Willamette Valley News, Friday 6/7 – Fire Destroys Dozens of Storage Units Near Lebanon, Lane County Publishes Results of 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count & 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, June 6, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

Linn County Sheriff’s Office Investigates as Fire Destroys Dozens of Storage Units Near Lebanon

Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan reports yesterday, June 5, 2024, at 7:33 p.m., Linn County Dispatch received a report of flames coming from the Storage Depot in the 36000 block of Highway 34, near Lebanon.  The fire was reported to grow quickly. 

Photo by Corbin Henderson

3rd Alarm Fire destroys multiple storage units.

At 7:33pm June 5th Lebanon Fire District was dispatched to the report of a structure fire in the 36000 block of Hwy 34. Initial reports said the there was a storage unit on fire and flames could be seen. The first arriving officer reported heavy smoke coming from the structure with exposures on both sides of the building. The incident commander quickly requested a second alarm for more additional units and personnel to help battle the blaze. The fire was difficult to extinguish due to water supply and the number of units involved. The incident commander upgraded the fire to a third alarm, which brought in more fire apparatus and personnel to help.

Multiple law enforcement and fire personnel responded to the scene and found multiple storage units involved with active fire. Deputies contacted the caller, Micah Schulte, 43, of Lebanon who gave statements about a torch in his possession that caused the fire after it fell against furniture. Statements provided included using the torch to heat concentrated marijuana product. 

 At around 2:00 am Lebanon Fire district was able to release all the outside agencies that assisted with the fire which included, Albany Fire Department, Scio Fire District, Sweet Home Fire District, Brownsville Fire District, Harrisburg Fire District, Halsey-Shedd Fire District, Tangent Fire District, ODOT, and Linn County Sheriffs Office.  The Lebanon crews remained on scene until early this morning and then were relieved by the oncoming shift. 

Excavation equipment was brought in this morning to assist with the overhauling the fire and aiding in the final extinguishment of deeply seated areas. Fire crews remained on scene until late this afternoon fully extinguishing the fire.

Our investigation team spent most of the day on-site determining the cause and origin of the fire. They were assisted by Oregon State Fire Marshall and LCSO. 

Deputies will continue to investigate as leads develop and more information becomes available from the Oregon State Fire Marshalls Office. Schulte was taken into custody and lodged at the Linn County Jail for Reckless Burning and Criminal Mischief II. 

Fire crews and deputies continue to work on scene and gather information. The cost of the damage is unknown at this time, but several storage units are impacted, and the damage will be significant. 

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Caleb Riley with the Linn County Sheriff’s office at (541) 967-3950. 

Lane County Human Services Publishes Results from 2024 Homeless Point In Time Count

Every year on the last Wednesday of January, the Lane County Human Services Division, in partnership with numerous agencies and groups, conducts the annual one-night Homeless Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. The PIT Count is a three part survey which includes a count of the unsheltered and sheltered population of people experiencing homelessness, as well as a Housing Inventory Count (HIC). The 2024 PIT Count was conducted for the night of January 31, 2024.

The Point-In-Time Count provides a useful tool for understanding homelessness and year-over-year trends in our community. One-night counts are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Oregon Housing and Community Services (State of Oregon) which provides funding for housing and services related to homelessness. The Point-in-Time Summary is used year-round by planning boards, nonprofits, community organizations, and policy makers on local, state, and federal levels to inform their work on this issue.

Lane County has an additional data system, the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which features a list of individuals by name who have accessed services for homelessness. This information is dynamic, and allows for tracking of movement in and out of the condition of homelessness, and use of shelter and other services. The data from this list is used in conjunction with PIT data to paint a more detailed picture of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community, which helps drives local programming decisions and analysis.

Information about the Count: This year’s unsheltered count was primarily conducted by generating a report from Lane County’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). A modified version of the Homelessness By-Name List was used, which includes homeless individuals in any HMIS-participating program. Programs include street outreach, day access centers, food pantries, and other services for people experiencing homelessness. This is the fourth year Lane County has been approved by HUD to use this method.

To supplement this count, trained outreach workers collected surveys in areas where it was most likely that people who are unsheltered were not engaged in other services so would not be counted through HMIS.

Consistent with prior years and HUD recommendations, the sheltered count was conducted using HMIS data. A small number of providers who do not participate in HMIS, like domestic violence service providers, sent their own sheltered counts to be included in the county-wide Point-in-Time Count.

Oregon Governor’s State of Emergency Due to Homelessness (All In) — Due to the increase of unsheltered homelessness in the Point in Time Count from 2017 to 2022, Lane County was included in the governor’s state of emergency due to homelessness. As a result, more than $15 million of state funding have been allocated to local agencies targeting homelessness. More information can be found here including counts around the country: https://www.lanecounty.org/government/county_departments/health_and_human_services/human_services_division/point-in-time__pit__homeless_count

Eugene Police Department · Seeking any additional victim reports

On June 4, a man identified as 34-year-old Kerry Michael Diamond was arrested after a report he had followed a woman into a store near W. 11th Avenue and Seneca Road, solicited her for sex, and had pulled out his genitalia in front of her. He was arrested for Public Indecency and during the investigation, detectives found social media posts that indicate there may have been other victims.

If anyone has been victimized or witnessed Diamond engaged in this behavior, please contact Detective Katherine McCartney, 541-214-0881.

Diamond, is age 34, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a thin build. The activity being investigated generally includes exposing his genitalia to women and children, propositioning women for sex in exchange for money or inviting them to perform in a “porno” with him, and masturbating in public. Case 24-07988

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. 

6/4/24 – LCSO Case #24-2813 – Deputies arrest attempted rape suspect in Veneta

On May 30th, Lane County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the area of East 24th Avenue and Henderson Avenue regarding an attempted rape.  The victim was able to provide a description of the suspect and his vehicle.  Area law enforcement was notified of the suspect and vehicle, which had left the area before deputies arrived.  Detectives began investigating the case. 

On June 1st, a deputy noticed a matching vehicle while in Veneta and identified the owner as Bobby Allen Boyd, 50.  After conducting additional follow up, detectives arrested Boyd on June 4th and lodged him in the Lane County Jail for Attempted Rape in the First Degree, Strangulation, and Assault in the Fourth Degree.  

Technical Rescue at Sahalie Falls

At 10:32 Wednesday morning, Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District was dispatched to a report of a Technical Rescue at Sahalie Falls. It was reported that an elderly male had fallen approximately 40 feet over a cliff near the base of the falls.

Sweet Home Fire responded with one medic unit and a rescue vehicle and made the one hour drive east to make contact with the patient. Once on scene, medics encountered the patient near the base of the falls with bystanders rendering aid. Thankfully, he sustained non-life threatening injuries but was unable to walk and extremely cold due to being so close to the falls.

Lane and Linn County Search and Rescue teams arrived shortly after Sweet Home Fire units and facilitated rescue operations. The lengthy rescue involved rope systems to raise the patient up the face of a cliff to the trail where he was then carried back down to the parking lot approximately a half-mile away.

The decision was made during the rescue operation to utilize air ambulance via Life Flight to transport the patient to Riverbend Hospital due to his condition. Due to the remote area, the landing zone was established on Hwy 126, closing down the highway temporarily. We would like to thank our outstanding partners who helped make this a successful outcome. We would also like to take this time and remind all of you to be safe when enjoying the outdoors. Plan ahead and know your limitations to help you stay safe.  

Life Jacket Exchange to be held on June 15th thanks to Springfield Elks Lodge donation

Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue and the Springfield Elks Club will be holding a Life Jacket Exchange on June 15th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Springfield Elks lodge, located at 1701 Centennial Blvd, Springfield. The program’s mission is to ensure every child playing in or near the water has a properly fitting life jacket. 

Bring your child and their outgrown or lightly used life jacket to the Springfield Elks Club parking lot on June 15th and exchange it for a properly fitting child’s life jacket. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office and local Elks will be there to help check jackets for form, fit, and function. Life jackets that are turned in for exchange are inspected for safety and handed back out at the event.  Any additional life jackets left over after the event will be distributed to life jacket loaner stations throughout the county.

This event is first come first served and the child will need to be present to ensure they get a proper size.

The Life Jacket Exchange was a staple of the Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue for many years thanks to community donations. The Springfield Elks Lodge generously donated life jackets and their facility for the event this year. We are excited to offer this program again to ensure the safety of our community’s children while they enjoy Lane County’s many beautiful water ways.  

Price and Schedule For All Sessions In Eugene U.S. Olympics Track And Field Team Trials Tickets 2024

The U.S. Olympic team trials are just around the corner. At the end of June, hundreds of top notch athletes will compete for a spot in Paris, but only so many will qualify. It all comes down to what happens at Hayward Field.

The trials begin June 21 and conclude June 30 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. At least one final race will be held during each evening session.

VIEW SCHEDULE HERE: https://www.newsbreak.com/eugene-or/3479110305651-u-s-olympics-track-and-field-team-trials-tickets-2024-price-schedule-for-all-sessions-in-eugene-or

There’s a handful of stars ready to officially clinch their spot on the team. Sha’Carri Richardson and Anna Hall will be going for first Games, Noah Lyles for his second after winning a bronze in Tokyo and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone to run it back after two golds.

While the track and field trials are a long event, held over eight days, there’s no better place to see Olympic athletes compete than Hayward Field. Here’s how to get tickets for every day of the competiton.

BUY NOW: Get tickets for the 2024 U.S. Olympics Track and Field team trials

U.S. Olympics Track and Field team trials schedule 2024 – U.S. Olympics Track and Field team trials tickets 2024

Tickets for every session of the 2024 U.S. Olympics Track and Field team trials are available on StubHub .

Fans can expect to pay no less than $40 to see any session of the trials. Those who want to see the final day of the competition on June 30 , when multiple finals will be held as well as the announcing of the teams, can get tickets for as little as $206.

You can view a complete list of tickets as well as a seating chart of Hayward Field using the link https://www.stubhub.com/us-team-trials-track-field-tickets/grouping/138394871?agqi=25ac73311804f5a280c55b83516d2345&agi=stubhub&agut=e4a2608899a0b3e087c4a6a824527a63e62103fa&clickref=1011lyCAszXd&utm_source=partnerize_sne&utm_medium=publisher_program&utm_sub_medium=Content&utm_campaign=1101l799&utm_content=0&PCID=partnerize_all

Lane County targeted by Automated Phone Scam

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has received dozens of reports this morning from our community about an automated phone scam claiming to be our agency.  The scam is originating from or providing a callback number of 541-361-3786, and all options on the phone tree result in the caller being asked to send an email to a fraudulent email address, usually some variation of “info” at “civil service agency”.  

Residents are advised not to call the scammer back or email any address provided. If you are contacted by this scam, please report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.ic3.gov

We will NEVER ask for money by phone, text, or email.  We will NEVER call you about missed jury duty. Scammers usually claim there are warrants, missed jury duty, or unsettled legal issues.  The scammers then ask for payment or personal information, often to avoid arrest.  In some instances, the scammers appear to call from official phone numbers or provide fraudulent callback numbers with official-sounding voicemail inboxes.  They often already have some personal information based on the phone number they called.

If you are contacted by someone claiming to be a Lane County Sheriff’s Office employee and you think you are being scammed, please hang up and contact our dispatch center at 541-682-4141. — Please share with your friends and family!

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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

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


Officials are urging people to avoid a stretch of the north Oregon coast after a dead humpback whale washed ashore over Memorial Day weekend and Quelling Rumors

The whale came ashore on the sands of Nehalem Bay State Park, just south of Manzanita, prompting warnings from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All three agencies issued warnings Monday on posts to social media as well as signs on the beach. The area where the whale washed ashore is also a protected area for endangered snowy plovers, making it especially vulnerable to intrusions.

A beached whale is not necessarily unusual for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, but the agency has had its hands full since a 34-foot juvenile humpback whale washed ashore at Nehalem Bay State Park on Memorial Day.

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While the whale, which was likely killed by a boat strike, continues to rot on the north coast beach, park officials have been busy shooting down Facebook rumors and fending off visitors who have been straying into restricted areas.

On Wednesday, the parks department posted to Facebook clarifying that it has no plans to blow up the whale carcass, citing a post making the rounds that claimed otherwise. Detonation comes up practically every time there’s a beached cetacean in Oregon, as people relive the infamous exploding whale incident of 1970.

These days, officials typically leave whale carcasses to rot naturally on the beach, allowing the bodies to be utilized by the other creatures of the local ecosystem. Park officials on Wednesday said that after more than a week, natural decomposition has “left nothing but an unrecognizable blob and a horrible stench.” https://www.facebook.com/OregonStateParks

New Oregon laws passed during this year’s legislative session took effect Thursday.

They include laws aimed at home affordability, curbing hunger, growing the state’s semiconductor work force and preventing firearm-related suicide.

Producing More Affordable Housing (Senate Bill 1537)

Introduced at the request of Governor Tina Kotek — this new law creates a new revolving loan fund to make interest-free loans to local governments to help finance production of affordable housing and moderate income housing projects. The fund is seeded with $75 million.

The law also grants qualifying cities a one-time expansion of their Urban Growth Boundaries. Cities under 25,000 people can expand by 50 acres, while cities over 25,000 people can expand by 100 acres. In the Metro area, the cap is 300 acres. Cities must display that they have done comprehensive planning and permitting before expansion and demonstrate need for both housing and land.

SB 1537 further establishes the Housing Accountability and Production Office to support local governments as they work to achieve their housing production goals. 

Supporting First Time Homebuyers (Senate Bill 1527)

SB 1527 removes administrative barriers so that more Oregonians can access the First Time Home Buyer Savings Account Program, making it easier to take advantage of the personal income tax subtraction. This program allows low- and median-income Oregonians to use the money deposited into this account for costs associated with buying a home, such as down payments and other closing costs.

Preventing Firearm Suicides (Senate Bill 1503

This new law creates the Community Safety and Firearm Suicide Prevention Task Force, a 17-member panel charged with developing recommendations for ways to reduce suicides by firearm and associated community safety risks. SB 1503 identifies several issues the task force will study, including:

  • How to better support youth and rural Oregonians experiencing suicidal ideation
  • Barriers to suicide prevention support
  • Barriers to implementing best practices for community safety and suicide prevention
  • How domestic violence is a risk factor for community safety threats and suicide
  • Risks to first responders 

Modernizing Oregon’s Emergency Medical Services (House Bill 4081)

This new law works to make sure Oregonians get the emergency medical care they need by: 

  • Establishing an EMS program to administer a statewide program and improve EMS standards. 
  • Creating a State EMS Director position to oversee this program. 
  • Forming an EMS Advisory Board to develop the program and provide advice and recommendations.
  • Starting Regional Advisory Boards to develop plans to implement best practices, informed by local resources and capacity within hospital trauma regions.

Growing Oregon’s Semiconductor Workforce (House Bill 4154)

In a more recent report, the Semiconductor Workforce and Talent Assessment found that the semiconductor and related manufacturing industry employs nearly 31,000 workers, with an average annual wage that’s approximately two and a half times the average statewide wage. HB 4154 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to create a statewide semiconductor industry consortium, establishes the Semiconductor Talent Sustaining Fund to build an education-industry pipeline, and promotes STEM in education. 

Reducing Hunger, Ensuring Equal Access to Hot Food (Senate Bill 1585)

SB 1585 creates a task force to work to reduce hunger and ensure equal access to hot food for Oregonians who are elderly, experiencing homelessness, or have a disability and receive support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) via federal programs like the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP). The RMP is a federal option program that states can sign up for to allow SNAP participants to buy meals from restaurants that choose to opt-in to the program. Nine other states already participate in the RMP.

Oregon launching Summer EBT food benefits program for school-aged children

Summer EBT Logo

Need to know: 

  • Summer EBT is a new federal food benefits program to help families buy food for their school-aged children during the summer.
  • Oregon will provide more than $35 million in Summer EBT food benefits to around 294,000 school-aged children beginning in late June 2024.
  • Families with eligible children will receive a one-time payment of $120 in food benefits.

Oregon Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (Summer EBT) is a new food benefits program to help shrink the hunger gap when children are on summer break and don’t have easy access to healthy meals at school. Summer EBT starts in late June and will provide $120 per eligible child to buy food.  

“Summer break is days away for families with school-age children. During the summer, many families must provide another 10 meals per child, per week. The strain that puts on a family’s grocery budget can amplify child hunger. Summer EBT is on its way to help,” said Dr. Charlene Williams, Director of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) which is partnering with the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to provide the new program. 

“Summer EBT is an evidence-based program proven to reduce child hunger and support healthier diets. We want to raise awareness about this new program and make sure families know what to expect and do when the program begins,” said Fariborz Pakseresht, ODHS Director. “Child hunger can have lasting impacts on health and academic achievement. Getting every eligible child connected to Summer EBT will help Oregon’s children thrive year-round and as they grow up.”

Who is eligible for Summer EBT food benefits? — Families can find details about Summer EBT at sebt.oregon.gov

School-aged children are typically eligible for Summer EBT if:

  • Their household already participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Oregon Health Plan (OHP, also known as Medicaid), or
  • They are in foster care, or

 They attend a school that offers the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program, and their household’s income meets the requirements for free or reduced-price school meals, or

  • They attend a school that offers the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program and are:
    • Enrolled in migrant programs
    • Experiencing houselessness
    • Participating in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
    • Attending Head Start

Families receiving Summer EBT can continue participating in other meal programs in their schools and communities. 

Summer EBT benefits are not considered in a public charge test and are available to children regardless of immigration status.  

How will families receive Summer EBT food benefits?  — There are two ways families can access Summer EBT benefits. About 70 percent of eligible children will be automatically enrolled in Summer EBT. Families of the remaining 30 percent of eligible children will need to fill out a simple application. 

  • Automatic enrollment: Families that participate in SNAP, TANF or OHP will be automatically enrolled and don’t need to apply. Children in foster care also will be automatically enrolled. For families receiving SNAP or TANF benefits, Summer EBT will be added to the household’s Oregon EBT card. For families receiving OHP, a new EBT card will be mailed to the address on file. Families will get a letter for each eligible child by mail or email when their benefits have been sent. They will receive the benefits in one payment. 
  • Application: Families with children who are not automatically eligible can apply for Summer EBT. To be eligible, children must be enrolled in a school with free or reduced-price meals and live in a household that meets the income requirements for free or reduced-price meals. At sebt.oregon.gov, families can sign-up to get a notification by text or email when it’s time to complete the application. As part of this application, families must provide the child’s name, school, date of birth, address and household income. Qualifying families will be mailed an Oregon EBT card. They will receive the benefits in one payment. 

Families can use their Summer EBT benefits at stores and farmer’s markets that accept EBT. 

More about Summer EBT –

Summer EBT became a new, permanent program for states and certain Indian Tribal Organizations through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. Most states will start providing Summer EBT in June 2024. Oregon’s participation was made possible through an investment from the Oregon State Legislature of $12 million. That investment will draw $83 million in federal funding to Oregon, mostly in the form of grocery benefits families will spend in their communities. 

Additional resources to help meet basic needs:

  • Families can get more support from other summer meal programs as well as through these food resources: Find food resources in your community: needfood.oregon.gov 
  • Find a food pantry: foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org 
  • Text the word “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304-304
  • Learn about government programs and community resources for older adults and people with disabilities: Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon at 1-855-673-2372 or https://www.adrcoforegon.org
  • Dial 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org 
  • Find local resources and support by contacting your local Community Action Agency: www.caporegon.org/find-services/ 

State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council Will Meet on June 11

Salem, Ore. – The State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council will meet at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. The meeting will take place remotely via the internet on Microsoft Teams and is open to the public. The agenda and handouts will be posted on the council’s website.

  • What: Meeting of the State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council  
  • When: Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Where: Microsoft Teams | Join Meeting
  • Meeting ID: 216 565 392 995 Passcode: ekgWVp
  • Phone: +1 503-446-4951 Phone conference ID: 944 308 59#
  • Who: State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council

The State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council was established by Governor Kotek’s Executive Order 23-26, Establishing a State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council.

The purpose of the Council is to recommend an action plan to guide awareness education, and usage of artificial intelligence in state government that aligns with the State’s policies, goals, and values and supports public servants to deliver customer service more efficiently and effectively. The recommended action plan shall include concrete executive actions, policies, and investments needed to leverage artificial intelligence while honoring transparency, privacy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Meetings of the State Government Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council are open to the public.

Public comment may be made during the meeting. Sign-up for public comment is required as spots are limited. Sign-up closes Monday, June 9 at noon. Written comment will also be accepted. Written comment can be submitted by mail to the Council Support Office, 550 Airport Rd SE Suite C, Salem, OR 97301 or online via the office form.

Accommodations can be arranged for persons with disabilities, and alternate formats of printed material are available upon request. Please contact Enterprise Information Services at 503-378-3175 at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting to request accommodations. Closed captioning is included on the Microsoft Teams meeting.


Oregonians Targeted By Text Tolling Scam

A new nationwide texting scam is targeting Oregon drivers now. Ellen Klem, with the Oregon Attorney General’s Office says the phishing scheme started in the midwest earlier in the spring. “I’m honestly not surprised it’s happening now, because now is the time where everyone is gearing up to drive.”

The text claims to be from “Oregon Toll Service” and says the recipient owes an $11.69 outstanding balance; they face a $50 late fee if they don’t click on a link and pay up. Klem says some people may identify the fraud right away, because Oregon doesn’t have tolling, “But, we live next to all these other states that have tolls.” And she worries some will fall for it. 

“They are not interested in the $11,” says Klem, “They are interested in much, much more.” She believes the scammers want your personal information, and clicking on the link could allow them to access other data on your phone.

The text has all the markers of a scam, like contact out of the blue from an unknown agency. “There’s a lot of really cheap or free technology out there that allows the scammers to pretend to be somebody they’re not. So, in this case, they’re pretending to be associated with an agency that administers tolls in the state of Oregon. But that doesn’t exist,” says Klem, “Second sign: There’s some sort of emergency. In this case, you have an unpaid bill; that’s frightening to a lot of people.”

She suggests not being in such a rush to respond to every text or email, “These phones, they’re everywhere and we have this sort of automatic response to click on a link or to pick up every phone call. And, I want to remind people just to slow down and think before you click on anything.” Klem adds, “Really, at the end of the day, this is a text message that you can and you should ignore.”

If you get a text, email or phone call you’re not sure is legit, call the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer hotline at 877-877-9392. Volunteer experts are available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

West Coast’s ShakeAlert System gets Major Upgrade

The ShakeAlert System is available to cell phone users in California, Oregon and Washington.

The U.S. Geological Survey and its partners are announcing a new capability to characterize large earthquakes quickly, helping inform the public about potentially damaging shaking headed their way. In addition to over 1500 seismic sensors that detect ground shaking, the ShakeAlert System now makes use of sensors that detect earth-surface movement via satellite.

“While rare, earthquakes greater than magnitude 7 can have the greatest impact on human lives and infrastructure,” said Robert de Groot, with the USGS ShakeAlert Operations Team. “Future major offshore earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, which could be similar to the 2011 M 9.1 earthquake in Japan, underscore the importance of incorporating satellite data stream into the ShakeAlert System.” 

The newly added ShakeAlert capability that uses data from real-time Global Navigation Satellite System sensors may more quickly and accurately determine the magnitude and the area of shaking from very large earthquakes, resulting in faster notifications for people to take a protective action, such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On. GNSS data, which includes the well-known US-based Global Positioning System, are now used in addition to seismic data to detect earthquakes. While seismic sensors measure how quickly the ground is shaking, GNSS sensors measure how far the ground moves up, down, or sideways during an earthquake. 

The ShakeAlert System, currently available in California, Oregon, and Washington, can protect people and infrastructure by delivering alerts to cell phones and triggering automatic actions like slowing down trains to prevent derailments, opening firehouse doors so they don’t jam shut, and closing valves to protect water systems.  

The ShakeAlert GNSS integration and ongoing operations is a partnership of the USGS, the National Science Foundation funded EarthScope Consortium, university partners with significant contributions from the University of Washington, Central Washington University, UC Berkeley, and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. 

The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System is managed by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with state agencies and universities and it is a public safety tool for over 50 million residents and visitors in California, Oregon, Washington. When the ShakeAlert seismic sensor buildout is completed at the end of 2025 there will be a network of over 2000 ShakeAlert stations poised to protect residents and visitors in California, Oregon, and Washington. 

For more information on how this new capability works, watch this video.   (SOURCE)

Oregon has the highest rate of animal vehicle collisions on the West Coast.

The Oregon Zoo and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have developed a project to identify the deadliest roads. The iNaturalist Roadkills of Oregon project asks you to take photos of animals killed by cars.

The picture will be uploaded into an app, so biologists will be able to track areas where the most collisions occur. Currently, only large animals like deer and elk are tracked. This project will monitor all animals that are killed.

Roadways and vehicular traffic are a significant contributor to fragmentation of habitat and impacts to wildlife, including injury and mortality. The purpose of this project is to improve our understanding of the impacts of roads on Oregon’s wildlife, and to identify roadkill hot spots and vulnerabilities among a diversity of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. This information can help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and make roadways safer. Please go to: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/roadkills-of-oregon/journal

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

Come to the World Beat Festival to Experience Global Cultures: Ukraine is the 2024 Featured Country

Salem Multicultural Institute is excited to celebrate Ukraine as the 27th annual World Beat Festival’s featured country. World Beat is one of Salem’s premier community traditions, offering a vibrant two-day program of international music, dance, song, theater, food, crafts, customs, rituals, and folklore. This year’s festival will begin Friday evening, June 28, and run through Sunday, June 30, at Salem’s Riverfront Park.

Kathleen Fish, Executive Director, emphasizes that this is the only festival of its kind honoring the Salem/Keizer community’s rich tapestry of cultures. “There are 107 languages spoken in our school district. The festival recognizes and explores the cultures of many of these families.”

The festivities kick off Friday, June 28, from 5 to 10 p.m. with “Friday Night at the Beat,” featuring vocal performances and fire dancing on the Main Stage. 

The festival opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, with the Children’s Parade. Kids who want to participate in the parade will assemble at the Pavilion at the North End of the park. 

Each child who attends will receive a passport at the entrance gate to collect stamps from each World Village. Village tents will feature kid-friendly cultural games and activities. This year’s activities include making cherry blossoms in the Asian Pacific Village, Pysanky (traditional egg decorating) in the European Village, Arpilleras (traditional Chilean textile art) in the Americas Village, and crafting Nguni Shields in the Africa & Middle East Village.

Adults can enjoy beverages in the beer garden while listening to live music. Boating enthusiasts can cheer on their favorite teams during the World Beat Dragon Boat Races

“We had over 25,000 guests attend last year, enjoying performances on seven stages representing more than 50 different countries and cultures. Our visitors come from all over the Northwest and even Canada,” added Fish.

Organized by the volunteer-driven Salem Multicultural Institute, the festival requires 400 volunteers annually to manage setup, stage operations, and cleanup. Volunteers contributing at least four hours receive an event T-shirt and free entry to the festival.

Admission to the festival is $10/1-day pass/adult or $15 for the weekend. Children 0-14, SNAP card holders, and Veterans are free. 

You can view a complete schedule and vendor list or sign up to volunteer atwww.worldbeatfestival.org or call (503) 581-2004. 

About the World Beat Festival: The World Beat Festival originated in the late 1990s and was conceived by two young mothers, Mona Hayes and Kathleen Fish, who wanted a space to celebrate cultural heritage. Starting with a small gathering in 1998, the festival has grown into Oregon’s largest multicultural event of its kind. www.WorldBeatFestival.org, 503-581-2004.

About the Salem Multicultural Institute (SMI): The vision of the Salem Multicultural Institute and the purpose of the World Beat Festival and World Beat Gallery are to create an environment of openness for all people. In all our activities, SMI aims to be family-friendly, economically inclusive, and culturally authentic. Visit the gallery located at 390 Liberty ST SE, Salem. www.salemmulticultural.org.

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.

Oregon’s Missing Persons

Many times you’ll see postings without case numbers or police contact. There is rarely a nefarious reason why (the nefarious ones are pretty obvious). Usually the loved one tried to call to report their missing person and they are either refused or told to wait a day or two by people who are unaware of SB 351 and the laws that they are bound to when answering the phone. Many people don’t bother calling LE if their loved one is homeless or in transition because they believe LE won’t care. The biggest myth is the 24 hour rule.

In Oregon we don’t have those rules and an officer or person answering the phone is not allowed to decide. The law decides. We have Senate Bill 351 and it states that the police CANNOT refuse a request for any reason and they must begin working on it within 12 hours. The person making the report does not have to be related to missing person either.

Here is SB 351 written by families of the missing here in Oregon in conjunction with Oregon law enforcement officers. This should be common knowledge, please make it this way. https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/…/SB351/Introduced

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