Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 10/18 – Eugene Considering Ban on Construction of New Gas Stations & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather



* WHAT...Visibility one quarter mile or less in areas of dense fog.

* WHERE...Many inland valleys of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon below 1000 feet.

* WHEN...Until 10 AM PDT Wednesday.

* IMPACTS...Hazardous driving conditions due to low visibility.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Fog will increase in coverage overnight.

This year’s International ShakeOut Day is Thursday October 19th, when millions of people worldwide will participate in earthquake drills at work, school, or home!

At 10:19 am (local time) on 10/19, you can join people across Oregon practicing earthquake safety. While we encourage you to participate with everyone, you can register your ShakeOut drill for any day of the year, and drill at a time of your choice. You can also include people in multiple locations through video conferencing. MORE INFO: https://www.shakeout.org/oregon/

Eugene Considering Ban on Construction of New Gas Stations

The Eugene City Council is considering a ban on the construction of new gas stations within city limits. Beyond Toxics, a local environmental non-profit, released a report on the harms of petroleum contamination if gas stations are abandoned and underground storage tanks are left behind.

The group argues gas stations pose a threat to public health and safety. DEQ data indicates that there have been more than three hundred underground gas storage tank leaks, which can contaminate the soil, air and groundwater in the impacted area.

Beyond Toxics says this report comes as the sales for electric vehicles rise; the need for new gas stations will decrease and be unprofitable by 2035.

According to Beyond Toxics, their effort is beyond just the move to electric vehicles, it’s about controlling possible contaminations as result of gas leaks.

“The electrification revolution is well underway, which is great news for the city’s climate goals and our efforts to fight climate change,” said Mason Leavitt with Beyond Toxics. “But it also should help us think about the way we might think about our land use in the future.” MORE INFO: https://www.beyondtoxics.org/

LCSO Case #23-5419 — Man arrested for menacing with a firearm over personal property

On 10/12/2023 shortly after 2:15pm, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office received the report of a menacing incident that occurred in the area of Salmon Creek Rd. outside of Oakridge.  The victim reported that a  male suspect accused him of stealing and was actively hunting him with a firearm. LCSO deputies responded as well as Oregon State Police Troopers and Oakridge Police Officers. 

Upon arrival, the victim reported that he found a backpack and car keys on the ground near a vehicle that he believed to be abandoned.  The victim took the property and put it in his van, claiming that he was planning on reporting the found property to police. As the victim was laying down in his van, a male later identified as 37-year-old Nicholas Ronald Hansen, used a gun to fire a round into the victim’s van.  Hansen then opened the door of the van, pointed the gun at the victim and demanded the backpack and keys.  The victim said Hansen tried to strike him with the firearm and told him that he would kill him if he ever saw him again.

Investigators made contact with Hansen and took him into custody for charges including Menacing, Reckless Endangering, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. He was lodged at the Lane County Jail without incident.

Lebanon Fire District Debuts Drone Program

The Lebanon Fire District recently launched a new drone program to increase efficiency and safety during emergency situations. Six members of the District have completed their licensing process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and their Part 107 testing. 

There are many benefits to having licensed drone operators in the District. “Drones can cover large areas quickly and provide information on terrain otherwise inaccessible by crews,” says Division Chief of Training Mark Fitzwater. “This will be invaluable during swift water operations when we are unable to determine an immediate location of a victim.” 

Other applications for drone use including gathering information in hazard zones without putting personnel at risk, such as wildfire spread or haz-mat situations, determining fire spread during large commercial fires, or determining a fire’s location in a defensive operation. Drones can also be used for inspections and emergency pre-planning operations, training, and assisting other mutual aid agencies. 

Because the drone team is made up of both career and volunteer members, Incident Commanders will be able to request a drone response at any time. Using the drone during emergency operations will keep personnel out of dangerous situations and help assess emergency scenes more efficiently. 

Save Eugene’s Hospital

PeaceHealth’s dangerous and irresponsible decision to close University District would leave nearly 200,000 people in Oregon’s second largest city without a hospital–leading to longer waits, worse care, slower emergency response times and ultimately more deaths. 

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Since PeaceHealth announced its closure plans Aug. 22, frontline health care workers, elected leaders, unions, allies and activists have formed the “Save Eugene’s Hospital” coalition to demand PeaceHealth reconsider its disastrous decision and save lives by keeping University District open.

The campaign has received significant public support—including nearly 3,000 petition signatures—and has already won 3 key victories. 

In response to our efforts, PeaceHealth has now committed to maintaining critical mental and behavioral health services at University District. It has also agreed to retain inpatient rehabilitation services in Lane County—despite electing to move the unit to PeaceHealth Riverbend in Springfield. 

Finally, due to public pressure, PeaceHealth has announced it is considering creating an urgent care clinic on the University District campus. 

Preserving these life-saving services is a monumental victory for advocates and local residents. Thanks to our work, people in Lane County will still be able to access essential mental and behavioral health care and sorely-needed rehabilitation services. 

However, the promises we’ve won from PeaceHealth still fall short of fulfilling our community’s needs. Oregon’s second-largest city needs a full-service hospital to serve our citizens. 

“Make no mistake. The costs of this decision are high. Eugene Springfield Emergency and Rescue make approximately 4,500 trips to the emergency room every year. Consider the impact to our response time and cost. Our estimates are that every round trip transport will increase by 27 minutes. Think about what that means to people in West Eugene who have a heart attack or a house fire or another life-threatening crisis. Lives will be lost,” said Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis.

The Save Eugene’s Hospital coalition has also received local and state support from:

  • The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)
  • Lane Professional Firefighters IAFF-851
  • CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets)/Teamsters Local 206
  • White Bird Clinic
  • Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) at the University of Oregon
  • The local chapter of HealthCare for All Oregon (HCAO)
  • Eugene-Springfield DSA
  • Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network
  • Operating Engineers Local 701
  • SEIU 49
  • The Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP)
  • Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis
  • Lane County Commissioner Laurie Trieger
  • State Senator James Manning
  • and many others.

Learn more at www.SaveEugenesHospital.com

Save Eugene’s Hospital

Join us in asking the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Governor Tina Kotek to do everything in their power to prevent PeaceHealth’s from closing Eugene’s only hospital!

Use this easy tool to email OHA and ask them to save Eugene’s hospital and protect Lane County residents: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/save-eugenes-hospital?source=direct_link&

1st press conference was livestreamed on the Oregon Nurses Association’s (ONA’s) Facebook page here.  

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 16,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout Oregon. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.

Detectives Investigating Homicide in Green District, Arrest Made

ROSEBURG, Ore. – Detectives are investigating a homicide which occurred in the Green District late Monday night.

On Monday, October 16, 2023, shortly after 11:00 p.m., 9-1-1 dispatchers received a report of a male lying in a driveway who appeared to be deceased in the 100-block of Speedway Road in the Green District. Deputies arrived on scene and determined the male to be deceased as a result of a gunshot wound. The victim was identified as 24-year-old Ronnie Keith James Crabtree of Roseburg.

During the course of the investigation, evidence was developed which led to the apprehension and arrest of 24-year-old Jacob Taylor Robinson of Winston. Robinson was lodged at the Douglas County Jail on Second Degree Murder and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. There is no ongoing threat to the public.

Anyone who may have heard or observed anything or who holds information which may be related to the homicide is encouraged to contact investigators at (541) 440-4458.

The Douglas County Major Crimes Team is continuing the investigation, which is being led by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The Douglas County Major Crimes Team consists of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg Police Department and Oregon State Police working in consultation with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.


The Eugene Film Society is reviving the 72-Hour Horror Film Competition for an 8th season. Local and regional filmmakers will compete to produce the best 3-minute horror film within 72 hours incorporating a specific line of dialogue and prop.

  • Venue: Art House
  • Address: Art House 492 E 13th Ave, Eugene, OR
  • Date: Thu, Oct 19 – Sat, Oct 21
  • Click here to learn more.

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The ‘Run for Your Life! 5k’ is a Zombie-themed race event organized by ShelterCare in partnership with Thrill the World Eugene, featuring 100+ hidden zombies on the course.

  • Venue: Alton Baker Park
  • Address: Alton Baker Park 200 Day Island Rd, Eugene, OR
  • Date: Sun, Oct 22, 3 – 5 PM
  • Click here to learn more.

PART 2Newsweek Podcast Focusing on The Disappearance of Fauna Frey From Lane County

Here One Minute, Gone the Next —-– PART 2 – Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel joins investigative journalist Alex Rogue to speak with Here One Minute, Gone the Next about the disappearance of Fauna Frey, the growing friction between citizen investigators and law enforcement, and the lack of resources in missing persons cases. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-disappearance-of-fauna-frey-pt2-feat-sheriff/id1707094441?i=1000630100040

PART 1 – John Frey joins Newsweek to discuss exclusive details about the case of his missing daughter that until now have been unavailable to the general public.

READ MORE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-what-happened-fauna-frey-new-clues-uncovered-1827197?fbclid=IwAR3Z3Glru5lIgqiYXbs_nA1Fj8JuCIzM11OHSVHfwIucfq2f_G5y9y5bnmQ

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Fauna Frey, call the anonymous tip line at 541-539-5638 or email FindFaunaFrey@gmail.com. — Help Find Fauna Frey #FindFaunaFrey FACEBOOK GROUP

Oregon approved to issue an additional $43 million in Pandemic EBT food assistance to 99,000 young children

  • Families who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and have young children will receive additional food benefits for their children.
  • Oregon will provide approximately $43 million in additional food assistance for 99,000 young children.
  • These food benefits will be issued to existing EBT cards on Oct. 17.
  • These additional food benefits are part of the federal Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program, a temporary COVID-19 program meant to provide additional food support for children whose access to adequate and quality food may have been impacted by COVID-19.  
  • This is the last time Oregon will be able to provide P-EBT food benefits to children in Oregon as the program has not been renewed. 

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) will be issuing additional food benefits for young children whose families received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits between Sept. 1 2022 and May 11, 2023. 

These additional food benefits will provide approximately $43 million in additional food assistance for 99,000 young children in Oregon. 

“We are grateful to have been able to provide more than a $1 billion in addition food benefits to children and students in Oregon since 2020,” said Claire Seguin, director of the ODHS Self-Sufficiency Programs. “As communities continue to be affected by COVID-19 and the rising cost of food, we know that many families are experiencing hardship and are struggling to get enough healthy food for themselves and their children. We encourage anyone who is struggling to meet their basic needs to contact our partners at 211, the Oregon Food Bank and their local Community Action Agency for support during this difficult time.”

Eligibility for P-EBT food benefits

  • Families must have received SNAP benefits at any time between Sept. 1, 2022 and May 11, 2023.
  • Children in the family who were age 5 and under at any time during this period are eligible to receive additional food benefits. 
  • Families will receive the additional food benefits for every month during this period that:
    • One or more children in their household were ages 5 and younger 
    • The family was receiving SNAP benefits.

Families will receive an extra $67 food benefit per child for every month between September 2022 and April 2023, and $30 for May 2023. Families can receive up to $566 in additional food benefits for each child who is eligible.

How children will receive P-EBT food benefits – Families who are currently receiving SNAP benefits will receive the P-EBT food benefits onto their EBT card on Oct. 17. 

Families who are no longer receiving SNAP benefits will receive a P-EBT card in the mail with the food benefits on it. These cards will be arriving in the mail within the coming weeks. 

What is the P-EBT program? – Since 2020, Oregon has issued approximately $1 billion in P-EBT food benefits to help children in Oregon get enough quality and nutritious food. 

These additional food benefits are part of the P-EBT program, a temporary COVID-19 response program meant to provide additional food support for children whose access to adequate and quality food received through school programs may have been impacted by COVID-19.

Visit pebt.oregon.gov for more information about the P-EBT program. 

Families with specific questions about their child’s eligibility or P-EBT card can contact the P-EBT Call Center at (844) ORE-PEBT or (844) 673-7328. The P-EBT Call Center is available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific in seven language options (English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Somalian, Mandarin and Cantonese). Callers may also request a translator for additional languages.

P-EBT does not replace any child nutrition program already offered and families are encouraged to continue to participate in meal programs in their schools and communities.  

P-EBT food benefits are issued in addition to regular SNAP benefits. P-EBT benefits are not considered in a public charge test.

Resources to help meet basic needs

About SNAP – Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.

About P-EBT – Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) is part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. P-EBT is money for children whose access to adequate and quality food may have been impacted by COVID-19.

P-EBT is a program in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE).

State Program Offers Free Help for Medicare Open Enrollment

(Salem) — Medicare open enrollment for the 2024 Medicare plan year began on Oct. 15 and remains open through Dec. 7, 2023. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) wants Oregonians to know about free help available when making decisions about coverage including the Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans.

The Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program within the ODHS Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) is available to help Oregonians understand their Medicare options and benefits, provide enrollment guidance and help people detect and avoid Medicare scams. During Open Enrollment, people with Medicare can make changes to their health plan or prescription drug plan, pick a Medicare Advantage plan, or choose Original Medicare.

Oregonians who need help navigating Medicare open enrollment are encouraged to call SHIBA at 800-722-4134 (toll-free) or learn more by visiting the SHIBA website at SHIBA.Oregon.gov. The 2024 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans will be available on the SHIBA website in the coming days and will be translated to multiple languages. 

“SHIBA certified counselors can help people make informed decisions to choose the plan that works best for them as well as understand the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans,” said Jane-ellen Weidanz, who oversees SHIBA as APD Deputy Director of Policy. 

SHIBA certified counselors can also help people report scams to Medicare and educate people on how to avoid Medicare scams or fraud. “Scams and fraud are becoming more common through email, text messages, social media and phone calls. Anyone who receives a message or email about Medicare from a number or person they do not recognize should not respond to it,” said Weidanz. “SHIBA counselors are here to help Oregonians if they have questions about the validity of information they have received and are committed to ensuring Oregonians have the information they need.” 

Help from SHIBA is available over the phone and through virtual and in-person appointments. Because high call volume during Open Enrollment may result in longer than usual wait times, Oregonians are also encouraged to access free resources on the SHIBA website such as Medicare frequently asked questions, an agent locator tool, a list of free virtual and in-person Medicare presentations and videos to help people understand their Medicare options.

About the Oregon Department of Human Services – The mission of the Oregon Department of Human Services is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.

About the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program – The Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program is a statewide network of certified counselors volunteering in their community to help all Oregonians make educated Medicare decisions. SHIBA offers free, objective, confidential and local one-on-one health insurance counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families.

Former Oregon Corrections Nurse Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Assaulting Nine Female Inmates

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former Oregon Department of Corrections employee was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison today for sexually assaulting nine female inmates while serving as a nurse at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Oregon’s only women’s prison.

Tony Daniel Klein, 39, of Clackamas County, Oregon, was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

“Today’s sentence sends a clear message that using a position of authority to prey on individuals in custody will never be tolerated by the Department of Justice. Holding Tony Klein accountable for his crimes would not have been possible without the courage and resolve of the women he abused and the dedication of our partners at the FBI and Civil Rights Division,” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“The sentence in this case should send a significant message to any official working inside jails and prisons across our country, including those who provide medical care, that they will be held accountable when they sexually assault women inmates in their custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Women detained inside jails and prisons should be able to turn to medical providers for care and not subjected to exploitation by those bent on abusing their power and position. We will listen to and investigate credible allegations put forward by people who are sexually assaulted and, where appropriate, bring federal prosecutions. The Justice Department stands ready to hold accountable those who abuse their authority by sexual assaulting people in their custody and under their care.”

“We know this prison sentence cannot undo the trauma Tony Klein inflicted on numerous victims, but we hope this brings them one step closer to healing,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “As a state prison nurse, Klein abused his position and abused multiple women, violating the public’s trust, while doing everything he could to avoid being caught. The investigators and prosecutors should be applauded for their efforts to hold Klein accountable, but we recognize this lengthy sentence is also because of a group of brave women who came forward and helped ensure that Klein was held accountable for being a sexual predator within Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.”

According to court documents, from 2010 until January 2018, Klein served as a nurse at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon. In his position, Klein interacted with female inmates who either sought medical treatment or worked as orderlies in the prison’s medical unit. Aided by his access to the women and his position of power as a corrections employee, Klein sexually assaulted and engaged in nonconsensual sexual conduct with many female inmates entrusted to his care.

By virtue of his position as a medical provider, Klein was often alone with his victims and assaulted many before, during, or after medical treatment. For women who worked in the medical unit, Klein manufactured reasons to get them alone in secluded areas such as medical rooms, janitor’s closets, or behind privacy curtains. Klein made it clear to his victims that he was in a position of power over them, and they would not be believed if they tried reporting his abuse. Fearing punishment if they fought back against or reported his conduct, most of Klein’s victims submitted to his unwanted advances or endured his assaults.

On March 8, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Klein with multiple civil rights crimes. On July 25, 2023, a federal jury in Portland found Klein guilty of 17 counts of depriving his victims of their constitutional right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by sexual assault and four counts of perjury.

This case was investigated by the FBI Portland Field Office. It was prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, and Cameron A. Bell, Trial Attorney for the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Horsley assisted the trial team.

OHCS Director Andrea Bell joined groundbreaking ceremonies for more than 70 affordable homes in Bend

BEND, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) Director Andrea Bell today joined the Bend community for two groundbreaking ceremonies. OHCS helped fund the construction of 73 homes for both homeownership and rental that will bring much-needed affordable housing to the area. 

Director Bell, alongside city and county elected officials uplifted the Simpson Community, a rental and homeownership development, as a model of innovation centered on community voice and creative financing. Rooted Homes, formerly Kôr Community Land Trust, is developing the housing community of 40 permanently affordable and sustainable homes for communities of color and workforce households. These homes not only will provide much-needed housing but also low-impact features such as solar panels, electric bikes, and electric vehicle charging stations.   

“This will be the largest permanently affordable and sustainable homeownership community in the City of Bend,” said Director Bell. “Today we celebrate the kind of progress that can happen when public and private partners work collectively and innovatively to provide housing solutions to the people and communities that need it the most.”

It was a double celebration for the community as Director Bell later joined Housing Works for the groundbreaking of the Cleveland Commons Apartments, which will offer 33 homes with supportive services on-site for people experiencing chronic homelessness. 

“One thing that makes this development unique is that it’s 100% permanent supportive housing, or PSH, meaning every home in this complex is for those who have experienced homelessness for many months and even years in some cases,” Director Bell said. “I would like to congratulate Housing Works, the City of Bend, Deschutes County, Central Oregon’s Continuum of Care, and many others for bringing this development to life.”

PSH is an evidence-based model that recognizes that sometimes just having a place to live is not enough. All individuals, families and communities need support in order to thrive and by providing services on-site, Cleveland Commons is creating not just shelter but a place people can reach their full potential—a place to call home.

Oregon Parks Forever and SOLVE Oregon are inviting all outdoor enthusiasts to help restore the Minto County Park

Oregon Parks Forever logo

Oregon Parks Forever and SOLVE Oregon are inviting all outdoor enthusiasts to join us as “We Care For Parks” helps restore the Minto County Park in Gates, OR on Saturday and Sunday, November 4 & 5th.

If you have driven the Santiam Highway between Salem and Detroit, you know the devastation wrought by the Labor Day fires in 2021.

We Care for Parks volunteer teams will assist in a variety of maintenance activities. From general park clean-up and removal of invasive plants to construction projects like building footpath bridges and laying out gravel paths through the park.  We’re excited to join forces with SOLVE Oregon to help turn this park into an oasis on the route from Salem to Detroit.

You can join us for either or both Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. When you register you will receive more details on the event. (We can say that there will be a break for lunch, with food carts at the park, and we have some pretty sweet swag to say “thank you” for your help. )

Space is limited, and you can sign up to reserve a place. Sign up here: https://www.solveoregon.org/opportunity/a0C8W00000slx4r/minto-park-event

Murdock Trust Announces Grants to Oregon Nonprofits

Today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust published its Summer 2023 Grants Report. The report announces:

  • 64 total grants to Pacific Northwest nonprofits totaling $20.2 million.
  • This includes more than $4.7 million through 20 grants to nonprofits serving the Oregon community.
  • The report can be found here. A full list of grantees can be found here.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is a private, nonprofit foundation that has invested more than $1.3 billion in nonprofits serving the Pacific Northwest since 1975. For details, please visit our website murdocktrust.org.

Klamath Falls Attracting More Filmmakers

A Portland-based film crew and actors descended upon Klamath Falls for a week for a feature-length film titled “Back Seat Driver,” expected to debut sometime in early 2024. The film marked the latest in growing interest among regional filmmakers and major film studios to conduct their film productions in the Klamath Basin to take advantage of the area’s variety of unique landscapes, settings, and accommodating weather.

The romantic-comedy film “Back Seat Driver” follows the story of two individuals, both of whom happen to have imaginary friends who can hear each other, that over time fall in love unbeknownst to their living compatriots. Locations used around Klamath Falls for the film included the Back 40 Café, the OC&E Trail, Veterans Memorial Park, Linkville Cemetery, and the Linkville Playhouse.

A general increase in film productions in the region has been trending upwards for several years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, to an average of 8-10 films, documentaries, TV shows, and commercials filming in Klamath and Lake counties every year. While still small in nature compared to hotbeds of film production outside of Hollywood like Atlanta, New Mexico, and Vancouver, B.C.; for a rural area not on a major interstate the growing increase in film productions means not just a boon to cultural impact, but a palpable bump in economic growth as well.

States like Georgia and New Mexico that have invested heavily in film incentives and facilities over the past several decades are now garnering hundreds of millions of dollars added to the state economy each year related to the jobs, lodging, catering, security, trucking, and other needs associated with most film productions. (more at heraldandnews.com)

State Agencies Present Webinar for People Filing Homeowner Insurance Claims

Salem – Filing a homeowners insurance claim and repairing your damaged home can be a complicated and overwhelming process. To help answer homeowner questions about managing an insurance claim and performing related home repairs, Oregon’s Construction Contractors Board (CCB) has teamed with insurance regulators at the Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) to put on a webinar discussing the steps to take during this process.

“We take a strong interest in educating the consumer,” said Chris Huntington, administrator of the CCB. “Most of the time that means teaching consumers how to work with their contractor through a home remodel or repair, but dealing with an insurance claim adds a whole new element to the process. We want consumers to be educated on this process so they can protect themselves from initial claim through project completion.”

About the webinar – The webinar will take place on Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. During the presentation state experts will cover the following topics: 

  • How to file a claim with your insurance company
  • Common problems that people experience when filing a claim, and how they can be avoided
  • Resources when filing a claim, recovering from a natural disaster
  • How to hire a licensed contractor
  • Signs of a construction scam
  • Resolving disputes with your contractor

At the end of the presentation, attendees will be invited to ask questions. 

How to register – Registration for the webinar is free and can be completed online at the registration page. A link to the registration can also be found on the main page of CCB’s website at www.oregon.gov/ccb

About the presenters – The webinar will be divided into two presentations, one from the CCB and one from DFR. 

DFR is a division of the Department of Business and Consumer Services. DFR’s mission is to protect consumers from businesses that do not operate within statutes and rules. DFR also empowers and protects consumers while encouraging a financially stable, innovative, and competitive insurance marketplace. Presenters from DFR will provide in-depth information about working with insurance companies and filing a claim following a covered event.

The CCB is the regulatory agency that licenses contractors in the state of Oregon. In this role, CCB offers a range of consumer protections to individuals and businesses that hire licensed contractors, and provides information to consumers to help them make smart decisions when hiring contractors. CCB will present information about how to hire a contractor to perform home repairs, why it’s important to check the license, how to avoid construction scams and more.

“Filing a claim is an important step in recovering from unfortunate events,” said Andrew R. Stolfi, Oregon’s insurance commissioner and director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. “It is important to stay organized, work with licensed contractors, and get several estimates before beginning a repair.” 

The presentation will go over all that information and more. Homeowners are encouraged to sign up online or call the CCB’s Education section with questions, at 503-934-2227. 

Fifth graders across Oregon are campaigning to become the next Kid Governor

Oregon's Kid Governor

They need to submit their online application before October 26th. Outgoing 2023 Kid Governor Lea Andrus won on her anti-bullying platform. The program is intended to teach fifth graders about civics. The 2024 winner will be announced in mid-November, and sworn in during a special ceremony in January.

Oregon’s Kid Governor® (ORKG®) is led by the Oregon Secretary of State and is a state affiliate of Kid Governor®, an award-winning civics program created by the Connecticut Democracy Center (CTDC). The free, in-class program teaches fifth graders about state government, elections, and the importance of civics engagement through a real-life election that’s timed to coincide with Election Day in November.

ORKG inspires students to be lifelong agents of change, active participants in our government, and registered voters when they turn 18. For more information on ORKG – both the program and the student – follow Oregon’s Kid Governor on Facebook or visit the program’s website at OR.KidGovernor.org

Suggest a Stop for Governor Kotek on Her “One Oregon Listening Tour”

Governor Tina Kotek visited Klamath and Lake counties last week as part of her One Oregon Listening Tour.

Governor Tina Kotek is committed to visiting every county in Oregon in her first year in office and building strong, working partnerships across our state.

These efforts will focus on housing, mental health and addiction care, and education. You can suggest a stop here: https://www.oregon.gov/gov/pages/one-oregon-listening-tour.aspx

OHA announces funding opportunity for community-based organizations

PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Public Health Division has released a new funding opportunity for community-based organizations (CBOs). The Public Health Equity Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) is open now and will close Dec. 1, 2023, at 3 p.m.

The Public Health Equity Funding opportunity recognizes the essential role that CBOs, including faith-based organizations and advocacy groups, play in guiding and supporting culturally and linguistically responsive public health work. This funding opportunity will keep health equity, community strengths and community-led priorities at the forefront of public health work. CBOs understand the communities they serve and can create solutions that respond directly to the input and concerns of their communities. 

Areas of funding – This funding, totaling up to $10.25 million, will be flexible, allowing CBOs to develop work that best addresses the needs of the community within specified program areas. OHA’s Community Engagement Team will work with CBOs and programs within the Public Health Division to engage community on long-term public health efforts in the following program areas, rooted in health equity:

  • Climate adaptation.
  • Communicable disease prevention.
  • Public health emergency preparedness.
  • Domestic wells.

Funding prioritization – Through this RFGA, OHA aims to accomplish geographic and population priorities. This includes applicants located in communities receiving fewer financial resources among existing Public Health Equity CBOs. Although not exclusively, OHA is specifically seeking applicants that are located in rural communities; have a mission or program serving people with disabilities (including CBOs with leadership staff or board members who identify as having disabilities); or have a mission or program that addresses the public health needs, concerns and priorities of people with disabilities.

Additionally, OHA invites grant applications from local CBOs that serve communities of color; Tribal communities; disability communities; immigrant and refugee communities; undocumented communities; migrant and seasonal farmworkers; LGBTQIA2S+ communities; faith communities; older adults; rural communities; houseless communities; and others.

Community partners that receive OHA Public Health Equity funding are ineligible to apply.

RFGA informational webinars – OHA’s community engagement team and program staff will offer RFGA informational webinars and application technical assistance sessions in English and Spanish from Oct. 16 through Nov. 27. All webinars will feature the same content.

Registration links for informational webinars and application technical assistance sessions:

Visit the Request for Grant Application website to view program activities eligible for funding and to apply:

To receive regular communications about this funding opportunity, sign up for the RFGA listserv: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/sl/0L6fYbW/publichealth23. Those with questions can email licHealth@dhsoha.oregon.gov“>Community.PublicHealth@odhsoha.oregon.gov. Visit the OHA Public Health Division webpage at https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/ABOUT/Pages/CBO.aspx.

Former Pelican Brewing Employee Arrested After Investigation Into Reported Robbery


On July 31, 2023 at about 9:00 AM, Lincoln City Police responded to the Pelican Brewing restaurant after receiving a report from an employee, Denali Cox, stating she was robbed outside the restaurant. Officers responded to the area and began an extensive area search for the described suspect, but no suspect was located. The employee reported she was taking a deposit for the restaurant to the bank when a suspect accosted her and stole the deposit bag containing an undisclosed large amount of monies and receipts. The suspect was reported to have fled the area on foot. 

Lincoln City Police Detectives responded and began investigating the incident. After several months of rigorous and thorough investigation of the incident, the detectives were unable to substantiate the reported robbery and it appeared the report was a ruse to cover a theft of monies from the restaurant by the employee. On September 28, 2023 the case investigation was presented to a Lincoln County Grand Jury for review. After reviewing the information, the Grand Jury issued an indictment for the arrest of 34-year-old Denali Cox for the crimes of Aggravated Theft 1, a class B Felony and Filing a False Police Report, a class A Misdemeanor.    

Ms. Cox had moved to Maui, Hawaii two days after the reported robbery. Lincoln City Police Detectives contacted Maui law enforcement authorities and advised them of the felony warrant for the arrest of Denali Cox. On October 11, 2023, local Maui law enforcement authorities served the warrant on Denali Cox arresting her and transporting her to their local jail. Ms. Cox is currently in custody awaiting extradition back to Oregon.      

Oregon’s Vietnam Veterans War Memorial Hosts Fundraiser at Brothers Car Collection

The Vietnam War Memorial Fund (VWMF) will hold a fundraiser on Tues. Oct 24, 2023, 6-8 p.m. at Salem’s Brothers Car Collection to raise money for the memorial’s construction. Only 150 tickets will be sold for $50 each, with the hope that guests will learn more about the project and make additional donations on-site.

Steve Bates, President and co-founder of the VWMF, expressed the urgency of the fundraising efforts for the $5.5 million project that slowed due to COVID. “We hope to have the pre-construction process completed this fall so we can adopt an actual construction calendar for 2024,” said Bates. “But we must raise more funds to meet the 2024 construction goals. We are seeking support from additional charitable foundations and the public,” he added.

The Vietnam War Memorial will be in the southwest corner of the Willson Park portion of the State Capitol State Park, west of the Capitol Building, and south of the World War II Memorial. Bates said, “It is significant that these two wars be memorialized on the Oregon Capitol grounds as they are the two wars that caused the most Oregon casualties. The two memorials together will honor about 75% of Oregon’s war dead.”

The Brothers Car Collection is a private collection of more than 600 cars. Over 335 vehicles, including muscle cars and exotic sports cars, are on display in a 117,000-square-foot warehouse turned museum that is not open to the public.

Tickets are $50 and available in advance only at ocvvm.com/GAtix or on their Facebook event page. More details will be provided after ticket purchase in a confirmation email. Food will be available for purchase. The group is seeking raffle items as well as sponsors. 

ABOUT THE MEMORIAL: The VWMF is a group of Oregonians committed to establishing the memorial to honor the men and women who served in the Vietnam War. The project aims to help bring peace to the suffering endured by those rejected after returning home. The 2021 Oregon State Legislature gave its final permissions by unanimously passing Senate Bill 319, establishing the Vietnam War Memorial on the Oregon State Capitol Grounds. On July 14, 2021, Governor Kate Brown signed that bill into law. Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for spring 2024.

ABOUT OREGON AND THE VIETNAM WAR: The Vietnam War was a tumultuous period in American history, spanning two decades and becoming the longest war in recorded history. It lasted from November 1955 to May 1975. By 1968, the United States had over 500,000 military personnel on the ground in Vietnam, with 2.7 million Americans serving during the conflict. Tragically, 58,318 Americans died, including 710 Oregonians killed in action. Four Oregon families lost two sons each. 

ABOUT VWMF: Vietnam War Memorial Fund’s website at www.ocvvm.com. The VWMF Store is found here. The Vietnam War Memorial Fund is a recognized 501(c)3 organization. Donations are also accepted by check to the Vietnam War Memorial Fund – P O Box 1448 – Boring, Oregon 97009 or by credit card at www.ocvvm.com.

Missing Yachats Man’s Vehicle Found in North Lane County

On 08/25/2023, Dustin Steyding was reported missing to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office after he left work on 07/22/2023 and hadn’t been located since. Dustin was living and working in the Yachats area. 

Dustin was reported to be in good physical condition, having previously worked as a hot shot firefighter in New Mexico. Dustin is very experienced in the woods and commonly goes out for hikes to stay in shape. Without means to locate Dustin, Deputies entered Dustin as a missing person in a national database. 

On 09/04/2023, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Dustin’s family after they located his vehicle on Keller Creek Rd, just outside of Lincoln County in Lane County. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputies contacted the vehicle and determined it had been at the location for some time. Deputies were unable to determine Dustin’s direction of travel from the vehicle.

The vehicle having been located in Lane County, Lincoln County Deputies contacted the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team and arranged for their response the next day to started searching the area. After two days of searching, no clues to Dustin’s have been found.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dustin Steyding should contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 541-265-0777 and reference case number 23S-07321.

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'MISSING TALYNN RYLIE MERTZ, 15 Talynn was last seen in Eugene, Oregon on June 2, 2023. Talynn is 5'3"- -5'4" and 170 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. f/MissingNorthwest @MissingNW @MissingNW IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST Eugene Police Department: 541-682-5111'

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