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
Friday, August 27, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today– Widespread haze before 11am. Patchy smoke after 11am. Sunny, with a high near 88. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday– Widespread haze after 2pm. Patchy smoke before 2pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 93. Light north northwest wind.
Sunday– Sunny, with a high near 91. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Monday– Sunny, with a high near 87.
Tuesday– Sunny, with a high near 82.
High Speed Chase from White City to Ashland ends in Crash, Bomb Squad Called in, Small Grass Fire, 1 in Custody and 1 Escaped
A routine traffic stop turned into a high-speed pursuit early Thursday morning in White City, ending near Ashland with a small grass fire and a call to the Oregon State Police bomb squad.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies tried to get a driver to pull over for speeding on Highway 62 in White City in the early hours of the morning.
At 4:22 a.m., the driver sped toward the I-5 expressway heading southbound. Officers from Medford Police joined the chase, but quickly broke off for public safety. The unsafe nature of the pursuit included the suspect passing vehicles on the right shoulder, and driving recklessly at speeds upwards of 110 mph. Deputies and police officers shadowed the suspect vehicle south, successfully deploying spike strips just before 4:30 a.m. near I-5 exit 21.
Though the vehicle was disabled, the driver continued south at slower speeds as officers restarted the pursuit. JCSO said that the vehicle crashed just after I-5 exit 19 in Ashland, with two suspects emerging to run away on foot.
During the arrest, officers noticed a backpack containing “suspicious items.” Out of an abundance of caution, the officers called in the OSP Bomb Squad. The state police technicians determined that the items were inert.
JCSO said that law enforcement is still looking for the male suspect, and the case remains under investigation.
The car started a small grass fire that was quickly extinguished by officers. While a JCSO K9 was able to track and detain a female suspect, a male suspect is still at large. — JCSO Case #21-4518 Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office
Procession Of Fallen Firefighter From Eugene To Medford
The body of a firefighter who died while fighting the Gales Fire near Oakridge on Monday was escorted by multiple agencies from Eugene to Medford on Thursday afternoon.
56-year-old Frumencio Ruiz Carapia died on Monday, August 23rd after officials said a tree fell on him.
Multiple fire agencies began a silent procession from Lane County to Medford. The somber procession left RiverBend hospital around 1:45 p.m. carrying Ruiz’s body back to his hometown of Medford.
Police officers blocked off the intersection of Gateway and Beltline, while multiple agencies drove through. Police officers and many people in the gathered crowd saluted the emergency vehicles as they drove by.
The group of people stationed on the sidewalk as the procession went by were holding signs that said “Amamos Nuestros Bomberos. Gracias.” This translates to: “We love our firefighters. Thank you.”
The local contingents met with the procession carrying Caparia’s body south before they left together, heading for the funeral home. Joining the honor guard were firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry, Medford Fire Department, Jackson County Fire Districts 3 and 5; as well as officers from Medford Police and deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. Carapia’s fellow crew members from GE Forestry formed the core of the group.
After the procession, the family gathered to lay their loved one to rest. Family and friends came together to pray, sing, and commemorate Carapia’s memories who was widely respected amongst his peers.
Have You Seen Trevor Watson
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing Ashland man.
On Sunday, August 22, 2021, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office took a missing person report from the family of 36-year-old Trevor E. Watson of Ashland. Watson had left a residence in the 300-block of Fir Point Lane in Glendale on foot and hasn’t been in contact with family since. He left behind his cellphone and wallet.
Deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers have been unable to locate Watson and are asking anyone who may have information as to Watson’s whereabouts to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 440-4471.
Watson is described as a white male adult standing at 5’8″ tall weighing 135 pounds. He has light brown hair and light brown eyes. — Case #21-3792 Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office
Splash Pad open through Labor Day
ROSEBURG, OR – There’s still time to cool off for free at the splash pad in Fir Grove Park this summer.
The Fir Grove Park Splash Pad continues to be open daily from 10 a.m. to dusk. The splash pad is located just off Harvard Avenue behind the Umpqua Valley Arts Center, 1624 W. Harvard Ave. in Roseburg.
The splash pad is a free, seasonal park amenity open from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please be sure to keep yourself and others safe by being mindful of capacity restrictions and sanitation requirements.
For park facility updates, check out the city’s social media channels on Facebook, Nextdoor and Twitter, and visit the city’s website, www.CityofRoseburg.org.
For more information, please call the Public Works Department at 541-492-6730 or email email@example.com.
Roseburg Police encourage safe driving around schools
ROSEBURG, OR – As kids prepare to return to the classroom, the Roseburg Police Department encourages motorists to be extra safe when driving around schools and beyond to help protect schoolchildren as they travel to and from school.
Kids may be excited, inattentive or learning a new route. Be extra cautious when driving in school zones and residential neighborhoods, around school buses, and near playgrounds and parks. Remember that you’re sharing the road with school kids, who might be hard to see as they’re on foot or riding bikes, skateboards and scooters.
“We stop a lot of drivers for school zone infractions. The common theme is they don’t see the kids. Sometimes they don’t even know they went through a school zone,” said Roseburg Traffic Officer Josh Chavez. “The Roseburg Police Department’s goal is to make sure everyone is safe – which includes schoolkids and other pedestrians, as well as drivers.”
Most children who die in bus-related incidents are just 4 to 7 years old, according to the National Safety Council. Those children are tragically hit by the school bus or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped school bus.
Remember, it’s illegal in Oregon and all other states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload kids. When following a school bus, keep more space between your vehicle and the bus than you would if you were following a car. That gives you more time to prepare to stop if the bus’s yellow lights begin flashing to warn motorists the bus is about to stop and children are about to enter or exit. The 10 feet of space around a bus is the most dangerous for children, according to the National Safety Council.
When the bus’s warning/safety lights flash red, stop far enough from the bus to give kids space to safely enter and exit. All lanes of traffic must stop, except in opposing lanes if the road is divided with a barrier or unpaved median strip. Drivers must remain stopped until the bus resumes driving and its red warning lights have been turned off, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Oregon Driver Manual.
Pay attention to school zones, which are sections of road adjacent to schools or crosswalks that have posted neon yellow signs designating the school zone. In school speed zones, the speed limit is 20 miles per hour from the “School Speed Limit 20” sign to the “End School Zone” sign or another posted speed limit sign. Slower speeds give drivers more time to react to the sudden and unexpected actions of child pedestrians and will usually cause less injury to the child if there is a collision. A pedestrian has a nearly 50% chance of dying when struck by a car going 30 mph, according to ODOT’s “A Guide to School Area Safety.”
School speed zones vary. The signs at each location tell motorists when they must obey the reduced speed limit of 20 mph. That can include any time a yellow light on the sign is flashing, indicating children are arriving or leaving school; between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. when school is in session; or any day at any time children are present, which includes when kids are waiting at or using a crosswalk, or a school patrol officer or crossing guard is present at a crosswalk to help children, according to the Oregon Driver Manual.
“A lot of people will say, ‘I didn’t even see the signs,’ even though they drive by them every day. It’s the driver’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to all road signs and their own speed,” said Chavez. “In school zones, we don’t typically give warnings. We take the kids’ safety very seriously.”
If you’re dropping kids off at school, make sure you know the school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures for the school year. Avoid double parking because that blocks visibility for children and other drivers. Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school. Carpool if you can to help reduce the number of vehicles at school, according to the National Safety Council.
Other tips for sharing the road with young pedestrians and bicyclists:
• Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians no matter where they are or who has the right of way;
• Don’t block crosswalks when you stop at a red light or while waiting to make a turn. That can force pedestrians to go around your vehicle and into the path of moving traffic;
• Stop and yield to pedestrians crossing at crosswalks or intersections;
• Stop for school patrol officers or crossing guards holding up stop signs;
• Never pass another vehicle stopped for pedestrians;
• Never try to scare pedestrians by honking or revving your engine, even if you believe you have the right of way;
• Bicycles can be hard to see, and children on bikes or on foot may dart out from driveways or behind parked cars. Young cyclists might also turn in front of you without looking or signaling. Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods;
• Don’t drive in a bike lane; however, you may cross a bike lane when turning;
• Yield to bikes in a bike lane or on a sidewalk before you turn across the lane or sidewalk;
• When passing a bicyclist, move slowly and leave at least 3 feet between your car and the cyclist;
• When turning left and a cyclist is approaching from the opposite direction, wait for the cyclist to pass you;
• When turning right and a cyclist is approaching you from behind on the right, wait for the rider to go through the intersection;
• Check side mirrors before opening your vehicle door;
• Avoid distractions. It’s illegal and dangerous to yourself and others to use a handheld mobile phone or tablet while driving in Oregon.
Oregon reports 2,057 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 9 new deaths
There are nine new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,095. The Oregon Health Authority reported 2,057 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 265,210.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (15), Benton (12), Clackamas (133), Clatsop (19), Columbia (22), Coos (21), Crook (13), Curry (24), Deschutes (95), Douglas (69), Grant (29), Harney (9), Hood River (5), Jackson (215), Jefferson (8), Josephine (75), Klamath (67), Lake (5), Lane (190), Lincoln (24), Linn (103), Malheur (26), Marion (206), Morrow (13), Multnomah (184), Polk (67), Sherman (1), Tillamook (22) Umatilla (112), Union (13), Wallowa (8), Wasco (23), Washington (158), Wheeler (3) and Yamhill (68).
Mask Mandate Starts Today
Oregon will require adults and most children to wear face coverings starting today in most public settings where people are close to each other, in yet another attempt to slow the spread of the contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
Children under 5 years old are exempt from the mandate, as are people of all ages while eating and drinking
outdoors and people living outdoors while experiencing homelessness.
Gov. Brown announced the new rule Tuesday and noted the number of people hospitalized with COVID had hit 1,000. Oregon is one of five states with an indoor mask mandate already in effect, according to the New York Times. It is the first to announce a mask requirement for outdoor activities during which people are close together.
People will need to wear masks regardless of whether they are vaccinated.
Pediatric Weekly dashboard update — Today, OHA published its newest dashboard report of pediatric COVID-19 case data in Oregon.
This dashboard replaces the previous report and will be published weekly on Thursdays with the most recent full week’s data. A key finding this week is an increase in hospitalizations in children 0-5 years.
This isn’t just in Oregon. Children are now being hospitalized in large numbers across the United States as the swift-moving Coronavirus Delta variant drives cases higher.
“While an increase in COVID cases is difficult news to hear, it’s especially disheartening when there is a sharp rise in serious cases among the youngest people in our community. New hospital admission rates for kids due to COVID-19 in the U.S. have reached the highest levels since tracking pediatric cases started about a year ago. The Delta variant is more contagious than previous variants—and likely is causing more severe disease in children, as it is in adults—and is leading to a surge in pediatric hospitalizations nationwide. Please get vaccinated if you can and wear a mask to help stop COVID from spreading, especially to kids who can’t yet get the vaccine. Let’s work together to keep our community and our children safe,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, health officer and state epidemiologist for Oregon Health Authority.
Pandemic Situation Becoming More Dire
The 2020 Pandemic was an event that many people across the country and Oregon will never forget. During 2020, more than nineteen million people were infected with coronavirus and more than 343,000 people died as a result. But in almost 9 months into the second year of the pandemic has the situation become more dire?
The answer is yes.
According to the CDC, roughly 630,000 thousand people have died in total since the pandemic started. That means in 2021, more than 290,000 people have already died and there are still four more months in the year. On average that means in 2020, roughly 28,000 people were dying every month while in 2021 that number has jumped to more than 36,000.
Data also shows that recently, the U.S. has begun to report about 1,000 deaths per day from COVID-19, due to the recent surge. Hospitalizations are also at record numbers this year. OHA is reporting that across the state, more than a thousand people are currently in the hospital with COVID-19.
In Region 5 which includes Jackson and Josephine Counties, hospitalizations have surpassed more than 220 people. The previous record in 2020 was 69.
The most recent report from the CDC also shows that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 with only cancer and heart disease taking the top two spots. Studies show that during the pandemic, cancer deaths dropped very slightly while new cancer deaths increased dramatically compared to 2019.
Moderate winds allowed smoke to lift earlier in the day yesterday, but below normal temperatures and normal to above normal relative humidities resulted in light initial attack activity and low to moderate fire behavior on existing incidents.
Clouds spread across all of Washington and parts of northern Oregon as the day progressed, and light precipitation fell in western Washington and northwest Oregon. No lightning was detected.
Expect clearing today after morning clouds. Temperatures are expected to be below normal and humidity above normal for the geographic area. Westerly winds through the Columbia River Gorge and Columbia Basin will be less today than on Thursday.
Over the weekend expect warming and drying for much of the region. General winds will decrease Saturday
and shift more to north or northeast.
The potential for new significant fires will remain at or below normal background level for late August. Warming and drying over the weekend with poor overnight humidity recovery will increase fire danger slightly and potentially boost the risk of growth on ongoing incidents.
Here are links to be able to see updated info on the larger fires in Oregon:
- Black Butte InciWeb
- Bootleg InciWeb
- Bruler InciWeb
- Bull Complex InciWeb
- Devil’s Knob Complex InciWeb
- Elbow Creek Inciweb
- Fox Fire InciWeb
- Jack Fire InciWeb
- Rough Patch Complex InciWeb
- Middle Fork Complex/Knoll Fire InciWeb
- Skyline Ridge Complex InciWeb
This public lands link is super helpful to check before you head outdoors. The Keep Oregon Green website carries ODF’s public use restrictions. Click the link for up-to-date information:
The Oregon State Fair Starts Today
The Oregon State Fair starts this Friday and runs through September 6, 2021.
The Oregon State Fair follows COVID-19 health and safety measures as mandated by the Oregon Health Authority and the Governor’s office, and at this time in Oregon, masks are required both indoors and outdoors.
So, at the Oregon State Fair, masks will be required to be worn by all guests ages 5 and up, exhibitors, employees, and volunteers while on the Oregon State Fairgrounds, in both indoor and outdoor locations. Fairgoers should bring their own masks. The Oregon State Fair will provide a mask to fairgoers who need one, while supplies last. Fairgoers will not be required to wear a mask while actively eating or drinking.
The Oregon State Fair encourages all fairgoers who have not yet received a vaccination to do so in advance of the fair. In partnership with Salem Health, the Oregon State Fair will offer a Vaccine Clinic in Cascade Hall from 12:00pm-8:00pm Weekdays and 10:00am-6:00pm Weekends. Fairgoers who receive a vaccination at the Fair will receive a free ticket to return to the Oregon State Fair again in 2021, or in 2022.
An OSP Trooper will be stationed at each entrance greeting every visitor who comes to the fair.
The Oregon State Police has a temporary command center at the fair, which includes a dispatch console. This command center gives OSP Troopers the ability to quickly facilitate remedies to a wide variety of incidents that can come up at the State Fair.
They also will be encouraging parents to utilize the “if lost” bracelets that the fair provides. Parents or guardians will be asked to write their cell phone number on the inside of a bright yellow “if lost” bracelet and place it on their child’s wrist in case the child gets separated. Reminder masks will be required to be worn by all guests ages 5 and up,
exhibitors, employees, and volunteers while on the Oregon State Fairgrounds, in both indoor and outdoor locations. https://oregonstatefair.org/
Oregon Drought Update
Experts say Oregon is becoming less resilient to drought as fewer seasons of abundant rain and snow prevent it from bouncing back from hot and dry conditions. The Capital Press reports that Larry O’Neill, state climatologist at Oregon State University, says the current drought is “historically significant,” with about three-quarters of the state
experiencing conditions considered “extreme” or “exceptional.”
However, the state is actually in the fourth year of below-average precipitation, which has exacerbated the drought during “unprecedentedly” high temperatures this summer, O’Neill told the Oregon Water Resources Commission on Wednesday. Parched soils were insufficiently recharged with moisture over winter and spring, which has harmed vegetative growth, including crops and forage, said Ryan Andrews, a hydrologist at the Oregon Water Resources Department, which is overseen by the commission.
Ivermectin Poisonings Increase in Oregon
Poison control operators in Oregon have already seen a third more calls this month for people who intentionally misused veterinary and human forms of ivermectin than they saw in all of the other seven months of the year combined.
The Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health & Science University has received nine calls surrounding the
“intentional misuse“ of the anti-parasitic drug, according to OHSU spokesperson Franny White.
Only six poison control calls for intentionally misusing the drug were reported between January and July. The drug, which the Food & Drug Administration says is not an anti-viral, is most often prescribed to humans in pill form for intestinal parasites.
Its use as an ill-advised COVID-19 home remedy became national news over the weekend, however, after the Mississippi State Department of Health issued a public health alert Friday because people ingesting veterinary formulations of ivermectin made up about 70% of that state’s poison control calls.
Bend Resident and Affiliated Residential Care Company Agree to Pay $2.9 Million to Settle Health Care Fraud Allegations
A Bend, Oregon resident, and his residential care company have agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle allegations by the United States and the State of Oregon that the company submitted false reimbursement claims to the Oregon Medicaid program.
Kevin Cox, 51, and At Home Care LLC, doing business as At Home Care Group (AHCG), will pay $1.86 million to the United States and $1.04 million to the State of Oregon.
AHCG also waived indictment and pleaded guilty today in Deschutes County Circuit Court to two counts of making a false claim for health care payment.
“Individuals and companies who submit false claims to federally-backed state health care programs increase health care costs for everyone,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We take health care fraud very seriously and will continue to hold accountable those who undermine the integrity of these important programs.”
“This national pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on our health care system. There is never a time for Medicaid providers to enrich themselves with fraudulent schemes—but now is certainly not the time. This case shows you that we will work aggressively with our federal law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute providers that victimize our most vulnerable Oregonians and the programs that serve them,” said Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum.
“Health care providers should regard Medicaid as a lifeline for vulnerable beneficiaries in need of wellness services, not as a financial reserve for personal enrichment,” stated Steven Ryan, Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “To assist in preserving Federal health care programs, our agency and law enforcement partners investigate and cease wrongful activity that compromises their funds.”
AHCG provided in-home medical and non-medical care to individuals in Oregon. The United States and State of Oregon contend that, between March 2013 and September 2018, AHCG altered caregiver scheduling calendars and billed the Oregon Medicaid program for hours of in-home care not actually performed.
As part of the settlement, AHCG and Cox will be excluded from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other federal health care programs for 15 and 8 years, respectively.
Acting U.S. Attorney Asphaug and Attorney General Rosenblum made the announcement.
This settlement was the result of a coordinated investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Oregon Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Unit, and Oregon Health Authority. The United States was represented in this matter by Alexis Lien, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. Senior Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Ballard Colgrove led this case for the Oregon Department of Justice.
The claims resolved by this settlement, except for those admitted in AHCG’s guilty plea, are allegations only, and there has been no determination or admission of liability. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon
**UPDATE** Death Investigation at Rooster Rock State Park – Multnomah County
On August 13, 2021, The Oregon State Police Criminal Investigation Division and members of the Multnomah County Major Crime Team responded to Rooster Rock State Park to investigate human remains found at the park. Investigators have identified the deceased as twenty-one year old Stephanie Celeste Jones of Portland. Detectives are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding Jones’s death. If anyone the community has information related to this investigation, please call the Oregon State Police at 1-800-442-0776 or OSP.
On Friday, August 13, 2021 emergency personnel responded to a deceased person located at Rooster Rock State Park.
Oregon State Police Detectives are leading the investigation. No more information is expected to be released until early next week. Oregon State Police
Public Health Advisory for Harris Beach State Park
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is issuing a public health advisory today for unsafe levels of fecal bacteria in ocean waters at Harris Beach State Park in Curry County.
People should avoid direct contact with the water in this area until the advisory is lifted. Unsafe levels of fecal bacteria can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections, and other illnesses. Children, elderly and those with a compromised immune system should use extra caution as they are more vulnerable to illness from waterborne bacteria.
Visitors should avoid wading in nearby creeks, pools of water on the beach, or in discolored water, and stay clear of water runoff flowing into the ocean. Levels of fecal bacteria tend to be higher in these types of water sources.
Even if there is no advisory in effect, avoid swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm.
CBHS Lighthouse Greeting Center Gift Shop and Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum to OPEN Labor Day Weekend!
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse Greeting Center Gift Shop and Port Orford Lifeboat Station Museum will soon open for visitors. Our official opening is Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 2-4) and we look forward to your visit. Our hours when we open will be 10AM – 3PM, Thursday – Saturday starting out. We plan to add Sunday as staffing allows.
The Lifeboat Station Museum is located at Port Orford Heads State Park and the Greeting Center Gift Shop is at Cape Blanco State Park in close proximity to our famous lighthouse. At present, the lighthouse and the short road from the lighthouse gate are not open as they are both in need of repairs.
Visitors will need to walk the short distance from the gate to the Greeting Center Gift Shop and can easily hike from there to view the exterior of the lighthouse. Despite the lighthouse being closed, a trip to the tip of Cape Blanco and the Greeting Center is a lovely day trip that offers beautiful scenery and energizing hikes on the surrounding nature trails. Please exercise caution as the wind at the Cape is quite strong at times and your safety, as always, is our first concern.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Cape Blanco Heritage SocietyP.O. Box 1132Port Orford, OR 97465