The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Rogue Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today- Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Friday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday- A 20 percent chance of showers before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 74. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 70.
Monday- Sunny, with a high near 75.
Oregon reports 888 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 2,490. The Oregon Health Authority reported 888 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 182,916.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (21), Clackamas (109), Clatsop (2), Columbia (12), Coos (3), Crook (10), Curry (10), Deschutes (67), Douglas (8), Grant (5), Harney (1), Hood River (2), Jackson (58), Jefferson (6), Josephine (22), Klamath (55), Lake (4), Lane (57), Lincoln (3), Linn (45), Malheur (5), Marion (103),Morrow (2), Multnomah (153), Polk (13), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (17), Union (1), Wallowa (3), Washington (73) and Yamhill (10).
Josephine County announces death of COVID-19 patient
A Josephine County individual has died from complications relating to a COVID-19 infection.
A 93-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 April 13 and died April 23 at her home. She had underlying conditions.
Josephine County now has a total of 67 COVID-19-related deaths. Of those patients, 66 died from complications relating to COVID-19 infections.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 40,769 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 23,214 doses were administered on April 27 and 17,555 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on April 27.
The 7-day running average is now 34,906 doses per day.
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,543,640 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,257,015 first and second doses of Moderna and 93,001 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,209,607 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,773,928 people who have had at least one dose.
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, 1,865,565 doses of Pfizer, 1,563,300 doses of Moderna and 215,100 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.
The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 326, which is two fewer than yesterday. There are 64 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is seven fewer than yesterday.
The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,118, which is a 34% increase from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 328.
The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity. More information about hospital capacity can be found here.
COVID-19 weekly cases; hospitalizations surge
The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows a fifth consecutive week of surging daily cases and surging hospitalizations from the previous week.
OHA reported 5,729 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, April 19 through Sunday, April 27. That represents a 21% increase from the previous week and marks the fifth consecutive week of 20% or higher increases in daily cases.
New COVID-19 related hospitalizations nearly doubled from 171 to 333.
There were 26 reported COVID-19 related deaths.
There were 133,563 tests for COVID-19 for the week of April 18 through April 24. The percentage of positive tests was 6%.
People 70 years of age and older have accounted for 39% of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 76% of COVID-19 related deaths.
Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 34 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.
Grants Pass Department of Public Safety Pledges To Advance Women In Policing
Grants Pass Department of Public Safety Signs National 30×30 Pledge Which Aims to Bring More Women into Policing to Improve Public Safety.
The Grants Pass Department of Public Safety has signed on to the 30×30 Pledge – a series of low- and no-cost actions policing agencies can take to improve the representation and experiences of women in law enforcement. The activities help policing agencies assess the current state of a department with regard to gender equity, identify factors that may be driving any disparities and develop and implement strategies and solutions to eliminate barriers and advance women in policing. These actions address recruitment, assessment, hiring, retention, promotion, and agency culture.
The Pledge is the foundational effort of the 30×30 Initiative – a coalition of police leaders, researchers, and professional organizations who have joined together to advance the representation and experiences of women in all ranks of policing across the United States. The 30×30 Initiative is affiliated with the Policing Project at NYU School of Law and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).
The ultimate goal of the 30×30 Initiative is to reach 30 percent of women in police recruit classes by 2030, and to ensure policing agencies are truly representative of the jurisdiction the agency serves. While 30×30 is focused on advancing women in policing, these principles are applicable to all demographic diversity, not just gender.
More than 60 agencies – from major metro departments including the New York City Police Department, to mid-sized, rural, university and state policing agencies – have signed the 30×30 Pledge, with GPDPS being the first in Oregon. The Pledge is based on social science research that greater representation of women on police forces leads to better policing outcomes for communities.
Currently, women make up only 12 percent of sworn officers and 3 percent of police leadership in the U.S. This underrepresentation of women in policing has significant public safety implications. Research suggests that women officers:
- Use less force and less excessive force
- Are named in fewer complaints and lawsuits
- Are perceived by communities as being more honest and compassionate
- See better outcomes for crime victims, especially in sexual assault cases
“We are grateful to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety for being one of the first in the nation to commit to being a part of this growing movement” said Maureen McGough, co-founder of the 30×30 Initiative, Chief of Staff of the Policing Project at the New York University School of Law, and former policing expert at the U.S. Department of Justice.“We believe strongly that advancing women in policing is critical to improving public safety outcomes. We look forward to having more agencies follow GPDPS’s lead by signing the pledge and improving the representation and experiences of women in policing.”
For more information, visit www.30x30initiative.org.
Events Around Rogue Valley for National Wildfire Preparedness Day this Saturday
National Wildfire Preparedness Day is Saturday, May 1, and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has four ways to help you get ready for the 2021 wildfire season.
1 Join Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum for a virtual wildfire town hall on Thursday, April 29, at noon.
Watch the live video: http://dcbspage.org/APRIL.DFR.TOWNHALL
2 Complete the division’s three tasks to save time, money, and stress when disaster strikes:
Task 1: Build a home inventory
Task 2: Build a financial backpack
Task 3: Review your insurance coverage
Visit dfr.oregon.gov/preparenow for tips and resources to complete each task.
3 Do some yard work with a purpose by creating defensible space around your home.
Remove dry leaves, dead brush, debris, and pine needles from the yard and gutters. Next, trim trees away from homes, barns, and sheds, and place screens over open vents on homes. These tasks reduce the fuels that enable wildfires to spread and give firefighters time to slow the blaze.
Visit the National Fire Protection Association’s free toolkit and resources page for more information on creating defensible space around your home.
4 Join a community or neighborhood cleanup project on Saturday, May 1.
Several community groups will be hosting cleanup projects in Oregon and across the country during National Wildfire Preparedness Day this Saturday.
Look for local events on social media and in newsletters and newspapers for opportunities to work with your neighbors to reduce wildfire risk in your community.
Here are few Oregon-based community events:
Oak Knoll Meadows HOA, Ashland
Mountain Ranch HOA, Ashland
Creekside Cottages, Ashland
Skidmore Firewise community, Ashland
Granite Street Firewise community, Ashland
Roca Canyon HOA, Ashland
Radio Park, Sunny Valley
Jefferson County Fire Department, White City
Wallace Creek Firewise Community, Springfield
Odin Falls Ranch and River Springs Estates, Redmond
The division’s wildfire insurance and disaster preparedness pages have resources to help people prepare for and recover from disasters. The division is also prepared to help people in any language they choose. Visit dfr.oregon.gov/help for more information. — Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services — https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/National-Wildfire-Community-Preparedness-Day
Gov. Brown Visits Southern Oregon
Gov. Kate Brown visited Southern Oregon and toured Amy’s Kitchen and parts of the Almeda Fire damaged areas.
Amy’s Kitchen facility has been the location of multiple coronavirus outbreaks throughout the pandemic; however, Dr. Jim Shames with Jackson County Public Health has called the facility a good example of what businesses should do to protect employees, citing multiple COVID-19 precautions in place.
The Governor visited areas damaged by the Almeda Fire, received a fire briefing from the Incident Command Post, met with firefighters and law enforcement officers at Jackson County Fire District 5, met with Oregon National Guard members in the field, visited an evacuation site that has been set up at Home Depot, and met with local community partners representing health equity, schools, law enforcement, and social justice.
“Today I surveyed the devastation caused by the Almeda Fire. From seeing it firsthand and talking with evacuees, the losses in Medford, Ashland, Phoenix, and Talent are hard to comprehend. My priority is to secure the resources necessary to help rebuild an even stronger southern Oregon,” said Governor Brown.
The Governor was joined by Representative Pam Marsh, Adjutant General Michael Stencel, and Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Oregon Community Foundation to Grant $41.2 Million of State Funds for Summer Academic and Enrichment Programs
Program designed to address learning inequities with Oregon children and families
Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announced today that it will administer $40 million of state-funded grants for community organizations to provide summer enrichment activities for K-12 aged students, such as day camps and outdoor programs as well as $1.2 million earmarked for parent-child summer programming for families with young children. The move is part of a substantial investment by the State of Oregon to address learning inequities and help mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Oregon children and families.
“The pandemic has caused widespread learning loss and social-emotional setbacks with youth, while also amplifying learning disparities across racial and socioeconomic lines,” says Lisa Bermudez, Development & Marketing Director, Bend Science Station. “The expertise, training and connections of OCF will help organizations to successfully re-engage youth, particularly marginalized youth, and make up for lost learning this summer.”
OCF will administer two different grant programs , both funded by the State of Oregon, for summer educational and enrichment programs:
K-12 Summer Learning Grants, $40 Million
The K-12 Summer Learning Grants will prioritize community-based programs for underserved youth and families that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The grants will be available to public and nonprofit organizations that provide community-based programming including:
- Support enrichment programs for learning outside of the classroom
- Support arts, sports, mentoring, workforce development, science, museum education and many other indoor and outdoor activities
- A priority to programs that serve K-12 aged youth from communities of color, youth from low-income families, and youth living in under-resourced rural communities.
“Oregon Community Foundation has a history of investing in community-based out of school time and summer programs across the state. National and local data shows that this programming helps build a sense of belonging, develop critical social emotional skills, and promote greater school attendance and engagement,” says Belle Cantor, Senior Program Officer for Education, OCF. “The trauma of school disruption as well as living with an elevated level of anxiety and uncertainty can have long-term negative impacts on children. This is magnified for children who already experience racial inequity.”
Grants are intended to be used towards ensuring youth and families have access to summer learning and enrichment programs. The pandemic has had wide and varied impacts on youth and families across the state and therefore these grants are intended to ensure youth and families have opportunities to help them address the educational, social, emotional, and other impacts of the pandemic.
OCF will accept, review, and award grants on a rolling basis throughout the spring to ensure programs have funds in hand to begin planning and implementation. OCF will seek the advice of a diverse, community-based advisory committee throughout the granting process to ensure that the program is meeting community priorities.
The application form can be found on the OCF website at:
Early Childhood Summer Support Grants, $1.2M
The Early Childhood Summer Support Grants will support enrichment programs for learning by providing services for approximately 600 children (from birth to 5 years of age) and their parents. These grants will help deliver 12 weeks of parent-child summer programming, including group classes and activities that offer social and learning opportunities for young children and their parents, play groups and kindergarten readiness programs.
“The birth to five years are the most critical years for the development of young brains, and parent-child relationships are the foundation of healthy development,” says Mary Louise McClintock, Senior Education Strategy and Policy Advisor, Oregon Community Foundation. “Through Early Childhood Summer Support grants OCF will support opportunities for young children and their parents – especially those disproportionately impacted by the trauma and isolation of the pandemic – to play and learn with other children and families.”
To apply for a grant or learn more about this program, please visit:
About Oregon’s Summer Learning and Child Care Package for Kids
The state of Oregon is seeking to fund programs that build trusting relationships, connection and care for children over the summer months, in the critical time between the end of this school year and the beginning of the next. To learn more, please see:
About Oregon Community Foundation
Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. Since 1973, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving–time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians–creates measurable change. For more information about OCF, please visit: oregoncf.org. — Oregon Community Foundation
Several Earthquakes Shake Off Oregon Coast West of Coos Bay
At least six earthquakes have shaken off the Oregon coast, west of Coos Bay in the last 24 hours.
Six earthquakes struck between 150 and 200 miles off the Oregon coast Thursday morning, following an earthquake in the same location Wednesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). There is no tsunami threat from any of the quakes, according to the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center.
Wednesday’s 4.4 magnitude earthquake happened at 2:36 p.m. about 182 miles northwest of Bandon. The quake had a depth of about 6.2 miles.
All six of Thursday morning’s earthquakes happened within about 50 miles of each other, according to the USGS map that charts the latest earthquakes. Thursday morning’s first earthquake, a 4.3 magnitude quake, struck at 3:25 a.m., followed by a 5.4 earthquake at 3:30 a.m., a 5.2 earthquake at 3:35 a.m., a 5.3 earthquake at 3:58 a.m., a 4.1 earthquake at 6:25 a.m. and a 3.8 earthquake at 6:33 a.m.
The USGS reported all the earthquakes had a depth of about six miles.
“Nothing unusual, nothing alarming, nothing to worry about,” said KGW meteorologist Rod Hill. “But it’s kind of interesting when we have these little clusters of earthquake activity.”
According to the USGS, there were 13 reports from people who said they felt at least one of the earthquakes Thursday morning. Nobody reported feeling Wednesday’s earthquake.
Strike at the Oregon Institute of Technology Continues
The historic faculty strike at the Oregon Institute of Technology continues, while students struggled to know if their classes would take place and who would teach them.
Oregon Tech administrators told students that there was a plan in place, which would mean minimal disruptions to classes if faculty chose to strike. But students said Monday and Tuesday that they arrived to empty in-person and online classes without instructors on both days.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement Ken Fincher said they are working “around the clock” to get classes covered, but administrators had no way of knowing how many and which faculty members would participate in the strike until it began. Some students have joined the picket line and said they do not blame faculty for
the disruption to their educations.
Oregon Still Struggling With Unemployment Benefits System
A year into the Coronavirus pandemic, resolving a problem with your jobless benefits in Oregon remains an arduous task. The state remains well below the national average in timely benefits payments, according to federal data, though the employment department says the figures don’t fully capture its progress and performance.
Thousands of Oregonians had their jobless benefits lapse after 12 months on the unemployment rolls. In many cases they can still receive aid, but they need to switch to new programs – which means they need to sort through the department’s byzantine website, which in turn puts more pressure on the agency.
It’s still nearly impossible to reach the agency by phone, Oregon is still among the slowest states at paying new benefits claims, and the department expects it will continue to be hobbled by its obsolete computer system until new technology arrives in 2025. When claims run into trouble it can take weeks or months to untangle the
issues – leaving vulnerable, laid-off workers without any income at all and scrambling to make ends meet.
Oregon Legislators Considering The Boundary Lines For New Representative’s District
Oregon legislators considering the boundary lines for another Oregon U.S. Representative’s district might have to draw on a “sixth sense.” This year, Oregon’s legislative special committees for redistricting are adjusting U.S. House districts in the state as its seats increase from five to six.
That official effort has an unofficial endorsement this week. U.S. Census Bureau figures Monday show Oregon’s steady population growth, 10% during the past decade, to more than 4.2 million is enough to give Oregon another congressional district for the first time in 40 years.
When lawmakers craft legislative districts, the practice called “gerrymandering” generally suggests they use political party lines to draw district boundary lines in ways to favor the party in power. This year Democrats, who control the state politically and hold all but one of the State’s Congressional seats, agreed to give up their advantage in redrawing political boundaries in a deal to stop Republicans from blocking legislation.
State legislature members of both parties comprise House and Senate Special Committees on Redistricting, and both committees meet simultaneously Friday to advance their course toward remapping Oregon’s U.S. House districts to include a sixth district.