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, September 13, 2023
Rogue Valley Weather
Fire information for the Smith River Complex North in Southern Oregon
· The US National Weather Service Medford Oregon has issued a Red Flag Warning that will remain in effect from 5 p.m. this afternoon until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday) morning. East winds and poor overnight humidity recovery will lead to a longer burning period in fire areas.
The affected area includes the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, and the western portion of the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest. This is mainly the higher terrain of Curry County, but extends into far western Josephine County and far southern Coos County. Please use extra care in the outdoors and observe all fire restrictions. Watch for dragging tow chains and do not park in tall grass or brush. Any new fires that develop are likely to spread rapidly.
Northeast winds will be gusty tonight through early Thursday morning. Humidity will be particularly dry Wednesday night through Friday night. The hazard is in effect for Wednesday night into early Thursday morning due to the combination of gusty wind and low humidity.
This area includes the #AnvilFire2023 and #FlatFireOregon2023 wildfires. Most of the #SmithRiverComplex north area is outside of the Red Flag area but will experience hot and dry conditions and gusty winds that will lead to increased fire activity within the perimeter. Firefighters on all of these incidents are engaged in full suppression efforts and will respond to changing fire conditions throughout the day. Additional swing shift resources have been added in some critical areas to ensure coverage throughout the night for the extended burning period and lack of humidity recovery.
Winds are predicted out of the northeast to east at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. This is a change in wind direction for the fire area and an increase in speed, especially along ridgetops. Maximum humidity of 25 to 35 percent is expected early Thursday morning – these are the lowest humidities that have been experienced on the fire area in recent weeks due to a warming and drying trend over the last several days. These extremely low humidities make fuels, including grass, moss and brush, extremely likely to burn and spread fire into heavier timber. For current fire information, follow: Flat and Anvil Fires – Southern Oregon 2023 and Smith River Complex North 2023You can see details for the Red Flag Warning at: https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?wfo=mfr#
Brain Tai provides the operations update for Wed Sept 13th for the north side of the Smith River Complex. Fire crews continue to make progress working towards increasing containment. Hot and dry weather continues as crews remain vigilant with the arrival of moderate northeast winds for the next 48 hours.
More Illegal Grow Busts in Josephine County 9/11
Marijuana Search Warrants 09/11/23 – Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office
INCIDENT DATE: September 11, 2023
REPORTING DEPUTY: Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET)
CHARGES: 1- Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
2- Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana
3- Unlawful Appropriation of Water
On September 11, 2023, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) executed search warrants in the 600 and 900 Blocks of Garner Road, Cave Junction, regarding illegal marijuana grow sites. The search warrants were executed with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety.
During the execution of the warrants, over 3,300 marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.
The properties also had multiple electrical, water, and solid waste code violations. These violations could result in the criminal forfeiture of the properties.
The primary suspect was not at the location during either search. They will be charged with Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, and Unlawful Appropriation of Water if located.
At the time of this press release the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released.
Asphalt maintenance work September 11-15 on North Phoenix Road in Medford
Maintenance crews will be working September 11-15 between 6AM and 5PM on North Phoenix Road near Barnett Road and southward toward Phoenix. Use alternate routes if possible throughout the week. Up to 20-minute delays possible.
Grants Pass Police Seek Suspects Who Burglarized Grants Pass DHS Office
Grants Pass, Ore. – Sometime between Monday, September 4th and Tuesday, September 5th, unknown suspects illegally entered the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) office at NW Hawthorne Avenue in Grants Pass. The suspects took numerous items of value, including many financial documents, gas cards, a check writing machine, blank EBT cards, cell phones, an air scrubber, and a gold-colored Ford Escape belonging to the State of Oregon. The stolen Ford had Oregon License E270376 (see attached photograph).
Two of the suspects were seen on surveillance video as they used stolen cards at a Grants Pass gas station. Though the images are low resolution, the suspects are very distinctive (see attached).
Anyone having information related to the identity of the burglary suspects or the property that was stolen, including the Ford Escape, is asked to call Officer D. Evans at the Grants Pass Police Department, 541-450-6260, and refer to case #23-37834. If the suspects or vehicle are seen, citizens should call 9-1-1 and not approach.
Conditions on Tyee Ridge Complex
Operations Section Chief Mike White shares some details of what goes on during fire mop up. https://www.facebook.com/tyeeridgecomplex/videos/6614123505349238
Medford Police Recruiting
The restoration project for the Butte Creek Mill is entering its last push.
As part of the final fundraising efforts, Jim Belushi, brother of the famous John Belushi and star of the TV show “according to Jim”,, is putting on Comedy on the Rogue at Belushi Farms.
Tickets went on sale today at http://comedyontherogue.com. The night will include Jim Belushi’s Board of Comedy and music from Belushi’s band. Volunteer Jay O’Neil said they need about $300,000 to finish the restoration project. Most of the work that needs done still is repairing the basement that was damaged by water during the fire. Tickets will be on sale until late September, or until they sell out. Belushi owns property in the Rogue Valley and has settled there.
Oregon To Receive $3.8M For Overdose Prevention
Lives lost to fatal overdoses in Oregon are on the rise. Authorities say it’s a result of synthetic fentanyl becoming the main street drug in the opioid epidemic.
“I think we have seen this shifting epidemic first to prescription opioids driving the epidemic, then to heroin, and now to fentanyl and polysubstance use driving much of the opioid-related epidemic,” said Marci Hertz who oversees overdose prevention programs for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She says fentanyl is now often combined with other drugs, like meth, and is increasing the rate of hospitalizations and deadly overdoses.
“There are some folks that are seeking out fentanyl for the greater increased high that it brings, but we are seeing a lot of people who actually don’t know that fentanyl is in their drugs,” she said.
According to CDC data, in 2019, Oregon was 42nd nationwide in the rate of fatal overdoses. In 2021, the state jumped to 34th in the nation, with 1,171 deaths.
The money the CDC provides to states to prevent those deaths is also going up. Oregon got $3.6 million last year; this year, it’s getting $3.8 million. The money can be used for data collection on overdoses and prevention programs.
Hertz says fentanyl has also shifted the types of programs being funded. “We have placed slightly less emphasis on our prescription drugs monitoring program,” she said. “And slightly more emphasis on distribution of naloxone.”
She said they are also increasing funds for fentanyl test strips. “All of the research has suggested that those test strips actually do make a big difference,” she said.
Oregon’s allotment is part of a total of $279 million, which goes to 49 States, the District of Columbia, and 40 local health departments to help prevent drug overdoses. Hertz noted that this is the first time awards are allocated directly to local county health authorities as well. Those grants were competitive and none of Oregon’s 36 counties made the cut.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, some of the specific programs to be funded include:
- Local public health authorities for regional overdose prevention initiatives
- Community-based organizations for targeted, culturally appropriate overdose prevention projects
- The Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon to support peer-related activities
- Federally recognized tribes in Oregon to support harm reduction
- Change Management Consulting to host, maintain, and update the Oregon Pain Guidance website and the Oregon Pain Management Commission pain training module for health care providers
- Johns Hopkins University to implement new overdose cluster detection, visualization, alerting, and reporting capabilities in the Oregon ESSENCE system.
- Oregon State Police — Medical Examiner Division and Portland Forensic Lab to support enhanced toxicological testing of opioid and stimulant overdose deaths
This funding will also support IVPP’s ongoing and new program activities related to:
- Overdose morbidity and mortality
- Data infrastructure
- Data linkage
- Clinician and health system engagement
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Program enhancements
- Public safety and public health partnerships
- Harm reduction
- Community-based linkage to care
Funding For Oregon Rural Counties-Homelessness Response
On Tuesday, Governor Kotek announced funding allocations to counties within Oregon’s Balance of State Continuum of Care as part of her homelessness state of emergency, as well as specific outcomes attached to these dollars.
The funding comes from House Bill 5019. Among other allocations, it included $26.1 million to rehouse people experiencing unsheltered homelessness by adding at least 100 new shelter beds and rehousing at least 450 households by June 30, 2025.
Kotek said, “Homelessness is a crisis in both urban and rural communities throughout Oregon”. Kotek believes the funding, tied to specific outcomes, will make a measurable impact in addressing the crisis in rural Oregon. Kotek said, “And we can’t stop here – I will keep pushing for concrete solutions that will support community needs going forward”.
26 counties are included in the allocation. It includes $1.4 million to rehouse at least 34 households in Douglas County.
Communities established 16 Local Planning Groups with designated leads to coordinate and create a plan to achieve the outcomes. These groups are made up of experts from local governments, non-profits and people with lived experiences of homelessness. These groups will be responsible for the implementation of funds to help move individuals and families into housing stability.
Local Planning Groups submitted 29 shelter projects for consideration, with a total request of over $37 million.
See all the allocations at www.541radio.com
- Baker, Grant, Union and Wallowa counties: $1.2 million to rehouse at least 33 households
- Benton County: $2.4 million to add at least 50 shelter beds and rehouse at least 31 households
- Clatsop County: $3.8 million to add at least 80 shelter beds and rehouse at least 33 households
- Columbia County: $867,453 to rehouse at least 20 households
- Coos County: $1.9 million to add at least 8 shelter beds and rehouse at least 32 households
- Curry County: $594,000 to rehouse at least 14 households
- Douglas County: $1.4 million to rehouse at least 34 households
- Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla and Wheeler counties: $2.1 million to add at least 25 shelter beds and rehouse at least 40 households
- Harney and Malheur counties: $1.3 million to rehouse at least 34 households
- Hood River, Sherman and Wasco and counties: $1.9 million to add at least 34 shelter beds and rehouse at least 29 households
- Josephine County: $2 million to add at least 16 shelter beds and rehouse at least 31 households
- Klamath and Lake counties: $1.4 million to rehouse at least 38 households
- Lincoln County: $856,178 to add at least 70 shelter beds and rehouse at least 16 households
- Linn County: $1.9 million to add at least 30 shelter beds and rehouse at least 32 households
- Tillamook County: $769,404 to add at least 20 shelter beds and rehouse at least 12 households
- Yamhill County: $1.3 million to add at least 14 shelter beds and rehouse at least 21 households
Save Eugene’s Hospital Press Conference UPDATE
Officials and the public gathered on the sidewalk in front of PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District Monday afternoon in response to PeaceHealth intent to close Eugene’s only hospital–PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District. This dangerous decision would leave more than 200,000 residents with no hospital in Oregon’s 2nd largest city.
The press conference was livestreamed on the Oregon Nurses Association’s (ONA’s) Facebook page here.
Local frontline health care workers, city and county elected officials, union leaders, students and community advocates held a press conference Monday, Sept. 11 urging PeaceHealth to reverse its decision to close Eugene’s only hospital and calling on state leaders and the Oregon Health Authority to do everything in their power to protect Oregonians’ access to local health care.
Prominent local elected officials, along with frontline health care workers, union leaders, community advocates and patients spoke including members of the Eugene City Council, Lane County Commission, Teamsters Local 206/CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP), SEIU 49, the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation, Health Care for All Oregon (HCAO) and other leading community organizations.
- Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis
- Lane County Commissioner Laurie Trieger
- Chelsea Swift, Teamsters Local 206 member and CAHOOTS Medic and Agency Outreach
- Lorie Quinn, Vice-President of SEIU 49 and health care worker at Sacred Heart
- Marianne Zundel, ONA member and registered nurse at Sacred Heart University District
- Kevyn Paul, ONA member and registered nurse at Sacred Heart University District
- Tina Davis, OFNHP member and pharmacy tech at Sacred Heart Riverbend
- Lou Sinniger, AFSCME Retirees & Health Care for All Oregon member
- Rajeev Ravisankar, Former President of the GTFF at the University of Oregon
- Anne Tan Piazza, ONA Executive Director
WHY: On Aug. 22, PeaceHealth executives in Vancouver notified our community that they planned to close Eugene’s only hospital–PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District–this fall.
This dangerous and irresponsible decision would leave nearly 200,000 people in Oregon’s second largest city without a hospital.
Losing our only hospital is a clear and present danger to the entire Eugene community—particularly our most vulnerable residents. PeaceHealth is gambling with our families’ long-term health and safety and putting profits ahead of people.
Local elected officials, frontline health care workers, unions, allies and residents are calling upon PeaceHealth to reconsider this disastrous decision and asking the Oregon Health Authority and state leaders to do everything in their power to save lives and keep Eugene’s only hospital open.
Learn more at www.SaveEugenesHospital.com.
Join us in asking the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Governor Tina Kotek to do everything in their power to prevent PeaceHealth’s from closing Eugene’s only hospital!
Use this easy tool to email OHA and ask them to save Eugene’s hospital and protect Lane County residents: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/save-eugenes-hospital?source=direct_link&
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 Oregon. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.
Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Declines by 1,200 in August
Oregon’s unemployment rate stayed at 3.4% in August, the same as July. This tied Oregon’s record low of 3.4%, which also was reached in November and December 2019. Since May, Oregon’s unemployment rate has been below 4%. The U.S. unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in July to 3.8% in August.
In August, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment declined by 1,200 jobs, following a revised gain of 3,400 jobs in July. August’s over-the-month job losses were largest in retail trade (-1,600 jobs); construction (-1,000); and professional and business services (-800). Job gains were largest in leisure and hospitality (+2,100 jobs).
Payroll employment grew by 1.3% over the past 12 months. Over-the-year job growth decelerated to an average of about 2% in the past five months, from 12-month growth rates that were above 3% during the economic recovery period, which included much of the prior two years.
Several major industries grew rapidly over the past 12 months. Since August 2022, leisure and hospitality (+10,500 jobs, or 5.3%) continued to add jobs at a rapid clip, but is still 6,100 jobs below its prior peak reached in February 2020. Health care and social assistance (+14,000 jobs, or 5.2%) also added jobs rapidly over the past 12 months, with social assistance gaining 6,300 jobs in that time. Each of health care’s component industries added close to 2,500 jobs in that time. Government (9,400 jobs, or 3.1%) grew rapidly in that time as well, as local government recently rose above its pre-pandemic level.
Several industries have contracted in the past 12 months. Manufacturing (-4,100 jobs, or -2.1%) employs fewer workers than a year ago, as many of its durable goods manufacturing component industries have cut up to 2% of jobs in that time. Similarly, retail trade (-3,700 jobs, or -1.8%) has cut jobs recently, with most retail component industries declining slightly since August 2022. Meanwhile, after booming from 2019 through 2021, transportation, warehousing, and utilities has retraced some of those job gains, cutting 3,200 jobs, or 4.0%, in the past 12 months.
Agencies Gearing Up for Eclipse on October 14th
The Klamath area is known for its year-round sunshine. In fact, the region will be the center of attention on October 14 for the sliver of sunlight seen around the moon during the eclipse.
The annular eclipse is six weeks away, but planning and coordinating are happening to make the experience positive for local residents and the expected visitors. A 12-agency Multi-Agency Coordination Group, known as “MAC,” is
working to ensure the health and safety of everyone in Klamath County during the eclipse period.
Commissioner Dave Henslee says ““The first and highest priority is and always will be the safety of first responders, the public, and communities. There is a multiagency coordinating group organizing proactive response, and, it is our
commitment to work collaboratively, sharing critical information and resources, which enables all partners to meet common objectives.”
This planning process honors the ability of each individual agency to respond to its respective priorities while providing the flexibility to move and position resources for efficient and effective service. For instance, law enforcement will have extra officers on duty as traffic increases before and after the eclipse. Henslee noted that much information has been gleaned from the Oregon counties that had many visitors during the Great Eclipse of 2017. MORE INFO on ECLIPSE: https://industry.traveloregon.com/opportunities/marketing-co-ops-toolkits/toolkits/2023-annular-solar-eclipse/ — https://www.accuweather.com/en/space-news/best-places-to-travel-for-solar-eclipse-oct-14-2023/1261158
If Kroger/Albertsons Merger Approved 49-Plus Oregon Stores To Be Sold Off
In a $1.9 billion deal, the two grocers will sell 413 stores — including some from Kroger’s Fred Meyer and QFC chains and Albertsons’ Safeway — in 17 states and the District of Columbia to New Hampshire-based C&S Wholesale Grocers, the companies said in a news release. All fuel centers and pharmacies associated with the divested stores will remain open.
The agreement also includes selling eight distribution centers and two corporate offices to C&S Wholesale Grocers.
Kroger declined to specify which stores in Oregon would be sold off to C&S. The company also declined to say whether the Fred Meyer corporate office in Portland would be among the two slated to be sold.
“Because we are still in the regulatory process, we are not in a position at this time to share the specific locations that will be divested to continue serving the community under a different owner,” the company said in a statement. “We anticipate being able to share these details closer to closing.”
The divestiture plan also includes 104 stores in Washington state and 13 from the Albertsons portfolio in Idaho.
The deal would give an enlarged retail operation of more than 500 stores to the privately held C&S.
Founded in 1918, C&S is a wholesale supplier to more than 7,500 independent supermarkets, retail chain stores and military bases. It runs Grand Union grocery stores and Piggly Wiggly franchise and corporate-owned stores in the Midwest, the Carolinas, New York and Vermont. It also operates a wholesale warehouse in Troutdale.
The sell-off is part of Kroger’s efforts to mollify antitrust regulars at the Federal Trade Commission who are evaluating the proposed merger.
Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, which bought Fred Meyer in 1998, announced plans in October to buy its next largest competitor, Albertsons Cos. Inc., for $24.6 billion. The companies hope to finalize the sale early next year.
The Pacific Northwest is one of the regions where the two companies compete directly, so the combination could leave Oregonians with fewer choices for grocery shopping. In Oregon, Kroger and Albertsons are two of the biggest grocery chains, with a combined market share that’s even bigger than Walmart.
The Oregonian/OregonLive identified roughly 33 Kroger and Albertsons-owned stores across the state that sit within a mile of one another, including 20 in the Portland metro area. More than 100 are less than two miles apart.
Many are within line-of-sight of a neighboring store. In Oregon City, for example, a Fred Meyer, Safeway and Albertsons are within blocks of one another.
Kroger and Albertsons are two of the state’s biggest grocery chains, with 171 stores altogether.
Gary Millerchip, Kroger’s chief financial officer, told investors during an earnings call Friday that C&S will acquire three banners — Mariano’s, QFC and Carrs — as part of the divestiture package. He said the company will also receive a license to operate under the Albertsons banner in four states — California, Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona.
“If they ultimately buy stores that are different banners than those four today, they would need to re-banner those stores over a period of time,” Millerchip said.
The acquisition, which the companies say would allow them to take on the likes of Walmart and Amazon, comes as shoppers continue to battle historic inflation at grocery stores.
The deal contemplates the possibility that regulators may balk at the merger plan and demand more store divestitures.
Before the deal with C&S closes, “Kroger may, in connection with securing FTC and other governmental clearance, require C&S to purchase up to an additional 237 stores in certain geographies,” the companies said in the news release.
C&S has prior experience with divestitures related to mergers and has successfully transitioned union employees and their associated collective bargaining agreements in the past.
“Importantly in our agreement, C&S commits to honoring all collective bargaining agreements which include industry-leading benefits, retaining frontline associates and further investing for growth,” Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said in a statement on Friday.
Stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia will be affected including 49 Albertsons Cos. and Kroger stores in Oregon. (SOURCE)
Cultural Trust awards close to $3 million to 136 Oregon cultural organizations
Salem, Ore. – A “Salmon Run” sculpture for the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s new lobby, a trauma- informed media arts program for social justice nonprofits at Portland’s Open Signal and preservation of the rite of passage ceremony for Warms Springs’ youth receiving their Indian names – those are just a few of the important arts, heritage and humanities projects to be supported by close to $3 million in FY2024 grant allocations from the Oregon Cultural Trust.
FY2024 grant awards totaling $2,917,149 will be distributed to 136 arts, heritage and humanities organizations across the state, the Cultural Trust announced today. Made possible by generous Oregonians who invested $5.2 million in the Cultural Tax Credit in FY2023, this year’s awards bring the cumulative total of Cultural Trust grants to almost $40 million since its founding in 2001.
The FY2024 awards include a total of $728,759 to the Cultural Trust’s five statewide partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office); and $728,759 to 45 County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions – who award an average of 450 additional awards annually in their communities.
In addition, $1,459,631 in competitive Cultural Development Program grants were awarded to 86 cultural organizations serving most geographic regions of the state.
“These awards will enrich the cultural life of every county in Oregon,” said Niki Price, chair of the Cultural Trust board. “Every year it is an honor to fulfill the vision of the Cultural Trust’s founders by ensuring our funding has broad geographic impact and benefits every part of the state.”
“Over the past few years we have added many new arts, heritage and humanities organizations to our roster of qualified cultural nonprofits,” said Brian Rogers, executive director. “It is heartening to see close to two dozen of them earn first-time grant awards this year. And because we truly wish we could fund every eligible application, we promise to continue working diligently to increase funding for culture in Oregon.”
The FY2024 Cultural Development Program award recipients feature 21 organizations receiving their first-ever Cultural Trust award, 45 percent of which are located outside of Portland. First time recipients include:
- Cumberland Community Events Center, Albany: $11,134
To support the preservation of the historic character of Albany’s only Queen Anne church by repairing and restoring one of the building’s most distinctive features, the stained-glass windows.
- Flora School Education Center, Enterprise: $6,944
To support access to Flora School’s activities, inside and out, for disabled attendees, volunteers, teachers and students by building an elevated wheelchair ramp.
- Gather:Make:Shelter, Portland: $19,319
To support access for people experiencing houselessness to arts mentorship through a citywide sculpture project, public exhibitions and a mutual aid festival in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- Rejoice Diaspora Dance Theater, Portland: $17,649
To support the creation and production of “Rites of Passages,” a new performance by Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre that spans traditional and contemporary dance in celebration of Black history, present and future.
- Warm Springs Community Action Team, Warm Springs: $32,673
To preserve the rite of passage ceremony of the Name Giving Ceremony where Native youth receive their Indian Name. It will help families prepare for the giveaway part of the ceremony by hosting craft nights, food gathering trips and first-food processing classes.
- Wildlife Safari, Winston: $13,980
To support Wildlife Safari’s expansion of the use of its 300-seat outdoor theater, called the Safari Dome, by replacing stationary, aluminum bleachers (built in 1980) with new, retractable bleachers – increasing ways to use the space.
Other Cultural Development grant award highlights include:
- Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland: $32,584
To support the first season of Artists Repertory Theatre (Artists Rep or ART) programmed by Jeanette Harrison, the first known Native artistic director in the League of Resident Theatres.
- Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay: $19,754
To support the enclosure of the open loading dock at Coos Art Museum so that the museum can greatly improve shipping and storage. The project also creates an area for the museum to add ceramics workshops/classes to its public activities.
- Community Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene: $30,966
To support the Raise the Roof capital campaign for Eugene’s Woodmen of the World (WOW) Hall. Built in 1932, the National Register of Historic Places landmark was purchased through grassroots fundraising in 1975 by the Community Center for the Performing Arts to prevent demolition and continue its history as a community hub while preserving the incredible “floating” hard-rock maple dance floor (one of only three in Oregon).
- Friends of The Historic Union Community Hall, Union: $5,272
To support a community asset by repairing 14 high priority-stained glass windowpanes at the Catherine Creek Community Center located in Union, Oregon. The Catherine Creek Community Center is housed in a beautiful historic property and serves as a location for numerous community programs, events and resources.
- Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, Grants Pass: $21,403
To support Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau in completing the Chateau’s first Historic Furnishings Report. The report and its accompanying maintenance plan are vital elements to ensure that the restored and reopened Chateau remains a National Historic Landmark.
- Portland Playhouse, Portland: $26,274
To support the production of Anna Deveare Smith’s “Notes from the Field,” which draws on verbatim interviews to bring 18 voices into dialogue about the persistence of the civil rights crisis in American policing and education.
The 86 Cultural Development grant awards range from $5,000 to $35,171 with an average grant award of $16,972. Forty-eight percent of the 179 eligible applications were funded.
Cultural Development Program awards fund nonprofit projects that increase access to culture, invest in organizational capacity, support community creativity and provide historic preservation. Applications were reviewed and scored by peer review panels; final award amounts were determined and approved by the Cultural Trust Board of Directors at its Aug. 31 meeting. More than 60 percent of Cultural Trust funding (including awards to County and Tribal Coalitions) is awarded outside of the Portland Metro area.
# # # Created in 2001 by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established as an ongoing funding engine for arts, heritage and humanities across the state. Funding comes through the Cultural Tax Credit, which empowers Oregonians to direct more of the taxes they pay to supporting cultural opportunities for all. Oregon is the only state in the country that gives its citizens this choice. Sixty percent of the money goes directly to cultural organizations and agencies in the form of grants. The remaining 40 percent helps grow a permanent fund for culture. It’s described by the Oregonian as “A way to make paying state taxes satisfying.” Oregonians directed $5.2M of their state taxes to fund arts, heritage and humanities in fiscal year 2023. The Trust’s three grant programs fund five Statewide Partners, 45 County and Tribal Coalitions and qualified cultural nonprofits through competitive Cultural Development grants. Learn more at CulturalTrust.org.
Former Portland Marathon President Sentenced in Federal Court
PORTLAND, Ore.—The former president and event director of the Portland Marathon pleaded guilty and was sentenced in federal court today for evading taxes due on the funds he stole from the charitable organization that had backed the race since the early 1980s.
Lester V. Smith, Jr., 83, of Tomball, Texas, was sentenced to three years’ federal probation to include eight months of home confinement. Smith was also ordered to pay $411,279 in restitution to the IRS.
Prior to being sentenced, Smith pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to evade and defeat income taxes.
According to court documents, for nearly 35 years, Smith served as the president and event director of Portland Marathon Inc. (PMI), the charitable organization formerly responsible for planning and operating the Portland Marathon. In these roles, Smith managed the organization’s day-to-day operations and finances, and had sole authority to approve expenses paid from PMI’s business bank account.
Beginning in January 2012 and continuing through 2017, Smith made or directed others to make unauthorized transfers of funds from PMI’s bank account to his own personal checking account, paid various personal credit cards with PMI funds, and wrote unauthorized checks from PMI payable to himself. On one occasion, Smith used a PMI check to purchase a $60,000 Infiniti sport utility vehicle. Smith also used stolen funds to pay for home remodeling projects, shopping sprees at department stores, home décor, furniture, and other luxury goods and services.
Smith and another individual also incorporated a for-profit company called Next Events Productions, LLC to consult with PMI about setting up running events. Between 2012 and 2017, PMI made more than $302,000 in payments to Next Events. Investigators later discovered bank records from Next Events showing that once PMI funds were deposited, a substantial portion was transferred to Smith’s personal bank account.
While defrauding PMI, Smith also substantially underreported more than $1.2 million in taxable income to the IRS. Despite retaining an accountant to prepare his and his wife’s personal income tax returns for 2012 through 2017, Smith failed to disclose to the accountant payments received from PMI, the purchase of the Infiniti SUV with PMI funds, or funds received from PMI via Next Events.
On February 17, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a seven-count indictment charging Smith with wire fraud and attempting to evade and defeat income taxes.
This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
Red Cross Facing a National Blood Shortage
Donors needed now as hospital demand outpaces blood donations
Portland, Ore (Sept. 11, 2023) — The American Red Cross is experiencing a national blood shortage. Fewer donors than needed gave this summer, drawing down the national blood supply and reducing distributions of some of the most needed blood types to hospitals. Hurricane Idalia further strained the blood supply with blood drive cancellations and reduced blood and platelet donations in affected areas.
Donors of all blood types are urgently needed, and there is an emergency need for platelet donors and type O blood donors to make an appointment to give now to ensure patients across the country continue to receive critical medical care.
When Idalia slammed into the Southeast – leading to widespread power outages, travel hazards and flooding – the storm also forced the cancellation of over a dozen blood drives and caused hundreds of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. This compounded a shortfall of about 30,000 donations in August. Right now, blood product distributions to hospitals are outpacing the number of blood donations coming in.
The Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors now. Schedule an appointment to give by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
In thanks for helping rebuild the blood supply, all who come to give Sept. 1-18 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Those who come to give throughout September will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts. Plus, they’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a VIP NASCAR racing experience. Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/RaceToGive.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Sept. 11-26:
Blood Donation Center, 3131 N Vancouver Ave., Portland, OR, 12:30 PM – 06:30 PM
Pickleball Zone, 63040 NE 18th St., Bend, OR, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Eastwood Baptist Church, 675 N Keenway, Medford, OR, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
OLCC, 9079 SE McLoughlin, Milwaukie, OR, 8:30 AM – 01:30 PM
Athletic Club of Bend, 61615 Athletic Club Dr., Bend, OR, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Lincoln Center, 10260 SW Greenburg Rd., Tigard, OR, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Blood Donation Center, 5109 NE 82nd Ave., Vancouver, WA, 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Eastridge Church, 14100 SE Sunnyside Rd., Clackamas, OR, 12:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Blood Donation Center, 815 SW Bond St., Suite 110, Bend, OR, 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Kruse Oaks Conference Space, 5300 SW Meadows Rd., Suite 180 & 190, Lake Oswego, OR, 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Blood Donation Center, 5109 NE 82nd Ave., Vancouver, WA, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Blood Donation Center, 815 SW Bond St., Suite 110, Bend, OR, 11:00 AM- 7:00 PM
Oregon Medical Group, 1580 Valley River Dr., Eugene, OR, 10:00 AM -4:00 PM
Pearl West, 1455 NW Irving St., Portland, OR, 9:00 AM – 03:00 PM
Portland Blood Donation Center, 3131 N Vancouver Ave., Portland, OR, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Medford Blood Donation Center, 1174 Progress Dr., Suite 102, Medford, 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
New Life Church West Linn, 1984 McKillican St. West Linn, OR, 1:30 PM – 06:30 PM
Moda Tower Portland – The Study, 601 SW 2nd Ave., Portland, OR, 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM
Visit www.redcrossblood.org and put in your zip code to find a donation site near you.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month
One in 3 African American blood donors is a match for people with sickle cell disease. To help ensure patients have the blood products they need, the Red Cross launched the Sickle Cell Initiative in 2021 to grow the number of blood donors who are Black and improve health outcomes for patients. Together longtime and first-time blood donors are helping patients with sickle cell manage their symptoms and showing support for their community.
Joined by Blood is the initiative’s focus during Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September and continues through October. This year, the Red Cross is proud to partner with organizations focused on mentorship, including 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; Kier’s Hope Foundation, Inc.; historically Black colleges and universities and member organizations of the National Pan-Hellenic Council; as well as the Black Radio Hall of Fame and others, who are all showing up for patients with sickle cell by hosting blood drives. To learn more, visit RedCrossBlood.org/OurBlood.
How to donate blood
To make an appointment, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Amplify your impact − volunteer
A stable blood and platelet supply is critical to national preparedness. Additionally, as we are in the beginning of what is expected to be another active hurricane season, the Red Cross urges everyone to get ready now and consider becoming a volunteer to help people affected by the growing number of climate-driven disasters.
Support impacted communities by assisting at Red Cross shelters, using your professional skills as a licensed health care provider or becoming a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team. To learn more, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s bloodand is the primary blood supplier to 65 hospitals throughout Washington and Oregon; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/Oregon or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossCasc. American Red Cross – Cascades Region