Willamette Valley News, Friday 9/23 – Cleanup Of Baxter Toxins Delayed Until 2023, Volunteers Participate In United Way’s ‘Days Of Caring’, Salem School Bus Driver Arrested for DUII

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

Friday, September 23, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

Cleanup Of Eugene Yards Contaminated By Baxter Toxins Delayed Until 2023

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has again delayed the cleanup of the yards contaminated by the J.H. Baxter & Co. wood treatment plant in west Eugene. Oregon DEQ pushed the cleanup to early next year after finding toxins deeper in the soil this summer.

DEQ announced in January an investigation of the Baxter plant revealed a class of toxic compounds called dioxins had been found in the soil of yards near the facility.

The plant itself already was known to be contaminated with dioxins, which can be created by industrial processes, and DEQ says the company is responsible for their presence in the yards.

J.H. Baxter shut down its Eugene plant shortly after the announcement and has told DEQ it cannot afford to pay for the cleanup. DEQ now plans to pay for the upfront costs with expectations of recovering the money from J.H. Baxter later.

Testing at residences around the facility revealed varying levels of contamination, some of which DEQ said in January needed to be cleaned up “as soon as possible.” Dioxins are carcinogenic, and primarily would enter the human body by consuming contaminated soil, something that could happen when eating garden plants or if children play in the yards.

An adult would have to consume contaminated soil regularly over a long period to have a higher chance of getting cancer. Children are more at risk because of their higher propensity to ingest soil while playing in contaminated yards.

DEQ first intended to begin cleanup of the most contaminated yards in spring, but later moved its schedule to early summer and then again to September. DEQ has said the delays were a result of each yard needing a unique workplan.

Removal and replacement of soil from five contaminated yards now is slated to begin early next year, DEQ announced Wednesday. Testing in June revealed dioxin contamination is deeper than expected, up to a foot deep in some yards.

DEQ said in a news release that more sampling is needed to understand the full depth of contamination, which determines how much soil must be removed. DEQ said additional soil sampling will take several months to complete.

Homeowners were informed of the delay and have agreed to it, according to DEQ.

DEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have sampled 32 yards in the area north of the J.H. Baxter plant.

The results show five yards with dioxin concentrations that exceed 40 parts per trillion, a level that needs cleanup as soon as possible based on potential health impacts to children younger than 6 years old.

No children live in the five homes set for soil cleanup, according to the news release.

Once the sampling is complete, DEQ said it will develop a detailed cleanup plan and timeline.

Volunteers Participate In United Way’s ‘Days Of Caring’ In Lane County

Each year, United Way of Lane County mobilizes hundreds of people across Lane County to volunteer with local nonprofits. This year, Days of Caring will happen Thursday, Sept. 22 through Saturday, Sept. 24. Organizations benefit from hard-working volunteers, and volunteers get to enjoy coming together to make a tangible impact in their community! 

Volunteers from all over Lane County are helping out with service projects in Eugene and Springfield as part of the annual Days of Caring.

United Way of Lane County

United Way of Lane County is hosting its 29th annual Days of Caring, an event where local non-profits, volunteers and businesses team up to help out around the community. Local area non-profits post projects that need to be done including beautifying parks, trail construction and fruit harvesting. Local businesses and organizations then encourage employees and colleagues to get out of the office for a day and help out.

Across Lane County, over 650 volunteers from all over Lane County including Cottage Grove, Florence, Eugene, Springfield and Junction City will work on 25 projects. At the Relief Nursery in Springfield, PenFed Credit Union Employees planted new raspberries and blueberries and filled sandboxes for kids in the nursery.

Days of Caring is just one of many events that United Way of Lane County puts on each year. On the morning of October 5, they will be hosting an annual community breakfast where the community will have a chance to hear about what United Way is doing to help the area.

Salem School Bus Driver Arrested for Driving Under The Influence

Salem, Ore. — Yesterday, September 22, Salem Police officers arrested 42-year-old Kathy Anne Fowler on charges related to driving under the influence.

The investigation by the Salem Police Traffic Team was initiated after the report of Fowler, a bus driver for Salem-Keizer Public Schools, being under the influence of alcohol while transporting students on August 9, 2022. 

The incident involved Fowler driving 15 students on two separate bus routes between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. that Tuesday morning in August. Between the two transports, Fowler was also involved in a collision in which the bus she was driving struck a guard rail.

Fowler is charged with the following:

  • Reckless endangering, 15 counts
  • Driving under the influence of an intoxicant
  • Reckless driving
  • Criminal mischief

Any parents, students, or community members who may have witnessed the bus in operation by Fowler are asked to call the Traffic Team at 503-588-6171.

Please direct further inquiries about this investigation to the Marion County District Attorney’s Office.

Weyerhaeuser employees are in the second week of their ongoing strike against the contract proposal from Weyerhaeuser.

Over the past two years, Weyerhaeuser has reported record profits, and the most recent contract proposal it submitted to its employees involved healthcare premium cuts, making benefits more expensive during a time when money is already tight.

“We do have some employees that are struggling,” said Joe Bethke, a millwright at the Cottage Grove Weyerhaeuser lumber mill. “It’s going to be tough for them, we’re doing everything we can to make sure they make it through and try to keep them here.”

Last Friday, Weyerhaeuser employees and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers submitted a counteroffer to Weyerhaeuser. Thursday afternoon, Weyerhaeuser rejected it, standing firm on their previous proposal, believing it to be more than fair.

Despite the gap between the two sides, some representatives from the IAMAW believe that they aren’t too far apart.

“I don’t think we’re that far off,” said Brandon Bryant, the President Directing Business Representative from IAMAW. “This isn’t like they’re at 100 and we’re at 2,000. We’re actually pretty close. We’re just really hopeful that Weyerhaeuser realizes that and comes to us with something that’s reasonable.”

Weyerhaeuser and its employees are scheduled to meet again next Friday to continue negotiations.

Cedar Creek Fire Update

The smoke and fog lifted in the morning, providing warmer and drier weather. Firefighters have been successful with mop up operations including extinguishing hot spots, breaking apart smoldering debris, and cutting snags and fire weakened trees along the western edge of the fire. This has secured the fireline along Forest Service Roads 2409 and 1928 which are northeast of the High Prairie community. Crews will continue patrolling this section of line to check for any hot spots. Along the north edge of the fire area, mechanized equipment and crews continue to prepare Forest Service Road 19 to be used as a control line.

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As they can safely reach them, resource advisors are working to assess the status of recreation and other treasured sites. Yesterday, personnel visited recreation sites along Forest Service Road 19, including campgrounds and trailheads. They confirmed that these sites are in good condition and wooden structures are covered in fire resistant material in case fire reaches the sites.

East Zone Operations: Crews working on the slop-over that crossed Forest Service Road 4290 are finishing their work. They will mop up the line 50 feet into the burned area seeking out and eliminating any hot spots. Dozer line repair is ongoing from Waldo Lake to the Forest Service Read 5897. The East Zone of the Cedar Creek fire has been assisting in backhaul of equipment across the fire area. Equipment will be backhauled to the cache in Redmond, OR where it will be inventoried, cleaned, and stored; ready to deploy on another fire.

A strike team of engines will continue to patrol and monitor conditions in the Odell Lake area. Along the Cascade Lakes Highway, shaded fuel break construction continues in close coordination with a team of Resource Advisors (READs). READs are resource specialists who are familiar with the Deschutes National Forest ecology, and have a strong understanding of potential effects of wildland fires upon significant natural and cultural resources. As a section of shaded fuel break construction is finished, READs are brought in to assess the work and sign off on the completed line.

Forest closures are in place on both the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests for firefighter and public safety. A map of the current closure is available on the incident InciWeb page, Cedar Creek Fire Facebook page, and on the National Forests web pages. Following these closures allows firefighters to be able to focus on doing their work safely.

Weather: The scattered showers yesterday brough rain totals to nearly 0.4 inches across the west zone of the fire. Precipitation came to end quickly yesterday morning with a clearing sky. Warmer and drier conditions are expected Friday through early next week with temperature reaching the 70s during the day. Fuel moisture remains high with minimal fire behavior expected.

Closures: The Deschutes National Forest and Willamette National Forest both have closures and fire restrictions in effect. Please visit Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest for the most recent closure orders and maps. Elijah Bristow State Park is in use by firefighters and closed to the public. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place. The use of drones is prohibited in the fire area, please make it safe for our firefighters to use aircraft on the fire. Pacific Crest Trail hikers should visit pcta.org for current information. See a map of the fire area with both forest closures here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/8307/0/137083

Smoke: For current conditions, see Fire.airnow.gov, oakridgeair.org, and LRAPA – Today’s Current Air Quality. Smoke Forecast Outlooks are available at https://outlooks.wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlook.

Evacuations: An updated map of the evacuation areas is available at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/CedarCreek. Sign-up for emergency mobile alerts by going to oralert.gov. Please check with Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911 for updates and changes.

Online: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8307/ | https://www.facebook.com/CedarCreekFire2022/ |

YouTube: https://www.tinyurl.com/cedarcreekfireyoutube

Did you know that Oregon, Washington, and now Nevada, have their own drug discount program? You can use it even if you already have insurance. Once you sign up, you can use your ArrayRx Card or your pharmacy benefit when you go to get your prescriptions, whichever provides a better price. To sign up, visit arrayrxcard.com.

May be an image of text that says 'Using this digital card can help you save up to 80% on medications All Oregon and Washington residents qualify. Nevada residents will be able to enroll Fall 2022. ·No membership fee to join No age or income restrictions •Only takes a minute to enroll •All FDA-approved prescriptions are eligible for discounts •Each user signs up and gets their own digital card with a unique ID number'

OHA confirmed Oregon’s second pediatric case of monkeypox virus (hMPXV): http://ow.ly/WNjj50KPOtz “Pediatric monkeypox cases have happened around the country during the nationwide outbreak, and unfortunately Oregon is no exception,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and state epidemiologist. “As we have stated previously, this virus can affect anyone.

”Monkeypox spreads primarily through close skin-to-skin contact. During the current outbreak, this has been most commonly through intimate or sexual contact. Infection has also occurred during close, skin-to-skin contact with the lesions of an individual with monkeypox through a caregiving relationship, such as a parent caring for a child or an adult caretaker of another person.

Much less often, monkeypox could spread handling towels, clothing or other items that have been in contact with monkeypox lesions. Large respiratory droplets or oral fluids that might come from prolonged face-to-face contact could also transmit the virus, but it is uncommon.

If you’re experiencing any potential symptoms of monkeypox, such as a new rash that looks like pimples or blisters and you’re feeling sick, contact your health care provider right away. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 2-1-1 or your local public health authority.

Oregon Senators Announce More Than $2.5 Million In Housing Vouchers Coming To the State

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have announced that more than $2.5 million in additional housing choice vouchers are coming to the state.

A release said they are going to 21 public housing authorities throughout Oregon and are in addition to the 44,500 vouchers already in use by Oregon households.

Wyden said, “These permanent housing vouchers, paired with critical services, will help many Oregon families get into long-term housing”. Wyden said he will continue to fight “…so that in the wealthiest strongest nation on earth, all Oregon families have a warm, safe, affordable and stable place to call home”.

Merkley said, “Every Oregonian deserves the right to have a home, and I will continue fighting to make that a reality in every corner of our state”.

Locally, 6 vouchers for just under $40,000 are being allocated to the Housing Authority of Douglas County. Funds are also going to organizations in the neighboring counties of Josephine, Lane and Coos.

The full release on the funding is linked: https://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/wyden-merkley-more-than-25-million-to-oregon-in-housing-vouchers

State shares revised action plan, timeline for engaging Oregonians in protecting lives, property from wildfire

SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) today announced a revised action plan and timeline for engaging the public on wildfire protection efforts as part of the state’s strategy to create more fire-resilient communities.

“A big part of our work over the next year is focused on engaging with, listening to and informing the public about wildfire risk,” said Cal Mukumoto, Oregon State Forester and director of ODF. “This engagement will involve visiting communities across the state, talking with people, addressing concerns and answering questions. Ultimately, all of the agencies involved in this effort want to make sure Oregonians in the most at-risk communities know what they can do to better protect themselves, their families and friends, and their homes from wildfire.” 

In the past decade, wildfires have been burning significantly more acres than before, while also becoming more challenging and costlier to fight. Between 2012 and 2021, the state of Oregon spent $85 million annually on wildfire suppression costs. That is compared to the previous 10 years in which the state spent $17 million annually. The scale, devastation and statewide reach of the 2020 Labor Day fires brought this reality home for many. Less than a year later, Senate Bill 762’s statewide framework for advancing wildfire protection in Oregon moved through the Oregon State Legislature with bipartisan support. 

The revised plan will be implemented in collaboration with Oregon State University’s (OSU) College of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS).

“Most Oregonians understand wildfires are becoming more catastrophic and more frequent. I have witnessed, across the state, that Oregonians want to be part of the solution in protecting our communities,” said Doug Grafe, Wildfire Programs Director with the Office of the Governor. “It’s clear that steps can be taken to increase the survivability of homes and communities when wildfires do occur, including creating defensible space, hardening homes and implementing hazardous fuels reduction projects.”

One component of SB 762 was the creation of a statewide wildfire risk map to serve as a planning and information tool for Oregonians, communities and state and local government. The purpose of the map—a collaboration between ODF and wildfire scientists at OSU’s College of Forestry—is to provide transparent and science-based information to Oregonians about the factors near them that drive wildfire exposure including weather, climate, vegetation and topography. The tool will also be used to guide the state in directing resources to communities with the greatest likelihood of wildfires. 

“Oregon State University’s College of Forestry has used, and will continue to use, the best science to contribute to statewide wildfire risk mapping,” said Tom DeLuca, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry. “We support the importance of changing the timeline for the mapping component of SB 762. This added time provides an opportunity to better share information and conduct authentic community engagement by listening to Oregonians and community leaders across our state in the implementation of the new law. Even with the timeline change, we must all recognize that addressing fire risk in Oregon is a priority that will require all of us to work together.”  

Based on feedback and concerns received from an earlier version of the wildfire risk map, the state revised its timeline for implementing the map to allow for robust community engagement, outreach and education. The revised timeline is as follows: 

  • October through February 2023: Public and stakeholder engagement, outreach and education. Includes wildfire science, risk and mitigation outreach and education, with focus on the most vulnerable areas; identifying opportunities for investments in wildfire prevention; completing building codes and defensible space standards for the most vulnerable communities; compilation and analysis of feedback received; and technical refinements.
  • March 1, 2023: Public rollout of draft wildfire risk map. Draft map shared with the public.
  • March through September 2023: Public outreach, engagement and education on draft wildfire risk map. Includes working with ODF, OSU College of Forestry, local governments, planning departments, Department of Land Conservation and Development, Oregon State Fire Marshal and the state Building Codes Division to review the draft map; public outreach, education and engagement on the draft map and related topics including building codes and defensible space standards; and making any necessary revisions based on feedback received on updated map.
  • October through December 2023: Final wildfire risk map shared with the public for implementation. Includes sharing a final wildfire risk map with the public, initiating a 60-day appeals process and notifying those who are in the most high-risk areas about the steps needed to protect their homes and properties from catastrophic wildfires and how to comply with defensible space standards and building codes.

“The revised plan and timeline allow us to prioritize engagement, collaboration and communication,” said Grafe. “We are committed to ensuring people understand what they can do to increase the likelihood their homes and properties will survive wildfires. The wildfire risk map is one of several tools we will use to inform this work.”

SB 762 directs state agencies to focus resources in Oregon’s highest-risk areas to ensure homes are adhering to building codes and defensible space standards. These building codes and defensible space standards will not be adopted or implemented until the wildfire risk map is finalized in late 2023, but will be available in the near future so people can familiarize themselves with the new expectations. 

The DCBS Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) confirmed last month that no Oregon insurance company used the original map to set rates (rating) or as part of a decision to offer or renew insurance coverage (underwriting), and none planned to use it for those purposes in the future. The DFR continues to conduct work to ensure that wildfire mitigation activities are accounted for in underwriting and rating processes. Homeowners are encouraged to contact DFR’s consumer advocates at 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free) with questions or concerns about their insurance policy.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Oregon OSHA issues more than $144,000 in penalties to 2 contractors for exposing employees to fall hazards at sites in Salem and Woodburn

Salem – In separate enforcement actions, Oregon OSHA has issued fines totaling more than $144,000 to two contractors for violations – including repeat offenses – of fall protection rules at worksites in Salem and Woodburn. The violations put multiple workers at risk of serious injury or death from falls to lower levels.

The separate citations issued to Corvallis-based Iron Head Roofing LLC and Canby-based JMJ Construction LLC included the same violation of a basic safety requirement: Implementing adequate fall protection systems – such as a personal fall restraint system or other measures – where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level.

For Iron Head Roofing, it was the fifth time since May 2019 that the company committed the same violation. For JMJ Construction, it was the fourth time since February 2020 that the company committed the same violation. The companies’ previous violations of the six-foot trigger-height requirements were cited as part of separate Oregon OSHA inspections at different worksites.

Falls are one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry.

“Fall protection saves lives,” said Renee Stapleton, acting administrator for Oregon OSHA. “It is an essential safety practice that employers must carry out when work is being done at heights. There is no excuse for neglecting it.”

The citation issued to Iron Head Roofing followed an inspection that found four of six employees working on the roof of a house in Salem with no fall protection. The citation against JMJ Construction came after an inspection found an employee installing siding on a house with no fall protection. Another employee was using a scaffold with no fall protection, according to the inspection.

Both inspections were conducted under Oregon OSHA’s emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction. The prevention-based program accounts for the temporary nature of construction activity by directing inspectors to act based on observations while in the field, and to follow up on valid complaints and referrals.

Altogether, Oregon OSHA issued $144,900 in fines to both companies. The division’s citation to Iron Head Roofing involved a single repeat violation carrying a total proposed penalty of $78,000. The citation to JMJ Construction, which involved several violations, carried a total proposed penalty of $66,900. The violations were as follows: 

Iron Head Roofing

  • Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a fifth repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $78,000.

JMJ Construction

  • Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a fourth repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $58,500.
  • A portable ladder did not extend at least three feet above an upper landing. It was the first repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $4,500.
  • No personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems were put in place while a scaffold was in use. Proposed penalty: $3,900.

Under Oregon OSHA rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat violations. Each of the citations issued to Iron Head Roofing and JMJ Construction also included a standard penalty reduction based on the small size of the company.

Employers have 30 calendar days after receiving a citation to file an appeal. 

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers free resources to help improve workplace safety and health. These resources include the division’s Fall Protection Suite of online video training and its A-to-Z topic page about fall protection

The Fall Protection Suite includes courses addressing fall protection fundamentals, and constructionroofing, and ladder safety. The A-to-Z topic page about fall protection includes a fact sheet about fall protection trigger heights for construction activities✎ EditSign✎ EditSign.

Employers are encouraged to use free resources – available now from Oregon OSHA and involving no fault, no citations, and no penalties – for help protecting their employees:

Consultation services – Provides free and confidential help with safety and health programs, including how to control and eliminate hazards, and hands-on training

Technical staff – Helps employers understand requirements and how to apply them to their worksites

Oregon Governor Candidates Attend Pendleton Round-Up Acknowledging Rural Votes Could Tip The Scales In A Tight Race To Be Oregon’s Next Governor

This year’s race to replace Democratic Gov. Kate Brown at the end of her final term could be the closest contest in years, with three candidates — Democrat Tina Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson — vying for support.

Kotek and Johnson made an appearance at the Cowboy Breakfast, where hundreds of people lined up on a frigid Friday morning as country music played gently in the background.

While Brown sat relaxed eating pancakes, the current candidates seemed more focused on wooing potential votes, weaving between tables and talking about the issues. Their presence lacked subtlety, as staffers wore bright campaign shirts amid the western flair.

Johnson leaned on her experience representing a rural district in Clatsop County, west of the Cascades.

“I am conversant in the vocabulary of rural Oregon,” she told OPB. “All of Eastern Oregon can vote one way on a ballot measure or a candidate and it can get wiped out by Multnomah County.”

Kotek, sporting a pristine black western shirt and off-white cowboy hat, said she’s been to Pendleton multiple times during her campaign, and that she believes a Democrat has a chance to pick up votes in an area where conservative candidates routinely have dominated.

“I’ve been to many parts of our state in the campaign,” Kotek said. “We’re all more successful when the whole state is successful. So I think there’ll be some people out here who will vote for me.”

Candidates also rode in the Westward Ho! Parade, attaching campaign signs to 19th Century-style carriages as they made their way throughout downtown Pendleton, packed crowds of spectators cheering on either side.

Drazan, speaking outside her carriage, said issues like addiction and rising homelessness were affecting rural Oregon in much the same way as urban parts of the state.

“If you’re in a rural community, the impacts can be seen fast,” Drazan said. “It feels like it’s new (in rural areas).”

The political glad-handing at the Round-Up could prove more important this year than normal. The Cook Political Report recently labeled Oregon’s gubernatorial race as “a toss-up,” and some election experts say the state could see its first non-Democratic governor since Vic Atiyeh in the 1980s. The race’s potential close outcome would be a stark contrast to 2018 when Brown won by 7 percentage points.

Rural Oregon counties, especially in the eastern half of the state, traditionally have not swayed many statewide elections. But if the race is tight this year, they could make a difference.

Klamath County Law enforcement is looking for a dangerous criminal.

At approximately 9:45PM Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the Pilot Travel Center in Chemult where they located Molly May Swedenskey who was previously abducted. The person of interest in the abduction, Eric Patrick Koon, age 19, fled south on highway 97 at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

Deputies deployed spike strips, and with the assistance of Oregon State Police the vehicle was brought to a stop off the road near milepost 222 on highway 97. Koon fled into a wooded area armed with a handgun. Law enforcement searched the area for several hours and have been unsuccessful in locating Koon. If you see Eric Patrick Koon do not approach please call 911 immediately.

The following is original press release from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – On 9/18/2022, Eric Koon, Molly Swedenskey’s estranged boyfriend broke into her residence and attempted to abduct her by force. He bound her wrists with zip ties, taped her mouth, and fled only after she escaped and alerted help. 

Molly Swedenskey was last seen by her family on 9/20/2022, at about 1300 hours, located at her residence in Chiloquin, Oregon. Her cell phone and vehicles are accounted for by law enforcement. Left behind at her residence were her two small children both under the age of two. This behavior is extremely abnormal for Molly Swedenskey. 

Eric Koon is believed to be living in his vehicle. He may have been staying in very close proximity to Molly Swedenskey, without her knowing since he fled on 9/18/2022. 

Eric Koon is believed to be in possession of an unknown caliber handgun based on statements from his family. His current mental state is unknown, his cell phone is turned off, and he has ceased communication with his own family. 

  • Koon has a valid felony warrant in Oregon from a prior assault. 
  • Probable Cause exists for Burglary I (ORS 164.225)
  • Probable Cause exists for Kidnap II (ORS 163.225) 

Any information please contact the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line @ (541) 850-5380 

Oregon’s candidates for governor will participate in a televised debate from the Oregon State University-Cascades campus on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The debate among Democrat Tina Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson will be the second time the three candidates take the stage together, following a July forum in front of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. More debates are expected, although not yet announced.

The debate won’t be open to the public, just OSU-Cascades students and invited leaders from the area. It will be broadcast on KTVZ for central Oregon audiences and live-streamed on ktvz.com.

Oregon’s race is historically close this year, in large part because Johnson is running. She was a conservative Democratic legislator for two decades before launching her campaign and has the potential to draw votes from either party.

Polls showing outgoing Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is deeply unpopular with voters also led national forecasters, including the ​​University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and the Cook Political Report, to downgrade the likelihood of a Kotek win. The Center for Politics considers it a tossup and the Cook Report rates the race as “leaning” Democratic, down from “likely.”

With less than two months to go until Election Day and more money coming in daily, the three candidates have raised nearly $30 million combined and spent most of it since beginning their campaigns. Johnson leads the field with more than $11.3 million raised to date, thanks to large contributions from business leaders including Nike co-founder Phil Knight.

Drazan has raised more than $9 million and Kotek nearly $8.7 million. National Democratic and Republican groups are boosting their campaigns, with the Democratic Governors Association giving Kotek almost $1.9 million and the Republican Governors Association sending $2.6 million to Drazan’s campaign.

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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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