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
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Willamette Valley Weather
Today– A 50 percent chance of showers. Snow level 2000 feet rising to 2500 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Southeast wind around 7 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Thursday– A 50 percent chance of showers. Snow level 2500 feet rising to 3000 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Light and variable wind.
Friday– A 30 percent chance of rain after 5pm. Patchy fog before 11am. Snow level 1500 feet rising to 2500 feet in the afternoon. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 45. Light south wind.
Saturday– A 40 percent chance of rain. Snow level 2500 feet rising to 3000 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49.
Sunday– Rain. Cloudy, with a high near 51.
Oregon reports 796 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 22 new deaths.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (21), Clackamas (100), Clatsop (11), Columbia (8), Coos (2), Crook (8), Curry (2), Deschutes (70), Douglas (20), Harney (9), Hood River (8), Jackson (49), Jefferson (1), Josephine (14), Klamath (19), Lake (3), Lane (50), Lincoln (6), Linn (12), Malheur (16), Marion (61), Morrow (1), Multnomah (195), Polk (11), Sherman (1), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (18), Union (6), Wallowa (1), Wasco (2), Washington (37) and Yamhill (31).
Vaccinations in Oregon
Today, OHA reported that 17,422 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 10,178 doses were administered on Jan. 25 and 7,244 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Jan. 25.
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 325,473 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, 589,200 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.
Despite gradually declining coronavirus cases statewide, Oregon’s county risk levels
remain largely unmoved under the latest list published by state officials. But for counties
under the highest restrictions, the new list brings with it some relief for gyms and similar
Effective January 29 through February 11, there will be 25 counties in the Extreme Risk level, two at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and seven at Lower Risk. In southern Oregon, the only county to see a change was Curry County, which dropped from Moderate to Lower Risk — the lowest possible level of restrictions under the state plan.
Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath counties remain at Extreme Risk, with Lake County remaining at Moderate. Brown’s office said that some of the Extreme Risk guidance has been modified, also effective January 29. The change allows for a maximum of six people to be indoors at facilities over 500 square feet — for “all indoor
activities except dining” — as long as social distancing, cleaning, and face covering guidance is followed. For smaller buildings, the modified guidance allows for “1:1 customer experiences, such as personal training.”
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association welcomed the news that the state would allow more activities under the “Extreme Risk” category, beginning this Friday.
But the lobbying group questioned ongoing restrictions on restaurants, citing statistics about COVID-19 deaths and the status of restaurants in various states across the U.S.
Oregon adjusts categories every 2 weeks. Updates released Tuesday ahead of Friday’s changeover date show most counties will remain in Extreme Risk. But the category itself will change on Friday to allow limited indoor use of gyms and movie theaters – and give restaurants more options in terms of outdoor dining and customer access to video lottery machines.
The group noted that leisure and hospitality businesses in Oregon lost 25,500 jobs in December. ORLA shared an analysis “across states with mask mandates shows no correlation between the number of cases and deaths and the decisions to close indoor dining.”
St. Jude Will Distribute Free Food Boxes To Community
St. Jude’s Catholic Church will resume distribution of free food boxes to the community starting this Saturday. Boxes will be given away every Saturday from Jan. 30 through March 27.
The church plans to distribute 180 boxes weighing 25 pounds each with the help of the Knights of Columbus. The boxes will include fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, eggs and meat.
The food boxes are given out on a first-come, first-served basis and there will be a limit of two boxes per car. Boxes will be given away every Saturday from Jan. 30 through March 27.
Distribution will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or until supplies are gone. It will be in the parking lot of St. Jude’s Catholic Church at 4330 Willamette St. A voucher is not required. For more information call the church office at 541-344-1191.
CAHOOTS Highlighted on ‘The Daily Show’
CAHOOTS’s most recognized year ever continues. When Black Lives Matter-related protests were at their peak during 2020, national media outlets looked to the White Bird Clinic program as an alternative to policing — ranging from spots on CNN to The Atlantic. But now the program has received the patented comical news treatment by Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Jan. 25 — and Eugene Weekly makes a little cameo.
Like Daily Show correspondents before him (such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Samantha Bee), Roy Wood Jr. blends the show’s trademark straight-faced news personality with comedic timing while interviewing CAHOOTS’ Program Coordinator Ebony Morgan and former Operations Coordinator Tim Black.
Morgan was voted by EW readers for the 2020 Best Of issue as Best Health care worker and CAHOOTS, aka Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, won best nonprofit and service for the homeless. And during the interview, Morgan had the cover of that issue in the frame of her computer’s camera.
CAHOOTS (aka Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets) has been around for 30 years — or as Wood puts it, “The Fresh Prince hadn’t even left for Bel Air yet.” Wood learns in the segment that CAHOOTS staff don’t carry pepper spray, guns or even ninja stars.
Morgan then ran down a typical call and how CAHOOTS staff responds to people in crisis. She said staff have snacks, tents, clean clothes and more in the van.
“You had me at snacks,” Wood interjected. “I’m a 40-year old man, and I’ll get in the van for some snacks.”
Wood also talked to Morgan and Black about de-escalation tactics — or as he described it, “just being chill.”
Black said he needs to be engaged with the person and demonstrate that he cares about them “to work through this crisis together.”
But Wood said that CAHOOTS has responded a lot to “Karens,” an online term for predominantly white women who often freak out about people of color being in public like grilling or walking.
“We do encounter situations where folks call in because of racist motivations or because they have a bias against different socio-economic circumstances,” Black said. “In those situations, I think there are two things we have to recognize: What it was that triggered that person to make that call?”
“And then two, slap the shit out of that person,” Wood interrupted. Black laughed, saying that’s not a CAHOOTS strategy and instead they present an opportunity to confront the caller’s white fragility.
Using city of Eugene budget figures, Wood shows how CAHOOTS and their vans filled with snacks, clean clothes and care save money. Comparing the Eugene police budget of $90 million, he says CAHOOTS costs taxpayers $2.1 million — but responds to nearly 20 percent of the calls. Returning to these budget numbers at the end of the segment, Wood posed the question we’ve all asked in Eugene: If this is what they could do with $2 million, imagine what they could do with $90 million?
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Josephine County Health Officials Give Out Vaccines While Stuck in Snow at Hayes Hill
Josephine County Health officials confirmed that its COVID-19 vaccine administrators were able to get rid of six remaining vaccines on the side of the road after getting stuck on Hayes Hill during today’s snowstorm. Josephine County Health Officials Give Out Vaccines While Stuck in Snow at Hayes Hill
The department said it was on the way back from the Illinois Valley Vaccine Clinic and was headed to Grants pass to give out a few remaining vaccines but became stuck in a traffic jam due to weather conditions. To avoid wasting the vaccine doses that were getting close to expiration (the vaccines can only be open for six hours) the team offered the doses to other motorists stuck on the side of the road.
After getting stuck in a snow-related road closure staff members from the Josephine County Health Department administer COVID-19 vaccines roadside to avoid wasting 6 doses left over from a vaccination clinic. Doses can only be open for six hours.
Josephine County Health Department officials had six doses that were close to expiration with them when they got caught in traffic due to inclement weather. To avoid wasting the doses, the vaccine was administered to other drivers who were also caught in the snowstorm.
Oregon Dept. of Forestry – Snowfall is a good reminder to inspect your trees!
Snowfalls may be less common in Oregon urban areas than in the past, but heavy amounts can still cause havoc with trees with poor branch structure. Taking a quick look at your trees this winter may reveal simple pruning cuts you can make to limit damage in future snowstorms.
The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has posted bulletins on its website to help homeowners with details of what to look for and where a cut might prevent damage to the tree. Visit https://www.oregon.gov/odf/forestbenefits/pages/urbanforests.aspx
“Being prepared for winter includes knowing what to do about your trees when it snows heavily,” says ODF’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program Manager Kristin Ramstad. “Keep a broom handy to sweep snow off branches if it looks like they might be getting weighed down.”
Ramstad says to be especially diligent about removing snow on broadleaved trees and tall shrubs that come from climates that receive less snow than Oregon. Evergreen magnolias, azaras and eucryphias from Chile, evergreen oaks from Mexico and Asia, evergreen laurels, and tree-form manzanitas may all benefit from having snow removed.
Ramstad recommends shaking or sweeping snow off branches and foliage. Look first to make sure no large branches are hung up in the tree and could fall on you. And avoid hitting the tree with a hard object, as it can damage the bark.
If major branches do break under heavy snow or in a storm, consult with a certified arborist belonging to the Pacific Northwest chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (PNW-ISA).
“Of course, never top a tree thinking it will make it safer in snow,” Ramstad warns. “The new growth that results after topping is always more weakly attached than the original branches. It’s actually more likely to break off during storms or snow events.”
Driver in Deadly SE Portland hit-run Rampage Identified
Portland police have identified the driver accused of hitting nine people, killing one of them, during a violent hit-and-run rampage in Southeast Portland on Monday.
Police said 64-year-old Paul Rivas of Oregon City was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center for several charges, including second-degree murder. He also faces multiple counts of assault and failure to perform the duties of a driver. He’s slated to appear before a Multnomah County judge Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators said there were multiple crime scenes and that the deadly rampage began near Laurelhurst Park around 1 p.m on Monday when the driver slammed into several people on the sidewalk along a stretch of Southeast Stark Street.
The crime scenes span from Southeast Cesar E. Chavez Blvd and Southeast 15th Avenue, from East Burnside Street to Southeast Belmont Street. Police say as they were responding to the first report, they quickly received calls that the same driver was involved in other crashes of cars and pedestrians.
Authorities said they received multiple calls about an incident with the Honda Element at 32nd and Belmont, 33rd and Belmont, 37th and Pine and other points before it ended between SE 18th and 17th near Stark.
The suspect then attempted to run away on foot, but people in the neighborhood helped “corral” him until police could take him into custody, PPB Sgt. Derek Carmon said. PFR Lt. Rich Chatman said once they responded to the scene at SE 18th and Stark, they quickly realized it was a “multiple patient scene.”
Investigators have found no evidence that terrorism, politics or any bias motivated a driver who repeatedly drove into people along streets and sidewalks in Portland, Oregon, killing a 77-year-old woman and injuring nine other people, police said Tuesday.
Two of the injured were cyclists and six were pedestrians – they all suffered minor injuries and are recovering. But 77-year-old Jean Gerich died of her injuries. A Grandmother and cancer survivor who had just gotten her Covid Vaccine wall killed in this hit-run rampage.
Human Remains Found In Yamhill County Identified As California Woman
On January 18th, shortly before 9:00 a.m., a Yamhill County citizen located a suspicious object near the entrance to Stuart Grenfell Park, which is located at the intersection of Highway 18 and Harmony Road in rural Sheridan. The property owner promptly called law enforcement.
Yamhill County Deputies arrived on scene and began an investigation, eventually requesting response from the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU). SIU members identified the contents as human remains. The remains were removed from the scene and transported to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.
On January 19th the remains were confirmed to be that of an adult female. The female was later identified as 31-yr old Mariah Diane Lindgren. The last known address for Lindgren is Humbolt County, California. Lindgren was known to have been in the Grand Ronde and Willamina areas for the past few weeks.
Anyone who may have had contact with Lindgren or noted any suspicious activity in the area of Stuart Grenfell Park on or around Jan. 18 should call the YCSO at 503-434-7506 and reference case number 21-171.
The YCSO conducted their investigation at the scene along with the YCSO Special Investigations Unit with help from the Oregon State Police Department and the West Valley Fire District, according to officials.
Another Famed Oregon Coast Landmark Has Been Closed Off to Access After Crumbling and Becoming Dangerous
Another famed Oregon coast landmark has been closed off to access after crumbling and becoming quite dangerous, the second in two months after the tunnel at Oceanside was shut down because of a landslide. This time, Jump-Off Joe at Newport’s Nye Beach abruptly reached a critical state, with chunks of the rock formation falling away and leaving the concrete remnants of an old condo project broken and unsafe to walk on.
According the City of Newport’s Casey Miller, it’s been two days of rather heavy landslide activity at Jump-Off Joe, the worst of which was today. Signs are now up on the beach as well as the area leading to the parking lot of the attraction.
“The public will be prohibited from accessing the area. This is a very dangerous situation with potential for additional landslides,” Miller said. “Public safety is the paramount concern at this time. Additional review by professional geotechnical consultants will be undertaken to both ensure all safety measures are in place and to examine possible next steps.”
Jump-Off Joe has for decades been a geologically unstable headland, with more and more of it getting whittled away by the tides every year. The condo remnants on top, which have served as a quirky lookout and oddball attraction on the Oregon coast, is one of many major examples. It’s part of a condominium project that was begun in the ‘80s after incorrect data and pressure on local officials resulted in its go-ahead. Before it was finished the condo project cracked. It was quickly abandoned and left behind were the funky remains used by those ogling the ocean.
This particular episode in Jump-Off Joe’s long, drawn-out demise began a little over a week ago, as new, larger cracks began to show rather suddenly in the concrete, and some square-like sections began to buckle and tilt at odd angles.
Then on Monday, it worsened quickly with much it of crumbling catastrophically. Miller initially sent out a warning about the new issues in progress that day.
“The landslide activity in the area known as Jump Off Joe (Old Condominium Site) in Newport has recently increased,” Miller said in a press release on Monday. “The County has installed warning signs and the City of Newport has cordoned off the area with signage prohibiting public entry. In addition, Oregon State Parks has placed signage on the beach on the north end of the site.”
Now, as of Tuesday, the structure is no longer traversable.
The history of Jump-Off Joe is a long and complex one, and this is the second structure in that spot to have that name. The original Jump-Off Joe was a large blob at the tideline over 100 year ago that had an arch that came and went, but it was a favorite with locals and visitors until it too seemed to melt into the tides by the ‘30s.
Meanwhile, this current Jump-Off Joe (it was named so in the ‘70s), was a sizable sandstone headland, which for a time had a large arch in it as well. Some famous photos occasionally surface of 1930s-era cars driving through it.
That arch crumbled with a major crash in 1994, and since then the headland has continued shrinking.
This entire cliff-line of Nye Beach is known for major landslides. Geology reports show it had lost as much as 500 feet since 1880, and one major event in the mid century took out 200 feet.
House Bill 2698
If your watch battery dies there are scores of shops that will quickly swap it out for a new one – or you can do it yourself with a simple toolkit. If your smartphone’s charging port stops working, though, options are far fewer.
That’s because electronics manufacturers like Apple and Samsung control the tools and parts needed to make the fix. And critics say that makes it harder, more expensive – and sometimes impossible – to perform even straightforward repairs. Oregon lawmakers will consider legislation this year designed to make that process easier by requiring manufacturers to make repair tools, parts and instructions readily available. on “fair and reasonable terms.” House Bill 2698 is among two-dozen similar bills before state legislatures across the country this year.