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, November 22, 2022
Willamette Valley Weather
One Dead in Head-On Collision in NW Eugene
A driver is dead after colliding with another vehicle in Eugene Tuesday morning just after 5:30 am about a quarter mile north of the intersection of Prairie & Maxwell Rd.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says the driver of a red Pontiac was traveling southbound at a high rate of speed before crossing into the northbound lanes where it collided head-on with a white pick-up.
Officials have confirmed the driver of the red car is dead, and is believed to be at fault. The other driver was unharmed.
This is an ongoing investigation, and officials are asking for the public to be aware of investigators as they remain on scene.
Springfield Police Investigating A Shooting That Has Left One Person Dead
Springfield Police are investigating a shooting that has left one person dead.
Fire officials were called to a medical response on reports of a gunshot wound in the parking lot of “Bobbi’s VIP Lounge” on Tuesday sometime after 2:30 a.m. Shortly before 3 a.m., medics reported that an individual had died.
No one has been booked for this shooting at this time, but that doesn’t mean police do not have someone in custody.
No other information has been released and the incident is still under investigation.
Lane County, partners, attend training at the National Emergency Training Center to prepare for Disasters
Last week, nearly 70 emergency responders from across Lane County attended the Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC), an extensive week-long training at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
“Building relationships before a disaster is key in preparing for and responding to a disaster. This training was an incredible opportunity to bring many of our emergency response partners together to focus on how we work together and what resources we can bring to bear to respond to an event such as a Cascadia Earthquake,” said Lane County Emergency Manager Patence Winningham. “We were fortunate to be selected by FEMA to do this training – only a handful of communities are invited each year.”
The training, which was specific to Lane County, helped participating agencies build the awareness, leadership and communication skills needed to respond to a complex event. It combined classroom lectures and discussions with small-group planning sessions and an immersive exercise designed to increase the coordination among responders and their agencies. The immersive exercise included elements of flooding, dam failure, hazardous materials and more.
The training was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which also provided lodging and airfare for participants.
Participating agencies include: Lane County Government, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, City of Eugene, City of Springfield, City of Veneta, Eugene Police Department, Springfield Police Department, Red Cross, Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), Junction City, Junction City Police Department, Siuslaw Valley Fire & Rescue, PeaceHealth, Oregon Department of Emergency Management, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Human Services, Community Organizations Active in Disaster, Rainbow Water District, Central Aid Agency, and Greenhill Humane Society.
About the National Emergency Training Center
The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is one of the primary training activities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within FEMA, EMI is part of the National Preparedness Directorate’s National Training and Education Division. EMI is collocated with the National Fire Academy and both deliver training at the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
The First Christian Church in Eugene is partnering with Lane County Health and Human Services and CAHOOTS 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
- Gift Cards
- Laundry Cards
- Thermal Underwear
- Flashlights/ Batteries
- Beanies/Warm Hats
- 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.
Governor Brown Pardons 47,144 People For Marijuana Convictions
The Governor’s Office announced Monday that over 45,000 people previously convicted of marijuana possession in Oregon will be pardoned and $14 million in fines forgiven.
Governor Brown is pardoning the 47,144 convictions for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana going back several decades. Criminal convictions, even for possessing small amounts of marijuana that would be legal now, can be barriers to employment, housing and education.
“No one deserves to be forever saddled with the impacts of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana — a crime that is no longer on the books in Oregon,” Brown said in a statement Monday. “Oregonians should never face housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal, and has been for years. My pardon will remove these hardships.”
She noted that while all Oregonians use marijuana at similar rates, Black and Latino people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of marijuana possession at disproportionate rates.
Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union applauded Brown’s action on Monday, saying her move followed an important step by President Joe Biden last month to pardon thousands of people nationwide of federal convictions for marijuana possession.
Officials with the ACLU of Oregon said Brown is the first governor take this action on pardoning.
Sandy Chung, executive director of ACLU of Oregon, said they were grateful for Brown’s use of clemency to address the state’s outdated and racially-biased practices, including policies from the failed “War on Drugs.”
“The path to justice is through our values of equity, care and humanity — not vengeance or criminalization,” Chung said.
According to the Governor’s Office, the pardon applies to electronically available Oregon convictions for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana in pre-2016 cases in which the person was 21 years of age or older, where this was the only charge, and where there were no victims.
This pardon does not apply to any other offense related to marijuana or other controlled substances.
Following Brown’s pardon, the Oregon Judicial Department will ensure that all court records associated with the pardoned offenses are sealed. About $14 million in unpaid court fines and fees associated with the pardoned convictions will be forgiven.
The pardoned marijuana convictions will no longer show up on background checks of public court records, but the conviction may show up on background checks conducted by law enforcement officials or licensing authorities as a pardoned conviction.
Brown said the pardons were a step toward creating a more equitable future for many Oregonians.
“We are a state, and a nation, of second chances,” she said. “Today, I am taking steps to right the wrongs of a flawed, inequitable, and outdated criminal justice system in Oregon when it comes to personal marijuana possession. For the estimated 45,000 individuals who are receiving a pardon for prior state convictions of marijuana possession, this action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”
Jessica Maravilla, policy director of ACLU of Oregon, said by eliminating $14 million in fines and fees, Brown is breaking down a massive barrier many have to housing, schooling, and jobs.
“For low-income communities and people of color, they can result in continued entanglement in the criminal legal system,” she said. “The Governor’s forgiveness of $14,000,000 in fines and fees is a significant step in addressing unjust systemic burdens created by prior convictions — especially, in this case, for a crime that no longer exists.”
President Joe Biden announced Thursday he would pardon people federally convicted of simple possession of marijuana, a measure seen as a strong statement on how such offenses should be handled.
The president’s historic gesture could affect more than 6,500 people but does not affect those convicted at the state level, where most such convictions occur. Biden is hoping states will follow suit.
The notion of legalizing marijuana at the federal level has been gaining steam in recent years, and many states have already approved the substance for medicinal purposes, with a handful giving the OK to recreational use.
Before he was elected, Biden had called for marijuana decriminalization on the campaign trail and in April
pardoned nine federal offenders.
This Statement from the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association is the latest information we have regarding M114 at this time. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
Paid Leave – New Statewide Campaign
Paid Leave Oregon has launched a statewide campaign aimed at notifying Oregon employers about their role and responsibilities in the new program, which begins in just six weeks, on Jan. 1.
To make sure employers are ready to participate in the program, the statewide campaign includes social and digital advertising featuring Oregon employers. High-resolution photos for media from the campaign are available at this link.
Paid Leave Oregon also has a new online employer toolkit, a one-stop place for employers to find all the resources they need to prepare. The toolkit includes the required notice poster, an employer guidebook, a new video, and sample social posts that employers and partners can use to share information with their employees and networks, and much more.
Resources for employers are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese.
“Paid Leave Oregon is here to support employers so they can help their employees prepare for this new program,” Paid Leave Oregon Director Karen Madden Humelbaugh said. “We are excited to share all of these new resources with employers, who we know are still learning about the program and how it will help Oregonians.”
Paid Leave Oregon allows employees to take paid time off for some of life’s most important moments. It covers leave for the birth or adoption of a child, for serious illness or injury, for taking care of a seriously ill family member, and for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment.
The new campaign targets employers, because all employers, regardless of size, will collect contributions from employees starting Jan. 1.
Both employers and employees fund Paid Leave Oregon with a total contribution rate of 1 percent of gross payroll. Employees will pay 60 percent, and large employers will pay 40 percent, of the 1 percent contribution rate. For example, if an employee makes $5,000, the employee will pay $30, and the employer will pay $20.
However, only employers with 25 or more employees also will contribute to the program. Small employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to make contributions, but they can choose to participate in coverage as a benefit to their employees.
“Paid Leave Oregon will make it easy for business owners like us to support employees, and that helps keep trained folks on our team,” said Kathryn Weeks of Peoria Gardens in Linn County.
Peoria Gardens is one of the local Oregon employers featured in the Paid Leave campaign.
“Without this program we could not afford such comprehensive coverage, and we know that our workers are also contributing,” Weeks said. “The state will confirm a worker qualifies, and of course pay for the leave itself out of the fund. This is a real service, both for us and for our employees.”
Paid Leave Oregon will administer the program, including paying employees while they are on leave and determining their eligibility for benefits. Benefits will be available to employees in September 2023. Another statewide campaign focusing on employee outreach begins in 2023. MORE INFO: https://paidleave.oregon.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Increased emergency SNAP benefits continue in December
Need to know
- Most Oregonians who receive SNAP benefits will continue to receive temporarily increased emergency food benefits in December
- Approximately 426,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $70 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits
- These emergency benefits are a temporary support that Oregon can provide because of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency
- Find resources to meet your basic needs: Dial 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org
- Oregon Department of Human Services COVID-19 help center
Most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive emergency allotments in December.
The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since March 2020. This gives SNAP recipients additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. These emergency benefits are a temporary support that Oregon can provide because of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency.
Because the federal government approved these emergency benefits for December, Oregon will also be able to issue them in January 2023. However, the emergency benefits are expected to end when the federal public health emergency ends.
In December, approximately 426,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $70 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits.
“We know that many rely on these additional emergency food benefits to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families,” said Jana McLellan, interim director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Programs. “The holiday season can also bring additional stress and worry for many Oregonians who are still struggling to meet their basic needs and we encourage them to contact our partners at 211, the Oregon Food Bank and their local Community Action Agency for support during this difficult time.”
Current SNAP households will receive emergency allotments on Dec. 13. Emergency allotments will be issued Dec. 30 or Jan. 4, 2023 for households who did not receive benefits in the first monthly issuance.
SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards.
More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Emergency-Allotments.aspx.
Questions about your SNAP benefits should be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075.
If your household receives SNAP and your income or the number of people in your household has changed, it could impact your benefits. It is important to make sure ODHS has the most up-to-date information.
You can report any changes to your income or household in many ways:
- Online at: ONE.Oregon.gov
- By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
- By fax at: 503-378-5628
- By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711
Resources to help meet basic needs
- Find a food pantry: foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org
- Learn about government programs and community resources for older adults and people with disabilities: Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or www.adrcoforegon.org.
- Dial 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org
- Find local resources and support by contacting your local Community Action Agency: www.caporegon.org/find-services/
- Oregon Department of Human Services COVID-19 help center
Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/benefits/Pages/index.aspx . For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.
5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Recorded Off Coos Bay Coast – 4 in 4 Days in Same General Area
An earthquake recorded at 5.2 magnitude shook off the Oregon coast early Monday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Then another 2.9 west of Bandon just a few hours later.
The tremor was reported about 157 miles west of Coos Bay at 7:42 a.m. It was measured at a depth of 10 kilometers.
There was no tsunami danger, the National Weather Service Portland said.
USGS reported a 2.7 magnitude quake in a similar area Sunday morning and another one in the same general region on Friday morning that measured 4.5.
Free parking at Oregon State Parks the day after Thanksgiving — Free Fishing Days after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25-26
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department invites Oregonians to head outside the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25.
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.