Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 4/17 – UPDATE: Demonstrators Block I-5 in Eugene, Police Respond to Bomb Threat at Chad Drive St. Vincent de Paul & Other Local and Statewide News…

The latest news stories and stories of interest in the Willamette Valley from the digital home of Southern Oregon, from Wynne Broadcasting’s WillametteValleyMagazine.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

Police Respond to Bomb Threat at Chad Drive St. Vincent de Paul

At 10:29 a.m., Eugene Police went to St. Vincent de Paul, 2890 Chad Drive, after a man recently evicted from one of their properties called and reported he was enroute to the Chad Drive facility with an explosive.

After working the call, police determined the threat was not credible. EPD appreciates the caution taken by St. Vincent de Paul in notifying police. St. Vincent de Paul evacuated the building and sent employees home as a precaution. Eugene Police is continuing to investigate. Case 24-05411

UPDATE: Demonstrators Block I-5 in Eugene

Similar demonstrations were held around the country

UPDATE — A very large response from law enforcement was reported Monday near Eugene, as  I-5 was described as chaotic after a group people representing Free Palestine Eugene walked onto the freeway and completely blocked traffic just south of Beltline, according to law enforcement.

Protesters chanted, locked arms in solidarity with gas masks, masks, and signs, while waving the Palestine flag. Authorities say the group used several vehicles to block the freeway before bringing dozens of protesters down onto the freeway from the Harlow Road bridge.

One protester explained why they blocked I-5, saying it was important for them to join a global movement to disrupt America’s economy and the United States’ continual aid to Israel.

As a result of Monday morning’s demonstration, 52 people were arrested for disorderly conduct. Two individuals were additionally charged with conspiracy and theft 2. All suspects are in custody at the Lane County Jail. Six vehicles were towed from the scene. 

Monday’s incident required a significant law enforcement response. Responding agencies included: 

  • Eugene Police Department – 31 officers; 1 transport van 
  • Springfield Police Department – 22 officers; 1 transport van
  • Lane County Sheriff’s Office – 20 deputies; 2 jail vans    
  • Oregon State Police – 48 troopers 
  • Oregon Department of Transportation Incident Response – 6 personnel 
  • Springfield Fire Department and Eugene Fire Department  

OSP would like to thank area law enforcement agencies for their partnership and response to this incident.

_______________________________________________________________________________

LANE COUNTY, Ore. 15 April 2024 – At approximately 10:00 a.m., Oregon State Troopers responded to I-5 southbound at milepost 194 in Eugene to reports of protesters blocking the interstate. Protesters blocked all southbound traffic lanes near the Barlow Bridge. 

Throughout the incident, demonstrators were given continuous lawful orders to disperse before dozens of people were arrested for disorderly conduct. At least one individual was discovered to be in possession of a firearm.

The interstate traffic was stopped for approximately 45 minutes. Southbound lanes are now open; however, law enforcement remains on the scene while observers continue to gather along the highway. 

Oregon State Police supports an individual’s right to lawfully protest and express concerns over world events. However, today’s actions put Oregon’s motorists in danger as well as the protestors who blocked the roadway.

Career Fair Invitation at Emerald’s Home Games

You’re invited to table at our Region’s next Career Fair. We are hosting two career fairs at Emeralds home games on Wednesday, April 17th, and Sunday, August 18th at PK Park in Eugene. Parking and game tickets will be FREE to anyone who mentions the Career Highlight Night at the Box Office. To reserve a space is $300 for one of the days or both days for $400. To register please visit the event page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/career-highlight-night-tickets-863277545377

To logon to iMatchSkills click the iMatchSkills link on www.Employment.Oregon.gov. You may call your local WorkSource Oregon Employment Department office at (541) 686-7601 for further assistance. TTY/TDD – dial 7-1-1 toll free relay service access free online relay service at: https://www.sprintip.com. Llame al 7-1-1 para asistencia gratuita TTY/TDD para personas con dificultades auditivas. Obtenga acceso gratis en Internet por medio del siguiente sitio: https://www.sprintip.com.

WorkSource Oregon is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services, alternate formats and language services are available to individuals with disabilities and limited English proficiency free of cost upon request. WorkSource Oregon es un programa que respeta la igualdad de oportunidades. Disponemos de servicios o ayudas auxiliares, formatos alternos y asistencia de idiomas para personas con discapacidades o conocimiento limitado del inglés, a pedido y sin costo.

4/12/24 – LCSO Case #24-1871 – Traffic stop leads to DUI, recovered stolen gun, and drug charges with assistance from K9 Bear

On the evening of April 12th, a vehicle on I-5 near I-105 passed a Lane County Sheriff’s patrol sergeant vehicle at over 90 miles per hour. The sergeant initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver, Marshall David Baskette, 43, who showed signs of impairment and admitted to recent drug use. Evidence of narcotics use was observed in the vehicle.  

Baskette refused to cooperate with a DUI investigation, and a loaded pistol was found in arms reach of the driver’s seat, in addition to multiple knives on his person. The firearm returned stolen out of Coos County.  

K9 Bear and his handler responded. Bear alerted to one of the drugs he is trained to detect inside the vehicle. Deputies applied for a search warrant for Baskette’s blood for DUI, as well as the vehicle for narcotics. The warrant was granted. Inside the vehicle, Deputies located three partially-used fentanyl pills, 4.7 grams of powdered fentanyl, $509 in cash, and fake identification.  

Baskette was cited for speed and lodged at the Lane County Jail on charges of DUI, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Identity Theft.

Firefighters Contain West Eugene RV Fire

Eugene, OR.  Eugene Springfield Fire crews responded to an RV fire in West Eugene on Ken Nielsen Rd near Hwy 126 at 7:20 Tuesday evening.

Responding crews noted a large smoke column and requested an additional crew and water tender to support the operation.  The RV was a total loss, there were no injuries and the cause is under investigation. 

Efforts to Locate Glide Teacher Rachel Merchant-Ly Continue

𝐈𝐃𝐋𝐄𝐘𝐋𝐃 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐊, 𝐎𝐫𝐞. – Search and Rescue efforts continue in the search for Rachel Merchant-Ly, a Glide Elementary kindergarten teacher whose vehicle was found crashed in the North Umpqua River.

Merchant-Ly was reported missing on Thursday, February 29th when she didn’t arrive at school. A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy located signs of a motor vehicle crash near milepost 41 on Highway 138E.

On Friday, March 1, 2024, Merchant-Ly’s vehicle was recovered from the North Umpqua River, but she was not found inside.

Since that time, nearly 300 hours volunteer hours of searching has taken place. Douglas County Search and Rescue has been using various methods of searching to include drone, ground and K9. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol has conducted water searches as well. Volunteers have searched along the riverbank from the crash site to Idleyld Park Trading Post; approximately 21 miles.

“We all want to find Mrs. Merchant-Ly and return her to her family,” Sheriff John Hanlin said. “Our deputies are in constant communication with her family and providing them with updates as to our efforts. We will continue searching and using all means necessary to accomplish our mission,” Hanlin added.

In addition to the efforts of DCSO and Search and Rescue volunteers, several community members have been actively looking for Merchant-Ly.

“We are aware of rafting guides and groups of rafters who have been launching all in an attempt to assist in finding her. We have also been contacting community members who are walking along the North Umpqua Trail and the highway,” Hanlin said. “As always this community steps forward to care for each other.”

As the weather turns more spring like, the Sheriff’s Office encourages those recreating around the area to be aware Merchant-Ly is still missing and to report anything which may assist in concluding this missing person case.

Donate or Support South Eugene Robotics Team as They Head to World Championships

The South Eugene Robotics team, or SERT, is ranked No. 1 in the Pacific Northwest. Now they’re heading to the World Championships in Houston, Texas.

University of Oregon Professor Paul Dassonville is a SERT mentor. He said being No. 1 in the Pacific Northwest is a pretty big deal. They made an excellent showing at the Northwest District competition earlier this month.

“We won two of our events. Which was the first time we’ve ever done that, he said. “Last year was the first time we won any event. It’s been great to see the team as the older students on the team pass on their knowledge and skills to the younger members of the team, and it’s just snowballed.”

Dassonville said the team works together to build robots that race and perform other skills tests.

SERT will compete with 600 robotics teams from around the world at the 4-day competition that begins Wednesday, April 17.

Dassonville said when they’re not in competition season, the team does community outreach and service. He said the SERT team is raising money to help cover their travel costs for the World competition.

The Go Fund Me, and other ways to donate or support the team, can be found at SERT’s website, sert2521.org (SOURCE)

Eugene Named Among Best Places To Live In U.S. by Money Magazine

Are you a resident of Camas or Eugene? If so, congratulations, you’re in one of the best places to live in America.

Overview of Eugene Oregon

That’s according to a 2024 list by personal finance website Money, which considered basic livability factors like affordability, good schools and strong job markets, as well as “places with a palpable spirit, nurtured and sustained by engaged citizens and receptive public officials.” https://money.com/best-places-to-live/

The unranked list of 50 places includes big cities such as Atlanta and Detroit alongside small hamlets such as Media, Pennsylvania. It features only the two cities in Oregon and Washington, though Boise and Sacramento are in there, too. Camas was featured in the “Best Kept Secrets” category, while Eugene was included in “Not Just College Towns.”

Camas, on the Washington side of the Columbia River just east of Vancouver, is still centered on a paper mill that was built in 1883 and today is operated by Georgia Pacific. The charming downtown is home to a number of locally owned shops and restaurants, with a surprisingly robust trail network nearby.

The town’s location near the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge offers easy access to natural attractions such as the Cape Horn Lookout, Beacon Rock State Park and the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Money hailed the town for its “big commitment to revitalize its downtown while paying homage to its historic past,” highlighting work by the Downtown Camas Association following the 2008 recession.

“Today, the tree-lined streets of downtown Camas form a vibrant, walkable community that’s teeming with life,” Money said in its writeup. “You can find locals dining outdoors at Natalia’s Cafe, an old school diner famous for its home-cooked breakfast, sipping merlot at Camas Cellars and perusing the ever-changing art at the Attic Gallery.”

Eugene, meanwhile, was celebrated as “a haven for free spirits and creative minds” with “an eclectic counterculture that thrives right alongside its academic scene.” That’s a pretty fair assessment given the two things that come top of mind when talking about Eugene: the University of Oregon and the Oregon Country Fair.

Money highlighted the Hult Center for the Performing Arts alongside eclectic dance club The Big Dirty and nonprofit venue the WOW Hall, while shouting out the town’s visual arts scene and street murals. And while the writeup conspicuously omitted the Oregon Country Fair (cowards!), it did include the Oregon Truffle Festival, Oregon Festival of American Music and the Oregon Asian Celebration.

It’s true, there are a lot of things to do in Eugene, from local trails to museums and wildlife preserves. The city also has a robust dining scene and, like many places in Oregon, is renowned for its craft breweries and tap houses. There are also a number of scenic day trips you can take from the city, another factor that apparently helped it land on Money’s 2024 list.

“Outside the city, this corner of the Willamette Valley provides quick access to hot springs, waterfalls, beaches and forests — all of which make the perfect backdrop for a weekend adventure,” Money wrote – though it is worth noting that’s true of nearly every city in the Pacific Northwest. (SOURCE)

Artists wanted for Cultural Currents public art installations

Cultural Currents Jose Trejo Maya

Applications are now open for artists specializing in sculpture, 2D art and digital projection

City of Eugene Cultural Services and Lane Arts Council are seeking several artists to create sculptures, 2D artwork and projection installations for Arts Week in September. This project is supported by Cultural Currents, an ongoing collaborative public art initiative to strengthen multicultural hubs, programming and experiences in Eugene. 

Cultural Currents started in 2023 thanks to funding from the Our Town grant by The National Endowment for the Arts. Through this initiative, artists, artist collectives and arts organizations are invited to create temporary public art installations that advance representation and narratives for groups that have historically been excluded, misrepresented and/or marginalized. Artists of all abilities, as well as artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latin American, LGTBQIA+ and those with intersecting identities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Five artists will be selected and will each receive a stipend ranging from $1,500-$2,000. This call is open to all artists 18 years of age or older with a relationship to the community, culture and/or region of Eugene, Kalapuya Ilihi or the Southern Willamette Valley. Youth under the age of 18 may apply in partnership with an older mentor. Deadline for submissions is May 20. The Cultural Currents Advisory Committee will select finalists in June with installations occurring in mid-September.

To learn more or to apply, visit the call to artists page at www.eugene-or.gov/5070/Cultural-Currents-Call-to-Artists.

Cultural Services provides year-round programming to promote public art and cultural events throughout Eugene. The team utilizes responsible and catalytic leadership to support the public’s vision for a thriving arts and cultural sector that contributes to the community’s social and economic wellbeing.

Lane County Storm Drain Cleaning Assistance Program accepting business signups through May

After launching last fall, Lane County’s Storm Water Management Program is back and accepting business applicants. 

This voluntary program allows businesses in Lane County to help maintain storm drains for a reduced flat fee of $65 per drain. Last fall, nearly 100 businesses from across Lane County signed up to participate in the program, which Lane County coordinates in partnership with Stormwater Protection Systems (SPS).

Lane County-based businesses can sign up each fall and spring in anticipation of heavy rainfall and more water entering the storm drain systems. To register a company for the fall program, visit LaneCountyOR.gov/SCAP and sign up by May 31.

Storm water often drains directly into rivers and streams without treatment, resulting in pollutants from parking lots and roadways contributing to water quality issues. Storm drain cleaning and maintenance are vital in ensuring clean waterways by removing contaminants like heavy metals, oil, pesticides, and fertilizers while reducing parking lot flooding.

“We all have a vested interest in keeping our community’s waterways clean,” said Lane County Waste Reduction Supervisor Angie Marzano. “This is a low-cost, high-impact way for businesses to make a real difference in those efforts while meeting their responsibilities.”

Businesses are responsible for cleaning and maintaining privately owned storm drains in their parking lots. The program aims to make this service more affordable and encourage biannual cleanings.

The $65 per drain fee covers debris removal from standard parking lot drains, power washing in and around the drain, and disposal of all contaminated sediment. The program does not cover additional fees for jetting, repair, or oversized storm drains. 

Interested businesses can register or get more information at LaneCountyOR.gov/SCAP or email SCAP@ LaneCountyOR.gov.

CAHOOTS and HOOTS Workers Rally for Wage Increase and Other Contract Issues

It has been more than a year since White Bird Clinic and its unionized crisis workers began negotiations and they still haven’t reached an agreement on a new contract.

CAHOOTS and HOOTS workers held a rally in downtown Eugene Frida calling for better pay and a speedy resolution at the bargaining table. They said their programs are losing staff and having trouble replacing them.

“Our wages are no longer competitive. They are no longer in line with industry standards,” said crisis worker Ashley Cakebread. “As a result, we are struggling to provide the high quality services that we want to offer to the community.”

The starting rate for CAHOOTS and HOOTS is $18 per hour, according to the workers. They say this has been stagnant since 2018, even as inflation has pushed up the cost of living in Eugene.

Crisis worker Berkley Carnine said some staff members have been forced to leave for better paying jobs, despite going through hundreds of hours of training with CAHOOTS.

“It’s incredible the amount of energy we put in, and skills that people develop,” said Carnine, “and then they can’t stay because they can’t afford to live in this town, pay all their bills, and work this job.”

With the resulting staffing shortages, crisis worker Chelsea Swift said it’s often impossible for remaining workers to take time off, even directly after they’ve experienced a traumatic event on the job.

The programs’ workers voted to join the Teamsters Local 206 in 2022. Collective bargaining on this contract began over 13 months ago.

“[The process] being so slow and drawn out has been demoralizing, and it feels we’re supposed to give up on some things that just get across the finish line,” Carnine told KLCC at Friday’s rally. “We’re here to say, no, we’re holding true to what we know we need.”

The workers’ bargaining unit is seeking a starting wage of $25 per hour. Swift said this would reflect the pay of Community Resource Officers, who have similar duties.

Right now, Cakebread said she’s making $19.31 per hour, despite working at White Bird for nearly ten years and helping to found the HOOTS program.

“I have been waiting for a wage increase for six years,” said Cakebread. “I would really like to know that my work is valued, that my experience is valued, that the 60 to 80 hour weeks that I have put into White Bird matter.”

Additionally, the workers are asking for assurance that CAHOOTS vans will be adequately staffed in the future, and are also seeking more worker benefits.

“We want to provide high quality, consistent services. We want to be there when you call, and we want to be there quickly,” said Cakebread. “And in order to do that, we need to be supported by our leadership.”

White Bird Clinic responded to KLCC with an emailed statement attributed to Executive Director Jeremy Gates. In it, Gates said leadership will continue to negotiate in good faith, and is confident about reaching a deal.

“The bargaining process requires us to keep much of the details at the table rather than in the public, but it’s important to note that we fully support our employees’ right to organize and negotiate,” wrote Gates. “Union organizing can be a catalyst for positive change.” (SOURCE)

Support CAHOOTS and HOOTS Workers Win a Fair First Contract NOW — PETITION

Did you know the $18/hr starting wage for CAHOOTS and HOOTS workers hasn’t changed since 2018? Sign this letter of support to help CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets) and HOOTS (Helping Out Our Teens in Schools) unionized workers win their first fair union contract with White Bird Clinic.

CAHOOTS medics and crisis workers have been proudly supporting their fellow community members on the streets and in the houses, schools, businesses, shelters, hospitals and healthcare offices of every neighborhood in Eugene since 1989. CAHOOTS later expanded service into Springfield in 2015 and soon founded its sister program HOOTS in 2017. These programs provide free crisis intervention, mental health and medical aid to whoever is in need (for CAHOOTS that’s an average of 20,000+ calls a year; HOOTS provides 28 clinics in 12 high schools). 

Today, their workers need your support. Show your commitment to sustaining workers and protecting the integrity of the CAHOOTS model that has been called “the gold standard”* for alternative response models nationally. Sign here to ensure crisis workers and medics who are dedicating their lives towards helping others win a living wage. Learn more about our campaign

https://www.change.org/p/support-cahoots-and-hoots-workers-win-a-fair-first-contract-now

Lane County mowers are gearing up and need roadsides clear of obstructions, including signs

Drivers on rural County-maintained roads will see mowers clearing the road rights-of-way of grass and brush beginning this month. 

“Mowing helps us reduce fire danger and make sure that drivers have clear lines of sight on County roads,” said Chad McBride, Lane County vegetation supervisor. “It’s really helpful when people keep things like fences and signs out of the right-of-way. They slow us down, damage our equipment, generate complaints about the cluttered landscape, and don’t belong there in the first place.”

In the coming weeks, County staff will remove any signs in the rights-of-way in preparation for mowing.

“During big election years, the number of signs placed illegally alongside roads explodes and it makes it more difficult to mow roadsides efficiently,” said McBride. “This year, we’ll do a sweep ahead of the mowers to remove signs.”

Property owners can help prepare by ensuring they have not placed anything in the mower’s path in the road right-of-way.

  • Political and other signs. No political signs, business signs or other types of signs belong in the road right-of-way. Signs may be removed and stored for 30 days at Lane County Public Works before being destroyed. Signs placed near a rural road must be on private property and behind any utility facilities (poles, closures, etc.) or sidewalks.
  • Rocks. Rocks over 3 inches in diameter and other fixed objects must be removed from the right-of-way.
  • Fencing. Derelict fencing can be both a hazard and a high-cost obstacle for mowers. Fencing that has fallen into the road right-of-way can become entangled in the equipment, or can make it impossible to clear the affected area of grass and brush.
  • Ornamental vegetation or other plantings. Plants in the right-of-way, especially those that grow large and aggressively, will be removed. Plants in the right-of-way will be mown to the lowest level practical in order to provide the longest-lasting effect.

By keeping items out of the right-of-way, residents can avoid unnecessary expense and hassle, save taxpayer money by saving Public Works personnel from having to remove signs and other items, and help protect neighbors and visitors from accidents.

In rural areas, the road right-of-way is typically from the pavement to the fence or private property line (anywhere the maintenance vehicles would drive). In the unincorporated parts of Eugene or Springfield, the right-of-way is the planting area between the sidewalk and curb.

Drivers are allowed to pass the mowers on the left when it is safe to do so but oncoming traffic takes precedence. 

Trauma Intervention Programs of Lane County Needs Volunteers

Trauma Intervention Programs of Lane County (TIP) is actively recruiting for volunteers. TIP volunteers are called by law enforcement, fire, medical and hospital personnel to respond to scenes of sudden or unexpected death (natural, homicide, suicide, accidental, infant) industrial accidents, sexual assaults, overdoses, violent crime and other traumatic incidents to provide immediate emotional and practical support to families, friends, witnesses and survivors. By ensuring those who are emotionally traumatized in emergencies receive the immediate assistance they need, TIP volunteers make an invaluable contribution to the health and well-being of Lane County. 

TIP wants volunteers of all different backgrounds who can pass a background check and are interested in helping provide needed support alongside first responders. For those interested in becoming a volunteer, TIP is holding a series of spring training opportunities dubbed the TIP Training Academy. The Academy is held at Eugene Police Department, located at 300 Country Club Road in Eugene. A full list of Academy training times is available below, or on the TIP website, www.tiplanecounty.org

For more information or to sign-up for an Academy training time, please contact Bridget Byfield, Director, TIP of Lane County at bridget@tiplanecounty.org or 541-286-6416.

TIP Spring Training Academy

The Academy is held at Eugene Police Dept.

300 Country Club Road, Eugene

Friday………..April 12…………….6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Saturday…….April 13…………….9:00 am – 03:00 pm

LCOG Senior & Disability Services requests community input for future planning

EUGENE, Oregon – Senior & Disability Services, a division of Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), is collecting information to learn about the needs of people with disabilities, older adults, and their caregivers. The survey is available online and in hard copy at all S&DS offices. It will remain open through June 12, 2024.  

Link to survey: http://tinyurl.com/SDS2024CommunityNeeds  

The information gathered through this survey will be used by LCOG Senior & Disability Services to identify gaps, leverage resources, and prioritize services. The strategic plan that will be created to meet the needs identified in this survey will be called the 2025-2029 Senior & Disability Services Area Plan. It is a requirement under the Older Americans Act (OAA).

The OAA stipulates that a multi-year, comprehensive Area Plan be developed for each planning and service area. The Community Needs Assessment, along with various data from the US Census, focus groups, current service levels, and information from key stakeholders helps inform specific service goals and objectives for the next four years.  

Community members who need to take this survey in another language or need any other accommodation or assistance, please call 541-682-4512.

Senior & Disability Services is the designated Area Agency on Aging for Lane County, Oregon and provides services, information, and assistance to Lane County’s older adult population, adults with physical disabilities, and their caregivers. To learn more about Senior & Disability Services, please visit their website at www.lcog.org/sdslane.  

MORE INFO: https://www.lcog.org/sdslane/page/senior-disability-services-seeks-input-future-planning

Road Construction: Green Hill Road

Road Name: Green Hill Road 
Location: Green Hill Road Bridge – #039C51 (South of Barger Drive over Amazon Creek) 
Begin Construction: Milepost 3
End Construction: Milepost 3.5
Dates and times: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, April 11 to June 30, 2024 
Reason for construction: Bridge rail repairs. There will be one lane closure and traffic will be controlled by flaggers. 
Alternate routes: Royal Avenue, Barger Drive, and Bodenhamer Road 

Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue now recruiting youth volunteers!

We are looking for teens 14 and up (by June 1st) who have positive attitudes and want to serve their community. Volunteers must be willing to respond any time day or night, often in bad weather and extreme conditions. Teens who attend our SAR academy will become Oregon State SAR Certified, and receive training in medical care, orienteering, outdoor survival, and other important skills.

Learn more at our open house on Tuesday, April 9th at 6:00 p.m. in Harris Hall, 125 E 8th Ave., Eugene. We will hold an additional open house on April 25th as well. Questions? Need more info? Email our team at LCSOsar@lanecountyor.gov.

Become a temporary election worker and help democracy thrive

The Lane County Elections Office is hiring temporary election workers to assist with the May 21, 2024 Primary Election. 

“Temporary election workers are critical to the success of elections,” said County Clerk Dena Dawson. “We want to build a more diverse pool of people that is representative of our community. Retirees are always welcome, but so are students, stay-at-home parents, gig workers, and anyone who just wants to learn more about elections or earn a few bucks.”

Available positions include customer service, data entry, ballot processing, and ballot collection. Some positions require a few weeks of availability and others only require a few days, or even just one night. Lane County does not use volunteers to conduct elections; all temporary election worker positions are paid. 

Temporary election workers are hired before each election cycle. Another round of hiring will begin in August for the November 5 Presidential Election. 

Supporting Families to Prevent Child Abuse Moves Forward in Oregon

(Salem) – This year’s Child Abuse Prevention Month theme, Doing Things Differently: Moving from the Challenge to the Change, emphasizes the importance of innovative prevention-based approaches to supporting children and families. The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) is committed to advancing programs that address poverty and other challenges families face that could put children at risk. 

As Governor Tina Kotek’s proclamation states, “Child abuse is a preventable public health issue, and Oregon’s children and families deserve intentional, sustainable investments in their health and wellbeing.” 

Prevention-based approaches link families in Oregon to voluntary assistance programs from community organizations and ODHS such as food benefits, cash assistance and services for domestic violence survivors. The goal of prevention is to keep children safe by providing support that stabilizes families and prevents unnecessary child welfare involvement.  

To expand the agency’s child abuse prevention efforts, ODHS is working with the Doris Duke Foundation to establish the Opt-in for Families initiative in Oregon which will be supported by a $9 million investment by the foundation. The grant will help develop and test a pilot program serving families who have been the subject of reports to the ODHS Child Abuse Hotline but whose circumstances are not considered child abuse as defined in Oregon statute. Opt-in for Families will refer these families to voluntary programs for economic and other supports, evaluating their effectiveness in improving child safety and family stability. Similar programs that support families’ economic stability are being piloted in Klamath Falls and are being introduced throughout the state.  

As a result of these and other efforts, the number of children in foster care in Klamath County has dropped by 60 percent with a 72 percent drop in Tribal children in the system.  

April also marks the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline’s (ORCAH) fifth anniversary. ODHS centralized ORCAH in 2019 to change the former model of localized child abuse reporting, multiple hotline numbers and lack of operational coordination to an updated model based on national best practices. The new model has improved child safety, screening consistency and coordination with law enforcement, as well as employee retention.  

With centralization of the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline, wait times to report abuse reduced by an average of one minute, 59 seconds, down from the 2022 average wait time of two minutes, 42 seconds. The hotline team answered 6 percent more calls compared with 2022. Timely answering of calls ensures rapid response and Child Protective Services assessment to ensure child safety. Other key improvements related to child safety are detailed in the recent 2023 ORCAH annual report

In addition to centralizing the hotline, ODHS initiatives to prevent and address child abuse include family coaching programs and improved tracking of caseload ratios to ensure caseworkers have adequate time to connect families to prevention-related services. For more information on 2023 work to support children in families in Oregon, see the Oregon Child Welfare Assessment Findings Report published by Public Knowledge. 

Oregon needs everyone to contribute to preventing child abuse. Children and families are stronger when communities come together to support them before they reach crisis.  

“As individuals and as a community, we play a part in preventing child abuse. We encourage everyone to make a commitment this month to learn new ways to strengthen child and family well-being,” ODHS Child Welfare Director Aprille Flint-Gerner said. “Together, we can make a difference.” 

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, ODHS asks everyone in Oregon to be aware of help available to families to meet their basic needs which is critical in preventing conditions that can result in child abuse. This includes sharing information about food banks, unemployment benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) availability, and educational resources. ODHS values its collaboration with community organizations to prevent child abuse and ensure families in Oregon know about the resources available to help them.  

If you suspect a child is being abused, please contact the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233). The Oregon Child Abuse Hotline receives calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  

More information for resources and support: 

  • To learn more about food resources including SNAP visit NeedFood.Oregon.gov
  • 211info.org (also by dialing 211) offers connection to local and regional resources for food banks, housing assistance, and mental health services. 
  • Lines for Life, a nonprofit dedicated to substance abuse and suicide prevention: call or text 988. 
  • Friends and neighbors can help break the social isolation some parents may experience or encourage parents to seek support when needed by calling the Oregon parent helpline: 971-221-5180. 
  • Oregon Child Abuse Solutions: https://oregoncas.org/ 
  • Prevent Child Abuse Oregon: https://preventchildabuseoregon.org/ 
  • Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries: https://www.oregonreliefnurseries.org/ 

Other resources 

About the Oregon Department of Human Services 

The mission of ODHS is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve well-being and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity. 

Oregon Colleges Responding To FAFSA Delays

Public universities and colleges across Oregon are extending enrollment deadlines after a series of federal student aid delays led to fewer high school students filling out the application.

Why it matters: Holdups with the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process means some students face the possibility of having to choose a college without knowing whether they’ll be able to afford it.

By the numbers: As of April 5, only 25% of Oregon high school seniors had completed the application, down 33% compared to last year, according to the National College Attainment Network.

  • The number of high school seniors at David Douglas, Portland’s largest public school, who’d completed their FAFSA was down 34% from 2023, per NCAN.

Flashback: The new version of the form was supposed to streamline the notoriously difficult process and expand aid eligibility — but its rollout has been problematic.

  • The application opened on Dec. 3o, three months later than in prior years.
  • The new system was marred with technical glitches and a flawed inflation calculator incorrectly lowered the amount of awarded aid for many families — an error that has since been adjusted.

The latest: U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a letter to governors last month, asking them to adjust state financial aid deadlines, budget for potential state grant aid increases and ensure relevant agencies can process aid efficiently.

Threat level: The problems have led to delays in processing financial aid offers, complicating college decisions for families.

  • High school seniors usually receive acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April.
  • But far fewer applications have been turned in than in previous years, leaving college administrators scrambling to assemble aid packages before the start of the school year.

Zoom in: The University of Oregon pushed its date for students to accept offers from May 1 to June 1. Oregon State University moved its financial aid deadline from the end of February to May 1.

  • Portland State University’s deposit and decision deadline is in August, but the school may make adjustments over the summer if warranted, Elijah Herr, director of financial aid, told Axios.
  • As of last week, the number of filed FAFSAs that PSU had received was down 10-15% compared to 2023, Herr said.

What’s next: The deadline for the 2024-25 FAFSA is June 30, 2025, but Herr recommends that students file as soon as possible to have aid in place before fall. (SOURCE)

Oregon’s Next Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect In July

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries announced Tuesday that the minimum wage in the Portland area will rise to $15.95. In urban counties outside the Portland area, the minimum wage will be $14.70 an hour. And in rural counties, the minimum will be $13.70. The change takes effect July 1.

A 50-cent hike to Oregon’s minimum wage will bring baseline pay in the Portland area just to the doorstep of $16 an hour this summer.

Oregon has had a tiered minimum wage since 2017, when the state Legislature approved a series of minimum wage increases but kept the minimum lower in more rural parts of the state, reasoning that the cost of living was lower, too.

Since 2023, annual increases in the minimum wage have been tied to the rate of inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the inflation measure used to calculate the increase, rose 3.5% over the past year.

The increases announced Tuesday range from 2.9% for the Portland metro to 3.8% raise in rural areas. The average Oregon hourly wage is much higher than the minimum, $31.17 last year, according to the state employment department. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

Governor Kotek announced Sunday that President Joe Biden approved a federal major disaster declaration for January’s winter weather emergency.

This declaration provides supplemental grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Public Assistance Program. This funding will go to state, local and tribal governments to assist in their storm recovery and response.

“I am grateful to President Biden for answering our call for help,” Gov. Kotek said in a statement. “This opportunity for federal assistance will make a significant difference across communities that are still grappling with significant damage from the storm.”

The declaration includes Benton, Clackamas, Coos, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Multnomah, Sherman, Tillamook and Wasco Counties and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. More information about the emergency and the major disaster declaration can be found here

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has scheduled an opportunity for public comments concerning the proposed merger of two major grocery store chains – Kroger and Albertsons.

This deal could impact more than 150 pharmacies in Oregon, accoring to a releas from the OHA

“The OHA is reviewing this planned transaction to understand how it might affect pharmacy services in Oregon,” a release from the OHA states.

OHA has convened a Community Review Board for this review. This board is hosting a public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 24.

The public hearing will: Provide information about the transaction and OHA’s review, Allow representatives from Kroger and Albertsons to provide testimony and answer questions, Allow members of the public to provide comments.

The public can register to attend .

Kroger and Albertsons are the nation’s two largest grocery chains. In Oregon, the two corporations operate 176 stores, serving nearly every community in the state. Kroger operates 51 Fred Meyer and 4 QFC stores, while Albertsons operates 96 Safeway and 25 Albertsons stores.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has joined the Federal Trade Commission and a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from across the nation in acting to block the proposed $24.6 billion Kroger-Albertsons grocery chain merger.

“If big grocery stores are allowed to reduce competition this way.” Rosenblum said, “They can charge higher prices for food for no good reason and reduce services, including in their pharmacies. They can also slow the growth of employees’ wages, or even reduce some of those wages. Working conditions and employee benefits can suffer, as well. In short, there’s no good for consumers or workers in this proposed merger — and lots of bad.”

Oregon Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission investigators found compelling evidence that direct, head-to-head competition between Kroger and Albertsons has forced the two chains to compete vigorously against one another — both on price and on the quality of goods and services offered at their stores, according to Rosenblum.

Oregon, the FTC, and the other AGs filed to enjoin the merger in U.S. District Court in Portland following a vote by FTC commissioners Feb. 26.

It is the result of thorough investigations by the FTC and the states into the proposed merger’s anticipated effects, Rosenbaum said in a statement.

“We are doing this to protect Oregon consumers and workers,” Rosenblum said. “We believe this proposed merger would hurt both, and we’re doing our part to prevent it from going forward.”

To learn more about the OHA public hearing, visit https://www.oregon.gov/oha/hpa/hp/pages/health-care-market-oversight.aspx

Email hcmo.info@oha.oregon.gov with any questions. Read More at http://tillamookheadlightherald.com

April 30th is the deadline for people registering to vote in Oregon for the first time or for those who wish to change party affiliation.

The upcoming May 21st election is a closed-party primary election for registered Democrats and Republicans.
That means that Democrats will be voting for Democrat and nonpartisan candidates and measures and Republicans will be voting for Republican and nonpartisan candidates and measures.

Non-affiliated and all other voters will be voting on nonpartisan candidates and measures.

Oregon Online Voter Registration: https://sos.oregon.gov/voting/Pages/registration.aspx?lang=en

State Fire Marshal handing out $6 million to help local agencies fight wildfires

About two-thirds of the fire departments across Oregon – all smaller agencies – received up to $35,000 to hire more firefighters during the season

As Oregon approaches this year’s wildfire season, state officials are distributing $6 million in grants to help local fire agencies bolster their resources.

The State Fire Marshal, which announced the grants, said that 191 agencies across the state received up to $35,000. That’s about two-thirds of the 306 fire agencies in Oregon. 

All of the agencies were eligible to apply for a grant, but most of the recipients are in rural or coastal areas, from Ontario to Oakridge and Christmas Valley to Seaside. The departments in the state’s biggest cities, including Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford and Bend, are not on the list, mainly because the grant’s purpose is to help smaller jurisdictions – those whose annual property tax income does not exceed $2 million – that often rely on volunteers, according to John Hendricks, a spokesman for the fire marshal.

The grants are designed to help smaller agencies, such as the Fossil and Heppner fire departments, staff up with firefighters to be able to mobilize quickly.

Hendricks said in an email that the grants often allow agencies to hire two to three extra firefighters.

“Every agency is different, so their request may be different,” Hendricks said. “Some agencies pay current volunteers to take a shift, others bring on seasonal staff. It really depends.”

Many recipients got the maximum, though a few were given much less. The smallest grant – $2,698 – went to Baker Rural Fire Protection District. Myrtle Creek Fire Department got $9,160, while Union Emergency Services received $9,463 and Corbett Fire District 24 received $12,315.

This is the third year in a row that the fire marshall has distributed money through the Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program, according to a news release. It said the grants last year – also $6 million  – allowed agencies to add more than 1,500 firefighters. 

“These added resources allowed agencies to attack fires and keep them small and away from communities and added capacity to respond to other calls, ultimately saving lives,” the release said. 

That help enabled the Cornelius Fire Department in the Portland area, for example, to dispatch two units to the scene of a brush fire last year within minutes. They quickly put it out, preventing the spread to nearby buildings.

In Jefferson County in central Oregon, funding helped the local fire department hire wildland firefighters who contained a high-risk brush fire last August to 1 acre, according to a report about last year’s grants. That fire had the potential to become big in a high-risk area, the fire chief said.

And in Sublimity in Marion County, the grant helped the local fire district add staff at the busiest time of the year, which it previously couldn’t do, the release said. 

“This resulted in quicker responses with adequate staffing for not only our district, but our neighboring agencies,” Sublimity Fire District Chief Alan Hume said in the release. “Last year we had several fires in our area with the potential to develop into larger, extended duration fires. We were able, as (a) region, to keep those fires smaller.”

The grant is part of an initiative by the State Fire Marshal’s office, the Response Ready Oregon initiative, that’s designed to help modernize systems and technology, create mutual aid plans, hire coordinators and more. But that program lacks sustained funding, the release said.

The Oregon Legislature allocated $220 million for wildfires in 2021, but the Oregon Department of Forestry and State Fire Marshal’s Office received less than $90 million during the budget cycle that began last July and ends in mid-2025. Lawmakers had hoped this session to fill gaps in wildfire funding, with three bills to address landowner wildfire protection fees, home hardening, wildfire prevention and response and survivor compensation. But only one – on compensation – passed.

That prompted Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Ashland and the author of one proposal to say legislators were “stumbling into the future” on wildfire funding. (SOURCE)

Oregon State Fire Marshal issues grants to boost staffing ahead of wildfire season

To boost the number of firefighters across Oregon before wildfire season, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced it has awarded $6 million in grants to 191 local fire agencies across the state.

The 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program is in its third year. Local agencies in the Oregon structural fire service were eligible to apply for up to $35,000. The funding will allow agencies to bring on additional firefighters or increase on-duty hours during the 2024 fire season. A list of agencies awarded funding can be found here.

The 2023 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program was integral to the success in protecting communities, adding more than 1,500 paid firefighters to the Oregon fire service. These added resources allowed agencies to attack fires and keep them small and away from communities and added capacity to respond to other calls, ultimately saving lives. Read about the successes here.

“The staffing grant program has been a huge success for the Oregon fire service and our district,” Sublimity Fire District Chief Alan Hume said. “It allowed us to staff our station during the busiest time of the year, which we previously couldn’t do. This resulted in quicker responses with adequate staffing for not only our district, but our neighboring agencies. Last year we had several fires in our area with the potential to develop into larger, extended duration fires. We were able, as region, to keep those fires smaller.”

“This grant has provided us the ability to respond to all requests for emergency services, including automatic and mutual aid requests in our district,” Crooked River Ranch Rural Fire Protection District Chief Sean Hartley said. “This program is instrumental in keeping fires in our community small and allowed us to respond to multiple calls for service at the same time.”

This 2024 Wildfire Season Staffing Grant program is part of a multi-pronged approach to combat wildfire in Oregon. Over the last three years, the OSFM has made strategic investments to modernize the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System and help communities become more wildfire adapted.

This grant is part of the OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative. The OSFM is looking for sustained funding for this program and is exploring all options to continue this highly successful grant in 2025 and beyond.ABOUT RESPONSE READY OREGON The OSFM’s Response Ready Oregon initiative was created to help boost capacity and modernize wildfire response within the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS). The goal of Response Ready Oregon is to keep fires small and away from communities, reducing costly conflagrations.

Governor Kotek Signs Property Tax Reset For 2020 Wildfire Victims

Many of the Oregonians whose homes were destroyed in 2020 wildfires will soon be protected from potentially massive property tax increases after they rebuild if county leaders in their communities agree.

About 4,000 homes were destroyed in wildfires across the state in September 2020 — most of them in Santiam Canyon or Southern Oregon’s Jackson County. Already, thousands of those properties have been rebuilt — and many homeowners have faced an unwelcome surprise when taxes came due.

Under Oregon law, a home’s assessed value can go up by no more than 3% each year, except when there’s new construction or significant upgrades. That’s left people rebuilding from the 2020 wildfires facing thousands of dollars in higher yearly taxes.

Mia Mohr, a resident of Lyon in the Santiam Canyon whose house was destroyed by the fires, testified in support of the property tax reset during the recent legislative session.

“Victims of the 2020 wildfires, particularly those who could least afford to rebuild, have experienced many challenges and hardships since losing everything in the devastating wildfire,” she said in written testimony. “…I didn’t have the option to replace my home built in 1968 with a 1968-valued home. I could only replace it with a same square-foot new home.”

The unexpected property tax increase she and other community members have faced has been a significant burden, she said.

Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron told OPB that the tax reset approved in this year’s legislative session is part of an ongoing effort to respond to the financial and personal hardships people have faced since the September 2020 wildfires.

“One of the first things we realized, right after the wildfires, is that property tax statements were going out in September, October of 2020 — and people were going to get a property tax statement when they have no house,” he said.

Leaders in hard-hit counties set up programs that allowed people to reduce their tax bills if they’d lost their homes —but it was not an automatic process.

Then, as residents started to rebuild, many were shocked by their new property tax statements. “Their property tax statements would double or in some cases even triple,” Cameron said.

State Sen. Frank Girod, a Republican from Stayton, began pushing for a property tax reset in the 2023 legislative session, but it took until this year for it to pass as Senate Bill 1545.

The bill, which Gov. Tina Kotek signed into law this month, essentially resets the tax rate to 2020-21 levels for these homes, as long as they’re built to the same square footage as before the fire. Commissioners in the eight Oregon counties where the fires caused widespread damage will need to opt in for their constituents to receive these protections.

Cameron said he expects Marion County commissioners to approve the tax reset, and to work hard to communicate with eligible home owners about the program in affected communities. People will have to apply to qualify.

The property tax reset is temporary and limited. When houses are rebuilt larger than the home that was burned, that additional square footage will be assessed based on its value at the time of construction. When owners sell their rebuilt homes, those properties will be assessed based on market value at that time.

And only homes that are occupied full-time are eligible, which means people’s second homes around Detroit Lake are not qualified for the tax reset, Cameron said. “They will have to pay regular property taxes,” he said. “This is to encourage those who were living here to come back and rebuild. (SOURCE)

ODOT Reminding The Public That Political Signs Posted Incorrectly Will Be Removed

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would like to remind the public that political signs posted incorrectly will be removed.

ODOT will remove improperly placed signs like the one above and hold them at the nearest ODOT maintenance yard. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

During election season ODOT tells us they receive complaints from the public and candidates regarding the improper placement of political signs on the state highway rights of way, where only official traffic control devices are allowed. Improperly placed signs can distract drivers and block road safety messages.

Wrongly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days. To reclaim signs, go here to find the nearest ODOT maintenance office.

Signs are prohibited on trees, utility poles, fence posts and natural features within highway right-of-ways, ODOT tells us. They also are prohibited within view of a designated scenic area.

State highway width rights of way can vary considerably depending on the location. Check with your local ODOT district maintenance office to determine whether placing a sign is on private property or highway right of way. Local municipalities may also regulate the placement of political signs.

Political signs are allowed on private property within view of state highways with the following restrictions:

  • Signs are limited to 12 square feet but can be up to 32 square feet with a variance from our Oregon Advertising Sign program
  • Signs cannot have flashing or intermittent lights, or animated or moving parts
  • Signs must not imitate official highway signs or devices
  • Signs are not allowed in scenic corridors
  • No payment or compensation of any kind can be exchanged for either the placement of or the message on temporary signs, including political signs, which are visible to a state highway

For more information go to ODOT’s Outdoor Advertising Sign Program.

Oregon Secretary of State releases 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released a civic engagement toolkit today, aimed at helping organizations do voter registration and voter turnout work in the 2024 elections.

The tools included in the 2024 toolkit are official, non-partisan, research-backed and free to use with or without attribution to our office.

Download the 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit here.

Museum receives $500,000 National Endowment for the Humanities award (Photo)
High Desert Museum – 04/16/24 9:00 AMBy Hand Through Memory Hall

BEND, OR — The High Desert Museum will receive $500,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities, one of 10 in the nation selected for funding for the exceedingly competitive Public Humanities Projects: Exhibition category, the agency announced Tuesday.

The funding will support the Museum’s revitalization of its permanent exhibition dedicated to the Indigenous cultures of the region. By Hand Through Memory opened in 1999, supported in part by NEH funding. Hand in hand with Native partners, the Museum has been working on a new version of the exhibition for several years.

This award is the second grant for the project: In 2019, NEH awarded the Museum $45,000 to support the planning of the renovation. The agency also awarded the Museum $500,000 in 2023 to support an associated expansion of the Museum, bringing the total commitment to the Museum’s future to $1,045,000.

“For more than four decades, the High Desert Museum has set the gold standard for showing and telling both Oregonians and visitors our state’s history,” U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said. “Indigenous history is essential to that mission, and I’m gratified this Central Oregon treasure has secured such a significant federal investment to enable it to update and expand the permanent exhibition devoted to Native perspectives and experiences.”

“We’re immensely grateful to NEH and Senators Wyden and Merkley for this transformational investment,” said High Desert Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “The revitalized exhibition will be centered in Native voices and knowledge, sharing the rich stories of Indigenous communities throughout the Plateau region. The NEH funding is vital for realizing our vision.”

The Museum is presently working on exhibition design with Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a firm that has handled museum projects ranging from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C. to the First 

Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, an effort sharing the stories of the 39 Tribes in Oklahoma that opened in 2021.

The exhibition renovation is part of the long-term vision for the future of the Museum, which includes more capacity for educational programming, immersive experiences to bring visitors into the forest canopy, a permanent art exhibition space and a gathering space for Museum events. The Sisters-based Roundhouse Foundation helped launch work on this vision with a $6 million gift in 2021.

The Museum opened in 1982. Founder Donald M. Kerr envisioned the space as an immersive experience that highlights the wonder of the High Desert, often saying that its mission is to “wildly excite and responsibly teach.” He also intended for the Museum and its programs to spark dialogue and bring people together in conversations about what they want for the region’s future.

Today, the Museum shares up to nine rotating temporary exhibitions, serves more than 8,600 participants with school field trips, and provides free and reduced-price admissions to more than 25,000 visitors. It welcomed more than 216,000 visitors in 2023.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency that supports cultural institutions in their efforts to facilitate research and original scholarship, provides opportunities for lifelong learning, preserves and provides access to cultural and educational resources, and strengthens the institutional base of the humanities throughout the nation.

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.

Oregon Offers Electric Car Rebates Again – Apply Now Until June 3rd

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Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate.

Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at https://apps.oregon.gov/DEQ/Voucher/apply.

Oregon to Honor Fallen Law Enforcement Officers May 7th, 2024

Every year, the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony honors the state’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year’s ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The annual event commemorates the more than 190 fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the state of Oregon since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is proud to host the ceremony in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and various statewide law enforcement associations.

LCSO Case #24-1671 – Missing Person from west Eugene

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 39-year-old Brian John Fierke.  He last had contact with his family on March 26th, 2024.  Deputies, detectives, and Sheriff’s Search & Rescue have searched extensively for Fierke without success.   

Fierke is described as a white male adult, standing approximately 6’4” tall and weighing about 185 pounds.  Fierke has brown hair and blue eyes.  He may have brown facial hair.  

Anyone with information about Fierke’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150, option 1, and reference LCSO Case #24-1671.

20240224ewextra-David-Bjorkman-Missing
May be an image of 1 person, dog and text that says 'MISSING TAMMY PITKIN, Oregon State LAST KNOWN TO BE: Albany, Oregon on 17 OCT 2022 Reported Missing 26 OCT 2022 VEHICLE LOCATED ON DEAD- END FOREST SVC ROAD OFF HWY 20, 30 mi EAST of SWEET HOME, OR, 29 OCT 2022. Physical: age 54, White female, 5'4" tall, 160 lbs, blonde hair, hazel eyes Possibly Accompanied by her 2 small dogs, Cope and Trooper white/brown dog multi smooth-haired Jack Russell terrier) 23 IFYOU HAVE TIPS OR HAVE Feb OR, TAMMY: PLEASE PHONE LINN COUNTY, OR County SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Linh 1-541-967-3911,or911 Locted'

Missing child alert — Jerrica Landin is still missing and is believed to be in danger

2023-12/973/168527/Jerrica_Landin_2.jpg

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, asks the public to help find Jerrica Landin, age 17, a child in foster care who went missing from Portland, Oregon on Aug. 21. She is believed to be in danger.

ODHS asks the public for help in the effort to find Jerrica and to contact 911 or local law enforcement if they believe they see her.

Jerrica may be in Portland or Eugene in Oregon. She may also be in Washington in Vancouver, Seattle or the Tri Cities. 

Name: Jerrica Landin
Pronouns: She/her
Date of birth: Oct. 24, 2006
Height: 5-foot-6
Weight: 130 pounds
Hair: Reddish brown
Eye color: Brown
Other identifying information: Jerrica has a tattoo of a heart on her neck below her right ear. She often dyes her hair red, pink and purple. 
Portland Police Bureau Case #23-803125
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children #1489518

Sometimes when a child is missing, they may be in significant danger and ODHS may need to locate them to assess and support their safety. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and assess their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. 

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

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'
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1109674113319848

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