Willamette Valley News, Friday 1/6 – EPD/SWAT Use Flashbang Grenades Executing Search Warrant, Eugene Police Still Seeking Tips in Hit and Run Pedestrian Crash

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, January 6, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

EPD/SWAT Use Flashbang Grenades  Executing Search Warrant

An investigation is ongoing after Eugene Police Department and SWAT searched a home early Wednesday morning.

May be an image of 1 person and outdoors

According to EPD, their Street Crimes Unit and SWAT team searched a home on Autumn Avenue at about 6 a.m. on January 4. Police said the circumstances of the situation were deemed dangerous enough to warrant the deployment of the SWAT team. The warrant was for drug-related crimes, child neglect, felon in possession of a firearm, and unlawful use of a firearm, according to police.

Eugene police did not release a name for the suspect being searched. EPD officials said flashbang grenades were used during the service of the warrant, possibly disturbing neighbors. EPD would like to make it clear that there is no ongoing threat to the public.

EPD said an investigation into the crimes is continuing and they will release more information, including the charges and information about an arrest, after the investigation progresses further.

Eugene Police Still Seeking Tips in Hit and Run Pedestrian Crash

UPDATE: SEEKING TIPS 5:53 P.M. JANUARY 3, 2023 At 4:17 p.m. a female pedestrian, age 60, was struck crossing W. 6th Avenue on Lincoln by a vehicle that fled the scene west on W. 6th Avenue, possibly getting onto I-105 eastbound.

The woman has been transported to a local hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries. The suspect vehicle is described as a black sedan, possibly a Honda Civic. There is possible front-end damage near the passenger side headlight and hood.

If anybody has tips or possibly in-car cam footage please call 541.682.5138. Case 22-00129 The roadway has been reopened to traffic.

PREVIOUS INFORMATION: 4:34 P.M. JANUARY 3, 2023Avoid 6th Avenue from Lincoln to LawrencePlease avoid 6th Avenue from Lincoln to Lawrence. It is currently shut down while emergency responders are in the area for a vehicle-pedestrian crash. The area will be restricted until further notice. Incident number 23-002277

Lane County Awarded $3.1 Million Of Federal Dollars To Fund Infrastructure Projects

Lane County commissioners state federal money was approved to provide funding for key infrastructure projects. 

Approximately $3.1 million is going to be given to the county. The three projects to be funded are community-initiated, meaning congressional leaders spoke directly with local officials to find out what the community needs.

According to the board these projects address public safety directly. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is getting $176,000 to update its dispatch center consoles. For dispatchers, this will be the first upgrade to their workstations in more than 15 years.

“Incredibly high-stress, high-stakes work, with really outdated equipment,” said Laurie Trieger, vice-chair of the Lane County Board of Commissioners. “Just for their physical comfort, it’s a  24/7, 365 operation and they really deserve to have upgraded and good equipment that they can work from.”

The bulk of the money is being given to two other projects. One is a behavioral health stabilization center and another is a facility with the capabilities to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes. They both received $1.5 million. Lane County also reached out to the state legislature for additional funding for a natural disaster facility. This could be built at the Lane County Fairgrounds to help respond to earthquakes, among other things.

“Having a structure there that can withstand in the event of Cascadia, the big one, it will be really important to have a facility that we know will not only be standing but be operational and safe,” said Commissioner Trieger.

Regarding the behavioral health center, Trieger says the facility will do much to help people suffering from mental health issues as well as law enforcement and other emergency services.

“Someone who is acting out because they are in a behavioral health crisis in a way that calls the attention of law enforcement,” Trieger said. “That law enforcement officer will be able to take them to the stabilization center, which will provide trauma-informed care.”

Commissioner Trieger also says all of the work done by the county is always done collaboratively. United Front, a federal lobbying group, is a major part of that. Lane County, and its agencies, craft an agenda each year relating to their needs.

ROAD CLOSURE: Austa Road (Walton)

Road Name:Austa Road
Location:Walton area – Austa Road railroad overcrossing near the Wildcat Creek Covered Bridge
Begin Closure:Milepost 0
End Closure:Milepost 0.12
Dates and times:Weekday closures (7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) from Monday, January 9, through Friday, February 3. 
Alternate routes: Richardson Upriver Road
Reason for closure:  Work on railroad overcrossing

More Oregon Families Now Qualify for Affordable Child Care Program

Non-working students among the newly eligible for the Employment Related Day Care program, efforts to increase provider capacity continue

Need to know

  • The Employment Related Day Care program is expanding effective Jan. 1
  • Students can now qualify to receive child care support regardless of their employment status
  • Many families will qualify for more child care assistance, including students for study time and caretakers who work night shifts

(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and Early Learning Division (ELD) of the Department of Education are excited to announce expanded eligibility for affordable child care through the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program. The expansion took effect on Jan. 1 and is among the provisions of House Bill 3073 of the 2021 Legislative Session, which also creates the new Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC).

“For many families the cost of child care can be a barrier to meeting their educational goals and entering and staying in the workforce,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “By expanding access to the ERDC program, Oregon is significantly enhancing the support it provides to families to strengthen their well-being.” 

The primary changes to the program mean that students—in high school, a GED program, or  college—no longer need to work to qualify for the child care assistance. Plus, all students will receive additional child care hours each week for study time. Additionally, many families will qualify for more child care hours due to a change in the way part-time and full-time coverage is calculated.

The ERDC program, currently administered by ODHS, will move to DELC on July 1, 2023, when the agency is officially established. Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee shared her excitement about the expanded eligibility and the program’s transition.

“Continuing one’s education is a full-time job, and I am excited that individuals pursuing their education in Oregon will have access to affordable child care,” said ELD Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “This, along with the change to part-time and full-time hours, are critical steps toward making ERDC more accessible and more advantageous for families. I look forward to the program officially joining DELC alongside our other early learning and child care resources.”

Other provisions in the expansion include:

  • All ERDC families are now eligible for sleep hours when a caretaker works a night shift
  • Caretakers on medical leave for their own condition or their child’s can receive ERDC benefits
  • ERDC participants can continue to use their child care benefits when on leave to care for someone outside of their household

ELD created an infographic describing how the Jan. 1 changes to ERDC expands opportunities for families. It is available in five languages and is linked below. 

To help meet the increased demand for child care slots, ODHS and ELD are partnering to expand provider capacity by recruiting licensed child care providers who do not accept ERDC into the program. 

About the Oregon Department of Human Services

The mission of the Oregon Department of Human Services is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.

About the Early Learning Division

The ELD is a division within the Department of Education that is responsible for oversight of a statewide early care and education service delivery system. It is responsible for the administration of state and federal early care and education programs as well as the design and implementation of Oregon’s child care work. ELD values equity, dedication, integrity, and collective wisdom in making a positive impact to benefit Oregon’s children and families.

Testing homes for radon gas is now more important than ever

State program urges home testing during Radon Action Month

PORTLAND, Ore.— The best time to test for radon is during the heating season – the winter months – when windows and doors are closed tight. It’s why Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recognizes National Radon Action Month during January by encouraging people to test their homes for the odorless, tasteless, invisible gas.

Many parts of Oregon remain at risk of high radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes up from the ground and is drawn into buildings, where it can build up to dangerous levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking, and it’s the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

But people can take steps to reduce their exposure to radon by testing their homes for the gas and, if necessary, hiring a professional to reduce radon to a safe level.

“Now, more than ever, we are spending more time in our homes. That means more exposure to potentially high radon levels,” said Jara Popinga, OHA’s Radon Awareness Program coordinator. “The only way to know if you have a high radon level is to test. The best time to test for radon is during the heating season or colder months when the windows and doors are closed for long periods of time.”

Many test kits are priced between $20 and $30 and can be found in most hardware stores or available for purchase from online retailers. High radon levels can be fixed by a certified radon professional for a cost similar to that of common home repairs ranging between $2,000 and $3,000, such as painting or having a new water heater installed.

The Radon Awareness Program collects radon test data from test kit manufacturers to understand which areas of the state have the potential for high radon levels and to identify regions where educational outreach efforts need to be focused. The program is offering a free radon test kit to residents whose homes are in ZIP codes with fewer than 20 radon test results. Residents can learn more about the free radon test kit program and how to apply at www.healthoregon.org/radon. Free test kits are available while supplies last.

For more information on which areas of the state are at moderate to high risk of elevated radon levels, radon testing and mitigation or to order a test kit online, contact the Radon Awareness Program at adon.program@state.or.us“>radon.program@state.or.us or visit www.healthoregon.org/radon.

Oregon To Return Over $10 Million In Unclaimed Funds To Oregonians

The state of Oregon is set to return around $10 million in unclaimed funds to individuals in 2023 as part of its “Checks Without Claims” initiative.

The program, which will be the largest disbursement of funds by the state’s Unclaimed Property Program to date, will take place in three phases beginning in February.

The initiative will see payments disbursed to verified owners of unclaimed funds reported to the state in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

People identified as the owner of unclaimed funds will be notified by mail from Treasurer Tobias Read a month prior to receiving payment, which will be sent in the form of a check and accompanied by a confirmation letter.

The program aims to reconnect more Oregonians with their unclaimed money and property and will exclude payments to owners of more complex claims, such as safety deposit boxes, securities, or co-owned property.

Recreational Ocean And Bay Crabbing Reopened Coastwide

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and ODFW reopens all recreational crabbing (ocean, bays, and estuaries) along the entire Oregon coast. Two consecutive tests show domoic acid levels are under the closure threshold.

Recreational bay clam and mussel harvesting also remain open along the entire Oregon coast. However, razor clamming is still closed coastwide .

ODA tests for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.

It is recommended that recreational crab harvesters always eviscerate crab before cooking. This includes removing and discarding the viscera, internal organs, and gills.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800)448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA shellfish biotoxin closures webpage.

Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules and limits.

High Desert Museum Now Accepting Submissions for the 2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize

BEND, OR — The High Desert Museum is now accepting submissions for the 2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize.

The Prize honors outstanding literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting. Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers are invited to apply.

The Museum will award one writer with a $3,000 cash award as part of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize. The Prize also includes a reading and reception at the Museum in Bend on September 14, 2023 and a residency at PLAYA at Summer Lake, an arts and sciences residency campus located in Summer Lake, Oregon that sits on the edge of the Great Basin in Southern Oregon. The tranquil natural setting is a hidden gem for artists to focus on their work.

To learn more about the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and how to submit an entry, visit highdesertmuseum.org/waterston-prize. Submissions will be accepted through May 1, 2023.

The guest judge for this year’s Waterston Desert Writing Prize is Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest (Lummi). Her literary debut, Patriarchy Blues, was published in 2017. The poetry collection received the American Book Award. Priest holds a Master of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and is the Maxine Cushing Gray Distinguished Writers Fellow at the University of Washington. Priest’s most recent book, Northwest Know-How: Beaches, is a love letter to 29 of the most beloved beaches in Washington and Oregon. Priest is the first Indigenous poet laureate of the state of Washington.

Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of the High Desert, a region that has been her muse for more than 40 years, the Prize launched in 2014 and annually recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide in the ecosystem and human narrative. 

“The many gifted writers who submit their work expand how we think about deserts,” said Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “We look forward to how our perspectives will grow this year.”

The mission of the High Desert Museum’s Waterston Desert Writing Prize is to strengthen and support the literary arts and humanities in the High Desert region through recognition of literary excellence in nonfiction writing about desert landscapes, community interaction with the winning authors of the Prize, and presentations and programs that take place in association with the Prize.

In August 2020, the High Desert Museum’s official adoption of the Waterston Desert Writing Prize was announced. Since its inception, the awards ceremony has been hosted by the Museum. The mission and goals of the Prize complement those of the High Desert Museum, emphasizing the importance of protecting deserts and creating important conversations about the issues affecting them. 

“The Waterston Desert Writing Prize continues to grow in its fourth year as a High Desert Museum program,” said Ellen Waterston. “The Museum support of the literary arts has helped us reach new audiences.”

The winner of the 2022 Waterston Desert Writing Prize was Caroline Tracey. Her submission, “SALT LAKES,” is a collection of 18 essays providing a queer perspective on climate change in arid environments. Salt lakes make up approximately one third of inland waters globally and provide crucial wildlife habitat. These important bodies of water are shrinking and becoming more saline due to increased evaporation from a warming climate, secondary salinization from irrigation of desert soils and other factors. 

ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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