Rogue Valley News, Thursday 3/4 – Jackson County Now Has J&J Vaccine, Medford’s Tinseltown Theatre Prepares for Friday Reopening

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Today–  Wind Advisory. Mostly sunny, with a high near 65. Light southeast wind becoming south southeast 11 to 16 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph.

Friday- Rain, mainly after 4pm. Snow level 4200 feet rising to 4900 feet in the afternoon. High near 59. Southeast wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Saturday- A 20 percent chance of rain before 10am. Snow level 2400 feet rising to 3000 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. Calm wind.

Sunday- A 20 percent chance of rain. Snow level 2500 feet rising to 3400 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51.

Monday- A chance of rain, mainly after 10am. Snow level 2000 feet rising to 3300 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50.

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Oregon reports 276 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 27 new deaths

There are 27 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,252. The Oregon Health Authority reported 276 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 156,287.

Note: A large volume of backlogged electronic laboratory reports (ELRs) were received yesterday. As a result, today’s test counts are higher than anticipated. Test results were from Jan. 1 to March 1. Approximately 99% of these test results were negative results and today’s percent positivity is lower than anticipated.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (3), Clackamas (20), Clatsop (2), Columbia (3), Coos (24), Deschutes (10), Douglas (22), Grant (2), Harney (2), Jackson (47), Jefferson (5), Josephine (5), Klamath (2), Lane (15), Linn (4), Malheur (2), Marion (28), Multnomah (26), Polk (4), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (7), Union (10), Washington (25) and Yamhill (2).

Weekly COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, deaths rise

The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows increases in daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the previous week.

OHA reported 2,652 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 28 — a 17% increase from the previous week.

New COVID-19 related hospitalizations also rose to 164, up from 159 the previous week.

Reported COVID-19 related deaths also increased to 57, up from 17 last week. That represents the lowest total since mid-November.

There were 120,678 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Feb. 21 through Feb. 27, a sharp increase from the previous week. The previous week’s total was most likely affected by the inclement winter weather event that took place throughout the region.

Roughly 117,000 tests were administered on a weekly basis earlier this year. The percentage of positive tests was 3.7%.

People 70 years of age and older have accounted for 40% of COVID-19 associated hospitalizations and 77% of COVID-19 associated deaths.

Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 56 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.

Oregon hits milestone: 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered

Today, OHA recorded more than 1 million vaccines administered to Oregonians. There were 22,346 doses recorded yesterday, bringing the total number of doses administered in the state to 1,019,767. The first dose was administered on Dec. 14, less than three months ago.

Approximately, one in five Oregonians who likely are eligible have received at least one dose. The vaccine has been delivered to every Oregon county, long-term care and residential care facilities, adult foster homes, group homes for those with disabilities, hospitals, mass vaccination events, mobile events, clinics, Tribal health centers, group homes, congregate care settings, pharmacies, outpatient clinics, federally qualified health centers and other locations throughout the state.

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 1,019,767 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 1,310,175 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

 “This could not happen without the partnerships that have been strengthened and developed to move Oregon closer to community immunity, and the thousands of providers, volunteers, nurses and countless other Oregonians who made this happen,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “Every day we are delivering more than 22,000 doses of vaccine that will bring us to the end of this difficult journey for so many.

“Our ability to meet our timelines for opening up scheduling opportunities to additional groups will still require an adequate and consistent supply of doses from the federal government, a large number of Oregonians who are able and willing to get vaccinated and the ability of our vaccination sites to immunize all eligible persons.”

As Oregon continues the vaccine rollout, OHA encourages all Oregonians to keep taking the protective measures to help keep themselves, families, coworkers, loved ones, friends and communities safe and healthy. We continue to recommend that all Oregonians:

  • Maintain 6 feet of physical distance;
  • Wear a face covering when outside the house;
  • Practice good hand hygiene;
  • Avoid any gatherings with non-household members;
  • If you start to have symptoms — even mild ones — consult with a medical provider quickly to get instructions on how to care for yourself and your household members and to determine whether to get tested;
  • And finally, if you get a call from a local public health authority, answer it, and take their advice on how to protect yourself and those around you.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine situation in Oregon, visit our webpage, which has a breakdown of distribution and other useful information.

COVID-19 Special Enrollment period offers health coverage to eligible Oregonians: HealthCare.gov is open until May 15 to enroll in health coverage.

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(Salem) – Feb. 15 was the first day of a new special enrollment period triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This limited-time window, which runs through May 15, has allowed nearly 2,000 additional Oregonians to enroll in health coverage outside the standard open enrollment period in the month of February, up 34 percent from the same time in 2020.

Traditionally, people in Oregon who qualify to shop through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace must do so during the annual open enrollment period, Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. If an individual or family experiences significant change during the year to to their household, income, or job status, they may qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period.

The 2021 COVID-19 special enrollment period does not have any special qualifiers, other than qualifying for a health plan through the Marketplace. To qualify for a Marketplace plan, people must live in the United States, be legally present in the United States (except Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status), and not be incarcerated.

In 2020, more than 70 percent of Oregonians who chose plans through HealthCare.gov got an average of $450 per month in advanced premium tax credits to help lower their monthly premiums. Individuals making $51,040 or less per year, and families of four making $104,800 or less, may get help paying for coverage. People can also browse plans and find out how much savings they are eligible for at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop.

Oregonians who do not get health insurance through their job or a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare may qualify for help paying for 2021 coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Even if people are temporarily uninsured or are currently enrolled in COBRA coverage, they can sign up for help before May 15 to get health insurance for the rest of 2021.

“We are encouraged to see so many Oregonians taking advantage of this enrollment opportunity,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Quality health coverage protects your financial future in the event that you get sick, injured, or something else unforeseen happens.”

To apply, go to OregonHealthCare.gov by May 15 and answer a few Oregon-specific questions to get to the right application. You can also search the “get help” directory on OregonHealthCare.gov to find an insurance agent or community partner organization to help complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to the client. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following safety protocols.

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov. Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services 

Jackson County Now Has J&J Vaccine

 Jackson County Public Health is now in possession of the first shipment of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, officials said on Wednesday. The positive news is accompanied by recent trends in new virus cases that could send the county back to “Extreme Risk” status by the end of next week.

Public health officials said that they have received 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Staff are working to get these doses to eligible groups that “may be hard to reach, have barriers to accessing the vaccine, and would be challenging to provide a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson product is designed to be delivered in a single dose.

“Jackson County Public Health is hopeful that the vaccine supply chain will increase in late March and April, allowing for more vaccines to be distributed to Jackson County and increasing access to the vaccine,” the agency said. “Jackson County Public Health and our healthcare partners are encouraged by the number of people wanting to be vaccinated, and we are all eager to provide the vaccine. We appreciate the community’s patience; we are all doing the best we can – as fast as we can – with the available resources we have.”

Jackson County stepped down from Extreme to High Risk last Friday, but it may be forced to go back on Oregon’s highest level of restrictions by next Friday if trends continue.

According to county data, there were just over 223 cases per 100,000 people during the week of February 14 through 27. Jackson County needs to have case rates below 200 per 100,000 to qualify for High Risk status. Public health officials have logged 121 new cases since Sunday.

As of Wednesday, Jackson County’s coronavirus death toll stood at 114 since the beginning of the pandemic. Officials reported the death of a 65-year-old woman who tested positive on January 18 and died on February 28 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. She had underlying conditions.

The day prior, health officials reported the death of a 27-year-old man who tested positive on January 26 and died on February 19 at Legacy Emmanuel Health in Portland. He also had underlying conditions.

“Jackson County Public Health understands that people are ready to resume life as it was before the pandemic,” the agency said. “Even though the vaccine provides us hope that society will operate as it did before the pandemic, we must continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Letting our guard down against preventing the spread of COVID-19 will increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading in Jackson County, which will put Jackson County at a higher risk level and jeopardize people’s health.”

Medford’s Tinseltown Theatre Prepares for Friday Reopening

Cinemark plans to reopen the Tinseltown USA theatre in Medford on Friday with the necessary coronavirus safety measures in place, the company announced Tuesday.

After the widespread COVID-19 shutdowns in March of last year, Cinemark moved ahead with reopening the theatre in September, but it was not destined to last for long. In November, Governor Brown issued her two-week “freeze,” followed by the state’s new system of risk level restrictions. Up until last Friday, Jackson County was kept on “Extreme Risk” restrictions, all but ensuring that venues like Tinseltown remain closed.

With Jackson County now on High Risk, theaters are allowed to operate at 25 percent occupancy or admit 50 people total, whichever is smaller. They must also close by 11 p.m.

“The theatre is reopening in accordance with local mandates and will have enhanced clean and safety protocols,” Cinemark said. “Moviegoers can purchase tickets for standard showtimes, and those looking to stay within their trusted group can book a Private Watch Party to watch the film of their choice with the group of their choice for just $99 for Comeback Classics and $149 for new movies.”

Cinemark said that the reopening line-up will include Tom & Jerry: The MovieWonder Woman 1984Judas and the Black MessiahLandThe Little ThingsThe Marksman, and The Croods: A New Age, among others. People who spring for a Private Watch Party can also choose from more than 20 “Comeback Classic” movies, including A League of Their OwnAirplane!CluePitch PerfectStuart LittleThe Iron Giant, and Thelma and Louise.

“The theatre will reopen with greatly enhanced cleanliness, sanitizing and safety measures at every step of the moviegoing experience,” Cinemark said

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

DEA Releases National Drug Threat Assessment – The Pacific Northwest is Flooded with Fentanyl by the CJNG Cartel

DEA Acting Administrator D. Christopher Evans today announced the release of the 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, DEA’s annual publication outlining the threats posed to the United States by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs.

“This year’s report shows the harsh reality of the drug threats facing communities across the United States,” said Acting Administrator Evans.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic plagues this nation, so, too, do transnational criminal organizations and violent street gangs, adjusting to pandemic restrictions to flood our communities with dangerous drugs. DEA and our local, state, and federal partners continue to adapt to the ever-changing landscape, remaining focused on the current threats and looking to the horizon for emerging threats. We will always defend the American people against illicit substances that ruin lives, devastate families, and destroy communities.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said, “The DEA Seattle Field Division, which includes the Pacific North West states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Alaska is primarily focused on the opioid threat, more specifically the illicit manufactured fentanyl that many drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations are smuggling into our communities and selling to our citizens with dire consequences.” 

Drugs trends in the United States continue to evolve. While fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China have decreased substantially following the DEA’s 2018 emergency scheduling action of fentanyl related substances and China’s enactment of fentanyl-class controls in May 2019, the opioid threat remains at epidemic levels, affecting large portions of the country. Meanwhile, the stimulant threat, including methamphetamine and cocaine, is worsening both in volume and reach, with traffickers selling increasing amounts outside of traditional markets.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 83,000 people lost their lives to drug-related overdoses in the twelve-month period ending in July of 2020, a significant increase from 2019, when more than 70,000 people died of overdoses.       

2020 NDTA findings of note:

·Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) remain the greatest criminal drug threat in the United States.

·Illicit fentanyl is one of the primary drugs fueling the epidemic of overdose deaths in the United States, while heroin and prescription opioids remain significant challenges to public health and law enforcement.

·Mexican cartels are increasingly responsible for producing and supplying fentanyl to the U.S. market. China remains a key source of supply for the precursor chemicals that Mexican cartels use to produce the large amounts of fentanyl they are smuggling into the United States.  

·Drug-poisoning deaths and seizures involving methamphetamine have risen sharply as Mexican TCOs increase the drug’s availability and expand the domestic market.

·Constraints associated with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic – daily travel restrictions, U.S. border closings, closure of nonessential businesses, and broad shelter-in-place orders – temporarily posed new challenges to criminal organizations’ movement of drugs during the first half of 2020. 

The Pacific Northwest of the United States is under siege by the Mexican based Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) cartel who is flooding the region with clandestine produced synthetic opioids in the form of prescriptions pills.  This transnational criminal organization (TCO) is taking advantage of the readily available and extremely dangerous, in fact lethal, synesthetic opioid; Fentanyl. These transnational criminal organizations, specifically CJNG are mixing illegally and clandestinely made fentanyl into most illicit narcotics, to include cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and pills, resulting in a significant increase in non-fatal and fatal overdose deaths.  

The National Drug Threat Assessment provides a yearly assessment of the challenges communities face related to drug abuse and drug trafficking. Highlights in the report include usage and trafficking trends for drugs such as prescription drugs, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and hundreds of synthetic drugs. New to this year’s report is the effect of COVID-19 during the first part of 2020.

The assessment gathers information from many data sources such as drug investigations and seizures, drug purity, laboratory analysis, information on transnational and domestic criminal groups, and U.S. government drug cultivation and production estimates.

The National Drug Threat Assessment is available at www.dea.gov/documents/2021/03/02/2020-national-drug-threat-assessment.

Oregon Bill Under Consideration to Ban Display of Nooses Due to it Being a Racist Symbol

Oregon lawmakers consider ban on display of nooses, a racist symbol

Greg Evans, a Black man who joined a parade of witnesses urging Oregon lawmakers to ban the display of nooses, said the issue was personal for him: A member of his family had been lynched over a century ago in South Carolina.

“He was killed basically for offending a white man,” Evans, a member of the Eugene City Council, testified Tuesday. “He was hung by a noose. His body was riddled with bullets, and then he was set on fire.”

Louisiana, Virginia, California, New York, Maryland and Connecticut previously criminalized the display of nooses. The bill under consideration in Oregon would make intimidation by display of a noose a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $6,250 fine.

In Virginia, displaying a noose in public places is now a felony, with a maximum prison term of five years. The state Supreme Court, ruling in the case of a man who hung a life-sized, black mannequin in his front yard, said in 2018 that the law also applies to private property. Two Black families lived in the neighborhood, including one next door.

Last month, a noose was placed on the recycling container of a mixed-race couple in Eugene, Oregon, and their car was spray-painted with a racial epithet, Evans said in an interview. He believes most people who place nooses are fully aware of the pain it causes Black people.

“Some are just kids that are ignorant, that are playing a joke,” Evans said. “But it’s not a joke. It’s not a prank. This is serious business.”

Federal hate crime laws do not address nooses. Amendments were introduced in Congress years ago to specifically include them as an intimidation threat, but nothing has been passed.

In a 2017 report, t he nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative described lynchings and the trauma they caused.

“During the period between the Civil War and World War II, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States,” the report said. “Lynchings were violent and public acts of torture that traumatized Black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials.”

In 2018, the Equal Justice Initiative, which is committed to challenging racial and economic injustice, opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. It bears the names of lynching victims, but Evan’s ancestor is not among them. He was one of the uncounted lynching victims whose deaths weren’t recorded by officials or newspapers.

Walter Graham was only a teenager when white men dragged him from his home in Blacksburg, South Carolina, in 1915, Evans said, recounting the story passed down by three generations of his family.

After killing Graham, the mob burned down the home of the extended family. A short while later, they joined an exodus of Black people terrified by the epidemic of lynching.

The Equal Justice Initiative says “terror lynchings” fueled the mass migration of millions of Black people from the South throughout the first half of the 20th century. It documented 4,084 racial terror lynchings in 12 Southern states. The NAACP says it knows of 700 more.

In 1918, a mob killed Hayes Turner, suspected in the death of an abusive plantation owner. When the victim’s wife, Mary Turner, publicly opposed the killing of her husband and threatened to have members of the mob arrested, she was doused in gasoline, dangled from a bridge and set on fire.

“Turner was still alive when a member of the mob split her abdomen open with a knife and her unborn child fell on the ground. The baby was stomped and crushed as it fell to the ground,” the NAACP said.

Evans said the noose is a symbol of white supremacy that conveys the message: “The white man is still in charge, and remember your place in this society.”

One of the witnesses at the hearing Tuesday for the Oregon bill described the effect of the placement of a noose last May at a Portland State University construction site.

“It was shocking and terrorizing for our community. Staff and faculty were not only afraid to go to our new building but were afraid to attend PSU in general,” faculty member Kelly Cutler told the Oregon Senate Committee on Judiciary.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners urged the committee to support the bill, saying it “opens the door for legal remedies” against intimidating people with nooses in Oregon, where records show hate crimes and bias incidents increased 366% in 2020.

“The harm to communities impacted by the display of a noose should not be understated,” the city leaders wrote.

A Republican on the judiciary committee, Sen. Dallas Heard, who is white, asked how the state would enforce an anti-noose law if antifa protesters came to the Oregon State Capitol and hanged his effigy, under a First Amendment right to protest.

The committee chairman suggested Heard speak to legislative counsel to get clarity.

Oregon Lawmakers Pushing to Compensate People Wrongfully Convicted and Imprisoned

Are Our Prisons and Jails Ready for COVID-19? | ACLU of Oregon

Senate Bill 499 calls for exonerees to receive $65,000 for every year they were behind bars.

Lisa Roberts spent 12 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. She missed her only child’s high school graduation. She missed the birth of her first grandchild.

“And the worst of all, I missed spending time with my mother before she passed away,” Roberts said.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, Roberts says she lost everything when she was in prison. And after she was exonerated, she struggled to find a stable, good-paying job.

“I was completely reliant on friends and family and supporters to help me when I tried to rebuild my life,” she said. 

What Roberts shared in a public hearing Wednesday is unthinkable for most people, but help may be on the way in the form of Oregon Senate Bill 499.

The bill would give people who are wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, $65,000 for every year they were behind bars and up to $25,000 for every additional year served on parole or supervision. The bill also calls for records to be expunged.

More than 30 states, including the federal government and District of Columbia, already have compensation legislation. Most average about $50,000 per year. A few states like California stipulate an amount per day like their $140 a day…which works out to about to $51,000 for a full year behind bars. Look up other states here.

“When people are in prison and they’re innocent, often their best earning years have been obliterated,” said Sen. Kim Thatcher. “This bill rights a wrong and offers assistance to people who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned and help them get back on their feet.”

Senate Bill 499 also gives the court the right to offer wrongfully convicted and imprisoned people financial help for counseling and housing assistance. Critics of Senate Bill 499 do not necessarily trust the court to handle that. They are calling for a criminal justice reform commission to be established.

“We need civil rights, human rights leaders who are known and respected the governor can appoint and have them be the listening body, the oversight body,” said Lucinda Hites-Clabaugh, who was wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing a child in Woodburn in 2009.

Regardless of how Senate Bill 499 may or may not be tweaked in the coming weeks, Roberts believes it is a step in the right direction.

“It’s more than just financial security,” she said. “The ability to receive compensation is also about the state acknowledging it made a mistake and taking responsibility for that mistake.”

Oregon Historical Society’s Museum Reopens Saturday, March 6, with Limited Weekend Hours

Portland, OR — The Oregon Historical Society (OHS) is excited to announce the reopening of its museum and museum store this Saturday, March 6. Until further notice, public museum and store hours will be Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 5pm. The museum will also have special hours during the week of Oregon’s spring break, opening from Tuesday, March 23 through Sunday, March 28, from 12pm – 5pm.

The OHS Research Library remains closed for renovations that began in January 2020. More information on library services that are available during the renovation can be found at ohs.org/libraryreno.

Following the guidance and requirements of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for indoor entertainment establishments, the Oregon Historical Society has implemented important safety protocols for the health of our staff and visitors. Current protocols are detailed at the bottom of this press release as well as at ohs.org/reopening.

Current Exhibitions:

Nevertheless, They Persisted: Women’s Voting Rights and the 19th Amendment
On exhibit through December 5, 2021

Discover the many ways that Oregon history connects to the national history of woman suffrage and to the complex history of democracy in the United States in the original exhibition, Nevertheless, They Persisted. The exhibit focuses on the work necessary to win the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment (granting women the vote) as well as invites visitors to consider how and why political leaders have denied women the vote; how women have fought for equal rights; and how teamwork and fights across race, class, and organizing tactics have shaped this history. Through storytelling and original artifacts and documents, visitors will connect to the past and feel the struggles and triumphs of the women and men who demanded the vote and used their rights to shape our nation and our world.

We are the Rose City! A History of Soccer in Portland
On exhibit through September 26, 2021

Attend a soccer game at Providence Park and you may hear people chanting, “We are the Rose City, the mighty PTFC!” Thousands of supporters flock to the park on match days to watch the Portland Timbers and the Portland Thorns take to the pitch, competing in a sport that is beloved by many in the Pacific Northwest. From the athletes, to the fans, to the many events that have shaped “Soccer City,” We are the Rose City! explores the history of professional soccer in Portland and the cultural context of the game.

Experience Oregon
Permanent Exhibit

Visitors of all ages, and from all parts of the world, come to the Oregon Historical Society each year to learn about Oregon. Whether you were born here, have chosen to make this place home, or are just passing through, it is undeniable that there is something special about this state. From its varied geography to its innovative legislation, Oregon is complex and distinctive, filled with people whose stories are the foundation of the state we see today. A dynamic educational space, Experience Oregon allows visitors to learn about the countless people, places, and events that have shaped this place.

The Oregon Historical Society is excited to reopen its museum to share these exhibitions with visitors, while continuing its efforts to provide programs and content virtually for those who are not able to visit in person. For a full schedule of upcoming virtual programs, visit ohs.org/events. For other ways to discover Oregon history online, visit the OHS blog Dear Oregon for weekly blog posts; explore over 33,000 photographs, manuscripts, and clips of archival footage on OHS Digital Collections; and learn about Oregon history from A to Z on The Oregon Encyclopedia!

Current Health and Safety Protocols

The Oregon Historical Society thanks visitors in advance for adhering to the following guidelines in an effort to keep staff and visitors as safe as possible: 

Wear A Face Covering: Pursuant to the statewide reopening guidance on masks, face coverings, and face shields, all visitors age five and older are required to wear a face covering at all times during their visit. 

Maintain Distance: Signage throughout the museum will remind visitors to keep six feet of distance between themselves and visitors outside of their party.

Modified Exhibit Access: For visitor safety, only a limited number of interactive elements in the Experience Oregon and Oregon Voices exhibits that visitors can operate using a stylus pen will be available. OHS’s History Hub exhibit is closed until further notice due to the hands-on nature of this exhibition. 

Other Safety Precautions Include:

  • Additional hand sanitizing stations installed at the museum’s entrance and throughout the building
  • Plexiglass sneeze guards installed at point of sale stations
  • Designated one-way paths to maintain required distancing as visitors enter, exit, and enjoy the exhibitions
  • Limited contact transactions; at this time, OHS discourages cash/check transactions
  • At this time, building capacity is limited to a maximum of 50 people (includes staff and visitors) in the museum at one time
  • Museum Store capacity is limited to four shoppers at one time

Museum and museum store hours are subject to change; OHS recommends visiting ohs.org/reopening before visiting or calling 503.222.1741. Please note that while OHS’s visitor services staff are not on site during weekdays they are checking voicemails and returning calls remotely.

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 

Fatal Crash on Hwy 223 in Polk County

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at approximately 7:44 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle crash on Hwy 223 and Pleasant Drive in Dallas.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a pedestrian, Chloe Blatchley (77) of Dallas, was crossing Hwy 223 when she was struck by a Landrover, operated by Curtis Cook (72) of Dallas.

Blatchley sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

OSP was assisted by Polk County Sheriff’s Office, ODOT and Dallas Fire Department. Oregon State Police 

Spring Whale Watching on The Oregon Coast Will Be Another Do-It-Yourself Event

In previous years, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has celebrated its Spring Whale Watch Week by staffing trained whale watching volunteers at park sites up and down the Oregon coast. Volunteers educated visitors and helped people spot the passing whales. Gray whales be migrating along the Oregon coast this spring, and visitors will once again be on their own to spot them.

That tradition was halted after the parks department canceled the event and shut down all park sites amid the spread of COVID-19. Whale watchers were able to return to park sites for the winter migration, though volunteers were still absent.

State park officials said the spring 2021 migration, which begins in late March and lasts through June, will once again be a do-it-yourself event, and that the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, which closed last March, will remain closed to the public.

Whale watchers headed out on their own for the spring migration will want to find a good oceanside viewpoint, bring a pair of binoculars and exercise patience, as gray whales can be tricky to spot.

The first thing to do is find a good whale watching spot, and a good place to start is with the 24 whale watching sites where volunteers are normally stationed.

Once you’re situated, look out at the ocean for a spout (a burst of mist as a whale exhales at the surface) and then watch to see if the gray whale’s tail (called a fluke) emerges from the water as it dives deeper underwater. Gray whales also occasionally breach, or leap from the ocean, which is a magnificent sight for those lucky enough to see it.

Those who want a closer look can book a spot on one of several whale watching tours, most of which launch out of Depoe Bay. Whale watching outfitters are operating this spring, with public health protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The spring migration typically brings some 25,000 gray whales past Oregon, as they move from their warmer breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico to cooler feeding grounds off the coast of Alaska. Gray whales travel in pods, and in the spring they travel with newborn calves alongside the adults.

Those calves can also attract another great marine mammal: the orca, also known as the killer whale, which feeds on the young gray whales. An orca attack may be a grisly sight to some, but consider yourself lucky if you witness one from shore.

The state parks department is asking visitors to avoid crowded areas, maintain physical distance from others and wear face masks when around people not from your household, including in restrooms. Some park sites may not be open, so check stateparks.oregon.gov before you go.

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