Rogue Valley News, Friday 2/5 – Ashland Receives Project Turnkey Grant for Housing Project, Heather Cox Richardson Joins Oregon Historical Society’s “Historians and The News”

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

Friday, February 5, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Patchy freezing fog before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 48. Calm wind.

Saturday- Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 50. Light and variable wind.

Sunday- Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Calm wind.

Monday- Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49.

Tuesday- Partly sunny, with a high near 51.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Coronavirus-update-1-4.jpg

Oregon reports 730 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, seven new deaths raising the state’s death toll to 1,998 – bringing the state total to 145,320.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Benton (32), Clackamas (48), Columbia (6), Coos (16), Curry (1), Deschutes (17), Douglas (23), Harney (4), Hood River (2), Jackson (47), Jefferson (13), Josephine (19), Klamath (7), Lake (7), Lane (67), Lincoln (6), Linn (14), Malheur (1), Marion (75), Multnomah (141), Polk (7), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (55), Union (6), Wallowa (5), Wasco (4), Washington (85) and Yamhill (17).

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 15,173 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 11,519 doses were administered on Feb. 3 and 3,654 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Feb. 3.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 486,861 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 706,575 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. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine situation in Oregon, visit our webpage, which has a breakdown of distribution and other useful information.

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/covid19/Documents/DataReports/Weekly-Outbreak-COVID-19-Report.pdf

Oregon Seniors Blocked From Signing Up For Vaccine Shots Until Monday

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will not allow seniors 80 and older to sign up in advance for COVID-19 vaccine shots. They will have to wait until Monday, Feb. 8, when they become eligible, according to an OHA spokesman.

During the first week, 19,900 doses will be available statewide for those seniors, a group that is the most vulnerable in Oregon when it comes to COVID-19. That group includes roughly 168,000 people.

On Wednesday, the OHA Director Patrick Allen told a legislative committee he expects things to be rough. “Every state that’s opened to seniors has had some form of chaos on its hands and I want to be completely transparent. We’re gonna have some form of chaos on our hands too,” Allen said.

Many seniors waited and wondered when they could sign up for the shot, how they could do it and where they would have to go if they were lucky enough to secure an appointment. The OHA left most of those questions unanswered until Thursday, and its still unclear if seniors will be able to call a central phone number to book an appointment.

On top of that, OHA has a significant problem with supply and demand, said Allen. “The reason is really the green line versus the blue line,” he said, referring to a chart showing the supply of shots versus the demand for them.

“The blue line is the accumulative supply of the vaccine. The green line is how many people are eligible for that vaccine. And up until now, we’ve kept those two lines reasonably close together,” Allen said. “We’ve always been able to use more vaccine than we have, but they’ve been close together. Now we’re gonna open a really, really big gap, especially at the end of the month when we make 65 and older available.”

By the end of the month, a total of 766,000 people 65 and older will be eligible. Allen said about 104,000 people in that group already got a shot because of health issues or living in long-term senior housing or some other qualification of the 1A group.

Still, that leaves 662,000 people who will be eligible in addition to the educators and people still left from group 1A. Allen said Oregon will get about 66,000 doses a week unless something changes with the federal supply.

Doing the math for the group of remaining seniors alone, it would take about 10 weeks to get them all vaccinated. With everyone else who’s eligible for shots, Allen said it could be more like four months.

How can you sign up if you qualify? The OHA has an automated tool on its website. You can find it at www.covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

It will allow people in Washington, Clackamas, Multnomah, Columbia and Marion counties to answer screening questions to see if they are eligible for a COVID vaccine. Those who are will be able to schedule the place, date and time of their shot.

The OHA is rolling out a tool on its website that it says will help people across the state find out about vaccinations in their area.

Here’s a statement from OHA spokesman Jonathan Modie:

“We are not launching a new website, but rather a new web tool that will live on our current site, covidvaccine.oregon.gov. The web tool will be accessible at getvaccinated.oregon.gov, and will allow people to determine if they are eligible for a vaccine and register to get email alerts or text notifications about vaccine events in their area. The Get Vaccinated Oregon tool will be open to all Oregonians and information will be available in 11 languages. It will go live in the next few days.“

Southern Oregon Safeway and Albertsons Locations will Receive COVID-19 Vaccines

All Safeway and Albertsons stores in southern Oregon will be receiving and administering doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, the company confirmed to NewsWatch 12 on Wednesday.

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it would begin sending shipments of vaccine directly to retail pharmacies beginning next week. The CDC said that Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer, Costco, and Albertsons will be participating in the initial program.

“Throughout the pandemic, the communities we serve have trusted our pharmacy teams to play a critical role in maintaining their health and wellness,” said Jill McGinnis, spokesperson for Safeway and Albertsons. “Our pharmacy teams have been preparing to handle the unprecedented demand and administer the COVID-19 vaccine safely and efficiently as members of the public become eligible.”

McGinnis said that Safety and Albertsons pharmacies would receive their first direct shipments of vaccine through the program starting next week. Those doses will be administered based on Oregon’s eligibility guidelines.

“As noted by the CDC, supply will be limited in the initial phase of the partnership,” McGinnis continued. “As vaccine supply increases, more of our pharmacies will participate in this federal program.”

Both Albertsons and Safeway have online portals for scheduling vaccination appointments, with more added to the online scheduler as doses arrive. Until the shipments have are on-hand, appointments will not be available.

“Demand is high and appointments are often claimed very quickly, and we ask the public to remain patient,” McGinnis said. “As dose allocations increase, so too will the opportunity to secure an appointment. The company is kindly asking the public to please check the website first for the most up-to-date information, before calling your local store or pharmacy.”

Under Oregon’s guidelines, Phase 1a and the first group of Phase 1b are currently eligible to receive vaccines — this includes healthcare workers, first responders, long-term care facilities, childcare workers and school staff. The first group of seniors, those 80 and older, become eligible on February 8.

Ashland to Receive Project Turnkey Grant for Housing Project

Oregon’s Project Turnkey Reaches Milestone: $4.2 Million Grant Aids First Motel Purchase to Shelter Community Members Displaced and Impacted by WildfiresOptions for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) Leverages State Funds to Transform Ashland Motel into New OHRA Center

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced that Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) has been selected to receive the first Project Turnkey grant of $4.2 million in state funds to purchase and transform an Ashland motel into the new OHRA Center – a resource center and facility to safely shelter community members negatively impacted by wildfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

In November 2020, the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board allocated $65 million in state funding to purchase financially distressed motels across the state to deliver safe shelter in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires. These properties may ultimately be converted into long-term housing. OCF is administering the funds and convening a statewide community advisory committee to select qualified applicants to ‘Project Turnkey.’

“Last year’s wildfires were devastating. Many survivors lost everything,” Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said. “The Emergency Board stepped in with funding. That was just the first step. Now this project will give them a place to stay. I am happy to see Project Turnkey hard at work.”

The new OHRA Center will provide stable shelter to Ashland area community members who have been negatively impacted by wildfires. Those in greatest need, including people with disabilities, veterans and people who are currently unhoused and unemployed, will be given priority assistance by OHRA.

“The opportunity to acquire a Project Turnkey facility is a game changer for our work with homeless individuals and families, including those displaced by the September 2020 wildfire,” said Oregon State Representative Pam Marsh, District 5 – Southern Jackson County. “For far too long our shelter providers have had to scramble to find a place for people to come in from the cold. Now we have a permanent location in the community that will serve as a base to help individuals regain their footing. I am thrilled — and deeply grateful.”  

The number of people seeking services through OHRA ballooned from 20-25 to 60-90 people per day over the last year. “There is a huge need for the new OHRA Center, given the triple impact of wildfires, economic impact from Covid-19 and the shortage of affordable housing in the great Ashland area,” said Michelle Arellano, executive director of OHRA. “We’re ecstatic to be able to meet this demand and make a difference in our broader community.”

Arellano cited a few of the key benefits of the new OHRA Center:

  • Capacity for more staff to help more people move from crisis to stability.
  • A host of services, including a Job Match program, which includes mentorship and coaching unemployed persons.
  • Healthier, safer accommodation of 20-30 additional people versus the current OHRA shelter, which can only accommodate a maximum of 44 people in a common room. The new building will offer greater safety to guests as they will have individual rooms, where communicative diseases are less likely to spread.

Located at 2350 Ashland Street in Ashland, Oregon, the new OHRA Center anticipates limited use beginning in March 2021, when it plans to open up a block of rooms to the most vulnerable community members. OHRA has work to do to remodel parts of the building, including installing an ADA accessible elevator and converting some rooms to offices.

OCF has been studying Oregon’s dual crises of homelessness and affordable housing for two years, beginning with research commissioned from ECONorthwest, “Homelessness in Oregon” which provided statewide analysis of the disproportionately large homeless population in Oregon. When funds became available from the state for this project, OCF convened a diverse statewide advisory committee to create an equitable review process of applicants. Working with urgency, and with counsel from real estate development experts, the selection committee has condensed a complicated real estate transaction into a 6-8-week process.

“Each property under consideration is unique to the community and requires a level of due diligence, such as: zoning regulations, support from the community, how many shelter beds already exist in the area, connections to referral services, to name a few,” said Megan Loeb, OCF Program Officer. “The Project Turnkey Advisory Committee enthusiastically supported the funding of OHRA, as the first of many applicants to successfully conclude the due diligence process and be a place that the community can champion and support for years to come.”

About Project Turnkey

The Oregon Legislature allocated a total of $65 million for Project Turnkey for the purpose of acquiring motels/hotels for use as non-congregate shelter for people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness. Two discrete funds were provided by the state: one totaling $30 million to be awarded in counties and tribal communities impacted by the 2020 wildfires; and one totaling $35 million for the remaining 28 counties in the state. Oregon Community Foundation is administering both funds through an application and selection process, with guidance from an Advisory Committee of state, local, and community stakeholders. For more information, please visit Project Turnkey online.

About Options for Helping Residents of Ashland

Founded by a group of concerned community members, Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) began operations in February of 2014 when it opened a resource center funded by a grant from the City of Ashland. The center focuses on providing basic services such as telephones, computer access, mail, driver’s license, identification, and other pre-requisites to acquiring housing and jobs. It has since added a laundry/shower trailer and Job Match, an employment assistance program. Three years ago, it assumed management of the Ashland Emergency Winter Shelter, previously operated by an all-volunteer force. OHRA’s key service is navigation, the support and guidance its caseworkers provide for those in need, helping individuals find the right social service, program or other pathway to move out of crisis. Since 2014, OHRA has placed 232 unhoused families or individuals in new housing and protected the housing of 667 families or individuals. Its management believes that when its new facility is fully staffed and operational, it can increase these numbers by 20%. For more information about OHRA, please visit: helpingashland.org.

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. Since 1973, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving–time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians–creates measurable change. For more information about OCF, please visit: oregoncf.org.

Two Skiers from Ashland Caught In An Avalanche Near Etna Summit – One Dies

Two skiers from Ashland were caught in an avalanche near Etna Summit at the southwestern edge of Siskiyou County on Wednesday. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office confirms that one of the skiers did not survive.

The Sheriff’s Office said that the two friends were back-country skiing in a very remote area near Etna Summit, on federal forest land. Both were equipped for the weather and the terrain, but were swept up in an avalanche on Wednesday afternoon.

The two skiers — later identified as 37-year-old Ben Koerber and 35-year-old Brook Golling, both from Ashland — were buried under the snow. Koerber was able to dig himself out, then began digging through roughly six feet of snow to reach Golling.

Koerber was able to pull Golling from the snow and started performing life-saving measures on his unresponsive friend. Koerber tried for over an hour to revive Golling, but to no avail.

The Sheriff’s Office said that Koerber hiked out to their car, driving until he was able to get a cell signal in order to call 911. According to authorities, it was already dark when the Siskiyou County Search & Rescue team received the call. Because of the darkness and danger of working in an avalanche area, the recovery mission for Golling’s body was pushed to the next day. Search teams recovered Golling’s body on Thursday.

Deputy Sheriff Mike Burns, Siskiyou County SAR Coordinator, urges anyone participating in outdoor activities now to be cognizant of the danger of an avalanche. “Our sincere condolences to friends and family,” the Mt. Shasta Avalanche Center said in a Facebook post.

A memorial page has been set up for Golling to raise money for his funeral expenses and to support his family.

Heather Cox Richardson Joins Oregon Historical Society’s “Historians and the News” Virtual Program Series February 15

Heather Cox Richardson

The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is excited to announce that Boston College professor Heather Cox Richardson will join its popular “Historians and the News” series on Monday, February 15. This virtual program series, which has previously hosted historians Erika Lee, Joanne Freeman, and Kevin Kruse, provides a space for some of the nation’s most renowned historians to discuss their insights about current events, informed by years of scholarly analysis of the past. 
This virtual program will take place at 5pm PT via Zoom; attendees can register in advance at https://orhs.ejoinme.org/HCR. For those who are unable to attend the event in real time, OHS will email registrants a link to access the recording, which will be available for 30 days following the live program.

Each featured historian is joined by Oregon State University professor and Oregon Historical Society trustee Christopher McKnight Nichols, who worked with OHS staff members to develop this program as a way to support the Society throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As historians who rely on archival institutions like OHS to do their research, all series participants have graciously donated their time to develop this program to sustain the Oregon Historical Society’s important work. While there is no cost to register, attendees are invited to make a donation in support of the OHS Pandemic Survival Fund to help replace revenue the Society has lost throughout the pandemic.

“We are thrilled by how this series has taken off, which further underscores the powerful importance of understanding the historical dimensions of our greatest challenges today,” said Christopher Nichols. “I am especially delighted,” he remarked, “that after the momentous events of the 2020 election, the storming of the U.S. Capitol, in the midst of the pandemic and now confronted with impeachment, we have Professor Heather Cox Richardson joining us. She is one of the most renowned and accomplished historians of U.S. political history, and her insights will help us all better understand the extraordinary events of the recent past and maybe even assist us in charting a better path forward into the future.”

Through her daily newsletter, “Letters From an American,” Heather Cox Richardson shares with over 350,000 readers an authoritative, compassionate overview of the previous day’s news. During a time filled with fear and uncertainty, when the very underpinnings of our nation’s democracy are under attack, Professor Richardson’s newsletters have helped Americans share in the big-picture perspective that only a deep understanding of history can provide. Every night — after a full day of teaching, researching, and writing — Professor Richardson assesses the day’s news and offers up an analysis of its significance to her grateful readers across the country.

Heather Cox Richardson teaches nineteenth-century American history at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. Her early work focused on the transformation of political ideology from the Civil War to the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. It examined issues of race, economics, westward expansion, and the construction of the concept of an American middle class. The author of numerous books and articles, her history of the Republican Party, To Make Men Free (2014), examines the fundamental tensions in American politics from the time of the Northwest Ordinance to the present. Her most recent book is How the South Won the Civil War (2020).

Christopher McKnight Nichols is associate professor of history at Oregon State University, Director of OSU’s Center for the Humanities, and was recently named the Sanders Eminent Professor by the OSU Honors College. He founded and leads OSU’s Citizenship and Crisis Initiative. Nichols is an expert on the history of the United States’ relationships with the world, including isolationism, internationalism, globalization, ideas, and political history, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era through the present. An Andrew Carnegie Fellow and Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer, Nichols was honored as Oregon State University’s Honors College Professor of the Year. Nichols also is a frequent commentator on air and in print on U.S. foreign policy and politics, often appearing on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s program Think Out Loud with Dave Miller. He is an editorial board member of the “Made by History” section of the Washington Post and is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nichols is the author, co-author, or editor of six books, most notably Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age, and the forthcoming Rethinking American Grand Strategy. Nichols is a proud member of the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Historical Society and a passionate advocate for history and the humanities.

About the Oregon Historical Society —- For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all.We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view. Oregon Historical Society 

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

2 Dead and 4 Injured as Car Collides with Mini Bus near Gervais

OR 99E Deadly Crash Near Gervais
Courtesy: Oregon State Police

Two people died and four others were injured Wednesday evening in a two-vehicle crash near Gervais, according to Oregon State Police.

Just after 8 p.m., emergency crews were called out to a crash on Highway 99E near Northeast Boones Ferry Road.

OSP said a preliminary investigation revealed that a Ford Fusion was southbound when it went into the northbound lane and collided with a Cherriots mini bus.

The driver of the Ford, identified as Jordan Chandler, 26, of Salem, died at the scene.

The driver of the bus, identified as Rachel Bunting, 51, of Salem, was taken to Salem Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The three passengers on the bus were taken to Salem Hospital. The passenger in the Ford was transported to Emmanuel Hospital in Portland. The extent of their injuries was not released by OSP. The Woodburn Fire Department, EMS and ODOT assisted OSP at the crash scene.

Curbside Grocery Pickup with Bloody Bags in Monroe

Many families have turned to curbside pickup during the pandemic to get their groceries, some for COVID-19 safety reasons and others for convenience. 

However, one mother now has new safety concerns after she unloaded her groceries and found they were covered in blood. 

“It’s complete negligence what happened. I get accidents happen, but part of me is just like these accidents shouldn’t happen,” Delecia Lund said.

Walmart said there’s never been a better time to be a customer. However, Delecia Lund, a mother of five who uses their curbside pickup service, disagrees.

“There was blood on the floor, blood on my table, blood on the wall, we stack bags, my island, we cleaned the house. It was a lot of blood,” Lund said.

Lund said this service has been valuable for her family up until Tuesday. An employee at the Walmart on West 11th Avenue brought out her groceries that she ordered online ahead of time and loaded them into her trunk.

When she got home, she went inside to use the bathroom. Her husband finished unloading the groceries but panicked when he saw what was on them. Lund said her husband thought she was hurt because there was blood everywhere. “He comes freaking out. He’s like, ‘Are you bleeding?’ I was kind of confused like no,” Lund said.

When Lund came out of her room, she said it looked like a murder scene. Aside from the $500 worth of groceries all covered in blood, her two sons were sitting at the kitchen table eating a Lunchable.

“I was like, ‘Oh god please tell me no,'” Lund said.  Lund said she was told an employee sliced the back of his hand and he didn’t notice he was bleeding or even injured until another customer pointed it out.

She said she is having a hard time believing them. “It looks like somebody got murdered packing my groceries, I mean there’s a lot of blood,” Lund said.

Immediately after the discovering the blood, Lund called her sons’ doctors to find out what she should do next. They allegedly told her to ask Walmart if they plan on testing their employees to see if they have any risk factors. 

However, when Lund asked Walmart if they planned on testing their employee, they said no. She claims they cannot tell her anything about an associate’s health because of HIPAA regulations. 

Now, her family might have to wait months to get some answers. She said she doesn’t need specifics, it would just help put her mind at ease. She wants Walmart to take some accountability.

“This isn’t like they sent me home with a smashed can of beans that was leaking. I mean we have a significant amount of someone else’s blood on our groceries, my car, through my house. My kids ate it. They need to take it serious it’s dangerous and disgusting,” Lund said.

She did get a full refund from Walmart but she wants more answers though she says she doesn’t plan on pressing charges. 

Her message to other families is to pay attention if you are using curbside services. She said always look at your groceries before you leave the store and pay attention. 

Oregon Subcommittee Looks at Banning the Use of Tear Gas Against Crowds

Tear gas, pepper spray and impact munitions have been deployed by police for months against protesters in Portland, Oregon, enveloping neighborhoods and even a school yard in clouds of stinging, choking chemical agents.

Now, Oregon state Rep. Janelle Bynum, a Portland-area Democrat, is seeking to ban their use against crowds in one of the most sweeping measures in the country restricting tear gas and other riot-control munitions.

Bynum’s legislative subcommittee on equitable policing heard a parade of witnesses this week via video link describe the harm caused by the substances. One woman said she almost died when tear gas was used on a crowd.

Such munitions have been regularly deployed as Portland police and federal agents have struggled to deal with some of the most persistent protesters in the country as they seek racial justice, an end to police brutality and immigration reform. Most demonstrators have been peaceful, but some have thrown objects at police and committed vandalism.

Under Bynum’s bill, local and state law enforcement could only use the munitions against an individual if physical force is justified.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie testified that sometimes her troopers are compelled to indiscriminately use tear gas if some members of a crowd are committing crimes.

“We determine, in order to maintain or even regain the order, the entire crowd needs to be dispersed,” Davie said. Physically battling rioters to subdue and arrest them could result in injuries or death, she said.

Keeley Higgins, who has asthma, described being terrified after being gassed by Portland police while attending a protest for the first time. She and her partner tried to run to their car as the crowd was chased by riot police. Some protesters collapsed on lawns, vomiting or appearing to have seizures, she recalled, her voice choking with emotion.

“I began to have trouble breathing as I continued to stumble down a residential street,” Higgins said. “At one point I could no longer breathe. I looked into my partner’s eyes and I thought I was going to die.” She said her partner saved her by using an emergency inhaler she had in her car. “I don’t care if 5% or 90% of a crowd is deemed violent by the most violent police force in the U.S.,” Higgins said. “Zero percent of people should ever be poisoned, let alone by their own city.”

The Cottonwood School of Civics and Science has been frequently blanketed by tear gas and smoke grenades deployed by federal agents battling protesters at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland, across a street from the school.

“We regularly find pellets, pepper balls and munitions in our play yard,” school Executive Director Amanda McAdoo told the legislative panel, adding that soil samples have been sent to a lab for testing. McAdoo urged lawmakers to vote yes on the bill.

She said in a telephone interview that she is worried about chemical munitions residue affecting children who may return after spring break as the school looks at reopening. It has conducted distance learning while being closed for 10 months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are concerned about being able to do so until we know that our yard is safe for them to be playing,” McAdoo said.

The school was advised to circulate more outside air into the building because of the virus, but that raised concerns that surfaces and the air might be contaminated by the chemical agents.

McAdoo wrote to federal officials on Monday, asking that their personnel stop using these munitions in the neighborhood and disclose what chemicals have been released and the possible health impacts. She also requested help to assess contamination levels at the school and clean it up.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, complained to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday about “the extensive use of tear gas and other chemical agents” in Portland, including near Cottonwood School.

He reiterated a request for details about the munitions being used by federal agents, saying the Trump administration had not adequately responded.

If Bynum’s bill becomes law, authorities in Oregon would have to inform federal agents about it and attempt to enforce it.

However, federal agents couldn’t be compelled to comply, said Jim Ferraris, the police chief in Woodburn who testified on behalf of associations of Oregon police chiefs and sheriffs.

Washington state and California are among other states looking at curbing the use of chemical agents.

Last year, Colorado lawmakers passed a law involving police accountability that bans officers from shooting rubber bullets indiscriminately into a crowd or targeting someone’s head, torso or back. Officers cannot use tear gas, pepper spray, or other chemical irritants without issuing a clear order to disperse and allowing time for people to do so.

Former Nike Marketing Manager Charged in Scheme to Defraud Company

PORTLAND, OR.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Errol Amorin Andam, 49, of Beaverton, Oregon, a former marketing manager at Nike, Inc., has been charged by criminal information with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements on a loan application as part of a scheme to defraud his former employer.

According to the information, from 2001 until his termination in 2018, Andam was employed by Nike at its headquarters in Beaverton. Most recently, Andam worked as a manager in the company’s North American Retail Brand Marketing division wherein he managed the design, build-out, and operation of “pop-up” retail venues, temporary Nike shops situated near and tailored to sports competitions and other special events around the U.S.

In the summer of 2016, Andam recruited a childhood friend to establish a company to design and build the pop-up venues as an independent contractor for Nike. Andam used his authority as a manager at Nike to ensure that his friend’s company was consistently awarded the contracts for these jobs. Though he had no formal role in his friend’s company, Andam assumed control of much of the company’s financial operations, managing financial accounts and issuing invoices to Nike.

To conceal his role in the scheme, Andam used an alter ego, “Frank Little,” to invoice Nike and manage the contract company’s account with Square, Inc., a California-based provider of mobile credit-card-processing services. In 2016, Andam also renewed the lapsed registration of an Oregon-based limited liability corporation (LLC) he owned so that he could use the defunct entity as a shell company to funnel the proceeds diverted from Nike and his friend’s company to accounts under his personal control.

Beginning in September 2016, Andam caused credit-card sales at various pop-up venues around the U.S. to be run through card readers associated with a Square account owned by his friend’s company. These proceeds were transferred to Square in California and then to Andam’s LLC bank account in Oregon. Andam represented to both Nike and his friend that the proceeds of these sales were credited against the total amount Nike owed to his friend’s company. In truth, Andam simply pocketed the proceeds and, as “Frank Little,” invoiced Nike for the full cost of the contracted services.

From September 2016 through December 2018, Andam diverted and embezzled nearly $1.5 million in Nike proceeds for his own use. In July 2018, Andam submitted a fake financial statement from his LLC in support of a residential mortgage loan application. The financial statement falsely reflected as revenue checks for $194,000 drawn on a bank account owned by his friend’s business. Andam forged his friend’s signature on the check and withdrew much of that money without his friend’s knowledge.

Andam faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, fines of up to $4.5 million, and 5 years’ supervised release. He will be arraigned on March 5, 2021, before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. A criminal information is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon 

Historic Oregon Timber Negotiation Underway

Image result for oregon timber

Governor Kate Brown kicked off the first in a series of negotiation sessions this month as part of a groundbreaking agreement between forestry representatives, conservation leaders, and fishing organizations that aims to propose new protections for sensitive aquatic species on over 10 million acres of private forestland in Oregon, which could be formalized in a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan.
“In the past year––despite the disruptions of a global pandemic and historic wildfire devastation which made face-to-face meetings very difficult––this group has made steady progress in establishing common ground,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Together, we can build a future for Oregon with healthy forests, fish, and wildlife and economic growth for our forest industry and rural communities at the same time.”

In February of last year, Governor Brown brokered an agreement between 13 conservation and fishing groups and 13 timber and forest products entities to abandon a costly and divisive ballot initiative fight in exchange for proactive legislation supporting collaboratively developed changes to forest practices. This agreement, called the Private Forest Accord, led to bi-partisan legislation that passed with overwhelming majorities in June 2020. The legislation codified the historic agreement, funded the negotiating process now underway, and enacted a set of significant reforms to the Forest Practices Act, some of which went into effect January 1. These new laws restrict helicopter applications of pesticides on forestland within 300 feet of homes, schools and drinking water, and created a new, first-in-the-nation real-time neighbor notification and reporting requirement.

“Oregon’s forests are a precious resource that provide extraordinary beauty and recreational opportunities and a source of good, year-round employment and economic opportunity for small, family-owned businesses,” said Heath Curtiss, representing Hampton Lumber. “Our goal is to ensure a vibrant and sustainable Oregon forest products industry, now and into the future, while avoiding the tragic community losses we saw in rural Oregon when federal forest harvest plummeted. It will be delicate work, but if we focus on good science, specific problem statements, and the least burdensome measures to help remedy those problems, we’ll get there. It will require compromise on all sides, and a recognition that forestry is only one piece of the puzzle.”

“Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and water resources face serious pressure from the human footprint on forests and the growing effects of climate change, but our policies have fallen too far behind the science,” said Bob Van Dyk, representing Wild Salmon Center. “This process is a chance to ensure a brighter future for vital public resources through improved forest practices while also providing more certainty to the regulated community.”

“Oregon’s forest lands are critical to a healthy and vibrant economy in Oregon,” said Chrysten Lambert of Trout Unlimited. “They are sources of drinking water for many communities, as well as critical habitat for the salmon and steelhead that our large commercial and recreational fishing industries depend on. I look forward to partnering with leaders in the timber industry to design new forest practice standards that can sustain both our timber industry as well as healthy, abundant fisheries and communities.”

“Oregon’s Forest Practices Act has always been based on science and it is my anticipation, as both sides have already agreed, science will drive this process,” said Jim James, representing Oregon Small Woodlands Association. “A successful outcome is extremely important to Oregon’s family forest owner community, who play a unique and proud role in Oregon’s wood products industry. I begin this process with an open mind, a strong appreciation for the current rules, and a willingness to listen and work to develop a science-driven Habitat Conservation Plan.”

On January 12, the parties began a series of meetings in which they will discuss proposed changes to forest practices and pursue securing a statewide Habitat Conservation Plan from federal agencies for threatened and endangered species, which would provide more regulatory certainty for landowners and long-term conservation benefits to designated wildlife species

The Governor’s office worked with all 26 signatories to identify the negotiating teams and appointed experienced mediator Peter Koehler.

The conservation and fishing side representatives are Bob Van Dyk (Wild Salmon Center), Sean Stevens (Oregon Wild), Chrysten Lambert (Trout Unlimited), Bob Sallinger (Portland Audubon), Joseph Vaile (Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center), and Dr. Kelly Burnett (Aquatic Scientist).

For the timber sector the representatives are Adrian Miller (Rayonier), Diane Meyers (Weyerhaeuser), Cameron Krauss (Seneca Sawmill Company), Heath Curtiss (Hampton Lumber), Eric Geyer (Roseburg Forest Products), Jim James (Oregon Small Woodlands Association).

The parties will work intensively over 2021 with the goal of an agreement to formalize in the 2022 legislative session.

Oregon State University gets $50 Million Donation to Renovate Reser Stadium

An anonymous donor gave Oregon State University (OSU) $50 million to transform the west side of Reser Stadium. The renovation will also include a new year-round student welcome center, health care facilities and meeting space.

“There’s no question that this project is going to help this program in recruiting, maintaining and gaining on the momentum we’ve been able to create,” Oregon State’s head football coach Jonathan Smith said in a press conference Thursday.

“This isn’t simply a football issue. This is about recruitment of students all over the country and keeping our Oregonian students here,” OSU President F. King Alexander added.

The stadium project will cost a total of $153 million. So far OSU has raised about $64 million of its $85 million philanthropic fundraising goal. University leaders say the rest of the project will be paid for with a bond. They plan to pay off the bond with revenue from hundreds of premium seats and other money brought in by the facilities. 

OSU Athletic Director Scott Barnes admits the project comes at a time when the department has a $35 million dollar deficit because of COVID. Earlier this year, 23 full-time positions were cut.

“The revenues produced from this project will not only pay for the renovation – the addition of the west side – but it will also assist mightily in managing the COVID debt that we’ve accrued,” Barnes said. “This project allows us to stabilize revenues and grow revenues in the future. This is an opportunity to rebuild. Also, the 23-plus FTE (full-time employees) that have gone away, this project – because of revenue streams – allows us to create stability in our finances and start to grow back our operations.”

Construction starts right after the 2021 football season and will be finished by summer 2023. The team will play at Reser during all the work.


 

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