Rogue Valley News, Wednesday 6/26 – Upper Applegate Fire Update, JMET Search Warrant Bust on Sunny Glen Way in Wolf Creek & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Wednesday,  June 26, 2024

Rogue Valley Weather

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Upper Applegate Fire Update

Upper Applegate Fire

https://app.watchduty.org/#/i/22540

ODF Southwest Oregon District𝙐𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙧 𝘼𝙥𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙁𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙈𝙤𝙧𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙐𝙥𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙚:

Overnight, crews were able to conduct burning operations on the eastern edge of the fire. These efforts help bring the fire edge to the indirect lines established around the fire. Mop up efforts continue along the southern portion of the fire. The fire remains at 890 acres, and additional acreage increases are expected in the coming days as burn operations continue within the containment lines.
Crews continue to prep the north side of the indirect lines for additional back burns to help bring the fire closer to containment lines. These burns will occur over the next 48 hours, during night operations when burn intensity is low. Expect to see additional fire activity at night and more smoke in the mornings.
485 personnel are assigned to this incident, including 21 20-person crews, six engines, five tree fallers, four bulldozers and numerous overhead. Four helicopters of various sizes are assigned to the fire again today, with additional helicopters and air tankers available when needed.
Level 2 – BE SET evacuation notices remain in effect by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management for Zones JAC-434 and JAC-436. More information about zones and locations is available here: https://protect.genasys.com/.
This fire is affecting private, BLM and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) land on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. It was first reported in the late afternoon of Thursday, June 20. The cause of this fire is currently under investigation.
The fire danger level on the ODF Southwest Oregon District is moderate (blue) and regulations are in place. Please be aware of and follow all current restrictions to help reduce the risk of fires in our communities. Fire season information is also available online at our Facebook page: @ODFSouthwest and our website: www.swofire.com.

 

JMET Search Warrant: Sunny Glen Way, Wolf Creek 
Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office 


 

DETAILS: On June 25, 2024, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) with the assistance of Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety, executed a search warrant in the 300 Block of Sunny Glen Way, Wolf Creek, regarding an illegal marijuana grow site.

During the execution of the warrant, more than 2,600 marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.

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

The primary suspect was not at the location during the search. They will be charged with Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana, Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, and Unlawful Appropriation of Water if located.

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

 

A Neighborhood Dispute Results in a Fatal Shooting – Detectives Investigating

GLIDE, Ore. – Detectives are investigating a fatal shooting in Glide.

On Tuesday, June 25, 2024, shortly before 10:30 p.m., 9-1-1 dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call reporting a male had been shot in the 400-block of Goodreau Lane during a neighborhood dispute. Bystanders were performing lifesaving efforts on the individual who had been shot. Deputies responded to the scene and initially detained the male shooter. The male who had been shot, 53-year-old Stephen Lynn Foster of Glide, was pronounced deceased at the scene by EMS.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident along with the Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office. The other party involved, whose name is being withheld at this time, is cooperating with law enforcement.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, Glide Rural Fire Protection District, Umpqua Valley Ambulance and REACH Air Medical Services.   No further information is being released at this time.

 

Oregon Department of Emergency Management and Oregon National Guard rescue hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail

On Sunday, June 23, 2024, at approximately 1:55 p.m., an Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and crew rescued a female hiker in her mid-forties, who became stranded on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in Southern Oregon.

Working with the Klamath County Sheriff’s office and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, the Oregon Army National Guard helped secure the hiker who had slipped on shale rock and had fallen off a cliff and into a rock chute after she and her husband took a shortcut along the trail at approximately 7,000 feet.

A technical rope team said there was no way to get above or below her without risking a rock slide. They reported she was conscious after her fall and had a strong mobile phone signal and battery.

The state search and rescue coordinator was given both hiker’s mobile phone numbers to keep in contact with her, and was able to confirm she had food and water.

The Army helicopter crew departed the Army Aviation Support Facility in Salem, Oregon and arrived in Roseburg to refuel and pick up a flight medic en route to the incident site.

The injured hiker was rescued by air hoist at approximately 7:47 p.m., and then flown to the Medford Airport where she was transferred to emergency medical services. She had severely bruised legs and back issues, but was not showing signs of bleeding.

“Without the air rescue expertise of the Oregon Army National Guard this SAR mission would have been impossible to accomplish so efficiently,” State SAR Coordinator Scott Lucas said.

After refueling in Medford, the four-member Oregon Army National Guard crew returned to Salem just before midnight.

 

City of Grants Pass, Local Government —   Odorous tap water update.

Geosmin has been confirmed. The lab results received Monday afternoon showed up to 60 parts per trillion in the distribution system and over 70 parts per trillion in the raw water. Geosmin is detectable by us (humans) in concentrations as low as 4-5 parts per trillion. We will be taking additional samples this week to determine if the bloom has subsided. Once the Geosmin levels have been reduced, we will deep cycle the reservoirs and perform selective flushing to improve water quality faster than if we wait for the geosmin to naturally dissipate in the distribution system.

In case you missed it, here is our post from this past Friday regarding the possible odor people were sensing in their tap water…You may have noticed some unpleasant odors in your tap water recently, and we want to assure you the water is safe to drink. We’ve run tests and ruled out harmful toxins related to Algae and cyanobacteria. The water may not smell as fresh as usual, but it is safe to drink.

We are working to mitigate the issue and suspect it may be Geosmin or Methyl-Isoborneol (MIB), compounds naturally occurring in rivers and lakes, such as the Rogue, where we source our drinking water. We’re awaiting test results that would confirm Geosmin or MIB.The odors should pass in a few days. In the meantime, activated carbon filters found in household water filtering pitchers would mitigate the odor.

If we want to learn more about MIB and geosmin, follow this link to an article from the EPA: https://hero.epa.gov/…/ref…/details/reference_id/1722619

 

Ashland Police Dept. and Senior Services Hosting Senior Cookout

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Senior Services Division, along with the Ashland Police Department and the Village at Valley View will be hosting a community engagement cookout for the senior community on Saturday, June 29th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food at the event is provided by the Village at Valley View and served by members of the Ashland Police Department and the APRC Senior Services Division. Members of the press are invited to cover the event. The cookout will be held at the Ashland Senior Center, located at 1699 Homes Ave.

 

Oakdale Street Minute Market Explosion and Fire Under Investigation

Crews responded to a structure fire at the Minute Market at 401 S. Oakdale Ave in Medford that was reported at around 7:38 p.m. on Sunday night, with a report of flames and smoke and the sound of an explosion.

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(Photo courtesy of Brandie Travor)

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(photo courtesy oDavid E Vincent

Six units with Medford Fire Department were on scene along with Medford Police. According to police, everyone in the building was able to evacuate, and no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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.

 

Former Asante Nurse Accused Of Diverting Fentanyl From Hospital Patients In Medford Posts Bail And Is Out Of Jail

A former Asante nurse charged with 44 counts of second-degree assault on accusations she allegedly harmed patients by swapping prescription pain medication IVs with non-sterile tap water has posted bail a little over one week after her arrest by Medford police.

Dani Marie Schofield, 36, was seen entering the lobby from a restricted area of the Jackson County Jail just after 10:40 a.m. Friday. Schofield was wearing dark sunglasses, a sweatsuit and slippers, carrying a plastic bag of personal belongings as she greeted two men who had been waiting for at least an hour prior to her appearance.

Former Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center nurse Dani Marie Schofield, middle, leaves the Jackson County Jail Friday, June 21, 2024, after posting $400,000 bond. Schofield was arrested Thursday, June 20, 2024, after an investigation into alleged drug diversion that harmed patients at the Medford, Oregon, hospital. (Rogue Valley Times / Jamie Lusch)Jamie Rusch, Rogue Valley Times

After embracing both for several long moments, Schofield was led out between the two men and quietly walked to a pickup truck parked along West 8th Street. Asked if she wanted to offer comment, Schofield and the two men only stared ahead, the younger of the two men rubbing her back as they walked away.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Aaron Lewis confirmed Friday morning that a wire transfer for $400,000 — 10% of her $4 million bail — had been processed through the Jackson County Circuit Court.

Following Schofield’s release Friday morning, an update to circuit court records included a notice of representation, timestamped Thursday afternoon. Schofield is being represented in her criminal case by Kristen Winemiller and Lisa Maxfield of Pacific Northwest Law of Portland.

Schofield’s arrest last Thursday at a residence outside Eagle Point marked a major development in the high-profile drug-diversion case that began in December 2023. Asante officials reached out to the Medford Police Department after conducting its own internal investigation into a spike in central line infections at Rogue Regional Medical Center. Medford police handed the results of its investigation over to the DA’s office in late April.

Last Friday, Schofield pleaded not guilty during her arraignment before Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Laura Cromwell.

During Schofield’s first court appearance, Cromwell set bail at $4 million and advised Schofield that, if she posted bail, her release would come with stipulations: She cannot consume intoxicants; have contact with surviving Asante victims, or Asante or its property except for emergency services; or provide care to anyone 65 or older, or who has a disability.

On Tuesday, family members of three alleged victims — former patients of Schofield’s who all died after developing life-threatening infections — contacted the Rogue Valley Times saying they had been notified by victim advocates for the Jackson County Circuit Court just after 3 p.m. that Schofield was expected to post bail and be released Tuesday evening.

Courts were closed on Wednesday for Juneteenth with Schofield still being held in solitary confinement, which she explained to Cromwell during her arraignment was for her safety from other inmates, and because Medford police had publicly identified her following her arrest. Finalization of the bond money took three days from Tuesday’s wire transfer initialization.

Victims and attorneys representing alleged victims or families of victims expressed a range of emotions, from disappointment to anger, at being told that Schofield was being released. (SOURCE)

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.

 

Community members are invited to enjoy Mount Ashland’s summer season

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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: https://www.mtashland.com/operating-schedule/

David Grubbs’ Murder Investigation Remains Active

Community still looking for answers in violent 2011 murder of David Grubbs on Ashland, Oregon bike path The Ashland Police Department’s investigation into the murder of David Grubbs on November 19, 2011 remains open and active. Recently two new detectives have been assigned to look into new leads that have come in.

This case remains important to David’s family, the community, and the Ashland Police Department. As detectives continue to pursue these new leads, anyone with additional information is encouraged to reach out to the Ashland Police Department at 541-488-2211. The reward for information leading to an arrest on this case remains at over $21,000.

Fauna Frey, 45, disappeared in Oregon on a road trip, June 29, 2020, following her brother’s death  —

https://original.newsbreak.com/@ada-e-1668135/3304227455096-fauna-frey-45-disappeared-in-oregon-on-a-road-trip-june-29-2020-following-her-brother-s-death

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

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040 PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public. READ MORE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-what-happened-fauna-frey-new-clues-uncovered-1827197?fbclid=IwAR3Z3Glru5lIgqiYXbs_nA1Fj8JuCIzM11OHSVHfwIucfq2f_G5y9y5bnmQ If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email FindFaunaFrey@gmail.com.

Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

 

Fire Season in Full Swing – Updates on Fires All Around the State

https://app.watchduty.org – screenshot 6/26/24 8:30am

Governor Kotek invokes the Emergency Conflagration Act for Darlene 3 Fire

Governor Kotek has invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the Darlene 3 Fire burning near La Pine in Deschutes County. The fire sparked around 1 p.m. Tuesday, one mile south of La Pine on the east side of Darlene Way. The fire is estimated to be 250 acres in size. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has levels 3 and 2 evacuations in place near the fire. The Oregon State Fire Marshal Red Incident Management Team has been activated along with two structural task forces from Linn and Marion counties. The OSFM is mobilizing four additional task forces who will arrive in the morning.

“This fire has quickly grown within the last few hours, pushed by gusty winds and high fire conditions. The Emergency Conflagration Act allows us to send the full power of the Oregon fire service to protect life and property,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “As we enter the hot and dry summer months, I am asking Oregonians to do everything they can to prevent wildfires.”

Following ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that threats to life, safety, and property exist because of the fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment.

The governor’s declaration allows the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Oregon State Marshal’s Red Incident Management Team has been mobilized. Along with the local responding agencies, the two task forces from Marion and Linn counties are headed to the scene and will be briefed tonight at 9 p.m.

For the latest on evacuations please check the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office map or follow the agency on social media. For fire information please check out the Central Oregon Fire Info blog or follow Central Oregon Fire Info on social media.

Oregon State Fire Marshal urges Oregonians to keep firework use legal and safe

SALEM, Ore. – With fireworks set to go on sale on Sunday, “Keep it legal, keep it safe” is the message from the Oregon State Fire Marshal. The 2024 fireworks retail sales season begins on June 23 and runs through July 6 in Oregon. The state fire marshal would like everyone to know which fireworks are legal to use, where fireworks can be used, and how to use them safely.

“We ask Oregonians to be responsible if they plan to use fireworks as part of their celebrations,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Assistant Chief Deputy Mark Johnston said. “Every year, we see fires and injuries because of improper use of fireworks or illegal fireworks. Our message is simple: keep it legal and keep it safe.”

To reduce the risk of starting a fire, some local governments in Oregon have firework sales or use restrictions in place. Oregonians are asked to check local regulations and follow them where they live or where they may be traveling to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Consumer-legal fireworks can only be purchased from permitted fireworks retailers and stands. State regulations limit where those fireworks may be used, including public lands and parks. The possession and use of fireworks are prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Fireworks are also prohibited on many private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.

For those who purchase legal fireworks, fire officials encourage everyone to practice the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks. Never use fireworks near or on dry grass or vegetation.
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Please wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak spent fireworks in a bucket of water before disposal.
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks in legal places.

Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit issued by the state fire marshal. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon without a permit. Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor which could result in a fine of up to $2,500. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damages. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal has resources about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, retail sale permits, and state rules for firework use and enforcement activities to its website.

Oregon begins the remaining pandemic unwinding renewals with new changes helping Oregonians keep coverage

SALEM, Ore. — With over 91 percent of the state’s 1.5 million renewals complete, more than four out of five Oregonians are keeping their Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or other Medicaid benefits.

There are four monthly “waves” of renewals left in the unwinding process. The first of these remaining four batches started this month, asking for a response by the end of September.

An update in May to the ONE Eligibility system people use to apply for and manage their medical benefits enabled Oregon to use an improved process for the remaining renewals. These changes are a substantial set of small adjustments that together will make it easier for the people of Oregon to keep their medical benefits. This includes changes to make medical eligibility and renewal notices easier to read and to give more details about decisions. People in the June “wave” of renewals are the first to experience these process improvements.

Oregon’s 82.5 percent renewal rate continues to be the third highest in a national comparison of state renewal rates by KFF, a nonpartisan health policy organization. Oregon’s high renewal rates are due to proactive efforts by the state to keep people covered, including extended response timelines, and the upcoming launch of OHP Bridge for adults with higher incomes.

Members who have not received a renewal yet should:

  • Keep their address and contact information up to date.
  • Check their mail or ONE Online account for their renewal letter.
  • Do what the renewal letter asks as soon as possible. Anyone concerned they missed their letter should get help with their renewal using one of the options listed below.
  • Members who did not respond to renewals can still re-open their case three months after it closes if they are still eligible, and they can reapply at any time.

June OHP renewal data – As of June 18, 2024, 1,330,708 people have completed the renewal process. This represents around 91.7 percent of all OHP and Medicaid members.

  • 1,097,801 people (82.5 percent) were renewed and kept their benefits.
  • 221,958 people (16.7 percent) were found ineligible.
  • 10,949 people (0.8 percent) had a reduction in their benefits. Most of these members lost full OHP but were able to continue Medicare Savings Programs that help pay their Medicare costs.

Although most people are keeping coverage during the post-pandemic medical renewals, approximately 234,000 people have or will need to consider other coverage options due to lost or reduced benefits.

  • People who do not have coverage through an employer or Medicare may be able to enroll through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and get financial help. Most people who enroll through HealthCare.gov qualify for this help.
  • The Marketplace is sending information to people who are no longer eligible for OHP benefits, advising of other potential coverage options.
  • People who have recently lost OHP benefits can enroll anytime until November 30, 2024, or within 60 days of their benefits ending.
  • For more information and ways to get help signing up for Marketplace, Medicare, or employer coverage, see “What to do if OHP is ending” below.

Need help renewing your benefits?

  1. Learn more about how to renew your Oregon Health Plan medical coverage.  You can log into your online portal and complete your redetermination work at benefits.oregon.gov.
  2. Call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075. All relay calls are accepted, and help is available in multiple languages. Wait times are lowest between 7 and 8 a.m., PST.
  3. Visit or call a local Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) office. People can find their local office at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/Pages/office-finder.aspx.
  4. Visit a community partner for free, in-person help. To find one near you visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp (English) or orhim.info/ayuda (Spanish).
  5. Download the Oregon ONE Mobile app via the app store to keep track of your renewal, find a local office, or upload a document.

What to do if your OHP is ending:

  • First, review the case summary in your letter to make sure the information used to make the decision was correct. If that information has changed, notify the state via one of the options above If the information on file for you is correct and you disagree with the decision, you can request a hearing. Learn more about hearings.
  • Explore options through an employer. If you, your spouse or a parent are working, you may be eligible for health coverage through that employer. Talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if you qualify. You will have a special enrollment period to enroll mid-year due to loss of OHP benefits.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare: For help understanding and choosing the right Medicare options, go to https://OregonHealthcare.gov/GetHelp to find an insurance agent or a counselor at the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA). You can also call SHIBA at 800-722-4134.

If you need to sign up for Medicare for the first time, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213 to enroll by phone or find a local office. You can also enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up.

  • Nearly 80 percent of Oregonians qualify for financial help through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to answer a few quick questions, find out how much you can save and find out how much coverage may cost you. You can also call the Marketplace Transition Help Center at 833-699-6850 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted).
  • Need free local help finding other coverage? Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find professional help near you.

OHA and ODHS are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians. Check our ONE Eligibility Operations Dashboards for more frequent updates on medical renewal data and wait times for callers to the ONE Customer Service Center.

On Dobbs anniversary, abortion remains legal and protected in Oregon

2022 SCOTUS decision impacted national landscape, but recent ruling on mifepristone offers hope for ongoing safe, effective abortion access

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the nation recognizes the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022 decision that removed constitutional protections for abortion, Oregon remains committed to ensuring people have  access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion.

The second anniversary of the High Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, is a stark reminder of the challenges states face in protecting access to reproductive health care. But key actions in Oregon – and another, more recent High Court decision – offer hope for anyone inside and outside the state seeking to exercise their legal and protected right to abortion.

Governor Tina Kotek said, “The two-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision is a sobering reminder that we cannot afford to lose ground ensuring access to safe, effective and legal reproductive health care in Oregon.”

On June 13, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the challenge to the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. In a unanimous decision, justices ruled that the plaintiffs in the case did not have standing to challenge the FDA’s actions, and so mifepristone continues to be available.

The ruling left in place federal regulations that permit patients to order mifepristone virtually and by mail delivery. However, the decision leaves open the possibility for future litigation seeking to restrict access to mifepristone.

Should litigation seeking mifepristone restrictions come to pass, a contingency plan Oregon put in place could temporarily keep the abortion drug available: The state secured a three-year mifepristone supply and developed a plan to equitably distribute it to eligible prescribers, ensuring patients seeking abortion services in Oregon will continue to have access to this safe and effective method.

“OHA will continue to ensure that people in Oregon have access to safe, effective reproductive care – including abortion services – when and where they need it,” said OHA Director Sejal Hathi, M.D.

Oregon’s mifepristone stockpile is just one of several actions the state has taken in recent years to keep comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion, in place and accessible:

  • Reproductive Health and Access to Care Act (HB 2002) – This comprehensive law, passed during the 2023 legislative session, protects and expands access for those seeking and those providing reproductive health and gender affirming care.
  • Reproductive health infrastructure investments – Also during the 2023 legislative session, Oregon allocated $3.4 million to OHA as part of Public Health Modernization to support reproductive health infrastructure This funding created an Abortion Access in Oregon website and provided infrastructure grants to clinical service providers across the state.
  • Lawsuit over unnecessary abortion medication restrictions – As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine litigation was underway, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson in co-leading a multi-state lawsuit against the FDA to protect enhanced access to mifepristone. The outcome of this lawsuit was Judge Thomas Rice’s decision barring the FDA from making any changes that could reduce the availability of mifepristone in the 17 states that signed on to the lawsuit.
  • Amicus brief in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine – Gov. Kotek and 21 other governors filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of abortion rights in Food and Drug Administration, et al., v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. In this brief, the Reproductive Freedom Alliance governors argued that if the Court reverses FDA approval of mifepristone and limits access to the vital medicine, it could undermine Governors’ ability to provide adequate healthcare services and would have far-reaching implications beyond reproductive healthcare.

“These activities and initiatives demonstrate Oregon’s recognition of reproductive health services as basic and essential health services,” Dr. Hathi said.

Individuals can access free or low-cost reproductive health services at local health departments, Planned Parenthood clinics, federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics across the state. To find a clinic, visit: healthoregon.org/rhclinics, dial 211, or text HEALTH to 898211.

Forest Service invests $4.9 million for Tribal Forest Protection Act co-stewardship projects with Tribes in Pacific Northwest

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced it will invest $4.9 million in seven projects across Washington and Oregon in projects to be implemented in co-stewardship with Tribes to improve forest health, address Tribal priorities, and accomplish other shared restoration objectives on national forests and grasslands in the Pacific Northwest.

The funds are part of the $18 million USDA recently announced it will invest in Tribal Forest Protection Act projects nationally during fiscal year 2024, using funding made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“This funding is essential for protecting tribal lands and resources,” said Jacque Buchanan, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “Being able to support these projects honors our trust responsibilities and benefits both Tribal and national forest lands.”

Projects to receive funding in Washington and Oregon include work to increase Tribal involvement in forest planning, reducing wildfire risk, historical preservation, planning to support continued availability and harvest of culturally-significant forest products and First Foods, and implementation the national Native Seed Strategy.

“All of these projects are important and it’s exciting to see a couple of them will advance the National Seed Strategy,” said Buchanan. “By having the right seeds in the right places at the right time, we’ll be able to better tackle issues like invasive species and extreme weather and make a real difference in large-scale restoration efforts across the States.”

The Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004 authorizes tribes to engage in natural resource management and restoration that protects tribal lands and communities. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers funding that can be used to work directly with Tribes, using authorities provided in the Tribal Forest Protection Act, on watershed health, fuels reduction, and timber management projects, to promote co-stewardship objectives, and to plan future projects.

Projects funded in the Pacific Northwest Region for fiscal year 2024 include:

Oregon

  • Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland, Deschutes National Forest, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Burns Paiute Tribe, and Klamath Tribes

This funding will finance an agreement with the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers to support tribal 106 consultation with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Burns Paiute Tribe, and Klamath Tribes on Traditional Cultural Property inventory, evaluation, and mitigation activities under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. $450,000

  • Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and Nez Perce Tribe.

This project will fund creation of a restoration strategy based on Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation First Foods to assist the Forest Service and Tribes, and their forestry and botanical staffs, to more fully engage and work as equal partners on co-stewardship related planning and activity. $500,000

  • Umatilla National Forest, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Malheur National Forest, and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

This funding will be used to implement the National Native Seed Strategy, with a specific emphasis on tribal interests. The project will focus on seed collection, seed increase, container stock, and outreach and education. $150,000

  • Umpqua National Forest, Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians

Funds will assist in implementing the National Native Seed Strategy, with specific emphasis on tribal interests pertaining to gathering native plants for cultural use. Work will focus on seed collection, seed increase, native plant nursery work, and outreach and education. $150,000

  • Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and Nez Perce Tribe

This project will fund Tribal work to capture traditional usage history of locations on Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, with the shared goal of enhancing exercise and protection of cultural and treaty rights. The results of this project will help inform to land use management activities to ensure they support long term, sustainable forest uses that are historically and culturally significant to the Nez Perce people. $150,000

  • Fremont-Winema National Forest and Klamath Tribes

The Klamath Tribes will receive funding assist the tribe in conducting work that reduces wildfire risk to the Chiloquin wildland urban interface through mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and cultural burning. $1 million

Washington

  • Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation

This project will support planning and implementation capacity of Wildfire Crisis Strategy objectives by Tribes, focusing on increasing tribal capacity to become more involved in wildfire risk reduction efforts on the forest and to assist the forest in complying with cultural and natural resource goals. $2.5 million

Related news release:

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Actions to Strengthen Tribal Food Sovereignty, Co-Stewardship, and Knowledge of Tribal Agriculture Policy

https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2024/06/05/biden-harris-administration-announces-actions-strengthen-tribal

Additional information:

For more information about the Tribal Forest Protection Act, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/national-forests-grasslands/restoration/tribal-forest-protection-act-638.

For a link to this release and more news & information about National Forests in the Pacific Northwest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/r6/news-events.

For more information about the USDA Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/r6.

For more information about the USDA Forest Service visit https://www.fs.usda.gov. — https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD1182963#:~:text=PORTLAND%2C%20Ore.%2C%20June%2024,priorities%2C%20and%20accomplish%20other%20shared

Tillamook Cheese Recall Update as FDA Sets Risk Level

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified a cheese recall from Tillamook County Creamery Association earlier this month as Class II, which means that the consumption of the affected products could cause adverse health consequences.

The Oregon-based company initiated a voluntary recall of over a thousands cases of its sliced Tillamook Colby Jack and Tillamook Monterey Jack cheeses at the end of May over the possible presence of “foreign plastic material,” but the FDA hadn’t identified the level of risk associated with the consumption of the products until now.

On Tuesday, the agency classified the food recall as Class II, which indicates a relatively risky product that can cause “temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences.” A Class II is also given “where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote,” according to the FDA.

The agency classifies food recalls in three ways. A Class III recall is given when exposure to an affected food product or its consumption is unlikely to cause an adverse health consequence. A Class I is the most severe type of food recall and it’s issued when the consumption or exposure to a product can cause “serious adverse health consequences or death.”

Tillamook County Creamery Association warned Costco customers on May 30 that some of its products sold in the warehouse club—specifically, 1,149 cases of 32-ounce “twin pack” packages of Tillamook Colby Jack and Tillamook Monterey Jack cheese slices (item number 651195)—might have been contaminated with plastic.

“Tillamook has identified a very small quantity of gray and black plastic pieces that may be present in a limited quantity of Monterey Jack Cheese that is included in [the packages], with a ‘Best If Used By’ date of October 22, 2024, produced only for Costco locations in the Northwest region,” a letter sent from Tillamook Executive Vice President Mike Bever to Costco shoppers earlier this month reads.

Bever urged customers who purchased the products between May 9 and May 31 to return them to their local Costco for a full refund and to “please refrain from consuming” them.

The risk from consuming the product, as confirmed by the FDA, is low. “If you have already consumed the product without issue, you do not need to take any action, as the likely presence of the foreign plastic material is very minimal,” the letter from Bever said. The recall terminated on June 25. (SOURCE)

Oregon school finances in jeopardy, with districts facing layoffs, larger class sizes

Oregon school finances have not been in greater jeopardy for decades.

Large Oregon school districts are cutting millions of dollars from their budgets, which translates into significant cuts in personnel and larger class sizes, as state funding has failed to keep pace with inflation and expanding expectations.

The problem isn’t limited to large school districts. Medium and small districts face the same financial stress. More school districts will face the dual threat of teacher strikes and deep personnel cuts as they enter collective bargaining this year.

The challenge faced by public education runs deeper than budgets. Schools have inherited a new generation of students and, along with them, a new paradigm for education.

Students in K-12 school classrooms today are demonstrably different than their counterparts just 20 years ago (Facebook was founded in 2004). Educating these students requires different teaching methods, updated classrooms and a wider array of support. It also requires a different approach to school funding that recognizes new demands on students, teachers and support staff.

Today’s students are internet natives, have experience with online learning, depend on school-prepared meals and fear college student debt. Classrooms are impacted by aging infrastructure, overflowing classrooms, lack of connectivity, increasing student diversity, chronic absenteeism and the threat of school shootings. More students face mental health issues, increasing demand for school nurses, counselors and social-emotional teaching techniques.

Teachers, many of whom are parents of school-age children, share the trauma. They are on the front lines of teaching students who need individual instruction. They manage in classrooms that lack adequate heating and cooling. They struggle to keep up to date on digital trends and educational innovation. Burnout is an occupational hazard. Good teachers leave because they earn more in other occupations.

Funding schools based on enrollment doesn’t capture the complexity of educating and preparing today’s K-12 students in the face of rapidly changing job markets. Head counts don’t capture the dimensions of pandemic learning loss, unequal digital resources, special education needs and emotional stress that are the everyday stuff of today’s K-12 classrooms.

Declining public school enrollments, resulting from low birth rates and flight to private schools by those who can afford it have resulted in funding reductions and will force closure of neighborhood schools, as parents in Seattle Public Schools are discovering.

We must find the right school funding formula. The one we have doesn’t work anymore because it doesn’t reflect demands schools are expected to meet every day and the individualized education students deserve.

Oregon lawmakers have tried to reconcile funding with emerging educational needs. But the result has been a hodgepodge of grants and directed spending that has been tacked on to a school funding formula designed to ensure equity among school districts after passage of major property tax limitations in the 1990s.

Finger-pointing is unproductive. We need an informed effort to rethink how schools are funded in light of current-day expectations. Just as important, we need to see school funding reform as critical to restoring public and parental trust in our schools.  (SOURCE)

A woman has died after drowning at Two-Mile Rapids on the Rogue River

On Saturday, 06-22-24 at about 12:41pm, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch 911 Center, received a Text to 911, from Agness resident, Martin Gillette, reporting a drowning of a woman at Two-Mile Rapids, upriver from Agness. The information provided was that the female victim was on a rafting excursion with three others and a dog on a raft that started at Foster Bar. Shortly after being on the water, the two females on the raft and a dog got flipped out at the Two-Mile Rapids. Others in the rafting party were able to get both the females to shore but one had drowned. Dispatch paged out Agness Fire and Rescue and Reach Air along with request to page out Mercy Air.

Marine Sergeant Jared Gray had been at Huntly Park earlier doing water training with SAR, Gold Beach Fire/PD, Sixes River Fire Department, USFS, Aquatic Safety and Coos County Sheriff’s Office. Sergeant Gray started upriver in the marine boat and picked up two members of the Coos County Sheriff’s Office at the Lobster Creek Boat Ramp and then responded to the Two-Mile rapids. Once on scene, there were other rafting members that had arrived. The victim, identified as sixty-six-year-old Mary Kohn of Powers, Or., was transported back down to Lobster Creek where she was released to Redwood Memorial Services out of Brookings, Or. According to the Marine Sergeant, there were life vests aboard the raft but no-one in the rafting party were wearing them.

The next of KIN of Mary has been notified. As of this press release, the dog, named Teddy, that was in the raft has not been located. Teddy is a black and white Australian Shepard type dog with a pink collar. https://www.facebook.com/CurryCountyJustice

FBI Warns of Fictitious Law Firms Targeting Cryptocurrency Scam Victims Offering to Recover Funds

FBI Seal

PORTLAND, OREGON – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is issuing this announcement to inform the public of an emerging criminal tactic used to further defraud cryptocurrency scam victims.

Using social media or other messaging platforms, fraudsters posing as lawyers representing fictitious law firms may contact scam victims and offer their services, claiming to have the authorization to investigate fund recovery cases.

To validate the contact, the “lawyers” claim they are working with, or have received information on, the scam victim’s case from the FBI, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or other government agency. In some instances, scam victims have contacted fraudsters on fake websites, which appear legitimate, hoping to recover their funds.

To further the recovery scam, the “lawyers” may:

  • Request victims verify their identities by providing personal identifying information or banking information to get their money back;
  • Request victims provide a judgment amount they are seeking from the initial fraudster;
  • Request victims pay a portion of initial fees up front with balance due when funds are recovered;
  • Direct victims to make payments for back taxes and other fees to recover their funds; or
  • Reference actual financial institutions and money exchanges, to build credibility and further their schemes.

Between February 2023 and February 2024, cryptocurrency scam victims who were further exploited by fictitious law firms reported losses totaling over $9.9 million, according to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Tips to Protect Yourself

  • Be wary of advertisements for cryptocurrency recovery services. Research the advertised company and beware if the company uses vague language, has a minimal online presence, and makes promises regarding an ability to recover funds.
  • If an unknown individual contacts you and claims to be able to recover stolen cryptocurrency, do not release any financial or personal identifying information and do not send money.
  • Law enforcement does not charge victims a fee for investigating crimes. If someone claims an affiliation with the FBI, contact your local FBI field office to confirm.

Additional Resources

Victim Reporting

If you believe you have been a victim of a cryptocurrency scheme or other fraudulent scheme, please file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov. If possible, include the following:

  • Information regarding how the individual initially contacted you and how they identified themselves. Include identifying information such as name, phone number, address, email address, and username.
  • Financial transaction information such as date, type of payment, amount, account numbers involved (to include cryptocurrency address), name and address of the receiving financial institution, and receiving cryptocurrency addresses.

Oregon Ranks as One of the 10 Best States for Hikers

DPR_10 Best States ofr Hiking_Header Best states for hiking scaled

Oregon is the No. 10 best state in the country for hikers, according to a new ranking. Kuru Footwear ranked the best states in the United States for hiking, looking at “five key metrics—total hiking trail reviews, number of trails, percentage of trails ranked as easy, trails rated 4.5 stars or higher, and yearly precipitation.”

Top-Ranked U.S. States for Hiking

State Rank Total # of Reviews Total # of Trails % of Easy Trails % of Trails Rated 4.5+ Precipitation (yearly inches)
Colorado 1 1,995,966 5,286 26% 51% 15.9
California 2 4,500,864 12,835 27% 52% 22.2
Arizona 3 1,556,652 3,292 27% 54% 13.6
Montana 4 273,175 1,508 23% 47% 15.3
New York 5 1,065,346 4,481 50% 38% 41.8
Utah 6 1,110,852 3,224 24% 53% 12.2
Texas 7 572,634 2,424 72% 44% 28.9
Washington 8 1,368,796 4,161 33% 39% 38.4
North Carolina 9 774,148 2,736 46% 49% 50.3
Oregon 10 686,525 3,106 34% 38% 27.4

https://www.kurufootwear.com/a/blog/best-states-for-hiking-2024

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)

 

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.

 

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: https://ow.ly/VIRu50Sc7pS

 

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 atwww.worldbeatfestival.org or call (503) 581-2004.

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

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

 

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