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, March 12, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Patchy fog between 7am and 10am. Patchy freezing fog before 7am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 63. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday- Sunny, with a high near 69. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday– A 50 percent chance of rain. Snow level 4200 feet rising to 4800 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57. South southwest wind around 7 mph.
Monday– A chance of rain and snow showers before 1pm, then a chance of rain showers. Snow level rising to 2300 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Tuesday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 55.
Oregon reports 367 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 11 new deaths
There are 11 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,316. The Oregon Health Authority reported 367 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 158,644.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 30,653 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 20,002 doses were administered on March 10 and 10,651 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on March 10.
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 1,235,071 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 1,562,835 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.
Oregon Health Authority Announces State Exemption to Federal Prioritization for Some Groups Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccinations
Oregon Health Authority and pharmacies in Oregon providing COVID-19 vaccines confirmed today that the pharmacies in Oregon can continue to serve Oregonians age 65 years and older.
The announcement follows an exemption granted to Oregon by the U.S. President Joe Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Earlier this month the administration set a goal to reopen the nation’s schools by having all educators, childcare workers and other education staff receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose by the end of March.
Unlike many other states, Oregon authorized the state’s estimated 152,000 K-12 education workers, childcare providers and early learning workers to be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines starting Jan. 25. That eligibility expanded to older adults age 80 and older beginning Feb. 8. Over the next four weeks, eligibility in Oregon expanded to other older adults. Today, older adults 65 and older in Oregon are eligible to be vaccinated statewide, including at retail pharmacies.
Five pharmacy chains in Oregon are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and receive COVID-19 vaccines at 175 locations around the state. This includes 107 Safeway/Albertsons locations, 44 Walgreens stores, 13 Costco pharmacies, eight Health Marts and three Rite-Aids.
Participating pharmacies use their own scheduling systems, which require people to be eligible under Oregon’s vaccine eligibility guidance. Appointments for vaccinations are provided as vaccines are available. Demand for vaccinations in Oregon continues to exceed available vaccine doses.
OHA appreciates the assistance provided by the CDC and our federal pharmacy partners, who are working to ensure every Oregonian can be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Eligible Oregonians looking for appointments at a Federal Retail Pharmacy Program participant can find them at the links below:
Health Mart: healthmartcovidvaccine.com
All Walmart pharmacies in Oregon will begin scheduling COVID-19 vaccines beginning March 10. If you’re seeking COVID-19 vaccination, things just got a whole lot easier. All Walmart pharmacies in Oregon will begin scheduling COVID-19 vaccines in partnership with the state, beginning March 10. As appointments become available, they will appear in the Walmart scheduler at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine. While supplies last, vaccines will be available to those who meet the current phase of vaccine eligibility in Oregon, which can be found at govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.
ROGUE VALLEY HEADLINES:
Home Values on the Rise in Medford
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. home sales slumped. Since then, however, the market has come roaring back — and rising demand, in conjunction with a relatively low supply of housing, has caused home values to surge.
According to estimates from Zillow, a Seattle-based real estate data company, between January 2020 and January 2021, the typical single-family American home appreciated in value from $246,563 to $269,039, a 9.1% increase. Of course, housing markets also respond more to local forces, and not all parts of the country followed the national pattern.
In Medford, a city of about 81,100 residents in Oregon’s Jackson County, home values are rising even faster than they are nationwide. The typical single family home in Medford was worth $330,317 as of January 2021, 11.6% more than what it was worth one year ago.
One factor that can contribute to rapidly climbing home prices at a local level is demand. And demand for housing is often precipitated by a growing population. According to the most recent available Census data, over the last one-year period, Medford’s population increased by 1.4%.
Nationwide, the typical home value is about 4.3 times higher than the median household income of $62,843. In Medford, housing is generally less affordable. The typical single-family home value is about 6.6 times higher than the local median household income of $50,116.
Here are the nine communities with populations of at least 35,000 in Oregon where home values climbed the most in the last year.
|Rank in state:||Place:||1-yr. increase in typical home value:||Current typical home value:||1-yr. change in median income:||Current median household income:|
Showdown and Arrest Made in Bizarre Incident in Grants Pass
On Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 11:38 am, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety received multiple 911 calls reporting a disturbance at 1414 Parkdale Dr in which a female was thrown to the ground and assaulted by a male subject. Additionally, the male was reported to be trying to gouge out the female’s eyeballs.
When officers arrived on scene, the disturbance appeared to be over and the male suspect, identified as Anthony Paris Alberts, was standing outside. Officers quickly determined they had probable cause that an assault had occurred and told Alberts he was under arrest. Alberts responded by locking himself inside the residence and refusing to come out.
Upon further investigation, officers learned that Alberts had attacked the victim, who was a friend of his mother’s, in the driveway. Alberts picked up the 63-year-old woman and slammed her into the ground before striking her and trying to gouge her eyes out with his fingers, all while threatening to kill her. Based upon additional information obtained, officers believed Alberts was suffering from a mental health crisis. Numerous officers and detectives responded to assist in the investigation. The victim sustained serious physical injuries and was transported by AMR Ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center for treatment.
Due to the nature of the incident, the GPDPS Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT) and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team were requested, along with a mental health consultant from Options for Southern Oregon. Disturbances involving a person in crisis can be volatile in nature and create added risks for the individual, law enforcement and the public. The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety takes these types of incidents seriously and treats them with an abundance of caution. For the past several years, Options has partnered with GPDPS to provide both a Mobile Crisis Unit and mental health consultants for CNT.
Over the next two hours, negotiatiors attempted to de-escalate the situation and encourage Alberts to come out of the residence but he refused to communicate. Around 2 pm, Alberts tried to escape out the back door of the residence, where he was met by Police K9 Maro and his handler. Alberts was bit by the K9 but continued to resist and another officer deployed his Taser. Alberts was eventually taken into custody by additional officers on scene.
Alberts was transported by AMR Ambulance to Three Rivers Medical Center for evaluation. He was later lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the listed charges: Assault in the 2nd Degree, Strangulation, Menacing, Escape in the 3rd Degree.
Parkdale Drive was shut down for several hours during this incident and we would like to thank the public for their patience as we resolved this matter. Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety
Suspects Arrested in Medford Hotel Stabbing –
On March 5th, 2021 at about 7:58 a.m., officers responded to Harvey’s Motel, 510 S. Central Avenue, for a report of a victim of a stabbing.
The victim was discovered by staff, who found him in the bathtub of a motel room. Upon officers’ arrival, no suspect(s) were on scene.
Medical personnel tended to the 73 year old victims’ wounds and he was ultimately transported to the hospital, where he remains as of March 11, 2021.
The victim was found to have multiple stab wounds to the neck, as well as blunt force trauma injuries to the upper body.
Detectives assumed the investigation and discovered that Jake Compton, 30, had rented the room where the victim was discovered. However, Compton could not be located. After a lengthy investigation, detectives determined that Compton had caused the injuries to the victim after an apparent dispute in the motel room on March 3rd.
Compton was then aided by his girlfriend, Cera Freier, 23, and placed the victim in the bath tub, in hopes he would die from his injuries. Freier remained on scene to ensure the victim did not leave the bathroom.
On March 9th at about 4:00 p.m., officers located Jake Compton in the parking lot of the Econo Lodge, 1015 S. Riverside Avenue. He was interviewed and lodged in jail for Attempted Murder and Assault 1st Degree, bail $2,000,000.
On March 11th, at about 7:45 a.m. officers located Freier when she arrived back at Harvey’s Motel. She was interviewed and lodged for an unrelated parole warrant.
On March 11th, 2021, a Grand Jury indicted Compton on the charges listed, and Freier was indicted for Attempted Murder, Attempted Assault 1st Degree, and Kidnapping 2nd Degree. – Medford Police Dept.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Murder Suspect Killed in Reedsport was Jailed Hours after Shooting Springfield Caretaker but Released Before Crime Discovered
Police believe a man shot and killed the caretaker at the FOOD for Lane County Youth Farm hours before the suspect was taken into custody on other charges.
“Detectives believe that Marshall had been shot hours prior to Ruozi’s arrest, however the crime was not discovered until the evening of March 1,” Springfield Police said. “Ruozi had been released earlier that same day.”
The suspect in the death of Richard Marshall – 30-year-old David Robert Ruozi – was arrested February 26 on charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Criminal Trespass and booked into the Lane County Jail.
Police found Richard Donald Marshall, 70, dead March 1, 2021, at the FOOD for Lane County Youth Farm in Springfield. Marshall was the caretaker of the garden, police said. (SPD/SBG)
The firearm Ruozi had at the time of his arrest was the same caliber handgun used to kill Marshall, police said.
Springfield Police went to work tracking down Ruozi, spending several days looking for him on the Oregon Coast before locating him Tuesday evening in Reedsport.
Police say that during Tuesday night’s standoff in Reedsport, Ruozi admitted to everything.
“He told us that he killed Mr. Marshall,” said Sgt. Lewis. “He called him by name, actually. He didn’t know him. He claimed, basically, his reason for shooting him was shining a flashlight on him and asking him what he was doing.”
Sgt. Lewis goes on to say Ruozi said he had been to prison before and he didn’t want to go back.
It all started on February 26 when Springfield police received a call of an armed subject at the backdoor of a house.
Later, officers arrested Ruozi for felony possession of a firearm. He was released three mornings later, on March 1.
At 9:30 p.m. that same day – March 1 – Marshall was found dead in Springfield.
“And at the end of that day we didn’t have a lot of evidence,” Sgt. Lewis said. “We did have a bullet and a bullet pistol casing. It was .45 caliber at that time, and we started working backward from there.”
Sgt. Lewis says Marshall was killed in the same general area where Ruozi had been arrested with a .45 caliber handgun.
“We sent the gun to the lab to be compared with the bullet and casing we found at the scene and we were pretty confident that it was going to be the same handgun.”
The department then got calls from people who had talked with Ruozi.
They told police information about the crime that hadn’t been released – and that came from Ruozi himself.
That’s when police began searching coastal towns, starting in Newport.
“We knew he was down on the Oregon coast. He was in Florence for a time, he was in Reedsport for a time, North Bend and Coos Bay for a time, and we ultimately went down there and found him on Tuesday riding as a passenger in a car in Reedsport.”
That’s when investigators pulled over the white sedan.
The driver was detained peacefully, but Rouzi refused to surrender , alerting police he was armed and leading to a five-hour standoff.
Ultimately, shots were fired and Ruozi was killed.
Sgt. Lewis explained that when the officers made original contact with the suspect on February 26, he had just committed a murder – but those officers didn’t know that since the body wasn’t discovered until March 1, and the connection was made sometime after.
“Ruozi refused to cooperate with officers and was armed at the time. A standoff ensued which lasted over four hours,” police said. “Negotiations to deescalate the situation for the entirety of the event were unsuccessful.”
At some point, shots were fired. It is not yet known who fired shots. The case is under investigation in Douglas County, where Reedsport is located.
Springfield Police did confirm that their officers did not fire any shots.
“Ruozi was pronounced deceased after an officer involved shooting in Reedsport, Oregon on March 9,” police said. “He was being sought after by SPD detectives who intended to arrest him for the homicide.”
Interactive Tsunami Evacuation Maps Now Show Fastest Street Paths to Safety on Oregon Coast
March 11, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami, and is a good time to prepare for a tsunami on the Pacific Northwest Coast
The coasts of Oregon, Washington, and Northern California are exposed to tsunamis from distant earthquakes, such as the March 11, 2011, T?hoku, Japan event, which killed more than 15,000 people. However, the greatest risk to Northwest coastal communities is from a very large locally generated tsunami produced by an earthquake (magnitude 8-9+) occurring immediately offshore the Pacific Northwest coast on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
A new online feature in the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) Visualization System (NVS) Tsunami Evacuation Zones viewer now integrates those results by providing a custom map view showing your quickest street route to safety outside the tsunami zone after a local Cascadia earthquake. The tool also shows the distance to safety and how fast you need to travel to escape the tsunami.
“Knowing the specific path you need to take to reach high ground quickly will help coastal residents and visitors plan well in advance, before an earthquake and tsunami occur,” says Jon Allan, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries Coastal Geomorphologist. “With this information, you can practice your route, whether from your home, school, or work. Every minute will count after a local earthquake.”
This initial rollout of the tool is for the communities of Seaside, Rockaway Beach, Pacific City, and Coos Bay. Users who create free NANOOS accounts can save their markers and paths for later reference.
Over the past year, the Oregon Department Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) has collaborated with the University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab and GIS Mapping Program to convert tsunami evacuation modeling results for these four pilot communities, in order to build a tsunami routable road network that would allow users to determine the best route out of the tsunami zone automatically via a web-based portal. Paths to safety for all Oregon coastal communities are being developed and will be added when available.
NANOOS NVS Tsunami Evacuation Zones users can also print out tsunami hazard zone maps for their areas, and use the app on smartphones. The path to safety functionality is being developed to display on both the custom printable maps and smartphones.
The path to safety feature is the latest addition to the NANOOS NVS suite of tools for exploring ocean data on the Oregon and Washington coasts and was developed by the University of Oregon (UO), Department of Geography InfoGraphics Lab, UO GIS Mapping Program, NANOOS, and DOGAMI, with funding by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The data used to develop the routes are derived from “Beat The Wave” tsunami evacuation studies undertaken by DOGAMI over the past several years in order to evaluate potential barriers to evacuation, minimum travel speeds, core evacuation routes and even tsunami vertical evacuation sites.
The Tsunami Evacuation Zones viewer can be found on the web at: http://nvs.nanoos.org/tsunami.
The free smartphone app, NVS Tsunami Evacuation, is available from the iTunes App Store and Android Market:
- ·iPhone: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tsunamievac-nw/id478984841
- ·Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tsunami_evac.nvs.nanoos.org.nvs_tsunami_android
Dr. Jonathan Allan – DOGAMI and NANOOS Chair of User Products Committee
Phone: (541) 819-9023
Dr. Jan Newton – Principal Senior Oceanographer, NANOOS Director, Applied Physics Laboratory
Affiliate Professor, Schools of Oceanography & Marine and Environmental Affairs
Washington Ocean Acidification Center Co-Director, University of Washington, Seattle
Joint news release from:
Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems
Oregon Dept. of Geology and Mineral Industries
University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab
University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory
New Oregon Bill Hopes to Curb Escalating Thefts of Catalytic Converters
Bill would make it harder for scrap metal businesses to buy or receive them.
There was an average of 21 catalytic converter thefts per month late in 2020, a spike from the average of 4 earlier in the year. Now, Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it harder for scrap metal businesses to buy or receive catalytic converters.
A catalytic converter is an emission control device that reduces toxic gases and pollutants from your car’s exhaust.
The bill, requested by Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt, would require certain personal information be recorded when it comes to the sale of catalytic converters.
“Right now, thieves in Oregon are taking advantage of the fact that there is a thriving gray and black market for the sale of catalytic converters,” said Multnomah County DA spokesperson Brent Weisberg. “It takes just minutes for a thief to steal catalytic converters using cheap and easily transportable and concealable equipment, but the impact to vehicle owners is drastic and very costly. This is an issue plaguing our community and auto industry and we are looking forward to working with legislators to address it.”
A precious metal that costs 15 times more than gold is driving a surge in thefts of catalytic converters. If you start your car in the morning, and it’s a lot louder than it was the night before — chances are you had your catalytic converter stolen.
These devices have been reported as missing left and right to police departments across the country, even right here in Lane County.
Steve Nohrenberg, who owns the Midas auto repair shop in Eugene, said the crime has been happening almost daily now.
“We had this happen six to eight years ago when it got like that,” Nohrenberg said. “They passed legislation, the economy got really good and it kind of went down to nothing. Now it’s crazy again.”
People have flooded in to get replacements.
The converters have precious metals inside that draw quite the attraction to thieves.
The metallic element is housed in a bulbous piece of aluminum, called a catalytic converter, that encases a honeycomb structure that filters fumes. National data is scarce, but news reports point to thousands of catalytic converter thefts over the past year, a crime wave that has risen with the price of one of their essential components: rhodium, a silvery-white chemical element that is a byproduct of the production of platinum and palladium, and is unparalleled in its ability to remove the most toxic pollutants from vehicle exhaust.
A single troy ounce, which is slightly heavier than a regular ounce, of rhodium cost around $27,000 last week — more than a brand new Toyota Prius. That’s up from $1,700 three years ago.
But to understand why those prices, and thefts, are skyrocketing, and to understand how long they might stay that high, we must go back more than a decade to the 2008 global recession and follow its effects until they coincide with last year’s pandemic-driven economic catastrophe in South Africa, where 80 percent of the world’s rhodium originates.
“It’s got platinum and rhodium — there’s only a little bit in it but rhodium is about $30,000 an ounce or something,” Nohrenberg said. “It only takes the smallest amount to make it very valuable. They sell them.”
Some converters can be traded in for around $40 to $50, while others can be valued in the hundreds.
Eugene residents Gwen and Jerry Ditlefsen had two catalytic converters stolen from their car last Friday at about 6 a.m. “I heard a noise like someone was dragging something down the street,” Gwen said. “I got him up, and we couldn’t see anything at first. He saw someone in a little car parked right out front of the fence. When he saw Jerry looking at him, he headed out. It was probably about eight minutes from when I first heard the noise.”
They were unable to get the thief’s license plate because he made it out so quickly.
Jerry shared his thoughts: “They like the four-wheel drives because they sit up high enough. You just crawl underneath them, cut them off and take them real quick. If it’s a low car, they have to jack them up with a jack so it takes a little longer. They like a little more privacy.”
Eugene resident Amanda Watts also fell victim to this type of theft around 4 a.m. one morning.
“My neighbor alerted us that they saw sparks under our car, and my husband ran out,” Watts said. “There was a man that ran away and cut our converter out.”
She called the police and fingerprints were taken, but tracking down these thieves is far from easy.
“We wish there were better practices to protect people from this because it’s really expensive to have it fixed,” Watts said. “It’s like $1,500. It’s a crime ring that’s going on right now.”
Watts tried to find the converter at a metal recycling spot but was told there’s nothing they could do.
Your car can run without a converter, but you will notice a loud exhaust noise.
“It’s an open exhaust,” Nohrenberg said. “Your car sounds like a 747 going down the road.”
The catalytic converter is the last defense before engine exhaust escapes into the world.
Nohrenberg said a replacement can run from $1,000 to $3,000.
Drivers are encouraged to park in a garage if possible and to secure their vehicles the best they can.
Others shared to know what is going on in your neighborhood and to continue being aware of your surroundings.
“People who want your catalytic converter will steal it some way,” Nohrenberg said. “They get stolen from parking lots where people are shopping, so you can’t lock it up forever. If you see someone around your car, pay attention to them. They can take one out in minutes.”
These factors, together with the platinum surplus and surging demand, took what was already an expensive, rare metal and drove the price through the roof. The global automotive industry now spends tens of billions of dollars a year on the metals for catalytic converters alone.
“We call rhodium the most precious of all the metals. People are only taking note of it now, but really it has been the top-performing commodity for the last three or four years,” Wellsted said.
He said criminals who stole rhodium-containing catalytic converters usually sold them to a network of scrap merchants. Each converter generally contains about $400 worth of rhodium, he said, in addition to its numerous other components.
The FBI declined to comment on the spate of thefts.
“I call it a pandemic within a pandemic,” said Reichenbach, the mechanic. “Mitsubishis seems to be the thieves’ new hit, and who knows what it’ll be next.”
Paris Hilton Testifies For Oregon Bill That Regulates Restraining Children In Care Agencies
Paris Hilton spoke to Oregon lawmakers Thursday, testifying in support of Senate Bill 710. If passed, SB-710 would prohibit and regulate restraining children in care by child-caring agencies.
Hilton said she was speaking in solidarity with hundreds of other institutional abuse survivors. The reality star and business mogul shared her story of being taken to an institution against her will.
She says that one night when she was 16 years old, she woke up to two transporters standing over her bed, telling her she could go the easy way or hard way. The hard way, she says, being restrained and taken somewhere unfamiliar.
“It wasn’t until I arrived at the facility the next morning that I knew what was happening. In any other context, we call this kidnapping,” Hilton said. “I challenge you. Is this the process necessary, therapeutic or, in any sense, the way to do it.”
In written testimony, one organization opposing the measure said the organizations often take in kids from families that have been turned away elsewhere, and that restraint and seclusion are tools that help keep workers and clients safe.
The group also say the bill has an overly broad definition of restraint and has no grace period, which would make their services immediately illegal.
Portland Man Charged in 2 Killings That Occurred 2 Decades Apart
A Portland, Oregon, man accused of killing two strangers who disappeared 20 years apart pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges. Cold case DNA evidence led authorities to Christopher Lovrien’s home, where police said they found the dismembered remains of the second victim.
Police arrested Lovrien, 53, in May after forensic genealogy linked him to the 1999 disappearance — and presumed death — of Mark Dribin, an airline cargo worker.
Authorities searching a shed at Lovrien’s home several weeks after his arrest found the dismembered remains of another man, Kenneth Griffin, who had gone missing three months earlier. Dribin’s body has not been found.
Lovrien faces two counts of second-degree murder, one count of abuse of a corpse and six counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Investigators believe the two victims were strangers to Lovrien and to each other.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office asked anyone with information about missing people who had been living under the Interstate 205 bridge in southeast Portland between the summer of 2019 and last May and had contact with Lovrien to call police.
Lovrien, a metal fabricator, was not homeless and did not live under the bridge, they said. Authorities declined to say why they were focused on the bridge and on that time period.
In a news conference Thursday, authorities said additional evidence, including statements from Lovrien, indicate there may be other victims, but they declined to provide more details.
Detectives recovered DNA evidence from an unknown suspect in Dribin’s home and car in 1999 but were unable to match it to anyone.
In 2019, cold case detectives submitted the DNA to a private, third-party company for forensic analysis and learned it could be connected to one of several brothers. Police narrowed that lead to Lovrien and obtained a search warrant for a DNA sample from him last year, said cold case lead investigator Brendan McGuire.
The results matched the sample obtained two decades before, he said, and marked a huge break in the case.
“Until he submitted the known DNA evidence … for genealogical analysis, at no time were police looking at Christopher Lovrien as a suspect,” said lead prosecutor Kirsten Snowden.
Dribin disappeared on July 2, 1999, after he called his employer, United Airlines, and asked for the night off for a “personal emergency.” Police who went to his home found that his car and other items were missing and found evidence that suggested he was dead, according to a synopsis of the case released by the Portland Police Bureau when it was still unsolved.
Griffin, who had been homeless but was living with roommates at the time he disappeared, went missing in February 2020, three months after police first interviewed Lovrien. McGuire said nothing suggests Griffin knew anything about the earlier murder.
Oregon Senate Democrats Propose Penalties to Stop More Walkout Protests by Republicans
Oregon state senators who walk out on the job would facing fines of up to $151 under a proposal from Senate Democrats eager to quell future walkout protests.
Introduced on Thursday, the $151 per-day fine currently on the table equals the per diem allowance that state lawmakers currently collect to cover the costs of working in Salem during the session, including meals and housing.
The fine was proposed in response to Senate Republicans’ most recent walkout protest earlier this month. GOP state senators said it was motivated by the desire to see more classrooms reopened and highlight what they described as the state’s failed vaccine rollout for seniors.
“Walking out on Oregonians is unacceptable and it’s an affront to democracy,” said Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego. “Even worse, when Senate Republicans walk out, they continue to accept a paycheck and compensation for their daily expenses. Oregonians aren’t paid when they don’t show up for work.”
Senate Minority Leader Fred Girod, R-Lyons, said in reply that no state lawmaker should be receiving per diem allowances while the state legislature continues meeting in-person once a week on average. State lawmakers, Girod said, work too little in Salem already.
“By scheduling minimal floor sessions, they have held up the people’s work for weeks now,” Girod said. “We have important work to do this session, but it is being held up by the Democrats.”
The Oregon state Capitol building has remained closed to the public since the onset of the pandemic and floor activity has been greatly limited as a result. Committee assignments and most other non-floor work has moved online since last year.
Still, state lawmakers are looking to give themselves a pay bump this session in a stated effort to attract more diverse candidates to the state legislature.
Oregon GOP lawmakers have walked out three years in a row. The first two saw Oregon House and Senate Republicans walk out over a corporate activity tax to fund schools. This current session is the first in recent years that saw House Republicans stay put.
Currently, unexcused absences in the Oregon House carry fines of up to $500 per session day.
The proposed fine in the Oregon Senate this session requires a floor vote to be put into effect.