Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 4/10 – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Awarded Oregon’s 2023 DUII Enforcement Agency of the Year, Asante In Court With 13 Federal Cases Against Them & 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

Wednesday,  April 10, 2024

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Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Awarded Oregon’s 2023 DUII Enforcement Agency of the Year

– Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) was awarded the Oregon 2023 DUII Enforcement Agency of the Year in a ceremony last Thursday, April 4. The award came from the Oregon DUII Multi-Disciplinary Training Task Force in recognition for outstanding professional achievement in the deterrence and prevention of DUIIs in the State of Oregon. For the 2023 state-wide awards there were 15 awards categories with a total of 105 nominations.

This award highlights JCSO’s comprehensive approach to ensuring road safety and reducing DUII incidents within the community. In 2023, the JCSO’s Patrol Division, which was comprised of approximately 40-sworn personnel, were responsible for the following:

•            1,032 Crash Investigations

•            367 DUII Arrests

•            13,526 Traffic Stops

Beyond DUII enforcement, JCSO has adopted a strategy to prevent DUIIs, emphasizing strong community ties and proactive education. Our efforts include the launch of a Citizen Recognition Program to honor and encourage public involvement in identifying impaired drivers, enhancing collaborations with emergency response teams, and the delivery of extensive educational programs targeting various community segments.

Key educational initiatives spearheaded by JCSO in 2023 encompass a range of programs:

Victim Impact Panel: A mandatory course for those convicted of DUII and others interested in understanding the consequences of impaired driving, facilitated by a combination of law enforcement, medical professionals, victims, and offenders.

Drug Impairment Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP): Aimed at school personnel, this course focuses on identifying and intervening with students impaired by drugs.

Students for a Safer Tomorrow: This program educates high school students on DUII investigation, the risks of impairment, and prevention strategies.

Citizens Academy: Offering citizens insights into the dangers of DUII, through discussions on crash statistics, impairment detection, and sobriety testing.

JCSO also places a significant emphasis on law enforcement training, including refreshers on field sobriety testing, advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement, and specialized courses on drug influence evaluation.

JCSO’s dedication extends to allocating specialized resources and expertise, such as traffic units focused on DUII enforcement, Drug Recognition Experts to assist in DUII cases, and a team specialized in Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction.

The “2023 DUII Enforcement Agency of the Year” award is a testament to JCSO Patrol’s steadfast commitment and impactful strategies in creating safer roadways. Their efforts not only make our community safer but also serve as an example for other law enforcement agencies in the fight against impaired driving.


Asante In Court With 13 Federal Cases Against Them Including Religious Discrimination For COVID Vaccine Refusal

A group of lawsuits against Asante’s health care operations began Tuesday in federal court. Thirteen federal court cases had a shared proceeding Tuesday afternoon with the U.S. District Court in Medford.

A sampling of the cases shows claims of religious discrimination against Asante by health care workers who invoked religion as their rationale for refusing to get COVID-19 vaccinations, claiming their employment with Asante subsequently was suspended, causing wrongful employment termination for exercising their religious beliefs.

Eight of the cases list individual plaintiffs, and five of the civil cases have multiple plaintiffs, such as Kather et al v. Asante Health System et al.  For example, that case has 14 plaintiffs, including Michele Kather, Kourtney Selee, Alyssa Button, Justin Cirillo, Anna Drevenstedt, Ron Hittinger, Miles Kopish, Holly Martin, Tamara Rada, Jessica Stone, Michaela Begg, Myranda Miller, Ronda Osterberg and James Wilson. They list Asante Health System and Does 1 Through 50 as plaintiffs.

Their federal lawsuit seeks “damages for religious discrimintation in violation of Title VII … and aiding and abetting religious discrimination.”

Tuesday’s court conference involves Asante Health System, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and Asante Three Rivers Medical Center as follow:

  • Morris v. Asante Health Systems
  • Gemmrig v. Asante Three Rivers Medical Center, LLC
  • Kather et al v. Asante Health System et al
  • Thompson et al v. Asante Health System et al
  • McCune et al v. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, LLC et al
  • Burns et al v. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, LLC et al
  • Lott v. Asante
  • Johnson v. Asante Health System et al
  • Temple v. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, LLC et al
  • Folin v. Asante
  • Gilinsky v. Asante
  • Wolfe v. Asante
  • Vargas et al v. Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, LLC et al

Salem-based attorney Ray Hacke is legal counsel for plaintiffs in three cases, including Kather. He said he believes all of today’s Asante cases are COVID-19 vaccine related.

Hacke said Asante claims it accommodated employees who’d cited religion to decline COVID-19 vaccination by putting them on unpaid leave from work. He says, “Putting everybody on unpaid leave … left people to choose between their faith and their employment.”

He said federal law is clear that employers should not penalize people who identify and articulate their religious beliefs as rationale for an allowed exemption from vaccination. He said, for example, Ronda Osterberg specifically spelled out her faith basis as rationale to Asante for declining COVID-19 vaccination, “then was fired outright.”

Hacke said the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, with jurisdiction over Oregon, last year ruled that an employee’s religious observance is a minor adjustment for employers to accommodate.

His three cases are among today’s 13 cases he says are getting consolidated by the federal district court in Medford, including his largest plaintiffs case with 47 plaintiffs. (SOURCE)


Fatal Crash – HWY 260 – Josephine County

On Monday, April 8, 2024, at 6:05 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy 260, near milepost 20, in Josephine County.

The preliminary investigation indicated an eastbound Dodge Ram 2500, operated by David Scott Anderson (39) of Wilderville, left the roadway for unknown reasons, struck trees, and overturned.

The operator of the Dodge (Anderson) and passenger, Shelby Mckenzie Spliethof (28) of Wilderville, were both declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for approximately three hours during the on-scene investigation.


SOU Laboratory of Anthropology Project Rewarded by Congress

The Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology’s Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project – an ongoing, collaborative effort to research and document the lives of Oregon’s early Chinese immigrants – was awarded almost $500,000 in the spending bill approved by Congress this month. The federal allocation more than doubles the total funding that the archaeological project has received since it began in 2016.

Archaeologist Chelsea Rose, director of the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology ,explains the expanded work of the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project after receiving almost $500,000 in federal funds.
Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology’s Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project, a collaborative effort to research and document the lives of Oregon’s early Chinese immigrants, was awarded almost $500,000 in the latest spending bill approved by Congress. (Southern Oregon University)

SOU is the only one of Oregon’s four technical and regional universities to receive congressional funding in the new spending bill.

“This is another example of our representatives at both the state and federal levels recognizing the important, innovative work that is coming out of our university,” SOU President Rick Bailey said. “Senators Merkley and Wyden supported this request through all the twists and turns of the congressional budgeting process, and the result will be a far greater understanding of the vital roles that Chinese Americans and immigrants have played throughout Oregon’s history.”

The new federal funding will allow the award-winning Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project to expand well beyond its original focus on 19th century mining and railroad settlements, to encompass areas throughout the state where Chinese immigrants have had a presence. The project will also incorporate “orphaned” collections from other archaeological efforts, and will result in a series of field schools, volunteer opportunities, exhibits, digital content and free, public talks and programs.

“We have investigated railroad and mining sites across the state, but these funds will be used to explore and document the history of Chinese Oregonians living in diverse geographical areas and working in a variety of industries, in an effort to better capture the full range of Chinese American heritage and experience in Oregon,” said archaeologist Chelsea Rose, director of the SOU Laboratory of Anthropology.

“While we have done amazing things working with our partners to date, this allows us to investigate some of the ‘bucket list’ sites we have encountered over the years, and implement some of our dream projects,” she said.

SOULA works on the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project with agencies including the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management, the Malheur National Forest, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon State Parks, the Oregon Historical Society and the Portland Chinatown Museum.

Researchers have used local history and public archaeology to challenge dated stereotypes and highlight the transnational lives of the Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans that helped establish the early infrastructure and economic industries of Oregon. The project has included digging, interpreting and touring numerous archaeological sites around the state where Chinese immigrants worked and lived, and researching censuses and community records.

The effort has won several awards, including one last fall from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and a national Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in June of 2022.

Sens. Merkley and Wyden submitted a “congressionally directed spending request” on SOU’s behalf to better enable students to assist with a comprehensive, statewide inventory of Chinese heritage sites. It will pay for archival research, targeted field visits and community outreach, and archaeological investigations at seven to 10 sites identified during the survey.

“These investigations would target sites that will fill in gaps in the documentary record, including industries or areas of the state that have been understudied,” the congressional request said. “This will consist of a mix of archaeological excavation, intensive survey, or analysis of orphaned artifact collections.”

About two-thirds of the $499,743 allocated by Congress will be used for fieldwork and reporting, with most of the remainder earmarked for travel, curation and supplies. The funding is part of the federal Labor, Health and Human Services budget for improvement of postsecondary education. (SOURCE)



Medford Man Indicted in Federal Court for Illegally Selling Explosives

MEDFORD, Ore.—A federal grand jury in Medford returned an indictment today charging a local man with illegally possessing and selling explosives.

Wesley Allen Armstrong, Jr., 56, a Medford resident, has been charged with distributing explosives by a non-licensee, possessing with intent to distribute and distributing fentanyl, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to court documents, in March 2024, detectives from the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team (MADGE) notified special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) of Armstrong’s alleged possession of and desire to sell explosives. On March 27, 2024, Armstrong was arrested after selling eight cast explosives, seven non-electric shock tube detonators, and a small quantity of fentanyl. Investigators executed a search warrant on Armstrong’s vehicle and located and seized a loaded pistol and an additional quantity of fentanyl.

On March 28, 2024, Armstrong was charged by federal criminal complaint with dealing explosives without a license, possessing stolen explosives, possessing explosives as a convicted felon, possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl; made his first appearance in federal court; and was ordered detained pending further court proceedings. He will be arraigned on today’s indictment at a later date.

This case was investigated by ATF and MADGE. It is being prosecuted by Marco A. Boccato, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

MADGE is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-supported approach. MADGE is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and is composed of members from the Medford Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices, the Jackson County Community Corrections, FBI, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including MADGE.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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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. 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  —

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. READ MORE HERE: 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


Make an appointment now to help save lives during National Volunteer Month

American Red Cross Home

 Spring into action: Give blood or platelets with the Red Cross 

Make an appointment now to help save lives during National Volunteer Month

During National Volunteer Month in April, the American Red Cross asks donors to help protect the blood supply by making and keeping blood or platelet donation appointments in the weeks ahead. Donors of all blood types – especially type O blood donors and those giving platelets – are needed now to keep the blood supply strong enough to support critical patient care this spring.

The Red Cross depends on thousands of volunteer blood donors to collect about 12,000 blood donations every single day. With no substitute for blood and no way to manufacture it, volunteer donors are essential in transfusion care. Blood drives and donation centers also depend on the generosity and valuable time of those who make it possible for the Red Cross to help people in need.

Spring into action – book a time to give lifesaving blood or platelets now by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App. Those who come to give April 8-28, 2024, will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice, plus be automatically entered to win a $7,000 gift card. There will be two lucky winners. See for details.

Visit and enter your zip code to find additional blood donation opportunities near you.

How to donate blood — Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Amplify your impact − volunteer!  — Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is to become a volunteer blood donor ambassador at Red Cross blood drives. Blood donor ambassadors help greet, check in and thank blood donors to ensure they have a positive donation experience.

Volunteers can also serve as transportation specialists, playing a vital role in ensuring lifesaving blood products are delivered to nearby hospitals. For more information and to apply for either position, visit

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood and is the primary blood supplier to 65 hospitals throughout Washington and Oregon; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on social media. American Red Cross – Cascades Region


Governor Kotek Issues Notice of Potential Vetoes

The notice relates to budget items in Senate Bill 1530 and Senate Bill 5701

Salem, OR – Today, pursuant to Article V, section 15b, of the Oregon Constitution, Governor Tina Kotek provided notice to the Legislature that she is considering line-item vetoes for budget allocations from the 2024 legislative session.

The potential vetoes primarily relate to a series of one-time funding allocations in Section 9 of Senate Bill 1530, pending the receipt of additional information regarding new housing production resulting from the direct appropriations and related infrastructure projects.

“The legislative intent of this funding is to support shovel-ready projects that are essential for new housing production,” Governor Kotek said. “After the legislative session, my office began a review of each of the projects to confirm project scope, cost, timeline, feasibility, and the nexus to housing production and affordability.

“Before making final decisions, I am giving cities and districts the opportunity to provide more information to my office to confirm whether these funding allocations will result in the production of new housing within an acceptable timeline. This is part of my ongoing commitment to transparency, accountability, and outcomes with public funds, including direct appropriations.”

The Governor’s Office has identified seven projects where more information is needed to confirm a direct nexus to specific housing development sites or projects, in order for the projects to be supported moving forward.

The following funding allocations, totaling $14 million, are being considered for potential line-item vetoes.

  • $3 million to the Oak Lodge Water Services Authority for wastewater treatment facility upgrades
  • $3 million to the City of Siletz for wastewater treatment plant upgrades
  • $3 million to the Tualatin Valley Water District for upgrades to the pump station on SW 189th Avenue in Beaverton
  • $1.5 million to the City of Butte Falls for wastewater treatment plant and lift station upgrades
  • $1.5 million to the City of Shady Cove for development of the city drinking water system
  • $1 million to the City of Creswell for wastewater treatment facility upgrades and connections to a regional treatment facility
  • $1 million to the City of Gold Hill for replacement of a water distribution main line and improvements and upgrades to water treatment facilities

Additionally, Governor Kotek provided notice of a potential line-item veto of Section 499 of Senate Bill 5701. The section of the bill allocated $2 million to the Old Town Community Association to support the Made in Old Town development project.

“I appreciate the intent of this project to help revitalize the Old Town neighborhood in Downtown Portland,” Governor Kotek said. “My office is awaiting more information from the development group about the viability of financing for the entire project before I make my decision.”

Governor Kotek will announce her final decision on these vetoes by April 17.

Oregon Lottery Announces Location Where $1.326 Billion Winning Powerball Ticket was Sold

Salem, Ore. – The lucky ticket matching all six Powerball numbers in Saturday’s $1.326 billion Powerball jackpot was sold at the Plaid Pantry at 6060 NE Columbia Boulevard in Portland. That store will receive a bonus of $100,000 for selling the jackpot winner.

Additionally, Oregon Lottery is working with a ticket holder who came forward on Monday to claim the prize. The process involves security measures and vetting that will take time before a winner can be announced.

“This is an unprecedented jackpot win for Oregon Lottery,” said Oregon Lottery Director Mike Wells. “We’re taking every precaution to verify the winner before awarding the prize money, which will take time.”

This was the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history, and the eight largest among U.S. jackpot games.

Plaid Pantry has sold other large Oregon Lottery jackpot prizes, including a $3.3 million Megabucks jackpot last summer.

“Plaid Pantry is thrilled to learn that one of our 104 Oregon stores sold the $1.3 billion dollar Powerball ticket,” said Plaid Pantry President and CEO Jonathan Polonsky. “This store is one of our newest and most loved stores. Proceeds from the Oregon Lottery fund many programs that benefit everyone in the state, and we’ve been a proud partner with the Oregon Lottery since the very beginning. Congratulations to our lucky customer from our over 700 Plaid associates!”

Winning $1.326 Billion Powerball Jackpot Sold in Oregon

A Powerball ticket worth $1.326 billion was sold in Portland.

Salem, Ore. – A Powerball ticket worth $1.326 billion was sold in Portland and is the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in the game’s history. The ticket for Saturday’s drawing was purchased on April 6.

“I want to congratulate the winner on this life changing moment. No one in Oregon has ever won a prize on this scale, and it’s very exciting for our staff and players,” said Oregon Lottery Director Mike Wells. “Even if you aren’t holding the winning ticket, all of our players support programs and services statewide that receive Lottery dollars.”

The winner has a year to come forward and claim their prize. Per state law, players in Oregon, with few exceptions, cannot remain anonymous. The largest Powerball prize previously won in Oregon was a $340 million jackpot in 2005. The last time a Powerball jackpot was won in the state was in 2018, when a Salem man won $150.4 million.

Approximately a third of sales from the game will be returned to state beneficiaries to support economic development, education, veteran services, state parks and more.

Retailers who sell lottery tickets also earn commissions from the boost in ticket sales and bonus payments for lower tier wins. For instance, an Oregon retailer who sells a $1 million ticket would earn a $10,000 bonus.

Saturday’s jackpot was the eighth largest among U.S. lottery jackpot games. The jackpot was previously won on New Year’s Day in Michigan with a ticket that won a $842.4 million jackpot. Powerball is a multi-state jackpot operated by 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The Oregon Lottery recommends that you always sign the back of your ticket to ensure you can claim your prize. In the event of winning a jackpot, players should consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned nearly $15.5 billion for economic development, public education, outdoor school, state parks, veteran services, and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit

OHCS awards more than $40 million to build and preserve over 400 affordable homes

Award-funded housing development, Colonia del Valle Próspero, in Albany, Oregon.
Photo courtesy of SERA Design and Architecture

One housing development expected to create 30 homes in a Tribal community 

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announces funding awards of more than $40 million in grants and tax credits to build and preserve 417 homes. The resources come from the federal 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), HOME, General Housing Account Program (GHAP), and the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credits (OAHTC). These resources are used along with local, state, and private investments to make possible the development of affordable housing in communities across Oregon.

“This progress is about what really matters—putting resources towards investments that make life better for more Oregonians,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “Over 400 families and individuals will have a safe and stable place to call home because of these investments and the leadership of our local partners who made this possible. This progress can invigorate neighborhoods, communities, and our economies. These investments in housing today will serve Oregonians for generations to come especially in our rural and Tribal communities.”

These investments also contribute to the five-year Statewide Housing Plan (July 2019-July 2024) goal of increasing the pipeline of affordable rental housing. OHCS surpassed the goal of adding 25,000 homes to the pipeline and has met this goal at around 107% of the target as of the end of 2023. The agency will release the outcomes of the Statewide Housing Plan this summer.

The latest investments for the creation affordable rental housing in Oregon were approved last week by the Oregon Housing Stability Council (HSC). Below is a list of the developments and further details can be found in the HSC meeting materials.

Development Location Homes (units) Total Funding
Allen Creek Crossing Grants Pass 68 $4.5 million
ALSO Apartments Gresham 39 $4.8 million
Burlwood Apartments Portland 35 $947,442
Colonia del Valle Próspero Albany 54 $5 million
Klamath LIHTC #1 Chiloquin 30 $4.6 million
Majestic Garden Apartments Redmond, Veneta, Harrisburg, Junction City (Scattered Sites) 66 $5.7 million
Nine Peaks Bend 45 $10 million
Voyager’s Village Salem 41 $2.6 million
Wickiup Station Apartments La Pine 39 $4.1 million

comunicado de prensa en español

About Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS)

OHCS is Oregon’s housing finance agency. The state agency provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of low and moderate income. OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization. OHCS delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers. For more information, please visit:


Five Oregon Counties Secure Over $1 Million In Federal Grants For Airport Upgrades

Airports in Linn, Lake, Columbia, Deschutes, and Wasco counties have secured a total of more than $1 million in federal grants for construction, infrastructure rehabilitation and more, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced on Tuesday, April 9th.

“Oregonians count on local airports in their communities for jobs, economic vitality, public safety and much more that strengthen quality of life,” Wyden said. “I’m glad these Oregon communities have earned these federal airport investments, and I’ll keep battling for similar resources throughout our state.”


“Oregon’s regional airports serve as vital hubs for our communities, supporting local businesses, connecting travelers to world-class recreational opportunities, and providing essential lifelines during natural disasters,” said Merkley. “These federal investments will modernize infrastructure at airports across Oregon – in urban, suburban, and rural communities – ensuring safety and fostering economic success in our state.”

The grants from the Department of Transportation will be given to the following Oregon airports:

  • Lake County, $448,000 to update an existing master plan for the airport
  • Scappoose, $358,234 for construction on taxi lanes and more
  • Bend Municipal, $315,000 for work on taxi lanes
  • Albany Municipal, $200,000 for rehabilitation work on hangars
  • Columbia Gorge Regional/The Dalles Municipal, $138,667 on construction of a fuel apron (SOURCE)


Oregon’s Three Largest Universities Raising Tuition

Three of Oregon’s largest universities are raising tuition rates, saying the costs of operating a university are becoming more and more overwhelming.

Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University are all raising tuition for the 2024-2025 school year.

The University of Oregon’s Board of Trustees voted in March to raise tuition by 3% for new undergraduates, locked for five years. Trustees at Portland State met Friday and approved a 4.8% increase in tuition for resident undergraduate students. Oregon State trustees also met Friday and voted to raise tuition costs for resident undergraduate students at its Corvallis Campus by 4.91%, which adds up to a $11 to $12 increase per credit hour, or roughly $500 a year for a student taking 15 credits.

This also comes after all three schools raised tuition rates the previous year.

According to OSU’s tuition and fee process, the university considers several factors in developing tuition and fee recommendations, including providing access to degree programs for students from all circumstances, supporting world-class research, maintaining the human and physical infrastructure necessary to support Oregon’s educational outcome goals, projected cost and revenue changes, impact of tuition increases on enrollment for undergraduate students, and more.

Under OSU’s cohort model, the amount a student pays for tuition depends on when they enrolled, and it typically changes every year. Trustees have a fee process that states tuition rate increases will be between 2-5% every year, but in Friday’s meeting, officials said increasing expenses are making it harder each year to stay in that range.

The board meeting’s summary wrote, “strategies for new enrollment growth and innovative efficiencies in administration, program, and service delivery have been a foundational part of the university’s operations and priorities and will continue to be in the future. However, growing cost pressures are straining OSU’s ability to maintain tuition increases with this modest range.”

Despite the unease about increasing tuition, students who are enrolled hope to see the money go to good use, and hopefully use it to help those who can not afford the increase to still be able to earn a degree. (SOURCE)

Merkley and Wyden Announce Over $90 Million Coming To Oregon For Drinking Water And Wastewater Advancements

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a total of $90,393,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is headed to Oregon to fund safe drinking water projects and strengthen wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, which will protect public health and treasured bodies of water across the state.

“Reliable access to clean water is essential for the health and safety of every community in Oregon,” said Merkley, Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds this program. “These funds will help improve water infrastructure—a top concern I hear about in the town halls I hold in every corner of Oregon, especially from folks in our rural communities. I’ll continue to do all I can to ensure every community has reliable access to safe drinking water and water sanitation by addressing outdated water infrastructure here in Oregon and across the nation.”

“Every Oregonian turning on the tap and using water in any fashion throughout the day should be able to count on a safe and dependable supply,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified this federal investment to strengthen water infrastructure is coming to help our entire state, and I’ll keep battling to secure clean water for every community large and small in Oregon.”

Today’s major investments for Oregon are part of $8.5 billion nationally announced by the EPA from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 for states, Tribes, and territories through this year’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).

Of the over $90 million Oregon is receiving, $53,079,000 is coming from the DWSRF to support the development of water treatment facilities and other projects necessary to ensuring clean and safe drinking water for communities around the state. The additional $37,314,000 from the CWSRF will fund critical wastewater projects identified by the state.

For a full state-by-state breakdown of the national funding awards, click HERE.

Oregon Secretary of State releases 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released a civic engagement toolkit today, aimed at helping organizations do voter registration and voter turnout work in the 2024 elections.

The tools included in the 2024 toolkit are official, non-partisan, research-backed and free to use with or without attribution to our office.

Download the 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit here.

Tillamook Police Chief Sentenced To Jail Over Removal Of Meth And Money From Evidence Locker

Ray Rau, Tillamook police chief and former chief in Nyssa, was convicted of official misconduct Wednesday for tampering with evidence.

He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and must give up his certification as a law enforcement officer that he has held since 1995. As a result, he can no longer work as a police officer in Oregon.

Rau turned himself in after court proceedings on Wednesday to begin his sentence.

He was chief of the Nyssa Police Department from 2012 until resigning in 2021 to take the Tillamook job. He had been elected to the Nyssa School Board just two months before resigning the city post.

Rau, 57, pleaded no contest in Tillamook County Circuit Court to first-degree official misconduct for removing methamphetamine and second-degree official misconduct for removing money from the evidence locker at the Tillamook agency on two occasions. A no contest plea means Rau wasn’t admitting to the crimes but agreed prosecutors could prove he was guilty.

He was convicted of taking the meth and the money from the evidence locker sometime between October 2021 and April 2023 “with intent to obtain a benefit.”

But at a hearing in Tillamook County Circuit Court, Rau insisted he had simply made a mistake while trying to protect an evidence technician from harmful exposure to drugs. (READ MORE)


Oregon Offers Electric Car Rebates Again – Apply Now Until June 3rd


Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate.

Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at

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 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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