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, April 29, 2022
Willamette Valley Weather
UO’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is headed to the NY Giants as No. 5 Pick in NFL Draft
The former Oregon edge rusher was selected by the New York Giants with the No. 5 overall pick of the NFL draft Thursday night, becoming the highest-drafted defensive lineman in UO history.
“I knew, I manifested it,” Thibodeaux said on NFL Network after the selection. “We had great talks. They FaceTimed me on the plane and they were excited to talk to me, and I knew it was time. “It was just a blessing … Just to be a part of a family – an organization like this – it’s ridiculous.”
Thibodeaux’s four-year contract, with a fifth-year club option, is projected to be worth $36,206,254 with a $23,511,820 signing bonus, according to OverTheCap.com.
His selection follows the picks of former Ducks offensive tackle Penei Sewell at No. 7 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2021 and quarterback Justin Herbert at No. 6 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020. It’s the first time in program history that Oregon players were drafted in the first round in three straight years.
Thibodeaux is the 20th Ducks player in program history to be picked in the first round of the NFL draft, including 10 top-10 picks, and the second Oregon defensive end drafted in the first round of the common draft era (since 1967), joining DeForest Buckner (2016).
“We’ve spent a lot of time with him,” New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen said. “We met with him at the Combine. I flew out there for his pro day along with a couple of other individuals. We had him in here for a visit. He’s a very outgoing individual. He’s got a lot of personality. I’m sure you guys will enjoy your time with him, meeting him. Really a good kid; likeable kid, works hard. (Giants coach) Brian (Daboll) and I had several conversations with some of his coaches over the last couple of days. We FaceTimed him last weekend so we really got to know the kid maybe more than any player in this draft. Like the personality and like the player.”
He’s the first Oregon player taken in the top 5 since Marcus Mariota in 2015, and the first defensive end selected by the Giants in the first round since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2010.
A unanimous All-American, Thibodeaux had 49 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup last season.
“Kayvon is quick off the ball,” Daboll said. “I think he has a wide variety of pass rush moves but he can also set an edge for us on our defense. It’s no secret we play multiple schemes with Wink (Martindale) as our defensive coordinator and we envision Kayvon being able to do a lot of different things for us. He’s going to need to come in here and earn it; but a productive player the time he’s been at Oregon.”
Regarding the insinuations about Thibodeaux’s character and level of motivation, Daboll said he felt “very comfortable” with him. Schoen suggested Thibodeaux’s ankle sprain from last year’s season opener was serious enough that it could have ended his season.
“I think you look into everything but we sat down with the young men when he came up here on a visit, the Combine, Joe had Zoomed, we had done another Zoom with him,” Daboll said. “We felt very comfortable with him, his approach both as a young football player and a young man.”
As a true sophomore in 2020, Thibodeaux had 38 tackles with 9.5 for loss, including three sacks, and three pass breakups in seven games. He was named the Pac-12 Championship game MVP that season, when he had five tackles with two for loss, a sack and pass breakup in UO’s win over USC.
Eugene Marathon Weekend Events
The 2022 Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon courses will feel familiar to those who ran the race between 2011-2018. Events kick off today!
Marathoners and Half Marathons will start on Agate, in the shadow of Hayward Field, heading south. The course takes runners through the University neighborhoods and south on E Amazon all the way to Frank Kinney Park. Heading back toward the University of Oregon, runners follow Amazon Parkway and turn east on 19th Ave. Near Mile 9, runners pass by Hayward Field heading north, cross Franklin Blvd and head east toward Springfield. After joining the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System, the Marathon and Half Marathon courses split at Knickerbocker Footbridge. The Half Marathon loops west in Alton Baker Park, crosses the Frohnmayer Footbridge and returns to Hayward Field for a final 200m on the track.
After splitting from the Half Marathon course, Marathoners will do a loop in Springfield before heading west on the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System. The course takes runners through Alton Baker Park, past Valley River Center to the Owosso Footbridge where they start the return journey to the finish. The final miles of the Marathon course run along the Willamette River and feature Eugene’s new Downtown Riverfront Park. Marathoners rejoin the Half Marathon course for the final half mile of the race as they enjoy an epic finish on the track inside Hayward Field.
FRIDAY, APRIL 29:
HEALTH & WELLNESS EXPO
1:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Health & Wellness Expo
SATURDAY, APRIL 30:
EUGENE 5K & KIDS DUCK DASH PRESENTED BY OCCU
7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. – Eugene 5K & Kids Duck Dash presented by OCCU Packet Pick-up (Near starting line)
8:00 a.m. – Kids Duck Dash presented by OCCU start
8:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Krusteaz Pancake Breakfast
8:30 a.m. – Kids Duck Dash presented by OCCU Awards Ceremony
8:45 a.m. – Eugene 5K presented by OCCU start
9:30 a.m. – Eugene 5K presented by OCCU Awards Ceremony
HEALTH & WELLNESS EXPO
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Health & Wellness Expo
TBD – Pacer Meet and Greet
SUNDAY, MAY 1:
MARATHON & HALF MARATHON
5:15 – 6:40 a.m. – Pre-Race Shuttles to Start
7:00 a.m. – Marathon start
7:00 a.m. – Half Marathon start
8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Krusteaz Pancake Breakfast
8:00 a.m. – 2:00p.m. – Finish Festival
9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Post-Race Shuttles
9:30 a.m. – Half Marathon Awards Ceremony
10:30 a.m. – Marathon Awards Ceremony
MORE INFO: https://www.eugenemarathon.com/
Street drug users in Southern Oregon are being warned of a risk of fentanyl overdose deaths in school-aged youth.
The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which includes several southern Oregon agencies, is warning Oregon schools and parents about the threat of overdose due to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 40% of all counterfeit pills in circulation contain fatal amounts of fentanyl. More information containing a bulletin guidance for schools and parents is available online at http://oridhidta.org/fentanyl- information
We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/mGVt50IUM6x
ODF Extends Comment Period For Rules On Wildland-Urban Interface ID And Developing Wildfire Risk Map. ODF Is Also Hosting An Additional Virtual Information Session On Friday, April 29, At A 3 P.M.
Public hearings were held April 19–21 to gather feedback on a rules package establishing the identification criteria for the wildland-urban interface and development of a statewide wildfire risk map, as required by Senate Bill 762 (2021).
During public hearings, the department heard several requests for more time to provide comments on the proposed rules. Based on that input, the department is extending the public comment period to noon on May 9.
That is the latest time the department can accept input and present the rules to the Board of Forestry for adoption. The department must also allow time for Oregon State University to complete the map based on the adopted rules by the statutory deadline of June 30.
ODF is also hosting an additional virtual information session on Friday, April 29, at a 3 p.m. Zoom meeting. No public hearing will be held, but written comments can be sent to email@example.com until the extended deadline of noon, May 9.
Overturned Truck Spills Load Of Tar Into The Smith River Near Gasquet
An overturned truck that crashed on Highway 199 has spilled tar into the Smith River
Six River National Forest Service confirmed that the truck involved was filled with 2000 gallons of tar and crashed near the Smith River National Recreation Area west of Gasquet and east of Middle Fork Gorge.
“While the entrance of any foreign substance into a waterway can cause harm to habitat, this trailer was filled with hot asphalt binder,” explained the forest service in a release. “Asphalt binder turns into a solid substance once the temperature of the binder reaches about 100-125 degrees-which means when the material hit the cold river it turned into a solid.”
The forest service is still concerned with possible harm done to natural resources, but officials believe the damage is mitigated by the asphalt binder.
USFS is working in partnership with Fish & Game, Caltrans, CHP, Cal OES and Del Norte Emergency services to maximize containment.
This is an ongoing situation and is under investigation. IF you are heading to the coast check TripCheck https://tripcheck.com/
I-5 Bridge Committee To Vote On Bridge Design Proposal That Includes Light Rail And More Lanes
Planning officials are finalizing a proposal for a new Interstate Bridge that includes both light rail and more lanes for vehicles. They will present the proposal to a committee of elected leaders and transportation officials from Oregon and Washington next week.
With that group’s approval, program planners will then spend the next two months presenting the bridge design to nine state, regional and city governments and agencies. The project then heads to an environmental review — an extensive and federally mandated review of its potential environmental consequences.
The design on the table is notable in part because disputes over light rail torpedoed the last attempt to replace the span. The Columbia River Crossing project fell apart in 2014 when the Washington Legislature voted not to fund its share of the bridge, mostly because of Republican opposition to the light rail portion of the project.
This time, however, Washington has already allocated $1 billion toward the bridge project. (The project’s final price tag remains unclear, but it’s likely to be multiple billions, requiring money from both states and the federal government.)
But the scope of the freeway expansion proposed has drawn opposition from environmental groups who say it will encourage more driving and increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Still undecided was the number of proposed auxiliary lanes and access to Hayden Island, which sits in the Columbia River and is only accessible via the current Interstate Bridge.
The work would extend far beyond the bridge itself. Ryan LeProwse, the program’s transportation planning manager, said there are seven interchanges within the area that would be rebuilt.
Some are as little as half a mile apart, which LeProwse said is too close and requires people to make quick decisions at high speeds.
The proposal calls for auxiliary lanes that would directly connect some of those interchanges, removing the need for drivers traveling between them to change lanes and potentially decreasing crashes that happen during those short stretches.
Program staff said they had considered alternative designs that included bus rapid transit — a fast, high-capacity bus system that may include dedicated bus lanes to limit interruptions — across the river instead of light rail. C-Tran, the transit agency serving Clark County, has operated a bus rapid transit line since 2017 and TriMet is expected to start service on its first in September.
But project planners decided that a light rail system with connections to local bus lines would be more efficient and accommodate more people per trip.
The local leaders who will vote on the bridge design spoke largely in support of the proposals first presented to them last week, especially the prospect of having light rail service across the river.
But a few, including Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Washington Department of Transportation Secretary Roger Millar, cautioned program staff against using present-day traffic models to forecast too far into the future without taking into account how people’s travel needs and habits may change.
“Today, people are used to getting into their automobile to go wherever it is they need to go. I hope that’s not where we are in 2045,” Hardesty said. “I know businesses will shift and do hybrid models, so I assume human behavior will shift as well. I’m just curious if you took that into account when you were developing the models.”
Millar said instead of seeing projections for 25 years into the future, he would like to see models for five or 10 years from now, which he said may be more accurate.
Greg Johnson, the Interstate Bridge Program director, said its plans are based on models created by Oregon Metro and Washington’s Regional Transportation Council. While it’s not a perfect predictor, he said, it’s the best system available.
Johnson also said project planners can’t just consider local concerns as they shape the bridge design.
“We have to take into account that this is the only West Coast connector between Mexico and Canada as a freeway. Those are things we can’t ignore.” he said. “Folks who are critical of the highway investment ignore the investments we’re trying to make in active transportation and light rail.”
Environmental groups, meanwhile, called for more scrutiny.
The leaders of more than a dozen climate and public transit advocacy groups announced a new coalition that will call for the new Interstate Bridge to meet specific climate, economic and racial justice goals.
“We want to support the right bridge for the region,” said Brett Morgan of 1000 Friends of Oregon “and that means having a bridge that meets climate goals and robust transit options using all the tools we have.”
He said climate and transit advocates have been unsatisfied by project planners’ answers to questions about traffic demand and capacity and said they’ve instead tried to push the project forward quickly.
“We don’t want this to be a repeat of the Columbia River Crossing, the litigation battle and everything that made it unpopular,” he said.
Morgan said the coalition is pushing for decreased freeway footprint on Hayden Island, which sits directly under the bridge span.
The group is also calling for light rail to extend further into Vancouver, Morgan said. The current proposals show the light rail line terminating at at Evergreen Boulevard, just before Clark College and the Washington State School for the Blind. Extending the line would be a benefit to students of both schools, he said.
And, Morgan said, the coalition is against adding auxiliary lanes. Some of the designs propose new lanes in areas as far as three miles away from the bridge, he said, and effectively amount to a new full freeway lane. Data provided by Interstate Bridge Program staff also showed relatively small improvements in traffic congestion from those additional lanes, he said.
Staff will present the proposed design to the steering committee on May 5.
Oregon and Washington Lead Data on ‘Leaving Twitter’ Stats
Since the announcement of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter three days ago, hashtags such as #leavingtwitter and #deletetwitter have been trending.
Based on geotagged Twitter data during that span, Oregon and Washington state have the most users saying goodbye to the social media platform, according to betonline.ag.
To find the state rankings, phrases and hashtags about leaving Twitter were tracked: “I’m leaving Twitter,” “I’m deleting my account,” #leavingtwitter, #deletetwitter, #goodbyetwitter, byetwitter, #canceltwitter, #boycotttwitter, etc. More than 100,000 tweets were tracked.
Betonline.ag, which normally tracks sports and entertainment activity, uses “trends software with direct access to geotagged Twitter data.”
Following Oregon and Washington on the list were New Jersey, New Mexico, Maryland, Nevada, Colorado, California, Michigan and Virginia.
Grants Pass Missing Person
The Grants Pass Police Department is seeking assistance from the public in locating 30 year old Noah Baker. Baker was despondent after an argument and left his residence in Grants Pass driving a silver Ford Fiesta with Oregon Plate 671MUR.
Baker is described as a white male adult, 5’09”, 170 lbs, brown hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing black sweats, black shirt, black shoes and a black hat.
If anyone knows of his whereabouts or sees Baker, please call your local law enforcement agency or the Grants Pass Police at 541-450-6260. Reference case #2022-14203 Grants Pass Police Department
Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Asks for Public’s Help in Search For Trucker Suspect
The first real clue to come in on all the missing person cases in the area. Help Klamath Falls Oregon Sheriff Office ID this trucker. He was the last to see this woman alive and could be the key to not only solving this woman’s disappearance but a number of the hundred other women missing in PNW. IF you have any information, please call (541) 883-5130