Willamette Valley News, Monday 12/4 – Local Eugene Residents Arrested in Major Drug Bust on I-5, Weather Alerts & 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, December 4, 2023

Willamette Valley Weather

Double Atmospheric Rivers to Bring Warmer Rains, Gusty Winds, and Rising Streams

Get ready for two atmospheric rivers bringing warmer rains and gusty winds across the region Tuesday and Wednesday. Expect rising temperatures, heavy rainfall, and potential road issues due to rain falling on existing snow.

Atmospheric rivers are long regions in the atmosphere that transport water. The water vapor they carry is roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. When the rivers make landfall and release all that water, they can cause extreme flooding.

In the meantime, a warm atmospheric river just off the Pacific coast will be aimed directly at the Pacific Northwest through Wednesday.



* WHAT...Flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be

* 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 Wednesday 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.

- Periods of rain will continue Monday through Wednesday,
heaviest Monday night through Tuesday night as another
atmospheric river aims at southwest Washington and northwest
Oregon. This is also when flooding concerns are highest.

Additional rain amounts expected between 4am PST Monday and
4am PST Wednesday (48 hour rain totals): 3 to 5 inches along
the south Washington coast, north Oregon coast, and central
Oregon coast, 3 to 5 inches with localized amounts up to 7.5
inches over the Coast Range and Willapa Hills (highest
amounts in higher terrain), 1.25 to 2.5 inches across the
interior lowlands of southwest Washington and northwest
Oregon (highest from Salem northward), 1 to 7 inches across
the south Washington and north Oregon Cascades, 0.25 to 1.5
inches for the Lane County Cascades, 2 to 4 inches for the
Columbia River Gorge, and 1 to 2 inches for the Upper Hood
River Valley.

- Http://www.weather.gov/safety/flood https://water.weather.gov/ahps/index.php?wfo=PQR

Local Eugene Residents Arrested in Major Drug Bust on I-5

The Eugene Police Street Crimes Unit (SCU) has discovered a large shipment of illegal drugs on the I-5 corridor. The SCU officers, with the help of EPD Special Investigation Unit detectives and other agencies, tracked the vehicle from California to Lane County.

The SCU team, supported by the Community Safety Payroll Tax, stopped the vehicle on Interstate 5 near Cottage Grove. The vehicle’s occupants were identified as Nicholas Anthony Speck, 40, and Jill Marie Souvannakhot, 38, both residents of Eugene. EPD Narcotic Detection K9 Jack detected the presence of illegal drugs in the vehicle.

Officers found approximately 49 pounds of methamphetamine in the vehicle. Speck and Souvannakhot were charged with possession and delivery of a large quantity of methamphetamine and were held at the Lane County Jail.

The SCU, funded by the City of Eugene’s Community Safety Payroll Tax, works with communities to address safety issues. The unit focuses on repeat offenders identified through intelligence-based policing, public tips, and other sources. They actively address city-wide quality-of-life issues, using resources and partners such as community groups, neighborhood associations, and city services.

The SCU is dedicated to addressing immediate safety issues in the community while working on long-term safety initiatives. (source)

The 71st Annual Springfield Christmas Parade

The parade kicked off Saturday, December 2nd at 1pm, with multiple roads 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 and large crowds gathered to watch the parade.

You can see more at: https://www.facebook.com/reel/721040703234623

Eugene’s Only Hospital and Emergency Room Closed For Good

Friday, 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 nor an emergency room.

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)

Pedestrian Killed in River Road Accident

A vehicle pedestrian accident on River Road around 4 p.m. on December 2 put one driver in the hospital and left one pedestrian dead.

A traffic advisory went out around 4 p.m. as police investigated a vehicle pedestrian crash at River Road and Ferndale Drive.

According to a Eugene Police Officer on scene, the pedestrian was pronounced dead soon after the crash. The driver still unknown was taken to a nearby hospital. According to the officer on scene no arrests have been made.

Community Health Centers of Lane County Receives National Recognition For Quality Care and Increasing Access

Community Health Centers of Lane County | Facebook

The Community Health Center of Lane County (CHCLC), a division of Lane County Health & Human Services (LCH&HS), recently received national recognition in four areas from The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA). These recognitions include Access Enhancer (AE), Advancing Health Information Technology (HIT), Patient-Centered Medical Home(PCMH), and Health Disparities Reducer (HDR). HRSA is a federal agency that provides healthcare access to the nation’s highest-need communities, such as those that have been economically and socially marginalized, including people with low income, children, parents, rural communities, and more.

“These recognitions show the dedication of the Community Health Centers and H&HS to expanding our capabilities to provide quality, and equitable access to healthcare to those in our community who are most in need,” said CHCLC Chief Operations Officer, Suzanne Roelof.

In 2022, the CHCLC served nearly 26,000 patients, a 12% percent increase from 2021, providing an umbrella of healthcare services to meet community needs, such as general medical care, chronic disease management, mental health services, and more. The CHCLC increased positive health outcomes for patients served through accessible services, including the adoption and expansion of the CHCLC’s capacity to provide telehealth services, streamlining patient-provider communication, and removing many barriers to healthcare access in our community. The culmination of this work earned both HRSA’s AE recognition and the Advancing HIT Quality.

“This recognition is an acknowledgment of the great work at our CHCLC, which continues to focus on providing high quality care to the most vulnerable residents of our community. It also represents Lane County H&HS’ continued strategic focus on eliminating health disparities, especially for those who are economically and socially marginalized,” said LCH&HS Director, Eve Gray. 

The Community Health Centers have prioritized reducing the health gap in Lane County by providing access to ambulatory healthcare and by meeting or exceeding the requirements for primary health centers against national standards. This approach involves patient-focused care to improve health equity, lower healthcare costs, and ensure that health outcomes are similar across different racial and ethnic backgrounds, especially in low infant birth rates and chronic disease management. These outcomes include keeping low birth weights at or below 7.7%, increasing patient hypertension control to 61% or more, and reducing the prevalence of patient uncontrolled diabetes at or below 11.6%. The Community Health Center’s commitment over the years to reducing health disparities and ensuring equitable access to positive health outcomes for all residents in Lane County has resulted in receiving the PCMH and HDR recognition from HRSA.

LCSO Case #23-6269 (Fatal) — Fatal Traffic Crash on Crow Rd.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a traffic crash on Crow Rd. near Milepost 7 Thursday evening just before 6:00pm.  Upon arrival deputies learned that a 2023 Ram pickup had been traveling on Crow Rd. when it left the roadway and struck some trees. The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was found to be deceased.

Speed is being investigated as a possible factor in the crash.  The victim’s identity is being withheld at this time. Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 opt. 1. 

Firefighters Extinguish Springfield House Fire

Eugene Springfield Firefighters were on scene of a house fire At 8th and B Street near downtown Saturday. Fire crews were called to an outbuilding on fire near a house.

 Firefighters found a fully involved shed fire that extended to the attic of the house.  A quick response helped crews minimize damage to the interior of the home.  Responding crews were assisted by Springfield Police who helped Firefighters navigate the Springfield Christmas parade.  There were no injuries reported and the cause is under investigation. 

Pedestrian dies after being struck by delivery truck in Salem

Salem, Ore. — A man was struck and killed by a delivery truck Saturday evening on Cordon RD SE. 

At approximately 7:50 p.m. on December 2, the driver of a delivery van reported he had struck what he believed to be a pedestrian while traveling northbound on Cordon RD SE just south of the HW22E overpass. Salem Police personnel arrived on scene and located a deceased man off the west shoulder of the roadway. 

The preliminary investigation by the Salem Police Traffic Team shows the decedent, Kiristian Murauo, age 23, was attempting to cross Cordon RD when he was struck by the delivery van in the north-bound vehicle lane of travel. No lawful pedestrian crossing, or overhead street lighting exists in the area of the crash location.

The driver, Justin Rodriguez, age 35, remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators.

North and southbound travel on Cordon RD at the overpass was interrupted for approximately three hours for investigation and clearing of the scene. 

No arrest has occurred, or citation issued as the collision remains under investigation. No other information is available for release.

To date in 2023, the Salem Police Department has investigated 12 fatal collisions, resulting in 13 deaths.

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.

Lane County’s Deeds and Records Office Moves This 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.

Eugene Police Department Collecting Hoodies For High Schoolers

 Embrace the season of giving by donating hoodies to high school-aged kids! As temperatures drop, let’s wrap our community in warmth and kindness. Clean out those closets and drop off your gently used or new hoodies at our designated collection points.

May be a doodle of text that says 'DECEMBER 1st-31st HOODIES FOR … ATOHECHODE We're collecting cozy hoodies for high school-aged kids in need. Your donation can bring comfort and confidence during the chilly months ahead. us in providing layer of warmth and support to help these students face the winter with smile. Together, we can make meaningful impact-o hoodie at time. Drop your donations at one of the following locations: 300 Country Club Road 960 Olive Street WWW.EUGENEPOLICE.COM POLICE'

For those who prefer a convenient option, consider donating gift cards that will be used to purchase hoodies. Send your gift cards to the Eugene Police Department: Community Engagement Supervisor, Cherie Nelson300 Country Club Rd. Eugene, OR 97401Your contribution will ensure teenagers stay snug and stylish this winter. Let’s come together to make a difference—one hoodie at a time!

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

Eugene Saturday Market’s Holiday Market

May be an image of text that says 'olidaor Market Holiday 2023 Holiday Market Activities Sat. Dec. 2nd Battle Lands Play Into to L.A.R.P., 3-6pm Sun. Dec. 3rd Cornhole Competition, 3-6pm Sat. Dec. 9th Fiber Arts Craft Circle, 3-6pm Sun. Dec. 10th Tell Your Story: Zine Making Workshop, 3-6pm Sat. Dec. 16th Thrill the World Flash Mob Class, 4:30-5pm Sun. Dec. 17th -Belly Dance Class, 3-6pm Fri. Dec. 22nd_ Bird Seed Ornament Workshop, 3-6pm Sat. Dec. 23rd Snowflake Contest, 3-6pm Sun. Dec. 24th Christmas Carol by Man of Words, 12-2pm'

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

Eugene, Springfield and Lane County 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

Oregon Retail Sales Decline

Oregon shoppers got more thrifty this year, reversing a post-pandemic trend and perhaps suggesting a subdued holiday shopping season in the weeks ahead.

Oregon retail sales have been in decline for much of this year, the first drops since the spring of 2020. Retail sales were down as much as 3.1% last summer, according to the most recent data from the number crunchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. (Nationally, sales were down about 1%.)

That’s a big turnaround from the prior two years, when Oregon retail sales surged at an annual rate above 10%. Oregon’s numbers closely parallel national trends, reflecting an increase in disposable income from federal stimulus payments and the economic boom that set in as COVID-19 waned.

Fewer people are working in Oregon stores, too. Retail employment was down 1.1% in October compared to year earlier, according to the latest numbers from the Oregon Employment Department.

Retail is one of the few categories of Oregon job still below its pre-pandemic level. The employment department says there were 2,100 fewer retail workers in the state in October than there were before the pandemic hit.

It’s too soon to know how the holiday season will turn out for Oregon stores this fall. But there are early signs consumers nationally are growing more cautious, weary from two years of rising prices. Many have spent down savings, and they’re beginning to carry more credit card debt – at higher interest rates.

Marshal Cohen, chief retail adviser for the shopping analytics and forecasting firm Circana, said consumers seem to be holding out for better deals this year. He called Black Friday a disappointment for big retailers.

“Lots was missing, but mostly a sense of urgency,” Cohen wrote last week. He said consumers aren’t worried that retailers will run out of coveted products and seemed unimpressed with the deals stores are offering. They’ve concluded the biggest discounts are online.

Shopping over Thanksgiving weekend was “sluggish” nationally, according to Ted Rossman, retail analyst for the personal finance website Bankrate.

“I’m getting the sense that consumers are in a frugal mood this holiday season,” Rossman wrote in a report last week. He said he expects holiday sales will be flat compared to 2022 once you factor in rising prices.

“Honestly, sales figures that show retailers treading water is about as good as one could reasonably expect in the current economic climate,” Rossman wrote. (SOURCE)

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Changes To Drug Decriminalization

Lawmakers in Salem are due to hold a hearing Monday on the future of Measure 110 — the 2020 voter-approved law that decriminalized small amounts of drugs for personal use.

This is the third hearing — the last this year — of a special interim committee formed to address addiction and community safety.

Drug use and addiction are expected to be a major focus of next year’s five-week legislative session, which begins in February.

Lawmakers are under pressure from big business and political players to change the law or face ballot initiatives to put proposed changes before voters. At the committee’s first meeting in October, lawmakers heard that Oregon has not met addiction treatment needs for years, and some criticized drug decriminalization as a “fundamental failure.”

At a second hearing last month, law enforcement officials testified that fentanyl has been a “deal changer” affecting many aspects of their work. Monday’s speakers are expected to discuss treatment approaches and interventions. Two hours are scheduled for public testimony.

Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort Suspends Operations Due to Safety Concerns

Just a day after celebrating its opening, Mt. Bachelor ski resort abruptly shuts down operations due to safety concerns. Flooding, heavy rain, and dangerous road conditions led to this decision. The resort aims to resume operations by Wednesday, following daily assessments of the conditions.

‘Dallas’ Star Patrick Duffy’s $11 Million Shady Cove Ranch To Be Auctioned With No Reserve

Last year, Patrick Duffy’s longtime Oregon ranch hit the open market for $14 million. Even though the price was later reduced to $11 million, the picturesque property never found a buyer, so the Dallas star is now auctioning off the compound to the highest bidder. Actor Patrick Duffy’s longtime southern Oregon residence along the Rogue River, currently for sale at $10,995,000, is heading to the auction block, with no minimum starting bid. Potential buyers can make any offer to Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions from Dec. 7-14 for the 329-acre Duffy Ranch.

Although there is no pre-set reserve or minimum bid for the ranch at 436 Staley Road outside of Eagle Point, starting bids are expected to be between $3 million and $5 million, said Charlie Engel of Concierge Auctions, which specializes in marketing luxury real estate worldwide. The auction house is partnering with Duffy’s listing broker, Alan DeVries of Cascade Hasson Sotheby’s International Realty.

A webcast at ConciergeAuctions.com of the live auction at Sotheby’s Auction House in New York is scheduled for Dec. 14.

Duffy has the right to cancel the auction on Dec. 6, before bidding opens “based on the size and strength of the field of bidders we have put together up to that date,” Engel told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

“Historically the majority of sellers who rely on our non-reserve auction process do decide to go ahead with the auction and sell to the highest bidder,” he said.

To avoid a low offer in the no-reserve auction, there are incentives for an early bidder such as a 50% discount on the buyer’s premium, which is 12% of the sale price.

“This is a rare opportunity to own a piece of Oregon-coveted Rogue Valley,” said broker DeVries. “With nearly two miles of river frontage and the ability to subdivide, the opportunities are endless.”

Duffy’s 383-acre holdings on Staley Road and adjacent Trails End Lane, including four smaller parcels totaling 54 acres, were initially for sale at $14 million in September 2022. Six months later, the smaller parcels were each listed separately and the asking price for the main ranch’s 329 acres, now scheduled to be auctioned, was $10,995,000.

The 329 acres to be auctioned include:

  • The lodge-style primary residence on 79 acres of riverfront that is potentially divisible into five acre lots, said DeVries. The 1950s main house has a river-stone fireplace and knotty pine walls under exposed beam ceilings, and an enclosed sunroom facing the water. Duffy added a wing to the house with a high-ceilinged art gallery and a primary suite. There is also a walkway to a wine cave and spa cabin.
  • A detached pool building with a series of glass doors that draw in natural light.
  • More than 100 acres of irrigated grounds and a two-acre pond for irrigation and recreation.
  • A 15-acre island in the Rogue River.

Across the river is the Rogue River Preserve, the former 352-acre MacArthur Ranch that cannot be developed. The Southern Oregon Land Conservancy owns the land that protects declining, rare plant and animal species.

“Amazing views, abundant wildlife” like an elk herd, turkeys and black-tailed deer, said DeVries of the property he calls a “true generational sanctuary” 16 miles from the Rogue Valley International Airport. An antique wood-fired kitchen range made in South Bend, Indiana, and some of the other materials in the house were rescued from the original, dilapidated homestead after Duffy bought the property in 1990.

The once rusty kitchen range has been restored and converted to use propane. It is the centerpiece of the kitchen, said Duffy in a real estate video.

“There are several different worlds on the property,” said Duffy in the video, as he moves from pastoral to forest to waterfront areas. He said the natural environment, which he has kept undeveloped, has a feeling that can’t be invented but can be understood in any language.

This property “just needs another set of ears and another heart to come in and understand it,” he said in the video.

To register to bid on Duffy Ranch, a $100,000 deposit and a letter of reference from the bidder’s bank or financial institution are required, according to the auction house. The highest bidder also pays a premium and any transfer fees. The seller pays for the title search and title insurance, as well as broker commissions.

Property details and diligence documents are available at ConciergeAuctions.com or by calling 212-202-2940.

Other listings being sold by Patrick Duffy are:

Actor Patrick Duffy smaller parcels for sale 775 Trails End Lane outside of southern Oregon's Eagle Point is a “ranchette" on 29.5 acres with water rights to 21.5 acres, says listing broker Alan DeVries of Cascade Hasson Sotheby's International Realty.
775 Trails End Lane outside of southern Oregon’s Eagle Point is a “ranchette” on 29.5 acres.Cascade Hasson Sotheby’s International Realty

A 1,511-square-foot house, covered arena and older barn sit on 29.5 acres at 775 Trails End Lane. The “ranchette,” zoned exclusive farm use, has rights to 21.5 acres of irrigation, said DeVries. “This would be a top spot to remodel the existing home or build your dream home,” states the listing description. “Lots of options here.” Asking price was $719,000 in March 2023 and is now $689,000.

A 1,450-square-foot chalet-style cabin with cedar siding, an open living area, wood-burning fireplace and loft sits on 2.18 acres at 535 Trails End Lane. Asking price: $475,000, says listing broker Alan DeVries of Cascade Hasson Sotheby's International Realty.
A chalet-style cabin is also for sale.Cascade Hasson Sotheby’s International Realty
  • A 1,450-square-foot chalet-style cabin with cedar siding, an open living area, wood-burning fireplace and loft sits on 2.18 acres at 535 Trails End Lane. Asking price in February 2023 was $475,000, and is now $449,000.
  • A 1,512-square-foot manufactured home and shop on 5 acres at 467 Trails End Lane sold on May 19, 2023, at its asking price of $365,000.
  • A non-farm dwelling homesite with a well, septic and barn on 12.45 acres zoned exclusive farm use at 435 Trails End Lane sold June 20, 2023, for $310,000. The asking price was $319,000. (SOURCE)

Klamath Falls has been named 44th in the Top 50 best places to travel globally by Travel Lemming, a U.S.-based online travel guide that is read by more than 10 million travelers.

The article calls Klamath Falls an “uncrowded gateway to Crater Lake National Park,” and says that its “numerous hiking trails lead to lakes, mountain summits and stunning waterfalls (are) a key feature of southwest Oregon.”

It cites seeing the Klamath Falls Rapids, hiking the Link Trail, and zipping on the Crater Lake Zipline as a few things that visitors shouldn’t miss while in the area.

County Commissioner Kelley Minty says, “It’s encouraging to see others recognize what we all know — Klamath County has so much to offer our citizens as well as visitors. I hope others feel as proud as I do of our community.”

Other American cities making the list were: Memphis, Tenn., ranked 5th; Kodiak, Alaska, ranked 8th; Eureka Springs, Ark., ranked 10th; Quincy, Mass., ranked 21st; Jacksonville, Fla., ranked 29th; and Steamboat Springs, Colo., ranked 41st. https://travellemming.com/best-places-to-travel-2024/

Medford Police Investigating Homicide in South Medford


UPDATE: At this time, both victims in this case have died due to their injuries. One was pronounced deceased at the scene and the second passed away at the hospital.  Medford Police and assisting agency detectives continue to work this case in hopes to determine the circumstances surrounding the disturbance leading to the death of these two people. 

Detectives are following up on all available leads, including identifying and contacting individuals that were on scene at the time of the disturbance. 

 We can confirm that this case is not related to the shooting incident that occurred on Friday, December 1 at Buffalo Wild Wings.

There is no further information at this time and additional details will be released as they become available.

Original Release — On Sunday, December 3rd at about 5:40 AM the Medford Police Department responded to the report of a disturbance with shots fired in the Charles Point apartment complex on Highgate Street in South Medford. Upon arrival officers located two individuals with gunshot wounds in the parking lot near an apartment. Both of these subjects were transported to a local hospital. At this time we can confirm that one of the victims is deceased, and the other is in very serious condition. Names or specifics of the victims will not be released at this time.

Medford Police Dept and other assisting agencies are currently on scene investigating this case and will release additional information as it becomes available. 

Bureau Of Land Management Addresses Dying Douglas Fir Across Southwestern Oregon

More Douglas fir have died in southern Oregon in the last four years than the last four decades, according to an article in the Journal of Forestryi Bureau of Land Management leaders want your feedback on the best strategy for how to respond to increasing tree mortality. The BLM is concerned about public safety along roadways, increased fire risk, changes in wildlife habitat, and economic impacts to local communities.

“Our top priority is to decrease risk to our local communities,” said Elizabeth Burghard, BLM Medford District Manager. “We are very concerned about the impacts of Douglas fir mortality on safe and effective wildland firefighting. We need the public’s help to decide where and how to take the most effective action.”

The BLM is proposing to remove dead and dying trees in strategic areas to improve community safety; assist with evacuations during wildfire events; provide access for emergency services; and provide firefighters safe and effective means to engage fire when it occurs.

BLM foresters hope to remove these dead and dying trees while the timber still has commercial value.

“By taking action now, we can sell the trees before they decay,” said Burghard. “The trees can pay their way out of the forest.”

“If we wait too long, these necessary treatments will come at a much higher cost to taxpayers,” she continued.

The BLM Medford District anticipates that the environmental analysis will cover an estimated 5,000 acres of commercial salvage, non-merchantable removal, and activity fuel treatments. Implementation of the work could happen using timber sales, stewardship contracts, and/or other service contracts to remove dead and dying material and associated activity fuels and begin in late 2024.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. https://www.blm.gov/press-release/bureau-land-management-addresses-dying-douglas-fir-across-southwestern-oregon

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)

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. 

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)

Training continues on new rules for forest practices

Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) held a public training session covering new rules regarding streams and roads to help forestland owners prepare for changes to the Forest Practices Act (FPA) that go into effect Jan. 1.

“This training explains changes to the Forest Practices Act for owners of large and small forestland tracts. Although there is a focus on stream buffer and road assessment rule changes, the training provides an overview of other rule changes and new programs too,” said Forest Resource Policy, Training, and Enforcement Manager Megan Cogswell.

Visit the Forest Practices Act webpage to:

Small forestland owners who need assistance or resources can contact ODF’s new Small Forestland Owner Office. “Small forestland owners” are described as owning less than 5,000 acres and harvesting 2,000 million board feet on average per year over a three-year period. There are specific programs available for landowners who qualify, including the Small Forestland Investment in Stream Habitat (SFISH) and the Forest Conservation Tax Credit. Contact the SFO office at: estlandowneroffice@odf.oregon.gov“>smallforestlandowneroffice@odf.oregon.gov, or use the ODF “Find a Forester” tool.

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)

Oregon Division of Financial Regulation seeks individuals who may have purchased insurance from Joshua M. Bekhor


Salem – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) is seeking information from anyone who has had insurance dealings with Joshua M. Bekhor or his company, Immediate Insurance Services. Bekhor is under investigation for being an unlicensed insurance producer in Oregon and misappropriating insurance premiums.

The division received a complaint from an Oregon consumer who said Bekhor sold several policies to him for more than $11,000, only to find out the policies did not exist or were for much lower coverages than the insured believed he was purchasing. The consumer was only made aware of these issues after an insurance investigator contacted him to let him know Bekhor had either never purchased the insurance policies the consumer paid for or had purchased much smaller policies.

The consumer contacted the insurance companies he was led to believe he had purchased policies with and in each instance he found Bekhor never purchased the policies the consumer paid for. 

Bekhor is also accused of collecting premiums for the purchase of a property insurance policy for a company in Oregon but never forwarding the premiums to the insurer. The company found out when the roof of one of its warehouses collapsed from snow and ice, and the company suffered $100,000 worth of property damage. The insurance company denied the claim because the policy had been canceled due to nonpayment.

Bekhor held an insurance producer license in California from 2018 to 2021 but had it revoked for, among other things, fraudulent practices and diversion of funds.

DFR has issued an order for Bekhor to immediately cease and desist selling insurance in Oregon as an unlicensed producer and fined him for $8,000. Bekhor has an opportunity to contest these findings and allegations before an administrative law judge. 

The division would like to remind people to only do business with insurance producers who are licensed in Oregon. You can check for a license on DFR’s website as well as file a complaint if you feel you have been defrauded or been the victim of a scam.

Anyone who may have purchased insurance from Bekhor is asked to contact DFR immediately. You can do so by calling 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or emailing .insurancehelp@dcbs.oregon.gov“>dfr.insurancehelp@dcbs.oregon.gov.

### About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dfr.oregon.gov and  www.dcbs.oregon.gov.​​

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.

Razor Clamming Open From WA Border To Cape Blanco

Razor clamming is now open from the Washington border to Cape Blanco (north of Port Orford), the Oregon Department of Agriculture and ODFW announced today. Recent shellfish samples indicate levels of domoic acid (a marine biotoxin) are below the limit for two consecutive weeks.

Razor clamming remains closed from Cape Blanco to the California border as domoic acid levels continue to be above the safety threshold.

Crab, mussel, and bay clam harvesting are open along the entire Oregon coast.

Domoic acid is produced by algae and originates in the ocean. ODA will continue testing for shellfish toxins at least twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.

For more information call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin hotline at (800) 448-2474, the ODA Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures Webpage.

Contact ODFW for recreational license requirements, permits, rules, and limits.

Alert for 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)

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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