Rogue Valley News, Tuesday 5/28 – Wildland Fire Readiness Review and Fire Training in Merlin, Wyden Town Hall Today in Grants Pass & 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

Tuesday,  May 28, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

May be an image of map and text

Wyden Town Halls in Southern Oregon-   Josephine County, 12:45 pm, Tuesday, May 28, South Middle School gym, 350 W. Harbeck Rd., Grants Pass

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

– 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.)

Josephine County Wildland Fire Readiness Review and Fire Training in Merlin

Grants Pass, Ore. – Multiple fire agencies from across the Rogue Valley will participate in a wildland fire training exercise on 5/28/24,5/29/24, 5/30,24 from 0900-1400 in Merlin, Oregon. Grants Pass Fire and Rural Metro Fire are sponsoring the event, which will take place in the Acorn Street area and off of city property at the end of Ort Lane.

This training is crucial for preparing firefighters to respond effectively to real-world wildland fire emergencies. During the exercise, participants will practice critical skills like fire line construction, hose deployment, live fire evolutions, and communication.
What to Expect:

• Residents in the vicinity may see a small amount of smoke due to live fire training exercises.
• Fire engines and firefighters will be on scene throughout the training to ensure safety and control the fire.
• Engines and firefighting personnel in the area

 

Medication Take-Back Events – Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office 

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and medtakebackoregon.org are facilitating a drive-through drop-off prescription medication take-back event this week in three locations throughout the County. The event will offer the community a safe, free, and convenient way to dispose of expired or unwanted household medication.

Dispose Safely  —  Check your medicine cabinet and remove all expired and unwanted medication. If you do not know if a drug is still safe, check with your pharmacist. Count medication to keep track of amounts. Drop off expired or unwanted medications for safe disposal.

Please separate and remove any items and medication that are not accepted before disposing.

Do not place medicine in the trash or recycling and never flush them down the sink or toilet.

To protect your privacy, remove all personally identifiable information on medication labels or packaging before disposing of unwanted medicine.

ACCEPTED: Medications in any dosage form, except for those identified as Not Accepted, in their original container or sealed bag.

NOT ACCEPTED: Herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, other personal care products, emptied medical devices, batteries, mercury-containing thermometers, sharps, illicit drugs, pet pesticide products, animal medicines, and biologics.

All three events are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29

Butte Falls Community Center

555 Main Street

Butte Falls, OR 97522

 

Thursday, May 30

Trail Christian Fellowship

18881 Highway 62

Eagle Point, OR 97524

 

Friday, May 31

County Roads Office

5650 S. Pacific Highway

Phoenix, OR 97535

For more information about the drug take-back program and any future events go to medtakebackoregon.org or call (844) 482-5322.

 

Armed Robberies Result in Arrest –  Grants Pass Police Department 

On May 21, 2023, at about 0011 hours, Grants Pass Police Department officers responded to an armed robbery at the Lucky Duck on Redwood Avenue.  A male suspect brandished a firearm while demanding money from the business employee.  The suspect fled from the scene in a vehicle driven by another person.  We are not disclosing the sum of money stolen other than it was a felony level theft.

The investigation was worked further by Grants Pass Police Department detectives.  The focus of the investigative team was to identify and locate the suspects.

Two days later, on May 22 at 2324 hours, a second armed robbery occurred at the Lucky Duck on NW 6th Street.  The same suspect entered the store and demanded money from the business employee at gunpoint.  This time, a second male suspect stood at the doorway during the robbery.  Both males fled in a black GMC Yukon driven by a third person.  Again, the sum of money stolen is not being released.

Grants Pass Police Detectives continued their efforts to identify the suspects as there was a clear danger to others.  With the help of business owners sharing video footage, police detectives were able to determine the path of travel after the crime.  Police personnel used extensive technological means to obtain further details about the suspect car to help identify it.

Early in the morning of May 24, 2024, a Grants Pass Police K-9 officer located the suspect Yukon in the area of West Park.  With the vehicle in our custody, further investigation into the suspects continued.  The team working the case included Grants Pass Police Department detectives, Oregon State Police (OSP) detectives, Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) detectives, Josephine County District Attorney’s Office, and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) detectives.

The investigation led to a search warrant service in the 1400 block of SW David Drive.  The warrant was served by the Grants Pass Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) because of the nature of the criminal charges.  Grants Pass Police negotiators, Grants Pass 911 Dispatch, Grants Pass Fire/Rescue, American Medical Response, and Options of Southern Oregon assisted at the scene.

Michael Smith, 28-years of age, and Stephen Newell, 45-years of age, both of Grants Pass were lodged at the Josephine County Jail.  The charge for Smith is Robbery in the First Degree.  Newell was lodged for Robbery in the First Degree (x2), Theft in the First Degree (x2), Unlawful use of a Weapon (x2), and Menacing (x2). Seryne Martin, 24-years of age, was lodged for Tampering with Evidence.  Additional charges may follow.

We are appreciative of the assistance from our law enforcement partners and the members of the public who helped resolve this case in a safe manner.  Anyone with information on these two cases is asked to contact Grants Pass Police detectives at 541-450-6260.

 

Crater Lake National Park is seeking public input on a draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan. Public comment on the plan is being sought through June 14

The National Park Service (NPS) is dedicated to serving all visitors to help them find meaning in the resources of the national park system and its stories. Recently, park staff embarked on a process to ensure that key park experiences are available to all visitors, regardless of race, nationality, socioeconomic status, or ability. Park staff conducted a self-evaluation of the accessibility of park facilities, services, activities, and programs. Based on these findings, staff then drafted a transition plan that identifies opportunities and critical steps for improving accessibility parkwide.

This draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan resulted from the work of an interdisciplinary team of NPS staff, including planning, design, and construction professionals; and interpretive, resource, visitor safety, maintenance, and accessibility specialists. The draft plan identifies key visitor experiences at the park and existing barriers to accessing these experiences for people with disabilities.

The plan provides recommendations for removing barriers at priority park areas, including specific actions, example site plans, and anticipated time frames for implementation. It also addresses park policies, practices, communication, and training needs.

The goals of the plan are as follows:

1) Document existing park barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities.
2) Provide an effective approach for upgrading facilities, services, and programs.
3) Instill a culture around creating universal access.

All recommended actions will be subject to funding, consultation with other agencies, consultation with Tribes, and compliance with federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Moving forward, the National Park Service will use this plan as a guide to obtain funding and plan and implement projects that will improve accessibility throughout the park.

Your input on the draft plan will help us as we work to ensure that Crater Lake National Park is more accessible to all visitors. To review the draft plan and send online comments, click on “Document List” or “Open for Comment” on the left side of the web page. The plan will be open for comment for 37 days, from May 8, 2024, to June 14, 2024. —- https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=123216

 

 

 

 

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 Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen take part in Memorial Day ceremonies around the state

– Oregon National Guard Soldiers and Airmen took part in Memorial Day services and community events around the state of Oregon on Monday, May 27, 2024, pausing to remember fallen service members who have given their lives in defense of the nation.

Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, an Army veteran, along with her husband, Oregon Army National Guard Maj. Ian Beaty, spoke to those in attendance about their own family experiences in uniform before introducing Oregon Army National Guard Col. Russell Gibson, 82nd Troop Command Brigade Commander, who was the Keynote speaker for the Memorial Day service at the Veterans Memorial Park in Beaverton.

“I welcome any opportunity to gather with my brothers and sisters in arms, and it is truly a gift to have the opportunity to honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation—may their memory be a blessing,” said Gibson, during his opening remarks. “Through their selfless service, they portray the values and ideals for which this country was founded.”

Gibson, who has deployed twice to combat areas of operations, spoke about those who have been lost in recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I know that many of you have stories of loved ones, friends and fellow service members you hold in your memory and in your hearts,” he said. “I would also be remiss during this solemn day of reflection to not also recognize and honor those providing support from the home front. Those that paid the personal sacrifice for us and our nation—our Gold Star Families.”

U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (Oregon 1st Congressional District) also spoke and the American Legion Post 185 Band provided patriotic music throughout the event in Beaverton. The 142nd Wing and the West Coast Ravens conducted two separate flyovers during the ceremony.

In Salem, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek and Brig. Gen. Alan Gronewold, Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, spoke at the Oregon World War II Memorial. Both the 142nd Wing and the 173rd Fighter Wing conducted flyovers around the state as well as in SW Washington at parades, memorial services and other gatherings.

The Memorial Day holiday can be traced back to the conclusion of the Civil War. On May 5, 1868, John A. Logan, as Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Order No. 11. This order was designated May 30, 1868, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”

Since 1971, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday of May, marking a solemn time each year to mourn those who have died while serving in the U.S. military — while reflecting on their ultimate sacrifice to our nation.

Bill Walton, Who Led the Trail Blazers to Their Only NBA Title, Passed Away Over The Weekend

Walton won two NBA championships and later enjoyed a successful career as a colorful sports broadcaster, has died, the NBA announced on Monday. He was 71. Walton died after a prolonged battle with cancer, the league said. He was surrounded by his family.

As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.

Blazers chair Jody Allen spoke to Walton’s leadership and tenacity that helped bring a championship to Rip City, defining “one of the most magical moments in franchise history.”

The 6-foot-11 Walton led the Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship, earning the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award after averaging 18.5 points, 19 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 blocks while shooting 54.5% in a six-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Before his time in Portland, Walton’s all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA, where he led the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1972 and 1973. During his four seasons under renowned coach John Wooden, Walton was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in each year and a three-time Player of the Year.

Fire restrictions protect Pacific Northwest communities, BLM announces

– On May 24, fire restrictions will go into effect for all Bureau of Land Management public lands throughout Oregon and Washington. BLM leaders encourage all visitors to be aware of active restrictions and closures as warmer, drier weather sets in around the Pacific Northwest.

These fire restrictions help reduce the risk of human-caused fires. Starting May 24, the use of fireworks, exploding targets or metallic targets, steel component ammunition (core or jacket), tracer or incendiary devices, and sky lanterns will be prohibited.

“Although we had a wet winter, we must still be careful with activities that can cause a spark,” said Anita Bilbao, BLM Oregon/Washington Associate State Director.

Wet weather supports the growth of invasive grasses, which then dry out quickly in the summer months. “Everyone can help to keep our first responders, local communities, and public lands safe by following fire restrictions and practicing fire safety while out on public lands,” she continued.
Those who violate the prohibition may be fined up to $100,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 12 months. In addition, those found responsible for starting wildland fires on federal lands can be billed for the cost of fire suppression.
For the complete order and more information on seasonal fire restrictions and fire closures, please see www.blm.gov/orwafire.

May is also ‘Wildfire Awareness Month’. Visit NIFC.GOV for wildfire prevention tips: https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/fire-prevention-education-mitigation/wildfire-prevention.

To learn more about fire careers with BLM Oregon-Washington, please see https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire/state-info/oregon-washington/careers.

This Press Release is also available on: https://www.blm.gov/press-release/fire-restrictions-protect-pacific-northwest-communities-blm-announces.

-BLM- The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Dead Whale Floating Off Oregon Coast Has Washed Ashore North Of Nehalem Jetty

NOAA says the whale washed ashore Monday morning about a mile north of the north Nehalem Jetty, in Nehalem Bay State Park. People are being asked to stay away from the carcass so NOAA can conduct an exam of the whale.

The dead whale was first spotted floating off the Oregon coast Sunday afternoon by people who live in Manzanita.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed on Sunday that they were monitoring the situation and would examine the whale after it washes ashore.

 

OHA kicks off 2024 Oregon beach monitoring season

Agency shares list of monitored beaches for May-September

—The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP) is kicking off the 2024 beach monitoring season by announcing the list of coastal recreation areas it will be keeping an eye on for bacteria during summer and early fall.

The 24 beaches on the list that the OBMP, based at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division, is publishing includes some of the most frequently visited beaches in Oregon. It also includes beaches where the program has found bacteria present, or beaches for which local partners and the public have requested monitoring due to potential pollution concerns.

The following are Oregon beaches being monitored during 2024, including beach name, and the city and county in which they are located:

Beach monitoring season runs from mid-May to mid-September. Beach advisories are only issued for beaches that are actively being monitored within this sampling window. Other beaches will be investigated for inclusion in the next beach monitoring season.

OBMP works with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to identify beaches that need monitoring based on several established criteria. These criteria include: pollution hazards present; previous beach monitoring data that identify water quality concerns; type and amount of beach use; and public input.

As part of an adaptive sampling plan, beaches and sampling locations are routinely re-evaluated to ensure available resources best protect public health. A copy of DEQ’s beach evaluation is available upon request.

For more information and current beach monitoring conditions please visit: www.healthoregon.org/beach, or contact OBMP at each.Health@odhsoha.oregon.gov“>Beach.Health@odhsoha.oregon.gov or 971-673-0400.

Settlement Reached in Oregon Foster Care Class-Action Lawsuit: Parties Agree to Transform System for Thousands of Children in its Care

Eugene, OR– Today, Governor Tina Kotek, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Agency Director Fariborz Pakseresht, and Child Welfare Director Aprille Flint-Gerner entered into a settlement agreement with Disability Rights Oregon, A Better Childhood, Rizzo Bosworth Eraut PC, and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, attorneys representing thousands of children and young adults experiencing foster care in Oregon. This settlement agreement stemmed from a class-action lawsuit, Wyatt B. et al. v. Kotek et al., that sought to improve Oregon’s foster care system.

The settlement agreement stipulates, in part:

  • The State will contract with a mutually agreed upon Neutral Expert to address important foster care system outcome areas including maltreatment of children; quality of appropriate placements; re-entry rates; timeliness of case planning and age-appropriate mental, physical and dental health care assessments and referrals; notification and delivery of required reports of child maltreatment; and up to two (2) additional findings by the Neutral Expert within two (2) years that are actionable under the U.S. Constitution or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The Neutral Expert’s Initial Review shall occur by April 20, 2025 (extendable up to 90 days at request of Neutral Expert) and be followed by annual reviews assessing improvements.
  • The Governor shall provide support to ODHS toward its efforts to achieve outcomes by assisting ODHS’s collaboration with other state agencies and by reviewing the Initial Review and annual reviews.
  • The Settlement Agreement ends when the Neutral Expert determines ODHS is in substantial compliance with terms or within 10 years (whichever is sooner). If, after 10 years, the Neutral Expert determines additional time is needed, the Neutral Expert may recommend an extension of no more than two (2) years.

“This case has always been about providing children in the foster care system what they need to recover from trauma and thrive—stability, safety, and nurturing from the adults in their life,” said Jake Cornett, Executive Director and CEO of Disability Rights Oregon. “After more than five years, we’re grateful Governor Kotek and the Department of Human Services see the promise of working collectively to improve Oregon’s foster care system.”

“We are grateful for the willingness of all involved in this litigation to come together to find ways to achieve our mutual goal of improving outcomes for Oregon children and families,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht“This agreement is a testament to the progress we have made in child welfare over the past several years and allows us to focus on the important work ahead.”

“We are very pleased that this case has settled,” said Marcia Lowry, Executive Director of A Better Childhood. “We have seen that a collaborative approach to reform in other lawsuits has produced excellent results in other child welfare systems, and we hope the same will happen in Oregon. It takes both sides being committed to actual progress, measurable outcomes, and real results, which we are committed to seeing happen in Oregon.”

“This settlement gives us the opportunity to continue our efforts to transform the child welfare system by supporting and preserving families – while focusing on continuous improvements that will yield better outcomes for families we serve,” said ODHS Child Welfare Director Aprille Flint-Gerner. “We appreciate the hard work by both parties in reaching an agreement that is positive for Oregon children and families.”

Resources

### Oregon Department of Human Services(ODHS) is Oregon’s principal agency for helping Oregonians achieve well-being and independence. It provides direct services to more than 1 million Oregonians each year. These services are a key safety net for people in diverse communities across Oregon.

Disability Rights Oregon upholds the civil rights of people with disabilities to live, work, and engage in the community. Serving as Oregon’s Protection & Advocacy system since 1977, the nonprofit works to transform systems, policies, and practices to give more people the opportunity to reach their full potential.

A Better Childhood is a national nonprofit advocacy organization that uses the courts to reform dysfunctional child welfare systems around the country.

Rizzo Bosworth Eraut PC is a litigation firm with deep roots in the Pacific Northwest. We work primarily on complex civil matters representing individuals, businesses, and insurers in Oregon, Washington, California, and Idaho.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 law firm with more than 600 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world.

Oregon’s Birth Rate Is Among Nation’s Lowest and It Keeps Declining

Oregon has one of the lowest birth rates in the nation, according to newly released federal data from 2022.

The state had just about 9 births for each 1,000 residents. Only Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — the latter being the lowest in the nation at 8.2 births per 1,000 residents — had fewer.

Utah was tops at 13.5. The national average was 11.0. Oregon’s schools, restaurants and factories figure to be emptier in the years ahead unless something changes in the state’s anemic migration levels or something big changes in its birth rates.

“We need people to work,” said Kanhaiya Vaidya, demographer with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. “We need people to support the elderly, not only financially but also for care,” Vaidya said. “For child care, for elderly care, we need people — working-age people.”

Oregon’s birth rates have long been among the nation’s lowest. The continued decline is in line with trends across the country and — increasingly — around the world.

Families are waiting longer to have children and choosing to have fewer children overall, Vaidya said. He attributes that partly to women taking time to get settled into careers and partly to the cost of raising kids.“People, they want smaller families. That’s what they prefer,” Vaidya said.

Oregon women are averaging 1.4 children over their lifetimes, according to the latest state fertility rate estimates, down from 3.2 in the 1950s.

Contraception has long been reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies. That trend accelerated in the 1960s, once birth control bills became widely available.

Demographers say fertility rates of 2.1 produce a stable population size, excluding the effects of migration.

So Oregon’s low fertility rates could point to a long-term decline in the state’s population. That’s especially true because in the years since the pandemic more people have been moving out of the state than moving in.

Already, deaths outnumber births in Oregon.

There are many possible reasons why Oregon’s birth rates are particularly low, but one explanation stands out to Vaidya: “We’re an older state.”

One of the oldest states, in fact. The median Oregonian is about 17 months older than the median American. And older people aren’t likely to have many more kids, or any more at all.

Over time, fewer births might ease traffic congestion and the state’s housing crunch. But a shrinking Oregon could have serious economic and cultural implications in the generations to come.

Some economists expect at least a modest rebound in migration into Oregon. But if migration doesn’t bounce back, the state could feel the impact of low birth rates in many ways. “The (school) enrollment will go down and also college enrollment will go down. The main impact is on the labor force,” Vaidya said. “We will have fewer workers in the future.” (SOURCE)

Five companies will offer health insurance in every Oregon county next year as health insurers file 2025 rate requests for individual and small group markets

DFR logo

Oregon consumers can get a first look at requested rates for 2025 individual and small group health insurance plans, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today.

In a major win for Oregonians, Moda will become the fifth company to offer health insurance in every single county in Oregon after expanding into Benton, Linn, and Lincoln counties. Moda joins BridgeSpan, PacificSource, Providence, and Regence as health insurance companies who provide coverage in all parts of Oregon. It is the first time that five insurers have offered plans in every county.

In the individual market, six companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average increase of 5.0 percent to 11.6 percent, for a weighted average increase of 9.3 percent. That average increase is higher than last year’s requested weighted average increase of 6.2 percent.

In the small group market, eight companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average increase of 5.7 percent to 16.3 percent, for a weighted average increase of 12.3 percent, which is higher than last year’s requested 8.1 percent average increase.

The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to help stabilize the market and lower rates. Reinsurance lowered rates by 8.4 percent.

See the chart for the full list of rate change requests: https://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-05/1073/172523/5-23-24_health-insurance-coverage.pdf

“Oregon’s health insurance market remains competitive, with five carriers planning to offer plans next year in every Oregon county, up from only one statewide plan in 2018,” said Oregon Insurance Commissioner and DCBS Director Andrew R. Stolfi. “Unfortunately, inflation – both medical and nonmedical – as well as prescription drug costs, are driving prices higher than last year. Oregonians still have a lot of options to choose from and the Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to allow them to find reasonable rates.”

Virtual public hearings about the 2025 requested health insurance rates will be held July 1 from 9 a.m. to noon. A web address to watch the public hearings will be posted at OregonHealthRates.org. At the hearings, each insurance company will provide a brief presentation about its rate increase requests, answer questions from Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) staff, and hear public comment from Oregonians. The public also can comment on the proposed rates at any time at OregonHealthRates.org through July 1.

“We look forward to putting these rate requests through a rigorous public review, and we encourage the public to join the virtual public hearings and provide feedback on their health insurance plans,” Stolfi said. “This public process not only helps keep insurance companies accountable, but it gives people the opportunity be part of the process.”

The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.

Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs. DFR must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders.

Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced in July, and final decisions will be made in August after the public hearings and comment period ends.

 

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

Come to the World Beat Festival to Experience Global Cultures: Ukraine is the 2024 Featured Country

Salem Multicultural Institute is excited to celebrate Ukraine as the 27th annual World Beat Festival’s featured country. World Beat is one of Salem’s premier community traditions, offering a vibrant two-day program of international music, dance, song, theater, food, crafts, customs, rituals, and folklore. This year’s festival will begin Friday evening, June 28, and run through Sunday, June 30, at Salem’s Riverfront Park.

Kathleen Fish, Executive Director, emphasizes that this is the only festival of its kind honoring the Salem/Keizer community’s rich tapestry of cultures. “There are 107 languages spoken in our school district. The festival recognizes and explores the cultures of many of these families.”

The festivities kick off Friday, June 28, from 5 to 10 p.m. with “Friday Night at the Beat,” featuring vocal performances and fire dancing on the Main Stage.

The festival opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, with the Children’s Parade. Kids who want to participate in the parade will assemble at the Pavilion at the North End of the park.

Each child who attends will receive a passport at the entrance gate to collect stamps from each World Village. Village tents will feature kid-friendly cultural games and activities. This year’s activities include making cherry blossoms in the Asian Pacific Village, Pysanky (traditional egg decorating) in the European Village, Arpilleras (traditional Chilean textile art) in the Americas Village, and crafting Nguni Shields in the Africa & Middle East Village.

Adults can enjoy beverages in the beer garden while listening to live music. Boating enthusiasts can cheer on their favorite teams during the World Beat Dragon Boat Races.

“We had over 25,000 guests attend last year, enjoying performances on seven stages representing more than 50 different countries and cultures. Our visitors come from all over the Northwest and even Canada,” added Fish.

Organized by the volunteer-driven Salem Multicultural Institute, the festival requires 400 volunteers annually to manage setup, stage operations, and cleanup. Volunteers contributing at least four hours receive an event T-shirt and free entry to the festival.

Admission to the festival is $10/1-day pass/adult or $15 for the weekend. Children 0-14, SNAP card holders, and Veterans are free.

You can view a complete schedule and vendor list or sign up to volunteer atwww.worldbeatfestival.org or call (503) 581-2004.

About the World Beat Festival: The World Beat Festival originated in the late 1990s and was conceived by two young mothers, Mona Hayes and Kathleen Fish, who wanted a space to celebrate cultural heritage. Starting with a small gathering in 1998, the festival has grown into Oregon’s largest multicultural event of its kind. www.WorldBeatFestival.org, 503-581-2004.

About the Salem Multicultural Institute (SMI): The vision of the Salem Multicultural Institute and the purpose of the World Beat Festival and World Beat Gallery are to create an environment of openness for all people. In all our activities, SMI aims to be family-friendly, economically inclusive, and culturally authentic. Visit the gallery located at 390 Liberty ST SE, Salem. www.salemmulticultural.org.

 

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)

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.

 

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

Home

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.

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1109674113319848

Call us at 541-690-8806.  Or email us at Info@RogueValleyMagazine.com

Must Read

What You Need To Know About Real ID in Oregon

Brian Casey

Rogue Valley News, Friday 5/5 – 65-year-old Mushroom Hunter Missing Outside Ashland, Witnesses Take Stand In Ashland Murder Trial 

Renee Shaw

Rogue Valley News, Monday 10/30 – Domestic Violence Shooting Suspect Dead After Crashing into Responding Fire Truck & Other Local And Statewide News…

Renee Shaw