Rogue Valley News, Monday 3/1 – Teenager Arrested Following Homicide on Bear Creek Greenway in Medford, Grants Pass Arson and Burglary Suspect Arrested

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

Monday, March 1, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Mostly sunny, with a high near 63. Light and variable wind.

Tuesday- Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 62. Light north northwest wind.

Wednesday- Sunny, with a high near 64. Light and variable wind.

Thursday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 63.

Friday- A chance of rain, mainly after 11am. Snow level 4400 feet rising to 5300 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 62.

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

Oregon reports 292 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 0 new deaths

There are 0 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, and the state’s death toll remains at 2,208. The Oregon Health Authority reported 292 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 155,597.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (7), Clackamas (26), Columbia (4), Coos (10), Curry (3), Deschutes (6), Douglas (11), Grant (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (21), Jefferson (3), Josephine (3), Klamath (2), Lake (1), Lane (36), Lincoln (1), Linn (4), Malheur (1), Marion (52), Morrow (2), Multnomah (25), Polk (11), Umatilla (8), Washington (42), Yamhill (10).

Stay informed about COVID-19:

Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.

United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.

Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 29,330 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 19,513 doses were administered on Feb. 27 and 9,817 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Feb. 27.

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 973,022 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 1,194,495 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.

With the last group of Oregon seniors set to become eligible for the coronavirus vaccine on Monday, state officials are looking ahead to the next groups prioritized to receive the vaccine. Up until early Friday, the state’s still-evolving vaccine plan did not detail groups beyond the eligibility of seniors 65 and older, effective March 1.

A representative for Governor Kate Brown’s office released preliminary details on the next steps ahead of a virtual press conference planned for 11 a.m. on Friday. The next phases were developed with recommendations from the state’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, “with the goal of ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines to those communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities,” Brown’s office said. The VAC recommended that Oregon prioritize people with underlying conditions and frontline workers.

Oregon Rolls Out New Process for Covid Vaccination Appointments

Starting  Monday, a new coronavirus vaccine sign-up process will go live in the effort of helping those spending hours online trying to schedule an appointment.

Health officials said they are going to use the registrations from the Get Vaccinated Oregon tool as an invitation system for people to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine.

If you register in Get Vaccinated Oregon, officials will transfer the names of eligible people in the metro area to the Oregon Health Authority partners. They will contact you directly to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Officials said on Thursday, over 400,000 attempts were made to make appointments at either the Oregon Convention Center or at the PDX Red Economy Parking Lot for appointments available on that day.

Four health systems – Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, OHSU, and Providence Health & Services – operate the All4Oregon Vaccination effort at the Oregon Convention Center. 

In a release, the health systems announced that they have partnered with the Oregon Health Authority that will help alleviate the challenges people have faced when attempting to schedule a vaccine appointment.

“The process will be further improved as vaccinations at the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site at the Oregon Convention Center moves to a larger space, allowing more daily vaccinations once additional vaccine supply is available,” reads the release signed by the chief medical and operations officers at all four health systems. 

The PDX Red Economy Parking Lot site will continue its online schedule release on Monday. 

The new process kicks off on the same day that seniors aged 65 and older become eligible for coronavirus vaccinations.

Officials with the Oregon Health Authority anticipate that 75% of all Oregon seniors will be vaccinated by March 29. 

Governor Kate Brown Issues Statement One Year After First Confirmed Case Of Covid-19 In Oregon

One-on-one with Oregon Governor Kate Brown | KATU

“Today, I want to take a moment to say: Thank you, Oregon.

“Thank you to all our frontline workers––from our doctors, nurses and health care workers who have worked tirelessly to save lives, to the agricultural, food processing, and grocery workers who have kept food on our tables throughout the pandemic, to first responders, postal workers, transportation workers, restaurant and food service workers, educators and school support staff, and the many more who have kept us all going.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped friends and neighbors in need––from Oregonians experiencing hunger or homelessness, to those displaced by wildfires, to those who lost jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic.

“Thank you to parents and caregivers, especially working mothers, who have balanced school, work, and family responsibilities in ways we never before imagined.

“We must also acknowledge that this pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Tribal, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Pacific Islander, Asian, and communities of color, as well as our immigrant and refugee communities. We must do better––to build a stronger, more just, more equitable Oregon for everyone who lives here.

“With our vaccine efforts ramping up, the light at the end of the tunnel grows closer each day. We are reopening school buildings, businesses, and communities. But we must keep up our guard, with new, more contagious COVID-19 variants circulating in the United States, including in Oregon.

“Today and every day, we remember the more than 2,200 Oregonians we have lost. Our hearts are with the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly disease. We must continue to keep each other safe by wearing masks, avoiding gatherings with people from outside our households, maintaining distance, washing our hands, and staying home while sick.

“But, while we must continue to keep our physical distance from one another, we will get through the rest of this pandemic the same way we have come this far: together.”

Teenager Arrested Following Homicide on Bear Creek Greenway in Medford

The Medford Police Department originally reported a death on the Bear Creek Greenway north of the Medford Railroad Park that was considered a homicide investigation. Police released an update Saturday morning that they have taken a 17 year-old into custody on Friday night for the shooting death of the male victim, whose identification has not been disclosed pending next of kin. The juvenile was charged with Murder and his name is not being released at this time. Detectives are continuing the investigation and more details will be released at a later time.

The original report came in on Friday around 1:03 pm when a call came in reporting that a male was down and visible from the bike path near a homeless camp. Witnesses on the scene reported hearing a gunshot. When police arrived they located a male who was deceased. Budreau said the department does not have a relationship with the man as they do with most of the homeless in the area and said because of this they believe he is not from here.

“We believe a gun was involved in the incident and detectives have been on scene interviewing other witnesses in the area,” he said.

Budreau noted that there have been some challenges with the investigation so far.

“Many of the witnesses are other homeless so some of them were present there are some campers that were not present or we’re not sure,” he said. “We are actively trying to track down basically everybody that was in the area at the time cause we are dealing with a population that has issues going on as far as mental health issues and some have addiction issues and just generally not wanting to get involved and we’re trying to overcome those hurdles with some of the witnesses to this incident.”

“Detectives are treating the incident as a homicide at this time. More details will be available as the investigation unfolds,” the department said in a Facebook post earlier today.

Though dealing with a community of individuals that generally does not welcome a police presence, Budreau said there is one thing that is helping officers in the investigation so far.

“We had a couple of officers that were on the scene in this camp less than an hour prior (to the incident) making outreach contact, not with everybody, not with this victim unfortunately but with others and so that helps in identifying who was there just an hour before.”

He noted that the incident took place in one of the homeless camps that are located on the Bear Creek Greenway between the Railroad Park and Biddle Rd. However, he noted that it is not the same camp that is visible from the Railroad Park.

Grants Pass Arson and Burglary Suspect Arrested

Joshua Lee Leach
Joshua Lee Leach

On February 28th, 2021 at about 1905 Hours, The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) 911 agency began fielding calls of a male subject lighting the gas pumps on fire at the Pacific Pride, located at 505 Rogue River Hwy. At approximately the same time, an alarm call came in at 85 Fruitdale Dr., which is the Industrial Source Welding Supply and in close proximity to the gas pumps. GPDPS Police and Fire/Rescue units responded to each scene. Dispatch began to provide updates from callers, of a male subject who was responsible for both the fire at Pacific Pride and what was determined to be a burglary at the welding supply.

This male subject had used a gas pump to spray fuel into the air and directly onto the pumps. The gas pump had been taken from a citizen’s vehicle who had been filling her tank. He then tried to start a fire numerous times, until he was successful. The male subject then ran to the welding supply and shattered the front glass door to make unlawful entry to the business. 

With the help of witness statements, the male subject was located and placed in custody without incident, near the intersection of Fruitdale Dr. and Williams Hwy.

He was identified as 44 year-old, Joshua Lee Leach who is transient but has a listed address in Pennsylvania. GPDPS Fire/Rescue was able to extinguish the fire quickly at Pacific Pride and prevented what could have been a large explosion. Businesses that were nearby were evacuated for precautionary measures by Police units, until the scene was safe. The GPDPS Fire Marshal responded and assisted at the scene of the fire. The location was made safe and is not a danger to the public. Damage appears to be limited to one island at the fueling station.  

Police units investigated both scenes and were able to get witness statements and video footage of the incidents. When the investigations were completed, Leach was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the charges listed below. 

1. Arson in the First Degree (3 counts)

2. Burglary in the Second Degree

3. Criminal Mischief in the First Degree

4. Reckless Endangering

5. Unlawful Entry to a Motor Vehicle

6. Theft in the Third Degree (2 counts)

7. Disorderly Conduct 

We extend our thanks to the citizens who observed the suspect and remained in the area to talk with officers and assist with the investigation of this case.  Luckily there were no injuries and as a result of the rapid response of police and fire units, the fire was contained and the suspect was stopped before he created more hazards and citizens were injured. 

The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety asks any witnesses to these incidents to please call (541) 450-6260 and reference Case # 2021-9229. We would also like to thank anyone who was inconvenienced during this alarming event for their patience. Witnesses in the area were crucial in assisting with the identification and ultimate capture of the suspect.  Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

The Klamath County Circuit Court upheld a majority of decisions concerning the Oregon water rights of the Klamath Tribes

Klamath tribes win water rights - News - The Register-Guard - Eugene, OR

The Klamath County Circuit Court upheld a majority of decisions concerning the Oregon water rights of the Klamath Tribes on Wednesday, but Basin irrigators say there could be changes in how those rights are enforced down the road. Using treaty language wherein the U.S. government promised adequate resources for hunting and fishing on
the former Klamath Indian Reservation, the Tribes had successfully proven the existence of their time immemorial water rights in federal court in the 1970s and 1980s.

But that litigation required their participation in the Klamath Basin Adjudication in order to quantify those rights. Judge Cameron Wogan’s latest proposed order upheld most of the Oregon Water Resources Department’s decisions on tribal water rights made during the adjudication’s administrative phase. Basin irrigators, including those within the Klamath Project and along the tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake, had made several motions to limit the scope and quantity of those rights.

Emergency Allotments for SNAP Recipients Continue in March

Oregon has been approved to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) emergency allotments for the month of March 2021. These emergency allotments will be available on:

  • March 10 for current SNAP recipients
  • March 30 for new SNAP recipients after March 10

Emergency allotments raise each household’s regularly monthly SNAP allotment to the maximum allowable amount based on household size. Per the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), SNAP households already receiving the maximum allowable allotment based on household size are not eligible to receive the emergency allotment.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards. Total benefits will be different based on each household’s regular monthly allotment for the month of February.

The maximum monthly SNAP benefit amounts by household size and more information about emergency allotments are available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/About-SNAP.aspx.

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance, and Medicaid. Learn more at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372. Oregon Department of Human Services

Lawmakers Announce Funds for Oregon Emergency Management

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Congressman Peter DeFazio, along with Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, have announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide additional funding for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

A joint release said OEM will receive $13.1 million for costs tied to the 2020 wildfires.

In the release, the group said, “Between the COVID-19 pandemic, and the catastrophic wildfires that ravaged our state last fall, southwest Oregon is recovering from multiple crises at one”. The release said that state, tribal and local governments have seen their public health and emergency management capacities stretched thin or exceeded and their financial resources come under strain. The lawmakers said federal support will ensure that communities can focus on recovery instead of on the financial burdens of the effort.

The lawmakers said they will continue to pursue additional relief for Oregon.

Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner is blasting Republicans for refusing to show up on the Senate floor late last week.  

Rob Wagner Appointed to Hotly-Contested Oregon Senate Seat - Willamette Week

Wagner issued a statement saying “Lives are at stake as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet the Senate Republicans continue their anti-democratic walkout tactics.”  Republican senators skipped yesterday’s legislative session in protest of the state’s handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  The walkout came on the same day that Governor Kate Brown extended Oregon’s state of emergency for another 60 days.  This is the third year in a row Oregon Senate Republicans have walked out.

Oregon’s Republican senators didn’t show up at the state Senate floor on Thursday, saying they were protesting “in solidarity” with Oregonians who disagree with how the state is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement released late Thursday morning, the Senate Republicans said they were “protesting in solidarity with students who want to get back into the classroom; With seniors who are being failed by the vaccine rollout; And with working Oregonians who are struggling to make ends meet.”

In a letter addressed to Governor Kate Brown, the group said they are planning to protest Thursday’s floor session to “convey the importance of these issues.” You can read the letter in full below.

The protest comes the same day as Gov. Brown announced she was extending the state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic through the beginning of May.

Those sentiments were echoed by Sen. Barbara Smith Warner, who took to Twitter saying the actions show how the Senate Republicans are, “committed to simply trying to frustrate the will of Oregon voters.” Without Republicans at the Capitol, lawmakers can’t vote on critical bills.

Oregonians respond to cultural community’s need by donating record $5.2 million to Cultural Trust in 2020

Salem, Ore. – Donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust surpassed $5 million for the first time ever in 2020, as generous Oregonians responded to the cultural community’s urgent need due to losses suffered during the pandemic. The $5.2 million in donations represents a 13 percent (close to $605,000) increase over 2019 and will support grant awards to cultural organizations across the state this summer.

“All We Need is Love,” a scene from the 2021 Portland Winter Light Festival. Photo by Jamie AM Crawford.

“We asked Oregonians to help us protect Oregon culture and their response exceeded our expectations,” said Cultural Trust Executive Director Brian Rogers. “These funds will go a long way in helping us support the cultural community’s recovery in 2021.”

“It’s extraordinary that, despite the challenges we all faced last year, so many Oregonians stepped up to support our arts, history, heritage and humanities,” said Cultural Trust Board Chair Niki Price. “It’s a testament to how much we value our great quality of life and the more than 1,500 cultural organizations that contribute to it every day. We are incredibly grateful.”

The $5.2 million fundraising total includes 11,161 donations, a 17.5 percent increase over 2019, and 2,028 new donors. It also includes a record $537,909 raised through an ongoing partnership with the Willamette Week Give!Guide.

“Our partnership with Give!Guide is one of the cornerstones of our campaign,” said Rogers. “It is a great way for people to learn about the Cultural Trust and the tax credit, bringing in 994 new donor households this year alone.”

More than half of the money raised will be distributed directly to Oregon’s nonprofit cultural community this summer; the remainder will grow the Cultural Trust permanent fund. Cultural Trust grants are distributed through five Statewide Cultural Partners – Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Humanities and the Oregon State Office of Historic Preservation – as well as to 45 County/Tribal Cultural Coalitions, who regrant the funds in their communities, and directly to cultural nonprofits via Cultural Development Grants.

The 78 projects supported by Cultural Development Grants in FY2021 include:

  • The preservation and sharing of Hawaiian traditional cultural practices online and in person by Kapi Oanuenue in Ashland;
  • The development of an interactive digital media channel for nonprofits and independent mediamakers by Open Signal in Portland;
  • A series of cultural programs to reengage the community after months of COVID shutdown by the Tower Theatre Foundation in Bend;
  • The production of “From the Streets to the Symphony,” a documentary about the collaborative composition of new music by houseless young filmmakers and Oregon Symphony creative chair Gabriel Kahane with Outside the Frame in Portland;
  • The restoration of Native American access to First Foods and other cultural plants of significance in Southwestern Oregon by the Indigenous Gardens Network at Southern Oregon University in Ashland;
  • The development of the first Oregon Online African American Museum by Oregon Black Pioneers in Salem; and
  • Access to media arts for historically underserved Black students to exercise their imaginations, develop a voice and prepare stories for public dissemination through the Journalistic Learning Initiative in Eugene.

For a full list of Cultural Trust grant projects, including links to Cultural County Coalitions and several hundred county projects they are funding this year, visit www.culturaltrust.org.

The exclusive contracted partner for the Cultural Trust’s 2020 fundraising campaign was Bell+Funk of Eugene.

The Oregon Cultural Trust was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2001 as a unique means to reward Oregonians who invest in culture. Oregonians who donate to a cultural nonprofit and then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust receive a 100% state tax credit for their gift to the Trust. Oregon Cultural Trust

Stolen Property and Drugs: Three Reedsport Residents Arrested

Three Reedsport residents were arrested following a theft investigation over the weekend. 

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, deputies assigned to Dunes Patrol took a report that a vehicle had been broken into at the 2nd Beach parking lot in Winchester Bay. Similar reports had been received over the past week.

Through their investigation, deputies obtained information on a suspect vehicle and were able to locate it at a residence in the 400 block of Camellia Court in Reedsport. Once there, two suspects, Douglas Michael Grable and Ashley Marie Shaw, were taken into custody and some stolen property was recovered. 

It was further learned that some of the property had been sold in exchange for drugs. Deputies contacted David Allen Taylor and took him into custody for possessing stolen property. Additionally, Taylor was found to be in possession of 14.2 grams of methamphetamine and 1.2 grams of heroin. 

The three were transported to the Douglas County Jail where they were lodged on the following charges: 

Grable: Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle x3, Theft in the 1st Degree x2, Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree x3, Driving While Suspended – Misdemeanor x2, Conspiracy 

Shaw: Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle x3, Theft in the 1st Degree x2, Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree x3, Conspiracy  

Taylor: Possession of Stolen Property in the 1st Degree, Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Delivery of Heroin   

Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office
 

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