The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today– Increasing clouds, with a high near 72. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Friday– Rain likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 70. Calm wind becoming north northeast around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Saturday– A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. Light southwest wind.
Sunday– A 50 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 82.
Monday– A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 79.
Oregon reports 269 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 16 new deaths
There are 16 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,716. The Oregon Health Authority reported 269 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 203,933.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (2), Clackamas (37), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Coos (1), Crook (2), Curry (3), Deschutes (19), Douglas (14), Gilliam (1), Grant (6), Harney (3), Hood River (1), Jackson (15), Jefferson (6), Josephine (7), Klamath (4), Lake (1), Lane (10), Lincoln (3) Linn (8), Malheur (7), Marion (40), Morrow (2), Multnomah (32), Polk (7), Umatilla (7), Union (3), Wallowa (1), Washington (14), Yamhill (7).
COVID-19 weekly cases, hospitalizations decline
The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows the sixth consecutive week of declining cases and lowest since weekly case tally since last September. OHA reported 1,725 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, May 31, through Sunday, June 6. That represents a 26% decline from the previous week.
New COVID-19 related hospitalizations also declined from 190 to 112. That’s also the lowest since last September.
There were 20 reported COVID-19 related deaths.
There were 72,443 tests for COVID-19 for the week of May 30 through June 5. The percentage of positive tests was 3.8%.
People 70 years of age and older have accounted for 398 of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 75% of COVID-19 related deaths.
Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 19 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.
New Variant Labels added to OHA Tableau Dashboards
On May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a new, “easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatizing”, labeling convention for Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest using the Greek alphabet as an easier way to discuss variants by non-scientific audiences.
OHA uses the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines for reporting and there are some differences between how the WHO and CDC groups variants of both classifications.
- The WHO groups the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants together and has given them a label of “Epsilon”. OHA will continue to follow how the CDC reports these variants separately and they will both have the “Epsilon” label added to each.
- The CDC has also identified some Variants of Interest for the U.S. that the WHO has not. As a result, these will not have a Greek alphabet label assigned to it.
Explanations about these WHO label additions will be included in the notes at the bottom of each of the dashboards. Additional information about Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest can be found here.
OHA refreshes vaccine administration trends and metrics dashboard
Today, OHA refreshed the data for the vaccine administration trends and metrics dashboards with a new extract from ALERT IIS. The data are periodically refreshed, which allows for quality assurance and review. The data were last refreshed on April 9.
Following the refresh today, race and ethnicity data for approximately 1,200 people was updated, predominantly affecting Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native vaccination rates. County status toward the 65% vaccination goal was not affected by the data refresh, but vaccination rates for five counties decreased minimally – by 1% or less. Those counties are Baker, Benton, Clatsop, Sherman and Wheeler.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 21,934 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 12,736 doses were administered on June 8 and 9, 198 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on June 6.
The seven-day running average is now 15,264 doses per day.
Oregon has now administered 2,319,302 first and second doses of Pfizer,1,651,646 first and second doses of Moderna and 152,192 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
As of today, 1,951,646 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 2,292,591 who have had at least one dose. The number of adult Oregonians needing vaccinations to reach the 70% threshold is 93,444.
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, 2,861,055 doses of Pfizer, 2,171,060 doses of Moderna and 299,000 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.
Hospitals across the state have received questions from the public about the need to continue to manage and limit visitation policies for patients. Unlike other public settings, hospitals are subject to special visitation requirements. The COVID-19 policies for hospitals and medical centers are based on federal rule and state law. Visitation guidance can be found here.
The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 164, which is eight fewer than yesterday. There are 36 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which represents no change from yesterday.
The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 1,383, which is a 20.4% 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 228.
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.
Rogue Valley Business Leader Running for Governor in 2022
A Rogue Valley-based business leader says that she will run for Governor of Oregon in 2022. Jessica Gomez officially announced her candidacy on Tuesday, declaring her hopes for becoming the state’s first female Republican governor.
Gomez is the founder and CEO of local tech company Rogue Valley Microdevices, and she currently serves as Chair of the Oregon Tech Board of Trustees.
This isn’t Gomez’s first brush with politics, either. In 2018, she ran for a seat on the Oregon state Senate — winning the Republican primary, but losing in the general to Democrat Jeff Golden. Prior to her run, she worked as a legislative aide to outgoing Senator Alan DeBoer.
Gomez leverages her experience as a business owner for promoting Oregon’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic by creating an attractive business climate, deriding “relentless” taxes and regulations. Her campaign says that she will encourage targeted investments in infrastructure for both urban and rural communities.
Fred Meyer June 10 Hiring Event
Fred Meyer is set to host a hiring event today for stores in the Pacific Northwest. The company hopes to hire two thousand workers at its 132 stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska.
The hiring event will include both virtual and in-store interviews. There are positions in retail, e-commerce, pharmacy, manufacturing, and logistics. The company’s average wage is 15-50 an hour. The Fred Meyer website has details on the hiring event. https://jobs.kroger.com/fred-meyer/go/Fred-Meyer/587600/
Jackson County Fair Announces Schedule and Concert Headliners
The Jackson County Fair is ready for a comeback this year, with organizers releasing the first list of coming events and concert headliners this week. The Expo announced a few weeks ago that they were optimistic about the fair’s return.
This year’s fair is scheduled to run from July 14 through 18. Tickets will be $12 for adults and kids over 13, $6 for seniors 62 to 74, and free for those either 12 and younger or 75 and older.
The Jackson County Fair – July 14-18, 2021
- FREE parking every day thanks to Butler Automotive Group
- FREE fair admission for kids 12 and under, courtesy of the West Family Foundation
- Sunday – FREE admission for EVERYONE courtesy of Ray’s Food Place
Due to limited capacity at many of the events, only a limited number of tickets will be sold for each day, and registration is required even for free admission. Tickets can be bought in advance at Sherm’s Food 4 Less or at the Expo’s website.
Attractions include free events and exhibits — more than 70 vendors selling everything from sunglasses and handbags to homemade fudge, creative arts competitions, livestock auctions at the Olsrud Arena, a petting zoo, and the Pirate’s Parrot Show.
This year the fair will feature a new carnival from Paul Maurer Shows, and carnival-goers can save money by purchasing wristbands in advance at Food 4 Less or online. Wristbands are $25 in advance or $35 at the gate.
Wednesday night brings a night of “heart pounding, dirt stomping” bull riding from Challenge of Champions at the Isola Arena, free with admission. The tour features professional bullriders from around the Northwest and beyond.
Over the next three nights, concerts will be handled differently depending on Jackson County’s COVID-19 risk level when the fair begins. Those will determine whether the concerts are enjoyed in the North Parking Lot or in the BiMart Amphitheater. Either way, concert tickets include parking in the north lot, with each ticket accounting for 4 to 6 people, depending on the risk level.
- Thursday, July 15 – Matt Stell
- Friday, July 16 – Marshall Tucker Band
- Saturday, July 17 – Colt Ford
“If we get to ‘Low-Risk Restrictions’ we will open the BiMart Amphitheater and your car pass will be turned in for 6 GA Concert Tickets,” organizers said. “This means there are a limited number of opportunities to watch these concerts in person — don’t miss out.” MORE INFO: https://attheexpo.com/fair/ — FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/attheexpo/
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Oregon Legislature Passes Measure To Protect Homeless
The Oregon Legislature gave final passage Wednesday to a bill to protect homeless campers in public spaces.
Oregon communities must rewrite local rules to allow Oregonians to sit, lie, sleep and keep warm and dry on public property in most circumstances.
House Bill 3115, which passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon and is en route to Gov. Brown’s desk, is a response to a 2018 landmark homelessness case that impacted most Western states with an intent to better support individuals experiencing homelessness.
While local governments should already be following rules set forth by the case known as Martin v. Boise, the bill, written at the behest of House Speaker Tina Kotek, forces cities to officially change any ordinance language still on the books to be in line with the court decision.
In its ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said governments cannot criminalize conduct that is unavoidable as a result of experiencing homelessness. To punish a homeless individual for sleeping outside when there aren’t enough shelter beds would be comparable to punishing that individual for the fact that they are homeless, a consequence the court described as cruel and unusual.
Alison McIntosh, policy director for the Oregon Housing Alliance, said in a letter supporting the bill that Martin on its own doesn’t provide clarity about what public property people are allowed to sleep on. Also, she said, cities have worked around Martin by enforcing “no camping” rules on some public property while not enforcing it on other public land.
“This does not solve the problem, though, for either people experiencing homelessness or law enforcement,” she wrote. “It does not provide people experiencing homelessness clear guidance about where they can or cannot sit or sleep.” McIntosh said the bill is a step in the right direction.
While the Martin case could be overturned in the future, the new law would still protect unsheltered individuals sleeping on public land.
The bill also goes a step further than the court case with the addition of the demand to allow people to engage in activities necessary to “keep warm and dry.” This could include things like pitching a tent on public property to stay protected from severe weather.
Under the measure, a homeless person charged with violating a ban on camping or loitering would have an affirmative defense against a law that is not objectively reasonable. A person experiencing homelessness may also sue to challenge the objective reasonableness of a city or county law, and be awarded attorney fees if the plaintiff prevails
Cities have until July 1, 2023, to update their ordinance language.
Under these new rules, cities can still decide what is considered reasonable enforcement. This means a city could prevent someone from sleeping on one piece of land if it clearly makes other public land available for individuals experiencing homelessness to sleep on. If a city wants to completely prohibit people from sleeping on public land, the city must first provide enough housing or emergency shelter beds for every person who is experiencing homelessness within that jurisdiction.
Death Row Gifting Club Scam Prevalent in Oregon
Salem, OR – The pyramid scheme has a new look and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is warning consumers to steer clear. Gifting clubs, such as Death Row, are illegal pyramid schemes that are scamming several Oregonians.
The Death Row gifting club, not associated with Death Row Records, was operating in Oregon last year. It advertised on social media and in online forums as a community wealth share group. More than 20 Oregonians lost their initial $1,400 investments.
The Death Row gifting scheme promised financial returns of at least $9,000. The division was alerted to the scheme when an Oregonian reported not receiving anything in return for their $1,400 investment. The investment was not registered with the division and no one was licensed to sell investments in Death Row. Victims invested their money using a cloud-based payment platform and communicated with others about the investment during online forums for the Death Row program.
The division is still investigating the Death Row gift club. Anyone who has information about the scheme or was a victim of it are asked to contact the Division of Financial Regulation Advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free).
“If someone invites you to join a gifting club, just say no to their high-pressure tactics and stories of high earnings,” said TK Keen, Division of Financial Regulation administrator. “The simple reality is that only a few people profit from these schemes at the expense of everyone else who ultimately lose their investments.”
Gifting club schemes are similar to pyramid schemes because no new money is created. Members of the scheme encourage friends, family, and co-workers to give gifts of cash to higher ranking members. The only way for a person to recover the initial investment is to bring new members into the scheme.
The division has three tips to spot an illegal gifting scheme:
- Promises of cash, gifts, or electronic payments via mail, email, or social media
- The primary focus is to recruit new investors – no goods or services are being sold
- No written agreements and the promoters boast about high earnings of a few people
Oregonians are encouraged to contact the Division of Financial Regulation’s consumer advocacy team if they spot a gifting scheme or believe they are a victim of one. Advocates can be reached at 888-877-4894 (toll-free), email .email@example.com“>firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting dfr.oregon.gov.
Do not become a victim of an illegal gifting scheme. Be skeptical about investment opportunities, avoid giving your personal information to strangers, and remember – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For more information about investments and protecting yourself from investment fraud, visit the division’s avoid investment fraud page.
About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx — Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services
House Bill Passes Restricting Use of Mugshots
Democrats in the Oregon Senate carried a bill on Wednesday that would restrict the availability of law enforcement booking photos — colloquially known as “mug shots” — which supporters say complements another bill intended to fight back against doxing.
Doxing is an increasingly common practice in the internet era that involves the release and spread of an individual’s private information (even if that information is publicly available, but not widely so), often resulting in a deluge of harassment or threats.
House Bill 3047, which passed earlier this week, provides victims of doxing with the ability to seek civil recourse in court.
Under the bill, law enforcement can only release booking photos under certain circumstances — directly to
the person who was booked, to another law enforcement agency, to the public if it will assist with the arrest of a suspect, or in an attempt to identify other suspected crimes.
UPDATE – Fatal Crash on Hwy 126E – Lane County
The operator is being identified as Staci Jackson (56) of Eugene.
On Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at approximately 11:48 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 126E near milepost 17.
Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford Escort was westbound when it left the roadway and struck a power pole.
The operator was transported to Riverbend Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The name of the operator will be released when appropriate.
OSP was assisted by Emergency Medical Services and ODOT — Oregon State Police
Wrong Way Driver Runs Commuters Off I-5 Near Saginaw
A wrong-way driver forced dozens of cars off Interstate 5 during the evening commute Wednesday.
Oregon State Police said the vehicle used an emergency turn around and began driving northbound and was followed by an ODOT employee.
The vehicle was followed into Eugene where law enforcement contacted the 94-year-old driver. No signs of impairment noted. The family was contacted. They advised the driver is beginning to suffer from dementia and is easily confused. The vehicle was secured on scene.
South Lane Fire and Rescue responded to multiple cars off the freeway near the Saginaw exit around 4:30 p.m. An official with the department said a car was driving north in the southbound lanes. No one was injured but a handful of cars were damaged. The driver will be put in for a DMV retest.
Oregon Law Will Require ‘Do Not Flush’ Labels On Wipes
Disposable wipes sold in Oregon will soon have to come with a label that says “Do Not Flush.”
That’s the result of House Bill 2344, which was approved by state lawmakers and signed this week by Gov. Kate Brown. Wipes that aren’t meant to be flushed can clog up wastewater systems, leading to costly repairs. A number of municipalities in Oregon have reminded the public of this over the past year, especially during the early months of the pandemic when toilet paper was sometimes hard to find on store shelves.
Rep. Marty Wilde, D-Eugene, said even wipes labeled as “flushable” can cause problems. “Those wipes often contain longer wood fibers, or they contain plastics in them. And because of the length of those fibers, they can create clogs in the system,” he said.
Wilde is one of the bill’s chief sponsors.
The measure allows local governments to fine retailers up to $10,000 for selling disposable wipes that don’t display the “Do Not Flush” warning, although the penalty for a first offense is no more than $2,000, and even that won’t come until the store has had the chance to respond to a written warning.
Wilde said the law is modeled after a similar one approved in Washington last year. Oregon’s requirement takes effect in July of 2022.
When flushed, products like disinfecting wipes, ‘flushable’ wipes and paper towels cause clogs which can cause damage to the sewer pipes in your home and yard, the sewer system in your neighborhood, Lake County’s pumps and treatment facilities, and the environment.
Even if a product is marked ‘flushable’, it does not mean it is. These products do not degrade like toilet paper and will end up clogging pipes. Only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed – all other products should be disposed of.