Willamette Valley News, Monday 11/21 – Man Dies After Being Assaulted on LTD Bus, Dozens Face Eviction As Guesthouse Inn & Suites In Springfield Prepares To Close Down

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

Monday, November 21, 2022

Willamette Valley Weather

Man Dies After Being Assaulted on LTD Bus

A 30-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder after police said he hit a fellow passenger on an LTD bus in Eugene Saturday morning. Police said the victim was taken to a hospital and later died.

Police said the suspect, Derek Jules Dinnell, fled the scene and was later arrested. On Monday morning, police identified the victim as Travis Allen Sanders, age 69, of Springfield.

According to a news release from the Eugene Police Department, the assault took place around 9:00 a.m. Saturday at the EMX station on 11th Ave, just east of Kincaid Street.

In a statement, LTD officials called the violence “shocking, sickening and maddening” and promised to step up efforts to keep passengers and employees safe.

EPD said just after 9 a.m. Saturday, a man hit another man on a Lane Transit District bus at the EMX stop on East Eleventh Avenue east of Kincaid Street. Police said the unconscious victim was taken to a hospital and died Sunday.

EPD and University of Oregon police officers responded. They detained the suspect at the scene. Eugene police arrested 30-year-old Derek Dinnell for second-degree murder.

69-year-old Travis Sanders, also known as Rodney is being mourned by family and friends – Sanders was killed Saturday after family members said he was assaulted by another man on a Lane Transit District bus on his way to church.

Detectives are continuing to investigate and asking for witnesses to come forward. If anyone has information, you’re asked to call detective Anne McIntyre at (541) 953-9323 or e-mail AMcintyre@eugene-or.gov.

Officials at LTD said while instances of violence do happen on their buses from time to time, it’s not frequent. They said safety is their utmost priority and they have fare inspectors come on their buses periodically.

LTD CEO Jameson Auten said what happened on Saturday raises a bigger concern about what’s happening in their community.

“Our buses don’t operate in a vacuum,” said Auten. “Our buses transport people in the community and when you see stuff that happens in the community, that is going to come on our bus.”

Auten said riders should not be concerned the next time they consider taking an LTD bus.

“We have a security team that looks at what happens on our vehicles,” said Auten. “We have road supervisors to help give people direction. We have surveillance on the vehicle. We have people who are watching what happens at our different stations.’

A full statement from LTD can be seen below:

Fatal Crash on Hwy 58 – Lane County

On Sunday, November 20, 2022 at approximately 6:09 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 58, 25 miles east of Oakridge at milepost 61.

Preliminary investigation revealed a westbound Honda Accord, operated by Amber Shaleene Gonzalez Riddle (26) of Portland, crossed into the oncoming eastbound lane and collided with a Toyota Rav 4, operated by Debra Diane Baker (66) of Sunriver. The Toyota caught fire and became fully engulfed after the occupants were removed. 

Gonzalez Riddle and passengers, Geavony Amor Ferreira (23) of Portland and a 3-year-old female were transported to an area hospital with injuries. An additional passenger, a 5-year-old female sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Baker and her passenger, John Baker (67) of Sunriver, were transported to an area hospital with injuries. 

Hwy 58 was affected for approximately 6 hours while the OSP Collision Reconstruction Unit investigated the scene. This is an active investigation and updates will be provided when available. 

OSP was assisted by Oakridge Fire Department, Central Cascade Fire Department, Oakridge Police Department and ODOT. 

Dozens Face Eviction As Guesthouse Inn & Suites In Springfield Prepares To Close Down

Dozens of people who are living at the GuestHouse Inn & Suites on Gateway Street in Springfield are facing eviction. Some said they were given notices on Oct. 31 informing them their leases would be terminated on Nov. 29. Those facing evictions include families with children, disabled people, and pets.

“90% of us don’t have any place to go,” one resident said. “And the homeless population, well there’s going to be a whole lot of people added. Plus a whole bunch of children.”

“There’s just no time,” Shane Nothwang said. “I have no time with this 30 days. I’m supposed to have 90 days and there’s no time to find anything.”

According to the notice, “Termination by the Landlord must be at least thirty (30) days from the next payment date, if and when terminating within the first year of occupancy. If terminating at any time after the first year, the Landlord must cite a cause and give a 90-day notice in accordance with subsections (5) and (6) of O.R.S. 40.427, or justify cause as otherwise prescribed by law.”

A number of the people living at the motel said they had lived there for longer than one year. Some said they had lived there for as long as three years.

“I’m trying to find a place,” Rebekah Burnell said. “I got my section 8, but even finding any housing is hard right now. I have two little ones and then other people have their little ones.” 

Some residents said they were not provided with any resources to help them find a new place to live, and are worried about whether they will be able to find anywhere to go.

Property management said the looming closure is something people living there had known about since the summer, but residents said the first written notice they had received was the one given to them on Oct. 31.

According to the notice, the reason for termination is, “Guesthouse is being seized on November 30th 2022 by the landowner and the building is to be demolished.”

Plans indicate the building is expected to be demolished starting in February 2023. The Springfield-Eugene Tenant Association has a list of resources on their website for anyone facing eviction.

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.

Lane County and CAHOOTS coordinated an event for the drive last Friday – community members can still drop off items at the church between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays.

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 wish 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.

Lawsuit Filed To Block Measure 114

A federal lawsuit has been filed to block the voter-approved gun regulation Measure 114 three weeks before it’s scheduled to go into effect. It’s one of the nation’s strictest, and the lawsuit claims it is unconstitutional in several ways.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Pendleton by Portland attorney John Kaempf on behalf of three plaintiffs: the Canby-based Oregon Firearm Federation, Sherman County Sheriff Brad Lohrey and Keizer gun store owner Adam Johnson. It names as defendants Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

Measure 114 expands background checks, bans “high-capacity” ammunition magazine clips with more than 10 rounds and requires local entities to offer a training course and a permit process before a firearm can be purchased.

The lawsuit notes that “millions of law-abiding Americans own firearms equipped with magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition,” saying they are popular because “in a confrontation with a violent attacker, having enough ammunition can be the difference between life and death.”

It also alleges that “(Measure) 114 violates multiple constitutional provisions,” as it “impermissibly burdens Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment rights,” also violating the “Takings Clause” by panning possession, along with sales and use, of magazines that were legally acquired before the measure’s approval.

The ban on large-capacity magazines would not apply to current owners, law enforcement or the military.

To qualify for a permit under the measure, an applicant would need to complete an approved, in-person firearm safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a federal criminal background check. The permits would be processed by local police chiefs, county sheriffs or their designees.

Proponents of the measure say it would reduce suicides — which account for 82% of gun deaths in the state — mass shootings and other gun violence.

Opponents, including the left-wing Socialist Rifle Association, say it would infringe on constitutionally protected rights and could reduce gun access among marginalized communities and people of color if law enforcement agencies are the arbiters of the permitting process. They also say permitting fees and the cost of the firearms course could also be barriers to access.

The Oregon State Sheriffs Association came out against the measure after it made the fall ballot. Since its passage, several sheriffs have said they won’t enforce the measure, should it survive legal scrutiny, both on constitutional grounds and due to the added cost amid limited staff. Others have said that enforcement of the measure would not be a priority. You can read the full lawsuit here: https://ktvz.b-cdn.net/2022/11/Measure-114-lawsuit.pdf✎ EditSign (source: www.ktvz.com)

OHA offers $4 million in grants for peer delivered services.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has issued a Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) offering approximately $4 million in grants to incentivize peer-delivered services in Oregon.

The grants will focus on expansion of peer-delivered services through professional development, continuing education opportunities, and workforce training. The funding is being made available under House Bill 4071(formerly House Bill 2949), which invested $60 million to improve access to behavioral health services for people of color, tribal members, and residents of rural areas.

When selecting grantees, OHA’s Office of Recovery and Resilience will prioritize peer-run organizations and programs that serve individuals and groups experiencing inequities in access to health care resources. To be considered peer-run, an organization must be largely run by people with lived experience in addictions or mental health recovery and operate independently from other behavioral health providers.

All funds awarded through the program must be spent by June 30, 2023.

Eligible funding projects must fall under the following categories:

  • Development of culturally specific and linguistically appropriate certification curriculums.
  • Remote and in-person workforce training.
  • Professional development opportunities, employee wellness programs, and incentives to recruit and retain workers.

Interested applicants can learn more about these grant opportunities, eligibility requirements or apply for the funding here.

OHA staff will host community information sessions about the program. Details and access information can be found here.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2022, at 11 p.m. OHA will make award notifications no later than Dec. 31, 2022.

For questions about the grant program contact Beau Rappaport at eau.rappaport@dhsoha.state.or.us“>beau.rappaport@dhsoha.state.or.us.

Oregon Part Of $3 Billion Walmart Opioid Settlement

Oregon will be part of the three-billion-dollar settlement with Walmart over the way their pharmacies dispensed opioids. The money will be divided by the states that sign on to the agreement. At least 43 states need to sign on by the end of the year.

The money will be used to provide opioid addiction treatment and recovery services. The settlement also requires Walmart to take action that will prevent future fraudulent prescriptions from being dispensed. Negotiations are also underway with CVS and Walgreens regarding their expected settlements.

Governor Brown tweeted Saturday that she tested positive for COVID-19

Brown said her and her husband, Dan Little, had just returned from Vietnam when they got the positive test results. She said they were recovering at home. Brown was overseas for the Vietnam-United States Trade Forum.

This comes as a wave of infections is expected to arrive this fall. Oregon officials warn that the combined effects of COVID-19, the flu and RSV – or Respiratory Syncytial Virus – could strain hospitals in the coming months. As people gather and travel for the holidays, it could be a difficult fall and winter to come.

Oregon Economists Expect A ‘Mild’ Recession Beginning In 2023

After months of record revenue growth, Oregon economists now expect the state to enter a “mild” recession next summer.

State economists told a legislative panel Wednesday that economic forecasters in Oregon and around the country anticipate a recession within the next year because inflation remains higher than the Federal Reserve wants it to be, with the Fed expected to continue raising interest rates. In a quarterly report released Wednesday, officials from Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis likened the interest rate hikes to slamming on a car’s brakes.

“Slamming on the brakes of a speeding car will cause it to skid and even fishtail,” the report said. “The question is whether the driver is able to pull out of it or end up in the ditch. Most economists today believe a recession is likely, even if the exact path of the economy is uncertain.”

The forecasted recession envisions losing about 24,000 jobs, primarily in construction, manufacturing and related industries including finance and transportation. It would likely be rougher in the Portland suburbs and central Oregon, where rapid population growth means a significant portion of the local economy is tied to construction.

State economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers the signs of an upcoming recession are different this year than they have been in the past. It will be driven by a decline in housing and business investment due to high interest rates, he said. The current forecast calls for employment rates, which have risen quickly and steadily since plummeting in the early days of the pandemic, to dip in late 2023 and begin rising again the following year.

“It’s rather mild, at least from a historical perspective,” McMullen said.

There are three reasons to expect a mild recession, he said. First, businesses, financial markets and people expect inflation to slow. Second, the labor market has been so tight that employers aren’t likely to let go of workers even if their sales slow. And finally, many people still have higher savings from wage growth, stimulus payments and limited spending during the pandemic – though those savings are concentrated in higher-income households.

Some of the state’s urban areas are most at risk, forecasters said. Clackamas, Columbia, Deschutes, Jackson and Washington counties, along with rural Crook and Gilliam counties, are at highest risk because much of their economies depend on construction, manufacturing or transportation and warehousing. The Portland suburbs, Bend and Prineville are growing quickly with many jobs in housing construction, while 10% of Gilliam County jobs are in transportation or warehousing. That county’s largest employers are landfills.

Other rural counties used to have more volatile economies when they relied on the timber industry and mills would regularly shut down and reopen, McMullen said. Now, those rural counties don’t experience the same economic booms as the rest of the state, but they also don’t see the same downswings in bad economic times.

Meanwhile, Oregon lawmakers will begin drafting the state’s next two-year budget in a couple of months, and they’ll have about $3 billion less to work with than they did during the current two-year budget cycle. That’s because many wealthy Oregonians cashed out capital gains in 2021 and federal stimulus checks increased the amount of money collected in state income taxes.

The state will also pay out in 2024 a record “kicker” tax credit, which is triggered when the state collects more in personal income taxes than it budgeted. Oregonians who paid taxes in 2022 and 2023 will receive credits totalling $3.7 billion when they file their tax returns in 2024, with larger credits for those who paid more in taxes.

“We’ve never seen kickers like this,” McMullen said.

Lawmakers can reduce or eliminate the tax credit with a two-thirds vote – 20 senators and 40 representatives. They did so in the early 1990s, when the nation faced a recession tied to the Gulf  War, and progressive groups have long pushed for legislators to reduce or reform the kicker.

But such a vote seems unlikely next year. Democrats will still have a majority in the Oregon House and Senate, though they lost their supermajorities in both chambers. Getting enough votes to suspend the kicker would require not just every Democrat but multiple Republicans in the House and Senate to vote for it, and GOP legislative leaders have consistently pledged to protect the kicker as is.

“Before we all run away thinking we can quickly spend that kicker on something else or hold it, that’s a high bar and a pretty big lift and there’s probably better things to spend your time on,” Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, warned his colleagues.

Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, asked whether pandemic-induced changes to consumer spending will affect how Oregonians spend their extra money from the kicker. More people purchased goods online than from local brick-and-mortar stores, and it’s unclear how much of the money returned to taxpayers will make it to Oregon businesses.

McMullen said much of the tax rebate already goes to people who may not spend it. People who pay more in taxes receive higher kickers, and while people living paycheck to paycheck spend nearly every dollar they have, people with more money might save their rebates.

Oregon’s lack of a retail sales tax has also made it hard to track spending trends, McMullen said, but the state will have more data because of the corporate activity tax passed in 2019. The tax applies to businesses’ gross receipts and effectively functions as a hidden sales tax because businesses pass the costs on to consumers.

“One place that’s pretty darn clear is that when we give out a big kicker, video lottery sales go through the roof,” McMullen said.

Legislative Democrats and Gov. Kate Brown responded to the forecast by saying Oregon is well-positioned to weather economic challenges. In a statement from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where she is traveling on a trade mission, Brown praised the state’s “continued fiscally responsible decisions.”

“Because we have made prudent financial decisions, the state has the ability, if needed, to invest in resources to help Oregonians who may feel its impacts,” she said. “With this forecast, the Legislature should also be prepared, as they enter the upcoming session, to respond to economic challenges and take meaningful action to benefit Oregon’s working families.”

House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, agreed that Oregon’s almost $1.8 billion in cash reserves leaves the state in a good position. It still would take a three-fifths majority – 18 senators and 36 representatives – to tap into the reserves.

“The state has historic cash reserves and is set up better than ever to handle any potential economic downturn thanks to years of responsible budget management by Democratic leadership,” Rayfield said. “We are poised to take advantage of the upcoming 2023 legislative session, soften the impacts of any potential downturn, make our communities safer and focus investments on working families and communities of color.”

And Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, pledged that Democrats will continue recent spending on health care, housing and other sectors.

“We will continue to build on our recent historic investments in health care, housing, jobs and education,” Wagner said. “Due to the fiscally responsible leadership of Oregon Democrats, our state’s budget reserves are currently the strongest they’ve ever been in Oregon’s history.”

His counterpart in the House, Rep. Julie Fahey of West Eugene, said spending by the Oregon Legislature and recent federal money from the Biden-Harris administration made the state’s economy strong. She called for continued spending to address the state’s ongoing affordable housing crisis, provide support for mental and behavioral health and drive down the cost of living.

“We also know that should a global recession hit, Oregon is prepared to mitigate its impact because of the work Democrats have done to set aside historic levels of reserves,” Fahey said. “This work will allow us to continue supporting our most vulnerable communities.”

Legislative Republican leaders, meanwhile, issued a joint statement saying it was a time to be cautious and prepared.

“Hard-working Oregonians continue to pay the price of high inflation and take the brunt of the current recession,” said Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend. “The upcoming legislative budget and policy decisions made around the economy must be focused on relieving their burden, not adding to it.”

Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, R-Prineville and the House minority leader, added that legislative Republicans will oppose any new taxes.

“Oregonians spoke in the recent election by breaking the supermajority in the Legislature,” she said. “Republicans will respond in the upcoming legislative session by holding strong against growing government or taxes.”

Stephanie Kim appointed to Oregon Arts Commission

Stephanie Kim

Salem, Oregon – Stephanie Kim of Hillsboro, a senior color designer at Nike, has been appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission by Governor Kate Brown. 

Kim received her BFA in textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design. Upon graduating she pursued NYC’s fashion industry, working for various brands like Ann Taylor, Tory Burch and Tibi until she was recruited by Nike in 2016. She currently works as a senior color designer for Nike Women’s Footwear.

“We are thrilled to have Stephanie join the Arts Commission,” said Commission Chair Jenny Green. “Her experience and appreciation of the power of the arts, added to her passion for arts access, will contribute to the work of the Commission and our focused effort to bring the arts to previously underserved audiences.”

Kim has established roots in Oregon and believes in serving her local community. She currently sits as a board member on the Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council and Five Oaks Museum and is actively serving as a mentor in her Korean immigrant community.

“I strongly believe in the power of art and feel it is my duty to be a bridge for Korean immigrants and the wider Asian community to fully integrate into society and create accessibility in the arts,” said Kim.

Kim begins her four-year term immediately.

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at: www.oregonartscommission.org.

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. 

Free Fishing Days after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25-26

#OptOutside the two days after Thanksgiving and make fishing part of your plans with friends and family. Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25 and 26, 2022.

No fishing/shellfish licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement or Two-Rod Validation) are required those two days. Both Oregon residents and nonresidents can fish for free.

All other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. See the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for rules and remember to check for any in season regulation changes at the Recreation Report especially for salmon and steelhead fishing. Click on the zone where you want to fish and then click the “Regulation Updates” tab to see the in-season changes.

The Recreation Report is updated weekly and features the best bests for fishing for the upcoming week. Depending on water levels and conditions, fishing could be good for Chinook or coho salmon.

For beginners, Easy Angling Oregon is a great guide to getting started fishing in Oregon, https://myodfw.com/EAO And if you live near Portland Bend Medford Roseburg or in Lane County , there are lots of nearby options.

Prefer to crab or clam instead? MyODFW has all the information you need to get started clamming or crabbing . Remember to check ocean conditions and take safety precautions: always clam with a friend and never turn your back on the ocean.

Currently, crabbing is open in bays, beaches, estuaries, tide pools, piers and jetties along the entire Oregon coast. Crabbing is closed in the ocean due to the annual closure from Oct. 16-Nov. 30 each year.

Remember to call the ODA Shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 or check their Shellfish page before you go clamming or crabbing. The Oregon Department of Agriculture regularly tests shellfish and closes areas when naturally occurring biotoxins get to levels that make crabs and clams unsafe to eat. Currently, razor clamming is closed along the entire coast but this closure may change by Thanksgiving weekend.



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