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, May 14, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today– Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Light north northwest wind becoming northwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday– Sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday– Sunny, with a high near 90. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Monday– Sunny, with a high near 87.
Tuesday– Sunny, with a high near 80.
Oregon reports 733 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 14 new deaths
There are 14 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,572. The Oregon Health Authority reported 733 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 193,732.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (14), Clackamas (35), Clatsop (6), Columbia (10), Coos (7), Crook (16), Deschutes (80), Douglas (14), Harney (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (40), Jefferson (9), Josephine (11), Klamath (23), Lake (1), Lane (49), Lincoln (6), Linn (35), Malheur (4), Marion (60), Morrow (3), Multnomah (156), Polk (23), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (17), Wallowa (1), Wasco (3), Washington (94) and Yamhill (7).
Oregon’s 2,563rd COVID-19 death is a 54-year-old man from Jackson County who tested positive on May 1 and died on May 11 at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.
Oregon’s 2,565th COVID-19 death is an 84-year-old woman from Josephine County who tested positive on Jan. 10 and died on April 6 at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center. The death certificate listed COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. She had underlying conditions.
COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 12 years of age and above begin in Oregon
Late yesterday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup convened to review the federal government’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) that extended COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to individuals ages 12 and older. The workgroup found that expanding COVID-19 vaccination to anyone 12 years of age and above will protect those who are vaccinated and contribute to the control of COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is great news for Oregon children, parents and families. Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 30,037 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 18,733 doses were administered on May 12 and 11,304 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 12. The seven day running average is now 32,922 doses per day.
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,881,250 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,437,343 first and second doses of Moderna and 116,551 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, 2,242,305 doses of Pfizer, 1,827,840 doses of Moderna and 260,300 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon. These data are preliminary and subject to change.
Note: Yesterday, the daily media release incorrectly reported the number of COVID-19 vaccinations that were sent to the state immunization registry. Here is the correct data for May 12: OHA reported that 28,652 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry.
Of this total, 16,592 doses were administered on May 11 and 12,060 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 11. OHA regrets the error.
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 351, which is five more than yesterday. There are 88 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is the same as yesterday’s total.
The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,339, which is a 1.1% decrease from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 351.
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”
Oregon sends supplies to India to help contain COVID-19 spread
Right now, India is in the midst of a devastating surge of COVID-19 and with it, a shortage of?vital supplies needed to stop the spread of the virus.??Many people waiting in line for tests are turned away due to lack of supplies.?
This month, Oregon is sending a shipment of 300,000 BinaxNOW rapid test kits?to India. These tests, which produce results in 15 minutes,?will allow more cases of COVID-19 to be quickly identified so that steps can be taken to contain the virus.??
“The relationships we have forged through the pandemic have made it possible to rally support to India in its time of need,” said?Akiko Saito, deputy director of OHA’s Coronavirus Response and Recovery Unit.?
“The Governor’s Office, OHA, Department of Administrative Services, Port of Portland and Cathay Pacific working together to send COVID-19 rapid tests is evidence of Oregon’s heart and commitment to a world view.”?
The Desai Foundation, an organization that serves rural communities with health and livelihood programs focused on women and children in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh will ensure the kits are distributed to COVID Care & Isolation Centers, hospitals and local health workers to ensure the tests get into the hands of the people that need it most.
Oregon received 1.2 million BinaxNOW tests from the federal government in Oct. 2020. There is still a very generous reserve of tests to use for diagnostic testing within Oregon.??
Gov. Brown follows CDC guidance: drops mask, social distancing in most public spaces
Gov. Brown announced late Thursday afternoon that Oregon will follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance released earlier in the day and is dropping the requirement for wearing masks or to socially distance in most public spaces.
You can read and listen to the governor’s full statement, issued by video and written remarks:
“Today the CDC issued new guidance for lifting mask and social distancing requirements for fully-vaccinated individuals. It is yet another sign that, if we all continue to do our part, the pandemic is coming closer to an end.
Starting today, Oregon will be following this guidance, which only applies to fully-vaccinated individuals. That means Oregonians who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most public spaces.
The CDC has outlined a few exceptions, such as public transportation, hospitals and health care clinics, correctional facilities, and long-term care facilities. Oregon will continue to require individuals to remain masked and distanced in these circumstances. Immuno-compromised people should continue to follow the recommendations of their health care provider when it comes to personal protective measures. Nothing is changing for schools this school year, and I expect education staff and students to continue to wear masks and physically distance, as outlined in our Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance.
In the coming days, the Oregon Health Authority will be providing updated guidance for businesses, employers, and others to allow the option of lifting mask and physical distancing requirements after verifying vaccination status. Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now, rather than worrying about verifying vaccination status, and that’s fine.
Oregonians now have a choice of how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19: either get vaccinated, or continue wearing a mask and following physical distancing requirements. The new CDC guidance makes clear that vaccines are the best tool to protect yourself, and everyone around you. Vaccines are also the fastest way to get back to doing the things we all love, and to returning to a sense of normalcy.
If you’re already vaccinated, thank you. I encourage you to help a friend or loved one make their appointment. If you have questions about vaccines, that’s totally normal. Call your health care provider to get your questions answered, or visit covidvaccine.oregon.gov for great resources.
We are one step closer to putting this pandemic behind us. Thank you, Oregon, for continuing to get vaccinated. Keep it up. And stay safe out there.”
Butte Creek Mill and Trout Unlimited Working Together to Retain the Mill’s Water Rights
The rebuilt Butte Creek Mill in Eagle Point now has a good chance of retaining its historic status as a water-powered mill, project stakeholders announced on Thursday.
Earlier this year the Butte Creek Mill Foundation let the public know that the mill’s traditional water rights were being sold by the mill property’s original owner to a new buyer. Supporters renewed fundraising efforts in an attempt to buy replacement water rights.
For 143 years, the non-profit Butte Creek Mill Foundation said the original mill relied on non-consumptive water rights granted in 1872 to power the millstones. After fire destroyed the mill in 2015, the property was sold to the Foundation for the restoration project, but it was not accompanied by those water rights.
Now the previous owner is considering an offer on the water rights from a third party, the Foundation said, and the potential owner “is not able” to leaseback any of the 1872 water rights.
Sale of the water rights recently went to Trout Unlimited in Ashland for $591,990, the Foundation said Thursday. The contract allows Trout Unlimited a two-year window to seek out grant funds that would cover the cost.
At the same time, the Foundation has agreed with Trout Unlimited on a leaseback of enough water to power the mill and protect its historic status. As part of the agreement, the Butte Creek Mill Foundation would need to raise $91,000 of the funds needed for the full purchase.
The Foundation said previously that the mill requires roughly 10 cubic feet per second of water to power the millstones, with the original water rights guaranteeing between 22 and 23 cfs. The agreement would secure 16 cfs for the mill in perpetuity, for an annual fee of $1.
“The BCMF is happy that the opportunity to partner with TU on the water rights came along and looks forward to working closely with TU to the mutual beneﬁt of the mill’s operation, the creek’s water quality and the well-being of aquatic life in Little Butte Creek,” said Jay O’Neill, speaking on behalf of the Foundation. “This partnership is a deﬁnite win for all parties involved.”
In a statement, Trout Unlimited said that its goals were two-fold — to preserve the Butte Creek Mill’s historic water supply, and to keep the remaining water flowing in Little Butte Creek for fish habitat and for the Eagle Point community so that it isn’t diverted by junior claims upstream.
“This water right transaction will be the largest of its kind in Oregon to date,” said Trout Unlimited’s Oregon director Chrysten Lambert. “It will help conserve a beloved historic resource, local community values and economy, and some of Oregon’s most iconic ﬁshes. TU is proud to work with Mr. Bob Russell and the Butte Creek Mill Foundation to conserve both high priority aquatic and riparian habitat and a traditional commercial use of the stream. We salute these partners for their commitment to an outcome that works for everyone.”
Bob Russell, owner of the original Butte Creek Mill property and the accompanying water rights, also lauded the agreement as a positive one. “Partnering with Trout Unlimited is a win-win for the future of the historic Butte Creek Mill, salmon, the citizens of Eagle Point, and our entire community,” Russell said.
Trout Unlimited: https://www.tu.org/project/southern-oregon-flow-restoration/
Butte Creek Mill: https://buttecreekmill.com/
SOREDI Applications Open Today At Noon for Relief Funds to Eligible Businesses In Jackson County
The relief funding promised by Governor Brown for impacted businesses is becoming available for 15 Oregon counties that were temporarily plunged back into Extreme Risk restrictions.
Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI) in Jackson County has more than $1.4 million in available funding for businesses impacted by the Extreme Risk move. Applications for the funds will open up at noon on Friday and will remain open through May 17. SOREDI will serve as the grant administrator.
“This newly allocated grant funding will be particularly helpful to those businesses who incurred additional expenses in order to minimally stay open following the Governor’s recent order that affected the restaurant and hospitality sector in counties that moved to extreme risk,” said Colleen Padilla, Executive Director of SOREDI.
Grant funds are being made available in all 15 counties impacted by the move, with a total of $20 million in funding made available by the state. The funds are intended to be equally accessible to all businesses, including to historically disadvantaged groups, SOREDI said.
Awards for eligible businesses are based on one of two formulas, SOREDI said, whichever is lesser: $2,500 multiplied by FTE, or 2019 Gross Revenues minus 2020 Gross Revenues and CARES Act funding received. SOREDI explains more about the definitions and award guidelines on its website.
Applicants should check the eligibility requirements before applying, and should allow at least one hour to complete the application process. They are also strongly advised to gather the appropriate documentation and be prepared to upload them. The online application form will send email confirmations when applications are submitted successfully.
SOREDI said that the applications will only be reviewed once the submission window closes at the end of May 17, and funding will be based on demonstrated need until the funds are gone. Only complete applications will be considered.
Applicants should hear about their award status no later than June 19.
Only online submission will be accepted, SOREDI said. People in need of assistance can schedule a 15-minute appointment with SOREDI staff through the website, but the expected volume of applicants means that staff will not be answering questions by phone.
“This is a new program with new requirements different from the previous grant programs,” SOREDI said. “Businesses who applied for other funding or were placed on a wait list for funding will need to reapply and resubmit documentation.”
Interested businesses can apply at the SOREDI site here once applications open at noon on Friday, May 14.
Medford Man Reported Missing in Humboldt County
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing person Thursday morning.
On March 14, 2021, Robert W. Thorpe, age 62, was reported missing to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.
Robert was reported to have left his residence in Medford, Oregon to visit his son in Humboldt County. It is believed Robert arrived in Humboldt County around March 5, but family and friends were since unable to contact Robert and he had not returned home.
Robert was reported to be driving a gold, 2005 Chrysler Pacifica, with an Oregon license plate number of 224KVP.
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Bureau of Land Management announces fire prevention orders for Oregon and Washington to decrease human-caused wildfires
Effective as of May 12th, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is prohibiting the use of fireworks, exploding targets or metallic targets for target shooting, sky lanterns, and firing tracer or incendiary devices on all BLM-managed public lands throughout Oregon and Washington. Additionally, the Northwest Oregon District is announcing a year-round fire order to decrease human-caused wildfires as well.
May is ‘Wildfire Awareness Month’ and the BLM and partner agencies encourage all visitors to do their part to protect public lands and local communities from wildfires this year. As public lands continue to see high visitation rates in Oregon and Washington, all visitors must be aware of fire restrictions and fire closures on BLM public lands.
“Dry conditions have set in here in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve seen an uptick in fire starts on public and private lands in April,” said Barry Bushue, BLM Oregon/Washington State Director. “We also want to remind the public to be aware of, and respect, remaining burned area closures from last year’s fires where assessments and clean up are still in progress. This will help keep you, BLM staff, and first responders safe.”
Those who violate the prohibition can be fined up to $1,000 and/or receive a prison term of up to one year. In addition, those found responsible for starting wildland fires on federal lands can be billed for the cost of fire suppression.
According to the current Northwest Coordination Center (NWCC) Seasonal Outlook, drier weather is predicted for May through July. Central Oregon and southwestern Washington are predicted to have above normal large fire potential starting in June. Drought intensity is also increasing across both states due to lower precipitation rates.
For more information on Bureau of Land Management Oregon/Washington seasonal fire restrictions and fire closures, please see www.blm.gov/orwafire.
-BLM- This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people.?The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash
Several Beaches still closed to razor clam digging- Northern Oregon Coast
The Oregon State Police and other local law enforcement are taking enforcement action against unauthorized razor clamming along the Northern Oregon Coast particularly in the popular Clatsop Beach area.
Razor clamming remains closed from the north jetty of the Siuslaw River to the Columbia River (including inside the Columbia River) due to high domoic acid levels.
This is basically the coastline from Florence to Astoria. Mussel, bay clam, and crab harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. Coastal scallops are not affected by biotoxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. ODA does not recommend eating whole scallops. Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.
Paralytic shellfish toxins and domoic acid toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permits. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit. Updated clamming info – call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Shellfish Biotoxin Closures webpage: https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery .
ODFW information on recreational shellfish is on our Recreation Report https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/crabbing-clamming-report/marine-zone
Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators
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.
PREFERENCE POINT REWARDS:
5 Points-Bighorn Sheep
5 Points-Rocky Mountain Goat
Or the Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward fund also offers cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, and Furbearers. Cash rewards can also be awarded for the unlawful take of Game Fish and Shellfish and for Habitat Destruction.
$1,000 Mountain (Bighorn) Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat and Moose
$500 Elk, Deer and Antelope
$300 Bear, Cougar and Wolf
$300 Habitat Destruction
$100 Upland Birds and Waterfowl
$100 Game Fish and Shellfish
How to Report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity:
TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or OSP(677)
The lines continue to be drawn in opposite directions regarding water rights in the Klamath Basin.
The lines continue to be drawn in opposite directions regarding water rights in the Klamath Basin. In a press release yesterday, Klamath Water Users Associationexpressed grave disappointment with the announcement by the Bureau of Reclamationthat no water is to be diverted at A Canal for irrigation in 2021.
The first water delivery from the A Canal was in 1907. This is the first year ever it will deliver zero water,” said Paul Simmons, Executive Director and Counsel for KWUA. A Canal, which diverts water from Upper Klamath Lake, normally provides water serving over 150,000 acres of productive farmland in Klamath County, Oregon and Modoc and Siskiyou Counties, California.
Although there is enough water in Upper Klamath Lake to supply all irrigation needs, current federal agency management of the Klamath Project is driven by allocation to fish species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Klamath Tribes, also in a press release, say they take zero pleasure in Reclamation’s announcement this morning that there will be no water for flushing flows to mitigate disease risk for salmon in the Klamath River. The Klamath Tribes urge the Biden Administration to do all it can to begin laying the groundwork for honoring treaties with tribal nations up and down the Klamath Basin by emphasizing long term, sustainable practices.
The release added this from the Tribes: “We also feel for the Klamath Project irrigators. “Our people have far too much experience with being cut-off from our means of subsistence, and we wish that pain on no one.”
The Klamath Tribes urge the Biden Administration to do all it can to begin laying the groundwork for honoring treaties with tribal nations up and down the Klamath Basin by emphasizing long term, sustainable practices. KWUA says is working with the Biden Administration and Congressional delegations from both Oregon and California to secure funding to attempt to mitigate the harm. Currently, the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency (DRA) expects to have $15 million available, but that is far short of the need.
The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that bans the “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense
The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that bans the “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense and their ilk in criminal court proceedings, taking aim at a tactic traditionally used to deflect blame from a defendant accused of violent crimes onto the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. House Democrats cited the Human Rights Campaign, which reported that 2020 was the “most violent year on record” for crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people since it began tracking these crimes in 2013, with 44 recorded fatalities. A 2018 FBI report found an increase of more than 500 percent in reported in hate crimes against people who identify as transgender since 2013, Democrats said, the largest rate of growth in any category. Unlike an insanity defense, LGBTQ+ “panic” defense is not an accepted plea in U.S. law, but a strategy used by some defense teams in criminal cases to bolster other defenses and erode culpability for the crime.
Find local farm stands with Oregon’s Bounty website & guide
Strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, mushrooms, salad greens — along with bedding plants, flowering baskets, and fresh-cut flowers — are just a few favorites of Oregon’s agricultural bounty in late spring.
But outside of the local farmers market, where can you buy these things directly from a farm or ranch?
“Everyone knows where their local farmers market is. But what about roadside farm stands, u-pick fields, and on-farm events out in rural areas? That’s where Oregon’s Bounty comes in,” said Anne Marie Moss, Oregon Farm Bureau communications director.
Oregon’s Bounty at OregonFB.org/oregonsbounty is a searchable directory of 260 family farms and ranches that sell food and foliage directly to the public. The website allows visitors to do keyword searches for specific agriculture products — such as blueberries, cucumbers, honey, or eggs — and/or search for farms within a specific region of the state.
You can also get a free printed copy of the Oregon’s Bounty Farm Stand Guide by emailing a request with your mailing address to email@example.com.
Some farms may have specific instructions for pandemic safety, and it’s important to check a farm’s website or social media before venturing out.
“Oregonians love farm-fresh food. Thanks to the diversity of agriculture in this great state, we can buy an enormous variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, foliage, meat, and nuts directly from the families who grew it,” said Moss.
“Each of the farms listed in Oregon’s Bounty are owned and operated by Farm Bureau members who are proud to share what they’ve raised with the public,” said Moss. “Spring is a great time to take a trip into the beautiful countryside and experience Oregon agriculture firsthand.” — Oregon Farm Bureau