Willamette Valley News, Tuesday 1/12 – Weather Warnings Across Oregon with Flood Watch Alerts, Eugene Man Jailed Following Multiple Freeway Crashes

The latest news stories and stories of interest in Eugene-Springfield area and around the state of Oregon from the online digital home of the valley, WillametteValleyMagazine.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 

Willamette Valley Weather

Hazardous Weather Conditions Flood Watch until January 13, 10:00 AM PST

Today- Rain. High near 56. Breezy, with a south wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Wednesday- Rain before 11am, then a slight chance of showers after 11am. High near 52. South wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Thursday- Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 53. Light and variable wind.

Friday- A chance of rain before 11am, then a slight chance of showers after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Saturday- Patchy fog before 1pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 49.

 COVID-19 has claimed 10 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,613, the Oregon Health Authority reported at 12:01 a.m. today. Oregon Health Authority reported 939 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 126,607.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (13), Clackamas (87), Clatsop (1), Columbia (14), Coos (15), Crook (1), Deschutes (38), Douglas (16), Hood River (3), Jackson (40), Jefferson (5), Josephine (38), Lane (61), Lincoln (8), Linn (13), Malheur (2), Marion (110), Morrow (8), Multnomah (16), Polk (40), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (63), Union (5), Wasco (7), Washington (314) and Yamhill (18)

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, 7,585 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 5,422 vaccine doses were administered on Jan. 10 and 2,163 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan.10.

Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 104,595 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations occurred at Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).

To date, 270,800 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon. These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

Be Alert for Landslides Across Much of Northwest and Southwest Oregon
Portland, OR—The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for portions of Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, including the Cascade and Cascade Foothills, Coast Range and Willapa Hills, Columbia River Gorge, Willamette Valley and Greater Portland Metro Area, Lower Columbia and I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County, Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington Coast, as well as a portion of southwest Oregon, including the Curry County coast and South Central Oregon coast for the evening of Monday, January 11, through the morning of Wednesday, January 13.

Heavy rain can trigger landslides, rock fall, and debris flows in steep terrain, and the risk is higher in burn areas.

A slow moving front with a tap into an atmospheric river of
  moisture will continue rain through Wednesday. The rain will be
  heavy at times, especially over the coastal mountains and the
  Cascades. A front stalled near the northern coasts this morning,
  and the highest rainfall totals have been observed in the Willapa
  Hills and north Oregon coast range where around 4 inches of rain
  has fallen in the last 24 hours. The area of heavy rain will move
  south and east through the day.

* Rivers and small streams are rising in response to the heavy rain,
  and many will rise close to or above flood levels today and
  Wednesday. The heavy rain may also result in urban flooding today,
  especially in low lying areas with poor drainage. Saturated soils
  may also lead to land slides.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Flood Watch means there is a potential for flooding based on
current forecasts. You should monitor later forecasts and be alert
for possible flood warnings. Those living in areas prone to flooding
should be prepared to take action should flooding develop.

Landslides and debris flows are possible during this flood event.
People, structures, and roads located below steep slopes, in
canyons, and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk from
rapidly moving landslides.

Find the latest information here: https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/or.php?x=1

Debris flows are rapidly moving, extremely destructive landslides. They can contain boulders and logs transported in a fast-moving soil and water slurry down steep hillsides and through narrow canyons. They can easily travel a mile or more. A debris flow moves faster than a person can run. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.

If your home, work, or route is in a watch area:

  • Stay alert. Track the flood watch by radio, TV, weather radio or online. If told to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Listen. Unusual sounds might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. If you think there is danger of a landslide, leave immediately.
  • Watch the water. If water in a stream or creek suddenly turns muddy or the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases, this is a warning that the flow has been affected upstream. You should immediately leave the area because a debris flow may soon be coming downstream.
  • Travel with extreme caution. Assume roads are not safe. Be alert when driving, especially at night. Embankments along roadsides may fail, sending rock and debris onto the road.

For more landslide and debris flow information: https://www.oregongeology.org/Landslide/debrisflow.htm

Weather Conditions Call for Awareness, Preparedness
Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management urges residents to be prepared for flooding, landslides and power outages

Salem, OR –  With heavy winter rains and high winds forecasted across the state over the next few days, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to be aware – and prepared – for flooding, landslides and power outages.

Basic preparedness actions can help prevent dangerous situations. This begins with having an emergency kit with necessary supplies for up to two weeks, a practiced family plan with steps for what to do in an emergency, and knowing the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning.

Flooding
Intense rainfall over a short period of time can cause rivers and streams to rise rapidly, often catching people living near these water sources off guard. Flash floods move with incredible speed and occur when heavy rain falls on already-saturated ground. In addition, loss of vegetation due to wildfires leaves the ground charred and unable to absorb water. Even areas that are not traditionally flood-prone are at risk of flooding for up to several years after a wildfire.

  • Avoid walking through flood waters; they may be contaminated with oil, gas or raw sewage. Waters may also be hiding hazards and debris.
  • Be aware of weather conditions in your area before driving. Many flood-related incidents are caused by vehicles driven into hazardous waters.
  • Use ODOT’s Tripcheck for the latest road conditions before traveling.
  • Heavy rains reduce drivers’ visibility. When driving, turn on your lights, increase following distance and slow down. Visit ODOT’s webpage for Driving in the Rain Tips.
  • Heed the advice of emergency officials regarding evacuations.
  • Listen to weather and emergency updates on the TV, radio, social media.

Landslides
As Oregon recovers from the recent wildfires, residents living in and around wildfire areas should be aware of risks such as landslides and mudflows. People, structures and roads located below steep slopes in canyons and near the mouths of canyons may be at serious risk.

Signs of landslides include:

  • Changes in landscape such as changes in water runoff, leaning trees or land movement.
  • Water in streams or creeks that suddenly turns muddy or if the amount of water flowing suddenly decreases or increases.
  • New cracks in plaster, tile or foundations.
  • Unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
  • Underground utility line breaks.

For more information on landslides, check http://www.ready.gov/landslides-debris-flow.

Power outages
High winds and downed trees often cause of power outages. Take time to check your emergency kit before a storm hits. At a minimum, every home should have an emergency power outage kit that includes flashlights, battery-operated radio/clock, extra batteries, non-perishable foods, bottled water and blankets.  If you experience a power outage in your home or area:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
  • Check on your neighbors.
  • Stay away from – and don’t drive around – downed power lines and utility lines; even if they are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.
  • Turn on your porch light. After response crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if any lights are still out.

Disaster preparedness is an important priority for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and we encourage people to prepare for emergencies. It’s critical for families, individuals, communities and businesses to make an emergency plan, and communicate the plan before, during and after emergencies. For additional preparedness resources, visit https://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/Individual-Preparedness.aspx.

Eugene Man Jailed Following Multiple Freeway Crashes

A Eugene man was jailed following multiple freeway crashes on Friday.

Information from Oregon State Police said the accidents were reported over an approximately hour-long period on nearly a 25-mile stretch of the freeway, between Cottage Grove and the Drain and Yoncalla areas.  The report said the southbound motorhome first struck a sedan but did not stop. The driver of the sedan followed the motorhome for over 20 miles. He told police he observed the motorhome strike three other vehicles. The motorhome eventually left the freeway at around 11:45 a.m. and then crashed into a camping trailer in a trailer park in the 200 block of Eagle Valley Road in Yoncalla.

The report said the driver, 39-year old Frank James, then exited the vehicle, stripped off his clothes, and began running down the road naked. James was eventually detained by a Douglas County Sheriff deputy.

Initial charges included 2 counts each of failure to perform the duties of a driver in an accident, reckless driving and recklessly endangering another person. 17 additional charges were added with bail set at $723,750.

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Oregon National Guard Assisting With COVID Vaccine Help

Oregon National Guard arrives for COVID vaccine help

The Oregon National Guard is on its way to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents in the state and will arrive later Tuesday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds has turned into a mass vaccination center. Salem Health set up a vaccine clinic last week but had to close early Monday when they ran out of doses. Officials said they expect to receive more Tuesday afternoon. and the National Guard expects to be fully operational by Wednesday.

Officials with Salem Health said they can vaccinate more than 400 people per hour — and with the help of the National Guard, they should be able to do more. It opens at 12 p.m.

At this time, people eligible to receive shots at this center must live or work in Marion County and be in the top priority category — health care workers, first responders, and people living and working in nursing homes. Recipients must be ready to show proof of your specific job.

In a statement, Salem Health said this “model shows an effective and efficient way to vaccinate on a large scale and grow immunity in our community. Salem Health intends to operate this vaccine center until the entire state is vaccinated.”

Stephen Bomar, the Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department, said they will eventually deploy the National Guard to other areas.

“Absolutely. You know, Medford, Bend, all over the state, La Grande,” he said. “It just needs to be fleshed out where we need to send those teams, and that’s going to be really determined this week, I believe.”

Oregon Lawmakers Vote To Close Capitol Building To The Public

State lawmakers returned to the Oregon Capitol on Monday to prepare for the 2021 session, which officially starts Jan. 19.

The legislators swore in new members, gave speeches calling for unity, and found partisan disagreement on the rules that will govern the upcoming session, including if the Capitol would be open to the public during the session.

The Capitol has been closed since March due to the pandemic. It was not reopened for any of the three special legislative sessions last year.

Legislators gathered Monday for swearing-in ceremonies during Organizational Days for the 81st​​ Legislative Assembly.

Republicans opposed the proposed rules, saying the state constitution requires the Capitol be open for session to allow for transparency and the involvement of the public in the legislative process through in-person meetings and testimony on bills.

“If Costco can do it and the Home Depot in Klamath Falls can do it … certainly this staff and the people who are here can exercise the same sort of precautions to allow people into the building,” said Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls.

Democrats said preserving public health by limiting the possible transmission of the coronavirus is more important than having the Capitol open to the public. Moreover, a variety of virtual participation options have been put into place for the session that Democrats said will allow the Legislature to comply with the requirements for transparency. “Physical presence is not absolutely necessary to provide access to the public,” said Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene.

The rules in both chambers passed. Democrats have supermajority control of both chambers, with 18 of 30 members in the Senate and 37 of 60 in the House.

The new House rules also give House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, the authority to fine members who are absent $500 per day if their absence results in the body not being able to establish a quorum.

House Republicans denied quorum twice during the 2020 short session.

The Senate does not have a similar rule. Senate Republicans have denied quorum via walkout three times over the past two sessions.

Lawmakers are not expected to be in-person at the Capitol for the rest of the week, and will be in virtual trainings.

Oregon Filed Most Alleged Domestic Terrorism Prosecutions In US During 2020

Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office filed the most cases classified as domestic terrorism in 2020 compared to all other federal districts, according to a court tracking clearinghouse run by Syracuse University.

Most of the cases stemmed from consecutive nightly protests last summer outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis.

By the end of September, 40 people had been accused of assault on a federal officer and 15 faced the rare charge of civil disorder during protests, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Others were charged with destruction of government property, arson or attempted arson of federal property and violating national defense airspace.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.png

 A federal officer stands behind the fence at the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse just after a firework exploded. Protesters have gathered in downtown Portland by the thousands Friday, July 24, 2020, for the 58th consecutive night of protests in the city.

The period covered the federal fiscal year that runs from Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020. Across the country, U.S. attorney’s offices filed 183 domestic terrorism prosecutions — the most since such tracking began 25 years ago. That compares with 90 in fiscal year 2019, 63 in fiscal 2018 and 69 in fiscal 2017. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse is a data gathering and research organization at Syracuse University.

Cases categorized as domestic terrorism include allegations of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, alleged threats against the president, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, importing or storing explosives, civil disorders and making threatening communications.

In late September, Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams issued a statement, saying his office “is committed to prosecuting people who impede or assault law enforcement officers, damage federal property, and set fire to buildings. Make no mistake: those who commit violence in the name of protest, will be investigated, arrested, prosecuted, and face prison time.”

In stark contrast, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle recorded one alleged domestic terrorism-classified prosecution, according to the clearinghouse figures.

In early July, President Donald Trump sent 114 federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to bolster Federal Protective Service officers in Portland to help secure the federal courthouse. On July 3, some people tried to barricade the front doors of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse and they shattered. The enhanced and aggressive federal law enforcement response drew larger crowds of demonstrators who demanded that the extra contingent of federal officers be sent home. On July 29, Oregon’s Gov. Kate Brown announced that state troopers would replace federal officers outside the federal courthouse for two weeks.

Domestic terrorism prosecutions, as classified by the federal government, far outnumbered the 21 international terrorism cases filed for the fiscal year.

International terrorism cases are defined as those occurring outside the United States or involving an alleged foreign terrorist organization. In recent years, those cases have included kidnapping, hostage-taking, fraud, misuse of visas or conspiracy to commit such offenses or fraud against the United States.

UPDATE – Death Investigation – Lincoln County Six missing children ruled out in an effort to ID a little girl found dead in Oregon woods.

As part of the ongoing investigation into the discovery of a female child’s remains at the Van Duzer Rest Area in Lincoln County, the Oregon State Police (OSP) continues to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying the child and the circumstances around her death.  To date, we have received over 150 tips from citizens in the United States and Canada.  We are deeply appreciative of the public’s input so far and continue to accept information that may lead to the identification of the child.

2021-01/1002/140792/Lincoln_County_Child_Approximation.JPG

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office has estimated the child’s age to be 6.5 to 10 years old.  She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and has long hair that is dark brown or black.  Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete.  A sketch completed by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at our request has also been released. 

OSP, in partnership with the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), and numerous state and local agencies across the United States, are using a variety of means to include or exclude known missing persons who match the general description and/or sketch previously released.  This may include, but is not limited to, dental records, age, descriptors, and confirmed sightings via verifiable sources, and/or recent contacts with family or friends that demonstrate they were alive after the remains of the unidentified female were discovered in Lincoln County. 

OSP will not comment on the individual methods used to exclude each child.

In an effort to refocus the public’s attention and reduce duplicative tips, OSP is now prepared to publicly exclude the following reported missing children from our investigation:

  • Dulce Alavez, age 6, from Bridgeton, NJ
  • Addyson Gibson, age 12, from Portland, OR
  • Noelle Johnson, age 7, from Portland, OR
  • Niayah Bylenga (AKA Niayah Crawford), age 7, from Pendleton, OR or Ritzville, WA
  • Tarie Price, age 8, from Gretna, NE
  • Breasia Terrell, age 10, from Davenport, IA

OSP reminds the public that while these children have been excluded from our investigation, they are all still reported missing and we ask the public to continue to be vigilant for these children and all other missing persons reported across the nation. 

The Oregon State Police is releasing the attached approximation sketch of the child that was found in Lincoln County on December 10, 2020.

Sketch was provided with assistance of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).

Oregon State Police Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the remains of an individual discovered in rural Lincoln County.  

On December 10, 2020, Investigators were summoned to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation. At this location, investigators found the remains of a female child. 

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office estimate the deceased’s age to be 6.5 to 10 years old.  She is approximately 3’10” to 4’6” tall, and had long hair that is dark brown or black.  Her race or ethnic origin has yet to be determined, but DNA analysis is not complete. 

Due to the condition of the remains she had likely been deceased at least 30 days before she was discovered. 

If you have any information that might help investigators in identifying this child, please call 800-442-0776 or OSP (677).

No information regarding the cause or manner of death is available for release at this time. 

On Thursday, December 10, 2020 Oregon State Police Major Crimes Detectives responded to the H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor for a death investigation.

The area is a heavily wooded state park in Lincoln County, Oregon.

Due to the terrain OSP Detectives were assisted by Lincoln County SAR members.

At this time the deceased has yet to be positively identified. No further information regarding this individual is available for release until identity is established and next of kin can be notified.

An investigation into the circumstances of this incident is active and ongoing. No further details are available for release at this time.

Fatal Crash on Hwy 26 – Clatsop County
On Monday, January 11, 2021 at approximately 3:40 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 26 near milepost 7.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford Explorer, operated by Lonnie Meade (65) of Seaside, was eastbound and  stopped to turn left into a driveway when it was struck from behind by a Peterbuilt semi truck operated by Alejandro Flores (43) of Tigard.  Meade sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.  Flores was not injured. Hwy 26 was closed for 4 hours. OSP was assisted by the Seaside Fire Department, Hamlet Fire Department and ODOT.

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