Willamette Valley News, Friday 11/18 – Oregon State Police Trooper Discovered 12 Pounds Of Fentanyl During Traffic Stop South Of Albany, ‘Operation Winter Survival Stockpile’ Donation Drive Today

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, November 18, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

‘Operation Winter Survival Stockpile’ Donation Drive Today

The First Christian Church in Eugene is partnering with Lane County Health and Human Services to help with the newly-announced Operation Winter Survival Stockpile, an effort to have plenty of warm winter clothing and supplies through donations that will help people experiencing homelessness.

To help kick off the effort, CAHOOTS and the First Christian Church at 1166 Oak St. will host a one-day donation drive where community members can drop off donations on Friday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After the drive, community members will be able to drop off items at the church between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.

“We can use your skills to help adults and young people, veterans and elderly, The huge diverse population of people who live outside to receive human compassion, a warm indoor place to be and relationships,” said Zane Riding, a Co-Pastor at Eugene First Christian Church.

Some of the items they need include things like tents, blankets, sleeping bags, hand warmers, and anything else that can be used to keep someone warm as well as other survival supplies. Lane County officials say the supplies would be distributed to homeless outreach providers like CAHOOTS that have direct contact with individuals in need.

Some items that Operation Winter Survival Stockpile’s looking for are:

  • Tents – preferably 2 person
  • Blankets – preferably wool
  • Rain ponchos
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Hand Warmers
  • Socks – preferably wool
  • Tarps
  • Gift Cards
  • Laundry Cards
  • Footwear
  • Thermal Underwear
  • Flashlights/ Batteries
  • Beanies/Warm Hats
  • Gloves
  • Other survival supplies

Items can continued to be dropped off on weekdays between the hours if 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at First Christian Church, at 1166 Oak Street in Eugene.

For more information on Operation Winter Survival Stockpile contact Maria Cortex at Maria.Cortez@lanecountyor.gov

For those who don’t want to donate in-person, or are just looking for ideas on what to donate, the church has set up an Amazon wish list for Operation Winter Stockpile.

Oregon State Police Trooper Discovered 12 Pounds Of Fentanyl During Traffic Stop South Of Albany

On November 16, 2022, at approximately 10:30 p.m., an Oregon State Police Senior Trooper stopped a passenger car for failure to drive within its lane of travel on Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 227 south of Albany. 

During the traffic stop, the Trooper noticed signs of criminal activity and requested consent to search, which was granted by the occupants of the vehicle.  

During a search of the vehicle, the Trooper located five large plastic bags, approximately 12 lbs., of suspected fentanyl pills concealed in the trunk of the vehicle.

The driver was identified as Jose Manuel Gonzalez Obeso (22) and the passenger was identified as Carla Joanna Castillo Arce (18) both from Scottsdale, Arizona.  Both subjects were released after being interviewed about their involvement and charges will be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office.

OSP Troopers were assisted during the investigation by Detectives from the OSP-Criminal Investigations Division-Drug Enforcement Section (Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative), Special Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration – Salem Resident Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon – Portland Office. 
The Oregon State Police-Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including the OSP-DHE Initiative.

Eugene Police Asking For the Public’s Help In Locating A Man With Nationwide Warrant 

The Eugene Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a man they say has a nationwide warrant and was indicted on 30 separate charges related to drug possession and delivery.

EPD says they’re looking for Joe Anthony Harker, 38 of Eugene. EPD says Harker was a suspect of multiple large Street Crimes Unit operations in 2022, including fentanyl dealing and child neglect cases. Harker was most recently arrested in a September operation that led to the seizure of more than $200,000 worth of drugs, as well as other illicit items.

EPD says Harker has skipped his court dates and is now wanted. He was indicted on 30 charges on November 8, and a National Crime Information Center warrant that lists numerous drug-related charges was created for his arrest. The EPD believes Harker is still in Eugene with his wife, Shayla Kaylawray Bennett, 28, who is a co-defendant but is showing up to her court dates and thus is not wanted. Police say Bennett has been renting hotel rooms in the area and both she and Harker are staying in them.

Eugene police say not to approach Harker, and instead to contact SCU officer Joshua Sundquist with information. Officer Sundquist can be reached by text or phone at 541-868-5096, and police say any information received will be treated as confidential.

Harker’s warrant has him listed for unlawful delivery of heroin, cocaine, an unnamed schedule II controlled substance and methamphetamine, as well as unlawful possession of heroin, cocaine, an unnamed schedule II controlled substance and meth, and in addition lists charges of being a felon in possession of body armor.

Fatal Crash on Hwy 99W South of Monmouth

On Thursday, November 17, 2022 at approximately 4:00 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 99W, 7 miles south of Monmouth. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a northbound Infinity G37, operated by a 17-year old male of Lacy, Washington, crossed into the southbound lane colliding with a Subaru Legacy, operated by Brian Pillette (69) of Adair Village. 

Brian Pillette and a passenger, a 2-year old female, were transported to an area hospital with injuries. An additional passenger, Lori Pillette (64) of Adair Village, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. The 17-year old male and his passenger, Hermino Cabrera (42) of Lacy, Washington received minor injuries and were also transported to an area hospital. 

OSP was assisted by Polk County Fire Department and Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  

Federal Energy Regulator Gives Final Go-Ahead For Historic Klamath Dam Removal Plan 

Dam removal, and river restoration to start in mid-2023

Klamath River Basin, California, and Oregon — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its final approval Thursday for a plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon. 

The order paves the way for enactment of a settlement agreement nearly 15 years in the making by California, Oregon, the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, Berkshire Hathaway Energy-owned utility company PacifiCorp, fishing groups, and other stakeholders to carry out the ambitious plan to remove dams, and address fish populations, river health and Tribal communities and cultures.

In its ruling, FERC commissioners found “surrender of the Lower Klamath Project license and removal of the project to be in the public interest and grant the Renewal Corporation’s surrender application, subject to terms and conditions and acceptance of the license transfer.”

The approval of the dam removal plan provides the final ruling from the federal regulator needed for parties to fully implement the Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement as signed in 2016. In June 2021, FERC approved allowing dam owner PacifiCorp to be removed from the license for the hydroelectric project and transfer it to the states of California and Oregon and the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) as co-licensees to carry out removal of the dams pending final sign-off on the dam removal plan.

Following formal acceptance of the license transfer by the states and the KRRC, parties led by the KRRC will take a number of pre-construction steps during 2023 to lay the groundwork to complete removal of the dams. The Copco No. 2 dam will be removed as soon as the summer of 2023 under the approved plan, with removal of J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1 and Iron Gate dams planned during 2024. The four dams are located in Klamath County, Oregon and Siskiyou County California.

Settlement party statements

“Today’s action culminates more than a decade of work to revitalize the Klamath River and its vital role in the tribal communities, cultures and livelihoods sustained by it. California is grateful for the partnership of Oregon, the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, Berkshire Hathaway and the many other stakeholders who came together to make this transformative effort a reality for the generations to come.”

 – California Governor Gavin Newsom

“This enormous step forward will make historic progress in revitalizing the Klamath River, which is vital to the sustainability of all communities in the Klamath Basin. Beyond ecological restoration, this is also an act of restorative justice. Since time immemorial, the Indigenous peoples of the Klamath Basin have preserved the lands, waters, fish, and wildlife of this treasured region — and this project will not only improve its water and fish habitat, but also boost our economy,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I am grateful for the hard work and perseverance of the region’s tribes, and the partnership of California, who have come together for many years to make this possible.”

 – Oregon Governor Kate Brown

“The Klamath salmon are coming home. The people have earned this victory and with it, we carry on our sacred duty to the fish that have sustained our people since the beginning of time.” 

 – Yurok Chairman Joseph James

“Today’s victory was well earned by the thousands of people who fought for clean water, healthy fisheries, and environmental justice for Klamath River communities. I am grateful to everyone, from the youth to the elders, Governors Newsom and Brown, and the team from PacifiCorp who made this victory possible.”

 – Karuk Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebary

“Today’s ruling is a major achievement for everyone who developed and helped advance this historic agreement over many years. I want to wholeheartedly thank the leadership of Yurok and Karuk tribes, Governors Newsom and Brown and their predecessors, and all of our partners who remained committed to resolving this complex and difficult issue through settlement.

– PacifiCorp President and CEO Stefan Bird

“This is an incredible milestone and key step forward on the path to accomplishing KRRC’s core mission to remove the four lower Klamath dams. Today’s decision is the culmination of decades of collective work by our many dedicated partners and relentless champions of a restored Klamath River to reconnect a basin that had been cut in half for more than a century.”

 – KRRC Board President Brian Johnson

Labor Union Considers Lawsuits Against Kroger Owned Fred Meyer For Shorting Worker’s Paychecks

A labor union that represents workers at Fred Meyer and QFC stores in Oregon, southwest Washington, Idaho and Wyoming, said on Thursday that they are connecting grocery workers with attorneys after a series of disrupted paychecks.

Local 555: United Food and Commercial Workers Union said Fred Meyer and QFC stores have been issuing incorrect, short or late paychecks.

Lisa Loucks, UFCW 555 grievance director, said that while the union has a “very strong grievance procedure,” they are also connecting members to attorneys to help them get compensation for hardships caused by payment issues.

“As the damage is ongoing and is becoming more than just a simple correction on next week’s check, we are helping our members get help from outside attorneys who may be able to initiate class-action lawsuits to not only recover their lost wages, but also assess and possibly recover additional punitive damages not available under the labor agreement,” Loucks said.

Dan Clay, UFCW Local 555 union president, said workers are being pushed into a financial hole by the delayed income.

“Kroger, who owns Fred Meyer and QFC, implemented new accounting software they didn’t know how to use,” Clay said. “When you are living paycheck to paycheck, a short or missed check isn’t just a temporary inconvenience; it can mean racking up late payments on rent and bills, skipped meals, and struggling to afford gas.”

A spokesperson for Fred Meyer said they are working to quickly resolve known issues with the new payment software.

Gun Sales Skyrocketing In Oregon After Passage Of Measure 114

With three weeks until Measure 114 officially becomes law in Oregon, there’s a rush to buy guns, ammo, and magazines.

Oregon State Police said since the election, applications for background checks have jumped nearly 400%. Gun stores around the metro area agreed with that statistic saying customers have been coming in nonstop. At one store in Milwaukie, there was a line of about 30 people waiting to get inside before the doors even opened. When they did, it was almost shoulder-to-shoulder inside.

The Oregon State Police (OSP) is aware that the public has many questions regarding Ballot Measure 114.  The Oregon Secretary of State’s office notified OSP that Ballot Measure 114 will go into effect at 12:00 a.m. on December 8, 2022.  The Oregon State Police is working very closely with the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police to assess the required processes that need to be completed to implement this law.

Measure 114 expands background checks, requires gun owners to take a training course for a permit before they can even buy a gun, ban magazine clips that have more than 10 rounds, and registers all gun owners in a database run by Oregon State Police. Local law enforcement agencies, like the Marion and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Offices, said they’re working to understand what role they play in implementing the new law.

So far, the Union County and Linn County Sheriff’s announced they’re not going to enforce Measure 114. With the clock ticking on it becoming law, Oregon’s gun owners are anxious to see what’s next.

For the month of November 2022, approximately 63% of the requests received into the OSP Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) unit have been approved. The remaining transactions must be evaluated by an OSP employee to determine what caused the person to be kicked out of the automated process.  If applicable a manual correction can be made, and the application can be approved. 

Here are some important notes to consider when submitting for a Firearms purchase or transfer that could exclude you from the automated process:

  • If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime in Oregon or any other state.
  • If you have incomplete or incorrect information listed on federal ATF Form 4473
    • Potential Fix- Double-check the information for accuracy.
  • If your registered DMV address does not match the address listed on federal ATF Form 4473
    • Potential Fix- Update your personal address with DMV.

This unit has been working through these extreme firearms request volumes and will continue to process them as quickly as possible.  

The FICS unit’s hours of operation is set in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS), and largely determined by retail hours.  FICS is open and processing background checks from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week 363 days a year with only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off. 

For more information about the Oregon State Police’s Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) including how to complete a Firearm Pre-Purchase Self-Assessment Questionnaire click here: 


Oregon’s Predicted 2024 Kicker Rebate Grows To $3.7 Billion Ahead Of Likely Mild Recession

Oregon income levels remain strong despite worries about a potential recession and that has pushed state economists’ expectations for tax revenues up yet again, in the latest forecast they delivered to lawmakers on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

One likely upshot is that taxpayers will receive an even larger “kicker” tax rebate on their 2023 taxes when they file returns in 2024: $3.7 billion total, up from $3.5 billion just three months ago.

At the same time, economists Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner said they now believe it’s more likely Oregon will experience a recession in the near future. They incorporated a recession starting next year in their revenue and economic forecasts.“It’s rather mild from a historical perspective,” McMullen said of the recession the state economists included in their modeling.

Oregon lawmakers will start working on the next two-year budget in a couple of months and economists had already predicted months ago that lawmakers would have approximately $3 billion less in revenue compared with the current budget cycle. That is because economists expected the state’s long run of windfall tax revenues, which was fueled in part by federal pandemic stimulus programs and upper income Oregonians cashing out capital gains, to slow down.

In 2021, Oregon tax filers reported 77.9% more capital gains income than in the previous year. By contrast, tax filers’ reported wage income only grew 5.8% in 2021, according to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

“2021 was a great time to cash in your stocks or sell your business or the like,” McMullen said.

Oregon’s current two-year general fund and lottery budget is $29.3 billion, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office. For the 2023-2025 budget cycle, state economists currently expect lawmakers will have $30.7 billion in general fund and lottery money to allocate.

“It’s going to make it more difficult to write the budget,” McMullen said.

The state is also on track to have $2 billion saved up in a general rainy day fund and a specific account for “education stability,” Lehner said. However, lawmakers can only appropriate money from the savings accounts by a three-fifths vote and that will require bipartisan support next year because Republicans picked up enough seats this month to eliminate Democrats’ state House and Senate supermajorities.

3 Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide In Beaverton

Three people are dead after an apparent murder-suicide at a home in Oregon, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday night.

Police said deputies responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at a home on Wednesday shortly after 8 p.m.

Deputies arrived to find two people dead outside the house.

A third person, 46-year-old Carlos Jimenez-Vargas, was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Investigators said they believe Jimenez-Vargas shot the other two people during an argument before killing himself.

The sheriff’s office has not released the names of the two victims in the case.

Police said an investigation is ongoing.

Free parking at Oregon State Parks the day after Thanksgiving

SALEM, Oregon – Oregon Parks and Recreation Department invites Oregonians to head outside the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25.

North Falls at Silver Falls State Park
North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

Popularly known as “Green Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving has become a tradition in recent years. Oregon state parks will once again waive day-use parking fees in the 24 parks that are open and charge for parking on that day.

“We’re proud to promote this tradition and offer Oregonians an alternative to the busiest shopping day of the year,” said Lisa Sumption, director of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the parks that charge $5 daily for parking. Fee parks include popular destinations such as Fort Stevens, Cape Lookout, Silver Falls, Champoeg, L.L. Stub Stewart, Smith Rock and Milo McIver. A complete list of parks that require day-use parking permits is available online at stateparks.oregon.gov (Fall Creek is listed, but closed for the season).

The fee waiver applies from open to close on Nov. 25, except at Shore Acres State Park, where it expires at 4 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. 

Use #OptOutside and #OregonStateParks on social media to share your adventures.  Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. 


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