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 26, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Sunny, with a high near 64. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday- Sunny, with a high near 74. Calm wind.
Sunday- Sunny, with a high near 72. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Monday- A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am. Snow level 2000 feet rising to 2900 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 51.
Tuesday- Sunny, with a high near 61.
Oregon reports 422 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 2 new deaths
There are two new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,370. The Oregon Health Authority reported 422 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 162,806.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (10), Benton (1), Clackamas (42), Clatsop (9), Columbia (7), Coos (12), Crook (1), Curry (6), Deschutes (21), Douglas (13), Hood River (1), Jackson (21), Josephine (22), Klamath (9), Lake (3), Lane (16), Lincoln (4), Linn (17), Malheur (2), Marion (49), Multnomah (69), Polk (8), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (11), Union (1), Wasco (3), Washington (54) and Yamhill (6).
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 36,915 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 23,339 doses were administered on March 24 and 13,576 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on March 24.
Oregon has now administered a total of 803,442 first and second doses of Pfizer, 774,227 first and second doses of Moderna and 35,336 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
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).
To date, 1,007,955 doses of Pfizer, 999,600 doses of Moderna and 61,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines 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.
Additional counties approved for expanding vaccinations
OHA announced that 22 Oregon counties have now submitted attestation letters signaling their intention to immediately offer COVID-19 vaccinations to expanded eligibility groups. Coos County is the newly added county.
The counties are: Baker, Benton, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Polk, Sherman, Umatilla, Union and Yamhill.
By attesting, these counties can now begin vaccinating all individuals listed in Phase 1B, Group 6, ahead of the previously designated statewide start date of March 29.
OHA Monitoring Four People for Ebola Following Travel from Affected Countries
Public health officials in Oregon are monitoring four people who recently visited the West African countries of Guinea and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Regions in each of these countries are currently experiencing outbreaks of Ebola virus disease. There is low risk for people in Oregon.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and local public health departments have been in contact with these individuals, who are considered “persons under monitoring,” since they arrived in the state earlier in March. The goal of this contact is to determine their risk, if any, of being exposed to Ebola and ensure their safety, as well as the safety of their families and the community.
“We want to make sure these individuals have the support they need to monitor their health, stay in contact with public health officials and safely get help with medical services if it comes to that,” said Richard Leman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Health Security, Preparedness and Response at the OHA Public Health Division.
As of March 24, Guinea has reported 18 Ebola cases and nine Ebola-related deaths. The Guinea outbreak is centered in Nzérékoré Prefecture, which is in the southern region of the country near the Liberian border. Democratic Republic of the Congo has reported 12 Ebola cases and six Ebola-related deaths. The outbreak in DRC is in North Kivu Province, which is in the eastern part of the country near the Ugandan border. The outbreaks are limited to small areas of each country and are not in large population centers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Level 3 travel warnings for the affected regions in both countries, recommending people avoid nonessential travel there.
Beginning March 4, CDC has required all airlines to supply contact information for all U.S.-bound travelers who have been in Guinea or Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last 21 days — the largest known incubation period for Ebola. U.S.-bound travelers who have been in affected countries are routed through six international airports: Dulles in Washington, D.C.; John F. Kennedy in Queens, NY; Newark Liberty in Newark, NJ; O’Hare in Chicago, IL; Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, GA; and LAX in Los Angeles, CA. Upon arrival, they are interviewed to determine if they are symptomatic and to confirm their contact information. If they are symptomatic, they will be offered medical evaluation.
CDC shares information for travelers from affected regions whose itineraries include Oregon. That way, public health authorities can contact these travelers and ensure they know symptoms to watch for and how to receive prompt medical evaluation if they become ill with symptoms consistent with Ebola. OHA and local public health officials also are reaching out to international non-governmental organizations with services in the affected countries to request early notification for any volunteers traveling to Oregon after recent work in those areas.
In addition, OHA and local public health officials are contacting community-based organizations in Oregon to help the persons under monitoring with language access and other support services. Oregon Health Authority
For more information:
Bodies Found in Burning Car Near Lake Selmac and Officer Involved Shooting
CASE NUMBER: 21000569 and 21000568
INCIDENT DATE AND TIME: March 24th, 2021 @ 12:56pm and March 25th, 2021 @ 12:06am
REPORTING DEPUTY: Sheriff Dave Daniel
On Wednesday March 24th, 2021 at 12:56pm the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a fully involved vehicle fire in a remote wooded area off McMullen Creek Rd. approximately 7 miles from Lake Selmac. Illinois Valley Fire personnel, Josephine County Sheriff Deputies and Oregon State Police Troopers responded to the scene. Due to poor road conditions, fire personnel could not get to the vehicle.
As the fire began to extinguish itself, two bodies were discovered in the vehicle. As of the time of this press release, the identities of the victims are unknown. This incident is being treated as a homicide investigation. The victims have been transported to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.
As a result, the Josephine County Major Crimes Team consisting of law enforcement personnel from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Oregon State Police, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office were summoned.
During the course of this investigation, on March 25th, 2021 at 12:06am a second separate incident took place. As law enforcement personnel from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police were at a staging area 1.9 miles from the burnt vehicle, two vehicles drove up. While attempting to contact the first vehicle, an Officer Involved Shooting or “OIS” took place. A Deputy from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office discharged their firearm at the vehicle. The first vehicle fled the scene and is at large at this time.
Being there were both members from the Oregon State Police and Josephine County Sheriff’s Office present at the OIS, a mutual aid request was made to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office to take lead in the investigation which they are currently conducting. The Deputy involved in the OIS is currently on paid administrative leave per Sheriff’s Office policy.
“As of the time of this press release, the identities of the victims are unknown,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “This incident is being treated as a homicide investigation. The victims have been transported to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.”
With two deaths linked to the fire, the Sheriff’s Office activated the Josephine County Major Crimes Team to begin an investigation of the scene — bringing in resources from multiple law enforcement agencies. Just after midnight on Thursday, the shooting happened.
A little less than two miles away from the fire scene, deputies and state troopers were posted at a staging area when two vehicles drove up, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“While attempting to contact the first vehicle, an Officer Involved Shooting or ‘OIS’ took place,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “A Deputy from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office discharged their firearm at the vehicle. The first vehicle fled the scene and is at large at this time.”
Because officers from both OSP and the Sheriff’s Office were at the scene, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was called in to lead an investigation into the shooting. The deputy who fired was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard policy for these cases.
The Sheriff’s Office said that both investigations are still active, with the county District Attorney now handling any further release of information.
Rural Metro Fire also responded to a vehicle fire on Highway 199 near the base of Hayes Hill in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Flames consumed a minivan that was believed to be abandoned, and no one was located at the scene. The source of the fire is considered suspicious.
According to Rural Metro, investigators are now looking at this vehicle fire as potentially connected to the one off McMullen Creek Road.
All further requests for information should be directed to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office, as both investigations are active. – Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
School Zone Traffic Safety Operation Scheduled in Medford
With Middle School and High School students returning to the classroom on Monday, March 29th the Medford Police Department wants to remind drivers about School Zone Trafic Safety. On that same day the Medford Police Department will have increased patrols in school zones within the City of Medford.
We ask that drivers be aware of School Zones and use caution when driving through them. It is important to know that fines for speed violations increase significantly when they occur within a designated School Zone. To help with public awareness we have included descriptions of the two categories of reduced school speeds in school zones. We have also included a link to the ODOT website with information on School Zones.
Zones Adjacent to School Grounds:
Will have signage displaying the speed limit at 20 MPH When Flashing or School Days 7AM – 5PM.
Zones at School Crosswalks away from Schools Grounds:
Will have signage displaying the speed limit at 20 MPH When Flashing or When Children are Present.
ODOT School Zone Information Link:
https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Engineering/Pages/School-Zones.aspx — Medford Police Dept.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Streak of Lights Seen over Pacific Northwest was Falcon 9 Rocket Debris
People across the Pacific Northwest watched in astonishment Thursday as a fiery ball of light streaked across the night sky. Social media posts were going crazy over it and wondering what the heck they were seeing.
While many speculated they were seeing a meteor, astronomer Jonathan McDowell at the Center for Astrophysics said the streaking light actually came from the Falcon 9 rocket launched by SpaceX on March 4.
On Twitter, McDowell said the rocket “failed to make a deorbit burn,” and the event people witnessed around 9 p.m. Thursday was the rocket reentering Earth’s atmosphere after 22 days in orbit.
Minutes following the event, the National Weather Service in Portland tweeted that McDowell’s assessment appeared correct, but stressed that it was only speculating.
“We have been getting a number of calls about this! This looks like what we have seen in all of your videos,” referring to McDowell’s tweet. “Not official, but this fits the bill.”
Dr. James Davenport, research assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, confirmed to KING 5 the lights were caused the rocket coming back down from orbit. He said the debris was likely about 30 miles into the atmosphere and it was unlikely any substantial pieces would reach the ground.
People reported seeing the flashing lights across from across the region, including the Oregon Coast, Salem, the Portland metro area, Southwest Washington and the Seattle area. Some people reported hearing explosions in the sky as they went by.
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) has approved debt relief programs to benefit residential customers of investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities with past due balances caused by COVID-19.
Portland General Electric’s (PGE’s) plan was approved on February 11, 2021, while the debt relief plans for PacifiCorp, Idaho Power, NW Natural, Avista, and Cascade Natural were approved by the PUC on March 23.
The debt relief programs must be in place no later than April 1, 2021, with the exception of NW Natural, whose program goes into effect May 3. These programs will be ratepayer funded, following an agreement among a broad group of utilities, stakeholders, and PUC Staff to make one percent of each utility’s 2019 retail revenues in Oregon available for debt relief.
This amounts to approximately $39 million in total available funding across the six investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities. As of January 2021, there were more than 91,000 customers of investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities who had past-due balances and were more than 90 days behind in paying their energy bills.
This is a 252 percent increase when compared to data prior to the pandemic. Additionally, the total amount of past due balances for residential customers has increased to $76.3 million, a 155 percent increase when compared to January 2020.
Vancouver Man Wins $1 Million Oregon Lottery Raffle Prize
By havingthe 2021 Raffle ticket number of 171474, Joshua Park became the Raffle’s newest $1 million top prize winner when he claimed his prize at Lottery headquarters March 23.
Park, of Vancouver, had purchased 20 Raffle tickets over the course of time since the 2021 Raffle went on sale in early January. “I started checking my tickets with the Lottery’s app the morning the winning numbers came out,” said Park. “I was hoping to win a $100 or $500 prize. When I scanned the winning ticket and it said I’d won $1 million, it was pretty unbelievable.”
Park is no stranger to winning big prizes playing Oregon Lottery games. Prior to winning his Raffle prize, Park had claimed a $150,000 “Holiday Party” Scratch-it top prize on Dec. 24, 2020.
Park purchased his winning Raffle ticket at the Holgate Market on 112th Ave. in Portland.
With more than 1,800 prizes, Oregon Lottery Raffle winners can be found in every corner of the state. From the $500 winner in Merrill who purchased a ticket at Martin’s Food Center, to the three $100 winners who got their tickets form the Woodburn Fast Serv.
With 300 prizes of $500 and 1,500 prizes of $100, players should check their tickets as they still have a good chance at winning a prize.
To check the winning Raffle numbers, players can use the Lottery’s smart phone app, go to www.oregonlottery.org or visit a participating Oregon Lottery retail location.
The $500 and $100 Raffle prize winners can claim their prizes at any Oregon Lottery retail location.
To protect the health and safety of its employees and the public, the Oregon Lottery has temporarily closed the Salem and Wilsonville Lottery offices. Officials with the Lottery continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely.
Lottery officials recommend that you always sign the back of your tickets with each Oregon Lottery game you play, to ensure you can claim any prize you may win. In the event of winning a jackpot, players should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings.
Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned more than $12 billion for economic development, public education, Outdoor School, state parks, Veteran Services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org — Oregon Lottery
OSP Seeks Information on 3 Blacktail Bucks Shot and Left to Waste in Coos County
Oregon state authorities are asking for information from the public after three young Blacktail bucks were found dead along the side of a road in Coos Bay.
State police said a citizen found the remains of the animals on Tuesday, March 23, alongside a road on the North Spit. All three deer had been shot in the head “from relatively close range,” said Oregon State Police.
Authorities said the animals were likely killed sometime between March 19 – 21, with the help of artificial light at night.
The season is currently closed for hunting Blacktail deer and the three that were found had been left to waste.
Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact OSP through the “Turn in Poachers” line at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (677).
The TIP program offers preference point rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of big game mammals. Or the Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward fund also offers cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation.
4.1 Earthquake off coast of Oregon… Earthquake update 3/25/2021
Moderate magnitude 4.1 earthquake at 10 km depth
26 Mar 01:18 UTC: First to report: USGS after 42 minutes.
26 Mar 01:21: Magnitude recalculated from 3.9 to 4.1.Date & time: 26 Mar 2021 00:36:48 UTC – 16 hours ago
Local time at epicenter: Thursday, 25 Mar 2021 3:36 pm (GMT -9)
Depth: 10.0 km
Epicenter latitude / longitude: 43.5152°N / 130.1677°W