Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 5/22 – Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team Serves Search Warrant on Frontage Rd in Wolf Creek , Primary Election Results, Get Ready for Boatnik Festival & 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 22, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team Serves Search Warrant on Frontage Rd in Wolf Creek 

 

DETAILS: On May 20, 2024, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) with the assistance of Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety, executed a search warrant in the 900 block of North Frontage Road, Wolf Creek, regarding an illegal indoor marijuana grow site.

During the execution of the warrant, over 200 marijuana starter plants were seized and destroyed.

The property also had multiple electrical, water, and solid waste code violations. These violations could result in the criminal forfeiture of the property.

Kari Davis was taken into custody and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, and Unlawful Delivery of Marijuana.

At the time of this press release the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released.

 

Primary Election Results

https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Statewide – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Jackson County – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/ResultsSW.aspx?type=CTYALL&cty=03&map=CTY

Josephine County – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/ResultsSW.aspx?type=CTYALL&cty=01&map=CTY

Douglas County – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/ResultsSW.aspx?type=CTYALL&cty=07&map=CTY

 

Medford Police PSA —  🙂

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.

Boatnik 

It’s 2024 Boatnik week! Here are a few quick tips to help you enjoy an amazing weekend.
1. Get your pre-sale tickets before Thursday. All pre-sales at boatnik.com and Pinnacle 365 by Power Market locations will end Wednesday at 10:00 pm. $6 off carnival armbands, $5 off tickets to see FireHouse at Boatnik and $5 off Boatnik Brewfest tickets! You’re going anyway, save some money 😉 If you purchase them online, you will receive an email confirmation that will be used at the will-call booths. Be sure to check your spam/junk folder for the email confirmation because it comes through immediately after your purchase.
2. Plan your transportation and parking. There is parking all around the event that is either pay-to-park or free, depending on where you go. BUT, don’t forget about our free parking and shuttle from GPHS or the Josephine County Fairgrounds.
3. Visit our website for everything you need to know. www.boatnik.com has the schedule, prices, FAQ and so much more.
4. Remember that this is a GIANT fundraiser for kids in our community! #itsallaboutthekids   
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Boatnik Rogue River Closure 

PRESS RELEASE

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

During the Boatnik Races, the Rogue River will be closed in designated areas and during designated times (refer to the schedule below).  All spectators will remain off the water until the races are over.  All spectators will remain 50 feet from the waterway at all times.

Movement on the water is restricted to Law Enforcement, Rescue Personnel  and Authorized Race Officials during the closures.  Private boats are not allowed to assist with crash or rescue operations for safety purposes.

Boats can be anchored on the shoreline if it is deemed safe by Race Official and Law Enforcement. All users shall be OFF the water and in an approved area 1 hour prior to the start of the race.  Any unauthorized boats on the water during the closure may be cited for Reckless and Unsafe Operation (ORS 830.315 & 305) and are subject to a $440 fine.  Law Enforcement will be patrolling the waterways during race events.

RIVER CLOSURES: 

CLOSED Friday, May 24, 2024 6:00pm – 10:15pm from Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge.

CLOSED Saturday, May 25, 2024 12:00pm – 8:00pm from Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge.

CLOSED Sunday, May 26, 2024 12:00pm – 10:15pm from Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge. 

CLOSED Monday, May 27, 2024 9:00am – 12:00pm Baker Park to Sixth Street Bridge and 12:30pm – 3:00pm from Baker Park to Robertson Bridge. 

 

Wyden Announces Four Town Halls in Southern Oregon

Open-to-all town halls on will be May 28-29 in Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas counties

Portland – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today announced he will hold in-person town halls in Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas counties on May 28-29.

Heading into these four town halls, Wyden will have held 1,081 town halls throughout Oregon – including 16 so far this year — in fulfillment of his pledge to hold at least one town hall each year in each of our state’s 36 counties. The town halls in these four counties originally had been scheduled for April, but had to be postponed because of Senate votes in Washington, DC.

“I’m glad to be able to reschedule these town halls so quickly. I’ll always keep my promise of annual open-to-all town halls in each of our state’s 36 counties because it’s crucial that all Oregonians get the opportunity in their community to ask questions, offer suggestions and share ideas,” Wyden said. “As I approach my 1,100th town hall, these direct town hall discussions remain vital, and I very much look forward to the upcoming discussions with Oregonians in Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas counties.”

·       Josephine County, 12:45 pm, Tuesday, May 28, South Middle School gym, 350 W. Harbeck Rd., Grants Pass

·       Curry County, 5:30 pm, Tuesday, May 28, Gold Beach Jr/Sr. High School gym, 29516 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach

·       Coos County, 10 am, Wednesday, May 29, North Bend High School gym, 2323 Pacific Ave., North Bend (Parking available in lot behind football stadium)

·       Douglas County, 1 pm, Wednesday, May 29, Reedsport Community Charter Jr/Sr. High School, Pacific Auditorium, Reedsport (Enter at the Pacific Auditorium entrance. Please park on Longwood Drive as school will be in session.)

 

Possible Missing Person — Rogue River Trail 

Press Release

Press Release

DETAILS: On Friday May 17, 2024 at approximately 4:44 pm, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office received a citizen report of a backpack and dog leash that was found on the Rogue River Trail and there appeared to be no sign of a person or dog in the area.  The reporting party stated that they noticed the backpack on their way down the trail. Upon seeing the backpack and belongings still in place later that afternoon on their way out, the citizen made a report to the Sheriff’s Office.

On Saturday May 18, 2024, a Josephine County Sheriff’s Office deputy hiked the trail and located the backpack on the trail approximately 1 mile south of the Grave Creek Boat Ramp. A search with verbal callouts did not locate a person or dog.  Additionally, a drone was utilized to try to locate the owner. Further investigation revealed the backpack has possibly been in that location since Wednesday May 15, 2024. The contents of the backpack suggested the owner was preparing to start a multi-day camping trip and items in the pack did not appear to have been used. There was also no identifying information located in the pack. The Sheriff’s Office is concerned the owner of the backpack may have become injured or lost. No missing persons reports have been filed that match the situation nor is there any evidence of foul play.

The Sheriff’s Office is actively trying to locate the owner of the backpack.   If you have any information regarding the backpack or who the owner may be, please contact the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office 541-474-5123.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

Oregon 2024 Primary Election Ballot Return Numbers Low

Oregon 2024 Primary Election Ballot Return Numbers Low

Primary Election Results

https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Statewide – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Nominations Open for AARP Oregon Volunteer Making Impact In Their Community

AARP Oregon has opened up nominations for its prestigious award for volunteerism. For the Andrus Award for Community Service, the organization will select a person or couple age 50 or older who performs services without pay in their communities.

Michael Schultz, state volunteer president of AARP Oregon, noted that Oregonians do a lot of volunteering. According to an AmeriCorps study from 2021, more than 970,000 volunteered, contributing an estimated $2.6 billion economic impact through their volunteer hours.

“That is a huge impact on our communities, on our economy and on the lives of Oregonians throughout the state,” he said.

The Andrus Award for Community Service is named after the founder of AARP, Doctor Ethel Percy
Andrus. Schultz noted that the nominator and the award winner will each receive $1,000 to donate to the nonprofit of their choice.

The 2023 winner of the award was Anne Bellegia, a founding member of the Ashland Senior Advisory Committee, and co-chair of the Livable Ashland Alliance. She has volunteered for many years with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University.

“This was someone who had really invested a lot of energy and effort to make a positive impact on her community down in southern Oregon, and the selection committee felt that she definitely deserved this award,” Schultz noted.

The deadline for Andrus Award nominations is July 15th. —- Find your state’s deadline and participation status on the nomination form

OSFM Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant application period opens May 20

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Fire Marshal is pleased to announce the opening of its Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant. This funding is designed to enhance wildfire defensible space across the state, supporting wildfire mitigation projects led by structural fire protection agencies, counties, and cities.

The $3-million grant will significantly reduce wildfire risks by funding projects to create and maintain defensible space around buildings and critical infrastructure. Grant awards will range between $50,000 and $75,000.

The grant focuses on two project types:

Defensible Space Projects: The goal is to protect the first 100 feet around buildings, constituting approximately 70% of grant funds.

Community Protection Projects: These projects extend beyond 100 feet to create fire breaks or lessen wildfire risks community wide.

Applications will be prioritized based on fire risk, social vulnerability, and project clarity.

“By supporting local projects that lessen wildfire risks, we are working together to create a prepared and resilient Oregon,” Oregon State Fire Marshal, Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “This grant works in concert with our other wildfire programs to move us closer to our goal of keeping fires small and away from communities.”

More information, including the application and a grant manual, can be found on the OSFM’s grants webpage.

About the Oregon State Fire Marshal: The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s mission is to protecting people, property, and the environment from fire and hazardous materials. Through its programs, the OSFM enhances public safety and promotes community resilience across Oregon.

Oregon Consumer Justice Finds Colorful Way To Educate Used-Car Buyers

The Consumer Confidence Comic helps consumers get the best bang for their buck when purchasing a used car. (Oregon Consumer Justice)
The Consumer Confidence Comic helps consumers get the best bang for their buck when purchasing a used car. (Oregon Consumer Justice)

Buying a used car can be a risky proposition, but a new consumer guide can help people avoid common pitfalls.

The nonprofit Oregon Consumer Justice just released the first edition of its free resource, called the Consumer Confidence Comics. The unique guide doubles as an interactive comic book with coloring pages.

Michelle Luedtke, communications director for Oregon Consumer Justice, describes it as a fun way to learn how to ask the right questions.

“When you get promises from a dealer, where do you capture those to make sure that they’ll be part of your final contract?” Luedtke asked. “We have a checklist of different questions to ask at a dealer about purchasing a used car. You can also download as a resource on our website.”

The guide is available in English and Spanish.

Used car prices shot up during the pandemic but have come down a bit in the last year, with the average used car selling for about $31,000, according to iseecars.com.

Luedtke also recommended taking the time to read the fine print on any contracts. The guide goes through the process from start to finish.

“Whether or not you should be looking for financing beforehand, or what dealer financing looks like? What are scams that are common around purchasing a vehicle,” Luedtke outlined. “And then also, what to do if things go wrong.”

In Oregon, used car dealers have 14 days to finalize the financing, so you could drive it off the lot and then have to return it if the loan falls through. Consumers are advised not to make any changes to the car until they get a welcome letter from their lender. In 2022, Americans purchased about 39 million used vehicles. (SOURCE)

OSU Study Finds Sea Urchins Devouring Kelp Beds Off Oregon Coast Have Indirect Negative Impact On Local Gray Whales

NEWPORT — A boom in the purple sea urchin population off the southern Oregon coast appears to have had an indirect and negative impact on the gray whales that usually forage in the region, a new study shows.

OSU Marine Mammal Institute – A gray whale hunts for food in a kelp bed near Port Orford on the southern Oregon coast. A new study says purple sea urchins are destroying kelp beds and affecting the diet of local gray whales.

When urchin numbers rise, the spiky marine invertebrates can devour kelp forests that are a critical habitat for zooplankton, the tiny aquatic organisms that are the primary prey of many marine animals. Damaged kelp forests lead to reductions in zooplankton, and with fewer zooplankton to feed on, gray whales spend less time foraging there, researchers with Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute found.

“This study shows the cascading impacts of a change in the coastal ocean ecosystem in a way that has not been documented before,” said the study’s lead author, Lisa Hildebrand, a doctoral candidate in the Marine Mammal Institute’s Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory. “These impacts extend indirectly to a top predator, the gray whale, and it affects them in a negative way.”

The study was recently published in Nature Scientific Reports. Co-authors are associate professor Leigh Torres, who leads the GEMM Lab at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, and researchers Solène Derville and Ines Hildebrand of Torres’ lab. READ MORE: https://yachatsnews.com/rise-in-sea-urchins-off-oregon-coast-appears-to-have-indirect-negative-impact-on-local-gray-whales-osu-study-finds/

Oregon Serial Killer Fears Sparked by Murders of 5 Women

The deaths of five women in Oregon have sparked serial killer fears in the state. The women, named as Kristin Smith, Charity Lynn Perry, Bridget Leann Webster, Ashley Real, and Joanna Speaks, were found dead in various locations in and around Portland between February and May 2023.

Last year, Newsweek reported that Jesse Lee Calhoun, a 38-year-old man with a history of criminal activity, had been identified as a person of interest in the deaths of four of the women. A fifth woman, Speaks, has since been linked to the case.

Police in Portland initially said that they did not believe the deaths were connected but have since changed their mind. There is now said to be movement on the case behind the scenes.

Families of the victims spoke to News Nation, with one family member saying that she could see a connection. She said: “Putting their faces together… Either we have a serial killer or five homicidal maniacs. I don’t know which one would be worse.”

Last year, Multnomah County District Attorney’s office and other law enforcement agencies working on the case said in a joint statement that investigators had identified “at least one person of interest” linked to the decedents and had interviewed multiple people as part of the investigation. They did not identify Calhoun or reveal why he is considered a person of interest.

Calhoun was previously convicted on burglary and vehicle theft charges and was serving a prison sentence that was commuted by former Oregon Governor Kate Brown in 2021 due to his participation in a prison firefighting program. This commutation reduced his sentence by about a year. Following his release, the murders took place. Calhoun was then involved in further criminal activity, leading to the revocation of his commutation and his reimprisonment in July 2023 to serve the remaining months of his original sentence.

As reported previously by Newsweek, Jose Real, the father of Ashley Real, said that Calhoun was known to his daughter and that Calhoun had attacked and choked her late in 2022. He went on to say that officers did not arrest Calhoun over the alleged assault. Speaking to The Oregonian at the time, he said: “The police didn’t do their work. And now my daughter is dead.”

The investigation into the deaths of the five women has not yet determined the cause or manner of death for any of the victims and the cases remain unsolved. According to online records reviewed by Newsweek, Calhoun has been incarcerated at the Snake River Correctional Institution since July 6, 2023. He is due for release on June 9. (SOURCE)

State wildfire agencies prepared to respond to fire season but will need more staff in future

State wildfire leaders say they are struggling to attract more firefighters due to limited housing and low wages

The state’s top wildfire responders say they are prepared for the approaching wildfire season, but they are concerned about adding staff and resources in the future amid expectations that wildfires will increase.

At a news conference last Wednesday, the leaders of the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management discussed the upcoming wildfire season, which typically begins in mid-May. They predicted a relatively average risk of wildfire through May and June, with a potentially greater risk in eastern Oregon in July and August, when drought and high wind conditions are possible.

Snowpack across Oregon is about average, and it’s been an El Niño winter and spring, which means conditions have been wetter-than-normal. Drought conditions statewide are better than last year but dry conditions persist in some parts of the state, which typically has about 2,000 wildfires a year that burn around 600,000 acres, state data shows.

Chris Cline, interim chief of the fire protection division of the Oregon Department of Forestry, said the agency has the staff and equipment needed for the current year, but that finding and recruiting firefighters has been difficult and will continue to be a challenge in the years ahead.

“The workforce is decreasing and shrinking, and it’s becoming very problematic,” Cline said.

The Oregon Department of Forestry depends on more than 700 permanent and seasonal wildfire fighters, on top of the 11,000 structural firefighters who focus on protecting people, buildings and homes in towns and cities across the state. About 70% of those structural firefighters are volunteers, according to Mariana Ruiz-Temple, Oregon State Fire Marshal, and far more are needed.

“Capacity has gone down over the last 10 years and fires are increasing,” she said. “The Oregon volunteer system is truly the backbone of the Oregon fire service.”

Cline added that incentives from the federal government for wildfire fighters, such as bonuses and higher pay, could draw those firefighters away from state and local agencies. Also, a lack of housing supply and affordable housing in parts of the state make recruitment difficult, Cline said.

Nevertheless, he added, “We have what we need right now, and we will be prepared to protect Oregonians this summer.”

In recent years, state fire agencies have added aircraft and cameras for monitoring fires. They’ve also used state and federal grants to boost seasonal firefighter numbers and to purchase more engines, machines and equipment, while undertaking more preventative prescribed burns.

Cline said agencies are increasing the number of prescribed burns amid a recognition that they are needed to destroy ground brush and other fuel that’s been built up over the years and traditionally was burned off by lightning and tribes conducting low-intensity broadcast burns.

“This is all trying to get (the land) health back to a more natural state,” Cline said. (SOURCE)

State holding open house meetings on community wildfire programs

SALEM, Ore. — 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.

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.

Some 12,000 Oregonians might be getting thousands of dollars in refunds due to TurboTax error

Intuit, a Silicon Valley company that makes the popular Turbotax software, has contacted more than 12,000 taxpayers who used it to file their state and federal returns, telling them they may have paid more than they should have because of an error in the software.

The error was discovered by an Oregon Department of Revenue employee and involved directing people to take the standard deduction when itemizing expenses would have lowered their tax bill.

The company initially downplayed the impact of the error, saying few had been affected, according to reporting by The Oregonian/OregonLive, but after being pressed by the revenue department it found that as many as 12,000 people were affected, with thousands of dollars at stake.

The company also came under pressure from Oregon’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate Finance Committee. He wrote to Intuit’s CEO, Sasan Goodarzi, on May 2, noting that the company urges customers to “file with confidence” and has a maximum refund guarantee that includes a refund for buying the software.

“Fixing this error will require identifying all affected Oregonians, notifying them and ensuring they can be made whole,” Wyden wrote. “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.”

Intuit has promised to refund the original purchase price for the software to affected customers, something which Wyden expects to happen.

“Intuit has a history of deceptive advertising but I expect it to make good on this guarantee,” Wyden said.

The 12,000 Oregonians now face filing an amended return and possibly waiting six months for money back, which is how long it can take for officials to process returns if they have errors or are missing information.

Taxpayers need to fill out amended returns following Turbotax instructions – either using the online or desktop versions – and then printing them out and mailing them to the Department of Revenue at  P.O. Box 14700, Salem, OR, 97309-0930. Taxpayers can also drop them off at a revenue office or use the state’s online tax filing service. The state offers instructions on this website.

To avoid a months long wait for money, the state officials advised filers to:

  • File a complete amended return, including the federal form and all schedules that were with the original filing.
  • Check the “Amended Return” box on the first page.
  • Use a current address even if it is different from the one on the original return.
  • Provide direct deposit information; otherwise the department will send a check.
  • Sign the amended return.

Tax filers can also call 844-333-2161 Monday  through Friday, from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and mention “2023 Oregon itemized deductions” to an expert who can help. (SOURCE)

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.

 

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.

 

 

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 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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