Rogue Valley News, Monday 1/24 – Sen. Wyden Visits Hospitals in Medford and Grants Pass, Suspect Arrested in Grants Pass Murder Investigation

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, January 24, 2022

Rogue Valley Weather

Air Stagnation Advisory until January 29, 04:00 AM PST

Today– Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 59. Calm wind.

Tuesday– Sunny, with a high near 59. Calm wind becoming east southeast around 6 mph in the afternoon.

Wednesday– Patchy freezing fog before 7am. Sunny, with a high near 58. Calm wind.

Thursday– Patchy freezing fog before 8am. Sunny, with a high near 58.

Friday– Partly sunny, with a high near 55.

Sen. Ron Wyden Visits Hospitals in Medford and Grants Pass

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden spent time in Southern Oregon as staffing remains a major issue for hospitals all across the country and the number of patients far outweighs the number of staff available.

Many health care facilities are doing everything they can to beef up their work forces, even before vaccine mandates began to hurt staffing levels.

Hospitals are relaying on traveling nurses and Oregon national guard but hospitals say this is not a sustainable long term solution.

“The financial math just doesn’t work and it puts further strain on the hospital system on healthcare systems to have to be paying these kinds of rates. It also puts strain on our employees, the people that are dedicated and love this community and love our hospitals and want to stay, yet they are getting paid less than the traveling nurses, ” says Laura Magstadt, Vice President of Nursing, Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.

 Saturday, Sen. Ron Wyden saw firsthand the issues the pandemic is causing to healthcare systems, “I’m concerned about nursing staff. I’m concerned about faculty, and  people who can train them because here at Three Rivers and across the state, we are in a huge shortage situation,” Wyden says.

Senator Ron Wyden spoke alongside hospital staff outside of Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford about the challenges the medical system is facing, including low morale among staff.

One of the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, Justin McCoy said as the pandemic continues to strain the medical system, it’s the staff that is carrying the burden.

“We’re beyond angry at this point, we are just sad,” McCoy said.

One factor Sen. Wyden said that is adding to the already demanding job, is the use of companies who provide traveling nurses and pay them three times as much.

“A lot of nurses in critical care feel like well if I am going to do this horribly sad and difficult job, I might as well, you know, make the kind of money I can make cause, there aren’t enough of us who want to do it,” McCoy said.

Sen. Wyden explained that pre-pandemic, traveling nurses made up 2-3% of the local hospital system’s staff.

He said they now make up 40% of the current staff.

“We understand why they might say we have bills like everybody else, we have to pay debts, it’s understandable they can make $200, and from what I’ve heard repeatedly today all through the valley, normally people get $60,” Sen. Wyden said. “We get it, but I really think that there are these traveler companies that during a pandemic are taking advantage of this situation.”

Sen. Wyden said that although traveling nurses are needed to fill current staff vacancies, there should be some type of regulation to ensure the pay is even.

McCoy explained that he and his colleagues need something to change soon.

“In healthcare, our system is breaking like top to bottom and I don’t use those words lightly,” McCoy said.

Sen. Wyden said he will be looking into solutions to the issue, including loan forgiveness and retention bonuses.

McCoy said each person can do their part to help those on the front-line of this pandemic, by getting their COVID-19 vaccines.

“It’s been really hard, we are used to saving more lives,” McCoy said.

Suspect Arrested in Grants Pass Murder Investigation

On 01-22-2022, at approximately 9:15 pm, the Grants Pass Police Department responded to Flespy’s Bar and Grill for a report of a male subject laying on the sidewalk, unconscious with blood on him.  Officers arrived on scene within one minute from the time of call and located citizens attempting to provide emergency medical treatment to a male subject laying near the front of the building.  Emergency personnel from Grants Pass Fire Rescue and AMR also responded and provided medical treatment to the male. 

Despite the rapid response of emergency personnel, the male was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Detectives were notified and responded to assist with the investigation, as well as the Josephine County District Attorney and later the Oregon State Police Forensics unit.  Fruitdale Drive was closed for all traffic for approximately 4 hours while the scene was processed. 

After clearing from the crime scene, detectives continued working on leads and follow up on evidence throughout the night.  After conducting the additional investigation, a name was developed for a possible suspect.  Detectives were able to determine the arrestee, Paul Dayton, was involved in this incident and obtained a search warrant for his residence in the area of Wards Creek Road in Rogue River, Or. 

Due to the severity of the crime and an unknown threat to the public, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was contacted for assistance with serving the warrant for Dayton.  The Rogue River Police Department also assisted with looking for the suspect in this case and provided resources for our officers and detectives while conducting follow up in the Rogue River area.  One additional witness to the incident was located at the Lil’ Pantry in Rogue River prior to the warrant being served.  Dayton was located at his residence and was taken into custody without incident by members of the Jackson County SWAT and Negotiations teams.  

VICTIM:   Johnson, Tobias Devin  39 years of age  Grants Pass Resident

ARRESTEE:   Dayton, Paul S.  42 year old male   Rogue River resident CHARGES:   Murder in the Second Degree –   Unlawful Use of a Weapon

Due to the diligence of the detective unit and assistance from our partnering agencies in Jackson County, Dayton was safely taken into custody approximately 16 hours after the initial reported incident. Without the assistance from the Josephine County District Attorney, Oregon State Police Forensics Unit, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the cooperation of any witnesses to this case, we would not have been able to successfully close this case in a timely manner. 

Due to the fact that this is a major crime investigation, any requests for additional information will be directed to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.  Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Det. Shaw with the Grants Pass Police Department at 541-450-6260.  Grants Pass Police Department 

Homeland Security Looking Into Southern Oregon’s Illegal Marijuana Trade and Human Trafficking

An ongoing crackdown on the burgeoning illegal marijuana trade in Southern Oregon is drawing increased attention from the state and federal government, including from the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

Detainees at Illegal Marijuana Grow in Medford 10/13/2021

According to HSI, these illegal farms are often operated with the labor of migrant workers who have been told that the work is legal, and often that they are farming hemp. Workers are trafficked in the hundreds, if not thousands, under the impression that they’ll be able to earn a better life for their families. Hammer said that HSI is working with local law enforcement agencies to better understand how migrant workers are recruited and how the farms are often operated by established drug cartels.

Once migrant workers arrive at the job site, Hammer says they often find themselves stuck with nowhere to go, no one they know, no money, and usually without a firm grasp on the English language. In some cases, Hammer says, migrant laborers are being worked to death — with bodies found discarded on the property.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office identified at least two deaths tied to marijuana grow operations in 2021. In August, a Hispanic man was dropped off at the Caves Chevron “very near death.” He died en route to the hospital, prompting an investigation that eventually led to a major illegal marijuana grow bust. A few months later, the Sheriff’s Office said it received a tip that led them to a man’s body. He’d been shot and buried in a shallow grave near another former illegal grow site.

Many of the illegal grows busted thus far in Southern Oregon have been on land leased from local property owners, but Hammer said that the cartels are changing their tactics and increasingly buying up local land for their operations.

DHS, the FBI, and local law enforcement as well as local community organizations are working together to try to not only stop illegal operations in Southern Oregon but also truly understand and stop trafficking at is source and work in partnerships with organizations in other countries to educate workers about the illegal trafficking trade before they arrive in the U.S.

Oregon reports 10,947 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 20 new deaths

There are 20 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,936, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 10,947 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 570,892.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (40), Benton (181), Clackamas (845), Clatsop (80), Columbia (201), Coos (200), Crook (114), Curry (28), Deschutes (663), Douglas (226), Gilliam (1), Harney (1), Hood River (43), Jackson (661), Jefferson (213), Josephine (243), Klamath (253), Lake (11), Lane (1,196), Lincoln (109), Linn (480), Malheur (99), Marion (1,221), Morrow (43), Multnomah (1,487), Polk (261), Tillamook (38), Umatilla (317), Union (68), Wallowa (20), Wasco (72), Washington (1,280) and Yamhill (252).

OHA briefs media on rising hospitalizations, surging cases

Health Officer and State Epidemiologist Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., briefed media Friday on the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although cases and hospitalizations are surging, Sidelinger spoke about the difference Oregonians are making by wearing masks, indoors and outdoors, by restricting gatherings and by staying home when sick or upon a positive test.

“There is some light at the end of this very dark tunnel. The recent modeling suggests that cases could peak within the next week or so with hospitalizations – a lagging indicator – peaking in the following weeks,” he said.

More importantly, the forecast shows the difference everyone in Oregon is making by continuing to take preventive steps. The projected peak for hospitalizations is about 1,500 in early February.

Without the widespread adherence the state has seen from Oregonians, the curve would be much steeper – about 1,900 hospitalizations.

“The critical difference here in Oregon is you,” Sidelinger said. His full comments can be found here. A recording of the briefing is here.

Masks were burned in front of the Oregon Health Authority building in Portland as the agency took testimony on a proposal to make the indoor mask requirement permanent.

Under Oregon law, OHA can’t make another temporary extension of the rule. If it’s made permanent, the rule would be repealed when COVID-19 cases decline. Most people testified in opposition of the extension with many people saying they can’t trust the agency to eliminate the rule.

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Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Says Wages Up and Unemployment at An All TIme Low

By most measures the labor market is tight. The unemployment rate now stands at 4.1% which is lower than it’s been throughout Oregon’s history, other than the 2017-19 time period last cycle where the unemployment rate was roughly in the 3.5-4% range.

Wage growth and labor income overall are booming as a result. Average wages are up 17% since the start of the pandemic, and total wages and salaries in the state are 11% above pre-pandemic levels. Oregon Office of Economic Analysis forecast for wages has never been stronger, despite a somewhat lower employment outlook tied to the recession and slower population growth.

Over the past year — Dec ’20 to Dec ’21 — Oregon businesses added 107,000 jobs for a growth rate of 5.9%. The workers are coming back. Labor supply has increased. The state has now recovered more than 4 in 5 of the lost jobs at the start of the pandemic. Now, those gains are not quite as fast as businesses would have like, and the adjustments by businesses in terms of wage increases and the like are challenging. That being said, in an inflationary boom like we are in, firms have been able to not only absorb those higher costs but also pass them on to customers. (https://oregoneconomicanalysis.com/2022/01/21/labor-demand-in-oregon-graph-of-the-week/)

Keizer Woman Killed When Vehicle Crashed Into Her House

Authorities say a 67-year-old woman was killed when a driver accused of being under the influence of intoxicants crashed his vehicle into her Oregon home.

A 63-year-old man who was in the house in the town of Keizer north of Salem was seriously injured. Police say the driver of the vehicle left the roadway twice and hit a power pole before crashing into the home.

The woman died at the scene and the injured man was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The 41-year-old driver was arrested on multiple charges including manslaughter, reckless driving, driving under the influence and a probation violation.

Roseburg Rivers Edge RV Park Incident Under Investigation

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, deputies went to a trailer in the Rivers Edge Mobile Home Park to conduct follow up related to a criminal investigation.

When they arrived, deputies heard a gunshot from inside the trailer where they were contacting an individual; which prompted a several hour stand-off. Several law enforcement officers responded to the area and attempted to have the occupants to exit the trailer peacefully.

Area residents and a nearby school were notified of the situation, which was confined to the trailer unit, and asked to avoid the area.  

The Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response and Crisis Negotiations Teams were activated and continued to diffuse the situation. After no response from the individuals inside, tactical action was taken which resulted in a female exiting the trailer a few minutes later.

The female, identified as 30 year-old Callista Mayfield of Roseburg, was taken into custody without incident. Deputies continued making attempts to have the male, 42-year-old James Robert Young of Roseburg, exit the trailer. During an interview following her arrest, the female indicated to law enforcement that Young had taken his own life.

Tactical team members entered the trailer and located Young deceased inside. The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office responded and is investigating the death as a suicide at this time.

Mayfield was transported to the jail where she was lodged on an arrest warrant out of Lane County. Next of kin has been notified. Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office

Klamath Falls Man Arrested After Firing Shots Into Home With Child Inside

One man has been arrested by Klamath County Police after officers say that the man fire four rounds into a residence with a four-year-old child and adult inside.

Klamath Falls Police have identified Shane Whynot as the suspect who fired those rounds into the home and also a nearby vehicle.

Police say that the shooting occurred in the 200 Block of North Eldorado Avenue on Saturday January 22. 

Officers were able to pull video footage from the surrounding area and developed a suspect vehicle. The vehicle was later located in the 1900 block of Burns Street where officers detained Shane Whynot, DOB 1/25/1991, on scene and developed probable cause for his arrest.

During the search of the suspect vehicle, officers found empty shell casings, additional live ammunition and a stolen pistol that was consistent to the type of firearm used during the shooting. There was also a dealer quantity of suspected methamphetamine located in the vehicle.

Whynot has been booked and lodged at the Klamath County Jail for Attempted Murder x2, Unlawful Use of a Weapon x4, Disorderly Conduct, Reckless Endangering, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Theft I (Possession of a stolen firearm), Criminal Mischief I, DCS Methamphetamine and PCS Methamphetamine.

Police state that the investigation is still on-going. 

SP Fish & Wildlife Division is seeking public assistance with Poaching Case of Four Antelope – Harney County

The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division is seeking public assistance identifying the person(s) responsible for the unlawful taking of four antelope in Harney County.  

On January 17, 2022, a Fish and Wildlife Trooper from Burns responded to a report of two dead, and two injured antelope on private property adjacent to Highway 78 near milepost 33 and Rodeo Lane.  This location is about four miles south of Crane, Oregon.

The two severely injured antelope had to be euthanized due to their injuries and none of the antelope could be salvaged.

The unlawful take is believed to have occurred sometime during the evening of January 16 to the early morning hours of January 17.  

OSP is urging anyone with information regarding this case to call the Oregon State Police Tip-line at 1-800-452-7888, OSP (677), or email at TIP@state.or.us. Reference case # SP22-013307.

Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators

The Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Furbearers, Game Fish and Shellfish. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags. Oregon State Police

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Missing child alert — Katelyn N. Smith is missing and is believed to be in danger

Katelyn Smith

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, asks the public to help find Katelyn N. Smith, age 17, a child in foster care who went missing from Coos Bay on Jan. 20. Katelyn is believed to be in danger.

ODHS asks the public for help in the effort to find Katelyn and to contact 911 or local law enforcement if they believe they see her.

Katelyn is suspected to be in the Coos Bay area. She may be in the presence of a 17-year-old male, or Trayton W. Glass, age 20. 

Name: Katelyn N. Smith
Pronouns: She/her
Date of birth: Aug. 3, 2004
Height: 5-foot-six
Weight: 120 pounds
Hair: Blue
Eye color: Brown 
Other identifying information: Katelyn’s lower lip is pierced; she has a nose piercing.
Coos Bay Police Department Case #P20220240
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children #1441272

A small number of children in foster care may be in significant danger when they run away or have gone missing. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and ensure their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. 

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Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Asks for Public’s Help in Search For Trucker Suspect

The first real clue to come in on all the missing person cases in the area. Help Klamath Falls Oregon Sheriff Office ID this trucker. He was the last to see this woman alive and could be the key to not only solving this woman’s disappearance but a number of the hundred other women missing in PNW. IF you have any information, please call (541) 883-5130

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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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