Willamette Valley News, Thursday 10/21 – Barn Fire in Creswell Turns into Large Scale Illegal Marijuana Operation Investigation, Great Oregon ShakeOut Earthquake Drill Today! 10/21 at 10:21

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, October 21, 2021

Willamette Valley Weather

Today– Rain, mainly after 2pm. Patchy fog before 9am. High near 71. Southeast wind around 8 mph becoming south southwest in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Friday– Showers. High near 58. Southeast wind around 7 mph becoming south southwest in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Saturday– Rain before 11am, then showers after 11am. High near 57. South southwest wind 7 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Sunday– Rain before 11am, then showers after 11am. High near 58. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Monday– Showers. Cloudy, with a high near 57.

Barn Fire in Creswell Turns into Large Scale Illegal Marijuana Operation Investigation

On 10/19/2021 The Lane County Sheriff’s Office along with several local fire agencies responded to an address in the 81000blk of Hwy. 99 south of Creswell regarding a structure fire. While on scene authorities observed evidence indicating the location to be involved in a large-scale criminal marijuana manufacturing and trafficking operation.

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Deputies applied for and were able to obtain a search warrant to seize evidence related to this operation. Deputies executed the search warrant on the morning of 10/20/21 and seized a very high volume of marijuana. Over 2,000 marijuana plants were seized in addition to over 200lbs of processed, ready-to-sell marijuana.

The local street market value of the marijuana seized is estimated at over two million dollars. This value if sold outside the State of Oregon could easily be tripled. Evidence was also obtained that this was an unlicensed, non-medical marijuana operation.

This investigation is on-going and formal charges have not yet been filed. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Oregon State Police Northwest Region Marijuana Team for their assistance with this investigation.

Oregon reports 1,343 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 9 new deaths

There are nine new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,235. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,343 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 354,681.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (15), Benton (17), Clackamas (108), Clatsop (12), Columbia (11), Coos (26), Crook (17), Curry (4), Deschutes (111), Douglas (60), Gilliam (1), Harney (2), Hood River (10), Jackson (76), Jefferson (30), Josephine (28), Klamath (52), Lake (7), Lane (79), Lincoln (18), Linn (59), Malheur (44), Marion (155), Morrow (7), Multnomah (132), Polk (51), Sherman (2), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (44), Union (8), Wallowa (6), Wasco (17), Washington (105) and Yamhill (25).

COVID-19 weekly cases and hospitalizations decline, deaths rise

The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows decreases in daily cases and hospitalizations and an increase in deaths.

OHA reported 8,033 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 17. That represents an 11% decrease from the previous week and the seventh consecutive week of declining case counts.

The incidence of reported COVID-19 was higher in Oregon counties with population vaccination rates less than 50%.

There were 377 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from 416 last week, which marks a 9% reduction and the sixth consecutive week of declines.

There were 183 reported COVID-19 related deaths, up from 179 reported the previous week. This was the highest weekly death toll since the week of Jan. 11–17.

There were 139,727 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Oct. 10 through Oct. 16.  The percentage of positive tests was 7.6%, down from 8.1% the previous week.

Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 127 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.

Oregon could achieve herd immunity for COVID-19 by December 26th. Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University say new modeling suggests the amount of vaccination and infection occurring in the state will lead to a continued decline in the infection rate. Currently, there are less than six-hundred hospitalized patients, which is
about half of what the state saw at the peak of the Delta variant surge.

As of Tuesday, the Oregon State Police had seen little fallout from the state’s vaccine deadline for state employees on Monday, according to numbers provided by the agency.

The news broke earlier in the day that OSP’s northern counterparts, the Washington State Patrol, had terminated the employment of 127 employees after reaching their own state-mandated deadline. According to OSP data provided on Tuesday, there were 1,267 employees who fell within the scope of Executive Order 21-29, which mandated vaccination against COVID-19. Of those, 78% provided proof of vaccination.

Almost all of the remaining OSP employees either had an exception approved or had submitted for an exception that is pending review. Of all in-scope OSP employees, 15% had an exception approved as of Monday night. The vast majority of those exceptions, 96%, were for a “sincerely held religious belief.” Only the remaining 4% were for medical reasons.

Exceptions pending review accounted for 7% of OSP’s employees within the scope of the mandate. The proportion for these pending exceptions was significantly different — 65% religious and 35% medical. According to OSP, employees in this category are considered to be in compliance with the mandate while still under review.

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Great Oregon ShakeOut Earthquake Drill Today! 10/21 at 10:21

Oregonians have learned the importance of preparedness due to numerous recent hazards – including wildfire, drought, floods, ice storms and more. Though earthquakes are less common, they are top of mind in the Northwest due to the Cascadia subduction zone, a fault located off the Pacific Coast with the potential to deliver a 9.0+ magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami. Governor Kate Brown has proclaimed Thursday, Oct. 21, as Great Oregon ShakeOut Day to encourage Oregonians to learn and practice safe methods to use during an earthquake.

A global earthquake drill taking place at 10:21 a.m. this Thursday, the Great ShakeOut urges people to take the following simple but critical safety steps during an earthquake: “Drop, Cover and Hold On:”

  • Drop onto hands and knees.
  • Cover head and neck and crawl to a sturdy desk or table if one is nearby.
  • Hold On until the shaking stops.  

“The state of Oregon takes seriously its responsibility to help ensure the safety of its residents and visitors,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “Understanding what to do in the first few moments after a disaster can mean the difference between being a survivor and a victim. As we work to build a culture of preparedness in Oregon, it is up to each of us – and all of us – to take action to reduce our risk.  Participating in the Great Oregon ShakeOut is a proactive step anyone can, and should, take.”

More than 500,000 Oregonians – including schools, individuals, families and businesses – have committed to take part in this year’s ShakeOut drill, pledging to drop, cover and hold on wherever they are and whatever they’re doing. 

“Knowing what to do before, during and after an earthquake can save your life,” said OEM Geologic Hazards Coordinator Althea Rizzo. “The event also serves as a reminder to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies.” 

OEM’s 2 Weeks Ready program recommends citizens be informed and knowledgeable about the hazards where they live; make an emergency plan for themselves and their loved ones; and build an emergency kit with at least two weeks’ worth of food, water and other necessities. 

The 2 Weeks Ready program offers several resources to help people prepare, including a free publication informing what actions to take in the event of an earthquake or tsunami. To learn more about earthquakes in Oregon and how to prepare, Living on Shaky Ground is available for download at OEM’s website, and hard copies may be obtained at county and Tribal emergency management offices.

Learn more about the Great Oregon ShakeOut and register as a participant at Shakeout.org/Oregon; the public can also view a webinar on the event hosted by OEM on YouTube in English and in Spanish. —- Oregon Office of Emergency Management

JCSO Investigating Domestic Violence Homicide Near Ruch. Suspect in Hospital with Self-inflicted Gunshot Wound, Victim Dead from Apparent Gunshot Wounds

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is investigating a domestic violence homicide that occurred early Wednesday morning on the 3300 block of Little Applegate Rd. near Ruch. The suspect, David Allen Karnes, 54, of Ruch, is at a local hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, pending charges from the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

ECSO dispatch received a call at 12:21 a.m. for a gunshot victim. JCSO deputies and Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers responded to find the suspect barricaded inside the residence. JCSO’s Crisis Negotiators Team (CNT) and SWAT were called in to assist. The suspect did not respond to verbal commands and refused to exit the residence. At 2:49 a.m. a single gunshot was heard as the SWAT Team entered the residence to find the suspect suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and the victim deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Lifesaving measures were performed on the suspect and a Mercy Flight ambulance took him to a local hospital where he is listed in serious condition.

The victim, Constance Maria Murphy, 54, of Ruch, was married to the suspect. Investigations are ongoing with JCSO detectives being assisted by OSP Forensics crime lab. Further information will come from the DA’s Office. — JCSO Case #21-5574 Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

The 2021 Fire Season is now at an end, the Oregon Department of Forestry announced on Wednesday.

It began particularly early this year, on May 12, as the region saw unseasonably hot and dry conditions. The declaration affects 1.8 million acres of state, private, county, city, and Bureau of Land Management forestlands in
counties protected by ODF, and eliminates all public regulated use restrictions and industrial fire precaution level requirements.

ODF said that it responded to 278 fires during the 2021 season, with 273 acres burned. No homes were damaged or destroyed by wildland fires in Jackson or Josephine counties this year. Forestry officials credited the successful season to aggressive initial attack strategies and well-trained firefighter crews, as well as other fire agency partners in the region — both federal and local.

Limited Production Pinot Noir Cuvee Benefits Wildfire Relief and Prevention

Union Wine Company and six of Oregon’s top wineries partnered with Keep Oregon Green to introduce a limited production Oregon Pinot Noir Cuvee with 100% of sales going toward wildfire relief and prevention.

Keep Oregon Green® is collaborating with Union Wine Company and six of Oregon’s top wineries to introduce a limited production Oregon Pinot Noir cuvee with 100% of sales going toward wildfire relief and prevention.

Since 1941, the non-profit Keep Oregon Green Association has promoted healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public of our shared responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires in the state. Over 70% of Oregon’s wildfire ignitions are attributed to people’s daily activities. This collaborative wine project is an opportunity to increase awareness among wine lovers of the need to prevent the next wildfire while supporting a worthy cause.

80% of the proceeds of this wine will go to the Oregon Community Foundation’s Community Rebuilding Fund, helping Oregonians whose communities have been leveled by wildfires. The remaining 20% will go to Keep Oregon Green® to help them with their mission of preventing human caused wildfires in Oregon through education and engagement.

“The 2020 wildfire season affected Oregon’s wine country, proving it’s not immune to a severe wildfire threat,” said Kristin Babbs, president of the Keep Oregon Green Association. “We are proud to introduce this 100% Oregon-grown Pinot Noir, where all ingredients and services were donated, and where 100% of the proceeds go toward relief, recovery, and wildfire prevention efforts.”

About the wine: The Oregon Pinot Noir is a blend of Oregon Pinot Noir grapes from Stoller Wine Group, Furioso Vineyards, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ponzi Vineyards, A to Z Wineworks and Bjornson Vineyards, and packaged by Union Wine Company.

“At Stoller, we have a deep appreciation for our land and desire to support our community,” said Melissa Burr, vice president of winemaking for the Stoller Wine Group. “We were thrilled to participate and collaborate on this project.”  

“2020 was a tough year for all of us here in Oregon, but it brought into light how amazing and supportive our wine community really is,” said Darin Dougherty, Marketing Director at Union Wine Company. “We can always find ways to learn, grow and be more aware of the impact we have on our ever-changing environment. We’re so excited to support Keep Oregon Green’s mission to drive awareness around human caused wildfires.”

Whether at home, on the job, or out having fun, Keep Oregon Green reminds Oregonians that it’s important to be able to predict the outcome of common outdoor activities that could possibly spark a wildfire. Babbs said that as the state’s population continues to grow, urban boundaries expand, and wildfires increase in frequency, intensity and cost, Keep Oregon Green’s message is more important than ever. “The power and responsibility of wildfire rests squarely in our hands.”

The wine is now available at select New Seasons Market and Market of Choice stores, the participating wineries’ tasting rooms, or online through Union Wine Company’s website at www.unionwinecompany.com

To learn more about wildfire prevention, go to www.keeporegongreen.org.  — Oregon Dept. of Forestry

Earthquake Swarms at Mount Hood

Mount Hood, Oregon’s biggest volcano, is being rocked by a new swarm of earthquakes just months after a similar swarm struck the volcano. In the previous 30 days, 41 earthquakes have hit Mount Hood’s slopes and peaked; in the last 24 hours, 33 earthquakes have struck. The majority of the earthquakes have hit the southern flank of the stratovolcano in the previous 24 hours. The strongest of the earthquakes was a 2.5 that occurred earlier Wednesday.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) keeps track of volcanoes in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. CVO has not modified the volcanic warning level or the aviation color code at Mount Hood, despite classifying it as a “very high danger potential.” Therefore, the current volcano warning level is just “NORMAL,” with “GREEN” as the aviation color code.

“Several tens of minor earthquakes have occurred near the peak of Mount Hood,” the USGS stated in a statement on the earthquake swarm. This isn’t a lava eruption. This swarm of earthquakes started late on Sunday, October 17th. The greatest magnitude so far has been M2.5, with depths ranging from 1-3 km below sea level (3-5 km below the surface). There have been no recorded earthquakes. Swarms at this depth and position are frequent at Mount Hood, and they do not signal an increase in the volcanic threat. Swarms in the past have lasted anything from a few days to a couple of weeks.”

According to the USGS, an earthquake swarm consists of largely minor earthquakes with no discernible mainshock. Swarms are typically short-lived, although they can last for days, weeks, or even months at a time. They frequently repeat in the same places.

The majority of swarms are linked to geothermal activity. Swarms aren’t always linked to earthquakes. A series of earthquakes that occur following a bigger mainshock on a fault is known as aftershocks.

Aftershocks occur in the fault zone where the mainshock ruptured and are part of the fault’s “readjustment process” following the main slide. With time, aftershocks become less frequent. However, they might last for days, weeks, months, or even years in the case of a big mainshock.

Mount Hood is the state’s highest mountain and the state’s biggest volcano. It’s roughly 50 miles east-southeast of Portland and was formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific Coast in the Pacific Northwest. Mount Hood rises to a height of 1,240 feet and is home to 12 recognized glaciers and snowfields. While the USGS classifies the volcano as “possibly active,” the peak is now considered inactive.

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