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
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Isolated showers before 10am. Areas of fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Thursday- Scattered showers, mainly after 4pm. Patchy fog before 10am. Snow level 2400 feet rising to 3200 feet in the afternoon. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 46. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Friday- Isolated showers before 10am. Snow level 2000 feet rising to 2900 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Light south wind. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Saturday- Rain likely, mainly before 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Sunday- Rain likely, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 48.
Oregon COVID-19 updates, Dec. 9:
OREGON CORONAVIRUS CASES
Reported Deaths: 1080
Jackson County Public Health reported three more deaths attributed to coronavirus on
Tuesday, bringing the county’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic to 44.
Siskiyou County Public Health announced two more deaths from COVID-19 on Monday,
bringing the county’s death toll to seven. Citing privacy concerns, the health department
didn’t provide any identifying information about the deaths, such as their ages or
whether they had any underlying health conditions.
Jackson County EOC & Business Oregon Partner to get PPE distributed to Businesses
Event dates: 12/9/2020 7:30 AM – 12/16/2020 9:30 AM
Event Location: Jackson County Expo
Business Oregon and the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) have set up a depot to distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Jackson County Businesses to help curb the current surge of COVID-19 in our community.
The distribution center has been set up at the Jackson County Expo at 1 Penninger Road, Central Point, Oregon 97502. The center will be open from December 9 to December 16 and open from 7:30 am to 9:30 am each day. Please enter at Gate 3.
“This is a difficult time for businesses,” noted Helen Funk, Jackson County Emergency Operations Center, “We hope that this no-cost PPE will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help companies in our county.
The PPE is available to all Jackson County businesses and has been pre-packaged for no-contact distribution. Packages include:
- Surgical masks
- Sanitizer (gallon and 2L)
- Disinfectant spray 16.8oz cans
- Wet wipes (alcohol-based)
- Sanitizing wipes (non-alcohol)
- Gloves (non-sterile) Med & Large
- No-touch thermometers
If you have questions or need to coordinate a pick-up, please contact Helen Funk, Jackson County EOC, at (541) 774-8274 or email JC_EOC_Logistics@jacksoncounty.org
Sherm’s Donates to ACCESS – Every year since 2000, the Sherm’s family of stores has donated a truckload of food to ACCESS for the holidays. This year, though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much, will be no different. ACCESS says that the Olsrud family will deliver roughly 23,000 pounds of food to the food bank's warehouse on Friday, now a 20-year tradition.
The food bank calls the Olsruds long-time supporters who were instrumental in building the ACCESS Community Kitchen. Over 2020, ACCESS says that more than 38,000 people received food assistance through ACCESS programs. More than 5.3 million pounds of food were distributed through Jackson County’s 24 food pantries.
AROUND THE STATE of OREGON
36 COVID-19 deaths in Oregon, most reported in a single day In addition to the record-breaking number of deaths, the Oregon Health Authority announced 1,341 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday
PORTLAND, Ore — Another 36 Oregonians have died of COVID-19, health officials announced Tuesday.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said it’s the highest single-day loss of life since the coronavirus pandemic reached the state in late February. The previous record set last week was 30 deaths.
“The news of three dozen lives lost weighs heavily on all Oregonians,” said OHA director Patrick Allen, adding “we extend our deepest sympathies to those who have lost a loved one and to every Oregonian who has been impacted by the pandemic.”
OHA reported an additional 1,341 cases of the coronavirus. The state’s total case count is at 87,082.
Portland’s tri-county area had the highest case numbers Tuesday: Multnomah County (286), Washington County (173) and Clackamas County (114).
Dr. Jennifer Vines, leading health officer for the tri-county area, told KGW health officials are still waiting for a post-Thanksgiving spike in case numbers.
Vines said the Portland area is in for a rough winter in terms of the pandemic, which makes it “very difficult to think about reopening schools” because of the high risk of potential outbreaks by doing so.
She added that she’s hopeful about continuing discussions with OHA and the Oregon Department of Education about getting kids back to in-person learning as coronavirus vaccines become available.
There were 553 coronavirus patients hospitalized in Oregon on Tuesday, 12 fewer than the day before; 127 of them are in intensive care unit beds, an increase of seven patients.
Hospitalization numbers don’t reflect admissions per day or the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not part of the data and may further limit bed capacity, OHA said in a news release.
People in Portland, struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to try again for a prepaid $500 VISA debit card to cover household expenses. The application period will open Thursday, Dec. 10, from 3 to 6 p.m. on the city’s PDX Assist website. Unlike past gift card giveaways organized by the city, the cards will not be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, 4,000 applications submitted in the three-hour window will be chosen through a lottery. During past lottery rounds, the system has been overwhelmed within minutes. In a virtual press conference Monday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said this application portal was the quickest way to get federal aid money that came to the city through the CARES Act out the door. The city is required to distribute all the federal dollars by the end of the year.
Portland Protesters outraged with the arrests of seven people at a home where a family was evicted in September hurled rocks at officers, sprayed a fire extinguisher at them and damaged police vehicles on Tuesday. The violence happened in broad daylight.
Portland has been the site of frequent protests, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. But most happened at night.
A group of activists for months have camped at the home dubbed “Red House on Mississippi” because it is on North Mississippi Avenue — to express their outrage against gentrification and the eviction of the Black and Indigenous family in September. The property’s owner complained that people were trespassing and officers showed up before dawn and made the arrests. TV images showed the clashes Tuesday morning.
Officers Involved In Fatal Shooting Near Gates – At least one person is dead after an officer-involved shooting near Gates on Dec. 8.
The shooting happened at 11:45 p.m. on Highway 22 near mile post 38. According to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, a Linn County Deputy and at least one Oregon State Police Trooper were involved. The deputy and troopers were not injured. Highway 22 was closed in both directions between mileposts 33 and 50 while the Salem Police Department investigated.
Albany man sentenced to 33 years for sex crimes – An Albany man who committed 17 sex crimes was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison on Tuesday afternoon in Linn County Circuit Court.
Henry Rivers, 54, had been found guilty on Oct. 29 of three counts of first-degree rape, seven counts of first-degree sodomy and five counts of first-degree sex abuse, as well as first-degree unlawful sexual penetration and second-degree unlawful sexual penetration. The verdict came after a three-day jury trial.
The crimes occurred between 1996 and 2006 in Albany, the Sweet Home/Holley area and Lebanon, and the victim was a girl who Rivers knew. Judge David Delsman issued the 400-month sentence after he heard arguments from the prosecution, which requested a prison term of more than 100 years, and the defense, which argued for as little as eight years in custody.
The victim in the case also addressed the court before the sentence was delivered. “I lived every day in fear and in hell,” she told Delsman. She said continues to struggle with the aftermath of the crimes, such as waking up with panic attacks. “It’s something I have to live with every day,” she added. “It’s not something you can just wish away.”
Still, she viewed the sentencing hearing as a way to pass along feelings of guilt, shame and pain to Rivers. “This is a chance for me to close this book and try to heal,” the victim said.
Prosecutor Ani Yardumian told Delsman that the harm inflicted on the victim was immeasurable, and the crimes Rivers was convicted of were only a sampling of what had regularly occurred over a decade. “She got a life sentence with what he did to her. We’re asking the court to give him a life sentence, as well,” said Yardumian.
She asked for a consecutive sentence on every charge, saying that would be appropriate to acknowledge the damage of every act. “Crimes should not come cheaper by the dozen,” she said. Defense attorney Timothy Felling asked for concurrent sentences for the crimes, saying the penalty must be proportionate to the offense. He added that Rivers’ crimes didn’t equate to a murder, which carries a sentence of 300 months in prison. Felling also told the court that concurrent sentences were the norm and consecutive sentences were the exception under Oregon law.
Rivers declined comment when Delsman asked if he had anything to say regarding the sentencing. Prosecutor Ryan Lucke handled the trial for the Linn County District Attorney’s Office, but was unavailable to speak at the sentencing hearing due to a manslaughter trial at the Linn County Fairgrounds. The Albany Police Department investigated Rivers’ case.
Former West Linn doctor accused of sexually abusing women and children – A lawsuit filed against a former West Linn doctor is growing. That civil suit is now up to 29 alleged victims, all of who say that Dr. David Farley sexually abused them. They’re seeking a total of $290 million dollars in damages.
In October, after a month-long investigation, the Oregon Medical Board revoked Farley’s medical license, citing “unprofessional or dishonorable conduct” and “gross repeated acts of negligence.”
In August, Farley retired. In a letter to patients, he shared he had “deep regret, sadness and a swollen heart,” and said his decision to retire was due to “multiple personal circumstances.”
“The investigation into the actions of Dr. David Farley is ongoing and the WLPD will not be making public comment on this active investigation,” said Public Information Officer Jeff Halverson.
Attorneys for the 29 plaintiffs said they have spoken with nearly 70 alleged victims. They hope others will find the strength to come forward to share their stories.
“Our goals are to get clients healing and second to get him [Farley] off the street,” said attorney John Manly of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi. “If we accomplish nothing else, that’s a huge win.”
The suit also names West Linn Family Health Center, Legacy Meridian Park Hospital and Providence Health & Services Oregon as defendants. Farley was not employed by the hospitals but had privileges to care for his patients who were admitted to Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center. Neither hospital would comment on pending litigation.
State medical records show that since retiring, Farley moved to St. Anthony, Idaho, near the Utah border. That brings little comfort to these women, including former patient, Nicole Snow. She and others want to see Farley brought to justice.
“He is a serial predator,” said Snow. “He won’t stop until someone stops him.”
The West Linn Police Department is encouraging anyone with information on this case to contact Detective Tony Christensen at 503-742-6131.
SALEM, Ore. – More than 200 Oregon Army National Guard Citizen-Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry Regiment, headquartered out of Springfield and Gresham, and part of Task Force Kosovo, returned home following their ten-month deployment to Kosovo, Dec. 8, 2020. The Oregon Citizen-Soldiers arrived at the Portland International Airport, Oregon and were greeted by senior leaders before later boarding buses to connect with family and friends at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas and Lane Community College in Eugene.
The Citizen-Soldiers spent two weeks at Ft. Bliss, Texas for mandatory COVID-19 quarantine protocol prior to arriving in Portland. Since earlier this summer, Oregon Army National Guardsmen have been returning home from the second-largest mobilization since WWII. The final group of Soldiers who were deployed in Kosovo is scheduled to return home in the next few weeks before Christmas Eve. The last mobilization of Oregonians this size was in 2009 through 2010.
“2020 dynamic year, both home and abroad for the Oregon National Guard. We are happy to welcome home our team members just in time for the holidays,” said Stephen Bomar, Director of Public Affairs, Oregon Military Department.