Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 6/22 – Crews Make Steady Progress on North River Road Fire, Sam’s Valley Plane Crash Kills Pilot

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Red Flag Warning in effect from June 22, 07:00 AM PDT until June 23, 12:00 AM PDT

Today– A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97. Calm wind becoming west northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Friday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 99.
Saturday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 105.


Oregon reports 78 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 2,756. The Oregon Health Authority reported 78 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 206,850.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (1), Clackamas (7), Clatsop (3), Columbia (2), Curry (2), Deschutes (3), Douglas (5), Jefferson (1), Josephine (8), Lane (13), Linn (8), Morrow (1), Multnomah (18), Union (1), Wasco (1), Yamhill (4).

Note: Today’s daily case count is unusually low.  Although a low case count is welcome news, OHA is interpreting this with caution. Reported case counts on Mondays are typically the lowest of the week, and some of the Local Public Health Authorities did not process laboratory reports Sunday. The reported number of new cases will be higher tomorrow.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 3,077 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 2,044 doses were administered on June 20 and 1,033 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on June 20.

The seven-day running average is now 11,820 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered 2,439,167 first and second doses of Pfizer,1,705,394 first and second doses of Moderna and 162,789 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

As of today, 2,353,753 people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,104,707 have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. The number of adult Oregonians needing vaccinations to reach the 70% threshold is 44,606. A daily countdown can be found on the OHA vaccinations page.  

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, 2,937,825 doses of Pfizer, 2,219,460 doses of Moderna and 299,100 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.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 144, which is five fewer than yesterday. There are 36 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one more than yesterday.

The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 1,072, which is an 8.8% 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 172.

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 long-term care facility report shows 84% of residents, 62% of staff vaccinated against COVID-19

Vaccination percentages lower in southern, eastern Oregon

A new Oregon Health Authority report shows that the state’s push to vaccinate at least 75% of all long-term care facility residents and employees—through vaccine clinics and ongoing vaccination maintenance efforts—is paying off.

The Oregon Health Authority Interim Long-Term Care Facility (LTCF) COVID-19 Vaccination Report shows that the percentage of vaccinated residents among reporting long-term care facilities exceeds the state’s 75% target for COVID-19 vaccination. It summarizes vaccination data voluntarily reported by 62% of Oregon’s licensed nursing, residential care and assisted living facilities that serve older adults and people with disabilities.

As of May 9, 2021, 84% of residents at long-term care facilities that reported data have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19, and 62% of long-term care staff have been completely vaccinated, according to the report. A completely vaccinated person is an individual who has received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine.

Residents and staff at long-term care facilities are ever changing. The goal is to have vaccine maintenance plans in place to eventually maintain a 75% rate of vaccination among residents and staff at any point in time.

Geographical variations also were observed in the long-term care facility vaccination report’s findings, including that vaccination percentages were lower in southern and eastern Oregon. Percentages also differed between facility types: Vaccination percentages were higher among long-term care residents in residential care and assisted living facilities than in nursing facilities.

“This data collection is a natural extension of our program’s work to track vaccination and provide infection control support in these settings,” said Rebecca Pierce, Ph.D., manager of the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program at the OHA Public Health Division.

“Nursing, assisted-living, and residential care facilities continue to be at risk for spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 given their size and congregate nature. Residents in these settings are at elevated risk for serious health consequences from the virus. Vaccination remains our No. 1 tool to prevent spread and serious illness from COVID-19 in these settings.”

Reporting of vaccination data for residents and staff was voluntary for long-term care facilities. The Oregon Department of Human Services and the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have since required long-term care facilities they regulate to report vaccination data, effective June 1 and June 14, respectively.

The key to bolstering vaccinations among long-term care staff, Pierce explained, is ready access to vaccines and good information. “Long-term care facility staff should be able to get vaccinated quickly and conveniently, and staff and residents should be able to access reliable information from trusted sources about COVID-19 vaccines.”


Crews Make Steady Progress on North River Road Fire

Crews assigned to the North River Road Fire, located along the 4300-block of North River Road between Gold Hill and Rogue River, continued to make steady progress on mop-up operations overnight; the fire is now 65% contained. Lines along the perimeter are holding strong and the fire remains 60 acres, burning on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands.

Overnight, crews were able to mop up 50 feet into the interior of the fire along the entire perimeter. Three 20-person, two 10-person crews and three type-6 engines will continue that work today. A type two and type three helicopter will be available to the fire should bucket drops be necessary.

Jackson County Emergency Management and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued a level 1 (BE READY) evacuation notice for the 1000-3000 blocks of Wards Creek Road in Rogue River and the surrounding area of the North River Road Fire. That evacuation notice remains in effect. North River Road is now open, however, the public is advised to used alternate routes if possible for the safety of firefighters working in the area. The BLM Mountain of the Rogue biking trails remain closed to the public for safety concerns and wildfire operations along the trails.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. ODF would like to thank our partner agencies who have provided resources on this fire, including Rogue River Fire District #1, Jackson County Fire District 3, Grants Pass Fire Rescue, Rural Metro Fire, Evans Valley Fire District #6, Medford Fire-Rescue, U.S. Forest Service Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson County Roads Department.

Fire updates are available online at and Facebook, @ODFSouthwest.

Sam’s Valley Plane Crash Kills Pilot – UPDATE

A single-engine aircraft crashed this weekend in Sam’s Valley, Ore., killing the sole occupant.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies and personnel from Fire District #3 were called to the scene of a small, single-engine Piper Tri-Pacer aircraft crash Sunday afternoon at the Beagle Sky Ranch Airport in White City, Ore. The aircraft went down while attempting to land at approx. 2:55 p.m., killing the aircraft’s pilot, Henry Levin, 80, of Medford, Ore. Levin’s next of kin has been notified.

The aircraft crashed in the backyard of a residence in the 15000 block of Jones Road in White City, Ore., clipping the top of several trees nearby.

The crash ignited a small grass fire, which was quickly extinguished by citizens and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) personnel.

Federal authorities will investigate the crash circumstances. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been advised of the incident.

Federal authorities may release further information at a later time. — Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office


OSFM Staging Firefighting Resources in Central Oregon Ahead of Forecast Thunderstorms

With lightning in the forecast and several parts of the state under a Red Flag Warning or a Fire Weather Watch, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is staging firefighting resources in Central Oregon. 

This is a proactive move for the region to be better prepared and bolster any initial fire attack. These firefighters are not being assigned to a specific incident but will be an added resource and increase the state’s readiness if there is a fire.  

Two firefighting task forces, one from Marion County and one from Washington County, will be stationed in Central Oregon, ready to respond and help local resources in the event a wildfire erupts and threatens structures. These teams will be prepositioned for 72-hours but may stay longer if they are needed. 

“We know the conditions across the state are dry, and with thunderstorms in the forecast, even the smallest spark could trigger a wildfire, that is why we are prepositioning these resources,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “We can’t control the weather, but we can plan for what we can control, and that is strategically placing resources ahead of this weather event.”

At this time, the OSFM is not deploying any of its Incident Management Teams, but they are ready in the event they need to be activated and deployed.

The OSFM encourages all Oregonians to be aware of the dry conditions and take the necessary precautions to avoid sparking a fire. — Oregon State Fire Marshal

State Fire Marshal Asks Oregonians to Keep Fireworks Use Legal and Safe

The Office of State Fire Marshal, the Oregon Fire Service, natural resource agencies, and Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers ask Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using all fireworks. The 2021 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23rd and runs through July 6th. The OSFM and its partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where residents can use them, and how to use fireworks safely.

In 2020, the U.S. saw a record-setting year when it comes to the consumption of fireworks. American’s consumed 385.8 million pounds of fireworks, a 55 percent increase from the previous year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nationwide, children 0 to 4 years old are injured by fireworks and treated at an emergency department more than any other age group. (5.3 injuries per 100,000 people). Older teens, 15 to 19 years old, have the second-highest injury rate (4.4 injuries per 100,000 people). Males represent 66 percent of all firework-related injuries.

In Oregon, between 2016 and 2020, Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Lane Counties have had the highest rates of firework-related injuries.

With an arid spring, much of Oregon experiencing some form of drought, and concerns over an active wildfire season, the Office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal is asking people to be aware of the dry conditions. Always have a bucket of water on hand to drown spent or used fireworks, have a charged hose nearby, and never light fireworks near dry grass or areas that could catch fire easily.

“We ask that those using fireworks be responsible when using them,” Assistant Chief Deputy with the Office of the Oregon State Marshal Mark Johnston said. “Every year across the state, we see fires sparked because of improper use or use of illegal fireworks. Our message is to keep it legal and keep it safe as people celebrate the holiday.”

In Oregon, residents and visitors can only purchase consumer legal fireworks from permitted fireworks retailers and stands. State regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. Fireworks can also start structural fires that threaten lives and property, as we have seen in past years. People who plan to visit public lands and parks for the July 4 holiday are asked to leave all fireworks at home. The use of fireworks is prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds.

For residents who purchase legal fireworks, the OSFM encourages everyone to practice the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks.
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Please wait for 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit issued by the OSFM. Fireworks, commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers, are illegal in Oregon without a permit. Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of up to $2,500 per. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

The OSFM has published FAQs for commonly answered questions about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, permits for the retail sale of fireworks, and state rules for their use and enforcement activities. OSFM’s fireworks education materials for sharing on social media also can be found on its website: Oregon State Fire Marshal

Oregon’s 9-1-1 Program First in Nation to Securely Deliver Lifesaving Location Information into Statewide Network

Oregon’s 9-1-1 Program and RapidSOS, an emergency response data platform, announced today a partnership to deliver lifesaving enhanced location data to each of the state’s 43 9-1-1 centers. Oregon is the first in the nation to securely deploy RapidSOS into an existing, secure statewide foundational Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet), powered by Lumen. 

“The existing 9-1-1 system used to locate cell phone calls is over 20 years old, designed long before smartphones or GPS,” explained Oregon State 9-1-1 Program Manager Frank Kuchta. “When a person calls 9-1-1 from a cell phone, the dispatcher can’t see the caller’s exact location; instead, they have to rely on the caller’s wireless carrier for the information. This data comes from a cell tower that could put the caller miles away from where they physically are depending on several variables, including proximity to the cell tower, topography and the connecting technology.”

The RapidSOS Platform securely delivers real-time data from smartphones and sensors to 9-1-1 centers, helping 9-1-1 personnel quickly verify emergencies and providing critical location and additional data to effectively dispatch first responders.

Oregon’s foundational ESInet provides secure transport of 9-1-1 location data and other services for delivery across the state. The flexible network enables Oregon 9-1-1 centers to increase situational awareness by integrating innovative platforms such as RapidSOS.

“Of the 2 million 9-1-1 emergency calls received across the state each year, 80% are made using a wireless device,” said Kuchta. “RapidSOS provides an extra level of value by increasing location accuracy so Oregonians can be better located in an emergency when time matters most.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 10,000 lives could annually be saved nationwide if 9-1-1 could locate wireless callers faster, allowing first responders to assist callers sooner.

Oregon’s 9-1-1 Program, Lumen and RapidSOS implemented the solution in early May 2021, and the state’s 9-1-1 centers currently using RapidSOS have already noticed improved location accuracy resulting in a more timely response in real-world scenarios. They are also seeing a cost benefit; the data allows 9-1-1 centers to eliminate added expenses associated with purchasing costly and redundant distributed networks, security devices, end-user licenses and the ongoing maintenance costs associated with acquiring supplemental caller location information.

Jessica Reed, Vice President of Strategy and Global Partners at RapidSOS, added, “We’re united in our commitment to empower safer, stronger communities with intelligent, data-driven emergency response worldwide. Together with the state of Oregon, we’re providing people with an added layer of safety and security and supporting our heroic first responders in saving millions of lives annually.”

Lifesaving emergency data available via the RapidSOS Platform is securely transmitted over Oregon’s foundational ESInet utilizing Transport Layer Security (TLS), a fundamental security function that encrypts the data and employs a trusted certificate exchange. 

About Oregon 9-1-1 Program

Established in 1981 by the Oregon Legislature, the State 9-1-1 Program provides immediate access from all telephones to critical public and private safety services within Oregon. The state is home to 43 9-1-1 centers that cover its 36 counties. The State 9-1-1 Program is part of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management; learn more at

About RapidSOS

In partnership with public safety, RapidSOS has created the world’s first emergency response data platform that securely links life-saving data from over 350M connected devices directly to emergency services and first responders. Through its platform, RapidSOS provides intelligent data that supports over 4,800 Emergency Communications Centers worldwide, across 150 million emergency calls annually. Together with our RapidSOS Ready emergency community, RapidSOS is supporting first responders in saving millions of lives annually. To learn more about our technology that’s creating life-saving connections, visit

About Lumen

Lumen is guided by our belief that humanity is at its best when technology advances the way we live and work. With approximately 450,000 route fiber miles and serving customers in more than 60 countries, we deliver the fastest, most secure platform for applications and data to help businesses, government and communities deliver amazing experiences. Learn more about the Lumen network, edge cloud, security, communication and collaboration solutions and our purpose to further human progress through technology at, LinkedIn: /lumentechnologies, Twitter: @lumentechco, Facebook: /lumentechnologies, Instagram: @lumentechnologies and YouTube: /lumentechnologies. Learn more about Lumen public sector capabilities on Twitter at @lumengov and on LinkedIn at @lumenpublicsector.

You can get this document in other languages, large print, braille, or a format you prefer. For assistance, call 971-719-1183 or email We accept all relay calls, or you can dial 711. — Oregon Office of Emergency Management 

Police Investigating Shooting in Salem Causing I-5 Backup

Police are searching for a suspect following a shooting near an I-5 ramp on Monday afternoon.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man who is 5’5″ with a shaved or almost shaved head and a mustache. He was also reportedly wearing khaki pants and a khaki shirt. OSP says he was last seen heading south, armed with a firearm.

If you see someone matching the description of the suspect, you are asked to call 911.

Initial reports said Salem Police and a “small number of SWAT officers” responded to the I-5 northbound ramp to Market Street to investigate a shooting. OSP later reported that the victim in the shooting has was transported to a hospital, but their condition is not known.

The law enforcement situation prompted delays along I-5 for drivers heading through Salem, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) said. ODOT is asking people to avoid the area if possible while police investigate the shooting.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Klamath County

The Oregon State Police announced today that a 70-year-old individual of Klamath Falls was killed in a single-vehicle collision on Hwy 140W near milepost 43 yesterday evening.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by David Erickson (70) of Klamath Falls, was eastbound when it went off the roadway and crashed.

According to an OSP press release, on June 20, at approximately 7:35 p.m., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy 140W near milepost 43.

Erickson was transported by air ambulance to the hospital where they were pronounced deceased.

OSP was assisted by the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Point Fire & Medical, and the USFS

The Start of Oregon’s Wildfire Season has Already Been Busy

Warm Springs, ORE. – This update is for the S-503 Fire burning on the Warm Springs Reservation. Northwest Incident Management Team 8, a local type 2 team with Incident Commander Kevin Stock assumed management of the S-503 Fire this morning at 0600. The Incident Command Post (IC) is being set up at the Tygh Valley Rodeo Grounds.

Current Status:  The S-503 fire has grown to an estimated at 6200 acres and is officially 0% contained but this will be updated today. Resources of crews, engines, dozers, water tenders and aerial support arrived in force yesterday. Firefighters were able to hold the north flank. This was an area of concern as Pine Grove residences lay just to the northeast of the S-503 perimeter. Efforts were aided with lighter winds from the northeast as the footprint moved to the southwest at a slow pace. There was a spot fire to the southeast. The S-503 is roughly 2 miles east of HWY 26 and 7 miles northwest of Simnasho.

Near Bonanza—Firefighters were kept busy overnight suppressing a number of small fires started by drifting embers on the southern and eastern flanks of the Cutoff Fire, six miles north of Bonanza in Klamath County. Fire lines on the northern and western portions of the fire held overnight. Today, firefighters will begin mopping up those portions of the fire, cooling hot spots. Over half of the fire’s 1,150-acre perimeter has been lined. Containment remains at 10 percent.

Current large fires in Oregon: Includes all lands

NameDateTotal AcresODF AcresContainmentLocationCauseNotes
CutoffJune 19, 20211,5001,00010% 6 mi. N of BonanzaUnknownODF Team 1 (Type 1 team) in command.Extreme fire behavior. Evacuations and road closures.Fire information
S-503June 18, 20014,3007000%5 mi. SW of Pine GroveUnknownNW Team 8 (Type 2 team) in command.Moderate fire behavior. Evacuations.Fire information

More information:

Thunderstorms are predicted to bring lightning to southern, south central, and eastern Oregon through Wednesday. The storms should bring enough precipitation to stay below the high-risk threshold for new significant fires; however, wind gusts could challenge control efforts on new and existing fires. Temperatures will cool a bit mid-week and then rise again Thursday into next weekend, with possible record high temperatures.

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