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 21, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Friday– A 20 percent chance of showers. Snow level 3600 feet rising to 5100 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 63. Light west wind becoming northwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday-A 20 percent chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 69. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 75.
Monday– A slight chance of showers after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.
Tuesday– A chance of showers, mainly before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 73.
Oregon reports 603 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 5 new deaths
There are five new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,606. The Oregon Health Authority reported 603 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 197,356.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (6), Clackamas (73), Clatsop (3), Columbia (7), Coos (10), Crook (8), Curry (1), Deschutes (42), Douglas (25), Harney (7), Hood River (1), Jackson (19), Jefferson (5), Josephine (18), Klamath (15), Lane (36), Lincoln (2), Linn (46), Malheur (4), Marion (51), Morrow (3), Multnomah (90), Polk (9), Umatilla (24), Union (1), Wasco (5), Washington (74) and Yamhill (17).
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 37,228 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 20,028 doses were administered on May 19 and 17,200 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 19.
The 7-day running average is now 29,005 doses per day.
Oregon has now administered a total of 2,019,003 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,502,574 first and second doses of Moderna and 127,500 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,656,783 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,114,580 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, 2,442,375 doses of Pfizer, 1,988,260 doses of Moderna and 281,700 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 301, which is five fewer than yesterday. There are 77 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one fewer than yesterday.
The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,288, which is a 2.2% 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 342.
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.
OHA Pediatric COVID-19 Report
As of 12:01am on Wednesday, May 12, there have been 193,014 COVID-19 cases reported in Oregon. Pediatric cases, as defined as people under 18 years old, accounted for 23,161, or 11.9%, of the total cases. There have been 35 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) reported in Oregon. Oregon witnessed two surges in pediatric COVID-19 cases in 2020 and is currently experiencing a third in 2021. Similar to cases in adults, pediatric cases began to rise again at the beginning of April.
The full report indicates that while pediatric case counts have increased, pediatric patients remain far less likely than adults to develop severe cases of COVID-19. Only 1.0% of pediatric patients have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness. Comparatively, 6.1% of adults with COVID-19 have been hospitalized.
COVID-19 vaccine a game changer for one 12-year-old
OHA has been collecting and sharing stories about what the COVID-19 vaccine means to Oregon families. Today, we introduce you to Paul Carson. Paul’s 12-year-old son, Anthony, has Down syndrome, which puts him at much higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19.
Because the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for emergency use in individuals ages 12–15, Anthony was able to get vaccinated last week at the Oregon Health & Science University-run drive-through vaccination site at the Portland International Airport (PDX).
Paul and his wife Susan are beyond thrilled. Both described their son’s vaccination at PDX as a great experience and called the vaccine a “game changer” for their family — especially for their son. They didn’t know if they were going to be able to send Anthony back to school in the fall because of the risk and now they can. Take a listen to Paul talk about the experience here.
Cases of COVID-19 in Oregon are down over the last week, but deaths and hospitalizations are up.
The Oregon Health Authority reports the number of new cases declined 16-percent last week over the previous week. New hospitalizations increased by ten to 265, and COVID-19-related deaths rose from 31 to 57, which is the highest weekly death toll in ten weeks. The number of positive tests increased from six-point-one to six-point-four-percent.
Oregon May Give Away $1 Million in Lottery As a COVID Vaccine Incentive – Gov. Brown to Make Statement Today
Ever since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that his state will hold a lottery each week for five weeks — awarding randomly selected residents $1 million if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 — the nation has been abuzz about the idea.
Well, it now looks like Gov. Kate Brown is prepared to announce a similar lottery effort to encourage Oregonians to get shots.
Brown has scheduled a noon news conference Friday with Oregon Lottery officials “to discuss Oregon’s ongoing response to COVID-19.”
Although Brown’s staff are staying mum about the details, at least for now, lottery officials have never before been present at a COVID-19 news briefing in the nearly 15 months Brown has been giving them.
Southern Oregon Home Show Kicks Off Today at the Expo
The 39th Annual Southern Oregon Home Show – Presented by Builders Association of Southern Oregon — “There’s No Place Like Home!” kicks off today!
The 2021 Southern Oregon Home Show located in Central Point at the EXPO offers you the chance to see what’s new, fun, and exciting for your new home, office, yard, or garden all while supporting over 100 local Southern Oregon businesses.
Talk with the experts & receive helpful advice to turn your dream home or other home improvement projects into a reality. One weekend only!
Take advantage of SPECIAL HOME SHOW DEALS you won’t find anywhere else! Enter to win prizes, get special discounts, and more! Check out what’s new & exciting! LARGEST HOME SHOW in SOUTHERN OREGON…one weekend ONLY….at the Jackson County EXPO!
Friday, May 21 : 12pm – 6pm
Saturday, May 22 : 10am – 6pm
Sunday, May 23 : 10am – 4pm
$5 Entry is good for ALL THREE DAYS! Tickets sold at the show.
Location: Jackson County Expo in Central Point Oregon 1 Peninger Rd Central Point OR 97502
This retail event will observe OHA Guidelines. Covid 19 Event Code of Conduct Available Here>>
For More Information Visit the Builders Association Southern Oregon : https://buildso.com
Lois MacMillan Named Southern Oregon Regional Teacher of the Year
Oregon teachers bring their ingenuity, flexibility, encouragement and expertise to classrooms every day in support of their students.
During this global pandemic, teachers have overcome constant challenges requiring transitioning instructional models, developing new ways to create important student connections, learning new teaching platforms and so much more.
Grants Pass High School’s social studies teacher, Lois MacMillan was named Southern Oregon’s 2022 Regional Teacher of the Year! MacMillan wins a $500 cash prize and is in the running for Oregon’s 2022 Teacher of the Year – to be announced this fall.
“The classroom is a glorious and hallowed space where learning takes place that may be planned, but often, if not always, goes far beyond the intended.” MacMillan is quoted from her application.
Regional Teachers of the Year are nominated by students, colleagues, administrators, friends or family members to apply for the award, and are selected by a diverse panel of regional representatives. Later this fall one of the Regional Teachers of the Year will be named the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year.
Thanks to the Oregon Department of Education’s partnership with the Oregon Lottery, the 2022 Oregon Teacher of the Year receives a $5,000 cash prize (with a matching $5,000 going to their school!) and serves as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. Three finalists will receive $2,000 with a matching $2,000 going to their school. Please visit OregonTeacheroftheYear.org for more information.
Josephine County Sheriff Marine Patrol Regulations for Boatnik Races
TO: Waterway Users
FROM: Josephine County Sheriff Marine Patrol
DATE: May 20, 2021
RE: Water use regulations and race event schedule
During the Boatnik Races, the Rogue River will be closed in designated areas and during designated times (Refer to the race schedule listed below). All spectators will remain off the water until the races are over. All spectators will remain 50 feet from the waterway at all times.
Movement on the water is Restricted to Law Enforcement, Rescue personnel and Authorized Race Officials during the closures. Private boats are not allowed to assist with crash/rescue operations for safety reasons.
Boats can be anchored on the shoreline if it is deemed safe by Race Officials and Law Enforcement. All users shall be OFF the water and in an approved area 1 hour prior to the start of the race. Any unauthorized boat on the water during the closure may be cited for Reckless or Unsafe Operation (ORS 830.315 & 305 / $421.00). Law Enforcement will be patrolling the waterways during the race events.
Please Contact: Marine Deputy Donnie Moore, at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office (541) 474-5391 if you have any questions regarding the river closures.
Closed Monday May 31st, 2021 from Baker Park to Sixth Street/Caveman Bridge during race events scheduled from 9:00am to 3:00pm.
Monday May 31st, 2021 the Rogue River from Baker Park to Robertson Bridge will be CLOSED during race events scheduled from 12:00pm to 3:00pm. Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler held a press conference on Thursday afternoon, covering initial details of an officer-involved shooting near Wimer earlier in the week.
Deputies were dispatched to a house in the 1500-block of Queens Branch Road near Evans Creek Road just after 11 a.m. on Monday, responding to a 911 call for a domestic assault.
The victim told dispatchers that he thought the suspect “was going to kill him,” Sickler said. Shortly after that, the suspect returned in a vehicle and was seen holding a rifle.
Around 11:42 a.m., one of the deputies reported to deputies that “shots had been fired.” Sickler said that the shooting was caught on the deputy’s body cam, and the video showed him firing several rounds from his handgun into the vehicle, hitting the suspect several times. The deputy who fired and more deputies who arrived just after the shooting started giving the suspect first aid, Sickler said, but he died at the scene.
Sickler said that the suspect’s .22 caliber rifle was loaded, but declined to comment on whether the man had fired any shots, citing the pending investigation and the coming grand jury proceedings.
Medford Police Investigate Stabbing
On Thursday, May 20th, at 3:08 PM, Medford Police responded to a reported stabbing in the area of S. Bartlett St. and E Main St. in downtown Medford. Upon arrival, Officers located the victim who did have apparent stab wounds. The vicitm was transported by Mercy Flights to a local hospital for treatment.
Medford Police Detectives responded and have assumed the investigation. The investigation is ongoing at this time. Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact the Medford Police Department Criminal Division at 541-774-2244. Medford Police Dept.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
OREGON PUC ADOPTS NEW RULES FOR 2021 WILDFIRE SEASON
Rules address public safety power shutoffs and utility reporting requirements
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved temporary rules for use during the 2021 wildfire season on public safety power shutoffs (PSPSs) and fire-related reporting requirements for investor-owned electric utilities, including Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, and Idaho Power. These rules provide near-term guidance for utilities to enhance the safety of Oregonians as more expansive permanent rules are further developed.
During Oregon’s historic 2020 wildfire season, nearly one million acres burned across the state and Portland General Electric implemented their first PSPS. A PSPS is a measure of last resort, designed to help keep people and communities in high fire-risk areas safe by proactively shutting off electricity during extreme and dangerous weather conditions when energized electrical lines could be damaged and ignite a fast-moving wildfire. In these rules, the PUC has set out expectations utilities must meet when utilizing a PSPS. Implementing a PSPS is a complex decision that impacts communities, including use of home medical devices, access to 911 services, and the ability to pump water.
“With the earliest official opening to Oregon’s wildfire season in 40 years, the establishment of these rules was extremely important and timely,” said Letha Tawney, PUC Commissioner. “They are designed to help keep Oregonians safe by establishing criteria on how the utilities communicate about and coordinate during a PSPS, and particularly how they issue notifications before, during, and after a potential PSPS in order to provide the PUC, public safety partners, and the general public useful and timely information.”
These temporary rules will remain in effect through mid-November 2021. The PUC will continue working with the utilities, public safety partners, and the communities to develop permanent rules to further enhance public safety as the electrical system adapts to extreme wildfire risk.
“We look forward to the continued work on this critical issue and we encourage the public to stay informed on this process as permanent rules are established,” added Commissioner Tawney.
For information on how to be prepared for this year’s fire season, including public safety power shutoffs and other long-duration outages, visit https://www.oregon.gov/puc/safety/Pages/Power-Outage-Prep.aspx.
The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulates customer rates and services of the state’s investor-owned electric, natural gas and telephone utilities, as well as select water companies. The PUC mission is to ensure Oregon utility customers have access to safe, reliable, and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates, which is accomplished through thorough analysis and independent decision-making conducted in an open and fair process. Oregon Public Utility Commission
U.S. Reps Pushing for Relief Funding for Klamath Basin Water Issues
With precious little water available for farmers and other stakeholders in the Klamath Basin this year, two Congressmen who represent large areas of southern Oregon and northern California are pushing for millions of dollars in relief funding for the region.
U.S. Representatives Cliff Bentz and Doug LaMalfa, of Oregon and California respectively, have put forward a $57 million proposal to assist the Klamath Basin. Much of the funding would take the form of monetary aid for farmers, with some elements going toward infrastructure, wildlife refuges, and Tribes.
The lawmakers pointed to a decision from the federal Bureau of Reclamation earlier this month to halt diversions of water from Upper Klamath Lake for irrigation, which leaves the majority of farmers without a water supply. Particularly amid a severe drought year, the Bureau faces competing demands for the water stored in Upper Klamath Lake, governed by a complex web of laws and court rulings that stretch back years.
Farmers in the Basin require diversion of the water for irrigation needs, Tribes along the Klamath River have fought for flows downstream to spare native salmon species from disease, and the Klamath Tribes want to preserve water stored in Upper Klamath Lake in an attempt to save the Lost River and Shortnose sucker species.
The severity of the 2021 drought is such that none of the major stakeholders are particularly pleased with the outcome. The Yurok Tribe reports that low spring flows have resulted in a die-off in young salmon due to rampant disease, and the Klamath Tribes worry that low water levels in Upper Klamath Lake will exacerbate the decline of sucker species even with irrigation curtailed.
Oregon Unemployment Changes on the Way
No more benefits, if you’re not looking for a job. That’s the change on the way for Oregon in the next couple months.
Oregonians will have to show they’re trying to find work in order to continue getting unemployment payments. Acting Director of the Oregon Employment Department David Gerstenfeld explains that businesses are having trouble finding workers. “As the pandemic begins to fade and the economy changes we’re still focusing on how we can help fuel economic recovery, and help Oregonians overcome challenges related to employment,” he says.
In normal times, federal law requires people to show they’re trying to find a job while they collect unemployment. But the U.S. Congress allowed states to put that requirement on hold, because the pandemic forced so many businesses to close. Gerstenfeld says since the pandemic started. more than half a million Oregonians have collected unemployment payments.
The Oregon Employment Department Will Start Updating Obsolete Computer System
The Oregon Employment Department says in July it will start upgrading the obsolete computer system that pays jobless benefits. That would end a 12-year delay that caused a catastrophic breakdown in distributing aid during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
Oregon’s new system won’t be in place until 2024. Oregon was among the slowest states in the nation at paying jobless benefits during the pandemic, with laid-off workers frequently waiting weeks or months for aid. The employment department was hindered by a rigid computer system from the 1990s, which was unable to adapt to added benefits Congress added last year.
Toledo Man Dies in Lincoln County Crash on Hwy 101
On Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at approximately 11:24 pm, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 101 near milepost 128.
Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford F350, operated by Jesus Perez (25) of Salem, was northbound when it crossed into the southbound lane and collided with a Kia Spectra operated by George Linden III (46) of Toledo.
Linden sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Perez was transported to Salem Hospital.
OSP was assisted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Depoe Bay Fire Department, and ODOT.
Oregon Car Theft Suspect Test Drives Vehicles – Never Returns Them
Detectives say a “prolific vehicle theft suspect” rents or test drives cars – and then never returns them.
Eugene Police Property Crimes made a public appeal Wednesday for information on William Stanton Boyd, 42, whom police described as “a suspect in multiple cases of theft from dealers and rental companies.”
“Boyd typically steals vehicles, either by renting them from a rental company and not returning them, or, posing as a prospective buyer at car dealerships where he takes the vehicle for a test drive and never returns,” Eugene Police said.
“Boyd has victimized several companies in the Eugene, Springfield, and greater Lane County area. He has been committing similar crimes in the Salem area as well.”
Anyone with information on Boyd’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Shawn Trotter at (541) 682- 5168 or email email@example.com