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 RogueValleyMagazine.com
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Rogue Valley Weather
OSP Grants Pass Office Leading a Patrol Saturation on Highway 199
The Oregon State Police will be leading a saturation patrol on Highway 199 (Redwood Highway) as we are approaching the highly traveled summer months.
On May 18 and May 19, 2023, Oregon State Police Troopers, Grants Pass Police Officers, and Josephine County Sheriff’s Deputies will be enforcing those driving behaviors most commonly contributing to fatal crashes, which we refer to as the FATAL 5. OSP’s Fatal 5 are Speed, Occupant Safety, Lane Usage, Impaired Driving, and Distracted Driving. These categories of traffic violations have been proven to be the primary contributors to serious injury/fatal crashes. These enforcement activities will be focused on the entirety of Highway 199, from the California border to the Grants Pass City Center.
The Oregon State Police would like to remind drivers that the Oregon Department of Transportation has designated Highway 199 as a Safety Corridor from milepost 20 to milepost 27.5. Under ORS 811.483, fines for traffic offenses committed in safety corridors are doubled and fines for certain traffic crimes are greatly enhanced.
These heavy enforcement activities will continue to occur throughout the summer months of June, July, and August.
The Oregon State Police, in conjunction with our agency partners, encourage drivers to drive within the posted speed limits and allow themselves sufficient time to arrive safely at their destination. The primary goal is to ensure that you and your family enjoy a safe commute on Oregon’s highways.
OSP will be posting real-time updates on our Twitter account https://twitter.com/ORStatePolice (@ORStatePolice) on Thursday, May 18 in the evening and Friday, May 19 in the morning.
Drowning Incident Update – Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
LOCATION: Indian Mary Park
CASE NUMBER: 2023-11725
INCIDENT DATE AND TIME: May 12th, 2023, 4:53 PM
REPORTING DEPUTY: Lieutenant Jim Geiger
On Friday, May 12th, 2023 at approximately 4:53 PM, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office was notified of two adult subjects in distress near the boat ramp at Indian Mary Park.
Information provided to 911 indicated bystanders pulled an adult male from the Rogue River and CPR was in progress. The second subject, an adult female, was last seen floating down river from the boat ramp.
The Sheriff’s Office, as well as Rural Metro Fire Department, responded and began searching the area for the female subject. Searchers walked the riverbanks and additional personnel searched the water with the Sheriff’s Office marine boat.
Witnesses at the scene stated the male and female were down at the river with their dog which swam to the other side of the river and would not swim back. The female entered the water to retrieve the dog and became overwhelmed by the swift current. The male threw a rope to the female without success. He then entered the water himself to rescue the female and also became overwhelmed by the current and went under the water. Bystanders at the scene were able to pull the male from the river and start CPR. He was transported to a local hospital where he later died.
Search efforts were called off around 8:30 PM and resumed the next day at 8:00 AM with assistance from the Josephine County Search and Rescue Team, AMR and Rural Metro Fire Department. Again, the search effort was called off after multiple hours of searching.
The female is still missing at the time of this release and next of kin have been notified. Further details will be provided as they become available.
Fatal Crash – HWY 238 – Jackson County
On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at approximately 10:46 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 238, near milepost 26, in Jackson County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a silver 2005 Chrysler Seabring, operated by Dena Bell Duval Arns (91) of Ruch, was traveling eastbound on Hwy 238. The vehicle traveled across the westbound lane for unknown reasons, left the roadway and overturned in a field. The operator was determined to be deceased at the scene.
The highway was not impacted during the course of the investigation. OSP was assisted by Applegate Fire and ODOT.
Jackson County Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony VIDEO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
Video available for download: https://vimeo.com/827423291?share=copy
Remembering the Fallen, Honoring those who Serve
Josephine County Missing Person Rally
FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2023 AT 10 AM – 6 PM
Armed Forces Day Celebration Today at State Capitol to Honor Military Service
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon National Guard is scheduled to participate in a ceremony to honor all military members on May 17, 2023 at the State Capitol Mall in Salem, Oregon.
The Armed Forces Day event is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., with a formal ceremony starting at noon, and will conclude with an F-15 Eagle flyover conducted by the Oregon Air National Guard, and a Howitzer salute by the Oregon Army National Guard’s Bravo Battery, 2-218 Field Artillery Battalion.
In addition to honoring all military members, the event will also feature displays from various units throughout the Oregon National Guard. “Oregon’s Own” 234th Army Band will also be featured, playing a variety of patriotic music and other selections.
Oregon Army National Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Gregory T. Day, is scheduled to preside over the ceremony.
“It has been years since we have been able to host an Armed Forces Day event,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Bomar, Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department. “We are excited about being able to finally getting back to honoring our military service members and fellow veterans with this public event at our state capital.”
Armed Forces Day was originally created in 1949 by President Harry S. Truman to honor Americans serving in all of the branches of the military, replacing the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The holiday was finally official designated in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, declaring that, “Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.”
The public and the media are encouraged to attend, and local food trucks will be available around the State Capital event area.
UPDATE: 173rd FW responds to F-15D mishap at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls
A U.S. Air Force F-15D departed the runway during landing at approximately 3:15 p.m. yesterday at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. The aircraft was returning to base following a routine training mission.
Upon landing the aircraft left the paved surface and came to a stop in the Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal at the south side of the runway.
“We don’t believe the aircraft is leaking any petroleum products based on our initial assessment of the water in the canal,” said Col. Micah Lambert, 173rd Fighter Wing vice commander. “Minimizing the environmental impact is one of our main priorities; we have taken precautionary measures and placed absorbent booms around the aircraft to prevent the flow of fuel, or other substances, downstream in the event there is a leakage.”
Lambert also said the wing is conducting ongoing water sampling to detect if there is a presence of petroleum products in the water.
The plane was assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, and there was one crew member on board. The F-15 instructor pilot exited the aircraft safely and was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center as a precaution and for evaluation. He has since been released with minor injuries.
“We are so grateful that our pilot was able to walk away from this mishap,” said Lambert. “Our Team Kingsley responders acted quickly and with professionalism thanks to the extensive training and safety mindset of our team.”
Lambert noted that the wing is partnering with local authorities and federal agencies, to include the Bureau of Reclamation, to ensure the aircraft is safely removed from the canal.
A board of officers has been assigned to investigate the mishap. Additional updates will be provided as soon as they are available. (SOURCE)
Bend Nurses Launch Strike Vote May 16
Nearly 1,000 nurses will cast a strike vote to protect patient safety and protest unfair labor practices at St. Charles Bend.
(Bend, Ore.) – Frontline nurses are opening a strike vote against St. Charles Bend–Oregon’s largest hospital east of the Cascades. Nurses are voting to protect their community’s health and safety, protest St. Charles’ illegal unfair labor practices and fix St. Charles’ growing staffing crisis.
The vote will run from May 16 – 21. If passed, nurse leaders are authorized to call for a strike. The nearly 1,000 frontline nurses at St. Charles Bend are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA).
Local nurses have been meeting with St. Charles’ executives for more than 5 months to try to reach a fair contract agreement that addresses the hospital’s nurse staffing crisis, raises safety standards, increases recruitment and retention of skilled caregivers, and ensures all Central Oregonians have access to safe, affordable health care.
“St. Charles executives declared a crisis last July but nothing has changed for our patients. They’re still stuck with blocked beds, canceled surgeries, and long wait times in the ER. As Bend continues to grow, our staff needs to grow too. We need the hospital to recruit, retain and respect nurses so we can care for our community,” said Erin Harrington, a local nurse and chair of ONA’s bargaining team at St. Charles Bend. “Today, St. Charles is leaving us no choice but to vote to strike. We’ve met them halfway but they’ve refused to compromise. Nurses know our patients and our community deserve better. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Nurses are not the only ones calling out staffing and safety problems at St. Charles Bend.
- Hospital executives privately declared a staffing emergency at St. Charles’ facilities because of its severe nursing shortage in July 2022.
- The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) cited St. Charles Bend for failing to comply with Oregon’s hospital safe staffing law in 2017, 2021, and 2022.
- The hospital currently faces 10 state staffing complaints.
- OSHA recently fined the hospital for serious safety violations.
St. Charles’ chronic unsafe staffing is directly linked to its failures to recruit, retain and respect frontline nurses. Since 2018, nearly 60% of registered nurses at St. Charles Bend resigned. St. Charles Bend has more than 300 vacant nursing positions as of March 21, 2023 per hospital data.
Decades of research and real-life experience confirm a lack of nurses harms community health and leads to longer wait times and hospital stays, higher costs, more patient infections and injuries, more readmissions and more preventable deaths.
St. Charles Bend is also under investigation for multiple unfair labor practices including spying on union nurses during nurses’ personal time, refusing to provide information about its multimillion dollar contracts with outside staffing agencies, and bad faith bargaining.
“The nurses we count on to save our lives are overworked, understaffed and undervalued by St. Charles’ executives. That should set off clanging alarm bells in this community,” said ONA President Tamie Cline. “Executives at St. Charles have ignored repeated warnings about its staffing crisis. Now it’s endangering patients and putting an entire community’s health at risk. Nurses have no choice but to take action to protect their community. They have ONA’s full support as they fight to make their hometown hospital safe.”
Nurses are currently working without a contract after the previous agreement expired Dec. 31, 2022. Contract provisions remain in effect while the parties are engaged in negotiations.
The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 16,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state, including more than 1,200 frontline nurses and allied health workers at multiple St. Charles Health facilities serving Central and Eastern Oregon. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.
Numerous Fatal Drug Overdoses Raise Concerns About Dangerous Batch
The Portland Police Bureau is alerting the community of a potentially dangerous batch of drugs circulating the street marketplace. Since Friday, May 12, 2023, PPB has assisted the Medical Examiner with 8 death investigations that are suspected drug overdoses. Six of them are likely fentanyl related, and the other two are pending additional investigation.
These are a list of the current cases:
May 12, 2023, 11:38a.m., inside an apartment in the 12100 block of East Burnside Street, 38-year-old man, case number 23-123928
May 12, 2023, 1:34p.m., in a tent in the 8100 block of Southeast Rhine Street, 42-year-old man, 23-124037
May 13, 2023, 12:24a.m., in a vehicle in Sellwood Riverfront Park, 8049 SE Oaks Park Way, 47-year-old man, 23-124623
May 13, 2023, 1:44a.m., in a grassy area at West Burnside Street and Northwest 8th Avenue, unknown age man (identity has not yet been determined), 23-124669
May 13, 2023, 4:21p.m., in an apartment in the 800 block of Northwest Naito Parkway, 69-year-old man, 23-125214
May 13, 2023, 11:49p.m., in an apartment in the 16000 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard, 49-year-old male and a 37-year-old man, 23-125607
May 14, 2023, 4:31p.m., 8100 Block of North Hartman Street, Unknown age person, 23-126180
All of these cases are under investigation by the Medical Examiner’s office and Portland Police Narcotics and Organized Crime (NOC) Unit. Preliminary investigation reveals a concerning pattern. NOC has found that in several of these cases, there is evidence that the user believed they were ingesting cocaine, but that it was really a blend of cocaine and fentanyl, or possibly pure powdered fentanyl. Users are warned that there may be a batch of purported cocaine circulating on the street that is particularly dangerous to use.
NOC is continuing to investigate. If anyone has information about any of these cases and have not already talked to police, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and reference the corresponding case number. Additional information will be released when appropriate. (SOURCE)
One historic hotel seeks its perfect match — could it be you?
Nestled in the upper end of the Blitzen Valley with Steens Mountain in the distance, the Frenchglen Hotel awaits its perfect match – a concessionaire with business savvy to run its hotel and restaurant. Are you the one?
Do you enjoy the charms of rural Eastern Oregon surrounded by the high desert and mountain lakes or gazing upon glittering night skies untouched by city lights?
Maybe you’re tempted by the proximity to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge or to the many hot springs nearby? Or is it seclusion you seek? The town of Frenchglen has a population of 12 with the next closest community, Burns, at least an hour away.
This historic hotel has a lot to offer the winning proposal.
A little history: Built in 1917, the eight-room hotel served up accommodations and hot meals to travelers and ranch visitors. Now, 106 years later, the hotel has earned its place on the National Register of Historic Places and is welcoming even more guests with the addition of Drover’s Inn, which includes 4 additional rooms to rent with private bathrooms for a total of 12 reservable rooms on the property. There is also a caretaker’s house.
Business is booming for the majority of the season (March 15 through October) followed by a closed season for quieter pursuits.
This historic hotel and adjoining properties are turnkey ready for this season. All it needs is a new concessionaire after the retirement of its longtime operator.
Still interested? Here is what Frenchglen is seeking:
- 3 years business background and experience in restaurants and hotels
- designated business as S-corporation or limited liability corporation to meet land lease requirements
- a modern touch to grow the business online with digital reservations
- management experience as they will likely need 1 to 2 employees to help with the restaurant and hotel
Frenchglen is accepting proposals online. Candidates will need to register with Oregon Buys or submit completed proposals to email@example.com“>Winona.Butler@oprd.oregon.gov. The deadline is 2 p.m. June 2, 2023. Don’t miss your chance with this historic gem.
You can also make a visit during an open house 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 26.
Disclosure: If this is a match made in heaven, the matchmaker and property owner, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, seeks 5% of revenue and $2,400 a month to maintain the historic property and its infrastructure. Last year the business reported $418,770 in revenue.
Free camping, day-use and activities to celebrate State Parks Day June 3
Celebrate State Parks Day with free parking and free RV and tent site camping at all Oregon State Parks June 3 as well as special events at selected parks.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive day-use parking fees at the 25 locations that charge them June 3 and June 4. OPRD will also waive camping fees for all tent, RV and horse campsites June 3.
State Parks Day has been a tradition since 1998 as a way to thank Oregonians for their support of the state park system over many decades.
“Oregon has one of the best state parks systems in the country, and it’s because you have invested in parks, cared for them and preserved them for everyone to enjoy. Thank you,” said OPRD Director Lisa Sumption.
State Parks Day Events
Several free special events and service projects are planned June 3 to celebrate State Parks Day:
- Cove Palisades:Festival of the Landis a free festival that celebrates the diverse history, food and culture of Central Oregon 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes: archeology hikes, kids’ games and activities, petting “zoo”, mini farmers market, pollinator, wildfire and fish displays, fry bread and more.
- Smith Rock: Trail Keepers of Oregon will lead a group of volunteers on some trail maintenance projects on trails in the park 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring snacks, lunch, water and work gloves. Free. Registration required.
- Valley of the Rogue: Veteran’s Powwow 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 3 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4. The event includes a powwow ceremony with gourd dancing and vender booths. It is open to all veterans, tribal members or not.
- Honeyman: An educational film screening will be held at the Amphitheater located in B loop overnight campground from 1 to 3 p.m. Park at the Sand Dunes Day use parking area and walk to the amphitheater, or find limited parking by the campground registration booth. This event is weather dependent.
- L.L. Stub Stewart: The Friends of Stub Stewart State Park will have booths and tables set up all around the Welcome Center building dedicated to local fire departments, state forestry agencies and volunteer organizations. Free snacks and refreshments provided by the friends group, in addition to arts and crafts activities and interpretive displays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Luckiamute: Discover the birds that call Luckiamute Natural Area home by participating in Bird Bingo 9 a.m. to noon. Register online. Participants who pre-register will receive a bingo card on the day of the event that consists of birds and plants that are common in the park. The activity begins with a Ranger led casual stroll along the North Luckiamute Trail. We will supply Binoculars to all registered participants.
- Sitka Sedge: Join Park staff for a guided hike at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area to learn about the local plants and wildlife 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Sitka Sedge State Natural Area Parking Lot off of Sandlake Road. Dress for the weather, bring water and a snack. The first half mile is flat on packed gravel that is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
Fishing is also free statewide June 3 and 4, courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Learn more at https://myodfw.com/articles/2023-free-fishing-days-and-events.
For camping availability, please check oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com or visit first-come-first served sites: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=reserve.first-come
About Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
The mission of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is to provide and protect outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations. The department manages 254 Oregon State Parks comprising more than 100,000 acres. Learn more at stateparks.oregon.gov.
PODCAST: 4 Oregon Cold Cases Solved, Families Get Closure
What would you do if someone you loved vanished and was never heard from again? That was the case for several families we interviewed on the first five episodes of The Unidentifieds podcast.
In previous episodes, we explored the rapidly expanding use of genetic genealogy in finding the identities of long lost souls whose remains were found in Oregon.
We told the stories of a nomadic Navy veteran, a young woman who liked to sing, a girl who wore a pink plaid coat and mother of pearl ring, and a little boy whose time on earth was too short.
They all vanished in Oregon. But they were all also found in Oregon. Their stories told, and their names said aloud once again, thanks to the help of passionate experts, their families and advances in DNA technology and genetic genealogy.
On the final episode of The Unidentifieds, hosts Regan Mertz and Dave Killen unpack the emotional toll on families and how getting answers about their loved ones’ fates – even if decades later – brings closure.
The investigators and scientists who worked on the cold cases reflect on how each person’s story lingers in their memory, long after the cases were solved.
How to find The Unidentifieds podcast from The Oregonian/OregonLive
Subscribe to The Unidentifieds on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, YouTube or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. Be sure to give it a five-star rating. Find all previously released episodes below:
- Episode 1: No ID. No name. A mystery that endured for 47 years.
- Episode 2: A 2-year-old’s remains found in a southern Oregon reservoir identified 58 years later
- Episode 3: How DNA and genetic genealogy are solving decades-old cold cases
- Episode 4: Human remains found in remote woods near Government Camp identified 34 years later
- Episode 5: Human remains found near Multnomah Falls in 1979 identified four decades later