Rogue Valley News, Friday 3/22 – Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team Undercover Operation Arrests Six Cyber Predators Throughout Oregon, Southern Oregon Human Trafficking Disruptors Summit & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Friday,  March 22, 2024

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Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team Undercover Operation Arrests Six Cyber Predators Throughout Oregon

B-roll of Operation Alliance:

Interview with SOCET Detective Steve Bohn:

JCSO Cases 24-0581, 24-0587, 24-0680, 24-0710, 24-0711, 24-1124

OREGON – A month long undercover operation to identify adults victimizing children online has led to arrests of six suspects throughout Oregon. The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force conducted the operation to identify and arrest dangerous cyber predators using the internet to meet with local children to have sex.

The SOCET led operation consisted of undercover law enforcement officers posing online as minors, 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 undercover officer posing as a child.

This complex undercover operation involved dozens of law enforcement personnel including detectives, investigators, and support staff from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Marshals Service, Oregon Department of Justice Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Oregon State Police (OSP), Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Medford Police Department (MPD), Central Point Police Department, and Milwaukie 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, Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, and Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force.

The first arrest came January 30th when Gabriel Julian Harrison-Swinden, 29, of White City, attempted to meet and have sex with a juvenile. Harrison-Swinden is charged with first and second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, luring a minor, and attempted using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. Investigators have reason to believe Harrison-Swinden may have victimized children throughout Oregon and the United States. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 24-581.

The second arrest on January 30th was Kelly Patrick Ramsey, 57, of Central Point, when he attempted to meet with a juvenile to have sex. Ramsey 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 using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct. Ramsey was booked and lodged at the Jackson County Jail. Investigators have reason to believe Ramsey may have victimized children throughout Oregon and the United States. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 24-587.

The third arrest came on February 3rd when Steven Eugene Fitzgerald Buckner, 33, of Tigard, Ore., traveled to Jackson County to meet with juveniles to have sex.  Buckner is charged federally with online coercion and enticement of a minor. Buckner was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail on a federal hold. Investigators have reason to believe Buckner may have victimized children throughout Oregon and the United States. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 24-680.

On February 27th, Cayden James Vasquez, 25, of Medford, was arrested attempting to meet with a juvenile to have sex. Vasquez is charged with first and second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, luring a minor, and attempted using a child in the display of sexually explicit conduct. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 24-1124.

Last week, SOCET investigators traveled to Milwaukie, Ore. to arrest Andrew P Jones, 41, of Milwaukie. Milwaukie Police Department assisted with the March 12th arrest. Jones is charged with second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, and luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Clackamas County Jail awaiting transport to Jackson County. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 24-711.

The next day on March 13th, SOCET investigators traveled to Redmond, Ore. and arrested Steven Charles Newstrom, 66, of Redmond, as he attempted to meet with a juvenile to have sex. Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the arrest. Jones is charged with second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, and luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Deschutes County Jail awaiting transport to Jackson County. If you have any information, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 24-710.

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. If you have any information on the suspects, you can also contact investigators through the Sheriff’s App “Submit a Tip” feature. Download the App here:

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 and HSI with assistance from OSP and MPD; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.


Southern Oregon Human Trafficking Disruptors Summit

Fri-Sat, March 22-23, 2024, 9-4 

Sixteen local organizations will be celebrated at the Ashland Hills Hotel for the Southern Oregon Human Trafficking Disruptors Summit on Friday and Saturday. The summit highlights the work the organizations do to stop human trafficking, child exploitation and agriculture trafficking.

The summit is open to the public and the people behind the event encourage people to attend. In addition to celebrating the organizations, speakers will be educating Southern Oregonians on what human trafficking looks like in the community and how to spot it.

“We’re excited to bring this education to the Rogue Valley, to Southern Oregon — for people to understand what human trafficking looks like and how we can identify it and stop it,” said Lauren Trantham, the co-producer of the Summit. Trantham is also the founder of Ride My Road, a fundraising organization that has raised over $400,000 for survivor-led initiatives across the country since 2016. Locally, the organization offers an online education called Disruptors University to help people understand what trafficking looks like.

Jordan Pease, another producer of the summit and director of Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library, said that he learned about human trafficking while partnering with Trantham for the summit.

“I’ve learned a lot about how frequently this is happening right within our own communities,” Pease said. “I was under the misimpression that often, sex trafficking occurs, like Hollywood portrays it, as kidnappings. But it’s frightening to learn and discover that the majority of sex trafficking cases occur within families.”

Online registration for the Southern Oregon Human Trafficking Disruptors Summit is closed. Two-day tickets will be available at the door for $125. The tickets will include access to speakers and lunch from the Ashland Hills Hotel on both days. Door open at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for on Friday and Saturday.

Trantham and Pease said they were grateful to all the sponsors who helped keep the ticket prices low for the Summit. The keynote speaker is not receiving pay for the event, as an additional cost relief to get as many people access to the event as possible. Right now, over 250 people are expected to be at the summit.

Illegal Marijuana Search Warrant 03/19/2024 
Press Release

Press Release

INCIDENT: Illegal Marijuana Search Warrant

INCIDENT DATE: March 19, 2024

REPORTING DEPUTY: Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET)

ARRESTED: Maximilian Robert Lixl, 30 years-old

CHARGES: 1- Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana

2- Unlawful Possession of Marijuana

3- Unlawful Delivery of Marijuana

4- Unlawful Appropriation of Water


On March 19, 2024, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) with the assistance of Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety, executed a search warrant in the 6000 block of Deer Creek Road, Selma, regarding an illegal indoor marijuana grow site.

During the execution of the warrant, approximately 25 pounds of processed marijuana concentrate and approximately 1,200 marijuana starter plants were seized and destroyed. Additionally, a large amount of cash was seized on scene.

The property also had multiple electrical, water, and solid waste code violations. These violations could result in the criminal forfeiture of the property.

Maximilian Robert Lixl was taken into custody and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Unlawful Delivery of Marijuana, and Unlawful Appropriation of Water.

At the time of this press release the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released.


Motor Vehicle Crash – Warren Rd, Selma 

INCIDENT: Injury Motor Vehicle Crash


INCIDENT DATE: March 20th, 2024 at 12:07 AM

REPORTING DEPUTY: Lieutenant Jim Geiger

ARRESTED: Jared Robbins 42 years-old

CHARGES: 1- Assault III


DETAILS: On March 20th, 2024, at 1207 AM, Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a head-on collision on Warren Rd. in Selma. The incident involved a Toyota 4Runner that was being towed and collided head-on with a truck, resulting in significant damage and severe injuries.

The collision site revealed a green 4Runner lodged in the brush, a heavily damaged Toyota Tundra obstructing the roadway, and a white Ford truck with a tow strap attached to its bumper.

According to the driver of the Ford, the 4Runner had broken down and was being towed when, for reasons unknown, it veered into the oncoming lane, leading to the collision with the Tundra.

The female driver of the 4Runner was ejected upon impact and found in the roadway, while the 4Runner itself careened downhill and into a nearby yard.

The Driver of the Tundra, Jared Robbins, and the female driver of the 4Runner were transported to area hospitals to be treated for their injuries.  Upon release from the hospital, Robbins will be charged with Assault III and DUII.

No additional information is available at this time.  Questions regarding this incident need to be directed to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.


Josephine County Voters Sue to Keep Rep. Christine Goodwin from Running for Oregon Senate

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Josephine County Circuit Court, alleges that Goodwin’s listed address is actually a wine tasting roomRepresentative Christine Goodwin Home Page

A group of Josephine County voters are suing to keep Rep. Christine Goodwin from running for the state Senate, alleging that she doesn’t live in the district she wants to represent and that the address she lists on campaign paperwork is actually a vineyard’s tasting room.

Goodwin, R-Canyonville, has served in the state House since 2021, when she was appointed to replace state Rep. Gary Leif after his death. She’s running for the Senate district now represented by Art Robinson, one of 10 Republican senators barred from running for reelection because they participated in a six-week walkout in 2023, after Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment barring lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences from serving another term.

Robinson’s son Noah is also running in the Republican primary. The 2nd Senate District has nearly twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats, so the winner of the Republican primary is all but certain to represent the district in Salem.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Josephine County Circuit Court against Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade by Josephine County Commissioner John West and Grants Pass residents Edgar Pelfrey, Winnie Pelfrey, Victoria Marshall and Cathy Millard. They allege that Goodwin lives in Myrtle Creek, not in her current House District or the Senate District she hopes to represent. The lawsuit, first reported by the conservative southern Oregon publication the Oregon Eagle, further alleges that the home Goodwin lists on her candidate paperwork is actually the tasting room of Falk Estate Vineyards.

The complaint seeks to remove Goodwin from her current position in the House and keep her off the May 21 primary ballot.

“Irreparable injury will occur if Christine Goodwin’s name is placed on the ballot for the May 21 election because votes for other candidates will be diluted by votes for Christine Goodwin, who is not qualified to represent Senate District 2,” the plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Joncus wrote in a motion for a preliminary injunction. “The primary campaign would also unnecessarily cost her competitor money that could be reserved for the general election, thus weakening the Republican nominee for Senate District 2. Christine Goodwin could conceivably win the nomination for Senate District 2, a seat that she is not qualified to hold, leaving Republicans without a candidate for the Senate District 2 seat.”

Goodwin, a retired teacher and former Douglas County commissioner, flatly denied the allegations, telling the Capital Chronicle that no vineyard or tasting room existed and that she lives in a house on the Falk ranch in Canyonville.

“This baseless attack from Noah Robinson’s minions, led by John West, does not faze me,” she added. “I trust the voters of southern Oregon to elect me to the Senate like they have to the House – with overwhelming support.”

Her November filing with the Secretary of State’s Office lists her home and mailing address in Canyonville.

West told the Capital Chronicle he drove by that address on Sunday and spoke to someone who told him Goodwin was in Salem and has a studio on the Falk property. He said he finds it hard to believe Goodwin lives there instead of in the Myrtle Creek home, which he described as a $1 million house with a swimming pool.

‘A phony address’

“For some reason, she don’t want to run in her own district,” West said. “She either didn’t think she could win or whatever the reason was, but she thought, ‘Well, they won’t know. They won’t know that I actually don’t live in my district. I’ll put down a phony address, and the Secretary of State won’t check it,’ and voila, we didn’t. Nobody thought anything for the first two years she was state rep.”

Documents attached to the lawsuit include Douglas County property tax records showing that Christine and Lynn Goodwin have owned a home in Myrtle Creek since 1991, as well as her voter history that shows she updated her residential address to the Canyonville home in December 2021. Candidates for legislative office typically have to prove they’ve lived in a district for at least one year prior to the general election, but candidates running in 2022 only had to prove residency by Jan. 1, 2022, because of redistricting in 2021.

The Myrtle Creek home is in the 1st Senate District and 2nd House District, represented by Sen. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, and Rep. Virgle Osborne, R-Roseburg. The Canyonville address is in the 2nd Senate District and 4th House District, represented by Art Robinson and Goodwin.

The lawsuit also includes a copy of a business registration in Goodwin’s name from July 6, 2022 that lists her address as the home in Myrtle Creek. Goodwin Properties Inc. dissolved in September 2023, according to state business records.

Goodwin’s first campaign finance account, which was active for just over one week in November 2021, listed the Myrtle Creek home as her address. Since then, she’s used the Canyonville address.

Laura Kerns, a spokeswoman for Griffin-Valade, said the Secretary of State’s Office had no comment on the lawsuit. Kerns added that the office received an anonymous letter about Goodwin’s residency in December, but is barred by state law from investigating anonymous complaints.

The office has a mixed record when it comes to investigating candidates’ residency. Days before the March 12 filing deadline, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division disqualified Republican Senate hopeful Shannon Monihan, who owns a condo in the 28th Senate District outside Bend and rents an apartment in the 27th Senate District, where she hoped to run to replace disqualified Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend.

In instances in which candidates maintain two or more homes, the Secretary of State’s Office determines which one counts for residency purposes by looking at where a candidate votes, pays taxes, registers licenses and works, rather than statements about the area a candidate considers home, election officials told Monihan in a letter about her disqualification.

Last year, the office declined to investigate a complaint about state Rep. Hai Pham, D-Hillsboro, who insisted that he lived with his parents in a three-bedroom home in the 36th House District rather than the $1.3-million, five-bedroom home where his wife and young son resided in the 31st House District. Pham still owns the home in the 31st House District but has since bought a new home in the 36th District, county property tax records show.  (SOURCE)


Grants Pass Homeless Case Will Be Heard By Supreme Court April 22nd

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case out of Grants Pass regarding criminalizing sleeping in public spaces next month. The ruling ordered the City of Grants Pass to cease enforcing its ban on homeless people sleeping on public property. Now the Supreme Court will hear the case on April 22nd.

Grants Pass, like many cities, is also dealing with a housing shortage. Over the past two decades, as more people moved in, housing costs went up, forcing a growing number of people onto the streets. Grants Pass, like other cities, is dealing with a housing shortage. Over the past two decades, as more people moved in, housing costs went up, forcing a growing number of people onto the streets.

The Supreme Court agreed to take up City of Grants Pass, Oregon v. Johnson in January and is set to hold oral arguments. The case is being led by the local government of Grants Pass, which was barred by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from enforcing its broad anti-camping ordinance when homeless people have no other place to go.

Martin v. Boise and Grants Pass v. Johnson have prevented cities from punishing people for sleeping in public spaces when they have nowhere else to go. The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals denied a re-hearing of the case last year. This comes after the court ruled against the City of Grants Pass in 2022.

The Grants Pass case came to the Supreme Court after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the city’s homeless residents. The appeals court ruled 2-1 that the city, which is about 250 miles south of Portland, can’t “enforce its anti-camping ordinances against homeless persons for the mere act of sleeping outside with rudimentary protection from the elements, or for sleeping in their car at night, when there is no other place in the city for them to go.” The decision applies only in situations in which homeless people “are engaging in conduct necessary to protect themselves from the elements when there is no shelter space available,” the court added.

The City of Grants Pass hopes the supreme court will issue a ruling in the summer of 2024. The City of San Diego has joined Grants Pass in the lawsuit.

Ed Johnson, the lead counsel for the respondents in the case, said it hinges on whether cities should be able to prioritize criminalization over solutions. Johnson said, “criminalization of our neighbors that have been forced to live outside, is not a solution. It’s very expensive, it wastes limited resources.”

Johnson said every court that has heard the case has ruled against Grants Pass so far. “Grants Pass wants to make it illegal on every inch of property, 24 hours a day,” Johnson said. “The problem is if that’s allowed, many cities will simply try to run all of the homeless people out of their community, and they have to go somewhere, so they’re going to go somewhere else, and they’re still going to have to live outside because of the affordable housing shortage.”

Johnson said that people are being punished for “simply existing” and that if more cities enact strict anti-camping ordinances like Grants Pass’, it could make the homelessness crisis worse.  “If we go down this line of spending money on criminalization and banishing people from their hometowns, we’re going to wake up in a year or two years or five years and we’re going to have twice as many of our neighbors living outside,” he said.

Options for Education —  Education Expo

WHEN: April 13, 2024 (rescheduled because of weather from March 2)
WHERE: Oregon Futbol Academy building @ 144 SW G St, Grants Pass, OR

Options for Education promotes school choice options for southern Oregon families through a variety of free services: Education Expo, Educational Entrepreneur Events for networking and training, referrals and individual support.

Approximately half of vendors at in this year’s Education Expo offer full course loads while the remaining are supplemental program: individual classes and workshops, tutoring, internships, clubs, art, music, athletics, field trips, or curriculum.

Some organizations, like Options for Education and the newly established Rogue Valley Independent Educators, PTA, serve the education community at large. “Every child deserves to learn in an environment where their values are respected,” said Shannon, “The goal of this event is that every parent find the right fit for their child OR is inspired to start their own!”

Photo opportunities: 3:20pm before, during and 6:30 after the event.

Options for Education was founded in 2019 by Brettani Shannon and established as a
5013(C) non-profit in 2022. 541.660.4054


Klamath Falls Man Requests To Represent Himself Against Federal Criminal Kidnapping Charges

A Klamath Falls man facing federal kidnapping charges said he wants to represent himself in his criminal trial.  He also requested to be referred to as “Sukima Zuberi” in court.

30-year-old Negasi Zuberi had a late afternoon arraignment when federal prosecutors requested maximum sentences on all eight criminal counts against Zuberi. He has another hearing April 1, 2024, before Zuberi decides to represent himself in court fully.

Zuberi has two counts of kidnapping, one count of transportation for criminal sexual activity, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, two counts of a felon in possession of ammunition and one count of attempted escape from custody.

Zuberi received a new federal court indictment last month, charging him with kidnapping a second victim and with weapons charges from a prior conviction of assault with a deadly weapon.

Zuberi’s original kidnapping charge filed last summer accuses him of taking a woman from Seattle, WA to his Klamath Falls home and holding her captive in an in-home cinder-block cell that she escaped.

He’s accused of trying to escape from Jackson County Jail last August while held there for federal court. A review of jail records show Zuberi is at Jackson County Jail today, held since his return there Feb. 15, 2024.

Zuberi’s original two charges included kidnapping and transportation for criminal sexual activity. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Oregon (USAO) filed the charges, saying Zuberi kidnapped a woman by pretending he was a law enforcement officer.

USAO said a federal grand jury initially indicted Zuberi, also known as Sakima, Justin Hyche, and Justin Kouassi, for kidnapping the woman using handcuffs, and forced her into his vehicle to take her approximately 450 miles to his Klamath Falls home, “stopping along the way to sexually assault her and cover her face with a sweatshirt.”

Interstate kidnapping is punishable by up to life in federal prison and transporting an individual across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.

USAO reminds that an indictment is an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

It said Zuberi has lived in 10 different states during the last 10 years including Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Alabama and Nevada, and federal law enforcement has reason to believe he may have victimized additional women.

It insists, “If you or someone you know have information about possible crimes committed by Zuberi, please visit or call 1-800-Call-FBI.”   (SOURCE)


.BODYCAM VIDEO: Sheriff’s Deputies Rescue Infant and Toddler Abandoned in Woods by Suspect On-the-Run; Grand Jury Indicts Today on All Charges

BODYCAM Available for Download Here:

JCSO Case 24-0935  —-   MEDFORD, Ore. – A Jackson County Grand Jury indicted a man today wanted on charges stemming from multiple incidents involving domestic violence and child endangerment. The suspect, Justin Ryan Trompeter, 24, of Trail is wanted for two counts of second-degree child neglect, felony fourth-degree domestic violence assault, third-degree robbery, first-degree theft, harassment, and two counts of reckless endangerment.

The suspect remains on-the-run with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies continuing their investigation. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206. Trompeter is known to frequent Jacksonville, Shady Cove, Eagle Point, and Trail.

JCSO deputies were originally searching for Trompeter in connection with a February 7 domestic violence assault call where he fled the scene at a high rate of speed with the children. On Friday, February 16, JCSO deputies received information that Trompeter was hiding with the children, ages 6 months and 1.5 years, deep in the surrounding Jacksonville woods.

Deputies quickly located a vehicle at the top of Wagon Trail Drive around 1:30 p.m on Friday, February 16. JCSO deputies approached the car with caution, but Trompeter had fled the scene before deputies’ arrival. Deputies found the two young children abandoned and alone in the car. Deputies believe the children may have been left alone in the vehicle for up to two hours. Further investigations revealed suspected fentanyl and meth in the car with the children.

Mercy Flights medics checked the children on scene then turned them over to Department of Human Services (DHS) personnel. After the incident, the children were treated at a local hospital and remain in DHS care. This case is open and ongoing with deputies following additional leads. If you know of the suspect’s whereabouts, call ECSO Dispatch at (541) 776-7206.


Hearts with a Mission, a program to help local seniors who need assistance, is seeking volunteers.

The volunteer-based program — which started in January 2023 — has 90 volunteers ready to help, but more than 100 seniors who need assistance.

Stephanie Miller, the Hearts For Seniors Program Manager, said that it’s a heartwarming job and fulfilling volunteer work.  Residents can apply here.

David Grubbs’ Murder Investigation Remains Active

Community still looking for answers in violent 2011 murder of David Grubbs on Ashland, Oregon bike path

The Ashland Police Department’s investigation into the murder of David Grubbs on November 19, 2011 remains open and active. Recently two new detectives have been assigned to look into new leads that have come in.

This case remains important to David’s family, the community, and the Ashland Police Department. As detectives continue to pursue these new leads, anyone with additional information is encouraged to reach out to the Ashland Police Department at 541-488-2211.

The reward for information leading to an arrest on this case remains at over $21,000.


Fauna Frey, 45, disappeared in Oregon on a road trip, June 29, 2020, following her brother’s death  —

PART 2 – Newsweek Podcast Focusing on The Disappearance of Fauna Frey From Lane County

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases.

PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public.


If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

According to AAA Oregon, the top destination for spring break in the state is Bend.

Some of the other top regional destinations for spring break include Portland, Seattle, Eugene and Redding.

The agency said they’re also seeing a 28% increase in cruise bookings compared to this time last year. Oregonians are getting out of town, and some are even getting out of the country.

“Hotels bookings are up 37% and international flight bookings are up 20%,” said AAA spokesperson Marie Dodds. “European cities are some of the most popular as well like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, which are relatively easy to get to here from Oregon.”

Unfortunately, Dodds also said Oregon is seeing ‘March Madness’ for gas prices. The current average for a regular gallon of gas is $4.12, up almost 20 cents from just a week ago.

Dodds said prices are going up because of refinery maintenance, summer blend fuel and Russian involvement in a geo-political conflict, as one of the world’s major oil producers.

“One of the things to keep in mind is that crude oil is traded on the global market so that price of a barrel of crude is determined globally,” Dodds said. “Those international events have an impact.” Dodds said 2024 is shaping up to be the busiest year of travel yet.

Where’s My Refund? tool, video offer help for Oregon taxpayers

Salem, OR—The largest “Kicker” in Oregon history has Oregon taxpayers more excited than ever about getting their state income tax refund this year.

The $5.61 billion in surplus revenue for the 2021-23 biennium is being returned to taxpayers in the form of a “kicker” tax credit of 44.28 percent of the Oregon income tax they paid in 2022. The kicker can reduce how much taxpayers owe the state, or, increase how much they get back—a fact that has heightened refund anticipation.

Taxpayers wondering about the refund on their 2023 tax year return, can use the Oregon Department of Revenue’s Where’s My Refund? tool to check its status and a video outlining the refund timelines is also available to help taxpayers understand the process.

Through March 19, the Oregon Department of Revenue has received and processed nearly 1.1 million returns and has issued more than 916,000 refunds. That leaves a little more than half of the expected 2.2 million Oregon income tax returns to be filed in the final 26 days before the April 15 deadline.

“It looks like typical Oregon rainy spring break weather this weekend,” said Megan Denison, administrator of DOR’s Personal Tax and Compliance Division. “If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, take care of them this weekend and beat the April rush.”
Besides the high volume of returns filed at the end of tax season, there are other common things that can make it take longer for Oregonians to get their refunds.

Five common reasons refunds take longer and what to do about it.
• Filing a paper return. Paper returns take longer to process and, as a result, it takes longer to issue related refunds. File electronically instead.
• Filing electronically and requesting to receive a refund via a check takes longer. Request direct deposit instead.
• Filing more than once. Sending a duplicate paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund. Taxpayers should file just once.
• Refunds for taxpayers that are new to filing returns may be delayed so we can verify your identity. Taxpayers who receive a letter requesting identity verification are urged to respond promptly through Revenue Online to speed the processing of their return.
• Refunds can also be delayed when errors are identified on returns. Taxpayers who receive a letter requesting additional information are urged to respond promptly through Revenue Online to speed the processing of their return.

To check the status of their refund with the Where’s My Refund? tool tool on Revenue Online, taxpayers will need their:
• Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN);
• Filing status; and
• The exact refund amount shown on:
o Line 47 of their Form OR-40, or
o Line 72 of their Form OR-40-N, or
o Line 71 of their Form OR-40-P

The Department of Revenue recommends that taxpayers wait one week after they have electronically filed their return to use the Where’s My Refund tool.

Most refunds are issued within two weeks, but returns that need more review may take up to 16 weeks before a refund is issued.

Filing electronically is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund two weeks sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2024 can file electronically at no cost using one of the free file options that can be found on the Department of Revenue website.

Taxpayers can check the status of their federal tax refunds on the IRS website .

Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Rises by 4,400 in February

In February, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4,400 jobs, following a revised loss of 5,700 jobs in January. February’s gains were largest in professional and business services (+1,000 jobs) and in health care and social assistance (+900 jobs). Five other major industries each expanded by between 600 and 700 jobs. Manufacturing (-600 jobs) was the only major industry with a substantial number of job cuts in February.

Health care and social assistance continued its robust expansion, employing 292,300 jobs in February, which was a gain of 25,900 jobs in the past 24 months. Nursing and residential care facilities and social assistance both grew by 8% in the past 12 months.

Over the most recent 12 months, jobs edged lower. Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,900 jobs, or -0.1%, between February 2023 and February 2024. The private sector cut 11,300 jobs, or -0.7%, over the most recent 12-month period. Job losses in four major industries stood out, each down by between 3,400 and 9,300 jobs. These industries are informationprofessional and business servicesmanufacturing; and retail trade. Four other major industries had smaller losses, between 500 and 1,900 jobs. In contrast, health care and social assistance was up 13,800 jobs, or 5.0%, while government was up 9,400 jobs, or 3.1%, in the 12 months through February.

While Oregon’s job growth has been close to flat in the 12 months ending in February, with a decline of 0.1%, U.S. jobs grew by 1.8% with gains in every month of that period.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in February and 4.1% in January. It has remained in a historically low range between 3.4% and 4.2% for more than two years, back to October 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9% in February and 3.7% in January.

A growing number of tribes in Oregon and California are coming out in opposition to federal offshore wind projects. Some tribes don’t believe there’s been enough research into the impacts on the environment.

At least five tribes along the West Coast have announced their opposition to proposed offshore wind development. Five areas off the California coast were auctioned off in late 2022 to build floating wind turbines. And the federal government is considering sales off the Southern Oregon coast.

Three people stand in front of a large screen that says "The Yurok Tribe is a proud sponsor of the Tribal Offshore Wind Summit" With the Yurok Tribe logo below. The people are holding five signs with handwritten statements including "Offshore Winds Not for out people, environment, fisheries" and "Tribes must unite to make change!"
Members of the Yurok Tribe at an offshore wind summit the Tribe hosted in early February 2024. The Tribe recently came out opposed to federal offshore wind projects.

Derek Bowman, a council member with the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria south of Eureka, said the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hasn’t involved the tribes enough in the process.

“We have a huge amount of traditional ecological knowledge that could assist in a lot of assessments that they’re doing,” Bowman said. “And we’re not really included in it. It feels like we’re just a checkbox that they have to check in order to say, ‘Hey, we talked to the tribes, we’re good to go.’ And we’re not alright with that.”

The Northern Chumash Tribe in Southern California expressed concerns about the proposed sale of two offshore wind areas near Morro Bay in 2022 before they were auctioned off. Their opposition wasn’t about offshore wind in general, but because of the sites overlapping with a nearby proposed National Marine Sanctuary.

This year, a number of other tribes came out in formal opposition to the projects. The first was the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians in mid-February.

“BOEM’s press release states that it has ‘engaged’ with the Tribe, but that engagement has amounted to listening to the Tribe’s concerns and ignoring them and providing promises that they may be dealt with at some later stage of the process,” said Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper in a statement.

More tribes quickly joined in opposition, including the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria and California’s largest tribe, the Yurok. All three announced their opposition in early March.

Bowman said that historically, logging and gold mining industries took natural resources and gave little back to tribal communities.

“It’s just hard for us to accept that what’s best for everyone actually means it’s good for us too,” he said. “Because we always suffer when the government comes in to say, ‘This is what’s best for everybody and we need to do it in your area to help people in another area.’ It never works out for us.”

Beyond a lack of engagement, Bowman says there hasn’t been enough research into the environmental effects, both on the ocean and on land. Those include

possible effects of turbines on fishing and marine animal activities as well as transmission lines on land that could harm endangered species in the region.

“More importantly, when it comes to overland transmission lines, it’s the potential for fires. They cause fires all over California,” Bowman said. “And now running right through our ancestral territory, there are going to be these very large transmission lines overland.”

In a statement, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it agrees that tribes must have a seat at the table.

“We have taken coordinated actions to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge and Tribal input into our decision making process and we are working to help Tribes expand capacity to engage in environmental reviews, work with industry, and develop partnerships,” said BOEM in a statement.

Development of offshore wind farms on the California coast are underway, but turbines won’t be deployed for at least four years. The agency is currently developing its environmental assessment for two offshore wind areas on the Southern Oregon coast. (SOURCE)

Lethal Death with Dignity Act prescriptions, deaths rose in 2023

Increases shown in annual report follow residency requirement removal

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has released its 26th annual report on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), which shows an almost 30% increase in the number of prescriptions written for lethal doses of medication under the Act in 2023.

Prescriptions rose about 29%, from 433 in 2022 to 560 in 2023, according to the report. Deaths from ingesting the DWDA medications increased by about 20%, from 304 in 2022 to 367 in 2023.

The increase in DWDA prescriptions and deaths was driven in part by an amendment to the DWDA, passed in 2023, that removed the state residency requirement. The law no longer requires patients to be Oregon residents. All other criteria for participation remain.

OHA collects residence data from death records but does not receive records from other states unless the decedent was an Oregon resident. This means if an Oregon DWDA patient dies out of state and was not a resident of Oregon, OHA is unlikely to obtain notice of the death.

As a result, the 23 non-resident deaths reported may not represent all DWDA deaths of out-of-state residents who obtained a DWDA prescription from an Oregon health care provider. It is not known how many prescriptions were written to non-Oregonians. OHA plans to begin collecting patient residency status on the attending physician’s compliance form in 2024.

“The full impact of allowing out-of-state residents to access the law is unclear, as information about where the patient lives has not been collected during the DWDA prescription process,” said Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H.., deputy state health officer and epidemiologist.

The full report is available at

Despite the increase in DWDA patients during 2023, the report’s findings are similar to those of previous years. The number of physician-assisted deaths remains a small percentage of the estimated 44,000 annual deaths in Oregon.

As in prior reports, participates who died after ingesting DWDA medication were more likely to be 65 and older (82%) and have cancer (66%). Other findings for the year include:

  • Prescriptions for lethal doses of medication were written by 167 different physicians.
  • The youngest patient who took lethal medication was 29 years old. The oldest was 102.
  • Seventeen patients (5%) outlived their six-month prognosis.
  • A physician, other health care provider or trained volunteer was present at 54% of ingestions.
  • At least 10 patients experienced complications, most of which involved difficulty ingesting the medication, such as a burning sensation in the throat or partial regurgitation of medication. No patients regained consciousness after ingesting the DWDA prescription medication.
  • The median time from ingestion to death was 53 minutes.

OHA is legally required to collect information on compliance with the Death with Dignity Act and to make that information available on a yearly basis.

“OHA’s role is that of a steward of data about the use of the law,” Jeanne said. “This is a law, not an OHA program, and our principal role is to report accurate aggregate data about the use of the law. It is critical that we have accurate data so that informed ethical, legal and medical decisions can be made.”

LANDMARK INVESTMENT IN ARTS AND CULTURE INFRASTRUCTURE – Foundations join state leaders in sending $52M “love letter” to Oregon arts and culture nonprofits

PORTLAND, Ore. – Arts and culture organizations – still reeling from the pandemic – will see a major infusion of funding over the next three years under a plan announced today by two of the largest arts grantors in Oregon. The total investment of $52 million will provide flexible funding for arts and culture nonprofits across the entire state, including $20 million from Oregon Community Foundation and $20 million already committed from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. This follows legislative approval of $11.8 million in resilience and rebuilding funding earlier this month to be distributed among arts “anchor” organizations and smaller nonprofits throughout Oregon.

Exhibitions, performances and other live art gatheringshave seen seismic shifts in attendance levels since the pandemic. Arts leaders testified in Salem earlier this year that diminished ticket sales put at risk the significant economic impact of Oregon’s arts sector.

“Oregon legislators took a major step toward building back the vibrancy of the arts in Oregon. They’re not settling for merely ‘keeping the lights on’ and neither are we. Arts are essential to what makes Oregon, Oregon,” said Lisa Mensah, President and CEO of Oregon Community Foundation. “Together, Oregon foundations are stepping forward proactively to send a love letter to Oregon’s arts and culture ecosystem that says, ‘we believe in you.’”

The funding will be distributed across major venues and smaller community arts organizations around the state. Foundation program officers will advise potential grantees on details of the three-year investment as details emerge. This commitment is intended to inspire additional contributions from supporters across the state.

A study released by Americans for the Arts found Oregon’s arts and culture sector contributed $829 million to Oregon’s economy in fiscal year 2022. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies ranks Oregon 41st in the nation for spending on the arts per capita.

“Artists inspire us and connect us to one another as Oregonians and provide opportunities for children and adults alike to explore their shared humanity. The arts are an economic driver throughout our state, providing a huge boost to restaurants, shops, and businesses,” said Carrie Hoops, Executive Director of the Miller Foundation. “A diverse ecology of arts organizations brings us together and inspires creative expression in each vibrant and unique community across Oregon.”

Oregon Community Foundation’s commitment is possible thanks to a 2012 charitable gift from the estate of Fred and Suzanne Fields that has delivered millions of charitable dollars over many years to hundreds of diverse arts, artists and education efforts in Oregon. The Fred W. Fields Fund is an example of how wisely stewarded funds can create positive benefits for decades.

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) was founded in 1973 with a big mission: to improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. In partnership with donors and volunteers, OCF works to strengthen communities in every county in Oregon through research, grantmaking and scholarships. In 2023, OCF distributed more than $200 million in grants and scholarships. Individuals, families, businesses and organizations can work with OCF to create charitable funds to support causes important to them. To learn more, please visit

The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation was founded with the mission to enhance the quality of life of Oregonians through the support of classroom education and the performing, visual, and literary arts.

Spring Whale Watch Week returns to the Oregon coast for spring break 2024

OREGON COAST, Oregon— Oregon State Parks will host Spring Whale Watch Week along the Oregon Coast Saturday, March 23 through Sunday, March 31.

Trained Oregon State Park volunteers will be stationed at 15 sites along the Oregon Coast to help visitors spot whales and their calves and answer questions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily March 23-31. The sites are some of the best places to watch for whales on the Oregon Coast.

The spring event is three days longer than last year and might include better odds of seeing gray whales on their journey home from the calving lagoons in Mexico in light of today’s announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA announced the end of an Unusual Mortality Event, a significant die-off of the gray whale population, that had affected the marine mammals since 2019.

“The latest counts indicate that the gray whale population has likely turned the corner and is beginning to recover. It’s a perfect time for people to see them as they swim north with new calves to feed,” said Michael Milstein, public affairs officer with NOAA Fisheries.

Researchers counted about 412 calves last year, which was almost double the number from the year before. That helped signal an end to the Unusual Mortality Event and a likely turnaround in numbers as the species begins to rebound.

An estimated 14,500 gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores from late winter through June as part of their annual migration back to Alaska.

“Spring is a great time for whale watching because the gray whales are usually closer to shore on their return trip, typically around a mile or so out, and the weather can be better for viewing. But don’t forget your rain gear just in case,” said Park Ranger Peter McBride.

A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available online on the official event webpage:

The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23-31. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. Rangers from Oregon State Parks will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales.

All Whale Watch Week visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, to bring binoculars and to follow beach safety guidelines such as remaining out of fenced areas, knowing the tide schedule and keeping an eye on the surf at all times. Go to for a list of safety tips.

For more information about coast parks and campgrounds, visit

Visitors are encouraged to share their photos and videos from Spring Whale Watch on social media using #OregonStateParks and #ORWhaleWatch24.

Oregon to Honor Fallen Law Enforcement Officers May 7th, 2024

Every year, the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony honors the state’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year’s ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The annual event commemorates the more than 190 fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the state of Oregon since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is proud to host the ceremony in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and various statewide law enforcement associations.

SOLVE invites volunteers to register for their annual Earth Day celebration: The Oregon Spring Cleanup

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

Portland, Ore., March 12, 2024 – From April 13 to April 22, families, community members, neighborhood associations, and environmental enthusiasts are invited to engage in a signature event in SOLVE’s annual calendar: The Oregon Spring Cleanup, presented by Portland General ElectricRegistration for this environmentally conscious event series is now open.

Participants are invited to join SOLVE, event leaders, and partners from across the Pacific Northwest in a collective celebration of Earth Day. The SOLVE calendar showcases a variety of events throughout Oregon and SW Washington between April 13 and April 22, with the majority of events culminating on April 20. Diverse initiatives address specific environmental needs with opportunities ranging from beach cleanups to neighborhood and city litter pickups. Further activities include restoring natural habitats through native tree and shrub plantings, weed pulls, and mulching projects. Each project contributes to the enhancement of our shared surroundings.

With a variety of projects already online, the Oregon Spring Cleanup invites enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to a cleaner, greener, and brighter planet. Interested individuals can browse the map of projects to find events near them, learn about each opportunityand sign up for a meaningful contribution to the environment. Participating in the Oregon Spring Cleanup provides an excellent opportunity to bond with family members, coworkers, and neighbors, while collectively contributing to preserving some of Oregon’s most stunning locations.

As SOLVE anticipates another successful event, valued partner Portland General Electric, shares their commitment to the cause: ” PGE proudly supports SOLVE’s efforts to make our communities cleaner and greener. In 2023, our employees and their families volunteered with SOLVE for more than 220 hours. We’re excited to join community members again this Earth Day to help improve our beautiful state.” said Kristen Sheeran, Senior Director of Policy Planning and Sustainability, Portland General Electric.

For those inspired to host an event, SOLVE is still accepting new volunteer-led projects. The sooner projects are submitted, the faster SOLVE can care for the rest. Event leaders receive full support, including free supplies, access to project funding, disposal assistance, and help with volunteer recruitment.

For more information, please visit and be part of the collective effort to create a cleaner, greener planet.

Along with Portland General Electric, other event sponsors include Clean Water Services, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Fred Meyer, Metro, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, KOIN, The Standard, Swire Coca-Cola, Holman, Demarini-Wilson, Trimet, and PepsiCo.

About SOLVE – SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings people together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon and Southwest Washington to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit for more information.


Call us at 541-690-8806.  Or email us at

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