Willamette Valley News, Thursday 9/1 – Bethel School District Ready to Build New Cascade Middle School, Missing Teenager from Cottage Grove

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, September 1, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

Bethel School District Ready to Build New Cascade Middle School

Originally opening its doors in 1955, the Cascade Middle School is Bethel School District’s oldest school. Its replacement will require the construction of a new estimated 85,000-sf facility and will be completed in Fall 2023.

The 67-year-old Cascade Middle School will be replaced by a modern and efficient building with construction getting ready to begin.

After nearly a year of planning and meetings with the local design team from Rowell Brokaw Architects, the new Cascade will be built directly behind the current school.

The work will be phased in order to allow the school to operate with minimal disruption. The new school will be completed and ready for students in the winter of 2023/2024.  Demolition of the existing school, completion of remaining sitework, and the health clinic renovation will then begin, with full completion of the project by summer 2024.

Two ancillary projects are included as part of the overall work. An existing music building will be vacated when the new school is built, and this building will be renovated to house a community health clinic. In addition, a new synthetic-turf softball field for Willamette High School will be built between the new middle school and the high school. The field is designed with removable fencing to convert into a larger soccer field that can be used when the softball season is over.


Authorities Seek Help in Finding Missing Teenager from Cottage Grove

The Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division asked the public Wednesday to help find Chloe Brinegar, a 15-year-old in foster care who went missing from Cottage Grove on Aug. 9 and is believed to be in danger.

ODHS asked the public for help in the effort to find Chloe and to contact 911 or local law enforcement if they believe they see them.

DHS said “Chloe likes to spend time in the Central Oregon communities of Bend, Sunriver, Deschutes River Woods, La Pine, Klamath Falls and Christmas Valley.”

Name: Chloe Brinegar
Pronouns: She/they
Date of birth: Oct. 11, 2006
Height: 5-foot-1
Weight: 115 pounds
Hair: Brown
Eye color: Brown
Other identifying information: Chloe wears their hair cut short but often wears colored extensions. They have a hoop nose piercing and a tattoo of an eye on their wrist.
Lane County Sheriff’s Office case #2204458
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children #1457931

Sometimes when a child is missing, they may be in significant danger, and ODHS may need to locate them to assess and support their safety. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and assess their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Eugene Burglar Receives Seven-Year Prison Sentence

A burglar the Eugene Police Department says victimized multiple west university apartment complexes several times has now been sentenced to seven years in prison for the crimes she committed.

EPD says Alaina Rose Castillo-Noguez, 23, of Eugene, began breaking into several west-university apartment complexes at the beginning of the 2021 school year. Police say she would often break into apartments while the student occupants were asleep and steal valuable property including wallets, cell phones, clothing, keys and vehicles. The EPD says they started working on the case in mid-September, immediately after the burglaries started occurring.

EPD says the investigation was difficult due to a number of factors. They said Castillo-Noguez was difficult to track down due to the face masks worn during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the fact that she had no permanent address. Police say she was squatting in an abandoned home in the west university area, and caused significant damage to the structure.

Police say Castillo-Noguez was arrested on September 29, 2021, and released from jail on October 13, 2021. Police add that she committed another burglary and two robberies, and was arrested again on October 31, 2021. She was charged with several counts of first-degree burglary and theft, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, third-degree robbery, theft of a firearm, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Castillo-Noguez pleaded guilty to these charges, and was sentenced to seven years in prison on August 5, 2022.

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. OHA does not believe this estimate to be accurate.

CDC’s COVID Data Tracker (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/…) Nowcast model estimates that approximately 88.7% of SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US during the last week were the Omicron BA.5 lineage. OHA believes 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/UpGw50KxhuW

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Bend Shooting Investigation Update

The Safeway employee who was one of two people killed in a Bend, Oregon, supermarket shooting had time to flee but instead hid behind a produce cart and attacked the assailant with a produce knife, an action that likely saved lives, authorities said Tuesday.

Surveillance video shows that 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr., a two-decade U.S. Army veteran, waited in his hiding spot until the gunman looked the other way. Surrett then emerged with the knife that he drew from his hip, police spokeswoman Sheila Miller said.

The gunman, identified as 20-year-old Ethan Blair Miller, on Sunday evening fatally shot Surrett and then killed himself as police closed in. Officers found an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun near his body and police said he had four 30-round magazines for the rifle on his body when he died.

Surveillance video also shows two people going back into the Safeway as the shooting unfolded to pull out the other victim, 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett, who had been shot just inside the store’s entrance.

Authorities continued to collect evidence from the crime scene. More than 100 bullet casings have been recovered so far, police said.

Authorities also confirmed Tuesday that the gunman had worked at the Safeway for a short time in recent years; one high school acquaintance told The Associated Press he saw him gathering up carts in the parking lot in 2020.

The shooter lived in an apartment complex behind The Forum Shopping Center.

He fired shots into his own car on Sunday evening as soon as he left the complex and continued firing as he entered the shopping complex’s parking lot and then went into the Safeway. Bennett was killed at the store’s entrance, police said, and the shooter then moved through the aisles “spraying shots” from the assault rifle until Surrett confronted him.

Police entered the supermarket from the front and rear as shots were still being fired. The entire incident, from the first 911 calls to the gunman’s suicide, lasted just four minutes, police have said. In addition to the guns in the store, the shooter had a sawed-off shotgun and three Molotov cocktails in his car, police said. Fifty shotgun shells total were found between his car and apartment and 150 additional rounds of ammunition were in his apartment.

All the guns were purchased legally, authorities said. Police have previously said the gunman had no criminal history and police had not been contacted about him prior to the shooting. After the shooting, acquaintances recalled the gunman as a loner who was passionate about mixed martial arts and was known for getting into fights at the high school where he graduated in 2020. Police have previously said they are also investigating the “shooter’s writings” but have declined to comment further on postings on several online platforms that appear to have been written by him in recent months.

In posts on several sites, someone who appears to be the gunman says he’s struggled to recover from the isolation and loneliness of the pandemic, expresses hatred for himself and indicates he planned to attack his alma mater next week, but couldn’t wait until then because “the Rage has become uncontrollable.”

Authorities sought a search warrant for digital devices found at the gunman’s apartment and it will take several days to go through those materials and develop a clearer picture, said Police Chief Mike Krantz.

Student DIes at Lewis & Clark College

Authorities say a brick column collapsed at Lewis & Clark College in Portland killing one student who was in a hammock hanging from the column.

Portland Fire & Rescue said two other people were injured Monday, Aug. 29. Fire and rescue crews
responded to the scene about 8:15 p.m. Six people were in three hammocks hanging from the column, authorities said. A 19-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. Two 18-year-old women were hospitalized.

Monday was the first day of class at the campus of the private liberal arts college. About 2,000 students attend the school. In a statement, the college said it was working to contact families of the victims and was “deeply saddened by the shocking loss of a member of our community.”

Fatal hit and run crash on Interstate 5-Seeking public assistance-Marion County

On Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at approximately 12:42 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers responded to a report of a deceased individual located on southbound Interstate 5 near milepost 253. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a pedestrian, identified as Cassandra Sullivan (35) of Salem, was struck by a vehicle. Sullivan sustained fatal injuries and was discovered by a litter crew on the shoulder of the road. It is believed that she was struck sometime during the evening of August 29 or the morning of August 30.

OSP investigators are seeking public assistance in locating the vehicle that struck her. The suspect vehicle is believed to be a:

  • Subaru: 2012-16 Impreza, 2013-2017 Cross Trek or a 2014-2018 Forrester 
  • crystal white pearl in color
  • damage to the right front
  • was traveling southbound on Interstate 5 on evening of August 29 to morning of August 30, 2022.

Witnesses or anyone with information are encouraged to contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch Center at 800-442-0776 or OSP (677) from your mobile phone. Reference case number SP22-229957.

Klamath County Major Crime Team-Death investigation-Klamath County

On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, at 5:55 PM, Klamath County 911 received a report a female had just been shot at 12009 Clovis Drive. 

Klamath County Sheriff’s Deputies and Oregon State Police Troopers responded and located Shannon Renee Cobillas-Graham (41) and Robert Lee Cudo (63) deceased in the yard at 12009 Clovis Drive. The Klamath County Major Crime Team was activated to investigate the incident.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Shannon Renee Cobillas-Graham was shot and killed by Robert Lee Cudo, then Mr. Cudo died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This investigation is ongoing. 

The Klamath County Major Crime Team consists of the Oregon State Police, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, the Klamath Falls City Police Department, Klamath County Community Corrections, and the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office

Oregon Drivers Will Pay Record Gas Prices Over Labor Day Despite Recent Price Drops

Gas prices are continuing to fall in Oregon, but that doesn’t mean drivers will see many bargains at the pump this Labor Day weekend.

The average price has fallen 11 weeks in a row, according to the latest figures from AAA Oregon/Idaho. But that’s not the entire story.

“We will be paying the most for gas for Labor Day ever,” said AAA spokesperson Marie Dodds.

The statewide average in Oregon is $4.78 a gallon, down nearly 80 cents from the all-time state record set in mid-June. Still, Dodds said that’s far more than the previous Labor Day record of $4.02, set in 2012.

“That’s the only other time that we will have paid above four dollars a gallon on Labor Day,” she said.

Oregon’s prices remain well above the national average of $3.84 per gallon. The highest gas prices can be found in Portland and Medford, according to AAA, while the cheapest average prices are in Salem. Eugene is near the middle of the pack at around $4.66 per gallon.

Dodds said she doesn’t expect the price to significantly impact Labor Day travel plans, which tend to be more muted than the other summer holiday weekends.

“We tend to see much bigger travel volumes for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July than we do for Labor Day,” she said. “Labor Day is still a very busy travel season, but the volume is always smaller than the other two holidays.”

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May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'MISSING TALYNN RYLIE MERTZ, 15 Talynn was last seen in Eugene, Oregon on August 1, 2022. Talynn is 5'4" -5'7" and 260 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. f/MissingNorthwest @MissingNW IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST Eugene Police Department: 541-682-5111'

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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