Rogue Valley News, Friday 5/31 – Fire Season Begins June 1st in Jackson and Josephine Counties & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Friday,  May 31, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Fire Season Begins June 1st in Jackson and Josephine Counties

Fire Season on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Southwest Oregon District begins Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 12:01 a.m. The fire danger level will be “Low” (green) and the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) will be I (one). Lands affected by this declaration include 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forestlands in Jackson and Josephine counties.

Spring rain, snow and cooler weather patterns allowed for a fairly fire-free spring in southern Oregon up until mid-March; since then, the ODF Southwest Oregon District has responded to 14 fires, all human-caused. These fires were stopped at just over 10 acres accumulatively. The beginning of fire season and Low fire danger brings regulations; these activities are known to cause fires and will be prohibited with the start of fire season:

  • No debris burning, including piles and debris burned in burn barrels.
  • No fireworks on or within 1/8 of a mile of ODF-protected land.
  • Exploding targets and tracer ammunition, or any bullet with a pyrotechnic charge in its base, are prohibited.
  • Campfires are allowed in designated campgrounds, and on private land with the landowner’s permission. Portable stoves using liquefied or bottled fuels may be used in areas clear of vegetation at any time.
  • Smoking while traveling will only be allowed in enclosed vehicles on improved roads, in boats on the water and other specifically designated locations.
  • Any electric fence controllers must be approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., or be certified by the Department of Consumer and Business Services and be installed and used in compliance with the fence controller’s instructions for fire safe operation.

The start of fire season also means regulations on industrial activities. Under IFPL I (one), fire season requirements are in effect, in addition to the following:

  • A Firewatch is required at this and all higher levels unless otherwise waived.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Season regulations, please call or visit the Southwest Oregon District unit office nearest to you:

Medford Unit, 5286 Table Rock Rd., Central Point – (541) 664-3328

Grants Pass Unit, 5375 Monument Dr., Grants Pass – (541) 474-3152

Additional information about fire season is also available at, Facebook page, @ODFSouthwest and X account, @swofire

Fire Season Restrictions go into effect June 1st within the City of Grants Pass 

Fire Season begins Saturday, June 1st, at 12:01 a.m. The fire danger level will be “Low” (green). The adopted City Municipal Code 9.15 Regulated Closure Fire Restrictions will take effect then.

Beginning Thursday, the following restrictions will take effect within the City of Grants Pass:

  • Smoking in areas of flammable vegetation is prohibited.
  • Open fires are prohibited, including campfires, cooking fires, and warming fires, except at locations designated by the Fire Marshal. Still allowed will be natural gas, propane, and charcoal BBQ’s, smokers as well as natural gas and propane ornamental fires.
  • Power saw use is permitted all day during low fire danger. Each power saw is required to have one shovel and one fire extinguisher of at least 8-ounce capacity. A Firewatch of at least one hour is required following the use of each saw.
  • Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal in areas of flammable vegetation is permitted all day during low fire danger.
  • The mowing of dry, cured grass is permitted all day during low fire danger.
  • Motor vehicles, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, are only allowed on improved roads free of flammable vegetation, except for the culture and harvest of agricultural crops.
  • Any other spark-emitting internal combustion engine in areas of flammable vegetation not specifically mentioned is permitted when conducted in a cleared area and a charged garden hose or one 2 ½ pound or larger fire extinguisher is immediately available.
  • The City Fire Marshal or an authorized representative may, in writing, approve a modification or waiver of these requirements.

For more information about the City of Grants Pass Fire Season regulations, please call the Fire Prevention Division at 541-450-6200

Popsicle Patrol – Saturday June 8th

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The Medford Police Department will be helping residents stay cool this summer by handing out free popsicles and water to kids and adults during their Popsicle Patrols.
901 Rossanley Dr, Medford, OR 97501     2pm to 4pm
The popsicles and waters will be handed out while supplies last.


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

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and 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.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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 or call (844) 482-5322.


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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. —-


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“>

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

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: 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.


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But you can’t receive a scholarship if you don’t apply! The deadline to apply for 2024-25 scholarships is June 1.  —-   Visit 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  —

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

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public. READ MORE HERE: If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP


Sharp rise in Oregon pertussis cases prompts public health warning

Vaccine-preventable disease known as whooping cough can be deadly for infants

PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon health officials are concerned about a sharp increase in cases of pertussis – known as whooping cough – across nine counties and are encouraging people to get vaccinated against the disease.

As of May 29, 178 pertussis cases have been reported to Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division. That’s a 770% increase from the 20 cases reported by that date in 2023. However, the 2024 numbers are roughly in line with those seen during similar time frames in the immediate pre-pandemic years, including 2019, when there were 93 cases, and 2018, which saw 248 cases.

Pertussis is cyclical, and before the COVID-19 pandemic – when restrictions that included masking requirements and school closures were in effect – pertussis peaked every three to five years. In 2012, 910 cases were reported, the highest annual count since 1953.

“Our concern is with how quickly we jumped to such a high number of pertussis cases, which tell us that the disease is doing what it does best: spreading fast and taking a greater toll on undervaccinated persons,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the Public Health Division.

Among the nine counties with reported pertussis to date in 2024, Lane County leads with 64 cases, followed by Multnomah (41), Clackamas (33), Deschutes (15), Washington (13), and Jefferson (8). Three other counties have also seen cases. School-aged children and adolescents account for 92 (52%) of cases. Among them, only 51 (55%) are up to date with recommended pertussis vaccinations.

Infants are at highest risk of pertussis-related complications and death, and they have the highest reported incidence rate. Between 2003 and 2023, infants accounted for 12% of cases and 76% of pertussis hospitalizations. And Oregon pertussis deaths have been limited to infants – five have occurred since 2003.

Babies too young to have been fully vaccinated are most likely to be hospitalized with pertussis. Cieslak said that pregnant people can protect their young babies by getting Tdap vaccine – which protects a person against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis – at 27–36 weeks’ gestation. The mothers will make antibodies and pass them to their babies across the placenta, protecting them from birth. Among 16 infant cases reported in Oregon to date in 2024, only one mother had a documented dose of Tdap during the pregnancy.

When an infant or pregnant person is in the household of someone with pertussis, all household members should receive a course of antibiotics effective against Bordetella pertussis – typically, a five-day course of azithromycin.

Vaccination against pertussis is routinely recommended for infants, children, adolescents and adults. Children should receive the DTaP vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis at 2, 4, 6 and 15 to 18 months, and again at age 4 to kindergarten age.

All persons ages 10 and older should receive a single dose of Tdap.

State Parks Day Events — Several free special events are planned June 1 to celebrate State Parks Day:

Carl G. Washburne: Hot dog BBQ noon-1 p.m. in campground B Loop, across from site 32.

Fort Stevens: Come and play disc golf 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lil’ Oozlefinch Putting Course.  Make a putt, win a special prize! Loaner discs available to use.  Giveaways and prizes for all who attend.

Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail – Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead: Rangers and park partners will be at the Visitor Center 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with information and self-guided activities.

Jessie Honeyman: Hot dog BBQ 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the back patio of the Historic Cleawox Lodge.

L.L. Stub Stewart: The Friends of Stub Stewart State Park encourages all to come to the Community Fair at the Hilltop Day-use Area Picnic Shelter 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the booths and tables hosted by local fire departments, state forestry agencies, and local volunteer organizations.  There will also be interpretive displays and arts and crafts activities for everyone.

Milo McIver:  Join a park ranger at the Interpretive Shelter for a Plant Identification Scavenger Hunt 10-11 a.m. Learn about the different traits of plants and how to determine which species grow within the park. Plan to spend approximately 20-30 minutes learning about edible fruits and prickly plants and then 30 minutes on the trail completing the scavenger hunt.

Silver Falls State Park: Learn about the emerald ash borer (EAB) and its role as a threat to Oregon’s ash trees. Oregon State Parks and Oregon Department of Forestry staff will be on hand 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to share information about this destructive pest at the Discovery Table in the Stone Circle in the South Falls day-use area.

Spring Valley Access: Easy, ½-mile guided hike exploring native plants 11 a.m. Meet at the main parking lot near 8900 Wallace Road NW, Salem, OR, 97304.

The Cove Palisades: Festival of the Landis a free festival that celebrates the diverse history, food and culture of Central Oregon 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes Dutch oven cooking demonstrations, kids’ games and activities, petting “zoo”, mini farmers market, pollinator, wildfire, and fish displays, and more.

Visit the event calendar for a list of additional events this summer.

For camping availability, please check or visit first-come-first served sites:

About Oregon Parks and Recreation Department – The mission of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is to provide and protect outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations. The department manages 254 Oregon State Parks comprising more than 100,000 acres. Learn more at

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

May is also ‘Wildfire Awareness Month’. Visit NIFC.GOV for wildfire prevention tips:

To learn more about fire careers with BLM Oregon-Washington, please see

This Press Release is also available on:

-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.

ONA Statement on OHSU/Legacy Merger

Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Commit to Watchdog Role to Ensure OHSU Delivers on its Promises for the Largest Health Care Merger in Oregon History

(Portland, OR) – OHSU’s billion dollar acquisition of Legacy Health is a pivotal moment for healthcare in Oregon and has far reaching implications for patients, healthcare workers and communities across the state.

Hospital executives have promised to deliver better patient care, greater efficiency, and expanded services, but we know corporate mergers like this often result in higher costs and lower quality care. To avoid those pitfalls, OHSU and Legacy cannot leave this process exclusively in the hands of C-suite executives. Hospital leaders must think differently and invite health advocates and experts in the field–including frontline nurses and healthcare professionals at Legacy and OHSU–to the table to ensure this unprecedented merger process is open, transparent, and delivers on its promises to Oregonians.

This agreement must increase health care services, quality and access for patients, and equip and support providers to better care for all our community members. That includes ensuring OHSU’s merger money does not come out of patients’ or workers’ pockets. OHSU needs to work on improving services and investing in our community without sacrificing current standards.

As it becomes Oregon’s largest healthcare employer, OHSU must commit to maintaining and improving healthcare coverage and benefits for the more than 30,000 healthcare workers who serve Oregonians across the state and are critical to this merger’s success. In the wake of a $1 billion buyout and rich executive compensation and bonuses, Oregonians will not tolerate cuts to frontline health professional’s health insurance or efforts to force OHSU’s lowest-paid workers and their families to shoulder additional costs and jeopardize their access to healthcare. OHSU must also commit to honoring Oregon’s best-in-the-nation hospital safe staffing law and following the staffing plans and decisions from its internal staffing committees. These dual commitments are necessary to preserve and increase Oregonians’ access to health care and raise quality standards for all Oregonians.

The Oregon Nurses Association has a long history of advancing the health of patients, and improving the working conditions of nurses and healthcare providers at OHSU. In fact, we know patients and staff benefit when healthcare workers are unionized–no matter which hospital or clinic they work in. The research shows patients are healthier and staff have safer working conditions, higher wages, better benefits and more job satisfaction when they have a strong voice to advocate for their patients and their community.

ONA nurses, advanced practice providers, and professionals at OHSU and Legacy enjoy a strong connection with their unrepresented colleagues at Legacy and are eager to work together to uplift our new shared community. As the merger process evolves, we look forward to making new connections and building bridges to ensure all nurses and healthcare professionals at Legacy are empowered to retain important aspects of their identity; advocate for their patients, colleagues and community; and fight for the highest workplace and healthcare standards.

We are committed to being a thoughtful partner with nurses, healthcare professionals, executives and communities throughout Oregon during and after this merger. We hope OHSU and Legacy executives will listen to and engage directly with frontline nurses and healthcare professionals in both systems so we can help this merger defy the odds and deliver on their promises to Oregonians. We look forward to reviewing the full details of today’s agreement and engaging in state and national regulatory reviews as we continue fighting for the rights and best interests of Oregon’s healthcare professionals and patients.

ONA represents more than 4,500 nurses and advanced practice providers at OHSU hospitals and clinics throughout the state and more than 1,300 nurses, doctors, advanced practice providers, and allied health professionals at Legacy hospitals and clinics across Oregon and Washington.

An urgent health warning has been issued by the Oregon Health Authority: Do NOT eat mussels harvested from specific areas of Oregon’s coast.

May be an image of text that says 'DANGER ΟΧΙΣ MUSSELS DO NOT EAT The sport harvest of mussels is CLOSED from Seal Rock to the Washington border for high levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. PublicHealth Public Health Prevent.Pro Prevent.Promote, Prevent.Promote.Protect. Preven -Promote, Proteet, LincolnCounty Lincoln County'

At least 20 individuals have fallen ill due to a dangerous biotoxin found in mussels harvested in Oregon. Symptoms of poisoning include numbness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat.

What You Need to Know: 👉Affected Areas: Mussels harvested since May 15, 2024, from beaches between Seal Rock State Park and the Washington border should be discarded immediately. 👉Symptoms: If you or anyone you know experiences symptoms after eating mussels, seek medical attention promptly. 👉Preventive Measures: Avoid consuming shellfish from beaches with biotoxin closures.

📞 If you have concerns or need advice, contact the Oregon Poison Center at 800-222-1222. Your safety is our top priority! For more information, visit: Oregon Department of Agriculture Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closure:…/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx…Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish and Biotoxins:…Oregon Health Authority Fish and Shellfish Consumption Resources:…/pages/seafood-shellfish.aspx…

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:, or contact OBMP at“> or 971-673-0400.

Meth Dealer Arrested – Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT)

On Wednesday, May 29th, 2024, detectives with the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT) culminated a months long investigation into illegal drug dealing in the Yoncalla area with the execution of search warrants at two locations and making an arrest.

In recent months, through varied investigative techniques, detectives obtained evidence of multiple suspected large scale drug deals occurring at a residence in the 600 block of Main Street in Yoncalla.  During that time, detectives seized approximately two pounds of suspected methamphetamine that could be tied directly to the suspect, 54 year old Donald Wayne Baughman of Yoncalla.

On Wednesday afternoon, at approximately 3:45 PM, DINT, with assistance from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, executed search warrants at two of the suspect’s residences; One in the 600 block of Main Street in Yoncalla, and the other in the 1200 block of N First Street in Drain.  Baughman was detained at the Drain residence.  A search there revealed only a small amount of suspected methamphetamine (approximately 10 grams).

During a search of the Yoncalla residence detectives located almost a pound of suspected methamphetamine hidden inside, along with numerous other items seized as evidence of meth dealing.

The residence is located close to Yoncalla Grade School.  There are specific statutes with enhanced penalties for manufacturing and/or dealing controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school and they apply in this case.

Donald Baughman was ultimately transported to the Douglas County Jail where he was lodged on the following charges:

  • Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine (3 counts)
  • Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine (3 counts)
  • Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine Within 1,000′ of a School (3 counts)
  • Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine (3 counts)
  • Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetamine within 1,000′ of a School (3 counts).

The DINT team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency, prosecutor-supported approach. DINT is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and is composed of members from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg Police Department, Oregon State Police, Bureau of Land Management, and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including DINT.

SUMMER ALERT: Blood and platelet donors needed now — American Red Cross – Cascades Region

Red Cross provides support to communities devastated by recent storms

— The American Red Cross critically needs blood and platelet donors now following a concerning decrease in donations as the country has experienced an increase in severe weather systems and historic travel.In fact, over the past month about 20,000 fewer blood donations were collected than needed to maintain the Red Cross-national blood supply.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), five of the busiest travel days ever happened this month and more record-breaking travel is expected this summer — a busy time when many regular donors may be unable to give. Additionally, as the U.S. approaches what AAA calls the “100 deadliest days” of summer for auto accidents, it is critical hospitals have lifesaving blood products on hand for all trauma and accident victims who count on transfusions when there is no time to waste. In some of the most-dire situations, medical teams may need to use hundreds of blood products to save a life.

“Emergencies take many forms – some arising in a hospital and others arising as relentless and devastating storms,” said Priscilla Fuentes, regional executive of the Red Cross Cascades Region. “Unfortunately, our community has been no stranger to emergencies these past few years, but when I witness communities come together – at a blood drive or after a disaster – I see us growing stronger and becoming more resilient. Together, we can provide help and hope that is very much needed right now.”

Storm response efforts: The holiday weekend brought the busiest severe weather day of the year so far, with 26 reported tornadoes across 10 states.

With the most active year for tornadoes since 2017, hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers, including more than 20 from our region, are working around the clock with partners across multiple states to make sure people affected by this severe weather have a safe place to stay, food, relief supplies and emotional and spiritual support. Emergency shelters are open in some of the hardest hit areas. Red Cross disaster workers are helping assess the damage where it is safe to do so with preliminary reports indicating nearly 3,000 homes either destroyed or with major damage across the country.

The Red Cross is monitoring the weather and standing by to open additional shelters if needed. Should new communities be impacted, the organization will be on the ground providing help in the days and weeks to come.

How to help: Individuals are urged to help those facing emergencies – whether they need a lifesaving blood transfusion or shelter from the storm.

  • Make a blood donation appointment by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years old and younger must meet certain height and weight requirements.
  • Featured blood drive: Saturday, June 8, Portland Chapter Building 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. Go to for times or other dates and locations.
  • Help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises by making a financial donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief today at or via 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
  • Put on a red vest and join us as a volunteer today to provide relief and hope when it matters most. Visit to sign up for local opportunities, like our Disaster Action Team, or Bood Donor Ambassador Program.

The Red Cross has teamed up with Tetris, creators of the iconic, best-selling video game, to celebrate their 40th anniversary and build the blood supply for patients in need. In commemoration, all who answer the call to help May 20-June 9, 2024, will get an exclusive Tetris® + Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last, plus be automatically entered for a chance to win a trip for two to New York to meet Tetris creator, Alexey Pajitnov. See for details.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross provides shelter, food and comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or follow us on social media.

Oregon Housing and Community Services announces progress on rural shelter and rehousing goals with launch of new dashboard — Oregon Housing and Community Services

SALEM, OR — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) announces rural communities added 216 new shelter beds, more than doubling the goal set through Oregon’s Emergency Homelessness Response.

OHCS delivered funding and is providing technical assistance to partners throughout the rural regions, referred to as Balance of State, to help achieve the rural shelter and rehousing goals. The local planning groups surpassed their shelter target of 100 beds by 216% and are nearly halfway to rehousing 450 households with more than a year left to achieve the goals. OHCS is tracking the progress through a new dashboard.

“Rural Oregon is vital to our state’s past, present, and future. To sustainably deliver results for the people of Oregon, we must harness the potential of everyone from all parts of the state,” said OHCS Executive Director Andrea Bell. “This progress is a testament to leaders who showed up with vibrancy, values, and readiness to meet the needs while embracing a new approach.”

OHCS received $26.1 million to help rural communities meet their housing goals. Every community across the Balance of State received funding to rehouse a specific number of households and was also able to use the funds for street outreach and to provide other critical services, such as rental assistance.

These resources are making a real impact on Oregonians. For instance, in Tillamook, an expecting couple found assistance at just the right time, and their baby was born shortly after they moved into a permanent home. Their case managers were also able to provide rental assistance funded by the emergency response. This allowed the new parents to take valuable family leave to focus on their new baby without worrying about losing their home. Since then, the dad has found a new job at much better pay and is optimistic about his family’s future.

OHCS also funded eleven high-impact shelter plans across ten communities. The agency selected the projects based on factors such as geographic diversity and shelter readiness.

About Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS)
OHCS is Oregon’s housing finance agency. The state agency provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of low and moderate income. OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization. OHCS delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers. For more information, please visit:

15 Oregon School Districts To Receive Funds for New Clean School Buses

As part of its ongoing effort to replace diesel-fueled school buses, the Biden administration on Wednesday said it will provide approximately 530 school districts across nearly all states with almost $1 billion to help them purchase clean  school buses. Nearly all of the clean school buses purchased will be electric, at 92%, according to the administration.

The Biden administration has allocated more than $22.6 million to 15 Oregon school districts. Six of them –  Elkton, Gresham Barlow, La Grande, McMinnville, Morrow and Pendleton – will receive at least $2 million. The biggest grant – $4.2 million – will go to Pendleton School District, while Eugene School District will get the smallest grant, at $100,000. READ MORE:

Latest Oregon Economic Forecast Shows Steady Growth and Uncertain Future

Oregon’s economy continues to grow steadily, if at a slower pace than it has in recent years, state economists told lawmakers on Wednesday.

That includes April personal income tax collections coming in higher than expected, leaving a “fifty-fifty proposition” that Oregonians will receive a $582 million kicker tax credit in 2026, two years after the state paid out the largest kicker in state history. The credit kicks in whenever income tax payments are 2% higher than lawmakers planned for when crafting their two-year budget.

But state economists warned that the additional tax collections – and refunds – might not happen because of uncertainty with the national economy.

“Should high interest rates, federal policy woes or economic weakness among our trading partners derail the U.S. economy, the expected growth in Oregon’s tax collections will not come to pass,” they wrote in their economic forecast.

State economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers on the House and Senate revenue committees that continued high inflation, and the Federal Reserve indicating it won’t cut interest rates until December, increase the likelihood of a recession instead of the soft landing economists saw as more likely earlier this year.

Economists are also uncertain because of the upcoming federal election, he said. In the 2021 tax year, for instance, revenues rose in part because people cashed in on investments anticipating that the Biden administration and a new Democratic majority in Congress would undo some of the tax cuts passed under the Trump administration.

Oregonians received record kicker payments this year, with about $1,000 going back to the median taxpayer who earns between $35,000 and $40,000 annually. But economists say it doesn’t appear people are spending that money. Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax, though the corporate activity tax on gross business receipts acts as a hidden sales tax, and the state taxes vehicles, hotels, gas and marijuana.

“One of the things that we expected to see with this $5.6 billion kicker was a big positive impact on these consumption taxes, particularly with our traditional experience with the lottery sales, and what we see during the tax refund season,” McMullen said. “And to date, we haven’t really seen that.”

There are still four more forecasts before lawmakers receive the final March 2025 numbers they’ll use to craft the next two-year budget, and a lot could change in the coming months. But for now, forecasters estimate the state will have about $34 billion in its general fund, up slightly from the 2021-23 biennium, and lawmakers will have more money available to dip into in case of emergencies in the current two-year budget cycle.

“We do see an increase in net available resources in the current biennium,” McMullen said. “A lot of that goes away in the next biennium again, because we’re right at this kicker cusp.”

Leaders react

Democrats, including Gov. Tina Kotek, used the forecast to call for more spending on housing, schools and behavioral health.

“Oregon’s economy continues to be stable and productive,” Kotek said. “We have made meaningful progress on issues of top concern for Oregonians and worked to move our economy in the right direction. I look forward to continuing to partner with the legislature to focus on meeting people’s needs in every part of the state, from housing to safe schools to behavioral health services.”

Speaker Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, said the state will have the resources it needs, and that lawmakers need to focus on maintaining recent investments in housing, child care, early learning, mental health care and job creation.

“The revenue forecast issued today indicates that, statewide, Oregon’s economy is stable and growing,” she said. “Our state will have the funding we need to continue paying for the critical ongoing programs that Oregonians rely on, thanks to prudent budgeting and strong leadership. It’s also encouraging to see steady productivity and solid labor market gains, as well as job growth in the semiconductor industry, both in the near- and long-term, due to jobs-boosting bills like the CHIPS Act.”

But Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, struck a more cautious tone.

“The economy continues to remain strong — bolstered by Oregon’s advantageous business climate — and the Legislature has made prudent fiscal decisions that have put us in a good position as we begin to craft the next biennium’s budget,” he said. “Even so, the Legislature will face challenges to continue to fund and maintain the essential services and strategic investments made over the last two years.”

And Senate Republican Leader Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles, called for reining in state spending.

“Across the state, Oregon families are having to tighten their budgets and make difficult choices as rising costs due to high inflation outpace their earnings,” he said. “It’s time the state does the same. The latest revenue forecast indicates that the state has continued to take more than enough of our hard-earned tax dollars. The Legislature – like many of our friends and neighbors – must learn to live within its means.” (SOURCE)

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 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., 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.



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


Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate. Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at

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

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