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, May 19, 2023
Willamette Valley Weather
7 Dead And Multiple Injuries In Multi-Vehicle Crash On I-5 North Of Albany
Thursday May 18, 2023, at approximately 2:05 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a multiple-vehicle crash on Interstate 5 northbound, near milepost 241 (Santiam Rest Area), in Marion County just north of Albany
The initial report involves two commercial motor vehicles (semis) and a passenger vehicle. At this time, there are 7 deceased adults and multiple injured. The cause of the crash is under investigation at this time.
Expect significant delays on Interstate 5 northbound due to the on-scene investigation. All traffic should use other routes and avoid the area. Southbound traffic may also back up- so be alert.
There’s no word yet on what caused the crash – no word on whether speeding or impaired driving played a role. Police say they’ll release more information once their on-scene investigation is complete and next of kin is notified. Officers expect that’ll take until at least Friday afternoon.The cause of the crash is under investigation at this time.
More information will be released after notifications have been made and the on-scene investigation has concluded. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
LCSO Case #23-2666 — Driver Still Outstanding
Today at approximately 12:13pm the Lane County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a three-vehicle crash on Clear Lake Rd. just west of Goodman Rd. While enroute, deputies were advised that one of the involved vehicles had caught fire with a person trapped inside. This person was the driver of the vehicle that caught fire and was later determined to be deceased.
The driver of one of the other involved vehicles, a blue/green Pontiac sedan, reportedly fled the scene westbound on foot. He may have been picked up by a white truck. He is described as a white male adult aged in his 50’s to 70’s. He was approximately 6’00 tall and had a black dog with him. He was reportedly wearing khaki pants and an unknown colored hat.
The driver of the third involved vehicle was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The identities of the known drivers are being withheld at this time.
Anyone with information about this case including the identity of the outstanding driver is asked to contact the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 opt. 1.
Sweet Home Fire District responds to a water rescue on the Calapooia River
On May 16, 2023, the Sweet Home Fire District was dispatched to a water rescue on the Calapooia River. The call came in at 3:22 pm and it was reported that a 58-year-old male, who was walking the river with his dogs was missing. The wife reportedly witnessed the male fall into the river and float around a bend. When the husband’s dog returned without him, the wife drove down the road to get cell service and initiated the 911 call. Sweet Home Fire District personnel were able to access the river at the location the male was last seen. Initial responding fire crews were able to walk the river to conduct a search, while the rescue swimmers were preparing to make entry into the water. The initial crews located the male in the water, face down and unresponsive. Crews quickly extricated him from the water and initiated advanced life support and resuscitative efforts. Unfortunately, those efforts were not successful, and the male was pronounced dead on scene. There was no indication that any intoxicants were a factor in this unfortunate scenario.
The Sweet Home Fire District would like to remind people that our local waters are still very cold and there is still a large seasonal flow in our rivers and streams. Please use caution around all water ways, lakes, and rivers. Always wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket when recreating in or around water. There are life jackets at the Sweet Home Fire District’s main station available for loan, while you enjoy our local water ways.
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.
Albany Farmers’ Market offers a family-oriented summer
Look for many family-friendly activities at the Albany Farmers’ Market this summer.
Fox’s Country Garden and Linn County Master Gardeners will offer free flower planting for kids on May 27. Ken Fox, who provides all the plants and other materials, started this tradition at our market in 2022.
On June 3, Coffee with a Cop coincides with free goat petting and free mini massages! Margin Coffee Roasters supplies the coffee, and Wahl Family Farms brings the goats. Advanced Chiropractic will be providing mini-massages.
PoP (Power of Produce) Club, a market favorite, returns beginning June 17. Look for new faces/activities thanks to a partnership with Corvallis Environmental Center and Casa Latinos Unidos. Ongoing PoP partners include the Albany Public Library, which brings fun activities and the chance to sign up for summer reading programs, and OSU Extension Food Hero, with recipes for seasonal produce.
New to the market? PoP Club is a summer program that provides free fruits and vegetables to kids, ages 5 to 12. Additional activities are offered for kids of all ages. The 2023 program is funded with support from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, Republic Services, Linn County Master Gardeners and Elks Lodge 359.
If you are a business owner or individual who would like to help us fund growth of PoP, please contact Vonda Peters at email@example.com“>firstname.lastname@example.org or donate via Givebutter: https://givebutter.com/corvallis-albany-farmers-markets.
Mark your calendar for Customer Appreciation Day, July 1. Ice cream sundae samples will be served with Lochmead Dairy ice cream and fresh berries from our farmers, while supplies last. Serving will begin at 9 am!
Third Saturdays bring OSU Extension Master Gardeners and Master Food Preservers to the market, where families can learn about growing ornamental plants and food and also how to preserve the harvest.
While the farmers’ market is full of food to take home and prepare, it’s also a fun place to enjoy foods prepared by local businesses. This year the market is hosting Rivas Dulce Vida (Mexican and Salvadoran foods), Violette (crepes) and Pono Bowl (acai bowls, avocado toasts and smoothies).
For the latest information about market events and vendor attendance, see our web page LocallyGrown.org
Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.0% in April
Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.0% in April, down from 4.4% in March. For the past 21 months since August 2021, Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained relatively steady and near historic lows. The unemployment rate averaged 4.2% in that time, while ranging between 3.5% and 4.8%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.4% in April and 3.5% in March.
In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,600 jobs, following a revised gain of 1,300 jobs in March. In April, gains were largest in other services (+1,700 jobs) and health care and social assistance (+900). Declines were largest in construction (-1,000 jobs) and manufacturing (-600). Since April 2022, Oregon has added 38,400 nonfarm payroll jobs (+2.0%).
Other services is an industry made up of a variety of service establishments, such as repair, maintenance, laundry, religious organizations, and social advocacy organizations. Employment in this broad industry rose to 66,000 in April, reaching a record high, and for the first time surpassing its prepandemic peak of 65,500 in February 2020. Other services employment has recovered at a fairly steady pace over the past two and a half years.
Health care and social assistance continued its recent rapid expansion. It added 11,500 jobs (+4.3%) during the past 12 months, which was the most jobs added of the major industries in that time. Social assistance, at 73,400 jobs in April, expanded rapidly in recent months, adding 7,300 jobs since April 2022. Nursing and residential care facilities also grew rapidly, adding 2,800 jobs in that time.
Both durable goods manufacturing and nondurable goods manufacturing have cut slightly more than 1,000 jobs each in the first four months of the year. Durable goods industries declining in that time include computer and electronic products, wood products, fabricated metal products, and transportation equipment. Within nondurable goods, food manufacturing has cut jobs this year, and is down 1,000 jobs since April 2022.
Next Press Releases
The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the April county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Tuesday, May 23, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for May on Wednesday, June 14.
All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted except for the components of health care and social assistance and manufacturing. The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources. The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the October, November and December 2022 tax records data. In addition, data for July through September 2022 were revised by a total of up to 1,300 jobs per month. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.
To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov.
The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spokenlanguage interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503-947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to email@example.com.
El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon (OED) es una agencia de igualdad de oportunidades. El OED proporciona ayuda gratuita para que usted pueda utilizar nuestros servicios. Algunos ejemplos son intérpretes de lengua de señas e idiomas hablados, materiales escritos en otros idiomas, letra grande, audio y otros formatos. Para obtener ayuda, por favor llame al 503-947-1444. Usuarios de TTY pueden llamar al 711. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 Oregon Senators have disqualified themselves from reelection as of May 18, as the Republican-led walkout of state senators continues in Salem.
Since the beginning of the Walkout on May 3, Republicans have said it’s a protest against Senate President Rob Wagner (D – Lake Oswego) claiming he’s breaking Senate rules and violating the Oregon Constitution. Oregon Democrats, on the other hand, said Republicans are trying to halt legislation.
Several bills have been stopped dead in their tracks by the walkout, including bills on abortion and health care for transgender individuals. Other proposals that aren’t moving forward include a proposal to fund a veterans home in Roseburg, allow Oregonians statewide to pump their own gas, and a program to help homeless students. Many stopped bills have Republican sponsors or co-sponsors.
Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber (D – Beaverton & SW Portland) called it a sad day, and said people’s faith in Oregon’s democracy was shaken thanks to the actions of Republicans. She said the minority party is trying to overrule the will of the people who elected a majority Democrat legislature, and that Senate Democrats have been showing up to do their jobs.
“Instead of accepting the results of the election and realizing that in a democracy you accept the election results, you believe in the rule of law and the majority governs,” Lieber said. “The minority plays an incredibly important part, and that important part is to show up do your job debate on the floor of the senate, work behind the scenes with your colleagues to make sure that we are crafting policies that work for all Oregonians and to show up and take a vote. You can vote no, that’s your job.”
Senate President Rob Wagner said the missing senators are ignoring voters who passed Measure 113, and called on Republicans to show up to do their job.
“The founders of our country warned us of the dangers of a minority veto, and capitulating to this outrageous demand will not strengthen our democracy — it will only encourage more walk outs as we’ve seen,” Wagner said.
Democratic leaders have placed the blame on Senate Republican Leader Tim Kopp (R – Bend) who they believe planned this from the beginning.
Knopp responded, “Senate Republicans are engaged in a peaceful, constitutional protest of the unlawful, uncompromising, and unconstitutional agenda the untrustworthy and deeply partisan Senate President has brought forward. We commit to Oregonians and our Democrat colleagues that we will return before the constitutional sine die to suspend readings and rules on lawful, substantially bipartisan budgets and bills.”
Knopp also said Democrats are “laser-focused” on issues that divide people, while Republicans are focusing on issues that Oregonians care about like homelessness, public safety, the cost of living and more.
OHCS announces new pause in accepting Homeowner Assistance Fund applications
SALEM, ORE. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) will pause accepting new applications for the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program at 4 p.m. PST May 31. This pause will allow OHCS to process current applications in its queue and better project the amount of federal HAF funds remaining for homeowners. The state previously paused at the end of 2022 for the same reasons and has been reopened to accepting applications since March.
“HAF is pausing again to make sure there are enough funds for qualifying homeowners who’ve already applied,” said Ryan Vanden Brink, assistant director of Homeowner Assistance Programs. “The program will likely reopen once we process additional applications already in the queue. If you are a homeowner falling behind, we encourage you to reach out to a state-approved homeownership center right away.”
Homeowners who are most at risk of foreclosure and housing displacement, socially disadvantaged individuals (as defined by U.S. Treasury), or otherwise meet one of the additional eligibility criteria listed at oregonhomeownerassistance.org are encouraged to apply for HAF assistance before 4 p.m. PST May 31.
If a person has previously applied or begun an application, the pause will not impact them. Those who started their applications will still be able to access and complete them, and those applications that were previously submitted will still be processed. Applicants can continue to log on to the HAF portal to check the status of their application or scheduled payments. They can opt in to email alerts as their application advances.
To serve the most at-risk homeowners, as an exception to this pause, OHCS will continue to accept new applications submitted by housing counselors on behalf of homeowners who are in a judicial foreclosure or forfeiture action or have a verified foreclosure sale date. If a person is in a judicial action or in a nonjudicial foreclosure and can provide documentation of a pending foreclosure sale date, they should apply before the pause or work with a free housing counselor to submit their application.
OHCS planned its HAF program to operate as a safety net for the most at-risk eligible homeowners who have no viable workout options, and it will continue to operate HAF this way during the pause. As of May 12, 2023, OHCS approved 1,027 applications, totaling over $30 million of the $72 million budgeted for homeowners. In addition, 1,301 applications are currently being reviewed and 1,320 applications have been started but not completed for processing. At least 219 of the submitted HAF applications were or are in active foreclosure. The average award disbursed is nearly $30,000 per application.
Free help is available – During this pause, homeowners who have fallen behind or are at risk of missing a payment on their mortgage can continue to get free help from certified housing counselors around the state to learn about budgeting tools and evaluation of options to keep their homes, such as modifications, adding deferred payments to the end of a mortgage, or HAF. HAF may not be the best option for everyone, and it may prevent homeowners from servicer options available for different types of loans. Housing counselors are knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated professionals who can help homeowners communicate with their mortgage servicers.
Search the full list of free certified housing counselors by county. Homeowners should be aware that some housing counseling agencies take longer to respond due to the holidays and remote working policies.
In addition to connecting with a certified housing counselor, Oregon homeowners should directly contact their mortgage servicers and lenders to see what types of mortgage assistance and foreclosure prevention programs are available. Homeowners who communicate with their lenders and servicers have some additional protections and usually have more time to figure out their options.
Avoiding fraud – The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services recommends being extremely cautious with offers to help from unauthorized companies or people. Homeowners are urged not to provide financial or personal information unless they verify the company or person’s licensing status. It does not cost anything to apply for the HAF program or meet with an Oregon housing counselor.
There are a number of common warning signsEditSign homeowners should watch out for that may indicate a scam. If a homeowner suspects they’re being contacted by a scammer, they can report it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Oregon Department of Justice, or the U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General.
To verify a lender’s license, visit the Division of Financial Regulation’s license page and compare it with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) license number. This number must be included on all advertising materials and should be easy to find. To verify a housing counseling agency’s status with the state, make sure they are listed on the OHCS website.
OSFM announces investment into Oregon firefighter apprenticeship program
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Fire Marshal has announced it is investing $3 million in the Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Program over the next two years. Klamath County Fire District No. 1 and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue will each receive $1.5 million dollars.
The Oregon fire service has seen a decrease in the number of career and volunteer firefighters entering the field. The goals of the apprenticeship program are to create an accessible pathway into a fire career and increase diversity and inclusion, ensuring the Oregon fire service represents the communities they serve.
The two agencies were selected to receive funding because of the increased risk of wildfire near their communities. Over the last few decades, these regions have experienced more wildfires that have increased the demand for firefighters. This investment will help to lessen that need and provide highly-trained personnel to stop fires before they have a chance to grow and impact communities.
“Apprenticeship attracts a wide range of people, bringing with them eagerness and enthusiasm, which will have a positive effect on the rest of our workforce,” Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer said. “Having the opportunity to sponsor a firefighter apprenticeship program is an effective strategy for helping our fire district meet the demand for skilled labor which has become a valuable and limited commodity.”
“The fire service recognizes that our greatest asset is our people, and we are committed to building, developing, and nurturing the skills of these new apprentices while unlocking their full potential and preparing them for long and healthy careers,” Klamath County Fire District No. 1 Chief Greg Davis said. “Through targeted training initiatives, mentorship programs, coaching, and career progression opportunities, we aim to create a dynamic and engaged workforce that is equipped and capable to tackle any challenge the fire service is faced with.”
This program provides 4,000 hours of training over two years. Apprentices learn the skills of basic emergency medical technician (EMT), applicable college-level math and writing coursework, and on-the-job training. During the program, apprentices also increase staffing at local fire agencies.
The apprentice program is approved by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and adheres to strict guidelines for inclusion and training requirements.
Funding for this program was made possible through Senate Bill 762, which was signed into law in 2021. This investment is part of a multi-pronged approach Oregon is taking to strategically invest in responding to and preventing wildfires. Learn more about the OSFM’s wildfire investments here.
Additional Information – Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Program
Investments for Oregon: OSFM Grants
State to launch online delinquent taxpayer list this summer
Salem, OR—On July 14, the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) will publish a list of delinquent taxpayers on the department’s website.
DOR will post the names of people and businesses who owe at least $50,000 in unpaid taxes to the state. Taxpayers can avoid appearing on the list by paying their balance in full or making payment arrangements. Affected taxpayers will begin receiving notifications during the week of May 22 and will have nearly eight weeks to resolve their status to avoid being on the list.
“Affected taxpayers should contact us as soon as they receive a notice to resolve the debt,” said Deanna Mack, Collection Division administrator for DOR. “Publishing this list will support our efforts to collect the revenue that our state counts on.”
The list focuses on individuals and businesses who owe at least $50,000 in delinquent tax, penalties, and interest to DOR. Taxpayers meeting these criteria will be notified by mail that their names may be posted online. A qualifying taxpayer’s name, business name, the name of any person held personally liable for business debt, the current city and state of residence, lien identification number, type of debt, and current amount due will be available on the department’s website. Taxpayers who don’t want their information shared can pay their tax debt in full or enter a department-approved payment plan or agreement to resolve their debt by the deadline in their notice.
In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 523, authorizing DOR to post information online about delinquent taxpayers whose tax debt topped $50,000. Many states already post information publicly about delinquent taxpayers as part of their efforts to promote greater tax compliance and collect state revenue.
The department initially planned to launch the program in March 2020 but postponed its implementation out of concern for possible financial hardships for taxpayers created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contact the Oregon Department of Revenue:
Taxpayers who owe are encouraged to contact DOR promptly to make arrangements to resolve their debt by going to the department’s online services portal, Revenue Online, or by phone. Individual taxpayers can call 503-945-8200 to resolve their accounts. Business taxpayers can call 503-945-8100.
### The Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) administers Oregon’s major tax programs, including the Personal Income Tax, corporate income and excise taxes, and other tax and fee programs. DOR also administers delinquent debt collection on behalf of other state agencies. Annually, DOR’s tax programs collect more than 95 percent of the state’s general fund. For more information on other taxes and fees in Oregon, visit: www.oregon.gov/dor.
Oregon State Track Meet for Youth Who are Blind and Visually Impaired to be Held in Canby Friday 5/19
Vancouver, Washington—May 19, 2023—Northwest Association for Blind Athletes’ (NWABA) has partnered with the Blind and Visually Impaired Fund (BVIS) and the Canby School District to host the Oregon State Track Meet for Oregon youth who are blind and visually impaired. This annual event will be held Friday, May 19, at the Ackerman Center field (350 SE 13th Ave., Canby) from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Forty-five young athletes—from preschool to 18 years—will participate in multiple track and field events including 50-, 100-, 200-, 400-meter sprints, as well as 800-meter and one-mile races. Optional track and field events include the shotput, discus, javelin, long jump and softball throw.
NWABA participates in this event as they support using sports and physical activity as a catalyst to provide opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired to build confidence, self-esteem, independence, and a sense of community. For more information about NWABA’s winter sports programs, contact Anne Coleman at email@example.com or 360.768.5647.
The Blind Visually Impaired Student (BVIS) fund was established in 2009 by the Oregon State Legislature when the School for the Oregon Blind closed. The BVIS helps enhance learning opportunities for all blind and visually impaired students, including those who are underserved, student of color or living in rural areas within the state, and supports activities previously provided by Oregon School for the Blind, including athletic events.
The mission of Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) is to provide life-changing opportunities through sports and physical activity to individuals who are blind and visually impaired. A group of students who were visually impaired formed the association in 2007 to ensure that people who are blind were participating in sports and physical activity. Today, NWABA is a rapidly expanding 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides more than 2,500 service interactions annually to children, youth, adults and military veterans with visual impairments tailored programming which improves self-confidence and self-esteem, promotes independence, creates an inclusive community of supporters, and builds the skills necessary to succeed in all areas of life including school and employment. Northwest Assn. for Blind Athletes