Rogue Valley News, Friday 4/12 – Pear Blossom Festival This Weekend, Single Vehicle Crash in White City Kills Driver, Britt Festival Announces More Shows & 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,  April 12, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

May be an image of map and text that says 'TODAY FRI 04/12 HIGH TONIGHT LOW 32% mix clouds and sun this morning followed by mostly cloudy skies and afternoon. High 66F. Winds mph. Chance showers NNW few TOMORROW 04/13 HIGH 60 30% Showers early, then cloudy overnight. Low 47F Winds WNW mph. Chance 30%. rain 30%. Sat 4/13 47°F Sun 4/14 later 58° Mon 4/15 42°F Showers early, becoming steady rain the day. Thunder possible. High around 60F. Winds NNW 10 mph. Chance rain 70%. Tue 4/16 Wed 4/17 Showers Thu 4/18 A AM Clouds/PM 4/20 Partly Sun 4/21 Sunny Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy'

2024 Pear Blossom Festival This Weekend

“The Perfect “Pear”ing of Communities”

MORE INFO for all Festivities:


  • Live April 13, 2024 at 10:45am
  • RVTV Ch 180 Prime Jackson Co.
  • RVTV Ch 183 Grants Pass Josephine Co.
  • Replays Saturday at 6pm and Sunday 12 and 6pm.



Single Vehicle Crash in White City Kills Driver 

JCSO Case 24-1981

WHITE CITY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and Fire District 3 responded to a fatal single vehicle crash in White City this afternoon. The crash occurred near the intersection of Avenue A and Atlantic Ave today at approximately 1:49 p.m.

The driver was pronounced deceased on scene. Next of kin has been notified. Our condolences go out to the friends and family of the deceased. We will not be releasing the name of the deceased at this time.

JCSO deputies and Medical Examiner detectives are investigating the crash. Preliminary details indicate a Toyota Tacoma was traveling at high speed in the 4000 block of Avenue A when it struck a parked semi truck and power pole, and caught fire. This case is under further investigation and there is no more information available at this time.


Ashland Man Accused Of Beating Woman To Death With A Can Ordered To Proceed In Criminal Case

A court order Thursday says an Ashland man accused of a Medford beating death is “fit to proceed” with his criminal case.

The Jackson County Circuit Court order said 23-year-old Anthony Siple, “is fit to proceed in this case. THE COURT ORDERS that proceedings in this case are to resume.”

Anthony Siple court 11.21.23 for Jessa Delyon beating death in Medford 11.18.23.png

Siple is in Jackson County Jail facing murder, manslaughter and robbery charges for the Nov. 18, 2023, beating death of 51-year-old Jessa Delyon.

Medford police say they arrested Siple that morning in north Medford along Brookhurst Street in response to a dispatch advising, “there were several callers stating male was was holding down female, yelling that he was going to kill her.”

At the time police said they found Delyon “badly beaten and bleeding from her face and left side of her head,” taken to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center where she was found to have a skull fracture, serious brain bleed and significant swelling of the brain.

Siple’s original indictment from November 22, 2023, listing attempted murder and assault charges was amended Dec. 12, 2023, to show murder and manslaughter charges after Delyon died from her injuries.

Medford police reported in November that the incident scene “contained significant amount of blood on the street and opened can of Chef Boyardee Raviolis. The injuries sustained by Delyon required emergency surgery during which bone plate was removed to reduce the pressure on brain and tubes were installed for drainage. Delyon was sedated and placed on ventilator. During an interview with Detective Rogers, Siple admitted to hitting Delyon stating it was in self defense. Siple also admitted to being in possession of can of Chef Boyardee Raviolis during the incident. The can was found in the street on Keene Drive just north of the intersection with Brookhurst Street and had what appeared to be bloody skin tissue transfer around the opening.”

Siple had an arraignment for his amended criminal indictment Dec. 13, 2023, then the court received a psychological evaluation report before declaring him unfit to proceed with his court case in late December, committing him “to the custody of the Superintendent of OSH (Oregon State Hospital) for treatment to gain fitness to proceed.”

Today, Jackson County Circuit Court filed a court order (below), signed late yesterday, finding Siple fit to proceed with his criminal case, after appearing in a court hearing Tuesday to make that determination. The Court said its order is based on its review and consideration of a report of a certified evaluator, observation of Siple at the hearing, statements from legal counsel, and the case parties’ stipulation that Siple is fit to proceed.  (SOURCE)


WHITE CITY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) White City Community Action Team deputies teamed up with community partners, non-profits, businesses, and local kids to clean up graffiti and trash in White City last Monday. The cleanup effort is part of White Mountain Middle School’s Project G.R.A.C.E. (Graffiti Removal Achieving Community Empowerment). Project G.R.A.C.E. plans on these clean up efforts to be more frequent to maintain the cleanliness and safety of the White City community.
May be a graphic of 6 people and text that says 'PROJECT GRAGE Graffiti Removal Achieving Community Empowerment (Project G.R.A.C.E.) collaborating with the Jackson County District Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office, Community. Justice, local police agencies, non-profits, and businesses for graffiti abatement initiative in White City. As graffiti becomes more prevalent, we must act get rid ofit, stop it from occurring and maintain the cleanliness and safety of our neighborhoods. BE THE CHANGE! Trash Pick-Up/ Graffiti Removal/ Sidewalk Clean Up April 24th 4pm- 4pm-5:30pm Meet at Student Support Programs 3275 Avenue G White City, OR 97503 For More Information, Please Contact Chris Valavala or Call (541)324-1079'
Project G.R.A.C.E. collaborates with the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Community Justice, local police agencies, non-profits, and businesses for a graffiti abatement initiative in White City. As graffiti becomes more prevalent, we must act to get rid of it, stop it from occurring and maintain the cleanliness and safety of our neighborhoods.
Project G.R.A.C.E. plans to have another White City clean up event on April 24 at 4 p.m. For More Information, contact Chris Valavala or call (541)324-1079.


Britt Music & Arts Festival is excited to announce the next slate of 12 Britt Presents shows for the 2024 summer season.Britt Music and Arts Festival 2020 Postponements - Britt Music & Arts Festival

With more announcements to come, this group of shows features a wide array of musical artists, including country legend Willie Nelson. Britt-newcomers will include Shaggy, Dirty Heads, Walker Hayes, Paul Cauthen, Classic Albums Live: Fleetwood Mac “Rumors”, and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening. Britt favorites returning to the stage include reggae rock bands Iration & Pepper with special guests DENM and Artikal Sound System, American jam band Umphrey’s McGee, world famous Cuban ensemble Buena Vista Social Orchestra, pop icons Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw, jazz and funk fusion artist Trombone Shorty, and reggae band SOJA. The community is also invited to the hill for a night of laughter with Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Asking for Trouble. But it doesn’t end there; throughout the next month, Britt will continue to announce more shows for the 2024 Britt Presents season!

“We are thrilled about this upcoming season,” said President & CEO Abby McKee. “We are proud to have something for everyone every year, and this year is no exception. As a nonprofit, Britt exists to serve our Southern Oregon community with world-class performances. Our lineup this year includes not only names everyone will know and love, but also newcomers to the Britt stage. There are more surprises in store, and we can’t wait to see everyone on the hill this summer!”

With this announcement, there will be a Member pre-sale before tickets go on sale to the general public at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 26. Memberships are available for sale with ticket orders on the dates below.

  • April 8-18: Orders are processed according to level of membership:
  • April 8: Clef Club ($750) and above Members may submit orders at 10:00 AM PT
  • April 22: Donor ($300) Member Online Only orders at 10:00 AM PT
  • April 24: Patron ($150) & Senior Patron ($65) Online Member Only orders at 10:00 AM PT
  • April 26: General public sales begin  at 10:00 AM PT

Tickets for many Britt shows are already on sale, including Pink Martini featuring China Forbes, The Infamous Stringdusters and Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway, Jason Mraz & The Superband, The Dead South, Nickel Creek and Andrew Bird, The California Honeydrops with special guest Shook Twins, Ziggy Marley, Randy Houser, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Chris Young, and Chris Isaak. Britt is also selling tickets to its “Wildflowers In Full Bloom” Garden Party fundraiser, as well as the folk legend Judy Collins concert where she will be accompanied by the Britt Festival Orchestra. Britt Festival Orchestra concerts are also available for sale, including the two-night run of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in Concert with the orchestra playing the score live-to-picture. All tickets are available at Fans are urged to visit the website directly to ensure that their tickets are valid and the best possible price.

Additional Britt Presents show announcements will occur in the coming weeks. In response to patron feedback, Britt is announcing shows as they are confirmed with bands. Tickets and more information can be found at, or from the Box Office at 541-773-6077 or in person at 216 W. Main St., Medford, Oregon.


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)



Be part of a community, not just a workplace🫶
* Preschool Teacher
* Member Services Shift Lead
* 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
* 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. 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


SOLVE’s Oregon Spring Cleanup begins Saturday April 13: More than 100 Volunteer Opportunities are Open for Registration

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Portland, Ore., April 11, 2024 – The Oregon Spring Cleanup, presented by Portland General Electric, kicks off this Saturday. From April 13 to April 22, more than 100 volunteer opportunities are open for registration in celebration of Earth Day. Families, community members, neighborhood associations, and environmental enthusiasts are invited to participate in the biggest event on SOLVE’s annual calendar.

Everyone is 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 over 100 projects to choose from, 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.

Anyone who cannot attend an Oregon Spring Cleanup event this year can support SOLVE by individual giving. A donation of any size will help SOLVE host more events year after year and provide volunteers with free supplies, event leader training, and all the support they need to run a successful event.

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.


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.


Heritage Tree Dedication Ceremony will be held in Clatsop State Forest on Friday

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Travel Information Council and its volunteer Oregon Heritage Tree Committee will hold a Hertiage Tree Dedication Ceremony highlighting a giant grand fir tree that will become 84th Oregon Heritage Tree.  The event will be held 11 a.m. Friday at Clatsop State Forest’s Northrup Creek Horse Camp. A heritage designation recognizes trees with statewide or national significance. The giant grand fir is 19.8 feet in circumference, 208 feet tall, and approximately 200 years old.

The tree is part of the Department of Forestry’s Big Tree Trail.

“ODF created the Big Tree Trail in 2012 when they identified numerous large conifer and deciduous trees in close proximity to one another. Inducting the Big Tree Trail as an Oregon Heritage Tree helps honor this special trail of trees that are believed to be among the top five largest in the state,” said Brad Catton, ODF’s Astoria District Operations Coordinator.

The Oregon Department of Forestry’s Northrup Creek Horse Camp is located at 87644 Northrup Creek Road, Clatskanie, Oregon, 97016.

The Oregon Heritage Tree Program is the first state-sponsored heritage tree program in the country. It was established in 1995 to increase public awareness of the important contribution of trees to Oregon’s history and the significant role they play in the quality of our daily life. The program is administered by the Oregon Travel Information Council and a committee of dedicated volunteers from across the state. For more information regarding the Heritage Tree program visit

For more information on recreation opportunities in Oregon’s state forests visit Oregon Department of Forestry : Recreation : Recreation : State of Oregon


Ten million in grant dollars help to create resilience in Oregon communities

(Salem) – Forest fires, heat domes, landslides, floods, drought, pandemics — all natural disasters that kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of property and habitat each year. That’s why it’s important that each community builds up its resilience to these hazards.

Now, there is help for Oregon’s many communities. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM) has a $10 million grant called the Resilience Hubs and Networks Grant to give out to eligible people and organizations. The funding comes from the 2023 Oregon Legislature to build resiliency within communities.

“This grant money is part of a long-term goal of having our communities create resiliency so they can prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. With this grant a community can design what they need to be resilient,” Ed Flick, OREM Director said.

“Applicants could be just about anyone — schools, cities, counties, non-profits, Tribes — if they can show how the funding would benefit their community. We’d like to get grant dollars out to populations and areas of Oregon that are not as prepared for climate impacts. Many rural and frontier communities don’t have the tools and resources as larger cities,” Jenn Bosch, OREM Grants Program Administrator, said.

“A Resilience Hub is a living, breathing part of the community already, such as a community center, a Boys and Girls Club, something that is part of their daily life, like a food bank. It’s place they would think to go to get help, such as shelter in an emergency. What they can apply for is very open,” Bosch said.

The things people and groups could apply for includes almost anything that would build and strengthen the communities’ resilience, such as medical supplies, child care, emergency communications equipment, generators, training, water purification, vehicles and more. It also includes things communities can apply for called “typed packages.” These packages are those big containers often used for storage, called Conex boxes. OREM will pack the Conex containers with emergency supplies specific to sheltering in-place or enduring a disaster until further relief arrives, and OREM will deliver to that site.

The network part of the grant is to help communities communicate and share resources more effectively.

“The goal is to break down silos. Here’s an example of what this is – Government doesn’t generally set up shelters – it’s the churches, non-profits and community groups. But often they don’t know what the group down the street is doing. We’re asking them to work together to apply for the grant. Let’s say church is opening shelter but they don’t have food, but in working together with other community groups, they would then know the food bank might have food ready to supply to them,” Bosch said.

Last July through December, Bosch with Spencer Karel, OREM Policy Chief, and partner in the grant process, traveled Oregon on a listening tour. They met in-person or virtually with more than 80 community groups, ODHS programs, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Energy and other state agencies.

“We wanted to hear from them. It was an amazing opportunity to build the grant and really make it work for the communities. A Resiliency Hub in Grants Pass will look different than one in Wheeler, and those will also look different from one in Tillamook. We’re hopeful that the applications will reflect the broad need,” Bosch said.

She stressed that applying for this grant is easy. The application is a like a survey that the applicant can fill in what they are requesting, with six essay questions. OREM is also partnering with Portland State University to assist applicants that need help completing their application. Information about this help can be found on the OREM website.

“We want to make sure the people who generally don’t apply for or get grants feel like they have a fair opportunity to potentially receive a grant this time – small, rural, frontier areas especially,” she said.

So far there are more than 65 applicants for the grant money. Applications close April 30. 

Just to sum up why this grant money to create resiliency is important for communities throughout Oregon, Bosch said, “It saves lives and saves money.”

To learn more about the Resilience Hubs and Networks Grant and to find the application, visit:


ODOT Reminding The Public That Political Signs Posted Incorrectly Will Be Removed

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would like to remind the public that political signs posted incorrectly will be removed.

ODOT will remove improperly placed signs like the one above and hold them at the nearest ODOT maintenance yard. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

During election season ODOT tells us they receive complaints from the public and candidates regarding the improper placement of political signs on the state highway rights of way, where only official traffic control devices are allowed. Improperly placed signs can distract drivers and block road safety messages.

Wrongly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days. To reclaim signs, go here to find the nearest ODOT maintenance office.

Signs are prohibited on trees, utility poles, fence posts and natural features within highway right-of-ways, ODOT tells us. They also are prohibited within view of a designated scenic area.

State highway width rights of way can vary considerably depending on the location. Check with your local ODOT district maintenance office to determine whether placing a sign is on private property or highway right of way. Local municipalities may also regulate the placement of political signs.

Political signs are allowed on private property within view of state highways with the following restrictions:

  • Signs are limited to 12 square feet but can be up to 32 square feet with a variance from our Oregon Advertising Sign program
  • Signs cannot have flashing or intermittent lights, or animated or moving parts
  • Signs must not imitate official highway signs or devices
  • Signs are not allowed in scenic corridors
  • No payment or compensation of any kind can be exchanged for either the placement of or the message on temporary signs, including political signs, which are visible to a state highway

For more information go to ODOT’s Outdoor Advertising Sign Program.

House Bill 4156 is being signed into law by Governor Tina Kotek, modernizing Oregon’s Anti-Stalking law.

According to the Oregon Legislature, HB 4156 broadens the scope of the current stalking law, now covering electronic and internet harassment. This includes efforts to damage a victim’s identity and credit rating.

The law also increases the classification of Felony level stalking from a Class-C to a Class-B Felony, meaning an increase in prison time.

Oregon Representative Kevin Mannix wrote the original law back in 1995. He expressed is gratitude, saying “it is an honor to have been part of Oregon’s original anti-stalking law nearly 30 years ago, and now its modernization. I am confident that this legislation will help protect those who have become victims to stalking and ensure there are proper protections in place to get them the help they need.” This new law takes effect on July 1.

Proposal to federally list native turtle draws sharp divide among environmentalists, farm groups

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks public comment about a federal listing which could affect farmers, landowners and large water users in the state

A move by the federal government to protect an inland turtle that lives in freshwater and wetlands mainly west of the Cascades is drawing support from thousands of environmentalists but opposition from farm groups that fear a potential listing would bring unwanted restrictions.

A northwestern pond turtle assesses the area after being released by U.S. officials into the wild in Los Padres National Forest in central California on July 23, 2019. (Hazel Rodriguez/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The northwestern pond turtle or western pond turtle ranges from coastal Washington, through western Oregon and to central California, an area that includes several national parks and forests as well as Indigenous nations. Living up to 55 years in the wild, the turtles are mostly found in Oregon in streams, ponds, marshes and lakes west of the Cascades. They are threatened by drought, habitat loss and introduced species like bullfrogs and largemouth bass that eat the turtle’s young. They also face competition from non-native pet turtles that are released outdoors.

There are only two freshwater turtles native to Oregon, the pond turtle and the western painted turtle. They play a unique role in the ecosystems they inhabit. Young pond turtles are mostly carnivorous, preying on insects and other invertebrates. But as they age, they switch their diet mainly to plants. They help control insect populations, disperse plant seeds and maintain the ecological balance of their environment for several other species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not consider the turtle to be on the verge of extinction: An assessment last April found that the turtles have up to a 15% likelihood of going extinct in the next 25 years. But over the long term – by 2100 – their chance of extinction rises to as much as 60%.

In the 1990s, there were only about 200 of the turtles in the Columbia River Gorge area of Washington state, prompting authorities there to list them as endangered. The state listing has led to a partial recovery: Washington state officials estimate there are about 800 of the turtles now in the same area.

Authorities in Oregon, however, have listed the pond turtle and the state’s other native turtle, the painted turtle, as “sensitive,” meaning they have a small or declining population or are in need of management. California authorities have listed the pond turtle as a “species of concern.” Both designations offer lower levels of protection than an endangered or threatened status.

Environmentalists have pushed for federal protection for pond turtles for more than 30 years. In 1992, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a petition for their listing, citing a lack of evidence of their decline. But last September, after years of studies and a lawsuit accusing the government of taking too long to make a ruling, the agency proposed listing the turtles as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A “threatened” status means a species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, and could lead to regulations limiting some activities that might harm the animals,like draining ponds or destroying nesting habitat.

Thousands comment on proposal — As part of the listing proposal, the agency has asked for public comment. So far, more than 16,000 individuals and organizations from all three states have weighed in about a potential listing. The majority, including from Oregon conservation groups, favor protecting the turtle.

“The best available scientific data clearly shows that the (northwestern pond turtle) faces many threats like habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation with impacts exacerbated by climate change,” wrote Alijana Fisher, wildlife program associate for the Portland-based nonprofit Oregon Wild.

But several farming and ranching organizations, including the Salem-based Oregon Farm Bureau, oppose the protections. They argue that farmers would face new costly regulations if the listing were to go through.

“We are concerned with negative impacts on ongoing agricultural activities, particularly irrigated agriculture, where agricultural producers and water managers could – overnight – become exposed to legal liability for ordinary and necessary practices,” the farming and ranching groups wrote in their joint comment.

The Oregon Farm Bureau represents over 6,600 farms and ranches around the state. It did not respond to our request for further comment.

Large water users like farm owners could be the most affected by a listing, though pond turtles also spend much of their life on land. Biologists have found their nests up to a quarter mile away from water, so owners of property near water might also face new restrictions. A federal listing could add time and costs to a construction project but the risk of projects being canceled due to a threatened species listing would be extremely low. A 2015 study found that out of more than 80,000 construction projects, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that only two posed a significant risk to the listed species. Both eventually went forward with changes to reduce their impact.

Anne Mary Myers, wildlife strategy species coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the Capital Chronicle that the state agency prefers to do most of its conservation work before a federal listing to avoid the need for a listing at all.

“There is less ‘red tape’, so to speak, when managing for a species before it receives federal threatened or endangered species designation,” said Myers.

The Oregon agency can determine a state listing but only advises the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when it comes to a federal designation. State agency officials also work with landowners to help protect pond turtle habitat on their land, and if the turtles are listed, they would help landowners cope with new regulations, including helping them by applying for tax incentives to reward conservation actions on private land.

“Private landowners in Oregon have a key role in turtle conservation here in Oregon and can be proud to host this species on their properties,” added Myers.

The turtles’ dependence on both aquatic and upland habitat makes it more difficult to protect them than a freshwater animal like trout. Their breeding cycle also complicates their prospects for recovery. Pond turtles do not breed until they are 5 to 10 years old, so it takes them a long time to recover from the loss of breeding adults. which means it takes that long for a pond turtle to reproduce.

Oregonians can help monitor the status of all Oregon turtles by reporting sightings on this page. (SOURCE)

Oregon Lottery Says Verifying The Historic $1.3 Billion Powerball Win And Handing Over The Cash Could Take Weeks

It could take several weeks before the Oregon Lottery can hand over cash to the winner of the historic, $1.326 billion Powerball jackpot, because of necessary — if opaque to the public — security measures, an agency spokesperson said Tuesday.

A person stands in front of a podium for a press conference
Melanie Mesaros, spokesperson for the Oregon Lottery, answers questions from media members outside the location where the historic $1.3 billion Powerball ticket was sold in Northeast Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. Sean Meagher/The Oregonian

“We can’t get into too many specifics,” Melanie Mesaros told a group of newspaper and TV reporters gathered in the parking lot of the Northeast Portland Plaid Pantry convenience store that sold the winning ticket Saturday. “We have a process to vet the claimant. We have a process that would look at the ticket itself and the retail purchase.”

A person has come forward to claim the jackpot. The Oregon Lottery hasn’t yet publicly identified the winner.

Mesaros, the Lottery spokesperson, confirmed that the security process includes looking at the person’s physical ticket, checking their government-issued identification and reviewing the store’s security camera footage. But she repeatedly declined to elaborate on other steps the lottery takes to ensure the money goes to the rightful winner.

“We have security processes that we just need to keep close in order to make sure the process is able to operate properly,” Mesaros said.

Mesaros did say that anyone who plays the lottery should sign the back of their ticket. Otherwise, whoever holds the ticket essentially owns it, she said.

An added complication before the winner is handed the cash is the fact that there’s just so much of it, and that it’s funded by multiple states’ lotteries, not just Oregon’s. That means, Mesaros said, the agency has to go through several steps to meet the requirements of the Multi-State Lottery Association to get all the money transferred to Oregon.

The $1.326 billion jackpot has a cash value of $621 million if the winner chooses to take a lump sum rather than an annuity paid over 30 years. The prize is subject to federal taxes and state taxes in Oregon.

Governor Kotek Issues Notice of Potential Vetoes

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

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.

Babies, baby chicks don’t mix: OHA article highlights Salmonella risks of backyard poultry for newborns

PORTLAND, Ore. — Outbreaks of Salmonella infection linked to backyard poultry have been well documented, but a recent Oregon public health investigation highlights the risks of home chicken flocks for newborn babies.

An Oregon Health Authority (OHA) report in today’s edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) details an investigation into a case of salmonellosis – the disease caused by Salmonella bacteria – in a newborn whose parents kept backyard poultry.

OHA and Crook County epidemiologists investigated the case as part of a routine, multi-state review of backyard poultry-associated salmonellosis outbreaks reported to CDC from across the country during 2023.

According to the report, the baby boy was born at a hospital about 150 miles away from his parents’ home. The newborn was discharged with his mother to a relative’s home the day after his birth, but four days later was readmitted to a second hospital with bloody stool and lethargy, prompting health care providers to collect a stool sample for analysis. The sample tested positive for a strain of Salmonella known as Thompson.

Neither parent had symptoms of salmonellosis, nor had they been diagnosed with the disease. However, the baby’s father, who tended the family’s backyard poultry at the family’s home 150 miles away, was present at the hospital during the child’s birth and stayed with the child and the child’s mother at the relative’s home when the baby fell ill.

The newborn had not traveled to the home where the backyard poultry were kept during the time between his birth and his hospital admission for his illness.

Nearly a month after the newborn was admitted to the hospital with salmonellosis symptoms, state and county epidemiologists collected environmental samples from the chicken bedding in the family’s backyard poultry coop, where the child’s father had previously had contact. Two of the samples matched the Salmonella Thompson strain found in the child.

Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at OHA’s Public Health Division and co-author of the MMWR article, said epidemiologists don’t know the exact mechanism by which the newborn was exposed to the Salmonella Thompson strain. But it’s telling that the newborn’s family started keeping backyard poultry only about a month before the child’s birth.

“It’s possible one of the parents was shedding the organism even though they weren’t showing symptoms and exposed the baby during or after his birth,” Cieslak said. “The bacteria also could have been carried from the family home to the newborn on clothes, shoes or other belongings. Once it’s on surfaces, it can be transported and transmitted fairly easily.”

The case is a strong reminder about the importance of hygiene when tending backyard poultry, “especially when persons at risk for exposure are newborns and young infants whose intestinal flora and immune systems are still developing,” the article’s authors wrote. “In addition to adhering to recommended hygiene practices, families contemplating raising backyard poultry should consider the potential risk to newborns and young infants living in the household.”

The CDC has the following recommendations for backyard flock owners:

  • Always wash hands with soap and water immediately after touching backyard poultry, their eggs or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Consider having hand sanitizer at your coop.
  • Don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them. This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick. Keep your backyard flock and supplies you use to care for them (such as feed containers and shoes you wear in the coop) outside of the house. You should also clean the supplies outside the house.
  • Always supervise children around backyard poultry and make sure they wash their hands properly Don’t let children younger than 5 touch chicks, ducklings or other backyard poultry. Young children are more likely to get sick from germs such as Salmonella.
  • Collect eggs often. Eggs that sit in the nest can become dirty or break. Throw away cracked eggs. Germs on the shell can more easily enter the egg through a cracked shell. Rub off dirt on eggs with fine sandpaper, a brush, or a cloth. Don’t wash eggs because colder water can pull germs into the egg. Refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh and slow the growth of germs. Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm, and cook egg dishes to an internal temperature of 160°F to kill all germs.
  • Call your health care provider right away if you have any of these severe symptoms:
    • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F.
    • Diarrhea for more than three days that is not improving.
    • Bloody diarrhea.
    • So much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down.
    • Signs of dehydration, such as not peeing much, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up.

The article’s lead author was Stephen Ladd-Wilson, Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section, OHA. Other co-authors included Karen Yeargain, Crook County Health Department; Samuel Myoda, Ph.D., and Mansour Samadpour, Ph.D., Institute for Environmental Health Laboratories, Seattle; and Karim Morey, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory, OHA.

Owners of Local Debt Consolidation Service Indicted in Federal Court, Additional Victims Sought

PORTLAND, Ore.—The owners of ConsoliDebt Solutions, LLC, a debt consolidation service that operated in Oregon and other locations between April 2019 and April 2024, have been indicted in federal court for knowingly and intentionally defrauding their customers.

Javier Antonio Banuelas Urueta, 54, and Dalia Castilleja Saucedo, 38, both residents of Oregon and Washington State, have been charged in a seven-count indictment with conspiring to commit and committing mail and wire fraud.

According to the indictment, from approximately April 2019 and continuing until their arrests, Banuelas and Castilleja are alleged to have devised and carried out a scheme whereby they used ConsoliDebt Solutions to collect money and property from various clients in exchange for purported debt consolidation or reduction services. Banuelas and Castilleja directed their clients to deposit funds directly into ConsoliDebt bank accounts, transfer funds to the company, or mail in personal checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders.

Banuelas and Castilleja are further alleged to have used client funds to pay for various personal expenses such as car leases, loan repayments, residential rent, and various wire transfers.

Banuelas was arrested Tuesday in Portland, Oregon. He made his first appearance in federal court the same day and was arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and ordered detained pending further court proceedings. Castilleja is still at large.

Mail and wire fraud are punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and three years’ supervised release per count of conviction.

Anyone with information about Banuelas, Castilleja, or ConsoliDebt Solutions, LLC, are encouraged to contact Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) by submitting a tip online at or by calling (866) 347-2423.

This case was investigated by HSI. It is being prosecuted by Rachel K. Sowray, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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


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.

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

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