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

The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com

Friday,  April 19, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Detectives Investigating Suspicious Death as Skeletal Remains Found in Rural Jacksonville Area

 

RURAL JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives are investigating a suspicious death after skeletal remains were discovered Sunday, April 14 outside Jacksonville in the Applegate area. JCSO detectives and medical examiners responded to investigate. The rugged terrain and remote area required JCSO Search and Rescue (SAR) to assist in recovering the remains. Due to the ongoing investigation, the exact location will not be released at this time.

Investigators are working to identify the subject and the cause and manner of death. Due to the advanced stages of decomposition, state medical examiners will conduct additional testing. This case is under further investigation with detectives following additional leads. No more information is available at this time. JCSO Case 24-2046

 

Lethal Removal of Cougar from Ashland Residence
cougar sightings in downtown Ashland ...

On April 18, 2024 at 1:15 p.m. officers from the Ashland Police Department responded to the 700 block of Glendale Avenue for a report of an aggressive cougar.

After speaking with residents, it was determined that an adult cougar had attacked at one least one domesticated animal, a cat, while the cat was under the control of its owner. Upon checking the area officers found evidence of other wild animals having been attacked and consumed as well.

The City of Ashland is a wildlife interface area, and having cougars present in many parts of the city is not unusual. However, cougars coming this deep into the community, during daylight hours, attacking domesticated animals, and not being appropriately wary of human interaction is not.

APD officers requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police Fish and Game Division, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Both agencies responded to assist, and, upon conferring, all agencies agreed that the cougar was well beyond the statutory threshold calling for lethal removal of the animal.

APD, along with OSP and ODFW searched for the animal, locating it at approximately 2:45 p.m., still in the immediate area, in a residential backyard. The cougar was lethally removed, and the carcass will be turned over to the ODFW for examination.

During this incident an elementary school in the immediate area, the Siskiyou School, was asked to keep everyone inside. The distance from where the cougar was killed to the school is approximately 250 feet.

The APD never seeks to be put in the position of lethally removing an animal, however, given the circumstances noted above, this course was action was clearly the most prudent to safeguard human and domesticated animals’ lives.

 

National Park Service approves Crater Lake National Park concessions contract transfer

Hospitality company ExplorUS to offer full visitor services this summer

CRATER LAKE, Ore. – The National Park Service (NPS) has approved the transfer of the Crater Lake National Park concessions contract formerly held by Crater Lake Hospitality.

Hospitality company ExplorUS will take over providing visitor services under the contract immediately, including:

  • Lodging at Crater Lake Lodge, The Cabins at Mazama Village, and Mazama Campground
  • Food and Beverage at Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, Annie Creek Restaurant, and Rim Village Café
  • Retail at Rim Village Gift Shop, Annie Creek Gift Shop and Mazama Village Store (including gas pumps)
  • Lake and Wizard Island Boat Tours

“We look forward to working with ExplorUS as they invest in facilities, staff training, visitor services, and other improvements to make visitors’ and employees’ experiences at Crater Lake even better,” Crater Lake National Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman said.

NPS and ExplorUS are striving for a seamless transition of services but ask for flexibility and patience from park visitors. The majority of visitor services in Crater Lake National Park begin to open for the season in mid-May. Information about services currently available are available on the park website at https://www.nps.gov/crla.

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 429 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. 

The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is back open after the winter season closure.

Tours will be offered five days a week, Thursday through Monday, on a limited basis. They will run on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Entry to the monument is free, however tickets for tours can be purchased on site or at the Illinois Valley Visitor Center.

Meanwhile, Crater Lake National Park visitors can enjoy a free visit this weekend. Saturday is the first day of National Park Week which means the National Park Service is offering free admission to over 400 parks nationwide.

That includes Crater Lake National Park, and it’s only on Saturday.

The next fee free day after that is June 19.

National Park Week runs April 20 through April 28 and NPS is offering up a list of themes for each day of the celebrationhttps://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/national-park-week.htm

Entrance fees will be waived on April 20, 2024, to kick off the celebration and to encourage everyone to enjoy their national parks in person. National Park Service parks, programs, and partners will host events and activities all week! Follow National Park Week on social media and join the fun all week using #NationalParkWeek.

 

 THIS SATURDAY (APRIL 20, 2024)
Get set to discover amazing treasures at the Southern Oregon Flea Market happening THIS SATURDAY, April 20, 2024!May be an image of text that says 'THIS SATURDAY 9AM 9AM-12PM 2PM SOUTHERN OREGON FLEA MARKETS'
Join us from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience! Entrance fee is only $1, and children aged 12 and under enter for FREE!
Explore a wide variety of goods from over 100 vendors, including furniture, electronics, clothing, jewelry, tools, and crafts. There’s something for everyone at the Southern Oregon Flea Market.

City of Medford  —  

Exciting news! 🤩 The City is developing its Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan, and we want to hear from you!
📢 Share your thoughts and ideas to shape the future of our community spaces and recreational opportunities. Participate in our survey and join us at the open house event on 𝗦𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗔𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗹 𝟮𝟭 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝟭-𝟯 𝗣𝗠 𝗮𝘁 𝗥𝗼𝗴𝘂𝗲 𝗫.
Together, let’s create a vibrant future for Medford! 🙌 More details: medfordoregon.gov/parksplan

Superhero Run-Hearts With A Mission

We are so honored that Griffin Creek Coffee Roasters is donating a portion of their sales of 15th Anniversary Beans and Hardware through the end of June to FOTAS!
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And, looks like we might have a new dog walking volunteer, as well! Yay!
Please support these folks and their amazing coffee!

May be an image of ‎3 people, road and ‎text that says '‎Work Zones are temporary. Actions behind the wheel can last forever. 1ン 02 者 . Ow 75 160 200- 220- كل রতয়্ত NWŻÄW https://www.nwzaw.org/ 2024 National Work Zone Awareness Week April 15-19, 2024‎'‎‎

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 brittfest.org. 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 brittfest.org, or from the Box Office at 541-773-6077 or in person at 216 W. Main St., Medford, Oregon.

 

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

 

Efforts to Locate Glide Teacher Rachel Merchant-Ly Continue

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

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

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

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

 

David Grubbs’ Murder Investigation Remains Active

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

This case remains important to David’s family, the community, and the Ashland Police Department. As detectives continue to pursue these new leads, anyone with additional information is encouraged to reach out to the Ashland Police Department at 541-488-2211. The reward for information leading to an arrest on this case remains at over $21,000.

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

https://original.newsbreak.com/@ada-e-1668135/3304227455096-fauna-frey-45-disappeared-in-oregon-on-a-road-trip-june-29-2020-following-her-brother-s-death

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

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040 PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public. READ MORE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-what-happened-fauna-frey-new-clues-uncovered-1827197?fbclid=IwAR3Z3Glru5lIgqiYXbs_nA1Fj8JuCIzM11OHSVHfwIucfq2f_G5y9y5bnmQ If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email FindFaunaFrey@gmail.com.

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

 

 

 

OHCS, BuildUp Oregon launch program to expand early childhood education access statewide

Funds include $10 million for developing early care and education facilities co-located with affordable housing

Salem, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) and BuildUp Oregon announce the launch of the OHCS Co-location Fund aimed at expanding access to early childhood education and affordable housing across Oregon.

“Families face a pile of cost burdens that limit their access to afford housing, and one of these burdens is the high cost of early childcare. These investments set out to change the trajectory for Oregon families, allowing for increased stability and a better quality of life,” says OHCS Director Andrea Bell.

BuildUp Oregon will administer the $10 million in OHCS funds allocated by the Oregon legislature through House Bill 5011 to support co-locating early care and education (ECE) facilities with affordable housing.

These resources will help bring affordable housing developers and ECE providers together to open and expand childcare services within or on the grounds of affordable housing developments. The funding awarded will depend on each project’s needs, size, and costs.

Funds provided through BuildUp Oregon can be used for:

  • Technical assistance to ECE providers and affordable housing developers on how to co-locate
  • Relationship building between ECE providers and housing developers to identify potential collaboration opportunities and facilitate communication
  • Financial support to ECE providers and developers to build or expand operations within or adjacent to affordable housing developments

The goal of the OHCS Co-location Fund is to create or preserve 600 ECE slots throughout Oregon.

OHCS is a funding partner with Multnomah County for the BuildUp Oregon program. Earlier this month, Multnomah County launched the Preschool for All Facilities Fund. That fund offers comprehensive support to early care and education providers in Multnomah County participating in Preschool for All (PFA) who are looking to enhance the quality of care at existing facilities, expand to serve additional families or open a new location.

“The Facilities Fund will provide crucial support to early care and education providers and help build up the infrastructure we need to ensure universal access to preschool by 2030,” said Preschool and Early Learning Division Director Leslee Barnes. “This initiative represents a vital step towards all children having access to high-quality childcare in safe and nurturing environments.”

Interested developers and providers can learn more about BuildUp Oregon by visiting www.BuildUpOregon.org. BuildUp Oregon will also provide further information about the OHCS Co-location Fund through a webinar in May. Details and updates on the webinar will be available on BuildUp Oregon’s website.

About BuildUp Oregon

BuildUp Oregon is composed of four Community Development Financial Institutions. Its members are Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), Craft3, Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH), and Low-Income Investment Fund (LIIF). Together, these organizations are dedicated to ensuring equitable access to high-quality childcare and supporting the growth and development of early care and education providers.

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: oregon.gov/ohcs.

Latest Measure 110 data show new highs in client engagement with highest quarterly gains in substance use treatment, peer support services

SALEM, Ore. — Measure 110 Behavioral Health Resource Network providers reported increases in client engagement over all service areas, according to recently released quarterly reporting data.

As providers continue to establish and expand services, the most recent data revealed a 346 percent client gain in screening services since the program’s start – indicating that more providers are seeing new clients for the first time. Supported employment showed the highest overall percentage gain at 422 percent.

Client screening is an important first step for people seeking substance use treatment and recovery. As a result, network providers have reported increased numbers of people are accessing low-barrier treatment services and supports.

The latest data also show a 258 percent increase in people accessing peer services, in addition to other supports.  Many peer service providers reported meeting people in their homes or in community settings and using other measures to lower service barriers such as providing childcare and securing transportation to treatment.

Measure 110 network providers report the number of clients they serve and the number of encounters they have with their clients as a measure of overall engagement. Some clients may receive multiple services within a network or within multiple service networks.

The latest report covers network activities from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2023. Collectively, Measure 110 providers have now reported five quarters of data and expenditures from July 1, 2022, when the first network was established, through Sept. 30, 2023.

Overall, Measure 110 providers reported 267,000 encounters for people seeking peer support services and more than 220,000 encounters for substance use treatment over the 15 months of operations from July 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023.

OHA continually updates a comprehensive Measure 110 data reporting dashboard that includes quarterly data, expenditures, key demographic information, and aggregated narrative summaries for the 42 statewide service networks.

The dashboard also contains a section that shows how providers are conducting community outreach to directly connect individuals to services in their communities.

“Public awareness campaigns and community engagement activities play a pivotal role in dismantling social stigmas, misconceptions, and discrimination related to specific health services and conditions,” reported one provider. “By challenging and dispelling these stigmas, we empower individuals to seek care comfortably, which in turn, lowers the hurdles to accessing services.”

Other providers focused on reaching populations that historically have been under supported.  “Our peers and navigators have been able to do community outreach on a regular basis…with peer support referrals and health screenings,” reported one provider. “[Our] outreach focuses primarily on the houseless, unstably housed, incarcerated, transitional, and marginalized BIPOC communities.”

Another provider described the value of providing supported employment services to people in need. “The housing portion of our services has helped build tangible life skills as our tenants work to remodel and create a beautiful space while earning a paycheck.”

Despite the reported growth in service access, nearly one-third of providers continue to report challenges around building their workforce.

The deadline for the next round of reporting for expenditure and program data is in April and will cover the time from October 1 – December 30, 2023. OHA expects to publish that data in Summer 2024.

Background: In November 2020, Oregon voters passed Measure 110, the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act of 2020, which became effective Dec. 4, 2020, to better serve people actively using substances or diagnosed with a substance use disorder. In July 2021, the legislature passed SB 755, which amended the act and made it more feasible to implement.

People who provide drug treatment and recovery services and advocates for criminal justice reform wrote Measure 110 in response to the high rate of drug addiction and overdoses in Oregon, and the disproportionate impact of those outcomes on Oregon’s communities of color.

Their goal was to establish a more equitable health-based and effective approach to substance use disorder.

OHA is continuing to develop and sharpen strategic parameters around data collection, establishing standards for the type that is appropriate to collect, modifying internal systems and processes to capture data outcomes, metrics, and reducing administrative burden on providers.

The Measure 110 program continues to refine service data collection for communities of color and other disproportionately affected communities, as the networks transition toward implementing Race Ethnicity and Language Disability (REALD) standards in their data collection.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Launches Carjacking Task Force

PORTLAND, Ore.—The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced today that it will join 10 other U.S. Attorney’s Offices in establishing a multi-agency task force to address carjacking, an important public safety threat impacting communities in Oregon and beyond.

“We are pleased to join our Justice Department colleagues from across the country in taking this important, targeted step to address carjacking, a dangerous, violent crime. We thank all our law enforcement partners for their ongoing commitment to protecting Oregonians through this and other violent crime reduction efforts.” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“The Justice Department has no higher priority than keeping our communities safe. We do so by targeting the most significant drivers of violent crime and by acting as a force multiplier for our state and local law enforcement partners. We’re seeing results — with violent crime declining broadly nationwide,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Today, we are launching seven new carjacking task forces across the country to build on the success of task forces in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Tampa, where available data shows that carjacking rates are now falling. When prosecutors, officers, agents, and analysts come together to crunch data, share intelligence, and apply best practices, we can make real progress in the fight against all forms of violent crime, including carjacking.”

In keeping with the Justice Department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime, the District of Oregon carjacking task force will focus federal resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting individuals responsible for committing carjackings and related crimes throughout the state.

Carjacking task forces have proven to be an effective part of successful violent crime reduction strategies by focusing on a significant driver of crime and taking violent offenders off the streets. For example, carjackings in Philadelphia declined by 31 percent from 2022 to 2023, and armed carjackings are down 28 percent in the District of Columbia so far this year compared to the same period in 2023. In Chicago, carjackings decreased 29 percent from their high in 2021 through the end of 2023.

Local efforts to combat carjacking have already produced positive results. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging, Raheim Carter, 41, a Portland resident, with carjacking, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On March 15, 2024, Carter and an accomplice are alleged to have stolen a vehicle at gunpoint from a North Portland resident. Carter and the accomplice are alleged to have approached the victim while he was unloading groceries from his vehicle, demanded he hand over his keys at gunpoint, and drove off with the vehicle. The case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau with assistance from the FBI.

The newly formed carjacking task forces will be led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with state and local law enforcement partners.

Oregon Department of Emergency Management shares FEMA Public Assistance notification with counties and tribes impacted by the January storm

SALEM, Ore. – April 18, 2024 – On April 13, President Joe Biden approved Governor Tina Kotek’s request for a federal major disaster declaration for severe winter storms, straight-line winds, landslides, and mudslides that occurred throughout the state from Jan. 10-22 (view a GIS StoryMap of the event).

The declaration will provide supplemental grant funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program, a reimbursement program for public infrastructure damage and response costs to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in designated counties impacted by the event. This disaster declaration covers Benton, Clackamas, Coos, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Multnomah, Sherman, Tillamook, and Wasco counties and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

FEMA Public Assistance is a supplementary financial assistance program for emergency work and the repair or replacement of public facilities and infrastructure damaged by the winter event. Financial assistance is available on a cost-sharing basis; reimbursement is 75% federal share of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration costs and 25% is the applicant’s responsibility. The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) administers the Public Assistance program in the state.

All eligible applicants with eligible projects within the designated counties and tribes can apply for public assistance. Eligible applicants include local governments, tribal governments, special districts, state agencies, and certain private nonprofits that have incurred costs for response activities or sustained facility damage as a direct result of the January event. Private nonprofits are those entities that provide a governmental type of service and have a 501(c), (d) or (e) tax exception status (see page 43 of the FEMA Public Assistance Program and Guide regarding eligible facilities and required documentation). Certain private nonprofits with damage to their facilities should apply for a U.S. Small Business Administration loan first.

ODEM and FEMA will work with each applicant to develop their projects, scope and costs that can be reimbursed. Potential applicants in the designated counties must complete a Request for Public Assistance in the FEMA Grants Portal by May 13.

The Major Disaster Declaration does not provide FEMA Individual Assistance and will not reimburse funds for repair or replacement costs by individuals to their property.

Learn more about the Public Assistance program at https://www.oregon.gov/oem/emresources/disasterassist/Pages/Public-Assistance.aspx.

Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Rises by 1,400 in March

In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,400 jobs, following a revised gain of 2,800 jobs in February. March’s gains were largest in professional and business services (+2,400 jobs); government (+1,000); and wholesale trade (+600). Monthly declines were largest in construction (-2,300 jobs); retail trade (-600); and manufacturing (-600).

Hiring trends diverged during the first three months of the year. Several major industries expanded by at least 1,500 jobs, while others contracted. Health care and social assistance continued its rapid growth of the past two years with gains totaling 3,300 jobs during January, February, and March. Administrative and waste services added 2,700 jobs during those three months, which was an abrupt shift following this industry’s loss of 4,600 jobs during 2023. Government added 1,500 jobs so far this year as it continued its recovery and expansion of the past three years.

The industry that dropped the most during the first three months of the year was construction, which dropped by 3,300 jobs, following a relatively flat year in 2023 when it gained only 900 jobs. Meanwhile, accommodation and food services dropped 1,900 jobs so far this year, which nearly erased its gain of 2,000 jobs last year.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in both February and March. Its rise from a record low of 3.4% in May 2023 is a sign of a loosening labor market. Another indicator of a loosening labor market was the rise in the number of Oregonians employed part time for economic reasons, which rose to 73,000 in March from a low of 48,200 in September 2022.

Oregon’s Next Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect In July

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries announced Tuesday that the minimum wage in the Portland area will rise to $15.95. In urban counties outside the Portland area, the minimum wage will be $14.70 an hour. And in rural counties, the minimum will be $13.70. The change takes effect July 1.

A 50-cent hike to Oregon’s minimum wage will bring baseline pay in the Portland area just to the doorstep of $16 an hour this summer.

Oregon has had a tiered minimum wage since 2017, when the state Legislature approved a series of minimum wage increases but kept the minimum lower in more rural parts of the state, reasoning that the cost of living was lower, too.

Since 2023, annual increases in the minimum wage have been tied to the rate of inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the inflation measure used to calculate the increase, rose 3.5% over the past year.

The increases announced Tuesday range from 2.9% for the Portland metro to 3.8% raise in rural areas. The average Oregon hourly wage is much higher than the minimum, $31.17 last year, according to the state employment department. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

April 30th is the deadline for people registering to vote in Oregon for the first time or for those who wish to change party affiliation.

The upcoming May 21st election is a closed-party primary election for registered Democrats and Republicans.
That means that Democrats will be voting for Democrat and nonpartisan candidates and measures and Republicans will be voting for Republican and nonpartisan candidates and measures.

Non-affiliated and all other voters will be voting on nonpartisan candidates and measures.

Oregon Online Voter Registration: https://sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/registration.aspx?lang=en

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.

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.

Museum receives $500,000 National Endowment for the Humanities award 

 

BEND, OR — The High Desert Museum will receive $500,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, one of 10 in the nation selected for funding for the exceedingly competitive Public Humanities Projects: Exhibition category, the agency announced Tuesday.

The funding will support the Museum’s revitalization of its permanent exhibition dedicated to the Indigenous cultures of the region. By Hand Through Memory opened in 1999, supported in part by NEH funding. Hand in hand with Native partners, the Museum has been working on a new version of the exhibition for several years.

This award is the second grant for the project: In 2019, NEH awarded the Museum $45,000 to support the planning of the renovation. The agency also awarded the Museum $500,000 in 2023 to support an associated expansion of the Museum, bringing the total commitment to the Museum’s future to $1,045,000.

“For more than four decades, the High Desert Museum has set the gold standard for showing and telling both Oregonians and visitors our state’s history,” U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said. “Indigenous history is essential to that mission, and I’m gratified this Central Oregon treasure has secured such a significant federal investment to enable it to update and expand the permanent exhibition devoted to Native perspectives and experiences.”

“We’re immensely grateful to NEH and Senators Wyden and Merkley for this transformational investment,” said High Desert Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “The revitalized exhibition will be centered in Native voices and knowledge, sharing the rich stories of Indigenous communities throughout the Plateau region. The NEH funding is vital for realizing our vision.”

The Museum is presently working on exhibition design with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a firm that has handled museum projects ranging from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C. to the First

Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, an effort sharing the stories of the 39 Tribes in Oklahoma that opened in 2021.

The exhibition renovation is part of the long-term vision for the future of the Museum, which includes more capacity for educational programming, immersive experiences to bring visitors into the forest canopy, a permanent art exhibition space and a gathering space for Museum events. The Sisters-based Roundhouse Foundation helped launch work on this vision with a $6 million gift in 2021.

The Museum opened in 1982. Founder Donald M. Kerr envisioned the space as an immersive experience that highlights the wonder of the High Desert, often saying that its mission is to “wildly excite and responsibly teach.” He also intended for the Museum and its programs to spark dialogue and bring people together in conversations about what they want for the region’s future.

Today, the Museum shares up to nine rotating temporary exhibitions, serves more than 8,600 participants with school field trips, and provides free and reduced-price admissions to more than 25,000 visitors. It welcomed more than 216,000 visitors in 2023.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency that supports cultural institutions in their efforts to facilitate research and original scholarship, provides opportunities for lifelong learning, preserves and provides access to cultural and educational resources, and strengthens the institutional base of the humanities throughout the nation.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

The HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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

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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 https://apps.oregon.gov/DEQ/Voucher/apply.

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.

 

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