Rogue Valley News, Monday 4/1 – Wolf Creek Man Arrested for Kidnapping Woman and Stealing Vehicle & 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 RogueValleyMagazine.com

Monday,  April 1, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather
May be an image of text that says 'TODAY MON 04/01 HGH73 F 2%Precip./0.00in Abundant sunshine. High 73F. Winds light and variable. TONIGHT MON 04/01 。W4 F Mon 4/1 43'F TOMORROW TUE 04/02 HIGH 80 46 °F Clear skies. Low 43F. Winds light and variable. Tue 4/2 46°F Wed 4/3 49° 35°F Thu 48" 34°F 9%Precip./0.00in Sunny. High around 80F. Winds NNW to mph. Sunny 54° 36°F Sunny Sun 4/7 56° 36°F Rain Mon 4/8 0in AM Rain/Snow 0.01in Tue 4/9 68° 42°F 0.44in Wed 4/10 69° 43°F PM Showers Rain/Snow Showers 0.11i AM Clouds/PM Partly Cloudy Sun 0in 0.05 Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy 0in 0in 0in'

Wolf Creek Man Arrested for Kidnapping Woman and Stealing Vehicle

GLENDALE, Ore. – A Wolf Creek man has been arrested and lodged in the Douglas County Jail on a number of charges including kidnapping.

Wolf Creek man jailed after kidnapping woman, Douglas County deputies say | News | kezi.com

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, shortly after 1:00 pm, 9-1-1 dispatchers received a call from a male who said his mother had been taken against her will. The victim was able to send information to her son, which he relayed to deputies.

Deputies learned the male suspect, 35-year-old Richard Goodin of Wolf Creek, OR, was in a 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup which had been reported stolen earlier in the day.

During the investigation, the victim was able to get away and called 9-1-1 allowing deputies to get an approximate location. Deputies converged on the area, locating Goodin and took him into custody without further incident. The victim was located and taken to safety.

Goodin was lodged in the Douglas County Jail on the following charges:

Kidnap in the Second Degree
Possession of a Stolen Vehicle
Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle
Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine – Violation Level

 

An initiative of the Southern Oregon Wildlife Crossing Coalition (SOWCC) has made progress towards its funding goals with the addition of $400,000 approved by Congress for fencing to be erected in the Mariposa Preserve for a wildlife crossing corridor over Interstate 5.

Wildlife Crossing In Southern Oregon Gets Federal Funding Boost

The Southern Oregon Wildlife Crossing Coalition (SOWCC) is a broad-based partnership advocating for improved wildlife movement and increased safety for motorists in the Siskiyou Summit region of I-5 between Ashland and the California border.  To accomplish this goal, we are working for the creation of a network of safe wildlife crossings. Our first project is a wildlife overpass bridge at milepost 1.7 near the Mariposa Preserve. We support state and federal efforts to increase ecological connectivity and wildlife corridors while reducing dangerous wildlife-vehicle collisions.

The coalition is affiliated with the Oregon Wildlife Foundation whose mission is to enable the lasting conservation of Oregon’s wildlife, fish, and its citizens’ enjoyment of the natural resources. SOWCC advocates for increased safety for motorists and improved wildlife movement. It is a broad-based partnership operating in the Siskiyou Summit region between Ashland and the California border on the I-5.

Wildlife Crossings To Make Road Safer  — The crossings planned follow a five-year tracking which showed that the two-mile stretch to be covered by the fence had 34 deer-vehicle collisions between 2016 and 2020. The federal funds are the first funding for the crossing to specifically target a tangible and distinct section of the project.

The executive director of the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy, Steve Wise, said that the crossing not only benefits the wildlife but also leads to a higher level of public safety. He said,  “The collisions on this highway are a risk to human safety and come at a significant cost.”

He also confirmed that in other wildlife crossings, animals are able to find the crossing instantly and the mortality rate decreased by 90% in most other crossings. 

Wildlife Corridor Over Southern Oregon’s I-5  —  The wildlife crossing will be at a junction point critical for biological diversity and will cover Klamath, the Cascades, and Siskiyou. The wildlife habitat could lower biodiversity without corridor fragmentation, and this would also make the animals less able to withstand climate change.

SOWCC is working to create a network of safe wildlife crossings, with the first project being a wildlife overpass bridge near the Mariposa Preserve at milepost 1.7. The initiative supports state and federal efforts to reduce dangerous wildlife-vehicle collisions while increasing ecological connectivity through the corridors.

With funding of over $20 million as a goal, Wise said that this is seen as an investment that will pay for itself in a very short time, despite what may seem like a hefty price tag. SOWCC, which comprises 20 different organizations and agencies, indicated that it currently has about 10% of the funding needed for the planned wildlife crossing, but hopes to get more money raised towards its goal through grants and funding from government agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration. (SOURCEMore information is available on their website here.

 

Mt. Ashland Ski Are Shuttle Service Returns

Mt. Ashland Ski Area announced Friday that their shuttle service will be returning thanks to funding from Travel Oregon to purchase a new shuttle bus. With only a few weeks left of the season, skiers and snowboarders will
be able to catch a ride up to the mountain from Ashland.

The 12-passenger mini-bus will stop at three pick-up locations with two trip times available. The three pick-up locations in the city of Ashland area are the Evergreen Federal Bank, Southern Oregon University at The Hawk and
at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites.

All shuttle tickets must be purchased online prior to departure time, and the ski area asks that you please carry proof of ticket purchase (printed or on your cell phone). Shuttle drivers won’t be able to accept payment. Round-trip shuttle service will cost $10. https://www.mtashland.com

 

May be an image of text

Applications are now open for the Southern Oregon Junior Rodeo Association’s annual Rodeo Queen Contest.

SOJRA’s court consists of one first place queen and two runner-up princesses. This court acts as hostesses to the SOJRA and serve as ambassadors for Jackson County by attending local events.

The contest will be held on Saturday, Apr. 6. Anyone interested in applying can visit SOJRA’s website. Applicants must be between 14 and 18 years old, with the deadline to submit an application on Tuesday, Apr. 2.   —   The 41st annual SOJRA rodeo is taking place on Sunday, Aug. 18.

 

Oregon Will Replace Defective Homes For Wildfire Survivors In Phoenix

Oregon’s housing agency will replace dozens of modular homes in Phoenix that are meant for wildfire survivors, marking a dramatic change from the agency’s previous plan to house fire victims.Site work is still being done at Royal Oaks in Phoenix.
Royal Oaks Mobile Manor in Phoenix in summer 2023. The homes shown here will now be completely replaced due to defects.  image by: Jane Vaughan

Last August, Oregon Housing and Community Services said they would renovate 118 homes that were found to be defective. Now, they’re going to completely replace all the homes instead at an unknown cost.

About three years ago, the state purchased 140 modular homes for about $26 million. Most of those were meant for the Royal Oaks Mobile Manor, which was destroyed in the 2020 Almeda Fire. The project broke ground in November 2022 and planned to house 118 families, prioritizing those who lost their homes in the fire.

But families’ move-in was delayed when they were suddenly told the homes were unfit to live in. There are unresolved questions about why the homes had defects, which included leaking water, mold and code issues.

According to an OHCS spokesperson, the agency will provide the funding to replace all the homes, and the Housing Authority of Jackson County will manage the purchase.

“OHCS and the Housing Authority of Jackson County have been working hard to find a solution that meets all our shared commitments for the Royal Oaks project, most importantly having healthy and safe homes for residents,” reads a statement provided by OHCS on Wednesday. “When we last updated the community, we were developing plans to rebuild/rehabilitate the units. The planned approach was based on advice from OHCS’ consultants and informed by industry-standard best practices. After reviewing with local partners, they felt this approach would not fully reassure community members or set up the project for long-term success.”

This proposal still has to be approved by the organizations’ respective boards. OHCS expects that approval in the next 45-60 days.

Some fire victims have been living in transitional housing for over three years, and this change only prolongs the creation of permanent housing.

OHCS says they don’t yet have a timeline for when families will be able to move in or the specific source of the funding.

 

Medford Approves $300k For New Storm Water Treatment Facility

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency has approved $300,000 for a new storm water treatment facility for Bear Creek.  MURA said they will begin working on the project in the next couple weeks.

The agency’s Director Harry Weiss said, “right now, the pipe that’s there takes untreated storm water and puts it straight into the creek.”

MURA is working toward building a storm water treatment facility that will serve around 60 acres of homes in the southern half of the Liberty Park area.

The agency plans to start the project in April by moving a drain pipe on riverside avenue near where the storm water treatment facility will eventually be.

Weiss said there is another $500,000 of ARPA funding that is being put toward the facility, in addition to the $300,000 that was recently approved for other infrastructure projects in the area.

MURA will be looking to get their work done before the summer, when the city plans to repave Riverside Avenue.

“In addition to the storm water work, MURA is also bringing new water taps from the water line that runs up Riverside, for two new hydrants on the east side of Riverside, so we need to get all of that in before July.”

Weiss said they have more projects in store for the area including a future pedestrian and bike bridge that will cross Bear Creek and connect to the greenway. He said there may also be space for a housing development in the area as well.  https://www.medfordoregon.gov/Government/Departments/Medford-Urban-Renewal-Agency

 

Helicopter Logging Project to Begin in Ashland Watershed and Siskiyou Mountain Park

The forest in Ashland’s watershed won’t be the same as a helicopter logging project will begin in the watershed, spanning over popular trails such as Bandersnatch and Lewis Lookout to remove dead and dying trees.

Trees marked with blue rings will be taken out as part of the helicopter logging project. These trees are on the Snark Loop Trail. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

The plan, part of the Ashland Forestland Climate Change Adaptation Phase I Project Plan, will start with ground crews cutting dead and dying trees marked for removal. Helicopters will then move in to collect the downed trees and carry them to a nearby drop site where they will be machine processed into logs of a uniform size to be carried to the Timber Products mill in Yreka, said Ashland Fire & Rescue Wildfire Division Chief Chris Chambers.

The sale of the logs will recoup an estimated $686,000 of the project’s estimated $1.3 million cost. Trail closures are expected to begin Monday, April 1.   (READ MORE)

Foothill Road Closure This Week: Hillcrest to McAndrews

Delays are expected this week on Foothill Road from McAndrews to Hillcrest, including the Hillcrest/N. Phoenix intersection as contractors prepare to pave the McAndrews Road ramps next week.
May be an image of road and grass
⚠️On 𝗧𝗵𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗔𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗹 𝟰, 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗥𝗼𝗮𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗠𝗰𝗔𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘄𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗛𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗰𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁 will be c̲l̲o̲s̲e̲d̲ while contractors pave the McAndrews on and off ramps.
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗲: while both on and off ramps will be closed April 4th, McAndrews will remain open. This closure is anticipated to last one day.
🚧Detours will be available on Springbrook Road.
🚗Drivers can expect up to 20-minute delays in this area. Current lanes on Hillcrest Road will be shifted, and traffic control will be at the Hillcrest/N. Phoenix Road intersection.
📲Want to get traffic alerts on your phone? Sign up for email/text notifications here: www.medfordoregon.gov/subscribe

Burn Permits – Inside Roseburg City Limits – Spring 2024 – 3-28-24 

Image 1

The City of Roseburg Fire Department will begin issuing residential burn permits, beginning on April 15, 2024 and ending on May 15, 2024.

These permits are issued for seven (7) days at a cost of $75.00.  Residential yard waste is the only material that may be burned. Prohibited items include standing berry vines, paper, wood, plastics, tires, standing grass, weeds, construction material, and material from lot clearing.  Burning may not be done on vacant lots or the property of another. Fires must be monitored by a competent adult and extinguished prior to darkness. Tools to control or extinguish the fire must be on-site whenever there is material burning.

Burn barrels are never allowed inside City limits, and anyone burning trash or burning without a permit may be subject to a fine and/or legal action.  Additionally, due diligence must be exercised while burning, even with a permit, as fire can quickly get out of control, and the person responsible for the fire may be subject to fines, legal action, or restitution.

If possible, residents are urged to utilize alternatives to burning, such as composting, chipping, mulching, or transporting the debris to the Douglas County Landfill.  More information on these options can be found at https://douglascounty-oregon.us/449/Wood-Yard-Waste

To request a burning permit in the City of Roseburg, call (541) 492-6770 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. This information, as well as the burn permit request form is also available on the city website at https://www.cityofroseburg.org/departments/fire

Be part of a community, not just a workplace🫶
🌟FULL TIME
* Preschool Teacher
* Member Services Shift Lead
🌟SEASONAL
* YMCA Camp DeBoer Kitchen Manager
* YMCA Camp DeBoer Kitchen Assistant and Housekeeping
* YMCA Camp DeBoer Cabin Counselor
* Day Camp Counselor at the Y
* Sports Day Camp Counselor at the Y
🌟PART TIME
* Lifeguards (we will certify you!)
* Swim Lesson Instructors
👉Employment includes a FREE Membership!
For more information, and to apply:

 

Efforts to Locate Glide Teacher Rachel Merchant-Ly Continue

𝐈𝐃𝐋𝐄𝐘𝐋𝐃 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐊, 𝐎𝐫𝐞. – Search and Rescue efforts continue in the search for Rachel Merchant-Ly, a Glide Elementary kindergarten teacher whose vehicle was found crashed in the North Umpqua River. Merchant-Ly was reported missing on Thursday, February 29th when she didn’t arrive at school.

A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy located signs of a motor vehicle crash near milepost 41 on Highway 138E. On Friday, March 1, 2024, Merchant-Ly’s vehicle was recovered from the North Umpqua River, but she was not found inside.

Since that time, nearly 300 hours volunteer hours of searching has taken place. Douglas County Search and Rescue has been using various methods of searching to include drone, ground and K9. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol has conducted water searches as well. Volunteers have searched along the riverbank from the crash site to Idleyld Park Trading Post; approximately 21 miles. “We all want to find Mrs. Merchant-Ly and return her to her family,” Sheriff John Hanlin said. “Our deputies are in constant communication with her family and providing them with updates as to our efforts. We will continue searching and using all means necessary to accomplish our mission,” Hanlin added.

In addition to the efforts of DCSO and Search and Rescue volunteers, several community members have been actively looking for Merchant-Ly. “We are aware of rafting guides and groups of rafters who have been launching all in an attempt to assist in finding her. We have also been contacting community members who are walking along the North Umpqua Trail and the highway,” Hanlin said. “As always this community steps forward to care for each other.” As the weather turns more springlike, the Sheriff’s Office encourages those recreating around the area to be aware Merchant-Ly is still missing and to report anything which may assist in concluding this missing person case.

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. www.OptionsforEducations.com 541.660.4054

 

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  —

https://original.newsbreak.com/@ada-e-1668135/3304227455096-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. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040 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. READ MORE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-what-happened-fauna-frey-new-clues-uncovered-1827197?fbclid=IwAR3Z3Glru5lIgqiYXbs_nA1Fj8JuCIzM11OHSVHfwIucfq2f_G5y9y5bnmQ If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email FindFaunaFrey@gmail.com.

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

Oregon snowpack levels in good shape now, but spring variables still in play

The approach of April marks a key time of the year. It’s when mountain snow usually peaks across Oregon — offering a hint at the severity of the coming wildfire season and about conditions for farmers who rely on irrigation.

Oregon snow water equivalent levels, which compares how this year's snowpack stacks up against the last 30 years.

Throughout the state, snowpacks are about normal, with some exceptions in northeast Oregon, where levels are below average. The Umatilla-Walla Walla-Willow region is at 83% of normal as of late March.

Snowpack, and more specifically its snow-water equivalent percentage — a measure of how much water the snow contains — is like a natural water reservoir, and the measure gives experts a good idea of water supplies for the spring and summer months, said Larry O’Neill, Oregon’s state climatologist.

O’Neill said weather conditions this year have been erratic. In early January, snowpacks were well below normal levels, then mid-January snowstorms gave Oregon mountain ranges a boost.

”And so it really kind of started to quell our fears a bit about how bad this water season would be,” O’Neill said.

Then in mid-March, warmer temperatures across the Willamette Valley triggered early snowmelt across some areas.

The March snowmelt “wasn’t the worst, but it was definitely way above normal,” O’Neill said. “And the reason that is so critical is because it’s a reservoir of water and it would release that water too early into the system before we can use it.”

Water reservoirs still filling up —- Right now, reservoir levels across Oregon are varied. The Prineville Reservoir in Central Oregon is 96% full, while Wickiup — which feeds several water irrigation districts in areas that produce specialty seed crops, hay and cattle — is at 76%.

Andrews said there’s still time for reservoirs to fill up, though there are a few wildcards, one being that Oregon is still at the tail-end of a yearslong drought. Soil moisture conditions in a lot of the agricultural basins, which don’t get covered directly with snow, are still recovering from drought, especially in Central Oregon. If the soil is still dry it’ll act as a sponge and absorb all the snow melt when the weather warms.

The other variable: It’s uncertain if it will stay cool enough for snow to melt slowly into the summer months and feed into rivers and streams.

“Although things are looking good in terms of drought coverage, we aren’t out of the woods yet, especially as we’re at this time, this critical time, when we’re not exactly sure what’s gonna happen with snowpack and how that’s gonna translate to stream flow,” Andrews said. (SOURCE)

Governor Kotek Visits the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Governor to visit Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribal nations this year

Thursday, Governor Tina Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson kicked off a commitment to visit Oregon’s nine federally recognized sovereign Tribal nations in 2024 by spending the day with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI).

“It was an honor to spend a day with the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, deepening our understanding of their history and rich heritage, and getting to know and appreciate the services and programs that serve CTSI members and the broader community,” Governor Kotek said. “I am immensely grateful for Chair Pigsley and the Tribal Council’s leadership and for the opportunity to build stronger relationships with the Siletz. These conversations will inform the state’s efforts to develop more comprehensive and transparent government-to-government consultation with Oregon’s federally recognized sovereign Tribal nations.”

“The day was spent sharing program information as well as our history and culture with Governor Kotek and her staff,” said Tribal Chairman Delores Pigsley. “It was a special day; the Tribe very much appreciated the all-day visit and looks forward to working with the governor and her staff.”

The Governor, the First Lady, and Governor’s Office staff started their day in Siletz with a morning reception with members of the Tribal Council and CTSI staff in the Tribal Council chambers. They then traveled with the Council and staff to the Tribe’s Siletz Community Health Clinic for a conversation about behavioral health needs of the Tribe and the community at large, the impact the fentanyl crisis is having in their community and the comprehensive approach they are taking to address urgent health needs.

The group then toured the nearby Garden Program, the health clinic’s farm program that seeks to improve the health of the community and Siletz Tribal members by providing access to clean organic produce, outdoor recreation, and culturally congruent activities in a safe space. Next, over lunch, there were presentations and discussions at the Tribal Community Center about housing, education, and natural resource issues.

Following lunch, after a tour of the CTSI museum repository, the Governor and the First Lady were privileged to learn more about Siletz history and culture, including a demonstration of a traditional feather dance by CTSI youth in the Tribes’ Dance House and the efforts behind the creation of the Dance House.

The day wrapped up in Lincoln City at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort, which is owned and operated by CTSI.

Feds plan to kill half a million barred owls in West Coast states over the next three decades

A federal government plan for hunters to kill thousands of invasive owls to protect the rapidly declining northern spotted owl has ruffled the feathers of dozens of animal advocacy groups.

On Monday, a coalition of 75 animal rights and wildlife protection organizations sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland asking her to scrap what they describe as a “reckless plan” to wipe out half a million barred owls in West Coast states over the next three decades.

Oregon owls

The letter, spearheaded by the Animal Wellness Action group and the Center for a Humane Economy, lambastes the plan for being unworkable and short-sighted, arguing that it will lead to the wrong owls being shot and disruption to nesting behavior.

“Implementing a decades-long plan to unleash untold numbers of ‘hunters’ in sensitive forest ecosystems is a case of single-species myopia regarding wildlife control,” states the letter, signed by Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, and Scott Edwards, general counsel for the Center for a Humane Economy.

Federal wildlife officials believe the action is necessary to control the population of the barred owl — which they consider invasive — and give the threatened northern spotted owls a fighting chance on their home turf.

The proposal is also intended to prevent declines of the California spotted owl, which wildlife officials say is also facing encroachment from the larger, more aggressive barred owl in the Sierra Nevada.

“Extirpation of northern spotted owls from major portions of their historical range is likely in the near future without management of barred owls,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote in its proposal, citing a recent demographic analysis.

In 1990, northern spotted owls were listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1990. They were listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act in 2016.

There’s broad agreement the native owls are at risk, but the animal rights organizations behind the opposition letter this week say killing barred owls is not the answer. Instead, the groups advocate for nonlethal means to protect the spotted owls, including safeguarding their habitat.

“The plan to kill barred owls is a colossally reckless action … it should be sidelined with all deliberate speed, and non-lethal management actions to protect spotted owls and their habitats should be made the priority actions.”

Not all wildlife protection groups agree, however.

Tom Wheeler, executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center, called the letter criticizing the proposal to beat back barred owls “factually misleading” and “divorced from what’s actually being proposed.”

The letter reports that there will be “mistaken-identity kills,” potentially of the spotted owls they seek to protect, but Wheeler said the proposal outlines a strategy to avoid this.

Those opposing the plan also decry lead poisoning that could result from the shot used by hunters. According to Wheeler, the plan calls for the owl carcasses to be removed from the area where they’re shot. California has banned hunting with lead ammunition.

The proposal — which remains a draft — would not result in the immediate slaughter of barred owls.

Instead, it removes the permitting burden for others to remove the birds, Wheeler said.

Public land managers, such as the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service, as well as private landowners, “will be able to more expeditiously engage in this activity,” he said.

Wheeler said he recognized the issue was morally fraught, but doesn’t feel there’s an alternative. If nothing is done to control the barred owls, he believes the northern spotted owl will go extinct in his lifetime.

His organization wants federal wildlife officials to take even more aggressive steps to stop the forward march of the invasive owls.

“We have a functional choice, which is the extinction of one species, or we could have both species continue to exist on the landscape,” he said. (SOURCE)

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Bridge Condition Report Provides A Snapshot Of The Condition Of Bridges In Oregon

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s annual bridge report says the agency is “losing ground” to manage the state’s bridge system, as many are nearing the end of their life spans and planners are trying to keep up with new safety measures and seismic standards.

“With only an average of three bridges replaced annually ODOT
continues to lose ground in the eff ort to manage the system. Although a significant
portion of these bridges are in fair condition at this time, in the following decades, the
agency will be burdened with a huge responsibility to maintain or replace the 40% of
the inventory built between 1951-1970, as they continue to deteriorate.”

The 2023 Bridge Condition Report provides a snapshot of the condition of bridges in Oregon that are on state highways. Condition information is measured by Oregon’s Bridge Key Performance Measure and by the National
Bridge Performance Measure. In addition to condition information, there is information on bridge programs that are in place to manage and preserve state highway bridges. These include Major Bridge Maintenance, Bridge Preservation, the Seismic Program, and Load Rating. Eff orts to maintain and preserve existing bridges are critical, as an average of just three bridges are replaced each year. With adequate funding, approximately 27 state highway bridges could be replaced annually which is consistent with a 100-year service life.

According to ODOT’s 2023 Bridge Condition Report, a significant number of the more than 2,700 bridges in Oregon are in “fair” condition, but likely to transition to “poor” condition in the future.

40% of the bridges across the state need to be replaced in the coming decades, as a majority of them were built between 1950 and 1970 according to the report.

According to the report, there has been a “steady decline” in Oregon’s bridge conditions since 2016. There was some slight improvement in 2023 when nine bridges in “poor condition” were replaced, but ODOT does not have the funding to keep up with bride replacement. With adequate funding, ODOT could replace 27 bridges a year, but current funding levels pay on average for only three bridge replacements a year. At this rate, a bridge will need to stay in service for over 900 years, well beyond the expected service life of 75-100 years.

One of the serious causes of bridge deterioration is “scouring” or erosion of the bridge’s foundation due to fast moving water and gravel. ODOT officials said there are nearly 500 bridges that are unstable due to scouring.

ODOT officials said that as standards are constantly changing, and costs continue to rise, the bridges’ needs outpace their resources. READ MORE: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Bridge/Documents/2023BCR.pdf

Oregon seafood industry calls on Gov. Tina Kotek to halt offshore wind energy development

The coalition said Kotek is the last hope for delaying a federal plan to lease sites off Oregon’s south coast for floating wind turbines

A coalition of independent fishing boat operators, seafood companies and industry groups is calling on Gov. Tina Kotek to ask the federal government to stop a planned auction for floating wind energy projects off the Oregon Coast.

In a letter to Kotek on Tuesday, the more than 100 signatories said she should stop the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from moving forward with its plan to auction offshore wind site leases until the state has finalized its own roadmap for offshore wind development.

That roadmap is part of House Bill 4080, which was signed by Kotek last week. It will create state policies on offshore wind energy development that include community input and labor standards.

“We’re saying no auction until the roadmap is complete,” said Heather Mann, executive director of the Newport-based Midwater Trawlers Cooperative, which signed the letter.

The roadmap must be completed by Sept. 1, 2025, according to the legislation.

The letter noted that developing wind power off Oregon’s coast is an untested idea.

“Offshore floating wind energy does not currently exist anywhere in the world in waters deeper than 300 meters or at the scale being contemplated for the West Coast,” the letter said. “In addition to the roadmap, Oregon would benefit significantly by learning from projects that are already moving forward, such as those on the East Coast and in California.”

Other signatories include more than 80 independent fishing vessel operators and nearly three dozen coastal businesses and business associations, including the Columbia River Crab Fishermen’s Association and West Coast Seafood Processors. Coalition members fear the floating offshore wind turbines would disrupt marine ecosystems and Oregon’s commercial fishing industry, with about $200 million in annual revenue, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

“The roadmap is the only way to ensure a transparent and equitable approach to considering offshore wind energy,” the letter said.

Five Oregon and California tribes also oppose the federal wind power plan. In November, the Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians passed a resolution opposing offshore wind energy development, in part because federal officials had failed to respond to their concerns.

East Coast, California projects moving forward — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has auctioned five areas off the California coast to develop floating wind energy projects, and it approved six projects on the East Coast. They’re  part of the Biden administration’s plan to build up 15 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2035, with a total of 30 gigawatts deployed by 2030.

The two wind energy areas being considered for development off Oregon’s Coast would add 2.4 gigawatts of clean power – enough to power about 830,000 homes – with installations covering more than 195,000 acres in total. One site, near Coos Bay, would span about 61,200 acres and be located more than 30 miles from shore, while the other site, near Brookings, would cover about 133,808 acres and float about 20 miles from shore.

Last year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management gave Oregonians several months to comment on the agency’s plans, and nearly 1,000 people weighed in. Agency officials also visited Brookings, Gold Beach and Coos Bay last fall to talk to fishing groups, officials and residents about installing wind turbines offshore.

The agency recently denied a request by Oregon’s congressional members to extend a 30-day public comment period on the planning and the environmental assessment that needs to take place this summer.

“Fishermen are hoping that a more forceful response from Gov. Kotek will change the tide,” the coalition said in a news release.  (SOURCE)

Oregon becomes fourth state with a “right to repair” law for technology

Oregon is now the fourth state in the country to enact a “right to repair” law to make it easier for consumers and independent shops to fix electronic gear.

With Gov. Tina Kotek’s signing of Senate Bill 1596 on Thursday, manufacturers will be required to offer any necessary documentation, parts, tools or any device needed to repair electronic equipment at a “fair cost” and on “reasonable” terms.

“This is a win for consumers and will help bridge our digital divide and support small businesses across our state,” Kotek said in a statement.

The bill takes effect in January. It was championed by state Sen. Janeen Sollman, D-Hillsboro, who first started pushing for the legislation in 2021. She won approval this session with support from Democrats and several Republicans, including Republican Sen. Kim Thatcher of Keizer. The minority of lawmakers who opposed the bill were Republican.

“Our new right to repair law is a reasonable, common sense step to lower costs and put more power back in the hands of consumers,” Sollman said in a statement.

The law is expected to make repairing electronic devices, like smartphones and computers, cheaper for consumers and independent repair shops. It is also expected to stem emissions and electronic waste. Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Wilsonville, who presented in the House, said that Oregonians toss nearly 5,000 cell phones every day and that if they held onto them another year, it would be the equivalent of removing 8,100 cars from the road.

Supporters say the law will also be good for marginalized communities that are often left on the sidelines in the digital world. A 2021 report from the Federal Trade Commission to Congress said consumer products are becoming increasingly harder to fix and maintain and that communities of color are heavily affected.

The bill had wide support from small businesses and consumer advocates, including OSPIRG, a statewide public interest group.

“No longer can a manufacturer use anti-consumer software to prevent third party repairs,” said Charlie Fisher, OSPIRG’s director in a statement. “Now, small business vendors will be able to fix consumer technology without threatening the performance of a device.”

Only one major manufacturer opposed the bill – Apple. An Apple representative who testified against the bill said it would undermine the company’s security efforts, a claim lawmakers questioned. The company has come under mounting regulatory scrutiny, with the European Union recently fining it nearly $2 billion and 15 states, including Oregon, joining a U.S. Department of Justice suit this month that accuses Apple of trying to illegally corner the smartphone market.

Besides Oregon, Minnesota, New York and California have right to repair laws on technology. Massachusetts has approved a right to repair law on vehicles and Colorado has adopted one for wheelchairs and another for farmers. (SOURCE)

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

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 solveoregon.org/oregon-spring 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 solveoregon.org for more information.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1109674113319848

Call us at 541-690-8806.  Or email us at Info@RogueValleyMagazine.com

Must Read

Rogue Valley News, Friday 4/19 – Detectives Investigating Suspicious Death as Skeletal Remains Found in Rural Jacksonville Area, Lethal Removal of Cougar from Ashland Residence & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 1/27 – Kingsley Volunteer Airmen Deploy for COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Southern Oregon, Josephine County Health Officials Give Out Vaccines While Stuck in Snow at Hayes Hill

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Monday 1/24 – Sen. Wyden Visits Hospitals in Medford and Grants Pass, Suspect Arrested in Grants Pass Murder Investigation

Renee Shaw