Rogue Valley News, Wednesday, 11/25 More Record Cases of Covid-19, The Coquille Tribe’s Property on South Pacific Highway Will be a Hotel

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Rogue Valley Weather

Today– Showers likely, mainly between 11am and 5pm. Snow level 3000 feet rising to 3800 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Thanksgiving Day– Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Light and variable wind.

Friday– Patchy freezing fog before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 49. Light east southeast wind.

Saturday– Areas of freezing fog before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 52.

Sunday– Patchy fog between 11am and 2pm. Areas of freezing fog before 11am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 53.

Monday– A slight chance of rain. Snow level 3900 feet rising to 4500 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50.

COVID-19 has claimed 21 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 847.  The total number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 also increased, along with the number of people with the virus who are in intensive cares.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (20), Clackamas (106), Clatsop (7), Columbia (7), Coos (4), Crook (3), Curry (7), Deschutes (44), Douglas (19), Grant (4), Harney (2), Hood River (6), Jackson (56), Jefferson (12), Josephine (11), Klamath (60), Lake (9), Lane (57), Lincoln (23), Linn (21), Malheur (17), Marion (113), Morrow (5), Multnomah (150), Polk (30), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (34), Union (4), Wasco (9), Washington (183), and Yamhill (24).

The 21 deaths that OHA health officials are reporting yesterday sets a one-day record in the state of Oregon.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon increased to 474, 18 more than yesterday. There are 113 COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, 4 more than yesterday. Medical professionals around Oregon are asking urging people again not to gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

The Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Nurses Association and the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems teamed together to write a letter, warning people to celebrate safely. The healthcare community is begging Oregonians to take advantage of technology like Skype and FaceTime to celebrate with their loved ones. Healthcare professionals say hospitals are filling up quickly. They soon worry that ICUs could become overrun by COVID-19 patients.

In the Rogue Valley, the Coquille Tribe’s property on South Pacific Highway in Medford will soon be home to a hotel inspired by Jimmy Buffet’s escapist “state of mind.” Last week, Cedars Development announced a partnership with Margaritaville Enterprises to bring a new 111-room Compass hotel to the area, slated to open in early 2022. Cedars Development is the Coquille-owned management firm for the Cedars at Bear Creek, the Tribe’s development project along Pacific Highway in south Medford. That property was also supposed to be the site of a casino, until the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs rebuffed that proposal in May. Casino or no, the Coquille Tribe says that the Compass by Margaritaville Hotel is coming, “bringing the fun and flavor of their full-scale resorts to a more boutique concept.” There are over already a dozen Margaritaville hotels and resorts, but the Compass Hotels brand launched this year. The Medford location — the first Margaritaville hotel in Oregon — promises “plush and comfortable, island-inspired accommodations and amenities signature to the branded concept in an attentive but laid-back ambiance.”

Around the State of Oregon

Klamath Community College announced Tuesday it received a $100,000 donation from former Hewlett-Packard president, John Young, to help fund construction of an Apprenticeship Center that will house apprenticeship and training facilities for skilled trades at the college.

Young, former president and CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Co., grew up in Klamath Falls. His father, Lloyd “Lube” Young, was a supervising electrician at East Side Electric in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. John worked as an apprentice electrician during breaks from school, before graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from Oregon State University.

Jim Pinniger, founder and owner of Precision Homes, was a college roommate and lifelong friend. The 35,000-square-foot Apprenticeship Center will span five acres, and include nearly 12,000 square feet of hands-on training space for students enrolled in industrial trades and apprenticeship programs such as electrical, plumbing, millwright, pipefitter, and machinist. The center will also include a fire training academy. Students enrolled in fire sciences and emergency medical operations programs will have a 3,200-square-foot fire training academy for wildland and structural fire instruction.

As part of the donation, John will name the Apprenticeship Center Industry and Construction Flex Lab in honor of Jim and Jean Pinniger

On Tuesday, November 24, 2020, at approximately 2:33 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 84 near milepost 68.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Honda Accord, operated by Noel Hernandez (24) of Hood River, was eastbound when it left the roadway and rolled multiple times.

Two passengers, Rosalia Gonzalez-Ortiz (23) of Hood River and a juvenile male, sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased.

Hernandez was transported to the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital where he was treated for injuries. Upon being released from the hospital, Hernandez was arrested and lodged at NORCOR on two counts of Manslaughter II and DUII.  

The Oregon Historical Society has sent the Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt for conservation following the vandalism to the Oregon Historical Society’s (OHS) downtown facility on the evening of Sunday, October 11, 2020. During that evening, the quilt was taken from its temporary display in the OHS pavilion, where it was on exhibit as part of a collaboration with Portland Textile Month in order to offer free public access for community members to view the quilt during the month of October. Thankfully, local police recovered the quilt early the next morning, returning it to the care of OHS collections staff.

Each square of the quilt, crafted from 1974 to 1976 in honor of the American Bicentennial, honors a Black individual or moment in history. Fifteen Black women from Portland sewed the quilt, who later donated it to OHS and entrusted it to the Society’s care.

Upon its return, museum collections staff quickly moved to stabilize the quilt, carefully but quickly drying it to prevent mold and microbial growth. Once dry, staff members carefully cleaned the quilt with a variable-speed, HEPA filter vacuum through a screen to prevent force or damage to the textile. Fortunately, the quilt did not sustain notable structural damage, but it did suffer from red pigment staining throughout. The quilt was condition reported and documented as is, and staff sent this information to several potential textile conservators.

Last week, OHS sent the quilt to the Textile Conservation Workshop (TCW), a non-profit organization focused on the preservation of textiles. Located in South Salem, New York, TCW is a highly respected leader in textile conservation with a focus on quilts. The founder and director, Patsy Orlofsky, is also the author of Quilts in America, which provides history and technical information about quilting.

“I am confident that Patsy and her team will do the very best to address the conservation issues with the Afro-American Heritage Bicentennial Commemorative Quilt,” said OHS Deputy Museum Director Nicole Yasuhara. “Speaking to Patsy, I have been impressed with her knowledge, realistic approach, and thoughtful recommendations. We will continue to communicate throughout the process, and hope to have the quilt back in our care in a few months.”

After consulting with Dr. Sylvia Gates Carlisle, the last living quilter from the original group, OHS has decided to attempt to restore the front of the quilt as much as possible, but will remove and replace the quilt backing, which is severely stained. The original backing will remain in the OHS collection as its own museum object, with the history of the vandalism captured and added to its story.

You can learn more about this important piece of local African American history through a recent blog post at and view a recorded virtual panel discussion on the quilt’s history on our website at, which featured Dr. Sylvia Gates Carlisle, Dr. Carmen P. Thompson, Sheridan Collins, and Mary Bywater Cross.

Oregon Marine Board Reminds You of Safe Boating 2021

Oregon is blessed with a plethora of boating opportunities year-round but fall and winter require more preparation and planning. This year is no exception and boaters are urged to take a few extra steps to ensure a safe voyage.

Oregon’s waterways are cold year-round and noticeably cold now, so dress for the water temperature and expect to get wet. For paddlers, SUPers, and rafters, the Marine Board recommends wearing a wet suit, dry suit, warm layers, and a life jacket designed for the activity. At a minimum, carry a cell phone in a dry bag/container or other communication device, and share a float plan with friends or family so they can call for help if you are overdue. 

Fall rains can also cause dramatic rises in river flows. Because of this year’s historic wildfires, these fluctuations may be quicker and larger, and more debris is entering the rivers and lakes. The water is staying muddy much longer as well. Boaters are encouraged to monitor NOAA weather for their region, check river gauges and reservoir levels, and to visit the agency’s interactive Boat Oregon Map with information to contact facility owners and learn if access is open. The Marine Board works closely with marine law enforcement to assess reported navigation obstructions as well, adding verified obstructions to the map with river sections to avoid or recommendations for safe passage, where possible. Conditions are dynamic, though, with new obstructions reported almost daily right now. Scout ahead in unknown waters.

Boating has become a great escape during this time of COVID but requires vigilance and skill. If you’re new to boating, take advantage of a free online paddling course or other boating safety education offerings for motorboat operators. Start out in locations that are calm and sheltered from rapidly changing conditions due to weather or water volume.

Learn more at

 As EPA pauses to retool its wildfire household hazardous waste recovery operations for the Thanksgiving holiday, agency officials  are reflecting on the results achieved by cleanup teams over the past 90 days in Oregon.

After the holiday, EPA will continue reducing their “footprint” in the state, with many crews already departing to return to their normal schedules, teams and families.

Since mobilizing on September 24 by FEMA “Mission Assignment,” 17 EPA field recovery teams, working 12-hour days, seven days a week, have retrieved and removed household hazardous waste from over 2300 fire-ravaged parcels in eight Oregon counties.  In addition, EPA teams stabilized and consolidated ash and debris from more than 230 parcels along Oregon waterways – including five miles of the Bear Creek riparian area in Jackson County – protecting water quality from toxic runoff.  In all, EPA mobilized over 250 responders, both virtually and in the field, from all over the country to support response operations.

According to EPA Incident Commander, Randy Nattis, the Agency has been proud to help Oregon recover from the devastating fall wildfires, crediting local support and guidance as critical to EPA’s success. 

“Make no mistake, I couldn’t be prouder of our work and what  our teams have accomplished,” said EPA’s Nattis. “But we are standing on the shoulders of the County Public Works directors, DEQ On-Scene Coordinators, FEMA disaster officials, our support contractors and countless Oregon responders. Projects of this size, scope and scale demand ultimate teamwork. And we couldn’t have asked for better, more resilient partners than Oregonians.”

With Step 2 of the Oregon state-managed cleanup getting underway, Step 2 cleanup crews are expected to begin clearing properties throughout wildfire impacted areas in mid-December, removing hazard trees, ash and debris.  EPA’s presence will remain at a more compact profile, with several smaller mobile crews remaining to respond to any additional properties that still need attention. EPA crews will also back up ODOT’s contractors as they start removing heavy debris, cars and appliances and find hidden household hazardous waste, cylinders, ammunition or other hazardous materials.

For more information about EPA’s Step 1 work, please visit our 2020 Fire Recovery Story Map . For more information about Oregon’s Step 2 work please visit the 2020 Oregon Wildfire Recovery website or call the Wildfire Debris Cleanup Hotline at 503-934-1700.

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