Willamette Valley News, Tuesday 1/10 – Lane County Sheriff’s Detectives Received Donation For Software To Assist With Sex Crime Investigations, UPDATE: Hit-and-Run Fatal Pedestrian Crash in Eugene

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, January 10, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

Lane County Sheriff’s Detectives Received Donation For Software To Assist With Sex Crime Investigations

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Lane County Sheriff’s Office detectives will soon have access to new software that will aid them in processing digital evidence. 

Operation Underground Railroad, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to protect children from sex trafficking and exploitation, has donated $3,000 to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.

This donation will be used to purchase Griffeye, a software that analyzes digital evidence, including photos and videos, and can be programmed to detect illegal images such as child pornography. 

Detectives currently have to manually analyze every single piece of digital evidence, an inefficient and mentally taxing process.  The donation will fund the software purchase for two years and should result in more efficient detection and analysis of digital evidence. 

UPDATE: Hit-and-Run Fatal Pedestrian Crash in Eugene

Eugene Police said Tuesday that the vehicle believed to have been involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash Sunday evening has been located.

Police did not release any other details on the vehicle or the ongoing investigation.

Police Need Tips in Another Hit-and-Run Fatal Pedestrian Crash in Eugene

Fatal hit-and-run at 7th Ave and Van Buren Sunday night — Eugene Police say the suspect vehicle in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run Sunday night is a light-colored 2006-2009 Land Rover. “The crash, which is a fatal pedestrian/vehicle crash, occurred at approximately 9:18 p.m. near W. 7th Avenue and Blair Boulevard,” EPD stated.

The Eugene Police Major Collision Investigation team is investigating. 

All but one of the eastbound lanes of 7th Ave will be closed until further notice, EPD said. No further information has been released. No word on other injuries.

Eugene Police Still Seeking Tips in Hit and Run Pedestrian Crash

UPDATE: SEEKING TIPS — 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

Oregon’s New Governor Sworn In – First Order Of Business Declare Homeless Emergency

Governor Tina Kotek took office Monday, Jan. 9, reciting the Oath of Office in a swearing-in ceremony before the state senate and house of representatives at the state capitol building in Salem.

Oregon’s Democratic Governor Tina Kotek said Monday at her inauguration that her first order of business will be tackling homelessness, as she unveiled measures intended to address one of the state’s most pressing issues.

In her inaugural address at the Capitol in Salem, Kotek said that on her first full day in office, she will declare a homeless state of emergency and sign an executive order to increase housing construction. She also proposed a $130-million emergency investment to help unsheltered people move off the streets.

“Imagine an Oregon where no one has to live in a tent on the sidewalk,” Kotek said. “That’s an Oregon worth fighting for, and today is a new beginning. “Our state’s response must meet the urgency of the humanitarian crisis we are facing,” she added.

Oregon has struggled for years to address a housing shortage and interwoven crises related to homelessness, addiction and mental health. The state’s homeless population has increased by more than 22% since 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Oregon also has the highest drug addiction rate of any state and ranks last in access to mental health treatment, according to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Kotek also pledged to unite Oregonians after a bitter gubernatorial race — the tightest in a decade — in which Republicans sought to break the Democrats’ dominance of the state. She said she plans to visit every county in Oregon during her first year in office.

“Governing is about serving Oregonians — all Oregonians,” she said, adding that her “personal promise” will be to “strengthen connections across the state.”

Kotek said her first executive order will set a housing construction target of 36,000 homes per year, describing the figure as an 80% increase over recent trends.

Her proposed $130-million emergency investment would help unsheltered people move off the streets within a year. Kotek asked lawmakers to act with urgency and said she hopes to build on the investment with a larger, more comprehensive housing and homelessness package during the legislative session.

The measures come on the heels of a significant spending package passed by Oregon lawmakers last year that included $400 million to address homelessness and housing.

Kotek is replacing term-limited Democrat Kate Brown, whose strict pandemic measures made her a polarizing figure. As speaker, Kotek worked with Brown for years, and they have similar profiles as progressives and open members of the LGBTQ community. But Kotek sought to distance herself from Brown — and her low approval ratings — toward the end of the gubernatorial campaign, casting her predecessor as ineffective on homelessness.

Kotek won Oregon’s three-way race for governor in November after fending off a challenge from a fellow former state representative, Republican Christine Drazan, defeating her by fewer than four percentage points.

Kotek was a state representative from 2006 until 2022, when she resigned to run for governor. During her time in the Legislature, she became the longest-serving speaker in Oregon history after nine years in the role and cemented her status as a key player in state politics, earning a reputation for cutting deals and muscling bills through the state House.

As speaker, Kotek spearheaded and passed liberal agendas made possible by Democratic supermajorities, including the nation’s first statewide rent-control law. She also helped push through gun storage laws, criminal justice reform and paid family leave, among other measures.

Lawmakers also were sworn in Monday. Democrats still control both chambers of the Legislature but lost their three-fifths supermajority in November’s election.

Governor Kotek will hold a press conference on her first full day as Oregon’s chief executive.

Kotek, who took the oath for a 4-year term on Monday , will answer reporters questions beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday. KOIN 6 News will be at the press conference and will livestream it on KOIN.com.

Hwy 101 South of Port Orford Closed Due to a Landslide That Took Out Part of the Road

According to the Curry County Emergency Management team, all lanes of U.S. Highway 101 are closed about 12 miles south of Port Orford.

At milepost 312 a landslide beneath the highway took out a portion of the road. The Oregon Department of Transportation expects this will be a long closure. We will continue to update you as we learn more about this situation. Travel along and to the coast will certainly be affected — Check http://tripcheck.com

Grants available for main street building projects statewide – Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. 

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is offering grants for up to $200,000 in matching funds for downtown revitalization efforts in communities participating in the Oregon Main Street Network. The Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant funds may be used to acquire, rehabilitate, and construct buildings on properties in designated downtown areas statewide.

Funded projects must facilitate community revitalization that will lead to private investment, job creation or retention, establishing or expanding viable businesses, or creating a stronger tax base. Projects may include façade improvement, accessibility enhancement, basic utilities, second floor renovations, and more. Only organizations participating in the Oregon Main Street Network are eligible to apply. Projects must be within approved Main Street areas. Eligible organizations may collaborate with the local governments and private property owners to apply for projects that will have the biggest benefit to the downtown. The grant application deadline is March 16, 2023. 

In 2015, legislation established a permanent fund for the grant and provided an initial $2.5 million of funding as part of a larger lottery bond package. In the 2017 legislative session, an additional $5 million was approved and was funded through the sale of the 2019 lottery bond package. The 2021 bond sale was canceled due to the economic impact of COVID-19, but the Oregon legislature included Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant in the bond packages slated for 2022 and 2023. 

Preservation office staff is happy to talk with applicants about potential grant projects and review applications prior to submitting. A free online workshop specific to the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant will be January 27, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Registration is required. 

Other resources available include:

To learn more about the grant and workshop, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at i.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov“>Kuri.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-6085. To learn more about the Oregon Main Street Network contact Sheri Stuart at i.Stuart@oprd.oregon.gov“>Sheri.Stuart@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0679.

Four massive dams on the Klamath River in northern California and Oregon will start coming down this July.

For the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa, Shasta and Klamath tribes living along this river since time immemorial, there’s much to celebrate. They have long fought for the lives of the salmon that are harmed by these dams, and for their right to fish for them.

Even PacifiCorp, which marketed the electricity of the four hydroelectric-producing dams, will also have something to cheer about. PacifiCorp, which is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, won’t have pricey fish ladders to install and its share of the cost of dam removal has been passed to ratepayers in both states.

Environmentalists are also hailing this latest victory for river-renewal, based on the Electric Consumers Protection Act of 1986. The law ordered operators of most federal dams to provide passages for fish so they could swim upstream to spawn.

For California and Oregon officials, along with farmers and others who had reached an agreement as far back in 2008, the dam removals signal that this long and emotional fight is finally over. And why has there been a settlement after all this time? A short answer is the growing reality of the West’s increasing aridity.

In 2001, yet another dry year in the upper Klamath, farmers woke up to find their headgates for irrigation water locked. It was done to preserve flows for endangered salmon, but for outraged farmers it meant their crops were ruined and they lost anywhere from $27 million to $47 million. Death threats followed, along with shootings and even a farmers’ cavalry charge.

The newly elected Bush administration reacted by making sure the farmers got their water, though this triggered one of the largest salmon die-offs in history. The Klamath Tribes were infuriated.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission started tackling the issue in 2007 by ordering PacifiCorp to install fish ladders on its four, fish-killing dams. After electric rates soared 1,000%, that left everybody mad and set the stage for a deal.

In a turnaround for the Bush administration, a pact was almost reached in 2008, when Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who had stubbornly opposed breaching dams, persuaded Oregon Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reach an agreement.

The deal had something for everyone: The Klamath Tribes, with senior water rights, subordinated those rights for a large grant to purchase land. The federal government paid half the cost of removing the dams, and the state of California paid the other half.

Then a stumbling block intruded: Powerful Republicans opposed dam removal and the legislation that would have put the agreement into effect.

But negotiations continued, this time without the federal government picking up any of the costs. As 2022 ended, California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, PacifiCorp, the Tribes and others to celebrate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the dams coming down.

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