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, September 23, 2022
Rogue Valley Weather
Medford Police Department K-9’s First in State to Become Certified in Fentanyl Detection
In an effort to combat the rise in fentanyl use and overdoses in our community, the Medford Police K-9 team partnered with the California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) to safely train and certify K-9’s and handling officers in fentanyl detection.
Last month, MPD K-9 Nacho and K-9 Max completed the certification process becoming the first two police service dogs in the state to be certified by a police K-9 association to detect fentanyl.
“This innovative effort was led by K-9 Officer Havice. It’s thanks to his diligent work and extensive research that we were able to connect with CNCA and complete this impactful K-9 training,” said Lieutenant Mark Cromwell.
Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) has seen an extreme increase in powdered fentanyl which poses a significant risk of exposure to Officers and K-9’s. Safety measures are in place for all responders and service dogs which includes having Narcan on hand to deploy if necessary.
K-9 Max has already been deployed and successfully detected fentanyl – which led to the seizure of more than 6 ounces of powdered fentanyl. Medford Police Dept
Greater Medford Multicultural Fair Saturday!
Join us for this year’s Greater Medford Multicultural Fair annual free and family-friendly day of entertainment, food, and culture, celebrating all that brings us together.
The multi-cultural celebration is back in person for the first time since 2019 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday, Sept. 24, at Pear Blossom Park, 312 E. Fourth St., Medford.
Admission is free.
“Food vendors will serve meals and treats from around the world,” the event organizers, a project of the city of Medford Commission on Access, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion said in a release. “Face painting, jump houses, and arts and crafts will be available for the kids.”
Rogue Valley Peace Choir, high school bands, and dancers representing cultures from around the globe will perform along with three sessions of Kent Hayward and Living on Dreams.
Performance times and other details are listed on the fair’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/greatermedfordmulticultural.
“The fair draws several thousand people every fall in the name of sharing cultures present in our region,” said Debra Lee, an organizer.
Sponsors of this year’s event include the city of Medford, the Mail Tribune, Up Close with Peter Sage, BASE, ACCESS, AllCare Health, Southern Oregon University, Medford School District, Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, La Clinica, Mustard Press, Medford Police Department, Rogue Disposal and Recycling, Jackson County Library Services, Central Art Supply, 1000 Shades of Color, and Medford Parks and Recreation Foundation.
Learn more at the events Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greatermedfordmulticultural/
Medford Man Found Guilty Of Multiple Sex Crimes – His Victim Released From Jail After Being Held as Witness
A jury has found a Medford man guilty of multiple sex crimes following a trial in which the victim was lodged in jail for nine days to ensure she’d testify in court.
A jury found Christian Alexander Sanchez, 30, guilty last week of more than a dozen felony crimes between February and September 2020, including rape, sodomy, kidnapping, coercion, assault and weapon use, the Mail Tribune reported.
The crimes involved one female victim, now 20, who was reportedly held against her will. Sanchez used weapons against the woman that included a hammer, a lighter and a screwdriver, according to filings by the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.
“It was a horrific situation,” Deputy District Attorney Nick Geil, who prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Zori Cook, told the newspaper.
The woman was in the Jackson County Jail Sept. 6-15 on a material witness hold, court and jail records show. The trial was Sept. 13-16.
Oregon Revised Statute 146.608 allows a district attorney or defendant to apply for a material witness hold when they believe the witness has “information material to the determination of the action against the defendant” and “will not appear at the time when attendance of the witness is required.”
Judge Lorenzo Mejia ordered the woman detained until Sanchez’s trial ended based on a motion filed by Cook.
Mejia and Cook each said the material witness hold was unusual but necessary. Cook said the woman struggles with addiction and can be difficult to locate. The victim’s family also supported holding the victim/witness in jail, records show.
The victim’s lawyer, Donald Scales, requested an ankle bracelet but the judge said the county’s ankle bracelet program is more effective at showing someone is out of compliance than locating someone.
The jury convicted Sanchez Friday of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of second-degree assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, coercion, causing a person to ingest a controlled substance and two counts of fourth-degree assault constituting domestic violence.
Sanchez will be sentenced Oct. 6. Mejia ordered Sanchez to remain in jail without bail until sentencing.
Sanchez was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to six years in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to sex crimes involving adolescent girls.
Rare Albino Red-Tailed Hawk Rescued at Rum Creek Fire
An unexpected rescue occurred at the #RumCreekFire Incident Command Post (ICP) this morning. As Operations Section Chief Jesse Blair was leaving the ICP, he noticed an usual white beard in a tree.
As he drove closer, he noticed the bird appeared to be having difficulty maintaining flight and had landed on the ground. When he got out of his vehicle, the white bird ran away rather than trying to take off. Once he was close enough to clearly see the bird, he was able to identify it as an albino Red Tailed Hawk. The hawk appeared wet and did not appear to be able to fly away as he would have expected.
Blair contacted Wildlife Images, a wildlife rehabilitation and education center in Merlin, and they responded to collect the hawk. The hawk was taken to their clinic for further evaluation and is known as bird #744.
At the height of the #RumCreekFire, more than 2000 personnel were assigned to the incident. With fire engines, water tenders, pick up trucks and bulldozers traveling to the fireline, roads around the forest were pushed to their limits.
The incident is 90% contained. Crews continue to focus on suppressions repair work along dozer and hand lines, in an effort to reduce additional impacts on the forest and local watersheds. Water bars have been created and vegetation spread over lines to prevent additional erosion.
All evacuations have been lifted but some recreational area and road closures remain in place as crews continue road repair and hazard tree removal within the burn area.
As fire suppression work around the fire is winding down and almost complete, fire managers are working to ensure areas impacted by the large amount of off highway traffic are repaired. Road graders have been working to smooth road surfaces while dump trucks have been adding gravel in areas that need additional support or repair. Repairing and improving areas impacted by fire suppression efforts is always a focus of incident management teams
Grants Pass Police Department ***Missing Endangered Juvenile***
The Grants Pass Police Department is seeking the assistance of the public in locating a missing endangered juvenile. 13-year-old Malykai Trevino was last seen by his parent around 2230 hours on September 22, 2022 when he snuck out of his residence.
Malykai is approximately 5’9″ and 140 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a tan and white sweater and black sweatpants.
It is believed Malykai is on foot with a juvenile female in the Grants Pass area. Malykai is considered endangered because of his age.
If you see Malykai or know of his whereabouts, please call GPPD at 541-450-6260. Grants Pass Police Department
Did you know that Oregon, Washington, and now Nevada, have their own drug discount program? You can use it even if you already have insurance. Once you sign up, you can use your ArrayRx Card or your pharmacy benefit when you go to get your prescriptions, whichever provides a better price. To sign up, visit arrayrxcard.com.
OHA confirmed Oregon’s second pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV): http://ow.ly/WNjj50KPOtz “Pediatric monkeypox cases have happened around the country during the nationwide outbreak, and unfortunately Oregon is no exception,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and state epidemiologist. “As we have stated previously, this virus can affect anyone.
”Monkeypox spreads primarily through close skin-to-skin contact. During the current outbreak, this has been most commonly 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 handling towels, clothing or other items 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.
If you’re experiencing any potential symptoms of monkeypox, such as a new rash that looks like pimples or blisters and you’re feeling sick, contact your health care provider right away. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 2-1-1 or your local public health authority.
Oregon Senators Announce More Than $2.5 Million In Housing Vouchers Coming To the State
Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have announced that more than $2.5 million in additional housing choice vouchers are coming to the state.
A release said they are going to 21 public housing authorities throughout Oregon and are in addition to the 44,500 vouchers already in use by Oregon households.
Wyden said, “These permanent housing vouchers, paired with critical services, will help many Oregon families get into long-term housing”. Wyden said he will continue to fight “…so that in the wealthiest strongest nation on earth, all Oregon families have a warm, safe, affordable and stable place to call home”.
Merkley said, “Every Oregonian deserves the right to have a home, and I will continue fighting to make that a reality in every corner of our state”.
Locally, 6 vouchers for just under $40,000 are being allocated to the Housing Authority of Douglas County. Funds are also going to organizations in the neighboring counties of Josephine, Lane and Coos.
The full release on the funding is linked: https://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/wyden-merkley-more-than-25-million-to-oregon-in-housing-vouchers
State shares revised action plan, timeline for engaging Oregonians in protecting lives, property from wildfire
SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) today announced a revised action plan and timeline for engaging the public on wildfire protection efforts as part of the state’s strategy to create more fire-resilient communities.
“A big part of our work over the next year is focused on engaging with, listening to and informing the public about wildfire risk,” said Cal Mukumoto, Oregon State Forester and director of ODF. “This engagement will involve visiting communities across the state, talking with people, addressing concerns and answering questions. Ultimately, all of the agencies involved in this effort want to make sure Oregonians in the most at-risk communities know what they can do to better protect themselves, their families and friends, and their homes from wildfire.”
In the past decade, wildfires have been burning significantly more acres than before, while also becoming more challenging and costlier to fight. Between 2012 and 2021, the state of Oregon spent $85 million annually on wildfire suppression costs. That is compared to the previous 10 years in which the state spent $17 million annually. The scale, devastation and statewide reach of the 2020 Labor Day fires brought this reality home for many. Less than a year later, Senate Bill 762’s statewide framework for advancing wildfire protection in Oregon moved through the Oregon State Legislature with bipartisan support.
The revised plan will be implemented in collaboration with Oregon State University’s (OSU) College of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).
“Most Oregonians understand wildfires are becoming more catastrophic and more frequent. I have witnessed, across the state, that Oregonians want to be part of the solution in protecting our communities,” said Doug Grafe, Wildfire Programs Director with the Office of the Governor. “It’s clear that steps can be taken to increase the survivability of homes and communities when wildfires do occur, including creating defensible space, hardening homes and implementing hazardous fuels reduction projects.”
One component of SB 762 was the creation of a statewide wildfire risk map to serve as a planning and information tool for Oregonians, communities and state and local government. The purpose of the map—a collaboration between ODF and wildfire scientists at OSU’s College of Forestry—is to provide transparent and science-based information to Oregonians about the factors near them that drive wildfire exposure including weather, climate, vegetation and topography. The tool will also be used to guide the state in directing resources to communities with the greatest likelihood of wildfires.
“Oregon State University’s College of Forestry has used, and will continue to use, the best science to contribute to statewide wildfire risk mapping,” said Tom DeLuca, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry. “We support the importance of changing the timeline for the mapping component of SB 762. This added time provides an opportunity to better share information and conduct authentic community engagement by listening to Oregonians and community leaders across our state in the implementation of the new law. Even with the timeline change, we must all recognize that addressing fire risk in Oregon is a priority that will require all of us to work together.”
Based on feedback and concerns received from an earlier version of the wildfire risk map, the state revised its timeline for implementing the map to allow for robust community engagement, outreach and education. The revised timeline is as follows:
- October through February 2023: Public and stakeholder engagement, outreach and education. Includes wildfire science, risk and mitigation outreach and education, with focus on the most vulnerable areas; identifying opportunities for investments in wildfire prevention; completing building codes and defensible space standards for the most vulnerable communities; compilation and analysis of feedback received; and technical refinements.
- March 1, 2023: Public rollout of draft wildfire risk map. Draft map shared with the public.
- March through September 2023: Public outreach, engagement and education on draft wildfire risk map. Includes working with ODF, OSU College of Forestry, local governments, planning departments, Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon State Fire Marshal and the state Building Codes Division to review the draft map; public outreach, education and engagement on the draft map and related topics including building codes and defensible space standards; and making any necessary revisions based on feedback received on updated map.
- October through December 2023: Final wildfire risk map shared with the public for implementation. Includes sharing a final wildfire risk map with the public, initiating a 60-day appeals process and notifying those who are in the most high-risk areas about the steps needed to protect their homes and properties from catastrophic wildfires and how to comply with defensible space standards and building codes.
“The revised plan and timeline allow us to prioritize engagement, collaboration and communication,” said Grafe. “We are committed to ensuring people understand what they can do to increase the likelihood their homes and properties will survive wildfires. The wildfire risk map is one of several tools we will use to inform this work.”
SB 762 directs state agencies to focus resources in Oregon’s highest-risk areas to ensure homes are adhering to building codes and defensible space standards. These building codes and defensible space standards will not be adopted or implemented until the wildfire risk map is finalized in late 2023, but will be available in the near future so people can familiarize themselves with the new expectations.
The DCBS Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) confirmed last month that no Oregon insurance company used the original map to set rates (rating) or as part of a decision to offer or renew insurance coverage (underwriting), and none planned to use it for those purposes in the future. The DFR continues to conduct work to ensure that wildfire mitigation activities are accounted for in underwriting and rating processes. Homeowners are encouraged to contact DFR’s consumer advocates at 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free) with questions or concerns about their insurance policy.
For more information, visit the following websites:
- Wildfire Programs Advisory Council Website (SB 762 Implementation)
- Home Hardening and Building Codes (Building Codes Division)
- Defensible Space Requirements (Oregon State Fire Marshal)
- Insurance and Wildfire Resources (Division of Financial Regulation)
Oregon OSHA issues more than $144,000 in penalties to 2 contractors for exposing employees to fall hazards at sites in Salem and Woodburn
Salem – In separate enforcement actions, Oregon OSHA has issued fines totaling more than $144,000 to two contractors for violations – including repeat offenses – of fall protection rules at worksites in Salem and Woodburn. The violations put multiple workers at risk of serious injury or death from falls to lower levels.
The separate citations issued to Corvallis-based Iron Head Roofing LLC and Canby-based JMJ Construction LLC included the same violation of a basic safety requirement: Implementing adequate fall protection systems – such as a personal fall restraint system or other measures – where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level.
For Iron Head Roofing, it was the fifth time since May 2019 that the company committed the same violation. For JMJ Construction, it was the fourth time since February 2020 that the company committed the same violation. The companies’ previous violations of the six-foot trigger-height requirements were cited as part of separate Oregon OSHA inspections at different worksites.
Falls are one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry.
“Fall protection saves lives,” said Renee Stapleton, acting administrator for Oregon OSHA. “It is an essential safety practice that employers must carry out when work is being done at heights. There is no excuse for neglecting it.”
The citation issued to Iron Head Roofing followed an inspection that found four of six employees working on the roof of a house in Salem with no fall protection. The citation against JMJ Construction came after an inspection found an employee installing siding on a house with no fall protection. Another employee was using a scaffold with no fall protection, according to the inspection.
Both inspections were conducted under Oregon OSHA’s emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction. The prevention-based program accounts for the temporary nature of construction activity by directing inspectors to act based on observations while in the field, and to follow up on valid complaints and referrals.
Altogether, Oregon OSHA issued $144,900 in fines to both companies. The division’s citation to Iron Head Roofing involved a single repeat violation carrying a total proposed penalty of $78,000. The citation to JMJ Construction, which involved several violations, carried a total proposed penalty of $66,900. The violations were as follows:
Iron Head Roofing
- Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a fifth repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $78,000.
- Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a fourth repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $58,500.
- A portable ladder did not extend at least three feet above an upper landing. It was the first repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $4,500.
- No personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems were put in place while a scaffold was in use. Proposed penalty: $3,900.
Under Oregon OSHA rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat violations. Each of the citations issued to Iron Head Roofing and JMJ Construction also included a standard penalty reduction based on the small size of the company.
Employers have 30 calendar days after receiving a citation to file an appeal.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers free resources to help improve workplace safety and health. These resources include the division’s Fall Protection Suite of online video training and its A-to-Z topic page about fall protection.
The Fall Protection Suite includes courses addressing fall protection fundamentals, and construction, roofing, and ladder safety. The A-to-Z topic page about fall protection includes a fact sheet about fall protection trigger heights for construction activities✎ EditSign.
Employers are encouraged to use free resources – available now from Oregon OSHA and involving no fault, no citations, and no penalties – for help protecting their employees:
Consultation services – Provides free and confidential help with safety and health programs, including how to control and eliminate hazards, and hands-on training
Technical staff – Helps employers understand requirements and how to apply them to their worksites
Oregon Governor Candidates Attend Pendleton Round-Up Acknowledging Rural Votes Could Tip The Scales In A Tight Race To Be Oregon’s Next Governor
This year’s race to replace Democratic Gov. Kate Brown at the end of her final term could be the closest contest in years, with three candidates — Democrat Tina Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson — vying for support.
Kotek and Johnson made an appearance at the Cowboy Breakfast, where hundreds of people lined up on a frigid Friday morning as country music played gently in the background.
While Brown sat relaxed eating pancakes, the current candidates seemed more focused on wooing potential votes, weaving between tables and talking about the issues. Their presence lacked subtlety, as staffers wore bright campaign shirts amid the western flair.
Johnson leaned on her experience representing a rural district in Clatsop County, west of the Cascades.
“I am conversant in the vocabulary of rural Oregon,” she told OPB. “All of Eastern Oregon can vote one way on a ballot measure or a candidate and it can get wiped out by Multnomah County.”
Kotek, sporting a pristine black western shirt and off-white cowboy hat, said she’s been to Pendleton multiple times during her campaign, and that she believes a Democrat has a chance to pick up votes in an area where conservative candidates routinely have dominated.
“I’ve been to many parts of our state in the campaign,” Kotek said. “We’re all more successful when the whole state is successful. So I think there’ll be some people out here who will vote for me.”
Candidates also rode in the Westward Ho! Parade, attaching campaign signs to 19th Century-style carriages as they made their way throughout downtown Pendleton, packed crowds of spectators cheering on either side.
Drazan, speaking outside her carriage, said issues like addiction and rising homelessness were affecting rural Oregon in much the same way as urban parts of the state.
“If you’re in a rural community, the impacts can be seen fast,” Drazan said. “It feels like it’s new (in rural areas).”
The political glad-handing at the Round-Up could prove more important this year than normal. The Cook Political Report recently labeled Oregon’s gubernatorial race as “a toss-up,” and some election experts say the state could see its first non-Democratic governor since Vic Atiyeh in the 1980s. The race’s potential close outcome would be a stark contrast to 2018 when Brown won by 7 percentage points.
Rural Oregon counties, especially in the eastern half of the state, traditionally have not swayed many statewide elections. But if the race is tight this year, they could make a difference.
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.
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.