The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Willamette Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s WillametteValleyMagazine.com
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Willamette Valley Weather
Today– Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. Southeast wind 3 to 7 mph.
Thursday– Rain likely, mainly before 11am. Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 50. South southwest wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Friday– Partly sunny, with a high near 50. Light and variable wind.
Saturday– Partly sunny, with a high near 49.
Sunday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 50.
St. Vincent de Paul Assisting Homeless Campers Who’ve Had to Relocate
The temporary homeless camp at 13th Avenue and Chambers Street in Eugene will be shut down by next Tuesday because conditions at the camp have degraded due to the winter weather. St. Vincent de Paul is offering campers a better alternative and warm, dry place to stay.
Officials with St. Vincent de Paul said they have about three dozen spots available at the Dawn to Dawn site on the 700 block of Highway 99 North. It’s heated and they’ll have access to food, showers and laundry. Those staying there will also get a new sleeping bag and a tent, as well as a place to store their things.
“It allows people to get out of the weather and get into a different location, and we have the staff and the support to be able to help them with that move right now,” said Kelly McIver, the spokesperson for the City of Eugene’s unhoused response.
A spokesperson with St. Vincent De Paul, Joel Gorthy, said the option at the Hoops site is much better.
“It’s gotten pretty miserable at that 13th and Chambers site this winter, and chances are we’re going to have some more snow and ice storms, and it’s only going to get worse,” he said. “It’s just infinitely better than the living environment that the people at 13th and Chambers have been dealing with.”
All 37 spaces have been claimed by campers coming from the 13th and Chambers site.
“There’s still a little bit of structural work and electrical work that needs to happen before that opens. So in the meantime we’re able to take some of that capacity, you know, those people who need a place to be from 13th and Chambers and bring them here,” Gorthy said.
Once the 13th Avenue site is closed, it will be rehabilitated. Officials said the Safe Sleep Site at 410 Garfield Street will be ready to welcome guests in the next few weeks. The campsite at 13th and Chambers will be permanently closed starting Tuesday, Jan. 18.
New Traffic Metering Light On Delta To Beltline Ramp In Eugene
Drivers on northbound Delta Highway heading for Beltline westbound must now obey a traffic metering light at the bottom of the new onramp. The light began operating Tuesday, Jan. 11.
The traffic metering light is designed to help traffic flow on Beltline Highway by releasing cars from the onramp one at a time. The same system is used on the onramp from Green Acres Road to westbound Beltline Highway, and at the River Road onramp to eastbound Beltline Highway.
The metering light is only on when traffic is heavy on Beltline Highway. Flashing lights at the beginning of the onramp indicate when to expect that the light is on. A malfunction during construction caused the lights to flash recently without the meter light working.
“This is one of the final steps in the Beltline/Delta Interchange Project, part of ODOT’s commitment to providing a safe and reliable transportation system through meeting our strategic plan goals,” the agency said in a statement. “The $20 million project is improving safety and traffic flow by updating ramps and adding traffic signals, helping travelers transition between the highway system and a business and residential area.”
Here’s a longer look at the approach, including warning signs. They were not in operation when the video was made; if the warning lights are flashing as you approach, drivers should be prepared to stop at the meter light.
Cougar Attacks Dog in Sweet Home
Sweet Home police warned residents to be aware after a dog was attacked by a cougar just after noon Monday, Jan. 10. The dog belonged to a resident in the 1000 block of 43rd Avenue.
Kathi Melson, 62, and her boxer-shepherd mix exited the back of Melson’s residence at approximately 12:30 p.m. Monday when the dog was attacked by a cougar, said Police Chief Jeff Lynn. The cougar then took off and moved westbound toward 42nd Avenue. The canine suffered a severe laceration on its side from the attack and was transported to the Sweet Home Veterinary Clinic.
“We have been in contact with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and are working on a type of response that would get the Linn County trapper involved to assess the situation and try to mitigate it,” the chief said, while noting that officers have posted warning signs in the neighborhood.
“The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, they will make contact with the property owner, talk to them, and further access this situation,” Lynn added.
Lynn stated that a “large percentage” of cougar sightings reported to his department are from the general area of Monday’s attack, noting that the residents there border the Sweet Home Event Center and the Hobart Nature Reserve.
To report a cougar sighting, call the police non-emergency line at (541) 367-5181. For tips from ODFW on how to respond if you encounter a cougar, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/cougars.asp.
Oregon reports 8,040 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 35 new deaths
There are 35 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,814, the Oregon Health Authority reported 8,040 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 486,202.
The 8,040 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (22), Benton (158), Clackamas (820), Clatsop (41), Columbia (43), Coos (93), Crook (54), Curry (64), Deschutes (919), Douglas (83), Grant (31), Harney (1), Hood River (44), Jackson (387), Jefferson (23), Josephine (78), Klamath (207), Lake (3), Lane (550), Lincoln (50), Linn (164), Malheur (78), Marion (611), Morrow (32), Multnomah (1,345), Polk (145), Sherman (3), Tillamook (25), Umatilla (314), Union (13), Wallowa (19), Wasco (63), Washington (1,109), Wheeler (7) and Yamhill (441).
OSU Study Says Hemp Can Help Prevent Covid Virus
Compounds found in hemp “show the ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells,” Oregon State University says. New OSU research on hemp and COVID-19 was published Tuesday in the Journal of Natural Products.
Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center in the College of Pharmacy and Linus Pauling Institute, led the study. Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people.
Oregon FBI Warns About Job Verification Scams
Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against job verification scams.
In Oregon, the FBI has been receiving more and more reports from people getting scammed as they try to apply for jobs or unemployment benefits. The reports, from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, show that bad actors are targeting victims who are already in financially difficult situations.
Many businesses and government agencies use private, third-party companies to verify that you are really you. The goal is to cut down on fraud. These verification companies are legitimate, but fraudsters, of course, are gaming the system.
In one scenario, the bad actor posts a fake job online and directs you to the verification company. You complete the process, and the bad actor comes back and asks for your login or verification info to finish processing your application. He accesses the account and uses your profile to apply for unemployment in one or more states.
In another scenario, the bad actor posts a job online and directs you to what appears to be a legitimate verification company but one that is, in fact, fake. Again, he harvests your information and goes about committing all kinds of identity crimes.
How do you protect yourself?
- Make sure you the job you are applying for is real. Research the company, and call a publicly available number to confirm that it is.
- Make sure that the verification company you are dealing with is legitimate. Research the company. Know exactly what information is required, how that company will communicate with you, and what are the official channels through which it will communicate.
- Be wary of social media contacts that ask for information to “verify your identity.” Legitimate companies will not ask for your highly personal or financial information this way.
The Oregon Legislature Goes Virtual Again
The Oregon Legislature will hold committee meetings virtually again this year. Senate and House leaders say it’s necessary because of rising COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. They reached the decision following discussions with infectious disease experts at OHSU.
The public will be able to enter the Capitol building, during regular business hours. All state employees who can work from home are being asked to do so, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All committee meetings will be live-streamed.
New York Times columnist Nick Kristof is asking the Oregon Supreme Court to salvage his bid to become the next governor of the state
Kristof filed a petition, asking justices to overturn a decision from Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that he does not meet the three-year residency requirement to run.
Kristof argues he grew up in Yamhill, and has returned there every year for three decades, paying Oregon residency taxes and even expanded his family home. The Court set a January 14th deadline for the Secretary of State’s Office to file their own petition.
Oregon State Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for information after a young wolf was shot and killed in Wallowa County
On Tuesday (January 11,) the state police said they received a report on January 8 that a collared wolf had been found dead at Parsnip Creek RD, Wallowa County.
An image posted by the police force showed the deceased animal, which they said was a two-year-old female known as OR 106, who had likely died after being shot.
A spokesperson for Oregon State Police (OSP) wrote: “On January 8, 2022, at 10:36 a.m. a concerned citizen reported to the Oregon State Police and ODFW (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) personnel of finding a collared deceased wolf on Parsnip Creek RD in Wallowa County, approximately 6 miles southeast of Wallowa, OR.
“OSP Troopers and ODFW personnel responded to the area and located a deceased collared wolf. The initial investigation revealed that the wolf likely died as a result of being shot. The wolf, OR 106, was a two-year-old collared female. OR 106 was a lone wolf that dispersed from the Chesnimnus Pack.”
Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, states that killing of wolves in this way was “sickening.” She suggested that state authorities needed to do “much more” to prevent similar killings in the future.
The killing is the latest in a line of similar incidents impacting wolves in Oregon.
Eight wolves, including five from the same pack, were poisoned in the state last year, prompting a separate OPS appeal after police exhausted all leads investigating the killings.
Those deaths were reported in Union County Oregon in February 2021 and were followed in April and July by two other instances of wolves found with different types of poison in their systems.
After last year’s killings, a $42,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction was offered by conservation groups.
OSP meanwhile signalled that information about the January 8 killing could also generate a reward.
The state police pointed out that the Oregon Hunters Association offer cash rewards for information related to the “unlawful take/possession or waste of” various animals including wolves in the state.
According to the ODFW, there were 173 wolves living in Oregon at the end of 2020. Wolves are a protected species in the state, although they were taken off Oregon’s Endangered Species list in 2015.
In December, Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, told the New York Times it is illegal to kill wolves in the state unless it is in defense of human life or under some cases where livestock is being depleted as a result of wolf attacks.
Red Cross: National blood crisis could be dangerous for patients
American Red Cross – Cascades Region
The American Red Cross is facing a dangerously low blood supply. Our inventory is truly at crisis levels. Right now, doctors are being forced to decide which patients receive blood transfusions and who must wait. It’s a dire situation, and we need your help letting potential donors know how critical it is that they make an appointment to give blood or platelets this winter.
Virtual MEDIA AVAILABILITY today at 10:30 a.m. with Red Cross and OHSU representatives to highlight the dangerously low blood supply.
Attending will be:
- Lara Weberling – her young son battled and lost his fight to neuroblastoma in 2012 which required numerous blood products. His fight inspired Weberling to join Red Cross blood services to help others.
- Rachel Cook, M.D. – OHSU medical director of inpatient Bone Marrow Transplant unit, member of OHSU blood supply task force.
- Angel Montes – Red Cross Regional Donor Services Executive to highlight need for blood donors
Please click here for Zoom access.
In thanks, those who come to give in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles and will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.
To help relay the seriousness of our current situation, the following is available to support your coverage:
- Photos, including photos of local family Lara Weberling and son Hans
- Pre-recorded television PSA
- Live-read PSA scripts
The below news release further details the blood crisis, the consequences facing patients and how the public can help. If you would like to set up an interview or need additional information, please let me know. Thank you for your support and consideration.
Regional Communications Manager
American Red Cross
Red Cross: National blood crisis may put patients at risk
Dire situation facing blood supply, those in need of blood transfusions
Donors have the chance to help save lives, win trip to Super Bowl LVI
PORTLAND, Oregon (Jan. 11, 2022) — The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. Dangerously low blood supply levels are posing a concerning risk to patient care and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.
Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in vital medical treatments, and donors of all blood types – especially type O − are urged to make an appointment now to give in the weeks ahead.
In recent weeks, the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals. At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met.
The Red Cross continues to confront relentless challenges due to COVID-19, including about a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood as well as ongoing blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. Additionally, the pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges.
“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” said Dr. Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”
Over the next month, about 60 percent of donation appointments remain unfilled in the Cascade Red Cross Region. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross and the NFL are partnering this January, during National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals to give blood or platelets and help tackle the national blood shortage. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. As an extra thank-you from the Red Cross, those who come to donate will also be automatically entered to win a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card. Terms apply; visit RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl for more information.
Who donations help
For Lara Weberling, a Red Cross Donor Recruitment Representative from Portland, getting more blood donors through the door is personal. Lara lost her son, Hans, to the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma in 2012. During his 6-year battle with the disease he received many blood transfusions and blood-related products including stem cell transplants with maintenance therapy. Hans was 9 when he lost his battle with cancer. His mother, however, is still fighting. Lara, through her job with the Red Cross, works to get more blood donations so that kids like Hans who rely on donors can get the treatment they need.
“It’s amazing,” said Lara. “I get to help kids like Hans every day.”
In addition to blood donors, the Red Cross also needs the help of volunteers to support critical blood collections across the country. Blood drive volunteers play an important role by greeting, registering, answering questions and providing information to blood donors throughout the donation process. Blood transportation specialists – another volunteer opportunity − provide a critical link between blood donors and blood recipients by delivering blood to hospitals in communities across the country. To volunteer to support Red Cross blood collections, visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Save time during donation
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/SuperBowl.
New Program Aims to Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species Spread
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) initiated a new program to prevent delays during the transport of watercraft destined for the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The program, “Call Before You Haul,” provides a toll-free phone number boat transporters can call prior to transporting watercraft from outside the Pacific Northwest to one of the aforementioned states. The program is currently being piloted in 10 states and is intended to be expanded to all states in 2022.
By calling the toll-free number, 1-844-311-4873, prior to hauling, and providing some basic information about the watercraft being transported, the destination state representative will reach out to boat transporters and provide them with information to facilitate and expedite the watercraft inspection process, and if needed, decontaminate. Proactively arranging watercraft inspections can prevent costly and timely delays at inspection stations, or if boat transporters are intercepted hauling an infested vessel by law enforcement. All four states are communicating with one another and working with one of the four states will expedite transport across two or more Pacific Northwest states.
All Pacific Northwest states have regulations that make it illegal to transport aquatic invasive species (dead or alive) within their respective states, including penalties up to, and including, a no bond felony. Much of the ongoing spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) to inland waters throughout North America can be attributed to the overland movement of watercraft that can be towed on trailers or atop vehicles. Invasive species can be carried in bilge water, live wells, and bait buckets as well as on boat and motor exteriors and trailers. Every time a boat is transported overland after use in an infested waterway, there is the possibility that it will transfer aquatic invasive species to uninfested waterways.
In addition to reaching out to boat transport companies, PSMFC is working directly with Departments of Transportation in 10 states (as part of the pilot program) to notify them of the toll-free number and make this information available on their permitting websites.
Call Before You Haul is intended to prevent unnecessary delays for boat transporters and their customers and help to ensure these companies will not be violating state, or federal, laws pertaining to unlawful transport of aquatic invasive species (e.g., quagga or zebra mussels).
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages border inspection stations where all boats being transported are required to stop. Inspections generally take only 10 minutes and go a long way to help protect Oregon’s waterways. Fees from waterway access permits, out-of-state aquatic invasive species prevention permits and motorboat registrations through the Oregon State Marine Board help pay for inspection stations and other prevention efforts.
For more information on aquatic invasive species in the West, see: www.westernais.org.
A 17-year-old was reported missing in Salem and detectives say the teen might be the victim of an online catfishing scheme.
Ezra Mayhugh, 17, was last seen on October 15, 2021 after being dropped off in downtown Salem by a friend, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. He was reported as a runaway the following day when he did not return home.
Investigators say he might be in Washington or California. They hope to reunite Ezra safely with family members.
He’s described as about 5-foot 11-inches tall, weighing 130 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes.
If you have had contact with Mayhugh since October 15 or have other helpful information on his whereabouts, the sheriff’s office asks you to contact Detective M.J. Sphoon at 503-588-6808 or to submit a tip by texting TIPMCSO and your tip to 847411.