Willamette Valley News, Friday 12/1 – Eugene’s Only Hospital and Emergency Room Closed For Good Today at 7am & 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

Friday, December 1, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

Multiple Atmospheric River Storms To Hit Pacific Northwest With Flooding Rain And Mountain Snow —— Active Weather Alerts: FLOOD WATCH ISSUED – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE


* WHAT...Flooding caused by excessive rainfall is possible.

* WHERE...Portions of northwest Oregon, including the following
areas, Cascade Foothills in Lane County, Central Coast Range of
Western Oregon, Central Oregon Coast, Central Willamette Valley,
Coast Range of Northwest Oregon, Greater Portland Metro Area,
Lower Columbia, North Oregon Coast, Northern Oregon Cascade
Foothills and South Willamette Valley and southwest Washington,
including the following areas, Greater Vancouver Area, I-5
Corridor in Cowlitz County, South Washington Cascade Foothills,
South Washington Coast and Willapa Hills.

* WHEN...Through Tuesday afternoon.

* IMPACTS...Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers,
creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations.
Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks. Flooding may occur
in poor drainage and urban areas.

- A series of atmospheric rivers will bring periods of
widespread heavy rain through early next week. Cascade snow
accumulations through Saturday morning will experience heavy
rain Saturday night into Sunday morning which will contribute
to excessive run off. Total rain amounts for the entire
weekend range between 3.0-5.0 inches along the coast, 4.5-6.5
inches over the Willapa Hills and Oregon Coast Range, and 3-4
inches across the interior lowlands, with 4.0-7.0 inches of
rain expected over the Cascades, Cascade foothills, and
western Columbia River Gorge. 2.5-3.5 inches of rain is
expected for central Columbia River Gorge and Upper Hood
River Valley. Localized heavy rain will lead to higher rain
- http://www.weather.gov/safety/flood

Eugene’s Only Hospital and Emergency Room Closed Today at 7am

Today, December 1st at 7am, Eugene’s University District Hospital Emergency Room closed for good. Oregon’s second largest city now does not have a hospital.

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.

This is critical and marks a big change for emergency medical calls around the Eugene-Springfield area. The closure of Eugene’s PeaceHealth University District Emergency Department means all ambulances will be directed to either McKenzie Willamette or PeaceHealth Riverbend, both in Springfield, miles from the University District Hospital.

PeaceHealth inpatient rehabilitation unit at University District in Eugene will relocate to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield on Dec. 15.

After the closure of the emergency department at University District at 7 a.m. on Dec. 1, the inpatient rehabilitation unit will be the only service remaining at the hospital until the unit moves to RiverBend on Dec. 15. Following the unit’s relocation to RiverBend, the hospital tower at University District will close.

All PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics on the west side of Hilyard Street and the outpatient rehabilitation clinic, plus the inpatient behavioral health unit on the corner of Alder Street and 11th Avenue, will remain open and serving patients.

As Eugene’s Only Hospital and Emergency Room Closes, The Fire Department Says They Plan To Step Up

With the only emergency room in Eugene closing today 12/1/2023, the city’s fire department is trying to strengthen its emergency response.

PeaceHealth is planning to shutter multiple services at its University District location in December, redirecting patients to its hospital at RiverBend in Springfield, located about 5.8 miles away.

At a City Council meeting Monday, Eugene Springfield Fire Chief Mike Caven said this is likely to create a larger burden on first responders. He said patients who could’ve walked into the emergency room in the past may now need to be transported to Springfield by ambulance.

To meet demand, Caven said Eugene Springfield Fire will begin staffing a squad for downtown Eugene and nearby areas this week, with an additional medical unit stationed in the Whiteaker neighborhood.

Caven said the department is also trying to balance the workload of units, and it’s working with community partners on alternatives to hospitalization. He said staff have options in reserve in the event of a crisis.

“If we run out of units, and we need a fire crew to temporarily staff an ambulance to help support capacity…it’s not ideal, but it’s there,” he said.

Currently, the department is waiting to obtain three additional ambulances that have already been funded, which it expects to have in three to four months.

Caven is asking for more money to help meet the department’s new responsibilities. He said the department can be somewhat flexible with expenses at this time, as its budget is funded on a two-year timeline.

“We’re not in crisis mode trying to figure out, ‘How are we going to pay this? How are we going to balance the budget immediately?’” said Caven.

Together with the city of Eugene, Rep. Nancy Nathanson, D-Eugene, is now drafting a bill to request one-time emergency funding from the state Legislature, which is intended to respond to the loss of PeaceHealth services.

City officials say this money could pay for a new ambulance and community response unit for the fire department, while piloting wellness programs meant to reduce the need for emergency services.

A spokesperson for Nathanson said she was unavailable to comment Tuesday, and she is still in discussion around the details of the bill.

To meet demand as soon as possible, Caven said Eugene Springfield Fire will begin staff an additional squad on December 1st with medical gear to triage as the system gets busy, and they also plan to add an additional transport ambulance in the system.

“That’s out initial surge capacity to really see what happens,” Caven said. “How does the community navigate towards their healthcare needs December 1 going forward.”

Caven said Eugene Springfield Fire, however, is still here to make sure calls are answered. But, they are also depending on people to call 9-1-1for emergencies only. (SOURCE)

ALERT: EWEB drop box vandalized and payments stolen

One of the EWEB payment drop boxes located at the former headquarters building (500 E. 4th Ave) was vandalized sometime between Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 9 a.m. and Monday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. 

The vandalized payment box was attached to the building next to the front door. A second, drive-up payment box was not affected.

We have no way of knowing what payments, if any, were inside the box.

If you made a payment to the affected box between Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 9 a.m. and Monday, Nov. 27 at 9 a.m. your payment and any personal information on your payment was apparently stolen.  

Please contact your financial institution immediately to place a stop payment on your check and take any other steps advised by them

To confirm your payment was received and credited to your account, please login to your online EWEB account (myaccount.eweb.org) or call EWEB customer service (541-685-7000).

No other forms of payment were affected, and customers who used payment methods other than the drop box attached to the former headquarters building were not harmed. 

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Eugene Police Department.

The 71st Annual Springfield Christmas Parade Tomorrow!

The parade kicks off Saturday, December 2nd at 1pm, but multiple roads will be shut down prior to that for participant and attendee safety and traffic control. In an effort to prepare the community for the impending road closures associated with the parade, we’re going to be sharing reminders in the days leading up to the day of the event.

The staging area on Olympic St., from 28th St. to 21st St. will be completely closed off, including exits from Walmart and 23rd St., starting at 7 am for floats to be setup and decorated. No vehicle traffic or drop-offs except vehicles that are registered to drive in the parade will be allowed in this area. Walmart & Wilco parking lots are the correct locations to drop off anyone participating in the parade.

Once the parade starts, streets ahead following the route will be strategically shut down and completely unavailable for normal traffic until the last vehicles are through. The parade will start at 21st & Olympic and end on Pioneer Parkway East. Please plan accordingly to avoid any unnecessary trips through this area at the time.

Firefighters Tackle Springfield House Fire

Springfield OR,  Eugene Springfield Firefighters are on scene of a house fire in the 1000 block of 53RD Pl in East Springfield.  At around 5:22 PM Eugene Springfield Fire crews were notified of a house fire, with smoke coming from an attached garage.  

Arriving Firefighters found fire in the garage and quickly attacked the fire while additional crews searched the home for occupants.  The fire was contained to the garage thanks to a quick response, but the home did suffer significant smoke damage.  

There were no injuries reported, the fire is under control and under investigation.  

Community Safety Payroll Tax-funded Street Crimes Unit arrests three amid ongoing investigation into guns, drugs, and stolen property

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Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit has wrapped up a series of search warrants and cases related to guns, stolen property, and drugs, and their investigation is ongoing.

On October 25, EPD SCU served search warrants in the 2100 block of West Broadway, 800 block of Hunsaker Lane, 90000 block of Spicer Lane, and three local area storage unit locations related to drugs, guns and stolen property.

This investigation extended over several months and resulted in seizures of more than four pounds of methamphetamine, a firearm, more than 100 fentanyl pills, more than 10 grams of cocaine, and the recovery of more than a dozen pieces of property from a Eugene Police Department stolen vehicle case as well as a Tigard Police Department case.

The following people are being charged via the Lane County Circuit Court for the listed crimes: Mark Lee Fain, age 64, of Springfield: Felon in Possession of a Firearm Theft 1 by Receiving Unlawful Manufacture Methamphetamine Unlawful Delivery Methamphetamine Unlawful Possession Methamphetamine (Substantial Quantity/Commercial Drug Offense – CDO)Unlawful Possession Controlled Substance Schedule II (Fentanyl)(CDO)Unlawful Possession Cocaine (CDO) Desiree Leeann Seal Fain, age 50, of Springfield: Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine Donna Vaun Garrison, age 55, of Eugene: Unlawful Manufacture Methamphetamine Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine Unlawful Possession Methamphetamine (10+grams/felony)

Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine charges are being considered for all involved. It should also be noted three other individuals have been charged previously in connection with this investigation and other investigations. Additional people not yet charged may result in further arrests with similar charges pending. Those names are being withheld by investigators to protect the integrity of the overall investigation conducted by the Eugene Police Department and prosecution via the Lane County Circuit Court.

Eugene Police SCU was assisted by Eugene Police SWAT, Drones, Crisis Negotiations Team, Special Investigations Unit, Property Crimes Unit, and Springfield Police Crime Reduction Unit. EPD Case 23-11259SCU is funded by the City of Eugene’s Community Safety Payroll Tax and works in concert with communities to help solve issues. The unit focuses on prolific offenders, who are identified through intelligence-based policing, public tips, and other sources. They proactively respond across the city to quality-of-life issues as they arise, using all available resources and partners such as community groups, neighborhood associations and city services. SCU is dedicated to targeting immediate and acute community safety system issues while working toward mission-critical enhancements that need to be addressed through a longer-term and broader community safety initiative.

INCIDENT REPORT SPRINGFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT – Incident: Sex Abuse Investigation Yields Arrest

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Location: Springfield, OR Case Number: 23-7900 Date/Time: November 28th, 2023 INVOLVED SUSPECT: Ullmann, Cyrus Andrew 23-Year-Old Male | Springfield, OR

NARRATIVE OF INCIDENT: Earlier this month, Springfield Police received information regarding a potential inappropriate relationship between a Springfield School District employee and a student. Shortly after the initial report was taken, Detectives began the process of conducting interviews and collecting evidence to corroborate the suspicion.

On November 26th, Detectives, working in cooperation with the Springfield School District, met with and interviewed Cyrus Ullmann, the suspect in the investigation and developed probable cause to arrest him on 2 counts of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. Ullmann was arrested for two counts of Sex Abuse II and lodged at the Lane County Jail. CHARGES:Sexual Abuse 2 (x2)

Lane County’s Deeds and Records Office moves next week

The Lane County Deeds & Records Office is relocating from the County’s Public Service Building at 8th and Oak in downtown Eugene to the Elections Office at 10th and Lincoln in Eugene. 

The move will be effective starting on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. The last day for services at the current location will be Friday, December 1. The office will be closed for staff training on Monday, December 4, and the new location will open for service on Tuesday, December 5. 

“Combining the services of the County Clerk’s Office under one roof will help accomplish a couple of things,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “It will help us be more efficient in conducting elections since we will no longer need to staff two separate locations. It will also, we hope, make it easier for people to access our services with dedicated parking and an easy to find location.”

The services that will move to the Elections Office (275 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene) are:

  • Real property recording (including deeds, titles or interest to real property located in Lane County)
  • Marriage licenses and ceremonies
  • Domestic partnership declarations
  • Property value appeals

One service of the County Clerk will remain at the Public Service Building: 

  • Public research library for real property records

The research library and its self-serve computer terminals will remain at 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene due to the amount of space they require. One staff person will be available to assist with research. 

About the County Clerk’s Office

The County Clerk and her staff are responsible for conducting elections, recording real property, issuing marriage licenses and domestic partnership registrations, and coordinating the Property Values Appeal Board. Services are now located at 275 W. 10th Avenue, Eugene) from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday–Friday. Property records research is available on the ground floor of the Public Service Building at 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene. 

St. Vincent De Paul Waives Affordable Housing Application Fees Through End Of 2023

St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) announced on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, that they will be waiving application fees for their affordable housing properties through the remainder of 2023.

The customary application fee of $44 will be waived for low-income residents who are applying to live in SVdP’s affordable housing properties.

“Eliminating all application fees will help reduce a barrier for many of our neighbors who need affordable housing the most, during this season when it is needed most,” says SVdP Property Management Director Ben Abbe.

Housing through SVdP operates on a waitlist basis, with staff evaluating the lists quarterly on the first business days of March, June, September and December. SVdP recommends those who are searching for affordable housing to explore more information and current waitlist options here: https://www.svdp.us/svdp-waives-housing-application-fees-through-2023/ https://www.svdp.us/homepage/affordable-housing/housing-waitlists-through-svdp-property-management/#waitlist

SVdP says applying for SVdp waitlists is always free, wait times vary.

[I]n some cases applicants will be on a waitlist for 6-18 months before they are contacted to schedule an appointment to apply for open housing. Only then, when an individual’s name comes up on the SVdP waitlist to apply for housing, are they typically charged an application fee to cover administrative costs.

“We hope that putting a pause on this fee will provide a small bit of relief for some of our neighbors during this time of year that is joyous for most, but creates an added financial strain for many,” Abbe says. “We know that every dollar needs to stretch even further than it normallydoes for families struggling to work their way out of poverty, as they do their best to build a special holiday season for their loved ones.”

SVdP’s next quarterly evaluation will happen and further waitlist openings will be made available, on Dec. 1, 2023.

Waste Wise Lane County: Holiday leftover recipe contest gets cooking

As the holiday season kicks off, Waste Wise Lane County—a part of the Lane County Waste Management Division—again encourages county residents to do the holidays differently this year with the launch of its second “Simplify the Holidays” campaign.

Last year marked the first iteration of the campaign, which is produced by the Center for Biological Diversity and has again been adopted by Waste Wise Lane County. “Simplify the Holidays” encourages residents and businesses to reimagine how they view and participate in the holiday season to inspire joy while curbing waste. The campaign includes earth-friendly gift ideas and will run through December 31.

However, this year’s campaign includes a twist: a holiday leftovers recipe contest. 

“Maybe it’s Uncle John’s famous Christmas Ham Sliders or Aunt Lucia’s delectable Thanksgiving Turkey Tamales,” said Waste Wise Lane County Outreach Coordinator Daniel Hiestand. “How does your family use holiday leftovers? We want to collect your recipes and share them with our community to inspire folks to reduce food waste and save money.”

Recipes submitted during the campaign will be published on the Waste Wise Lane County food waste prevention website, eatsmartwasteless.tips. Those who share recipes will be automatically entered into a prize drawing, with contest winners announced on January 3.

Prizes include Lion & Owl and BRING gift certificates, free enrollment in Oregon State University Extension Master Food Preserver workshops, and a collection of sustainable products from Main Street Market.

“Waste Wise Lane County is laser-focused on helping empower residents and businesses with food waste reduction tools,” Hiestand said. “Between 30 to 40 percent of all food produced is never eaten, so preventing wasted food is one of the most powerful things we can do to address the climate crisis. Eating what you have is a critical part of that. We hope this contest shows leftovers can be quite delicious with a little creativity while saving money.”

Follow the campaign on Waste Wise Lane County’s social media pages @WasteWiseLaneCounty on Facebook and Instagram. To submit a recipe, use this online form (https://bit.ly/LeftoverForm).

About Waste Wise Lane County – Waste Wise Lane County— a part of the Lane County Waste Management Division—empowers residents, schools, and businesses with education, tools, and resources that can be used to reduce waste, conserve resources, and live more sustainably. For more information, visit lanecountyor.gov/wastewise.

About Simplify the Holidays – Simplify the Holidays is an award-winning program of the Center for Biological Diversity. Simplify the Holidays seeks to empower individuals and families to be more conscious of the impacts of holiday traditions and, in doing so, reconnect with meaningful and lasting celebrations. Learn more at simplifytheholidays.org

Renovation Work On Lane Transit District’s Eugene Station Started

Lane Transit District’s central hub is undergoing a major renovation. The $3.8 million project at Eugene Station is set to begin Nov. 20 and last through the fall of 2024.

Some of the project’s key components include a remodel of the Customer Service Center (CSC), station signage updates, the addition of inclusive restrooms, and efficiency upgrades for lighting and HVAC equipment. Several safety and security upgrades will also be made around the property. The “Next Stop Center,” the public meeting room at the corner of West 11th & Olive, will be remodeled to enhance the accessibility, technology, and comfort of events held there.

During construction, CSC will remain open. Restrooms inside the CSC will be closed, but portable ones will be available outside. These restrooms will only be open during service hours and locked overnight.

Once completed, our riders and community members can expect an improved experience that promotes safety, security and inclusiveness. The infrastructure improvements will allow LTD to run even more efficiently for the foreseeable future. 

80% of the project budget is funded through grants, and 20% of the project is funded through local match dollars. Information about LTD’s Annual Budget and Community Investment Plan can be found on the Financials webpage. — https://www.ltd.org/latest-news/eugene-station-remodel-improves-efficiency/

Eugene Saturday Market’s Holiday Market

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The Eugene Saturday Market’s Holiday Market returned to the Lane Events Center this weekend and will be open every weekend until December 24th.

Visit indoors from 10am until 6pm (10am until 4pm on Dec. 24th) and explore two halls filled with handmade treasures made by local artisans, delicious food, and live performances. As always, admission and parking are free!

MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/eugenesaturdaymarket/https://www.holidaymarket.org/

Operation Winter Survival Supply Stockpile Drive Need Ongoing

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. 

“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.” 

Items can 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

Bushnell University School of Music and Performing Arts Presents A Bushnell Christmas

EUGENE, Ore. – Bushnell University’s School of Music and Performing Arts is pleased to welcome the community to a free event celebrating the birth of Christ: A Bushnell Christmas. This creative and spiritual musical celebration will feature a selection of holiday classics and contemporary favorites performed by the university choir, jazz ensemble, and choral.

The event will take place on Dec. 2 at 4:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church.

Kelly Ballard, D.Min., Associate Dean of Music and Performing Arts, acknowledges that “our students find great joy in all styles and genres of music and appreciate the opportunity to perform in welcoming spaces for appreciative audiences. We are honored and privileged to present this concert at First Baptist Church.”

The musical selection is woven together with a beautiful narrative of the meaning of Christmas. We hope you will come and experience a joyous, inspirational holiday concert for the entire family in A Bushnell Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Christ together!

Program subject to change.
LOCATION: First Baptist Church of Eugene
Tickets: Free

Bushnell School of Music and Performing Arts is a nonprofit, 40+ student music school based in Eugene, Oregon led by Associate Dean, Dr. Kelly Ballard. The school provides students with fundamental musical knowledge, performance, and leadership skills, marked by innovation, creativity, and high academic standards. Digital content is offered through its social media channels. More at www.bushnell.edu.

Eugene, Springfield and Lane County to begin leaf pickup

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.

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

OSP Troopers Rescue Abandoned Dogs from Stolen U-Haul in Klamath Falls

25 dogs turned over to the Klamath County Animal Shelter

OSP troopers rescue abandoned dogs from a U-Haul Truck in Love’s Truck Stop Parking Lot in Klamath Falls.

OPS has turned over 25 dogs to the Klamath County Animal Shelter. On Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23, 2023) Oregon State Police troopers responded to the Love’s Truck Stop in Klamath Falls for the report of a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot. A U-Haul truck had been abandoned in the parking lot for approximately two days.

When the troopers arrived, they could hear barking from the back of the enclosed truck. An investigation revealed the U-Haul had been reported stolen and troopers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.

Troopers found seven cages with 15 abandoned dogs including several puppies. The dogs had been severely neglected; however, all were found alive.

An investigation revealed the U-Haul had been reported stolen and troopers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. The dogs had been abandoned in the back of the U-Haul since Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. Troopers contacted two suspects and were able to recover an additional 10 dogs.

Two local residents have been charged. (read more about them here in our daily news: https://www.basinlife.com/…/klamath-basin-news…/ )The dogs were turned over the Klamath County Animal Shelter for evaluation and care. They have been quarantined and the shelter sanitized to help prevent further spread of any disease. Once medically cleared the dogs will be available for adoption.

BasinLife.com and Wynne Broadcasting are proud sponsors of the Klamath Animal Shelter. If you feel you could adopt one of these dogs, we hope you will stop by the shelter located at 4240 Washburn Way, Monday through Friday from 12:00 – 4:00. Walk throughs are available, pet meet and greets are by appointment, you can reach the shelter at 541-884-7387. Thank you.

Umpqua Bank Launches Warm Hearts Winter Drive, Mobilizes Associates across Oregon to Support Neighbors in Need

Local residents can help support nearly 30 Aide Organizations across Oregon this holiday season

― Umpqua Bank announced the launch of its Warm Hearts Winter Drive, an associate-driven campaign to support individuals and families who struggle with access to housing and other basic resources. As part of the drive, associates and local branches in Oregon will help mobilize their respective communities to raise money and collect winter clothing for 28 shelters and aide organizations serving Oregonians experiencing homelessness. 

Umpqua’s Warm Hearts Winter drive continues a community-impact commitment of the former Columbia Bank, which merged with Umpqua earlier this year. The campaign was started in 2015 as a way for bank associates to partner with customers and members of their community to raise funds and other resources for local shelters and nonprofits providing support for families without a home. More than $2 million in contributions has been raised since its inception. This year’s drive expands to support more than 100 organizations in communities across the combined bank’s footprint in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. 

“As a newly combined bank, Umpqua is committed to mobilizing our greater resources and the collective power and passion of our associates to make a difference in our local communities,” said Umpqua Bank Chief Marketing Officer David Moore Devine. “Access to adequate shelter and clothing continues to be a major challenge for many of our neighbors, and our Warm Hearts campaign empowers associates, along with members of our communities, to support local families in need. Simply donating a few dollars, a new coat or other quality clothing items can help ensure that more of our neighbors are cared for in the months ahead.”

How to Support the Warm Hearts Winter Drive — The Warm Hearts Winter Drive accepts cash donations in addition to new winter clothes. Contributions can be made at www.WarmHeartsWinterDrive.com. Financial contributions and new clothing items can also be donated at local Umpqua Bank branches.

Associates and local branches across Umpqua’s footprint are actively engaged in securing financial contributions and warm clothing from customers and community members. One hundred percent of the clothing and funds collected will be donated directly to local shelters and aide organizations. 

All designated contributions stay in the community where they were raised and directly support local organizations.

Participating Organizations in Oregon:

Bethlehem InnBend
The Shepherd’s HouseBend
Oregon Coast Community ActionCoos Bay
Community Outreach, Inc.Corvallis
Eugene MissionEugene
St. Vincent De Paul Lane CountyEugene
My Father’s House: A Community ShelterGresham
Martha’s House of HermistonHermiston
Community Action Hillsboro Family ShelterHillsboro
Gorge Ecumenical Ministries Hood River
Klamath & Lake Community Action ServicesKlamath Falls
Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, Inc.La Grande
Union County Shelter from the StormLa Grande
Family Promise of Lincoln CountyLincoln City
Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Rogue ValleyMedford
Northwest Housing AlternativesMilwaukie
LOVE, Inc. | Newberg/Yamhill County Gospel MissionNewberg
Grace Wins HavenNewport
Samaritan House, Inc.Newport
Community in ActionOntario
Neighbor to Neighbor Pendelton (N2N)Pendleton 
Portland Rescue MissionPortland
United Community Action Network Douglas & Josephine CountiesRoseburg
Catholic Community Services of the Mid-Willamette ValleySalem
Union Gospel Mission of SalemSalem
Helping Hands Reentry Outreach CenterSeaside
St. Vincent De Paul: Warming PlaceThe Dalles
Tillamook County Community Action Resource Enterprises, Inc. Tillamook

For more information on the list of benefiting organizations in each county, or to make a cash or new clothing donation, please visit WarmHeartsWinterDrive.com. Those interested in supporting the Warm Hearts campaign may also email community@umpquabank.com for more information.

About Umpqua Bank
Umpqua Bank is a subsidiary of Columbia Banking System Inc., (Nasdaq: COLB) and a premier regional bank in the western U.S., with offices in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. With over $50 billion of assets, Umpqua combines the resources, sophistication and expertise of a national bank with a commitment to deliver personalized service at scale. The bank consistently ranks as one of America’s Best Banks (ranked by Forbes) and supports consumers and businesses through a full suite of services, including retail and commercial banking; Small Business Administration lending; institutional and corporate banking; equipment leasing; and wealth management. The bank’s corporate headquarters are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Learn more at umpquabank.com.

Demand for food aid spikes in past year as many Oregonians struggle with hunger 

After the pandemic ended, the demand for food  continued to increase in Oregon, with the need for  millions more pounds of produce, pasta and other staples at meal sites and food pantries.

Farmworker Francisca Aparicio washes lettuce in July 2023 as part of an Oregon Food Bank ambassador program that helps diverse communities across the state. (Oregon Food Bank)

The Oregon Food Bank distributed more than 104 million pounds of food in the fiscal year from July 2022 through June 30, an 11% increase from the prior year. High housing and fuel costs coupled with inflation have contributed to the hunger of tens of thousands of Oregonians.

U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas, who represents Oregon’s 6th Congressional District, has noticed the surge in demand. Earlier this month, she introduced a bill that would double the amount of federal funding for the program that keeps Oregon pantries stocked with items.

The Oregon Food Bank, which distributes food to more than 1,400 locations throughout Oregon and southwest Washington, has seen demand grow over the past three years.

Before the pandemic, about 860,000 people annually visited the food bank’s partners in Oregon and southwest Washington, said Morgan Dewey, a spokesperson for the nonprofit food bank. This year, the food bank is on track to serve more than 1 million people, Dewey said.

“We’re just continuing to try to keep up with how much food folks are needing on the ground,” Dewey said.

Get help — The Oregon Food Bank, state agencies and other organizations, including pantries and churches, provide food for hungry Oregonians. For help:

The needs have increased as extra pandemic-related food benefits from the government have stopped. During the pandemic, most families received 70% more in their monthly allotment of federal food aid, called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. The extra aid ended in March, with the average household allotment falling from $450 a month to about $300. The state also paid out the last of the pandemic-related extra food benefits for low-income families with young children in October.

“Those supports – when they ended it – really, really put folks in a dire situation,” Dewey said.

The food bank has five warehouses throughout the state that deliver to 21 regional food banks and more than 1,400 other points, including meal sites, delivery programs and pantries. Those sites are critical for rural and frontier areas in Oregon with food insecurity that are not near a large regional pantry, Dewey said.

The operation puts out fresh produce and dairy products, with an eye toward offering nutritional food that aligns with the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of Oregonians. 

“Being able to partner with local fishers and ranchers and farmers and other growers really has been advantageous to supplying fresh produce to our communities,” Dewey said. “You know, this is not a warehouse where you walk in and it’s just all Ramen.”

Efforts in Congress — Oregon’s congressional members are looking for ways to keep produce in pantries. Earlier this month, Salinas announced she has introduced a bill to help food banks and local farmers by allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase more food directly from producers, including Oregon farmers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture purchases food products that are sent to the Oregon Food Bank as part of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Essentially, the bill would cut back on red tape and allow the federal government to consider other factors beyond simply the lowest price when considering bids from food producers. This, in turn, would set the stage for smaller family farms to get more contracts that put their products in Oregon pantries. 

Salinas, a Democrat, is sponsoring the bill with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-California.

“The pandemic caused higher rates of food insecurity in Oregon and across the country, and food banks have struggled to keep up with the increased demand,” Salinas said in a statement. “The Farmers Feeding America Act will address this problem by providing more funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, ensuring our local food banks are fully stocked.” 

The bill also would double the federal funding for the program, which was about $20 million for Oregon in 2022. 

“With increased funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program and new resources for food distribution and storage, this legislation will help our communities procure fresh produce and dairy products and address food deserts – especially in under-resourced and remote areas,” Oregon Food Bank President Susannah Morgan said in a statement. “No one should be hungry, and this investment will have a resounding impact for millions of people facing food insecurity.” 

For the long-term, it’s important to look for ways to address the economic circumstances driving hunger, Dewey said. Those can include unaffordable housing and a lack of access to health care.

“We can serve everyone who is standing in line for a meal or standing in line to get a grocery bag full of food,” Dewey said. “We can serve all those people today, but hunger still won’t go away tomorrow.” (SOURCE)

Governor Kotek Establishes Oregon State Government AI Advisory Council

Council will develop recommendations to leverage the benefits of artificial intelligence while honoring transparency, privacy, and equitySalem, OR—In response to the growing role that generative artificial intelligence is playing in society, Governor Tina Kotek today announced the formation of the Oregon State Government AI Advisory Council to develop recommendations for its utilization across state government.

“Artificial intelligence is an important new frontier, bringing the potential for substantial benefits to our society, as well as risks we must prepare for,” Governor Kotek said. “This rapidly developing technological landscape leads to questions that we must take head on, including concerns regarding ethics, privacy, equity, security, and social change. It has never been more essential to ensure the safe and beneficial use of artificial intelligence – and I look forward to seeing the work this council produces. We want to continue to foster an environment for innovation while also protecting individual and civil rights.”

The Council will provide a recommended action plan framework to the Governor’s Office no later than six months from the date of its first convening and a final recommended action plan no later than 12 months from its first convening.

The action plan will aim to maximize potential benefits of ethical and effective artificial intelligence implementation and adoption, along with thoughtful governance and standards to mitigate risk and address privacy, ethics, and equity. The goal will be to ensure Oregon has clear usage policies that outline the acceptable use of AI tools, providing transparency, uplifting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and protecting personally identifiable information and other sensitive information.

Full membership and meeting times will be announced at a later date.

The Council will consist of no more than 15 members, all of whom must have a commitment to data ethics and data equity. Council members will include the Oregon State Chief Information Officer (who will chair the council), the Oregon State Chief Data Officer, a representative from the Governor’s Racial Justice Council, the Department of Administrative Services Cultural Change Officer, and an additional agency representative to be appointed by the Governor.

Governor Kotek will also appoint up to eight additional members, which may include community organizations with demonstrated expertise in data justice, artificial intelligence experts from Oregon universities, and representatives from local governments.

Additionally, the President of the Senate shall appoint one member of the Oregon State Senate and the Speaker of the House shall appoint one member of the Oregon House of Representatives.

Last year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published the Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights. The document centered on the need for ethical and equitable principles, practices, and guidelines that protect individuals from harm as governments adopt artificial intelligence.

The council was created through the signing of Executive Order 23-26, which can be found here.

Judge To Decide Whether Oregon’s Process For Taking Back Unemployment Benefits Is Unconstitutional

An Oregon judge will hear arguments Thursday that the state has been acting unconstitutionally when trying to claw back unemployment benefits from more than 60,000 people since 2020.

A lawsuit filed last year argues that the Oregon Employment Department has a convoluted and chaotic process for notifying people when the agency believes it has paid them too much. Many faced claims that they owed the state thousands of dollars. In some cases, the state sought $10,000 or more from people who reported losing their jobs during the pandemic. (SOURCE)

OHA updates plan for climate benefits while awaiting federal approval

After federal rules posed added restrictions to the state’s plan, OHA and state partners pursued new avenues to get devices to OHP members

Portland, Ore. – Today Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced the state will update its plan for how climate-related devices are distributed to eligible Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members prior to a forecasted weather-related emergency. The benefits are projected to begin in March 2024, pending federal government approval.

OHA initially proposed introducing climate benefits for OHP members in January 2024 as part of Oregon’s 1115 Medicaid waiver, which uses federal dollars to provide climate devices like air conditioners, air filtration devices, and portable power supplies to eligible Medicaid members; however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed the state that distributing climate devices prior to an emergency declaration would not be possible.

“The limitation would have severely restricted distribution of climate devices, so we sought feedback from state partners and a more flexible approach,” said Dave Baden, interim director of OHA. “We look forward to continuing to work with CMS and moving toward final approval.”

“Our first priority always is our community,” said Sean Jessup, Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO). “We’re laser-focused on getting the right resources to our OHP members, particularly in times of greater need. We’re encouraged that this plan will even better serve people.”

Before the new benefits launch, CCO-enrolled OHP members can contact their CCO to see if climate supports are available through “flexible services” (also called health related services). If a member has OHP but is not sure which CCO they are in, they can call the Client Services Unit at 1-800-273-0557 or email: Ask.OHP@odhsoha.oregon.gov.

Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks. Information about Oregon’s 1115 Medicaid waiver is currently available on OHA’s web site, via the waiver newsletter, and through webinars in English and Spanish.

Update: Homicide Suspect in Custody Oregon Homicide Suspect Arrested in Redding CA

REDDING, CA. – A week after fleeing the scene of a homicide, a Riddle, Oregon man has been located and taken into custody in Redding, California. 

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon was notified that on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at 10:15 a.m., the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of the United States Marshal’s Office took 19-year-old homicide suspect Gauge Douglas James Main of Riddle, Oregon into custody. Main was located at a residence in Redding California. Main had stolen a silver 2017 Honda Civic 4-door sedan following the homicide, which was recovered in Redding late last week. 

Main is suspected of killing 20-year-old Devonte Lovell Clark of Grants Pass and injuring another man. A felony warrant had been issued for his arrest for homicide. Sheriff John Hanlin had requested the assistance of the United States Marshal’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Team in locating Main. 

Main has been booked into the Shasta County Jail. No further information is available for release at this time. 

ORIGINAL RELEASE: RIDDLE, Ore. – Detectives are renewing their request for information as to the whereabouts of a homicide suspect who killed A Grants Pass man last Monday.

Gauge Douglas James Main of Riddle is wanted in connection to the homicide of 20-year-old Devonte Lovell Clark of Grant Pass. A felony warrant has been issued for his arrest. Main was last known to be in the Northern California area following the homicide.

On Monday, November 20, 2023, shortly after 11:30 p.m., 9-1-1 dispatchers received information about a shooting which had taken place in the area of Main Street / E. Third Avenue in Riddle, Oregon.

Deputies arrived on scene to discover Clark had died at the scene. A second victim, 29-year-old Killian Mavity of Grants Pass, sustained a gunshot wound to the arm.

Main fled the scene of the homicide after stealing a silver 2017 Honda Civic 4-door sedan bearing Oregon license plate 276PAT, which has since been recovered in California.

Detectives say Main is to be considered armed and dangerous. Sheriff John Hanlin has officially enlisted the assistance of the United States Marshal’s Fugitive Taskforce in apprehending Main. Anyone with information which may lead to Main’s arrest is urged to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 440-4471 referencing case #23-4651.

Fentanyl Dealer Arrested in Roseburg

In the evening hours of Tuesday, November 28th, detectives with the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT) arrested 39 year old Timothy Hobbs, of Glide, on drugs and weapons charges.  

Detectives were conducting an investigation into Hobbs’ activities and interrupted a suspected drug deal occurring in the parking lot of a business in the 2100 block of NE Diamond Lake Blvd in Roseburg.  With the help of officers from the Roseburg Police Department, Hobbs was detained after he drove into the parking lot.  

A search of Hobbs’ revealed approximately 4.8 grams of suspected methamphetamine, as well as a spring assisted dagger, and a loaded .38 revolver, both concealed on his person.  As a prior convicted felon, Hobbs is prohibited from possessing the dagger, or the firearm.  

A search of Dobbs’ vehicle revealed approximately 26.3 grams of suspected fentanyl, along with other drug paraphernalia.  

Hobbs was lodged at the Douglas County Jail on the following charges:

  • Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Unlawful Possession of Sch. II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl)
  • Unlawful Delivery/Manufacture of Sch. II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl)
  • Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Joint Task Force Serves Child Porn Search Warrant at Phoenix Residence

JCSO Case 23-7459

PHOENIX, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force served a search warrant this morning at a residence in the 400 block of 5th Street in Phoenix. SOCET served the warrant after discovering numerous images of child exploitation were uploaded from the residence. Detectives are interviewing possible witnesses and involved parties, and investigations are ongoing.

SOCET was assisted by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Medford Police Department, Phoenix Police Department, and Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF).

During the warrant, investigators seized digital devices which will be forensically examined by SOHTCTF for further evidence of child exploitation. A tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children started the investigation, which led to subpoenas, followed by the search warrant at the residence. There is no further information available for release.

Temporary Hold On Ruling That Would Release Defendants From Jail

A ruling from a federal judge that would allow criminal defendants to be released from jail after 10 days without a lawyer has received a temporary stay from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Michael McShane’s ruling was scheduled to go into place on Nov. 23. While the Oregon Department of Justice works on an appeal to the ruling, it will remain on hold.

A new ruling out of Washington County orders that criminal defendants be released from jail if they aren’t given an attorney seven days after their first court appearance. 

“I just worry about people’s faith in the justice system,” said Patrick Green, Chief Deputy District Attorney with Jackson County.

While it’s important for defendants to receive a lawyer as soon as possible, Green told news outlets he’s worried about seeing serious offenders potentially get released back onto the streets.

“I also have to focus on the public safety risk,” Green said. “The threat to victims, the threat to future victims, the threat to the community at large, so it is a little bit of a rock and a hard place.”

Moving forward, Green said he’s hopeful for the future. A team of public defenders will be arriving in Douglas County early next year. Green is hoping they will be able to help out in Jackson County, amid an ongoing public defender shortage.

But, when it comes to solving the issue of having too many people in jail and not enough lawyers to represent them, Green said the solution is a systemic one.

“I think it is a million-dollar question,” he said. “How do you solve it? I think probably in the short term, you have to reform the system.” (SOURCE)

Get $5 off annual Oregon State Park parking permit in December

Give the gift of the outdoors and save this season with the Oregon State Parks 12-month parking permit sale during the month of December.

The permit hangtag once again features whimsical designs from Portland artist El Tran. Holiday shoppers can buy the annual parking permits for only $25, which is a $5 savings starting Dec. 1 and running through Dec. 31. The permit is good for 12 months starting in the month of purchase.

Purchasing permits is easy. Buy them online at the Oregon State Parks store (use the drop down menu to pick your favorite design). Parking permits are also sold at some state park friends’ group stores and select local businesses throughout the state. For a complete list of vendors, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.

Parking costs $5 a day at 25 Oregon state parks unless you have a 12- or 24-month parking permit or a same-day camping receipt. The 24-month pass is $50 and is also available at store.oregonstateparks.org. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.

FDA Issues Recall Alert for Dog and Cat Foods Sold in Oregon Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination

The Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners to a recall of certain pet foods that could be contaminated with Salmonella. TFP Nutrition and the FDA said all dry dog food and all dry cat food manufactured in one of TFP’s Texas facilities is contaminated and should be disposed of.

Brands affected by the recall include Exclusive Signature Dog and Cat Food and Feline Medley Formula Cat Food. The recalled food was sold at several pet and animal supply stores in Oregon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said babies and young children can get sick from contaminated pet food if they have access to pet food bowls on the floor, put pet food in their mouths, or if caregivers don’t wash their hands after feeding pets.

Pet owners are urged to throw away recalled pet food and clean any surfaces that might have come in contact with the pet food.

Suppliers who may have sold the recalled pet food include:

  • Wilco stores all over Oregon
  • H and E Feed in Eugene
  • Junction City Farm and Garden
  • Old Mill Farm Store in Cottage Grove
  • Country Farms and Ranch Supplies in Creswell
  • The Farm Store and J and S Supply in Veneta
  • Sweet Home Feed and Supply
  • Out West Farm and Ranch in Philomath
  • Scio Farm Store
  • Central Feed and Supply in Sutherlin
  • Douglas County Farmers Co-op in Roseburg
  • Tractor Supply Co. in Junction City and Creswell

More information on the recall, including a comprehensive list of the pet foods affected by the recall, can be found at TFP’s website and the FDA’s website.

Unusual Respiratory Illness Effecting Oregon Dogs

Veterinary laboratories in several states are investigating an unusual respiratory illness in dogs and encouraging people to take basic precautions to keep their pets healthy as veterinarians try to pin down what’s making the animals sick.

Oregon, Colorado and New Hampshire are among the states that have seen cases of the illness, which has caused lasting respiratory disease and pneumonia and does not respond to antibiotics.

Symptoms of respiratory illness in dogs include coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge and lethargy. Some cases of the pneunomia progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has documented more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August. It has encouraged pet owners to contact their vet if their dog is sick and told state veterinarians to report cases as soon as possible. The agency is working with state researchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory to find out what is causing the illnesses.

Dogs have died, said Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University. But without a clear way to define the disease or test for it, he said it’s hard to put a number on how many died from a severe form of the infection.

Williams had a simple message for dog owners: “Don’t panic.” He also said dog owners should make sure that their pets are up to date on vaccines, including those that protect against various respiratory illnesses.

Labs across the country have been sharing their findings as they try to pinpoint the culprit.

David Needle, senior veterinary pathologist at the University of New Hampshire’s New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, has been investigating the mysterious disease for almost a year.

His lab and colleagues at the university’s Hubbard Center for Genome Research have looked at samples from dogs in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and more will be coming from Oregon, Colorado and possibly other states.

He said his team has not seen a large increase in dogs dying from the illness but still encouraged pet owners to “decrease contact with other dogs.” (SOURCE)

Douglas County Celebrates the 50th Annual Christmas Craft Fair

The Christmas Craft Fair at the Douglas County Fairgrounds will run from Friday, December 1, 2023, through Sunday, December 3, 2023.  Hours are Friday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Santa will make appearances in the Exhibit Building on Friday: 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Saturday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm & 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

 Admission is $5.00 for adults and kids under 12 are free.  The Craft Fair is also helping to stock local food pantries and provide pajamas for local foster care kids by accepting donations at the door.  Entrants donating canned food will receive a $1.00 discount at the door. There will be vendor donated door prizes drawn every hour, and a special drawing for a big door prize package to celebrate our 50th year.  For more information check out the attached flyer or visit their website at www.douglasfairgrounds.com.     

Silver Falls State Park hosts Winter Festival Dec. 9 and 10

Enjoy guided nature hikes, seasonal crafts and educational activities at the Silver Falls State Park Winter Festival 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. 

Visitors will have a chance to learn about the park in winter including the changing landscapes and habitats for resident and migratory birds and animals. 

Activities include guided walks and talks; building bird nest boxes; making bird feeders and paper bird crafts; creating wreaths and decorating gingerbread and sugar cookies.

Schedule of Activities:

  • Make a wreath at the Evergreen Picnic Shelter (South Falls day-use area)
  • Build a bird nest box at the Creekside Shelter (South Falls day-use are)
  • Make a bird feeder or paper bird craft in the Stone Kitchen Shelter (South Falls day-use area)
  • Attend a short educational talk or guided walk at the South Falls Theater (South Falls day-use area unless otherwise noted)
    • 11 a.m.: Winter Hibernators Walk (45-minute walk at Smith Creek Village)
    • 12 p.m.: Mushroom ID hike (1-hour hike)
    • 1 p.m.: Winter Tree ID hike (1-hour hike)
    • 2 p.m.: Learn to Love a Lichen (20-minute talk)
    • 3 p.m.: Winter birds of Silver Falls (20-minute talk)
  • Visit a discovery table near South Falls to learn about the waterfalls in winter or learn about the winter solstice (South Falls day-use area)
  • Decorate a cookie, make a paper bird craft or learn about winter animal tracks (Smith Creek Village, 1.5 miles from the South Falls day-use area)
  • Earn a commemorative Silver Falls ornament from taking part in at least five of the above activities

All activities are free, but a day-use parking permit is required. Permits cost $5 per day; annual permits, normally $30, are on sale for $25 in the month of December and are available at the park. For more information, visit the event page on our calendar at stateparks.oregon.gov or call 503-874-0201.

Enjoy Evening Hours at the Museum with the December return of Winter Nights!

BEND, OR — Days are shorter, and the air is colder… winter is coming! Every Thursday in December, the High Desert Museum will host fun and festive Winter Nights events — offering participants a break from their busy work weeks with unique evenings out. 

For Winter Nights the Museum will remain open until 7:30 pm with seasonal themes as well as a chance to experience new exhibitions and engaging activities for all ages. In addition, the Museum presently has two new exhibitions — Wolves: Photography by Ronan Donovan and Endangered in the High Desert — and will open a third one on Saturday, December 9, Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species: From the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation.

For this year’s Winter Nights:

  • December 7: Welcome to Winter — The first Winter Nights event will feature speedy rounds of Museum trivia! Several rounds will be played, and prizes will be won. Alongside trivia, Museum visitors may enjoy fun beverage tastings from local vendors and a dinner or a treat at the Rimrock Café. Silver Sage Trading will also be open, offering holiday discounts to all and complementary gift wrapping. Cookie decorating and storytelling for kids will also be happening all evening long.
  • December 14: College Night– Students with college identification will receive free admission! For this Winter Nights event the Museum encourages all visitors to come dressed in their best vintage snow-wear. The evening will feature speedy rounds of Museum bingo, more regional beverage tastings, cookie decorating and storytelling. Silver Sage Trading – with holiday discounts and gift wrapping – and the Rimrock Café will also be open throughout the evening.
  • December 21: Exploring Endangered Species– Bring the family to explore the Museum’s newest exhibits, Wolves: Photography by Ronan DonovanEndangered in the High Desert and Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species. Like the previous nights, there will be beverage tastings alongside an exhibit-themed scavenger hunt that ends with an art project. Plus, there are sugar cookies to decorate, discounts to be had at Silver Sage Trading and delicious food to eat at the Rimrock Café. All ages are sure to enjoy this evening!
  • December 28: By the Fireside – This will be an exciting opportunity to get the entire family out of the house… in pajamas! During the final Winter Nights of the season the Museum will host a pajama party with family portraits, cozy stories, sugar cookie decorating and more delicious craft beverage tastings. 

With up to nine new exhibits opening at the High Desert Museum each year, there is always something new for visitors to explore. October, November and December were no exception, with one new exhibition opening each month. The first, Wolves: Photography by Ronan Donovan, opened on October 21. This stunning exhibition, created by the National Geographic Society and the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, features Donovan’s images and videos of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and on Ellesmere Island in the high Canadian Artic. Since 2014, the National Geographic Explorer and photographer has examined the relationship between wild wolves and humans to better understand the animals, our shared history and what drives the persistent human-wolf conflict. To learn more, visit: highdesertmuseum.org/wolves.

Winter Nights visitors can also explore the original exhibit Endangered in the High Desert, which recently opened on November 11. With vibrant colors and engaging photography, this exhibition is meant to ignite conversations about species in the region that are either facing or recovering from the threat of extinction. To learn more, visit: highdesertmuseum.org/endangered-high-desert.

The Museum’s final exhibition opening in 2023, Andy Warhol’s: Endangered Species: From the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, makes its debut at the Museum on Saturday, December 9. The exhibition will showcase the pop art icon’s complete Endangered Species series (1983), as well as select works from Warhol’s Skull series, Vanishing Animals series and one of Warhol’s iconic Marilyn Monroe works. To learn more, visit: highdesertmuseum.org/warhol.

All three of these exhibitions are key components of the Museum’s yearlong recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.

Admission for Winter Nights is $10 general admission and $6 for ages 3-12. Ages 2 and under and Museum members are free. Visitors who arrive earlier in the day may stay for Winter Nights without paying additional admission. The outdoor exhibits are closed during Winter Nights. Regular winter hours are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/winter-nights.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM: The HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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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