Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 5/15 – Lane County Public Health Declares Community Wide Pertussis Outbreak, Negotiations Uncertain as Third Week of UO Student Protest Encampment Begins & 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, May 15, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

Lane County Public Health Declares Community Wide Pertussis Outbreak

Lane County Public Health (LCPH) has declared a community-wide pertussis outbreak due to a surge in cases surpassing typical community, regional, or seasonal expectations. In the last 7 days, the number of presumptive and confirmed cases has doubled, putting the total number of cases at nearly 40, with more awaiting lab results. While some of the cases are linked, there are sporadic cases scattered throughout the area indicating community spread.

So far in 2024, there have been 120 cases statewide in Oregon, as compared to 17 at this time last year. LCPH emphasizes the urgency for the community to implement precautionary measures to mitigate further spread of this highly contagious respiratory infection.

“We are seeing a number of cases in very young children and at-risk populations,” said LCPH Deputy Health Officer, Dr. Lisandra Guzman. “Their health depends on our actions, so now is the time to do everything we can to protect them.”

Recognizing the severity of pertussis, especially for vulnerable populations such as infants, pregnant people, young children, and individuals with underlying medical conditions, LCPH emphasizes the importance of getting tested at the earliest onset of symptoms, staying up to date with pertussis vaccinations, and practicing good respiratory hygiene. This is especially crucial for pregnant people and those in close contact with young children.

Infants and children <7 years old should adhere to the DTaP vaccination series, while adolescents are advised to obtain a single dose of Tdap, ideally at age 11 or 12, to bolster community immunity. Pregnant people should receive a Tdap during the third trimester of each pregnancy to provide vital protection for themselves and their infants. Adults should also receive at least 1 dose of Tdap vaccine, and can receive one every 10 years. Pertussis vaccination is available through your primary care provider, local pharmacies, and for those without insurance, a Federally Qualified Health Center.

Pertussis, commonly called “whooping cough,” is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Pertussis can spread through the air when infected people cough or sneeze. In an unvaccinated population, one case of pertussis can cause as many as 16 new cases. Pertussis usually starts with mild upper respiratory symptoms that can sometimes mimic seasonal allergies, the common cold, or even influenza, underscoring the importance of timely testing for those individuals in close contact with a vulnerable person.

Symptoms also include prolonged coughing fits, often accompanied by a distinctive “whoop” sound during inhalation, gagging or vomiting while coughing, and exhaustion. Complications, if left untreated, especially in infants, can be severe and include pneumonia, dehydration, seizures, and even brain damage.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or your child is:

· Struggling to breathe

· Turning blue or purple

LCPH recommends practicing good hygiene to prevent the spread of the bacteria that cause pertussis and other respiratory illnesses:

· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

· Throw away used tissues in a waste basket right away.

· Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow if you don’t have a tissue. Never cough into your hands, as pertussis can be spread this way.

· Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

· Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

· Stay home when you are sick

In the event of a pertussis diagnosis, adherence to prescribed antibiotics and isolation from others until you are no longer infectious is crucial. Individuals can transmit the bacteria from the onset of symptoms for up to three weeks after coughing fits begin.

For more information about pertussis prevention and treatment, visit the LCPH website, at  http://www.lanecountyor.gov/publichealth

Negotiations Uncertain as Third Week of UO Student Protest Encampment Begins  

The Daily Emerald is providing live coverage of the University of Oregon’s pro-Palestine encampment, which began on April 29 at 7 a.m. All of our coverage on the encampment can be found here.

Below is the Emerald’s coverage of May 13, the 15th day of the encampment.

As UO’s pro-Palestine encampment entered its third week on the Memorial Quad, it was unclear how negotiations with the university would progress. Negotiations have not occurred since May 9. On May 10, encampment representatives requested a public negotiations session, which the university declined to engage with citing “agreed-upon ground rules.” 

UO spokesperson Eric Howald said that “the door remains open” for student negotiators to meet with university officials. Tea Bland, a media liaison for the encampment, said that “we’re waiting for the university to reach out to resume negotiations for now so they can meet with us in good faith.” The parties did not meet on Monday.

University officials, including President John Karl Scholz, have not been receptive to demands over divestment or issuing a statement on a ceasefire in Gaza. And in a sit-down interview with the Daily Emerald and KLCC on Friday, Scholz did not discuss potential police involvement despite being asked three times.

University of Oregon Faculty & Staff for Justice in Palestine sent a letter to President Scholz, touching on points that UOFSJP feels President John Karl Scholz has handled incorrectly in regard to the encampment and the Israel-Hamas war.

“Generally, ever since October, your remarks miss the fact that Israel is currently committing genocide against the Palestinian people, as has been established by over 400 leading genocide and Holocaust scholars along with UN human rights experts,” the letter reads.

The letter accuses Scholz of misrepresenting the encampment’s goals in public statements, criticizes his declared policy of “institutional neutrality,” and states the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is effective.

It was an otherwise quiet day at the encampment. A “camp clean-up” took place at 10 a.m., followed later in the day by other events including “BDS 101” and a Zoom call with leaders of another pro-Palestine encampment at San Francisco State University. READ MORE: https://www.dailyemerald.com/news/third-week-of-university-of-oregon-pro-palestine-encampment-begins-with-negotiations-uncertain/article_0c659382-1144-11ef-9bad-b3ad0b0fa53a.html

Corvallis Police Department Patrol Car Totaled by Suspected DUII Driver

On Sunday, May 12, 2024, at approximately 1:30 AM, a Corvallis Police Department Patrol vehicle was rear-ended in the intersection of Hwy 99 W and NE Conifer Blvd. 

Witnesses at the scene reported seeing the patrol vehicle slow down on Hwy 99 W and begin a signaled righthand turn at the light onto NE Conifer Blvd when it was hit from behind by Amanda Johnston (24) of Albany. Witness accounts and investigation at the scene suggest Johnston was traveling at speeds close to 50 mph when the collision occurred. 

Benton County Sheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the scene and performed standardized field sobriety tests that determined Johnston was showing indications of impairment. BSCO deputies subsequently arrested Johnston for a DUII-Alcohol and Reckless Driving. Johnston’s blood alcohol content registered at .19% at the time of her processing. Johnston was cited and released.

The Corvallis Police Officer involved in the collision was assessed at a local hospital for minor injuries. The patrol vehicle was totaled as a result of the collision (photo attached). 

This incident highlights the dangers that impaired driving poses to the community and officers. In our ongoing efforts to keep Oregon drivers safe, Corvallis Police Department patrol officers will be conducting targeted DUII enforcement this Memorial Day weekend. 

Note: At this time there is no additional information available related to this incident.

Firefighters Contain Eugene House Fire

Tuesday, just after 3pm, Eugene Springfield Fire responded to a reported fire in a duplex in South Eugene. Upon arrival, E15 from the South Hills station found smoke coming from one side of the residence, with an occupant attempting to extinguish a fire in the laundry room. Crews quickly deployed a hoseline to complete fire extinguishment, searched the structure for residents, and checked for fire extension into the walls and ceiling. EPD arrived to assist with traffic control, and ESF Deputy Fire Marshal will complete an investigation.

Firefighters Respond to Grass Fire Near I-5 and Beltline

Eugene Springfield Fire responded to a grassfire on the shoulder of I-5 southbound just before the Beltline exit.  The fire was burning in relatively green grasses with dead vegetation mixed in and pushed by high winds.  The fire was contained at approximately ½ acres.  ESF was assisted by Coburg Fire District.  This fire serves as a reminder that it takes little heat and wind to start a wildfire. 

5 Affordable Housing Projects Seeking Eugene City Funding

Eugene has been identified as a city with severe rent burdens, a place where many households pay more than 50% of their incomes on rental housing costs. In 2022, 31.3% of households were considered severely rent-burdened . Lane County’s homelessness dashboard counted 4,578 unhoused individuals in March of 2024.

Eugene’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) is just one of the tools used by the city to identify projects that could effectively develop more affordable housing. After multiple meetings, the committee advising the AHTF is getting its 2024 project funding recommendations ready to present to the City Council.

A look at the AHTF’s 2024 Requests for Proposals — This year, the AHTF has $1,056,545 of funding available for distribution. Four proposals and a request for gap funding were received for the 2024 round of funding. In total, these four projects, not including the gap funding proposal, requested $1,947,049. 

What’s next? — Now that proposals have been reviewed and scored by the AHTF Advisory Committee, city staff will generate recommendations that are scheduled to be presented to the City Council on June 10.

Once the Council provides direction on funding recommendations, agreements will be drafted to outline funding requirements for developers. AHTF funds usually come to projects as reimbursements, so as developers generate and pay invoices throughout the project, those invoices are sent to AHTF staff, who reimburse the project developer. About 10% of an AHTF development award is held until construction is complete and the project obtains certificates of occupancy. (READ MORE)

Remembering Eugene Police Department and Lane County Sheriff’s Fallen Officers during National Police Week May 12-18

Eugene Police Department honors local and fallen officers nationwide during National Police Week May 12-18, 2024. Eugene Police Department is remembering all fallen officers, and especially Officer Chris Kilcullen, Officer Oscar Duley, and Officer Jesse Jennings Jackson. By remembering them each year, we honor them for their exemplary service and the ultimate sacrifice they and their families made for our community.

National Police Week 2024 is May 12 through May 18. This is a time when our country memorializes law enforcement personnel who died in the line of duty. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. There is a National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial in Washington DC to raise awareness about those officers who have died in the line of duty. READ MORE: https://www.facebook.com/EugenePolice

Lane County Sheriff’s Office

May be an image of ‎7 people and ‎text that says '‎2024 NATIONAL POLICE RESPECT. RESPECT.HONOR.REMEMBER HONOR. REMEMBER. WEEK SHERIPP SHERIP ANE OF ្ COUNT ERIFF'S OFRO 3H COUNTYED CO COUNT ل F'S‎'‎‎

 This week marks National Police Week, when we give special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others while honoring those who commit themselves to the field of law enforcement. Our own county has had many deputies – and even a sheriff – lay down their lives in service to the people of our county. Join us in remembering their sacrifice. READ MORE: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=836934301812636&set=a.300970985408973

At Lane County Elections, we value transparency.

📺 Watch our Lane County Elections livestream 📺

Our Elections livestream up! You can watch on YouTube and see the Lane County Elections Office as it works to receive, process and count ballots. It’s part of our commitment to transparency in elections. The livestream will remain active through the certification of election results on June 17. www.youtube.com/@Lane_County_OR_Elections

Lane County voters: remember to sign the return envelope and return your ballots early

Voters are urged to return their ballots as early as possible to ensure they are received at Lane County Elections by the 8:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, May 21. 

In order to be counted, ballots must be received at Lane County Elections by:

  • Regular mail. Ballots must be postmarked no later than May 21, 2024 and received no later than May 28, 2024 to be counted.
  • A 24/7 ballot drop box.
  • Lane County Elections. Ballots can be turned in by May 21, 2024 directly to the Lane County Elections Office during business hours (open until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day).

“We have passionate, engaged voters in Lane County and we want all eligible voters to feel confident returning their ballots in a way that is most convenient for them,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “There are several options and, as long as voters are aware of the ballot return deadlines, they can ensure their ballots are received in time so their votes can be counted.”

Voters must also remember to sign their ballot return envelopes before mailing or returning their completed ballot to Lane County Elections.

The signature is a security measure used to verify identity. Signatures are compared to those in the voter registration record. A ballot may only be counted if the signatures match.

If you forget to sign the envelope or your signature does not match, you will receive a notice from Lane County Elections advising you of the issue and how to fix or “cure” it. You have until the 21st day after the election to cure your signature issue and have your ballot counted.

What can you do to ensure your signature matches?

  1. Sign your natural signature. If you don’t usually sign with a middle initial don’t sign your ballot envelope with it. Election workers are trained to look for specific characteristics within each signature. If you think your signature has changed significantly, contact Lane County Elections.
  1. Don’t sign another person’s name. Even if someone gives you permission to sign, or you have power of attorney, it is against the law in Oregon to sign another person’s name on a return envelope. It’s forgery.
  1. Request help if you have difficulty signing.  If it is difficult for you to sign, on either a temporary or permanent basis, you can complete a signature attestation form and return it to Lane County Elections.  Completing this step will allow you to use a signature stamp or other indicator that represents your signature.
  1. Correct a mistake if you accidentally sign your name on someone in your household’s envelope. If you and another person in your household sign each other’s return ballot envelopes, simply place a line through the incorrect signatures and sign the correct envelopes.

Voters with questions can email elections@lanecountyor.gov or call 541-682-4234.

About the Lane County Elections Office: The Elections Office, located at 275 W. 10th Avenue in Eugene, is responsible for conducting elections in Lane County.  The Elections Office manages voter registration, the processing of mail ballots, recruitment and training of election workers, and certification of elections.

Wyden, Merkley: Lane and Douglas Counties to Receive Vital Drought Resiliency Investments

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced Douglas and Lane counties will receive $1.22 million and $4 million, respectively, in drought resiliency funding as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.    “In Oregon and throughout the West, we know firsthand how much the climate crisis has devastated our communities and economies with drought and other impacts,” Wyden said. “Solutions for water storage and innovative ways to capture and reuse water are … Continue Reading

Lane County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Offers Free Boat Inspections During May

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Bi-Mart to again offer free boat inspections to help you get on the water safely! 

Bring your boat to a listed Bi-Mart on the scheduled date and time and a Lane County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Deputy will inspect your boat for free and help make sure you have everything you need.

And for those non-motorized boats (including paddle boards, kayaks, etc.), be sure to always carry a life jacket, whistle/horn and a waterway access permit.

Saturday 5/25/24 – 10am-1pm
Springfield Bi-Mart
1521 Mohawk Boulevard

Sunday 5/26/24 – 10am-1pm
Veneta Bi-Mart
25126 Jeans Road

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.

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

State holding open house meetings on community wildfire programs

SALEM, Ore. — A series of six open houses about the state’s new community wildfire risk reduction programs are scheduled June 3 through July 1 across Oregon. These events will offer opportunities to learn about new defensible space and home hardening standards, as well as the draft wildfire hazard map. 

The resource-fair style open houses are being held in the communities that have some of the greatest levels of wildfire hazard within the wildland-urban interface. Each open house will begin with a short presentation and introductions, but visitors may stop in at any point during the event to get questions answered about the draft hazard map and associated community wildfire programs. 

Representatives from multiple agencies will be present to have one-on-one or small group conversations to help people understand Oregon’s statewide wildfire programs.

  • Oregon Department of Forestry representatives will address questions on administrative rules and hazard zone assessment appeals.
  • Oregon State University representatives will address questions on wildfire hazard science, statewide data sources, and updates to the draft hazard map made over the last two years.
  • Oregon State Fire Marshal representatives will address questions regarding defensible space standards, code adoption process and implementation.
  • Building Codes Division representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home hardening construction standards, related code provisions, and implementation.
  • Division of Financial Regulation representatives from the Department of Consumer and Business Services will address questions on home insurance market and requirements of insurers under Senate Bill 82 (2023).
  • Wildfire Programs Advisory Council members will address questions on statewide policy direction for wildfire programs and council business.

Meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the following dates:

  • Redmond—Monday, June 3, Deschutes County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, South Sister Hall, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond, OR 97756
  • La Grande—Tuesday, June 4, Union County Fairgrounds, Mount Emily Building, 3604 N 2nd St., La Grande, OR 97850
  • Central Point—Monday, June 17, Jackson County Fairgrounds, Mace Building, 1 Peninger Rd., Central Point, OR 97502
  • Grants Pass—Thursday, June 20, Grants Pass High School, 830 NE 9th St., Grants Pass, OR 97526
  • Klamath Falls—Monday, June 24, Klamath County Event Center, Hall #2, 3531 S 6th St., Klamath Falls, OR 97603
  • The Dalles—Monday, July 1, Oregon Military Department Armory, 402 E. Scenic Dr., The Dalles, OR 97058

Find more information on ODF’s wildfire hazard webpage.

To subscribe to information related to updates on the statewide wildfire hazard map, visit the ODF website.

Background: The 2021 Legislature passed Senate Bill 762 that required the Oregon Department of Forestry to develop and maintain a comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk that included wildland-urban interface boundaries and five fire risk classes by June 30, 2022, in collaboration with Oregon State University. After the initial version of the map was rescinded August 4, 2022, ODF and OSU began gathering feedback and incorporating it into future mapping efforts. 

The 2023 Legislature passed Senate Bill 80 that made several changes to the map including changing the name from a “risk” map to a “hazard” map, reducing the number of hazard classes from five to three, and changing the appeal and notification requirements. 

Written comment or questions about any aspect of the implementation of Senate Bill 762 and Senate Bill 80 may be submitted by email at any time to ehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov“>odf.wildfirehazardmap@odf.oregon.gov.

Wyden Demands Intuit Help Oregonians Whose Use of TurboTax Misled Them into Overpaying State Taxes

Senate Finance Committee Chair: “Fixing this error will require identifying all affected Oregonians, notifying them, and ensuring they can be made whole.”

– U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today demanded that Intuit make whole all Oregon taxpayers whose recent use of the company’s TurboTax product incorrectly led them to overpay their state tax.

In a letter to Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi, Wyden cited a recent report that a TurboTax software error opted Oregon taxpayers into claiming the standard deduction on their state taxes when itemizing would have produced a larger refund. Wyden noted the Oregon Department of Revenue notified Intuit of the problem in early April, but the company failed to acknowledge it until a few days before the April 15 filing deadline.

“Fixing this error will require identifying all affected Oregonians, notifying them, and ensuring they can be made whole,” wrote Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “In part because of TurboTax’s various guarantees and market share, Oregonians who overpaid due to TurboTax’s error likely assumed the software opted them into claiming state standard deduction to minimize their taxes. That assumption was wrong.”

“And because the vast majority of taxpayers understandably dread filing season and avoid thinking about taxes after it ends, many of those affected will not learn on their own that they overpaid,” Wyden wrote. “Intuit must inform them and help them get the full tax refunds they are entitled to receive.”

Wyden has been a longtime critic of deceptive advertising by Intuit and a strong supporter of Direct File, the new free tax tool available in some states to let taxpayers file federal taxes directly with the IRS.

“TurboTax encourages customers to ‘File with confidence knowing your tax return is backed by America’s #1 tax preparation provider. Its “Maximum Refund Guarantee” states that ‘[i]f you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid,’’’ Wyden wrote. “Intuit has a history of deceptive advertising, but I expect it to make good on this guarantee.”

Wyden asked Intuit to answer the following questions by May 15 to help the Finance Committee understand the extent of its problems in Oregon and address them:

  • When and how did Intuit first learn of the problem, what steps did it take to investigate, and what steps did it take to mitigate the problem after it was confirmed?
  • How does Intuit test TurboTax to identify and eliminate errors in its software that would cause taxpayers to over or underpay?
  • How did this quality control process fail in this case involving Oregon’s state return?
  • How will Intuit prevent this or other similar problems from reoccurring?
  • How many Oregon customers were or may have been affected in this case?
  • Has Intuit investigated whether its software made a similar error in other states?
  • What steps will Intuit take to inform affected customers that they overpaid state tax due to a TurboTax error? 
  • Will Intuit help affected taxpayers file amended returns? How so, and at what cost?
  • If Oregonians discover they overpaid due to the TurboTax error, what steps will Intuit require they take to obtain a refund for the cost of filing a state return?
  • Will Intuit proactively send refunds of the TurboTax purchase price to customers who were affected?

The entire letter is here.

Opioid Settlement Board OKs $13.7 million to boost Oregon’s prevention workforce

OHA to provide allocation proposed by Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Opioid Settlement Prevention, Treatment & Recovery Board (Settlement Board) has approved a proposal to direct $13.7 million toward increasing and strengthening the state’s substance use prevention workforce.

On May 8, the Board approved an Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission (ADPC) proposal to build Oregon’s workforce capacity for primary substance use disorder prevention by providing:

  • $9.5 million to counties to strengthen local prevention workforce and evidence-based prevention programming.
  • Nearly $3.8 million to culturally and linguistically specific community-based organizations and regional health equity coalitions to increase the number of primary prevention initiatives in communities experiencing disproportionate impacts of substance use and overdose.
  • $450,000 to the Oregon Coalition for Prevention Professionals to train and certify up to 100 new certified prevention specialists.

The funding will be sent to Oregon health Authority (OHA), which will administer the allocations. The Board’s decision can be viewed in a recording of its May 8 meeting here.

Settlement Board Co-Chair Annaliese Dolph said, “The Settlement Board is setting an example for the state with this support of upstream prevention. We cannot treat our way out of the substance use disorder crisis. We must also prevent substance use disorders from occurring in the first place.”

Prior to awarding any funding, OHA must engage the partners listed in the ADPC proposal and provide a proposed funding formula and implementation plan to the Board for approval no later than Sept. 4, 2024. OHA is developing a partner engagement plan to begin this work.

Since July 2021, the State of Oregon has reached agreement on national lawsuits against several companies for their roles in the opioid crisis. Through these agreements, nearly $600 million will be awarded to Oregon over the course of 18 years. Settlement funds from opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies are divided between the State of Oregon (45%) and local jurisdictions (55%).

The state’s share is deposited into the Opioid Settlement, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery (OSPTR) Fund as it becomes available. This fund is controlled by the 18-member OSPTR Board.

Local jurisdictions receiving settlement funds (those with populations greater than 10,000) decide how to use their funds. Cities and counties must report to the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) annually on how they have allocated their funds. The annual OHA-DOJ expenditure report for fiscal year 2022-2023 will be posted to OHA’s website soon. The report for the current fiscal year will be published no later than Dec. 21, 2024.

OHA contracted with Comagine Health to convene a monthly Opioid Settlement Learning Collaborative for local jurisdictions to discuss allowable uses of settlement funds and best practices, including prevention best practices from other local jurisdictions.

OSPTR Board allocations to date — Through the current fiscal biennium that ends in June 2025, about $89 million will be deposited into the OSPTR Fund. To date, the OSPTR Board has decided on the following allocations:

  • $26.7 million to the nine Federally Recognized Tribes in Oregon – this is equivalent to 30% of all funds anticipated this biennium. This 30% set-aside will continue for the life of the fund as additional settlement payments are deposited.
  • $13 million to the Save Lives Oregon Harm Reduction Clearinghouse to distribute naloxone and other life-saving supplies to qualified entities.
  • $4 million to develop a unified and evidence-based state system for collecting, analyzing and publishing data about the availability and efficacy of substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services in Oregon as required by ORS Chapter 63, Section 6.

To learn more about Oregon’s opioid settlement funds, visit oregon.gov/opioidsettlement.

Oregon Lottery Warns of Jackpot Scams

Following news of the $1.3 billion Powerball win in Portland this April, Oregon Lottery is urging the public to beware of scams and phishing attempts associated with jackpots.

Over the weekend, a text message was circulating that falsely promised the Powerball winner was donating prize money to 10 citizens chosen at random. It asked those receiving the message to call a phone number to claim the winnings.

“Some common warning signs of phishing scams include receiving an unsolicited message with a sense of urgency or a request for personal information,” said Oregon Lottery Assistant Director of Security Justin Hedlund. “We expect there may be other scams out there trying to leverage the Powerball winner’s story, and it’s a red flag if something seems too good to be true.”

Oregon Lottery will never ask you to pay a fee to access your winnings.

If you believe you’re a victim of a scam, you can report it to theFBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center: https://www.ic3.gov/.If you received a suspicious text message, forward it to SPAM (7726) and report the phishing attempt to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned nearly $15.5 billion for economic development, public education, outdoor school, state parks, veteran services, and watershed enhancements. For more information visit  https://www.oregonlottery.org/press-releases/oregon-lottery-warns-of-jackpot-scams/

Portland State releases estimated cost of repairs for library damaged during protesters’ occupation

The university noted the estimate does not include expenses for replacing and repairing any damaged technology or furniture.

Portland State University estimates it will cost roughly $750,000 to repair Millar Library, which was damaged by a group of pro-Palestinian protesters who occupied the building for several days.

The university gave the update Tuesday morning, but noted that the number is an initial estimate and said it could “increase or decrease by about $125,000.” The cost does not include expenses for replacing and repairing any damaged technology or furniture.

Portland State has insurance and is seeking a claim to offset some of the costs.

Among the vandalism, the library’s fire alarm system was damaged. Many walls, along with some pillars and areas of the ground, were spray-painted with messages. Some computers, TVs, windows and interior glass walls will need to be replaced. Library staff had feared for a collection of valuable items — including rare books and records that have not been digitized — but they were found untouched. 

Administrators don’t expect the library to reopen until the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year.

Protect Our Waters – Waterway Cleanup Series Seeks Volunteers for Summer Events

The annual Waterway Cleanup Series, a collaborative effort between SOLVE and Clackamas Water Environment Services, has launched its 2024 iteration with a highly successful kickoff event at Meldrum Bar Park in Gladstone. The event, held on May 9, brought together 36 volunteers who joined forces to clean the vegetation and wetlands along the picturesque Willamette River, collectively picking up 100 pounds of trash and preventing it from reaching the waterways.

The Waterway Cleanup Series, spanning from May to September, is a vital initiative aimed at elevating the cleanliness of rivers, streams, and creeks throughout the region. Each year, SOLVE and Clackamas Water Environment Services join forces to actively promote and support a diverse range of litter cleanup projects, all geared towards preserving and enhancing the health of our precious waterways.

“We are thrilled to launch another season of the Waterway Cleanup Series, a true testament to the power of community and environmental stewardship,” said Kris Carico, CEO of SOLVE. “As we embark on this journey together, I urge individuals and families to seize this opportunity to make a tangible impact on the environment while connecting with nature and each other. Hosting or joining a cleanup event is not just about picking up trash; it’s about fostering a sense of responsibility and pride in our local ecosystems, ensuring they remain vibrant and healthy for generations to come.”

Get Involved! — We’re calling on individuals, businesses, community groups, and organizations to host cleanup events along their favorite waterways throughout the summer months. By organizing or joining a cleanup event, everyone plays a crucial role in preventing trash from polluting our rivers. More information and details about the family-friendly Watershed Discovery Day on June 1st can be found on our website: https://www.solveoregon.org/waterway-series

About SOLVE  — SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings people together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon and Southwest Washington to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more information. 

About Clackamas Water Environment Services — Clackamas Water Environment Services (WES) produces clean water, protects water quality, and recovers renewable resources. We do this by providing wastewater services, stormwater management, and environmental education. It’s our job to protect public health and support the vitality of our communities, natural environment and economy.

Oregon Listed In The Top 10 Most Dangerous States Per U.S. News And World Report

As part of the 2024 Best States rankings, U.S. News factored in both the violent crime rate and property crime rate in each state to determine how well they foster public safety, which informs the best states for crime and corrections rankings and the overall Best States rankings.

Police units respond on scene.

Oregon ranked 8th.

Violent Crime Rate: 342 per 100,000

Property Crime Rate: 2,935 per 100,000

Overall Best States Ranking: 31

Places at the bottom of the public safety ranking form this list of the country’s most dangerous states. Among the lower 48, they span from the West Coast to the South, and all but two of the 10 land in the lower half of the overall Best States rankings for 2024.

These are the 10 most dangerous states in the U.S. according to the Best States analysis.

  1. New Mexico
  2. Louisiana
  3. Colorado
  4. Arkansas
  5. Washington
  6. Tennessee
  7. Alaska
  8. Oregon
  9. California
  10. Missouri

For its part, the FBI notes that numerous factors can affect the amount and type of crime in different areas, including population density, economic conditions, climate and family cohesiveness.

MORE INFO: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/10-most-dangerous-states-in-america?onepage

Merkley Joins Senate Colleagues In Calling On Postal Service To Pause Planned Changes To Mail Delivery Network

Senators Urge USPS to Request a Comprehensive Assessment of Proposed Changes from its Regulator and Address the Results 

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley joined a bipartisan letter led by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Susan Collins (R-ME), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) calling on the United States Postal Service (USPS) to pause planned changes to its processing and delivery network that could slow down mail delivery until the potential impacts are further studied by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) and addressed by the Postal Service.

In the letter signed by 26 Senators, the lawmakers expressed concern over the impacts these changes have already had on communities across the country, and the potential impacts to timely mail delivery that further changes could cause. The Senators urged the USPS to request a comprehensive Advisory Opinion from the PRC that analyzes the full scope of the network changes, including changes to local transportation and postal facilities across the nation, before moving forward with any such changes.

“We call on USPS to pause all changes, pending a full study of this plan by its regulator. While USPS claims these changes overall will improve service while reducing costs, there is evidence to the contrary in locations where USPS has implemented changes so far,” wrote the Senators. “USPS must stop implementation, restore service in those areas where changes were implemented, and fully understand the nationwide effects of its plan on service and communities.” 

The Senators continued: “The Postal Service’s primary responsibility is to provide timely and reliable delivery to every community across the nation. While USPS must continue adapting as an agency to remain stable and serve the public’s current needs, it must proceed with caution and understand the implications of its plans in order to protect mail delivery for all communities.”  

Joining Merkley, Peters, Collins, Rosen, and Lummis in sending the letter were U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Kyrsten Sinema, (I-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), John Hoeven (R-ND), Fischer (R-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and John Cornyn (R-TX).

This latest letter builds on a series of actions from Merkley in opposition to the USPS downgrades in Oregon. Last month, Merkley joined a bipartisan letter with his Senate colleagues in opposition of USPS downgrades of processing and distribution facilities in Oregon, where mail processing at the Eugene and Medford facilities has begun transferring to a facility in Portland, distances of around 110 and 270 miles away, respectively. These changes are producing reports of mail delays in the Medford service area, in particular.

In March, Merkley joined his Senate colleagues in another letter to Postmaster DeJoy, urging him to stop any changes to USPS service standards that would result in job losses and further degrade mail delivery performance, especially in rural areas, which have longer distances where mail must travel and have greater potential risk for delayed service.

Previously, Merkley joined fellow Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer in a letter to Postmaster DeJoy asking USPS leaders to hold public hearings about its plan to consolidate mail sorting in Oregon—specifically flagging the Postal Service’s plan to transfer all sorting and distribution activities in the city to one hub in Beaverton. In their letter, lawmakers called on the USPS to engage in robust dialogue with letter carriers before moving forward with the consolidation plan involving the Portland region. Specifically, they request that USPS convene at least one listening session in every requested location that is open to all affected employees, including in Medford and Eugene.

Merkley led a bipartisan letter last year with members of the Oregon and Georgia congressional delegations to the leaders on the Subcommittees on Appropriations in the Senate and House that oversee the budget for the USPS, calling to block funds for the Postal Service’s planned downgrades.  

The text of the latest letter is copied below and available here.   

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy and U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors: 

We call on you to pause planned changes to the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) processing and delivery network under the “Delivering for America” plan, until you request and receive a comprehensive Advisory Opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission to fully study the potential impacts of these changes.  

USPS is moving forward swiftly with plans to consolidate and alter its facilities across the country, making irrevocable changes to its processing and delivery network which links all communities. This plan includes moving mail processing further away from local communities, by transferring operations out of local facilities (“Local Processing Centers” and Delivery Units) and into more distant hubs (“Regional Processing and Distribution Centers” and “Sorting and Delivery Centers”). The plan also includes “local transportation optimization,” an initiative that cuts the number of truck trips and mail collections at USPS facilities, causing mail to sit overnight in local offices. USPS has begun to implement this change without notifying the public, causing critical delays for mail that requires overnight delivery. 

We are concerned about the impacts these changes have had so far, and the potential impacts that further changes could have. In regions where USPS has implemented significant changes, on-time mail delivery has declined. In addition, it is not clear these changes will improve efficiency or costs. Despite these concerns, USPS has moved forward with announcing and approving additional facility changes across the country. The nature of these changes creates concerns that local and rural service could be degraded. For example, USPS proposals to remove all outbound mail operations from local processing facilities seem to particularly harm local mail – since mail sent to a nearby locality would first have to go through a far-away processing facility, often in another state. “Local transportation optimization” has also caused disproportionate impacts on rural areas. In some rural communities, it has eliminated the possibility of overnight delivery for critical mail like medications and laboratory tests. Taken together, these changes have a nationwide scope and would affect service across the country. 

We call on USPS to pause all changes, pending a full study of this plan by its regulator. While USPS claims these changes overall will improve service while reducing costs, there is evidence to the contrary in locations where USPS has implemented changes so far. USPS must stop implementation, restore service in those areas where changes were implemented, and fully understand the nationwide effects of its plan on service and communities. 

In particular, we urge the Postal Service to request a comprehensive Advisory Opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which would provide a robust and public process to study the impacts of these changes. The request and analysis must include the full scope of network changes, including the intersecting changes to facilities across the nation (conversions to Regional Processing and Distribution Centers, Sorting and Delivery Centers, and Local Processing Centers) and local transportation optimization. During a hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Postmaster General DeJoy stated that USPS would consider requesting an Advisory Opinion – and suggested that USPS may slow down “mail move” changes in 2024. Disappointingly, the Postmaster General did not commit to the scope of an Advisory Opinion, or to meaningfully stopping changes until further study is complete. 

The Postal Service must promptly request a comprehensive Advisory Opinion to study the impacts of its full plan. USPS should pause all changes, including administrative approvals and on-the-ground changes, until the PRC completes this study and USPS incorporates the results. USPS must improve service immediately in areas where changes have been implemented, and restore status quo operations as much as practicable. 

The Postal Service’s primary responsibility is to provide timely and reliable delivery to every community across the nation. While USPS must continue adapting as an agency to remain stable and serve the public’s current needs, it must proceed with caution and understand the implications of its plans in order to protect mail delivery for all communities. 

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.  (SOURCE)

Oregon Joins Other States In Ordering Sigue Corp. To Cease Money Transmission Activities Due To Declining Finances

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation has ordered Sigue Corp. to cease engaging in money transmission activities in the state, saying the company can no longer responsibly serve customers due to its declining financial position.

Oregon joined a number of other states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia in issuing the consent order.

Sigue is a state-regulated money transmission company licensed in Oregon and 48 other states (Nationwide Multistate Licensing System ID 915912). Over the past several months, Sigue experienced significant financial deterioration.

The company failed to complete multiple money orders and transmissions and to maintain adequate net worth and permissible investments to cover outstanding liabilities, which are violations of state money transmission law. Many customers are still waiting for their funds.

In Oregon, there are almost 200 open or unfulfilled transactions totaling $39,000 between money transmissions and money orders. Across the U.S. there were just under 25,000 open or unfulfilled transactions totaling nearly $8.6 million. Sigue stopped transmissions across the nation in January.

The order requires the company to preserve and provide access to all books and records, including information on affected customers. 

“This order not only shows how Oregon’s system of regulation works to protect consumers, but also highlights the strong partnerships we have with other states, the Money Transmitter Regulators Association, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors,” said TK Keen, DFR administrator. “Fortunately, all of Oregon’s open money orders and transmissions are covered by the surety bond Sigue was required to have with the division, which means no consumers should lose money.”

As Sigue was primarily used as a transmitter to send money from the United States to Spanish-speaking countries, the division plans additional outreach to the Spanish-speaking community through the Mexican Consulate.

Sigue maintained a surety bond with Liberty Mutual that will cover all of Sigue’s unpaid or otherwise outstanding transactions in Oregon. Individuals who paid for a money transmission or money order from Sigue that went unpaid are encouraged to file a claim directly with Liberty Mutual online by visiting this website and clicking on the link that reads “File Commercial Bond Claim.” Anyone with questions for Liberty Mutual can email hoscl@libertymutual.com or call 206-473-6700.The state surety bond claim process is designed to help make affected consumers whole.

Consumers who have been affected or believe they may have been affected and would like help or to file a complaint, should contact one of DFR’s consumer advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll-free) or email dfr.financialserviceshelp@dcbs.oregon.gov

Registration Open For Inaugural Oregon Native Trout Challenge

Anglers, grab your favorite fishing rig and a map, as registration is now open for the inaugural Oregon Native Trout Challenge.

Basalt to Breakers, an Oregon nonprofit with fiscal sponsorship by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation, is launching the Oregon Native Trout Challenge to encourage anglers to explore new waters, celebrate the diversity of Oregon’s native trout fisheries and support projects that conserve our native trout species.

“The challenge is intended to be a celebration of Oregon’s native trout species and the ecosystems that support their populations. We intentionally made this challenge different from other native trout challenges to encourage people to explore the diverse ecosystems that Oregon offers,” said B2B Founder Max McCool. “Completing the challenge consists of catching and taking a picture of any native trout species caught in each of Oregon’s eight ecoregions and submitting the location, date, and species through our online form,” continued McCool.

The Challenge is catch-and-release. “We want to ensure that each participant follows ODFW regulations throughout the challenge and isn’t putting additional pressure on any vulnerable species,” said McCool.

Each catch must be documented according to the Challenge rules to count. A one-time entry fee of $35 offsets the administrative costs of the challenge with net proceeds used for habitat restoration, trout conservation, and education projects. Beyond learning more about Oregon’s native trout species and our diverse ecoregions, the Oregon Native Trout Challenge seeks to encourage advocacy for local fisheries.

“In Oregon, salmon get the lion’s share of attention, but Oregon has stellar trout fishing throughout our state. What I like most about the Oregon Native Trout Challenge is that it encourages anglers to explore more of what Oregon has to offer,” said Tim Greseth, Oregon Wildlife Foundation’s executive director. 

Participants can register at https://owhf.tofinoauctions.com/b2bchallenge24/homepages/show. For more information, visit www.basalttobreakers.org

Basalt to Breakers — is a nonprofit corporation registered in the State of Oregon. The mission of Basalt to Breakers is to inspire, educate and engage all anglers throughout Oregon in native trout conservation projects. Basalt to Breakers is sponsored by the Oregon Wildlife Foundation. https://basalttobreakers.org/

Oregon Wildlife Foundation — is an apolitical operating charitable foundation dedicated to increasing private and public funding support for wildlife conservation projects in Oregon. Since 1981, OWF has directed tens of millions of dollars in private and public support to a broad range of projects throughout Oregon. For more information, visit www.myOWF.org.

OHA launches Fentanyl Aware social media campaign

Risks, harm-reduction strategies, recognizing and responding to overdose, and Oregon’s good Samaritan law to be focus of five-week online promotion

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) today kicked off a social media campaign spotlighting the public health harms caused by fentanyl, and how people can prevent the deadly overdoses that devastate communities around the state.

Fentanyl Aware Northwest

The campaign, called Fentanyl Aware, will run for five weeks, with posts in English and Spanish. Fentanyl Aware will focus on teaching people about fentanyl risks, harm reduction strategies, recognizing and responding to an overdose, and Oregon’s good Samaritan law, which provides legal protections for individuals and the people they’re helping during a drug overdose.

The Fentanyl Aware campaign begins with a series of social media messages with facts about fentanyl – “What it is, where it can be found and why you need to be aware,” according to the first post. It then moves into messages about the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, including how it’s given, how it works and where to can get it, followed by posts about Oregon’s good Samaritan law.

The campaign wraps up with posts warning about risks of mixing drugs with other substances, relying on fentanyl tests and using drugs alone.

OHA’s statewide campaign borrows from a social media campaign that Lane County Public Health created in 2023 with support from OHA funds. The county also shared its campaign materials with local public health partners to adapt and share – Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties collaborated to launch the Fentanyl Aware Northwest campaign through this partnership.

Just today, Multnomah County launched its own fentanyl awareness campaign, called Expect Fentanyl, focused on Portland-area youth ages 13-20.

The statewide Fentanyl Aware campaign launches on National Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day of observance that recognizes those who have lost loved ones to the overdose crisis and raises awareness of the lethal danger of illegally made fentanyl (IMF).

Cara Biddlecom, OHA’s interim public health director, said Fentanyl Aware contains youth-informed messaging, but it is intended for general audiences.

“We want everyone to see these important messages because anyone can be affected by fentanyl – teens and young adults, older Oregonians, even young children,” Biddlecom said. “These messages won’t end the fentanyl crisis, but they could help equip people with information that could help them save a life, whether it’s someone else’s or their own.”

Fentanyl is now showing up in a wide variety of drugs on the illicit market, including counterfeit pills made to look like common prescription painkillers or anti-anxiety medications. These may contain enough fentanyl in a single pill to cause an overdose.

According to OHA data, the number of people in Oregon dying from unintentional and undetermined overdoses continues to increase at an alarming pace, from 1,083 people in 2021 to 1,289 people in 2022. Fentanyl has surpassed methamphetamine as the most common substance identified as the cause of death in unintentional and undetermined drug overdoses.

In Oregon, the number of individuals who experienced an unintentional/undetermined fentanyl overdose death between 2020 and 2022 more than tripled (for all ages). And those at higher risk for unintentionally dying from a drug overdose continued to include non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives, non-Hispanic Black/African Americans, and males, though patterns of use across communities is similar. These inequities are avoidable and point to structural racism in the health system and the need for long-term policy change.

Nasal naloxone is now available over the counter, without a prescription. It can be purchased at many retail pharmacies in Oregon, and it costs about $45 for two doses. Most insurance companies cover the medication but may charge a co-pay. Oregon Health Plan (OHP) members can get naloxone at no cost at most pharmacies. Those who use drugs can get medication for overdose reversal and other harm reduction materials such as fentanyl test strips at no cost through syringe service programs. Syringe services are available to everyone that uses drugs, regardless of whether they’re injected. Visit OHA’s Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications webpage for a list of syringe and needle exchange services available in Oregon.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance use, please reach out for help. Speak with a health care provider or visit OHA’s Fentanyl Facts webpage for support and treatment resources. You are not alone.

Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care Celebrates the Statewide Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

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– Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) representatives joined Governor Tina Kotek and state officials today to celebrate its new partnership with The Dollywood Foundation for the statewide expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. During the 2023 legislative session, under Senate Bill 5506, $1.7 million was appropriated to DELC to help administer and expand the program statewide.  

The Imagination Library is a program developed by The Dollywood Foundation; a nonprofit organization founded by Dolly Parton. Since launching in 1995, the Imagination Library has become the preeminent, international early childhood book-gifting program. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books each month to children (0-5 yrs. old), free of charge to families, through funding shared by Dolly, the State of Oregon, and local community partnerships. Today, millions of children receive a specially selected book each month, from birth to age five, to help foster early literacy skills and a love of reading.   

The goal of the statewide expansion is to make books available to children ages 0-5 in every zip code in Oregon. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a voluntary program and parents of children ages 0-5 can sign up to receive a new book each month at no cost to families.  

“Brain science clearly shows that kids start to develop literacy skills from birth,” said DELC Director Alyssa Chatterjee. “That’s why here in Oregon, we’re making major investments to help kids develop the joy of reading.” 

In addition to remarks from Director Chatterjee, Governor Tina Kotek, and House Majority Leader Ben Bowman made comments and were joined by representatives from The Dollywood Foundation and local program partners. Dolly Parton provided remarks by video, concluding with an Oregon twist on her classic “I Will Always Love You.   

Currently, over 54,000 children across Oregon receive the gift of a monthly book through 55 community programs. Books are free to the family regardless of family income. The Department of Early Learning and Care is working with local community partners and The Dollywood Foundation to expand. 

Families can visit www.imaginationlibrary.com to find out if the program is available in their area or to sign up to be notified when the program expands to their community. To learn more about becoming a community partner, contact Rachel King at king@imaginationlibrary.com“>rking@imaginationlibrary.com 

Dolly Parton’s video remarks, along with the remarks of Oregon officials can be found on the DELC website.   

About the Oregon Department of Early Learning and Care – The Department of Early Learning and Care’s mission is to foster coordinated, culturally appropriate, and family-centered services that recognize and respect the strengths and needs of all children, families, and early learning and care professionals. More information about DELC is available at Oregon.gov/DELC. You can also connect with DELC on Facebook or sign up for news alerts and updates. 

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library  – Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has gifted over 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. This is achieved through funding shared by The Dollywood Foundation and Local Community Partners.  The Imagination Library mails more than 3  million high-quality, age-appropriate books directly to children’s homes each month. Each child enrolled in the program receives one book per month from birth to age five – at no cost to families.  Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading and inspiring children to Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More®.  

The program’s impact has been widely researched, and results demonstrate its positive impact on early childhood development and literacy skills. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visitimaginationlibrary.com

OSP to Recognize National Missing Children’s Day May 25th

– In recognition of National Missing Children’s Day, May 25, 2024, the Oregon State Police Missing Children/Adults Clearinghouse is sponsoring an awareness event to provide resources for parents, guardians, and caregivers. 

The event, which coincides with Missing Children’s Day, will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2024, at the north end of Capitol Mall Park in Salem (Center Steet NE between Winter and Capitol Streets). From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., OSP representatives and partner agencies will be on hand with activities and giveaways. 

The event will include informational booths from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Safe Oregon, OSP’s Missing Children/Adults Clearinghouse, and Marion County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue. Attendees can pick up free identification and DNA kits, visit with a police search and rescue K-9, and tour OSP’s new command vehicle. 

Julie Willard, OSP’s Missing Children/Adults Clearinghouse coordinator, said, “National Missing Children’s Day is an opportunity to remember the thousands of children who go missing each year. We work to educate parents about how to keep their kids safe, and we teach children about the “4 Rules for Personal Safety” that they can learn about on Kid Smartz.” 

Kid Smartz is a child safety program that educates and empowers grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. Please visit the Kid Smartz website for more information. 

About National Missing Children’s Day:
President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25, 1983, the first National Missing Children’s Day in memory of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared from a New York City street corner on May 25, 1979. Etan’s killer was convicted in February 2017, but the case remains active because his body has never been recovered. National Missing Children’s Day is dedicated to encouraging parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. The commemoration serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families.

Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs to Host Statewide Memorial Day Event in Salem May 27th

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs will host Oregon’s annual Statewide Memorial Day Ceremony in person at 11 a.m., Monday, May 27, at the Oregon World War II Memorial, located at the intersection of Cottage and Court Street NE on the grounds of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

This event honors Oregon’s fallen service members from all eras of service and will include remarks from ODVA Director Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels and Oregon Adjutant General Alan R. Gronewold, along with other veteran leaders and state dignitaries. 

The event will also feature a color guard ceremony, a performance of the national anthem by West Salem High School’s award-winning a cappella group Soundscape, and other ceremonial elements. The theme of this year’s Memorial Day event is “Oregon Remembers.” ODVA Strategic Partnerships Division Director and Navy veteran Sheronne Blasi will serve as emcee.

“Memorial Day, established following the Civil War, is a day when we all pause and remember the more than 1 million men and women throughout history who have given their lives in defense of our nation,” said ODVA Director Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels. “Those of us who volunteer to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces come from a diverse tapestry and understand when we take the oath to defend and preserve our Constitution, and our nation’s highest ideals, we do so on behalf of ourselves, our families, and every person that calls America their home. On Memorial Day, Oregon will remember all our fallen and honor their service and their greatest sacrifice. Thank you for joining us in remembering.”

Limited seating will be available. Attendees are welcome to bring their own seating for the park setting and are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather.

For those unable to attend in-person, the event will also be livestreamed beginning at 11 a.m. on ODVA’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/odvavet and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAQVavs9KmvDeJ42ySFtY8A

Established in 1945, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is dedicated to serving Oregon’s diverse veteran community that spans five eras of service members. ODVA administers programs and provides special advocacy and assistance in accessing earned veteran benefits across the state. Learn about veteran benefits and services, or locate a local county or tribal veteran services office online at oregon.gov/odva

Oregon National Guard Program Offers Students Paid Opportunities To Earn High School Credit And Learn Career Skills

 “The Oregon Plan,” renewed its approval with the Oregon Department of Education, is open to high school students throughout Oregon.

High school students in Oregon will have a paid opportunity to learn professional technical training while earning high school credit, as part of the newly endorsed program called The Oregon Plan.

Created by the Oregon National Guard, the plan received official approval last month from the Oregon Department of Education, which is required as part of its regular renewal process.

“Through this exciting program students get paid to earn high school credit, learn career skills such as basic finance, medic training, construction and engineering and practice working in teams,” said Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of Oregon Department of Education. “As students plan their summer of learning and work, I hope they consider this enriching and life changing option.” 

Background On The Oregon Plan
Established in 1995 as the Military Career Education Cluster Concept, “The Oregon Plan” enables school districts across the state to award academic credits to students who complete qualified military training and instruction. Approximately 700 high school students have joined the Oregon Guard since 2020.

“The Oregon Plan has been providing valuable education pathways for Oregon students for nearly 30 years,” said Brig. Gen. Alan Gronewold, Adjutant General, Oregon. “We’re proud to highlight this innovative program that recognizes the skills our young recruits gain through their military service.”

Multiple high schools across Oregon participate in the program, including Pendleton, Hermiston, La Grande, Elgin, Wallowa, Baker, Ontario, and Grant Union High School in eastern Oregon. Additionally, high schools in Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Douglas, Union, Umatilla, Wasco, Hood River, Malheur, Baker, and Wallowa counties have also approved use of The Oregon Plan.

By enabling credit proficiencies through military training, the Oregon National Guard and The Oregon Plan exemplify a commitment to developing educated, skilled, and work-ready youth for future success.

“Our recruiters consistently hear from educators about the value of this flexible credit program, “said Lt. Col. Jessy Claerhout, Executive Officer, Recruiting Retention Command.  “It provides a helpful pathway for students to turn their military experience into academic progress toward graduation, while obtaining life skills and leadership training.”

Many of the credits earned may also translate into college credits towards a higher education degree. Sophomores and Juniors in high school can learn more about the program here. You can also learn more about the Oregon Guard’s 100% College Tuition Assistance program here.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

SALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer months, but fires occur all seasons of the year including spring. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will be spreading the word about the steps we all can take to prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer, and encouraging Oregonians to create defensible space around homes and outbuildings. 

At stake: lives, property and scenic beauty – Each year, over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people. Many are a result of escaped debris burn piles or gas-powered equipment and vehicles casting sparks or catching fire.

During the 2023 fire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported that people were directly responsible for sparking 823 wildfires that burned 6,197 acres. Any spark can gain traction in dry vegetation, spread quickly and impact lives, personal property, and the many benefits provided by Oregon’s scenic natural areas.

Before heading outdoors this summer, contact the agency or landowner who manages the land at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Any visitor to Oregon’s natural areas should be familiar with these restrictions before building campfires or using equipment that could ignite a wildfire. 

Put Your Smokey Hat On – Smokey Bear is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Smokey is a beloved and trusted American icon that has educated the public on preventing human caused wildfires since 1944. His timeless and important message celebrates people who take responsibility and prevent wildfires. Smokey’s hat is the driving force behind Keep Oregon Green’s 2024 summer wildfire prevention campaign. “Put Your Smokey Hat On” is a call to action, encouraging the public to predict the outcome of their actions and do everything they can to prevent wildfire ignitions. Campaign artwork, PSAs, and additional wildfire safety tips can be found at keeporegongreen.org and its various social media platforms.

Coming soon: More Wildfire Awareness Month tips – During May, a new wildfire prevention topic will be shared each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to prevent their outdoor activities from sparking the next wildfire. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green at www.keeporegongreen.org, the Oregon Department of Forestry at www.oregon.gov/odf, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal at https://www.oregon.gov/osfm/education/pages/prevent-wildfires.aspx

Follow Oregon wildfire news and prevention updates on social media: Twitter @keeporegongreen, @ORDeptForestry and @OSFM

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.

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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