Rogue Valley News, Thursday 12/30 – Pedestrian Dies After Hit-And-Run in North Medford Walmart Parking Lot; Historic Snowfall on Mt. Ashland

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

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Rogue Valley Weather

Winter Weather Advisory in effect from December 30, 10:00 AM PST until December 31, 10:00 AM PST

Today– A chance of snow after 10am, mixing with rain after 4pm. Areas of fog before 10am. Areas of freezing fog before 7am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 39. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Friday– A chance of snow showers before 1pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow showers. Patchy fog after 10am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 37. Light west wind. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

New Year’s Day– Patchy freezing fog before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 38. Light east southeast wind.

Sunday– A 30 percent chance of rain after 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39.

Monday– Rain. Snow level 3200 feet rising to 4100 feet in the afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 43.

Pedestrian Dies After Hit-And-Run in North Medford Walmart Parking Lot

On December 27th, 2021 at 6:02 p.m., officers and medical personnel were dispatched to a person down, in the parking lot west of McDonalds, 3611 Crater Lake Hwy. The person reported he was run over by an unknown vehicle, and he was conscious. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Medford Police Detectives and Officers from the Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction Team (STAR) assumed the investigation. The victim appears to have been homeless and was panhandling on the concrete median at an intersection in the parking lot, when he was run over by an unknown vehicle. 

The victim‘s name is not being released at this time, pending next of kin notification. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact our dispatch, 541-770-4783, and reference case 21-21029 – Medford Police Dept.

Historic Snowfall on Mt. Ashland

Today’s snowfall at Mt. Ashland made history. Nearly 100 inches of snowfall has been recorded less than 10 days into the season.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area posted on its Facebook that there is a “powder paradise today” after receiving 20 inches of snow in the last 24 hours.

In a video linked to the post, Mt. Ashland General Manager, Hiram Towle, talks about important deep-snow safety measures to keep in mind. https://www.facebook.com/MtAshlandSkiArea/videos/601186987844802

“When the snow gets deep like this, there are issues out in the woods, especially with snow immersion suffocation,” Towle said. “What that is is when the trees hold back the snow and create a cavity. You’ve gotta ski with partners when you’re in the woods especially, and stay close, stay within sight of each other for safety.”

The post also reminds visitors that with snow comes the road hazards, and to please be extra careful when driving up.

“Safety also continues out to the road, we have seen evidence of dozens of car wrecks already,” Towle said.

Towle also reminds visitors about the importance of mask safety in the lodge and states that they are required in all indoor areas.

“Please remember to wear your mask when inside the lodge or any other indoor area,” the post also reads in part. “We’ve been handing out hundreds of masks daily, however, it’s preferred if you bring your own.”

Oregon State Police Video Shows SUV Plowing into Oregon Police Car after Sliding on Black Ice on Hwy 199 Near Grants Pass

The roads may look clear, but don’t be fooled the temperatures are still freezing, and black ice is lurking in the shadows. These drivers were all driving too fast for the road conditions. Luckily, no one was injured.

https://www.facebook.com/OSPsocial/videos/288180336660258

On December 27, 2021, at approximately 10:00 AM, OSP Lieutenant Benson of the Grants Pass Area Command of Oregon State Police was on patrol, assisting motorists during a snow event. He had just finished investigating a slide-off crash when another occurred a short distance behind him.

Lt. Benson backed up on the road and exited his vehicle when a third vehicle spun out and hit his patrol car. He saw the vehicle coming and was able to run to a safe area.

Oregon reports 2,331 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 5,640, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

OHA reported 2,331 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 418,333.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (67), Clackamas (141), Clatsop (16), Columbia (10), Coos (36), Crook (24), Curry (3), Deschutes (326), Douglas (47), Gilliam (2), Grant (11), Harney (1), Hood River (15), Jackson (144), Jefferson (37), Josephine (45), Klamath (14), Lake (1), Lane (131), Lincoln (23), Linn (85), Malheur (20), Marion (168), Morrow (2), Multnomah (419), Polk (39), Tillamook (6), Umatilla (90), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Wasco (12), Washington (286) and Yamhill (102).

COVID-19 weekly cases increase, hospitalizations and deaths decline

OHA’s COVID-19 Weekly Report released today showed higher daily cases but declines in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.

OHA reported 6,987 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Dec. 21, through Sunday, Dec. 27. That is a 25% increase over the previous week. That was despite a 7.1% decline in reported test results for the week.

There were 136,789 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Dec. 19 through Dec. 25. The percentage of positive tests increased to 7.4%, from 4.8% the previous week.

There were 185 new COVID-19 related hospitalizations, compared to 286 last week — a 35% drop. That marked the lowest weekly total since the week of July 19 through July 25.

There were 89 reported COVID-19-related deaths, down from 114 reported the previous week.

Medford COVID Vaccine and Testing Site Relocated

The Jackson County Health and Human Services announced that the Oregon Health Authority vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites at the Expo have been relocated to the Merrick at 200 N. Riverside Ave. in Medford.

This is a walk-through vaccination site and is operational 7 days per week. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All COVID-19 vaccines are available for individuals 5-years-old and older.

The COVID-19 PCR testing site is at the same location and operates Sunday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please visit www.curative.com to register

$3 million in funding available for community projects supporting older adults, people with disabilities 

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), in early 2022, will invite funding requests for community projects supporting older adults and people with disabilities. Of the $3 million available, at least $2 million will be designated for equity-related proposals serving Oregonians who have experienced barriers in accessing services and supports.

The ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) provides the Innovation Fund to support projects that are not only unique in approach but have the potential to be long-lasting.

APD will be encouraging culturally specific organizations to submit proposals. Culturally specific organizations are defined as:

• Serving a particular cultural community and are primarily staffed and led by members of that community;
• Demonstrating personal knowledge of lived experience of the community including, but not limited to, the impact of structural and individual racism or discrimination on the community; 
• Knowledgeable about specific barriers faced in the community and how those barriers influence the structure of their program or service; and
• Able to describe the community’s cultural practices, health and safety beliefs/practices, positive cultural identity/pride/resilience, immigration dynamics, religious beliefs, or other traditions, and how their services have been adapted to honor those traditions. 

The Oregon Office of Contracts and Procurement will oversee the competitive selection process for funding recipients which is expected to launch sometime in February 2022; information will be posted on OregonBuys. For more information visit APD’s webpage, Funding Opportunities.

More than 30,000 Oregon households have received rental assistance relief due to hardship from pandemic 

State issues checks for more than $211 million in federal emergency rental assistance 

Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announced that as of today, OHCS and local program administrators (LPAs) have paid $211.6 million in federal emergency rental assistance to 30,471 households, up from $200.4 million and 28,869 applicants last week, through the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance Program (OERAP). 

OERAP continues to be one of the nation’s top-performing programs and is ranked fifth in the nation in the percentage of federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) funds paid out and obligated, as tracked by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Progress and updated numbers  

Through its three-point plan, OHCS and its processing partner, Public Partnerships LLC (PPL), have made significant strides in the past several weeks to speed up application processing. Currently, 265 PPL staff are focusing on processing applications. In the past week alone, PPL processed 1,675 applications, far exceeding its target of 1,000. This is in addition to the applications processed by LPAs working across the state to finish paying out ERA 1 funds. 

To date, OHCS and LPAs have: 

  • Paid $211,658,147 to landlords and tenants to help 30,471 Oregon households.
  • Received more than 51,733 completed applications to be reviewed for eligibility.

Visit the OERAP dashboard for more data. 

Out-of-state campers to be charged more for RV sites at Oregon State Parks beginning Jan. 1, 2022

On January 1, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will begin charging out-of-state residents 25% more for RV sites for stays beginning January 1, as directed by the Oregon Legislature. Oregon residents with RVs pay an RV license plate fee, with some proceeds going to state park operations. The surcharge is designed to achieve parity, and the revenue it generates will pay for day-to-day operations and repairs to state parks, which are not funded by taxes. 

The increase applies to all sites with hookups for recreational vehicles. Including lodging tax, a typical RV site with sewer and electrical hookups will cost $30-$50 per night for non-residents, compared to $24-$40 for Oregon residents. The increase does not affect existing reservations. 

Residents and non-residents will pay the same rate for all other site types, including tent sites, cabins and yurts.

The surcharge carries out Senate Bill 794, and its implementation follows a public comment period with opportunity for people to weigh in on how the proposed rule change would go into effect. Information on the process is posted on OPRD’s rulemaking web page.

Rate ranges for all site types are posted at stateparks.oregon.gov; exact rates are calculated when visitors make a reservation. Reservations can be booked at oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com and by phone at 800-452-5687, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (closed holidays). Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.

Oregon’s moratorium on expired licenses, ID cards and vehicle registration ends on Friday, December 31.

The DMV said it has caught up with enough of its backlog from the pandemic that half of all office visits are by appointment and the other half are on standby.

The department recommends people visit DMV2U to see if they are able to complete their services online.

“Going forward, customers will continue to have the option of making an appointment online through DMV2U or dropping by, as well as more choices online,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said.

DMV urges Oregonians who need to renew their license or ID card to get the Real ID option. Airports will begin requiring passports or the Real ID as identification to fly beginning in May of 2023.

New Oregon Laws that Go into Effect on January 1st

Those new laws, and many others, take effect on January 1st 2022.

POLICE REFORM: George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer triggered a national reckoning on civil rights. Oregon lawmakers responded with several bills aimed at improving police conduct and oversight. Here are some of those that take effect Jan. 1:

· Senate Bill 204 gives civilian oversight board access to a database of police encounters and arrests. The bill passed the House 34-22, and the House 18-11.

· Senate Bill 621 gives local jurisdictions the ability to set law for community oversight boards that oversee police discipline. Lawmakers took up this bill at Portland’s request. It passed the Senate 20-7 and the House 37-19.

· House Bill 2513 requires CPR training for police certification and requires police to call for emergency medical aid if a restrained person suffers respiratory or cardiac crisis. The bill passed the House 58-2 and the Senate 24-4.

· House Bill 2929 requires police officers to report misconduct or fitness standards and mandates investigation into such a report with 72 hours. Investigators must report misconduct findings to a state board. The House voted 58-2 for the bill; the Senate approved it 27-2.

· House Bill 2936 creates a background checklist and standardized personal history questionnaire for aspiring police officers and exempts law enforcement from a prohibition on employer access to personal social media accounts. While the law takes effect on Jan. 1, it cannot be used to hire corrections officers until July 1, 2023. It passed the House 54-4 and the Senate 20-8.

· House Bill 3145 requires police departments to report officer discipline to the state within 10 days. The state will publish those reports in an online publicly accessible database. It passed the House 58-1 and the Senate 26-2.

· House Bill 2932 requires Oregon law enforcement to participate in the FBI’s national use-of-force database and directs a state commission to analyze the data and report its findings to the Legislature every year. The bill passed the House 58-1 and the Senate 20-7.

· House Bill 2986 requires police officers be trained to investigate and report bias crimes. It passed both the House and the Senate unanimously.

· House Bill 3059 requires any arrests associated with “unlawful assemblies” to be based on crimes other than a failure to disperse. It also passed the House and Senate unanimously.

· House Bill 3273 limits the circumstances in which law enforcement officers may release booking photos, commonly known as mugshots. Supporters said online publication of mugshots were impinging on people’s privacy and preventing them from moving on with their lives, whether or not they were ultimately convicted of crimes. It passed the House 54-4 and the Senate 17-13.

PUBLIC MEETINGS: House Bill 2560 makes permanent a pandemic-era change. It requires government agencies, whenever possible, to stream their meetings online and give the public the opportunity to testify remotely. The bill passed the House 42-5 and the Senate 25-2.

COLD MEDICINE: Oregon was one of just two states (Mississippi was the other) that required a prescription for cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a restriction established to limit people’s ability to buy large quantities and use it to make methamphetamine. But lawmakers concluded that a multistate system for tracking purchases, and meth production shifting to labs outside the country, made Oregon’s law obsolete. So House Bill 2648 repealed Oregon’s restriction. Now, people can buy cold medicines by asking a pharmacist, who registers the transaction with the database. The bill passed the House 54-4, and the House 27-2.

ELECTIONS: House Bill 3291 requires Oregon to count ballots mailed the day of the election. Previously, counties would count only ballots actually received on or before Election Day. It passed the House 39-21 and the Senate 16-13. This will delay how quickly election results can be determined but is likely to lead to higher election turnout.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Senate Bill 8 requires local governments to allow development of affordable housing even on land not zoned for residential use, with some exceptions for lands designated for heavy industry and publicly owned properties next to sites zoned for school or residential use. It also lowers the duration for which such housing must be classified as affordable, from 40 years to 30. The bill won overwhelming legislative support, passing the Senate 25-5 and the House 46-3.

HATE CRIMES: Senate Bill 398 makes it a crime to intimidate people by displaying a noose. Violators face up to 364 days in prison and a fine of $6,250. The bill passed the Senate 27-1 and the House 54-0.

RACIAL EQUITY: House Bill 2935, known as the Crown Act, bans discrimination in schools or the workplace “based on physical characteristics that are historically associated with race.” The law specifies hair style and hair texture are among those newly protected traits. It passed the House 58-0 and the Senate 28-1.

JUVENILE SUSPECTS: Senate Bill 418 establishes that if a police officer intentionally uses false information to elicit a statement from someone under age 18, that statement will be presumed to be involuntary. The bill passed the Senate 24-4, and the House 53-2.

TEACHER UNIONS: Senate Bill 580 requires school districts bargain with teacher unions over class sizes at schools with high concentrations of low-income students. The bill’s original version would have applied more broadly, potentially requiring schools to lower class sizes in high-income schools and raise them in schools with a concentration of low-income students, who have greater learning needs. The Legislature narrowed the bill’s scope after The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that it could undermine the state’s efforts to provide more equitable outcomes for students of all backgrounds. The House approved the bill 36-21; the Senate voted 18-11 in favor.

HOMELESSNESS: Senate Bill 850 requires that death reports for homeless people list the person’s residence as “domicile unknown.” Supporters hope the bill will help track the number of people who die while experiencing homelessness, something that already happens in Multnomah County. The bill passed 22-5 in the Senate and 52-0 in the House.

TOBACCO: Effective Jan. 1, 2022, retailers in Oregon must have a tobacco retail license to sell commercial tobacco products and Inhalant Delivery Systems (IDS, also known as “e-cigarettes” or “vape”), per Senate Bill 587. The new Tobacco Retail License law lets the state more accurately track where tobacco is being sold and ensure that businesses follow tobacco laws, including not selling to people under age 21.

MARIJUANA: House Bill 3369 allows nurses to discuss possible medical use of marijuana with their patients. It passed the House 47-5 and passed the Senate 21-6.

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A 17-year-old was reported missing in Salem and detectives say the teen might be the victim of an online catfishing scheme.

Ezra Mayhugh, 17, was last seen on October 15, 2021 after being dropped off in downtown Salem by a friend, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. He was reported as a runaway the following day when he did not return home.

Investigators say he might be in Washington or California. They hope to reunite Ezra safely with family members.

He’s described as about 5-foot 11-inches tall, weighing 130 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes.

If you have had contact with Mayhugh since October 15 or have other helpful information on his whereabouts, the sheriff’s office asks you to contact Detective M.J. Sphoon at 503-588-6808 or to submit a tip by texting TIPMCSO and your tip to 847411.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Have-You-Seen-Me-Southern-Oregons-Missing-People-161249961222839/posts/

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