The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Monday, April 26, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- A 20 percent chance of showers after 11am. Snow level 3000 feet rising to 4400 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 57. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Tuesday- Sunny, with a high near 72. Calm wind becoming north around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Wednesday- Sunny, with a high near 82. Light and variable wind.
Thursday- Partly sunny, with a high near 85.
Friday- Partly sunny, with a high near 80.
Oregon reports 780 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 1 new death
There is one new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,485. The Oregon Health Authority reported 780 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 180,700.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (8), Clackamas (89), Clatsop (1), Columbia (8), Coos (3), Crook (15), Deschutes (85), Douglas (4), Grant (27), Hood River (2), Jackson (15), Jefferson (1), Josephine (10), Klamath (37), Lake (1), Lane (36), Lincoln (6), Linn (31), Malheur (1), Marion (111), Morrow (2), Multnomah (169), Polk (8), Tillamook (2), Union (1), Wasco (3), Washington (81) and Yamhill (21).
Oregon’s 2,485th death is a 95-year-old man from Josephine County who tested positive on April 21 and died on April 24 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 33,721 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 25,099 doses were administered on April 24 and 8,622 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 24.
The 7-day running average is now 34,852 doses per day.
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,476,008 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,229,881 first and second doses of Moderna and 92,058 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, 1,731,015 doses of Pfizer, 1,454,400 doses of Moderna and 215,000 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.
OHA Clears Health Care Providers To Resume Johnson & Johnson Vaccinations With Informed Decision-Making In Patient Languages
Oregon health care providers and pharmacies may resume administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine if they can ensure patients or their caregivers are informed about the benefits and risks of the vaccine in their primary language.
The Oregon Health Authority issued guidance to health care providers earlier today. Currently, there are approximately 124,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that have been stored at Oregon vaccination sites, while providers awaited resolution of the recent federal and Western States safety reviews.
On April 13, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended a pause on use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following reports of rare and serious blood clots in a small number of people, out of the approximately 7.5 million people who’d been vaccinated at the time.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug administration lifted the pause, with a warning about the potential for rare blood clots for women under age 50. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also found that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “generally safe and effective and that the resumption of its use is warranted once culturally and linguistically appropriate patient and provider educational materials in plain language that support informed decision-making are available.”
Medical experts on the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also stated: “resumption of its use will support COVID-19 vaccine uptake and help reduce severe COVID-19 illnesses and control the pandemic in our states.”
According to OHA’s guidance to health care providers:
Vaccine providers in Oregon may now resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine so long as they ensure that recipients or their caregivers receive the new warning information regarding thrombosis and thrombopenia. This information must be provided in the individual’s primary language or in a manner that the individual can understand, considering English language proficiency and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility needs. Updated fact sheets including this warning have been approved by the FDA, including the Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers administering vaccine and the Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers.
OHA’s guidance also states: “Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be made aware of this rare potential risk of blood clots within the first three weeks of vaccination. Clinical characteristics include clots in the cerebral, extremity, pulmonary or splanchnic vasculature. Symptoms may include severe or unusual headache, leg pain, shortness of breath, or abdominal pain; petechiae in the arms and shins indicating thrombocytopenia. Those who develop such symptoms should be advised to seek medical attention immediately … Vaccine providers should make information available about which vaccine is available at their site.”
Officials Say B.1.1.7 Variant Now Responsible for Most COVID-19 Cases in Oregon
B.1.1.7 was first detected last December in the U.K. as it sent COVID-19 cases skyrocketing and some studies say led to an increase in more serious disease, including a 55% increase in death. A definite answer is still unclear, however, with at least two other studies finding B.1.1.7 didn’t result in more hospitalizations or severe cases.
Officials warned the American public in February that they expected B.1.1.7 to become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March, and one study found the variant was doubling in cases every 10 days. On April 7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it had become the dominant strain in the U.S. — with some estimates pinning it at 50% more contagious than the previous most common strain in the country.
It took roughly two more weeks — after the CDC’s April 7 announcement — before Oregon officials concluded B.1.1.7 was accounting for most cases in Oregon, as well.
Oregon Health Authority spokeswoman Erica Heartquist said there’s a weeks-long lag in data reporting.
In the third week of March, B.1.1.7 accounted for 8% of cases analyzed for variants. A week later, that tripled to 24% and rose to 30% by the following week. The next week — April 4 to 10 — B.1.1.7 made up an eye-opening 53% of all cases where genomic sequencing testing had been done. That’s the latest data state officials have available.
Officials say they can’t extrapolate with certainty to say that by April 10 B.1.1.7 was accounting for 53% of all coronavirus cases in Oregon, because only about 3% of cases in Oregon are analyzed for variants. But the rapid rise in B.1.1.7 cases has led Oregon officials to feel confident in saying B.1.1.7 is dominating — surpassing strains first identified in California.
“This has very real implications for the surge that we appear to be entering now,” said Heartquist, in an email.
New cases over the past two weeks have been accelerating faster in Oregon than in any other state in the country — with a 63% increase in the past two weeks, according to The New York Times’ ranking of states. Oregon ranks 25th overall in new cases per capita over that same time period.
Over the past month, cases have ballooned from a daily average of 281 to 776 as of Saturday, a 176% increase. The number of hospitalized patients has grown from 109 a month ago to 295 as of Saturday, a 171% jump.
Reported deaths have held steady from a month ago, at three a day. But experts say when cases and hospitalizations increase, deaths often increase weeks later. It’s unclear, however, to what extent deaths might rise because so many of the Oregonians most at risk of dying — seniors — have already been vaccinated in the first waves of the vaccine rollout.
Besides variants such as B.1.1.7, experts agree that human behavior is feeding the surge. “Basic public health interventions — masking, physical distancing and avoiding social gatherings — have never been more important,” Heartquist stated.
Gov. Brown to Close Indoor Dining Next Friday in Some Counties if COVID Hospitalizations Keep Spiking
In her most serious and stark tone in weeks, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday that she will shut down indoor dining in bars and restaurants in Oregon’s hardest-hit counties as soon as the end of next week if COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge.
Brown said despite her best efforts to keep the economy open while holding back on virus-control measures, she will cancel a “warning week” buffer and immediately move what looks like a dozen counties into an “extreme risk” category by next Friday if the number of statewide hospitalized patients reaches 300.
Oregon’s data cutoff for calculating risk metrics and restrictions is typically Saturday – but Brown will review the latest hospitalization data before announcing any restrictions, with an announcement likely
Suspects Arrested in Burglary of Hemp Drying Facility in Grants Pass
On 4/25/21 at approximately 0930 hours, Officers from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety responded to 2152 NE Spalding Avenue for a reported burglary in progress. Victims reported two males had entered the hemp drying facility and were taking items later valued at over $20,000.
When confronted, the suspects drove their vehicle at the victim in an effort to escape with the stolen property. The suspects then exited the vehicle and fled on foot. The passenger of the vehicle was able to escape the building while the driver of the vehicle ran to the other side of the facility and concealed himself under hemp trimmings.
Officers arrived at the scene and locked down the facility. Additional units continued to search the area with the assistance of the Josephine County Sheriff’s Department. Officers at the facility gave numerous commands into the area of the building the suspect was last seen, ordering him to surrender, but he refused to comply. Due to the suspect remaining concealed and not knowing if he possessed a weapon or was lying in wait for officers, a K-9 unit was called to the scene.
Additional commands were given to the concealed suspect who did not respond. After a brief search, the suspect was located and apprehended by K-9 Brock. The suspect was taken into custody and identified as 59-year-old Jeffrey Charles Waegner. Waegner was provided medical treatment prior to being lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the following charges:
- Aggravated Theft 1
- Burglary 2
- Robbery 1
- Reckless Driving
- Interfering with Police
- Resisting Arrest
While Officers were searching for the second suspect, GPDPS received a call from alert citizens at Edgewater Christian Fellowship indicating a subject matching the description of the outstanding male had entered ther facility. Officers contacted the subject at the church who was determined to not be involved.
The second suspect was soon located walking on Foothill Blvd near Lawless Lane and taken into custody. He was identified as 41-year-old Michael James Ellis. Ellis was transported to the Josephine County Jail where he was lodged on a parole violation. Additional charges are being referred to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office against Ellis.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Officer Ken Frownfelter at 541-450-6260 — Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety
Talent Food Truck Featured in Commercial on the Oscars
If you watched the Oscars Sunday night you might have noticed that a Talent food truck was in the national spotlight. Starring in a national commercial during the Academy Awards program!
The Daddy Ramen Food Truck landed in the commercial after the ad’s director heard about the devastating fire that destroyed the truck as well as the owner’s home.
The Asian cuisine has been providing meals to those in need for years, but the owner lost his home and the food truck in the Almeda Fire. Co-Owner Phoenix Sigalove says the director saw his story and wanted to feature him and his wife in the commercial.
“Starting with losing everything in the fire to being supported so beautifully by our community in the most unexpected ways and the icing on the cake has been to be able to have this incredible opportunity,” said Sigalove.
Sigalove and his wife have since gotten another food truck and will begin serving their Asian cuisine in the next few weeks. Here’s their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DaddyRamen/
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
OIT Faculty Goes On Strike
The Oregon Tech American Association of University Professors say they have gone on strike effective this morning, after failure to reach agreement in the final negotiation sessions scheduled over the weekend.
In a press release this weekend,, the union said “the strike will not be delayed by senior administration’s recent frivolous petition of the labor board and OT-AAUP will be seeking dismissal of the petition.
After almost 18 months of bargaining a new contract, Oregon Tech on Wednesday filed an unfair labor practices complaint against the faculty union and petitioned the Oregon Employment Relations Board to declare the strike scheduled for Monday unlawful.
The university accused the union of bargaining in bad faith and causing unnecessary delays at the bargaining table. While some tentative agreements were reached in negotiations last week, the parties have continued to negotiate over faculty salary and workload guidelines.
Oregon National Guard Soldiers Mobilized to Support NATO Partners in Poland
The Oregon Army National Guard is deploying approximately 130 Soldiers assigned to Alpha Troop, 1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry Regiment to Poland to support the European Deterrence Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
The Soldiers were formally mobilized in a ceremony held on April 25, at the West Albany High School football stadium as family, friends and co-workers were in attendance to send them off prior to their upcoming deployment.
The unit has been deployed in 2009 to Iraq and as part of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) to Afghanistan in 2014. In 2015, 1-82 Cavalry was selected to participate in the West Coast Stryker Brigade Transformation and became part of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Headquarter in Washington State. —Oregon Military Department
Lower Your Risk: Be Part of National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day!
May 1st is National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. The 2020 wildfires burned more than a million acres in Oregon and damaged many homes and communities. This year you can help lower fire risks for your community and home!
The National Fire Protection Association encourages everyone to help with wildfire preparedness and reduce fuels around homes. NFPA offers ways to make your home and community safer ahead of fire season here: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/National-Wildfire-Community-Preparedness-Day
COVID-19 has changed life, but community members got creative for events to reduce wildfire risk. While more people work from home and community dynamics differ, you can still be part of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.
Oregon communities competed nationally for $500 grants to help with Wildfire Community Preparedness Day prevention projects.
Twenty-four Oregon communities received grants this year. For eight years in a row, State Farm Insurance has funded these grants. Oregon added eight communities to its list of winners this year compared to last year! Nationwide 150 communities will use these awards to reduce wildfire risk and create a safer future!
These 24 Oregon communities received awards:
- Ashland (13 communities)
- Grants Pass
- McKenzie Bridge
- White City
- Williams (2 communities)
What the experts say:
“Wildfire can happen anytime, anywhere,” said Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields. “The more we can do now to protect our homes and communities before fire strikes, will pay dividends in the long run. With the lion’s share of fires caused by people, it is time we take personal responsibility not only for our property, but also for our actions that could ultimately prevent disaster from striking at all.”
In light of last year’s fires and the ongoing drought, Keep Oregon Green, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and Oregon Department of Forestry are working hard to help people learn about defensible space, an effective way of protecting homes. (Oregon Dept. of Forestry)
Keep Oregon Green President Kristin Babbs said, “We’ve already witnessed wildfire evacuations in April. If a fire accidentally starts on your property, whether by a rekindled debris burn pile or an equipment-sparked fire, it will be unlikely to spread to neighboring houses due to lack of fuel. Defensible space also increases a home’s chances of surviving a wildfire during the heat of summer.”
Office of State Fire Marshal Assistant Chief Deputy Claire McGrew said, “Wildfire safety starts with you and your property. Now is the time to take action to prepare our homes, families, and communities for wildfires by starting on our own property before there is smoke on the horizon.”
Projects for Wildfire Preparedness Day can range from a few hours up to an entire day. These are some examples of what you can do:
• Remove debris and dry leaves within 3 to 5 feet from a home’s foundation and up to 30 feet.
• Keep your roof and gutters free of downed tree limbs, broken branches, and leaves.
• Share wildfire safety information, or order free Firewise materials from the catalog or READY.gov.
• Pool resources to pay for a chipper service or bins to get rid of yard and tree debris.
• Make a map of the community and mark where elderly neighbors and people with animals live and assign helpers to assist these people during an emergency.
Keep Oregon Green is a 501 (c)3 non-profit that promotes programs and messages encouraging the public to work together in their communities to prevent the risk of wildfire. KOG’s work targets residents, particularly those in the wildland-urban interface, and recreationists using Oregon’s public and private lands.
State Farm’s mission is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. They serve more than 83 million policies and accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.
National Fire Protection Association wasfounded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
Oregon Department of Forestry’s mission is to serve the people of Oregon by protecting, managing, and promoting stewardship of Oregon’s forests to enhance environmental, economic, and community sustainability.
The Office of State Fire Marshal’s mission is to protect people, property, and the environment from fire and hazardous materials. The office carries out these duties through prevention education, inspections, code enforcement, and preparedness and response activities. Our vision is to provide premier public safety services.
Fatal Crash in Klamath County
Two people are dead and others hospitalized after a collision on Spring Lake Road Friday night. Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies, fire & EMS crews from Klamath County Fire District 1, and fire crews from Kingsley Fire, responded to the crash.
The driver and a passenger in one vehicle were pronounced deceased at the scene, and are identified as Jason Carl Anderson and Garrett Carl Anderson.
The driver of the second vehicle was transported to SkyLakes Medical Center for his injuries and two other passengers in the second vehicle were uninjured. The cause of the crash is still under investigation but speed is believed to be a factor. No further information was available at this time.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is prioritizing cases of property damage and violence during demonstrations in Portland.
District Attorney Mike Schmidt says in a statement that the violence and property destruction witnessed in the city over the last year is “unacceptable” and that it doesn’t align with Portland’s community values.
Schmidt says his office is continuing to “prioritize the prosecution of people who are destroying property and committing violence.“
“Recent riotous activity and wanton destruction of private property that targets businesses struggling to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic does not appear connected to the calls for social justice and system reform, which I strongly support. Instead, these destructive acts only serve to harm our community. My office will continue to prosecute acts of violence and property destruction.”
The district attorney’s office reinforced that while they prioritize prosecuting “crimes that endanger life safety and crimes involving property destruction,” they also review felony and misdemeanor cases – including protest-related crimes like Attempted Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Interfering with a Peace or Public Safety Officer, Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct – that are referred by police.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Could Get Boost to Budget
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife would get a 12-percent boost in its budget under a bill that has bipartisan support in Congress. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would dedicate one-point-three-billion dollars to state fish and wildlife agencies.
The money would help implement State Wildlife Action Plans, like the Oregon Conservation Strategy. It would also allocate 97-million dollars to tribal fish and wildlife agencies. Oregon would get 23-million dollars a year under the bill.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide states, territories, and tribes with $1.39 billion annually to catalyze proactive, on-the-ground, collaborative efforts to restore essential habitat and implement key conservation strategies, as described in each state’s Wildlife Action Plan. This legislation follows the recommendation of a diverse group of conservation and industry leaders—the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources.
Here are some details about the funds and how they will help wildlife and people:
- The House bill would provide $1.39 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, collaborative efforts by the states and tribes to recover wildlife species at risk.
- The state agencies have identified 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of conservation assistance in their federally-approved State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans would guide spending from the bill.
- Tribal Nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on tens of millions of acres of land.
- At least 10 percent of the resources would be used to recover species listed under the Endangered Species Act.
- A 2018 report, Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis: Securing the Future of Our Fish and Wildlife, found that one-third of America’s wildlife species are at increased risk of extinction. More than 150 U.S. species already have gone extinct. Nearly 500 additional species have not been seen in recent decades and are regarded as possibly extinct.
For more information, visit the links below:
- Sign-On Letter: Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
- About the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
- Fast facts on the wildlife crisis (see references here)
- Tribal Conservation and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
- Recovering America’s Wildlife and the Great American Outdoors Act
State Wildlife Action Plans
Each state’s fish and wildlife agency is responsible for collaboratively developing a State Wildlife Action Plan, which identifies imperiled species in the state and identifies specific actions that would assist with their protection and recovery. Currently these plans have identified more than 12,000 species in need of proactive conservation efforts.
How They Work: Every state has written a State Wildlife Action Plan, which acts like a blueprint for conservation. These Action Plans assess the health of wildlife and habitat in the state, so experts know which species are at risk, and outline steps needed to conserve the “species of greatest conservation need” before they become more rare and costly to protect.
The State and Wildlife Grants Program, initiated in 2000, is currently the main source of federal funding for states and territories as they implement these plans. These funds have begun to see some success recovering wildlife. However it is grossly inadequate, only providing $65 million for all 50 states and territories. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will significantly advance the implementation of these plans, enabling states to recover thousands of at-risk species.
For more information, visit: