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, May 6, 2022
Willamette Valley Weather
Spirit Of The Waters Totem Pole Journey Arrives for Events In Eugene
The Spirit of the the Waters Totem Pole Journey, the latest of dozens of such cultural events over the past 20 years, is traveling through Oregon, Washington and Idaho to advocate for removing the Lower Snake River dams. The events in Eugene began with a roundtable discussion Thursday and continue Friday with a presentation on art and activism.
“This journey is about bringing attention to the interconnection of salmon, orca and a free-flowing Snake River,” said Kurt Russo, executive director of Se’Si’Le, the event’s nonprofit sponsor. “There’s a moral obligation here, an existential threat to Indigenous lifeways. It’s not just a matter of what they do for a living — it’s what living means.”
Four dams on the lower Snake River — Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite — have been targeted for removal by some indigenous and environmental groups because of they harm salmon populations. The dams, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are used to generate hydroelectric power and control flooding.
Tribes have been calling for the dams to be removed so the salmon populations can survive and feed endangered orcas who rely on them for food. Various tribes rely on and venerate the animals, which now face existential threats.
The events feature the display of an orca totem pole and salmon carvings created by master carver Jewell James and the House of Tears Carvers. Attendees also can see the “Whale People and Totem Pole” exhibit and an award-winning short film, which tells the story of today’s environmental emergency through the figure of the orca, which depend on salmon.
The Eugene events are being held at the University of Oregon Erb Memorial Union. Friday’s presentation is between noon and 1:30 p.m. Film screenings will be held at Erb Memorial Union 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey from the Snake River to Salish Sea in Washington is sponsored by Se’Si’Le, an intertribal nonprofit aiming to reintroduce Indigenous spiritual law into conversations about climate change and the environment.
The journey is the group’s latest traveling totem pole exhibit, which began in 2002 with totem poles meant to help heal the nation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and, later, focused on the environmental harm caused by fossil fuels.
The journey includes public events in cities and tribal communities where art and culture will be used to spark a new understanding of the county’s natural heritage. The events will include ceremonial moments steeped in ancestral knowledge to present the challenges facing the region and avenues for cross-cultural collaboration on solutions.
Thursday’s roundtable discussion, which included participants from indigenous communities, focused on the science that exists in traditional tribal ceremonies, Russo said. Friday’s event is about art’s place in environmental activism.
The journey proceeds to Astoria on Monday and Portland on Tuesday.
Businesses Permanently Closed To Make Way For Another High-Rise Complex In Eugene
The Campus Glenwood Restaurant and the 7-Eleven near the University of Oregon on Alder Street and 13th Avenue have closed permanently. The two buildings will be demolished later this summer for an upcoming, 12-story apartment complex.
On Thursday, workers were loading trucks with metal shelves from the 7-Eleven, pulling them from the storefront that is now boarded up with wood sheets.
The incoming apartment complex is called “The Ellis” and is intended to serve a mix of UO community members and the broader community, according to the project’s application.
Plans for the 12-story building show it having roughly 6,000 square feet for retail space, a 10-space parking garage and a second-floor courtyard with a pool between the residential spaces.
The planned complex is one of three set to go up along 13th Avenue next to campus, which for decades was dominated by one- and two-story restaurants and stores. The two others are a mixed-use development planned by the Duck Store next to its flagship location, and another high-rise complex planned for the former Taylor’s Bar and Grill location.
Oregon State Police urge drivers to use caution as water pools in some areas along Interstate 5 near Eugene.
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/yACL50J0K0N
Oregon DMV Offices Short Staffed
Oregon’s DMV has been hard hit by a lack of workers, leading to long lines in urban offices and closures in some smaller towns, including Lakeview. Madras and Prineville have also had closures during business days.
ODOT’s David House says the DMV is recovered from pandemic slow-downs but now faces another setback in its effort to return to normal operations House says 20% of the positions at DMV field offices remain unfilled, statewide.
Lakeview reported their DMW offices closed three days last week. Prineville’s DMV was closed Tuesday and Madras shut down for the day on Wednesday. Coquille’s DMV, on the southern Oregon coast, has been closed the last
two days, and House says the situation is most dire in Medford – a larger office that has less than 50% of its needed staffing. House says many transactions can be completed on the DMV2U website. He suggests checking there to see if your request can be completed without waiting in long lines at an office.
Road Work Continues On Hwy 138e
Crews with the Oregon Department of Transportation will continue safety and maintenance work on Highway 138E through September, in the wake of the 2020 Archie Creek Fire.
Matt Noble of ODOT said travelers on the road between Glide and Steamboat should expect daytime single lane closures, flagging and delays of up to twenty minutes, on weekdays. Noble said work will pause overnight and on weekends.
Rock scaling, where crews remove rocks, dirt and vegetation before it tumbles on the road, is at the top of the to-do list. Scaling work began last week and will continue through July at over a dozen locations.
Other work will include:
*Remove hazard trees near the road
*Remove wood, rock and dirt debris from the side of the road
*Repave some road sections and repair potholes
*Replace faded lane and shoulder stripes
ODOT interim district manager Glen Pederson says the goal is to restore Highway 138E to the way it was before the Archie Creek Fire.
Drivers are asked to slow down in work zones, and give workers and equipment the space needed to work safely. To learn more about ODOT’s continued wildfire recovery work, go to: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Pages/Wildfire.aspx
Homeless Count in Portland
The Point-in-Time Homeless Count for the Portland area found more than 6600 people were homeless on one night in January. That included 36-hundred unsheltered people, more than two-thousand people in shelters and 800 people in transitional housing.
It’s always considered an undercount because it’s done by interviewing people. Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan says Multnomah County adds interviews to the process, which makes it more complex and less accurate.
He wants a real-time list of homeless people by name. He’s calling on the Joint Office of Homeless Services to change the process.
Oregon is seeing dangerous increases in fentanyl use as counterfeit pills containing the dangerous opioid proliferate the region.
A new analysis medical testing and laboratory firm Millennium Health shows a 58% increase in fentanyl positivity in Oregon drug tests during the first quarter of 2022 compared to last year.
Fentanyl can be 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. It is frequently used in counterfeit oxycodone pills or is mixed with other hard drugs. Fentanyl is linked is the vast majority of deadly drug overdoses in Oregon and nationally. The report also found fentanyl’s positivity rates in Oregon drug tests has increased 163% since 2020.
The dangerous opioid is showing up more in with users of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs. The San Diego-based company said positivity rates for fentanyl were up 197% in Jackson County, 88% in Umatilla County and nearly 60% in Lane and Multnomah counties from March 2021 to March 2022.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control projects a 36.2 % increase in fatal drug overdoses in Oregon between November 2020 and November 2021 (791 versus 1,077).
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