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 15, 2023
Willamette Valley Weather
Eugene Downtown Cameras Prove Effective in Capturing Incidents
It has been just about one month since Eugene Police installed downtown safety cameras and the cams have already proven to be beneficial.
The four cameras located at 8th/Olive, Broadway/Olive, Broadway/Willamette, and 8th/Oak have captured 12 different incidents in the past three weeks. EPD was able to successfully pull video evidence for these incidents, which include harassments, theft, disorderly conduct, assaults, a strangulation APA (abuse prevention act), and criminal mischief.
EPD will soon be releasing some still images from a protest that occurred on April 29 showing a few individuals defacing public and private property in hopes the public will be able to assist in identifying those suspects.
Another Fatal Vehicle Pedestrian Crash in Eugene
At 3:54 a.m. on May 13, Eugene Police officers were called to respond to a severely injured person lying in the middle of road midblock on E. 24th Ave between Kincaid and Harris.
When officers arrived, they found the person, a 21-year-old male, was deceased of an apparent vehicle/pedestrian crash.
Shortly into the investigation the involved driver, a 30-year-old male, arrived back on scene in a large delivery truck to cooperate with the investigation. EPD Major Collision Investigation team is working the case. Case 23-06886
Salem Police Investigate Serious Assault Incident at Downtown Mall
Update May 13, 2023 | 12:00 p.m.
The victim in this incident, identified as Enrique Sanchez Franco, age 20, died overnight, succumbing to the injuries he received in the altercation.
The 15-year-old juvenile remains in custody and his charges are as follows:
- Murder in the second degree
- Assault in the first degree
- Unlawful use of a weapon, knife
- Disorderly conduct
The case remains under investigation, and no further information will be released.
# # # Update May 12, 2023 | 10:15 p.m.
Salem Police detectives have made an arrest in today’s assault at the Salem Center Mall.
Detectives learned two male individuals at the mall were in an altercation, leaving one person with life-threatening injuries and hospitalized.
The suspect in the assault fled the scene. Using all available leads, this evening detectives arrested the 15-year-old suspect. Lodging to follow at the Marion County Juvenile Department on related charges.
The Salem Police Department does not provide the identity of minors involved in criminal investigations.
Further details about the victim are not available for release. The case remains under investigation, and no other information will be published at this time.
# # # Originally published May 12, 2023 | 3:47 p.m.
Salem, Ore. — At approximately 12:25 p.m. today, Salem Police officers were called to the Salem Center Mall at 401 Center ST NE on the report of a serious assault in the vicinity of the second-floor entrance to the Macy’s store.
Officers arrived to find one male individual with life-threatening injuries, suspected to be the result of a stabbing. He was transported to Salem Health. A second male individual believed to be involved in the incident fled from the scene.
The portion of the mall where the incident occurred was closed to the public and remains closed. No other patrons at the mall were injured. Mall shoppers exited the building in an orderly fashion. There is no ongoing risk to the public.
The incident remains an active investigation, therefore, no further details are being provided.
LCC Trades Expo and Open House May 20th
A trades expo and open house providing a look at Lane Community College’s programs and facilities will be held at LCC’s main campus on May 20th.
LCC officials said the event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature campus tours and an up-close opportunity to look into trade programs and big rigs. Art displays, music, hands-on activities and fun with Ty the Titan are also part of the event’s schedule, the college said.
“This is a great opportunity for people to see what Lane Community College has to offer,” said Lane Community College President Stephanie Bulger. “Our programs are among the best in the region, and this event is a chance to experience them firsthand.”
The event is free and open to the public, and parking is available, LCC officials said. The college also said Spanish interpreters will be available. For more information, visit LCC online.
Election results available starting at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day
Election results will be made available to the public starting at 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, May 16, and updated throughout the evening. Elections results can be obtained at:
Ballots returned by mail and postmarked by May 16 must be received by May 23 in order to be counted. Ballots returned via mail and postmarked by May 16 may take several days to arrive at Lane County Elections, which means that the outcome of some races or ballot measures may not be known as quickly as in past elections. The Lane County Elections Office will continue to periodically update election results after May 16 until all ballots have been counted. The full results reporting schedule is available online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/Elections.
Election results will be certified on June 12, 2023.
Voters with questions can email email@example.com 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.
Free Boat Inspections with Lane Co. Sheriff’s Office and Bi-Mart
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Bi-Mart stores across Lane County to help boaters prepare for the summer season! “Boating can be one of the greatest ways to experience the outdoors, but certain steps must be taken to always ensure a safe voyage”, says LCSO Marine Patrol Deputy Eric Churchill.
To help you prepare for a safe season, LCSO deputies will be at various Bi-Mart stores on Saturdays and Sundays starting on May 13th. Bring your boat (any kind) to the below listed Bi-Mart locations on the scheduled date/time for a free inspection! Courtesy Boat Inspection page
Republican Temporary Restraining Order Denied For House Bill 2002
According to court records, a motion set by Representative Emily McIntire (R-Eagle Point) & Senator Suzanne Weber (R-Tillamook) to get a temporary restraining order put on House Bill 2002 has been denied.
“Having considered the briefing submitted by the parties, and having heard argument and being fully advised, for the reasons stated in the hearing record, the Court hereby orders that Plaintiffs’ Motion is denied,” said the Honorable David E. Leith from Marion County.
According to a press release from Representative Lily Morgan, on May 3, Senator Weber and Representative McIntire filed a lawsuit against the Legislature contending that the bill summary of House Bill 2002 violates Senate Rule 13.02, ORS 171.134, and Article 4 § 21 of the Oregon Constitution.
The suit seeks a declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to ORS 28.020 directing the legislature to prepare the measure summary for HB 2002 so that “it’s summary is written in manner that results in score of at least 60 on the Flesch readability test or meets an equivalent standard of comparable test.
The plaintiffs also seek a declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to ORS 28.020 and Oregon Rule of Civil Procedure 79 against Defendants Brocker, Johnson, and Wagner, enjoining them from taking further action on HB 2002 until the measure’s summary complies with ORS 171.134.
If passed House Bill 2002 would allow minors to seek reproductive health care information or services, and gender affirming treatment without the consent of a their parent(s). (SOURCE)
Court Hears Klamath That Threatens The Delivery Of Irrigation Water To Klamath Basin Farmers And Ranchers And To Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuges.
Arguments were held Wednesday, May 10 on a case that threatens the delivery of irrigation water to Klamath Basin farmers and ranchers and to Klamath Basin wildlife refuges.
The Yurok Tribe and Pacific Coast Federations of Fishermen’s Associations are seeking an injunction that would limit water to the Klamath Project. The groups claim the Bureau of Reclamation cannot be trusted to limit water deliveries in accordance with an Interim Operations Plan (IOP), even though the current allocation for the project is less than the amount provided for in accordance with the IOP.
Judge William H. Orrick, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, indicated that he would not grant the motion, but left open the opportunity for parties to return to court after Reclamation adopts an actual Klamath Project operations plan for 2023.
In his Wednesday ruling, Orrick indicated he did not see a basis to issue a preliminary injunction based on the information he received. Orrick did, however, require Reclamation to submit a final 2023 operations plan, and left open to the parties the possibility of asking the court to grant some kind of relief at that time.
Spokesmen for the Klamath Water Users Association said the litigation “comes at a time when there is abundant water in the Klamath Basin.”
“It’s inconceivable that we are in court when we should be irrigating and producing food,” said KWUA Vice President Jeff Boyd, a project farmer. “It would have been great if Reclamation had done what they were supposed to and issued a final plan on time rather than being intimidated by politics and lawsuits.”
Orrick, who has heard several Klamath Project matters, said he had not expected to see a Klamath case this year.
In 2020, Reclamation adopted an IOP for the Klamath Project controlling the amounts of water made available in Upper Klamath Lake, the Klamath River, and for irrigation and wildlife refuges. The IOP is the basis for annual operations plans based on year-specific hydrologic conditions.
Moss Driscoll, KWUA’s director of water policy, expressed frustration with the ongoing delays created by the BOR, saying, “They are not doing a good job in managing water in the Klamath Basin effectively.”
Drought conditions this past winter led Reclamation to deviate from the Klamath River flows required under the IOP, which it did for 28 days in February and March in accordance with what BOR referred to as “Temporary Operations Procedures.” The reduction in river flows, as measured at Iron Gate Dam, during this period was as much as 160 cubic feet per second, compared to prescribed flows of 1,000 cubic feet per second. The reductions in river flows ceased March 13, and the Temporary Operating Procedures expired March 31, causing operations to presumably revert to the IOP.
In response to BOR’s Temporary Operating Procedures, the Yurok Tribe filed its motion for a preliminary injunction. Driscoll said the preliminary injunction motion asked the court to order limitations on diversions not stated in the IOP. “Basically, the plaintiffs are asking the court to write a new plan and micromanage the Klamath Project during 2023.”
He noted that in recent weeks there have been “favorable, wet weather” and that “snowpack conditions in the mountains have been as high as 200 percent of normal.”
At Crater Lake National Park, for example, snowfall since Oct. 1, 2022, has been 624 inches, which is 134 percent of average.
“The IOP went back into effect April 1,” Driscoll said in the statement. “If Reclamation was following the IOP, it would have issued a 2023 operations plan providing an irrigation supply of 285,000 acre-feet, which is still well below irrigation needs. Instead, Reclamation informally announced an ‘initial’ supply of 215,000 acre-feet but did not write an operations plan as in past years. In the meantime, it has followed the IOP to the letter in terms of releases of Klamath River flows.”
So far this year, 215,000 acre-feet of water has been released to the Klamath River. Diversions for irrigation have been 6,000 acre-feet.
Driscoll said some water districts, including the Malin Irrigation District, have opted to largely remain shut down at this time because of ongoing uncertainties about water supply.
“This is having real-world impacts to our growers and long-term consequences,” he said, noting the Malin district has 3,500 acres of “some of the most productive lands in the entire basin. Some farmers who are not going to farm and wondering if they will ever farm again.” (SOURCE)
Arizona Man Indicted for Shipping Fentanyl to Southern Oregon
MEDFORD, Ore.—A federal grand jury in Medford has returned an indictment charging a Phoenix, Arizona man with mailing large quantities of fentanyl to Southern Oregon.
Luke Austin Montgomery, 24, has been charged with three counts of attempting to distribute fentanyl.
According to court documents, in late 2022, law enforcement learned Montgomery had been shipping counterfeit oxycodone pills suspected to contain fentanyl from Phoenix to Southern Oregon. Soon after, investigators arranged the purchase of 1,000 counterfeit pills from Montgomery. The same day Montgomery fulfilled the order, he shipped an additional 10,000 pills to a second Southern Oregon address. Montgomery concealed the counterfeit pills in over-the-counter pill bottles packaged among various toiletries. Investigators later obtained videos Montgomery had allegedly created and used to sell the counterfeit pills on social media.
On May 9, 2023, Montgomery was arrested in Arizona. Today, he was ordered detained pending transfer to the District of Oregon.
Attempting to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl is punishable by up to 40 years in federal prison with a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, five years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Marco A. Boccato, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Medford CBS Station KTVL Ends Local News Broadcasts
After decades on air, Friday was the last day of local news broadcasts for Medford CBS affiliate KTVL.
KTVL’s parent company, Sinclair, announced late last month that it would be making changes to the station.
Now, the station will pivot to a nationally syndicated show.
Anonymous sources tell NBC5 the station will broadcast national programming and a Eugene meteorologist will fill in for weather.
Former longtime KTVL general manager Kingsley Kelley, who worked in that role for 18 years and now works as the VP of Digital Strategies at NBC5, said it’s a bad thing for our community to lose more local news.
Kelley said, “I think, there’s a moment to celebrate some what came from there. A lot of terrific journalists, a lot of great work. Way back in the last century, Ann Curry started her career there.”
Sources said eventually Sinclair plans to have one reporter cover Southern Oregon and KRCR in Redding will cover Siskiyou County.
A number of other Sinclair-owned stations in other cities have also seen major layoffs in the past month.
At least four stations have seen at least some, if not all of their news departments laid off, according to “AdWeek”.
Award-Winning Documentary ELEMENTAL: REIMAGINE WILDFIRE Will Premiere In Chiloquin On June 3rd
Directed by Portland filmmaker Trip Jennings, co-produced by Sara Quinn, the critically-acclaimed, award-winning documentary ELEMENTAL: REIMAGINE WILDFIRE will premiere in Chiloquin on June 3, 2023 at Klamath Tribes Community Fitness Center. Doors at 4:15 PM, film at 5 pm.
This special event will be followed by Q&A with filmmakers Trip Jennings, Ralph Bloemers and invited guests.
Filmed in Oregon and narrated by David Oyelowo, ELEMENTAL: REIMAGINE WILDFIRE (84 min) takes viewers on a journey across the nation with the top experts to better understand fire.
The film starts with the harrowing escape from Paradise, California as the town ignited from wind-driven embers and burned within a few hours of the fire’s start and then continues to recent record-shattering fires. The film includes the voices of climate experts, Indigenous people and fire survivors, and asks us to reimagine wildfire as we prepare for an increasingly hotter future.
In the wake of deadly fires in Oregon, California, Colorado and New Mexico, ELEMENTAL, REIMAGINE WILDFIRE is an important look at discovering how we can all reimagine our relationship with wildfire, now more timely and urgent than ever. FOR MORE INFO and EVENTS: https://www.elementalfilm.com
PODCAST: 4 Oregon Cold Cases Solved, Families Get Closure
What would you do if someone you loved vanished and was never heard from again? That was the case for several families we interviewed on the first five episodes of The Unidentifieds podcast.
In previous episodes, we explored the rapidly expanding use of genetic genealogy in finding the identities of long lost souls whose remains were found in Oregon.
We told the stories of a nomadic Navy veteran, a young woman who liked to sing, a girl who wore a pink plaid coat and mother of pearl ring, and a little boy whose time on earth was too short.
They all vanished in Oregon. But they were all also found in Oregon. Their stories told, and their names said aloud once again, thanks to the help of passionate experts, their families and advances in DNA technology and genetic genealogy.
On the final episode of The Unidentifieds, hosts Regan Mertz and Dave Killen unpack the emotional toll on families and how getting answers about their loved ones’ fates – even if decades later – brings closure.
The investigators and scientists who worked on the cold cases reflect on how each person’s story lingers in their memory, long after the cases were solved.
How to find The Unidentifieds podcast from The Oregonian/OregonLive
Subscribe to The Unidentifieds on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, YouTube or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. Be sure to give it a five-star rating. Find all previously released episodes below:
- Episode 1: No ID. No name. A mystery that endured for 47 years.
- Episode 2: A 2-year-old’s remains found in a southern Oregon reservoir identified 58 years later
- Episode 3: How DNA and genetic genealogy are solving decades-old cold cases
- Episode 4: Human remains found in remote woods near Government Camp identified 34 years later
- Episode 5: Human remains found near Multnomah Falls in 1979 identified four decades later