Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 7/6 – Long Holiday Weekend Around Rogue Valley Quiet with Just a Few Small Fires but Several Vehicle Accidents

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, July 6, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather — Heat Advisory until July 6, 11:00 PM PDT

Today– Widespread haze. Sunny and hot, with a high near 102. Light and variable wind becoming northwest 6 to 11 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday– Sunny, with a high near 95. Calm wind becoming northwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Friday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 104.
Saturday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 104.


Oregon reports 209 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 3 new deaths

There are three new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,781. The Oregon Health Authority reported 209 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as Friday 7/2 bringing the state total to 209,035.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (2), Clackamas (16), Clatsop (2), Columbia (2), Coos (1), Crook (3), Curry (1), Deschutes (14), Douglas (14), Gilliam (1), Harney (1), Hood River (3), Jackson (14), Jefferson (1), Josephine (12), Klamath (7), Lane (13), Linn (15), Malheur (1), Marion (22), Morrow (1), Multnomah (22), Polk (7), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (6), Union (1), Wasco (2), Washington (14) and Yamhill (8).

Newest COVID-19 modeling report shows continued decline in daily cases

Today, Oregon Health Authority released its latest COVID-19 forecast, which projects fewer hospitalizations and daily cases through July 20.

According to the model, the effective reproduction rate — the expected number of secondary cases that a single case generates — was estimated at 0.74 through June 16.

If that level of transmission continues over the next three weeks, daily cases would decline to 40 cases per 100,000 people (approximately 115 cases per day) and new hospitalizations would drop to seven per day.

If transmission increases by 20%, new cases would decline to 55 cases per 100,000 people (an average of 165 cases per day) and new hospitalizations would drop to 12 per day.

The modeling shows that estimated immunity from vaccination is present in four times as many people as those who have naturally acquired immunity. Natural immunity is immunity stemming from prior infection.

A person who has had COVID-19 and recovered may not have the same level of immunity as someone who has not been infected and has been fully vaccinated, and it is unknown how long the natural immunity will last.

People who have recovered from the disease have a robust response to the vaccine. OHA recommends that people get the vaccine to increase their protection against COVID-19.

More than 2.4 million Oregonians have received at least one dose of a safe and highly effective vaccine and more than 2.1 million have completed a vaccine series.

OHA to discontinue weekend data reporting

Starting his weekend, OHA will stop distributing the following on holidays and weekends:

  • The weekend news release and newsletter.
  • Weekend social media posts in English and Spanish.
  • Weekend Tableau dashboard updates and weekend hospital capacity reporting.

OHA will provide weekend roundup reports on Mondays or on the days following a holiday. During weekends, OHA will continue to have staff available to address urgent issues and will have an on-call public information officer for emergency media requests.

OHA will continue its weekday reporting of cases, vaccinations, hospitalizations and other data through our daily news release, social media updates, our popular “Coronavirus Update” newsletter and online dashboards.

OHA data dashboard updates coming

On Tuesday, OHA will update its daily dashboards that have tracked the state’s progress toward reaching its 70% vaccination target for adults 18 years and older as the state moves to the next stage of vaccinating Oregonians. With the County Risk Level framework now lifted, dashboards and webpages that have been tracking the status of counties under this framework are being revised to reflect Oregon’s progress in vaccinating Oregonians.

Additional updates to the dashboards may be reported next week.

Dashboard changes reflecting the lifting of COVID-19 mitigation measures and ending the states’ County Risk Level framework are outlined below.

Oregon Lifts Covid-19 Restrictions

After more than a year of mask mandates, social distancing, and capacity limits, Oregon has shed its statewide COVID-19 restrictions. Last week, Gov. Kate Brown signed an executive order lifting all remaining COVID-19 health and safety restrictions issued under the state’s emergency statutes.

The order was written to lift restrictions once 70% of the adult population had received its first dose of a vaccine, or on Wednesday, June 30, whichever occurred first.

On Friday, the state reached the 70 percent vaccination threshold. However, at 12:01 a.m., the order had already taken effect and state restrictions were lifted.

Only a few restrictions remain: People will still be required to wear masks in buildings subject to federal rules, including prisons, nursing homes, hospitals, and on public transport. Federal mask requirements also apply to airports, buses, trams, and trains.

Businesses still have the right as to whether or not masks are required on their property. In Klamath County, about 41.1% of people have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 37.2% of people in the county are fully vaccinated,
according to The Center for Disease Control county-level data.


Long Holiday Weekend Around Rogue Valley Quiet with Just a Few Small Fires but Several Vehicle Accidents

Small fires were jumped on quickly near Eagle Point and Ashland and few firework incidents. People seemed to take the high fire danger seriously. Unfortunately, there were several vehicle accidents as reported below:

First Responders Hit While Responding to Crash on I-5

On July 4, at approximately 11:00 pm an Oregon State Police Trooper was investigating a single-vehicle rollover crash on I-5 in the northbound lanes approximately a half-mile south of exit 27. The occupants of that vehicle needed medical attention and Mercy Flights and Fire District 5 were on scene to assist.

While on the scene there was a secondary accident with two uninvolved vehicles. Both of those vehicles struck the
ambulance and causing injuries to two Mercy Flights crew and one of the Fire District 5 firefighters. All three were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The two occupants of the original crash were also transported to a local hospital. The original crash is being investigated by the Oregon State Police.

Due to the nature of the crash and limited resources, the Oregon State Police requested assistance from the Jackson County Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team. The STAR team is a joint agency investigative unit consisting of representatives from the Medford Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the Ashland Police Department, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

The initial investigation into the cause of the second crash determined that neither driver was impaired, while speed is believed to be a contributing factor the case is still under investigation, and at this time no criminal charges related to the second crash have been filed.

The incident should be a reminder for drivers to be alert and slow down anytime they see flashing lights or emergency crews working.

Fatal Crash on Biddle Road Near Airport

Medford Police Sergeant Steve Furst confirmed a man in his 30s died in a two-vehicle crash near the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport Monday evening.

Next of kin has been notified, but Medford Police is not releasing the name of the man at this time.

Furst said the crash happened when a woman in her mid-40s was driving north on Bullock Road approaching a curve. The man in his 30s was driving the other direction into the curve and crossed into the woman’s lane. Furst said that caused a near head-on collision between the two cars.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene while the woman had minor injuries.

The crash caused traffic to be blocked off on Bullock Road from Highway 62 to the airport entrance with plans to remove the road blockage by midnight.

Female Bicyclist Killed In Hit-And-Run Near Phoenix

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office announced that a female cyclist was killed after she was struck by a car that fled the scene Saturday morning. The suspect later returned to the scene and is now in custody.

The incident took place around 6:41 Saturday morning on Pioneer Road near Phoenix, Ore.

JCSO Detectives, Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) Team, Medical Examiners, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s (DA) office are assisting with the investigation. The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Car Goes Over 100-Foot Cliff and Driver Survives

A driver is now in the hospital with serious injuries after they somehow miraculously survived a nearly 100-foot fall down a vertical embankment Sunday afternoon.

Sheriff officers say that the solo motor vehicle crash happened on a Bureau of Land Management road in the Murphy Gulch area near Rogue River around 12:46 p.m.

Crews on the scene believe that the driver was ejected after leaving the roadway and crashed down that nearly 100-foot vertical embankment.

The driver was the only person in the vehicle and had to be short-hauled out by a helicopter. The driver was then flown to a local hospital by Mercy Flights with serious injuries. The crash is under investigation. 


Oregon Heatwave

Oregon’s governor says a Pacific Northwest heatwave has killed at least 95 people in that state alone. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that government officials warned people about the heat, dispersed water to vulnerable people, and set up cooling stations.

Even so, Brown calls the death toll “absolutely unacceptable.” Hundreds are believed to have died from the heat over the past week in the U.S. Northwest and southwestern Canada. Record temperatures included 116 degrees in Portland and 108 in Seattle. The hot weather is headed east, with temperatures well above 100 forecast Sunday for parts of Idaho and Montana.

Only 3 states experienced more daytime warming than Oregon over past 3 decades.

Oregon’s daytime temperatures have increased an average of 3 degrees since 1990, an Associated Press analysis of federal data has found. Summer days and nights have been warming up around the nation over the past 30 years, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show. But some states are heating up more than others, with Oregon near the very top of the list, the AP found.

The state medical examiner had reported 95 heat-related deaths as of Sunday –including 64 in Multnomah County , which includes Portland. The county medical examiner has determined 30 of those deaths were due to hyperthermia, or death by excessive heat.

Officials suspect the remaining 34 people died of the same cause but are still investigating. The ages of victims ranged from 44 to 97, and most were found in their homes without air conditioning or fans.

“This tragic event is almost certainly a glimpse into the future for Multnomah County, Oregon, the nation and the world,” Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey said in a news release . “The impacts of climate change with heatwaves, severe winter weather, wildfires, floods, and other rippling effects are happening now and will happen with more frequency for the foreseeable future.”

Parade in Creswell Makes the National News After Proud Boys Take Over

Major news outlets jumped on reporting after Creswell canceled it’s July 4th parade due to COVID-19, even though the celebration including far-right extremist groups reportedly went off without incident on Sunday.

Hundreds of people gathered for the unpermitted event in Creswell. Photographs show participants wearing “Proud Boys” shirts and holding “PB” signs from their trucks.

Sergeant Scott Denham from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office told the newspaper when deputies arrived on the scene, they discovered they were vastly outnumbered by hundreds of parade-goers. Instead of shutting the event down, Denham said the officers documented what happened and would later pursue citations against those who violated the law.

Newsweek reached out to the sheriff’s office for information on whether any citations have been issued against attendees, but didn’t receive a response before publication.

A flyer for the event, which was posted to Facebook, said it would be the “largest patriotic celebration in Oregon.” It advertised a family-friendly atmosphere, vendor booths, food, fireworks and more. But the announcement shared no details of the group coordinating the parade.

The flyer also said that the event was “an opportunity to meet many of Oregon’s finest patriot groups.”

Martha McReynolds Jr., a former member of the Creswell City Council, told the news outlets she believed the parade was just a way for far-right groups to recruit more people.

“They give this really nice facade and then if you scratch the surface at all, it becomes really clear,” McReynolds said. “Creswell does not want a far-right job fair and recruitment rally.”

Several local news outlets reported that many people in attendance were excited about the parade. The city also canceled its parade in 2020 amid the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s actually really nice to see the parade here again,” Kathryn Schartz, one Creswell resident.. “After all the shut down it’s just really nice to see everybody happy and joyful and loving each other.”

Another resident, Eli Rosenau, said that the holiday is “not supposed to be about politics, it’s about appreciating “our nation, the freedom, what was the country founded to be, and do you like that and having various freedoms.”

Creswell officials did sponsor other July 4th festivities, according to the city’s Chamber of Commerce. A military jet flyover, fireworks and an open house at the Creswell Airport were part of the approved events thrown by the city.

2 People Dead, 4 injured in Horrific NE Portland Apartment Fire – People Banding Together to Help Displaced Families

Two people are dead and four were injured in a deadly 4-alarm fire over the weekend.

The building did not have sprinklers, and by the time firefighters arrived, the fire had spread rapidly, turning the wood framed complex into a death trap. After the stairwells caught fire, some residents were forced to walk through flames and jump from windows on the second and third floors to try to escape.

The fire bureau said all residents of the complex are now accounted for and they do not anticipate further injuries or fatalities. Officials didn’t comment on the condition of people being treated at the hospital.

Witnesses have told fire investigators they heard fireworks going off before the fire started. Investigators say the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Fire Chief Boone said she would not speculate on the cause but said, “This tragedy was preventable.”

Neighbors in Northeast Portland are coming together to help people who lost their homes in a deadly 4-alarm fire over the weekend.

People who live around Heidi Manor, the apartment building that burned, have organized an online effort to get money and supplies to their neighbors who have been displaced.

On the neighborhood website,, they’ve provided links to a community Facebook page where conversations about relief efforts are taking place. The site also lists an online spreadsheet detailing displaced tenants’ needs and links to individual GoFundMe pages. 

Spin Laundry Lounge is starting to collect donations to go to these families, encouraging people to drop off certain items at their Northeast Broadway location.

Two people died in the fire, which started early in the morning on July 4th. Several others were injured, and many tenants lost their pets.

Boathouses Destroyed By Fire At The Dalles Marina

Multiple boathouses were destroyed by a fire that started at The Dalles Marina late Saturday night.

Mid Columbia Fire & Rescue says the first call came in at about 11:59 p.m. Crews arrived at the marina, located at 101 North Basin Road, within seven minutes.

In total, eight boathouses were destroyed and at least two sunk. Officials said it’s possible a third one sunk and commercial divers have been called in to locate it.

Four people were in two separate boathouses at the time of the fire and were on the pier when firefighters arrived. Officials said they were the only occupants at the time. No injuries were reported.

Officials said they are confident the fire was not caused by fireworks, but due to the extent of the damage, the cause may never be determined.

Booms were placed in the water around the boathouses in case of fuel leaks.

Wildfires Updates

Crews were able to burn out the uncontrolled portion of the eastern side of the Lava Fire at the end of yesterday’s operational period. The burn was successful and created several hundred feet of depth off of the control line. The fire continues to consume the dead and down fuel within the 2009 Tennant Fire.

Within the interior, the fire made short uphill runs where there was continuous stringers of timber within the burn scar, but there was little threat to the control line. The critically dry 1000-hour fuel loads continue to consume as the crews work to mop-up the already established control lines.

As of 6 A.M. July 5th, the fire has burned 10,541 acres and has a containment level of 51%. Hot, dry, and unstable conditions are expected to continue for the upcoming week. An increase in southwesterly winds is expected on Tuesday which will result in a potential for critical fire weather conditions due to critically dry and gusty conditions.

A Fire Weather Watch has been issued as a result of a Tuesday afternoon. Another significant heating trend is
expected into the weekend as high pressure builds across the West. Smoke is drifting across much of Southern Oregon.

Jack Fire Gowing in Douglas County

Persistent winds that have been challenging firefighters over the past several days finally calmed and allowed
crews to hold the fire in check overnight. The fire is now estimated at about 440 acres. While an overnight
infrared flight detected heat close to containment lines, firefighters have established hose lays along much of the
fire’s perimeter and are beginning to mop-up towards the interior to prevent spot fires.

Crews are also working against the clock as thunderstorms are expected to develop over the area this afternoon
bringing the threat of lightning and erratic winds. Some crews will be at-the-ready should additional fires spark
from the predicted lightning.

Oregon state fire officials said Sunday that crews had reached 85% containment on the Sunset Valley Fire burning near The Dalles, roughly doubling the progress made on the wildfire compared to Saturday. The fire remains at 987 acres.

The active early fire season under extreme fire danger conditions gives fire officials cause to spread the fire
prevention message. Preventable human-caused fires have the potential of pulling much-needed resources
away from fires sparked by lightning. The public is required to follow fire season restrictions such as campfires,
small equipment use and off-road driving.

Information can be found here posted by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in partnership with Public Information Officers that work for federal, state, and local fire agencies and is drawn from official sources within the wildland fire community.

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