Rogue Valley News, Monday 4/10 — Two People Survive Plane That Crashed And Burned At Ashland Airport; Jackson And Josephine Counties Alert System Under Fire Again

The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s

Monday, April 10, 2023 

Rogue Valley Weather

Two People Survive Plane That Crashed And Burned At Ashland Airport

Ashland police and firefighters were at the scene of an aircraft that crashed and caught fire at Ashland Airport Friday night. They are investigating the crash and the fire. 

First responders said the two people on board survived the crash. Ashland Fire Department Division Chief Chris Chambers says they declined medical attention. 

The aircraft, however, is getting attention.  Chambers says the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were contacted to initiate their investigations of the incident.  Those agencies generally require aircraft to stay in place until they can see the crash in place before having the aircraft and its recoverable parts removed and moved to a safe location for closer inspection.

Chambers says that during a practice landing exercise that went wrong, the plane came to a rest off the runway at Ashland Airport. It was setting nose down and charred in a creek along the west side of the Airport and its runway. The crash caused a fire, which caused a small tree to catch fire and burn around 5 p.m. 

Another pilot said the aircraft was carrying its owner and another pilot on the experimental turbine-engine airplane with a cabin capable of carrying at least six people. 

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified, as well as an environmental agency because of plane chemicals and non-toxic firefighter foam.

Jackson And Josephine Counties Alert System Under Fire Again

Jackson and Josephine County Emergency Management have shared an Everbridge emergency notification system account for the past 10 years. With so many residents living and working between the two-county area, a collaboration made sense when Jackson County added the neighboring county to its own account in 2015. Residents sign up for the alert system and are notified of emergencies, when relevant, in both places.

The joint county system transitioned in 2021 to the state’s OR-Alert Everbridge program, which fully funded the system and added additional alert functionality. Both Jackson and Josephine counties executed separate intergovernmental agreements with the state. Both counties’ emergency managers were identified as account administrators for the shared account, meaning either would have access to send alerts to residents in both counties.

Jackson County Administrator Danny Jordan voiced concerns in a staff meeting Thursday with Jackson County commissioners. Jordan brought concerns to county commissioners after learning of the recent resignation of Josephine County Emergency Services Director Emily Ring. Jordan said Ring’s departure, to accept an emergency management position in Douglas County, could bring uncertainty for Southern Oregon.

When asked by Josephine County Human Resources Director JJ Scofield to approve posting for Ring’s replacement, commissioner Herman E. Baertschiger Jr. asked during the meeting, “Do we have to have an emergency management department? … I mean, we used to not have it.”

Baertschiger pointed out that emergency management was nonexistent until recent decades, and that emergency management personnel don’t handle logistics during large-scale emergencies in the same capacity as emergency responders.

Jordan voiced concern that the Josephine County commissioners were unaware that the position is, in fact, required by state law. Later in the March 23 meeting, Baertschiger indicated that the department could continue to exist, “as long as we’re getting the funding by the state.”

Josephine County commissioners ultimately authorized the position to be posted, which was done the following day. If a replacement is not found for Ring, Jordan said a handful of “alternative alert senders” have previously been assigned, “but no one with near the experience or proficiency.” With the two counties essentially linked together, he noted, residents of both counties could be subject to erroneous alerts and other types of mishaps.

Holly Powers, emergency manager for Jackson County, said providing “a robust alert warning system to meet residents’ needs” will remain her priority. Powers said both counties had benefited from a well-run and “long history of cooperation.”

“With the recent changes over there, we just want to ensure we’re maintaining the system as we have built it over the last two years. We do want to wait and make sure to see what they’re going to do with their emergency management program,” Powers said. “There could be no need for any changes. And we could see the same program moving forward. We are constantly assessing our situation, and our responsibility to our residents is paramount. We will definitely wait and see and be as collaborative as possible.”

**Remember: Emergency Alert System never used during fires in Jackson, Josephine Counties in September 2020

Not a single alert has been sent through the southern Oregon Emergency Alert System since fires broke out last week. In Lane and Linn Co. last week, there were nearly 3 dozen alerts. (SEE MORE:

Two People Arrested After Trying To Run Someone Over In Hawthorne Park

Two people are in custody after a truck drove through Hawthorne Park and tried to run someone over.

Medford police said around 4 pm Saturday they got a call of someone driving a truck through Hawthorne Park by East Main Street trying to hit people. Police said a subject suffering from mental health issues was making threatening statements out loud when the person who owned the truck confronted them, which then turned physical.

He ran into his truck and tried to drive off when the subject ran after him with a knife and started stabbing the truck. The driver then tried to run the subject over chasing him through the park.

“Honestly it was pretty chaotic because you had a lot of people who were really scared because they were at Hawthorne Park, it’s Pear Blossom Saturday and they see a truck driving through actively trying to hit someone, and multiple people almost got struck by this vehicle,” said Sgt. Josh Schilder.

Schilder said both people were taken into custody, and thankfully no one was seriously hurt.

Meth/Fentanyl Arrests in Roseburg

Detectives with the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT) arrested two Honduran men in the early morning hours of April 6th, 2023.  Detectives have been investigating this organization for some time and have developed information indicating they are involved with large scale drug trafficking crimes.  

Detectives contacted the individuals as they were sitting in their vehicle in the parking lot of a business in the 700 block of NW Garden Valley Blvd in Roseburg, at approximately 2:45 AM on Thursday morning.  The individuals had just arrived in the area from California.  Both individuals were detained, pending application for a search warrant for their vehicle.  

Detectives obtained the search warrant and upon searching the vehicle found a huge amount of both methamphetamine and fentanyl, including a large amount of suspected carfentanil.  

As many know at this point, Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid that is the dominant drug of choice among opiate addicts today.  Fentanyl has been the driving factor in the astronomical rise in overdose cases across our country, including here in Douglas County.  Fentanyl is estimated to be 50 times more potent than heroin.  

Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog, but is estimated to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Carfentanil is used in the veterinary industry, usually on very large mammals such as elephants.  Carfentanil is odorless and tasteless, and is often cut into other drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.  The dangers of such a drug cannot be overstated.  

In the suspects’ vehicle, detectives found the following:

  • Approximately 1,614 grams (3.5 pounds) of suspected methamphetamine.
  • Approximately 2,000 grams (2 kilos or 4.4 lbs) of suspected fentanyl.
  • Approximately 1,000 grams (1 kilo or 2.2 lbs) of suspected carfentanil.
  • Assorted drug paraphernalia.

32 year old Jorge Alvarenga, and 26 year old Daniel Mendoza-Archaga were both lodged in the Douglas County jail on the following charges:

  • Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, and Delivery of Methamphetamine
  • Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, and Delivery of a Controlled Substance Schedule II

The DINT team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-supported approach.  DINT is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and is composed of members from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg Police Department, Oregon State Police, Bureau of Land Management, and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.  The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including DINT.  

Britt Festival Announces Several More Concerts For The 2023 ‘Britt Presents’ Season

Announced Shows 2023

Britt Music & Arts Festival is excited to announce several more concerts for the 2023 Britt Presents season, adding more music and comedy performances to the previously announced lineup.

First released at an announcement party in Jacksonville, Oregon, this announcement introduces a wide range of musical acts and comedians, from one of the Beatles, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band to the hilarious Tig Notaro. Other highlights include Britt fan favorite reggae sensation UB40, popular rock band Train, and country stars Ashley McBride, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Chase Rice. Americana and bluegrass fans will enjoy Lyle Lovett and his Large Band and Greensky Bluegrass.

Rock lovers will enjoy the sounds of southern rockers Gov’t Mule, 90’s sensations, Blues TravelerBig Head Todd and the MonstersDaughtry, and Switchfoot,plus the amazing George Thorogood and the Destroyers.  Other artists include electric blues pioneer Buddy GuyGregory Alan Isakov with special guest Shovels & Rope, and Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd returns to the main stage to celebrate 50 Years of Dark Side with another incredible light show.

The Britt hill will come alive with amazing performances this coming summer in Southern Oregon.

“My favorite thing about Britt is the incredible array of different artists we present – there’s really something for everyone,” says President & CEO, Abby McKee. “After this long winter, we are ready for summer back on the hill and time with our wonderful Britt community!”


OSP Seeking the Public’s Assistance with Information in a Homicide Investigation- Cave Junction- Josephine County

On March 30, 2023, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received the report of a missing female, Aleah N. Aaron (25) of Cave Junction. The Oregon State Police Major Crimes Section was contacted and asked to lead the investigation. Investigators later found Ms. Aaron’s deceased body in rural Josephine County near Cave Junction. 

On April 2, 2023, investigators arrested Thomas R. Fuertes (35) of O’Brien, Oregon in connection with Ms. Aaron’s death. Fuertes was lodged in the Josephine County Jail on charges of Murder and Abuse of a Corpse. 

Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, we are unable to provide further information at this time. 

The Oregon State Police seeking the public’s assistance and requesting anyone with information related to the disappearance and murder of Ms. Aaron to please contact the Oregon State Police Southern Command Center at 800-442-2068 or OSP (677) from your mobile phone. Reference case #SP23-092940. 

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management honors the state’s dedicated 911 professionals during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) recognizes April 9-15 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, an annual event that honors the critical role emergency response coordination professionals play in keeping the nation’s communities safe and secure.

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management State 911 Program team celebrates the state’s 911 professionals. Pictured top row left to right: Tanner Rousseau, Aaron Askren. Second row left to right: Frank Kuchta, Robbie Sigleer, Alex Petzold, Michael Warren. Bottom row left to right: Pat Lustig, Kamille Basaca, Juliana Wold, Jeanie Stark. 

Oregon has 43 standalone 911 centers known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that serve as the first and single point of contact for people seeking immediate relief during an emergency. Nearly 800 dedicated telecommunicators across the state answer at least 2 million emergency calls annually for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. These 911 professionals respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance in times of intense personal crises and community-wide disasters.

“Oregon’s 911 telecommunicators are heroes devoted to public safety and helping others. They work long hours, remaining calm in all types of situations and quickly constructing plans of action based on limited information,” said OEM State 911 Program Manager Frank Kuchta. “These individuals are lifelines in an emergency, and this annual observance honors their skills, dedication and commitment to helping Oregonians.”

Some 911 professionals are certified as emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs), emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) or emergency police dispatchers (EPDs). All 911 professionals work diligently behind the scenes to help citizens during emergencies ranging from mental health crises, car accidents, missing person reports, burglaries and domestic violence disturbances. Since early 2020, Oregon’s public safety telecommunicators have had the added responsibility of serving throughout a pandemic, historic wildfires, heatwaves, winter storms, floods and severe staffing shortages.

“On any given day, our public safety dispatchers have an incredibly stressful job; during the last several years, that’s been compounded as they’ve responded to unprecedented disasters in which they were the first to answer the call,” said Kuchta. “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week brings well-deserved attention and recognition to these invaluable professionals.”

The critical work of Oregon’s public safety telecommunicators directly supports the operations of federal, state and local government agencies, including emergency management, highway safety, and search and rescue. Oregon’s 911 program was established by the 1981 Oregon Legislature and is managed by the Oregon Department of Emergency Management. Learn more at

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Photo Caption: The Oregon Department of Emergency Management State 911 Program team celebrates the state’s 911 professionals. Pictured top row left to right: Tanner Rousseau, Aaron Askren. Second row left to right: Frank Kuchta, Robbie Sigleer, Alex Petzold, Michael Warren. Bottom row left to right: Pat Lustig, Kamille Basaca, Juliana Wold, Jeanie Stark. 

Lane Co. Sheriff’s Office Case #23-1855 — Missing Person from the Blue River Area


The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 40-year-old Mekenna Reiley of Blue River. On the evening of April 6th, friends and neighbors reported they had not seen or heard from Reiley in a few days. Her phone, purse, vehicle, and dog were left behind at her residence near the Blue River Reservoir, but Reiley was nowhere to be found. 

Reiley was last seen in the area of River Street and McKenzie Highway in Blue River on April 5th. She was possibly suffering from a mental health crisis. It is unknown what she may be wearing, other than a blue pair of waterproof boots. 

Please contact the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 opt. if you have any information regarding her whereabouts. Reference LCSO case number 23-1855.

No Damages Reported In Another 4.0 Earthquake Off Coast From Yachats

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake was recorded off Oregon’s coast on Sunday morning, the United States Geological Survey reported.


The temblor uncorked about 270 miles west of Yachats, according to the federal scientific agency. No injuries or damage have been reported; only three people so far have filled out the USGS’s “Felt Report” survey.

The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Real-Time Earthquake Map, which is updated every 15 minutes, shows how commonplace such small quakes are in the region.

Another 4.0 quake rumbled about 132 miles west of Coos Bay on March 26, for example. On March 17, a 4.3 quake hit in the same general area in the Pacific Ocean. Those quakes also caused no damage or tsunami warnings.

Which isn’t to say there’s no reason to be prepared. Experts believe there’s about a 40% chance a large quake — up to magnitude 9.0 — from the Cascadia subduction zone will hit sometime in the next 50 years. January marked the 323rd anniversary of the last major quake along the 600-mile fault off the Pacific Northwest coast. (SOURCE)

Gasbuddy Reports Oregon Gas Prices Up Over In Past Week

Average gasoline prices in Oregon have risen 7.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.94/g Monday, according to GasBuddy’s survey of 1,307 stations in Oregon.

Prices in Oregon are 6.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand 69.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 1.6 cents in the last week and stands at $4.15 per gallon.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Oregon was priced at $2.89/g Sunday while the most expensive was $4.79/g, a difference of $1.90/g. The lowest price in the state Sunday was $2.89/g while the highest was $4.79/g, a difference of $1.90/g.

The national average price of gasoline has risen 8.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.57/g Monday. The national average is up 13.0 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 52.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.

Historical gasoline prices in Oregon and the national average going back ten years:
April 10, 2022: $4.64/g (U.S. Average: $4.10/g)
April 10, 2021: $3.15/g (U.S. Average: $2.85/g)
April 10, 2020: $2.47/g (U.S. Average: $1.84/g)
April 10, 2019: $3.16/g (U.S. Average: $2.79/g)
April 10, 2018: $3.07/g (U.S. Average: $2.66/g)
April 10, 2017: $2.74/g (U.S. Average: $2.39/g)
April 10, 2016: $2.17/g (U.S. Average: $2.04/g)
April 10, 2015: $2.69/g (U.S. Average: $2.40/g)
April 10, 2014: $3.68/g (U.S. Average: $3.61/g)
April 10, 2013: $3.68/g (U.S. Average: $3.57/g)

Neighboring areas and their current gas prices:
Eugene- $3.82/g, up 6.9 cents per gallon from last week’s $3.75/g.
Salem- $3.83/g, up 8.7 cents per gallon from last week’s $3.74/g.
Portland- $4.08/g, up 6.3 cents per gallon from last week’s $4.02/g.

“The national average price of gasoline has continued its relatively slow climb, with 44 states seeing average gasoline prices climb over the last week. Prices are being pulled up not only due to continued increases in demand as temperatures warm, but also pressure from oil prices, which have risen over 20% in the last month, primarily driven by OPEC’s surprise decision a week ago to cut oil production,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“Expect the upward trend to continue through much of the rest of spring, but once the transition to summer gasoline and refinery maintenance are behind us, April and May jumps could bring June slumps. However, for diesel, the news continues to be good, with the national average price of diesel continuing to drop, now at its narrowest difference to gasoline in over 13 months.”

GasBuddy is the authoritative voice for gas prices and the only source for station-level data. GasBuddy’s survey updates 288 times every day from the most diverse list of sources covering nearly 150,000 stations nationwide, the most comprehensive and up-to-date in the country. GasBuddy data is accessible at

The 10th Annual Art of Survival Century Bicycle Ride

Looking for a memorable way to spend the Memorial Day weekend? The 10th Annual Art of Survival Century Bicycle Ride isn’t just about pedaling a road or mountain bike through beautiful stretches of county side. It’s also an opportunity to learn about a region that includes Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin and Northern California’s Tulelake Basin and Butte Valley area.

In conjunction with Remembering the Modoc War events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Modoc War, this year’s 10th annual Art of Survival Century and Gravel Grinder bicycle rides will include sites where, or near, some of the war’s major events occurred. The 59-mile Metric Century, for example, will include stops or information at Captain Jack’s Stronghold, Canby Cross and Hospital Rock.

The two-day event is set for Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28. The Saturday rides — with four routes offering a choice of distances — will begin and end at the Broadway Theater in Malin while the trio of Sunday Gravel Grinder rides will start and end at the Butte Valley Community Center in Dorris.

“Come celebrate our 10th annual Art of Survival Century and Gravel Grinder Bicycle Rides on Memorial Day weekend,” said Linda Woodley, who heads an organizing committee that includes members from Malin, Merrill, Dorris and Lava Beds National Monument. “Cycle along the uncrowded backroads of our beautiful Basin in the shadow of majestic Mount Shasta, while learning more about rural life in our southern Oregon and northern California communities.”

Organizers also noted the Saturday ride will include areas along the banks of Lost River near Merrill, where a battle between Army troops from Fort Klamath attempted to return Modocs back to a reservation near Chiloquin. The Modoc’s refusal ignited the war between the Modoc Indians and U.S. Army.

“Witness first-hand where the war started and where many of the battles took place,” organizers said.

Along with Modoc War sites, Woodley and others emphasize “there is plenty to see and do in our region, so bring your family and enjoy the holiday weekend.”

Activities will begin with a pre-ride reception from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 26 at the Malin Broadway Theater in Malin. People can pick up ride packets, meet and mingle with other cyclists, enjoy refreshments, discover new activities to explore and learn about the history of the Klamath Basin.

Day 1 rides Saturday, May 27 include four routes that begin and end at the Malin Community Park in Malin — the 100-mile Century, 60-mile Metric Century, 38-mile and family-friendly 13-mile road routes along with a 22-mile mountain bike route in the Medicine Lake Highlands.

On Sunday, May 28, the mix of a Gravel Grinder, or non-pavement, rides covering distances of 74 and 54 miles and a family-friendly 13-mile route, will begin and end at the Butte Valley Community Center in Dorris. Participants of the two long routes will ride along the flatlands of Butte Valley, including the Butte Valley Wildlife Area, farms, ranches and up to Juanita Lake. Views of snow-capped Mount Shasta and Goosenest Mountain will be plentiful.

People who register for rides on both days get a discount. Post-ride meals will be offered both days and are included in the registration fees. Camping and lodging options are also available.

For detailed information, including maps of the various rides, go to the Art of Survival website at
Call us at 541-690-8806.  Or email us at

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