Willamette Valley News, Thursday 7/28 – Proposed Expansion To 5th Street Market Includes 325 Housing Units, Five Members Of Eritrea Track And Field Team Reported Missing

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 28, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

Proposed Expansion To 5th Street Market Includes 325 Housing Units

The company that owns 5th Street Public Market, Obie Companies, plans to expand with two more buildings. In addition to street-level storefronts, the two new buildings will include a total of 325 market-rate housing units.

Artist rendering of the building proposed to be built near the train station on the North side of 5th Ave. next to the Oregon Electric Station. The building is proposed to have 7 levels, including street-level storefront properties and 4 levels of housing. Obie Companies

Obie Companies are asking for a Multi-Unit Property Tax Exemption or MUPTE.

“A MUPTE is really required to be financially feasible. And so we’re really appreciative of the city having that tool,” said Director of Government and Community Relations Sarah Means.

This program allows developers to avoid property taxes on the value of the new construction for up to 10 years while still paying taxes on the land value and commercial portions of the property.

A concern raised during last week’s City Council meeting was whether this development helps with the need for affordable housing.

“We are market-rate developers. That’s sort of the lane we live in,” said Means. “And so we feel like we are doing our part and are excited to do our part in contributing that fee in lieu of.”

This fee goes directly into a pool of money to fund moderate-income housing. If the plan is approved, the expansion will extend northwest from 5th Street Market Alley toward the train station.

Five Members Of Eritrea Track And Field Team Reported Missing

Five members of a team that competed at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 have been reported missing, authorities in Eugene reported.

On July 24, the University of Oregon Police Department received a missing person report for five individuals who had been temporarily staying in university campus housing contracted for use during the Oregon22 World Athletics Championships.

The individuals were all members of the Eritrea track and field team at the championships and were last seen on the evening of July 23, the department said.

Four of the individuals were competing athletes and one was a coach.

They are:

  • Ande Filmon, Age 24
  • Habtom Samuel Keleta, Age 18
  • Berhe Asgedom Nigusse, Age 44
  • Merhawi Mebrahtu Teweldebererhan, Age 18
  • Yemane Teklehaim Haileselassie, Age 24

“There is no evidence of foul play or indication that the individuals did not leave their accommodations of their own volition,” UOPD said in a statement.

UOPD reports it has notified federal and local law enforcement partner agencies, as is customary in missing persons cases.

Anyone with information about the individuals’ whereabouts is asked to contact UOPD at (541) 346-2919 or the department’s anonymous tip line at (541) 525-8178.

Chance to Win Gas For A Year + More When YOU Donate Blood to American Red Cross

American Red Cross sees Concerning Drop in Blood and Platelet Donations this Summer — Chance at gas for a year for those who come to give in August, plus $10 e-gift card

refuel promotion

Just as most cars need to be refueled constantly, so does the nation’s blood supply. The American Red Cross has faced a concerning drop in blood and platelet donations this summer. Donors are needed to make an appointment to give in August to help prevent a blood shortage.

The decline in donations has caused the Red Cross blood supply to shrink nearly 20% in recent weeks. The availability of blood products will continue to decline if donations do not increase. People should not wait until they hear there is a blood shortage to give. Type O negative blood donors and platelet donors are especially needed now. 

“This is a concerning trend that may soon make it tougher to keep blood products stocked on hospital shelves,” said Paul Sullivan, Red Cross senior vice president of donor services. “By choosing a time to give now, donors can help pump up the blood supply for those in immediate need of lifesaving care and those who rely on transfusions for treatment.”

Donors can schedule an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

Fuel up on us — As blood and platelet donations drop, gas prices have reached all-time highs in the U.S. As a thank-you, all who come to give Aug. 1-31 will be automatically entered for a chance to win gas for a year, a $6,000 value. There will be three lucky winners. Everyone who comes to give blood or platelets in August will also receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice.

Visit RedCrossBlood.org and put in your zip code to find a donation site near you. 

Click here for b-roll of people giving blood.

Blood drive safety – The Red Cross follows a high standard of safety and infection control. The Red Cross will continue to socially distance wherever possible at blood drives, donation centers and facilities. While donors are no longer required to wear a face mask, individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask for any reason. The Red Cross will also adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance, or at the request of blood drive sponsors. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at a drive.  

Oregon and Washington still require face masks be worn at all blood drives and donation sites.

How to donate blood – Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross. — American Red Cross – Cascades Region 

# # # Terms apply. Visit rcblood.org/fuel for details.   

Crash on Interstate 5 that ended as a fatality — Douglas County

On July 26, 2022, at approximately 3:26 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 5 near milepost 155.  Preliminary investigation revealed a southbound silver Toyota 4-Runner, operated by Loyd Price (78) of Roseburg, left the roadway, struck a guardrail, traveled down an embankment, and rolled. The 4-Runner came to rest on the railroad tracks. 

Loyd Price was initially alert when medics arrived but suffered a medical event shortly after the crash and was pronounced deceased. His passenger, Deborah Price (73) of Roseburg suffered injuries and was transported to an area hospital. 

OSP was assisted by North Douglas Fire, Oregon Department of Transportation, Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office, and South Lane County Fire.

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/aIWw50K5TgB

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows that cases, test positivity, hospitalizations and vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.
Extreme Heat | PublicAlerts.org

OHA releases biweekly COVID-19 reports

The COVID-19 Biweekly Data Report, released today, shows an increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and a slight decrease in deaths.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 18,598 new cases of COVID-19 from July 10 to July 23, a 13.3% decline from the previous biweekly total of 21,452. 

During the two-week period of July 10 to July 23, test positivity was 13.8%, down from 15.1% in the previous two-week period.

Today’s COVID-19 Biweekly Outbreak Report shows 223 active outbreaks in care facilities, senior living communities and congregate care living settings with three or more confirmed COVID-19 cases or one or more COVID-19-related deaths.

Changes coming to outbreak reporting

Starting Aug. 10, OHA will stop reporting recent cases, active outbreaks and resolved outbreaks in workplaces, childcare settings and K-12 schools (tables 3-9) in the COVID-19 Biweekly Outbreak Report. OHA will continue to report active and resolved outbreaks in long-term care facilities, senior living communities and congregate living settings (tables 1-2).

These changes do not affect case and outbreak reporting to OHA. Monitoring outbreaks, especially in high-consequence settings, remains a priority for OHA. We will continue to work with local public health authorities to provide resources and support during outbreak responses, as appropriate.

We are making the changes for several reasons. One reason is to align resources and staffing with the current stage of the pandemic and other public health needs. The biweekly outbreak reporting process is not fully automated and requires many hours of careful review to ensure accurate reporting. In addition, universal case investigation and contract tracing ended earlier this year, and OHA advised local public health authorities to focus data collection and response on outbreaks in high-consequence settings, rather than in all settings.

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Oregon Employment Department Audit Finds Problems

On July 27, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released a blistering audit of the Oregon Employment Department✎ EditSign.

Auditors examined the agency’s much-criticized performance during the initial stage of the pandemic, when unemployment soared from record lows of 3.4% to 13.3% in less than two months.

Previous audits in 2012 and 2015 had identified serious problems at the agency, notably a failure to use $85 million in federal money appropriated in 2009 to modernize OED’s ancient computer system. As claims soared 600% from 2019 to 2020, countless Oregonians received benefits late. When the agency did pay claims during the pandemic, auditors found, it paid them more slowly to people of color and those with lower incomes. (One bright spot: The agency deserves a gold star, the audit found, for paying out a vastly lower percentage of bogus claims than neighboring states and the national average.)

The agency largely agreed with auditors’ findings. “The goal of a safety net is for it to be there when you need it,” Fagan said. “This audit helps explain why Oregon’s unemployment insurance program failed when it was needed most.”

Increased emergency SNAP benefits continue in August

  • Most Oregonians who receive SNAP benefits will continue to receive temporarily increased emergency food benefits in August
  • Approximately 430,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $69 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits
  • These emergency benefits are a temporary support that Oregon can provide because of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Find resources to meet your basic needs: Dial 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org 
  • Oregon Department of Human Services COVID-19 help center 

Most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive emergency allotments in August.

The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since March 2020. This gives SNAP recipients additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency benefits are a temporary support that Oregon can provide because of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency.

Because the federal government approved these emergency benefits for August, Oregon will also be able to issue them in September. However, the emergency benefits are expected to end when the federal public health emergency ends.

In August, approximately 430,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $69 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits.

“We know that many rely on these additional emergency food benefits to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families,” said Claire Seguin, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Programs. “We also know that many Oregonians are still struggling to meet their basic needs and we encourage them to contact our partners at 211, the Oregon Food Bank and their local Community Action Agency for support during this difficult time.”

Current SNAP households will receive emergency allotments on Aug. 11. Emergency allotments will be issued Aug. 31 or Sept. 2 for households who did not receive benefits in the first monthly issuance.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards. 

More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Emergency-Allotments.aspx.

Questions about your SNAP benefits should be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075.

If your household receives SNAP and your income or the number of people in your household has changed, it could impact your benefits. It is important to make sure ODHS has the most up-to-date information. 

You can report any changes to your income or household in many ways: 

  • Online at: ONE.Oregon.gov
  • By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
  • By fax at: 503-378-5628
  • By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711

Resources to help meet basic needs

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/benefits/Pages/index.aspx . For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.

Governor Brown Declares State Of Emergency In 25 Counties Amid Heat Wave

Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in 25 counties Tuesday as the Northwest U.S. swelters under a brutal heat wave. The declaration was made to “ensure additional resources are available to respond to forecasted excessively high temperatures.”

According to the governor’s office, multiple days of extreme heat with little or no cooling overnight may also impact critical infrastructure, causing utility outages and transportation disruptions.

With many parts of Oregon facing a high heat wave, it is critical that every level of government has the resources they need to help keep Oregonians safe and healthy,” said Brown. “I encourage everyone to take proactive steps to keep themselves and their families safe, including drinking plenty of fluids, taking advantage of cooling centers, and checking in on neighbors, friends, and loved ones.”

Officials say the governor has directed the Oregon Department of Emergency Management to activate the state’s Emergency Coordination Center to coordinate essential protective measures. She has also directed state agencies to provide any assistance requested by OEM to support response efforts.

The state of emergency will extend through July 31.

The Biden administration also on Tuesday unveiled a federal website, heat.gov, that federal officials hope can help people and local governments beat the heat and keep it from becoming deadly.

From the Pacific Northwest to the southern Great Plains to the heavily populated I-95 corridor, more than 85 million Americans woke up Sunday to excessive heat warnings or heat advisories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking these steps to stay cool and safe:

  • Limit your outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Pace your activity. Start activities slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Limit use of the stove and oven—it will make you and your house hotter.

Lava Beds National Monument Enforcing Fire Restrictions as People Come to Experience the Cold in Caves

Beginning this week, the Lava Beds National Monument is enforcing fire restrictions amid the extreme drought and high temperatures.

National Park Service officials say these restrictions are being put in place to reduce the chance of human-caused fires which could threaten visitors and employees.

Wood, charcoal fires, and smoking outside are all prohibited under these restrictions. Gas, propane, alcohol, and cube stoves are still allowed inside the National Monument.

With the ongoing heat, Marc Blackburn, Lava Beds manager of visitor services, said people wanting to cool off should visit Skull Cave, the only publicly accessible cave that has ice on its bottom floor, making it “a nice place to be when it is hot outside.”

He said another lava tube only open during the summer months is Sentinel, an easy-access, walk-through cave.
He also noted almost all caves provide heat relief because, on average, temperatures inside the caves average 55 degrees. FOR MORE INFO: https://www.nps.gov/labe/index.htm

Federal Law Enforcement Partners Encourage Community Reporting of All Hate Crimes

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI are asking victims of hate crimes to report them.  Calls to the Oregon Department of Justice Bias Response Hotline increased 53-percent from 2020 to 2021.

Kieran Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office says violent acts motivated by hate have no place in the community.  They believe incidents of hate crimes are underreported and they need victims and witnesses of hate crimes to come forward.

Combatting hate crimes is a top priority of the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI. These crimes have a devastating impact on families and communities.

If you are concerned about your safety, please call 911 immediately.

If you or someone you know was the victim of or witnessed a hate-related crime or incident, please contact Oregon’s Bias Crime Hotline by calling 1-844-924-BIAS. Trauma-informed operators are available from 9am to 5pm Pacific time, Monday through Friday.

These crimes and incidents can also be reported to the FBI directly by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Drivers in 25 Oregon counties will be allowed to pump their own gas — at least for a few days due to the heat. 

The Oregon Fire Marshal made the announcement Wednesday as a result of Gov. Kate Brown’s emergency declaration due to the heat wave hitting the state.

The authorization means drivers in 25 counties, including Central Oregon, can self-serve their gas until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, when the emergency order expires.

The main reason is so that gas station workers don’t have to spend all day in excessive temperatures.

The emergency declaration covers Columbia, Clackamas, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Hood River, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Washington, Wheeler and Yamhill counties. 

By law, Oregon drivers are prohibited from pumping their own gas except in rural areas and at nighttime on the coast. Motorcyclists and drivers of diesel vehicles are allowed to pump their own fuel anywhere in the state.

A similar suspension of the no self-serve rule happened during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the 2021 heat wave.

Meanwhile —– Gas prices fell for the sixth week in a row. The national average is down 17 cents to $4.33 a gallon, Oregon’s average dropped 12 cents to $5.15 and Bend’s local average declined 13 cents to $5.22.

Crude oil prices remain volatile, due to the war in Ukraine, but if they hold steady, Marie Dodds, with AAA Oregon, says prices could fall back under $5 a gallon before the end of summer.

A big factor in those lower prices is demand. Dodds says a new survey shows recent high prices pushed many people to drive less, Demand edged up slightly last week, but she says it’s still well below typical summer numbers.

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Women Missing Since May 1st 2022 between Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg per Oregon State Police

MAKENNA KENDALL                                   5/3/2022
ERICA LEE  HUTCHINSON                          5/26/2022                          
MARIAH DANIELLE 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 FOUND MURDERED 7/21/2022
CORI BOSHANE MCCANN                             7/8/2022
RAVEN RILEY                                                7/13/2022
TAHUANA RILEY                                        7/13/2022

Women Missing Since May 1st 2022 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

As of today, 7/6/2022, there are now 37 women missing between Medford and Eugene. Sadly Kendra Hanks has been found murdered, though that takes her off the list. We send thoughts and prayers to her family as well as the families of all missing people in our area.

37 women missing in less than 3 months. That averages out to a little more than 12 missing per month. Something needs to be done.

This is just a small compilation of missing women’s pictures in the area. There are of course women missing all over Oregon and men and children missing. Sadly most of them never get any attention. Family and friends must keep any information going and lead investigations so that they aren’t just forgotten. https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx

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