Willamette Valley News, Friday 6/28 – Final Weekend for U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials, Mt. Pisgah Arena Open House on Saturday & 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 28, 2024

Willamette Valley Weather

U.S. Olympic Track And Field Team Trials Update

The 2024 U.S. Olympic track and field trials resumed again on Thursday at Hayward Field following two rest/practice days for the competitors.

Hearing the roar of the crowd appreciating the incredible athletes in each event as they vie to represent the U.S. Olympic Team in Paris has been amazing. And watching the kids who wait for their favorite athletes to come sign their hats on the sideline. This is just as important as the games themselves.

The action continues through Sunday evening, when the last events are held, and the final Olympic berths will be determined for the 2024 Paris Summer Games . Each day at least one final will be contested, but there will also be compelling heat races and semifinals in some marquee events.

At the trials, the top three in each event make the team if they have the Olympic qualifying standard or a high enough world ranking. Additionally, sprinters will make the team for 4x100m and 4x400m relay pools, with those teams to be decided on the ground in Paris.*

  • TV – NBC: ( Watch FREE on Fubo ).
  • Live stream – Peacock: Also on the NBC Sports website and the NBC Sports app.

Friday, June 28

  • First event starts at 4 p.m. – Women’s javelin first round.
  • Finals scheduled: Men’s 110-meter hurdles.

The final of the men’s 110-meter hurdles will conclude an action-packed day, and the women’s 100 meter hurdles will begin as Keni Harrison , who won silver in Tokyo, hits the track in the heats.

Semifinals will also be conducted in the men’s and women’s 200 meters, the men’s 400-meter hurdles, the men’s 800 and the women’s 1,500. The 1,500 semifinals are likely to feature Elle St. Pierre and Elise Cranny , who already qualified for Paris in the 5,000 after a 1-2 finish.

Katie Moon (née Nageotte , who won gold in Tokyo, makes her first appearance at the 2024 trials in the first round of the women’s pole vault. The women’s shot put also begins as reigning silver medalist Raven Saunders and a contigent of Olympic hopefuls take aim in the first round.

Saturday, June 29

  • First event starts at 10:30 a.m. 7:30 a.m. – Men’s and women’s 20K racewalk final.
  • Finals scheduled: Men’s and women’s 20K racewalk final, men’s discus, women’s long jump, women’s 200 meters, women’s shot put, women’s 10,000 meters, men’s 200 meters.

Eight finals are on tap, highlighted by the finals of the 200 meters for both men and women. Presuming they get through heats and semifinals cleanly, we should see Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson race for more medals.

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone should also be back on track in the semifinals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles.

Sunday, June 30

  • First event starts at 2:50 p.m. – Men’s hammer throw final.
  • Finals scheduled: Men’s hammer throw, women’s pole vault, men’s high jump, men’s triple jump, women’s javelin, men’s 5,000 meters, men’s 800 meters, women’s 100-meter hurdles; women’s 1,500 meters, men’s 400-meter hurdles, women’s 400-meter hurdles.

Gold medalist Katie Moon (née Nageotte should be back on the field in the women’s pole vault final, while men will be contending for berths in the high jump and triple jump before the men’s distance runners take the track in the 5,000 meters.

The best female hurdlers return, and if all goes well in the heats and semifinals, that means one more opportunity to watch Keni Harrison in the 100-meter hurdles and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone in the 400-meter hurdles. It also likely means one more chance to watch defending silver medalist Rai Benjamin in the men’s 400 hurdles.

Road closures around Hayward Field

Hayward Field is located at the University of Oregon at 1530 Agate Street in Eugene. To accommodate the event, parking lots and streets around the stadium will be closed.

On Monday night, East 18th Ave. and Agate Street closed to the public. Portions of East 15th Ave. and East 17th Ave. near Hayward Field were also blocked off from traffic.

Starting Friday, access to East 13th Ave. and University Street will be limited to use for University of Oregon business. The following parking lots on campus will be closed to permit holders:

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

RESULTS: https://www.flipsnack.com/USATF/2024-usott-track-field-final-results/full-view.html

Lane County Sheriff’s Office – Mt. Pisgah Arena Open House on Saturday

 Meet our Posse members and their horses this weekend, June 29th!

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Connected Lane County Participating In New Program To Prevent Youth Homelessness

Home - Connected Lane County

A Lane County nonprofit organization dedicated to improving outcomes for underserved youths is participating in a pilot program that aims to prevent homelessness by providing direct cash transfers to youths facing housing instability, according to Connected Lane County officials.

Connected Lane County staff said that their organization received $185,000 from the Oregon Department of Human Resources for an initiative supported by Point Source Youth and the ODHS’s Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program team that is expected to support at least 50 local youth with direct cash transfers.

A total of $109,835 has been disbursed to 44 youth to help stabilize their housing situation by assisting with rent, utilities, urgent car repairs, cover medical expenses, and pay off debt, the organization said. FOLLOW on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/connectedlane

Police Warn of Bad Batch of Fentanyl Linked to Multiple Overdoses in Eugene

The Eugene Police Department is urging the public to exercise extreme caution due to a potentially deadly batch of fentanyl circulating in the Washington Jefferson Park area.

Patrol officers responded to a report of a deceased individual on the sidewalk at West 4th Avenue and Washington Street. Upon arrival, officers discovered a deceased male with evidence suggesting a recent overdose.

While canvassing the area, officers encountered two additional overdose cases. One individual appeared to succumb to an overdose in front of the officers. However, thanks to the quick response of the officers and medics on the scene, the individual was revived. This alarming series of events resulted in three overdoses within a short period of time in the Washington Jefferson Park area.

Given the severity and frequency of these incidents, there is reason to believe there is a bad batch of fentanyl in circulation. We strongly advise the public to be vigilant and to avoid any unknown substances. The Eugene Police Department is actively investigating these cases and working to identify the source of this dangerous batch. case #24-8984

Police Seek witnesses to broad daylight rape near 99 W. 10th Avenue

A Eugene Police Violent Crimes detective is asking for witnesses to come forward with information about a broad-daylight rape case that happened between noon and 12:30 p.m. on June 17, in the Broadway Alley/Willamette Alley area, near W. 10th Avenue. The surveillance video shows several possible witnesses passing by around the time of the rape.

The Broadway Alley and Willamette Alley is behind Cowfish and the Atrium Building – in parking lot area. If anyone witnessed a physical encounter between two people in that area,  please contact the detective at  (541)-682-5786 or email at Thart@eugene-or.gov.

One Critical After Springfield Crash

Eugene Springfield Fire responded to a single vehicle crash in to a building Wednesday morning.  Fire and EMS crews were notified of the crash located at 1532 32nd St in Springfield at 9:35 AM.  Arriving crews found the vehicle part way in to a metal manufacturing building.  

The crew on Tower 3 utilized their winch to pull the vehicle back from the building and used their hydraulic tools to quickly access the victim who was in cardiac arrest.  It is believed a life threatening event precipitated the crash.  Crews provided advanced life support resuscitating the victim prior to transport.

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

Fires All Around the State

Friday 6/2//24 9:22am
https://app.watchduty.org – screenshot 6/26/24 8:30am

Things change rapidly- Look at the difference in past two days.

Please Help Prevent Wildfires!

Upper Applegate Fire -ODF Morning Update

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Weather conditions allowed firefighters to resume firing operations to bring the fire closer to the indirect fire lines. The direct line is now 70%. This work has helped to strengthen the lines between the fire and homes in the north end of the fire. Additionally, IR mapping completed during the night has helped to identify hot spots that aren’t easily detected otherwise. Images will be used today to focus mop up operations.

Evacuation levels remain the same, with Zone JAC-436 at Level 2 and JAC-434 at Level 1.
Use the link to view the complete ODF Morning Update: https://tinyurl.com/SWOinfo

MAGA Tilt in Southern Oregon May Not Be Tightly Locked Down

Southern Oregon has long been Republican but shifts are taking place. Conservative southern Oregon, often an afterthought for many other Oregonians, may be the most politically dynamic large area in Oregon.

Few other areas show as much potential for political change. Consider a couple of large Medford-area events just a few miles apart and on the same day, June 22.

The Jackson County Fairgrounds was dominated by the Republican political rally called MOGA 2024 , the acronym standing for “Make Oregon Great Again.” Its headliners included national figures, including Mike Lindell , the MyPillow founder and advocate for Donald Trump. This may be the only really large-scale Oregon event on this year’s Republican calendar , presented as “Come help us take back southern Oregon.” It was heavily promoted by the local Republican organization, by other groups around the region, and around the dial on area radio stations.

From a pro-Trump perspective, you might wonder if there’s much to take back in the southern Oregon area. Most of this large sector of the state already votes Republican.

But it may not be as locked-down some may think. The Jackson-Josephine counties seem to be on the cusp of something subtle that events like MOGA could be critical in influencing: Deciding if the area becomes MAGA-dominated enough that other points of view are swamped, which hasn’t happened yet.

One piece of evidence in that argument is the second event held only a few miles from the MOGA event, over in Pear Blossom Park in Medford, where organizers were holding the well-attended 3rd annual Medford Pride event. One participant said, “It gives a space for young people to be free to express themselves however they want. And an opportunity in an area that’s not always the most accepting to really give an opportunity for our community to be queer.”

These two events may fit into the larger picture of conservative southern Oregon as pieces of a puzzle shifting and developing.

The two big counties in the area are Jackson (where Medford is the county seat) and Josephine (Grants Pass).

Jackson leans Republican, but not by a great deal. In the last two decades, it has voted Democratic for president just once, in 2008, but no one has won its presidential vote by as much as 51% since 2004. Its legislative delegation has included mostly Republicans, and Republicans hold county government, but Democrats as well, including state Sen.Jeff Golden and state Rep. Pam Marsh, who represent a large share of the county’s voters. There are some indicators it has been moving gently away from hard right positions. It is one of 11 counties in Oregon to legalize therapeutic psilocybin. Hard-line positions on property taxes seem to have eased a little in recent years. Jackson shows no signs of becoming a blue county, but its tint seems to be shading gradually purple.

Josephine County is more solidly Republican. No Democrat has won its vote for the presidency since 1936, the longest such run of any Oregon county, and Trump just cleared 60% in both of his runs. Its state and local officials are Republicans, and there are no indications that will change in the near future.

Still, there are indicators of attitude shifts. Josephine has been one of the most rigorous anti-tax counties in Oregon, along with neighbors such as Curry and Douglas. Having experienced some deep austerity in local services, however, voters seem to have recentered on the subject. READ MORE: https://oregoncapitalchronicle.com/2024/06/28/maga-tilt-in-southern-oregon-may-not-be-tightly-locked-down/

OHA study confirms gap in behavioral health treatment beds across Oregon, details financial path to expanding capacity

SALEM, Ore.– Oregon needs up to 3,700 adult mental health and substance use treatment beds to close existing gaps and meet future service projections, according to a final Oregon Health Authority (OHA) study of the state’s behavioral health continuum of care.

The findings are part of an assessment that Governor Tina Kotek directed OHA to commission last year. The report was produced by Public Consulting Group (PCG), a public sector solutions implementation and operations improvement firm that has produced similar studies in Washington and other states.

The findings inform an ongoing funding and implementation effort that state leaders are committed to pursue, which could take several biennia to complete.

According to the final Behavioral Health Residential + Facility Study report, closing the gap could require investments of as much as $170 million per year over the next five years and the creation of approximately 650 new beds per year.

The final report includes a new five-year funding recommendation that recognizes the importance of:

  • Increasing the behavioral health workforce to support expanded capacity.
  • Improving access to mental health and substance use disorder support services to help individuals stay within their communities.
  • Expanding supportive and transitional housing opportunities.

State health officials will continue to work with Governor Kotek and the Legislature to apply the study’s findings and guide investments toward closing the gap in treatment services.

“We don’t get to choose between adding beds, and adding workforce. We must do both in order to make real change in our behavioral health system. It’s important to note that capacity in Oregon’s behavioral health system is dynamic, and the data in the report represent a point-in-time snapshot of one part of a broader continuum of care,” said OHA Behavioral Health Director Ebony Clarke.

“This report provides us with critical data to inform how we prioritize the creation of more treatment beds and it also underscores the broader understanding that we need to continue to invest in solutions that reduce the number of beds needed,” Clarke said. “We do this through investing in protective factors and earlier intervention – additional community-based programming, crisis and outpatient programs, in addition to other supportive services – to prevent people who are experiencing mental illness or substance use from progressing to a level of severity in their illnesses that would require treatment in a more acute setting.”

The final report follows the draft preliminary report released in February.

At the direction of OHA, the final report reflects updated data for the facilities within scope for this study. Although there is no perfect methodology for determining the appropriate number of high-acuity beds in a behavioral health system, PCG used state and national data sets, findings from peer-reviewed literature and surveys of treatment facilities to estimate mental health and SUD treatment bed capacity and needs within the continuum of care. PCG worked at the direction of OHA to include Oregon-specific data.

Even as the report was finalized, state officials were moving quickly to supplement capacity and have already identified several short-horizon “priority” projects, which are likely to bring community beds online within the next year or two and to address what are considered critical service gaps. OHA is working to publish a dashboard later this summer that will track and highlight progress toward new beds coming online.

Over the past four years, the Oregon Legislature has invested more than $1.5 billion to expand behavioral health treatment capacity, raise provider payment rates and stabilize the treatment workforce. Oregon’s current capacity shortfall would be even greater without these investments.

According to the report, recent legislative investments from HB 5202 (2022) and HB 5024 (2021) have supported the creation of 356 new licensed mental health residential beds (exclusive of adult foster homes), SUD residential, and withdrawal management beds, which are under construction and scheduled to open by the third quarter of 2025.

Unusual coin toss determines outcome of 7-7 tie in Oregon House primary

The winner, Democrat Doyle Canning, can’t accept the nomination because she lost her primary race

On Thursday morning, one Oregon primary election came down to an anticlimactic and ultimately meaningless coin flip. 

Republicans didn’t field a candidate in the heavily Democratic 8th House District in Eugene, which meant whichever qualified candidate received the most write-in votes could claim the Republican nomination. Of the 103 names written in by Republicans, the two highest vote-getters were Democratic nominee Lisa Fragala and her Democratic opponent Doyle Canning. 

Under state law, election officials needed to decide “by lot.” Past ties have been settled by rolling dice, but in this case election officials decided a coin toss was the fairest outcome. 

Neither Canning nor Fragala drove from Eugene to watch the coin flip, so employees of the Secretary of State’s Office served as proxies. In a basement conference room, a small group of employees, government nerds and one reporter watched as Luke Belant, the state’s deputy elections director, pulled a quarter from his wallet.

After both proxies agreed that the coin – minted in 2013 to commemorate Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at Lake Erie in the War of 1812 – was acceptable, Belant tossed it in the air. It landed tails up – a victory for Canning. 

But that victory was to be short-lived: Because she lost the Democratic nomination, Canning is barred from accepting the nomination of any other party under the state’s sore loser law. Instead, Republican precinct committee persons – the elected local party officials who vote on party business, including nominating replacements for candidates or elected officials who don’t finish their terms – could choose a Republican nominee to appear on the general election ballot. 

Canning, laughing when she heard the results from a Capital Chronicle reporter, said she was shocked but proud that the Secretary of State administered elections so consistently, fairly and transparently. 

“Even though we’re talking about seven votes, it’s great that we can all be so confident that the laws and procedures are so dutifully followed,” she said. 

She still has no idea who the seven Republicans who voted for her are, but she said the tie vote coin flip should be a lesson for political parties to compete in every district. 

“The lesson here for any political party is to field a candidate,” Canning said. “I’m sure, had the Republicans fielded a candidate, they would have gotten more than seven votes.”

It’s rare, though not unheard of, for an election to end in a game of chance. It last happened in Oregon in 2016, when both Democratic candidate Janeen Sollman and Republican Dan Mason earned 41 votes from members of the Independent Party of Oregon. 

In that case, election officials decided to have each candidate roll a die. Mason won the roll with a six to Sollman’s three, Northwest News Network reported at the time, but Sollman, now a state senator, won with voters in November.  (SOURCE)

Oregon begins the remaining pandemic unwinding renewals with new changes helping Oregonians keep coverage

SALEM, Ore. — With over 91 percent of the state’s 1.5 million renewals complete, more than four out of five Oregonians are keeping their Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or other Medicaid benefits.

There are four monthly “waves” of renewals left in the unwinding process. The first of these remaining four batches started this month, asking for a response by the end of September.

An update in May to the ONE Eligibility system people use to apply for and manage their medical benefits enabled Oregon to use an improved process for the remaining renewals. These changes are a substantial set of small adjustments that together will make it easier for the people of Oregon to keep their medical benefits. This includes changes to make medical eligibility and renewal notices easier to read and to give more details about decisions. People in the June “wave” of renewals are the first to experience these process improvements.

Oregon’s 82.5 percent renewal rate continues to be the third highest in a national comparison of state renewal rates by KFF, a nonpartisan health policy organization. Oregon’s high renewal rates are due to proactive efforts by the state to keep people covered, including extended response timelines, and the upcoming launch of OHP Bridge for adults with higher incomes.

Members who have not received a renewal yet should:

  • Keep their address and contact information up to date.
  • Check their mail or ONE Online account for their renewal letter.
  • Do what the renewal letter asks as soon as possible. Anyone concerned they missed their letter should get help with their renewal using one of the options listed below.
  • Members who did not respond to renewals can still re-open their case three months after it closes if they are still eligible, and they can reapply at any time.

June OHP renewal data – As of June 18, 2024, 1,330,708 people have completed the renewal process. This represents around 91.7 percent of all OHP and Medicaid members.

  • 1,097,801 people (82.5 percent) were renewed and kept their benefits.
  • 221,958 people (16.7 percent) were found ineligible.
  • 10,949 people (0.8 percent) had a reduction in their benefits. Most of these members lost full OHP but were able to continue Medicare Savings Programs that help pay their Medicare costs.

Although most people are keeping coverage during the post-pandemic medical renewals, approximately 234,000 people have or will need to consider other coverage options due to lost or reduced benefits.

  • People who do not have coverage through an employer or Medicare may be able to enroll through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and get financial help. Most people who enroll through HealthCare.gov qualify for this help.
  • The Marketplace is sending information to people who are no longer eligible for OHP benefits, advising of other potential coverage options.
  • People who have recently lost OHP benefits can enroll anytime until November 30, 2024, or within 60 days of their benefits ending.
  • For more information and ways to get help signing up for Marketplace, Medicare, or employer coverage, see “What to do if OHP is ending” below.

Need help renewing your benefits?

  1. Learn more about how to renew your Oregon Health Plan medical coverage.  You can log into your online portal and complete your redetermination work at benefits.oregon.gov.
  2. Call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075. All relay calls are accepted, and help is available in multiple languages. Wait times are lowest between 7 and 8 a.m., PST.
  3. Visit or call a local Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) office. People can find their local office at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/Pages/office-finder.aspx.
  4. Visit a community partner for free, in-person help. To find one near you visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp (English) or orhim.info/ayuda (Spanish).
  5. Download the Oregon ONE Mobile app via the app store to keep track of your renewal, find a local office, or upload a document.

What to do if your OHP is ending:

  • First, review the case summary in your letter to make sure the information used to make the decision was correct. If that information has changed, notify the state via one of the options above If the information on file for you is correct and you disagree with the decision, you can request a hearing. Learn more about hearings.
  • Explore options through an employer. If you, your spouse or a parent are working, you may be eligible for health coverage through that employer. Talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if you qualify. You will have a special enrollment period to enroll mid-year due to loss of OHP benefits.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare: For help understanding and choosing the right Medicare options, go to https://OregonHealthcare.gov/GetHelp to find an insurance agent or a counselor at the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA). You can also call SHIBA at 800-722-4134.

If you need to sign up for Medicare for the first time, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213 to enroll by phone or find a local office. You can also enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up.

  • Nearly 80 percent of Oregonians qualify for financial help through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to answer a few quick questions, find out how much you can save and find out how much coverage may cost you. You can also call the Marketplace Transition Help Center at 833-699-6850 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted).
  • Need free local help finding other coverage? Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find professional help near you.

OHA and ODHS are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians. Check our ONE Eligibility Operations Dashboards for more frequent updates on medical renewal data and wait times for callers to the ONE Customer Service Center.

OHA study confirms gap in behavioral health treatment beds across Oregon, details financial path to expanding capacity

SALEM, Ore.– Oregon needs up to 3,700 adult mental health and substance use treatment beds to close existing gaps and meet future service projections, according to a final Oregon Health Authority (OHA) study of the state’s behavioral health continuum of care.

The findings are part of an assessment that Governor Tina Kotek directed OHA to commission last year. The report was produced by Public Consulting Group (PCG), a public sector solutions implementation and operations improvement firm that has produced similar studies in Washington and other states.

The findings inform an ongoing funding and implementation effort that state leaders are committed to pursue, which could take several biennia to complete.

According to the final Behavioral Health Residential + Facility Study report, closing the gap could require investments of as much as $170 million per year over the next five years and the creation of approximately 650 new beds per year.

The final report includes a new five-year funding recommendation that recognizes the importance of:

  • Increasing the behavioral health workforce to support expanded capacity.
  • Improving access to mental health and substance use disorder support services to help individuals stay within their communities.
  • Expanding supportive and transitional housing opportunities.

State health officials will continue to work with Governor Kotek and the Legislature to apply the study’s findings and guide investments toward closing the gap in treatment services.

“We don’t get to choose between adding beds, and adding workforce. We must do both in order to make real change in our behavioral health system. It’s important to note that capacity in Oregon’s behavioral health system is dynamic, and the data in the report represent a point-in-time snapshot of one part of a broader continuum of care,” said OHA Behavioral Health Director Ebony Clarke.

“This report provides us with critical data to inform how we prioritize the creation of more treatment beds and it also underscores the broader understanding that we need to continue to invest in solutions that reduce the number of beds needed,” Clarke said. “We do this through investing in protective factors and earlier intervention – additional community-based programming, crisis and outpatient programs, in addition to other supportive services – to prevent people who are experiencing mental illness or substance use from progressing to a level of severity in their illnesses that would require treatment in a more acute setting.”

The final report follows the draft preliminary report released in February.

At the direction of OHA, the final report reflects updated data for the facilities within scope for this study. Although there is no perfect methodology for determining the appropriate number of high-acuity beds in a behavioral health system, PCG used state and national data sets, findings from peer-reviewed literature and surveys of treatment facilities to estimate mental health and SUD treatment bed capacity and needs within the continuum of care. PCG worked at the direction of OHA to include Oregon-specific data.

Even as the report was finalized, state officials were moving quickly to supplement capacity and have already identified several short-horizon “priority” projects, which are likely to bring community beds online within the next year or two and to address what are considered critical service gaps. OHA is working to publish a dashboard later this summer that will track and highlight progress toward new beds coming online.

Over the past four years, the Oregon Legislature has invested more than $1.5 billion to expand behavioral health treatment capacity, raise provider payment rates and stabilize the treatment workforce. Oregon’s current capacity shortfall would be even greater without these investments.

According to the report, recent legislative investments from HB 5202 (2022) and HB 5024 (2021) have supported the creation of 356 new licensed mental health residential beds (exclusive of adult foster homes), SUD residential, and withdrawal management beds, which are under construction and scheduled to open by the third quarter of 2025.

FBI Seeking Individual Who May Have Information Regarding the Identity of a Child Sexual Assault Victim

PORTLAND, OREGON – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown male who may have critical information pertaining to the identity of a child victim in an ongoing sexual exploitation investigation. Photographs and an informational poster depicting the unknown individual, known only as John Doe 48, are being disseminated to the public and can be found online at the FBI website at http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/ecap.

Initial video of the unidentified male, John Doe 48, first recorded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in December of 2023. The EXIF data embedded within the video file indicated that the file was produced in October of 2023.

John Doe 48 is described as a White male between the ages of 45 and 65 years old, with dark hair, and a gray beard. He has a tattoo on each of his forearms. He is seen in the back of a 2018-2019 Nissan NV Cargo Van wearing a blue t-shirt and a dark-colored hat. He is heard speaking English in the video.

Anyone with information to provide should submit a tip online at https://tips.fbi.gov/ or call the FBI’s toll-free tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). The public is reminded no charges have been filed in this case and the pictured individual is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This individual is being sought as part of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and Endangered Child Alert Program (ECAP) initiatives. Operation Rescue Me focuses on utilizing clues obtained through in-depth image analysis to identify the child victims depicted in child exploitation material, while ECAP seeks national and international media exposure of unknown adults (referred to as John/Jane Does) who visibly display their faces and/or other distinguishing characteristics in association with child pornography images. — UNKNOWN INDIVIDUAL – JOHN DOE 48 — FBI

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Seeks to Improve Fish Hatcheries

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) hosted a public meeting Thursday addressing the current problems plaguing Oregon’s fish hatcheries.

ODFW Deputy Administrator Shaun Clements says hatcheries serve an important purpose, and provide social, economic, and cultural benefits to Oregonians. Hatcheries also play a significant role in re-establishing declining fish populations. But climate change, aging hatchery infrastructure, and increasing costs are making it difficult to reach fishery and conservation goals.

Clements says the main priorities of ODFW are investing in hatchery infrastructure and collaborating with community members for more solutions.

“These hatcheries produce about 35 million salmon steelhead a year and about 5 million trout. Hatcheries are an incredibly important source for harvest opportunity, constituting about 70% of the harvested fish in Oregon,” Clements said.

As part of an established timeline ODFW will conduct a webinar series in August, as well as more public meetings and a report to the state legislature by early 2025.

On Dobbs anniversary, abortion remains legal and protected in Oregon

2022 SCOTUS decision impacted national landscape, but recent ruling on mifepristone offers hope for ongoing safe, effective abortion access

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the nation recognizes the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022 decision that removed constitutional protections for abortion, Oregon remains committed to ensuring people have  access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion.

The second anniversary of the High Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, is a stark reminder of the challenges states face in protecting access to reproductive health care. But key actions in Oregon – and another, more recent High Court decision – offer hope for anyone inside and outside the state seeking to exercise their legal and protected right to abortion.

Governor Tina Kotek said, “The two-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision is a sobering reminder that we cannot afford to lose ground ensuring access to safe, effective and legal reproductive health care in Oregon.”

On June 13, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the challenge to the FDA’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. In a unanimous decision, justices ruled that the plaintiffs in the case did not have standing to challenge the FDA’s actions, and so mifepristone continues to be available.

The ruling left in place federal regulations that permit patients to order mifepristone virtually and by mail delivery. However, the decision leaves open the possibility for future litigation seeking to restrict access to mifepristone.

Should litigation seeking mifepristone restrictions come to pass, a contingency plan Oregon put in place could temporarily keep the abortion drug available: The state secured a three-year mifepristone supply and developed a plan to equitably distribute it to eligible prescribers, ensuring patients seeking abortion services in Oregon will continue to have access to this safe and effective method.

“OHA will continue to ensure that people in Oregon have access to safe, effective reproductive care – including abortion services – when and where they need it,” said OHA Director Sejal Hathi, M.D.

Oregon’s mifepristone stockpile is just one of several actions the state has taken in recent years to keep comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion, in place and accessible:

  • Reproductive Health and Access to Care Act (HB 2002) – This comprehensive law, passed during the 2023 legislative session, protects and expands access for those seeking and those providing reproductive health and gender affirming care.
  • Reproductive health infrastructure investments – Also during the 2023 legislative session, Oregon allocated $3.4 million to OHA as part of Public Health Modernization to support reproductive health infrastructure This funding created an Abortion Access in Oregon website and provided infrastructure grants to clinical service providers across the state.
  • Lawsuit over unnecessary abortion medication restrictions – As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine litigation was underway, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joined Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson in co-leading a multi-state lawsuit against the FDA to protect enhanced access to mifepristone. The outcome of this lawsuit was Judge Thomas Rice’s decision barring the FDA from making any changes that could reduce the availability of mifepristone in the 17 states that signed on to the lawsuit.
  • Amicus brief in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine – Gov. Kotek and 21 other governors filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of abortion rights in Food and Drug Administration, et al., v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. In this brief, the Reproductive Freedom Alliance governors argued that if the Court reverses FDA approval of mifepristone and limits access to the vital medicine, it could undermine Governors’ ability to provide adequate healthcare services and would have far-reaching implications beyond reproductive healthcare.

“These activities and initiatives demonstrate Oregon’s recognition of reproductive health services as basic and essential health services,” Dr. Hathi said.

Individuals can access free or low-cost reproductive health services at local health departments, Planned Parenthood clinics, federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics across the state. To find a clinic, visit: healthoregon.org/rhclinics, dial 211, or text HEALTH to 898211.

Oregon Ranks as One of the 10 Best States for Hikers

DPR_10 Best States ofr Hiking_Header Best states for hiking scaled

Oregon is the No. 10 best state in the country for hikers, according to a new ranking. Kuru Footwear ranked the best states in the United States for hiking, looking at “five key metrics—total hiking trail reviews, number of trails, percentage of trails ranked as easy, trails rated 4.5 stars or higher, and yearly precipitation.”

Top-Ranked U.S. States for Hiking

StateRankTotal # of ReviewsTotal # of Trails% of Easy Trails% of Trails Rated 4.5+Precipitation (yearly inches)
Colorado11,995,9665,28626%51%15.9
California24,500,86412,83527%52%22.2
Arizona31,556,6523,29227%54%13.6
Montana4273,1751,50823%47%15.3
New York51,065,3464,48150%38%41.8
Utah61,110,8523,22424%53%12.2
Texas7572,6342,42472%44%28.9
Washington81,368,7964,16133%39%38.4
North Carolina9774,1482,73646%49%50.3
Oregon10686,5253,10634%38%27.4

https://www.kurufootwear.com/a/blog/best-states-for-hiking-2024

Proposed ballot measure to raise corporate taxes, give every Oregonian $750 a year likely to make November ballot

Oregon voters will likely decide in November whether to establish a historic universal basic income program that would give every state resident roughly $750 annually from increased corporate taxes.

Proponents of the concept say they likely have enough signatures to place it on the ballot this fall, and opponents are taking them seriously.

State business advocacy groups are preparing to launch a campaign against the proposed measure, arguing that it would harm Oregon’s business landscape and economy.

The proposal, Initiative Petition 17, would establish a 3% tax on corporations’ sales in Oregon above $25 million and distribute that money equally among Oregonians of all ages. As of Friday, its backers had turned in more than 135,000 signatures, which is higher than the 117,173 required to land on the ballot. The validity of those signatures must still be certified by the Secretary of State’s Office.

“It’s looking really good. It’s really exciting,” said Anna Martinez, a Portland hairstylist who helped form the group behind the campaign, Oregon People’s Rebate, in 2020. If approved by voters, the program would go into effect in January 2025.

Martinez and other supporters say the financial boost would help Oregon families buy groceries, afford rent and pay for basic necessities. “This will put money back in the local economy. It will help small businesses,” she said. “Some people say, ‘Well it’s only $750.’ But that’s huge if you really need it.”

The state Department of Revenue would be responsible for distributing the money. Every Oregon resident would be able to claim the money either in cash or as a refundable tax credit, regardless of whether they have filed personal incomes taxes, according to the ballot initiative draft.

The initiative proposal draft states that any leftover funding from the rebate would “be used to provide additional funding for services for senior citizens, health care, public early childhood education and public kindergarten through grade 12 education.”

The ballot measure campaign has received significant financial support from out-of-state supporters of universal basic income.

Oregon People’s Rebate has received about $740,000 in contributions and spent all but about $10,000. The highest contributor by far is Jones Holding LLC, a corporation based in Los Angeles and controlled by investor and universal basic income fan Josh Jones that has given $425,000. The second largest contributor is a related L.A.-based corporation, Jones Parking Inc., which contributed nearly $95,000. The third largest source of contributions are the foundation and mother of Gerald Huff, a software engineer and advocate of universal basic income from California who died in 2018. Huff’s foundation and mother have contributed $90,000 combined.

“Yes, the funders are from California, but these are not like nefarious outside interests here,” Martinez said. “These are people who are committed to basic income.”

Oregon business groups are preparing to fight the measure. State business lobby Oregon Business and Industry and tax policy research nonprofit Tax Foundation say raising corporate taxes would harm companies and lead to higher costs of goods and services.

“(The proposed measure) would impose a massive tax increase in Oregon,” Oregon Business and Industry said in a statement. “If it qualifies for the ballot, our organization will be involved in a campaign against it, and we are confident that when voters look at the facts, they will vote to reject it.”

Oregon currently brings in billions of dollars of corporate taxes every year. The state’s excise and income tax on corporations brought in 10.3% of the state’s general fund in the 2021-2023 biennium, enough to make it the second highest revenue source after personal income tax, according to the Legislative Revenue Office.

C corporations, the default type of corporation for tax status, that do business in Oregon currently pay a state excise tax of 6.6% on income under $1 million and a 7.6% tax on income above that. If a corporation doesn’t earn a net income, they must pay a minimum state tax of $150 to $100,000 based on their total sales, according to the Legislative Revenue Office. Other types of corporations pay a minimum $150 excise tax.

Oregon corporations also pay a 0.57% corporate activity tax, which is calculated from companies’ commercial activity in the state valued above $1 million.

The proposed ballot measure would increase the minimum excise tax to 3% on all corporations’ reported gross sales above $25 million. Under the proposed measure, all of that money would then be distributed by the state Department of Revenue to all Oregon residents who live in the state for more than 200 days of the year.

Business groups fear that the increased taxes would drive corporations away from Oregon. “In practice, affected businesses would likely move more of their operations out-of-state to avoid” paying such high taxes, according to a report from the Tax Foundation.

The report states that corporations with high gross sales but low or no profit would be taxed unreasonably high amounts. A corporation with a low 3% profit margin would have to pay all its profits from sales above $25 million in Oregon taxes.

Martinez said the opposition from business groups does not surprise her. “It’s a tale as old as time,” she said. “Corporations don’t want to pay their fair share. They pay so little compared to everyday Oregonians. We all have really thin margins and we manage to do it.” (SOURCE)

Oregon’s 2024 Minimum Wage Increase Takes Effect July 1st

A 50-cent hike to Oregon’s minimum wage will bring baseline pay in the Portland area just to the doorstep of $16 an hour this summer.

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries announced Tuesday that the minimum wage in the Portland area will rise to $15.95. In urban counties outside the Portland area, the minimum wage will be $14.70 an hour. And in rural counties, the minimum will be $13.70. The change takes effect July 1.

Oregon has had a tiered minimum wage since 2017, when the state Legislature approved a series of minimum wage increases but kept the minimum lower in more rural parts of the state, reasoning that the cost of living was lower, too.

Since 2023, annual increases in the minimum wage have been tied to the rate of inflation. The Consumer Price Index, the inflation measure used to calculate the increase, rose 3.5% over the past year.

The increases announced Tuesday range from 2.9% for the Portland metro to 3.8% raise in rural areas.

The average Oregon hourly wage is much higher than the minimum, $31.17 last year, according to the state employment department. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009. (SOURCE)

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.

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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