of the year to submit applications to the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) for grants to address wildfire damage, according to an announcement this week by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director Josh Hanning.

The counties where landowners are eligible to apply are Lake, Klamath, Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Washington, Lincoln, Tillamook and Wasco. EFRP provides payments to eligible owners of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) land to enable the owners to carry out emergency measures to restore land damaged by a natural disaster. EFRP signup began Nov. 3 and ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

After applications are received, local FSA county committees determine land eligibility using on-site damage inspections that assess the type and extent of damage and approve applications.

With the approval of Measure 108 by Oregon voters this week, the Department of Revenue is moving ahead with the implementation of increases in cigarette and tobacco taxes along with a new tax on inhalant delivery products.

As a result of the passage of the measure, the public will see the following changes beginning January 1: The cigarette tax will increase by $2 per pack of 20 and $2.50 per pack of 25. Little cigars, collectively weighing less than 3 pounds per 1,000, will be taxed as cigarettes, will require an Oregon cigarette tax stamp, and must be sold in sealed packages of at least 20. Inhalant delivery systems, such as vaping and e-cigarette products, will be taxed at a rate of 65% of the wholesale purchase price. The cap on the tax on cigars increases from 50 cents to $1.

Revenue produced by the tax changes will be used by the Oregon Health Authority to fund healthcare coverage for low-income families, including mental health services, and public health programs, including programs addressing tobacco- and nicotine-related disease. Revenue will hold a public hearing November 24 on a series of administrative rules implementing the changes. Information about the hearing is available on the agency’s website. Tobacco distributors and retailers, inhalant delivery product and e-cigarette dealers, and the public can also find answers to a list of frequently asked questions on the website.

Oregon Building Codes Division pilot program allows for remote inspection

Technology lets Minor Label Program use contact-free inspection process

Salem – The Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD) has launched a pilot program using remote inspection technology to review some common mechanical installations. 

“In response to COVID-19, we are using innovative new ways to allow for contact-free inspections,” said Alana Cox, acting administrator of the Building Codes Division.

This pilot program will initially be available in a limited number of jurisdictions: Salem and most of Marion, Coos, and Umatilla counties. 

Contractors doing work in participating jurisdictions can perform certain common mechanical installations under a minor label permit and submit pictures and videos of the installations for inspection.

Using remote inspection technology that can be downloaded onto a mobile device, the pictures and videos can be submitted as documentation for later inspection.

Minor labels are inexpensive electrical, plumbing, and elevator permits that can be used by licensed contractors in Oregon. Labels are sold to contractors in lots of 10 for $140, which includes surcharges and the fee for one inspection. The permits are valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Rather than waiting for an on-site inspection, review and approval is conducted remotely, saving time for the contractor and the local building inspection staff.

For instructions or more information about the program, visit the BCD website at http://www.oregon.gov/bcd/minlab/Pages/mechanical.aspx, email minilabhelp.imd@oregon.gov, or call 503-378-2804.

Western Oregon University’s (WOU) Research and Resource Center with Deaf* communities (RRCD) has received a $1 million grant from the federal Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA). This grant supports WOU’s Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (RMHC) program, which trains people to facilitate employment, independent living, community integration and more for individuals who are Deaf or have disabilities.

The grant began this month and runs through Sept. 30, 2025. RRCD will receive $200,000 annually to support RMHC students with their tuition, training and professional development and recruitment efforts to bring in more students from underserved populations. This grant is in addition to a $1 million grant received last year to support these initiatives, and WOU is one of the few institutions to receive both five-year grants.

Joyce Contreras is an RMHC student who received funding from last year’s RSA grant. Through the grant’s support, Contreras learned she has an interest in vocational rehabilitation and plans to pursue a career in the field. “If it wasn’t for the RSA grant, I do not know how I would have made it through financially, but the support from my cohort and the RMHC staff has helped me thrive in the program,” she said. “Beginning in winter term, I will be doing my internship with the Albany and Corvallis vocational rehabilitation offices, which I look forward to because there is so much I am interested in learning from vocational rehabilitation work in helping individuals with disabilities find employment.”

Associate Professor Denise Thew Hackett, RMHC program coordinator, and Chad A. Ludwig, RRCD director, both deaf, are two of the leaders in WOU’s programs, which aim to narrow the gap of vocational rehabilitation and mental health counselors nationwide. The RMHC’s rehabilitation counselor with deaf track is one of only three in the country, and the RMHC program overall is one of only four in the Pacific Northwest. The deaf track specialty has an online option that is delivered in American Sign Language to address a significant national shortage of counselors with this specialty. There is a hybrid model for the general track with Saturday face-to-face meetings at WOU:Salem (resuming when pandemic conditions allow) and online in between to meet the needs of working professionals and rural students.

RSA was created to address the current national shortage of qualified rehabilitation counselors with a master’s degree. RSA scholars are required to do two years of service payback for each year of financial support in state vocational rehabilitation and qualified agencies that contract with them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019) outlined a positive projected job outlook for 2020-23, and in Oregon, at least 40 VRC positions will need to be filled over the next three years due to retirement alone. Similar data is shown nationally, and even more so with specialty training to serve individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or DeafBlind.

WOU’s RMHC program has had a retention rate of nearly 100% for the past several years and 100% of the graduates have been hired within six months of completing their degree. This grant will enable RMHC to support more students with their education expenses, professional expenses such as attending professional conferences/training, and prepare them for employment in vocational rehabilitation.


RRCD is in WOU’s College of Education and has been supporting students in fields like interpreter training, deaf and hard of hearing education, and rehabilitation counseling for more than 50 years. For more information about the RMHC, please visit www.wou.edu/rrcd/rmhc.

PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams congratulates Sergeant Jason Thien of the Curry County Sheriff’s Office and Detective Archie Lidey of the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, who were honored by United States Attorney General William P. Barr for their distinguished service in policing. The awards were announced on November 3, 2020. 

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local, and tribal sworn rank-and-file police officers and deputies for exceptional efforts in policing. The awarded officers and deputies have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: criminal investigations, field operations or innovations in community policing. This year, the department received 214 nominations recognizing a total of 355 individual officers, deputies, and troopers. There were 39 states represented in the nomination pool, covering state, local, campus, sheriff, and other agency types. This year’s awards recognized the exceptional work of 23 law enforcement officers and deputies from 12 jurisdictions across the country.

The Distinguished Service Award for Sergeant Thien was in the category of Criminal Investigations and reads as follows:

In Curry County, Oregon, Sergeant Jason Thien often works alone on his shift, where he services a 1,600-square mile county and more than eighty miles of the Pacific Coast Highway. Even so, he did not hesitate to give it his all when word came down of a widespread manhunt for a murder suspect, who was thought to be in Curry County. Working his contacts, combing property records, and using other investigative tools, he found his man. Thanks to Sergeant Thien’s dedicated efforts, he apprehended the subject, who will soon be facing charges.

The Distinguished Service Commendation for Detective Lidey was in the category of Innovations in Community Policing and reads as follows:

When Josephine County, Oregon, suffered a funding crisis, Detective Archie Lidey zoomed into action. The situation was dire, with staffing reduced at the sheriff’s office and the jail, limiting the number of offenders that could be housed. Citations were issued to most criminal offenders instead of placing them under arrest. But Detective Lidey began a grassroots effort to find and maintain funding. As a founding member of Securing Our Safety (SOS), formed specifically to overcome the law enforcement–funding crisis, Detective Lidey organized a 5k race that grew to 700 participants in 2020. Lidey and SOS also raised over $60,000 to complete a study of local justice and law enforcement programs. They also formed a nonprofit called Grace Roots, to establish a residential treatment center for people with addictions; and he was key in establishing the Grants Pass Treatment Center, a methadone and suboxone treatment program for substance abuse addiction. Josephine County went from having no treatment facility to one that now sees more than 300 patients a day. And funding-wise, it has all paid off: since 2013, Detective Lidey has coordinated events and contributions that now total $324,000.

“There is no career nobler than that of a police officer, and the 23 officers we honor this year demonstrate that clearly,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “These individuals are distinguished in their service for field operations andcriminal investigations – from investigating homicides to drug trafficking to sexual exploitation and assault – to making positive change in their communities through innovative outreach to local residents. Their actions are a testament to what law enforcement officers contribute to our nation each day, keeping us safe from violent crime and building more trusting communities, and they are deserving of our collective thanks. I am pleased to honor these 23 officers for their distinguished service in policing.”

“I look forward to presenting these awards to Sergeant Thein and Detective Lidey” said United States Attorney Williams. “These awards are a testament to the dedication, bravery and skill of all law enforcement across our nation and I cannot be happier that two of our own have been recognized for their public safety efforts.”

U.S. Attorney Williams will present the award to Sergeant Thien on November 18, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. at the Curry County Board of Commissioners Annex in Gold Beach, Oregon, and to Detective Lidey on November 24, 2020, at 3:30 p.m. at the Department of Public Safety in Grants Pass, Oregon.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Billy J. Williams, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon and Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Portland Field Office, announced today that a federal grand jury in Portland returned an 5 Count Indictment against Troutdale, Oregon resident Hawazen Sameer Mothafar, 31, charging two counts of Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to a Designated Terrorist Organization and one count of Providing and Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B(a)(1). In addition, the indictment charges Mothafar with one count of False Statements in an Immigration Application in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1546(a) and one count of False Statement to a Government Agency in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001(a)(2).

Mothafar had his initial appearance in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo today.  Due to the fact that Mothafar has physical disabilities and is confined to a wheelchair, the Government did not seek detention. Rather, Mothafar was released on conditions including limitations on travel and the use of electronic devices.

According to the allegations contained within the indictment, between February 2015, and up to the time of arrest, Mothafar conspired with ISIS members to provide material support to ISIS.  This support included a range of activities.  Mothafar produced and distributed ISIS propaganda and recruiting materials that he created and edited in coordination with official ISIS media operatives located overseas.  Mothafar produced, edited, and distributed a number of publications and articles including “Effective Stabbing Techniques,” which provided detailed guidance on how to best kill and maim a target in a knife attack, a tutorial on using explosive ignition devices entitled “How Does a Detonator Work,” and propaganda that encouraged readers to carry out attacks in their home countries if they could not travel overseas to fight.  Mothafar also maintained contact with ISIS officials overseas and provided technical support to these individuals that included opening social media and email accounts for official use.  During the time of this alleged activity, Mothafar also made false statements on immigration documents and to government officials denying any ties to terrorist organizations.

“This defendant is a legal permanent resident of the United States who abandoned the country that took him in and instead pledged allegiance to ISIS and repeatedly and diligently promoted its violent objectives” said United States Attorney Williams. “Our national security prosecutors and law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that those who threaten our country are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The threat of ISIS-inspired terrorism remains very real thanks, in part, to an army of online supporters who produce propaganda that aims to incite ‘lone actor’ operators in the U.S. and around the world. Today, the FBI arrested one such man in our own community for his alleged role as a leading figure in the Islamic State’s media network,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “When it comes to cases like this one, a computer and a keyboard can be powerful weapons against enemies of the Islamic State.”

            This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Portland Field Office and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ethan Knight and Geoffrey Barrow. An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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