Willamette Valley News, Monday 11/13 – 80 Year Old Man Fatally Shoots Himself In Salem Police Station Lobby & 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, November 13, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

80 Year Old Man Fatally Shoots Himself In Salem Police Station Lobby Saturday

Salem Police Station lobby closed due to death investigation – Opens this morning

Due to tragic circumstances which occurred Saturday afternoon at the Salem Police Department, the station lobby is closed until Monday morning, November 13, at 8:00 a.m.

Saturday at approximately 1:00 p.m., a man entered the vestibule of the police station, removed a shotgun from the bag he carried, and took his own life. Officers arrived moments later to find the man, age 80, dead from the gunshot wound. In instances of suicide, the name of the victim is not typically released.

Because of the unfortunate circumstances, the police station lobby, located at 333 Division ST NE, will be closed while the incident is investigated.

During the lobby closure, residents may still access police services in the following manner:

  • To file a police report, call 503-588-6123, select option 1.
  • For vehicle releases, call 503-588-6144, select option 9. Please call ahead to minimize delays in response.
  • For police records services, use the convenient online City of Salem Public Records Portal.

As always, if you need emergency services, please call 9-1-1.

Mysterious Respiratory Disease Sickening Dogs Across Willamette Valley

Pathologists aren’t sure what’s causing the disease that has killed some dogs in the region

Veterinarians in the Willamette Valley say they’re seeing an increase in dogs sickened with an unknown respiratory illness.

Very little is known about the mysterious disease that may have infected hundreds of dogs in the region since August. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has received 200 written reports from veterinarians so far. It’s unclear if the disease has impacted dogs outside the valley or outside the state.

In a notification sent to veterinarians, the agriculture department said dogs with the disease develop chronic tracheobronchitis or pneumonia. Some dogs developed acute pneumonia that killed them within two days.

“Unfortunately, very few of those dogs have received a full necropsy to determine the cause of death,” Andrea Cantu-Schomus, a state agriculture spokesperson, said in an emailed statement.

Cantu-Schomus said that of the few dogs that have been studied “several had underlying disease processes that ultimately lead to death.”

Most antibiotics that usually treat canine respiratory illnesses aren’t effective against this disease. Since researchers haven’t yet identified its underlying cause, they haven’t been able to pinpoint ways to treat it, Cantu-Schomus said. (SOURCE)

Lane County Elections Office Reopens Following Suspicious Mail Incident

The Lane County Elections Office reopened last Thursday and resumed normal operations. The Elections Office closed unexpectedly on Wednesday after staff received a suspicious piece of mail. 

“We are appreciative of the quick response from Eugene police and other partners,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “Situations like this are scary for everyone involved. We will, of course, cooperate with the investigation and hope the person or people who wanted to terrorize our staff and disrupt the elections process are held accountable.”

Although the Elections Office was closed for part of yesterday, ballot processing was not significantly affected as staff had stayed late on Election Day to process ballots. Clerk Dena Dawson believes they will be able to get caught up today and provide an update on election results at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections.

“I am disheartened by the continuing threat landscape for election officials. We are dedicated public servants and we take our role in defending democracy very seriously. We just want to do our jobs without having to fear for our lives,” said Dawson.  An investigation is underway and any questions regarding its status should be directed to law enforcement. 

There were suspicious mail received all around the country at election offices this week including fentanyl in letter at Spokane. The FBI is investigating election threats in Oregon.

Oregon, California and Washington are three of at least five states reporting suspicious letters today, including some containing fentanyl or other substances, sent to local election offices.

Authorities are looking for whoever sent the suspicious letters to elections offices in at least five states this week, delaying the counting of ballots in some local races in the latest instance of threats faced by election workers around the country. One piece of mail had been postmarked in Portland and read in part, “End elections now.”

The letters were sent to elections offices in the presidential battlegrounds of Georgia and Nevada, as well as California, Oregon and Washington, with some being intercepted before they arrived. Four of the letters contained fentanyl, the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service reported in a statement to elections officials Thursday.

“Law enforcement is working diligently to intercept any additional letters before they are delivered,” the statement said. The Portland-postmarked letter warning, “End elections now,” went to the Pierce County auditor’s office in Tacoma, Washington, which released images of the letter showing it had been postmarked in Portland.”

More than two-dozen Republican state lawmakers claim a new effort to curb election misinformation by the Secretary of State’s office would stifle the free speech of Oregonians.

A group of 20 State Representatives and seven Senators signed a letter to Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade this week. Rep. Ed Diehl shared the letter on social media Wednesday. The Republicans claim a UK-based company was awarded a contract last month to monitor social media posts for threats. They say the program would also allow artificial intelligence to determine what to label as “misinformation.”

Republicans say the technology would lead to social media companies suppressing users. But Kerns says, “The Secretary of State’s office has no authority, ability or desire to censor speech. We do have a very real need to protect the people and infrastructure that make our democracy work, and provide accurate information through official channels.”

Santiam Correctional Institution reports in-custody death of Lane County Man

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) adult in custody, Billroy Durham, passed away the evening of November 12, 2023. Durham was incarcerated at Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) in Salem and passed away at a local hospital. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the State Medical Examiner will determine cause of death. 


Durham entered DOC custody on August 11, 2015, from Lane County, with an earliest release date of July 2, 2024. Durham was 44 years old. Next of kin has been notified.

DOC takes all in-custody deaths seriously. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of approximately 12,000 individuals who are incarcerated in 12 institutions across the state. While crime information is public record, DOC elects to disclose only upon request out of respect for any family or victims.

SCI is a minimum-security prison in Salem that houses approximately 440 adults in custody who are within four years of release. The facility concentrates on work opportunities, most of which are in the form of work crews contracting with state agencies, local organizations, and private industries within a 60-mile radius of Salem. SCI provides a range of other correctional programs and services including education, transition programs, and religious services. The building that is now SCI was constructed in 1946 and was originally used as an annex to the Oregon State Hospital for mental health patients. Over the years it was used for a variety of correctional purposes until, in 1990, it opened as SCI. 

Eugene Police Chase Ends With Suspect Killing Self

According to Eugene police, just before 11 a.m. Tuesday, officers attempted to perform a traffic stop on a high-risk suspect wanted from another jurisdiction, but the suspect sped off when officers moved in. Police said the suspect led officers on a chase for about two blocks, before shooting himself and crashing into a stopped, unoccupied vehicle in a parking lot. Officers said the suspect was declared dead at the scene from the gunshot.

Eugene Police pursued a man wanted on a warrant in Deschutes County for about two blocks Tuesday and say he took his own life as they closed in. The man, whose identity has not been released, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the area of 11th Avenue and Garfield Street, said police spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said officers received reports Monday of a person who had been making threatening phone calls to local organizations in Eugene. A warrant was issued for his arrest Tuesday by Deschutes County Circuit Court for failure to appear in an assault case.

Emergency records show paramedics were called to assist police on west 11th Avenue near Grant Alley at about 11:49 a.m. on November 7. Police said the identity of the suspect is being withheld until his family is notified.

Early Morning House Fire Destroys Home, Occupants Escape Uninjured

Sweet Home Fire crews responded to a 911 call for a house fire just after 3:30 am. The Incident Commander arrived within 7 minutes of the initial call, finding the house fully-involved with fire coming from all sides of the structure. A female at the scene stated it was her home and that all occupants were out.

The fire was in an un-hydranted area of the district, requiring multiple tenders for water supply. Two engines, one water tender, a medic unit, and an Incident Commander responded from Sweet Home bringing 11 firefighters to the scene. A request for a second alarm for mutual aid was made early on bringing a water tender from Brownsville Fire, a water tender from Halsey Fire, and an Engine and Battalion Chief from Lebanon Fire, adding another 7 firefighters to the scene.

Firefighters were on scene for over 5 hours battling the fire and overhauling the scene due to the large amount of contents and heavy fire, as well as challenges related to the structure’s instability and difficulty accessing parts of the structure. The remains of the structure are expected to continue to smolder for as long as a few days. The cause of the fire could not be determined.

The City of Corvallis and Benton County will be hosting an open house for the SW West Hills Corridor Plan on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023 at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

The City, County, and project team invites the neighborhood and community to participate in an upcoming open house to view work completed to date and provide final input before presenting to the Corvallis City Council and Benton County Commissioners.

  • What: Community open house – no formal presentation, drop by anytime to view exhibits and speak with the project team.
  • When: Tuesday, November 14 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: Benton County Fairgrounds Auditorium at 110 SW 53rd Street. The Auditorium building is the closest to and accessed from the 53rd Street entrance.

Community members can contact the project team online and view open house materials that will be available Nov. 14.

During the open house in June, the project team shared information and collected feedback in person and online. The team also presented an overview of the corridor planning process and information about next steps to a joint work session of the Corvallis City Council and Benton County Commissioners in September. View the meeting minutes, materials, and video of the presentation. At the September joint work session, the project team announced they would begin working on a third corridor concept to share with the community at the November open house.

### 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.

Operation Winter Survival Supply Stockpile Drive

Lane County Health & Human Services, in partnership with the First Christian Church of Eugene’s Helping Hearts program and White Bird, today announced the launch of Operation Winter Survival Stockpile. The operation is an effort to create a stockpile through donations of clothing and other supplies that will help those in our community experiencing homelessness better brave the elements. 

“Every winter those in our community who are without shelter are faced with life-threatening temperatures and weather,” said Maria Cortez, Lane County Human Services Program Coordinator. “These donations will be absolutely crucial to helping these community members stay warm and stay alive.” 

To help kick off Operation Winter Survival Stockpile, the First Christian Church (located at 1166 Oak St. in downtown Eugene) and Cahoots are hosting a one day donation drive event where community members can drop-off donations and enjoy refreshments this Wednesday, November 8th from 12 P.M. to 6 P.M.  

“Having access to the severe weather stockpile is an indispensable resource for service providers in our county,” said White Bird Clinic Nest Program Interim Coordinator, Theresa Bordreau. “Having both hot and cold weather supplies, fills a much-needed gap for survival gear that are often in short supply. For any community member looking for ways you can support the most vulnerable in our community, I would encourage you to look at donating to this very important resource. It has been of great value to our clients here at the White Bird Clinic.” 

After the donation drive, items can continue to be dropped off on weekdays between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. or by appointment. Items can also be purchased on Amazon and sent to First Christian Church at 166 Oak St. Eugene, OR, 97402. 

The Operation’s Amazon Wish List can be found at:  https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2XR33GS1ULV8Z?ref_=wl_share

Distribution of items will be prioritized to homeless outreach providers such as CAHOOTS that come into direct contact with individuals who are unhoused and unsheltered.

Preferred donation items include:

  • Clothing such as rain ponchos, wool socks, thermal underwear, gloves, beanies and footwear
  • Items like tents, blankets, hand warmers, tarps, gift cards, and laundry cards
  • Tools such as flashlights, batteries, and other survival supplies

For more information on Operation Winter Survival Stockpile, please contact Maria Cortez at ia.Cortez@lanecountyor.gov“>Maria.Cortez@lanecountyor.gov

PeaceHealth Announces More Closure Dates In Eugene

PeaceHealth says the inpatient rehabilitation unit at the University District hospital will relocate to RiverBend in Springfield on Dec. 15.

The transition will mark the official end of services at the main “hospital tower” at University District, which is Eugene’s only hospital. The healthcare organization announced in August that it would phase out services at the facility, but until recently, had not announced specific closure dates.

PeaceHealth previously announced that the University District emergency room would close on Dec. 1 at 7 a.m.

Services in outlying buildings at the Eugene location, including the inpatient behavioral health unit, will remain available.

Community leaders, as well as Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek, have urged PeaceHealth to reconsider or delay the closure of the hospital. While there are two hospitals just several miles away in Springfield, including PeaceHealth’s RiverBend facility, officials in Eugene say the loss of a close-in emergency room could be potentially dangerous in emergency situations, or in the event of a major earthquake that damages or destroys bridges that cross the Willamette River.

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.

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.

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

No School Monday for Portland Students As Teachers Strike Continues

The main issues involve pay, more planning time and smaller class sizes.

Roughly 44,000 children in Portland will be out of school on Monday after a weekend of talks but no settlement agreement between Portland Public Schools and its teachers.  Monday will be the seventh day of missed classes due to the teachers strike.

“We recognize this is a hardship for a lot of our community members, especially our kids,” said School Board Chair Gary Hollands.

The Portland Association of Teachers, which represents roughly 3,700 teachers, counselors and other employees wants higher wages, more planning time and reduced class sizes. The district claims it can’t afford the union’s proposal.

Both sides met throughout the weekend. The district proposed a package that it claims addresses compensation, preparation time and class sizes. The district said the latest offer would cost an additional $147 million, requiring budget cuts over the next three years totaling almost $103 million. It’s not clear where those cuts would be made.

“We’re already taking a close look at administrative costs, discretionary spending, contracted services,” said PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero.

Portland Public School teachers went on strike Nov. 1. District officials explained it is too early to determine whether the school year will be extended for make-up days.

Driver Slams Expensive Sports Car In To Portland Office Building

The driver of a McLaren 720S — a sports car worth as much as $300,000 — crashed into the side of an office building at the intersection of Burnside Street and Grand Avenue in Portland’s Kerns neighborhood at approximately 2:54 a.m. Sunday.

Portland Fire and Rescue spokesperson Christine Pezzulo told KOIN 6 News that the firefighter who responded to the scene found one car crashed into the building’s facade. The driver was taken to the hospital by ambulance for non-life-threatening injuries. No passengers were said to have been in the car at the time of the crash.

“It was a single vehicle that hit the front of a building breaking out the glass and damaging the facade of the structure,” Pezzulo said.

Oregon Water Officials Say Permitting Must Change To Keep Tens Of Thousands Of Wells From Going Dry

The Oregon Water Resources Department must update its 68-year-old rules for permitting new wells or double down on regulating existing ones, department officials said. 

Klamath County has struggled with persistent drought and lawmakers have directed millions to residents who have had their wells dry up. (Courtesy of the governor’s office)

If it doesn’t, the growing problem of the state’s depleted groundwater reserves “is going to get very expensive,” said department director Doug Woodcock.

Many of Oregon’s 20 groundwater basins are being sucked dry faster than water can naturally be replaced, according to the agency. This is an issue across the West, where drought, river diversions and groundwater depletion have left parts of seven states scrambling to ration what water is available to them from the Colorado River Basin.

Woodcock presented updates to Oregon’s groundwater permitting laws at a hearing last week by the Oregon House Committee on Agriculture, Land Use, Natural Resources and Water. The agency – with input from farmers, environmental groups and well owners – has worked for more than a year on proposed rule changes that would bring Oregon water permitting laws up to date. Most importantly, the agency is attempting to define a “stable level” of groundwater and has committed to withholding new water rights in areas where the level is not deemed stable. 

Not everyone is happy. Some farmers and the water districts that serve them fear it’s a moratorium on all new groundwater allocations around the state. Mark Landauer, a lobbyist for the Special Districts Association of Oregon, said the state water agency’s proposed changes are too broad. 

“We believe that we should be looking at basin-specific rules rather than this one-size-fits-all approach,” he said. 

State Reps. Ken Helm, D-Beaverton, and Mark Owens, R-Crane, tried earlier this year to do just that. The lawmakers proposed a bill that would direct the state water resources department to stop issuing any new water rights until officials could provide an inventory of how much groundwater was left in each of the state’s 20 basins. The bill died in committee but set the stage for many of the changes the water resources department is proposing.

Oregon’s 1955 Groundwater Act requires the state to maintain stable levels of groundwater but does not define what a stable level is. The new rules would define stability as maintaining spring water levels year over year. The water level after a winter recharge period and before summer irrigation should return to about the level it was the year before. 

“So we’ll pump down groundwater systems in the summertime, but we always want those to come back up after the wet season,” said Justin Iverson, a groundwater manager at the water agency. New wells could not be permitted if they were found to diminish the quantity of surface water and instream water needed by the senior water rights holders.

Iverson said if permitting rules don’t change, it’s possible up to 50,000 Oregon wells that are 50 feet below the water table or less could go dry, costing hundreds of millions of dollars to replace.

In the last three years, the water resources department has received more than 1,000 complaints about wells run dry. Many are in areas where aquifers have been overdrawn after years of permitting with little regard for how much water is left, Woodcock, the agency director, said.

“What we’re concerned about is with the increasing summer temperatures, increasing water uses, that 1,000 wells is going to turn into many thousands,” he told the committee. 

A coalition of environmental groups called the Oregon Water Partnership expressed relief the agency is willing to practice caution in permitting. The coalition includes The Nature Conservancy, Oregon Environmental Council, WaterWatch of Oregon, Wild Salmon Center. Trout Unlimited, Environmental Defense Fund and Sustainable Northwest.

“The state has historically allocated groundwater rights without knowing whether water was really available,” said Zach Freed, sustainable water program Director for The Nature Conservancy, in a statement. (SOURCE)

Oregon National Guard Participates in Various Veterans Day Events Across the State

The Oregon National Guard participated in various events around the state on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, to honor those who have served in the armed forces.

The day began with Col. Russell W. Gibson, commander of the Oregon Army National Guard’s 82nd Troop Command Brigade, speaking at a morning memorial service at Timber Linn Veterans Memorial Park in Albany. The Oregon National Guard then performed a rifle salute to honor the nation’s veterans.

Later in the day, the Oregon National Guard participated in the Linn County Veterans Day Parade in Albany, which included several military vehicles and a marching contingent led byCol. Dustin Ballard, Oregon Army National Guard Commander of Recruiting and Retention Command. The marching formation was comprised of members of the Air and Army National Guard with a joint color guard. It represented the Oregon Army National Guard’s 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Brigade Troop Command, and the Oregon Air National Guard’s 142nd Wing based at the Portland Air National Guard Base. 

The parade’s military vehicles included a M1129 Stryker Mortar Carrier crewed by the 1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry Regiment, and two Oregon Air Guard 125th Special Tactics Squadron M1297 A-GMV (Ground Mobility Vehicle). They were followed by a 141st Brigade Support Battalion M997 Field Liter Ambulance (FLA) Humvee.

Recently retired Oregon National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Michael E. Stencel served as the parade’s emeritus grand marshal.

The Oregon National Guard’s 234th Army Band, also known as “Oregon’s Own,” country music band performed at the Albany American Legion lunch for parade participants. Another band contingent played at the University of Oregon vs. the University of Southern California Veterans Salute football game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

Other Veterans Day events included an Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs memorial event in Salem featuring remarks by Col. Gibson.

Sunday marked 53 years since a dead sperm whale was blown up with dynamite in Florence

On November 9th 1970 a sperm whale washed ashore on the South Jetty in Florence.

Three days later on November 12, 1970, that dead whale exploded into history with what has been described as the first-ever viral news story that still keeps going and is still celebrated today. The story also lives on in Exploding Whale Park.


Oregon Main Street Announces New Application Round for Top Tier Communities

Oregon Main Street just opened applications for the Designated Main Street and Affiliated Main Street level communities for new communities who want to join the OMS Network at one of the Main Street Track levels or for existing communities that want to move up a level.. Applications are due on January 31, 2023.

Applications can be found on our website at www.oregonmainstreet or Clicking Here.

OMS will host an application workshop on Tuesday, November 14, at 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. The workshop will cover some of the requirements to participate at these tiers and provide tips on completing the application. You must register in advance to attend:  Click Here to Register

Oregon Main Street has a tiered approach that allows communities to participate in ways that best meet their capacity and needs.  The Main Street track, which includes Accredited, Designated, and Affiliated Main Street levels, is for communities that want to use the comprehensive Main Street Approach™ to sustain and enhance their historic downtown or traditional commercial neighborhood district.

There are specific criteria communities must meet to qualify and maintain status depending on the level of participation. Some of these criteria include:

Having an independent nonprofit focused on the historic core
Commitment to using the Main Street Four-Point™ structure
Adequate staffing levels
Participation in required trainings

There is also the Connected Communities level for communities that aren’t ready to use the Main Street™ structure but see value in participating in the OMS Network. A full list of communities participating in the OMS Network can be found at www.oregonmainstreet.org.

Acceptance into the Oregon Main Street Network, depending on the Tier, allows communities to participate in services such as training workshops, be eligible for community assessments and technical assistance, and compete for grants.

The Main Street Approach™, developed by Main Street America™, is a time-tested framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization. This proven approach emphasizes community organization, design, promotion, and economic vitality to create healthy and livable downtown commercial districts. This approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, empowerment and the rebuilding of commercial districts based on traditional assets, unique architecture, personal service, local ownership, and sense of community.

“We are excited about opening up applications for communities to participate in our Network at one of our advanced levels,” said Sheri Stuart, State Coordinator, Oregon Main Street. “Through a recent study of our Network, we know the difference our local main street organizations are having on their communities and welcome the opportunity to work more deeply with other communities that want to use the Main Street Approach™.” This study, culminating in the Impact of Oregon’s Main Streets Report, shares the story of how the Oregon Main Street Network strengthens community networks, bolsters the economy, generates state and local tax revenue, and fosters social connections across the state.

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage in Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For more information see our website at www.oregonmainstreet.org , or contact Sheri Stuart at sheri.stuart@oprd.oregon.gov or 503.986.0679.

Give blood, celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the film “Elf”

Exclusive “Elf” + Red Cross socks for donors Nov. 10-30Portland, OR (Nov. 10, 2023) — For many, watching the classic holiday movie “Elf” has been a heartwarming tradition for 20 years. This November, the American Red Cross is encouraging people to add a new tradition as the holiday season begins: Spread cheer with a blood or platelet donation. 

Donations are critical to the blood supply as the holiday season draws near – a time when blood donations often decline. Donors of all blood types are urged to give, especially type O blood donors and those giving platelets.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the film “Elf,”  and create holiday cheer, all who come to give Nov. 10-30 will receive an exclusive pair of “Elf” + Red Cross socks, while supplies last. For more details, visit RedCrossBlood.org/Elf.

It feels good to give a gift to someone else that truly means something. Those wishing to help patients receive lifesaving transfusions can book a blood or platelet donation appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

How to donate blood  — A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger must also meet certain height and weight requirements.

Amplify your impact − volunteer!  — Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the Red Cross is to become a volunteer blood donor ambassador at Red Cross blood drives. Blood donor ambassadors help greet, check-in and thank blood donors to ensure they have a positive donation experience.  

Volunteers can also serve as transportation specialists, playing a vital role in ensuring lifesaving blood products are delivered to nearby hospitals. For more information and to apply for either position, contact or visit redcross.org/volunteertoday.  

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood and is the primary blood supplier to 65 hospitals throughout Washington and Oregon; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

“Elf” and all related characters and elements © & ™ New Line Productions, Inc.

Enrollment In Individual Health Insurance Now Open Through Mid-January

The tens of thousands of Oregonians who buy their own health insurance can now start shopping for the best plan for next year.

Open enrollment on the federal online marketplace, which Oregon will continue to use for the next few years, runs this year from Nov. 1 through Jan. 16. Those who enroll by Dec. 15 will be covered starting Jan. 1, and those who sign up after that will be covered starting Feb. 1.

Premiums will increase 6% next year on average but individuals can obtain subsidies through the marketplace to reduce costs. The subsidies come in the form of tax credits that can be used throughout the year or at tax time. In the past, around 70% of those who applied obtained financial help. That jumped to 80% last year, according to Amy Coven at the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees health insurance enrollment.Sign up for coverage

For general information about the three levels of plans, go here. For information about coverage and to sign up, go here

But before buying a plan, state officials recommend that people use the window-shopping tool to compare plans, which vary among different areas. 

Oregon also offers free help through experts in health insurance. Find someone for the marketplace, or healthcare.gov, by clicking here

“Premiums can start as low as a dollar, sometimes even less with the financial help, and they go up from there,” Coven said. 

The average tax credit last year was around $500 per person a month, Coven said. That translated to an out-of-pocket premium cost per person of about $225.

Subsidies are based on the marketplace’s silver, or mid-range plans, and there’s no upper income limit to qualify for financial help. Individuals can also sign up for a bronze plan, which has the least expensive premium but costs more out-of-pocket for services, or gold plans, which have the highest premiums but lowest out-of-pocket costs. 

All plans include 10 essential benefits, which include emergency care and hospitalization, prescriptions, mental health and addiction services, lab services and maternity and pediatric care. The plans also include free preventive care, which is mandated by the Affordable Care Act. All Oregon plans also offer coverage for abortions, acupuncture and chiropractic care and the first three primary care or mental health care visits cost $5 even before the deductible kicks in. 

“The coverage is very robust,” Coven said.

The state has offered catastrophic coverage, which is designed to cover unexpected medical costs. And its website says it still does, but Coven said Thursday in a follow-up call that they will not be available for 2024.

Enrollment on the marketplace increased in recent year, hitting nearly 147,000 in 2022 and nearly 142,000 last year. Coven expects 2024 enrollment figures to increase over this year’s as a result of the thousands of people who are being bumped off Medicaid because they no longer qualify. Since April, state officials have been auditing the nearly 1.5 million Oregonians on Medicaid to see whether they still meet the income and other qualifications as part of the end of extra Medicaid benefits during the pandemic.

Although a majority of people on Medicaid have retained coverage, the health authority’s dashboard shows that more than 62,000 have lost the free medical and dental coverage. 

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that folks understand what other coverage options are available and provide direct assistance for enrollment,” Coven said.

She said officials have sent out 50,000 letters to those who’ve lost Medicaid coverage. It’s not yet clear how many will remain insured by buying health insurance. The state increased the percentage of those who have health insurance during the pandemic thanks to federal and state programs. The state’s insured rate stands at 96%, though that could fall if a lot of people who lose Medicaid do not buy coverage. (SOURCE)

Oregon is Searching for its Next Poet Laureate

Oregon is searching for its next Poet Laureate. Over the two-year-term, the Poet Laureate promotes the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses issues relating to the humanities and reflects on public life in Oregon.

Information about the Poet Laureate program, how to nominate the next Poet LaureateAnis, and how to request an appearance can be found on this website. Please also check out our Facebook page.

Nominations are accepted through January 8th, and poets are welcome to nominate themselves. The next Poet Laureate term begins in May. MORE INFO: https://culturaltrust.org/oregon-poet-laureate/?fbclid=IwAR0O-Gx81HjAKwXHwyrEVtxpgyXma9XRb5xwacG_o57ga3_lKUwIbPRMXks

May be an image of 2 people and text that says '864 ALBANY POLICE DEPARTMENT BULLETIN **For Public Release Issue Date: 11/07/2023 APD Case 23-07048 860 MISSING JUVENILE Ylianna Marie May years old 5'0" 145lbs Brown Hair, Brown Eyes Reported missing from Albany, Oregon on 11/07/2023. She has expressed intent leave the state. additional details or endangering factors known at this time. Please call local police if located. Albany Police Department 2600 Pacific Sw, Albany, 97322 Submitting Off/Det. Lovejoy'
May be an image of 1 person and text

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

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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