Willamette Valley News, Tuesday 9/6 – OSU And UO Receive Grant Money To Help Timber Research, Cedar Creek Fire Update, Hwy 20 Closure

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

OSU And UO Receive Millions In ‘Build Back Better Regional Challenge’  Grant Money To Help Timber Research

Build Back Better Logo

Timber has always been a big part of Oregon’s past, and now thanks to a federal grant, it’s likely to play an equally important role in the state’s future. 

Oregon State University and the University of Oregon are both set to receive millions of dollars towards timber research as part of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

The two universities will receive about $24.6 million through a joint initiative called the TallWood Design Institute, with more than $16 million going to the University of Oregon and about $8 million going to Oregon State University.

“This funding will allow us to do to three-story mock-ups of these types of retrofit buildings, which will tell us more about how they work and how much they cost,” said Judith Sheine, a professor with the architecture department at the University of Oregon.

TallWood Design is part of the Oregon Mass Timber Coalition, a collaborative effort to support Oregon’s timber industry, which also includes the Port of Portland, Business Oregon, the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. 

The money for the two universities comes from an overall $41.4 million grant to the coalition. The funding will allow both schools to be leaders in the industry, Sheine said, especially when it comes to building affordable housing. 

“What we’re working on for the affordable housing is a panelized approach where we would have mass timber panels that would have water proofing, and being able to assemble them in a certain location,” she said.

Nearly $15 million of the university money from the grant will go toward the Oregon Acoustic Research Laboratory at the University of Oregon, and $2 million will be put toward affordable housing prototyping.

The grant will also allow university staff to do more research that will hopefully create more jobs for the timber industry, Sheine said.

Mass timber is a type of engineered wood that binds together multiple sheets of wood. The resulting product is stronger than conventional wood and can be used to build larger and taller structures.

Cedar Creek Fire Update

Community Meeting: A community meeting will be held Tuesday September 6th, 6:00PM at Greenwaters Park, 48362 Highway 58, Oakridge, Oregon. For those unable to attend in person, the meeting will be streamed live on the Cedar Creek Fire Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CedarCreekFire2022

Current Situation: Fire activity remained moderate throughout most of the fire yesterday. The fire was burning in the Charlton Fire scar which burned over 10,000 acres in 1996. Helicopters assisted in this area by dropping water to slow fire activity. Behavior has been characterized by creeping, smoldering, and single tree torching.

Today’s Activities: Crews are making progress along the lower side of Black Creek by using sprinklers. They will start working on the upper side above Lillian Falls, and this work will take multiple days to complete. Firefighters continue utilizing the Winchester trail system as a check line to slow fire growth. In the northwest, the fire crews are enhancing contingency lines by chipping and masticating along roads with heavy equipment. To keep the fire north of Forest Service Road 2421, crews are utilizing small firing operations, in combination with aerial ignitions. Using Plastic Sphere Dispensers (PSDs) containing potassium permanganate, glycol is injected into the sphere, then expelled from the aircraft. This produces an exothermic reaction resulting in ignition of fuels on the ground.

Weather: Temperatures in the lower 80s. The inversion layer will break around noon. Weather is forecasted to change tonight into tomorrow with low relative humidity recoveries overnight and unstable air in the atmosphere, this has the potential to increase fire activity.

Closures: All trailheads and dispersed camping west and north of Waldo Lake are closed, this includes a section of Forest Service Road 19 (Aufderheide Scenic Byway). The Pacific Crest Trail is currently closed between Highway 58 north to the junction with Six Lakes Trail near Elk Lake. Long distance hikers can rejoin the PCT at Elk Lake via the Island Meadow Trail or the Horse Lake Trail. Visit the pcta.org for current information. The Deschutes National Forest implemented the Cedar Creek Fire Closure Order (Closure #06-01-22-02) on September 5. Closure Orders take precedent over evacuation levels meaning that if a location is within the closure area, it is closed to access regardless of current evacuation levels. Please visit Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest for detailed closure orders. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. Restrictions: Fire restrictions are in place on the Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest with the exception of the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Waldo Lake, and Diamond Peak Wilderness areas. Smoke: Smoke Forecast Outlooks are available at https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook

Fire Information: 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM | Phone: 541-201-2335 | Email: 2022.cedarcreek@firenet.gov 

Online: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8307/ | https://www.facebook.com/CedarCreekFire2022/ | https://www.facebook.com/willamettenf | https://twitter.com/willametteNF | YouTube: https://www.tinyurl.com/cedarcreekfireyoutube

Evacuations: There continues to be multiple evacuations in campgrounds and recreational areas near Waldo Lake and Waldo Lake Wilderness. Please check with Lane County Sheriff’s Office 541-682-4150 and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office 541-693-6911 for updates and changes.

Hwy 20 Closure Will Temporarily Limit Travel Options Between Valleys And Central Oregon

The Oregon Department of Transportation is warning drivers of an upcoming closure of US Highway 20 between the Willamette Valley and central Oregon. A three-mile section about 27 miles east of Sweet Home and 19 miles west of Santiam Junctions will be closed to traffic from Sept. 9 to Sept. 22.

During the shutdown, crews will build a retaining wall and repair damage caused by a landslide. The detours are lengthy and involve either Oregon Highway 22 to the north, or Oregon Highway 126 to the south. Both detour routes re-join Highway 20 just west of Santiam Pass.

ODOT said that once the road re-opens, drivers can expect single-lane closures on weekdays through the end of October.

Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit arrests man and seizes an estimated $210,000 in illegal drugs

No photo description available.

Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit arrested a man and seized approximately $210,000 (estimated street value) in dangerous, illegal drugs. SCU developed information Joe Anthony Harker, age 38, of Eugene, was continuing his behaviors after he was arrested in May 2022 for several felony narcotic charges.

SCU conducted a follow-up narcotics investigation regarding Harker continuing to distribute narcotics within the city of Eugene. Due to Harker’s transitory behaviors and illicit financial resources, Harker was difficult to put at one location for more than a few days at a time. EPD SCU subsequently located Harker. SCU applied for and was granted a search warrant for Harker’s local hotel room and associated vehicles.

On Friday, September 2, 2022, EPD SCU and EPD SWAT executed the search warrant. Harker was observed leaving the hotel room on foot and was subsequently taken into custody without incident away from the hotel, in a less populated area. Upon entry into the hotel room, EPD SCU found evidence consistent with narcotics distribution and seized more than $6,000 in US Currency, suspected heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl pills, and Fentanyl powder, as well as soft body armor. During evidence processing, a resealable bag believed to contain cocaine was discovered to be white fentanyl powder.

Eugene Springfield Fire medics were staged throughout the duration of evidence handling and packaging to protect employees. Seized during the search warrant:

• Heroin – more than 10 grams total package weight• Methamphetamine – more than 269 grams total package weight

• White powder fentanyl – 457 grams total package weight, which equates to a little over one pound

• Blue powder fentanyl – 197 grams total package weight, which equates to a little under seven ounces

• Purple powder fentanyl – 181 grams total package weight, which equates to a little over six ounces• Blue counterfeit Oxy 30 fentanyl (8,500 estimate count) pills – 966 grams total package weight, which equates to a little over two pounds.

• The estimated wholesale value of the seized narcotics, excluding the methamphetamine is about $70,000.

The low-end street value based on current trends is approximately $210,000. One gram contains 1,000 milligrams, the average counterfeit pill contains .02 to 5.1 milligrams. Two milligrams of Fentanyl is considered lethal, depending on a person’s body size, tolerance and past usage.

Charges: Harker was lodged at Lane County Jail on the following charges: Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance/Unlawful Delivery of a Controlled Substance Heroin-Commercial Drug Offense; UPCS Methamphetamine-Commercial Drug Offense; UPCS/UDCS Schedule 2 (fentanyl)-Commercial Drug Offense and Felon in Possession of Body Armor.

Case 22-13296SCU works in concert with communities to help solve issues. The unit focuses on prolific offenders, who are identified through intelligence-based policing, public tips and other sources. They proactively respond across the city to quality of life issues as they arise, using all available resources and partners such as community groups, neighborhood associations and city services.

SCU is dedicated to targeting immediate and acute community safety system issues while working toward mission-critical enhancements that need to be addressed through a longer-term and broader community safety initiative. The unit currently consists of a lieutenant, a sergeant and five officers, including one officer with a drug detection K9.

COVID-19 viruses affecting the heart, conceptual 3D illustration. Heart complications associated with COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

Over the last two and a half years of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts have found that the virus can cause damage to many parts of the body.

Although most people experience symptoms in their nose, throat and lungs, the virus also can damage other organs, including the heart.“COVID-19 can cause the heart to do its job — pumping blood – less efficiently,” said Eric Stecker, an Oregon Health & Science University cardiologist.

When the heart isn’t working efficiently it can cause several problems, including shortness of breath and irregular heartbeats. Learn more about how COVID-19 affects the heart on our blog: https://covidblog.oregon.gov/how-does-covid-19-affect-your-heart/

Heat exhaustion: Faint/dizzy, excessive sweating, rapid/weak pulse, nausea/vomiting, cool pale clammy skin, muscle cramps. Help person to a cooler, air conditioned place. Encourage them to drink water if they're fully conscious. Heat stroke: throbbing headache, confusion, may lose consciousness, rapid/strong pulse, nausea/vomiting, body temp above 103F, red hot skin. Call 911, cool off person quickly with cool water.

With hot weather in the forecast across Oregon, keep your community safe by learning the signs of heat-related illness and what to do if you see someone with symptoms. Remember to check in regularly with family, friends, and neighbors who are vulnerable to heat, especially if they live alone, are older, or don’t have AC. If you or someone you know needs help finding a place to cool down, visit http://ow.ly/EkY550Km92X or call 211. Heat-related illness can happen indoors or outdoors in as little as 10-15 minutes. Learn more: http://ow.ly/uhAm50Km92W

Wildfire Updates

Temperatures and instability will both rise sharply today as upper-level high pressure builds over the region. There is a slight chance for thunderstorms in central Oregon this afternoon. An upper-level trough will start to impact the region tomorrow with a boost in general winds and some potential for thunderstorms, mainly east of the Oregon Cascades.

Cedar Creek Fire Waldo Lake - smoke columns
Cedar Creek Fire near Waldo Lake

Any storms that develop today and tomorrow are unlikely to get much rain to the ground but could generate dry lightning and gusty outflow winds. Temperatures will be cooler Thursday behind the system before upper-level pressure builds back with temperatures warming Friday into the weekend. Models lack consistency by this point, but another trough possibly moves in from the Pacific late in the weekend.

Significant fire potential remains elevated as fire danger stays above average due to hot, dry and unstable weather.
Breakdown of the upper-level ridge tomorrow into Thursday with increased winds and thunderstorm potential will lead to high risk for new significant fires for southern and eastern Oregon.

Double Creek. 10 miles SE of Imnaha, OR. Start 8/30. Full Suppression. Cause: Lightning. 43,668 acres (+5,130). 0% containment. Timber. Active fire behavior. Evacuations in effect. Road, trail and area closures.

Crockets Knob. 19 miles N of Prairie City, OR. Start 8/22. Full Suppression. Cause: Lightning. 4,265 acres (+43). 25% containment. Brush. Active fire behavior. Evacuation notices. Road, trail and area closures.

Motel rooms were full of fire evacuees in the Klamath Basin and Southern Oregon this weekend. Also, air quality in Southern Oregon quickly diminished as the two fires to the south continued to grow.

Cal Fire says the Mill Fire’s size is 4,263 acres today with 40% containment.  It says more than 700 fire personnel are working on the wildfire that burned 4,000 acres Friday from Weed to Lake Shastina, California, in about 10 hours.
It says the Mountain Fire’s size is 10,338 acres with 10% containment today.  It also started Friday in mountainous terrain about nine miles southwest of Gazelle, or about ten miles west of Weed.  CalFire says it has 1,700 personnel working on that fire today which includes aircraft attack of the growing wildfire.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah Larue confirmed yesterday the Mill Fire killed two people. CalFire’s Mill Fire update today shows 88 structures destroyed, 11 structures damaged, another 411 threatened and 18 outbuildings destroyed.  It also shows three injuries and 559 people who evacuated.  The mandatory evacuation order for the
Mill Fire remains intact for an area from Weed to Lake Shastina.

The Mountain Fire update today shows 332 people evacuated for that wildfire which threatens 690 structures with none listed as damaged or destroyed. The causes for both fires are under investigation.

CalFire reports today the growing Mountain Fire about ten miles west of Weed has burned 10,338 acres and it is 10% contained. 

Rum Creek Fire Update

The Oregon National Guard is helping fight the Rum Creek Fire that has burned approximately 17,000 acres and is said to be 12% contained. Fifty-one guard members have been helping with the safety and security of the area with road closure points since Monday, Aug. 29, in the Merlin area.

Additionally, the guard has dispatched an HH-60 medical lift helicopter and crew to the Medford Airport to help if any firefighters or support staff become critically injured and need rapid transport for medical treatment.  

The medical evacuation crew has been at the Medford Airport on call since Wednesday, Aug. 31. HH-60 Pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Corey Wadsworth said, ‘We are here in Medford for MEDEVAC stand by for the wildland fires and are the dedicated MEDEVAC asset for any of the fire fighting crews in the area.”

On the smoke-filled roads around the fire’s perimeter, the road closure points are operated by teams of Soldiers and Airmen that ensure vehicle occupants have a legitimate reason to go into the fire complex area. Air National Guard, Staff Sgt. Joshua Rose on Road Closure Point 2 said, “we’re just trying to keep everybody safe, keep the bad people out, and let the good people in, that kind of a thing. The overall experience out here has been great. A lot of the residents have been really appreciative of what we’re doing out here.”

firefighters continued strengthening and reinforcing primary and contingency lines in the northwest corner of the fire near the Rogue River, as well as in the northeast corner near Grave Creek. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Tuesday due to high temperatures and low relative humidity. Forecasted temperatures could reach 105F, which would be the hottest since the Rum Creek Fire started Aug. 17. These conditions could promote rapid fire spread. 

Aviation resources supported firefighters on the ground with water drops on the fire, which was flanking at the far northwest edge of the fire footprint, and also on a hot spot in an unburned drainage in the northeast section. Aviation supervision was over the fire most of the day looking for any fire activity outside primary and contingency lines. 

On the southeastern edge of the fire, containment lines are mopped up to a depth of 200 feet, and crews will begin gridding Tuesday. Gridding is the systematic search for remaining heat, smokes or hot spots by systematically walking across an area on parallel courses or gridlines 

On the west side of the fire, about half of primary and contingency lines are mopped up to 100 feet. 

Oregon State Fire Marshal Office task forces have mopped up to a depth of 300 feet around structures from Galice to Almeda Bar. Task forces are steadily being released to support other incidents or returning to their home units. 

Members of the public should be aware that active surface burning and single tree torching could continue in the interior for some time until large fuels are extinguished or reduced to ash. Smoke may be visible to varying degrees depending on conditions. 

Public safety: The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Tuesday and Wednesday. Residents are encouraged to drink plenty of water and stay indoors or in a shaded area as much as possible.  

Evacuations: Existing evacuation orders and notifications remain in place. An interactive map showing evacuation levels according to address can be found at //JosephineCounty.gov/FireMap. For the most current evacuation information and resources, go to Josephine County Incident Information (rvem.org)

River status: The Wild section of the Rogue River below Grave Creek will remain open unless fire conditions warrant closure. River status is determined on a day-to-day basis. Please call 541-471-6535 for more information regarding Rogue River permits. No new boating permits will be issued. 

Road control: Josephine County Sheriff’s Office has established traffic access points around the fire zone. Road blocks are located at Galice Road near Crow Road; Galice Store; Bear Camp Road at Peavine (top intersection); Lower Grave Creek Road at Angora Creek (Grays Ranch); Quartz Creek Road about 3 miles up (end of County maintenance); Dutch Henry Road near Kelsey Creek (42 44’56.2/123 40’35.4); and Hog Creek at Galice Road. The National Guard is staffing the roadblocks. Only residents (must show proof of residency) and permitted users will be allowed through. 

Senate Bill 744, passed by the Oregon Legislature last year, ordered the Oregon Department of Education to deliver a report evaluating the state’s graduation requirements by Sept. 1, 2022.

Released Thursday, ODE’s report outlines research and recommendations on what’s expected of Oregon high school
graduates, with two main findings and eight suggestions. In the first review of Oregon’s graduation requirements in 15 years, the Oregon Department of Education examined graduation requirements in other states and solicited feedback from thousands of Oregonians.

The report concluded that Oregon’s graduation requirements should change to be more equitable and better aligned with what businesses and colleges want from future employees and students. ODE director Colt Gill said the recommendations focus on changing Oregon’s education system to better serve students and get them to graduation.

But both feedback and data collected for the report show inequities in graduation among student groups — from the types of diploma students receive, to the method by which they fulfill graduation requirements. ODE Administrator for Research and Accountability Dan Farley said the changes Oregon needs to make are systemwide, not based on individual student achievement.

Washington and Oregon Among States With Longest Life Expectancy

Washington and Oregon rank in the top 10 states for the longest life expectancy, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The high rankings come with the caveat that the pandemic has thrown lengthening human lifespans into reverse across the U.S.

This map from federal data shows where in the U.S. residents typically have longer lives

It is clear that if you want to live long and prosper, the Pacific Northwest is a fine place. Washingtonians have the second longest life expectancy of any state in the nation, behind only Hawaii. Oregonians are not far behind in eighth place and Idaho comes in eleventh.

According to the new data published by the Centers for Disease Control, a child born in Washington or Oregon in 2020 can expect to live around 79 years. That’s two years longer than the national average. The life expectancy for an Idaho child born in 2020 is closer to 78 years.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic though, life expectancy has declined in all 50 states. The decline in life expectancy was less pronounced in the Northwest states, but still the excess deaths during the first year of the pandemic shaved about a year off the expected lifespan of people in this region.

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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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