Willamette Valley News, Monday 2/15 – Death Investigation in Cottage Grove, Vandals Cut Down the Tree at Top of Spencer Butte

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

Monday, February 15, 2021 

Willamette Valley Weather

Monday/Washington’s Birthday- Rain.High near 50. Southwest wind 10 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Tuesday– Showers likely, mainly before 10am. Snow level 2500 feet rising to 3000 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. West wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Wednesday– Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. Light and variable wind.

Thursday– Rain. High near 49. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Friday– Rain. Snow level 3000 feet lowering to 2500 feet. Cloudy, with a high near 48.

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Oregon reports 254 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, zero new deaths after reporting on Saturday: 474 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 43 new deaths

There are zero new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, the state’s death toll remains at 2,137 the Oregon Health Authority reported 254 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 150,281.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (3), Clackamas (11), Columbia (2), Coos (11), Crook (3), Deschutes (22), Douglas (17), Harney (5), Jackson (11), Jefferson (2), Josephine (7), Klamath (7),  Lane (32), Lincoln (1), Linn (7), Marion (21), Morrow (1), Multnomah (46), Polk (1), Umatilla (6), Union (1), Wasco (2), Washington (29), Yamhill (6).

A grim new forecast confirms what experts caution amid declining Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations: when it comes to the pandemic, the US is not yet out of the woods.

Another 130,000 Americans are projected to die of the virus over the next three and a half months, according to the latest model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. And while Covid-19 numbers may be trending in the right direction now, there are four key factors that will determine how the next few
months unfold, the IHME said in a briefing accompanying its model. The first two will likely help the pandemic numbers continue a downward trajectory: increasing vaccinations and declining seasonality — the pattern of lower transmission that’s likely in the US during the spring and summer months.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 7,206 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 4,028 doses were administered on Feb.13 and 3,178 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on Feb. 13. 

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 677,194 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. To date, 885,250 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.

Death Investigation in Cottage Grove After One Man was Found Dead and Another Injured Sunday Morning

Just before 9:30 a.m. police responded to an agency assist for South Lane Fire Medical at 1063 Tyler Ave. When officers arrived, they found 48-year-old Conrad Schubkegel dead inside the residence. 

Paramedics transported 24-year-old Kyle Schubkegel to the Riverbend Hospital in Springfield for treatment of a gunshot wound. Police said he is expected to survive.

A witness told responding officers that they overheard calls for help coming from the residence and they called 9-1-1. Neighbor Dick Gilkison said he could hear the sirens responding to the incident early Sunday morning, but he wasn’t sure exactly what was happening. 

“We were driving down Gateway, we noticed Tayler was blocked on both ends with police cars, and it’s real unusual for this neighborhood,” Gilkison said. 

The case is under investigation, and at this time, the Cottage Grove Police have not confirmed the relationship between the two victims, or the details of the incident that occured. 

Vandals Cut Down the Tree at the Top of Spencer Butte

The lone standing tree at the top of Spencer Butte has been cut down in an act of vandalism according to Eugene Parks and Open spaces.

While they don’t know who did it, they said they were “heartbroken” in a Facebook post Friday.

Neighbors who hike the trail multiple times a week are saying they’re sad to see that someone could disrespect the iconic spot like this.

“Why did you put that much effort into taking away something from a community that loved it,” said Mike McGowan who hikes the trail multiple times a week. “You made a decision that impacted a lot of people in our community without anybody wanting it.”

McGowan said the tree must have been cut down sometime between Wednesday and Friday morning. He says he asked the Eugene’s Parks and Open Spaces department if it was possible to plant another tree in the same spot. He says the department told him it would be difficult for a new tree to grow there.

“We are heartbroken to share this act of vandalism at the top of Spencer Butte,” the Parks and Open Space Division said on Instagram. “We know this tree was beloved by many and we are deeply saddened to see it cut down like this.”

It was not immediately clear Saturday if a criminal investigation is underway. The department called this an “act of vandalism” — and they want to remind community members to call 9-1-1 if you see vandalism in progress.

Two Arrested for Online Sexual Corruption Of A Minor

 Eugene police made two arrests after a detective posed online as a teenage girl and then agreed to meet with the men who responded to the post.

Police said two men responded separately to the posting and agreed to meet with the person who identified themselves as a 15-year-old girl.

Donald Jeffery Randall, 58, of Springfield, was arrested Thursday after he responded to the undercover juvenile prostitution ad. He was arraigned on a charge of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child and will be back in court March 18 for a pre-trial conference.

Mark Alan Ewing, 53, of Eugene, was arrested Feb. 2 and arraigned on a charge of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child. He will be back in court March 10 for a pre-trial conference.

“Both cases highlight the problem with online corruption of vulnerable children,” said Capt. Shawn Adams of Eugene Police Department. “This happens in our local area and we will continue our efforts to combat online predators, and continue to raise awareness of this crime to prevent child sexual exploitation.”

Police offer these tips for parents and guardians:

• Monitor your child’s devices remotely and control access
• Be aware of communications between your child and others
• Beware of unexplained absences and behavior or sudden gifts or items they can’t afford or cash
• Understand cyber-crime and that “no one online is anonymous”
• If you child has a new game or app, spend time with them on it
• Set up an area where children can use their technology with a parent’s presence
• Consider not allowing your child to take a phone or computer with them into their room at night to sleep
• Understand appropriate protocols when a child discloses issues of sexting, or sextortion. Let your child know they can report concerns to you or another trusted adult
• Teach your child that it is ok to block users who make them uncomfortable
• Understand applications such as SnapChat, TikTok, Facebook, Google Hangouts and Instagram.

Report Shows Roseburg is City with the Most Property Crime in Oregon

Image result for roseburg oregon

Property crime is a category of non-violent offenses comprising three subcategories: burglary, larceny theft, and motor vehicle theft. According to the FBI, a total of 6.9 million property crimes were committed in the United States in 2019. The total value of goods stolen — ranging from clothing and jewelry to firearms and motor vehicles — is estimated $14.3 billion.

Adjusting for population, there were a total of 2,110 property crimes for every 100,000 people in the United States in 2019. Of course, crime is a highly local phenomenon, and as a result, property crime rates vary substantially from state to state and city to city.

Oregon’s property crime rate of 1,897 per 100,000 is slightly below the comparable national rate. However, in some parts of the state, property crime is far more common. In Roseburg, located in southwestern Oregon, there were 5,736 property crimes for every 100,000 people in 2019, more than any other city or town in the state.

As is the case nationwide, larceny-theft is by far the most commonly reported crime in Roseburg. About four in every five property crimes committed in the city in 2019 were larceny cases. The remaining incidents were either burglary or motor vehicle theft.

To determine the cities with the most property crime in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed property crime data from the FBI’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report. We ranked cities based on the number of property crimes reported per 100,000 residents. We considered all cities, towns, villages, and Census designated places home to at least 20,000 people in our analysis. Alabama and Hawaii did not have sufficient crime data at the city level and were excluded from our analysis. Data on poverty rate came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are five-year averages for 2019. More info: https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2164167309118/this-is-the-city-with-the-most-property-crime-in-oregon

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Health Coverage COVID-19 special enrollment period starts today: HealthCare.gov is open Feb. 15 to May 15 to enroll in health coverage

Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace logo (left)

Today is the first day of a COVID-19 special enrollment period, which lasts until May 15, 2021. This special enrollment period will allow people throughout the United States, including Oregonians, who are looking for health coverage to shop at HealthCare.gov.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant change to hundreds of thousands of Oregonians, who either lost their job or experienced a loss in income. As a result, these Oregonians may be newly eligible for financial help to purchase health insurance. Unlike a typical special enrollment period, this enrollment period is available to everyone, not just those who have experienced a life event. Until May 15, any person who is eligible to shop through the Marketplace may enroll in new coverage or change their current plan.

Insurance agents and community partner organizations throughout the state are available to help people apply for financial assistance and choose private plans. People can also browse plans and find out how much savings they are eligible for at OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop.

Oregonians who do not get health insurance through their job or a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare may qualify for help paying for 2021 coverage through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Even if people are temporarily uninsured or are currently enrolled in COBRA coverage, they can sign up for help between Feb. 15 and May 15 to get health insurance for 2021.

“The pandemic has made life uncertain for many Oregonians. We want to help you find a way to control your finances,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Quality health coverage protects your financial future in the event that you get sick, injured, or something else unforeseen happens.”

“It is true. The pandemic has proven that life is unpredictable. That can be scary when it comes to the health and financial security of your family,” said Amy Coven, communications strategist for the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. “Health coverage brings predictability to health needs that may arise, as well as a wealth of benefits to keep you healthy.”

Individuals making $51,040 or less per year, and families of four making $104,800 or less, may get help paying for coverage. In 2020, more than seven in 10 Oregonians who chose plans through HealthCare.gov got financial help for monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. These savings lowered the average premium to just $145 per month.

To apply, go to OregonHealthCare.gov between Feb. 15 and May 15 and answer a few Oregon-specific questions to get to the right application. You can also search the “get help” directory on OregonHealthCare.gov to find an insurance agent or community partner organization to help complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to the client. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following safety protocols.

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services

Winter Storms Wreak Havoc Around Oregon

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Ice, snow and high winds over the weekend and over much of the state have resulted in multiple road closures and downed trees resulting in extensive power outages and fractured communications. Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency for nine counties impacted by the severe winter weather: Benton, Clackamas, Hood River, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill. On Saturday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown declared a State of Emergency for the Willamette Valley due to severe winter weather that has resulted in heavy snow and ice accumulation, high winds, critical transportation failures, and loss of power and communications capabilities.

“This is another example of how emergencies can strike at any time, and why we need to be prepared,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “Our state coordination Center (ECC) is active virtually, and along with state partners, we are leaning forward and stand ready to assist counties as needed.”

Key messages for Oregonians:

  • Stay home/off the roads unless absolutely necessary; downed trees and power lines, as well as slick roads make for hazardous travel.
  • A large number of damaged cell towers make for challenging communications via mobile phones and the Internet; use a battery-operated radio to listen to public broadcast stations for weather and situation updates.
  • While utility repair crews are out working to restore power, outages are widespread and may not be back up for some time. Check on family/neighbors who may need assistance.

Additional winter weather safety tips and resources are available at:

More Than 250,000 Remain Without Power in Oregon

More than 250,000 customers remain without power in Oregon and southwest Washington as a direct result of the storm that downed more than 4,400 power lines. Officials say power could be out for days.

Power companies have crews working 24/7 to restore electricity. More freezing rain on Sunday night will not make it any easier to get everyone back online.

PGE outages map
Pacific Power outages map
Clark County PUD outages
Salem Electric outages

Power outages began early Friday. As of 8 a.m. Monday, Portland General Electric reported roughly 292,300 customers still experiencing outages — and the number is growing. Many of the affected customers are in Clackamas County, PGE officials said.

Report outage — PGE
Report outage — Pacific Power
Report outage — Clark County PUD

At least 4,000 power lines have been brought down by ice and tree limbs. Furthermore, multiple transmission lines across the area have been severely damaged.

Pacific Power reported more than 40,478 customers were powerless as of 8 a.m. Monday. At that same time, Clark Public Utilities reported 5,482 customers without power. Salem Electric reported 350 customers remain without power as of Sunday night.

Because of the number of downed lines, the wide area of damage and the weather, power could be out for several days, officials with the companies said. Customers could also experience multiple power outages.

One of the biggest problems in getting power restored is icy roads delaying crews from getting to the damaged power lines, said PGE spokesperson Steven Corson.

Crews from across the state are in the Portland metro area helping to restore power. More crews from Montana and Nevada are expected to arrive Monday to help get everyone’s lights and heat back on.

“Our efforts to aggressively secure assistance will result in doubling our crew size since Saturday, to address 216 miles of damaged transmission lines, substation damage and 4,408 wire downs as we piece together the system that operates and distributes electricity,” PGE officials said in an emailed statement Sunday.Emergency resources for severe winter weather 

POWER OUTAGE TIPS:

  • Check surge protectors and all the GFCI outlets in your home to make sure they are working properly.
  • Check your circuit breakers and reset any that may have tripped.
  • If your entire home is without power or if other homes around you are without power, call PGE to report the outage, either by phoneonline or the PGE app. You can also request to get updates and with our outage map, see which areas are being impacted by an outage.
How to stay warm in extreme cold if your power goes out

As the winter weather continues more outages could take place. Be sure to take proper precautions and preparations for inclement weather.

Fatal Crash on Highway 99 In Medford

The Medford Police Department says that at least one person is dead following a two-vehicle crash on Highway 99 in Medford. The roadway was shut down for more than an hour as emergency crews and law enforcement responded.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said shortly before noon on Friday that all lanes of Highway 99 were closed near Lowry Lane — between Garfield and S Stage Road. The agency later said that a detour had been put in place. “Expecting lengthy closure for crash reconstruction,” ODOT said.

All lanes were opened back up around 1:30 p.m. The Medford Fire Department said later that this was a head-on collision. As of 4 p.m. on Friday, authorities had yet to release information about how many were injured or killed in the crash.

 Good Samaritan Pulls Driver From Burning Car On I-5 Near Grants Pass

Josephine County Rural Metro Fire reports a good Samaritan pulled a driver from a burning vehicle, after it left the road and hit a tree along Interstate 5 near milepost 66.

The impact caused the vehicle to catch fire, and the driver was able to react quickly and pull the driver to safety.
Rural Metro Engine 7502 and Battalion 5 from the Monument Drive Station arrived and handled patient care and suppression of the fully-involved vehicle.

Upon arrival of an ambulance from American Medical Response, the driver was transported to Three Rivers Hospital with serious injuries.

Police report a RM firefighter assisted with the transport, an investigation for the cause of the crash is being handled by OSP.

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