Rogue Valley News, Friday 4/29 – Rogue Valley Habitat For Humanity Accepting Applications To Provide Homes For Four Families Impacted By Almeda Fire, Medford Police Department DRUG TAKE BACK and ROGUE SHRED EVENT

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, April 29, 2022

Rogue Valley Weather

Rogue Valley Habitat For Humanity Accepting Applications To Provide Homes For Four Families Impacted By Almeda Fire

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity | Medford, Oregon

Rogue Valley Habitat for Humanity announced they are now accepting applications to provide homes for four families directly impacted by the Almeda fire in September 2020.

“It is an incredible opportunity to reclaim this burnt land, to build on it again for families that lost everything in the fire and from this tragedy, make someone’s dream of homeownership come true-it is truly full circle,” said Denise James, Habitat Executive Director

The program is for first-time homeowners who will eventually purchase the homes they will help build in the Phoenix/Talent area with help from Habitat for Humanity’s volunteers and program managers.

“If their current living situation is temporary, rental or subsidized can still apply because you are not permanently settled in their mind and they would love the opportunity in giving you the hand up to homeownership,” said Brandon Thoms, Director of programs and operation for Habitat for Humanity Rogue Valley.

Applications can be filled out online or can be taken to Habitat for Humanity’s office at 2201 S. Pacific Highway in Medford. All applications must be submitted by May 27th at 5pm.

For questions or more information, please call or text Brandon at 541-621-2276 — https://www.roguevalleyhabitat.org/

Medford Police Department DRUG TAKE BACK and ROGUE SHRED EVENT

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Saturday April 30, 2022 9:00AM-12:00PM
City Hall parking lot at 411 W. 8th St.

DROP OFF YOUR UNUSED, OUTDATED AND UNWANTED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (NO NEEDLES OR INHALERS)

BRING PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SHREDDED.
(SHRED ITEMS ARE LIMITED TO THE EQUIVALENT OF (3) GROCERY SACKS FULL OF ITEMS TO BE SHREDDED)

IT’S FREE! FOR MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/1365487477284384/?ref=newsfeed

Army Corps Of Engineers to Hold Virtual Information Session May 3rd on Rogue River Basin Water Management

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managing water for the Rogue River Basin will hold a virtual information session May 3, from 3-4 p.m., to discuss challenges that are hampering efforts to refill the basin’s two reservoirs.

Applegate Dam

The Rogue River Basin’s irrigation districts are fed by two reservoirs, Lost Creek and Applegate lakes, which are currently 63% full, the Corps reported. The Corps said low rainfall, combined with the lingering effects of previous drought years, have created a historically dry year for Lost Creek and Applegate lakes.

“We’re in a multi-year drought with uncertainty of the future,” said Salina Hart, chief of reservoir regulation and water quality. “We don’t know that things are going to get better. We’re prepared for the worst, and we’re adapting.”

The Corps added that they had access to less than normal water this February because water was used last year to support fish migration and survival in the Applegate and Rogue rivers last summer and fall.

“The Corps-operated reservoirs in the Rogue depend on spring and early summer rainfall to refill, and a lack of precipitation is limiting those efforts,” said a release from the Corps.

The Corps intends the public information session will explain the current drought situation while giving the public the opportunity to learn more about current operations, future forecasts, and impacts to the Rogue River Basin.

  • Date: Tuesday, May 3, 3-4 p.m.
  • Link: https://usace1.webex.com/meet/erik.s.petersen
  • Call: 1-844-800-2712 (US) (Call-in toll-free number)
  • Access Code: 1999-18-2318 #

The Corps encourages questions but asks participants to send questions using the chat function in WebEx during call.

Street drug users in Southern Oregon are being warned of a risk of fentanyl overdose deaths in school-aged youth.

The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which includes several southern Oregon agencies, is warning Oregon schools and parents about the threat of overdose due to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 40% of all counterfeit pills in circulation contain fatal amounts of fentanyl. More information containing a bulletin guidance for schools and parents is available online at http://oridhidta.org/fentanyl- information.

We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/mGVt50IUM6x

Screenshot of linked dashboard shows an increase trend in cases and test positivity. Hospitalizations show an increase and vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.

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ODF Extends Comment Period For Rules On Wildland-Urban Interface ID And Developing Wildfire Risk Map. ODF Is Also Hosting An Additional Virtual Information Session On Friday, April 29, At A 3 P.M. 

Oregon Department of Forestry | Facebook

Public hearings were held April 19–21 to gather feedback on a rules package establishing the identification criteria for the wildland-urban interface and development of a statewide wildfire risk map, as required by Senate Bill 762 (2021). 

During public hearings, the department heard several requests for more time to provide comments on the proposed rules. Based on that input, the department is extending the public comment period to noon on May 9.

That is the latest time the department can accept input and present the rules to the Board of Forestry for adoption. The department must also allow time for Oregon State University to complete the map based on the adopted rules by the statutory deadline of June 30. 

ODF is also hosting an additional virtual information session on Friday, April 29, at a 3 p.m. Zoom meeting. No public hearing will be held, but written comments can be sent to sb762.rulemaking@oregon.gov until the extended deadline of noon, May 9.

Overturned Truck Spills Load Of Tar Into The Smith River Near Gasquet

An overturned truck that crashed on Highway 199 has spilled tar into the Smith River

Six River National Forest Service confirmed that the truck involved was filled with 2000 gallons of tar and crashed near the Smith River National Recreation Area west of Gasquet and east of Middle Fork Gorge.

(United States Forest Service Smith River National Forest)

“While the entrance of any foreign substance into a waterway can cause harm to habitat, this trailer was filled with hot asphalt binder,” explained the forest service in a release. “Asphalt binder turns into a solid substance once the temperature of the binder reaches about 100-125 degrees-which means when the material hit the cold river it turned into a solid.”

The forest service is still concerned with possible harm done to natural resources, but officials believe the damage is mitigated by the asphalt binder.

USFS is working in partnership with Fish & Game, Caltrans, CHP, Cal OES and Del Norte Emergency services to maximize containment.

This is an ongoing situation and is under investigation. IF you are heading to the coast check TripCheck https://tripcheck.com/

I-5 Bridge Committee To Vote On Bridge Design Proposal That Includes Light Rail And More Lanes

Planning officials are finalizing a proposal for a new Interstate Bridge that includes both light rail and more lanes for vehicles. They will present the proposal to a committee of elected leaders and transportation officials from Oregon and Washington next week.

With that group’s approval, program planners will then spend the next two months presenting the bridge design to nine state, regional and city governments and agencies. The project then heads to an environmental review — an extensive and federally mandated review of its potential environmental consequences.

The design on the table is notable in part because disputes over light rail torpedoed the last attempt to replace the span. The Columbia River Crossing project fell apart in 2014 when the Washington Legislature voted not to fund its share of the bridge, mostly because of Republican opposition to the light rail portion of the project.

This time, however, Washington has already allocated $1 billion toward the bridge project. (The project’s final price tag remains unclear, but it’s likely to be multiple billions, requiring money from both states and the federal government.)

But the scope of the freeway expansion proposed has drawn opposition from environmental groups who say it will encourage more driving and increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Still undecided was the number of proposed auxiliary lanes and access to Hayden Island, which sits in the Columbia River and is only accessible via the current Interstate Bridge.

The work would extend far beyond the bridge itself. Ryan LeProwse, the program’s transportation planning manager, said there are seven interchanges within the area that would be rebuilt.

Some are as little as half a mile apart, which LeProwse said is too close and requires people to make quick decisions at high speeds.

The proposal calls for auxiliary lanes that would directly connect some of those interchanges, removing the need for drivers traveling between them to change lanes and potentially decreasing crashes that happen during those short stretches.

Program staff said they had considered alternative designs that included bus rapid transit — a fast, high-capacity bus system that may include dedicated bus lanes to limit interruptions — across the river instead of light rail. C-Tran, the transit agency serving Clark County, has operated a bus rapid transit line since 2017 and TriMet is expected to start service on its first in September.

But project planners decided that a light rail system with connections to local bus lines would be more efficient and accommodate more people per trip.

The local leaders who will vote on the bridge design spoke largely in support of the proposals first presented to them last week, especially the prospect of having light rail service across the river.

But a few, including Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Washington Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar, cautioned program staff against using present-day traffic models to forecast too far into the future without taking into account how people’s travel needs and habits may change.

“Today, people are used to getting into their automobile to go wherever it is they need to go. I hope that’s not where we are in 2045,” Hardesty said. “I know businesses will shift and do hybrid models, so I assume human behavior will shift as well. I’m just curious if you took that into account when you were developing the models.”

Millar said instead of seeing projections for 25 years into the future, he would like to see models for five or 10 years from now, which he said may be more accurate.

Greg Johnson, the Interstate Bridge Program director, said its plans are based on models created by Oregon Metro and Washington’s Regional Transportation Council. While it’s not a perfect predictor, he said, it’s the best system available.

Johnson also said project planners can’t just consider local concerns as they shape the bridge design.

“We have to take into account that this is the only West Coast connector between Mexico and Canada as a freeway. Those are things we can’t ignore.” he said. “Folks who are critical of the highway investment ignore the investments we’re trying to make in active transportation and light rail.”

Environmental groups, meanwhile, called for more scrutiny.

The leaders of more than a dozen climate and public transit advocacy groups announced a new coalition that will call for the new Interstate Bridge to meet specific climate, economic and racial justice goals.

“We want to support the right bridge for the region,” said Brett Morgan of 1000 Friends of Oregon “and that means having a bridge that meets climate goals and robust transit options using all the tools we have.”

He said climate and transit advocates have been unsatisfied by project planners’ answers to questions about traffic demand and capacity and said they’ve instead tried to push the project forward quickly.

“We don’t want this to be a repeat of the Columbia River Crossing, the litigation battle and everything that made it unpopular,” he said.

Morgan said the coalition is pushing for decreased freeway footprint on Hayden Island, which sits directly under the bridge span.

The group is also calling for light rail to extend further into Vancouver, Morgan said. The current proposals show the light rail line terminating at at Evergreen Boulevard, just before Clark College and the Washington State School for the Blind. Extending the line would be a benefit to students of both schools, he said.

And, Morgan said, the coalition is against adding auxiliary lanes. Some of the designs propose new lanes in areas as far as three miles away from the bridge, he said, and effectively amount to a new full freeway lane. Data provided by Interstate Bridge Program staff also showed relatively small improvements in traffic congestion from those additional lanes, he said.

Staff will present the proposed design to the steering committee on May 5.

Oregon and Washington Lead Data on ‘Leaving Twitter’ Stats

Since the announcement of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter three days ago, hashtags such as #leavingtwitter and #deletetwitter have been trending.

Based on geotagged Twitter data during that span, Oregon and Washington state have the most users saying goodbye to the social media platform, according to betonline.ag.

To find the state rankings, phrases and hashtags about leaving Twitter were tracked: “I’m leaving Twitter,” “I’m deleting my account,” #leavingtwitter, #deletetwitter, #goodbyetwitter, byetwitter, #canceltwitter, #boycotttwitter, etc. More than 100,000 tweets were tracked.

Betonline.ag, which normally tracks sports and entertainment activity, uses “trends software with direct access to geotagged Twitter data.”

Following Oregon and Washington on the list were New Jersey, New Mexico, Maryland, Nevada, Colorado, California, Michigan and Virginia.

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Grants Pass Missing Person

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The Grants Pass Police Department is seeking assistance from the public in locating 30 year old Noah Baker.  Baker was despondent after an argument and left his residence in Grants Pass driving a silver Ford Fiesta with Oregon Plate 671MUR.  

Baker is described as a white male adult, 5’09”, 170 lbs, brown hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing black sweats, black shirt, black shoes and a black hat.  

If anyone knows of his whereabouts or sees Baker, please call your local law enforcement agency or the Grants Pass Police at 541-450-6260. Reference case #2022-14203 Grants Pass Police Department 

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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

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

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