Willamette Valley News, Thursday 7/14: 22-Year-Old UO Football Player Dies After Hitting Head At Triangle Lake, Burglary Suspect Arrested After Trying To Escape Into River At Campsite Near Westfir

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, July 14, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

22-Year-Old UO Football Player Dies After Hitting Head At Triangle Lake

“The Lane County Sheriff’s Office responded to the rock slides just a short distance west of Triangle Lake at approximately 2:30pm after receiving the report of an injured person,” officials wrote on Facebook.

“Upon arrival, deputies learned that a 22 year old male recreating in the area fell and struck his head. Bystanders and responding paramedics were unable to revive him.

Lane County Sheriff Search and Rescue personnel responded to assist with bringing him back to the roadway as he was approximately 100 yards down a steep trail. Deputies said his death appears to be an accident and there is no evidence of foul play.

Players, coaches, and fans are sharing memories and reacting to the tragic news. Spencer Webb played in 11 games for Oregon last season and was set to be the starting tight end under new head coach Lanning.

Burglary Suspect Arrested After Trying To Escape Into River At Campsite Near Westfir

The man wanted for burglarizing a Eugene tactical supply store in May has been arrested at a campsite outside of Westfir, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office reported.

On Tuesday (July 12) afternoon deputies received information that 29-year-old David Joseph Essary was spotted at a campsite in the area of Forest Service Road #19 outside of Westfir. The camp had been located by an Oregon State Police Trooper and the US Marshall’s Service were able to confirm Essary’s presence.

Shortly before 5:30 p.m., members from the LCSO Special Response Team, Springfield SWAT Team and investigators from the US Marshalls Service converged on Essary’s camp. Essary briefly attempted to flee by jumping into a nearby river but was quickly detained.

A loaded handgun and a stolen cargo trailer were found at Essary’s campsite. The cargo trailer had been stolen from a Springfield area construction contractor. Investigators are currently working to return the trailer and remaining personal property to its rightful owners.

Essary’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Brenda Ann Crow, was also taken into custody. Essary allegedly stole $30,000 in body armor and firearm parts from the Eugene tactical supply store.

In the days following the burglary, investigators located the vehicle that was used in the commission of the burglary and impounded it. Essary is believed to have intentionally set fire to it early one morning as the vehicle was stored in a tow yard.

Investigators learned that Essary had made statements that he would do anything to avoid being arrested.

Essary was lodged at the Lane County Jail on charges including: Aggravated Theft in the 1st Degree, Burglary in the 2nd Degree, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Felon in Possession of Body Armor, Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree, Arson in the 2nd Degree, Criminal Trespass in the 2nd Degree, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Tampering with Evidence and Possession of Burglary Tools.

Crow was lodged at the Lane County Jail on charges including: Aggravated Theft in the 1st Degree, Burglary in the 2nd Degree, Criminal Mischief in the 1st Degree, Arson in the 2nd Degree, Criminal Trespass in the 2nd Degree, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Tampering with Evidence and Possession of Burglary Tools.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office thanks the Oregon State Police, Springfield Police Department, and US Marshall’s Service for their assistance in this case.

World Athletics Championships Start Tomorrow With Jet Flyovers

Get ready for an extremely busy 10 days in Eugene. With a city population of about 170,000, organizers of the event expect 200,000 visitors to come to Oregon from over 200 different countries in the time span of the championships. Organizers of the championships are expecting 20,000 to 25,000 visitors per day at Hayward Field.

Three Flyovers Scheduled —– The World Athletics Championships organizers scheduling three flyovers for this weekend and Monday evening in Eugene.

  • On opening night Friday, an F-15 jet flyover will happen at 5 p.m., ahead of the finals of the 4x400m mixed relay at Hayward Field.
  • Then on Saturday will be another jet flyover at 7:45 p.m., right before introducing the athletes in the men’s 100m final.
  • Lastly, on Monday, there will be a Black Hawk helicopter flyover, flown by a female pilot. Monday night’s events include the triple jump, the conclusion of the heptathlon, and the women’s 1,500m.

We highly encourage sustainable and active modes of transportation (walking, biking, and riding the public bus) when traveling to and from the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, and encourage you to arrive early for all sessions. For World Athletics Championship information, click here.

Public Assistance Requested In Missing Person Cases

The search and investigation into the disappearance of a Winston woman is ongoing and the Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community’s assistance in the missing person investigation of Kendra Hanks.

Kendra was last seen walking past B&D Meats towards Winston on Highway 99 near Grange Road in the Green District at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Investigators are now asking business owners and residents in the area of Highway 99, Pepsi Road, SE Main Street, NW Lookingglass Road and Brosi Orchard to check their security cameras which may have captured footage of Kendra on Thursday. The timeframe of interest is 3:45pm-7:00pm on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

“Any video footage is helpful, even if you don’t believe your system captured anything of significance,” Lt. Brad O’Dell said. “We ask that the community provide the footage and allow investigators the opportunity to review it.”

Residents are asked to upload any footage they have using this website address: www.dcso.com/publichelp. Those who are unable to upload the footage are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division at (541) 440-4458 for assistance.

Kendra was last known to be wearing a dark blue tie-dye sweatshirt, jeans, yellow checkered Vans shoes and carrying a black backpack style purse.  

Investigators along with Search and Rescue crews have been searching for Kendra since she was last seen. She is described as 5’02” tall weighing approximately 140lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. It is believed she was walking to her residence in Winston after leaving her place of employment on Ingram Drive.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information as to her whereabouts or who may have seen Hanks to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 440-4471 referencing case #22-2871 or to email dcso.pio@co.douglas.or.us 

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There are 26 women missing in 2 1/2 months between Medford and the Eugene area. That averages out to 8 women missing per month in Southern Oregon. https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx

We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. Note: This week’s Omicron BA.5 estimates of 100% is higher than expected due to a small number of specimens (n=2) available in GISAID during the most recent week. We do not believe this estimate to be accurate.

The CDC‘s COVID Data Tracker Nowcast model (http://ow.ly/L0FA50JV8Yp) estimates that ~65.0% of SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US during the last week were the Omicron BA.5 lineage. We believe our true Omicron BA.5 estimates to be similar to the national figure. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/IqqT50JVlhm

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows an increase trend in cases and hospitalizations. Test positivity and vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.

OHA, Lane County, OSU working with UO to monitor COVID-19 in wastewater during World Athletics Championships

The World Athletics Championships in Lane County, July 15-24, will feature some of the planet’s greatest track athletes competing at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, with tens of thousands of expected attendees coming from across the country and the world.

For scientists who track the spread of diseases, the event also offers a perfect real-time laboratory for monitoring viruses in the sewage, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

During the event, Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in collaboration with Lane County Public Health and its university research partners, will share daily results from special sewage monitoring in Eugene. Testing will be performed for COVID-19 and other viruses of interest, including influenza, hepatitis A, hepatis E, measles and MERS-CoV.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted risks of international travel and large gatherings in spreading communicable diseases. “An international sporting event that brings together people from different countries provides scientists, public health experts and state and local partners a perfect opportunity to evaluate this population monitoring system used widely in Oregon and across the United States,” says Melissa Sutton, M.D., medical director of respiratory viral pathogens at OHA. “We’ll be able to see how accurate our system is in detecting SARS-CoV-2 variants as well as other viruses that may be present outside of Oregon and even the United States, and that may arrive with travelers.”

Each day during the championships, wastewater will be collected and tested, with results available within 48 hours on a new OHA webpage. The webpage will be published on Friday afternoon. It will resemble Oregon’s SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Monitoring dashboard.

Pre-event sampling has detected hepatitis A in Eugene.

“Cases of hepatitis A occur sporadically in Lane County; therefore, finding hepatitis A virus in a sewage sample that was collected well before the World Championships even started is not a surprise,” said Lane County Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke. “This finding does, however, highlight the opportunity for our community to get protected.  Hepatitis A vaccines are readily available, highly effective and have been used with great success for decades.”

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease that causes liver inflammation, nausea, stomach pain and other symptoms. It is spread by person-to-person contact and eating contaminated food or drink. Vaccination is the best prevention against hepatitis A, and vaccination has been recommended for Oregon children since 1999. Hand washing and food hygiene also help prevent transmission.

Oregon’s wastewater surveillance program, now operating in more than 40 communities, operates as a partnership between OHA, OSU and wastewater treatment facilities statewide.

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Sixteen-Year-Old Found Dead in the Roadway on Hemlock Street in Brookings 

The Brookings Police Department says a 16-year-old boy is dead in a death considered a homicide.  It also is asking for public help investigating the death.

Brookings Police says early Monday morning, July 11, the Brookings Police Department (BPD) Communications Center took a 911 call reporting someone lying in the roadway on Hemlock Street near Fern Street.

BPD says its officers found a dead 16-year-old boy and activated the Major Crimes Team with investigators from BPD, Curry County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Curry County District Attorney’s Office.  It says Oregon State Police Crime Lab also responded.

BPD and the Major Crimes Team are investigating, saying at this time they “do not believe there is an increased danger to our community.”

Police invite information about this incident to the Brookings Police Department at 541-469-3118.

Drug Dealing Pilot from Southern Oregon Who Attempted to Hire a Hitman to Kill Associate Sentenced to Federal Prison

A Josephine County man who distributed marijuana throughout the U.S. using his private airplane and who hired a hitman to kill a drug trafficking associate was sentenced to federal prison today.

John Tobe Larson, 71, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in May 2019, law enforcement received reports that Larson was distributing marijuana from South Oregon throughout the U.S. via his private airplane and smuggling bulk cash proceeds back into the state. Investigators further learned that Larson had expressed interested in hiring someone to murder an associate he believed threatened his drug trafficking enterprise.

Following these revelations, investigators staged a series of undercover meetings with Larson wherein a federal law enforcement officer posed as someone willing to carry out Larson’s murder-for-hire scheme.

In meetings with the undercover officer, Larson disclosed the identity of his targeted associate, discussed his reasoning for wanting the associate killed, and offered to pay the officer $20,000 to carry out the scheme. At their third and final meeting, federal agents arrested Larson and executed a search warrant on his residence and airplane hangar. Agents seized various items associated with Larson’s trafficking scheme including his airplane, approximately $100,000 in cash, and marijuana distillate.

On July 22, 2019, Larson was charged by criminal complaint with using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire. Later, on October 15, 2020, a federal grand jury in Medford indicted Larson on the same charge and added a second charge of possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance. On April 20, 2022, Larson pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge.

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

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with assistance from the Oregon State Police Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section team. It was prosecuted by Marco Boccato, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

Lawsuit Over Oregon’s Forest Management Moves To State Supreme Court As 13 Counties Say They’re Owed $1.1 Billion

13 counties have asked the Oregon Supreme Court to review a ruling reversing a $1.1 billion verdict in a case over the state’s management of forestland and revenue from timber harvests.

The appeal to the state’s highest court, filed last Wednesday, comes in the wake of an April decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals which said the state did not have to pay the counties over timber sales. Linn County, claiming it was shortchanged by the state, originally sued in 2016. The Supreme Court must decide whether to hear the appeal in the case.

Roger Nyquist, the chair of the Linn County Board of Commissioners, said he hopes the court takes the case.

“We just think it’s an issue of such statewide concern that the highest court in the state should weigh in,” he said. “Court action aside, between the gap in finances and the gap in attitude between the rural and urban parts of the state, it all calls for a solution.”

At issue in the case is timber revenue from more than 500,000 acres of forestland in western Oregon counties. In the 1930s and 1940s, the counties donated the lands to the state. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including about 150 governmental entities in the counties, contend that the state agreed to manage those forestlands for the “greatest permanent value,” which the counties interpreted as maximizing timber harvests and funneling the associated revenue to the mostly rural counties. The counties argue in the lawsuit that the agreement constituted a contract between the state and the counties.

The lawsuit, filed in Linn County Circuit Court, argued that changes beginning in 1998 in how the state managed those lands broadened the definition of “greatest permanent value” to include environmental goals. That resulted in a decline in the timber harvest and a drop in revenue to the counties.

“That promised revenue is a critical source of funding for services to rural Oregonians in particular,” John DiLorenzo Jr., the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, wrote in court documents filed with the Supreme Court.

In its April ruling, the Court of Appeals determined that the case hinged on whether the law directing the state to “secure the greatest permanent value of those lands to the state” was part of a contractual agreement between the state and the counties. The court concluded that it was not.

Judge Douglas Tookey, writing for the Court of Appeals, found that the text and context regarding the phrase “greatest permanent value” does not “clearly and unmistakably create a contractual obligation.”

Tookey noted that “the ‘greatest permanent value’ management standard is, at the very least, ambiguous as to whether it requires maximization of revenue.” He wrote that the Linn County trial judge erred in not granting the state’s motion to dismiss the case.

DiLorenzo’s pleading to the Supreme Court argues that the Court of Appeals decision misapplies the high court’s framework for determining whether a particular provision is part of a statutory contract. He also argues that the Court of Appeals misinterpreted a key earlier ruling involving a parcel of forest trust lands in Linn County.

Big issues are at stake in the case, DiLorenzo wrote: “Whether the trial court judgment is affirmed or reversed significantly affects those communities whose economies and quality of life have been decimated by the loss of employment in the natural resources sector. These rural communities depend on the stream of timber revenues and the services they provide, and this appeal is their last opportunity to realize the value of the lands they conveyed in reliance on the state’s promises.”

But when the Court of Appeals issued its ruling in April, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Gov. Kate Brown both praised it. Brown said the decision validated the state’s “balanced, science-based approach to public forest management. In Oregon, we manage our forests not only for the benefit and prosperity of this generation but those to come.”

The counties listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Douglas, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk, Tillamook and Washington.

BLM Removes Tons Of Trash From Public Lands

KLAMATH FALLS – Recently, six Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees from the Klamath Falls Field Office spent the day cleaning up an illegal dump site from Windy Ridge, ten miles east of Klamath Falls, Ore. They removed 110 car and truck tires, three commercial tires, and other trash and broken glass that had been illegally dumped on public lands.  

Similar pop-up dump sites have been identified elsewhere on public land throughout Lake and Klamath counties.  

“We are cleaning up these illegal dump sites as quickly as we can,” said Klamath Falls Assistant Field Manager Mike Limb. “However, with 100s of sites across the district and more being reported every day, we need help from the public to keep our public lands safe and clean for future generations.” 

Whenever visiting the outdoors, the Bureau of Land Management always stresses the importance of Leave No Trace ethics. Anything packed in should be packed out.  

Illegal dumping on federally managed lands can lead to fines and restitution for clean-up costs, jail time, and even a ban from BLM public lands. To report a natural resource crime on BLM-managed public land, call 1-800-637-9152.

Trader Joe’s Product Sparks Public Health Alert

Trader Joe’s customers who recently bought ready-to-eat Caesar salads with chicken should double-check the package before eating. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert on Tuesday because the salad dressing packets included in some recently-sold packages did not list eggs as an ingredient, making them dangerous to consumers with an egg allergy. The salad packages are no longer sold in stores, but consumers could still have them in their homes.

The Caesar salad packages were made on July 2, 2022, and include best-by dates of July 11, 2022, and July 12, 2022. The 9 oz. plastic clamshell packages include a label reading “TRADER JOE’S CAESAR SALAD WITH WHITE CHICKEN MEAT and Creamy Caesar Dressing.” They had the lot code of GHNW 186-06 and establishment number “P-46987” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The affected salads were sold at Trader Joe’s stores in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. 

Each package with the above lot number included packets of Sweet and Spicy Vinaigrette instead of the Creamy Caesar Dressing it was supposed to come with. The packets are not individually labeled with an ingredients list, so the list on the outer clamshell is supposed to cover both the salad and the dressing. That list did not include a warning about the egg ingredients in the vinaigrette. A Trader Joe’s store employee notified the producing establishment, then notified FSIS of the problem. There have been no confirmed reports of illnesses linked to the problem.

An egg allergy is one of the most common food allergies among children, notes the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms can occur moments after eating eggs or foods containing eggs. Signs of a reaction include skin inflammation or hives, nasal congestion, runny nose, digestive symptoms, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath. In extreme cases, a reaction can cause anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening and needs immediate medical attention. 

FSIS already confirmed that the affected products are no longer for sale, which is why Trader Joe’s didn’t have to issue a recall. However, FSIS is worried that consumers could still have salads in their refrigerators. Consumers with egg allergies should not consume them. They can throw out the salads or return them for a refund. Consumers with questions can call GH Foods NW, LLC Customer Service at 888-449-9388.

Finally, some good news at the pump:

AAA’s Marie Dodds says the price of crude oil has fallen about 20% over the past month, adding that this is the fourth week in a row that we are seeing gas prices fall.

The national average for regular drops 14 cents to $4.66 a gallon. The Oregon average loses 9 cents to $5.38. The regional average lost a dime, landing at $5.42.

The price of crude is the biggest factor that impacts the price that consumers pay for gas at a neighborhood gas station. About 53% of what consumers pay for in a gallon of gas is the result of crude oil prices.

Global markets are responding to recession concerns, Despite that downward pressure, the war in Ukraine and high demand continue to hold prices higher than they otherwise would be.

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Women Missing Since May between Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg per Oregon State Police

MAKENNA KENDALL                                   5/3/2022
ERICA LEE  HUTCHINSON                          5/26/2022                          
DANIELLE MARIAH SHARP                          6/12/2022          
KAITLYN RAE NELSON                                  6/14/2022                 
BROOKLYN JOHNS                                     6/14/2022
DONNA LEPP                                               6/27/2022  
BARBARA  DELEPINE                                    7/4/2022                     
KENDRA MARIE HANKS                              7/7/2022
CORI BOSHANE MCCANN                             7/8/2022
RAVEN RILEY                                                7/13/2022
TAHUANA RILEY                                        7/13/2022

Women Missing Since May in Lane County per Oregon State Police

BREISA RAQUEAL SIKEL                            5/3/2022
HANNAH MARIE RHOTEN                             5/17/2022
MARISSA ALEESA DAMBROSIO                  5/18/2022
LOUISA DAY AVA                                           5/28/2022             
AMY CHRISTINA SULLIVAN                          6/1/2022
NIKKI ELIZABETH  ZEREBNY                              6/6/2022
SHADOW STAR SEVIGNY                               6/17/2022
SHAUNA LEAH HOGAN                             6/17/2022
AIRIONNA CHEALSEY RHODES                    6/27/2022           
KARISSA RENEE ADAMS                                7/6/2000
VERONICA ESSYNCE DELERIO                    7/6/2022
AUBRIE HANNA STEPHENS                           7/10/2022     
LARA IVEY STEINMETZ                                 7/11/2022
SARA LINDSAY SCHAEFER                            7/12/2022

That’s 26 women missing in 2 1/2 months between Medford and the Eugene area. Four more just over the last couple of days. That averages out to 8 women missing per month in Southern Oregon.  https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx

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