Willamette Valley News, Monday 6/10 – Firefighters Respond to Structure Fire SW of Eugene, Getting Ready for U.S. Olympics Track And Field Team Trials at Hayward Field & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Monday, June 10, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

Firefighters Respond to Structure Fire SW of Eugene

Eugene Springfield Fire (ESF) responded to an automatic aid structure fire in the rural area protected by Lane Fire Authority (LFA) South/West of Eugene Saturday morning.  Crews were notified at 6:54 AM on June 8th with reports of a fire in a 2nd floor apartment attached to a shop. Engine 15 from the South Hills station was able to initiate interior attack on the fire successfully preventing extension beyond the apartment.  

Crews from ESF and LFA worked together overhaul and ventilate the fire area and providing water in the non-hydrated area.  Automatic aid agreements help ensure the effective fire response in border areas between jurisdictions.

Getting Ready for U.S. Olympics Track And Field Team Trials at Hayward Field

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

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

VIEW SCHEDULE HERE: https://www.usatf.org/events/2024/2024-u-s-olympic-team-trials-%E2%80%94-track-field/schedule

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 the competition: https://am.ticketmaster.com/haywardtrackandfield/buy — MORE INFO: https://www.usatf.org/events/2024/2024-u-s-olympic-team-trials-%E2%80%94-track-field

Salem Police Department – Investigators Seek Potential Witness in Suspicious Death Investigation

Salem, OR — Detectives from the Salem Police Criminal Investigations Section are currently investigating the death of a 28-year-old Salem woman. 

Just before 2:00 a.m. on May 23, emergency personnel responded to the call of a woman lying in the roadway in the 1000 block of Rural AV SE. Responding paramedics determined the woman was deceased.

The woman is identified as Carla Fernanda Vasquez, age 28, of Salem. Detectives are handling the incident as a suspicious death investigation.

Surveillance video near the area where Vasquez was found shows a passing motorist minutes before the call to police was received. A light-colored vehicle, possibly a van or mid-size, crossover SUV, is seen in the video traveling eastbound on Rural AV as it passes Church ST. Detectives ask for the public’s help in locating this potential witness. 

If you are the driver or know the person driving in the area on that early Thursday morning, or if you have information about the case, please call Salem Police detectives at 503-588-8477. 

# # # Video URL: salempd.info/case-24-43327

Lane County Elections Reminder

When the Lane County Elections Office receives a ballot that is missing the signature on the return envelope or the signature does not match the voter’s registration that ballot is challenged. Challenged ballots must be corrected (or “cured”) within 21 days following an election. Voters with challenged ballots are notified by letter. Some of the common reasons that signatures don’t match the voter registration record are natural changes to handwriting as we age and injury to a voter’s hand or arm.

A man wearing a denim shirt is giving a timeout signal by forming a "T" with his hands. Text the left of him reads "If you have been notified of a challenged ballot, you have until June 11 to 'cure' it so your vote counts.

To correct a challenged ballot, the voter must:✅ Sign and return an affidavit (included with the letter or available online). Voters are also asked, but not required, to provide a valid form of identification to make the curing process more efficient. If ID is not provided, the signature on your affidavit must match the signature on record. Learn more about challenged signatures and the curing process at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections If a ballot is not cured, the vote cannot be counted.

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

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.  

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!

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

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

Rodeo Bull Hops Fence at Sisters Rodeo Injuring People Before Being Captured

A rodeo in Sisters Oregon descended into chaos Saturday after a bull escaped the arena and ran loose through the event grounds, leaving three people — including a sheriff’s deputy — injured, officials said. Two people were transported to the hospital due to injuries, according to first responders.

The incident occurred around 10 p.m. PT on Saturday, during the final section of the bull-riding event at Sisters Rodeo. The bull, which was competing at the event, hopped the arena fence and ran out through the grounds and back to the livestock holding pens, according to a statement from Sisters Rodeo.

Video from the incident shared on social media showed the bull striking a rodeo attendee and lifting them off the ground twice.

No details were available on the attendee’s current condition. “Rodeo livestock professionals quickly responded to safely contain the bull,” event organizers said in the statement, adding, “It was secured next to the livestock holding pens by our rodeo pickup men and immediately placed into a pen.”

Lt. Jayson Janes, with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office, told ABC News that the sheriff’s deputy suffered a minor injury while running after the bull after it escaped. It was unclear how the third individual was injured in the melee.

The Rodeo Sports Medicine Team, Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD, Cloverdale RFPD, rodeo staff and local law enforcement responded immediately with first aid and care, according to event organizers. Sisters Rodeo continued with scheduled events on Sunday as planned.

A southern Oregon lawmaker’s comments on a podcast suggesting non-Christians aren’t qualified to hold elected office didn’t violate legislative rules around a safe and respectful workplace, a House panel determined Monday. 

The House Committee on Conduct voted 3-1 that Rep. E. Werner Reschke, R-Malin, didn’t violate House rules when he told a conservative Christian podcast host that people want Christians, not atheists, Muslims or “materialists,” in government. Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, joined Republican Reps. Kevin Mannix of Salem and Ed Diehl of Stayton in voting to clear Reschke, while Rep. Thuy Tran, D-Portland, voted against. 

Reschke did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

The investigation into Reschke stemmed from comments he made on a conservative Christian talk show in January that were reported by OPB. During a conversation with former Arkansas lawmaker Jason Rapert, Reschke said he was inspired to run for office because of men including George Washington, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

“You look at men and the struggles that they faced and the faith that they had, and those are the type of people that you want in government making tough decisions during tough times,” he said. “You don’t want a materialist, you don’t want an atheist, you don’t want a Muslim, you don’t want, you want somebody who understands what truth is and understands the nature of man, the nature of government and the nature of God.” 

Democratic leaders condemned his comments and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments that newly appointed state Rep. Dwayne Yunker, R-Grants Pass, had expressed on his campaign website. On the final day of the legislative session, members of civil rights groups and state Rep. Tom Andersen, D-Salem, gathered outside the Capitol to protest Reschke’s and Yunker’s comments. 

“Rep. Reschke’s comment was offensive, and it will impact my working environment and it will affect my interactions with him.” – Rep. Thuy Tran, D-Portland

Meanwhile, an attorney with Jackson Lewis, a Portland law firm, was quietly investigating whether Reschke’s comments violated legislative rules meant to ensure the Capitol is a safe and respectful workplace. Two people who attorney Sarah Ryan described as mandatory reporters said they had been approached by others with concerns about Reschke’s comments, including that at least one person who didn’t want to be identified felt that Reschke’s comments adversely impacted their work at the Capitol. 

Legislative rules require state representatives, senators and nonpartisan supervisors to report any behavior that could violate the Capitol’s workplace policies. Legislative Equity Officer Bor Yang hired Ryan to investigate the reports, as well as a separate complaint about a July 2022 invitation from Reschke to a prayer vigil that was interpreted as threatening to LGBTQ+ individuals. Ryan quickly dismissed that complaint, saying there was no indication it affected anyone at the Capitol. 

She spoke to a dozen people about his comments about Muslims and atheists and found that two were concerned about how Reschke’s comments would affect their work at the Capitol. One was troubled by years-old tweets Reschke had made about Muslims, and another individual feared that Reschke viewed them as lesser. 

“Most of the people that I interviewed were at least initially offended by the comments that were made by Representative Reschke,” Ryan said. “Some had one-on-one conversations with the representative and were satisfied with his explanation, but there were only two people who indicated that the comments had an impact on their work at the Capitol.”

Tran, who is Buddhist, said she absolutely sees an effect from Reschke’s words. 

“Rep. Reschke’s comment was offensive, and it will impact my working environment and it will affect my interactions with him,” she said. 

‘Lessons for all of us’ — Kropf said the comments were clearly disrespectful to Muslims and atheists, but that the Legislature’s workplace harassment rules aren’t clear on what conduct outside of the Capitol should or shouldn’t be allowed. He personally believed Reschke’s comments, made as a state representative on a podcast, were related to his work in the Legislature, but he said he understood how Mannix and Diehl could reach a different conclusion.

“​​I hope that he has been – I think he has been – reflective and appreciative of the impact those words have had and the work that he has to do to continue to restore trust,” Kropf said. “There’s lessons for all of us to learn in this. To me, what this reinforces is that we can be guided by our faith, we can be guided by our beliefs, but we can also be respectful of the faith and the beliefs of others and how that they guide them in our governance for our state.”

Mannix echoed that he believed Reschke has reflected on the comments, and that he hopes Yang will consider those comments as she prepares training for legislators to follow. Reschke did not address the committee and did not respond to a call or emailed questions about the decision or any reflection.

Diehl said he was concerned that legislative workplace rules could become so broad that they stifle lawmakers’ abilities to express themselves and discuss legislation. 

“We’re looking at something that wasn’t even said in the building,” he said. “It was said completely outside the building. It wasn’t even directed at any particular individual, and we’re here having a discussion on it.” (SOURCE)

Rare Hoodwinker Sunfish Washed Ashore on Gearhart Beach Just North of Seaside

A remarkable discovery has captivated beachgoers and marine enthusiasts alike as a 7.3-foot hoodwinker sunfish, rarely seen in these waters, washed ashore on Gearhart Beach, according to the Seaside Aquarium. This unusual sighting of the Mola tecta, known as the hoodwinker sunfish, has sparked curiosity and excitement.

photos by Seaside Aquarium
May be an image of 1 person, elephant seal and grey whale

Initially mistaken for its more common relative, the ocean sunfish (Mola mola), this specimen caught the attention of researchers, including Mariann Nyegaard from New Zealand. Nyegaard, who identified and described the hoodwinker sunfish in 2017, confirmed through genetic sampling that this was indeed the elusive species.

The Seaside Aquarium has been actively involved, assisting with measurements, photographs, and collecting tissue samples for further study. Researchers are particularly intrigued by the size of this specimen, potentially the largest ever documented.

The presence of the hoodwinker sunfish in the Pacific Northwest challenges previous assumptions that it was confined to the southern hemisphere, the Aquarium stated. Recent sightings along the West Coast, including California and Alaska, suggest a broader range than previously known.

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.

May be an image of text

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.

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

One week after sharing additional details about its planned merger with Legacy Health, Oregon Health & Science University told staff it’s planning to lay off more than 500 workers.

The news is drawing criticism from unions representing workers at the health care giant.

In an internal email obtained by OPB, OHSU president Dr. Danny Jacobs and senior leadership attributed the cuts to expenses outpacing costs, as Willamette Week first reported.

“Despite our efforts to increase our revenue, our financial position requires difficult choices about internal structures, workforce and programs to ensure that we achieve our state-mandated missions and thrive over the long-term,” Jacobs said in the Thursday email.

An OHSU spokesperson told OPB that the precise number of layoffs will be announced in the coming weeks. On May 30, the health care giant announced that it’s moving forward with its planned merger with Legacy Health.

In Thursday’s email, Jacobs said that, while this news likely raises questions about OHSU’s financial situation, the investment in Legacy is funded by borrowing with 30-year bonds that “cannot be used to close gaps in our fiscal year 2025 OHSU budget or to pay our members.”

OHSU plans to hold a town hall next week to answer staff questions. In the email, leaders said they’ll provide significant updates as soon as possible as part of their “commitment to transparency.”

They said discussions about workforce reductions will start “following the annual review and contract renewal process, with additional reductions happening over the next few months.”

“It’s outrageous and immoral that OHSU is on one hand planning to lay off 500 hard-working people and reduce patient care, while writing checks for million dollar bonuses to their top executives and adding $350,000 to CEO Dr. Danny Jacobs’ retirement account,” said Jennie Olson, president of AFSCME Local 328, in a statement. “OHSU needs to prioritize patients and people instead of lining the pockets of people in ivory towers.” (SOURCE)

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/ 

BottleDrop announced that it has donated a total of $12,000 through its Containers for Change program to help provide food assistance to those in need across the state.

Twelve food banks and pantries throughout Oregon received a donation of $1,000 each.

“As the school year comes to a close, we recognize that many students rely on meals
provided at school and food assistance programs may see an increase in demand over
the next few months,” said Devon Morales, vice president of external affairs for OBRC.
“We are excited to do our part in supporting families who may need extra assistance
during the summer break.”

BottleDrop’s Containers for Change program provides Oregonians with an easy way to donate their OR 10-cent container refunds to nonprofits operating in communities around the state. BottleDrop customers can participate by simply leaving their bag tag stickers off their Green Bags and dropping them off at any BottleDrop facility. OBRC uses 100% of the funds from containers in those bags to support nonprofits, advocacy organizations and foundations.

Each of the nonprofits also participates in the BottleDrop Give program, which supports fundraising efforts year-round. Supporters can either connect with the nonprofit directly to get Blue Bags to fill with their bottles and cans, or Green Bag customers can donate online directly to the nonprofit’s account. Customers can search for participating nonprofits on BottleDrop’s website.

About OBRC — The Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative is the industry steward of Oregon’s nationally recognized beverage container redemption system and the operator of the BottleDrop network. On behalf of the beverage industry, OBRC helps Oregonians conveniently recycle over 2 billion containers every year, dramatically reducing litter in Oregon’s special places and boosting recycling outcomes. To learn more, visit BottleDrop.com or OBRC.com.

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.

Links:

The Oregon Health Athority is rasising awareness for one of the most common forms of financial fraud: Medicare fraud. 

OHA says Medicare loses $60 billion a year to fraud, errors and abuse. 

Raising awareness on 6/5 and the week after signifies the 65-yr-old and older population since most people become eligable for Medicare at 65-yrs-old.  To learn more, read the OHA blog here: https://ow.ly/VIRu50Sc7pS

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)

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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