Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 5/15 – Community Wildfire Program Open House Meetings in Central Point and Grants Pass, Local law enforcement agencies gathered to honor our fallen heroes during the Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony & 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

Wednesday,  May 15, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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State Holding Open House Meetings on Community Wildfire Programs in Central Point and Grants Pass

— A series of six open houses about the state’s new community wildfire risk reduction programs are scheduled June 3 through July 1 across Oregon. These events will offer opportunities to learn about new defensible space and home hardening standards, as well as the draft wildfire hazard map.

Oregon Department of Forestry

The resource-fair style open houses are being held in the communities that have some of the greatest levels of wildfire hazard within the wildland-urban interface. Each open house will begin with a short presentation and introductions, but visitors may stop in at any point during the event to get questions answered about the draft hazard map and associated community wildfire programs.

Representatives from multiple agencies will be present to have one-on-one or small group conversations to help people understand Oregon’s statewide wildfire programs.

  • Oregon Department of Forestry representatives will address questions on administrative rules and hazard zone assessment appeals.
  • Oregon State University representatives will address questions on wildfire hazard science, statewide data sources, and updates to the draft hazard map made over the last two years.
  • Oregon State Fire Marshal representatives will address questions regarding defensible space standards, code adoption process and implementation.
  • Building Codes Division representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home hardening construction standards, related code provisions, and implementation.
  • Division of Financial Regulation representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home insurance market and requirements of insurers under Senate Bill 82 (2023).
  • Wildfire Programs Advisory Council members will address questions on statewide policy direction for wildfire programs and council business.

Meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Redmond—Monday, June 3, Deschutes County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, South Sister Hall, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond, OR 97756
  • La Grande—Tuesday, June 4, Union County Fairgrounds, Mount Emily Building, 3604 N 2nd St., La Grande, OR 97850
  • Central Point—Monday, June 17, Jackson County Fairgrounds, Mace Building, 1 Peninger Rd., Central Point, OR 97502
  • Grants Pass—Thursday, June 20, Grants Pass High School, 830 NE 9th St., Grants Pass, OR 97526
  • Klamath Falls—Monday, June 24, Klamath County Event Center, Hall #2, 3531 S 6th St., Klamath Falls, OR 97603
  • The Dalles—Monday, July 1, Oregon Military Department Armory, 402 E. Scenic Dr., The Dalles, OR 97058

Find more information on ODF’s wildfire hazard webpage.

To subscribe to information related to updates on the statewide wildfire hazard map, visit the ODF website.

Background: The 2021 Legislature passed Senate Bill 762 that required the Oregon Department of Forestry to develop and maintain a comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk that included wildland-urban interface boundaries and five fire risk classes by June 30, 2022, in collaboration with Oregon State University. After the initial version of the map was rescinded August 4, 2022, ODF and OSU began gathering feedback and incorporating it into future mapping efforts.

The 2023 Legislature passed Senate Bill 80 that made several changes to the map including changing the name from a “risk” map to a “hazard” map, reducing the number of hazard classes from five to three, and changing the appeal and notification requirements.

Written comment or questions about any aspect of the implementation of Senate Bill 762 and Senate Bill 80 may be submitted by email at any time to ehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov“>odf.wildfirehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov.

 

Tuesday multiple local law enforcement agencies gathered to honor our fallen heroes during the Peace Officers Memorial Ceremony.
We remember these brave men and women for their courage, dedication and selflessness. 💙

 

Rogue Valley Expressway Southbound Closed due to Semi Truck Rollover

Rogue Valley Expressway Southbound was closed at Agate Road and Highway 62 for a semi truck rollove Tuesday. No one was injured in the crash. Oregon State Police (OSP) is investigating. The expressway will remained closed for a few hours while OSP investigated and the road was cleared.

 

Medford Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Fatal Fentanyl Overdose of a Teenager

A Medford man was sentenced to federal prison Monday for distributing fentanyl that caused the overdose death of a local teenager.

John Rocha, 31, was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison and four years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, on September 7, 2021, officers from the Medford Police Department responded to a report of an overdose death of a local 17-year-old high school student. Investigators soon learned that the teenager had taken counterfeit Percocet pills containing fentanyl. Within days, investigators identified Rocha as the victim’s fourth-level drug supplier and, when confronted by law enforcement, he admitted to having recently sold counterfeit pills.

On February 3, 2022, a federal grand jury in Medford returned a five-count indictment charging Rocha and four others with distributing fentanyl, possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

On February 20, 2024, Rocha pleaded guilty to distributing fentanyl.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team (MADGE). It was prosecuted by Marco A. Boccato, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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

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

Jackson County Fire District 5’s Chief Put On Administrative Leave

Jackson County Fire District 5’s Chief Charles Hanley has been put on administrative leave as an investigation into complaints about Hanley are underway.

The complaints include allegations of general misconduct, bullying and more. They were brought to the attention of Fire District 5 board members by the union that represents the district’s firefighters, back in January. The complaints submitted by IAFF Local 2596 led to a motion filed to put Hanley on administrative leave, in February. Then in March, three out of five board members resigned.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Hanley was placed on administrative leave immediately, pending the outcome of the investigation. Hanley argued that the terms and conduct of his contract were not being followed.
He said, “the board has come in and basically overstepped my ability to deal with this… I have asked for information for what is now 120 days on these allegations with no response.”
Assistant Fire Chief, Aaron Bustard will take over Hanley’s duties, as Interim Fire Chief. NBC5 News reached out to board members Friday, but they were not available for an interview. The board did say however, that the next meeting will include an in-depth review of the union’s documents and complaints against Hanley.

Community Engagement Related to the Upper Rogue River from Gold Ray Dam to Lost Creek Dam

After several years of hearing from some community members about conflicting uses of the Rogue River in a stretch roughly between the now-removed Gold Ray Dam and Lost Creek Dam, a collaboration of four state agencies–Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB), and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD)–have come together to learn more about the community’s values, needs, and concerns related to this stretch of the river.

Rogue River Community Engagement Plan

The agencies have partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table, a statewide community engagement program, to give Jackson County residents and visitors a clear way to express their values, beliefs, and expectations related to this stretch of the river. That input will inform the agencies’ decision-making now and in the future.

Community engagement opportunities in multiple languages and multiple venues (including online) will be available between mid-May and late June. This will include regional and culturally specific conversations, a survey available in five languages, and hosting materials so that anyone can hold their own Kitchen Table Conversation. By the end of July, a report summarizing the values, beliefs, and expectations shared in the community engagement process will be shared with the agencies and community members. Project manager Eliot Feenstra lives in Josephine County and will lead the effort. If you have questions or know of engagement opportunities and community events late this spring or summer the project team should consider attending, contact Eliot Feenstra, at feen@pdx.edu.

Community members and visitors are encouraged to share their viewpoints about the Upper Rogue River. Opportunities include a survey available in five languages, hosting materials so anyone can hold a Kitchen Table Conversation and regional and culturally specific community conversations. Food provided at in-person events.

 

Medford Police PSA — we’ve got some awesome events happening this month! 🙂

𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟭𝟴: 𝗦𝗮𝗳𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗙𝗮𝗶𝗿 – Jackson County and City of Medford Emergency Management Divisions will be hosting a family-friendly event is designed to equip individuals and families with the knowledge and resources necessary to navigate emergencies confidently. Activities include a drone and K9 demo. The event runs from 11 AM – 3 PM at Pear Blossom Park.
𝗠𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟮𝟬: 𝗖𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮 𝗖𝗼𝗽 – Community members are welcome to come sip on some coffee and ask our officers questions, share concerns and just get to know the men and women serving our community. Event runs from 8 – 11 AM at Starbucks (1741 E. McAndrews Rd.)
𝗪𝗲𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟮𝟮: 𝗦𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲 𝗙𝗮𝗶𝗿 – The Livability Team will be hosting its Spring Resource Fair to help connect individuals with a variety of services, including food, shelter, medical assistance, mental health services. Event runs from 9 AM – 1 PM at the East 9th St./Almond St. parking area.

 

Oregon Housing and Community Services awards nearly $23 million to create more than 150 affordable homes across Oregon including Medford

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announces the approval of nearly $23 million toward creating 157 new homes across the state. These investments will continue to help establish concrete pathways for Oregonians to pursue homeownership.  This includes Breath of Life in  Medford for Turning Point Program with 38 units which will receive $6.02 million.

“While no one community is identical, there is a shared need across communities for more affordable housing options. Even in this tough economy, our imperative is to continue fighting to ensure that Oregonians can still realize the dream of homeownership,” said OHCS Executive Director Andrea Bell.

This year, OHCS changed how it grants Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Homeownership funding for the development of new affordable homes through a rolling application process.

“By providing multiple opportunities for developers to apply for funding instead of all at once, this new process can help accelerate new construction timelines in service to getting homes into communities faster, especially in rural areas,” Bell said.

In fact, 30% of the awarded projects will be built in rural communities. The Hope St. Project is a prime example of that and is the first affordable homeownership community in Hood River.

“After 32 years of building in the Gorge, Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity is very excited to build permanently affordable homes for the first time in Hood River,” said Chad Krause, executive director of Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity. “With the help of Oregon LIFT funding, these new homes will be built and sold to hardworking members of our community who can’t afford market-rate homes. Hood River teachers and retail workers—needed desperately in our small town—may now be able to purchase their own Habitat homes.”

Here are the 10 developments receiving this round of funding awards:

Project Location Awardee Units Total Award
1201 E 5th St Newberg Newberg Area Habitat for Humanity 2 $400,000
Adams Commons Sisters Sisters Habitat for Humanity 19 $3.8 million
Breath of Life Medford Turning Point Program 38 $6.02 million
Hope St Project Hood River Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity 4 $800,000
Myrtlewood Way Gresham Habitat for Humanity Portland Region 20 $2.68 million
Rooted at 19th Redmond RootedHomes 22 $2,599,996
Rooted at Antler Redmond RootedHomes 18 $1.47 million
Southtown II Corvallis DevNW 16 $2,815,610
Timber Cottages Redmond Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity 13 $1.45 million
Woodlands Sisters Sisters Habitat for Humanity 5 $950,000

Since the creation of the program in 2018, $71.3 million in LIFT funds have resulted in 47 projects with a total of 752 homes that are affordable to Oregonians.

For more detailed information about each recommended project, please refer to the Housing Stability Council packet from April 26, 2024.

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.

 

Child Exploitation Task Force Arrests Eagle Point Man for Victimizing Children Online Nationwide, Investigators Looking for Additional Victims

JCSO Case 22-4129 EAGLE POINT, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force arrested a Medford man on multiple child sex crime charges at 2:28 p.m. today in Eagle Point. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and Eagle Point Police Department assisted with the arrest at a business near the intersection of Hwy 62 and West Linn Road.

During their investigation, SOCET discovered the suspect was communicating nationwide with at least five underage victims through several social media sites. SOCET investigators identified a 13-year-old victim from Kansas City, Missouri, and are attempting to identify the additional underage victims.

The suspect, Zachary Elijah Bowen, 22, of Medford, Ore., was arrested on 12 felony charges including using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct, 10 counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, and luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

SOCET started investigating Bowen after more than a dozen National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) cyber tips led to multiple residences where he lived in Portland and at a licensed marijuana farm in Trail, Ore. SOCET served a search warrant on February 7, 2023, at the marijuana farm in the 4700 block of Highway 227 in Trail. Investigators seized digital devices for forensic examination by Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF).

Investigators found evidence of Bowen communicating nationwide with at least five underage victims through social media sites such as SnapChat, Instagram, Kik, and Google under the username “zach_grant2152.” If you have any information on Bowen, contact investigators through the Sheriff’s App “Submit a Tip” feature. Download the App here: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a72997501. You can also call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 22-4129.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from JCSO and Homeland Security Investigations with some collaboration from Oregon State Police and Medford Police Department; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.

This case is under further investigation with detectives following additional leads and attempting to identify other victims. Jackson County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case. There is no further information available for release.

 

These are pretty good odds: About 1 in every 4 students who apply for an RCC Foundation scholarship will receive one. Most awards are $1,000-$6,000 per year. 💵💰
But you can’t receive a scholarship if you don’t apply! The deadline to apply for 2024-25 scholarships is June 1.  —-   Visit roguecc.edu/scholarships to get started.

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

 

Wyden Demands Intuit Help Oregonians Whose Use of TurboTax Misled Them into Overpaying State Taxes

Senate Finance Committee Chair: “Fixing this error will require identifying all affected Oregonians, notifying them, and ensuring they can be made whole.”

– U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today demanded that Intuit make whole all Oregon taxpayers whose recent use of the company’s TurboTax product incorrectly led them to overpay their state tax.

In a letter to Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi, Wyden cited a recent report that a TurboTax software error opted Oregon taxpayers into claiming the standard deduction on their state taxes when itemizing would have produced a larger refund. Wyden noted the Oregon Department of Revenue notified Intuit of the problem in early April, but the company failed to acknowledge it until a few days before the April 15 filing deadline.

“Fixing this error will require identifying all affected Oregonians, notifying them, and ensuring they can be made whole,” wrote Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “In part because of TurboTax’s various guarantees and market share, Oregonians who overpaid due to TurboTax’s error likely assumed the software opted them into claiming state standard deduction to minimize their taxes. That assumption was wrong.”

“And because the vast majority of taxpayers understandably dread filing season and avoid thinking about taxes after it ends, many of those affected will not learn on their own that they overpaid,” Wyden wrote. “Intuit must inform them and help them get the full tax refunds they are entitled to receive.”

Wyden has been a longtime critic of deceptive advertising by Intuit and a strong supporter of Direct File, the new free tax tool available in some states to let taxpayers file federal taxes directly with the IRS.

“TurboTax encourages customers to ‘File with confidence knowing your tax return is backed by America’s #1 tax preparation provider. Its “Maximum Refund Guarantee” states that ‘[i]f you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid,’’’ Wyden wrote. “Intuit has a history of deceptive advertising, but I expect it to make good on this guarantee.”

Wyden asked Intuit to answer the following questions by May 15 to help the Finance Committee understand the extent of its problems in Oregon and address them:

  • When and how did Intuit first learn of the problem, what steps did it take to investigate, and what steps did it take to mitigate the problem after it was confirmed?
  • How does Intuit test TurboTax to identify and eliminate errors in its software that would cause taxpayers to over or underpay?
  • How did this quality control process fail in this case involving Oregon’s state return?
  • How will Intuit prevent this or other similar problems from reoccurring?
  • How many Oregon customers were or may have been affected in this case?
  • Has Intuit investigated whether its software made a similar error in other states?
  • What steps will Intuit take to inform affected customers that they overpaid state tax due to a TurboTax error?
  • Will Intuit help affected taxpayers file amended returns? How so, and at what cost?
  • If Oregonians discover they overpaid due to the TurboTax error, what steps will Intuit require they take to obtain a refund for the cost of filing a state return?
  • Will Intuit proactively send refunds of the TurboTax purchase price to customers who were affected?

The entire letter is here.

Opioid Settlement Board OKs $13.7 million to boost Oregon’s prevention workforce

OHA to provide allocation proposed by Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Opioid Settlement Prevention, Treatment & Recovery Board (Settlement Board) has approved a proposal to direct $13.7 million toward increasing and strengthening the state’s substance use prevention workforce.

On May 8, the Board approved an Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission (ADPC) proposal to build Oregon’s workforce capacity for primary substance use disorder prevention by providing:

  • $9.5 million to counties to strengthen local prevention workforce and evidence-based prevention programming.
  • Nearly $3.8 million to culturally and linguistically specific community-based organizations and regional health equity coalitions to increase the number of primary prevention initiatives in communities experiencing disproportionate impacts of substance use and overdose.
  • $450,000 to the Oregon Coalition for Prevention Professionals to train and certify up to 100 new certified prevention specialists.

The funding will be sent to Oregon health Authority (OHA), which will administer the allocations. The Board’s decision can be viewed in a recording of its May 8 meeting here.

Settlement Board Co-Chair Annaliese Dolph said, “The Settlement Board is setting an example for the state with this support of upstream prevention. We cannot treat our way out of the substance use disorder crisis. We must also prevent substance use disorders from occurring in the first place.”

Prior to awarding any funding, OHA must engage the partners listed in the ADPC proposal and provide a proposed funding formula and implementation plan to the Board for approval no later than Sept. 4, 2024. OHA is developing a partner engagement plan to begin this work.

Since July 2021, the State of Oregon has reached agreement on national lawsuits against several companies for their roles in the opioid crisis. Through these agreements, nearly $600 million will be awarded to Oregon over the course of 18 years. Settlement funds from opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies are divided between the State of Oregon (45%) and local jurisdictions (55%).

The state’s share is deposited into the Opioid Settlement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery (OSPTR) Fund as it becomes available. This fund is controlled by the 18-member OSPTR Board.

Local jurisdictions receiving settlement funds (those with populations greater than 10,000) decide how to use their funds. Cities and counties must report to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) annually on how they have allocated their funds. The annual OHA-DOJ expenditure report for fiscal year 2022-2023 will be posted to OHA’s website soon. The report for the current fiscal year will be published no later than Dec. 21, 2024.

OHA contracted with Comagine Health to convene a monthly Opioid Settlement Learning Collaborative for local jurisdictions to discuss allowable uses of settlement funds and best practices, including prevention best practices from other local jurisdictions.

OSPTR Board allocations to date — Through the current fiscal biennium that ends in June 2025, about $89 million will be deposited into the OSPTR Fund. To date, the OSPTR Board has decided on the following allocations:

  • $26.7 million to the nine Federally Recognized Tribes in Oregon – this is equivalent to 30% of all funds anticipated this biennium. This 30% set-aside will continue for the life of the fund as additional settlement payments are deposited.
  • $13 million to the Save Lives Oregon Harm Reduction Clearinghouse to distribute naloxone and other life-saving supplies to qualified entities.
  • $4 million to develop a unified and evidence-based state system for collecting, analyzing and publishing data about the availability and efficacy of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services in Oregon as required by ORS Chapter 63, Section 6.

To learn more about Oregon’s opioid settlement funds, visit oregon.gov/opioidsettlement.

Oregon Lottery Warns of Jackpot Scams

Following news of the $1.3 billion Powerball win in Portland this April, Oregon Lottery is urging the public to beware of scams and phishing attempts associated with jackpots.

Over the weekend, a text message was circulating that falsely promised the Powerball winner was donating prize money to 10 citizens chosen at random. It asked those receiving the message to call a phone number to claim the winnings.

“Some common warning signs of phishing scams include receiving an unsolicited message with a sense of urgency or a request for personal information,” said Oregon Lottery Assistant Director of Security Justin Hedlund. “We expect there may be other scams out there trying to leverage the Powerball winner’s story, and it’s a red flag if something seems too good to be true.”

Oregon Lottery will never ask you to pay a fee to access your winnings.

If you believe you’re a victim of a scam, you can report it to theFBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov/.If you received a suspicious text message, forward it to SPAM (7726) and report the phishing attempt to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned nearly $15.5 billion for economic development, public education, outdoor school, state parks, veteran services, and watershed enhancements. For more information visit  https://www.oregonlottery.org/press-releases/oregon-lottery-warns-of-jackpot-scams/

Portland State releases estimated cost of repairs for library damaged during protesters’ occupation

The university noted the estimate does not include expenses for replacing and repairing any damaged technology or furniture.

Portland State University estimates it will cost roughly $750,000 to repair Millar Library, which was damaged by a group of pro-Palestinian protesters who occupied the building for several days.

The university gave the update Tuesday morning, but noted that the number is an initial estimate and said it could “increase or decrease by about $125,000.” The cost does not include expenses for replacing and repairing any damaged technology or furniture.

Portland State has insurance and is seeking a claim to offset some of the costs.

Among the vandalism, the library’s fire alarm system was damaged. Many walls, along with some pillars and areas of the ground, were spray-painted with messages. Some computers, TVs, windows and interior glass walls will need to be replaced. Library staff had feared for a collection of valuable items — including rare books and records that have not been digitized — but they were found untouched.

Administrators don’t expect the library to reopen until the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year.

Protect Our Waters – Waterway Cleanup Series Seeks Volunteers for Summer Events

The annual Waterway Cleanup Series, a collaborative effort between SOLVE and Clackamas Water Environment Services, has launched its 2024 iteration with a highly successful kickoff event at Meldrum Bar Park in Gladstone. The event, held on May 9, brought together 36 volunteers who joined forces to clean the vegetation and wetlands along the picturesque Willamette River, collectively picking up 100 pounds of trash and preventing it from reaching the waterways.

The Waterway Cleanup Series, spanning from May to September, is a vital initiative aimed at elevating the cleanliness of rivers, streams, and creeks throughout the region. Each year, SOLVE and Clackamas Water Environment Services join forces to actively promote and support a diverse range of litter cleanup projects, all geared towards preserving and enhancing the health of our precious waterways.

“We are thrilled to launch another season of the Waterway Cleanup Series, a true testament to the power of community and environmental stewardship,” said Kris Carico, CEO of SOLVE. “As we embark on this journey together, I urge individuals and families to seize this opportunity to make a tangible impact on the environment while connecting with nature and each other. Hosting or joining a cleanup event is not just about picking up trash; it’s about fostering a sense of responsibility and pride in our local ecosystems, ensuring they remain vibrant and healthy for generations to come.”

Get Involved! — We’re calling on individuals, businesses, community groups, and organizations to host cleanup events along their favorite waterways throughout the summer months. By organizing or joining a cleanup event, everyone plays a crucial role in preventing trash from polluting our rivers. More information and details about the family-friendly Watershed Discovery Day on June 1st can be found on our website: https://www.solveoregon.org/waterway-series

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

About Clackamas Water Environment Services — Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES) produces clean water, protects water quality, and recovers renewable resources. We do this by providing wastewater services, stormwater management, and environmental education. It’s our job to protect public health and support the vitality of our communities, natural environment and economy.

 

Oregon Listed In The Top 10 Most Dangerous States Per U.S. News And World Report

As part of the 2024 Best States rankings, U.S. News factored in both the violent crime rate and property crime rate in each state to determine how well they foster public safety, which informs the best states for crime and corrections rankings and the overall Best States rankings.

Police units respond on scene.

Oregon ranked 8th.

Violent Crime Rate: 342 per 100,000

Property Crime Rate: 2,935 per 100,000

Overall Best States Ranking: 31

Places at the bottom of the public safety ranking form this list of the country’s most dangerous states. Among the lower 48, they span from the West Coast to the South, and all but two of the 10 land in the lower half of the overall Best States rankings for 2024.

These are the 10 most dangerous states in the U.S. according to the Best States analysis.

  1. New Mexico
  2. Louisiana
  3. Colorado
  4. Arkansas
  5. Washington
  6. Tennessee
  7. Alaska
  8. Oregon
  9. California
  10. Missouri

For its part, the FBI notes that numerous factors can affect the amount and type of crime in different areas, including population density, economic conditions, climate and family cohesiveness.

MORE INFO: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/10-most-dangerous-states-in-america?onepage

Registration Open For Inaugural Oregon Native Trout Challenge

Anglers, grab your favorite fishing rig and a map, as registration is now open for the inaugural Oregon Native Trout Challenge.

Basalt to Breakers, an Oregon nonprofit with fiscal sponsorship by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation, is launching the Oregon Native Trout Challenge to encourage anglers to explore new waters, celebrate the diversity of Oregon’s native trout fisheries and support projects that conserve our native trout species.

“The challenge is intended to be a celebration of Oregon’s native trout species and the ecosystems that support their populations. We intentionally made this challenge different from other native trout challenges to encourage people to explore the diverse ecosystems that Oregon offers,” said B2B Founder Max McCool. “Completing the challenge consists of catching and taking a picture of any native trout species caught in each of Oregon’s eight ecoregions and submitting the location, date, and species through our online form,” continued McCool.

The Challenge is catch-and-release. “We want to ensure that each participant follows ODFW regulations throughout the challenge and isn’t putting additional pressure on any vulnerable species,” said McCool.

Each catch must be documented according to the Challenge rules to count. A one-time entry fee of $35 offsets the administrative costs of the challenge with net proceeds used for habitat restoration, trout conservation, and education projects. Beyond learning more about Oregon’s native trout species and our diverse ecoregions, the Oregon Native Trout Challenge seeks to encourage advocacy for local fisheries.

“In Oregon, salmon get the lion’s share of attention, but Oregon has stellar trout fishing throughout our state. What I like most about the Oregon Native Trout Challenge is that it encourages anglers to explore more of what Oregon has to offer,” said Tim Greseth, Oregon Wildlife Foundation’s executive director.

Participants can register at https://owhf.tofinoauctions.com/b2bchallenge24/homepages/show. For more information, visit www.basalttobreakers.org.

Basalt to Breakers — is a nonprofit corporation registered in the State of Oregon. The mission of Basalt to Breakers is to inspire, educate and engage all anglers throughout Oregon in native trout conservation projects. Basalt to Breakers is sponsored by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation. https://basalttobreakers.org/

Oregon Wildlife Foundation — is an apolitical operating charitable foundation dedicated to increasing private and public funding support for wildlife conservation projects in Oregon. Since 1981, OWF has directed tens of millions of dollars in private and public support to a broad range of projects throughout Oregon. For more information, visit www.myOWF.org.

OHA launches Fentanyl Aware social media campaign

Risks, harm-reduction strategies, recognizing and responding to overdose, and Oregon’s good Samaritan law to be focus of five-week online promotion

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today kicked off a social media campaign spotlighting the public health harms caused by fentanyl, and how people can prevent the deadly overdoses that devastate communities around the state.

Fentanyl Aware Northwest

The campaign, called Fentanyl Aware, will run for five weeks, with posts in English and Spanish. Fentanyl Aware will focus on teaching people about fentanyl risks, harm reduction strategies, recognizing and responding to an overdose, and Oregon’s good Samaritan law, which provides legal protections for individuals and the people they’re helping during a drug overdose.

The Fentanyl Aware campaign begins with a series of social media messages with facts about fentanyl – “What it is, where it can be found and why you need to be aware,” according to the first post. It then moves into messages about the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, including how it’s given, how it works and where to can get it, followed by posts about Oregon’s good Samaritan law.

The campaign wraps up with posts warning about risks of mixing drugs with other substances, relying on fentanyl tests and using drugs alone.

OHA’s statewide campaign borrows from a social media campaign that Lane County Public Health created in 2023 with support from OHA funds. The county also shared its campaign materials with local public health partners to adapt and share – Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties collaborated to launch the Fentanyl Aware Northwest campaign through this partnership.

Just today, Multnomah County launched its own fentanyl awareness campaign, called Expect Fentanyl, focused on Portland-area youth ages 13-20.

The statewide Fentanyl Aware campaign launches on National Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day of observance that recognizes those who have lost loved ones to the overdose crisis and raises awareness of the lethal danger of illegally made fentanyl (IMF).

Cara Biddlecom, OHA’s interim public health director, said Fentanyl Aware contains youth-informed messaging, but it is intended for general audiences.

“We want everyone to see these important messages because anyone can be affected by fentanyl – teens and young adults, older Oregonians, even young children,” Biddlecom said. “These messages won’t end the fentanyl crisis, but they could help equip people with information that could help them save a life, whether it’s someone else’s or their own.”

Fentanyl is now showing up in a wide variety of drugs on the illicit market, including counterfeit pills made to look like common prescription painkillers or anti-anxiety medications. These may contain enough fentanyl in a single pill to cause an overdose.

According to OHA data, the number of people in Oregon dying from unintentional and undetermined overdoses continues to increase at an alarming pace, from 1,083 people in 2021 to 1,289 people in 2022. Fentanyl has surpassed methamphetamine as the most common substance identified as the cause of death in unintentional and undetermined drug overdoses.

In Oregon, the number of individuals who experienced an unintentional/undetermined fentanyl overdose death between 2020 and 2022 more than tripled (for all ages). And those at higher risk for unintentionally dying from a drug overdose continued to include non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Black/African Americans, and males, though patterns of use across communities is similar. These inequities are avoidable and point to structural racism in the health system and the need for long-term policy change.

Nasal naloxone is now available over the counter, without a prescription. It can be purchased at many retail pharmacies in Oregon, and it costs about $45 for two doses. Most insurance companies cover the medication but may charge a co-pay. Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members can get naloxone at no cost at most pharmacies. Those who use drugs can get medication for overdose reversal and other harm reduction materials such as fentanyl test strips at no cost through syringe service programs. Syringe services are available to everyone that uses drugs, regardless of whether they’re injected. Visit OHA’s Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications webpage for a list of syringe and needle exchange services available in Oregon.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, please reach out for help. Speak with a health care provider or visit OHA’s Fentanyl Facts webpage for support and treatment resources. You are not alone.

Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care Celebrates the Statewide Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

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– Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) representatives joined Governor Tina Kotek and state officials today to celebrate its new partnership with The Dollywood Foundation for the statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. During the 2023 legislative session, under Senate Bill 5506, $1.7 million was appropriated to DELC to help administer and expand the program statewide.

The Imagination Library is a program developed by The Dollywood Foundation; a nonprofit organization founded by Dolly Parton. Since launching in 1995, the Imagination Library has become the preeminent, international early childhood book-gifting program. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books each month to children (0-5 yrs. old), free of charge to families, through funding shared by Dolly, the State of Oregon, and local community partnerships. Today, millions of children receive a specially selected book each month, from birth to age five, to help foster early literacy skills and a love of reading.

The goal of the statewide expansion is to make books available to children ages 0-5 in every zip code in Oregon. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a voluntary program and parents of children ages 0-5 can sign up to receive a new book each month at no cost to families.

“Brain science clearly shows that kids start to develop literacy skills from birth,” said DELC Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “That’s why here in Oregon, we’re making major investments to help kids develop the joy of reading.”

In addition to remarks from Director Chatterjee, Governor Tina Kotek, and House Majority Leader Ben Bowman made comments and were joined by representatives from The Dollywood Foundation and local program partners. Dolly Parton provided remarks by video, concluding with an Oregon twist on her classic “I Will Always Love You.

Currently, over 54,000 children across Oregon receive the gift of a monthly book through 55 community programs. Books are free to the family regardless of family income. The Department of Early Learning and Care is working with local community partners and The Dollywood Foundation to expand.

Families can visit www.imaginationlibrary.com to find out if the program is available in their area or to sign up to be notified when the program expands to their community. To learn more about becoming a community partner, contact Rachel King at king@imaginationlibrary.com“>rking@imaginationlibrary.com

Dolly Parton’s video remarks, along with the remarks of Oregon officials can be found on the DELC website.

About the Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care – The Department of Early Learning and Care’s mission is to foster coordinated, culturally appropriate, and family-centered services that recognize and respect the strengths and needs of all children, families, and early learning and care professionals. More information about DELC is available at Oregon.gov/DELC. You can also connect with DELC on Facebook or sign up for news alerts and updates.

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library  – Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. This is achieved through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and Local Community Partners.  The Imagination Library mails more than 3  million high-quality, age-appropriate books directly to children’s homes each month. Each child enrolled in the program receives one book per month from birth to age five – at no cost to families.  Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More®. 

The program’s impact has been widely researched, and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visitimaginationlibrary.com.

 

OSP to Recognize National Missing Children’s Day May 25th

– In recognition of National Missing Children’s Day, May 25, 2024, the Oregon State Police Missing Children/Adults Clearinghouse is sponsoring an awareness event to provide resources for parents, guardians, and caregivers.

The event, which coincides with Missing Children’s Day, will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2024, at the north end of Capitol Mall Park in Salem (Center Steet NE between Winter and Capitol Streets). From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., OSP representatives and partner agencies will be on hand with activities and giveaways.

The event will include informational booths from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Safe Oregon, OSP’s Missing Children/Adults Clearinghouse, and Marion County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue. Attendees can pick up free identification and DNA kits, visit with a police search and rescue K-9, and tour OSP’s new command vehicle.

Julie Willard, OSP’s Missing Children/Adults Clearinghouse coordinator, said, “National Missing Children’s Day is an opportunity to remember the thousands of children who go missing each year. We work to educate parents about how to keep their kids safe, and we teach children about the “4 Rules for Personal Safety” that they can learn about on Kid Smartz.”

Kid Smartz is a child safety program that educates and empowers grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. Please visit the Kid Smartz website for more information.

About National Missing Children’s Day:
President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25, 1983, the first National Missing Children’s Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on May 25, 1979. Etan’s killer was convicted in February 2017, but the case remains active because his body has never been recovered. National Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. The commemoration serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families.

Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs to Host Statewide Memorial Day Event in Salem May 27th

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs will host Oregon’s annual Statewide Memorial Day Ceremony in person at 11 a.m., Monday, May 27, at the Oregon World War II Memorial, located at the intersection of Cottage and Court Street NE on the grounds of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

This event honors Oregon’s fallen service members from all eras of service and will include remarks from ODVA Director Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels and Oregon Adjutant General Alan R. Gronewold, along with other veteran leaders and state dignitaries.

The event will also feature a color guard ceremony, a performance of the national anthem by West Salem High School’s award-winning a cappella group Soundscape, and other ceremonial elements. The theme of this year’s Memorial Day event is “Oregon Remembers.” ODVA Strategic Partnerships Division Director and Navy veteran Sheronne Blasi will serve as emcee.

“Memorial Day, established following the Civil War, is a day when we all pause and remember the more than 1 million men and women throughout history who have given their lives in defense of our nation,” said ODVA Director Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels. “Those of us who volunteer to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces come from a diverse tapestry and understand when we take the oath to defend and preserve our Constitution, and our nation’s highest ideals, we do so on behalf of ourselves, our families, and every person that calls America their home. On Memorial Day, Oregon will remember all our fallen and honor their service and their greatest sacrifice. Thank you for joining us in remembering.”

Limited seating will be available. Attendees are welcome to bring their own seating for the park setting and are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather.

For those unable to attend in-person, the event will also be livestreamed beginning at 11 a.m. on ODVA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/odvavet and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAQVavs9KmvDeJ42ySFtY8A.

Established in 1945, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is dedicated to serving Oregon’s diverse veteran community that spans five eras of service members. ODVA administers programs and provides special advocacy and assistance in accessing earned veteran benefits across the state. Learn about veteran benefits and services, or locate a local county or tribal veteran services office online at oregon.gov/odva

Oregon National Guard Program Offers Students Paid Opportunities To Earn High School Credit And Learn Career Skills

 “The Oregon Plan,” renewed its approval with the Oregon Department of Education, is open to high school students throughout Oregon.

High school students in Oregon will have a paid opportunity to learn professional technical training while earning high school credit, as part of the newly endorsed program called The Oregon Plan.

Created by the Oregon National Guard, the plan received official approval last month from the Oregon Department of Education, which is required as part of its regular renewal process.

“Through this exciting program students get paid to earn high school credit, learn career skills such as basic finance, medic training, construction and engineering and practice working in teams,” said Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of Oregon Department of Education. “As students plan their summer of learning and work, I hope they consider this enriching and life changing option.”

Background On The Oregon Plan –
Established in 1995 as the Military Career Education Cluster Concept, “The Oregon Plan” enables school districts across the state to award academic credits to students who complete qualified military training and instruction. Approximately 700 high school students have joined the Oregon Guard since 2020.

“The Oregon Plan has been providing valuable education pathways for Oregon students for nearly 30 years,” said Brig. Gen. Alan Gronewold, Adjutant General, Oregon. “We’re proud to highlight this innovative program that recognizes the skills our young recruits gain through their military service.”

Multiple high schools across Oregon participate in the program, including Pendleton, Hermiston, La Grande, Elgin, Wallowa, Baker, Ontario, and Grant Union High School in eastern Oregon. Additionally, high schools in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Douglas, Union, Umatilla, Wasco, Hood River, Malheur, Baker, and Wallowa counties have also approved use of The Oregon Plan.

By enabling credit proficiencies through military training, the Oregon National Guard and The Oregon Plan exemplify a commitment to developing educated, skilled, and work-ready youth for future success.

“Our recruiters consistently hear from educators about the value of this flexible credit program, “said Lt. Col. Jessy Claerhout, Executive Officer, Recruiting Retention Command.  “It provides a helpful pathway for students to turn their military experience into academic progress toward graduation, while obtaining life skills and leadership training.”

Many of the credits earned may also translate into college credits towards a higher education degree. Sophomores and Juniors in high school can learn more about the program here. You can also learn more about the Oregon Guard’s 100% College Tuition Assistance program here.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

SALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer months, but fires occur all seasons of the year including spring. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will be spreading the word about the steps we all can take to prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer, and encouraging Oregonians to create defensible space around homes and outbuildings.

At stake: lives, property and scenic beauty – Each year, over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people. Many are a result of escaped debris burn piles or gas-powered equipment and vehicles casting sparks or catching fire.

During the 2023 fire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported that people were directly responsible for sparking 823 wildfires that burned 6,197 acres. Any spark can gain traction in dry vegetation, spread quickly and impact lives, personal property, and the many benefits provided by Oregon’s scenic natural areas.

Before heading outdoors this summer, contact the agency or landowner who manages the land at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Any visitor to Oregon’s natural areas should be familiar with these restrictions before building campfires or using equipment that could ignite a wildfire.

Put Your Smokey Hat On – Smokey Bear is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Smokey is a beloved and trusted American icon that has educated the public on preventing human caused wildfires since 1944. His timeless and important message celebrates people who take responsibility and prevent wildfires. Smokey’s hat is the driving force behind Keep Oregon Green’s 2024 summer wildfire prevention campaign. “Put Your Smokey Hat On” is a call to action, encouraging the public to predict the outcome of their actions and do everything they can to prevent wildfire ignitions. Campaign artwork, PSAs, and additional wildfire safety tips can be found at keeporegongreen.org and its various social media platforms.

Coming soon: More Wildfire Awareness Month tips – During May, a new wildfire prevention topic will be shared each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to prevent their outdoor activities from sparking the next wildfire. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green at www.keeporegongreen.org, the Oregon Department of Forestry at www.oregon.gov/odf, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal at https://www.oregon.gov/osfm/education/pages/prevent-wildfires.aspx

Follow Oregon wildfire news and prevention updates on social media: Twitter @keeporegongreen, @ORDeptForestry and @OSFM

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.

 

 

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