Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 4/6 – Britt and OSF Urge Governor To Develop Reopening Plan for Live Venues, Shooting Near O’Brien, Grants Pass Missing Person

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Today- Sunny, with a high near 74. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday- Sunny, with a high near 69. Calm wind becoming north northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.

Thursday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 64. Calm wind.

Friday- Sunny, with a high near 67.

Saturday- A slight chance of showers before 11am. Snow level 2600 feet rising to 3400 feet in the afternoon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 59.

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

Oregon reports 248 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 2,394. The Oregon Health Authority reported 248 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 167,128.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (3), Clatsop (2), Columbia (18), Crook (1),  Deschutes (14), Douglas (11), Grant (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (19), Josephine (11), Lane (29), Lincoln (5), Linn (17), Marion (29), Multnomah (58), Polk (13), Tillamook (2), Wasco (1), Yamhill (13).  

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 22,131 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 14,314 doses were administered on April 4 and 7,817 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 4.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,017,667 doses of Pfizer, 929,632 doses of Moderna and 50,004 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, 1,225,575 doses of Pfizer, 1,102,200 doses of Moderna and 105,800 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.


Britt and OSF Urge Governor To Develop Reopening Plan for Live Venues

Britt Music and Arts Festival 2020 Postponements - Britt Music & Arts  Festival

The Britt Music & Arts Festival released a public statement on Monday, describing concerns from the industry that have gone largely unaddressed.

Britt was part of a coalition of venues, promoters, and other groups — including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival — that lobbied the Governor for a “sensible strategy” on reopening in a letter back in March. 

According to Britt, the coalition never received a response to the letter, but there was a webinar held on March 31 to address the topic. Governor Brown’s liaison Leah Horner and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger led the session.

Britt said that the coalition letter was also not addressed during the March 31 meeting. Meeting attendees were told “that there was no strategy, and that the Governor would not be pursuing any input from the industry.” Representatives of the venue group brought up how different kinds of venues are treated with seeming incongruity in Oregon’s risk level guidance. Even in “Lower Risk” counties, faith institutions can hold indoor gatherings at 75 percent capacity, while outdoor venues remain limited to 50percent capacity.

“The live performance industry faces many reopening challenges that other businesses do not,” Britt said. “First and foremost is the amount of time necessary to schedule, plan, and present performances. Venues require this lead time based on consistent benchmarks and regulations before they can offer live performances to awaiting audiences.

“Without them, venues cannot dependably schedule events, sell tickets, and hire staff. Many touring artists have already canceled their tours in Oregon due to this uncertainty. At this point, a single performance cancellation can potentially lead to financial collapse for many of our time-honored venues.”

Britt and the other venue organizations assert that live events will be crucial to Oregon’s economic recovery, bringing money into local economies above and beyond the price of admission — carrying over into business for the restaurant and hospitality sector.

“Furthermore, Oregon’s event spaces act as a voice for who we are; our story is told on the stages, arenas, and theaters of the state,” the venues wrote. “The decisions made today can bring Oregon back to a position of strength and sustainability for jobs, tourism, and its tax base. Alternatively, poor decisions will result in unmitigable damage to an industry that is already poised on the edge of economic collapse.”

Shooting Near O’Brien

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a shooting near O’Brien in the early hours of Monday morning that left one man hospitalized. Deputies responded to the 36000-block of Redwood Highway just after 1 a.m. for reports of a shooting that took place inside of a home.

Once on the scene, the Sheriff’s Office found a 45-year-old man who had been shot. The victim was taken to Three Rivers Community Hospital for treatment. “The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate this incident and will provide updates if available,” the agency said in a brief statement. While the Sheriff’s Office referred to the case as an attempted murder, it was not immediately clear if a suspect was taken into custody.

Grants Pass Police Department Is Requesting Assistance From The Public – Missing Person

Rear of vehicle

The Grants Pass Police Department is requesting assistance from the public in locating Nanci M. Dean. 

Nanci has dementia and was last seen in the area of Verizon on Union Ave. in Grants Pass. 

Nanci left in a brown 2015 Mercedes Benz, Oregon plates of 852HZS.  Photos of Nanci are attached, as well as the vehicle she is believed to be operating. If you have seen Nanci, please contact this agency at 541-450-6260.  — Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety 

A Boeing C-32 typically known as “Air Force Two” was parked at the Rogue Valley International Medford-Airport over the weekend.

CLOSE UP "Air Force Two" - Boeing C-32 USAF Takeoff - YouTube

According to Airport Director Jerry Brienza, the plane landed and took on fuel, then took off, landed again, and then departed.

Brienza did not know the exact nature of the visit, though said it was likely a routine training mission. Examples of a routine mission could be to train a new pilot to use various navigational programs the airport uses.

If Medford is on a list for a potential visit in the future, it could be that the plane landed so people could get a
closer look at the facility. Federal officials do not need to notify the airport ahead of time when planning a landing. They will often work with air traffic control if they need to land, such as when Kingsley Field sends jets over to perform touch-and-go operations.


Oregon Revenue Director Suggests Tax Rebate Be Implemented Next Tax Season

Lawmakers held a public hearing Monday on a bill that would give Oregonians some of their stimulus back. As many people found out while filing their tax return, the stimulus money was taxable income, subject to the state income tax.

Senate Bill 842 would create a tax subtraction, that would retroactively give back the tax paid on stimulus checks.

During the public hearing, officials from the Oregon Department of Revenue said they’ll have to recalculate about 180,000 returns that taxpayers already submitted.

“Just the magnitude of the number of returns that we’re talking about, it’s closer to a million. So the timing of this gets really hard if we try to do it outside of the tax season window,” said Betsy Imholt, the director of the department.

She suggested implementing this rebate for the next tax season. That way, it would include the stimulus payments issued in 2020 and 2021.

Regardless, Imholt did assure lawmakers that no matter what they decided, the department would do everything it can to get it done right.

Some supporters of the bill would prefer to get the money refunded to Oregonians sooner in the form of rebate checks. 

“I think anything we can do to give families a little bit more breathing room in this time of restructuring and rebuilding in America after COVID-19 is better for Oregon families and will stimulate the economy when we need it most,” said Shawn Cleave of Taxpayer Association of Oregon. 

At least one person in the hearing spoke out against the bill. 

“The advocates are saying you got this free money and you shouldn’t be taxed on it,” said Bennett Minton of Tax Fairness Oregon. “On the other hand, of course, they do nothing about income for which we work and were taxed. That makes no sense.”  Minton argued that stimulus payments were taxed in other states in the form of sales taxes, which Oregon doesn’t have.

Grantees Announced for More than $40 Million in Emergency Solutions Grants to Prevent and Respond to COVID-19

Oregon Housing and Community Services announces grantees to be awarded funds to help Oregonians experiencing homelessness and prevent housing instability.

SALEM, OR – Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) publicly announced awardees for the second round of Emergency Solution Grants-Coronavirus (ESG-CV2) at this month’s Housing Stability Council meeting. The ESG-CV funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and are being used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Coronavirus pandemic among individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of falling into homelessness. This is the first time in state history OHCS allocated homeless response and prevention resources allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a competitive process.

“We know that during this crisis, too many Oregonians are falling into homelessness or living unsheltered,” said OHCS Executive Director Margaret Salazar. “This funding is historic because it will help rebuild lives, and because we are partnering with an array of diverse service providers that have trusted relationships with Oregon’s communities of color, so we can reach people hardest hit by the crisis.”

During the 2020 Special Session, given the magnitude of the ESG-CV resources and the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, OHCS sought and received flexibility from the Oregon Legislature to allocate $42 million of ESG-CV to providers who had not previously been eligible under the House Bill 4304 (2020 2nd Special Session). These funds will be distributed by geographic Continuum of Care (CoC) region to ensure that projects meeting the state goals and priorities are funded adequately throughout the state.

“In the midst of this public health crisis, we must continue to be actionable and strategic in deploying solutions to address and prevent homelessness,” said OHCS Director of Housing Stabilization Andrea Bell. “Together with community partners we were able to be adaptive in leveraging dollars strategically for the greatest impact to provide critical services to those at the margins.”

A total of 58 applications were received from providers across the state. Applicants were required to meet the federal funding definitions and comply with the ESG Federal Grant Requirements to receive funding. After a rigorous review process, 36 applicants were notified that OHCS intends to award funds. Applications encompassed proposals for serving multiple population groups, including communities of color, veterans, women and families, youth, and include both community-based organizations and state government/local jurisdiction entities. Several applications are considered culturally specific providers, and many others provide culturally-responsive services per the definitions provided in the application.

“Wonderful news!” said Melissa Erlbaum of Clackamas Women’s Services. “Over the past year we’ve seen a drastic uptick in the need for lifesaving support services. Being able to participate in this funding opportunity will provide critical resources for the individuals and families we serve escaping domestic and sexual violence.”

These resources and partnerships will advance Oregon’s Statewide Housing Plan in providing critical services for people experiencing homelessness and addressing the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on communities of color and other at-risk populations. The complete list of ESG-CV2 awardees is available below. Oregonians in need of assistance can contact 2-1-1 to be connected with local service providers. –

Lane County $6,758,209Do Good Multnomah $702,965NAYA Family Center $357,000NARA Northwest $794,000WorkSystems $1,700,315Human Solutions $189,468Options for Helping Residents of Ashland (OHRA) $1,464,192Hearts with a Mission $484,875Maslow Project $242,000City of Ashland $300,000Community Alliance of Tenants $200,000Bethlehem Inn $650,000J Bar J $184,237Thrive Central Oregon $841,496Square One Villages $317,525NeighborImpact $1,090,000St Vincent de Paul $150,000Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliances $5,519,336Easter Seals of Oregon $411,037Mid-Columbia Community Action Council $3,123,616Community Services Consortium $2,634,039Yamhill Community Action Partnership $498,042Community Action Partnership of East Central Oregon 1,048,000Jackson Street Youth Services $369,503Peace at Home $527,725NW Coastal Housing $833,125Albany Helping Hands $1,613,000Operation Rebuild Hope $1,121,635Onward Roseburg $202,760Community Action Organization $2,411,800Home Plate Youth $1,050,147Boys and Girls Aid $230,886Family Promise of Tualatin Valley $1,336,155Clackamas Women’s Services $986,336Clackamas Service Center $144,230NW Housing Alternatives $105,757
Oregon Housing and Community Services

First-Ever Virtual Oregon Women Veterans Conference to be held May 22, 2021

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is excited to announce the return of the Oregon Women Veterans’ Conference, which will be held virtually for the first time on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Women veterans make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the Oregon veteran community, with an estimated 25,000 women veterans living in the state today, representing nearly one-tenth of overall veteran population.

This free biennial conference, organized by ODVA for more than 22 years, celebrates the contributions, diversity and strength of Oregon’s women veteran community, and is the largest gathering of women-identifying veterans in the state. Last year’s scheduled conference had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

“We are keeping the original theme that was chosen for the 2020 event, ‘Stronger Together,’ which seems even more appropriate considering all that has transpired for Oregonians over the past year,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick, who also is a woman veteran. “These challenges have only underscored the strength and resilience of our Oregon veteran community, as well as the importance of recognizing and celebrating the common bonds of service and sacrifice that unite us all.”

This year’s virtual conference will be presented using Whova, the award-winning event management platform that will enable ODVA’s team to replicate major aspects of the in-person conference, while gathering in a safe, accessible and engaging manner. The program will include inspirational speakers, informative seminars and breakout sessions, and opportunities to network with other women veterans and receive direct assistance in accessing earned benefits and other resources.

Women veterans who have served in every era and branch of military service are invited to join in this inspiring event. Attendance is free, but registration is required.

Please visit for more information or to register today. — Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs

“Oregon has long been a leader in recognizing and honoring the outstanding contributions of women who have served their country, and we are proud to continue this tradition with the first-ever, virtual Oregon Women Veterans Conference,” Fitzpatrick said. “Together, there is nothing we women veterans cannot achieve or overcome.”

The group No More Freeways has filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Department of Transportation’s plan to add auxiliary lanes and shoulders to Interstate 5 by Portland’s Rose Quarter.

The federal government allowed the project to move forward without a full environmental impact statement and the group believes that’s a violation of the
National Environmental Policy Act, The Columbian reported Monday.

The $800 million project is aimed at decreasing congestion and traffic accidents on a segment of I-5
between its junctions with Interstate 84 and Interstate 405, but it has faced significant opposition from No More Freeways and other Portland community groups that say the freeway expansion would increase pollution and contribute to global warming. —

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