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
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Willamette Valley Weather
Local Police Officers Carry Flame Of Hope From Springfield To Eugene To Benefit Special Olympics
Springfield Police officers ran through Springfield carrying the Olympic torch with the Flame of Hope on Wednesday morning.
“It’s near and dear to EPD’s heart because we have several teammates who have kids with intellectual special needs,” said Kara Williams from Eugene Police. “They’ll be running with us today, so it’s really about teamwork and partnering with our community.”
Springfield Police Department carried the torch from the Springfield Municipal Jail across town past Autzen Stadium, where they handed it off to the Eugene Police Department. Even after their portion of the run ended, Springfield police kept running to celebrate the first torch run since 2019. At the end of the route was a barbeque at Valley River Center with food from Elk Horn Brewery.
This is the first regular season since 2019 for the Eugene-Springfield Special Olympics. The first event will be held on July 10 at Hamlet Middle School in Springfield. The torch run is one of several Special Olympics events that the Springfield and Eugene Police Departments participate in, and this is the first law enforcement torch run they’ve been able to do since 2019. The torch would typically be run all the way to Junction City, but this year’s run started off small after the COVID-19 pandemic and only involved Eugene and Springfield.
The Eugene-Springfield Special Olympics is entirely run by volunteers. There are 125 currently registered special needs athletes, and about 60 of them will be participating this summer. Event organizers say they could always use more volunteers and especially coaches, as there is about one coach for every four athletes.
Event organizers are taking donations to help pay for training facilities and uniforms for athletes. More information about how to donate can be found at the Oregon Special Olympics website.
Prepare For Road Closures Ahead Of World Athletics Championships
Road closures are expected as the opening day of the World Athletics Championships approaches. Part of Agate Street is closed now.
“That would be Thirteenth Avenue from Franklin to University, as well as University Street from Thirteenth to Eighteenth, and then additionally just south of the stadium from Agate to University will also be closed starting July 10,” said John Wood, the Event Operation Director for Oregon22.
Wood, who has spent more than twenty years in the sports event management business, said in order to host an event this big they need more space outside of the actual event. That’s where the streets surrounding Hayward Field come into play.
“There will be a vendor area which will have food booths, merchandise and other activities for fans that will come to view the event,” said Wood. “Likewise, there is some event infrastructure for the broadcast element of the event which includes a cable bridge that many people may have already seen being constructed expanding from field four just south of the venue, across and to the parking lot to the other side of the road.”
When fans far and wide tune into the opening ceremonies on July 15th, they may notice a very prominent figure inside Hayward Field. While Wood would not confirm nor deny that President Joe Biden may be in Eugene, he did say when the person expected to open the games does arrive, there will be a lot of buzz.
“I think we’ll all be looking forward to that anticipation and it will be a great surprise, but I don’t have any more information on that right now,” Wood said.
Wood said the road closures should all be reopened to the public by the end of July.
911 Outage in Junction City
According to the Central Lane 911 Communications Center, a phone company is experiencing an outage in the Junction City area.
If you live in that area and are not able to reach 911 on your phone and have an emergency, and can’t dial out on your cell phone, please respond to the Junction City Fire Station at 1755 Juniper Street or Junction City Police Department at 672 Greenwood Street for help.
The phone company is trouble-shooting the outage.
We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. This week’s Omicron BA.2 and Omicron BA.4 estimates of 50% for each are higher than expected due to a small number of specimens (n=2) available in GISAID during the most recent week. We do not believe this estimate to be accurate. CDC’s COVID Data Tracker Nowcast model (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/…) estimates that approximately 5.7% of SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US during the last week were the Omicron BA.2 lineage, and 15.7% were the Omicron BA.4 lineage. We believe our true Omicron BA.2 and Omicron BA.4 estimates to be similar to the national figure.For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/ZyMy50JL4yP
OHA releases biweekly COVID-19 reports
The COVID-19 Biweekly Data Report, released today, shows a decrease in COVID-19-related cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the previous biweekly period.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 20,451 new cases of COVID-19 from June 12 to June 25, a 2.8% decrease over the previous biweekly total of 21,038. Over the last six weeks, reported hospitalizations and deaths have increased slightly.
During the two-week period of June 12 to June 25, test positivity was 13.6%, up from 12.3% in the previous two-week period.
Today’s COVID-19 Biweekly Outbreak Report shows 193 active outbreaks in care facilities, senior living communities and congregate care living settings with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19-related deaths.
Reporting of hospital capacity data moves to weekly schedule
The cadence of OHA’s COVID-19 hospitalization and hospital capacity reporting will change starting July 1. Data on the COVID-19 hospital capacity dashboards, as well as counts of current COVID-19-positive hospitalized patients published on the COVID-19 Update dashboard and on social media, will be updated weekly on Wednesdays. The first weekly update to the COVID-19 hospital capacity dashboards, scheduled for July 6, will also feature enhancements to make the dashboards accessible to more users.
Updates made to Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard
Starting today, OHA’s Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard will show the proportion of staff and residents who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccination and residents who have received a second booster dose. The dashboard already provides existing information about primary series vaccination. The updates allow OHA to continue to track vaccination efforts at nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities licensed by the Oregon Department of Human Services’ (ODHS) Office of Aging and People with Disabilities. The dashboard will continue to be updated on a weekly basis.
Long-term care facilities are required to report COVID-19 vaccination data to the state, effective June 1, 2021.
During the week of June 6 – June 12, 50% of staff and 73% of residents were reported as up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. For residents, 26% were reported as receiving a second booster dose. For this reporting, persons are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines when they have received all doses in the primary series and one booster dose, when eligible, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network. This definition is expected to incorporate recommended second boosters to be considered up to date, in the next quarter.
Progress has been made by Oregon long-term care facilities in surpassing the state 80% benchmark for COVID-19 primary series vaccination, especially among staff, with 87% of staff completing their primary vaccine series compared to 62% last year. However, given residents and staff are ever-changing, OHA and ODHS continue to collaborate with facilities, labor, trade associations and pharmacies to promote receipt of initial series and booster doses for long-term care staff and residents who are eligible.
𝙍𝙀𝙈𝙀𝙈𝘽𝙀𝙍 𝘼𝙉𝘿 𝙃𝙊𝙉𝙊𝙍:
This week is #WildlandFirefighterWeekofRemembrance, honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on the fire line. They will always be in our hearts.
Audit Finds Oregon Still Needs To Implement Fixes To Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Oregon’s prescription drug monitoring program has only fully implemented 4 of the 12 recommendations made after it was audited back in 2018, the Secretary of State’s office said.
Auditors say there must be legislative changes to fully implement most of the remaining eight recommendations. They say three of those have only been partially implemented.
The program is meant to help healthcare providers and pharmacists manage prescriptions and track data.
As of now though, the state doesn’t require prescribers or pharmacists to use the database before they prescribe.
Secretary of State Shemia Fagan is now directing the Oregon Health Authority to work on the initial recommendations.
“The opioid crisis is a grave threat both in Oregon and the around [sic] the county,” Secretary Fagan said. “This report includes specific actions we can take to improve outcomes in our communities. State legislators and the Oregon Health Authority should implement them as soon as possible.”
More from the Sectretary of State’s office:
The misuse and abuse of opioids and risk of overdose remain a health threat nationally and in Oregon. This involves both prescription opioid pain medications and illicit opioids. Oregon has the highest rate of misuse of prescription opioids in the nation. Oregon’s PDMP is an important tool to help address prescription drug abuse and misuse, including opioids, and improve health outcomes. Oregon is still one of the few states not requiring prescribers or pharmacists to use the PDMP database before certain prescriptions are written or dispensed.
Missing child alert — Phoenyx Cannon is missing and is believed to be in danger
(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, asks the public to help find Phoenyx Cannon, she/her, age 15, a child in foster care who went missing from Troutdale, Oregon on May 9, 2022. She is believed to be in danger.
ODHS asks the public for help in the effort to find Phoenyx and to contact 911 or local law enforcement if they believe they see her.
Phoenyx is suspected to be in the Portland, Oregon region, specifically Troutdale, downtown Portland, or Gresham. She is known to spend time at parks, Portland downtown area and homeless encampments.
Name: Phoenyx Cannon
Date of birth: May 1, 2007
Weight: 240 pounds
Eye color: Brown
Other identifying information: Phoenyx was last seen in a white T-shirt, basketball shorts and Nike slides.
Portland Police Bureau report number #2022-118456
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children #1451077
A small number of children in foster care may be in significant danger when they run away or have gone missing. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and ensure their safety. Media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.
Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
Klamath County Residents Depend On A State Program That Trucks In Water as Wells Run Dry
Rhonda Nyseth’s well dried up on Sept. 15, 2021, nine months after she bought her house in Klamath Falls.
“When it happened, I won’t lie, I started crying immediately,” Nyseth said.
She was familiar with the situation. She’s a social services emergency liaison for the Oregon Department of Human Services Office of Resilience and Emergency Management.
Last summer, she helped oversee the distribution of more than 100 water tanks, each holding 500-gallons, to residents in Klamath County with empty wells.
Neighbors saw their wells dry up, but she thought if hers still had water by Sept. 1, after the heavy agricultural irrigation season, she wouldn’t be personally affected by the ongoing drought. Just a few weeks later, she was on the free water delivery list.
She is among hundreds of people relying on weekly water deliveries through a state and county water program established to deal with the county’s third year of drought. It has affected millions of people across the West, from residents to ranchers and farmers, with limited irrigation supplies and the dry land fueling immense wildfires.
Nyseth and her husband spent about a week and $2,000 rigging piping and pumps to get the water from their new tank into the house.
Ryan Nyseth wires the water tank to a pressure switch to move water from the tank outside through the house. (Rhonda Nyseth)
“It took me four days to stop turning on the faucet,”, she said. “You’re used to water being there.”
In early June, in light of Klamath County’s ongoing drought and declarations of drought in 14 other counties, the legislative Emergency Board approved $5 million from the state’s general fund to help municipalities deliver water to residents in Klamath and other counties with dry wells. Some of the money will pay costs from last year, and the rest will go to future needs.
About 70,000 people live in Klamath County, and many rural residents depend on wells for water. Klamath is the first county to tap into the program.
The Oregon Department of Human Services administers the water program in partnership with the counties. The money can be used through February next year.
Since 2021, the department has purchased 350 water tanks for Klamath County, each able to hold 500 gallons. Of those, 193 have been delivered to residents. The water comes from a fire hydrant in the yard of the Klamath County Public Works building.
Since 2001 “200 residential wells have already run dry, with estimates indicating that number could double within one year,” according to a letter by Fariborz Pakseresht, Human Services director, to the state legislative leaders.
“This year’s drought indicates that water scarcity trends will continue in 2022 and beyond, creating even more challenging conditions than last year.”
Officials verify that wells are dry
In Klamath County, the department contracts with water tanker truck companies to refill tanks once a week.
“Most of the expenses incurred by (the Human Services Department) are for water refilling costs, rather than the purchase of water tanks,” said Gregory Jolivette, an analyst with the Legislative Fiscal Office. “If the money ($5 million) were split between individual counties currently in a declared drought, each would receive about $450,000,” he wrote. “However, the needs of each county are not yet known and the actual amount distributed to each county could be different.”
The department estimates its free water program in Klamath County has cost about $500,000.
For residents to get a free tank and water delivery, the county’s water office must verify that the well is dry.
Households up to two people can receive a single 500-gallon tank. Households of three to five people can receive two tanks. Households with six or more people may qualify for a third tank. Residents are responsible for getting the water from the tanks into their homes.
Each tank is filled weekly, and recipients are barred from using it for certain activities, including car washing, lawn watering or controlling dust.
The most expensive quote for a well in Klamath County so far has been $90,000. Even with the reimbursement it’s going to cost them an additional $50,000.
For the last nine months, Nyseth and her family have received 1,000 gallons of water each week.
The average person in the U.S. uses 82 gallons of water a day at home, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. For a family of four that’s 328 gallons a day. The 1,000 gallons a family of four in Klamath Falls receives would last a little more than 3 days for most.
During the winter, Nyseth’s house relied on a water-based heat pump. “I also lost the ability to heat my own home,” she said. She had to buy space heaters and a $5,000 fireplace insert to generate more heat.
Considering the water delivery a temporary solution, Nyseth and her husband invested in a new well, 220 feet deep. It took nine months to complete and was finished last week at a cost of about $22,000, with a pump system that was an additional $10,000. Deeper than their old well, the new one is not likely to go dry, Nyseth hopes.
In December 2021, the state Legislature approved $4 million in well assistance to people in Klamath County. Homeowners are reimbursed for 75% of the cost of drilling a new well, not exceeding $40,000.
“The most expensive quote for a well in Klamath County so far has been $90,000,” she said. “Even with the reimbursement it’s going to cost them an additional $50,000.”
She said Pacific Crest Credit Union in Klamath Falls has agreed to help homeowners get a line of credit or personal loan at a special interest rate to help pay for new wells.
Still, she worries about how feasible it is for many people she knows to put in new wells.
“Just three neighbors have wells that are working now,” she said. “Several of my neighbors are retirees and are on a fixed income.”
Sherryll Hoar is lead emergency communications and outreach strategist at the Department of Human Services. She said it’s too early to know whether water deliveries will become the norm in southern Oregon. Hoar said the department’s role was to make sure the water gets delivered.
“It’s a solution for now,” she said, “but persistent drought seems to be in our future for a long time.”
The post As wells run dry, Oregon residents depend on a state program that trucks in water appeared first on Oregon Capital Chronicle .
Tip of The Week For July 4, 2022- Fireworks Safety
The Fourth of July is just a few days away which means fireworks and celebration. While this year Oregon and our local communities haven’t been encountering very dry conditions, it is still possible that the weather during these months will be a bit dryer in some areas. This increases the potential for fire hazard. Fireworks are recognized as a celebratory activity by many, however, there are some very important safety measures to consider while using and displaying them. Here are some important tips to remember to ensure a safe holiday celebration.
It is extremely important to know the difference between a legal consumer firework and a dangerous explosive device. Illegal items in Oregon include any firework that flies into the air, explodes or behaves in an uncontrolled or unpredicted manner. Some examples include: Firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, bottle rockets, or any other article of similar construction or any article containing any explosive or inflammable compound.
Any tablets or other device containing any explosive substances or inflammable compound are also not legal in Oregon without a permit. Items such as M-80s, M-100s and blockbusters are not fireworks, they are federally banned explosives. They can cause serious injury or even death. Stay away from anything that isn’t clearly labeled with the name of the item, the manufacturer’s name and instructions for proper use.
Pets are more sensitive to loud noises and flashing lights and strong smells. It is best to leave your pest safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV turned on to soften jarring noises. If you cannot leave your pet indoors, keep them leashed and under your direct control at all times. Safeguard your pet with a collar and ID tag and possibly a microchip update with your current contact information.
All fireworks are prohibited in all state parks and on ocean beaches.
Possession of illegal fireworks in Oregon is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or six months in jail. If you are aware of anyone selling such devices, contact your local law enforcement agency.
Fireworks are not toys. NEVER give fireworks to young children. Close adult supervision of all fireworks activities is mandatory. Even sparklers can be unsafe if used improperly.
Read and follow all warnings and instructions on fireworks. Be sure that people maintain a safe distance from where fireworks are ignited. Never light and throw any fireworks. Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry leaves, and flammable materials. Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned. Keep a bucket of water handy in case of a malfunction and fire dangers due to current drought conditions. Please be mindful.
Please have a safe Fourth of July.
For more information and tips, visit our web site at www.lincolncountysheriff.net and Like us on Facebook at Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Oregon.