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 24, 2023
Willamette Valley Weather
Suspect Arrested in Fatal West Eugene Shooting
UPDATE: January 23, 2023 Investigation into Shooting on W. 18th
Vaughn Pierre Derry Jr., age 24, of Eugene, has been arrested on two counts of Murder in the First Degree and one count of Robbery in the First Degree. The deceased victims are identified as Breanna Don Dapron, age 20, and Dylan Wayne George, age 31.
At 11:15 p.m. on Friday, January 19, EPD responded to reports of shots fired at a home at 2810 W. 18th Avenue. One person was found dead inside the home and a second person was found with life-threatening injuries. The second person later died from their injuries. At the time of the shooting, EPD said they believed the shooting was targeted.
—– Previously Released Information – January 20, 2023 Investigation: Shooting on W. 18th AvenueAt 11:14 p.m. on January 19, Eugene Police Department responded to a report of shots fired at 2810 W. 18th Avenue. Arriving units found one person deceased inside the residence, and a second person suffering from life-threatening injuries.
A possible suspect vehicle, described as a possible grey or silver sedan, was seen leaving the scene. It was last known to be northbound on Wilson Street from W. 18th Avenue.EPD asks area residents to check for available surveillance footage that may have captured the incident or the fleeing vehicle. We also ask that anyone with information about this case to contact the tip line at (541) 682-5162.EPD believes this was a targeted incident and that investigation is ongoing.
Thousands Without Power For Several Hours In West Eugene Monday Afternoon
According to the Eugene Water and Electric Board’s outage map yesterday, more than 6,000 people in west Eugene were without electricity in the afternoon. https://www.eweb.org/outages-and-safety/power-outages/power-outage-map?
According to EWEB on January 23, 6,157 customers lost power for a few hours. The affected area was wide, spanning between west Fifth Avenue, Bailey Hill Road, Chambers Street, and neighborhoods in the southwest hills. EWEB says the outages were first reported at about 3:30 p.m.
EWEB crews were able to fix the outages by about 6 p.m. on January 23rd.
School Shooting Threat at Crow High School
Monday morning just after 9:30am, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office received the report of a school shooting threat involving a student at Crow High School. Investigators responded and learned that the involved student had made a social media post three days ago, asking other students if they would like to help shoot up the school. The involved student was identified and his parents were contacted.
Deputies took the involved juvenile into custody for Disorderly Conduct in the First Degree. He was transported to the SERBU juvenile detention facility and lodged on the listed charge. Investigators have been working closely with school officials to ensure the safety of the community. There is believed to be no ongoing threat at this time.
Lebanon Firefighters Respond to 2 Residential Fires and One RV Blaze
Lebanon Firefighters responded to two different house fires and one fully involved motorhome fire in a five-hour period in the early morning hours of Monday. At 0245 Monday morning Lebanon Firefighters were dispatched to a possible house fire in the Tennessee Road area with the residents waking to screaming smoke detectors and a house filled with smoke. Dispatch reports that occupants were evacuating the home. The Battalion Chief arrived to find a ranch style home with no fire showing. The Incident Commander noticed the occupants still in the residence and contacted the homeowner outside the residence. Prior to the Firefighters arriving, the homeowner located the source of the smoke which was coming from a melted plastic filter in the furnace. Firefighters checked the home for any fire and found above average heat temperatures in the furnace motor area with the use of a thermal imagining camera. The homeowner secured the power to the furnace and firefighters cleared the scene after one resident was evaluated for smoke inhalation. 1 ladder truck, 1 engine and an ALS ambulance responded along with 2 staff officers and a heavy rescue.
At 0528 firefighters were dispatched to a motorhome blaze around West A and South 6th streets. The Battalion Chief arrived and found a fully involved motorhome, next to a residence and camp trailer. The IC instructed the first due engine to take a hydrant when approaching the blaze for additional water. Firefighters from the engine and a ladder truck quickly brought the fire under control and began overhauling the RV to completely extinguish the blaze. Firefighters were on the scene for approximately one and half hours. No injuries were reported. Firefighters responded with 1 ladder truck, 1 engine and a staff officer. Firefighters were assisted by Lebanon Police for traffic control.
At 0751 the Lebanon Firefighters were dispatched to another residential structure fire in rural area of Lacomb on Green Mountain Drive. Firefighters from the Lacomb sub-station arrived to find a home with smoke coming from the eves and attic area. The firefighters quickly deployed a hose line and threw a ladder to the gable end of the house to be at the ready to fight the blaze. A Battalion Chief and additional fire crews with engines and water tenders arrived and began investigating to determine where the origin of the smoke in the attic was coming from. Firefighters quickly located the fire in the attic under insulation, near the flue of the family’s woodstove and extinguished the fire. Firefighters were on scene for two hours doing overhaul and to further investigate the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and no injuries were reported.
Lebanon Fire District responded to the Green Mountain blaze with 21 personnel on 1 ladder truck, 4 engines, 2 ALS ambulances, 3 water tenders, 1 heavy rescue and 2 staff vehicles. Lebanon Fire was assisted at the scene by Pacific Power, while Albany Fire Department helped the district by covering additional 911 emergency calls. The Lebanon Fire District would like to remind its residents of the importance of working smoke detectors and having your chimney cleaned and inspected.
Oregon Plans To Increase Fees To Ease Public Defender Crisis
Officials have approved a plan for spending $10 million of emergency funding to address Oregon’s public defender crisis, which has left hundreds of people languishing in jails or in the community awaiting legal representation.
Oregon differs from other states in that it relies entirely on contracts with public defenders rather than keeping them on staff. The agency currently has about 100 firms on contract.
Last month, the Joint Legislative Emergency Board allocated $10 million to help the state hire more public defenders. It asked the Office of Public Defense Services to come up with a plan, and in recent weeks, the agency and the commission that oversees it have been discussing the details.
Officials recently finalized the plan and will present it to the state Legislature at the end of the month. It includes increasing the hourly fees paid to public defenders, paying $15,000 to retain public defenders that currently contract with the state and adopting a program to pay lawyers to represent people charged with misdemeanors.
Oregon’s public defender crisis has dragged on for years, and the situation is more urgent than ever. According to the Oregon Judicial Department , about 80 people are in custody awaiting representation and more than 600 are in the community awaiting a lawyer to handle their case.
The lack of public defenders has forced judges to dismiss hundreds of cases, prosecutors say, to avoid denying defendants their constitutional right to representation. The Sixth Amendment requires the state to provide legal representation to those who can’t afford a lawyer.
According to Oregon’s public defense agency, violating the constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial has serious consequences, including wrongful convictions, threats to public safety, and an increase in the number of cases returning to trial years after a conviction.
Until July 2022, attorneys who contracted with the agency made $105 per hour for murder cases. Since then, the agency bumped up the rate to $158 per hour for attorneys taking on cases of people in custody. Now, the agency will implement a tiered hourly rate, ranging from $125 to $200 depending upon the seriousness of the case, regardless of whether or not the person is in custody. The new increased rate is roughly a quarter of a district attorney’s hourly rate.
The retention incentive program will dole out $15,000 over the course of five months, contingent on the attorney reporting back to the agency with data regarding how they are spending their time and money. The remaining budget will be put towards strategic reserves and a program that supervises attorneys outside of public defense who are willing to offer up their services.
A recent study showed that Oregon needs roughly 1,300 more full-time attorneys – or roughly three times the number it currently has – to represent everyone charged with a crime who cannot afford a lawyer.
The lack of public defenders has prompted judges to dismiss cases, including nearly 300 Multnomah County alone between February and October last year, according to the county’s district attorney, Mike Schmidt. Many were accused of low-level crimes but some involved assaults and personal violence.
Small Sinkhole Discovered at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
PACIFIC CITY, OR— A small sinkhole measuring 20-feet wide and 15-feet deep was discovered at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area Sunday in the lower northwest corner of the dune.
Oregon Park and Recreation Department staff were alerted to the presence of the sinkhole Sunday morning and cordoned off the area for safety. We ask that visitors respect this barrier and all park safety barriers. Also, please keep pets on leashes and children away from the edges.
“The cape is a dynamic environment. Please be aware of your surroundings, stay clear of any dangerous areas, including this one,” said Park Manager Jason Elkins.
“Obviously people are curious and may want to see if for themselves,” he said, “but we ask that you respect the barriers that are in place and observe from a distance.”
Cape Kiwanda is a rarity for the Oregon Coast: a sandstone outcropping. Sandstone is naturally much weaker and prone to sudden changes compared with hardier rock like basalt. While any natural area carries risk, enjoying Cape Kiwanda safely requires visitors to pay special attention.
Even though the spot is marked with barriers, this hole could change at any moment, and others could appear. If you see something that concerns you, leave the area and report it to Cape Lookout State Park staff at 503-842-4981. In an emergency, call 911.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is looking into possible causes of the sinkhole, and we are continuing to monitor the situation. We will share additional details as they become available.
Fourth Dead Whale Found On Oregon Coast – Officials Say Deaths Are Unrelated
A dead whale washed ashore along the Oregon coast for the fourth time in less than two weeks.
The Seaside Aquarium reports a gray whale was found in a remote area at Cannon Beach. Aquarium officials say the whale had been dead for at least a month before it came ashore.
A dead gray whale was found Jan. 11 on the central coast near Reedsport. Two days later, a sperm whale carcass washed ashore at Fort Stevens State Park on the northern coast. And then about 100 yards from there, a dead gray whale beached on Jan. 18.
In a Facebook post, the Seaside Aquarium said the four deaths are not connected and all appear to have died from different causes.
“When we experience weather patterns like we have in the past few weeks, coupled with strong westerly winds, dead marine mammals that have been floating offshore get pushed onto the beach,” aquarium officials wrote.
A crew investigated Monday and took measurements, but officials said the level of decomposition makes it difficult to determine the cause of death. A shark bite was found on the whale carcass but appeared to occur after its death.
Suspect Shot and Killed After Salem Police Respond to Armed Robbery
Salem police say a person suspected of armed robbery is dead after an exchange of gunfire Monday morning.
According to the Salem Police Department, officers responded to a reported armed robbery in progress at a Walmart on southeast Commercial Street at about 9 a.m. on January 23. Police said that as they arrived, the suspect moved to a nearby Planet Fitness and then to a nearby Napa Auto Parts Store. Officers said they confronted the suspect in the Napa parking lot, where gunshots were fired between officers and the suspect. Police said during this exchange, the suspect was struck and killed at the scene.
Salem police said no officers were harmed in the incident. SPD is not releasing the names of the suspect or the involved officers at this time. SPD said that under the Marion County Law Enforcement Officer Deadly Use of Force Plan, Oregon State Police will be conducting an investigation of the incident. Part of Commercial Street was closed off in both directions while law enforcement conducted an initial investigation of the scene.
SAIF’s new video series combines Oregon charm with workplace safety
SAIF visited workplaces across the state to create a new YouTube series, Oregon Odd Jobs. The series showcases uniquely Oregon jobs and how they’re done safely.
“While safety is everyone’s responsibility, we all go about it differently depending on the job we do,” says SAIF safety consultant Dawn Jacobs. “Oregon Odd Jobs highlights the weird and wonderful while giving us a look at how Oregonians stay safe.”
Among other things, the videos teach how these businesses find safety success as they combat complacency, stay alert to surrounding hazards, keep up with safety innovations, and put safety redundancies in place.
The first three episodes feature Homestead Log Homes in Central Point, Oregon Potato Company in Boardman, and Oaks Park Amusement Park in Portland. Host Corey Jenkins, SAIF’s creative services supervisor, tries his hand at building log homes, grinding potatoes, and inspecting roller coasters.
SAIF will publish new episodes every two weeks. Future episodes include wrangling llamas, blowing glass, and feeding sharks.
SAIF is Oregon’s not-for-profit workers’ compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we’ve been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.
Bill That Would Ban The Sale Of Kangaroo Parts Has Been Introduced In The Oregon Legislature
A bill that would ban the sale of kangaroo parts has been introduced in the Oregon Legislature, taking aim at sports apparel manufacturers that use leather from the animals to make their products.
Soccer cleats are one of the only products made from kangaroo leather that are routinely sold in Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. The measure would impact Nike, which is based in Oregon and the state’s largest employer.
“It’s unconscionable that millions of native wild animals in Australia have been killed for the sake of high-end soccer cleats worn by a subset of elite soccer players,” Democratic Oregon Sen. Floyd Prozanski, who introduced the bill, said in a news release issued Monday by animal rights groups. “I understand this legislation may have financial impact on some Oregon shoe manufacturers, but in the balance Oregon should be standing on the humane side of this issue. There are other materials that can be used in making these high-end cleats.”
In the news release, the Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation welcomed the move.
“It’s time for these shoe manufacturers to evolve their business model to eliminate extreme animal cruelty in their product offerings,” said Rene Tatro, a board member of the Center for a Humane Economy.
Nike didn’t respond to OPB’s request for comment, but the company told ESPN last month that it uses kangaroo leather in a “small portion” of its soccer shoes and that it “works with leather suppliers that source animal skins from processors that use sound animal husbandry and humane treatment, whether farmed, domesticated, or wild managed.”
Oregon’s bill would make it a crime to buy, receive, sell, or commercially exchange “any product containing a part of a dead kangaroo.”
Lawmakers in Connecticut have introduced a similar bill this session. A federal ban on kangaroo products was proposed in the U.S. House in 2021, but was not approved.
The ban on “k-leather” would not be without precedent: California enacted a ban on kangaroo-based products in the 1970s.
The commercial harvest of kangaroos in Australia is legal. More than 1.3 million kangaroos were killed for commercial purposes in the country in 2021, OPB reported, citing the Australia Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. The agency said that number represents less than one-third of the “sustainable quota,” which is the amount it considers could be killed without putting any of the four main kangaroo species at risk.
The U.S. listed several types of kangaroo as “endangered” from the mid-’70s until the mid-’90s, but the animal is considered to have “recovered.”
Early Buzz Over New License Plate Design
There’s a possible new license plate in the works in the state of Oregon. It’s called ‘Pollinator Paradise‘.
The plate features two of the state’s most iconic bees: the managed honey bee, and the wild yellow-faced bumble bee.
There may already be a lot of ‘buzz’ with this new plate, but before production can start, the Oregon State University Horticulture Department must first sell 3,000 license plate vouchers.
Proceeds then go towards documenting bee biodiversity in Oregon and research to keep honey bees healthy.
You can learn more on the O.S.U. College of Agricultural Sciences website.