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 24, 2023
Rogue Valley Weather
Partly cloudy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High around 80F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.
Undercover Operation Arrests Cyber Predators Luring Local Children Online
JCSO Key Case 23-1309
JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – A three-month long undercover operation to identify adults victimizing children online has led to arrests of seven suspects throughout Oregon. The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force launched the operation to identify and arrest dangerous cyber predators using the internet to meet with local juveniles to have sex.
The SOCET led operation consisted of undercover law enforcement officers posing as minors on various online websites waiting for suspects to proposition them into having sex. Even after the acknowledgement of the child’s age, suspects sent sexually explicit messages, photos, and detailed requests of sexual activities they wanted to perform with the child.
This complex undercover operation involved dozens of law enforcement officials including detectives, investigators, and support personnel from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Marshals Service, Oregon State Police, Sutherlin Police Department (SPD), Grants Pass Police Department (GPPD), Jackson County Parole and Probation, and Central Point Police Department; as well as prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. Due to the complexity of this operation and the dangers involved in the arrests, SOCET also enlisted assistance from other local police task forces including the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team and Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force.
The latest arrest came May 19th, when SOCET investigators assisted Corvallis Police Department in arresting Manjunath Kareppagoudr, 35, of Corvallis. Kareppagoudr was charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, three counts of second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, and three counts of luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Benton County Jail.
The first arrest came March 17th when Paul Robert Raney, 28, of Grants Pass, attempted to meet and have sex with a juvenile. Raney is charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, two counts of second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, two counts of luring a minor, and two counts of attempted using a child in the display of sexually explicit content. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail.
The next arrest on March 17th was Emanuel Cisneros, 22, of Klamath Falls, when he attempted to meet with a juvenile to have sex. Cisneros is charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, two counts of second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, two counts of luring a minor, and two counts of attempted using a child in the display of sexually explicit content. Cisneros was booked and lodged at the Jackson County Jail. Investigators have reason to believe Cisneros may have victimized additional children throughout Oregon and the United States. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333.
The third arrest on March 17th was Reuben Phillip Harvey, 29, of Seneca, Ore. SOCET arrested Harvey as he attempted to meet with a juvenile to have sex. Harvey is charged with two counts of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, two counts of second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, two counts of luring a minor, and two counts of attempted using a child in the display of sexually explicit content. Harvey was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. Investigators have reason to believe Harvey may have victimized additional children throughout Oregon and the United States. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333.
The following day on March 18th, Jose Anthony Babb, 30, of Medford, was arrested attempting to meet with a juvenile to have sex. Babb was charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, luring a minor, and attempted using a child in the display of sexually explicit content. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. Babb pled guilty to Class B Felony first-degree online sexual corruption of a child on May 11th and was sentenced to 28 months in the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility with three years of post-prison supervision. Upon his release he will be required to register as a sex offender.
On April 11th Carlos Orellana, 34, of Portland, was arrested by SPD in Sutherlin and charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, and luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Douglas County Jail.
Another arrest came as a result of the operation as Leonard Allen Weedman, 64, of Medford, communicated with an undercover officer, violating the conditions of his parole for first-degree online sexual corruption of a child. Weedman was arrested last year during a similar SOCET operation. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail by a Parole and Probation officer on March 22nd.
Investigators have reason to believe the suspects pictured may have other victims. If anyone has additional information on these suspects, please call your local law enforcement agency or the JCSO tip line at (541) 774-8333.
SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from JCSO, GPPD, and HSI; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.
Boatnik 2023 Grants Pass Kicks Off!
The 173rd Fighter Wing out of Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls will conduct Memorial Day flyovers for ceremonies at locations throughout Oregon
F-15 Eagle fighter jets are scheduled to conduct flyovers at the following community locations at, or around, the designated times on Monday, May 29, 2023.
10:15 a.m. Reedsport Cemetery, Reedsport,
10:30 a.m. Gold Beach Veteran’s Memorial, Gold Beach,
11:00 a.m. Veterans Park, Klamath Falls,
11:20 a.m. Eagle Point National Cemetery, Eagle Point,
11:40 a.m. Roseburg National Cemetery, Roseburg,
12:15 p.m. Riverside Park, Grants Pass,
All passes will be approximately 1,000 feet above ground level and about 400 mph airspeed. Flights could be cancelled or times changed due to inclement weather or operational contingencies.
The Oregon Air National Guard has been an integral part of the nation’s air defense since 1941. The 173rd FW is home to the sole F-15C pilot training facility for the United States Air Force.
Fatal Crash – Interstate 5 – Jackson County
Oregon State Police – 05/25/23 2:50 PM
On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at approximately 8:30 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a single vehicle crash on Interstate 5, near milepost 21, in Jackson County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a black Chrysler Town and Country, operated by Ruben Nanez (69) of Yreka (CA), was traveling south on the interstate, when for unknown reasons, it drifted off the roadway and impacted a ditch embankment. The van overturned and landed in a small creek.
Fire and Medical personnel extricated the single male occupant and attempted life saving measures, however the subject was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The roadway was not impacted during the on-scene investigation. OSP was assisted by Jackson County Fire, ODOT, Phoenix PD, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Lighting Strikes Ignite Two Fires In Fremont-Winema NF NE Of Chiloquin
Press release by the Klamath Tribes of Oregon.
The Klamath Tribes are working with the Forest Service and Type 3 incident Management Team to assist with location and protection of cultural resources
CHILOQUIN, Ore. – The Dillon Creek and Doe fires were discovered on May 20. Both fires were started by lightning. The fires are on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. They are located about 40 miles Northeast of Chiloquin near Jackson Creek.
An interagency Type 3 Incident Management Team has been assigned. Five Hotshot Crews, nine engines and three dozers are assigned. Base camp for the fire personnel is located near the US Fish & Wildlife Klamath Forest Marsh headquarters.
The Klamath Tribes are working with the Forest Service and the Type 3 incident Management Team to assist with location and protection of cultural resources. Crews and engines are working around the indirect perimeter of the fires to strengthen containment lines by cutting and removing brush and cutting lower limbs of trees adjacent to the containment lines.
The objectives for management of the fires are to use them to restore forest conditions so that they are more resilient and productive. Large, old trees will be protected while many younger trees and shrubs that compete with old trees will be burned. Surface fuels will be burned that would otherwise contribute to high intensity fires if burned later in the season under hotter and drier conditions.
The plans for these fires are to contain them within a system of roads that analysis indicates are the safest and most effective areas to stop the fires. Crews will burn out from these roads to prevent the fires from rapid runs and spotting across the roads later in the week or next week if strong winds occur. The crews have three drones capable of aerially firing operations available to use. Burning out operations are planned to commence today. Incident Commander Evan Wright stated that he believes they can complete all firing operations by this weekend and return the fire to local district personnel by mid-week next week (ay 31st). The final fire size is estimated to be about 3,000 acres.
Current and forecasted weather is favorable for completing all containment operations successfully.
ONA Statement on Oregon Senate Republican Walkout: Do Your Jobs for Nurses and All Oregonians
The Republican walkout at the Oregon Senate, denying quorum needed to pass any bills, threatens a crucial, life-saving safe staffing bill that would help address Oregon’s ongoing nurse staffing crisis by protecting both nurses and patients.
HB 2697, the Oregon Nurses Association’s landmark safe staffing bill, (along with millions of dollars in health care workforce development funds), has bipartisan, bicameral support, and no stakeholder opposition. This hospital staffing package would not only improve patient care during a time when Oregonians are deeply concerned about the quality of their health care services but would also address decades-long concerns related to working conditions for nurses, recruitment of new nurses to the field, and retention of our state’s existing nursing workforce.
Hundreds of other bills on housing, education, health care access, infrastructure and more are in threat of dying because senators are not doing the jobs we elected them to do. These issues are, by definition, matters of life and death. They are simply too important for Senate Republicans to ignore.
ONA and our 16,000 represented nurses and allied health workers across the state call upon Senate Republicans to return to the Senate floor immediately to do their jobs for nurses and their patients, and to protect our vital democracy. Oregon Nurses Assn.
Russia bans Oregon Gov. Kotek, Attorney General Rosenblum, U.S. Rep. Hoyle
Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and U.S. Rep. Val Hoyle are among 500 Americans newly banned from traveling to Russia.
Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released its list late last week, saying it came in response to “anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the Joe Biden administration.” The ministry didn’t explain why it named the people it did, or what sanctions would mean.
It adds to a list of more than 1,000 Americans banned by the Russian government last spring, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and sanctions from the U.S. and other Western nations that followed.
“Apparently I’ve been banned from Russia,” Hoyle said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “I wish we could ban Russia from invading Ukraine.”
Spokespeople for Kotek and Rosenblum weren’t immediately able to provide comments Tuesday evening.
None of Oregon’s additions to the list have clear ties to Russia, though Rosenblum joined fellow Democratic attorneys general in calling for independent investigations into whether former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russians.
During her campaign for her House seat last year, Hoyle said she agreed with the U.S. and other countries sending aid to Ukraine following the invasion, though she opposes sending American troops overseas to fight foreign wars.
Two other members of Oregon’s congressional delegation – Reps. Andrea Salinas, a Democrat, and Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Republican – are not on the list.
But it includes many politicians, including former President Barack Obama, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, who are Democrats like Kotek and Hoyle, as well as a number of officials at non-governmental organizations and comedians Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert.
The country last year banned other members of Oregon’s congressional delegation, including Democratic U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici and Republican Rep. Cliff Bentz. Former Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader were banned last year and remain on Russia’s sanction list.
At the time, members of Oregon’s congressional delegation dismissed the ban.
“Being sanctioned by a murderous and fascist regime with so much blood on its hands is fine by me,” Wyden said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle last May. (SOURCE)
A fund has been established by the Oregon Farm Bureau for survivors and surviving family members of last week’s traffic crash near Albany that killed seven farmworkers, according to PODER, an Oregon Latino leadership network organization.
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe had raised more than $20,000 toward its $55,000 goal, according to the GoFundMe page.
On May 19, a northbound semi-truck struck a Ford Econoline van parked alongside Interstate 5 near the Santiam Rest Area, Oregon State Police officials said. OSP said the impact pushed the van, which was transporting the farmworkers home, into another semi-truck parked in front of it.
To contribute to the fund, visit the OFB Farmworker Families
Six tips to keep campfires safe and enjoyable this season
– Gathering around the campfire is a highlight for many visitors at Oregon State Parks. If you follow some basic guidelines, you can enjoy this tradition safely and reduce the risk of injury and wildfires.
Wildfire is a real danger in Oregon despite the wet and snowy spring. That’s why the No. 1 precaution you can take is to follow posted fire restrictions. At times, campfires and other open flames may be banned in campgrounds or on the beach.
Restrictions can happen at any time and with little warning, depending on conditions. Be sure to research conditions for the area near where you’re camping just before you head out. Fire restrictions may be in place at the park, county or state level. The Oregon State Parks website will post the latest information about campfires in state parks.
Restrictions may be in place even though the park is far from any wildfires. When wildfires rage, emergency responders and firefighters need to be on the front lines. We ask campers to do their part to make sure an emergency at the campground doesn’t pull resources from the statewide firefighting effort.
“If you’re camping with children or others who are new to outdoor recreation, it’s particularly important to review campfire safety practices,” said Chris Havel, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) associate director. “If you have a question or a concern, talk with a park ranger or camp host.”
OPRD offers these six tips for a safe and enjoyable campfire:
- Maintain campfire flames at knee height (no more than 2 feet high). A smaller flame helps prevent embers from rising into the trees or dry vegetation. If you see the wind stirring up embers, play it safe and put the fire out.
- In a state park campground, only build campfires in the existing fire ring in your campsite. Fire rings are placed in areas with buffer zones and away from vegetation.
- Always keep plenty of water on hand to safely put out the campfire. Douse the flames with water and stir the embers to make sure everything is wet. The stirring step is important: ash and wood debris often maintain heat. Repeat these steps until the fire no longer emits heat.
- Beach campfires should be on open sand and away from driftwood or vegetation and use only natural wood, rather than pallets or anything else that might have hidden nails or screws. Slowly pour water on your beach fire to put it out. Pouring water too quickly can cause hot sand to fly up. Don’t use sand to put out a beach fire. Covering the fire with sand will insulate the coals, keeping them hot enough to burn someone hours or days later.
- For propane fire rings, follow the same safety precautions you would with a log-based campfire. The use of propane fire rings may be restricted depending on local conditions.
- Make sure everyone in your campsite is familiar with campfire safety, including children. Always keep an eye on your campfire; many accidental fires are started because campers left their fire unattended for “just a minute.”
In addition to keeping your campfire safe, it’s also important to make sure your wood is free from invasive insects to keep our forests safe from the deadly emerald ash borer and other pests. Please do not bring firewood from outside the local area. Buy local firewood within 10 miles of your destination or buy certified heat-treated firewood.
During May, the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, the Office of Emergency Management, Keep Oregon Green, the U.S. Forest Service, OPRD and other federal, state and local emergency and response agencies are encouraging the public to work together in their local communities to prevent the risk of wildfire.
OSP Tips for Travel This Weekend
This Memorial Day Weekend, whether you are headed to the beach, camping, visiting family, or just commuting to work, remember highways are going to be filled with people doing the same. No matter what your plans are on this Memorial Day weekend, we can guarantee that there will be a rise in the number of cars on Oregon’s highways.
The Oregon State Police takes these historically high-traffic weekends to have what we call an “All Patrol Day”. All Patrol Day for OSP is the day that all sworn members travel the highways to increase our patrol presence during these busy weekends.
The Oregon State Police has a wide range of programs and specialties our sworn ranks are in charge of, such as major crimes, tribal gaming, lottery security, arson, collision reconstruction, fish & wildlife, explosives, K-9, aviation, and more. OSP leadership makes it a priority that at the end of the day, all sworn members need to stay in tune and up-to-date with why the Oregon State Police was founded to keep our highways safe.
OSP is one of many Law Enforcement agencies that will be out in force trying to ensure that all travelers are getting to their destination safely.
We want everyone to be safe when they are traveling, so we suggest that you follow these simple tips. Please, plan ahead, be prepared, and above all else be patient.
– Timing your departure can make all the difference. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination without getting frustrated when heavy traffic puts a pause on your travels.
– Know your routes and options if you come across detours or construction. OSP likes to encourage all drivers in Oregon to use the Oregon Department of Transportation www.tripcheck.com.
– Ensure your vehicle is properly equipped and in good working order to avoid maintenance emergencies
– If you are traveling with children, have something to keep them occupied. Games, snacks, and pillows for sleeping will not only keep them occupied, but they will keep your attention where it is needed, on the road.
Oregon State Troopers will be focusing on maintaining the flow of traffic as well as enforcing all traffic laws but especially the Fatal 5. These 5 major categories of driving behaviors contribute to most fatal or serious injury crashes.
• OCCUPANT SAFETY
• LANE SAFETY
• IMPAIRED DRIVING
• DISTRACTED DRIVING
If you will be one of the many traveling this weekend, remember that OSP will be out in force. Drive safe!
Additional Safety Messaging in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation. The month of May highlights many national transportation safety messages. The big takeaway from all the campaigns is to drive, bike, and ride thoughtfully. Watch out for fellow road users and our maintenance and construction crews. Remember to slow down and move over to give our emergency responders space to safely do their jobs.
ODOT Travel Tips For Memorial Day Weekend
Summer travel season is coming fast and as you make your plans, there are a few things to know before you hit the road. Make sure all of your travels will be safe and enjoyable this holiday weekend and beyond by knowing what the road ahead will bring.
Memorial Day weekend – Expect heavier traffic over Memorial Day weekend. Consider other ways to reach your destination that mean you don’t have to sit behind the wheel in traffic. Public transportation, buses and trains are all great alternatives. Plan to stay local? Think about how to get around town without driving to reduce the number of cars on the road.
Planning ahead – Tripcheck.com has live cameras all over the state so you can see what the conditions look like along your route and at your destination. To check for construction delays, look for traffic cone icons on the map.
While a lot of our construction work will pause over Memorial Day weekend, some impacts and delays will remain. Here are some areas that could see extra congestion.
In Portland, work along the OR 217 for the auxiliary lane safety project could cause minor delays. Work will be scaled back through the holiday weekend.
In Bend, four new roundabouts are coming to U.S. 20 on the north end of Bend. Expect some delays traveling through this area.
On U.S. 26 between Mount Hood and Warm Springs, a 15-mile stretch of highway with poor pavement condition recently had a speed reduction to 45 mph.
If you plan to recreate or travel between Bend and Eugene, remember that McKenzie Pass, OR 242, is still closed. The earliest opening date for everyone is the third Monday in June. If you plan to take OR 58 over Willamette Pass, there are several work zones to keep an eye out for around Oakridge.
For more information on construction projects around the state check out our Project Tracker and see what we have planned.
Following Memorial Day weekend, summer travel and construction begins to ramp up. We want to ensure your entire season of travel is both safe and enjoyable. As you plan your adventures, make use of our summer travel tips and resources website. On this site, you’ll find valuable insights to navigate through Oregon’s construction and wildfire season, and safety and preparedness tips for all the ways you travel Oregon’s transportation system. Bookmark this resource to become a seasoned summer travel all-star!
Drive safe! The month of May highlights many national transportation safety messages. The big takeaway from all of the campaigns is to drive, bike, and ride thoughtfully. Watch out for fellow road users and for our maintenance and construction crews. Remember to slow down and move over to give our emergency responders space to safely do their jobs. TripCheck