Willamette Valley News, Tuesday 5/30 – 𝟳𝗞 𝗙𝗜𝗥𝗘 Near Veneta 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘, Crews Respond to Brush Fire In Springfield

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, May 30, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

𝟳𝗞 𝗙𝗜𝗥𝗘 Near Veneta 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘

Firefighters continued mop up efforts overnight on the #7KFire, located approximately 10 miles southwest of Veneta. Last night concluded the incident’s night shifts, as crews have completed all the work they can safely do after dark. As of this morning, the fire’s perimeter lines are holding at 100% and 15% of the fire is now considered mopped up. It’s still estimated to be 300 acres, and the cause is under investigation.

Overnight, windy conditions until midnight kept the fire active, but helped crews to easily spot the areas where more work is needed, as illustrated in the photo below. When winds calmed down in the early hours of the morning, fire activity stalled with it, allowing resources several hours to focus on mop up operations. Perimeters are mopped in 25 feet into the interior on most of the line, except for an exceptionally steep portion on the east side of the fire.

Tuesday’s day shift will pick up where they left off and continue to push into the interior of the fire, extinguishing hotspots that have the potential to flare up in warm, windy conditions. Temperatures will be slightly cooler today, which will help to keep fire behavior at a minimum, however winds are still predicted. Resources assigned to the fire today are the same as Monday’s day shift, totaling around 300 personnel working on the incident. One Type 3 helicopter remains assigned to the fire, and additional aircraft can be ordered as needed.

The remainder of work is situated on steep terrain that only gets more challenging from here. Safety is a top priority as firefighters work further in the interior. Falling trees and rolling debris continue to be major concerns, and medical personnel are available on scene and prepared to quickly respond if needed. To date, there hasn’t been an injury on this incident.

Perkins Peninsula County Park remains closed to the public and in use for firefighting resources.

Crews Respond to Brush Fire in Springfield

Eugene Springfield Fire crews are on scene of a brush fire in the vicinity of 26th and South F in Springfield. The fire is approximately 5 acres burning up hill beyond the old quarry.  

Oregon Department of Forestry is supporting the operation with a helicopter. Crews are finding it difficult to locate an access road to directly attack the fire At this time.  There are no residential or commercial structures threatened and no evacuations necessary.  Crews are working to access and protect critical communications infrastructure on the butte.  Crews will be on scene for an extended period of time and the cause is under investigation.  

Lebanon Firefighters Respond to Apartment Fire

Lebanon Fire District firefighters responded to an apartment fire in the Sandridge Court Apartments late Monday evening. Reports of possibly a dryer on fire in a single apartment on the first floor. Firefighters arrived to find light smoke coming from an exhaust vent and smoke inside the apartment.

Firefighters were quickly able to locate the fire in a bathroom and extinguish, while additional crews were evacuating residents from other apartments attached to the three-story complex. Firefighters were on scene approximately one hour checking for any extension or hotspots. No injuries were reported to residents or firefighters, but the family has been temporarily displaced due to minor smoke damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation currently.

Lebanon Fire District responded with 19 personnel on 3 engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 heavy rescue, 1 pumper-tender, 1 ALS medic unit, 1 rehab unit for firefighters and 2 chief officers. Lebanon Fire was assisted by Albany Fire Department with an engine and medic unit to cover additional calls for our citizens.

The Lebanon Fire District would like to remind residents of the importance of working smoke alarms. For assistance with smoke alarms in your home, contact our Fire & Life Safety Division at (541) 451-1901. Be Safe Lebanon.

Man Rescued Near Waterloo Park

Lebanon firefighters and water rescue technicians responded to the report of a water rescue near the 40000 block of McDowell Creek Drive early Saturday evening. Initial information stated a male was floating down the river with friends when they were separated. The tubers then arrived at their location at Waterloo Park but hadn’t seen the male for several hours. The tubers then called 911. While en route to the location the Battalion Chief requested a drone from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office to assist in locating the male.

Rescuers from Lebanon Fire also flew their drone further upriver to attempt to locate the male. The IC also requested a watercraft from Albany Fire Department to aide in the search. Approximately 20 minutes later the male was located upriver from the Waterloo Park by the LCSO drone on an island. The male appeared to be in distress, but after several fly over attempts by the drone the male got up and started walking.

The IC was able to contact the male on his cell phone and he stated he was uninjured but needed help getting across the river. Albany Fire’s watercraft put in the river at Waterloo Park and made their way upriver to the stranded male. He was retrieved without incident and brought to safety. The male was evaluated by medics at the scene. No injuries were reported to rescuers or the male.

Lebanon Fire District responded to the scene with 12 personnel on 1 heavy rescue, 1 engine, 1 ALS medic unit, 1 rehab unit for fire/rescue personnel and 3 staff vehicles. Lebanon rescuers were assisted by the Albany Fire Department who responded with 4 rescue swimmers and 2 watercrafts. Linn County Sherriff’s office assisted with the support of their dispatchers, drone, and patrol officers. 

With warm temperatures forecasted for the upcoming week, the Lebanon Fire District would like to remind citizens about the importance of water safety; especially the importance of wearing a life jacket when in a moving body of water. As a reminder, the Lebanon Fire District has three life jacket day loaner stations for use along the South Santiam River. 

The Oregon National Guard takes part in Memorial Day ceremonies around the state

 Oregon National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen participated in several Memorial Day community events on May 29, 2023, honoring service members who died for their country in observances around the state of Oregon.

In Beaverton, American Legion Post 124 hosted their annual Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park as Oregon Governor Tina Kotek, U.S. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, 1st Congressional District of Oregon, Mayor Lacey Beaty and Keynote speaker for the ceremony, Oregon Air National Guard Col. Todd Hofford, 142nd Wing Commander, were among the featured guest that addressed those in attendance.

“My father served our country in Korea in the Army, his service shaped my admiration and respect for those who serve and their families who stand by them,” said Gov. Kotek. “Today across our great state, across our great nation, people are gathering in remembrance of loved ones who where lost and honoring the bravery of our fallen service members.”

Prior to becoming Governor earlier this year, Kotek served as the Speaker of the House for over nine years. She recalled meeting with family members of fallen service members from Oregon, being remembered in resolution.

“Every time – I was caught-up by these life stories of young Oregonians, who went into the bigger world for their country, and never to come back. They are Oregon – and I will not forget their stories.”

Also in attendance was Larry Wittmayer, Commander of the American Legion Department of Oregon as the ceremony featured the American Legion Post 185 Band, playing music throughout the hour-long ceremony.

Speaking to those in attendance, Hofford traced the lineage of those who have died in the nation’s wars back to the founding of the country.

“More than 1,275,000 Americans have died in war and conflict since 1775,” he said, speaking to the audience during the mid-day gathering. “History has so often reminded us, Liberty is not fairly gained, nor is it easily obtained or preserved and must be continually safeguarded by each generation.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a Howitzer Salute was performed by the Oregon Army National Guard’s Battery ‘A’ of the 2-218th Field Artillery.  

A Joint Service Honor Guard team and other Oregon Soldiers and Airmen took part in the Memorial Day Ceremony at Willamette National Cemetery in Clackamas. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden spoke to those attending, noting that “Americans always get it right…after they’ve tried everything else,” a quote attributed to Winston Churchill during WWII.

During a Memorial Day ceremony in Medford, the Oregon Army National Guard Honor Guard, conducted a flag folding ceremony for a family member of a fallen service member, held at the Memory Gardens Memorial Park. Throughout the state, the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing and 173rd Fighter Wing flew patriotic flyovers at ceremonies and parades in over a dozen towns and cities.

Oregon police officers killed 23 people in the line of duty in 2022, according to the state’s first use-of-force report.

Lawmakers discussed a summary of the report, which is not yet released, on Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The report, compiled by Oregon’s Criminal Justice Commission, doesn’t discuss whether the police use of force was justified or followed established policies.

Instead, the report offers a breakdown of how often police use force, whether it resulted in injury or death and how many police departments in Oregon are complying with a 2021 state law that requires them to submit data about police use-of-force incidents. The data is sent to the Oregon State Police and forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The report shows that Oregon had 58 use-of-force incidents in 2022 and 23 of them – less than half – involved a fatality. The others led to injuries or police officers firing their weapons. Incidents took place in rural and urban areas.

Police use of force has gained national attention with calls for accountability and more transparency in recent years. The 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, sparked a national reckoning over policing and race.

In Portland, the city settled a federal lawsuit for $250,000 in 2022 following its police bureau’s use of tear gas and other crowd control tactics during the city’s 2020 protests, the Associated Press has reported

Josephine County deputies and Oregon State troopers in southern Oregon were cleared of wrongdoing after shooting and killing a man at an Interstate 5 rest area in September 2022. In that case, the man fired at officers and shot a woman, according to media reports.  Use-of-force incidents encompass a variety of situations. They can involve a fatality, a serious injury to a person or the discharge of a firearm. Ninety percent of the people involved resisted police officers in different ways, including not complying with orders, making threats, using a firearm or fleeing, the report said.

The majority of people involved in the incidents were white men and in 64% of the cases, police officers were responding to illegal or suspicious activity. In the other cases, police officers were conducting traffic stops, serving warrants or making other types of calls.

Ninety-six officers were involved in the incidents and seven of them were injured.

Most police and sheriff agencies in Oregon – 92% – have complied with the state law’s requirement to report data. That’s 137 police agencies. All large agencies with more than 100 officers reported data.

Kelly Officer, research director for the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, told legislators it wasn’t aware of any use-of-force incidents that occurred and were not reported.

State officials are working to get the non-compliant agencies – one dozen – reporting information.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene and the committee’s chairman, said he’s pleased with the high level of compliance in the first year and suggested future reports identify agencies that aren’t complying with the law. (SOURCE)

Airmen From The Disabled Aircraft Recovery Team Recovered The U.S. Air Force F-15D Aircraft From Irrigation Canal Of Klamath Falls.

12 days after an aircraft first crashed in a training mission, the U.S. Air Force F-15D was finally recovered from a Bureau of Reclamation irrigation canal at the south end of the runway at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore. on May 26, 2023. 

As reported earlier , the aircraft was involved in a ground mishap following a routine training mission, on May 14, 2023.  To be classified as a Runway excursion , upon landing the aircraft left the paved surface of the runway and came to a stop in the canal.

“This was a challenging undertaking due to all of the unforeseen contingencies that are associated with the mishap,” said Lt. Col. Victor Knill, Director of 173rd Fighter Wing Emergency Operations Center.  He noted the weight of the plane, as well as the location, being the biggest factors.  

“The land around the canal, especially on the south side, is very soft and narrow, not capable of supporting an extraction,” said Knill.  “Additionally, we had to procure a crane that was large enough to extract the water-logged aircraft.”

To assist with the removal of the aircraft, Bureau of Reclamation lowered the water in the canal to allow the Crash Damage or Disabled Aircraft Recovery Team to access the connection points on the aircraft for crane removal.

 “We used a 400-ton crane located on the north side of the canal to hoist the aircraft out safely to the north side,” said Knill.  “The recovery team did a fantastic job of safely executing this challenging undertaking.”

Col. Micah Lambert, 173rd FW vice commander, also noted that the wing has been conducting routine water sampling since the mishap.  He said only trace amounts of petroleum products have been detected in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft and were contained using multiple absorbent booms, as well as hard booms to prevent any downflow of possible containments.

“Ensuring the safety of our community’s irrigation water is a top priority, and this is why have been working with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to prevent contamination from the mishap,” said Lambert.  “Partnering with our local and federal agencies has been key to executing this recovery safely, and effectively.”

The plane was assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing, and there was one crew member on board.  The F-15 instructor pilot was transported to Sky Lakes Medical Center for evaluation where he was released the same day with minor injuries. (SOURCE)

Governor Kotek Calls for Improved Educator Preparation to Boost Early Literacy

Oregon state seal in blue and gold

Salem, OR—As part of her ongoing efforts to boost literacy rates across Oregon, Governor Tina Kotek today announced she will form a council to develop recommendations to raise the bar on elementary educator preparation for reading and writing instruction.

Executive Order 23-12 establishes the Early Literacy Educator Preparation Council, which will be appointed and begin work this summer. Governor Kotek is directing this council to develop recommendations for strengthening standards that the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) uses to approve elementary educator preparation programs and license elementary educators. TSPC will use these recommendations to adopt new rules next year.

“Literacy is the foundation for learning, yet far too many students are not getting the intentional literacy support and experiences they need,” Governor Kotek said. “We can and must do more to prepare new educators for teaching every student to read and write.”

The Council will be made up of no more than 20 members, including teachers, elementary school leaders, representatives from education preparation programs, early literacy experts, teachers, and bipartisan appointments from the Oregon House and Senate.

Council recommendations to revise educator and school administrator preparation program standards for literacy instruction are due no later than December 15. These recommendations must align with the Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) Early Literacy Framework for kindergarten through fifth grade. Instruction must be grounded in culturally responsive instructional practices, based on research derived from the science of reading and writing, and designed for students with disabilities and students who are emerging bilingual learners.

Additionally, the Council must develop recommendations by March 30, 2024, to revise elementary educator licensing requirements. These recommendations are expected to be presented to the TSPC for rule adoption no later than June 30, 2024. This work will include a focus on literacy instruction for K-5 students.

Applications to join the council can be submitted here until Friday, June 23.

Along with the formation of the Council, Governor Kotek has worked with Rep. Jason Kropf (D-Bend) to develop House Bill 3198, which aims to invest at least $140 million for evidence-based, culturally responsive, targeted literacy strategies inside and outside of the classroom. The bill has bipartisan support and is currently in the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

The full executive order can be found here.EditSignhttps://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/pages/newsdetail.aspx?newsid=144033

Grants Awarded for Main Street Projects Throughout the State

Salem, OR—Oregon Heritage, a division of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, awarded 27 matching grants worth nearly $5,000,000 to Oregon Main Street Network organizations across the state for building projects that encourage economic revitalization. Projects range from façade improvement to basic facilities and housing with awards ranging from $62,930-$200,000.

The department funded applications that best conveyed the ability to stimulate private investment and local economic development, fit within the community’s long-range plan for downtown vitality, and community need. Oregon Main Street coordinator Sheri Stuart noted, “We have seen the impact of these funds the local Main Street organizations have brought to their communities on projects to date. We are excited to support this new round of projects and the potential to enhance and support downtowns across the state.”

Funded projects include:
• Several projects will address a variety of preservation needs from window repair to electrical and plumbing including projects by Baker City Downtown, City of Reedsport, City of Maupin, Medford Downtown Association, Klamath Falls Downtown Association, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District for projects in Wallowa, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce for a project in Spray, and Weston Area Development Association.
• Several projects were for housing increases or improvements including projects Albany Downtown Association, Independence Downtown Association, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District for a project in Enterprise, Salem Main Street Association and St. Helens Main Street Alliance.
• Façade restoration projects by the cities of Cornelius, Maupin, North Bend and Woodburn, Friends of La Grande Main Street, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce for a project in Condon, and The Dalles Main Street.
• Structural and roof prepare projects were approved for Albany Downtown Association, Astoria Downtown Historic District Association, Dallas Downtown Association, and McMinnville Downtown Association.
• Projects by Harney County Opportunity Team and Pendleton Downtown Association will increase and improve lodging options.
• New construction will be funded in Dayton.

The grant program was created during the 2015 legislative session, and placed with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. The legislation established a permanent fund for the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant, and provided an initial infusion of funds from the sale of lottery bonds. The legislature included the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant in the lottery bond package approved in 2021. If funded by the 2023 state legislature, there will be future grant rounds in the 24-25 biennium. The funds must be used to award grants to participating Oregon Main Street Network organizations to acquire, rehabilitate or construct buildings to facilitate community revitalization. The program also requires that at least 50 percent of the funds go to rural communities as defined in the bill.

To learn more about the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant or the Oregon Main Street Network, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at Kuri.gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0685. — https://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=144041

ODFW Finishes Investigation Into Cole Rivers Hatchery Fish Loss

SHADY COVE, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has concluded an investigation into a fish kill at Cole Rivers Hatchery, which will affect fish levels at fisheries in the Rogue and Coos rivers. 

“The incident led to the loss of steelhead that contribute to fisheries in the Rogue and Coos River,” the release said. “The loss was caused by human error at ODFW and compounded by infrastructure issues making it difficult to isolate risk.”

Rogue summer steelhead – This incident will affect the 2024 “half-pounder” fishery and the 2025 adult fishery, the release said, because all of the sac fry in the Rogue summer steelhead have been lost. 

“Some of the lost fishing opportunities in the Rogue will be abated because 82,000 summer steelhead smolts were held back in 2022 and will be released in April 2024,” the release said. “A portion of these fish will return after a short time in the ocean as “half-pounders” and will contribute to the 2024 fishery.”

Catch-and-release is still in effect for wild summer steelhead half-pounders, the release said, with hatchery adults returning from other years making up for some of the lost opportunities in 2025. 

Coos winter steelhead – For the Coos winter steelhead, 2025-2026 fisheries will be impacted, the release said, since a “significant portion” of the Coos winter steelhead fry have been lost. 

“We expect to release about half of production goal (62,500 smolts) in April 2024. Most of these hatchery steelhead will return in the winter of 2025-2026, depending on ocean survival,” the release said. “A small number of hatchery steelhead from the previous brood year could contribute to that fishery. Anglers can continue to catch and release wild adult steelhead.”

ODFW stressed that it is working on implementing solutions to prevent another incident. 

“ODFW is reviewing protocols to prevent future operational errors,” the release said. “ODFW and federal partners are also working closely to address infrastructure issues stressing production capabilities.”


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