Willamette Valley News, Monday 4/22 – Body of Missing Glide Teacher Found, UPDATE: Armed Suspect Eludes Arrest Near Terwilliger Hot Springs & 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, April 22, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

Body of Missing Glide Teacher Found

IDLEYLD PARK, Ore. – The body of Rachel Merchant-Ly has been recovered from the North Umpqua River.

On April 19, 2024, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue organized a large scale search in their ongoing efforts to locate 27-year-old Rachel Merchant-Ly of Idleyld Park. Merchant-Ly was reported missing on Thursday, February 29, 2024, when she didn’t arrive at Glide Elementary School where she worked as a kindergarten teacher. Later that morning, 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, searchers have conducted numerous searches by water, land, and air without success. 

On April 19, 2024, searchers from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Jackson County Search and Rescue and Lane County Search and Rescue organized to conduct further searching. Volunteer rafting groups and community members also organized and were coordinating with the Sheriff’s Office efforts. 

At approximately 9:30 a.m., a community member volunteer located a deceased body in the river approximately 7.5 miles downstream from the crash site. Deputies confirmed the presence of the body and began coordinating recovery efforts. The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office responded and confirmed the body to be that of Rachel Merchant-Ly. 

“I cannot thank the dedicated deputies, SAR Volunteers, agency partners and community members who have not given up on finding Rachel,” Sheriff John Hanlin said. “Commissioner Freeman and I have been in personal communication with Rachel’s husband, mother, father and extended family. They are extremely thankful for the efforts of everyone involved.”

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted throughout the investigation by Douglas County, Jackson County and Lane County Search and Rescue teams, the Oregon State Search and Rescue Coordinator, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation, Pacific Power, Weekly Brothers, North Umpqua Outfitters, Northwest Rafters Association, Douglas County Fire District #2 and all of the community members who volunteered their time.

LCSO Case #24-2051 – Armed Suspect Eludes Arrest Near Terwilliger Hot Springs

04/22/24 Update: At about 7:20 a.m. on April 22nd, area residents spotted Dimmick in the 91800 block of Mill Creek Road and contacted the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. Residents were able to observe and update Dispatch until deputies and Oregon State Police troopers arrived on scene. Dimmick attempted to hide in a port-a-potty, but surrendered after several minutes. He was arrested without further incident and transported to the Lane County Jail, where he was lodged on a Lane County Circuit Court warrant for Kidnap in the Second Degree, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Reckless Endangering. He was also charged for Elude by Vehicle and Elude by Foot from the earlier vehicle pursuit. 

04/21/24 Update: Late in the evening of April 21st, Sheriff’s deputies and a K9, Oregon State Police, and a Springfield Police K9 responded to a reported sighting of Dimmick at Terwilliger Hot Springs. He was reportedly still armed with a sword and was asking for a ride to town. He was not located, and it is unknown if he was given a ride before law enforcement arrived. Anyone who encounters Dimmick is asked to contact the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 option 1.

—– At about 11 a.m. on April 20th, deputies and Oregon State Police troopers responded to the area of Terwilliger Hot Springs for a report of a disorderly subject swinging a sword around and inhaling nitrous oxide.  The subject left prior to their arrival, but was then observed driving back toward the hot springs.  A deputy attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle.  The driver attempted to elude the deputy up gravel Forest Service roads to the south. 

They were able to identify the driver as Andrew Hamilton Dimmick, 33, of Crawfordsville, and determined he had several warrants for his arrest.  Eventually the vehicle stopped due to downed trees blocking the road, and Dimmick fled on foot.  A Sheriff’s K9 and two Eugene Police K9s responded and began searching the area along with a drone.  After several hours of searching in difficult terrain, they were unable to locate Dimmick.  

Dimmick is described as 6’4” tall, 175 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.  He was last seen wearing a green hoodie and blue shorts, and may still be armed with a sword.  If you observe a matching subject or have more information on this case, please contact the Lane County Sheriff’s Office at 541-682-4150 option 1.

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Oregon State Police and Eugene Police K9s for their assistance on this call.  

Unusual Bear Sightings Reported in Corvallis

April 21, 2024 — Residents of Corvallis woke up to an unexpected surprise this morning as multiple confirmed sightings of a bear were reported across central and west Corvallis, starting at approximately 3:11 am.

https://www.facebook.com/CorvallisPoliceDepartment

The bear, captured in striking images by the Corvallis Police Department during its downtown excursion (see attached photos), continued its journey, visiting the LBCC Corvallis campus before being last spotted around 8:00 am heading westbound out of town near the OSU dairy fields.

In response to this unusual occurrence, the Corvallis Police Department has been in close communication with the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who are actively monitoring the situation.

Residents are advised to exercise caution if they encounter the bear. It is crucial not to approach or attempt to interact with it. Instead, seek shelter indoors or retreat to your vehicle with your children and pets until the bear moves on. Reports indicate the bear is likely seeking its way back into natural habitat, and allowing it space is the safest course of action.

In the unlikely event that the bear becomes stranded or exhibits concerning behavior, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stands ready to respond and evaluate the situation accordingly.

For further information about bears in Oregon, visit the ODFW website here: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/…/living_with/black_bears.aspWe appreciate the community’s cooperation and vigilance during this extraordinary event. — https://www.facebook.com/CorvallisPoliceDepartment

A Walt Disney-Signed Copy of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ Has Been Authenticated in Eugene

In what can only be described as a fairy tale, Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon has confirmed that it has a first-edition copy of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in its possession, inscribed and signed by Walt Disney himself.

The story began when 87-year-old Janet Moursund was downsizing her possessions as she prepared to move into a retirement center.

Walt Disney signed Snow White

Because the book was so used, Moursund wasn’t sure what to think when she prepared to sell it.

“It was not in really good condition so I thought it was probably a worthless book,” she said. “But it did have that autograph. And so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll check it out.’” The former University of Oregon professor took the book to Tsunami Books in Eugene’s South Hills. When General Manager Scott Landfield first saw the piece of Disney history, he thought it looked like the kind of book that sells for $20. Then, he saw the autograph.

Last week, the Disney signature was confirmed as authentic by PSA — a firm that specializes in authenticating memorabilia. In a letter of authenticity, the company said the handwriting was genuine “considering slant, flow, pen pressure, letter size, and other characteristics that are typical of the other exemplars that we have examined in our hobby and professional career.”

To ensure that the book is not recreated or copied, it was marked with “proprietary invisible ink” bearing synthetic DNA, which will glow under a calibrated lens, and a tamper-evident label with a unique certification number.

Moursund and Tsunami Will Split the Profits — With the signature now verified and secure, Landfield believes that Moursund’s copy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs could sell for around $10,000. Tsunami Books says it will try to sell the book locally for a week and then move onto the global market if there are no buyers. https://mickeyblog.com/2024/04/22/walt-disney-signed-snow-white-authenticated/

Firefighters Extinguish Vacant Building Fire in NE Eugene

Eugene Springfield Fire (ESF) responded to a house fire at the intersection of N. Game Farm Rd and Old Coburg Rd in East Eugene Saturday morning.  Arriving firefighters found smoke and fire from a boarded up and abandoned home. 

The home had recently been determined unsafe during an inspection by Deputy Fire Marshals from the ESF Community Risk Reduction & Resilience Division.  In 2023 ESF initiated a new program where vacant and abandoned buildings are inspected and ordered boarded up & secured.  During these inspections, properties are declared Safe with a large green S, Caution with a large orange C or Unsafe with a large red U placard on the building.  In addition to inspection reports being available to responding crews, dispatchers are able to notify firefighters upon dispatch to a hazardous occupancy. 

In this response firefighters were notified the property had been determined to be unsafe and they took necessary precautions in engaging the fire.  Crews extinguished the fire and determined there were no victims during a search of the home.  There were no injuries reported and the fire is under investigation.

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Nurses Vote to Authorize Second Strike at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services

ONA nurses and supporters on the strike line at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services in February 2024. Nurses are advocating for a fair contract that addresses patient safety and community health; secures equitable pay; and solves PeaceHealth’s staffing crisis. Photo Courtesy of Kevin Mealy, ONA.

Nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services in Lane County have voted to authorize an open-ended strike against PeaceHealth to protest PeaceHealth’s unlawful unfair labor practices (ULPs) and reach a fair contract agreement that improves community healthcare.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) represents more than 90 frontline nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services. Nurses’ latest strike vote was held April 12 – April 16. 

“Our community’s health care is eroding under our feet. PeaceHealth has cut our birth center, our sleep clinic, our home infusion services and our hospital. Now they are degrading the high quality home health and hospice services vulnerable patients rely on. Our community’s health care is in danger of disappearing completely if we don’t stand up and fight back. Our strike isn’t just about wages, benefits and ULPs; it’s about demanding dignity and respect for our community from a health system that consistently puts profits over people,” said Jo Turner, ONA bargaining unit chair and nurse at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services. “Anyone who’s tried to get healthcare lately can see that patients are suffering. Local nurses are running ourselves ragged trying to give our community the care it deserves but PeaceHealth executives have their heads stuck in the sand in Vancouver. It’s unbelievable that multimillionaire executives at a multibillion dollar company have turned their back on their mission to serve and care for our community. Your nurses are fighting to hold PeaceHealth’s corporate executives accountable.”   

Local home health and hospice nurses have endured 45+ contract bargaining sessions with PeaceHealth executives since Feb. 2023 including six sessions with a federal mediator. Nurses led a limited-duration strike on Feb. 10 – 24 to protect community health and safety, increase recruitment and retention, secure equitable pay and address the staffing crisis at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services.

Upon ending their limited duration strike and returning to mediation, PeaceHealth executives continued demanding nurses accept nearly 5% lower pay than PeaceHealth pays hospital nurses in Eugene/Springfield and hospital and home care nurses in Florence–despite both groups of home care nurses sharing managers and staff meetings and regularly caring for the same patients. PeaceHealth’s continued disrespect towards local nurses and their patients is driving nurses to leave–threatening our community’s health and exacerbating the care shortage. 

Since PeaceHealth let nurses’ contract expire last year, more than a quarter of home care nurses have quit. Another one-third of nurses plan to leave this year if PeaceHealth continues shortchanging patients and providers. 

“I voted yes to strike because I feel it is important for me to advocate for myself, my colleagues and my community. We deserve equal pay for equal work and our community needs a robust home care services team that can provide the care it needs. This fight is bigger than just myself and I am committed to standing firm against corporate greed,” said Cathy Smith, ONA member and nurse at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Home Care Services. 

In a series of unfair labor practice charges, PeaceHealth is accused of waging a campaign of interference, intimidation and threats against nurses for exercising their rights; refusing to meet and bargain in good faith; and threatening to terminate health insurance for home care nurses and their families.

PeaceHealth also faces serious allegations from workers about its failure to properly care for local home health and hospice patients during a previous strike including missed care, cancellations, hospital readmissions and scab workers quitting.  

The community has rallied around its nurses over the past few months as patients, healthcare providers, elected officials, and community allies have joined strike lines and pickets and contacted PeaceHealth executives to show their support for local nurses.

“Nurses providing home care and hospice care are among the most important members of our health care workforce, serving on the frontlines of care for many of the most vulnerable and fragile people in our community. Their work allows patients to live in their homes with dignity while their medical needs are being addressed—and their work also allows patients and their families to face the end-of-life process with that same level of care and dignity. By giving these nurses our full support, we are in turn supporting those in our community who urgently need this type of care,” said Oregon House Speaker and Eugene resident Julie Fahey in a letter to PeaceHealth executives earlier this month.“These frontline workers deserve financial stability and safe working conditions, which will also protect their vulnerable patients. Our community deserves nothing less.” 

Nurses’ strike vote authorizes the bargaining team to call a strike. If a strike is called, ONA will provide our community and PeaceHealth with a 10-day notice to allow PeaceHealth executives adequate time to connect patients to alternate care options or to join us at the table and reach a fair agreement. 

The next mediation session is scheduled for April 24. The nurse bargaining team intends to work towards a positive resolution but will call for a strike if they believe it is necessary to move PeaceHealth to meet the needs of patients, providers and our community.

UO Defensive Back Daylen Austin Charged In Fatal Hit-And-Run Crash

UO defensive back Daylen Austin has been charged in an alleged hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a 46-year-old man in Eugene.

Eugene police said that the accident occurred at about 9:10 p.m. local time Monday night at the corner of West 4th Avenue and Polk Street, about three miles from campus, and Austin was then arrested at around 11:45 p.m., according to ABC News .

On Wednesday, he was arraigned on a charge of failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons, a class B felony, and was granted a conditional release by Judge Kamala Shugar, according to the Oregonian .

The deceased man has not been publicly identified by police. Austin has a pretrial conference scheduled for May 19.

“This is a complex investigation and EPD is still gathering information to be submitted to the Lane County District Attorney’s Office for a final charging decision,” a police spokesperson said, per ABC.

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.

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. 

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.

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 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.

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. 

Nike Layoffs at Oregon Headquarters

Nike plans to lay off 740 employees at its Oregon headquarters before June 28, the company has told state officials.

The company notified state and local officials about the workforce reduction at its Beaverton, Oregon headquarters in a notice mandated by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act on Friday.

The sportswear giant “will be permanently reducing its workforce at its World Headquarters” in a “second phase of impacts” that would begin by June 28, wrote Nike vice president Michele Adams in the notice, first reported by Reuters and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Two months ago, Nike CEO John Donahoe told employees in a memo of plans to reduce its workforce by about 2%, or more than 1,600 employees, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. The company had about 83,700 employees as of May 31, 2023.

“Nike’s always at our best when we’re on the offense. The actions that we’re taking put us in the position to right-size our organization to get after our biggest growth opportunities as interest in sport, health and wellness have never been stronger,” the company said in a statement to USA TODAY. “While these changes will impact approximately 2% of our total workforce, we are grateful for the contributions made by all Nike teammates.”

The reductions are part of a three-year plan to cut $2 billion in costs Nike announced in December.

Nike is targeting cost reductions as it forecasts a “low single-digits” decline in revenue during the first half of its 2025 fiscal year – which begins June 1. “We are taking our product portfolio through a period of transition,” Nike chief financial officer Matt Friend said during the March 21, 2024 earnings call.

Nike shares rose nearly 2% this past week, but are down more than 11% so far this year and have fallen more than 23% over 12 months.

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, according to a release from the OHA.

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

OHA has convened a community review board. This board is hosting a public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m. on 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.

To register for the public hearing, visit the OHA’s website.

Background

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 four 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,” she said. “We believe this proposed merger would hurt both, and we’re doing our part to prevent it from going forward.”

Klamath Falls kidnapping case takes more turns as Sakima Zuberi represents himself and tries to get case dismissed

Sakima Zuberi (formerly referred to as Negasi Zuberi, Justin Hyche or Justin Kouassi) is the alleged kidnapper who abducted a woman from Washington state last summer, driving her back to his rental home in Klamath Falls where he kept her in a crafted cinderblock cell in the garage.

The woman escaped shortly after her arrival, leading to Zuberi’s arrest in Nevada the following day.

Zuberi plead not guilty to all charges received so far with a motion to dismiss the case from his lawyer when the cell was dismantled shortly after the investigation by the owner of the house, Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall.

“Obviously I have no use for a cinder cell,” the mayor later told the Rogue Valley Times, also noting that she’d received permission from the FBI prior to taking the structure down.

A letter submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane last December came handwritten from Zuberi himself, explaining why his case should be dismissed.

“Due process is the right to see, inspect, examine, analyze and confirm all evidence being used against me in a criminal proceeding,” Zuberi wrote, citing the FBI’s photos of the cinderblock cell as “the life of their case.”

McShane denied the motion for dismissal.

Last month, the case took another interesting turn when Zuberi addressed the court, requesting to represent himself on the case.

At the following hearing on April 1, McShane allowed Zuberi to argue why he should proceed without legal counsel.

McShane said, “I’ve never seen anyone represent themselves with great success. It’s generally been a mistake.”

Zuberi’s attorney Michael P. Bertholf declined to comment on his client’s request.

In addition to the kidnapping charges in the initial indictment, Zuberi also faces local charges in Klamath Falls in a separate sexual assault and kidnapping case involving a resident of Klamath County.

He is also charged with attempting to escape after he allegedly tried to break through the window of his own cell in Jackson County Jail. Zuberi remains in custody and is awaiting trial in October.

Despite petitions, federal regulators approve construction on expanded Northwest gas pipeline

This is a map of the Gas Transmission Northwest Express pipeline, or GTN Express, from the Idaho-Canada border to southern Oregon. (Courtesy of TC Energy)

Federal regulators are allowing construction to begin on expanding a controversial gas pipeline running through North Idaho, Washington, Oregon and northern California.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order Wednesday giving the greenlight to the pipeline’s owner, the Canadian company TC Energy, to begin construction following its denial Tuesday of appeals from conservationists and attorneys general in Oregon and Washington to reassess its approval of the Northwest XPress expansion project.

The 1,400-mile pipeline already sends billions of cubic feet of gas everyday from Canada to utilities supplying natural gas customers in the Northwest and California. In 2021, TC Energy asked the federal energy commission to allow it to increase the pipeline’s capacity, adding millions of cubic feet of gas extracted by fracking to the pipeline each day. Company representatives told the commission and the Oregon Capital Chronicle that they need to increase capacity to meet demand.

Those opposed to the pipeline say the company has not proved a need for an expansion in an increasingly electrifying world and one where renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper and more abundant. Natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, and environmentalists also oppose fracking which involves injecting toxic chemicals into the earth.

Northwest opposition to pipeline’s expansion — The project is opposed by environmentalists, the governors of Oregon and Washington, the states’ U.S. senators and the attorneys general of Oregon, Washington and California. For more than a year, they have called on the federal energy agency not to allow the project to move forward. They’ve said expanding the pipeline’s capacity undermines their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that the company will invariably pass the costs of the pipeline expansion on to natural gas customers in the region.

Consumers already pay significantly higher prices today for natural gas than they did even three or four years ago. All three natural gas companies in Oregon have requested rate hikes this year from the state’s Public Utilities Commission. Rates have gone up 50% on average since 2020 for residential customers of the state’s largest natural gas utility, NW Natural, according to the watchdog Citizens’ Utilities Board. READ MORE

Oregon State Police investigating Fetus found at state park during field trip

Oregon State Police today are investigating the discovery of a fetus in a state park in Klamath County.

Oregon State Police (OSP) information to NewsWatch 12 said a group of high school biology students found it during an outing this week.

OSP said the students found the fetus Wednesday at Collier State Park, about five miles north of Chiloquin.

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber said his office fielded the initial call about the discovery as a police matter around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. He said his office called OSP because it has police jurisdiction for state parks.

“On April 17, 2024, at approximately 11:32 AM, the Oregon State Police were contacted with a report of a human fetus being located at the Collier State Park Day Use Area in Klamath County, Oregon. Oregon State Police Troopers responded to the call and learned a Henley High School Biology Class was on a field trip at the Collier State Park Day Use Area. Several biology high school students were wading in the Williamson River and located a suspected human embryo, approximately two inches long by a half inch wide. There is an on-going investigation into this incident and no further information is available to release.”

OSP invites any information regarding the incident to the Oregon State Police Klamath Falls Area Command office.

Klamath County School District said resources are available for any student who needs them.

RADE Search Warrant Nets Drugs, Guns, U.S. Currency — 3 Arrested in Grants Pass

Grants Pass, Ore. – On Thursday, April 18, around 9:00 AM,  members of the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) team and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Medford Office executed a search warrant in the 1800 block of NW Burns Ave. in Grants Pass, Oregon.

The search warrant revealed approximately four (4) pounds of fentanyl, approximately $35,000.00 U.S. currency in suspected illegal drug proceeds, thirteen (13) firearms (three were found to be stolen), over 12-ounces of methamphetamine, an ounce of cocaine, an ounce of Psilocybin mushrooms, and other controlled substances.  

Brandon Ruppel (47 years old) and Laura Berry (52 years old) were transported and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for PCS Schedule II, MCS/DCS Controlled Substance within 1000’ of a School, and Felon in Possession of a Weapon.  An additional occupant of the residence, Jason Ruppel (50 years old) was cited and released on multiple drug crimes and firearms charges.  

The RADE team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency, prosecutor-supported approach. RADE is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), composed of members from the Oregon State Police, Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Community Corrections, and the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including RADE. There is no additional information available at this time.  

U.S. Attorney’s Office Launches Carjacking Task Force

PORTLAND, Ore.—The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced today that it will join 10 other U.S. Attorney’s Offices in establishing a multi-agency task force to address carjacking, an important public safety threat impacting communities in Oregon and beyond.

“We are pleased to join our Justice Department colleagues from across the country in taking this important, targeted step to address carjacking, a dangerous, violent crime. We thank all our law enforcement partners for their ongoing commitment to protecting Oregonians through this and other violent crime reduction efforts.” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“The Justice Department has no higher priority than keeping our communities safe. We do so by targeting the most significant drivers of violent crime and by acting as a force multiplier for our state and local law enforcement partners. We’re seeing results — with violent crime declining broadly nationwide,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Today, we are launching seven new carjacking task forces across the country to build on the success of task forces in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Tampa, where available data shows that carjacking rates are now falling. When prosecutors, officers, agents, and analysts come together to crunch data, share intelligence, and apply best practices, we can make real progress in the fight against all forms of violent crime, including carjacking.”

In keeping with the Justice Department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime, the District of Oregon carjacking task force will focus federal resources on identifying, investigating, and prosecuting individuals responsible for committing carjackings and related crimes throughout the state. 

Carjacking task forces have proven to be an effective part of successful violent crime reduction strategies by focusing on a significant driver of crime and taking violent offenders off the streets. For example, carjackings in Philadelphia declined by 31 percent from 2022 to 2023, and armed carjackings are down 28 percent in the District of Columbia so far this year compared to the same period in 2023. In Chicago, carjackings decreased 29 percent from their high in 2021 through the end of 2023.

Local efforts to combat carjacking have already produced positive results. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a three-count indictment charging, Raheim Carter, 41, a Portland resident, with carjacking, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. On March 15, 2024, Carter and an accomplice are alleged to have stolen a vehicle at gunpoint from a North Portland resident. Carter and the accomplice are alleged to have approached the victim while he was unloading groceries from his vehicle, demanded he hand over his keys at gunpoint, and drove off with the vehicle. The case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau with assistance from the FBI.

The newly formed carjacking task forces will be led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with state and local law enforcement partners.

Skeletal Remains Found in Rural Jacksonville Area, Detectives Investigating Suspicious Death

RURAL JACKSONVILLE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives are investigating a suspicious death after skeletal remains were discovered Sunday, April 14 outside Jacksonville in the Applegate area. JCSO detectives and medical examiners responded to investigate. The rugged terrain and remote area required JCSO Search and Rescue (SAR) to assist in recovering the remains. Due to the ongoing investigation, the exact location will not be released at this time.

Investigators are working to identify the subject and the cause and manner of death. Due to the advanced stages of decomposition, state medical examiners will conduct additional testing. This case is under further investigation with detectives following additional leads. No more information is available at this time. JCSO Case 24-2046

Merkley, Wyden: Immediate Drought Relief Headed to the Klamath Basin, Pushing for Long-Term Recovery Solutions

Washington, D.C.– Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden released the following statement today following the Bureau of Reclamation’s recently announced water allocation for the Klamath Project, as well as $8.5 million in immediate drought relief aid for Klamath Basin communities and $5 million in technical assistance for Klamath Basin Tribes impacted by prolonged drought:

“We remain committed as ever to working together to ensure Klamath Basin communities have the resources they need to be successful. While the initial water allocation announced this year was less than expected, this immediate funding we secured and pushed the Biden administration to make available will go toward helping the region meet the challenges ahead.

“We are encouraged by the progress that Tribes and farmers in the basin have made in recent months, including the historic agreement between the Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, and Klamath Water Users Association, as well as the infusion of $72 million?in new federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the basin’s recovery.

“Driven by the momentum of the cooperation paired with the robust investments that we secured, we are encouraged by the new ways folks are coming together to modernize agricultural operations, restore ecosystems and productive farms, and save the C’waam and Koptu fish from extinction. All these collective efforts are certainly building toward more comprehensive solutions where everyone in the Klamath Basin moves forward together toward a more resilient future.” https://www.wyden.senate.gov/news/press-releases/merkley-wyden-immediate-drought-relief-headed-to-the-klamath-basin-pushing-for-long-term-recovery-solutions

National Park Service approves Crater Lake National Park concessions contract transfer

Hospitality company ExplorUS to offer full visitor services this summer

CRATER LAKE, Ore. – The National Park Service (NPS) has approved the transfer of the Crater Lake National Park concessions contract formerly held by Crater Lake Hospitality.   

Hospitality company ExplorUS will take over providing visitor services under the contract immediately, including:  

  • Lodging at Crater Lake Lodge, The Cabins at Mazama Village, and Mazama Campground    
  • Food and Beverage at Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, Annie Creek Restaurant, and Rim Village Café    
  • Retail at Rim Village Gift Shop, Annie Creek Gift Shop and Mazama Village Store (including gas pumps)   
  • Lake and Wizard Island Boat Tours 

“We look forward to working with ExplorUS as they invest in facilities, staff training, visitor services, and other improvements to make visitors’ and employees’ experiences at Crater Lake even better,” Crater Lake National Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman said.  

NPS and ExplorUS are striving for a seamless transition of services but ask for flexibility and patience from park visitors. The majority of visitor services in Crater Lake National Park begin to open for the season in mid-May. Information about services currently available are available on the park website at https://www.nps.gov/crla.   

www.nps.gov  

  About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 429 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.   

The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is back open after the winter season closure.

Tours will be offered five days a week, Thursday through Monday, on a limited basis. They will run on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Entry to the monument is free, however tickets for tours can be purchased on site or at the Illinois Valley Visitor Center.

Meanwhile, Crater Lake National Park visitors can enjoy a free visit this weekend. Saturday is the first day of National Park Week which means the National Park Service is offering free admission to over 400 parks nationwide.

That includes Crater Lake National Park, and it’s only on Saturday.

The next fee free day after that is June 19.

National Park Week runs April 20 through April 28 and NPS is offering up a list of themes for each day of the celebration: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/national-park-week.htm

Entrance fees will be waived on April 20, 2024, to kick off the celebration and to encourage everyone to enjoy their national parks in person. National Park Service parks, programs, and partners will host events and activities all week! Follow National Park Week on social media and join the fun all week using #NationalParkWeek.

Oregon’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Rises by 1,400 in March

In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,400 jobs, following a revised gain of 2,800 jobs in February. March’s gains were largest in professional and business services (+2,400 jobs); government (+1,000); and wholesale trade (+600). Monthly declines were largest in construction (-2,300 jobs); retail trade (-600); and manufacturing (-600).

Hiring trends diverged during the first three months of the year. Several major industries expanded by at least 1,500 jobs, while others contracted. Health care and social assistance continued its rapid growth of the past two years with gains totaling 3,300 jobs during January, February, and March. Administrative and waste services added 2,700 jobs during those three months, which was an abrupt shift following this industry’s loss of 4,600 jobs during 2023. Government added 1,500 jobs so far this year as it continued its recovery and expansion of the past three years.

The industry that dropped the most during the first three months of the year was construction, which dropped by 3,300 jobs, following a relatively flat year in 2023 when it gained only 900 jobs. Meanwhile, accommodation and food services dropped 1,900 jobs so far this year, which nearly erased its gain of 2,000 jobs last year. 

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in both February and March. Its rise from a record low of 3.4% in May 2023 is a sign of a loosening labor market. Another indicator of a loosening labor market was the rise in the number of Oregonians employed part time for economic reasons, which rose to 73,000 in March from a low of 48,200 in September 2022. 

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.

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

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

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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