Rogue Valley News, Thursday 9/22 – The Mail Tribune Will Stop Printing the Newspaper, Classes Cancelled At Crater High School Due To Structural Problem

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, September 22, 2022 Fall Equinox

Rogue Valley Weather

The Mail Tribune Will Stop Printing Newspaper at End of Month

The newspaper in Medford will cease print publication on Sept. 30th. The Mail Tribune says it will move to an electronic format beginning in October.

“I made a commitment to the Rogue Valley to keep a printed newspaper as long as we could break even. We eclipsed that a long time ago,” said owner and publisher Steven Saslow, who bought the newspaper five years ago.

He said the costs of printing and delivering a physical newspaper threaten to bring down the whole enterprise and destroy a news product that’s existed for more than 100 years. In addition to the labor costs for printing and delivering newspapers, the price of newsprint keeps going up, and fewer and fewer companies sell the specialty paper.

Saslow said printing and delivery costs for the newspaper were threatening the business. The Medford Mail was founded in 1888. It merged with the Medford Daily Tribune in 1909.

The Mail Tribune had already gone from printing the newspaper seven days a week to printing four days per week. Medford has a population around 90,000.

About 15 people involved in printing the newspaper will be laid off, and about 40 newspaper delivery drivers who are independent contractors will no longer have work with the Mail Tribune. The company will have about 40 to 50 people left in departments that include the newsroom and advertising, Saslow said. He told staff members and contractors last week about the coming changes.

“I want to put more money back into reporters and expand coverage. The most important thing is that the integrity of the product will not change. It will only get better when we can redeploy resources to more reporters and better coverage. It’s become very obvious we can survive rather than sticking to a printed product, which will put us out of business,” Saslow said.

Long term, Saslow said, he doesn’t know yet if the online-only Mail Tribune will be free and supported completely through advertising, or if it will continue to require subscriptions. Newspapers have traditionally relied on a mix of subscriptions and advertising for revenue.

Saslow said the Mail Tribune could move to a hybrid model offering some content free with some premium content requiring a subscription.

Classes Cancelled At Crater High School Due To Structural Problem

Wednesday classes at Crater High School were canceled Sept. 21 to allow engineers to address a problem with part of the roof on the school’s building.

Superintendent Walt Davenport wrote to the district Tuesday evening, saying engineers “discovered a structural deficiency at the Crater Campus. The situation is isolated to classrooms located in the old gym both upstairs and downstairs.”

Central Point School District says today Crater High School (CHS) will stay closed the rest of this week for a structural concern.  It says student activities will continue, including football and other sports.  It also says it is not employing distance learning or looking to do so during the closure.

Central Point School District (CPSD) Superintendent Walt Davenport says the closure comes from roof structural integrity concerns for the classrooms building in the center of the high school’s campus.  He says they were reported in bad condition yesterday such that “the building should not be occupied.”

Davenport says the closure affects 20 classrooms and all three schools of the high school:  Renaissance Academy, and Academy of Business, Academy of Health and Public Service.  The superintendent says the Renaissance Academy and Academy of Health and Public Service are most affected.  He says the high school enrollment is 1,493 students.

He says inspection continues into the nature of the damage and its repair.

S&B James Construction is on-campus working on the current gymnasium with several improvements underway, including safety.

S&B James Construction Co-owner Allen Purdy says, “Structural deficiencies of this nature are not uncommon in older construction buildings like this, and they can be easily repaired, but when there are hundreds of children in the building it needs to be handled at a much higher level of priority than a warehouse.”

Davenport says that while the CHS is closed this week staff are finalizing a plan for instruction that uses every available space on campus while one wing of school is under HVAC improvements and unavailable.  He says even when that wing is finished, then the HVAC project moves from one part of the school to another, so it will keep some part of facilities unavailable.

Davenport says the District is working to fix building as needed and to keep HVAC project on schedule while school staff work to prepare spaces for instruction, putting students first and supporting each other.

Davenport wrote that the cancellation is “out of an abundance of caution,” while the school assesses the structural problem. They are supposed to release more information this afternoon.

Illinois Valley Fire District Responds To A Fatal Traffic Accident Near O’Brien

9/21/2022, at 15:54 pm. Illinois Valley Fire District, AMR-Josephine County, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, and Oregon State Police, responded to a single vehicle, fatality accident on Hwy 199 near Dwight Creek Rd (mile marker 38.5).  

There will be no pictures posted at this time.   OSP is the lead on the investigation.  

Rum Creek Fire Update

Scattered showers are expected to continue over the Rum Creek Fire today, however a warming and drying trend is expected heading into the weekend. Temperatures pushing 90-degrees are expected by Sunday with lower humidity levels. Containment increased to 87-percent on Tuesday.

The Rum Creek Fire has damaged phone and internet service at the Smullin Visitor Center in Rand, causing a change to how permits are issued for boating on the Wild Section of the Rogue River from Grave Creek to Foster Bar.
Cancellation permit spaces are only available by calling the Bureau of Land Management Grants Pass Office at 541-471- 6535.

Permits are issued on a first come, first served basis. Float space openings will be posted on the BLM’s Rogue River website under the calendar for float space openings: 
Parties with permits must pick up their permit between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Smullin Visitor Center at Rand on the day of their launch.

Day of permits utilizing the “no show” walk ins will not be issued at the Smullin Visitor Center for the remainder of the 2022 permit season. Next day permits are not available in person, and must be obtained by calling 541-471-6535.

Currently there are no water, restrooms, phone or internet services available at the Smullin Visitor Center. Boaters are encouraged to launch at Ennis Riffle, Indian Mary County Park or Almeda County Park. Almeda has a $5 per day launch/parking fee. The Grave Creek Boat Ramp is not accessible from Galice Road. The Rand and Argo boat ramps are closed due to fire damage and safety concerns.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the BLM reduced the size of the public land closure area. The revised closure order and map will be posted on BLM.GOV  This change allowed the BLM to re-open The Rogue River Trail. However, the Rainie Falls National Recreation Trail (river left) is closed.

COVID-19 has claimed 28 more lives in Oregon, with 811 new cases reported, as of Wednesday.

An update from the Oregon Health Authority said the average number of cases per day statewide is 656.7. In Oregon, 237 people are currently hospitalized related to COVID-19, with 30 of those in intensive care unit beds.

Go to: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/erd/pages/covid-19-news.aspx for more statewide information about COVID-19

We’re tracking data to understand the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. This dashboard is updated weekly.Data are provisional and subject to change. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit http://ow.ly/beAw50KPM22.

Note: This week’s Omicron BA.5 estimate of 100% is higher than expected due to a small number of specimens (n=25) available in GISAID during the most recent week. The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker Nowcast model (http://ow.ly/GLrE50KPM23) estimates that approximately 84.8% of SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US during the last week were the Omicron BA.5 lineage. We believe our true Omicron BA.5 estimate to be similar to the national figure.

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows cases have increased while test positivity, vaccinations and hospitalizations have plateaued.  Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.

OHA confirms state’s second pediatric monkeypox (hMPXV) case

Officials say illness not associated with school, child care settings

PORTLAND, Ore. – A second pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV) has been identified in the state, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) confirmed.

Local public health officials have investigated the case and confirm that the case is not linked to a school, child care or other community setting.

Monkeypox is mainly spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Not like COVID-19. Less transmissible, and risk of spread through touching surfaces is extremely low. Kids can get rashes for many different reasons. If anyone develops a new rash like pimples/blisters and feels sick, call your health care provider or call 211/local public health to get help finding a provider or clinic.

“Pediatric monkeypox cases have happened around the country during the nationwide outbreak, and unfortunately Oregon is no exception,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “As we have stated previously, this virus can affect anyone.”

Monkeypox spreads primarily through close skin-to-skin contact. Most commonly during the current outbreak, this has been through intimate or sexual contact. Infection has also occurred during close, skin-to-skin contact with the lesions of an individual with monkeypox through a caregiving relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caretaker of another person. Much less often, monkeypox could spread through contact with towels, clothing or other objects that have been in contact with monkeypox lesions. Large respiratory droplets or oral fluids that might come from prolonged face-to-face contact could also transmit the virus, but it is uncommon.

To protect patient confidentiality, OHA is not disclosing the child’s sex, age, county of residence or how the child is believed to have acquired the illness. A pediatric case is defined as someone with the virus in the 0-17 age range.

The new pediatric case is among a total, as of today, of 204 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon, with illness onset ranging from June 7 to Sept. 13. The cases are in nine counties: 141 in Multnomah; 24 in Washington; 22 in Lane; six each in Clackamas and Marion; two in Columbia; and one each in Coos, Hood River and Union. About 9.5% of cases identify as Mexican and 8.9% of cases identify as Other Hispanic or Latino a/x/e. Case counts for South American and Central American were too low to calculate a percent.

The Oregon child was tested for monkeypox Sept. 14 and the test results were reported to public health Sept. 19. The local public health authority, with OHA support, has been conducting case investigation and contact tracing to determine whether there are other exposures. During these investigations, public health provides guidance on how to avoid spreading the virus to others and offers vaccines to close contacts.

Sidelinger emphasized that risk of monkeypox spreading in school settings is low, since the most common means of person-to-person transmission is direct contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids of a person with the virus. It is not easily spread unless there is prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

OHA continues to encourage vaccination against monkeypox for anyone who anticipates having, or has had, recent, direct, skin-to-skin contact with at least one other person, and who knows other people in their social circles or communities who have had monkeypox.  

Oregon has distributed, or is in the process of distributing, more than 8,870 vials – about 44,350 doses – of the Jynneos vaccine and 340 courses of the investigational antiviral drug known as tecovirimat – or TPOXX – since June 20. According to OHA’s ALERT Immunization Information System database, 8,800 Jynneos doses have been administered so far. More than that have been administrated, but those 8,800 doses are what’s been entered into ALERT thus far. OHA continues to work with its local partners to redistribute any leftover doses they may have to ensure a continued, steady flow of vaccines to communities where they’re most needed.

On Sept. 20, Oregon received its next federal allocation of 1,220 vials, giving the state a total of 1,428 vials or up to 7,140 doses to continue to meet initial and second dose recommendations. 

People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. The provider may recommend testing for monkeypox.

Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 or their local public health authority to get help finding a clinic or health care provider.

For more information about monkeypox and Oregon’s response to the outbreak, visit OHA’s monkeypox (hMPXV) website.

The Cedar Creek fire, one of the biggest in recent memory in the region, is well over 113 thousand acres and is 14% contained.

Fire officials say that the wet weather has slowed fire behavior this week. However, a warming and drying trend is expected by the weekend which could dry out vegetation.

Cedar Creek Fire Quick Facts

Size: 113,637 acres

Contained: 14%

Start Date: August 1, 2022

Origin: 15 miles east of Oakridge, Oregon

Cause: Lightning

Total personnel: 2,276

Resources: 65 engines, 41 crews, 86 heavy equipment, 9 helicopters

West Zone Operations: Over the past couple days, the scattered rain showers and high humidity levels moderated fire behavior. Crews are making progress on mop up operations by extinguishing hot spots and cutting snags and fire weakened trees along the western edge of the fire. Firefighters have prepared the control line southwest of the main fire. Although the fire has not made it to Constitution Grove, firefighters have been adding protection measures such as more pumps, sprinklers and hoselays to further protect the area in case fire pushes in that direction over the coming days or weeks.

Containment has often been used as a reference measure for firefighter progress and accomplishments. Conditions around the Cedar Creek fire area, such as steep terrain, snags, and rolling logs and debris present challenges for safely building effective containment lines directly on the fire’s edge. Fire managers took these conditions into account in evaluating what strategy would be most successful in protecting the communities of Oakridge, Westfir and High Prairie as well as the Highway 58 and Waldo Lake. Firefighters have successfully completed clearing vegetation along roads to use as firelines along much of the west zone of the fire. These firelines are not considered secure until there can be reasonable certainty that the fire will not cross them in the future. Before the wet weather, crews were successful in completing burning operations along much of the western and southern areas to bring the main fire to the control line under more favorable conditions. Fire officials make a determination about containment in the areas where burning operations have reached containment lines, mop up is completed and the fireline is secure.

East Zone Operations: Northwest Team 7 – Managed by Incident Commander Nate LeFevre, assumed command of the Cedar Creek East Zone Fire this morning. The primary objectives will be for the protection of community and recreational values while providing for firefighter and public safety by thoroughly assessing risk, implementing mitigations, and developing sound strategies and tactics. 

The east zone of the fire area received close to 1/3 inch of rain Wednesday. Fire behavior on the east side is expected to be minimal over the next five days. Moderated fire behavior provides an excellent opportunity to continue shaded fuel break construction around the east zone. 

Crews will begin repairing dozer line in between Waldo Lake and Forest Service Road 5897. Repair includes mitigating soil erosion and breaking up soil berms. The 5897 Road, and areas around Odell Lake will be in monitor and patrol status. Property protection measures including hose and sprinklers will remain in place, and engines will continue to patrol the area. Work continues along Forest Service Roads 4660 and 4668, building a shaded fuel break. The Cascade Lakes highway remains closed between the Crescent Cutoff and Mud Lake Road, just south of Elk Lake, for ongoing shaded fuel break construction. The shaded fuel break will protect values at risk from the Cedar Creek fire and serve as a mitigation tool in future fire years. The Deschutes National Forest has a temporary forest closure in place, to protect both firefighters and equipment working in the area, as well as protecting the public from hazards.  

Weather: Scattered rain continued across the fire area today ranging in accumulation from 0.10 to 0.25 inches. Rain is expected to continue through Thursday morning, then warmer and drier conditions are expected to begin Friday and continue through the weekend.

Closures: The Deschutes National Forest and Willamette National Forest both have closures in effect to protect the public and firefighters. Please visit Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest for the most recent closure orders and maps. Elijah Bristow State Park and Dexter Boat Launch are closed to the public since they are being used by firefighters. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The use of drones is prohibited in the fire area, please make it safe for our firefighters to use aircraft on the fire. Pacific Crest Trail hikers should visit pcta.org for current information. See a map of the fire area with both forest closures here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/8307/0/137083

Restrictions: Fire restrictions are in place on the Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest.  

Smoke: For current conditions, see Fire.airnow.govoakridgeair.org, and LRAPA – Today’s Current Air Quality. Smoke Forecast Outlooks are available at https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook.

Evacuations: An updated map of the evacuation areas is available at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/CedarCreek. Sign-up for emergency mobile alerts by going to oralert.gov. Please check with Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911 for updates and changes. Lane County residents can use the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Flash Alert site for information to support insurance claims for reimbursement for lodging https://flashalert.net/id/LaneSheriff.

Onlinehttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8307/ | https://www.facebook.com/CedarCreekFire2022/ |
YouTubehttps://www.tinyurl.com/cedarcreekfireyoutube

Thousands of Oregon families who expected their children to start tuition-free state-provided preschool this month have been told those plans are on hold.

The agency which oversees the Preschool Promise program has yet to send contracts to most of the 248 participating preschools statewide. Those schools are to offer the program to families living at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. Without a contract, smaller facilities are hesitant to accept children in the program.

The agency now says preschools chosen to serve an estimated 6,381 children, an increase of more than 2,000 slots from last year, must open no later than Oct. 30. Its spokesperson said the agency can’t name a date by which it will ink contracts with all the preschools, saying only, “We are currently sending grant agreements out to grantees for signature as quickly as possible and will continue to do so until they are all complete.”

“It’s super hard on families,” said Molly Day, director of Early Learning Multnomah, one of 16 regional hubs that helps coordinate Preschool Promise enrollment. “If you’re counting on your child to be in school while you’re working, that’s very disruptive.”

Compounding families’ frustration, the state has not told them when they can count on their child being able to start preschool or why the long-running program lapsed for weeks this fall.

The state says preschools serving more than 6,300 children must now open no later than Oct. 30.

Oregon Student Assessment Results See Sharp Declines Following Pandemic

In the first large-scale state assessment of Oregon students since the COVID-19 pandemic, data show students’ academic achievement scores are down statewide.

The Oregon Department of Education Thursday released its first statewide assessment results since 2019.

Some rates have dropped by nearly 10 percentage points, and the results show less than half, or in some cases, less than a third, of students statewide are reaching key benchmarks.

According to the latest data, which reflects the 2021-22 school year, less than 44% of Oregon students tested were proficient in English language arts. About 30% were considered proficient in math and 29.5% in science.

By comparison, in 2019, about 53% of students tested proficient in English, 39% in math and 37% in science.

Statewide assessments were put on hold across the country in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent school closures. But in 2021, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced states would not be granted blanket waivers again.

ODE sought a waiver for all tests in 2021. However, the federal education department rejected the initial request. Months later, the state agreed to a partial waiver, requiring English, math and science only for select grades. All other grades were offered the tests but not required to take them.

Typically, tests are given to students annually, with the English and math assessments given to students in grades 3 to 8 and 11, and science assessments given in grades 5, 8 and 11. A Level 3 or 4 result means the student has met or exceeded state standards and is considered on track to graduate. Students receiving Level 1 or 2 scores are theoretically identified to receive additional support.

Parents can opt their children out of English and mathematics assessments for any reason by submitting a required form. Federal law requires 95% participation.

Participation rates across Oregon this year, though higher than spring of 2021, have not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. Across all grades and subjects, participation was down this year, dropping, on average, from about 93% in 2019 to about 84% in 2022.

“Across grades, and across content areas, there were drops in proficiency,” said Dan Farley, ODE’s director of assessment, during a recent media webinar.

Farley said this was true for all tested grades and demographics. Those who were already below proficiency saw a steeper decline in their test scores, he said, meaning students who were already behind fell further below the benchmark during the pandemic. Historically, this has included students of color, students with disabilities, English language learners and students considered economically disadvantaged.

However, the drops in this year’s data were expected.

The state anticipated scores to be down and that many students had been stunted by the remote learning period.

Officials said federal and state investments, including the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, Student Success Act and High School Success fund, have been pushed to provide aid to schools and get students back on track academically, socially and mentally.

“The pandemic did have an impact on learning, here in Oregon, and in other states,” Farley said, adding that studies and progress in other states show recovery is feasible.

“Learning is being accelerated in states that were able to shift back to in-person learning instructional models earlier than we were able to here in Oregon,” he said.

Farley said states like Florida, Tennessee and Texas are already showing improvement.

In Florida, math proficiency results for grades 3 to 8 sat at 61% in 2019 based on assessment data. In 2021, the scores were down to 51%, comparable to Oregon’s drop in proficiency.

However, according to results from Florida’s 2022 state assessments, math proficiency for grades 3 to 8 rose to 55%.

ODE Director Colt Gill said Oregon’s assessment results are a call to action to keep advancing the programs that meet students’ needs.

“While current generations in our country have not experienced learning disruptions on the scale of a global pandemic, previous generations have,” Gill said. “School has been significantly disrupted by disease, natural disaster, war and other events for people in this country and others throughout history.

“We are resilient if nothing else,” he said. “… We have already seen assessment scores rising for students who have had more time back in onsite learning.”

There has been a shift in the value placed on statewide assessments since before the pandemic.

Critics of state assessments have previously argued the tests aren’t an adequate way to gauge knowledge or retention, nor are they a thorough way to predict students’ likelihood of graduating or future success.

State officials agree the snapshots are limited, especially since the collection of data takes time and presents a picture of students no longer in the same classrooms or schools, in some cases.

Additionally, officials with the education department admitted the assessments do not measure the breadth of academic learning of any individual student. They are limited to three academic subject areas. They do not name all the strengths, talents, gifts, or needs of any individual. And, they do not describe the full context of what a school is providing socially or academically to students.

However, officials contend the tests are still an important accountability measure. ODE spends $11.45 million per year on improving, administering, scoring and reporting Oregon’s entire state assessment system.

Gill explained the department is taking a new angle on how it looks at assessments. Instead of determining whether students are doing well or not individually, the assessments are a reflection of the system overall.

“I wouldn’t advise a family to take a look at their own child’s test scores and make significant decisions around that test score,” Gill said. “But for the health of the system, and how we’re providing education to students, it is a good measure. I think that we all anticipated that, after a pandemic, we would see an impact on academic learning. And the assessment showed that, so that’s a check on that system shows that it’s working.

“This creates for us a post-pandemic baseline that the future assessments can help us measure whether we’re making progress and helping our students address that unfinished learning.”

Gill said in addition to the summative statewide assessment, interim testing throughout the year will be a big help in keeping students on track. On a smaller scale, they will help teachers know where students need extra help in their classrooms. This reflects a national shift as well.

Cardona shared in a letter to states earlier this month that annual assessment results are “one of several important measures of school performance and progress.” Additional measures required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act include high school graduation rates, English language proficiency and more.

Oregon education officials said the assessment results are easily quantified and receive attention, in part, because they are easily communicated.

Student assessment data is available at oregon.gov/ode/educator-resources/assessment.

Governor Brown Calls For New Tax Credit And Semiconductor Incentives For The State

Governor Brown wants the Legislature to act quickly next year to pass a new tax credit and other incentives to expand Oregon’s semiconductor industry.

During a state House committee meeting Wednesday, Brown laid out the broad strokes of a plan she worked on with business leaders and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, to position the state to compete for $280 billion in new federal funding from the CHIPS and Science Act for semiconductor manufacturing and technological research that Congress passed in late July.

“We must act quickly,” Brown told the Economic Development and Small Business Committee. “We are in a 50-state competition for CHIPS funding, so it is critical that we seize the opportunities in front of us now in the highly-competitive semiconductor industry. The good news is, creating jobs, building a strong workforce, and supporting Oregon families are Oregon values.”

Oregon is a world leader in the semiconductor industry, thanks largely to Intel, which employs more than 20,000 Oregonians at its Hillsboro campus. Intel has suppliers from 15 other Oregon counties, said Duncan Wyse, president of the Oregon Business Council.

“If you look around the world and ask where are the centers of innovation in semiconductors, it’s really three places,” Wyse said. “Taiwan, South Korea, Oregon. We are the leading place in the world for advanced design and manufacturing of semiconductors.”

Oregon has 15% of the nation’s semiconductor workforce, and only California and Texas have more people working in the industry. If federal funding were distributed based on the size of the industry in each state, Oregon would receive $40 billion from the CHIPS Act, Wyse said.

Every $1 billion in capital investments would mean 7,000 new jobs, most of them temporary construction jobs, and $44 million in short-term state and local tax revenue, Wyse said. Down the line, the state could expect 2,000 permanent new jobs in the semiconductor industry, with another 4,000 jobs in related fields and about $56 million annually in tax revenue for local and state governments, he said.

Those jobs would be a mix of positions that require graduate-level degrees and jobs that only need high school diplomas and technical training. Nearly half of the workers in the semiconductor industry, particularly in manufacturing, have no formal education beyond a high school diploma or associate’s degree.

Brown’s pitch included a call for additional targeted funding for Oregon universities to increase the number of students graduating with degrees in fields like engineering and computer science, as well as using the $200 million Future Ready Oregon job training package approved this year to help train workers without degrees for careers in the industry. She did not specify how much money should be made available.

“My goal is for us to work together to have a viable package that the Legislature can work on on day one,” Brown said.

Part of that plan would include a new research and development tax credit. Oregon previously had such a tax credit, but it expired at the end of 2017.

Brown also announced Wednesday that she’s allocating $1 million from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund, which she controls, to help local governments identify and prepare potential manufacturing sites. A shortage of industrial land has made it difficult for the state to entice current companies to expand in Oregon or draw new companies here, as shown by Intel’s decision last year to build a $20 billion campus in Ohio, not Oregon.

The Legislature should provide additional support next year, she told the committee. She’s also seeking to expedite environmental permits and is supporting a request before the Legislature’s Emergency Board this week to spend more than $350,000 so the Department of Environmental Quality can hire four new permanent employees to process applications and work on expanding access to industrial land.

Rahim Harji, the Hillsboro assistant city manager, said making more land available, especially in the Portland suburbs, is critical. Semiconductor manufacturers are looking for large, ready-to-build plots near cities or universities that can provide highly-skilled workers. “If we do not have land to build on, nothing else matters,” Harji said.

State Rep. Janelle Bynum, a Clackamas Democrat and the chair of the economic development and business committee, pledged to introduce legislation next year based on the information Brown and business leaders shared.

“Oregon has long been an established leader in semiconductor manufacturing, and I look forward to supporting efforts that ensure we remain one,” Bynum said in a statement. “This means creating career pathways and investing in private and public incentives to help build out our workforce, create good paying jobs, and support innovation.”

Brown’s term expires in January, meaning Oregon’s next governor and Legislature will set policies and budgets. In statements, both Republican Christine Drazan and nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson described Brown’s proposal as too little, too late.

“It’s too bad it took losing Intel investments to Ohio to wake Kate Brown up to the need for economic development in Oregon,” Johnson said in a statement. “This proposal is far too little investment spread out too far to get anything useful done. We need more investment under a more focused plan to be successful.

She added that Brown’s $1 million investment is far below the need and that adding more employees to a “dysfunctional, ossified agency” will please public sector unions but not expedite permit applications.

Drazan said in a statement that Brown’s tax policies and business regulations drove businesses out of the state. Drazan said she was ready to work on other reforms, including reducing business taxes and ensuring businesses know what to expect from regulations. The $1 million Brown allocated is a “drop in the bucket” compared to what the state needs to address administrative hurdles that prevent growth, she said.

“Governor Brown ended Oregon’s R&D tax credit. Now she wants it back,” Drazan said. “She has had two terms to focus on growing Oregon industries, including the semiconductor industry, and instead has done everything in her power to drive out investment through higher taxes and excessive regulations.”

A spokeswoman for Democratic candidate Tina Kotek didn’t respond to an email Wednesday about Brown’s plan and what the state should do to expand its semiconductor industry.

Klamath County Law enforcement is looking for a dangerous criminal.

At approximately 9:45PM Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the Pilot Travel Center in Chemult where they located Molly May Swedenskey who was previously abducted. The person of interest in the abduction, Eric Patrick Koon, age 19, fled south on highway 97 at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

Deputies deployed spike strips, and with the assistance of Oregon State Police the vehicle was brought to a stop off the road near milepost 222 on highway 97. Koon fled into a wooded area armed with a handgun. Law enforcement searched the area for several hours and have been unsuccessful in locating Koon. If you see Eric Patrick Koon do not approach please call 911 immediately.

The following is original press release from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – On 9/18/2022, Eric Koon, Molly Swedenskey’s estranged boyfriend broke into her residence and attempted to abduct her by force. He bound her wrists with zip ties, taped her mouth, and fled only after she escaped and alerted help. 

Molly Swedenskey was last seen by her family on 9/20/2022, at about 1300 hours, located at her residence in Chiloquin, Oregon. Her cell phone and vehicles are accounted for by law enforcement. Left behind at her residence were her two small children both under the age of two. This behavior is extremely abnormal for Molly Swedenskey. 

Eric Koon is believed to be living in his vehicle. He may have been staying in very close proximity to Molly Swedenskey, without her knowing since he fled on 9/18/2022. 

Eric Koon is believed to be in possession of an unknown caliber handgun based on statements from his family. His current mental state is unknown, his cell phone is turned off, and he has ceased communication with his own family. 

  • Koon has a valid felony warrant in Oregon from a prior assault. 
  • Probable Cause exists for Burglary I (ORS 164.225)
  • Probable Cause exists for Kidnap II (ORS 163.225) 

Any information please contact the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line @ (541) 850-5380 

Oregon Governor Candidates Will Hold Live Televised Debate Tuesday 9/27 In Bend

Oregon’s candidates for governor will participate in a televised debate from the Oregon State University-Cascades campus on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The debate among Democrat Tina Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson will be the second time the three candidates take the stage together, following a July forum in front of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. More debates are expected, although not yet announced.

The debate won’t be open to the public, just OSU-Cascades students and invited leaders from the area. It will be broadcast on KTVZ for central Oregon audiences and live-streamed on ktvz.com.

Oregon’s race is historically close this year, in large part because Johnson is running. She was a conservative Democratic legislator for two decades before launching her campaign and has the potential to draw votes from either party.

Polls showing outgoing Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is deeply unpopular with voters also led national forecasters, including the ​​University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and the Cook Political Report, to downgrade the likelihood of a Kotek win. The Center for Politics considers it a tossup and the Cook Report rates the race as “leaning” Democratic, down from “likely.”

With less than two months to go until Election Day and more money coming in daily, the three candidates have raised nearly $30 million combined and spent most of it since beginning their campaigns. Johnson leads the field with more than $11.3 million raised to date, thanks to large contributions from business leaders including Nike co-founder Phil Knight.

Drazan has raised more than $9 million and Kotek nearly $8.7 million. National Democratic and Republican groups are boosting their campaigns, with the Democratic Governors Association giving Kotek almost $1.9 million and the Republican Governors Association sending $2.6 million to Drazan’s campaign.

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This is just a small compilation of missing women and their pictures in the area. There are of course women missing all over Oregon and men and children missing too. We don’t mean to dismiss that, however, there is an inordinate amount of women who go missing each week and there could possibly be a connection with an anomaly or two here and there. Sadly most of them never get any attention. Family and friends must keep any information going and lead investigations so that they aren’t just forgotten. 

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

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