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
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Willamette Valley Weather
Today- A 20 percent chance of showers after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. Light and variable wind.
Friday- A 20 percent chance of showers before 10am. Patchy fog before 10am. Snow level 2500 feet. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 46. North northwest wind 3 to 5 mph.
Saturday- Areas of fog before 10am. Areas of freezing fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 45. Calm wind.
Sunday- Rain. Snow level 2000 feet. High near 42. Chance of precipitation is 100%.
Monday- A chance of rain and snow showers before 10am, then a chance of rain showers. Snow level 1200 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 42.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (3), Benton (21), Clackamas (36), Clatsop (6), Coos (12), Crook (7), Deschutes (38), Douglas (17), Harney (3), Hood River (6), Jackson (38), Jefferson (7), Josephine (15), Klamath (16), Lake (4), Lane (53), Lincoln (4), Linn (26), Malheur (29), Marion (83), Morrow (4), Multnomah (99), Polk (22), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (53), Union (7), Wallowa (1), Wasco (6), Washington (60) and Yamhill (26).
Oregon Health Authority reported 704 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 135,142.
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 13,694 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 8,570 vaccine doses were administered on Jan. 19 and 5,124 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan. 19.
Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).
Oregon has now administered a cumulative total of 238,760 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccinations were administered by Oregon hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies, urgent care facilities and Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs).
To date, 436,250 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.
The Oregon Department of Education on Tuesday issued updated guidance for the return of in-person learning, which includes a requirement that schools provide on-site COVID-19 testing.
The guidance is the most recent push for students to return to school. Earlier this month, Gov. Kate Brown set a Feb. 15 goal for returning more students to the classroom, with a focus on elementary students.
Before winter break, less than 10% of Oregon’s estimated 580,000 students were receiving some form of in-person instruction, according to data from the Oregon Department of Education.
At the start of the year, Brown gave local school districts the power to decide when to return students to in-person learning.
Updated advisory metrics now allow for in-person classes for elementary students at higher levels of community case rates than previously recommended. A new requirement is that schools provide on-site COVID-19 testing for symptomatic students and staff members and for those who have had a known exposure to a positive case.
EWEB Urges Public To Spend Next 12 Months Preparing For Disaster
The Eugene Water & Electric Board has re-launched its Pledge to Prepare for 2021
The utility introduced the program in 2019 to provide a 12-month blueprint for emergency preparedness. The goal is to break preparations for a long-term power or water outage down into smaller steps.
The Pacific Northwest has faced extended periods without power in the past, including the Columbus Day storm in 1962. Scientists anticipate a megaquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Pacific Coast will someday do extensive damage to the region. Such a quake last struck the region on January 26, 1700.
Volume 90% Animation shows the tsunami generated by the most 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, which happened in January of the year 1700. And the region faces frequent landslides and other geologic threats, like volcanoes: Four of the nation’s 18 volcanoes considered a “very high threat” are in Oregon, with Mount St. Helens just north across the Columbia River in Washington.
When you join the Pledge to Prepare, you’ll receive a monthly email with step-by-step recommendations to help prepare yourself, your home and your family for an emergency. To help you stay motivated and engaged in building your supplies through the year, we will raffle off cool and useful emergency preparedness supplies each month. To be entered into the prize drawings, just send us a photo of your emergency preparation for the month.
- Click here to join the Pledge to Prepare.
- Once you join the campaign, you’ll receive a monthly email with step-by-step recommendations to help prepare yourself, home and family for an emergency.
- To help you stay motivated and engaged throughout the year, we will raffle off cool and useful emergency preparedness supplies each month.
- To be entered in the drawings, just send us a photo of your prep for the month. You can email your photo or post it on EWEB’s Facebook page.
- In December, we will celebrate your success with a grand prize drawing for a portable solar generator!
Below is the year-long emergency preparedness plan we will be following in the Pledge to Prepare campaign. Click on a month to download more information and tips, or download a summary of the 12-month plan here.
Do as much as you can! Even if you don’t check off every item on the list, each step gets you more prepared. At the end of each month, send us a photo of your prep—the steps you took during the month to increase your preparedness. Everyone who sends in a photo will be entered in the monthly drawing!
More than 2,300 people have taken the Pledge to Prepare so far – but EWEB doesn’t want to stop there.
“There’s always the possibility that a severe storm or other natural disaster could affect us here in the Pacific Northwest,” according to EWEB. “The Oregon Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to be prepared to be on their own for a minimum of two weeks following a disaster. That means storing 14 days of water, food, medicine and other supplies. For many, this may feel like a daunting task, but EWEB’s program can help make the process more manageable.”
Learn more on the EWEB website.
Springfield’s Interim Mayor Chosen
Effective immediately, the Springfield City Council elected councilor, Sean VanGordon, is to serve as Springfield’s interim mayor.
The decision happened Tuesday evening during a virtual City Council meeting after a vote among council members.
Vangordon represents Ward 1 in Springfield, and he will serve the next two years until a new mayor is elected in November of 2022. Leonard Stoehr was also considered for the position, but the council voted 4 to 2 in favor of VanGordon.
The appointment comes after a long vacancy in the Springfield mayor position after former mayor Christine Lundberg stepped down in August of last year.
“It is an incredible honor to be selected and to serve Springfield as your mayor,” said Interim Mayor Sean VanGordon “I am extremely grateful to the City Council for placing their trust in my leadership. I would like to thank my wife, Elaine, and the wonder twins, Katie and Liv, whose support gives me this great opportunity to serve. To quote, Simon Sinek, ‘Dream Big. Start Small. But most of all start.’ 2020 has been tough on our community, and we have a lot of work to do. I am looking forward to starting that work.”
VanGordon moved to the area to attend the University of Oregon where he earned a Master’s Degree in Economics. Sean serves on the Springfield Economic Development Agency, the Springfield Budget Committee, the HOME Consortium, Lane ACT, the Springfield Legislative Committee, the Springfield Library Board, the Springfield Development Code Update Project Advisory Committee, and the Lane County Poverty & Homeless Board. Sean is married to his high school sweetheart, Elaine, and the father of twin girls, Katie and Livy. His hobbies include watching Ducks sports, reading non-fiction books, following current affairs, gaming, and walks with his Labrador, Trajan.
The appointment of Interim Mayor leaves a vacant seat representing Ward 1 on the Springfield City Council. Information about the interim Councilor recruitment will be made available to media, on the City’s website, and social media sites starting tomorrow, January 20.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Oregon Drops 25,500 Jobs in December
Oregon’s unemployment rose to 6.4% in December from 6.0% in November. This was the state’s first monthly increase in its unemployment rate following seven months of declines. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in both November and December.
Oregon’s over-the-month percent job loss was much greater than nationally. In December, Oregon lost 1.4% of nonfarm payroll employment while the U.S. shed 0.1%. Oregon’s total nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 25,500 jobs in December, following a revised gain of 2,100 jobs in November. The drop followed seven consecutive months of gains. Total nonfarm payroll employment stood at 1,783,300 in December, which was an over-the-year decline from December 2019 of 174,000 jobs, or 8.9%.
“December’s job losses reflect the devastation COVID-19 continues to inflict on the lives and livelihoods of Oregonians. Ten months into the pandemic, Oregon has regained just 37% of the jobs lost in this recession,” said Gail Krumenauer, State Employment Economist with the Oregon Employment Department.
December job losses in Oregon were greatest in leisure and hospitality, which cut 28,600 jobs. Several other industries also cut at least 800 jobs in December, including private educational services (-1,700 jobs), government (-1,300), wholesale trade (-1,100), manufacturing (-900), and construction (-800). In contrast, four major industries each added thousands of jobs: retail trade (+2,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+2,200); health care and social assistance (+2,200); and professional and business services (+2,100).
Within leisure and hospitality, full-service restaurants cut 17,600 jobs in December, which was the largest drop of its component industries. Full-service restaurants, where in-person dining has been severely reduced due to the pandemic, have cut far more jobs than limited-service eating places which shed 2,000 jobs in December.
On the plus side, reflecting the rapid increase in online shopping, the industries that employ the fulfillment center warehouse workers and package delivery drivers boosted December employment in industries within transportation, warehousing, and utilities. In particular, couriers and messengers added 3,600 jobs in December.
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the December county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, Jan. 26, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for January on Tuesday, March 2.
The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release. Oregon Employment Department
To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov.
Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.
Oregon’s Democratic Party Offices Vandalized in Post-Inauguration Protests
Police arrested eight people on Wednesday after the Democratic Party headquarters in Portland, Oregon, was vandalized hours after President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Portland police said some of the group of about 150 people carried weapons “including Molotov cocktails, knives, batons, chemical spray and a crowbar.”
Some members of the crowd met in southeast Portland before heading to the Democratic Party offices dressed in black and carrying banners reading, “We don’t want Biden, we want revenge! For police murders, imperialist wars and fascist massacres,” and “We are ungovernable,” according to a photo published by The Oregonian.
Charges against the eight arrested included felony criminal mischief, possession of a destructive device, and riot, police Sgt. Kevin Allen said in a video statement on Twitter.
At least 150 people later marched on Portland’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement building, calling for the agency to be abolished.
A crowd clashed with federal officers outside the building, throwing rocks and eggs and vandalizing the building, Portland police added.
Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau offers scholarships
Coos-Curry Farm Bureau announces that it will offer three $1,000 scholarships for the 2021-22 school year.
The scholarships will be given to high school seniors who plan to major in an agriculture-related field at an Oregon college, university, or community college. Current Oregon college students who are majoring in an agricultural-related field are also eligible. And this year, Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau opened up the scholarship criteria to include students from families who are Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau Voting or Supporting members that will be attending an Oregon college, university, or community college in the field of their choice during the 2021-22 school year.
Financial need is not the primary basis for selection but is a factor in the selection process. Academic performance, agriculture achievement in FFA or 4-H, and/or participation in school and community activities are basic criteria evaluated by the Coos-Curry County Farm Bureau Scholarship Committee.
Application forms are available on the Oregon Farm Bureau website at www.OregonFB.org/scholarships or may be requested by calling 541.347.3453.
Completed applications, along with a high school or college transcript, are due April 1, 2021. Winners will be notified in writing by April 15.
New Public Affairs Officer for Klamath National Forest
Klamath National Forest Acting Forest Supervisor Rachel Smith announced that Kimberly DeVall will be the new Public Affairs Officer. DeVall replaces Joshua Veal who transferred to the Huron-Manistee National Forests in May, 2020.
“We are pleased to welcome Kimberly DeVall to the Klamath National Forest,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Rachel Smith. “Her experience in public information—her experience working with a wide variety of partnerships, associations, and the public—and her natural resource management education and work experience will be an invaluable addition to the Klamath National Forest.”
DeVall has a broad background as a public information officer for Valles Caldera National Preserve (a unit of the National Park Service) headquartered in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Her work included development of news releases and brochures, management of the preserve’s website and social media sites, leading media tours, development of internal and external newsletters, and serving as a Fire Information Officer. She was responsible for the interpretation program, which included visitor center operations, and coordinated the Volunteers-In-Parks program.
Her work experience includes extensive work with an association, called Los Amigos de las Valles Caldera, which was formed to help support the mission of the national preserve. She served as a member of the Greater Santa Fe Recreations Partnership, collaborated with the Pajarito Environmental Education Center to provide education programs, and partnered with New Mexico Trout to provide volunteers to facilitate fly fishing clinics. Early in her career she worked for four years on the Santa Fe National Forest as Education Coordinator for the Respect the River/Rio program.
DeVall brings to the job a strong background in natural resource management. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology with course emphasis in communications/journalism. She then completed a Master of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology with course emphasis in sociology.
“I am very pleased to be joining the team on the Klamath National Forest,” said DeVall. “I look forward to meeting and working with partners, stakeholders and members of the public on all the important work we have to do together.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is Requesting Art Submissions for its 2022 Stamps.
Between Aug. 27 and Sept. 24, artists can submit entries for the department’s Habitat Conservation Stamp, Waterfowl Stamp and Upland Game Bird Stamp. Artists do not have to live in Oregon to participate.
The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award. Winning artwork is used to produce collector stamps and other promotional items with sale proceeds benefitting Oregon fish, wildlife and habitats.
Habitat Conservation Stamp entries must feature an animal in its natural habitat; Waterfowl Stamp entries must feature the Northern Shoveler in its natural habitat setting; and Upland Game Bird Stamp entries must feature the Chukar partridge in its natural habitat setting.
A list of comprehensive contest rules is online at dfw.state.or.us/stamp_contest/.
A panel will judge artwork based on artistic composition, anatomical accuracy of the species and general appeal. All submitted artwork will be showcased at a free art show, open to the public.