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, August 18, 2022
Willamette Valley Weather
HEAT ADVISORY ISSUED: 4:49 AM AUG. 18, 2022 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
...HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM PDT THIS EVENING... * WHAT...High temperatures in the mid to upper 90s in the north Valley, slightly cooler south of Salem. * WHERE...In Oregon, Lower Columbia, Greater Portland Metro Area, Central Willamette Valley and South Willamette Valley. In Washington, I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County and Greater Vancouver Area. * WHEN...Until 10 PM PDT Thursday. * IMPACTS...Hot weather may result in heat related illness.
Firefighters Using Drones at Cedar Creek Fire
Firefighters are continuing to use drones to monitor and fight the Cedar Creek Fire, now increased slightly to 4,836 acres and remains at 0% containment. Hot, dry weather and a chance of thunderstorms and gusty winds are expected that could increase fire spread.
Small helicopters and drones are being used to drop Plastic Sphere Devices (PSD), also known as “ping pong balls” or “dragon eggs” to light small fires that burn up fuels that might otherwise contribute to the spread of the wildfire, and to encourage the fire to move towards containment lines.
Woman Who Assaulted Young Disabled Man Sentenced To Prison
Jennifer Mast, the woman accused of assaulting a nonverbal young man unable to defend himself, was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison on Wednesday.
Mast was arrested by Springfield police on June 28 on charges of second-degree assault and three counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment. A video had surfaced of Mast apparently shoving an object into a disabled young man’s ear.
Police say their investigation at the time showed that Mast had broken some of his fingers and assaulted him in the head and groin on previous occasions.
Mast appeared in court on August 17 for sentencing. She apparently pleaded guilty to one charge of second-degree assault and two charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment. Court records show she was sentenced to six years and eight months of prison time. Mast is not eligible for any reductions of her sentence.
Three Dead, Driver Critically Injured in suspected DUII Crash Near Riddle
Three people have died and a fourth is in critical condition following a suspected DUII crash.
On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, shortly before midnight, a deputy assigned to timber patrol drove through the area of the 3500 block of Lower Cow Creek Road when he observed debris in the roadway. Stopping to investigate the deputy observed a crashed 2007 Toyota Solara convertible.
The deputy located two females, 20-year-old Janeva Hodgson of Myrtle Creek and 16-year-old Kiya Speckman of Riddle, who had been ejected from the vehicle. Both were determined to be deceased. Inside of the vehicle, a male passenger identified as 18-year-old Caleb Hodgson was found to be deceased. The driver, 21-year-old Uriah Carleton of Roseburg was found to be in critical condition. Carleton was airlifted by REACH Air Medical Services helicopter to an out-of-area hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Collision investigators with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene along with the Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The investigation is ongoing at this time. If anyone has information that could be helpful to investigators, they are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 541-440-4471 referring to case #22-3466.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Myrtle Creek Police Department, Riddle Fire Department, Umpqua Valley Ambulance and REACH Air Medical Services. Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office
Hikers Rescued by Search & Rescue After 19-Hour Mission in the Boulder Creek Wilderness
IDLEYLD PARK, Ore. – Two hikers were rescued by Douglas County Search and Rescue in the Boulder Creek Wilderness area after activating a SPOT device SOS notification.
On Monday, August 15, 2022, at 12:15 pm, 9-1-1 dispatchers received information from the SPOT Monitoring service that two hikers had pressed an S.O.S. alarm indicating they needed emergent assistance. The GPS coordinates from the SPOT device indicated the hikers were roughly in the middle of the Boulder Creek Wilderness area on the Umpqua National Forest.
Search and Rescue crews were activated and responded to the incident. Due to the terrain and the location where the hikers were located, it took searchers until 7:30 p.m. to reach the them. It was determined the hikers, 27-year-old Scarlet Kelley and 22-year-old Kita Hastings, both of Roseburg, were slightly dehydrated and underprepared for the conditions but were otherwise stable. Searchers provided the hikers with food, water and clothing before beginning to lead them out to a trail where horseback teams were standing by. Horses were able to get positioned as closely to the hikers as possible, due to the efforts of recent volunteer work to clear a trail system in the wilderness area.
Again, due to difficult terrain, downed trees, hazards and darkness it took approximately 7.5 hours for the rescue teams to reach the waiting horses. Once at the horses, the hikers were led out by searchers on horseback arriving to safety at 7:34 am Tuesday morning.
In total, the mission lasted just over 19 hours. The hikers were released to a friend who transported them home.
“The volunteers of Douglas County Search and Rescue and our partner agencies work and train hard for these types of missions and their efforts show,” Lt. Brad O’Dell said. “I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”
Douglas County Search and Rescue was assisted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police – Fish & Game Division, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, the Oregon State SAR Coordinator and the SPOT Device Response Center.
Search and Rescue would like to remind the public that your safety is our concern, but it is your responsibility. Here are some ways that you can be better prepared in the event something goes awry on your next outdoor adventure.
1. Be prepared with knowledge and gear. Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you set out.
2. Share your plans. Tell someone where you are going, where you plan to hike or recreate, when you will return and your plan for emergencies. Leave a map, if possible.
3. Stay together. When you start as a group, stay as a group and end as a group. Pace your adventure to the slowest person.
4. Know when to turn back. Weather changes come quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your adventure. Know your limitations and when to postpone the trip. The outdoors will be there another day.
5. Plan for emergencies. Whether you are out for an hour or a multi-day trip, an injury, severe weather or wrong turn could become life threatening. Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself. Always carry equipment in case you have to spend the night. Have food, water, shelter and weather appropriate clothing. Carry a first aid kit and a
6. Communication devices. A cell phone alone does not suffice as an emergency plan. A large portion of our remote areas do not have cell phone coverage. Whichever communication device you decide to carry, make sure you have sufficient power. An alternate power supply is a good idea. If you choose to recreate alone, satellite communication/tracking devices or personal locator beacons are a valuable tool and provide rescuers a better opportunity to find you.
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/A9te50KmfKL
First pediatric monkeypox (hMPXV) case identified in Oregon
Public health officials say child case is linked to previously confirmed case
PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is confirming the state’s first pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV). OHA and county public health officials say the case is linked to an adult monkeypox infection that was confirmed last month.
“We have a known connection to a previously diagnosed case,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA. “This child did not get the virus at school, child care or another community setting.”
To protect patient confidentiality, OHA is not disclosing the child’s sex, age, county of residence or how the child is connected to the previously diagnosed case.
The pediatric case is one of 116 presumptive and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Oregon, which also includes 112 men and four women. Illness onset ranges from June 7 to Aug. 9. The cases are in seven counties: four in Clackamas, one in Columbia, one in Coos, 20 in Lane, one in Marion, 73 in Multnomah and 16 in Washington. About 27.6% of cases identify as Hispanic/Latino.
Nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 12,700 cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They are among more than 38,000 cases in 93 countries.
The Oregon child was tested for monkeypox Aug. 11, and the test results were reported to public health Aug. 15. Since receiving test results, the local public health authority, with support from OHA, has been conducting a case investigation and contact tracing to determine whether there are other exposures. During these investigations, public health provides guidance on how to avoid spreading the virus to others and offers vaccines to close contacts.
Sidelinger acknowledged concerns of parents who are preparing to send their students back to school in the coming weeks, as monkeypox cases continue to rise in Oregon and other states. But he emphasized that risk of monkeypox spreading in school settings is low, since the most common means of person-to-person transmission is direct contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids of a person with the virus.
“Monkeypox is not COVID-19. This virus is not easily spread unless you have that prolonged, close, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person,” Sidelinger said.
Symptoms of the virus can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Not everyone will have these symptoms, but everyone will experience a rash or sores. The rash can affect the skin of the face, arms, legs and torso, as well as the genitals, in and/or around the anus (butthole), or in the mouth.
Initially, the rash can look like a pimple with an area of red skin underneath it. From there, the pimples can get a little bigger, form indentations, and fill with fluid or pus. Typically, they then scab. It usually takes two to four weeks to heal over with fresh skin.
OHA recommends people who test positive for monkeypox or who are awaiting test results isolate at home to avoid spread of infection to others. There are additional precautions they and household members can take to further reduce transmission risk that can be found on OHA’s If a clinician recommends that you receive an Orthopoxvirus test page. The CDC also has information on its Preventing Spread to Others page.
People who suspect they have monkeypox should contact their health care provider to let them know before going in to be seen. Those who don’t have a health care provider can call 2-1-1 to get help finding a clinic or health care provider, or reach out to their local public health authority to find a clinic or provider.
OHA and ODE provide updates on COVID-19 and planning for coming school year
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) provided updates today on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to ensure Oregon schools can maintain in-person instruction during the 2022-2023 school year.
Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA, noted hospitalizations of COVID-19-positive patients continued to decline since July. He also encouraged Oregon families to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations, along with routine childhood immunizations, to protect their children as they prepared to head back to classrooms.
“The immunization schedule is designed to provide immunity early in life, before children are likely to be exposed to diseases,” said Sidelinger.
Sidelinger also provided a fall vaccine update. Pending federal and state approvals, he said, Oregon should expect to receive supplies of bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters this fall from both Pfizer and Moderna. The bivalent vaccines have been designed to target BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants and the original strain.
Sidelinger also encouraged all eligible residents to get boosted: “OHA’s message to anyone who is eligible for a booster is simple — if you are eligible, get your booster now and do not wait until the fall.”
Colt Gill, director of ODE, outlined what families and students can expect with COVID-19 planning and in-person instruction for the academic year.
“As we head into the coming year, we are holding strong to our North Star goal of providing equitable access to in-person instruction all day, every school day, for every student,” said Gill.
Gill also highlighted resources for K-12 schools available from ODE. These include COVID-19 planning documents, the Care and Connection tools and Oregon Classroom WISE, a suite of free print and video resources, guided tutorials, role plays, and interviews with youth and school personnel to support the mental and emotional well-being of students and school staff.
Hot Weather and Lightning Are Concerns For Firefighting Efforts
Firefighters on the Windigo, Big Swamp and Potter Fires have been cautioned to be aware of changing conditions as a Red Flag Warning is in effect for the area due to the potential for gusty winds and lightning in the area.
All three fires were caused by lightning. The Windigo Fire 20 miles southwest of La Pine is listed at 1,007 acres and 85% containment. Officials say crews are working closely with resource advisors to limit impacts to sensitive resources and complete repair work across the fire area.
The Potter Fire is burning 473 acres 8 miles northeast of Toketee Lake and remains 0% contained. Bucket drops from helicopters and burnout operations were utilized Tuesday as firefighters work to establish firelines.
The Big Swamp Fire is 121 acres in size and no containment. The fire is located 6.5 miles north of Lemolo Lake. Efforts to establish a fireline down to the Middle Fork of the Willamette River may include installing a sprinkler system to connect an existing dozer line to the riverbank on the north flank, according to the official report.
As of Monday, crews with the Oregon DepartmenDrones equipped with Infrared technology are also being used to provide firefighters with nighttime reconnaissance on the fire’s movement and to quickly identify any new starts.t of Forestry has suppressed 418 fires, burning a total of 582 acres in ODF districts. This contrasts with a 10-year average at this point in the fire season of 590 fires and over 56,000 acres scorched.
Levi Hopkins, ODF’s Wildfire Prevention and Policy Manager, largely credits Senate Bill 762, which spent $220 million to improve wildfire response across Oregon.
Those improvements included “increasing and expanding our smoke detection camera system,” Hopkins said. “And then working really close with all of our other partners in welfare suppression, making sure everyone can have access to the cameras that they need and that we can strategically put them throughout the state.”
The ODF also says 27 specialized aircraft around Oregon have helped keep fires small and few. Meanwhile, there’s still a risk of new fires as storm activity returns to the region this week
California law firm has a lawsuit filed today against electricity utility company PacifiCorp accusing it of starting the McKinney Fire.
Fire litigation law firm Singleton Schreiber says it filed a lawsuit against PacifiCorp alleging the utility company is responsible for the McKinney Fire, “which was ignited by its poorly maintained utility infrastructure.”
Official government agencies such as CalFire list the cause as “under investigation” and “undetermined.”
It says it filed the complaint on behalf of hundreds of people who owned property or lived in and near Siskiyou County, California and, “Their homes, businesses, and, in some cases, lives were destroyed when the 60,000+ acre fire tore through the area and resulted in four deaths.” The law firm says its case is filed in Sacramento Superior Court.
Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.5% in July
Oregon’s unemployment rate was 3.5% in July, unchanged from 3.5%, as revised, in June. The U.S. unemployment rate was also 3.5% in July. Oregon’s unemployment rate has tracked very closely with the national unemployment rate for the past two years, with both rates declining rapidly during May 2020 through early 2022 as the economies recovered. Over the past five months, unemployment rates for the U.S. and Oregon have averaged 3.6%, near record lows dating back almost 50 years.
The labor market is tight, and many people have gotten back to work. Over the past two years, Oregon’s labor force participation rate rose rapidly. The share of the population 16 and older that is either employed or unemployed reached 63.5% in July, its highest rate in a decade.
In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 4,200 in July, following gains averaging 6,300 jobs in the prior eight months. Monthly gains in July were largest in leisure and hospitality (+1,500 jobs), other services (+1,400), manufacturing (+1,300), and private educational services (+1,300). Retail trade (-700 jobs) was the only major industry that shed a substantial number of jobs.
As of July, Oregon has regained 94% of jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic. The U.S. has regained 100%. Oregon’s private sector is close to a full jobs recovery, having regained 99% of pandemic recession losses. However, Oregon’s government sector has only regained 49% of the jobs it lost during March through June 2020.
Professional and technical services was one of the fastest growing industries over the past two years. It added 1,900 jobs in July and has grown by 10,400 jobs since February 2020. Over the past 12 months, architectural and engineering services added 1,700 jobs, or 9.4%, which was the highest growth rate of the component industries within professional and technical services.
Retail trade has inched downward since late last year. In July, it dropped to 209,000 jobs, which is back to where it was in late 2016. Over the past 12 months, the weakest retail trade sectors were building material and garden supply stores (-1,700 jobs) and general merchandise stores (-2,400 jobs).
Notes: All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted, except for the component industries within retail trade and professional and technical services.
The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.
The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the October, November and December 2021 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.
The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.
To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit Oregon.gov/employ.
The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. Everyone has a right to use OED programs and services. OED provides free help. Some examples are: Sign language and spoken language interpreters, written materials in other languages, braille, large print, audio and other formats. If you need help, please call 971-673-6400. TTY users call 711. You can also ask for help at OED_Communications@employ.oregon.gov.
Oregon’s Chief Justice Fires All Members Of A Commission That Governs The Office Of Public Defense Services
Oregon’s chief justice denied Wednesday that a personality conflict led her to fire all members of a commission that governs the Office of Public Defense Services and appoints its executive director.
Critics for years have said Oregon’s public defense system is in crisis with far too few attorneys to represent people accused of crimes.
Chief Justice Martha Walters said last week the executive director, Stephen Singer, had verbally attacked her during one encounter and blamed him for failing to lead his agency out of a crisis.
The Public Defense Services Commission last week decided not to fire Singer. Walters then took the unprecedented step on Monday of dismissing all nine voting members of the commission. She invited those who wanted to remain to reapply for their positions and then reinstated five of them while appointing four new ones.
Former commission member Thomas Christ said Walters wants Singer removed and that he believes she “decided to just fill the commission with people who’ll vote the way she wants on that issue,” the Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Christ was among those fired on Monday and was not reappointed.
The American Bar Association has found that Oregon has only 31% of the public defenders it needs. Hundreds of defendants who can’t afford an attorney have been unable to obtain public defenders to represent them.
Walters is an ex-officio permanent, non-voting member of the commission. At the reconstituted commission’s first meeting on Wednesday, Walters said: “We need to advance the next phase of our work to create the systemic changes and immediate support for those serving and those in need of public defense services in Oregon.”
“I know that emotions are still running high for some,” Walters said. “And there have been accusations and suggestions that personality conflicts were what drove my decision. That’s counterproductive and needs to stop.”
The commission then went into executive session “to consider discipline or hear complaints against a public officer and to review and evaluate the job performance of (Singer).”
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Walters has described Singer as untrustworthy, needlessly combative and slow to address the state’s public defense crisis. Others in the public defense community have defended Singer as a leader who is taking on reforming a broken system, while also acknowledging he can be abrasive.
Oregon’s public defender system is the only one in the nation that relies entirely on contractors: Large nonprofit defense firms, smaller cooperating groups of private defense attorneys that contract for cases and independent attorneys who can take cases at will.
But some firms and private attorneys are periodically refusing to take new cases because of the workload. Poor pay rates and late payments from the state are also a disincentive.
Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without legal representation due to a shortage of public defenders filed a lawsuit in May that alleges the state is violating their constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.
Two more cattle deaths have been confirmed as being caused by the Rogue Wolf Pack, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Both deaths occurred Friday, Aug. 12, in Klamath County’s Fort
Klamath area but were not announced until Tuesday, Aug. 16.
Last Friday, U.S. Department of Agriculture-APHIS (Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service) Wildlife Services agents
discovered an approximately 675-pound injured steer in a 240-
acre private-land grass pasture. The animal was euthanized due
to the severity of its injuries.
Following an investigation it was estimated the injuries to the steer occurred 8 to 12 hours before the investigation. Physical evidence revealed more than 30 pre-mortem bite scrapes measuring up to three inches long and a quarter-inch wide on the left and right hind legs above the hocks with associated tissue damage up to two inches deep.
According to the report, “The severity, size, and locations of these wounds are consistent with injuries to cattle attacked by wolves. This depredation is attributed to wolves of the Rogue Pack.”
That same day, another incident in the Fort Klamath area was reported by a livestock producer who found the carcass of an approximately 900-pound yearling steer in a 360-acre private land pasture. Investigators estimated the steer died 6 to 10 hours before it was found. Physical evidence included more than 60 pre-mortem bite scrapes measuring up to three inches long.
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|
|SHYHAILA SMITH 7/12/2022|
|ALEZAE LILYANNE MARTINEZ 7/13/2022|
|RAVEN RILEY 7/13/2022|
|TAHUANA RILEY 7/13/2022|
|DANIELLE NEWVILLE 7/14/2022|
|CONNIE LORAINE BOND 7/19/2022|
|KARIN DAWN RUSSELL 7/19/2022|
|CHEYENNE SPRINGS 7/19/2022|
|KAREN ANNETTE SCIORTINO 7/22/2022|
|MARLENE HICKEY 7/23/2022|
|MAKAYLA MAY VAUGHT 7/23/2022|
|WENDY JEAN HAZEN 7/26/2022|
|SHAHE SOPHIA CATRANIDES 7/27/2022|
|NAVEAH LEIGH BILYEU 8/1/2022|
|DEBI ANN HARPER 8/3/2022|
|CHARLIZE D GIBSON 8/3/2022|
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|
|ISABELLA BROSOWSKEYOUNGBLOOD 6/7/2022|
|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|
|ANGELINA MARIE NAZAR 7/16/2022|
|LUCIA MARTHA PANNIER 7/17/2022|
|MALINA LINN COATS 7/20/2022|
|KATHY A VERNACCHIO 7/23/2022|
|JANE MARIE HOLLIMAN 7/23/2022|
|ASHLEY MARIE SEELEY 7/27/2022|
|LILLY ANNE WARMUTH 7/28/2022|
|MALINA LINN COATS 7/29/2022|
|JORDYN CLARA GOHL 7/31/2022|
|QAVAH ALAH TILLILIE 7/31/2022|
|TALYNN RYLIE MERTZ 8/1/2022|
|YASINIA CALLISTA GUTIERREZ 8/3/2022|
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.