Willamette Valley News, Friday 5/24 – UO Student Encampment Officially Ends, Eugene Detectives Locate Bomb Threat Suspect and Make Arrest & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Friday, May 24, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

UO Student Encampment Officially Ends

After nearly a month, the University of Oregon Coalition for Palestine encampment has come to an end. 

Demonstrators of the encampment, in an agreement with UO admin, had agreed upon to “voluntarily remove” the encampment by 9 p.m tonight.

The lawn between Fenton and Friendly Hall, where the encampment was previously held, was nearly cleared out, with one tent remaining. 

University of Oregon President John Karl Scholz released a 12:28 p.m. statement about the agreement reached between UO and the UO Coalition for Palestine encampment. 

Scholz said that demonstrators of the encampment have agreed to “voluntarily remove the encampment by 9:00 p.m. this evening.”

Scholz described the process as “challenging” and required “patience and good faith on the part of all parties.”

Copy of the agreement made between the University of Oregon Coalition for Palestine and UO administrators: https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/dailyemerald.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/07/0073342a-1956-11ef-a69f-dfe588dae516/664fc6c7b005f.pdf.pdf

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. You can find all of their coverage on the encampment herehttps://www.dailyemerald.com/news/live-coverage-uo-coalition-for-palestines-encampment-officially-ends/article_5ae5afca-191d-11ef-82d5-cb9c32fb79f3.html

Eugene Detectives Locate Bomb Threat Suspect and Make Arrest

Eugene Police Special Investigations took on the case of bomb threats at Walmart and Target that were phoned in around the end of April and beginning week of May and has made an arrest. The threats impacted shoppers and led to evacuations and subsequent loss of sales for the store, as well as disruption and fear. The suspect, Matthew Luke Fernandez, age 36, made at least one of the calls from inside the store.

EPD SIU investigated the series of calls and identified Fernandez as a suspect. They arrested him at his residence on May 21. Fernandez was transported to Lane County Jail on charges including three counts of Improper Use of 911, three counts of Disorderly Conduct in the First Degree, and a fugitive from justice charge related to his outstanding felony warrant in Colorado. During the investigation, detectives discovered multiple calls made to 911 by Fernandez in April and in early May, including false reports of shootings. Case 24-06100

The series of bomb threats began at 6:38 p.m. on April 29 when Eugene Police got a call of a threat at Walmart, 4550 W 11th Avenue. The threat was unfounded. Then, at 9:52 p.m. on May 2, another call came in with a Walmart bomb threat and an officer was already in the area, having already dealt with a bomb threat made for Target, also on W.11th. That call had come in around 8:45 p.m. and was unfounded. As a precaution in these cases, the stores evacuated, and officers conducted searches.

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

Lane County Animal Services and Greenhill Humane Society Volunteer orientation for livestock rescue and animal preparedness on Saturday, June 8

Lane County Animal Services is partnering with Greenhill Humane Society to host a training for people interested in learning more about preparing animals large and small for an evacuation or volunteering to support livestock transportation, feeding, and sheltering operations during emergencies.

“With wildfire season starting soon, this is a good time to help our residents refresh their understanding of evacuating with pets or livestock,” said Lane County Animal Welfare Officer Isabel Merritt. “We’re also hoping to build our volunteer list ahead of the next emergency. We rely on volunteers to help care for horses, goats, chickens and other livestock during emergency evacuations and this training will help increase the number of people ready to help.”

The training is Saturday, June 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Lane County Public Works’ Goodson Room (3040 North Delta Highway, Eugene). Map here. If you plan to attend, please send an email to Lane County Animal Services at LCAS@LaneCountyOR.gov so staff can plan accordingly. 

Topics covered will include:

  • preparing animals for evacuation
  • overview of services provided by Lane County Animal Services and Greenhill Humane Society during emergencies
  • how to help during emergencies
  • livestock shelter, transport and shelter-in-place practices
  • volunteer orientation for those wishing to assist during emergencies

Volunteers help transport animals out of evacuation zones; support animals sheltering in place in evacuation zones with food, water and welfare checks; and feed, groom and clean up after animals being sheltered with Lane County Animal Services. They may also assist with organizing donations of food, tack or other items. 

Volunteers do not need previous large animal experience, but they should be comfortable learning and being around large animals. People between the ages of 15 and 18 will need to have a guardian’s signed release before they can volunteer during an active emergency; they do not need a release to attend the training. Children under 15 cannot volunteer at this time. 

Learn more about large animal evacuation at https://bit.ly/LCLargeAnimalEvacuation

Primary Election Results

https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Lane County – https://apps.lanecounty.org/Elections/Document.ashx?id=3765

Statewide – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Election results will be certified on June 17, 2024. Voters with questions can email elections@lanecountyor.gov or call 541-682-4234.

Benton County Children & Family Mental Health Program to host open house

The Benton County Children and Family Mental Health Program will host an open house on Friday, May 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Clients and families served by the program, state and local leaders, community partners, local media, and the public are all invited to attend. 

The celebration follows a recent move from the Children and Family Mental Health program into a new facility on 4185 SW Research Way in Corvallis. The new building will be open to the public for tours, meeting the staff, activities and prizes for the whole family, and a resource fair. The celebration also coincides with Mental Health Month celebrations in Benton County and beyond. 

“The timing is perfect since we just settled into our new space and it’s also Mental Health Awareness Month,” said Kristi Reher, Program Manager. 

Attendees will include state and local dignitaries who helped support Benton County in securing the funding needed to purchase the new building. 

“We’d like to thank the 2024 Oregon State Legislature for allocating the resources and for supporting the critical needs of Benton County., said Damien Sands, Behavioral Health Division Director. “And our Benton County Commissioners who recognized our need and helped us find a solution.” 

The Benton County Children and Family Mental Health program provides therapeutic services, including outpatient, school-based, and wraparound services for youth under age 18 with a mental health diagnosis and identifiable treatment goals.  

The new building is located on Research Way next to the Benton County Sunset and Kalapuya buildings, across the street from the local Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) building. 

For more information about the program, visit their website

### Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate based on disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Urban Growth Strategies – Homes and Jobs for 2045

Across Oregon, cities are gearing up for growth by planning for housing in a new, more comprehensive way. Instead of just focusing on population growth, cities will also plan for people experiencing homelessness, address past underproduction of homes, and plan for demographic and household changes. In Eugene, this comprehensive look at housing and urban growth is called Urban Growth Strategies. This project will identify tools, actions, policies, and land needed for the next 20 years to support housing and living wage jobs. 

Graphic with text: Urban Growth Strategies: Homes and Jobs for 2045

Led by the City of Eugene, Urban Growth Strategies is a collaborative effort that integrates state-required urban growth planning, equitable community engagement, and City Council-directed policy work. This project will advance several Urgent Community Needs identified in the 2023-2026 City of Eugene Strategic Plan, as well as other City priorities from the Climate Action Plan 2.0 and Housing Implementation Pipeline.

Building off years of planning and community engagement, the project will evaluate the need for housing, jobs, parks, infrastructure, schools, and other urban land uses, as well as what tools can help Eugene to grow more efficiently. This work will result in studies on available land in Eugene for these uses, updates to the Envision Eugene Comprehensive Plan and other adopted City plans and land use regulations, a parcel-specific land use map, and an evaluation of whether there is a need to expand the urban growth boundary.  

For those interested in staying informed and involved, follow Urban Growth Strategies on Engage Eugene and subscribe to the EUG Planning Newsletter for monthly updates. A Community Engagement Plan for the project is available at www.eugene-or.gov/UrbanGrowth.  

Save the Date: Housing, Urban Growth and City Projects Community Open House. June 5 from 4-7 p.m.

Housing & Urban Growth Community Open House — The City of Eugene will host a community open house at the Eugene Farmer’s Market Pavilion  from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. During the event, community members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on community needs and priorities for housing, future urban growth, and other ongoing City projects. Different City departments will share resources and information on a wide range of topics, including renter protections; safe, healthy, and resilient buildings; community safety, and more. 

This free event includes food, prizes, and activities for all ages. Bring your friends and family, build community, and be a part of the conversation!

The City of Eugene wants to encourage development on Crow Road to help fill the housing gap

The rural area just west of Eugene will get infrastructure improvements thanks to state funds.

The area on the edge of city limits is part of Eugene’s urban growth boundary. The legislature allocated 6 million dollars for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure on Crow Road. Lindsay Selser, with the city of Eugene, says additional housing is a critical need in the community.

The area on the edge of city limits is part of Eugene’s urban growth boundary. The legislature allocated 6 million dollars for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure on Crow Road. Lindsay Selser, with the city of Eugene, says additional housing is a critical need in the community.

“It’s kind of just getting that what is right now, largely undeveloped, up to our city standards, ready for housing, ready for jobs, ready for that commercial industrial area for jobs and then the residentially zoned area for more housing,” she said.

Selser said more than 1,260 new housing units could be built in the area. The project includes plans for single and multi-use housing, duplexes, triplexes and townhouses as well as commercial development.

“So this land is planned for within our urban growth boundary already,” she said. “And so that has all been taken into account when our community went through the Envision Eugene process and landed on where our urban growth boundary needs to be for our projected growth.”

The city says the infrastructure improvements should be in place within the next two years.

The project is funded with $6 million from the recent legislative session and $2.2 million from the city.

The city says, according to a recent study, Eugene leads the state in households burdened by rent.

The project is part of Eugene’s Housing Implementation Pipeline, an effort to stabilize the cost of housing and mitigate impacts of homelessness. The city says it will also help with their goal to increase wages and create more jobs in the community.

Lane County Firewise Grant Program open for applications

Lane County’s Firewise Grant Incentive Program is accepting applications from residents in unincorporated Lane County beginning May 31 through 4:00 p.m. on June 27, 2024.

Firewise grants provide rural property owners with funding to help complete projects that reduce the risk of wildfire, such as clearing vegetation, replacing wood shake roofing, fire-resistant landscaping materials, noncombustible exterior siding, chimney spark arrestors, and more. Up to $15,500 in grant funding is available for each qualifying property. 

Apply online at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/firewise. Paper applications are also available at the Lane County Public Works Customer Service Center (3050 North Delta Highway, Eugene). 

Firewise grants are funded through Title III of the Federal Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Program – Section 601 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. 

Housing and Community Needs Survey

2025 Consolidated Plan image

Are you familiar with the challenges of finding, maintaining, or paying for housing in the Eugene-Springfield area? Do you have insights into the local need for housing, human services and community/economic development programs? Please help identify our local housing and community needs for low- and moderate-income people by completing the short survey below.  TAKE THE SURVEY

Encuesta de viviendas y necesidades comunitarias

¿Conoces los desafíos de encontrar, mantener, o pagar los costos de vivienda en el área de Eugene-Springfield?  ¿Tienes conocimiento de la necesidad local de vivienda, servicios humanos y los programas de desarrollo de la comunidad o economía? Favor de ayudarnos identificar las necesidades de vivienda y de la comunidad local para las personas con ingresos bajos o moderados atreves esta encuesta breve.TOMA LA ENCUESTA

Survey results will help draft community needs and priorities for the Eugene-Springfield 2025-2030 Consolidated Plan for Affordable Housing and Community Development. The Consolidated Plan sets priority needs and strategies for use of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds over a five-year period. Eugene and Springfield receive funds based on formula allocation and Congressional appropriations. The two jurisdictions will receive an estimated $14 million in CDBG and HOME funds between July 1, 2025 and June 30, 2030. The process to develop the 2025-2030 Consolidated Plan is happening now. SIGN UP HERE FOR
CONSOLIDATED PLAN UPDATES

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

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

Boatnik Kicks Off in Grants Pass

May 23, 2024 – May 27, 2024 — Those making the 65th annual Boatnik festival happen are well into preparations for the weekend of festivities the tradition brings. This preparation comes from not just vendors and festival organizers but also local police, ensuring the safety of everyone at the event.

Boatnik is an annual festival held in Riverside Park in Grants Pass, Oregon over Memorial Day Weekend for more than 60 years. There is no admission to attend Boatnik and there are many activities and shows for all ages. There are additional activities available for purchase including the Davis Shows Carnival, concert, and Boatnik Brewfest. The best part…ALL of the proceeds from the event are donated throughout the year to children and youth-based organizations in Josephine County!

The activities start Thursday evening with the Davis Shows Carnival featuring food, rides, games and family fun. The excitement continues Friday with the concert, a spectacular fireworks display on the river, midway vendors, and the carnival. Saturday morning features the well-known Boatnik parade that travels through downtown Grants Pass and ends at Riverside Park. Throughout the weekend the festivities continue in the park where there are a whirlwind of activities that include: Sprint and Drag boat racing, carnival rides, arts and crafts, children’s activities, Bingo, food vendors, Monday Sundaes, the Boatnik Brewfest, the Chevy Drive It Home Golf Shoot Out and a second night of patriotic fireworks. Monday is the highlight of Boatnik featuring the World Famous Tom Rice Memorial White Water Hydroplane Race, and the Memorial Day Service including a jet flyover.

Thousands of locals and visitors from around the world come to share the tradition and unique experience of Boatnik. MORE INFO: https://www.boatnik.com

OSP traffic stops result in seizure of illegal drugs

LINN, MARION, & DOUGLAS COUNTIES, Ore. 23 May 2024 – Four Oregon State Police traffic stops along Interstate 5 (I-5) have yielded significant drug seizures in the last month. Oregon State Troopers seized fentanyl, methamphetamine, PCP, and other illegal drugs bound for Oregon streets. The targeted operations are a collaboration among Oregon State Police patrol, K-9, HIDTA Investigation Team (HIT), and Criminal Apprehension through Patrol Enforcement (CAPE) programs. 

OSP Capt. Kyle Kennedy said, “Oregon State Police is diligently working to stop the flow of illegal drugs to our communities. Fentanyl continues to have devasting effects on Oregon’s communities, and we hope the constant pressure will deter and prevent the transportation of illegal drugs to and through our state.” 

Linn County
On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 9:50 a.m., an OSP K-9 trooper stopped a vehicle on I-5 in Linn County for a traffic violation. During contact with the driver, the trooper suspected possible criminal activity. A K-9 was deployed around the outside of the vehicle and alerted to the presence of illegal substances. 

During a search of the vehicle, the trooper located 10,000 pills suspected to be laced with fentanyl in the vehicle’s trunk. 

OSP detectives interviewed the vehicle occupants. The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is available for release at this time. 

Marion County
On May 14, 2024, at 1:13 p.m., an Oregon State Trooper from the Salem Patrol Office stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on I-5 near milepost 256 in Marion County. During the stop, the trooper observed contraband in the vehicle and suspicious behavior by the vehicle occupants. 

During a consent search of the vehicle, the trooper located 4.6 pounds of fentanyl, 1 pound of phenylcyclohexyl piperidine (PCP), 84 grams of suspected methamphetamine, and 14.2 grams of cocaine. 

The driver, Edgar Izaguirre Torres (33), whose city of residence is unknown, and the passenger, Marvin Fabian Oseguera Escoto (19) or Auburn (WA), were arrested for distribution of a controlled substance. Once the investigation is complete, additional charges will be referred to the prosecuting agency. 

Oseguera Escoto was additionally arrested on a California warrant for distribution of a controlled substance. 

The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is available for release at this time.

Douglas County
On May 21, 2024, at 8:40 a.m., an OSP K-9 Trooper stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on I-5 northbound at milepost 148. The trooper contacted the vehicle occupants and noticed signs of criminal activity. The driver and passenger fled from the vehicle on foot. The trooper caught and detained both suspects a short distance from the vehicle. 

The K-9 was deployed around the outside of the vehicle and alerted to the presence of illegal substances. A search warrant was granted, and 42,000 suspected fentanyl-laced pills and approximately 8 pounds of fentanyl powder were found inside the vehicle. 

The driver, Lauro Parra Moreno (25) of Pittsburgh (CA), was arrested for misdemeanor elude, criminal trespass II, Possession of a controlled substance II, and Delivery of a controlled substance I. The passenger, Jesus Acosta Parra (20), of Pittsburgh (CA), was arrested for criminal trespass II, delivery of a controlled substance II, and possession of a controlled substance II. 

The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is available for release at this time.

Linn County
Today, May 23, 2024, at approximately 11 a.m., an Oregon State Police K-9 Trooper stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation on I-5 near milepost 225 in Linn County. The vehicle was occupied by an adult couple and their 6-month-old infant. 

During a consent search of the vehicle, the trooper located 136 grams (about one-third of a pound) of fentanyl powder and mannitol, which is a common cutting agent for fentanyl. The fentanyl was located in the trunk of the vehicle near the baby’s formula and clothing. 

The driver, Meslin Danexi Gamez Barrientos (30) of Oakland (CA), was arrested for possession and delivery of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a minor. The passenger, Maryori Estefani Ochoa Chapas (30) of Oakland (CA), was arrested for possession and delivery of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a minor. 

The infant was placed in protective custody by the Oregon Department of Human Services.  The investigation is ongoing, and no further information is available for release at this time. 

# # # OSP Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative
The Oregon State Police-Domestic Highway Enforcement (OSP-DHE) Initiative is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

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 the OSP-DHE Initiative.

Dr. Emma Sandoe Named as Director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Medicaid Division

Emma Sandoe, PhD, MPH, has been appointed as the permanent director of Oregon’s Medicaid program, effective July 24, 2024. Since 2019, Dr. Sandoe has served in North Carolina Medicaid most recently as the Deputy Director of Medicaid Policy. In her current role, Sandoe has been the state’s primary liaison to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), overseen the state’s Medicaid Plan and its Medicaid waivers, and taken a lead role in developing and implementing new policies to improve health equity in North Carolina’s Medicaid-funded health care system. Dr. Sandoe also serves as Medicaid liaison to Tribal nations in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, Dr. Sandoe helped lead the passage and implementation of the state’s Medicaid expansion, which took effect in December 2023 that will bring health coverage to more than 450,000 people. She also has led efforts to expand the health care workforce under North Carolina’s Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) program. In addition, she has assisted in developing and implementing the state’s Healthy Opportunity Pilots program, leveraging Medicaid dollars to address food, transportation, and housing insecurity, as well as toxic stress.

OHA Director Dr. Sejal Hathi, MD, MBA, said, “Dr. Sandoe brings a track record of expertise, innovation and experience putting health equity into practice in vital Medicaid programs. She brings both vision and pragmatism to this role, as well as strong relationships with our federal partners, which will enable Oregon to continue to set the pace in implementing vanguard Medicaid coverage and benefits that address the major health issues facing our communities, such as homelessness and climate change. I’m excited to welcome Dr. Sandoe to Oregon.”

Dr. Sandoe said, “I’m delighted to come to Oregon, a state that’s always been at the forefront of health policy. I’m excited to collaborate with Medicaid staff and partners to expand access to care, improve peoples’ lives and eliminate health inequity.”

Dr. Sandoe was selected for the position of Oregon’s Medicaid director following a national search. Before serving joining North Carolina Medicaid, Dr. Sandoe worked as a press secretary at CMS and budget analyst at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Sandoe has taught health policy classes at Harvard University and Duke University. Dr. Sandoe received a PhD in Health Policy, Political Analysis from Harvard University in 2019 and an MPH from George Washington University in 2010.

Vivian Levy, Oregon’s interim Medicaid Director, will serve as deputy director for the Medicaid Division. Dr. Hathi said, “Vivian Levy has brought transformational leadership to Medicaid at a critical time for the past two years. She’s led our temporary Medicaid expansion, protected health coverage for people undergoing eligibility redeterminations in the wake of the pandemic and overseen our ongoing implementation of new Medicaid benefits under Oregon’s groundbreaking 1115 Medicaid waiver. I’m grateful for the direction she’s brought to Medicaid and for the important role she’ll continue to play in Oregon’s Medicaid program.”

Oregon’s Medicaid program currently provide medical, dental and behavioral health coverage for approximately 1.4 million people in Oregon (or more than 1 in 4 state residents) through the Oregon Health Program (OHP) and other programs. The Medicaid program has a biennial budget of $28 billion.

Five companies will offer health insurance in every Oregon county next year as health insurers file 2025 rate requests for individual and small group markets

DFR logo

Oregon consumers can get a first look at requested rates for 2025 individual and small group health insurance plans, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today.

In a major win for Oregonians, Moda will become the fifth company to offer health insurance in every single county in Oregon after expanding into Benton, Linn, and Lincoln counties. Moda joins BridgeSpan, PacificSource, Providence, and Regence as health insurance companies who provide coverage in all parts of Oregon. It is the first time that five insurers have offered plans in every county.  

In the individual market, six companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average increase of 5.0 percent to 11.6 percent, for a weighted average increase of 9.3 percent. That average increase is higher than last year’s requested weighted average increase of 6.2 percent.

In the small group market, eight companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average increase of 5.7 percent to 16.3 percent, for a weighted average increase of 12.3 percent, which is higher than last year’s requested 8.1 percent average increase.

The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to help stabilize the market and lower rates. Reinsurance lowered rates by 8.4 percent. 

See the chart for the full list of rate change requests: https://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2024-05/1073/172523/5-23-24_health-insurance-coverage.pdf

“Oregon’s health insurance market remains competitive, with five carriers planning to offer plans next year in every Oregon county, up from only one statewide plan in 2018,” said Oregon Insurance Commissioner and DCBS Director Andrew R. Stolfi. “Unfortunately, inflation – both medical and nonmedical – as well as prescription drug costs, are driving prices higher than last year. Oregonians still have a lot of options to choose from and the Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to allow them to find reasonable rates.”

Virtual public hearings about the 2025 requested health insurance rates will be held July 1 from 9 a.m. to noon. A web address to watch the public hearings will be posted at OregonHealthRates.org. At the hearings, each insurance company will provide a brief presentation about its rate increase requests, answer questions from Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) staff, and hear public comment from Oregonians. The public also can comment on the proposed rates at any time at OregonHealthRates.org through July 1.

“We look forward to putting these rate requests through a rigorous public review, and we encourage the public to join the virtual public hearings and provide feedback on their health insurance plans,” Stolfi said. “This public process not only helps keep insurance companies accountable, but it gives people the opportunity be part of the process.”

The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.

Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs. DFR must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders.

Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced in July, and final decisions will be made in August after the public hearings and comment period ends.

### About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation protects consumers and regulates insurance, depository institutions, trust companies, securities, and consumer financial products and services. The division is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest consumer protection and business regulatory agency. Visit DFR.Oregon.gov and DCBS.Oregon.gov.

Oregon State Forests campgrounds can offer great outdoor experiences without the crowds

—If you want to get out in the woods this Memorial Day weekend, try one of Oregon’s state forests.  There are several campgrounds that often have openings or if you are just looking to go for a hike there is free parking at trailheads. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) manages all recreation facilities in state forests.  In northwest Oregon this includes the Clatsop, Santiam and Tillamook State Forests.

 There are three types of camping offered: developed campgrounds, designated campsites outside of regular campgrounds, and dispersed camping.

State forest campgrounds offer a true forest experience without the crowds since most have less than 20 campsites at each location.

“Developed campgrounds have restrooms, picnic tables, fire rings and often have other amenities like hand pump wells,” said John Mandich, a recreation specialist at ODF’s Northwest Oregon Area office.  “Also, most of our campgrounds are first come, first served.  So, if you are a last-minute type of camper, you should try one of our campgrounds.”

To see a complete list of state forests camping opportunities, visit the  ODF recreation webpage. The page lists the name, location, amenities, number of camp sites, fees and more information. 

Improved accessibility and access to areas of Crater Lake National Park, such as lake viewpoints along Rim Drive, are goals of the park’s recently released “Accessibility Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan.”

Crater Lake National Park is seeking your input on a draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan. Public comment on the plan is being sought through June 14

The National Park Service (NPS) is dedicated to serving all visitors to help them find meaning in the resources of the national park system and its stories. Recently, park staff embarked on a process to ensure that key park experiences are available to all visitors, regardless of race, nationality, socioeconomic status, or ability. Park staff conducted a self-evaluation of the accessibility of park facilities, services, activities, and programs. Based on these findings, staff then drafted a transition plan that identifies opportunities and critical steps for improving accessibility parkwide.

This draft accessibility self-evaluation and transition plan resulted from the work of an interdisciplinary team of NPS staff, including planning, design, and construction professionals; and interpretive, resource, visitor safety, maintenance, and accessibility specialists. The draft plan identifies key visitor experiences at the park and existing barriers to accessing these experiences for people with disabilities.

The plan provides recommendations for removing barriers at priority park areas, including specific actions, example site plans, and anticipated time frames for implementation. It also addresses park policies, practices, communication, and training needs.

The goals of the plan are as follows:

1) Document existing park barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities.
2) Provide an effective approach for upgrading facilities, services, and programs.
3) Instill a culture around creating universal access.

All recommended actions will be subject to funding, consultation with other agencies, consultation with Tribes, and compliance with federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Moving forward, the National Park Service will use this plan as a guide to obtain funding and plan and implement projects that will improve accessibility throughout the park.

Your input on the draft plan will help us as we work to ensure that Crater Lake National Park is more accessible to all visitors. To review the draft plan and send online comments, click on “Document List” or “Open for Comment” on the left side of the web page. The plan will be open for comment for 37 days, from May 8, 2024, to June 14, 2024. —- https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=123216

Coastal community meetings on proposed offshore wind leases to be held

The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) will be hosting a series of community meetings along the Oregon coast related to a proposal by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to lease areas of the ocean off Oregon’s coast to explore possibilities for wind energy development.

The proposed BOEM leases would authorize companies to study the areas off Oregon’s coast for potential offshore wind energy development projects. After obtaining leases, companies would perform activities in the ocean that may include placement of scientific buoys and collection of data about seafloor conditions, ocean habitats, and wildlife.

More information on the proposed leasing actions can be found at https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/OCMP/Pages/Offshore-Wind-Energy-Leasing.aspx.

BOEM’s proposed leasing action is not a proposal to permit the construction of an offshore wind project. A BOEM decision whether to approve a Construction and Operations Plan for a wind energy facility would be subject to a separate federal consistency review by the state, after some years of additional site assessment and project design.

As part of the state’s federal consistency review authority under the Coastal Zone Management Act, DLCD’s Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) staff will review the proposed BOEM actions for consistency with current, enforceable Oregon coastal zone policies. The result of this review would be either to agree with BOEM’s proposed leasing actions, agree with conditions, or object to BOEM’s proposed actions. Enforceable policies in the coastal zone are existing state and local policies that have been approved by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management for use in federal consistency reviews, consistent with national Coastal Zone Management standards.

During the community meetings, OCMP staff will provide information about the proposed activities that are being reviewed and the applicable state policies and

authorities related to a consistency review. Community members are encouraged to provide comments on the consistency review during the 45-day comment period, which ends on June 15, 2024.

The community meetings will be an opportunity to provide comments in person which will be recorded by OCMP staff. The meeting program is as follows:

• Open House 5:30 p.m.

• Presentations 6:00 p.m.

• Public Comment 6:30 p.m.

• Next Steps and Adjourn 8:00 p.m.

May 29, 2024 (Wednesday) Noon to 3:00 p.m Virtual – join information will be available on our web page .

June 3, 2024 (Monday) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Brookings-Harbor High School

8293, 625 Pioneer Rd., Brookings, OR 97415

June 4, 2024 (Tuesday) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunset Middle School

245 S Cammann St., Coos Bay, OR 97420

June 6, 2024 (Thursday) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Siuslaw Middle School

2525 Oak St., Florence, OR 97439

June 7, 2024 (Friday) 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Newport High School

322 NE Eads St., Newport, OR 97365

All ages and families are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

Comments will be accepted through June 15, 2024.

Email or written comments: Please be sure to address the enforceable policies you believe are relevant in your comments. OCMP staff may review comments on proposed actions for alignment with enforceable policies and potential conditions to enhance consistency. For more information on the federal consistency review and how to comment, visit https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/OCMP/Pages/Offshore-Wind-Energy-Leasing.aspx

Online comments: Comments may be submitted online through a webform here: https://www.oregon.gov/lcd/OCMP/Pages/Federal-Consistency-Review.aspx

In-Person comments: Community members wishing to comment in person should plan to limit comments to three minutes per person. If many people wish to comment, staff may need to limit comment time further as we want to hear from as many community members as possible.

### About The Oregon Coastal Management Program Oregon is one of 34 states to have a nationally recognized Coastal Management Program established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The Oregon Coastal Management Program aims to protect coastal and ocean resources, and ensure livable, resilient communities on the Oregon coast. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development is the lead agency in the coastal program network, which also includes 11 state agencies and 42 city and county governments. Financial assistance for the Oregon Coastal Management Program is provided by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, administered by the Office for Coastal Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Oregon’s statewide land use planning program – Originated in 1973 under Senate Bill 100, Oregon’s land use program protects farm and forest lands, conserves natural resources, promotes livable communities, facilitates orderly and efficient development, supports coordination among local governments, and enables community engagement.

The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) administers the program in partnership with cities and counties. The Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC), a seven-member volunteer board, guides DLCD.

The land use planning program affords Oregonians predictability in the development process and the ability to plan and invest in the long-range by allocating land for industrial, commercial, and housing development, as well as transportation, other urban services, and farm and forest lands.

Under the program, all cities and counties have adopted comprehensive plans that meet mandatory state standards. The standards are based on the 19 Statewide Planning Goals that deal with land use, development, housing, transportation, and conservation of natural resources. Technical assistance in the form of expertise and grants for local jurisdictions are key elements of the program. https://www.newsbreak.com/news/3459593684750-coastal-community-meetings-on-proposed-offshore-wind-leases-to-be-held

Oregon 2024 Primary Election Ballot Return Numbers LowPrimary Election Results

https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Statewide – https://results.oregonvotes.gov/

Nominations Open for AARP Oregon Volunteer Making Impact In Their Community

AARP Oregon has opened up nominations for its prestigious award for volunteerism. For the Andrus Award for Community Service, the organization will select a person or couple age 50 or older who performs services without pay in their communities.

Michael Schultz, state volunteer president of AARP Oregon, noted that Oregonians do a lot of volunteering. According to an AmeriCorps study from 2021, more than 970,000 volunteered, contributing an estimated $2.6 billion economic impact through their volunteer hours.

“That is a huge impact on our communities, on our economy and on the lives of Oregonians throughout the state,” he said.

The Andrus Award for Community Service is named after the founder of AARP, Doctor Ethel Percy
Andrus. Schultz noted that the nominator and the award winner will each receive $1,000 to donate to the nonprofit of their choice.

The 2023 winner of the award was Anne Bellegia, a founding member of the Ashland Senior Advisory Committee, and co-chair of the Livable Ashland Alliance. She has volunteered for many years with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University.

“This was someone who had really invested a lot of energy and effort to make a positive impact on her community down in southern Oregon, and the selection committee felt that she definitely deserved this award,” Schultz noted.

The deadline for Andrus Award nominations is July 15th. —- Find your state’s deadline and participation status on the nomination form

Oregon Consumer Justice Finds Colorful Way To Educate Used-Car Buyers

The Consumer Confidence Comic helps consumers get the best bang for their buck when purchasing a used car. (Oregon Consumer Justice)
The Consumer Confidence Comic helps consumers get the best bang for their buck when purchasing a used car. (Oregon Consumer Justice)

Buying a used car can be a risky proposition, but a new consumer guide can help people avoid common pitfalls.

The nonprofit Oregon Consumer Justice just released the first edition of its free resource, called the Consumer Confidence Comics. The unique guide doubles as an interactive comic book with coloring pages.

Michelle Luedtke, communications director for Oregon Consumer Justice, describes it as a fun way to learn how to ask the right questions.

“When you get promises from a dealer, where do you capture those to make sure that they’ll be part of your final contract?” Luedtke asked. “We have a checklist of different questions to ask at a dealer about purchasing a used car. You can also download as a resource on our website.”

The guide is available in English and Spanish.

Used car prices shot up during the pandemic but have come down a bit in the last year, with the average used car selling for about $31,000, according to iseecars.com.

Luedtke also recommended taking the time to read the fine print on any contracts. The guide goes through the process from start to finish.

“Whether or not you should be looking for financing beforehand, or what dealer financing looks like? What are scams that are common around purchasing a vehicle,” Luedtke outlined. “And then also, what to do if things go wrong.”

In Oregon, used car dealers have 14 days to finalize the financing, so you could drive it off the lot and then have to return it if the loan falls through. Consumers are advised not to make any changes to the car until they get a welcome letter from their lender. In 2022, Americans purchased about 39 million used vehicles. (SOURCE)

Wyden Announces Four Town Halls in Southern Oregon

Open-to-all town halls on will be May 28-29 in Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas counties

Portland – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today announced he will hold in-person town halls in Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas counties on May 28-29.

Heading into these four town halls, Wyden will have held 1,081 town halls throughout Oregon – including 16 so far this year — in fulfillment of his pledge to hold at least one town hall each year in each of our state’s 36 counties. The town halls in these four counties originally had been scheduled for April, but had to be postponed because of Senate votes in Washington, DC.

“I’m glad to be able to reschedule these town halls so quickly. I’ll always keep my promise of annual open-to-all town halls in each of our state’s 36 counties because it’s crucial that all Oregonians get the opportunity in their community to ask questions, offer suggestions and share ideas,” Wyden said. “As I approach my 1,100th town hall, these direct town hall discussions remain vital, and I very much look forward to the upcoming discussions with Oregonians in Josephine, Curry, Coos and Douglas counties.”

·       Josephine County, 12:45 pm, Tuesday, May 28, South Middle School gym, 350 W. Harbeck Rd., Grants Pass 

·       Curry County, 5:30 pm, Tuesday, May 28, Gold Beach Jr/Sr. High School gym, 29516 Ellensburg Ave., Gold Beach

·       Coos County, 10 am, Wednesday, May 29, North Bend High School gym, 2323 Pacific Ave., North Bend (Parking available in lot behind football stadium)

·       Douglas County, 1 pm, Wednesday, May 29, Reedsport Community Charter Jr/Sr. High School, Pacific Auditorium, Reedsport (Enter at the Pacific Auditorium entrance. Please park on Longwood Drive as school will be in session.)

State wildfire agencies prepared to respond to fire season but will need more staff in future

State wildfire leaders say they are struggling to attract more firefighters due to limited housing and low wages

The state’s top wildfire responders say they are prepared for the approaching wildfire season, but they are concerned about adding staff and resources in the future amid expectations that wildfires will increase. 

At a news conference last Wednesday, the leaders of the Oregon Department of Forestry, the Oregon State Fire Marshal and the Oregon Department of Emergency Management discussed the upcoming wildfire season, which typically begins in mid-May. They predicted a relatively average risk of wildfire through May and June, with a potentially greater risk in eastern Oregon in July and August, when drought and high wind conditions are possible.

Snowpack across Oregon is about average, and it’s been an El Niño winter and spring, which means conditions have been wetter-than-normal. Drought conditions statewide are better than last year but dry conditions persist in some parts of the state, which typically has about 2,000 wildfires a year that burn around 600,000 acres, state data shows. 

Chris Cline, interim chief of the fire protection division of the Oregon Department of Forestry, said the agency has the staff and equipment needed for the current year, but that finding and recruiting firefighters has been difficult and will continue to be a challenge in the years ahead. 

“The workforce is decreasing and shrinking, and it’s becoming very problematic,” Cline said. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry depends on more than 700 permanent and seasonal wildfire fighters, on top of the 11,000 structural firefighters who focus on protecting people, buildings and homes in towns and cities across the state. About 70% of those structural firefighters are volunteers, according to Mariana Ruiz-Temple, Oregon State Fire Marshal, and far more are needed.

“Capacity has gone down over the last 10 years and fires are increasing,” she said. “The Oregon volunteer system is truly the backbone of the Oregon fire service.” 

Cline added that incentives from the federal government for wildfire fighters, such as bonuses and higher pay, could draw those firefighters away from state and local agencies. Also, a lack of housing supply and affordable housing in parts of the state make recruitment difficult, Cline said.

Nevertheless, he added, “We have what we need right now, and we will be prepared to protect Oregonians this summer.” 

In recent years, state fire agencies have added aircraft and cameras for monitoring fires. They’ve also used state and federal grants to boost seasonal firefighter numbers and to purchase more engines, machines and equipment, while undertaking more preventative prescribed burns.

Cline said agencies are increasing the number of prescribed burns amid a recognition that they are needed to destroy ground brush and other fuel that’s been built up over the years and traditionally was burned off by lightning and tribes conducting low-intensity broadcast burns. 

“This is all trying to get (the land) health back to a more natural state,” Cline said. (SOURCE)

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.

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.

State Parks Day Events — Several free special events are planned June 1 to celebrate State Parks Day:

Carl G. Washburne: Hot dog BBQ noon-1 p.m. in campground B Loop, across from site 32.

Fort Stevens: Come and play disc golf 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lil’ Oozlefinch Putting Course.  Make a putt, win a special prize! Loaner discs available to use.  Giveaways and prizes for all who attend. 

Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail – Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead: Rangers and park partners will be at the Visitor Center 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with information and self-guided activities.

Jessie Honeyman: Hot dog BBQ 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the back patio of the Historic Cleawox Lodge.

L.L. Stub Stewart: The Friends of Stub Stewart State Park encourages all to come to the Community Fair at the Hilltop Day-use Area Picnic Shelter 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the booths and tables hosted by local fire departments, state forestry agencies, and local volunteer organizations.  There will also be interpretive displays and arts and crafts activities for everyone.

Milo McIver:  Join a park ranger at the Interpretive Shelter for a Plant Identification Scavenger Hunt 10-11 a.m. Learn about the different traits of plants and how to determine which species grow within the park. Plan to spend approximately 20-30 minutes learning about edible fruits and prickly plants and then 30 minutes on the trail completing the scavenger hunt. 

Silver Falls State Park: Learn about the emerald ash borer (EAB) and its role as a threat to Oregon’s ash trees. Oregon State Parks and Oregon Department of Forestry staff will be on hand 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to share information about this destructive pest at the Discovery Table in the Stone Circle in the South Falls day-use area. 

Spring Valley Access: Easy, ½-mile guided hike exploring native plants 11 a.m. Meet at the main parking lot near 8900 Wallace Road NW, Salem, OR, 97304. 

The Cove Palisades: Festival of the Landis a free festival that celebrates the diverse history, food and culture of Central Oregon 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes Dutch oven cooking demonstrations, kids’ games and activities, petting “zoo”, mini farmers market, pollinator, wildfire, and fish displays, and more. 

Visit the stateparks.oregon.gov event calendar for a list of additional events this summer.

For camping availability, please check oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com or visit first-come-first served sites: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=reserve.first-come

About Oregon Parks and Recreation Department – The mission of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is to provide and protect outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations. The department manages 254 Oregon State Parks comprising more than 100,000 acres. Learn more at stateparks.oregon.gov.

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

Home

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.

Open-Air Train Rides in June!
Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Saturday, June 1 and Saturday, June 29

1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm and 4:00pm

Adults: $15; Kiddos 3-12: $10; Children 2 and under ride free (on lap); Military & Seniors: $13.50

Join us for a 45-minute train ride in open air rail cars along the Willamette River in the heart of Portland. Excellent for viewing wildlife, paddleboarders and Oaks Park rides!

Open air cars are pulled by a diesel locomotive and depart from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center at 2250 SE Water Avenue in Portland, Oregon. Be sure to save a little time before or after to check out the museum.

Visit www.orhf.org/Saturday-train-rides for ticketing and more information.

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

Related posts

Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 5/1 – Amtrak Experiencing Record Ridership From Eugene To Portland, Police Activity Updates & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw

Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 2/10– Police Warn of Garage Burglaries, FEMA Denied Most Oregonians who Applied for Wildfire Disaster Assistance, Federal Authorities Uphold Oregon’s Denial of Permit for Jordan Cove

Renee Shaw

Willamette Valley News, Wednesday 12/7 – Kidnapping Suspect Arrested In Lane County After Fleeing Authorities In Vancouver, Residents Rally To Bring Awareness To Unsafe Driving Near Amazon Parkway

Renee Shaw