Willamette Valley News, Monday 10/30 – City Of Eugene Seeks Participants In Rental Experience Survey 2023, Oregon Summit on Wildfire Recovery & 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

Monday, October 30, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

City Of Eugene Seeks Participants In Rental Experience Survey 2023


The City of Eugene wants to know about the place you’re renting, your experience finding a place to rent, and a little bit about you.

The responses we receive will be used to inform the rental housing program in Eugene. What you share is confidential. Who you are and where you live will not be identified in the survey results.  

The City will be hosting this survey every two years, along with a survey of Landlords/Property owners to gain a better understanding on the full rental housing experience in our community.

Watch your mailbox in late October – early November for an invitation to participate in the 10-minute survey about your rental experience in Eugene. 

You must be a renter in Eugene to participate; if you rent and haven’t received an invitation in the mail by Nov. 3, 2023, or prefer to take the survey on paper, there’s a form to fill out on the website:  https://www.eugene-or.gov/5180/Rental-Experience-Survey-2023

Enter to Win!

At the end of the survey, enter into a FREE drawing to win a gift card to a local grocery store of your choice!

First Oregon Summit on Wildfire Recovery Happening This Week

Lane County and the University of Oregon School of Planning, Public Policy and Management are hosting the first-ever Oregon Summit on Wildfire Recovery on October 30 and 31.

Communities in Lane, Linn, Lincoln, Jackson, Clackamas, Klamath, Marion, and Douglas counties were devastated by the Labor Day wildfires of 2020. As they begin the fourth year of recovery from these wildfires, leaders, managers, and policymakers from across the state are gathering to assess progress and learn from each other.

“Across Oregon, we have an opportunity to learn from wildfire experiences over the last four years,” said Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky. “This Summit will focus on what has worked in supporting rebuilding and recovery, and look for areas in which we need to create change in state and local policies to improve preparedness, response and recovery in the future.”

“The University of Oregon has been a key partner in building more resilient Oregon communities. A gathering of this many experienced public servants who have been tirelessly rebuilding their communities after these fires creates a learning and knowledge-building opportunity to help future generations be better prepared and more resilient in the face of future disasters,” said Benjamin Clark, director of the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon. 

The Summit features two days of presentations and panel discussions regarding a variety of wildfire recovery issues. A few of the notable sessions focus on innovative housing solutions, increasing community resilience, strengthening recovery capacity across the state, whole community recovery, and trauma-informed recovery, as well as remarks from Senator Jeff Merkley and Congresswoman Val Hoyle. 

The Summit is being held at the Ford Alumni Center at the University of Oregon. More than 175 attendees have registered. 

Support for the Summit has been provided by several community partners, including The Ford Family Foundation, University of Oregon Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development, University of Oregon College of Design, Oregon Housing and Community Services, and University of Oregon Safety and Risk Services. 

Lebanon Firefighters Battle RV Fire

Firefighters from Lebanon Fire District responded to an RV fire in the 100 block of Milton Street during the midafternoon Sunday.

When the Incident Commander arrived, he found a fully involved camp trailer near other structures burning with bystanders attempting to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose. Lebanon Police Department arrived quickly to help divert the traffic so fire crews could get to the blaze. When the first due ladder truck arrived, they were quickly able to deploy hose lines and began their attack.

The fire was radioed under control in approximately 20 minutes and crews then began the mop-up phase. Lebanon Fire’s Fire Marshal arrived to investigate due to the nature of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation with the help of Lebanon Police. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters responded with 19 personnel with 1 ladder truck, 2 engines, 2 ALS ambulances, 1 heavy rescue, 1 pumper-tender and 3 chief officers. A rehab unit responded for firefighters with 3 support personnel. Lebanon Police assisted at the scene. 

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. Also, as a reminder with the recent cold snap to follow safe home-heating instructions. Space heaters should be used with care, plugged directly into an outlet, and not permitted to remain on when residents are sleeping or away. 

Halloween Safety Tips For Pets from Greenhill Humane Society

As Halloween approaches, Greenhill Humane Society has several safety tips in mind specifically geared toward those with pets, the organization said.

Greenhill staff said that the Halloween can be a stressful time for pets and pet owners should keep their pets’ safety in mind when planning their Halloween festivities. From parties and candy to the onslaught of ringing doorbells by trick-or-treaters, pets can get stressed out by all the activity that comes with the holiday.

“With Halloween on a Tuesday this year, we anticipate a long weekend of festivities leading up to the day which means it is important to keep your pet safe and comfortable,” said Sarah Bouzad, Greenhill’s Community Engagement & Events Manager. “Consistent knocking at the front door, spooky decorations, and people in costumes may cause stress for your pets.”

Staff said that pet owners should keep candy safely stashed away and out of reach of pets, as many are toxic to animals. Should a furry family member ingest candy, contact a veterinarian immediately, Greenhill staffers said. Greenhill staff said that pet costumes are a fun way to celebrate Halloween, but proper fit is important in making sure they do not limit their ability to walk, breath, bark, or meow.

Keeping decorations with lit candles and decorative plans out of pets’ reach is also important in preventing burn injuries or choking hazards, and glow sticks should be disposed of to prevent pets biting into them, Greenhill said. Greenhill staffers also recommend keeping pets in a closed room where they can relax and keep calm when trick-or-treaters begin arriving on Halloween night. Animals that stay outside should be microchipped with collars and tags and be properly secured, Greenhill said.

Those who have lost or found a pet should contact their local animal control office, in addition to the Greenhill Humane Society:

  • Cottage Grove Police Department: 541-942-9145
  • Eugene Animal Services: 541-687-4060
  • Unincorporated Lane County – Lane County Animal Services: 541-682-3645
  • Springfield Animal Control/Police Department: 541-726-3634
  • Veneta Animal Control/City Hall: 541-935-2191

Greenhill said they also have a ‘No Trick, All Treat’ adoption promotion underway currently with a select number of dogs and cats having adoption fees reduced to $31. Most of these animals have been in the shelter for at least a month, are over a year old, and all are spayed/neutered, microchipped, and up to date on vaccines prior to adoption, Greenhill staff said.

More information can be found on the Greenhill Humane Society’s website: https://www.green-hill.org/halloween-safety-tips-for-pets-4/

OSU Veterinary Researchers To Test Hundreds Of Wild Animal Species For Covid-19

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Backed by a new cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, researchers at Oregon State University will soon begin testing approximately 1,600 wild animal specimens for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.

Researchers in OSU’s Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine want to learn which animal species can harbor and transmit the virus to better predict future zoonotic disease outbreaks, where a pathogen jumps from animals into humans.

They will also be sequencing the full viral genome of SARS-CoV-2 whenever they find it to determine if the strain is related to recent COVID variants that have spread among humans or if it has evolved and spread independently through an animal reservoir.

“There’s always the potential for the virus to establish itself within an animal species permanently, and if that happens, there’s potential for it to be passed around among wild animals and then later spill over into humans,” said Brian Dolan, an associate professor of immunology in OSU’s veterinary college and the lead investigator on the grant.

He said that’s an unlikely scenario, but it would have disastrous implications.

“The reason we’re doing this is that as SARS-CoV-2 transmits among animal species, it could start evolving along its own trajectory and result in a virus that’s sufficiently distinct from the COVID variants currently circulating in humans,” he said. “That would be like a reset of the whole thing.”

It’s more likely that variants circulating among animals will become less capable of infecting humans as they evolve, but Dolan says it’s not worth taking the chance of the opposite outcome.

“While it’s rare, when it does happen, it’s really bad,” he said. “It’s worth keeping an eye on it, to see what’s going on.”

Dolan will work closely with the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory housed at Oregon State. The diagnostic lab tests agricultural and wildlife animal samples for infectious diseases, and in April 2020, began testing human samples for COVID-19, filling a crucial gap in the early days of the pandemic.

“From my standpoint, this project re-emphasizes the ‘one health’ mission of the lab: We don’t deal only with diseases that affect only nonhuman animals; we do lots of work that directly relates to public health,” said Kurt Williams, director of the diagnostic lab.

The research will focus more on wild animal species that may come into contact with humans, such as rodents and bats, as opposed to domestic or livestock animals because existing surveillance measures can detect the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among those groups, Dolan said. He’s partnering with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and wildlife rehabilitators throughout the state for this work.

The two-year, nearly $1 million cooperative agreement provides funding for lab technicians to add SARS-CoV-2 tests to testing panels they’re already conducting on animal samples that have been submitted to Fish and Wildlife or the diagnostic lab for other reasons. The project will only test mammals, no birds or reptiles, as mammals are the most likely animals to be infected, Dolan said.

“It’s a good investment to start looking at these human-wild animal interfaces and monitoring these sorts of diseases,” Dolan said. “It may not result in diseases that enter the human population or spread among humans, but for the relatively small investment of monitoring, we’re much better prepared to deal with it.”

About the OSU Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine: The college serves the needs of Oregon, the nation and the world by training the next generation of practice-ready veterinarians, providing state-of-the-art diagnostic and clinical services and supporting the continuing education of veterinary practitioners. Biomedical research conducted at the college increasingly expands the scope of veterinary medicine to address both animal health issues and the relevance of animal diseases to public health. (SOURCE)

State Health Officials Take Steps To Preserve Mental Health Services And Medical Care In Downtown Eugene

Regulators approve changes at PeaceHealth’s Sacred Heart University District Hospital to avert closures at Gov. Kotek’s direction

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) officials have ruled on a waiver request from PeaceHealth that will enable it to continue delivering inpatient mental health care to patients in downtown Eugene at PeaceHealth’s Sacred Heart University District Hospital.

This is the first of a multi-step process involving both state and federal requirements that PeaceHealth must meet. OHA’s Public Health Division and Behavioral Health Services will have other decision points in the future as PeaceHealth works toward a permanent solution.

In August, PeaceHealth announced plans to close its Sacred Heart University District Hospital (SHUD) facility and the emergency department, and relocate its rehabilitation unit to Sacred Heart Riverbend in Springfield. State officials were concerned that this closure would impact the mental health treatment beds, and could lead to full closure of all services in Eugene.

PeaceHealth has indicated it will open and operate an urgent care center in downtown Eugene. It is offering expanded urgent care services separate from the waiver and the hospital license.

In response, Gov. Tina Kotek directed her staff and OHA officials to work with PeaceHealth to avoid a full closure of all services on the University District campus. While state regulators do not have authority to prevent a hospital’s decision to close, Gov. Kotek’s office and OHA listened to community concerns, including those expressed by local officials about a potential closure’s impact on access to services in Eugene and emergency preparedness.

Gov. Kotek’s priorities, driven by Oregon’s behavioral health crisis and feedback from the Eugene community, were to preserve behavioral health capacity on the University District campus, ensure transitional access to medical services and ensure greater communication with the community.

Following discussions between state officials and PeaceHealth, regulators have issued a waiver regarding operations of the emergency department and radiology services at Sacred Heart University District Hospital. The waiver sets terms that will enable PeaceHealth to:

  • Consolidate its emergency medical care resources at the Sacred Heart Riverbend for a period of six months beginning Dec. 1, 2023.
  • Continue to operate behavioral health beds at Sacred Heart University District Hospital under a modified hospital license.
  • Continue to operate 27 acute rehabilitation beds at Sacred Heart University District Hospital under a modified license.

State regulators also outlined conditions for the approvals. To maintain the waivers and variances, PeaceHealth will be required to notify community members about the changes; ensure adequate patient transportation in close coordination with emergency medical services and law enforcement officers in Eugene and Springfield; and report patient data on a monthly basis to state health regulators.

OHA Interim Director Dave Baden said, “I appreciate Gov. Kotek’s urgent focus on preserving vital mental health and medical care in Eugene and PeaceHealth’s willingness to work with us to find viable solutions. These steps will preserve access to care for Eugene residents in coming months, at a time when we cannot afford to lose health care capacity in our state, especially for people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.”

“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.

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.

Lane County voters: remember to sign the return envelope and return your ballots early

Voters are urged to return their ballots as early as possible to ensure they are received at Lane County Elections by the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, November 7. 

In order to be counted, ballots must be received at Lane County Elections by:

  • Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than November 7, 2023 and received no later than November 14, 2023 to be counted.
  • A 24/7 ballot drop box.
  • Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours.

“We have wonderful, secure elections that allow all eligible voters the opportunity to return their ballots in the way most convenient for them,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “Every voter should make a plan for how they plan to return their ballot and ensure their ballot is received on time.”

Voters must also remember to sign their ballot return envelopes before mailing or returning their completed ballot to Lane County Elections.

The signature is a security measure used to verify identity. Election workers who have received training in handwriting analysis compare it to signatures in the voter registration record. A ballot may only be counted if the signatures match.

If you forget to sign the envelope or your signature does not match, you will receive a notice from Lane County Elections advising you of the issue and how to fix or “cure” it. You have until the 21st day after the election to cure your signature issue and have your ballot counted.

What can you do to ensure your signature matches?

  1. Sign your natural signature. If you don’t usually sign with a middle initial don’t sign your ballot envelope with it. Election workers are trained to look for specific characteristics within each signature. If you think your signature has changed significantly, contact Lane County Elections.
  1. Don’t sign another person’s name. Even if someone gives you permission to sign, or you have power of attorney, it is against the law in Oregon to sign another person’s name on a return envelope. It’s forgery.
  1. Request help if you have difficulty signing.  If it is difficult for you to sign, on either a temporary or permanent basis, you can complete a signature attestation form and return it to Lane County Elections along with a new voter registration form.  Completing these forms will allow you to use a signature stamp or other indicator that represents your signature.
  1. Correct a mistake if you accidentally sign your name on someone in your household’s envelope. If you and another person in your household sign each other’s return ballot envelopes, simply place a line through the incorrect signatures and sign the correct envelopes.

Voters with questions can email elections@lanecountyor.gov or call 541-682-4234.

Voters may return their voted vote-by-mail ballots in one of the following ways:

  • Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than November 7, 2023 and received no later than November 14, 2023 to be counted.
  • A 24/7 ballot drop box.
  • Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours.

Ballot drop box locations can be found online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections.  

Voters with questions can email elections@lanecountyor.gov or call 541-682-4234.

About the Lane County Elections Office: The Elections Office, located at 275 W. 10th Avenue in Eugene, is responsible for conducting elections in Lane County.  The elections office manages voter registration, the processing of mail ballots, recruitment and training of election workers, and certification of elections.

Nov. 5 is Mushroom Day at Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center

Join Benton County Natural Areas & Parks, Corvallis Parks & Recreation, Corvallis Environmental Center, Oregon State University Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, and The Mushroomery for an introductory exploration of Pacific Northwest mushrooms where participants can learn to identify different mushrooms in a natural setting. 

The program is catered to beginners and all ages are welcome. Engage in mushroom themed activities or join a guided walk to identify mushroom species on trails. Activities include a Kid Zone specially designed for young explorers aged 12 and under. Please note that while the event emphasizes learning and appreciation, mushroom collection will not be a part of the activities.

The morning session is 9:00 to 11:30 a.m., and the afternoon session is 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Date: November 5, 2023
Time: 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Admission: adults $25 ($31 out-of-city). Children 12 and under are free. 
Location: Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center, 37283 Kings Valley Hwy., Philomath, OR 97370
More info: view the City of Corvallis’ website.

Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

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

Eugene, Springfield and Lane County to begin leaf pickup

Lane County and the cities of Eugene and Springfield are preparing to kick-off their annual leaf collection efforts. Removing leaves from catch basins, grates and gutters allows storm water to run off and prevents flooding.

Keeping leaves out of the drainage system also improves water quality because decomposing leaves use up oxygen that is needed by aquatic life in local streams and rivers. And removing slippery leaves from streets and sidewalks makes travel safer for people walking, biking and driving. 

In all three jurisdictions, property owners are responsible for leaves that are placed improperly in the street or cause safety or localized flooding hazards.

Eugene and Lane County allow residents to pile leaves in the street, while Springfield only allows bagged leaves to be set out for collection.

Leaves are the only items collected. Piles with branches, pine needles, trash, grass and other lawn debris are not accepted and will not be collected.

To get the best information for your property, determine which jurisdiction provides service in your area, and then contact that agency. Here are the details for each jurisdiction:

City of Eugene

Eugene’s leaf collection and delivery program begins Nov. 6. Eugene’s leaf program is funded by storm water fees because proper use and disposal of leaves keeps decaying leaves out of local creeks and rivers and helps prevent localized flooding caused by blocked storm drains. 

After an initial focus on the central Eugene area, City crews will break into three groups to focus on designated sections of the city. Each crew has the staffing and equipment needed to collect and deliver leaves and sweep streets after the leaves have been picked up. This puts resources closer to neighborhoods and improves service on unimproved streets.

Online features allow Eugene residents to look up their address and see when they should pile their leaves neatly in a row parallel to the curb, order leaf deliveries, or report hazards such as leaves in a bike lane. People should place their leaves in the street the weekend before crews are scheduled to be in their neighborhood. The second round of leaf collection will start January 2. Safely pile remaining leaves in the street between December 31 and January 1.

For more information about Eugene’s leaf collection and delivery services, go to www.eugene-or.gov/leaf or call Eugene Public Works Maintenance at 541-682-4800.

City of Springfield

In Springfield, the City provides a leaf pickup service to residents within the city limits to help prevent flooding, protect water quality, and keep neighborhood streets safe for people walking, biking, and driving. Leaves are collected in two rounds in two areas — the west and east sides of town with 28th/31st Street as the dividing line.

Sanipac is contracted to pick up, haul, and recycle bagged leaves for residents within the city limits. Leaves must be put in medium-sized bags that contain only leaves. Bags containing other yard debris cannot be used for compost and will not be picked up.

Bags need to be placed curbside, not in the street, by 7:00 a.m. on Monday of the scheduled week for collection in that area. Not all bags will be picked up first thing Monday; it may take several days. Additionally, severe weather may cause delays. Landscaping, yard maintenance companies, property management companies, and residents are not allowed to blow or rake leaves into the streets.

Springfield residents can also pledge to properly dispose of their leaves for a chance to win one of two $100 gift cards from a local home improvement store. Residents can view this year’s informational flier for more details on how to enter.

The first round of leaf collection in Springfield starts November 27 west of 28th Street/31st Street, then December 4 east of 28th Street/31st Street. The second round starts January 8 west of 28th Street/31st Street, then January 15 east of 28th Street/31st Street.

For more information about leaf pickup in Springfield, visit www.springfield-or.gov/leafpickup, call 541-525-2658 or email ogram@springfield-or.gov“>leafpickupprogram@springfield-or.gov

Lane County 

Lane County Public Works will begin its annual leaf pick-up program on Monday, November 13.  The County collects leaves in two rounds in two general areas: Santa Clara north of Beltline Highway and several Springfield locations generally just outside the city limits. Lane County crews may be working in your zone prior to official collection dates if time allows; however, crews will return to your zone as scheduled. 

Lane County provides a leaf collection information line (541-682-8565) updated at 5:00 p.m. each Friday. It describes where leaf pickup begins on a weekly basis. For more information go to www.LaneCountyOR.gov/LeafPickUp, call 541-682-6905 or e-mail leafcollection@lanecountyor.gov.

Leaf Preparation Guidelines 

Two priorities that are the same in all three jurisdictions are public safety and operational efficiency. Here are some tips to help meet those objectives:

  • In Eugene and Lane County, leaves must be in the roadway but piled at least 15 feet away from parked vehicles. Do not bag leaves.
  • In Lane County leaf pickup will be provided for paved curb-and-gutter streets only. In Eugene, unimproved streets are picked up during both rounds but equipment must be able to reach the leaves from the hard road surface.
  • In Springfield, leaves need to be put in medium-sized bags that contain only leaves. The bags should be placed curbside, not in the street.
  • Do not pile leaves in bike or traffic lanes or on curbs or sidewalks.
  • Keep storm drains and gutters clear to prevent localized flooding.
  • Do not mix in other debris such as branches, rocks, lawn clippings, pine needles, or trash. 
  • Leaves are not picked up in private yards.
  • Wait to put leaves in the street until the weekend prior to collection.
  • Consider recycling leaves as compost or mulch material.

Schedule Information

Eugene                              Leaves Out For First Round                  First Round                     Second Round

Central/Core                    Nov. 4 to Nov. 5                                            Nov. 6 to Nov. 10               Starts Jan. 2

Zones 1                              Nov. 11 to Nov. 12                                       Nov. 13 to Nov. 17               Starts Jan. 2

Zones 2                              Nov. 18 to Nov. 19                                       Nov. 20 to Dec. 1               Starts Jan. 2

Zones 3                              Dec. 2 to Dec. 3                                              Dec. 4 to Dec. 8                Starts Jan. 2

Zones 4                              Dec. 9 to Dec. 10                                           Dec. 11 to Dec. 15               Starts Jan. 2

Zones 5                              Dec. 16 to Dec. 17                                         Dec. 18 to Dec. 29               Starts Jan. 2

Springfield (Leaf Pickup Dates)First RoundSecond Round
   West of 28th Street/31st StreetNov. 27Jan. 8
   East of 28th Street/31st StreetDec. 4Jan. 15
   Lane County (Leaf Pickup Dates)First RoundSecond Round
   Zone A (Santa Clara west of River Road; see map)Nov. 13 to Nov. 16Dec. 4 to Dec. 7
   Zone B (Santa Clara east of River Road; see map)Nov. 20 to Nov. 22Dec. 11 to Dec. 14
   Zone C (Springfield area (see map)Nov. 27 to Nov. 30Dec. 18 to Dec. 21

Attached Media Files:Full press release with maps , 2023-10/6775/167460/Spfld_leaf_collection_zones.png , Lane County leaf map , Eugene leaf map

Governor Kotek Visits Linn County on One Oregon Listening Tour

On Thursday, Governor Tina Kotek visited Linn County to mark the 34th stop of her One Oregon Listening Tour, traveling to meet with Oregonians in Albany, Tangent, Shedd, Sweet Home and Lebanon.

“I saw many examples during my time in Linn County of incredible community spirit,” Governor Kotek said. “When it comes to housing, economic development, support for our veterans, and other essential issues, the folks here roll up their sleeves and work together to tackle big problems. I came away really encouraged about the positive direction of local partnerships.”

After starting her day with breakfast in Albany at BakerzDozen, a local Black-owned bakery, Governor Kotek met with local leaders at City Hall to discuss the need to build more housing and the barriers preventing faster housing production. Governor Kotek has established a goal of building 36,000 new homes per year, and her top priority for the upcoming 2024 legislative session will be housing production.

After visiting the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum with Mayor Alex Johnson II, she drove to Tangent to greet city leaders at their historic City Hall. The City of Tangent is celebrating its 50th birthday, and Governor Kotek added a signed note and official Governor’s pen to the time capsule the city created, which will be opened in 2073 when Tangent turns 100 years old.

Following a lunch meeting in Tangent, Governor Kotek traveled to Shedd to tour Pugh Seed Farm. The farm grows grass seed, white radish seed, white clover, turnip seed, wheat, meadowfoam, and hazelnuts. Linn County is known as “The Grass Seed Capital of the World.”

The Governor next visited Sweet Home to tour The Family Assistance and Resource Center, the first low-barrier shelter in East Linn County and the only low-barrier shelter operating in Linn County. This was followed by a roundtable discussion at the facility with shelter operators and local leaders, focusing on the need for increased access to shelter services for youth and families experiencing homelessness, as well as the growing community support for the shelter.

Governor Kotek then traveled to Lebanon to visit the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home, which opened in 2014 as the state’s second veterans’ home. The home offers space for 154 residents needing long-term care. Following a tour of the facility, she discussed ways to enhance services for veterans including behavioral health in long-term care settings.

The day concluded with a dinner conversation in Lebanon with local leaders.

DEQ Issues Nine Penalties In September For Environmental Violations

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued nine penalties totaling $323,489 in September for various environmental violations. A detailed list of violations and resulting penalties is at https://ordeq.org/enforcement.

Fines ranged from $1,500 to $237,600. Alleged violations included a city discharging 400,000 gallons of wastewater to the Malheur River; a rock crusher operating without an air quality permit; and a truck company failed to clean up spilled diesel fuel in a timely manner.

DEQ issued civil penalties to the following organizations and individuals:

• Chris Dials Contracting LLC, Tillamook, $2,674, Air quality
• City of Ontario, Ontario, $11,200, Wastewater
• Daniel & Claudia Campean, Corbett, $8,400, Stormwater
• Gedenberg, Michael, dba Mike Gedenberg Trucking, Astoria, $39,090, Spills
• Mazda Motors of America, Inc., Irvine, $237,600, Oregon Low Emission Vehicles
• River Country Transport Inc., McMinnville, $1,800, Solid waste
• Sims Fiberglass Co., Albany, $1,500, Air quality
• Vigor Industrial, LLC, Portland, $15,300, Water quality
• Westport Service District STP, Westport, $5,925, Wastewater

Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines to the state treasury or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment. Learn more about these projects at https://ordeq.org/sep.

Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines to the state treasury or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment. Learn more about these projects at https://ordeq.org/sep.

Penalties may also include orders requiring specific tasks to prevent ongoing violations or additional environmental harm. DEQ works with thousands of organizations and individuals to help them comply with laws that protect Oregon’s air, land and water. DEQ uses education, technical assistance, warnings and penalties to change behavior and deter future violations.

Search and Rescue Crews Saved Two People As October Snow Catches People Off Guard

Major snow that began to fall in the Cascade Mountains on Wednesday caught some people off guard as they tried to explore hiking and biking trails in Oregon.

Snow blankets Oregon’s Cascade Mountains after an autumn snowfall on October 25, 2023

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office conducted two separate search and rescue missions on Oct. 25, plucking two people from remote areas in the mountains, officials said in a news release Friday.

The first call came in from a rescue beacon at about 7:35 a.m., the sheriff’s office said. A woman hiking through Jefferson Park in the Willamette National Forest had run into heavy snow that was accumulating quickly, and needed help getting out.

Crews who were dispatched to the trail spent the day trying to hike to the woman, but were ultimately stymied by upwards of 4 feet of snow and white-out conditions that continued throughout the day, officials said.

That evening, at around 7 p.m., the sheriff’s department received another report: a mountain biker who was stranded on Hawk Mountain as heavy snow fell in the Mount Hood National Forest.

The biker, who’s from Australia, had cell service on top of the mountain where he texted his father back home. His father contacted the Australian consulate, who in turn reached out to the sheriff’s department.

Rescue crews attempted to call the biker, but his cell phone had died, they said. They then tried to hike up Hawk Mountain to find him, but ran into the same snowy conditions that stopped crews in Jefferson Park.

Both the stranded hiker and biker would have to spend the night stuck in Oregon’s snowy mountains.

The next day, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office reached out to other organizations, including search and rescue crews from Linn, Lane and Deschutes counties, as well as the Oregon Air National Guard, for help.

With their resources combined, the rescue crews were able to rescue both people from the mountains.

People routinely get stranded in the Cascade Mountains, especially when remote areas see sudden snowfall. Every winter, search and rescue organizations urge travelers to keep an eye on weather conditions before going out, and to keep emergency supplies in their vehicles just in case. (SOURCE)

Winter Weather Prompts Partial Closure Of Oregon’s Scenic Old McKenzie Pass Highway

Winter weather has returned to parts of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is starting to close the Old McKenzie Pass Highway, OR-242, for the winter season.

On Monday, October 30th ODOT crews will close the highway from the western gate at OR 126, to the top of the pass at Dee Wright Observatory. The east side of the highway, from the observatory to Sisters, will remain open until weather becomes too severe, or until November 9th, whichever comes first.

‘McKenzie Pass is a secondary, scenic highway. Weather, costs and logistics make it impractical to maintain for travel year-round. In the winter, we focus our staff and resources on main highways to keep them plowed, open and safe,’ ODOT tells us.

Every year, McKenzie Pass opens and closes with the seasons. Dates vary depending on road and weather conditions. Weather on each side of the pass varies, and it’s not uncommon to close or open each side of the highway separately.

To see what routes are open over the mountains, and to view current road and weather conditions visit TripCheck.com or call 511.

Former CEO of Sunwest Management Ordered to Pay Over $74 Million in Restitution to More than 1,400 Victims

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced today that the former CEO of Sunwest Management and associated companies, who previously admitted to orchestrating one of the largest financial fraud schemes in Oregon history, was ordered to pay over $74 million in restitution to more than 1,400 victims.

Jon Michael Harder, 58, a resident of Canyonville, Oregon, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, was ordered to pay $74,062,211 in restitution to his victims.

According to court documents, Harder formerly controlled a network of companies that bought, constructed, and managed assisted living facilities. At its height, the organization, Sunwest Management and its related companies, owned approximately 300 assisted living facilities that served more than 15,000 residents. As CEO of Sunwest, Harder knowingly and intentionally misled hundreds of investors about the nature and risks of their investment in Sunwest housing facilities and development projects. He further misled his investors about the financial health of Sunwest, failing to disclose that the company continuously operated at substantial monthly losses. In total, Harder misled more than 1,400 investors, causing losses exceeding $120 million.

On September 18, 2012, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 56-count indictment charging Harder with mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. On January 8, 2015, Harder pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering. On November 18, 2015, Harder was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

On January 13, 2021, after Harder had served just over five years of his 15-year prison sentence, President Donald J. Trump commuted his sentence to time-served.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and the Justice Department’s U.S. Trustee Program. Restitution was litigated by Claire M. Fay, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. (SOURCE)

Renewal data shows more than 8 out of 10 Oregonians keeping medical benefits; Oregon in top four states protecting medical benefits

SALEM, Ore. – More than halfway into the unwinding of federal pandemic benefits, renewal data shows that more than 8 out of 10 Oregonians are keeping their Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or other Medicaid benefits. So far, around 1 in 6 people’s benefits are ending or reducing. Updated renewal categories now allow Oregon to compare benefit closure and reduction rates across states. So far, Oregon has the fourth-lowest closure and reduction rates in the nation.

OHP renewals after the pandemic – During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government allowed states to keep people on Medicaid and did not require annual eligibility renewals. This ended when the public health emergency ended, and Oregon is currently making sure everyone on OHP is still eligible.

Everyone who has OHP or other Medicaid-funded services and supports will receive a renewal notice by mid-2024. The notice will explain whether the member needs to provide additional information or take action to keep their coverage.

Oregon can process many renewals automatically. Some members need to provide additional information so that we can determine if they are still eligible. Additional information requested from members may include documents such as paystubs or a renewal packet they are asked to review, sign and return.

OHP renewals so far – As of Oct. 19, 2023, 807,765 people have completed the renewal process. This represents 55.6 percent of all OHP and Medicaid members, taking Oregon more than halfway through the unwinding process.

  • 668,265 people (82.5%) were renewed and kept their benefits.
  • 111,998 people (13.8%) were found ineligible. Closures began at the end of June.
  • 25,714 people (3.2%) had a reduction in their benefits. Most of these members lost full OHP, but were able to continue our Medicare Savings Programs that help pay their Medicare costs.

October OHP renewal requests

In October, renewal letters were sent to an additional 137,032 people. 

  • 65.4 percent were renewed without any action needed.
  • 19.4 percent were asked to provide some information to renew. The most common requests are for income-related proof, like paystubs, or forms of identification, like a government identification or birth certificate.
  • 11.9 percent were asked to fill out a renewal form.
  • 3.4 percent had previously reported that they no longer met income limits or other requirements, so received a notice that their benefits will be ending in 60 days.

Data dashboard update

Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) has recategorized some renewals in the Medical Redeterminations Dashboard. People who were automatically renewed but still need to submit some information were previously categorized as completed renewals with continuing benefits. These renewals now appear as initiated renewals awaiting member response. With this change, renewal data can now focus on completed renewals.

This allows for state-by-state comparison; Oregon’s 17% closure and reduction rate is currently the fourth lowest in the nation .

State responds to renewal system issues – This month, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and ODHS responded to three issues with the renewal process:

  • Extending coverage for members who received incorrect approval notices: Around 11,700 members who did not respond to renewal requests received incorrect approval notices instead of closure notices. ODHS/OHA extended their coverage extended through the end of the year. These members received a new notice and call explaining that they can provide the missing information by the end of the year to prevent closure.
  • Correcting or preventing incorrect terminations: Medical benefits for 2,268 people incorrectly ended at the end of September. 1,226 people incorrectly received notices explaining that their benefits would end at the end of October. ODHS/OHA will restore these people’s benefits or prevent them from closing. All affected members will receive new notices in November. In 2024, they will get another notice letting them know whose benefits are renewed without needing a response, and who in their household still needs to respond to a renewal to keep benefits.
  • Restoring Oregon Supplemental Income Program—Medical (OSIP-M) benefits: OSIP-M is a program that provides OHP coverage to Oregonians who are legally blind, have a disability, and/or are 65 or older–and have limited income and financial resources. ODHS paused closures and restored coverage to 20,000 people found over the income or financial resource limits for OSIP-M. ODHS is updating OSIP-M notices with more information about members’ options, such as spending down excess financial resources. This way, they can make an informed decision and have additional time to report changes and keep their benefits if still eligible. In 2024, these members will get another renewal notice, after which benefits may end if still over the income or resource limits.

What to do if OHP is ending:

  • First, review the case summary in your letter to make sure the information used to make the decision was correct. If that information has changed, notify the state. You can call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted) or find other options to connect at benefits.oregon.gov. If the information on file for you is correct and you disagree with the decision, you can request a hearing. Learn more about hearings here
  • Explore options through an employer. If you, your spouse, or a parent are working, you may be eligible for health coverage through that employer. Talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if you qualify. You will have a special enrollment period to enroll mid-year due to loss of OHP benefits.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare: For help understanding Medicare options, go to OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find an insurance agent or a counselor at the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA), or call SHIBA at 800-722-4134. SHIBA counselors and insurance can help you choose the right Medicare options if you’re losing OHP coverage.

If you need to sign up for Medicare for the first time, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213 to enroll by phone or find a local office. You can also enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up

  • Nearly 80 percent of Oregonians qualify for financial help through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to answer a few quick questions and find out how much you can save and how much coverage may cost you. You can also call the Marketplace Transition Help Center at 833-699-6850 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted).
  • Need free local help figuring any of this out? Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find professional help near you.

Find help for renewing your benefits

  1. Learn more about how to renew your Oregon Health Plan medical coverage.
  2. Call the ONE Customer Service Center: 800-699-9075 (all relay calls are accepted, and help is available in multiple languages).
  3. Stop by or call a local office. People can find their local office at:  https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/Pages/office-finder.aspx
  4. Visit a community partner for free, in-person help. To find one near you visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp(English) or orhim.info/ayuda(Spanish).

ODHS and OHA encourage members to protect their benefits

The large number of OHP renewals, along with renewals of long-term services and supports, may cause greater wait times, delays, and possible interruptions to people’s OHP benefits. OHP members are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible after they receive a request for information to avoid any possible delays. The fastest way members can provide an update is by going to benefits.oregon.gov and logging into their ONE online account. 

Members can visit KeepCovered.Oregon.gov to learn:

  • What to do to protect their medical benefits
  • Where to get help renewing their benefits
  • How to provide updates when it’s time to renew
  • How to explore health coverage options through a job, Medicare or the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace if they no longer qualify for OHP

Community partners and providers can find resources to support members through the unwinding process at KeepCoveredPartners.Oregon.gov.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians as the agencies continue to track the programs.

Taxpayer Advocate urges Oregonians to volunteer to help low-income families receive millions in unclaimed tax benefits

Salem, OR—The Internal Revenue Service is once again recruiting people to assist in the free preparation of taxes as part of its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, and the Department of Revenue’s Taxpayer Advocate is encouraging Oregonians to volunteer.

“Oregon needs more VITA and TCE sites and volunteers,” said Oregon Taxpayer Advocate Codi Trudell. “Volunteers have helped more than 28,000 Oregonians file their tax returns in 2023, but the need is substantially higher. VITA and TCE sites turn people away every day due to a lack of volunteers.”

The IRS estimates that one in five Oregon taxpayers eligible to claim the federal Earned Income Tax Credit are not doing so. One Oregon organization estimates that the unclaimed credits total nearly $100 million annually.

“There are significant federal and Oregon-specific tax credit benefits available to low-income individuals and families, but they need to file a tax return to claim the benefits,” Trudell said. “By volunteering to help file those returns, Oregonians can make a big difference in their communities.”

In addition to the need for volunteers, the IRS is also seeking organizations to sponsor VITA and TCE clinics. Last year, free tax assistance was made available at 88 sites across the state.

The VITA and TCE programs include training to provide free tax help for low-to-moderate income families who need assistance preparing their tax returns. Across the country, thousands of people volunteer each year and prepare millions of tax returns at thousands of tax sites nationwide.

Volunteers are assigned to work with a sponsoring organization, first to receive training and then to begin volunteering at a location in the community. Training is offered both online and in the classroom. Tax sites are generally open nights and weekends, and the hours are flexible.

Additional information is available on the IRS website. Interested persons can submit an inquiry now using the VITA/TCE Volunteer and Partner Sign Up moving them one step closer to becoming a VITA or TCE tax volunteer and giving back to their community. The IRS will share information about those interested in volunteering with sponsoring organizations for follow-up contact.

Organizations with an interest in partnering with the IRS to sponsor or host a free tax preparation site in Oregon can also complete and submit the VITA/TCE Volunteer and Partner Sign Up.

To get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments, visit www.oregon.gov/dor or email questions.dor@oregon.gov. You also can call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing- or speech-impaired), we accept all relay calls.

Employment Related Day Care program opens waitlist for most families applying after November 3Eligible families are encouraged to apply now

The Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) reminds families that the Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program will open a waitlist next week. The ERDC program helps families pay for child care through state and federal funds. The ERDC waitlist, announced last month, will open after an unprecedented increase in demand and limited available funding. Families should apply by November 3, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. if they think they may be eligible.

 “We want to be sure families have had ample opportunity to apply for ERDC before the program opens a waitlist. We also want families to know there are other affordable child care programs they may qualify for,” said Alyssa ChatterjeeDirector of DELC. “The good news is that the increase in ERDC enrollment means the recent changes to the program allow it to work better for families. We will continue working with the Legislature to identify more funding to support the program.”

 Here is what families need to know:

  • Families currently receiving ERDC will continue to receive benefits as usual after November 3, 2023.
  • Families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level (e.g., up to $5,000 per month for a family of four) may be eligible for ERDC and are encouraged to apply right away.
  • Families can apply in the following ways:
  • Families can text the word “children” to 898211 or call 211 if they need help finding their local office or figuring out how to apply to ERDC.
  • Some families outlined in Oregon rule can skip the waitlist:
    • Families recently or currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Temporary Assistance for Domestic Violence Survivors (TA-DVS) 
    • Families referred by the Child Welfare division of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS)
    • Families reapplying for ERDC within two months of benefits ending.
  • After November 3, 2023, families applying for ERDC that do not meet an exemption above will be placed on a waitlist. DELC will regularly follow up with families on the waitlist to provide updates.
  • The waitlist is likely to be in place for at least 18 months, depending on the level of investment and the rate at which families leave the program.
  • Families who need support paying for child care after November 3, 2023 are encouraged to reach out to 211 or their local Early Learning Hub to learn more about programs such as Preschool Promise and Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten.

Once more funding becomes available and enrollment drops to a sustainable level, families will be selected from the waitlist based on the date they were added. The first to apply will be the first selected for eligibility screening and potential enrollment. Once a family is selected from the waitlist, they will receive a notice inviting them to apply for ERDC within 45 days.

Go to Oregon.gov/DELC/ERDC to learn more.

Merkley and Wyden Announce Federal Energy Assistance For Oregonians

On Thursday, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced that Oregon was awarded $40.2 million in federal funding to help low-income households and Tribes pay for energy bills, prevent utility shut-offs and more.

Wyden said, “With temperatures forecast to drop near or below freezing this weekend in Oregon, this assistance is especially timely”. Wyden said, “These federal funds will help Oregonians already struggling to make the choice between paying for utilities or food. Maintaining a warm home in cold weather is crucial, especially for households with young children, older adults, and people with disabilities”.

Merkley said, “Countless Oregon families are living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to pay their monthly bills”. Merkley said, “The assistance from the LIHEAP program will help keep the homes of Oregonians warm this winter and help ease the financial burden of rising utility costs”.

The release said administered through the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Community Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this funding from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income households pay home heating and cooling bills, prevent energy shutoffs, restore services, make minor energy-related home repairs, and weatherize homes to make them more energy efficient.

Of the $40.2 million, LIHEAP is funding nearly $38.5 million to the state, with just over $639,000 going directly to Tribes. Over $1.1 million came from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Domestic Violence Shooting Suspect Dead After Crashing into Responding Fire Truck

JCSO Case 23-6205

May be an image of 3 people

ASHLAND, Ore. – A domestic violence shooting suspect is dead after crashing head on into a responding fire truck early this morning on Dead Indian Memorial Road outside Ashland. The domestic violence victim was injured during the crash and was transported to a local hospital. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash. 

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies responded to a shots-fired domestic violence call early this morning in the 8000 block of Dead Indian Memorial Road in rural Ashland. ECSO Dispatch received the 911 call at 4:39 a.m. during a house party at the residence. The caller reported overhearing an argument followed by gun shots and the suspect and victim leaving the residence in a vehicle at a high rate of speed towards Ashland. 

The suspect’s vehicle left its lane of travel on Dead Indian Memorial Road near mile marker two, colliding head on with a responding Jackson County Fire District 5 (FD5) fire truck. The suspect was extricated from the vehicle and pronounced deceased at the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for injuries. FD5 firefighters were not injured in the crash. 

JCSO detectives took over the investigation. The deceased suspect’s identification is pending next of kin notification. There is no further information available for release at this time. 

Two death investigations underway in south Salem

Salem, Ore. — The Salem Police Violent Crimes Unit and Traffic Team are conducting two death investigations in south Salem stemming from a dispute which occurred early today.

At approximately 6:25 a.m. Sunday morning, Salem Police officers responded to multiple calls of shots fired occurring at an apartment in the 4000 block of Liberty RD S. Witnesses reported hearing an argument then the sound of gunfire with a person fleeing the scene in a vehicle, leaving one man deceased from a gunshot wound.

A responding officer located and pursued the suspect vehicle traveling southbound on Commercial ST SE. The vehicle crashed through the property of two businesses in the 4700 block of Commercial ST. The driver was found deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Each scene is under active investigation, and no further details, including information about the decedents, is being released at this time.

Commercial ST was closed between Boone RD and Hilfiker LN SE for approximately four hours for the investigation of the collision. 

OSP Fish and Wildlife Division reminds hunters to have the appropriate tags on hand when hunting

Oregon Hunting Licensing and Tag Requirements
OSP Fish and Wildlife Division reminds hunters to have the appropriate tags on hand when hunting

SALEM, Ore. 28 Oct. 2023 – Oregon big game hunting seasons are well underway and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division is reminding hunters how to keep their hunt legal. In Oregon, hunters must have a valid big game tag in their possession for the species and area they are hunting. Both paper and electronic tags are recognized. 

Over the past few months, troopers have encountered numerous hunters without big game tags in their possession. In many situations, the hunters utilizing the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) electronic licensing app had failed to redeem their tag voucher. The most common issues are hunters with a Sports Pac who forget to redeem the appropriate tag voucher or hunters who had successfully drawn a controlled hunt and then failed to purchase the electronic big game tag for that hunt or species. 

With Oregon’s general and controlled rifle elk seasons coming up in November, OSP is reminding hunters to double-check the electronic licensing app for the correct tags for their planned hunts. Within the app, valid big game tags will be displayed within each hunter’s recreation portfolio. 

For those opting to use paper licenses and big game tags, be sure the tag is legible and in their possession when hunting. Successful hunters must immediately validate the tag per the instructions on the paper tag, or within the ELS application. The MyODFW app is available for download for both iOS and Android phones and allows hunters to validate their tag even when outside of cellphone reception areas. 

ODFW license requirements include: 

  • Valid hunting license.
    • Hunting licenses are valid beginning January 1, or from the time of purchase if after January 1, through December 31 of the document year.
  • No one may possess more than one valid annual hunting license.
  • To hunt big game, an individual must have in their possession a big game tag, either electronic or paper, valid for the dates, area, and species being hunted.
  • Any documents in possession, either electronic or paper, must be accessible immediately upon request by ODFW staff or law enforcement.

For additional information about big game hunting and hunting and angling regulations, visit the ODFW website or OSP’s Fish and Wildlife website.

Oregon Parks and Recreation To Discuss Drone Rules And Maps

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will livestream a virtual meeting Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. to present draft drone take-off and landing classification criteria to be used in future park drone use maps. The agency will then invite the public to share their views on the criteria from Oct. 23 through 5 p.m. on Dec. 29.

The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube for the public here.

Attendees who want to ask questions during the Q&A portion of the meeting must register beforehand here.

Although the formal rulemaking process for drone take-off and landing began in 2021, the agency temporarily stopped in April 2022 to form a work group and explore the matter in more detail.

The work group included various partners including conservation groups, drone users, state and federal agencies and met from June 2022 through the summer of 2023.

OPRD’s region resource and Geographic Information Services (GIS) staff, alongside park managers reviewed the draft criteria and applied them to three sample areas, one from each region of state parks.

Feedback will be reviewed by agency staff and the work group as part of a final report to the OPRD Director Lisa Sumption, who will then decide whether to direct staff to resume public administrative rulemaking or do more work on the proposals.

Individuals who require special accommodations to view the meetings should contact Jo Niehaus at least three days in advance of the meeting at 503-580-9210 or jo.niehaus@oprd.oregon.gov .

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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