Rogue Valley News, Friday 6/21 – State Fire Marshal Mobilizes Task Forces to Upper Applegate Fire, Hwy 62 Fire in Shady Cove & 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,  June 21, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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State Fire Marshal Mobilizes Two Task Forces to the Upper Applegate Fire in Jackson County

This morning, the Oregon State Fire Marshal mobilized two structural task forces to the Upper Applegate Fire in Jackson County. The task forces are from Lane and Polk counties and were mobilized through Immediate Response, a tool the state fire marshal uses to send firefighting resources outside of a conflagration. The structural task forces will support the Applegate Valley Fire District.

Report Image
Image from Watch Duty –

ODF Morning Update:

Despite numerous hazards, firefighters are making good progress on the fire, one of two reported within 15 minutes on Thursday afternoon. The fire is burning on extremely steep terrain affecting private, BLM, and U.S. Forest Servie land on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

This morning resources will continue to build and strengthen the lines that were dug on both blanks of the Upper Applegate Fire. Wind and terrain pushed the flames up a steep gill creating a long and skinny fire footprint. The majority of each side is currently line, however the most easter portion still remains uncontrolled. Firefighter are working to gain access and put line in that area. Today 108 personnel are assigned to the incident, including four 20-person crews, two engines, two water tenders and two bulldozers. Three helicopters are also assigned to work exclusively on this fire, including a Type 1, 2, and 3. Additional aircraft will be ordered as needed. Approximately a dozen homes were protected from this fire yesterday and overnight; structure protection will continue to be a priority as resources work today.

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, as of Friday morning, the Upper Applegate Fire was estimated to be 500 acres in size. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has Level 1 Be Ready evacuation notices in place for homes near the fire. You can find the latest evacuation map here and information about evacuations here.

“Our priority is to proactively protect our communities from the threat of wildfires. We’re sending resources to boost capacity and support the Applegate Valley Fire District until the fire is contained,” said Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. “With warm, dry weather in the forecast, the risk of wildfires is heightened across Oregon. We urge everyone to help our firefighters by taking preventive measures to avoid sparking a wildfire this summer and follow all burning restrictions.”

For information about the fire, please follow the Oregon Department of Forestry – Southwest District. Learn how to be #WildfireAware this summer by following these wildfire prevention tips.

About Immediate Response — Immediate Response is made possible through the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative, created through Oregon’s wildfire omnibus bill, Senate Bill 762, signed into law in 2021.

LEARN MORE: Response Ready Oregon

Hwy 62 Fire -17700 block Crater Lake Highway, Shady Cove

Jackson County, OR

ODF Morning Update:
Night crews have made good progress during the night. The fire is now 100% lined and 60% plumb lined with water access. It is affecting both private and BLM land.

Day resources will continue to strengthen the lines today with a goal of connecting hose across the entire fire, allowing water access on every portion of the incident for mop up operations. More than 100 personnel are assigned to this fire today, includging four 20 person cres, four engines and two water tenders. Aircraft will likely not be needed, but will be available.

Hot temperatures, winds and low relative humidity will help to naturally fuel fire hahavior today. Both this and the Applegate fire have hazard trees, and a few have already fallen. Safety will remain a top priority for both fires.

The Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation notices have been cancelled this morning.



Care Facility Employee Arrested in Grants Pass for Sexual Abuse of Elderly Patients

Grants Pass, Oregon – On June 16, 2024, the Grants Pass Police Department received a report of sex abuse involving a patient and employee at a local nursing home.

A subsequent investigation by Grants Pass Police Major Crimes Unit detectives, conducted with the assistance of the nursing home management, determined the suspect to be Michael Anthony Lee, a 28-year-old male resident of Medford, Oregon. Lee is 6’0” tall and weighs approximately 220 pounds, with red hair and green eyes. Detectives determined that Lee had worked as a care home Certified Nursing Assistant in Grants Pass and Medford over the past three years. Lee allegedly targeted both female and male elderly victims for sexual assault, and it is anticipated additional victims have not yet been identified.

On June 20, 2024, Grants Pass Police detectives arrested Michael Lee at his recent place of employment in Grants Pass and lodged him at the Josephine County Jail for Sex Abuse in the 1st Degree (x2) and Attempted Sex Abuse in the 1st Degree (x2).

The Grants Pass Police Department is requesting assistance in identifying additional victims. Anyone with information on the criminal acts or identity of additional victims is asked to call the Grants Pass Police Department at 541-450-6260 and reference case #24-22321.  The Grants Pass Police Department is committed to investigating all reports of sexual abuse.



JMET Search Warrant Bust at Rockydale Rd in Cave Junction 

Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office 

DETAILS: On June 18, 2024, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) with the assistance of Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety, executed a search warrant in the 3000 Block of Rockydale Road, Cave Junction, regarding an illegal marijuana grow site.During the execution of the warrant, over 600 marijuana plants and 30 processed pounds of marijuana were seized and destroyed. Additionally, 75.4 grams of cocaine, 20.6 grams of methamphetamine, two pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, and two firearms were seized on scene.

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

Dian Mark Reynolds was taken into custody and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, and Unlawful Appropriation of Water.

Charges of Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of Cocaine, and Felon in Possession x2, are being referred to the District Attorney’s office for other individuals involved with the property.

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


Providence Hospital Nurses in Medford On Strike

More than 3,000 nurses at six Providence hospitals across Oregon went on strike on Tuesday Including Medford’s Providence Hospital

The strike is set to last three days, impacting: Providence St. Vincent, Newberg, Willamette Falls, Medford, Hood River and Milwaukie.

Along with issues around wages, the union said the implementation of Oregon’s hospital staffing law is a key sticking point. The Oregon Nurses Association sent a cease-and-desist letter to Providence on June 14, saying the health system was violating the safe-staffing law, requiring a certain patient-to-nurse ratio. Providence said it is working to build out those plans and follow the law.

Other sticking points include paid time off and health care benefits.

Providence St. Vincent in Northwest Portland, Providence Newberg, Providence Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Providence Medford, Providence Hood River and Providence Milwaukie are all impacted by the strike

Gentry said that while Providence had to divert ambulances for a couple of hours Tuesday morning while they brought in replacement workers, the transition overall went smoothly at all six campuses.

“Providence nurses ensured that the handover went well and that our replacement nurses had all of the information they needed to ensure that we were able to continue providing excellent care,” she said.

Providence officials said they had to guarantee five days of work in order to recruit replacement workers, and that they’ll invite striking nurses back as needed after the walkout concludes.

Both the union and Providence are encouraging patients to continue to seek emergency services at any of these hospitals, as needed, regardless of the strike action. Providence said all sites are open and serving patients.

Read More at ONA:


Due to High Temperatures and Dry Fuels, Fire Danger Level Increasing to Moderate on Thursday

Warm weather across our area has dried vegetation to the degree that the City Fire Marshal will increase the fire danger level to Moderate (Blue) on Thursday, June 20th, 2024. Fire prevention regulations in the City of Grants Pass will increase as well.

The following fire season regulations will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 20th within the City of Grants Pass.

•             Smoking in areas of flammable vegetation is prohibited.

•             Open wood-fueled fires are prohibited, including campfires, cooking fires, and warming fires, except at locations designated by the Fire Marshal. Wood smokers, charcoal barbecues, propane, and natural gas-fueled ornamental fires are allowed.

•             Power saws must be shut down between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. 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 the saw.

•             Cutting, grinding, and welding of metal in areas of flammable vegetation is not allowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

•             The mowing of dried, cured grass will not be allowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

•             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 will not be allowed between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This equipment must be used in a cleared area during other hours, 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 Bureau at 541-450-6200


Butte Creek Falls state forests recreation area to reopen after the 2020 wildfires 
The Oregon Department of Forestry is reopening one of the true gems of the state forests' recreations areas, Butte Creek Falls, on June 21. Pictured is the upper falls, there is also a lower falls

The Oregon Department of Forestry is reopening one of the true gems of the state forests’ recreations areas, Butte Creek Falls, on June 21. Pictured is the upper falls, there is also a lower falls

SANTIAM STATE FOREST, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is reopening one of the true gems of the state forests’ recreations areas, Butte Creek Falls, on June 21.

The drive into the recreation area goes though ridges and valleys of burned and blacken trees from the 2020 fires.  The deadly Beachie Creek fires killed several people, destroyed homes and scorched more than 400,000 acres.  However, near the recreation area the trees turn green and the area around the upper and lower waterfalls are lush and untouched by fire.

“We were really fortunate the fires skipped over this area,” said Joe Offer, ODF’s Recreation Program Manager.  “The trailhead and the paths to the two sets of falls are open, so is the camping area and the 100-yard shooting range.”

ODF recreation staff and work crews from the South Fork Forest Camp (A jointly run facility by ODF and the Department of Corrections) and the DOC’s Santiam Correctional Institute have been working hard to get the area open after being closed for nearly four years.

“There was a lot of vegetation and debris on the trails,” said Offer.  “But thanks in large part to the adults in custody crews they are cleared and just last week they repaired one of the foot bridges.  The crew had to transport the lumber, tools, and a generator down the trails to get the job done.”

Another major improvement was made after the 2020 fires but is just now opening.

“The 100-yard shooting range was a joint project with Trash No-Land,” said Offer.  The non-profit dedicated to responsible target shoot works to improve safety and reduce fire risks at dispersed ranges across the state.  Funding for the improvements came from the NRA’s Public Range Fund. The range is located on Butte Creek 615 Road just off the Butte Creek Mainline Road. A new gravel backdrop, concrete barriers at approximately 100-yards, parking and new informational signs were all part of the improvements at the former gravel pit.

Most people head straight to the trailhead that has parking for five or six vehicles while there are three campsites for tents at the campground. There is also additional parking at the campground with a connector trail to the main trail that goes to the falls.

“Our future plan is to expand both parking areas, the campground and offer additional camping opportunities within this northern block of the Santiam,” said Offer.  “But right now we just wanted to get everything open then start working on new improvements.”

The area was closed mainly for safety reasons while ODF did post-fire timber harvesting and removed roadside hazardous burned and dead trees.

“This operation was the largest and most challenging of all ODF’s post-fire restoration timber sales as it was within one of the highest severity portions of the fires’ footprint,” said Kyle Kaupp, Santiam Unit Forester. “It included more than 20 miles of roadside hazard tree mitigation across multiple road systems, all which were accessible by the same travel route to this recreation area.”

The work in the area was difficult, but careful consideration of high elevation weather, extensive safety measures, technical harvesting systems, and contractor availability were among the long list of factors that allowed the operation to be successful.

“ODF has also begun to replant trees for the future of the forested areas, said Kaupp.  “So far, nearly 200,000 seedlings have been planted in this specific area alone.”

And the ODF’s work in the area continues so there are still some restrictions.

“There are salvage harvest operations on-going, so one place that remains closed is the High Lakes Recreation Area,” said Offer.  “We are asking folks to not go into that area until all operations are complete and we determine the best way to manage recreation in such a heavily burned landscape.”

For updates, more information and maps to the area see the Santiam State Forests recreation site status webpage.  For information on all Oregon State Forests recreation sites visit the ODF Recreation website.  For more information on Trash No Land visit their webpage.


Former ICU Nurse Pleads Not Guilty To 44 Counts Of Second Degree Assault In Case Involving Suspicion Of Replacing Fentanyl With Tap Water At Asante In Medford

Medford nurse Dani Marie Schofield on Friday pleaded not guilty to an
indictment charging her with 44 counts of second-degree assault on
suspicion of harming nearly four dozen patients in Asante Rogue
Regional Medical Center’s intensive care unit by stealing fentanyl
prescribed to them to ease their pain.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Laura Cromwell told Schofield that she
didn’t qualify financially for a court-appointed lawyer and no defense
lawyer was present as the judge kept Schofield’s bail at $4 million despite
a pretrial officer’s recommendation to lower it to $1 million.

Schofield complained to the court that she’s been locked down in
isolation in jail, hasn’t received her medication, has had no contact with
anyone and barely has running water.

She said she believes her family has contacted a lawyer to represent her
and asked the judge how they should inform the court.

The judge instructed Schofield to file a grievance with the jail about the
conditions and that a retained lawyer should contact the court. A pretrial
conference was scheduled for June 24.

Police and prosecutors say Schofield took patients’ fentanyl for her own
personal use and replaced the liquid drug with non-sterile tap water,
causing them to develop life-threatening infections.

Of the 44 patients identified, 16 died — most in the hospital but others
after they were discharged, Medford Police Chief Justin Ivens said during
a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Schofield, 36, was lodged by Medford police in the Jackson County Jail
after she was arrested about 12:30 p.m. Thursday in the 5000 block of
Rogue River Drive outside Eagle Point.

Jackson County Circuit Court clerk Emily Kaplan denied Schofield a
court-appointed attorney, citing her equity in a 2019 Acura MDX, $348,780 equity in residential property in Medford and $20,000 in a bank account, according to court records.


Renee Miereanu will be Presenting “The Miracle of Psilocybin” at Oregon Hypnotherapy Association Summer Conference… June 22nd 2024 —

🔹 Renee Miereanu – “The Miracle of Psilocybin” Explore the profound and miraculous benefits of psilocybin with Renee Miereanu. This session will offer fascinating insights into how this powerful substance can significantly alter the landscape of therapeutic practices.Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to advance your knowledge, network with like-minded professionals, and discover innovative approaches to mental health and personal growth.🌐

Renee Miereanu is a Rogue Valley practitioner and is a highly accomplished Master in Neuro-Linguistics, Counselor, Master Clinical Hypnotherapist, Oregon State Certified Psilocybin Facilitator, Happiness Coach, Relationships Coach, and an expert in nicotine cessation. With over 30 years of experience, Renee has dedicated her career to helping individuals overcome challenges, transform negative beliefs, and create lasting changes in their lives. She is the founder of The Breathe Center, a renowned institution that offers a holistic approach to personal growth and well being. MORE INFO:

Oregon Hypnotherapy Association Summer Conference…June 22nd 2024 12:30p – 5:00p Best Western Hotel 29769 SW Boones Ferry Rd. Wilsonville, Oregon — Register:

You can read more at:


Southern Oregon Joint Task Force Serves Two Local Child Porn Search Warrants

JCSO Cases 24-1658, 24-2249

ROGUE VALLEY, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force served two search warrants yesterday, June 11 in separate residences in Eagle Point and rural Grants Pass. According to the initial investigation, the cases do not appear to be connected. Detectives are interviewing possible witnesses and involved parties, and investigations are ongoing.

SOCET served the first search warrant yesterday just after 7 a.m. at a residence in the 100 block of Keystone Way in Eagle Point. SOCET began the investigation after a suspect sent child exploitation imagery to undercover law enforcement. Eagle Point Police Department assisted with the warrant service.

Investigators served the second search warrant at 1:30 p.m. in a converted school bus on a property in the 6500 block of Rogue River Highway in rural Grants Pass near the town of Rogue River. The investigation began after a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children started the investigation, which led to subpoenas, followed by the search warrant at the residence. Josephine County Parole & Probation assisted with the warrant service.

SOCET was assisted by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies and detectives, Oregon State Police (OSP), and Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF) investigators. During the warrants, investigators seized digital devices which will be forensically examined by SOHTCTF for further evidence of child exploitation.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation. The task force consists of investigators from JCSO and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County. SOHTCTF is a joint inter-agency task force that consists of investigators from JCSO, HSI, OSP, and Medford Police Department. There is no further information available for release.



Community members are invited to enjoy Mount Ashland’s summer season starting on Friday.

No photo description available.

According to the ski area, the restaurant and retail shop inside the lodge will be open every Friday through Sunday from now until Labor Day. Events including movie nights, tie-dye events, and a disc golf tournament will be offered throughout the summer. Mount Ashland is also kicking off a summer program for kids.

Opening this Friday!
Lodge summer hours:
Fridays | 11AM – 5PM
Saturdays – Sundays | 11AM – 7PM
Disc golf, hiking, events, the list goes on. There are tons of things to do at your local mountain playground this summer.☀️ Plus, it’s pretty much always 10-30 degrees cooler up here. 😉

To find out more, visit the Mount Ashland Summer webpage:

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


Memorial Ceremony Honors Oregon’s Fallen Firefighters

A ceremony held Thursday, June 20 in Salem commemorated Oregon fire service members who have died in the line of duty. Hundreds gathered for the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Ceremony to honor the brave individuals who gave their lives to protect communities and natural resources around the state.

The annual event is held at the Oregon Public Safety Academy, site of the Oregon Fire Fighters Memorial. The memorial commemorates 179 fire service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 1881, including career, volunteer, wildland and structural fire fighters.

Thursday’s ceremony remembered three fallen fire service members whose names were recently added to the memorial: Mo Stadeli of Salem Fire Department, and Brandon W. Norbury and Brian Edward Flowers of Gresham Fire and Emergency Services.

Mo Stadeli served as a professional firefighter with the Salem Fire Department for more than twenty-five years. In 2018, he was diagnosed with tonsillar cancer, and he passed away on February 24, 2019.

On February 3, 2023, after participating in routine hose evolution training, Brandon W. Norbury of Gresham Fire and Emergency Services suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the training ground. Despite life-saving efforts of other fire department members, Norbury was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital.

After a fifteen-year career, Gresham Fire and Emergency Services Firefighter Brian Edward Flowers passed away on November 19, 2023, after a monthslong battle with Occupational Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

In his keynote speech, Clackamas Fire District #1 Chief Nick Browne praised the fallen firefighters’ commitment to public service and the sacrifices they made to leave the world a better place.

“In the course of their duties, these men saved countless lives, they protected property, and they provided a sense of security and hope to countless individuals,” Chief Browne said.

He continued, “Every name on that wall, every person on that wall reflected those same traits. When we reflect on their sacrifice, we see that bright beacon of light that shines from their examples through the darkness of grief, illuminating the path of service, courage and compassion that they walked every single day.”

The ceremony is a significant event that the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) hosts annually in partnership with the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard. For more information on the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial, including the names of the fallen, history of the memorial, and the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard’s involvement, please visit DPSST’s Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial website at

About DPSST – The mission of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is to pursue excellence in training and accountability for public safety professionals. DPSST certifies and licenses police, corrections, and parole and probation officers, as well as regulatory specialists, emergency telecommunicators and medical dispatchers, criminal justice instructors, private security providers, private investigators, fire service professionals, and polygraph examiners in the state of Oregon.  DPSST works with public and private safety agencies around the state to provide basic, leadership and specialized training at the 237-acre Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem and regionally throughout the state.

U.S. Olympic Track And Field Team Trials Kick off Today at Hayward Field

Thousands of athletes, their families, and fans have descended on Hayward Field in Eugene this week for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

The trials begin today, June 21, and conclude June 30 at Hayward Field in Eugene. At least one final race will be held during each evening session.

The eight-day competition starts on Friday and ends June 30 and will determine who will qualify to be inside the State de France in northern Paris when the track and field portion of the Summer Games begins Aug. 2.

With an increase in tourism and traffic expected to hit the Eugene and Springfield area, here’s all you need to know about the street closures, transportation services, and parking plans available for attendees.

Road closures planned around Hayward Field

Hayward Field is located at the University of Oregon at 1530 Agate Street in Eugene. To accommodate the event, parking lots and streets around the stadium will be closed.

On Monday night, East 18th Ave. and Agate Street closed to the public. Portions of East 15th Ave. and East 17th Ave. near Hayward Field were also blocked off from traffic.

Starting Friday, access to East 13th Ave. and University Street will be limited to use for University of Oregon business.

The following parking lots on campus will be closed to permit holders:


While the track and field trials are a long event, held over eight days, there’s no better place to see Olympic athletes compete than Hayward Field.

Here’s how to get tickets for the competition: — MORE INFO:

Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Rises by 4,000 in May

Salem, OR  In May, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4,000 jobs, following a revised gain of 2,400 jobs in April. Health care and social assistance gained 1,900 jobs in May, while leisure and hospitality added 1,000. Monthly declines were largest in retail trade (-800) and construction (-400).

Private-sector job growth has been very slow over the year, gaining 3,500 jobs (+0.2%). Health care and social assistance was the primary source of growth with a solid gain of 16,200 jobs (+5.7%). All four component industries have been adding jobs at a rapid clip. Elsewhere in the private sector, manufacturing dropped 3,700 jobs over the year, retail trade lost 3,400, and construction dropped 2,200 jobs in the past year.

The public sector added 9,100 jobs over the past 12 months. Local, state, and federal government are all at least 2% above their job counts a year ago. Local education gained 3,400 jobs over the year to reach 142,600 in May. This is the first spring that local schools reached the employment level in spring 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in May for the fourth straight month. Looking back at the past few years, Oregon’s monthly unemployment rate has been 4.2% or lower every month since October 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.0% in May.

Next Press Releases – The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the May county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, June 25, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for June on Wednesday, July 17.

——— Notes: All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted except for the local government education job figures.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.

The PDF version of this news release can be found at To get the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit, select Tools, then choose LAUS or CES under the Economy header. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spoken-language interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503-947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to

El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon (OED) es una agencia de igualdad de oportunidades. El OED proporciona ayuda gratuita para que usted pueda utilizarnuestros servicios. Algunos ejemplos son intérpretes de lengua de señas e idiomas hablados, materiales escritos en otros idiomas, letra grande, audio y otros formatos. Para obtener ayuda, por favorllame al 503-947-1444. Usuarios de TTY pueden llamar al 711. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a

Proposed ballot measure to raise corporate taxes, give every Oregonian $750 a year likely to make November ballot

Oregon voters will likely decide in November whether to establish a historic universal basic income program that would give every state resident roughly $750 annually from increased corporate taxes.

Proponents of the concept say they likely have enough signatures to place it on the ballot this fall, and opponents are taking them seriously.

State business advocacy groups are preparing to launch a campaign against the proposed measure, arguing that it would harm Oregon’s business landscape and economy.

The proposal, Initiative Petition 17, would establish a 3% tax on corporations’ sales in Oregon above $25 million and distribute that money equally among Oregonians of all ages. As of Friday, its backers had turned in more than 135,000 signatures, which is higher than the 117,173 required to land on the ballot. The validity of those signatures must still be certified by the Secretary of State’s Office.

“It’s looking really good. It’s really exciting,” said Anna Martinez, a Portland hairstylist who helped form the group behind the campaign, Oregon People’s Rebate, in 2020. If approved by voters, the program would go into effect in January 2025.

Martinez and other supporters say the financial boost would help Oregon families buy groceries, afford rent and pay for basic necessities. “This will put money back in the local economy. It will help small businesses,” she said. “Some people say, ‘Well it’s only $750.’ But that’s huge if you really need it.”

The state Department of Revenue would be responsible for distributing the money. Every Oregon resident would be able to claim the money either in cash or as a refundable tax credit, regardless of whether they have filed personal incomes taxes, according to the ballot initiative draft.

The initiative proposal draft states that any leftover funding from the rebate would “be used to provide additional funding for services for senior citizens, health care, public early childhood education and public kindergarten through grade 12 education.”

The ballot measure campaign has received significant financial support from out-of-state supporters of universal basic income.

Oregon People’s Rebate has received about $740,000 in contributions and spent all but about $10,000. The highest contributor by far is Jones Holding LLC, a corporation based in Los Angeles and controlled by investor and universal basic income fan Josh Jones that has given $425,000. The second largest contributor is a related L.A.-based corporation, Jones Parking Inc., which contributed nearly $95,000. The third largest source of contributions are the foundation and mother of Gerald Huff, a software engineer and advocate of universal basic income from California who died in 2018. Huff’s foundation and mother have contributed $90,000 combined.

“Yes, the funders are from California, but these are not like nefarious outside interests here,” Martinez said. “These are people who are committed to basic income.”

Oregon business groups are preparing to fight the measure. State business lobby Oregon Business and Industry and tax policy research nonprofit Tax Foundation say raising corporate taxes would harm companies and lead to higher costs of goods and services.

“(The proposed measure) would impose a massive tax increase in Oregon,” Oregon Business and Industry said in a statement. “If it qualifies for the ballot, our organization will be involved in a campaign against it, and we are confident that when voters look at the facts, they will vote to reject it.”

Oregon currently brings in billions of dollars of corporate taxes every year. The state’s excise and income tax on corporations brought in 10.3% of the state’s general fund in the 2021-2023 biennium, enough to make it the second highest revenue source after personal income tax, according to the Legislative Revenue Office.

C corporations, the default type of corporation for tax status, that do business in Oregon currently pay a state excise tax of 6.6% on income under $1 million and a 7.6% tax on income above that. If a corporation doesn’t earn a net income, they must pay a minimum state tax of $150 to $100,000 based on their total sales, according to the Legislative Revenue Office. Other types of corporations pay a minimum $150 excise tax.

Oregon corporations also pay a 0.57% corporate activity tax, which is calculated from companies’ commercial activity in the state valued above $1 million.

The proposed ballot measure would increase the minimum excise tax to 3% on all corporations’ reported gross sales above $25 million. Under the proposed measure, all of that money would then be distributed by the state Department of Revenue to all Oregon residents who live in the state for more than 200 days of the year.

Business groups fear that the increased taxes would drive corporations away from Oregon. “In practice, affected businesses would likely move more of their operations out-of-state to avoid” paying such high taxes, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

The report states that corporations with high gross sales but low or no profit would be taxed unreasonably high amounts. A corporation with a low 3% profit margin would have to pay all its profits from sales above $25 million in Oregon taxes.

Martinez said the opposition from business groups does not surprise her. “It’s a tale as old as time,” she said. “Corporations don’t want to pay their fair share. They pay so little compared to everyday Oregonians. We all have really thin margins and we manage to do it.” (SOURCE)

Oregon Sen. Wyden proposes legislation to preserve rural maternal care

The federal bill follows last year’s closure of the only hospital birth center in Baker City that served large swath of rural eastern Oregon

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is pushing for a pathway for rural hospitals to continue to provide maternal care in small communities.

Wyden, D-Oregon, on Monday released a draft bill that outlines a series of financial incentives to encourage hospitals to continue to offer birth services. The bill includes higher Medicaid rates and additional payments to cover the cost of on-call staff for expectant mothers in small communities with low numbers of births.

Wyden’s bill is backed by 15 other Senate Democrats – one-third of the Democrats in the chamber. It comes in response to last year’s closure of the birthing center at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City. The only maternity ward in the rural eastern Oregon county with nearly 17,000 people had served the area for a century. The move has forced expectant mothers to travel to Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande.

“In Baker County, you have to drive at least 45 miles further to the next hospital to give birth on roads that can sometimes be impassable because of winter weather or summer wildfires,” Wyden said in a Monday press call. “We believe that Oregonians and Americans deserve better.”

The fallout in Baker City is part of a trend that’s unfolding across rural America as hospitals decide what  services to offer based on cost, demand and profitability. That’s translated into reduced birth services in rural communities, especially those with dwindling birthrates and aging populations. Between 2011 and 2021, one out of every four rural hospitals nationwide stopped providing obstetrics services, or more than 260 hospitals, according to a national report. Today, only about 45% of rural hospitals deliver babies, and in some communities, only 33% do, according to the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. In Oregon, one-quarter of its 32 rural hospitals offer obstetrics care.

The bill would provide more funding for hospitals with a low number of births – called low-volume payment adjustments – so they continue to stay in their communities. It also would require each state to study and report the costs of providing labor and delivery services in rural areas to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The legislation would improve overall maternal services for women by offering incentives for states to expand depression and anxiety screening for mothers before, during and after birth and requiring states to provide coverage for women on Medicaid after delivery for 12 months, Wyden said.

Hospitals would be required to provide a timely notification of when they plan to close birthing centers so communities and families have adequate time to plan.

“What we want to do is find a way to create smart, cost-effective choices for the future in these communities,” Wyden said. “We recognize that these are changing times.”

The Hospital Association of Oregon, which represents 61 hospitals, said it supports the legislation.

“The proposal acknowledges the need for emergency staffing options to help rural providers temporarily fill obstetrical positions as needed, the importance of Medicaid coverage for midwives and doulas and the critical need for a simplified Medicaid enrollment process for out-of-state obstetrical providers,” the association said in a statement. “The proposal recognizes the costs involved in maintaining and staffing obstetrical units 24/7.”

Daniel Grigg, CEO of Wallowa Memorial Hospital, located in rural northeastern Oregon, said the bill is an important step in protecting access to maternity care in rural areas.

“This bill will support rural families and communities by boosting reimbursement for labor and delivery services and providing payments to hospitals with low-birth volumes,” Grigg said in a statement.

Wyden said this issue is bipartisan and he hopes to see support from both sides of the aisle.

The other lawmakers to sign on so far are Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Maria Cantwell of Washington Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Michael Bennet of, Colorado, Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, Mark Warner of Virginia, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire,  Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Corey Booker of New Jersey. (SOURCE)

Portland Pickles To Be First Team To Sell Thc-Based Seltzers At Events

(Portland, OR)  —  An Oregon summer-league baseball team is now the first sports team in the U.S. to sell cannabis-based refreshments at games. The seltzer drinks will be available in passion fruit and lemon flavors. They’ll be available for fans 21 and over.  The Pickles say the Portland Parks and Recreation department gave them the thumbs up.

Costco Recalls Some Tillamook Cheese Products Sold in Northwest

Costco is recalling some Tillamook cheese products due to the possible presence of plastic materials.

In a letter to Costco members who purchased the recalled product, a Tillamook executive said the cheese may contain “gray and black plastic pieces.”

A 32-ounce twin-pack package of Tillamook Colby Jack and Tillamook Monterey Jack cheese slices, with item number 651195, is among the recalled products, according to the company. The company said that the cheese was available at Costco locations in the Northwest from May 9 through May 31. The best before date for the recalled product is October 22, 2024.

Costco stated the cheese was made for its Northwest region sites, but it did not say which retail locations the recalled goods had been shipped to. Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Montana, and Idaho are states in the Northwest region.

It’s unclear, however, how many products or Costco stores in total the recall impacts. The Tillamook letter noted the recalled cheese was only produced for Costco locations in the Northwest region.

According to the letter, the cheese slices impacted are “in a limited quantity” and the presence of plastic, if consumed without issue, “is very minimal.”

Bever notes that Costco members who still have the product should return the affected cheese slices for a full refund, however.

Douglas County Awarded FEMA Grant for Emergency Radio Communications System

(Douglas County, Ore.) Douglas County Commissioners Chris Boice, Tim Freeman, and Tom Kress, along with the Douglas County IT & Radio Director Nancy Laney and the Douglas County Information Technology Departmentwere notified this week that Douglas County was awarded grants totaling over $16.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as a part of FEMAs Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to help in the upgrade of the 30-year-old outdated Douglas County Emergency Radio Communications System (ERCS). FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to government entities following a presidentially declared disaster so they can develop hazard mitigation plans and rebuild infrastructure that reduces or mitigates future disaster losses in their communities. Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress and Douglas County IT & Radio Director Nancy Laney first submitted the application for this grant in September 2020 and have diligently worked with State and Federal agencies over the last four years to acquire the much needed and critical grant funding.

The ERCS, often referred to as our Legacy Radio System, is our vital public safety communications link between our 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Dispatch Center and the 55 local law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service agencies who provide critical, time-sensitive, and life-saving services countywide.

Douglas County is ecstatic that our due diligence has paid off!  I am incredibly thankful for the foresight and resolve of our Douglas County IT & Radio Director Nancy Laney for working with me to get through the federal process of applying for this unique federal grant,” stated Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress.  “In Douglas County, over half of our land is owned and managed by the Federal Government, thus receiving financial support to help fund projects that supply vital services to our entire county is imperative.  The process to overhaul our 30-year-old outdated Emergency Radio Communications System (ERCS) has been a multi-year, multi-faceted, and financially challenging endeavor. The initial assessment and scope of the ERCS project has been completed. We are currently in the process of conducting an engineering study.  With this grant from FEMA, once the engineering study is complete Douglas County will be able to definitively establish project timelines and bring the necessary and critical upgrades of our ERCS system to fruition.” 

Douglas County listed the following on our grant application to FEMA for our project description, mitigation efforts and overall objective, “This grant will fund the upgrade of the existing emergency radio system infrastructure supporting the Sheriff’s Office and 911 communications for Douglas County Public Safety, Law, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services. The proposed upgrade will allow each radio tower to continue to function independently, even if not able to communicate to other towers or the mothership, allowing emergency responders in the vicinity of a tower to continue to communicate and respond during emergencies. The hazards that will be mitigated are coastal storms, dam/levee breaks, droughts, floods, freezing, human causes, mudslides, severe ice storms, snowstorms, special events such as windstorms/seismic/wildland fires, tornados, tsunamis, and volcanos. This project increases resilience and reduces the risk of injuries, life loss, and property damage and destruction, including critical services and facilities.”

Providing support, securing funding and applying the necessary resources for our public safety programs continues to be a top priority for the Douglas County Commissioners.  Given our rugged topography supplying effective communications to our large network of first responders from sea level to the 9,182-foot crest of Mt. Thielsen through swooping valleys, up steep terrain, and along our cadre of winding rivers has always provided a challenge.  Douglas County has been in the process of slowly overhauling our current VHF simulcast conventional analog ERCS system consisting of 19 relay transmitting towers strategically located across our county for the last six years.  Our ERCS system was the pinnacle of technology back in the 1990’s, but just as time keeps ticking, advancements in technology continue to outpace annual budgets. The Commissioners and current Radio & IT Director inherited the outdated 30-year-old ERCS system when they came on board at the County.  The initial engineering report from 2018 estimated that it would cost approximately $15-20 million to completely replace the aging ERCS system; a price tag that was not feasible within our budget constraints unless we acquired outside financial support.  Realizing that we must prioritize building capacity for and maintaining public safety communications systems that continue to meet the ever-increasing needs of serving and protecting our citizens, the Commissioners, Sheriff Hanlin, IT Director Laney and Douglas County Management and Finance Director Dan Wilson worked together to develop a strategic plan for ongoing maintenance and repairs, while steadfastly researching and applying for as many grants and funding opportunities as possible to upgrade our Legacy Radio System.  This grant is a direct result of our collaborative efforts.


Razor Clam Harvest Ban Lifted For Northern Oregon Coast Amid Shellfish Toxin Scare

A freshly-dug razor clam is tossed into a net.

Oregon fish and wildlife officials reopened the northern Oregon coast for razor clamming last week while keeping a prohibition in place south of Yachats and continuing a coastwide ban on harvesting bay clams and mussels.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had closed the entire coast to shellfish harvesting earlier this month because of a potentially deadly toxin, paralytic shellfish poisoning, or PSP, that had sickened at least 20 people who had eaten Oregon coast mussels.

No one is reported to have died in the outbreak, but some were hospitalized, according to Oregon health officials. Naturally occurring marine toxins are not eliminated by cooking or freezing.

Officials said Friday that two consecutive tests had shown razor clams in the newly reopened area were below the threshold at which harvesting is banned due to biotoxins. They said the earlier closure was precautionary, and that testing had not detected biotoxin levels above the closure threshold.

However, razor clamming is closed from the Yachats River to the California border, where tests have detected high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning and domoic acid.

Harvesting bay clams and mussels remains prohibited along the entire Oregon and Washington coast.

The state also has reopened commercial oyster fisheries in Tillamook Bay and Netarts, while the Umpqua River/Winchester Bay commercial oyster fishery remains closed. Crab harvesting is open for the length of the Oregon coast.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture operates a toll-free shellfish biotoxin hotline 800-448-2474​ and maintains a list of closures on its website. (SOURCE)


The Oregon Health Athority is rasising awareness for one of the most common forms of financial fraud: Medicare fraud. 

OHA says Medicare loses $60 billion a year to fraud, errors and abuse.

Raising awareness on 6/5 and the week after signifies the 65-yr-old and older population since most people become eligable for Medicare at 65-yrs-old.  To learn more, read the OHA blog here:

Oregonians Targeted By Text Tolling Scam

A new nationwide texting scam is targeting Oregon drivers now. Ellen Klem, with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office says the phishing scheme started in the midwest earlier in the spring. “I’m honestly not surprised it’s happening now, because now is the time where everyone is gearing up to drive.”

The text claims to be from “Oregon Toll Service” and says the recipient owes an $11.69 outstanding balance; they face a $50 late fee if they don’t click on a link and pay up. Klem says some people may identify the fraud right away, because Oregon doesn’t have tolling, “But, we live next to all these other states that have tolls.” And she worries some will fall for it.

“They are not interested in the $11,” says Klem, “They are interested in much, much more.” She believes the scammers want your personal information, and clicking on the link could allow them to access other data on your phone.

The text has all the markers of a scam, like contact out of the blue from an unknown agency. “There’s a lot of really cheap or free technology out there that allows the scammers to pretend to be somebody they’re not. So, in this case, they’re pretending to be associated with an agency that administers tolls in the state of Oregon. But that doesn’t exist,” says Klem, “Second sign: There’s some sort of emergency. In this case, you have an unpaid bill; that’s frightening to a lot of people.”

She suggests not being in such a rush to respond to every text or email, “These phones, they’re everywhere and we have this sort of automatic response to click on a link or to pick up every phone call. And, I want to remind people just to slow down and think before you click on anything.” Klem adds, “Really, at the end of the day, this is a text message that you can and you should ignore.”

If you get a text, email or phone call you’re not sure is legit, call the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer hotline at 877-877-9392. Volunteer experts are available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


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.

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

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