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, May 1, 2023
Willamette Valley Weather
Eugene Marathon Brings Out Thousands
Thousands of people turned out to the 2023 Eugene Marathon on Sunday, with hundreds of others backing them up with hydration, medical, and moral support.
Around 8,000 people participated in the half and full marathon races at the Eugene Marathon on April 30, according to race officials. The field included runners with a variety of athletic backgrounds. While many Oregonians came out to the weekend’s festivities, a number of people made the trip to Eugene.
Results of the full and half marathons, and the other events from the 2023 race weekend, can be found on the Eugene Marathon website.
Cottage Grove School Board Candidate Forum Ends In Brawl Fight
The City of Cottage Grove is in shock after a School Board Candidate Forum erupted into a fight.
As the Chronicle reported earlier this week, the fight happened on Tuesday, April 25, at the Cottage Grove Public Library. The forum was set to end at 8:00 p.m. The event was hosted by the Kids for Success PAC.
According to people who were in attendance as the event was ending, a question was raised to the School Board candidates in regards to transgender kids and their use of pronouns. The candidate for position 3, Duane Taddei proceeded to answer the question. His comments were met with exception by Venice Mason, a local activist.
Mason said Taddei began to spread lies, inflammatory rhetoric, and misinformation about trans kids. She stood up and gestured her thumbs down in protest. As she was protesting two men, who were in the back of the room and are believed to be acting as security for the event, moved to confront her.
Mason said, “They grabbed me and wrenched my arms behind my back and pushed me into my seat. And then began to attack women, one after the other, who tried to stand between me and them.”
Video footage from the Cottage Grove Public Library shows the situation escalated there was a lot of pushing and shoving. More women became involved trying to separate Mason and the two men. Jan Ogsbury was one of these women, she also said she was assaulted by the two men.
Ogsbury said, “Anytime I see a women getting attacked, I just become very angry and I want to defend them and I have done this most of my adult life.”
Duane Taddei said he doesn’t recall seeing an assault take place.
Taddei said, “There was something going on but to call it an assault and to say that I saw an assault is absolutely wrong.”
Taddei also doesn’t consider himself to be a bigoted against trans people. According to him he has trans family. He also wishes the night would have gone differently. In the future he hopes people will do more to deescalate situations before they get out of hand.
Taddei said, “Just be a little more cautious of your surroundings. And maybe have a job — at work we have job briefings. And maybe have a job briefing at the beginning if I’m going to be apart of this, I’m going to need your guys’s commitment if anything erupts like this we call the police. Unless there is an immediate threat. We just call the police, we shut it down.”
Many Cottage Grove residents called the incident a disappointment. Bruce Kelsh, a longtime resident and active community member, calls it an embarrassment. He hopes in the future a better example can be set for the children who go to school in this community.
Kelsh said, “People can express their opinions in many ways but when you add intimidation and in this case physical violence to the discussion than that really doesn’t work anymore. You’ve lost the path.”
The incident also made Kelsh reflect on the importance of school board elections. He hopes people will get out and vote. Venice Mason said she does plan to press charges against the two men who allegedly assaulted her. She also said the men who were involved in this incident have a history of intimidation.
A Police Officer was eventually called in to resolve the situation. Both the City of Cottage Grove’s government and the Cottage Grove Police Department have declined to comment at this time. There is an ongoing investigation into this incident.
Man Arrested For DUII, Assault On Public Safety Officer
At 8:51 p.m., on April 28, a caller to 911 reported a dispute at a home in the 1100 block of Elizabeth. A man was reported to be intoxicated and punching holes in the walls. He was also reported to have armed himself with a firearm and left in a Ford F250 pickup.
An officer located the man and followed him out of the area. When the officer attempted a traffic stop, the man, later identified as Joseph Michael Beyerlin, age 44, refused to yield but otherwise followed most traffic laws. He twice stopped in the middle of the road and waved officers by him. Officers continued following and successfully deployed stop sticks on the vehicle, but Beyerlin kept driving.
Officers made numerous attempts to forcefully stop the vehicle and finally near Echo Hollow and Willhi, an officer was able to get the truck stopped. However, Beyerlin drove the truck forward and rammed a patrol car as the officer attempted a front pin. Officers used OC spray from a safe distance, which eventually coaxed Beyerlin out of his truck. They located a handgun in the vehicle.
The officer whose SUV was rammed had non-life-threatening injuries and did not require transport. Four EPD vehicles sustained varying degrees of damage. Joseph was lodged at the Lane County Jail for DUII, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Elude by Vehicle, and Assault on a Peace Officer. Case 23-06134
Arrests Made in Separate Disturbances Downtown Salem
Salem, Ore. — At approximately 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, the dispatch center received several reports of an adult male brandishing a gun at a group of people who were gathered in the south entrance parking lot of Riverfront Park. Witnesses reported the man left the location in a black pickup truck before Salem Police officers arrived. They provided police with a description of the suspect and details of the disturbance.
About 20 minutes later, officers were called to a fight involving a large group of people in the parking lot of the Safeway store located at Center and 12th STS NE. As officers arrived on the scene, the suspect and several individuals fled in a black pickup truck believed to be involved in the incident at Riverfront Park.
After a short distance, the driver of the pickup, identified as Martin Andrew Gonzalez, age 33, collided with two vehicles on Marion ST NE: one vehicle at Liberty ST and another at Commercial ST.
A gun and a high-capacity magazine were recovered. Gonzalez was arrested and lodged at the Marion County Jail on various related charges, including felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, and reckless endangering.
An unnamed female juvenile occupant in the truck, age 13, was also arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and lodged at the Marion County Juvenile Department. The Salem Police Department does not provide the name of any minor involved in a criminal investigation.
Several individuals involved in the collision requested medical transport to Salem Health. No information about their medical status is available.
Marion County Sheriff’s Vehicle Struck by Gunfire While on Patrol
On April 30, 2023, at about 7:40 PM, while on patrol around Lancaster Dr. NE and Devonshire Ct NE a Marion County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle was struck by gunfire. Thankfully, no one was injured during the incident.
Detectives from our Criminal Investigations Unit are scene and actively investigating this incident and working with other law enforcement partners, therefore no further details will be released at this time. We will let you know when we can share additional information.
Eugene Police Department is Currently Hiring Entry Level and Lateral Police Officers
Have you ever thought about being a Police Officer?
We are looking for motivated team members who have what it takes to serve our community with Integrity, Compassion and Courage.
If you are interested in learning more about this profession or to apply, go to EugenePolice.com
2023 Special Election Ballots in the Mail
The Lane County Elections office has placed ballots in the USPS mail stream for the 2023 Special Election.
Information regarding ballot content is included in the Lane County Voters’ Pamphlet; voters who have not received a voters’ pamphlet in the mail may view it online by visiting www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections.
Additionally, Lane County’s 21 ballot drop boxes will remain open until 8:00 pm on Election Day, May 16, 2023. Drop boxes are open 24/7. A list of drop box locations is included with every ballot.
“With ballots mailed out, voters now have the opportunity to make their voices heard and play a role in shaping their community,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “My office is committed to assisting voters and providing a positive voter experience.”
Voters can track the status of their mail ballot by visiting www.oregonvotes.gov/MyVote.
Voters may return their voted vote-by-mail ballots in one of the following ways:
- Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than May 16, 2023 and received no later than May 23, 2023 to be counted.
- A 24/7 ballot drop box.
- Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours.
Ballot drop box locations can be found online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections.
Voters with questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-682-4234.
About the Lane County Elections Office:
The Elections Office, located at 275 W. 10th Avenue in Eugene, is responsible for conducting elections in Lane County. The elections office manages voter registration, the processing of mail ballots, recruitment and training of election workers, and certification of elections.
Oregon Public Universities Ask State For More Funding As Students Pay Record Tuition
Officials from Oregon’s seven public universities say they need more than $1 billion over the next two years to maintain services amid inflation and to avoid deep cuts and layoffs.
That’s more than $100 million more than the $900 million the state’s seven universities received in the last biennium for general support.
At a public hearing of the Joint Subcommittee on Education on Wednesday, Southern Oregon University President Rick Bailey told lawmakers that the current funding level will not be sufficient for the schools in the next biennium given inflation.
“This means that students will have to fund inflation on the majority of our budgets,” he said.
University administrators have begun restructuring and considering layoffs amid an expected $5 million deficit for the coming school year.
All seven of Oregon’s public universities have announced tuition increases for the next school year, in a regular pattern of annual increases in tuition during the last two decades. None in the upcoming school year is raising tuition above 5%, which would require approval from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.
Oregon has more than 78,000 full-time students at its seven public universities – Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon and Western Oregon University.
Their tuition covers 50% or more of university costs, one of the highest proportions in the nation, according to a recent report commissioned by lawmakers from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a nonprofit think tank in Colorado. About 25 years ago, the state paid for up to 75% of the cost of each full-time employee at a university. Now, it pays for about 50% or less, researchers found.
The state’s per-pupil funding for full-time college students is about $5,600 annually, around $3,000 less than what California and Washington provide.
Lawmakers heard from a Southern Oregon University student working three jobs to pay for her tuition and living expenses. Annual tuition for Oregon residents attending the university full-time this year topped $9,400 dollars.
“I have good friends that have dropped out because they fell too far behind on their account, or took out as many loans as they possibly could, and still could not afford it,” she said.
Rob Fullmer, an information technology specialist at Portland State University, said if funding isn’t increased, tuition hikes will push Oregon youth further away from choosing college over joining the workforce after high school.
“Prospective students of Oregon’s higher education system are cost conscious. For the past decade, they’ve had to carefully weigh the price of college against any potential future earnings they expect they’ll enjoy – if they manage to get the degree – versus the lost wages and time they spend earning one,” he told lawmakers. “It’s been a close call. But more and more of them have decided to forgo that degree.”
Lawmakers are also facing other higher education requests.
The Oregon Council of Presidents, an advocacy group comprised of the seven university presidents and the president of Oregon Health & Science University, is asking the Legislature to double the budget for the Oregon Opportunity Grant for the biennium, from $200 million to $400 million. The grant is the largest state-funded, need-based grant program for Oregon residents. The council is also calling on the state to allocate $40 million to the Oregon Student Tribal Grant in the next two-year budget, which will start July 1 and run through June 2025. The program was launched in 2022 with $19 million for the 2022-23 school year.
Megan Van Pelt, a student at the University of Oregon and a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, is one of 450 Native students who received the grant last year. At the hearing she said it had been instrumental in alleviating the financial burden of attending a four-year college, and allowed her to get involved on campus and to serve as co-director of the Native American Student Union.
“This grant has not only enabled me to pursue my academic goals, but this grant has allowed me to be a normal student,” she said.
The post Oregon public universities ask state for more funding as students pay record tuition appeared first on Oregon Capital Chronicle.
Communities Sign Contracts On Funding For Governor’s Homelessness State Of Emergency
Six of the seven multi-agency coordination groups representing regions across Oregon affected by governor Tina Kotek’s declaration of a homelessness state of emergency have signed contracts that will grant them funds to deal with the problem, with the seventh expected to sign in early May.
On her first full day in office in January, Gov. Kotek declared a homelessness state of emergency which the Oregon legislature later supported with a multi-million dollar response packaged passed in March. February saw the creation of infrastructure to handle the homelessness response including seven regional multi-agency coordination groups that would be tasked with distributing those emergency funds. The governor announced which of those groups would get certain portions of the funding on April 10, contingent on the groups’ signing of contracts to receive the funding to execute the governor’s order.
“The housing crisis demands urgent action on an unprecedented timeline. I am grateful to the providers, local and county leaders who quickly assembled to form the MACs, the legislature for passing the package early with bipartisan support and broad stakeholder input, and to communities across Oregon embracing this call to action,” Governor Kotek said. “I look forward to the work ahead to help ensure these investments yield visible, measurable results across our state by the end of the year.”
According to the governor’s office, six of the seven multi-agency coordination groups have signed contracts to receive the funding to carry out the governor’s order. This funding will be used to prevent nearly 9,000 people from becoming homeless, rehouse more than 1,200 households, and create over 600 new shelter beds by January 2024. The seventh group, which will handle Clackamas County’s response, is expected to sign their contract in the first week of May due to a local policy that requires county commissioners to approve the contract before it is signed.
The Southern Oregon And Northern California TV Station KTVL Plans To Lay Off Its Entire News Staff In Mid-May
Taylar Ansures is a digital content producer at the Medford station, which is owned by the telecommunications conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group. Ansures said that on Thursday morning, their general manager informed the newsroom that the station will cease operations after Friday, May 12.
“They were planning to keep the entire community, all of Southern Oregon in the dark, all of our viewers in the dark, until our last day, until our last broadcast,” she said.
According to Ansures, the closure will affect all 17 people on their news staff, including managers.
According to a statement from Sinclair Broadcast Group, the network’s national news desk will take over starting Monday, May 15.
“The National Desk, which provides real-time national and regional news from Sinclair’s television stations across the US, will air during KTVL’s regularly scheduled news time periods, with an opportunity for local news cut-ins in the newscast,” the statement reads.
A Sinclair spokesperson did not provide further detail about local content or new programming. KTVL News Director Chad Hypes could not be reached for more information.
Ansures said she started working at KTVL in November, after moving from another Sinclair-owned station in Redding, California to be closer to family. While she had seen similar downsizing at other Northern California TV stations, she said this was more dramatic.
“It’s happening in other markets, but I’ve never seen it happen quite like this where it was so blindsided and unexpected. Even our management was left in the dark until [Thursday],” she said.
KTVL shared a newsroom with the Medford Mail Tribune until the Rogue Valley’s longest-running newspaper closed operations in early 2023. During that time, questions swirled about the nature of the relationship between the two media companies.
Ansures said managers told staff the KTVL closure was separate from the Mail Tribune ceasing operations. She said staff did not receive an explanation from Sinclair’s corporate representatives for why the layoffs were occurring.
Additional layoffs and downsizing have happened across the national media industry in recent months. In March, NPR laid off 10% of its workforce. In mid April, Buzzfeed announced it was closing its news division, Buzzfeed News. On April 27, Vice announced it would close its news division, Vice News Tonight.
The Oregon legislature is sending Governor Kotek two bills that would limit single-use food containers.
One bill bans styrofoam food containers and the other allows customers to bring their own containers for leftover food at restaurants. The Oregon Health Authority would be required to develop guidelines for personal containers and customers could still request non-styrofoam containers from restaurants.
The Oregon state House passed two bills with bipartisan support on Wednesday to address the growing environmental and public health impacts of single-use plastics. Both bills now head to Gov. Tina Kotek’s desk for her signature.
Senate Bill 543 will phase out polystyrene foam foodware, packing peanuts and coolers and prohibit the use of PFAS, the toxic substances nicknamed “forever chemicals” because of their longevity, in food packaging starting January 1, 2025. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 40-18.
Cargo Containers At Tillamook Airport To Store Supplies To Help In A Disaster
The City of Tillamook has received two large cargo containers that will be used to store emergency supplies for a major earthquake and tsunami. The containers will be located at the Tillamook Airport and will hold enough food, water, tents and medical supplies to support 100 people for two weeks.
The containers were purchased by the state Office of Resilience and Emergency Management. These containers, called Conex boxes, were delivered in April and are part of an emergency preparedness partnership between ODHS, Tillamook County, Tillamook Municipal Airport and Near Space Corporation.
10th Annual Art of Survival Century Bike Ride Returns to Klamath Basin
The 10th Annual Art of Survival Century Bicycle Ride and Gravel Grinder event isn’t just about pedaling a road or mountain bike through beautiful stretches of the countryside. It’s also an opportunity to learn about a region that includes Southern Oregon’s Klamath Basin and Northern California’s Tulelake Basin and Butte Valley area.
What is unique about this event—which is a ride, not a race—is that at each rest stop offers educational components and/or ranger or historian-led talks highlighting the cultural history, geography, environmental issues and geology of the area. Along with providing fluids and nutritious snacks at the rest stops, riders will have opportunities to learn about the areas they’re passing through.
This year enjoy a breathtaking ride through American History. 150 years ago, along the banks of Lost River, sharp cracks of rifles broke the restful silence of the Klamath Basin igniting a tragic war between the Modoc Indians and U.S. Army. This Memorial Day weekend we invite you to join us in “Remembering the Modoc War”. Cycle along the uncrowded backroads of our beautiful Basin in the shadow of majestic Mount Shasta. Witness first-hand where the war started and where many of the battles took place.
Explore Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a natural fortress where 55 Modoc warriors held off a U.S. Army force of several hundred troops for six months. Ride along roads where Army soldiers were marched into battle. Talk to historians about the land and cattle barons and their relentless efforts to remove the Modoc from the Basin, the Modoc’s desire to stay in their homeland since time immemorial and the plight of the soldiers and settlers friendly to the Modoc caught in the middle.
Day 1, Saturday, May 27: Choose from four routes that begin and end at the Malin Community Park in Malin, OR – 100-mile Century, 62-mile Metric Century, 38-mile and family friendly 14-mile road routes plus a 22-mile mountain gravel grinder route in the Medicine Lake Highlands.
Day 2, Sunday, May 28, is a Gravel Grinder Mix covering distances of 74 and 54 miles and a family friendly 13-mile route. All gravel routes begin and end at the Butte Valley Community Center in Dorris, CA. Participants will ride along the flatlands of Butte Valley, including the Butte Valley Wildlife Area, farms, ranches and for the long rides to Juanita Lake. Views of snow-capped Mount Shasta and Goosenest Mountain are plentiful.
Registration Fees for Saturday, May 27: Rides are $75 for the Century and Metric Century, $55 for the 38-miler and $25 for both the mountain bike and family friendly events. The cost for Sunday, May 28 rides are $75 for the 74 and 54-mile and $25 for the 13-mile ride. However, if riders register for both days they will receive a discount. The cost for all routes will increase $10 after May 20. Fees include rest stop food and beverages, SAG, delicious post-ride meal both days and SWAG.
Whether riding a bicycle or not there will be plenty of activities during the weekend. The ride committee, along with Rural Klamath Connects, is planning to offer a bus tour of the audio tour “Modoc War: A Homeland Lost” on Friday morning, May 26. For more details and to sign up email email@example.com.
A pre-ride reception will be held Friday, May 26 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. at the Malin Broadway Theater in Malin, OR for cyclists to pick up their ride packets, enjoy refreshments, discover new area activities and learn about the Modoc War history, plus tour our restored historic theater and visit with the locals. The committee welcomes anyone interested to attend this reception.
Post-ride meals will be offered both days and are included in the registration fees. The cost for non-riders is $15 both days. The Malin meal will likely feature locally grown, load-your-own baked potatoes while Dorris will offer yummy lasagna.
For images, see here. For more information and to register visit the website at https://survivalcentury.com/