Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 8/17 – Activists Protest Old Growth Timber Sale in McKenzie Watershed, University of Oregon Appoints Interim President

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather



* WHAT...High temperatures in the mid to upper 90s. Low temperatures in the low to mid 60s.

* WHERE...South Willamette Valley.

* WHEN...From noon Wednesday to 10 PM PDT Thursday.

* IMPACTS...Heat will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses for those who are sensitive to heat, especially those without effective cooling or adequate hydration.

Activists Protest Old Growth Timber Sale in McKenzie Watershed

Environmental Activists have rigged a 30-foot-wide banner across Highway 126 to protest the Forest Service’s sale of old-growth forests for logging.

Cascadia Forest Defenders said it is in opposition to the Biden Administration’s Flat Country Timber Sale.

“That executive order at this point just feels like lip service,” said Sara Jaymes, an organizer with Cascadia Forest Defenders. “It states specifically that the administration needs to make old growth forest protection a priority, and allowing the forest service to lease off these very limited old growth forests for clear-cutting is exactly the opposite of what that executive order is saying.”

The timber sale would open 5,001 acres of forest for logging in area activists say have trees up to 140 years old. Activists say the sale is in the McKenzie River drinking watershed. They say that if logging operations commence in the area, they will impact drinking water and damage the populations of certain fish species in the river.

“We’re ultimately sending a message to the timber companies when the sale goes up on auction this fall that, if you buy this sale, you’re buying us. And we are not going down without a fight,” Jaymes said.

Jaymes said the organization has sent letters to logging corporations that have gone unanswered. They say if companies buy the land, they will escalate their actions.

“Hopefully we don’t have to escalate,” said Jaymes. “Hopefully the forest service and Biden Administration will understand and see how important these trees are to everybody in Oregon.”

Officials from the forest service said the purpose and need for this project is to provide a sustainable supply of timber products. Projects like Flat Country help maximize the storage of carbon in standing forests, wood products and soils, thereby offsetting carbon emissions from fossil fuels and other sources.

Officials say logging activity could possibly start as early as this fall.

The University of Oregon’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to appoint Patrick Phillips as the University’s interim president.

Phillips started as a faculty member at the University in 2000. He is currently the provost and senior vice president at the University. He’s served as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, and led the University’s Biology department.

Phillips will officially start as interm president on August 20. The Board of Trustees will start the search for a new permanent president during its meetings on September 15-16.

Last week, Michael Schill announced he would be leaving the University of Oregon to become the new president at Northwestern University.

4J School District Offers Free Meals To All Students For School Year

Students in the Eugene School District 4J will continue to get free meals for the 2022-2023 school year.

The free meal program is for all students, regardless of family income. 4J will be offering free breakfasts and lunches, with a separate program for after-school meals. 4J officials say they recognize that many families are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan was proposed by the district’s budget committee and approved by the board. They want to continue the free meal program with revenue from the district’s budget. The program is estimated to cost $650,000 out of the district’s $270 million budget.

Officials say eating a healthy meal helps students’ academic performance and behavior. 4J officials say having these free meals will relieve a lot of stress on parents. The free meals are provided to all students; interested students are provided a six-digit code to enter at mealtime to get in line for the food.

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/tzKu50Klp3a

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows an decrease trend in cases and hospitalizations. Test positivity and vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.
People with monkeypox (hMPXV) may experience all or some of these symptoms: Rash that looks like pimples or blisters on or near your genitals (penis, testicles, labia and vagina) or anus (butthole). Flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, achiness and sore throat. If you're feeling sick and notice new rashes, talk to a health care provider (or call 211). Cover lesions and let them know you suspect monkeypox.

Monkeypox (hMPXV) may start with flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, achiness, or sore throat, but may also start with a rash or sores.If you’re feeling sick and notice any new rashes — especially on the genitals or around the anus — avoid close skin-to-skin contact and talk to a health care provider (or call 211 if you don’t have one).

Before the appointment, let your provider know that you think you might have monkeypox and cover any lesions you have. Ask your provider about monkeypox testing. You may be eligible for testing, even if you’re not in a high-risk category. Most cases of monkeypox have been detected among gay or bisexual men or men who report having sex with other men.

While monkeypox cases are rising in Oregon, it’s important to remember that monkeypox is not another COVID-19. To learn more about monkeypox, including how it is spread and who is most at risk, visit http://ow.ly/mwPI50Klsqi.

OHA and ODE hold media briefing Wednesday on COVID-19 and the 2022-2023 school year

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) are co-hosting a COVID-19 media availability on Wednesday, Aug. 17, from 1-2 p.m., via Zoom.

Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA, will provide an update on the state’s pandemic response and the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and routine childhood immunizations. Colt Gill, director of ODE, will highlight what families and students can expect with COVID-19 planning and in-person instruction for the academic year. Both will be available to answer reporters’ questions. A livestream will be available for the public on YouTube.

Wildfire Updates

The thousand-acre Windigo Fire crews have 78% containment today. The wildfire is burning north of Crater Lake National Park along the Klamath-Douglas County line.

Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 10 (NWT10) assumed command of the Windigo, Big Swamp and Potter Fires 6am today, saying incident objectives remain the same as, “fire managers will work to minimize further fire spread, the impacts of wildfire and suppression activities on commercial timberland, forest campgrounds and recreational facilities while maintaining relationships within the community served. NWT10 will remain vigilant in accomplishing the established mission in the safest way possible as we experience changes in assigned resources, critical weather and fire behavior.”

Windigo Fire crews are working across the 1,007-acres fire area today to protect public safety and prevent further degradation of the landscape and to mitigate post-fire damages to cultural resource.

The nearby Potter Fire is 473 acres in size, getting attention today on its east and south sides where fire crews will work on line preparation and attempt tactical burnout operations as conditions permit.

Also nearby, the Big Swamp Fire has burned 121 acres where hotshot crews are advancing hand line construction around the perimeter of the fire and mop-up operations have started on the south and western portions of the fire.

871 total fire personnel include 27 hand crews, 22 engines, nine dozers, 11 water tenders and eight Type 1 helicopters. 

For closure information check updated Big Swamp, Windigo, and Potter Fires information online. 

For more information on ODF’s firefighting efforts, visit ODF’s Wildfire Blog or follow them on ODF’s Facebook account.

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View current wildfire activity and evacuation maps using the OEM Fires and Hotspots Dashboardbit.ly/3oYzFV3

Johnson Delivers Signatures to Get Her Name on November Ballots

After months of speculation and campaigning, former StateSenator Betsy Johnson is another step closer to being an official candidate for Oregon Governor.

Her campaign says supporters delivered 48,214 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday.
Because she’s not affiliated with a political party, she needs 23,744 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. 

She says “by delivering more than twice the number of signatures needed, we’ve made it very difficult for the political establishment to imagine ways to keep me off the ballot.

The Secretary of State has until August 30th to verify those signatures. Johnson faces Democrat Tina Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan in the gubernatorial race.

Authorities Warn Potent ‘Rainbow Fentanyl’ Is Spreading On The West Coast

Authorities are warning that a more potent form of fentanyl is making its way along the West Coast after a bag of the drug was seized during the execution of a warrant in Portland recently.

Deputies found body armor, $5,000 in cash, nine guns, some of which were modified and stolen, and drugs including meth, heroin, 800 pills of fentanyl and four grams of multi-colored, powdered fentanyl, often referred to as ‘rainbow fentanyl.’ in the suspect’s home in Northeast Portland, according to a statement on Tuesday.

“We are partnering with Multnomah County health departments to sound the alarm,” SIU Sergeant Matt Ferguson said. “The public needs to be aware of the rising use of powdered fentanyl. We believe this is going to be the new trend seen on the streets of Portland.”

Deputies are particularly concerned about rainbow fentanyl getting into the hands of young adults or children, who mistake the drug for something else, such as candy or a toy, or those who may be willing to try the drug due to its playful coloring. The powdered fentanyl found during this investigation resembles the color and consistency of sidewalk chalk. The rising use of powdered fentanyl and the brightly colored variations is cause for concern. Fentanyl in powder form generally has a higher potency than other forms of fentanyl. The colorful fentanyl powders are new to most law enforcement agencies. Providers in recovery treatment also report being unfamiliar with the new form of fentanyl.

People who choose to use drugs outside of a care plan developed with a healthcare provider should take steps to reduce the risk of overdose. Don’t use alone, in case you or someone you’re with starts to overdose. Signs of overdose include:

  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Bluish or pale lips and fingernails
  • Limp body
  • Slow or no breathing
  • Vomiting or foaming at the mouth
  • Difficult to or not able to awaken

Naloxone, a medication that counteracts the effects of opioids, can reverse an overdose. Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law will protect both the person who administers naloxone and the person who is overdosing from prosecution.

Oregon Firefighter and His Twin Brother Perish In A Plane Crash

A 38-year-old firefighter from Oregon died in a small plane crash Monday, according to Bend Fire & Rescue.

Daniel Harro was flying with his twin brother Mark near Yellow Pine, Idaho, when their plane crashed, fire officials said in a written statement.

The brothers were returning to Bend from a backcountry plane camping trip near McCall, Idaho. Daniel Harro was flying the plane and was an avid flight
enthusiast, officials said.

The cause of the crash is unknown and under investigation by local authorities, fire officials said.

Harro had been with Bend Fire since 2014 as a firefighter and paramedic after previously working for the Scappoose Fire Department in Oregon, officials said. Bend Fire Chief Todd Riley said Harro was well-loved and well-respected by everyone who worked with him.

Woman Pleads Not Guilty In Chiloquin Murder As Sister Gets Released

Hailie Harkins entered a plea of not guilty to a list of charges at her arraignment Monday, which included second-degree murder for the killing of Tyler Bates, 33, of Chiloquin on Aug. 7th.

Harkins faces a total of 12 charges related to the incident, all felonies. In addition to the second-degree murder charge, these include first- and second-degree manslaughter; first- and second-degree assault and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. Her court appointed lawyer is Phil Studenberg, who also represents Ward 1 on the Klamath City Council. Judge Andrea Janney set Harkin’s next court date for Sept. 15 and continued to deny her bail.

Raylin Harkins, Hailie’s sister, who after the incident was originally charged with conspiracy to commit murder, was not indicted and will instead be released.

The Harkins sisters appeared remotely before the court on a screen that was projected at the front of the room. Neither expressed noticeable emotion during their appearance before the court. They both moved through the process quickly and without incident.

Crews Quickly Contain Grass Fire At Florence Airport

A grass fire at Florence Airport on Tuesday afternoon threw a lot of smoke, but didn’t injure anyone or harm any buildings or equipment, officials say.

The fire reportedly broke out at about 2:30 p.m. on August 16. Wind pushed the fire south, but fire crews were eventually able to slow its spread. Officials said the fire started when crews were doing some crack sealing on the runway and somehow sparked the fire.

Officials say no planes were involved or damaged, and no one was hurt in the fire. “Upon arrival, with a quick response with Oregon department of Forestry and the city of Florence were able to contain the fire to the grass island between the airport’s runway and taxiway.”

Officials say 1.63 acres were burned. The airport is closed all week due to runway repairs.

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Women Missing Since May 1st 2022 between Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg per Oregon State Police (Jackson, Josephine and Douglas County)

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

REISA 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 8/9/2022, there are now 51women 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.

51 women missing in just less than 3 1/2 months. That averages out to 15 missing per month. Something needs to be done.

This is just a small compilation of missing women and their pictures in the area. There are of course women missing all over Oregon and men and children missing too. We don’t mean to dismiss that, however, there is an inordinate amount of women who go missing each week and there could possibly be a connection with an anomaly or two here and there. 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. 


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