Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 6/23 – Southern Oregon Forestry Officials Prepared For Lightning Caused Fires, Avelo Airlines Announces Contest Offering Round-Trip Tickets To Recent Graduates

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Hazardous Weather Conditions

Today– Isolated showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Sunny, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.
Friday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 99. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 106.
Sunday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 109.

Record-Breaking Heat Possible This Weekend and Early Next Week

Dangerously hot conditions are possible Saturday into Monday. Daily record high temperatures are expected with record monthly high temperatures for June possible.


Oregon reports 267 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 1 new death

There is one new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,757. The Oregon Health Authority reported 267 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 207,105.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (12), Benton (4), Clackamas (22), Clatsop (2), Columbia (2), Coos (1), Curry (10), Deschutes (9), Douglas (12), Gilliam (1), Grant (1), Hood River (1), Jackson (14), Jefferson (1), Josephine (12), Klamath (2), Lake (1), Lane (18), Lincoln (4), Linn (10), Malheur (6), Marion (25), Morrow (1), Multnomah (25), Polk (12), Sherman (3), Umatilla (18), Union (2), Wasco (1), Washington (31) and Yamhill (4).

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 9,296 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 4,708 doses were administered on June 21 and 4,588 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on June 21.

The seven-day running average is now 11,201 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered 2,443,680 first and second doses of Pfizer,1,709,047 first and second doses of Moderna and 163,375 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

As of today, 2,357,258 people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,110,737 have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. The number of adult Oregonians needing vaccinations to reach the 70% threshold is 41,094. 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, 2,943,405 doses of Pfizer, 2,220,440 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 146, which is two more than yesterday. There are 35 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 1,046, which is an 11.0% 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 162.

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 encourages providers to vaccinate at every opportunity

As more doses are reported unused due to reduced first-dose demand, OHA has encouraged providers to prioritize vaccinating Oregonians, even if it means opening a vial to use some doses while the remainder goes unused.

COVID-19 vaccine providers have done an outstanding job stewarding vaccines when they were scarce.

Now that our supply of vaccine has stabilized, it is time to look at this through a different lens.

OHA encourages providers to vaccinate at every opportunity. Given COVID-19 vaccine vials contain up to 14 doses, we expect some vaccine will go unused. And that is OK. Vaccinated people are more important than unused vaccine.

Providers with available vaccine may also use the Get Vaccinated Oregon tool to list their vaccine availability and clinic hours or connect with community-based organizations to support vaccine clinics in their area.

At this point in the pandemic, we are going to stop the spread of COVID-19 one shot at a time.

Oregon updates non-viable vaccine disclosure1,2,3

Starting this week, OHA’s weekly update on non-viable vaccines will change how it describes vaccines not being used.

Previously the term wastage was used to describe any dose of COVID-19 vaccine discarded at the end of the day from multidose vials and doses deemed non-viable for other issues related to provider use, such as broken vials.

All future weekly updates will now call such doses non-viable.

OHA will continue using the terms spoiled and expired. Expired doses are those that passed the published expiration date provided on the vial. Spoiled doses are those that occur because of a refrigeration failure or other temperature-related occurrence.

Our non-viable vaccine table has been moved to the tableau dashboard. You can find that link to the weekly tab here. OHA reports updates on vaccines not being used each Tuesday in our daily media release.

Vaccine TypeDoses RecalledNon-Viable Spoiled ExpiredGrand Total
Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine 4,8394,839
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine 25,98125,981
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine 7,4727,472
Grand Total038,29238,292

1Updated: 06/22/21  – 2Data source: ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS)  = 3Data is preliminary and subject to change.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations?  To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine situation in Oregon, visit our webpage (English?or?Spanish), which has a breakdown of distribution and other information.


Only two days into summer and Oregon is already experiencing a number of wildfires. The situation is likely to only gets worse, considering the extreme drought, soaring temperatures and dangerous storms forecast across the region. 

The weather is also threatening to not cooperate in time for the Fourth of July, adding an extra layer of anxiety on an early, and already abnormally active fire season. 

Residents should continue monitoring current conditions and for homeowners to “make sure your house is firewise and safe, and make sure you have a defensible space.” 

It’s also important to be careful with anything that might start a wildfire such as a grill, a hot pipe in dry grass, or a chain that could cause a spark, to name only a few.

Southern Oregon Forestry Officials Prepared For Lightning Caused Fires

Thunderstorms are in the forecast this week, and forestry officials across southern Oregon are bracing for the potential of lightning-sparked fires and winds that could become the catalyst for spread amid unseasonably dry conditions.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest said that it’s ready for an aggressive initial attack on any new wildfire starts. “We have a phased approach in place for predicted events that we’ll use to ensure adequate staffing. Our forest is ready to host those assets whether that be at the ranger district level, or in a centralized hub at the staging area for forest-wide distribution. Our intent is for quick detection, aggressive initial attack and efficient use of the resources we have,” said Acting Fire Staff Officer Dan Quinones.

Resources on hand include 16 engines, a Type 3 dozer, two 10-person crews, a Type 1 water tender, air attack and fixed-wing recon platforms, staffed lookouts, and support from the Rogue Valley Interagency Communications Center and the Medford Air Tanker Base.

If any of the fires get beyond initial attack, RRSNF said that J. Herbert Stone Nursery is prepared to serve as a staging area for reinforcements. Smokejumpers, single-engine air tankers, and large airtankers are available to be brought in from central Oregon.

According to the Oregon State Fire Marshal, the central Oregon location is no coincidence. The state has been staging resources here so that they are prepared to head wherever the fires are worst.

“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.”

The threat of thunderstorms is especially high east of the Cascades and into Klamath County, where firefighters were already battling the Cutoff Fire and now the Pool Fire.

Forecast on Monday predicts that these storms will materialize in the afternoon and evening, particularly in northern Klamath County. Moreover, some of the early lightning events may come without precipitation, increasing the risk of fire starts in extremely dry condition.

During the summer of 2018, thousands of lightning strikes from a dry storm sparked more than 100 separate fires across the region. Some of those fires grew to cover tens or hundreds of thousands of acres in Josephine and Jackson counties.

ODF Southwest Oregon District —

 𝙇𝙄𝙂𝙃𝙏𝙉𝙄𝙉𝙂-𝘾𝘼𝙐𝙎𝙀𝘿 𝙁𝙄𝙍𝙀𝙎: ODF firefighters are responding to multiple reports of fire in Jackson County following lightning strikes in the region. This incident pictured is on the on 6100-block of Sweet Lane northwest of White City. A lightning strike sparked a fire in trees and grass in the area.

May be an image of outdoors and tree

Firefighters with ODF and Fire District 3 were able to stop the spread of the fire at three-quarters of an acre. Despite the heavy rain, the fire was spreading quickly when crews arrived. Additional smaller fires and smokes have been reported; all have been extinguished by our firefighters. Our engines, dispatchers and detection specialists will remain on duty as long as reports of smoke and fires are coming in. If you see smoke or fire in areas where lightning has struck, call 911 immediately. #swofireseason2021#swofire2021#fireseason2021

May be an image of map and text that says '624 282 Lake 301 625 184 622 87 Klamath 194 285 71 Jackson 115 623 39 617 21 Modoc 284 13 621 13 Siskiyou 30 281 280 Douglas Hines'

Updated 24 hour lightning map. 737 cloud to ground lightning flashes in our forecast area.

US National Weather Service Medford

Today Sunny, with a high near 89. Light south southeast wind becoming south 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Tonight Partly cloudy, with a low around 58.


Firefighters in South Central Oregon respond to lightning, continue work on Pool Fire

Chiloquin, Ore. – Wildland firefighters for the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) have been responding to new fire starts today from the current lightning activity while work continues on the Pool Fire.

The current lightning event started at 4 p.m. yesterday, with numerous lightning strikes throughout South Central Oregon, mostly east of U.S. Highway 97.  There has been rain reported with many of the storms.

Firefighters have responded to 28 potential incidents.  Of those, 18 were confirmed lightning fires.  Three of those fires were confirmed yesterday, the remaining 15 today. 

These incidents are scattered across the landscape and are on lands under the protection of ODF or the federal agencies in the SCOFMP area.  The largest of these fires was three-tenths of an acre.

Detection flights are being conducted in the area to look for smoke from lightning fires.  These resources are being shared to increase capacity throughout Southern Oregon.

As conditions dry out in coming days, it is expected more lightning fires will be discovered.  SCOFMP wildland firefighting resources are prepared to respond. 

The public is asked to call 911 to report suspected wildfires.

The Pool Fire, located on Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) protected lands east of Agency Lake, south of Chiloquin, is 90 percent mopped up and fire managers report it is looking good.  The fire was reported yesterday afternoon and is 22 acres.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect in the SCOFMP area through midnight tonight for abundant lightning on dry fuels.  Gusty and erratic winds could spread fire quickly.

Despite recent rains, fuels are extremely dry and temperatures are forecasted to raise into 90s and 100s by the weekend over much of the area.  Conditions are unusually hot and dry for this area for late June.  The public is asked to use extreme care with anything that can spark a wildfire.

Regulated Use Restrictions are in effect on ODF protected lands and the fire danger level remains High.  It is important to be aware of current fire restrictions.  Visit to check the latest regulations.

Anyone going out into wildlands should be prepared with water, a shovel, fire extinguisher and axe.  Campfires should never be left unattended and should be dead out and cold to the touch before leaving. 

South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership provides comprehensive wildland fire services to more than eight million acres of land administered by the Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District; Fremont-Winema National Forest; Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath-Lake District; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex; and Crater Lake National Park. The area encompasses federal, state, and private lands within south central Oregon and northwest Nevada

9 Ways to Prevent Forest Fires in California | One Tree P - One Tree Planted

Avelo Airlines Announces Contest Offering Round-Trip Tickets To Recent Graduates

Avelo, the latest airline to begin operating from the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport, is offering a travel contest tailored to recent high school and college graduates in our region.

New airline startup arrives in Medford – Ashland Tidings

Aveo announced Tuesday that it will give away 42 round-trip tickets to 2021 graduates from a high school, college, university, or trade/technical school. The offer is good for grads 18 or older living within 150 miles of the Medford airport, and winners will receive two tickets.

“This has been a challenging school year for students trying to remain academically engaged while often studying remotely,” said Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy. “The Rogue Valley is home to dozens of schools. We are inspired by the perseverance of the Class of 2021 and we can’t imagine a better graduation gift than to help fuel their inspiration to travel and explore new places.”

Graduates can enter the contest at the Avelo website. They can also earn a second entry to increase their chances by posting a graduation picture on Twitter or Instagram and tagging @AveloAir and #AveloGradSweepstakes.

The entry deadline is July 20, and winners will be randomly selected by August 17. Travel has to be completed by December 31 of this year.

Overall, the company says that its giving away more than 500 tickets to grads across 12 communities in the western U.S.


Oregon State Police is Requesting Public’s Assistance with Homicide Investigation – Coos County

Police ask for help in Coos County triple homicide investigation - KOBI-TV  NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2

On Friday, June 18, 2021 Oregon State Police assisted numerous agencies with the investigation of multiple homicides that occurred in Coos County.

The suspect, Oen Nicholson,  traveled to Hwy 126, near Noti, in Lane County where the vehicle Nicholson was driving was ditched.  It is believed that Nicholson obtained a ride from someone in the Noti area to Springfield where Laura Johnson was abducted and taken to Wisconsin.

Oregon State Police is requesting anyone with information or that might have given Nicholson a ride from Noti to Springfield to contact the Oregon State Police at 1-800-442-0776 or OSP and leave information regarding OSP Case # SP21-168713. — Oregon State Police

Oregon Sees First Big Fires Of The Season – Vigilance Needed As We Face Record Temperatures And Drought

Oregon wildfires have the state on high alert as the state braces for a long fire season.

Over the weekend, a Klamath County fire burned more than 1,150 acres near Bly Mountain Cutoff Road in the neighborhood of Klamath Falls. One of the biggest so far this year, the blaze threatens 125 structures, according to state and local officials. Its cause is under investigation, though most fires in the state are human-caused, especially in 2021.

As of Monday, Medford city officials reported two Neptune Air Tankers were fighting the Cutoff Fire. The Missoulian reports the average daily rate in 2018 for flying a firefighting aircraft is $30,150 plus $7,601 per hour of flight time.

On Monday, residents living east of Bly Mountain Cutoff Road, north of Grizzly Lane, west of Hummingbird Drive and South of Keno Springs Road were all under Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation orders.

Local officials reported on Sunday that around half of the Cutoff Fire’s 1,500-acre permitter had been lined. It was 10% contained as of Sunday night.

A second Southwest Oregon wildfire that erupted over the weekend on North River Road between Gold Hill and Rogue River in Jackson County burned 60 acres. It was 65% contained by Sunday night. Forty firefighters were at the scene working mop-up duty, the Oregon Department of Forestry reports.

The third wildfire taking up state officials’ attention is the 6,000 acre S-503 Fire burning on the Warm Springs Reservation in Central Oregon. Residents living west of Back Walters Road and Kelly Springs were issued Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation orders until Sunday night, when that order was demoted to Level 2 “Get Set” status.

By Monday, smoke from the S-503 Fire was visible in at least a dozen counties. The National Weather Service of Portland reported on Monday the smoke from the S-503 had reached Southeast Portland. Faint smoke trails from the blaze were also visible in the Willamette Valley on Monday to the west.

Funding statewide wildfire responses are a top legislative priority for Oregon lawmakers in 2021. The state legislature is looking to tax home insurance policies to shore up millions for what could be another destructive fire season to come. Last year, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency over wildfires in August. By Labor Day, more than a million acres were lost to wildfires that burned some 4,000 homes.

Temperatures from Western Oregon’s Willamette Valley to Portland to the north have hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Statewide, temperatures are expected to soar well above 100 degrees potentially setting new daily records.

The most eye-catching forecast comes from the independent European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Over the weekend, the intergovernmental organization which is funded by 34 nations, made headlines for predicting that Portland could see temperatures as high as 110 degrees next week.

It’s all part of the “heat dome” that meteorologists say is stretching over the Pacific Northwest this summer or a column of hot air pressure that keeps clouds from forming.

During fire season, firefighters want you to know the choices you make matter more than anything during these hot months. You could cost someone their home or their life.

“What I’m doing right now. Is this the right decision for me to be doing? And if I’m going to do this for recreation, how am I going to do it in a safe way,” Tom Fields, a fire prevention coordinator for the Oregon Department of Forestry, says these are things to consider.

Oregon and its neighboring states, Washington and California, are in a vulnerable position this year.

According to the US Drought Monitor, all of Oregon is in some level of drought. Most of Multnomah County is in severe drought. Parts of Lake, Klamath, and Deschutes County are exceptionally dry, the worst drought level on the spectrum.

Historically, this is a dry spring season. April was the driest on record since 1956. While May didn’t shatter the top records for the books, it was close.

“We’re basically already treating it like fire season,” Fields said. “We may only be in mid-June, but conditions out there already look like mid-July.”

Summer isn’t officially here yet, but the region has already sparked flames. Lightning strikes in eastern Oregon are responsible for burning 4,000 acres, according to ODF.

Four times the number of acres burned at this point with where we should be for this time of year,” Fields said. “We can’t really do anything about mother nature.

But, what we can control is us. Accidental or not, humans are to blame for igniting fires small and big.

“Vehicles throwing out sparks from the exhaust system from the catalytic converter,” Fields said. “Your mowing of your dry grass, where that blade could get a spark on a rock, or it could possibly overheat against the grass that you’re cutting.”

It comes down to the choices you make this summer: Stop burning and start planning. ODF firefighters want you to be smart, and start thinking about an evacuation plan if an emergency sparks.

“Where am I going to go,” Fields said. “Do I have pets? Do I have livestock?”

In northwest Oregon, fire season is typically declared by fire leaders the first week of July. Though, ODF leaders anticipate all state-protected land will be in fire season by the end of the June.

“As long as people are thinking ahead and preventing anything from sparking in the future, that will help us in the long run,” Fields said.

Oregon Community Foundation Grants $3.9 Million to Providence and $4.2 Million to MWVCAA to Purchase Area Motels for Use as Transitional Housing

All Project Turnkey Funds Now Awarded, representing 17 projects statewide and a total of 800 units of housing/shelter

Drone Footage of Project Turnkey-McMinnville Site of Providence Health & Services and Oregon Community Foundation

McMinnville and Salem, Ore. – June 22, 2021 – Oregon Community Foundation announced today that it has selected Providence Health & Services (Providence) to receive a $3.9 million Project Turnkey grant and Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA) to receive a $4.2 million Project Turnkey grant to purchase and convert area motels into transitional housing for community members in need. These latest grants complete the allocation of the $65 million fund; all Project Turnkey funds are fully deployed, representing a total of 17 projects in 13 counties statewide and 800 new units of housing/non-congregate shelter.

Project Turnkey-McMinnville | Providence and YCAP

A $3.9 million Project Turnkey grant will help Providence support people experiencing homelessness in Yamhill County. The McMinnville-based shelter will be operated in collaboration with Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP), which will provide supportive services to guests.

“We are excited to partner with YCAP and Oregon Community Foundation on addressing homelessness in our area as our Mission calls for us to care for the poor and vulnerable,” said Father Chris Fabre, Chief Mission Officer, Providence Newberg Medical Center. “Addressing homelessness is a key priority for our ministry and this is one step in supporting that initiative.” 

The Project Turnkey-McMinnville grant funds will be pooled with funds from Oregon Housing and Community Services and other funds sought through prospective intergovernmental partners. “YCAP’s motel sheltering project has been phenomenally successful at keeping people safe and moving them on to permanent, stable housing,” said Commissioner Casey Kulla, Yamhill County Board of Commissioners. “The purchase of a motel through Project Turnkey is our community’s opportunity to make this good work permanent, as we work towards a county where homelessness is brief and rare. Our most vulnerable residents will be safer and healthier because of this investment.”

The McMinnville project was selected, in part, for the broad outreach and community support. “Oregon Community Foundation is thrilled to partner with Providence and YCAP on this innovative Project Turnkey effort to benefit the residents of Yamhill County,” said Jenn Columbus, Regional Director (Northern Willamette Valley), Oregon Community Foundation “The community engagement strategy, enthusiasm to identify an appropriate facility, and key partners to secure additional funding demonstrate a clear commitment to finding supportive solutions here.”

Key benefits of Project-Turnkey-McMinnville – to be operated by Providence and YCAP – include:

  • Safe accommodation and support for Yamhill County community members in need
  • Provision of essentials such as food boxes, clothing, showers, hygiene items, etc.
  • Help to move people experiencing homelessness from crisis to stability.
  • Culturally specific, supportive services including:
    • On-site case management
    • Health care, including mental health services
    • Resource navigation
    • Linkages to permanent housing solutions.

“It is an honor to be on the front end of Project Turnkey, spearheading critical work with Providence, OCF and our supportive community partners,” said Alexandra Hendgen, Executive Director, YCAP. “This effort changes the landscape around homelessness in our community in a meaningful way, enacting resources that will make a difference in lives in this moment. Project Turnkey empowers the continuation of the YCAP non-congregate sheltering that has provided a strong path for Yamhill individuals and families to step into stable, positive housing solutions.”

Project Turnkey-Mid-Willamette Valley | MWVCAA and the ARCHES

The Project Turnkey grant will help MWVCAA support fire survivors from the Santiam Canyon. The shelter will be operated by a MWVCAA program called The Arches Project, which will provide connections to many supportive services throughout the broader community.

“We are really excited about expanding our ability to serve our broader community with much needed transitional housing,” says Jimmy Jones, Executive Director, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. “MWVCAA will renovate this local motel to provide appropriate support for Santiam Canyon fire survivors.” Jones went on to express his appreciation for the work of Oregon Community Foundation and the Oregon Legislature to make this possible.

The Project Turnkey funds will be pooled with other funds sought through prospective intergovernmental partners. “We can solve complex problems together when community and government collaborate,” said Megan Loeb, Program Officer, Oregon Community Foundation.

“The Project Turnkey-Mid-Willamette Valley Grant completes the allocation of funds from the Project Turnkey Wildfire Fund, bringing the grand total to 400 units of housing throughout Oregon’s fire-affected counties.”

Key benefits of Project-Turnkey-Mid-Willamette Valley – to be operated by the ARCHES (a program of MWVCAA) – include:

  • Safe accommodation and support for fire survivors from the Santiam Canyon.
  • Provision of essentials such as food boxes, clothing, showers, hygiene items, etc.
  • Help to move fire survivors from crisis to stability.
  • Inclusive, supportive services including:
    • On-site case management
    • Health care, including mental health services
    • Resource navigation
    • Linkages to permanent housing solutions.

“Our world changed after the wildfires struck Santiam Canyon. We experienced the loss of housing and community as well as a sense of belonging and security,” said Ashley Hamilton, Program Director, the ARCHES, a project of MWVCAA. “Thanks to Project Turnkey, we can rebuild. We offer a safe place for people, access services for daily living and achieve long term housing and stability.”

Oregon Community Foundation offers support for Oregon’s housing needs along a continuum—from shelter to supportive housing to affordable housing to equitable home ownership—through a variety of tools, including research, grants, advocacy, and low-interest loans. OCF’s administration of Project Turnkey is one example of the innovative, collaborative approaches underway to help more Oregonians find stable, affordable housing.

For a complete list of Project Turnkey grant awardees, please visit Project Turnkey online.

About Project Turnkey

The Oregon Legislature allocated a total of $65 million for Project Turnkey for the purpose of acquiring motels/hotels for use as non-congregate shelter for people experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness. Two discrete funds were provided by the state: one totaling $30 million to be awarded in counties and tribal communities impacted by the 2020 wildfires; and one totaling $35 million for the remaining 28 counties in the state. Oregon Community Foundation is administering both funds through an application and selection process, with guidance from an Advisory Committee of state, local, and community stakeholders. For more information, please visit Project Turnkey online.

Providence Health & Services/Oregon
Providence Health & Services in Oregon offers a comprehensive array of health and education services through its eight hospitals, medical clinics, health plans, long-term care facilities and home health services. With more than 20,000 employees, Providence is the state’s largest private employer. Visit

About Yamhill Community Action Partnership (YCAP)

YCAP assists residents of Yamhill County, through Client Services and Housing, Energy Services, a regional Food Bank, and Youth Services. To learn more, please visit:

About Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency

MWVCAA is the leading social services provider for Marion and Polk counties. To learn more, please visit:

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation puts donated money to work in Oregon – more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. Since 1973, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving–time, talent, and resources from many generous Oregonians–creates measurable change. Throughout 2020, OCF responded quickly and urgently – distributing a record-setting $220 million in charitable dollars to more than 3,000 nonprofits throughout Oregon working to address urgent needs, stabilize communities and prepare for long-term recovery in Oregon. OCF donors responded to the magnitude of need, as reflected in a 44% increase in donor advised fund grantmaking from the previous year. For more information, please visit: – Oregon Community Foundation

Out-Of-Control Pet Chimp Shot Dead By Oregon Deputy in Pendleton

An Oregon deputy sheriff shot and killed a pet chimpanzee after the ape got loose and mauled a woman, according to a report.

The chimp, named Buck, got out of its cage around 8 a.m. and attacked a 50-year-old woman in Pendleton, prompting the woman’s mother, who owns the animal to call the cops on Tuesday.

Tamara Brogoitti, 68, told the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office that Buck bit her daughter in the torso, arms and legs, forcing the injured woman to lock herself in a basement bedroom.

When deputies arrived, they found the chimp roaming outside the house — and got permission from Brogoitti to shoot the ape so they could get to her injured daughter.

The chimp was shot in the head and died at the scene, the network said.

Brogoitti, who used to run the Buck Brogoitti Animal Rescue ranch until 2019, had owned Buck for 17 years before Sunday’s incident.

Oregon outlawed owning chimpanzees in 2010, but the law allows residents who previously owned the apes to keep them — Brogoitti among them.

However, the incident irked ape and animal rights groups. In a statement Monday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it had warned the county sheriff’s office in the past that Brogoitti had “a ticking time bomb.” “PETA warned state authorities that Tamara Brogoitti had created a ticking time bomb by engaging in direct contact with a dangerous ape,” the group said, “and now, he is dead and a woman has been mauled because of Brogoitti’s refusal to follow experts’ advice and transfer Buck to an accredited sanctuary.”

Tracking $1.6 Billion That Oregon Got In Federal Money For COVID-19

Did you get a stimulus check last year? Maybe you spent the $1,200 – or more if you have kids – on rent, groceries or gas. Maybe you paid medical bills, splurged on takeout for your family or saved it for a post-pandemic vacation.

Your city and county and the state of Oregon got something similar: cash from the federal government. In March 2020, as the pandemic was taking hold, Congress approved $2 trillion in spending to respond to the pandemic through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act.

A crowd of home care workers gather at a candle-lit vigil for Oregonians who have died in long-term facilities during the pandemic, at the Oregon State Capitol in March.

The state of Oregon received $1.6 billion in relief funds meant to keep the wheels of state and local government turning, from the concrete slabs of Salem City Hall to the vast sagebrush expanses of Harney County. 

While the state kept a portion, it also allowed local governments to seek reimbursement for money they were spending to deal with the pandemic.

In ordinary times, local governments are focused on running schools, paving roads and making sure the drinking water is safe. In extraordinary times such as these, they also are tasked with facing the health and economic consequences of the deadly pandemic. 

Using relief funds authorized by the CARES Act, counties tracked the spread of COVID-19, provided protective gear like masks, handed out relief to businesses struggling to make ends meet and, eventually, helped to get lifesaving shots into arms.

The state did not require detailed accounting of that money but did make local governments sign contracts agreeing they were on the hook for paying the state back if they were ever found to have misspent money.

Records show, and state auditors also found, that local governments varied in how much detail they could provide of their spending, with some maintaining massive spreadsheets and others merely providing the summaries the U.S. Treasury required about how much they spent within certain categories.

When pressed about the state’s decision not to require more detailed accounting last fall, a spokesperson for the agency in charge of reimbursement, Liz Merah, said “adding additional requirements to the submission process for local governments would slow down a process that is already working more efficiently than those of other states.”

Many local governments paid to keep critical workers on their payroll using relief funds. Lane County, for instance, spent about $7 million to pay wages to its public health and safety workers and other workers whose jobs dealt with the impacts of the pandemic, like coordinating vaccine clinics.

The city of Turner spent $600 to rent Aldersgate, a Christian youth camp, to hold City Council meetings because its City Hall was too small to accommodate the spacing required for social distancing.

Local governments also distributed protective gear to their workers, adapted them to work-from-home and tried to solve existing problems exacerbated by the pandemic, like patchy access to high-speed internet.

As governments across Oregon sought reimbursement from the state, state auditors stepped into the deluge. They picked out several dozen spending choices from local governments to get a sense of whether the spending met the vague and changing federal guidelines.

In an October report, auditors said they didn’t find much reason for concern, but they recommended the state require local entities to provide more detailed information about their spending and monitor local governments for “reimbursement accuracy and back-up documentation” based on risk.

State officials had sent a questionnaire to local governments asking about their accounting systems and past federal audits. State officials planned to assess how much risk there was of local governments spending in violation of federal guidance, but that plan did not involve further monitoring of local governments or their documents, auditors said in that report.

The state’s top operations official said requiring more detail could delay the reimbursement process. She also said that between the small team handling relief funds, “the currently unknown number of high-risk subrecipients” and then-impending deadline when the funds had to be spent, when it came to monitoring the local governments, the agency “cannot commit to perform a task that is not mandated.” (The deadline for spending, at the time late December of 2020, was later extended).

Instead, she said, the agency was focused on actions that were required — like conducting a risk assessment of local governments who received funds. It intended to use those results “primarily to educate its more than 330 subrecipients, as appropriate, of their responsibilities associated with expending federal awards.”

Tracking the money — Auditors started looking at some of the spending last summer.

In October, they wrote to the state’s head operations official, Katy Coba, describing their efforts to examine a narrow slice of the CARES Act spending to gauge whether these small governments spent it in line with federal guidelines.

At the time of the letter to Coba, the expenses had to be related to COVID-19, incurred on or after March 1, 2020, and had to be unplanned in the budget as of March 27, 2020 — the date the federal legislation authorizing the relief funding was passed.

The state auditors said their goal was to help the state and local governments “reduce the risk” of federal, state or local government auditors questioning how they spent the relief money.

They also wanted to get their study done quickly so the entities could make use of the information and course correct if needed, state auditors said in an interview.

“Our review wasn’t necessarily a guardrail or a point-the-finger toward the local government,” said Andrew Love, audit manager on the project. “We’re really there to provide assurance to the Legislature and provide some critiques into the methods for which we were dispersing the dollars.”

In most cases, one of the main reasons for a government audit is to assure state leaders that local governments are spending money responsibly, according to Stephen Aikins, researcher and director of the Master of Public Administration program at the University of South Florida.

The scope of an audit — what auditors are asked to look at — and how much information auditors can get affect the results.

“Incomplete or undetailed data provided by the spending agency, as noted by the auditor, should be a red flag that warrants further probing,” Aikins said. “Relying on incomplete data to do audit work can result in inconclusive or misleading audit conclusions.”

The state provided limited guidance and monitoring of local government spending of relief funds, auditors said. The state wasn’t collecting detailed breakdowns of how funds were spent.

Oregon auditors sought to check whether the local governments could provide enough supporting information, like contracts, invoices and timesheets. They said they were able to get “clear and adequate” information from 22 of the 34 entities they sought records from.

Auditors were looking at cities, counties and special districts, such as park districts. Auditors knew they also wanted to check out specific categories — for instance, it was apparent that payroll and leave expenses were a big share of the money local governments spent in the first round of reimbursement requests.

In some cases, initially local governments provided high-level overviews of spending — totals they’d spent in each category.

It took Lane County about six weeks to provide “diaries,” or more detailed information about how it spent the relief funds, and charged $50 for it. Polk and Marion counties both took months to fulfill requests for detailed spending data.

When the information arrived, the differences were significant. Marion County provided reams of spending information in an Excel spreadsheet, free of charge, but eight months after the paper initially requested the information. A county lawyer cited “the wildfires and the ice storms” as reasons for the delay.

Polk County eventually sent dozens of pages of COVID-related transactions in a PDF, detailing roughly $2.7 million in spending. The county’s lawyer, Morgan Smith, noted that the spending was all COVID-related, but not necessarily covered by relief funds as was requested.

“In order to isolate which of the purchases on this ledger were specific to (The Coronavirus Relief Fund), we would have to delve deeper into the paper trail which would take considerable staff time,” Smith said.

While the provided information did detail specific transactions — how much money, for what and to whom — it largely didn’t include information that would indicate whether Polk County got a good deal for taxpayer money, such as how much was purchased or why the purchase was needed.

Polk County said it would have provided more information about how taxpayer dollars were spent for an estimated fee of $220.

But other entities, like the state’s Department of Administrative Services and cities such as Stayton and Detroit, readily provided detailed information.

Head auditor Kip Memmott, in response to a lawmaker’s question about relief money granted to arts venues, told state lawmakers during a December hearing that tracking money distributed by the state to third parties, or “sub-recipients,” can be challenging.

“Things like pandemic funding and disaster relief funding, they’re so important as we know, but they also, from an audit standpoint, are like a nightmare,” Memmott said, “because they’re big blocks of money coming into government control structures that are often, respectfully, weak or strained.”

There’s also a sense of immediate expectations for the money to have impact where it is needed – a “spend them quick” urgency, Memmott said.

The auditors recommended three measures the state could take to better track the spending — two of which Coba declined to pursue.

Coba agreed with one recommendation: that her agency reminds local governments to take measures to make sure their requests were accurate and hewed to federal guidance.

In their October letter to Coba, the auditors said some transactions were at higher risk of being questioned by federal watchdogs.

For instance, one local government sought reimbursement to cover 100% of pay for its parks and recreation workers “with no separate time tracking and little documentation to support the duties performed.”

Generally, auditors said, a significant share of the relief money helped pay for public workers’ salaries and leave costs.

Through mid-September, auditors noticed that two-thirds of local government reimbursements were for spending on payroll and paid sick, family and medical leave for public workers.

When auditors wrote to Coba, the federal guidance had already changed several times. But at that point, it was generally acceptable as an “administrative convenience” to allow entities to pay public health and public safety workers without specific tracking of hours spent on COVID-19.

Some entities were more precise than others.

Stayton, for example, tried to track the time that employees were spending on pandemic-related work, said city manager Keith Campbell.

“If I can show I was in a meeting with outside people, the (League of Oregon Cities), the White House did calls or other trainings, other things with groups or organizations that were specifically about COVID, here was a definitive time I could track,” Campbell said. “I spend a lot of time reading about it, but I can’t quantify that.”

Auditors suggested the state make local governments submit more detailed information about their spending.

Coba didn’t think that was necessary, saying “any potential benefit” didn’t outweigh the time it would take. She said it could slow down the process of reimbursing local governments.

“Oregon has been able to get (relief money) out to local governments quicker than other states, using a process that invests local governments with shared responsibility over proper use and administration of (the relief funds),” Coba wrote to auditors.

She acknowledged that the approach “may not identify all local government errors,” but said what auditors recommended wouldn’t either. 

Coba also disagreed with a recommendation the state monitor potentially risky spending in a more systematic way.

February’s report won’t be the final time the state’s auditors examine how federal relief funds were spent. Every year, the state is required by the federal Single Audit Act to probe how it spends federal money.

Auditors’ most recent yearly review of that spending, released in February, included the first few months of the pandemic. The state’s financial auditors found nothing of concern with respect to the coronavirus relief funds. 

In their next review of how the state spends federal funds, which will cover July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, financial auditors expect to examine a much larger amount of COVID-related spending.

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