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
Monday, September 20, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today– Sunny, with a high near 81. Calm wind becoming north around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Tuesday– Sunny, with a high near 89. Light and variable wind.
Wednesday– Sunny, with a high near 83. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday– Sunny, with a high near 87.
Friday– Sunny, with a high near 92.
Public Asked for Help in Case of Another Missing Woman in Southern Oregon
The family of a missing woman last seen in Medford is hoping residents in Southern Oregon and California can help find her after they said she was released from the hospital and has not been seen or heard from since.
41-year-old Marlen Sandoval’s family said the mother of three was under an involuntary 72-hour hold at Asante’s Behavior Health Clinic, when she was released after being cleared by doctors on August 26.
“She was let go because according to them she was sick but not sick enough to keep her against her will,” Jasmin Padilla, Sandoval’s daughter said. “We haven’t had any contact with her since then.”
Padilla explained that Sandoval was previously diagnosed with bipolar psychosis and a type of dissociative disorder in Mexico.
She said Sandoval was on medication at a hospital in Mexico before moving to White City in January.
“We have not had a solid diagnosis here in the U.S. so that is why it has been hard to get information or help,” Padilla said.
The Medford Police Department confirmed the family filed a missing person’s report on September 11.
“The hospital here said they couldn’t give us a lot of information because she didn’t authorize them to, they confirmed with me when I called that she was in there but said she hasn’t signed the release to give you information,” Rocio Sanchez, Sandoval’s niece explained.
Sanchez said the hospital informed her that Sandoval would be released on her own, but when the family went to pick her up, Sandoval was nowhere to be found.
She said Sandoval’s mental health has been deteriorating and the family is worried about her wellbeing.
Both Sanchez and Padilla said it is hard to describe what Sandoval behaves like because she has not been acting herself lately due to her state of mind.
“She keeps to herself, if someone were to see here, I do not think she would be in a group of people, she would most likely be alone, doing her own thing, in her own mind,” Padilla added. “Just so you can understand, a couple of months ago she was saying she was Russian, we don’t know where her mindset is now.”
Sandoval speaks English and Spanish, is described to be around 145 pounds, is 5.4 ft. in height, has dark brown eyes and her hair is long with black roots and light brown tips.
She was last seen wearing a black pink and white plaid shirt, faded jeans, and a small white purse that she wears across her body. The family said Sandoval would walk down Highway 62 in White City and is known to roam around Walmart.
They said Sandoval may not have any identification on her, and she may use another name because of her mental state. Sandoval once lived in Santa Cruz and the family believes it is possible, she may return to the area again.
“She would never go this long without calling, she is pretty unpredictable, but she would at least call her 11-year-old son that needs her,” Padilla said. “We are really worried, we really need help.”
If anyone knows of Sandoval’s whereabouts, the family asks that they call Medford Police, Sanchez, or Padilla. (541) 774-2250
OSP Requesting Assistance with Fatal Hit and Run Crash in Talent
On Sunday, September 19, 2021, at approximately 9:53 PM, Oregon State Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a vehicle vs bicyclist on Highway 99 near West Valley View Road in Talent.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a driver of a vehicle struck a bicycle, being ridden by Geoffry Sterling (44) of Ashland. The involved vehicle did not stay at the scene.
Sterling sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.
Northbound traffic on Highway 99 was closed for approximately 3 hours .
OSP was assisted on scene by Jackson County Fire, Talent PD, Phoenix PD, and ODOT.
OSP is requesting anyone with information regarding the crash or any information regarding the suspect vehicle to contact the Oregon State Police Southern Command Center at 1-800-442-2068 or OSP and refer to Case #: SP21-268789.
OSP was assisted on scene by Jackson County Fire, Talent PD, Phoenix PD, and ODOT. Oregon State Police
RV Fire off of Kerby Mainline
9/18/2021, at 13:54 hours, IVFD and ODF responded to an abandoned RV fire off Kerby Main Line and Service Road 39-8-3.
Minimal spread to the wildland. Fire has been controlled and under investigation.
This will be checked through the night. Good job all, fast response kept this to a small incident. The one photo was taken from the side road by the dump. Illinois Valley Fire District
Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Grants Pass
On September 16, 2021, at about 2046 hours, dispatchers for the Grants Pass Police Department received reports of a motorcycle striking a fence. Responding police officers located a single rider in the roadway in the 1200 block of Fruitdale Drive. Personnel from Grants Pass Fire/Rescue and AMR also responded to the crash scene.
From the investigation, it is believed the motorcycle had been traveling eastbound on Fruitdale Drive when it failed to negotiate the corner. The deceased rider was identified as 66-year-old Robert Alan Lee.
Grants Pass Police Detectives and Traffic Team members assisted with the investigation. Anyone with information about the crash is encouraged to call the Grants Pass Police Department at 541-450-6260. Grants Pass Police Department
Medford Dept. of Revenue Office to Close for Construction from September 22 through October 8
The Oregon Department of Revenue’s Medford regional office at 3613 Aviation Way will be closed from Wednesday, September 22, 2021 through October 8, 2021 due to construction to enhance the safety and security of our customer service area.
A secure drop box will be available for taxpayers to deliver any necessary payments or documents, which will be removed daily from the drop box by office staff. The Medford office will mail receipts directly to customers.
The Medford office will return to normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Monday, October 11, 2021.
The Department of Revenue continues to expand features available through Revenue Online. Individuals can view letters sent to them by the department, initiate appeals, make payments, and submit questions. Visit Revenue Online to learn more.
The agency previously announced the temporary closure of the Bend regional office, which is also scheduled to reopen Monday, October 11, 2021.
To get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments, visit www.oregon.gov/dor or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), we accept all relay calls. Oregon Dept. of Revenue
Oregon reports 2,099 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 22 new deaths
There are 22 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,569, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Friday. OHA reported 2,099 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 309,841.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (28), Benton (25), Clackamas (252), Clatsop (12), Columbia (22), Coos (40), Crook (17), Curry (2), Deschutes (128), Douglas (59), Gilliam (3), Harney (11), Hood River (12), Jackson (115), Jefferson (14), Josephine (48), Klamath (59), Lake (12), Lane (176), Lincoln (25), Linn (128), Malheur (36), Marion (157), Morrow (3), Multnomah (218), Polk (57), Sherman (2), Tillamook (16), Umatilla (63), Union (8), Wallowa (7), Wasco (29), Washington (188) and Yamhill (127).
Oregon’s public health officials are pointing to signs of optimism in their fight against COVID-19.
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released weekly infection, hospitalization and death rates Wednesday, showing drops in all three categories.
“During Monday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, OHA recorded 12,997 new cases of COVID-19 infection – an 11% decrease from the previous week,” the department said in a news release.
The state recorded 281 new infections per 100,000 people during that week. Baker County, in eastern Oregon, experienced the highest rate of infections at 686 new infections per 100,000 people; the county population is little more than 16,000 people.
OHA noted 79% of statewide cases were classified as “sporadic,” meaning it could not trace them back easily to an event that’s likely to blame for the COVID-19 exposure. This contrasts with what OHA calls “clusters” or “outbreaks” that would be considered vectors for other infections. The high number of untraceable cases has been the norm throughout 2021 in Oregon, but the percentage has increased steadily since January.
The drop in cases precipitates a decrease in the hospitalization rate and deaths associated with COVID-19.
“New COVID-19 hospitalizations fell 42% this week – from 1,028 to 592 – the first drop after 9 consecutive weeks of increases,” OHA said. “COVID-19-associated deaths also fell – from 171 to 120 – the first drop in the death toll after 6 weeks of increases.”
The overall hospitalization rate remains low. Only 5.5% of reported COVID-19 infections end up in a hospital visit.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown instituted a new outdoor mask mandate three weeks ago. Additionally, Brown ordered all public workers to be vaccinated, something the governor is facing lawsuits over from firefighters and others.
Brown implored Oregonians to be vigilant with students returning to classrooms, but OHA’s data shows infections among school-age children to be minimal.
Ivermection Poisoning Spike
There have been at least five cases of Oregonians being hospitalized after misusing the antiparasitic drug ivermectin since the beginning of August as the state continues to see a spike in poisoning cases related to the drug, according to Oregon Health & Science University.
Between August 1 and September 14, the Oregon Poison Center reported 25 cases involving Oregonians intentionally misusing ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19. Five of those cases resulted in hospitalization, and two were so severely ill that they were admitted to an intensive care unit.
Last year, the Oregon Poison Center saw only a handful of cases involving ivermectin misuse, and there were relatively few this year until the summer. The Oregon Poison Center also serves Alaska and Guam, but officials say that most cases involving ivermectin this year have come from Oregon.
Widespread rain along with lowering temperatures across Southern Oregon has been a welcome sight to many Oregonians and firefighters across the area.
Thanks to that that widespread rain, on Saturday, the Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest District announced that effective Sunday, at 12:01 a.m., the public fire danger level will be decreasing to moderate and the industrial fire precaution level (IFPL) will decrease to one across Jackson and Josephine Counties.
That means that Saturday will be the last day power-driven and/or spark-emitting machinery is completely prohibited. However several restrictions will continue to remain.
The geographic area continued to receive moisture at wetting to light levels west of the Cascade Crest. On the east side of the Divide areas received trace to light levels of moisture. With the storm activity winds were gusty in the basins and over the mountain passes. Lightning was recorded in north-central Oregon. Cooler temperatures and higher humidities kept fire growth on existing large fires light.
The northern Cascades could see a few residual showers this morning, but the overall pattern has an upper-level ridge clearing, warming and drying to the region today and tomorrow. At the surface, a thermal trough will draw north/northeast winds into southwestern Oregon today, with light offshore flow following by tomorrow morning east of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington.
An upper-level trough will cross the region Wednesday, boosting westerly winds, increasing cloud cover and maybe bringing some light rain to western Washington. Warm, dry conditions follow Thursday through the weekend.
New significant fire potential will be low today and through much of the workweek due to the wet weather received over the weekend. Fire danger will rise a bit during the week but no critical weather patterns are expected.
Level 3 Dropped to Level 2 for Some Tiller Residents
After consultation with the Devils Knob Fire Managers, the Sheriff’s Office is announcing changes to evacuation orders previously issued for some homeowners in Tiller.
Based on current weather conditions and fire activity, the following homes are now under a Level 2 “BE SET” evacuation advisory:
- All homes on Ash Valley Road
- All homes on South Umpqua Road starting at Dumont Creek Campground to the 28000 block of South Umpqua Road.
These homes are no longer under the previously issued Level 3 “GO!” order.
Level 2 “BE SET” means: You must prepare to leave at a moments notice. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moments notice. Residents MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk. THIS MAY BE THE ONLY NOTICE YOU RECEIVE. Emergency services cannot guarantee that they will be able to notify you if conditions rapidly deteriorate.
Residents can opt in to receive emergency alerts based on their address by registering at www.dcso.com/alerts.
An interactive evacuation map can be found at www.dcso.com/evacuations.
Fire activity information can be found at the following locations:
Devils Knob Complex Fires:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/2021-Devils-Knob-Complex-112079071131008
Fire Information: (541) 900-6133 (8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.)
The Pacific Northwest finally saw rain throughout the region this weekend.
For the first time since January, Portland measured more than one inch of total rainfall in a single day. That was 1.31″ recorded at the Portland International Airport on Saturday. Between Friday and Saturday, 1.38″ of rain came down at the airport.
Other spots across the region were even wetter between the two days: 1.54″ measured in Eugene and 1.58″ in Vancouver. In Astoria, 2.3″ of rain came down.
Was it enough to put a dent in the local drought levels? Based on the latest look at the US Drought Monitor in Oregon, central Oregon is still at the worst drought level on the spectrum. In western Oregon, the environment is suffering from severe and extreme drought.
According to NOAA, we would need six to nine inches of new rainfall for western Oregon and Washington to cut away at the drought, and twelve to 15 inches of new rain for northern central Oregon. We may not see any major impacts in drought levels until the wetter months of the winter.
There are still 14 uncontained fires burning between Washington and Oregon, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. Moisture like what we had this weekend is helping fire season wind down as we head into fall.
OHA recognizes Preparedness Month by focusing on emotional health needs from disasters
Oregonians invited to continue ‘Honor with Action’ in face of emergencies
Oregon Health Authority joins the national observation of Preparedness Month during September, with special emphasis on emotional health resources for communities, and building social connections as public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires continue.
Like many of its emergency management partners, OHA encourages people in Oregon to start or continue their journey toward being prepared for emergencies. OHA’s emphasis is on helping people prepare for their health needs during and after a disaster, including reminding people to review their plans and kits to make sure they address their household’s health and medical needs.
- Families with infants consider essential items like diapers, special items or food.
- People who rely on regular medical care like dialysis discuss their facilities’ emergency plans.
- People who use medical devices plan to take them as part of their evacuation kit and know how to replace them if the devices are lost during a disaster.
- People learn about other ways to prepare for health needs during a disaster at HealthOregon.org/preparedness.
“The anniversary of the devastating wildfires that affected so many Oregonians last year falls during Preparedness Month and on top of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic,” says Steve Allen, OHA’s behavioral health director. “People often experience heightened distress surrounding the anniversary of a disaster event, so it’s a good time to recognize and work to support ourselves, our families and our community’s emotional health needs right along with our other preparedness activities.”
Allen says Preparedness Month is a good time to empower community members to take action by preparing for the next public health emergency. That preparation can displace fear of disasters.
“Kits and plans are a starting point and what we put in them can save lives and also bring comfort,” says Allen, noting how including a few fun activities or toys can make a difference for kids. “When it comes to protecting our emotional health, sometimes it’s about having healthy coping strategies.”
Some of these coping strategies include taking care of your body through sleep, exercise and healthy eating; taking lots of breaks to unwind or help strong feelings fade; staying informed while still avoiding exposure to too much news; and reaching out for help when needed.
Children and youth can be especially vulnerable to stress during and after emergencies. Communities can support them by encouraging them to participate in their families’ preparedness activities in age-appropriate ways. After a disaster, adults can help kids by encouraging them to share what they’re thinking, answer their questions, limit their exposure to media coverage of disasters, keep to routines, and get them support when they need it.
Emergency management professionals around the country chose the theme “Honor with Action” for this year’s Preparedness Month. After the wide range of disasters this past year, it fits well with OHA’s emphasis on emotional health preparedness and recovery.
“Our social connections are an important part of what make us resilient,” Allen says. “The pandemic, along with the wildfires disaster, has made it hard to stay connected, but it is more important than ever to re-establish connections or build new ones. Take time to honor the losses of the past year by reaching out to loved ones and neighbors. Also, reach out to survivors and see what help they need.”
If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves or needs help because of drug or alcohol use, call Lines for Life which is a 24/7 crisis line at 800-273-8255. Lines for Life also offers specialized support for seniors, military members, youth and those facing racial equity concerns. In addition, it provides specialized services through its COVID-19 & Oregon Wildfire Outreach Program. Find more information at www.linesforlife.org.
- Call to Safety provides support for persons of all genders facing domestic and sexual violence. Call or text 503-235-5333 or visit calltosafety.org.
- Wildfire-focused support can be reached at https://www.safestrongoregon.org/.
- More mental health resources for the public are available at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/AMH/Pages/Get-Help.aspx
Catalytic Converters Stolen a From Portland School District as Portland Faces School Bus Driver Shortage
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man suspected of stealing catalytic converters from several Reynolds School District vehicles Saturday night.
According to investigators, it was all caught on camera. The district says it caused about $70,000 in damage and knocked 19 buses out of service. School leaders say it has 115 buses so there shouldn’t be any significant delays, but the massive theft has compounded existing issues with their transportation services.
“It was a pretty quick job, and unfortunately it did a lot of damage to our buses,” Reynolds School District spokesperson Steven Padilla said.
The sheriff’s office is looking for the man pictured below. He was seen on surveillance video Saturday morning scoping out the school district’s bus yard before returning to steal the converters. The suspect’s face was covered by a mask and hat, but district officials are hoping someone recognizes him. He has a tattoo on his right hand.
District officials are now looking for converters to replace the stolen ones, but they haven’t had much luck.
“Right now there is one catalytic converter for our bus in the state of Oregon,” Padilla said.
Ideally, the district would like to recover the stolen converters. Even though it would take hours of work, they could still repair their buses with the original parts.
“It’s going to take months for the buses to be repaired because of the (catalytic converter) shortage. We’re reaching out to the state of Georgia. They have five; we are trying to secure those,” Padilla said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (503) 988-4300 or Crime Stoppers.
To top this off- Families of some Portland students find themselves in a tough spot wondering how they’re going to get their kids to school as Portland Public Schools already has a school bus driver shortage.
In an email to parents on Friday, Portland Public Schools announced that they canceled 13 bus routes to Benson and Lincoln High schools and 16 routes with different pickup or drop-off times for the foreseeable future.
PPS says it will have more information for families this coming week to help them, and the email outlines some of the things they’re working on including:
- Reducing the number of big bus routes
- Using other contracted smaller vehicles
- Talking with business and state officials to get drivers
- Offering financial support to families whose routes are canceled
- And figuring out a system to coordinate family carpools
Other states turn to the national guard for help driving busses.
Bootleg Fire Damage Will Affect Endangered Species
Though it may seem like the Bootleg Fire’s damage has already been done after crews contained the blaze last month, the 647 square mile scar spells trouble for the entire Klamath Basin once the wet season arrives.
If actions aren’t taken quickly to protect streams and drainages in the burn area, water quality in Upper Klamath Lake — and the endangered c’waam and koptu that call it home — could suffer.
For decades, suckers have been plagued by excessive phosphorus loading into the lake through its main tributaries — the Sprague, Williamson and Wood rivers.
Though the Upper Basin is naturally rich in phosphorus due to its volcanic soils, land use changes and agricultural practices have channelized streams, reduced natural water
storage and accelerated riparian erosion, all of which increases the amount of nutrient- carrying sediment flowing into Upper Klamath Lake.
Having passed a natural threshold, the additional phosphorus has given rise to a monoculture of cyanobacterial algae that dominate the lake ecosystem in the summer.
Fish biologists say dramatic declines in water quality related to the algae’s bloom-and-crash cycle stress out juvenile c’waam and koptu in the lake, causing almost all of them to succumb to disease and predation by the end of each summer — before they’re able to reach sexual maturity.
Fatal Crash Monday Morning Involving Log Truck Closes Hwy 126 East Of Walton
Trip Check is reporting that both lanes of Highway 126 near milepost 37, just four miles East of Walton are closed due to a crash.
You are asked to use an alternate route.