Willamette Valley News, Friday 12/3 – Police Searching for Oregon State Hospital Patient Who Went Missing in Eugene, Roseburg Man Arrested After Standoff on I-5 Near Curtin

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, December 3, 2021

Willamette Valley Weather

Today– Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 47. North northwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the morning.

Saturday– A chance of rain before 1pm, then a chance of showers after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. South southwest wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Sunday– Areas of fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Calm wind.

Monday– Rain before 1pm, then showers likely, mainly between 1pm and 4pm. High near 51. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Tuesday– A slight chance of showers after 10am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49.

Police Searching for Oregon State Hospital Patient Who Went Missing in Eugene

Savariego

A 31-year-old Oregon State Hospital psychiatric patient, Jordan James Savariego, was reported missing on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. Anyone seeing Savariego should call 911 or the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888.

Savariego is accused of unauthorized departure. The OSP is conducting an investigation to help locate him.

Police warn that Savariego should not be approached.

Savariego was admitted from Lincoln County to the Junction City campus of Oregon State Hospital on Jan. 13, 2021. He was found Guilty Except for Insanity on the charges of Arson 1 and Aggravated Harassment.

He was last seen at the 5th St. Market in Eugene at approximately 2:07 p.m., Thursday, where he was on an approved outing. Oregon State Hospital staff members assigned to escort Savariego lost visual contact when he ran away from staff.

Hospital officials, who reported the missing patient to state and local law enforcement agencies, described Savariego as a Caucasian male, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 203 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. When last seen, he was wearing blue sweatpants, a blue denim Carhart-style jacket, white t-shirt, brown hiking boots, and headphones.  He also wears eyeglasses.

Roseburg Man Arrested After Standoff on I-5 Near Curtin

At about 8:50 p.m., a deputy noticed a 2001 Oldsmobile parked in the triangle median section near the I-5 northbound interchange at Curtin. Officials said the deputy attempted to contact the driver, 66-year old Russell Surkamer, but he became confrontational. 

Deputies realized he had multiple warrants out for his arrest, but Surkamer allegedly refused to get out of the vehicle. Due to Surkamer’s history, deputies placed a spike strip in front of his vehicle and requested more units. 

After 45 minutes of unsuccessful attempts to de-escalate the situation and to get Surkamer to exit the vehicle, deputies approached the vehicle with a shield on the passenger side, officials said. At this point, Surkamer reportedly grabbed the handle of a small sword-type knife. 

Officials said Surkamer continued to be uncooperative for three hours. Deputies decided to throw two small CS gas canisters inside of the vehicle, but Surkamer still refused to get out, authorities added.

During the first deployment of CS gas, Surkamer reportedly swung a small pry bar at deputies. During the second, Surkamer sprayed pepper spray at deputies, according to authorities.

After a third CS canister was deployed into the vehicle, deputies said Surkamer cooperated and placed the knife on the floor. Deputies arrested him and he was taken to the Douglas County Jail on charges of probation violation, resisting arrest and unlawful use of a weapon. 

Oregon reports 1,046 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 42 new deaths

There are 42 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,228. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,046 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 393,232.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (19), Clackamas (84), Clatsop (2), Columbia (26), Coos (36), Crook (22), Curry (7), Deschutes (83), Douglas (41), Harney (6), Hood River (6), Jackson (86), Jefferson (17), Josephine (43), Klamath (18), Lane (70), Lincoln (6), Linn (64), Malheur (3), Marion (62), Multnomah (157), Polk (22), Tillamook (5), Umatilla (7), Union (3), Wallowa (2), Wasco (8), Washington (117), and Yamhill (17).

Vaccines have suddenly become scarce in some parts of Oregon after months of vaccine surplus in the state and across that nation, officials said. The situation is a dramatic shift from the late spring, summer and early fall, when Oregon tossed out over 400,000 unused spoiled or expired doses, largely because of lack of demand.

Oregon Health Authority officials said the reasons for the temporary shortage are varied. A big one is a dearth of available medical personnel to administer vaccines. Some are busy treating COVID-19 patients from the latest
surge. Many people are now eligible for booster shots, because it’s been more than six months since many were fully vaccinated. The latest concerning coronavirus variant, omicron, was also announced in the past few days.

Social Cards – Omicron: What we know about this new variant
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Oregon Adopts New Rules to Reduce Emissions from Truck Engines

Diesel pollution fouls the air and contributes to climate warming, but the road forward in Oregon will be cleaner with the adoption of rules that will help reduce toxic emissions from big rigs, school buses, and delivery vans.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission recently adopted the Advanced Clean Truck and Heavy-Duty Omnibus rules. Together, the rules will cut harmful nitrogen oxide and particulate matter pollution by requiring the production of more medium- and heavy-duty trucks powered by electricity and all new diesel-burning engines to meet stricter emission standards beginning in 2024.

The decision comes two days after President Biden signed the infrastructure bill that will deliver more than $50 million over the next five years to Oregon for expansion of its electric vehicle charging network.

“From the Coast Range to the high desert, Oregonians can breathe a bit easier with the adoption of these new clean truck rules,” said Sam Wilson, senior vehicles analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Increasing the availability of zero-emission trucks and delivery vans will help to reduce climate warming and toxic air pollution from Oregon’s roads and highways.”

Oregon follows California in adopting these rules, with five other states – Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington – now considering taking similar action.

UCS research shows that while heavy-duty vehicles represent just 13 percent of vehicles on Oregon’s roads, they contribute 42 percent of global warming emissions and are responsible for 70 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 64 percent of fine particulate pollution from the state’s on-road transportation sector.

The new Oregon rules will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from trucks by more than half and generate billions of dollars in societal benefits by 2050 including public health cost savings, according to an independent report by M.J. Bradley & Associates commissioned by UCS and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Oregon’s leadership in transitioning away from diesel engines towards cleaner electric options will improve public health and should encourage other states now considering similar actions,” Wilson said.

Australian Company Begins Drilling for Lithium in SE Oregon

An Australian company has started drilling at a site in southeast Oregon that could eventually host a large lithium mine.

Jindalee Resources Ltd., a mineral exploration company based in Perth, announced earlier this week that it’s working to determine the extent of a lithium deposit in southern Malheur County.

The company said in a release that the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) has approved drilling of 39 holes to shore up Jindalee’s estimate of how much lithium exists at the site. Jindalee has said the deposit west of the Oregon-Nevada border town of McDermitt is among the largest lithium deposits in the country.

Multiple requests for comment from Jindalee and DOGAMI have not been returned.

In an interview with the financial media outlet Proactive this spring, Jindalee executive director Lindsay Dudfield called the McDermitt Lithium Project “an absolute monster.”

Lithium is an extremely lightweight metal seen as critical to a global transition off fossil fuels to renewable energy. The element is foundational to lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles and store power generated by things like wind and solar, among other uses.

The Biden administration has made clear that it wants to significantly increase the amount of lithium sourced and processed in the United States. Jindalee says the McDermitt Lithium Project has potential to do both.

“The key outcomes of the [scoping] Study highlighted the potential of the Project to support a viable standalone lithium mining and processing operation and reinforced the significance of McDermitt as a potential long-life source of future supply to the rapidly growing US battery manufacturing industry,” the company release states.

The project is located on the northern edge of the McDermitt Caldera, which formed following a massive eruption more than 16 million years ago. Lithium-rich sediments have been found near the caldera’s perimeter.

A proposed lithium mine on the Nevada side of the caldera has attracted controversy for its potential ecological harm, desecration of a historic massacre site, disruptions to ranching and more.

Oregon Check Casher and Construction Company Operators Indicted in Payroll Tax Evasion Scheme

A federal grand jury in Portland returned a five-count indictment today charging six individuals for their roles in a multiyear scheme to evade the payment of payroll and income taxes on the wages of construction workers.

David A. Katz, 45, of Tualatin, Oregon, the operator of Check Cash Pacific, Inc., a check-cashing business with locations in the Portland area and Vancouver, Washington, is charged with conspiring with five individuals affiliated with Oregon-based construction companies to defraud the U.S. by facilitating under-the-table cash wage payments to construction workers to impede and obstruct the IRS’s ability to compute, assess, and collect payroll and income taxes due on the cash wages. 

Additionally, Katz is charged with four counts of filing false currency transaction reports with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Others charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. include Martin S. Elizondo, 46, also of Tualatin; Melesio Gomez-Rivera, 47, of Aloha, Oregon; Jorge Peraza, 49, and Natallie N. Graham, 46, both of Beaverton, Oregon; and Jose L. Altamirano, Sr., 60, of Bend, Oregon.

According to the indictment, from at least January 2014 and continuing through December 2017, Elizondo, Gomez-Rivera, and Peraza are alleged to have successfully evaded the employment tax obligations of their respective construction companies and assisted other construction companies do the same. To carry out the scheme, they cashed or had other individuals cash millions of dollars in payroll checks at various locations of Katz’s check cashing business, used the cash to pay construction workers under-the-table, and filed false business and payroll tax returns.

Altamirano is alleged to have used co-conspirators to cash payroll checks at Katz’s business to pay employees of his construction company under-the-table. Graham is alleged to have worked in the office of a subcontracting company used to facilitate and organize the unreported cash payments to workers.

In total, Katz and his co-conspirators cashed approximately $192 million in payroll checks, causing a combined employment and individual income tax loss of $68 million.

Katz, Elizondo, Gomez-Rivera, Peraza, and Graham will be arraigned on these charges in federal court in Portland on December 15, 2021.

Conspiracy to defraud the U.S. is punishable by up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release. Filing false currency transaction reports is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth D. Uram and Gavin W. Bruce are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon 

Man Faces Federal Charges for Hoax Bomb Threats Directed at Multiple Schools and a Hospital in Oregon

A federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment today charging a former resident of Newberg, Oregon with calling in hoax bomb threats to three schools and one hospital in Oregon.

Sean Case McGinley, 40, has been charged with four counts of making interstate threats involving explosives and four counts of conveying false information and hoaxes about destructive devices.

According to court documents, on October 26, 2021, McGinley began making multiple calls to the Newberg-Dundee Police Department dispatch center in which he referenced putting a pipe bomb under a vehicle in Newberg. Officers checked the area McGinley referenced, but did not locate a bomb. Meanwhile, McGinley’s calls and phone number were recorded and determined to originate from the St. Louis, Missouri area. Investigators later learned that McGinley formerly resided in Newberg and had family in and around St. Louis.

On November 9, 2021, McGinley placed another call to the Newberg-Dundee dispatch center claiming that a pipe bomb had been placed in the vehicle tailpipe of a Newberg Municipal Court judge. A Newberg-Dundee police officer returned McGinley’s call and spoke with him about the alleged tip. During this discussion, McGinley told the officer that he hoped someone would place a pipe bomb in the judge’s vehicle tailpipe and that he believed the judge was worthless.

On the morning of November 12, 2021, the principal of Newberg High School contacted Newberg-Dundee police to report a potential bomb threat. The principal gave officers a voicemail from an unknown person claiming there was a pipe bomb in the school. Officers determined that the hoax threat was placed by McGinley and that it also originated in St. Louis. Later the same morning, McGinley called a similar threat into Sherwood High School. McGinley then called a school resource officer at Sherwood High School, identified himself, and provided information about a purported pedophilia ring in Sherwood.

Between November 18 and 23, 2021, McGinley called in at least eight additional bomb threats to various public and private institutions. On November 18 and 22, 2021, McGinley called in threats to St. Paul High School and an elementary school in Tigard, Oregon. On November 23, 2021 alone, he called in four separate threats to Fowler Middle School and Twality Middle School in Tigard, the Providence Newberg Medical Center, and Providence Sherwood Medical Plaza. The threat made to the Providence Sherwood Medical Plaza prompted the facility to evacuate ambulatory patients and staff.

Amidst McGinley’s late November threat spree, authorities sought and obtained a federal criminal complaint and arrest warrant against McGinley and, on November 24, 2021, FBI agents arrested him in St. Louis. McGinley made his first appearance in federal court in the Eastern District of Missouri on November 29, 2021 and was ordered detained pending transfer to the District of Oregon. The investigation into McGinley’s threats is ongoing.

Making interstate threats involving explosives is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison, three years’ supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Conveying false information and hoaxes about destructive devices is punishable by up to five years in federal prison, three years’ supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Newberg-Dundee, Tigard, and Sherwood Police Departments and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott M. Kerin is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

Meth/Heroin/Fentanyl Bust in Douglas County

On Tuesday, November 30th, 2021, detectives with the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT) made several local drug related arrests.

DINT detectives initiated a traffic stop on Hwy 138E at milepost 7.  Drug detection K-9 Trapper alerted to the presence of illegal narcotics in the vehicle.  A search of the vehicle revealed approximately 49 grams of suspected methamphetamine, 22 grams of suspected heroin, and 20 counterfeit oxycontin pills that actually contain suspected fentanyl.  The driver of the vehicle, 25 year old Kimberly Briggs of Roseburg, was arrested and lodged at the Douglas County Jail on multiple charges to include Possession and attempted delivery of methamphetamine, possession and attempted delivery of heroin, possession and attempted delivery of schedule II controlled substances.

The same day, DINT detectives initiated another traffic stop in the 2400 block of Diamond Lake Blvd in Roseburg.  Two of the occupants were found to have warrants for their arrest.  33 year old Dillan Prudhomme, of Glide, was lodged at the Douglas County Jail on a Parole warrant.  33 year old Michael Stratton was cited and released on a Failure to Appear warrant out of Douglas County Circuit Court.  The driver of the vehicle, 39 year old Ramon Torres, of Willamina, Oregon, was cited and released for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.  Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT)

Oregon State Police seeking public assistance in the poisoning of Catherine Wolf Pack in Union County

The Oregon State Police is seeking public assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for the poisoning of the Catherine Wolf Pack in eastern Oregon. 

On February 9, 2021, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division Troopers received information from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) regarding a possibly deceased, collared wolf.

Troopers responded to the area and located five deceased wolves, three males, and two females. It was later determined the wolves were from the Catherine Pack, with all known members present and deceased.

The wolves were located southeast of Mount Harris, within Union County. Fish and Wildlife Troopers and ODFW personnel with the assistance of a helicopter searched the area for anything of evidentiary value. An additional deceased magpie was also found in the vicinity of the deceased wolves. 

The five wolves and magpie were collected and transported to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab located in Ashland, Oregon to determine the cause of death. 

On March 11, 2021, Fish and Wildlife Troopers again received information from ODFW personnel of an additional wolf collar emitting a mortality signal in the same general location. A search of the area located a deceased female wolf, a skunk, and a magpie all very close to the scene. All animals were collected and immediately submitted to the USFWS lab for testing. The female wolf was dispersing from the Keating Pack. 

Fish and Wildlife Troopers were initially hampered in investigating the scene due to snow levels and inclement weather. Troopers continued searching over the next few weeks as snow continued to melt and located evidence of suspected poisoning. The evidence was submitted for testing and analysis. 

In April 2021, the USFWS submitted their examination reports with findings consistent with poisoning as the cause of death for all six wolves, the skunk, and two magpies. Lab results also indicated the suspected evidence confirmed a poisonous substance. 

In addition, two more collared wolves were found deceased in Union County after the initial incidents. In April 2021, a deceased adult male wolf from the Five Points Pack was located west of Elgin and in July 2021, a young female wolf from the Clark Creek Pack was located northeast of La Grande. In both cases the cause of death was not readily apparent, a necropsy and testing were conducted. Toxicology reports confirmed the presence of differing types of poison in both wolves. Based upon the type of poison and locations, it was determined the death of the young female wolf may be related to the earlier six poisonings.

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers have continued in their investigation in the intervening months but have exhausted leads in the case. OSP is asking any person with information related to this investigation to contact the Oregon State Police through the OSP TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or OSP (677) or TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us. Please reference Case #SP21-033033.

To learn about the Wolves in Oregon specifically wolf-livestock conflicts please visit  https://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/index.asp#livestock   

Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators 

The Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Furbearers, Game Fish and Shellfish. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags.

Police Seek Public’s Help: Missing Myrtle Creek woman, 77

— Police made a public appeal for help locating a woman who left home early Saturday morning and hasn’t been heard from since.

Myrtle Creek Police say Bonnie Jo Short, 77, left her residence around 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2021. She is about 5-foot-4 and weighs around 110 pounds with grey hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing blue slacks, a grey and black striped sweatshirt, black boots and a grey robe.

Short was driving a silver 2015 Ford Escape bearing Oregon license plate 900MLJ.

“It is unknown where Bonnie may have gone, and her cell phone appears to be shut off,” police said. “If you have any information regarding Bonnie’s whereabouts or have seen her vehicle, please contact the Myrtle Creek Police Department immediately at 541-440-4471.” 

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Have-You-Seen-Me-Southern-Oregons-Missing-People-161249961222839/posts/

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