The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today Rain. High near 55. South southeast wind 7 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Wednesday Rain, mainly before 10am. High near 54. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Thursday Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 56. Light southeast wind.
Friday Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
Saturday Patchy fog before 1pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 52.
COVID-19 has claimed 10 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,613, the Oregon Health Authority reported this morning. Oregon Health Authority reported 939 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 126,607.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (13), Clackamas (87), Clatsop (1), Columbia (14), Coos (15), Crook (1), Deschutes (38), Douglas (16), Hood River (3), Jackson (40), Jefferson (5), Josephine (38), Lane (61), Lincoln (8), Linn (13), Malheur (2), Marion (110), Morrow (8), Multnomah (16), Polk (40), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (63), Union (5), Wasco (7), Washington (314) and Yamhill (18)
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, 7,585 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 5,422 vaccine doses were administered on Jan. 10 and 2,163 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan.10.
Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 104,595 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations occurred at Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).
To date, 270,800 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon. These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.
Representative Lily Morgan Begins Legislative Career
Former Josephine County Commissioner Sworn In For First Oregon House Term
Salem, OR – In a ceremony administered by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, Martha L. Walters, Representative Lily Morgan (R-Grants Pass) was officially sworn in as the state legislator for House District 3.
“I am honored to represent my community in the Capitol and I am ready to get to work on bringing commonsense solutions to the legislature,” said Rep. Morgan. “I will be a strong advocate for our southern Oregon values and way of life.”
As a member of the 81st Assembly of the Oregon Legislature, Rep. Morgan will serve on the following committees:
• Housing, Vice Chair
• Wildfire Recovery
• Behavioral Health
• Subcommittee on Civil Law
Rep. Morgan brings a lifetime of community service to the Capitol including time spent as a 911 dispatcher, a reserve deputy and then parole/probation officer, a half-decade on the Grants Pass City Council and four years on the Josephine County Board of Commissioners.
Additionally, Rep. Morgan makes history today as the first female elected to House District 3 in the Oregon State Legislature. She has good company in the House Republican Caucus which had a total of nine women sworn in today, the largest number in recent years.
Rep. Morgan is a sixth generation Oregonian who resides in Grants Pass. House District 3 covers most of Josephine County and includes the Grants Pass and Illinois Valley communities. Rep. Morgan’s legislative office will be staffed by Vicki Olson and Natalie Offenbecher.
Almeda Fire Phase 2 Clean up Begins
The second phase of clean-up following the Almeda Fire is at last set to begin within the coming weeks, according to Jackson County officials.
Crews contracted by the federal EPA largely wrapped up efforts to remove hazardous waste from the burn areas in November. Though those crews removed roughly 300,000 pounds of waste from damaged Oregon properties, it only represents a small fraction of the debris left behind in the wake of those September fires.
The next step is to remove ash, structural debris, concrete foundations, and other debris. This process will begin around mid-January, Jackson County said.
“Oregon Wildfire Recovery cleanup crews are continuing their preparations of staging equipment, completing environmental testing and coordinating with property owners to begin Step 2 of the Almeda Fire ash and debris removal,” officials said.
Once this second step is completed, properties will be ready for rebuilding. Property owners will receive a letter from Oregon DEQ stating that the clean-up is finished.
“The removal of ash and debris is being planned and coordinated to be completed with efficiency and safety as priorities,” Jackson County said. “This includes mobilizing crews to complete cleanup in communities in a combined effort prior to moving to other areas to begin work.”
Clean-up has been prioritized into two tiers. The first includes Bear Lake Estates in Phoenix, Mountain View Estates in Talent, and Northridge Terrace in Medford.
Tier 2 includes the Barnum subdivision in Phoenix, Coleman Creek Mobile Home Park, the Samuel Loop Subdivision, and a number of Talent neighborhoods around Ganges Drive, Village Court, Creekside Way, and Davidson Way.
“As FEMA continues to refine their plans and complete agreements with selected mobile home park owners, these priorities will likely change to cleanup those mobile home parks where FEMA will place trailers for longer-term housing,” Jackson County said.
Be Alert for Landslides Across Much of Northwest and Southwest Oregon
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for portions of Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, including the Cascade and Cascade Foothills, Coast Range and Willapa Hills, Columbia River Gorge, Willamette Valley and Greater Portland Metro Area, Lower Columbia and I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County, Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington Coast, as well as a portion of southwest Oregon, including the Curry County coast and South Central Oregon coast for the evening of Monday, January 11, through the morning of Wednesday, January 13.
Heavy rain can trigger landslides, rock fall, and debris flows in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in burn areas.
Find the latest information here: https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/or.php?x=1
Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons. They can easily travel a mile or more. A debris flow moves faster than a person can run. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.
If your home, work, or route is in a watch area:
- Stay alert. Track the flood watch by radio, TV, weather radio or online. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Listen. Unusual sounds might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. If you think there is danger of a landslide, leave immediately.
- Watch the water. If water in a stream or creek suddenly turns muddy or the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases, this is a warning that the flow has been affected upstream. You should immediately leave the area because a debris flow may soon be coming downstream.
- Travel with extreme caution. Assume roads are not safe. Be alert when driving, especially at night. Embankments along roadsides may fail, sending rock and debris onto the road.
For more landslide and debris flow information: https://www.oregongeology.org/Landslide/debrisflow.htm
Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management urges residents to be prepared for flooding, landslides and power outages
With heavy winter rains and high winds forecasted across the state over the next few days, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to be aware – and prepared – for flooding, landslides and power outages.
Basic preparedness actions can help prevent dangerous situations. This begins with having an emergency kit with necessary supplies for up to two weeks, a practiced family plan with steps for what to do in an emergency, and knowing the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning.
Intense rainfall over a short period of time can cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly, often catching people living near these water sources off guard. Flash floods move with incredible speed and occur when heavy rain falls on already-saturated ground. In addition, loss of vegetation due to wildfires leaves the ground charred and unable to absorb water. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.
- Avoid walking through flood waters; they may be contaminated with oil, gas or raw sewage. Waters may also be hiding hazards and debris.
- Be aware of weather conditions in your area before driving. Many flood-related incidents are caused by vehicles driven into hazardous waters.
- Use ODOT’s Tripcheck for the latest road conditions before traveling.
- Heavy rains reduce drivers’ visibility. When driving, turn on your lights, increase following distance and slow down. Visit ODOT’s webpage for Driving in the Rain Tips.
- Heed the advice of emergency officials regarding evacuations.
- Listen to weather and emergency updates on the TV, radio, social media.
As Oregon recovers from the recent wildfires, residents living in and around wildfire areas should be aware of risks such as landslides and mudflows. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.
Signs of landslides include:
- Changes in landscape such as changes in water runoff, leaning trees or land movement.
- Water in streams or creeks that suddenly turns muddy or if the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases.
- New cracks in plaster, tile or foundations.
- Unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
- Underground utility line breaks.
For more information on landslides, check http://www.ready.gov/landslides-debris-flow.
High winds and downed trees often cause of power outages. Take time to check your emergency kit before a storm hits. At a minimum, every home should have an emergency power outage kit that includes flashlights, battery-operated radio/clock, extra batteries, non-perishable foods, bottled water and blankets. If you experience a power outage in your home or area:
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
- Check on your neighbors.
- Stay away from – and don’t drive around – downed power lines and utility lines; even if they are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.
- Turn on your porch light. After response crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if any lights are still out.
Disaster preparedness is an important priority for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and we encourage people to prepare for emergencies. It’s critical for families, individuals, communities and businesses to make an emergency plan, and communicate the plan before, during and after emergencies. For additional preparedness resources, visit https://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/Individual-Preparedness.aspx.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Oregon National Guard Assisting With COVID Vaccine Help
The Oregon National Guard is on its way to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents in the state and will arrive later Tuesday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.
The fairgrounds has turned into a mass vaccination center. Salem Health set up a vaccine clinic last week but had to close early Monday when they ran out of doses. Officials said they expect to receive more Tuesday afternoon. and the National Guard expects to be fully operational by Wednesday.
Officials with Salem Health said they can vaccinate more than 400 people per hour — and with the help of the National Guard, they should be able to do more. It opens at 12 p.m.
At this time, people eligible to receive shots at this center must live or work in Marion County and be in the top priority category — health care workers, first responders, and people living and working in nursing homes. Recipients must be ready to show proof of your specific job.
In a statement, Salem Health said this “model shows an effective and efficient way to vaccinate on a large scale and grow immunity in our community. Salem Health intends to operate this vaccine center until the entire state is vaccinated.”
Stephen Bomar, the Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department, said they will eventually deploy the National Guard to other areas.
“Absolutely. You know, Medford, Bend, all over the state, La Grande,” he said. “It just needs to be fleshed out where we need to send those teams, and that’s going to be really determined this week, I believe.”
Oregon Lawmakers Vote To Close Capitol Building To The Public
State lawmakers returned to the Oregon Capitol on Monday to prepare for the 2021 session, which officially starts Jan. 19.
The legislators swore in new members, gave speeches calling for unity, and found partisan disagreement on the rules that will govern the upcoming session, including if the Capitol would be open to the public during the session.
The Capitol has been closed since March due to the pandemic. It was not reopened for any of the three special legislative sessions last year.
Republicans opposed the proposed rules, saying the state constitution requires the Capitol be open for session to allow for transparency and the involvement of the public in the legislative process through in-person meetings and testimony on bills.
“If Costco can do it and the Home Depot in Klamath Falls can do it … certainly this staff and the people who are here can exercise the same sort of precautions to allow people into the building,” said Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls.
Democrats said preserving public health by limiting the possible transmission of the coronavirus is more important than having the Capitol open to the public. Moreover, a variety of virtual participation options have been put into place for the session that Democrats said will allow the Legislature to comply with the requirements for transparency. “Physical presence is not absolutely necessary to provide access to the public,” said Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene.
The rules in both chambers passed. Democrats have supermajority control of both chambers, with 18 of 30 members in the Senate and 37 of 60 in the House.
The new House rules also give House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, the authority to fine members who are absent $500 per day if their absence results in the body not being able to establish a quorum.
House Republicans denied quorum twice during the 2020 short session.
The Senate does not have a similar rule. Senate Republicans have denied quorum via walkout three times over the past two sessions.
Lawmakers are not expected to be in-person at the Capitol for the rest of the week, and will be in virtual trainings.
For millions of small businesses still struggling to make ends meet, today’s the first day to apply for a new, potentially forgivable federal loan. The Paycheck Protection Program is re-opening Monday, but initially it will only be available to businesses applying at community financial institutions.
Those are banks and lenders that provide funding for small businesses in underserved communities, many of which had a hard time securing loans during the previous rounds of PPP lending or didn’t apply. The US Treasury and the Small Business Administration said they will open the program to all small businesses soon. While there is no exact date yet, the Consumer Bankers Association said it expects it to happen sometime during the week of January 18.
The latest Covid relief package signed into law at the end of December included $284 billion for additional lending to eligible businesses, including those that already received a loan months ago.
Late Sunday evening, Governor Kate Brown issued an order that on January 13, all flags at Oregon public institutions will be flown at half-staff until sunset.
The order was made to honor two fallen police officers who were killed during the Capitol Hill riots. “Violence answers nothing, solves nothing, and offers nothing,” said Gov. Brown. “Last week, we saw attacks on our democracy, the Constitution, and the American people. This is not who we are. Dan and I send our condolences to the families of Officer Sicknick and Officer Liebengood as they mourn and grieve. We remember their dedication and determination, their service, and sacrifice.”
President Trump also has ordered that all flags at the White House, all public buildings and grounds, all military posts and naval stations, be half-staff as well. Five people have been confirmed dead so far from those riots in Washington D.C. this past Wednesday, as well as 83 arrests so far.
In the Rogue Valley, a joint statement from racial justice group Southern Oregon Coalition for Racial Equity (SOEquity) and a local law firm on Monday promised civil action related to the November killing of 19-year-old Aidan Ellison, including several lawsuits.
SOEquity and the Law Office of Justice Rosas announced that they would hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Ashland’s Railroad Park, alongside Ellison’s mother, Andrea Wofford. Ellison, a young Black man, was gunned down in the parking lot of Ashland’s Stratford Inn on November 23. Police arrested 47-year-old Robert Keegan, a white man, who allegedly shot Ellison after the two argued over the volume of the younger man’s music. The shooting sparked renewed discourse over the legacy of racism in southern Oregon.
The Ashland Police Department requested FBI assistance to evaluate the case for potential bias crime charges, but the agency has maintained that any evidence of racial motivation for Ellison’s killing has not been substantiated.
(Salem) – Oregon OSHA has fined a Salem fitness center $126,749 for willfully continuing to potentially expose employees to the infectious coronavirus disease despite a public health order to limit the capacity to zero for such establishments in “extreme risk” counties.
The fine – the result of an inspection launched in response to multiple complaints – was issued against Capitol Racquet Sports Inc. for willfully refusing to comply at its Courthouse Club facility on Commercial Street Southeast.
“We understand that this employer is attempting to do a number of things to keep employees safe without shutting down, but that does not allow them to substitute their judgment for that of the public health authorities,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood
It is the largest penalty issued to an employer by Oregon OSHA for a violation related to COVID-19. The division cited the violation as “willful” and, at the discretion of the administrator, imposed the maximum penalty allowed.
“It is our expectation that employers follow well-founded health regulations that are directly intended to protect workers from a genuine hazard,” Wood said. “And while we have been able to use engagement and education to resolve most COVID-19 complaints involving employers, we will also continue to bring our enforcement tools to bear as needed.”
The citation is, to date, the fifth one issued against the company for willfully disregarding health protections against COVID-19. In November 2020, Oregon OSHA issued citations against each of the company’s four operating fitness facilities after conducting complaint-based inspections.
Those inspections found the company operating the facilities in defiance of public health measures included in Gov. Kate Brown’s Nov. 17 executive order. That order implemented a temporary two-week freeze to stop the rapid spread of the virus. Capitol Racquet Sports continued operating after the order was effective. It did so after Oregon OSHA’s initial inquiries. And it did so after the division’s posting of Red Warning Notices at the four fitness-related facilities. The total penalty for all four locations was $90,000 for willful and Red Warning Notice violations.
The citation carrying the $126,749 penalty stems from an inspection opened Dec. 9. at only one of those four fitness establishments inspected in November. The inspection found Capitol Racquet Sports continuing to intentionally disregard public health orders and Oregon OSHA notices to close the facility. The willful lack of compliance continues to potentially expose employees and member clients to COVID-19.
In keeping the facility open to member clients, the company is choosing to disregard limitations imposed by the Oregon Health Authority for such an establishment in a county designated as Extreme Risk. County risk levels are part of the state’s public health framework for reducing transmission of the coronavirus disease. Health and safety measures are assigned for each level.
The current citation against Capitol Racquet Sports was issued under Oregon OSHA’s temporary rule to address COVID-19 risks in the workplace – specifically, the appendices spelling out industry-specific requirements.
Employers have 30 days to appeal citations. Capitol Racquet Sports appealed the four citations issued in November 2020. In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers and workers a variety of consultation, information, and education resources addressing COVID-19.
The FBI is still warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to members of the media.
Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.
Oregon Filed Most Alleged Domestic Terrorism Prosecutions In US During 2020
Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the most cases classified as domestic terrorism in 2020 compared to all other federal districts, according to a court tracking clearinghouse run by Syracuse University.
Most of the cases stemmed from consecutive nightly protests last summer outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis.
By the end of September, 40 people had been accused of assault on a federal officer and 15 faced the rare charge of civil disorder during protests, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Others were charged with destruction of government property, arson or attempted arson of federal property and violating national defense airspace.
A federal officer stands behind the fence at the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse just after a firework exploded. Protesters have gathered in downtown Portland by the thousands Friday, July 24, 2020, for the 58th consecutive night of protests in the city.
The period covered the federal fiscal year that runs from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020. Across the country, U.S. attorney’s offices filed 183 domestic terrorism prosecutions — the most since such tracking began 25 years ago. That compares with 90 in fiscal year 2019, 63 in fiscal 2018 and 69 in fiscal 2017. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse is a data gathering and research organization at Syracuse University.
Cases categorized as domestic terrorism include allegations of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, alleged threats against the president, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, importing or storing explosives, civil disorders and making threatening communications.
In late September, Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams issued a statement, saying his office “is committed to prosecuting people who impede or assault law enforcement officers, damage federal property, and set fire to buildings. Make no mistake: those who commit violence in the name of protest, will be investigated, arrested, prosecuted, and face prison time.”
In stark contrast, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle recorded one alleged domestic terrorism-classified prosecution, according to the clearinghouse figures.
In early July, President Donald Trump sent 114 federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to bolster Federal Protective Service officers in Portland to help secure the federal courthouse. On July 3, some people tried to barricade the front doors of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and they shattered. The enhanced and aggressive federal law enforcement response drew larger crowds of demonstrators who demanded that the extra contingent of federal officers be sent home. On July 29, Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown announced that state troopers would replace federal officers outside the federal courthouse for two weeks.
Domestic terrorism prosecutions, as classified by the federal government, far outnumbered the 21 international terrorism cases filed for the fiscal year.
International terrorism cases are defined as those occurring outside the United States or involving an alleged foreign terrorist organization. In recent years, those cases have included kidnapping, hostage-taking, fraud, misuse of visas or conspiracy to commit such offenses or fraud against the United States.
UPDATE – Death Investigation – Lincoln County
Six missing children ruled out in an effort to ID a little girl found dead in Oregon woods.
As part of the ongoing investigation into the discovery of a female child’s remains at the Van Duzer Rest Area in Lincoln County, the Oregon State Police (OSP) continues to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying the child and the circumstances around her death. To date, we have received over 150 tips from citizens in the United States and Canada. We are deeply appreciative of the public’s input so far and continue to accept information that may lead to the identification of the child.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office has estimated the child’s age to be 6.5 to 10 years old. She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and has long hair that is dark brown or black. Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete. A sketch completed by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at our request has also been released.
OSP, in partnership with the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and numerous state and local agencies across the United States, are using a variety of means to include or exclude known missing persons who match the general description and/or sketch previously released. This may include, but is not limited to, dental records, age, descriptors, and confirmed sightings via verifiable sources, and/or recent contacts with family or friends that demonstrate they were alive after the remains of the unidentified female were discovered in Lincoln County.
OSP will not comment on the individual methods used to exclude each child.
In an effort to refocus the public’s attention and reduce duplicative tips, OSP is now prepared to publicly exclude the following reported missing children from our investigation:
- Dulce Alavez, age 6, from Bridgeton, NJ
- Addyson Gibson, age 12, from Portland, OR
- Noelle Johnson, age 7, from Portland, OR
- Niayah Bylenga (AKA Niayah Crawford), age 7, from Pendleton, OR or Ritzville, WA
- Tarie Price, age 8, from Gretna, NE
- Breasia Terrell, age 10, from Davenport, IA
OSP reminds the public that while these children have been excluded from our investigation, they are all still reported missing and we ask the public to continue to be vigilant for these children and all other missing persons reported across the nation.
The Oregon State Police is releasing the attached approximation sketch of the child that was found in Lincoln County on December 10, 2020.
Sketch was provided with assistance of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).
Oregon State Police Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the remains of an individual discovered in rural Lincoln County.
On December 10, 2020, Investigators were summoned to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation. At this location, investigators found the remains of a female child.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office estimate the deceased’s age to be 6.5 to 10 years old. She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and had long hair that is dark brown or black. Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete.
Due to the condition of the remains she had likely been deceased at least 30 days before she was discovered.
If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).
No information regarding the cause or manner of death is available for release at this time.
On Thursday, December 10, 2020 Oregon State Police Major Crimes Detectives responded to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation.
The area is a heavily wooded state park in Lincoln County, Oregon.
Due to the terrain OSP Detectives were assisted by Lincoln County SAR members.
At this time the deceased has yet to be positively identified. No further information regarding this individual is available for release until identity is established and next of kin can be notified.
An investigation into the circumstances of this incident is active and ongoing. No further details are available for release at this time.
Fatal Crash on Hwy 26 – Clatsop County
On Monday, January 11, 2021 at approximately 3:40 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 26 near milepost 7.
Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford Explorer, operated by Lonnie Meade (65) of Seaside, was eastbound and stopped to turn left into a driveway when it was struck from behind by a Peterbuilt semi truck operated by Alejandro Flores (43) of Tigard. Meade sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Flores was not injured. Hwy 26 was closed for 4 hours. OSP was assisted by the Seaside Fire Department, Hamlet Fire Department and ODOT.
Eugene Man Jailed Following Multiple Freeway Crashes
A Eugene man was jailed following multiple freeway crashes on Friday.
Information from Oregon State Police said the accidents were reported over an approximately hour-long period on nearly a 25-mile stretch of the freeway, between Cottage Grove and the Drain and Yoncalla areas. The report said the southbound motorhome first struck a sedan but did not stop. The driver of the sedan followed the motorhome for over 20 miles. He told police he observed the motorhome strike three other vehicles. The motorhome eventually left the freeway at around 11:45 a.m. and then crashed into a camping trailer in a trailer park in the 200 block of Eagle Valley Road in Yoncalla.
The report said the driver, 39-year old Frank James, then exited the vehicle, stripped off his clothes, and began running down the road naked. James was eventually detained by a Douglas County Sheriff deputy.
Initial charges included 2 counts each of failure to perform the duties of a driver in an accident, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person. 17 additional charges were added with bail set at $723,750.