Willamette Valley News, Friday 10/29 – Eugene Artist’s Mural Unveiled at Eugene Airport, New Director of the Eugene Airport Named

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

Friday, October 29, 2021

Willamette Valley Weather

Today– Rain, mainly before 11am. High near 59. North wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Saturday– A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 59. North wind around 5 mph.

Sunday– Partly sunny, with a high near 59. North northwest wind 3 to 5 mph.

Monday– Showers. High near 56. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Tuesday– A slight chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 59.

Eugene Artist’s Mural Unveiled at Eugene Airport

The Oregon Cultural Trust unveiled a full-scale mural of a new license plate that celebrates the state’s diversity at the Eugene Airport Thursday. The mural is one of four going on display in airports across the state.

Celebrate Oregon License Plate

The artwork was created by Eugene muralist and illustrator Liza Burns in honor of the Oregon Cultural Trust’s 20th anniversary. Burns developed the design with the help of an Ad Hock committee comprised of content experts identified by the Governors Office.

Named “Celebrate Oregon!,” the piece shows a brightly colored Oregon landscape with mountains, a river, and some greenery. But take a closer look and you’ll find over a hundred symbols of significant importance for refugees, immigrants, Indigenous peoples, artists, local traditions and more all embedded in the scenery.

They included volunteers from the Oregon Commission on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs, the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs, the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs, the Oregon Commission for Women, and Chuck Sams, a recognized Native American leader in Oregon and Immediate Past Chair of the Cultural Trust board, who served as the content expert for Native American culture.

Burns said she wants people who the mural or license plate to have a similar experience she had while creating the design, which is “the finding, and the recognizing, and the learning aspect of this piece.”

“I also hope people come away with a broader and more distinct impression of what it means to be an Oregonian,” she said. “I think a lot of times we get given like pine trees and the Ducks, and there you go…[but] there’s so much more happening here, there’s so much more color, and depth, and personality.”

Burns said culture is something that’s ever-evolving, making it impossible to capture it all in one design.

“My goal was not to get everything, but to get enough of a broad swath so that every Oregonian could get something they could recognize, something that they know to be true,” Burns said.

Other full-scale murals will be on display at the Medford, Portland, and Redmond airports. Eugene’s is the largest of the four and can be found outside Gate A. An interactive key for the artwork is available online.

New Director of the Eugene Airport Named

Cathryn Stephens, A.A.E, was this week named the Director of the Eugene Airport, a role she has filled in an interim capacity since March 2020, the City of Eugene announced.

Stephens has worked at the EUG for nearly 15 years and is a nationally recognized Airport Executive, the City said.

“For the past 18 months she has led an amazing EUG team through one of the most dynamic periods in commercial aviation history working to adapt to severe reductions in people flying in 2020,” said Matt Rodrigues, Eugene Public Works Director. “She has also led the team through the administration of Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) and Corona Virus Response grants, working to rapidly readjust to travel demand, landing three new airlines at EUG including Southwest Airlines and construction of the associated buildouts to accommodate them, and much more.”


Unique looking — height is only 4’11”. Heavyset: weight close to 200 lbs. Age: 30. Name: Eric. Long brown hair in a low ponytail.

May be an image of 1 person, standing and outdoors

LAST SEEN around MIDNIGHT or so last night on Wednesday 10/27, It was after dark, running SOUTH along I-5 NORTH, and was was talking about heading to Mt. Pisgah. Currently experiencing a psychotic break due to heavy marijuana use. Probably thirsty and hungry. No phone or wallet. Not dangerous.

DETAILED PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Age is 30 years old but due to his height he looks younger. He has medium brown hair he wears in a low ponytail. Wears zip up hoodie with jeans or pants and flip flops.

May be wearing a baseball cap. Doesn’t have his wallet or phone. Will answer to the name “Eric”.Any tip at all is greatly appreciated. Missing persons police report today.Lane County Sheriff (541) 682-4150

Douglas County Sheriff Hanlin Announces Off-Duty Death of Active Duty Deputy

Sheriff John Hanlin is saddened to announce the sudden and unexpected passing of Deputy Matthew Harmon. Deputy Harmon passed away at home on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, following a sudden cardiac medical event while off-duty.

Deputy Matthew Harmon
Deputy Matthew Harmon

Deputy Harmon began serving with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on March 14, 2003 as a Reserve Deputy. In April of 2010, he accepted a full-time job offer in the Corrections Division where he worked until his passing. During his tenure as a Corrections Deputy, Harmon served as the Work Crew Supervisor from 2017-2019.

“Matt was a valued and dedicated deputy who served with honor and distinction. He was a genuine person and will be sorely missed by everyone here at the Sheriff’s Office.” Sheriff Hanlin remarked. “Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with Deputy Harmon’s family during this difficult time of loss.”

The Sheriff’s Office is coordinating with Deputy Harmon’s wife and family in regard to memorial services, which will be announced at a later time.  Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office

Oregon reports 1,116 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 24 new deaths

There are 24 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,358. Oregon Health Authority reported 1,116 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 363,648.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (24), Clackamas (88), Clatsop (7), Columbia (13), Coos (22), Crook (24), Curry (4), Deschutes (117), Douglas (53), Gilliam (1), Hood River (4), Jackson (54), Jefferson (21), Josephine (24), Klamath (62), Lake (4), Lane (80), Lincoln (15), Linn (76), Malheur (24), Marion (70), Morrow (7), Multnomah (119), Polk (30), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (32), Union (10), Wallowa (4), Wasco (22), Washington (73) and Yamhill (28).

Mobile Vaccination Unit provides access, information, and support

FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit provides free vaccines throughout Oregon.
FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit provides free vaccines throughout Oregon

It may look like just another tour bus, but to those awaiting it, the big yellow rig is a ray of brightness in a world that sometimes seems to have run amok.  

The FEMA Mobile Vaccination Unit (MVU) has been making the rounds throughout the state bringing vaccines free of charge to everyone who is eligible.

During a recent visit to Jackson County, more than 100 people were vaccinated.  

Getting vaccinated is not an easy choice for everyone. Some have been frightened by misinformation; some are uncertain which of the three vaccines is best for them and some are scared of needles. 

“We’ve certainly seen a lot of folks who are scared of needles,” said Chris Rushing, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) field operations manager and FEMA liaison. “I had one lady who asked, ‘Hey, will you hold my hand while I get the vaccination?’ So, I held her hand.  It went great. There are a lot of stories like that. And, we certainly have a lot of instances of people wanting to get the information, then going home to think about it and coming back on another day. That’s really what we want — for people to make educated decisions about what is right for them.” 

If the MVU comes to your town, here’s what you need to know: 

  • Everyone in Oregon 12 and older is eligible
  • The vaccine is free
  • No ID is necessary
  • No appointment is necessary

To read the full story, visit Oregon Vaccine News.  

To find a vaccine near you, go to Get Vaccinated Oregon

80% of Oregonians vaccinated against COVID-19

The Oregon Health Authority announced Thursday that 80% of Oregonians 18 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for more than 2.68 million people.

OHA said that the achievement was measured through CDC data, which is slightly higher than numbers reported by the state itself. The CDC’s data includes vaccinations done through federal facilities, such as the Veteran’s Administration.

By total population, Oregon has now delivered at least one dose of a COVID-19 to 68% of all residents. Currently, children under the age of 12 remain ineligible for a vaccine.

The state ranks 20th in the nation for the percentage of residents who have received at least one shot. Fully vaccinated individuals make up 63% of all Oregon residents, and the state ranks 12th in the nation by this metric.

State officials said that they are encouraged that Oregon has reached the threshold of 80% of adults who have received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, but health experts believe that Oregon and other similarly situated states are still below the level of “herd immunity” needed to halt viral transmission. The OHA continues to urge those who are unvaccinated to get a shot.

The Conquer COVID in Klamath campaign announces its winner for the week.

Kyle Hood of Klamath Falls won a $2,500 gift certificate for outdoor fun. Hood was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at conquercovidinklamath.com.

Each week the prize changes and this week it is a $2,500 gasoline card. The drawing for this week’s prize will take place on Monday morning.

Other Weekly winners to date include: Elizabeth Gaxiola of Bonanza, who won a big-screen TV, home theater System and pizza gift certificates; Gillian Bradford of Klamath Falls won $6,000 in groceries from Grocery Outlet; Nolan Napier of Chiloquin who won a Traeger Grill and 12 bags of premium pellets; Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline; Terri Torres of Klamath Falls won $5,000 worth of furniture; and Nicola Cherry of Klamath Falls won a $2,400 pellet stove.

There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winners choice of a new Dodge RAM pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous runner up prizes as well.

To enter Klamath County residents can go to conquercovidinklamath.com.

There is nothing to buy and no charge to enter. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

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Time To Renew Expired Oregon Licenses, IDs, And Vehicle Registration Ends December 31st

Time is running out to renew expired vehicle registration, driver licenses, and ID cards in Oregon before a year-end rush and the looming possibility of citation, the Oregon Department of Transportation reminded on Thursday.

Oregon has had a moratorium in place, started during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, that kept law enforcement from citing for expired documentation. That moratorium ends December 31, and ODOT warns that it’s best to take care of any issues as soon as possible, before the rush sets in.

Starting in November, the DMV will mail about 300,000 Oregon residents who have expired vehicle registrations, urging them to renew before the end of the year. This mailing is in addition to the usual reminder that the DMV sends a few weeks before your vehicle’s tags expire.

There will not be a second reminder for expired licenses, permits and ID cards.

“You might receive a reminder in the mail even if it doesn’t seem to apply to you,” DMV Administrator Amy Joyce said. “Did you sell your car? If you didn’t notify DMV, we might still show you as the owner. Protect yourself from parking tickets and towing charges: go on-line and notify us of the sale.”

The current moratorium was passed by the legislature this year, but it is the last in a series of grace periods granted to give Oregonians more time to renew at the DMV while COVID-19 restrictions impact availability.

Oregon has added more online feature through the DMV to cut down on the in-person visits required. Before you go to a DMV office, visit DMV2U to see if you can get your service online – or make sure you have what you need to bring to an office.

“To help Oregonians get DMV services during the pandemic, we’ve added many new online options,” Joyce said. “We have caught up with the COVID-19 backlog enough that about half our visits to field offices are by appointment, and the other half are standby.”

“Going forward, customers will continue to have the option of making an appointment online through DMV2U or dropping by, as well as more choices online,” Joyce continued. “Anytime you need a DMV service, check DMV2U first and see if you can save yourself time and a trip.”

Also, starting in May of 2023, you will need a federally recognized form of identification to fly. This includes passports, but will otherwise require a Real ID-compliant identification card. This needs to be done in-person at a DMV location.

Many Oregon Restaurants Left Empty Handed as Federal Funding Runs Out

 Many Oregon restaurant owners who applied for federal relief during the pandemic say they’re still waiting. The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) is pleading with the federal government to get this money to them.

Chief Executive Officer Jason Brandt said a $28.6 billion fund was created to help local restaurants across the country stay afloat during the pandemic. He said more than 2,600 restaurants that applied for relief from the federal government did not receive any funding from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

But on the other hand, about 2,300 restaurants did get that check in the mail, Brandt said. Those who did are now reportedly in a much better situation and can head into this winter season strong.

Brandt said the money ran out and added that the reasons are simple: politics and disagreements. “Gosh, I think it’s an American staple to make sure you equitably take care of the industries that were most impacted across the board as opposed to leaving local restaurants hanging as a part of any bailout fund,” Brandt said.

He said they don’t have a timeline or any idea right now when they’ll hear back from the federal government. But he hopes to get an answer soon. “If you have made it this far, you must be really connecting with your local residents who care about your restaurant, care about you personally and your teams,” Brandt said. “Just hang in there a little bit longer.”

He estimates they’ll need another 50 to 60 billion dollars to cover the 177,000 applicants nationally who have not received a cent.

STIHL Donates Trees Planted at Collier Memorial State Park

A group of volunteers and state parks staff planted hundreds of trees at Collier Memorial State Park on Wednesday as part of a fire rehabilitation effort. 

Collier was heavily damaged by the Two Four Two Fire, which burned 14,473 acres in Sept. 2020. Now, the park, which offers access to crystal-clear Spring Creek, is getting a little boost as it continues to recover from the blaze.

A variety of native trees planted along the creek will help revitalize the ecosystem by providing shade and temperature variation for the variety of species that call the area home. 

The saplings were hard to come by, but were acquired and donated by STIHL, a German company that manufactures
chainsaws and other outdoor equipment. STIHL Northwest donated 2,021 saplings to be planted in both Oregon and
California as part of forest restorations effort following massive wildfires throughout the region. 

Time is limited to get all of the trees planted before winter settles in, but Roger Phelps, STIHL corporate communications manager, is confident the group will get them in the ground in time.

ODOT To Close Old McKenzie Pass Highway

With snow in the Oregon Cascades upon us, maintenance managers with the Oregon Department of Transportation have made the decision to close the entire Old McKenzie Pass Highway, OR 242, for the winter/snow season effective Monday, November 1. 

The west side of McKenzie Pass Highway was closed on October 19. 

ODOT’s records indicate that the earliest closure of the Old McKenzie Pass Highway occurred on October 18, 1996. The latest closure happened on January 10, 1939.

For more information, visit the McKenzie Highway website: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/regions/pages/mckenzie-highway.aspx

For current road conditions, visit tripcheck.com.


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