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
Friday, June 2, 2023
Rogue Valley Weather
Joint Task Force Serves Child Porn Search Warrant at Local Central Point Residence
JCSO Case 23-1656 CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force served a search warrant this morning at a residence in the 800 block of Forest Glen Drive in Central Point. SOCET served the warrant after receiving information someone was distributing child pornography.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Medford Police Department, Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF), and Jackson County District Attorney’s Office assisted with the warrant service. Detectives are interviewing possible witnesses and involved parties, and investigations are ongoing.
During the warrant, investigators seized digital devices which will be forensically examined by SOHTCTF for further evidence of child exploitation. A tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) started the investigation, which led to subpoenas, followed by the search warrant at the residence.
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, Grants Pass Police Department, and Homeland Security Investigations; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.
First Day of Fire Season: Deputies Respond to Assist Firefighters on RURAL EAGLE POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies responded to assist Oregon Department of Forestry firefighters and Oregon State Police Thursday afternoon on a fire alongside Highway 140 near mile marker 13 northwest of Lakecreek. As of 10:45 a.m., firefighters had nearly extinguished the one-acre fire and are currently mopping up.
5/31/2023 8 Acre Grass Fire in Selma: Illinois Valley Fire District
5/31/2023 call time 1503 hours, Illinois Valley Fire District, Grants Pass Fire, Rural Metro Fire – Josephine County , ODF Southwest Oregon District and Oregon Department of Forestry, responded to a third alarm grass fire off of Lakeshore Drive.
Fire size was extinguished at 7 acres. No structures were damaged,and there were no injuries.
Fire has been contained and is under investigation.
Fish, Clam and Crab for Free During Free Fishing Weekend June 3-4
Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday of the first weekend of June.
No fishing/shellfish licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement or Two-Rod Validation) are required on those two days (June 3-4, 2023). Both Oregon residents and nonresidents can fish for free. Oregon State Parks also offers free parking and camping on Saturday, June 3.
All other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. See the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for rules. Remember to check for any in season regulation changes at the Recreation Report especially for salmon and steelhead fishing. Click on the zone where you want to fish and then click the “Regulation Updates” tab to see the in-season changes.
The Recreation Report is updated weekly and features the best bests for fishing for the upcoming week.
Expect lots of extra rainbow trout to be stocked in Oregon’s lakes for the weekend; more fish are stocked during the next two weeks (for Memorial Day and June Free Fishing Weekend) than at any other time of year. This video series How to fish for trout in Oregon breaks down everything you need to know to fish for trout any time of year and see the trout stocking schedule for more information.
It’s also a great weekend to try clamming or crabbing. This year, June free fishing days coincide with a minus tide (with low tides on the coast getting below the average low water mark by one or even two feet) creating ideal conditions for clamming. MyODFW.com has all the information you need to get started clamming or crabbing including maps of locations and how-tos.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture regularly tests shellfish and closes areas when naturally occurring biotoxins get to levels that make crabs and clams unsafe to eat. As of today, razor clamming is open from Tillamook Head (just south of Seaside) north to the Washington border but closed south of Tillamook head to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. Crabbing is open coastwide.
Closures can happen quickly and may change before Free Fishing Weekend. Remember to call the ODA Shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 or check their Shellfish page before you go.
ODFW staff and a number of fishing organizations will host events throughout the state on Free Fishing Weekend, bringing all the gear beginners need to get started. Staff and volunteers will hand out fishing equipment and be available to teach how to bait, cast, land and clean your catch.
Events are being held at following events and times, see the Family Fishing Events page for more information.
Saturday, June 3
- Alsea, Oregon Hatchery Research Center, 7 a.m-2 p.m.
- Camp Sherman, Wizard Falls Hatchery, 9 a.m.-noon (for age 10 and younger)
- Enterprise, Marr Pond, 8 a.m.-noon
- Estacada, Small Fry Lake, Promontory Park, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (for age 17 and younger)
- Eugene, Alton Baker Park, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Gaston, Henry Hagg Lake, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Silverton at Silverton Reservoir, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Sutherlin, Cooper Creek Reservoir, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Toledo, Olalla Reservoir, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Trask Hatchery, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Ukiah, Twin Ponds, 9 a.m.-noon. Note trophy trout will not be stocked for this event due to disease concerns with these trout; other legal-size trout will be stocked.
Sunday, June 4
- Lake Marie, Reedsport, Noon- 5 p.m.
Grants Pass Police Department is hiring for the position of Police Officer.
Josephine County Missing Person Rally
FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2023 AT 10 AM – 6 PM
Oregon State Fire Marshal issues grants to boost staffing ahead of wildfire season
SALEM, Ore. – To boost the number of firefighters across Oregon ahead of wildfire season, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has awarded $6 million in grants to 185 local fire agencies across the state.
The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant is in its second year. Local agencies within the Oregon structural fire service were eligible to apply for up to $35,000. The funding will allow these agencies to hire additional firefighters for the 2023 fire season. This year, small agencies, many of which depend on volunteers, were prioritized to receive funding. A list of agencies awarded funding can be found here.
“This grant is a beacon of hope for fire districts like ours, burdened by limited funding,” Mt. Angel Fire Chief Jim Trierweiler said. “It provides a lifeline, empowering us to overcome financial constraints and a shortage of volunteers. With this invaluable support, we can expand our team with skilled individuals, fortifying our mission to serve and protect our community this fire season.”
“The OSFM staffing grant has turned what has been a long-term vision and goal for McKenzie Fire and Rescue into a reality,” Chief Darren Bucich said. “Additional staffing will help us build on our ability to provide consistent alarm response, timely auto and mutual aid response, and the ability to continue to be a part of conflagrations.”
The 2022 grant was successful across the state, adding roughly 400 paid firefighters to the Oregon fire service during last summer’s wildfire season. These added resources allowed agencies to attack fires and keep them small and away from communities and added capacity to respond to other calls, ultimately saving lives. Read about the successes here.
The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant is part of a multi-pronged approach to combat wildfire in Oregon. Over the last two years, the OSFM has made strategic investments to modernize the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System and help communities be better prepared for wildfire.
This grant is part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative. This one-time funding was made possible through Senate Bill 762, which was signed into law in 2021.
ABOUT RESPONSE READY OREGON
The OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative was created to help bolster capacity and modernize wildfire response within the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The goal of Response Ready Oregon is to attack fires while they are small and keep them away from communities.
Oregon Democrats Vote to Fine Absent Senators Amid GOP Walkout
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Senate Democrats plan to start fining their absent colleagues amid a month-long Republican walkout, a move they hope will pressure boycotting lawmakers to return to the chamber as hundreds of bills languish amid the partisan stalemate.
This week marked the fifth in the Oregon Senate Republican walkout — the longest in Oregon history.
On Thursday, the senate president announced a fine for those lawmakers participating in the walkout. Meanwhile, some of those Republicans and an Independent held their own committee on accountability.
Oregonians from across the state showed up at the Capitol, not only urging senators to return to work, but also for their fellow lawmakers to hold their colleagues accountable. Many chanted “quorum” as they demanded lawmakers return and pass major legislation, now at a stalemate for a month.
In a procedural move Thursday, Democrats voted to fine senators $325 every time their absence denies the chamber the two-thirds quorum it needs to conduct business. The amount reflects lawmakers’ average daily pay, according to the office of Democratic Senate President Rob Wagner.
“Oregonians work for a living every day, and they don’t get paid when they don’t show up,” Wagner said while addressing the Senate. “We have a huge stack of bills sitting right over there on that cart, just waiting for us to take them up, to debate and to vote.”
The month-long Republican walkout — the longest-ever in the Oregon Legislature — once again prevented the Senate from reaching a quorum on Thursday. But Democratic Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, citing an article in the state constitution, requested that the Senate compel absent members to attend and fine absentees $325 for every day a quorum isn’t reached. Her request was voted on and approved by the other Democrats present on the Senate floor.
The article of the Oregon Constitution cited by Democrats states that even if two-thirds of members are not present, “a smaller number may meet … and compel the attendance of absent members.”
Senate Republican Minority Leader Tim Knopp condemned the plan as retaliation.
Most Republican senators haven’t shown up for floor sessions since May 3, denying quorum and stalling hundreds of bills, including ones on abortion, gender-affirming care and gun control that have sparked fierce debate in the Legislature.
Knopp has said Republicans will only return to the Senate on the last day of the legislative session, June 25, to pass the budget and “bipartisan” bills.
Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek said Wednesday that her talks to end the impasse have failed and that Knopp wants the bill on abortion and gender-affirming care to be “substantially amended or dead.”
Kotek said negotiating on that measure, which has already passed the House, is not an option.
After Republicans staged previous walkouts in 2019, 2020 and 2021, voters last November approved a ballot measure by an almost 70% margin that was supposed to stop walkouts. Lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences would be disqualified from reelection in the next term, according to the measure’s title and summary.
But the text of the measure says disqualification applies to “the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.” Republicans are taking that as meaning that boycotters who are up for reelection in 2024 could be candidates, since their current terms end in January 2025 — with the disqualification coming for the 2028 election.
Secretary of State spokesperson Ben Morris said the department is seeking a legal opinion from the Oregon Department of Justice and will follow its advice. The Justice Department is currently working on the legal opinion, Roy Kaufmann, spokesperson for Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, said in an email Wednesday.
Republican senators are expected to file court challenges if the secretary of state’s elections division bars them from registering as candidates in September. (SOURCE)
Oregonians Rally to Back Bill Providing Food Aid for All
A rally was held in Salem Thursday to urge passage of a bill to provide food assistance to Oregonians regardless of their immigration status.
Senate Bill 610, known as Food for All Oregonians, would ensure people who are undocumented and excluded from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receive food aid in the state.
Morgan Dewey, spokesperson for the Oregon Food Bank, described the event.
“The Capitol was a beautiful backdrop for a series of speakers who shared their personal stories and organizations that are part of the 125+ organization-led coalition supporting Food for All Oregonians,” Dewey recounted.
The bill would extend aid to lawful permanent residents, U.S. Compacts of Free Association citizens and other Oregonians who arrived as immigrants or refugees.
Dewey noted more than a million people are expected to access food assistance this year. To help counteract it, the measure would help get aid to about 62,000 Oregonians.
“With food on the table, families can thrive, kids can do better in school, access to education and health care and housing becomes a little less of a worry,” Dewey outlined.
The biggest roadblock for the bill’s passage is the Senate Republican walkout. Dewey added anti-hunger advocates are urging them to return to Salem.
“We’re really calling on folks to come back and do their jobs so that pieces of legislation that will support a thriving Oregon, like SB 610 Food for All Oregonians, can pass and support our neighbors and our communities,” Dewey concluded. (SOURCE)
Employment Department Announces Weekly Benefit Amounts for Unemployment Insurance and Paid Leave Oregon
Salem, Ore. — Today, the Oregon Employment Department announced the 2023-24 minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts for Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Paid Leave Oregon. Paid Leave Oregon is new and will begin paying benefits in September.
By law, the department calculates the minimum and maximum benefit amounts once a year. These calculations are based on Oregon’s State Average Weekly Wage and are effective from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The State Average Weekly Wage increased from $1,224.82 to $1,269.69.
The minimum weekly benefit amount is the lowest amount the program will pay a claimant for each week they claim benefits, and the maximum benefit amount is the most the program will pay, regardless of income.
2023-24 Unemployment Insurance and Paid Leave Oregon weekly benefit amounts
|Program||Minimum weekly benefit amount||Maximum weekly benefit amount|
|Paid Leave Oregon||$63.48||$1,523.63|
Starting July 2, 2023, the minimum weekly benefit amount for new unemployment insurance claims will go from $183 to $190 per week, and the maximum weekly benefit amount will go from $783 to $813 per week. This increase only affects claims filed July 2, 2023, or later. People who file new unemployment insurance claims before July 2 will continue to receive the same benefit amount.
This is an increase of approximately 3.8%. The minimum weekly benefit amount is 15% of the State Average Weekly Wage, and the maximum is 64%. During the most recent quarter, 11.5% of recipients received the minimum weekly benefit amount, and 24.5% received the maximum.
For Unemployment Insurance, the weekly benefit amount is usually 1.25% of what a claimant earned during their “base period,” which is roughly the first 12 of the 15 months before the date they filed their claim.
Paid Leave Oregon
For Paid Leave Oregon, the minimum weekly benefit amount is 5% of the State Average Weekly Wage, and the maximum is 120%. When benefits start in September, the minimum weekly benefit amount will be $63.48, and the maximum will be $1,523.63.
Paid Leave Oregon calculates weekly benefit amounts based on how much the employee earns on average in a week and how much leave they take in a week, so the amount is different for every employee. Lower wage earners will generally receive more of their usual wages than higher wage earners.
Need help? The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spoken-language interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503- 947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
¿Necesita ayuda? El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon (OED) es una agencia de igualdad de oportunidades. El OED proporciona ayuda gratuita para que usted pueda utilizar nuestros servicios. Algunos ejemplos son intérpretes de lengua de señas e idiomas hablados, materiales escritos en otros idiomas, letra grande, audio y otros formatos. Para obtener ayuda, por favor llame al 503-947-1444. Usuarios de TTY pueden llamar al 711. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a email@example.com
Sweet Home Fire District responded to a motor vehicle accident that caused widespread power outages and caused some wiring in City Hall to catch fire.
Sweet Home Fire District responded to a motor vehicle accident that caused widespread power outages. Also, the power issues caused some wiring in City Hall to catch fire.
The motor vehicle accident involved a passenger car colliding with a power pole. The damage to the power pole was severe and caused wires to hang low over highway 20. A delivery truck was traveling highway 20, behind the accident, when the power lines became caught on the truck. This caused damage to several power poles and transformers. The result was power outages to a large portion of Sweet Home.
Sweet Home Fire District crews were managing the motor vehicle accident, when reports of smoke inside City Hall came in. The Incident Commander then assumed command of the City Hall incident as well. An engine company from the motor vehicle accident was reassigned to City Hall and confirmed there was smoke inside the building. Crews were able to locate the source of smoke. It was due to some electrical wires that burned in the crawl space under City Hall. When crews located the damaged wiring, there was no active fire. Crews then used ventilation fans to remove the remaining smoke in the building.
Traffic had to be rerouted off highway 20 due to the power lines on the roadway. This included a Sweet Home Fire District ambulance that was dealing with a different medical emergency.
Other local building occupants were contacted to ensure there were no other fire issues in the surrounding area.
Annual Art in the West Exhibition and Auction Celebrates Region Through Stunning Artwork
BEND, OR — The High Desert Museum will unveil a diverse collection of traditional and contemporary art on Saturday, July 8 in its annual Art in the West exhibition and silent auction. This year’s juried exhibition will feature over 90 works of art by dozens of acclaimed artists from across the country.
Art in the West shares a variety of works inspired by the High Desert. The exhibit features sculptures, paintings and photography expressing responses to the landscapes, history, cultures and wildlife of the High Desert in mediums ranging from oil to acrylic, pastel to charcoal.
“The diversity of artwork, from subject matter to medium, continues to grow and impress visitors,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “These artistic interpretations of the West reveal something new and expand our appreciation of this special region.”
The 2023 Art in the West Jury’s Choice Award winter is Barbara Van Cleve. The acclaimed Montana-based photographer documents the beauty of the West through rich black-and-white photography. Van Cleve’s award-winning image, Moving On, a 16” x 20” archival pigment print, is one of several pieces the artist has in this year’s exhibition. Van Cleve has had over 100 one-person exhibitions and participated in 180 group exhibitions.
The 2023 Art in the West Curator’s Choice Award goes to an artist new to the show, Taylor Manoles, for the 38” x 38” oil painting Painted Hills. Manoles lives in Bend, Oregon shows her work across the Pacific Northwest, as well as on various online platforms. In 2022, her painting Sparks Lake Sunrise was chosen for the cover of Southwest Art Magazine.
As the exhibition grows, we are excited to welcome artists new to the show, this year including Indigenous artist and storyteller Monte Yellow Bird, Sr. (Arikara and Hidatsa of the Three Affiliated Tribes) and Russian sculptor Anton Yakushev.
Silent bidding will be available online, with the opportunity to purchase artwork outright. The bidding will launch July 8 and continue through the exhibition’s closing on Friday, September 22. Opening bids for the art range from $225 to $8,500.
Proceeds from the Art in the West auction help support the Museum’s exhibitions and programs, bringing science, art and history education to lifelong learners throughout the region.
A link to the gallery guide of the exhibition’s artwork will be available on the Museum’s website starting Saturday, July 8 at highdesertmuseum.org/aiw. The auction is exclusively online, and shipping is available.
The bidding concludes and the exhibition closes on Friday, September 22 at the Art in the West Closing Party at the High Desert Museum. Attendees will mingle with participating artists, watch live demonstrations and enjoy live music, food and libations. The event begins at 6:00 pm and the auction closes at 7:00 pm. Register at highdesertmuseum.org/aiw-closing-party.
Art in the West is made possible by American Art Collector and Western Art Collector magazines with support from Chubb, High Desert Frameworks and Tetherow.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM:
THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.