Oregon Beach News, Friday 11/10 – Deceased Newborn Orca Exhibit At The Charleston Marine Life Center & Other Local and Statewide News…

The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com

Friday, November 10, 2023

Oregon Beach Weather


* WHAT...Seas 9 to 14 ft at 13 seconds expected. Also, south winds 15 to 25 kt with gusts up to 30 kt late tonight through Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. 
* WHERE...All areas. Winds will be strongest north of Port Orford. 
* WHEN...Until 4 AM PST Monday. 
* IMPACTS...Gusty winds and steep seas could capsize or damage smaller vessels. 
* View the hazard area in detail at https://go.usa.gov/x6hks

Deceased Newborn Orca That Washed Ashore In Brookings Contributing To Marine Education Through Exhibit At The Charleston Marine Life Center

A deceased newborn orca that washed ashore on a beach in Brookings six years ago is now contributing to marine education through a local exhibit at the Charleston Marine Life Center.

The six-foot long baby orca skeleton was placed alongside a full-grown female orca skeleton. The two marine mammals are now “swimming” together and greeting visitors as they enter through the doors of the Charleston Marine Life Center.

The CMLC is the public outreach center of the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, the University of Oregon’s marine biology research and teaching field station.

Shortly after the infant orca was found, scientists performed a necropsy to find out how it died. They found that that the newborn orca had air in its lungs, but it did not have any milk in its stomach. They hypothesize that the orca got separated from its mother shortly after birth, and that it was about two days old when it died.

After the necropsy, scientists decided to preserve the skeleton so others could learn more about the difference between adult and baby orca skeletons. It took a team of marine biologists and community and student volunteers about 5-years to complete the process of decomposing and then piecing together the whale skeleton for the exhibit.

“It is not common to have a baby orca skeleton – and baby skeletons are different from adult skeletons – so this was a very important opportunity to learn about what newborn whale skeletons look like,” said Trish Mace, the director of the Charleston Marine Life Center.

It was a time-consuming process, not only because orca skeletons contain many bones, but also because infant whale skeletons aren’t fully formed, Mace said.

Figure out as you go process – There was no simple blueprint to follow.

Nancy Treneman, a research associate and instructor at OIMB, took the lead in recreating the skeleton. The infant cetacean was still in the process of developing its bones so many were still cartilage and had not yet ossified, she said.

She and her team used epoxies and acrylics to fill in the blank spaces that were cartilage. Also, because the infant whale bones were so small compared to an adult, it took some creativity to fuse the delicate pieces together and support the skeleton.

In some ways it was a figure-it-out as you go process, Treneman said. But the meticulous team took their time to do it as accurately as possible.

While the death of an infant whale isn’t something anyone wants to see, the silver lining is that many have already learned and will continue to learn from it.

“Orcas, it seems, are everybody’s favorite marine mammals. They are romanticized in some ways. But they’re also a top apex predator in the ocean. They have no natural predators. They are really intelligent and they’re social,” Treneman said.

There is still a lot to learn about orcas, so it is special to be able to give visitors to the Marine Life Center an up-close view of the skeleton, she said.

Impressive collection

The orca exhibit now adds to the impressive collection of exhibits at the Charleston Marine Life Center.

The center is part museum, part aquarium, and is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Children and students are free, adults are $5 and senior entry is $4. It is located at 63466 Boat Basin Rd in Charleston.

When the CMLC is not open to the public, it is utilized for school groups and other educational activities.

“For locals who come in, they are getting to know their own backyard, in essence,” Marine Life Center director Mace said.

“I think we have a lot more diversity of marine life here than most people realize,” she said.

Exhibits at the marine life center include tanks that hold live sea creatures, fish and other marine life that have been preserved, as well as sea turtle and marine mammal skeletons. There are also many interactive exhibits and views of the Charleston Marina and the bay.

It is illegal to collect marine mammal bones without a permit. If anyone comes upon a stranded marine mammal, dead or alive, they should report it the West Coast Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline at 1-866-767-6114.

More information about the Charleston Marine Life Center can be found at http://cmlc.uoregon.edu (SOURCE)

Florence Woman Uses Winnings To Support Three Rivers Casino’s Toy And Food Drive And Urges Others To Help Too

A Florence woman who has made it her mission to make sure all children have a toy for Christmas is asking others to help out with the Three Rivers Casino’s 19th annual Toy and Food Drive.

Liberty Kommer said that she sets aside a portion of her winnings for a fund she’s earmarked for the annual Christmas toy drive. She said that part of the joy is in picking out toys for the drive, as she picks out toys she would have liked to have when she was growing up. Kommer said that she never had a Christmas growing up and doesn’t want other children to go through the same thing. Last year, Kommer donated a truckload of bicycles and helmets.

The casino has collected thousands of toys over nearly two decades to be given to Toys for Tots and handed out. The drive runs through December 6 and new, unwrapped toys worth at least five dollars can be dropped off at the casino. Donors can also drop off three cans of food in exchange for five dollars in free play at the casino. More information on the drive can be found on the Three Rivers Casino’s website.

Two beach campgrounds update their closure schedules for 2023/2024

Two popular coastal campgrounds will temporarily close through spring/summer 2024 due to construction. 

Bullards Beach campground, two miles north of Bandon, closed earlier this year for about a month while construction preparation work was completed. The construction schedule changed, which allows the park to reopen temporarily for camping Nov. 13 through Jan. 1, 2024. The campground will close again Jan. 2 through May 22, 2024, to complete the project.

Beverly Beach, seven miles north of Newport, will be closed through July 1, 2024 for construction, which is an extension of the original project schedule.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department understands that it takes time to plan a trip and wants to give potential visitors a chance to make other plans. OPRD knows that these campgrounds are well loved places that will be missed this winter, spring and some of the summer season. The closures will allow crews to improve the parks for seasons to come. 

  • Beverly Beach campgrounds will upgrade the park and campground power and water lines as part of the Go Bond projects, which include improvements at 11 parks around the state
  • Bullards Beach campgrounds will upgrade its main sewer line. The park will be closed through May 22, 2024, which is an extension of the original closure. The extension will impact existing reservations from March 15 through May 22. Campers are being notified and provided with full refunds. 

During the campground closure at Bullards Beach, there will be some areas of the park that visitors can still enjoy. The day use area, boat ramp, lighthouse and horse camp will remain open.

All facilities will be closed at Beverly Beach through July 1.

“While we’re disappointed to extend the construction period later into the season, we appreciate the support as we complete these important infrastructure improvements” said Bullards Beach Park Manager Nick Schoeppner.

“In the meantime, we are excited to welcome folks back to the campground at Bullards Beach this fall and winter season.  It’s a great time to visit and enjoy less crowded beaches and trails and explore the community of Bandon and the surrounding area.”

Can you ID this person? At 5:55 a.m. Wednesday morning, November 8th, this person smashed the glass in the front door of Archway Market in Nye Beach and took approximately eight packages of cigarettes.

The suspect appears to be a young white male adult (possibly mid-20’s) wearing dark shoes with white soles, black or dark colored pants, a black coat with a hood and black gloves. The suspect’s face is visible as he approaches the cigarette area. The suspect is clean shaven with no visible tattoo, scars or marks.

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May be an image of 1 person and text

This person is believed to be the same suspect who broke into Archway Market, breaking the glass in the front door, at approximately 4:30 a.m. on November 4th. On that morning, the suspect was a white male adult, approximately 25 years old, wearing a black coat with hood up, blue jeans, and brown shows with a white horizontal stripe on the outside. More than $300 worth of merchandise was stolen.

If you have any information on the identity of this suspect or any other information regarding the burglaries, please contact Sgt. Aaron Bales at 541-574-3348 or email a.bales@newportpolice.net and reference case number 23N-08318. You may also submit information via our Tip Line at 541-574-5455, or Text-a-Tip at 541-270-1856 or tipline@newportpolice.net. Please do not post the names of anyone you believe could be the suspect in the comments.

Woman Rescued After Getting Lost In Forest Northeast Of Florence Picking Mushrooms

A woman who got separated from her boyfriend while picking mushrooms near Herman Peak Road northeast of Florence was rescued Tuesday by Lane County Search and Rescue Team members and taken to the hospital.

According to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office they received a report Monday afternoon of a man who hiked out of the woods to a house in the Mercer Lake area. He said he had been separated from his girlfriend a few days prior and that she was “believed to still be lost somewhere in the woods.”

A Lane County Search and Rescue Team responded to the area and located her late Monday evening.

The sheriff’s office said she was hypothermic and disoriented and it was difficult to move her, so rescuers decided to stabilize her and remain with her until they could hike out of the area Tuesday morning.

At 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, rescuers were able to get the woman up to the nearest roadway and into an ambulance where she was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Sale of Shilo Inn Seaside Scheduled This Month

The court-appointed receiver is overseeing the sale of the beachfront Shilo Inn Seaside. Over two decades ago, Mark Hemstreet, the hotelier of Shilo Inn chain boasted almost 50 hotels spread across the Western region. However, starting with the travel slowdown following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Shilo’s presence has diminished, and Hemstreet has encountered a string of financial challenges.

In the preceding year, a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge rendered a verdict necessitating that Hemstreet and Shilo Management Corp. settle a debt owed to California-based Cathay Bank. Subsequently, the judge appointed a receiver with the authority to liquidate various assets within the receivership estate, including Shilo Inns located in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas, to offset the outstanding debt.

At present, the receiver is preparing to auction off the 113-room Seaside Shilo to the highest bidder. The hotel is described as a lucrative investment, as it generated $1.93 million in net operating income during the previous year. Interested buyers are required to submit their bids by November 22. (SOURCE)

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission to meet Nov. 14 and 15 in Newport

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission will convene Nov. 14 and 15 in Newport, Oregon. 

On Nov. 14, commissioners will tour Brian Booth State Park in the morning and gather for a work session to discuss training from 1 to 3 p.m. at Hallmark Inn, 744 SW Elizabeth Street in Newport. 

On Nov. 15, commissioners will convene an executive session at 8:30 a.m. at Hallmark Inn, 744 SW Elizabeth Street in Newport to discuss real estate and legal issues. Executive sessions are closed to the public. A business meeting will begin at 9:45 a.m. and will be open to the public.

Anyone may attend or listen to the business meeting; instructions on how to listen will be posted on the commission web page prior to the meeting. The business meeting includes time for informal public comment related to any items not on the agenda. Registration is required to speak at the meeting if attending online, and is available online at https://bit.ly/registernov2023commission. The deadline to register to speak at the meeting virtually is 5 p.m., Nov. 13. No advance registration is required to speak in person at the meeting. Time per speaker is limited to three minutes. Please submit written public comments by 5 p.m. Nov. 13 to is.havel@oprd.oregon.gov“>chris.havel@oprd.oregon.gov

The full agenda and supporting documents are posted on the commission web page. Notable requests: 

Anyone needing special accommodations to attend the meeting should contact Denise Warburton, commission assistant, at least three days in advance: burton@oprd.oregon.gov“>denise.warburton@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-779-9729. 

The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission promotes outdoor recreation and heritage by establishing policies, adopting rules and setting the budget for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The seven members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. They serve four-year terms and meet several times a year at locations across the state. 

North Bend School District Public Meetings — November 2023

Below are North Bend School District public meetings currently scheduled for November:

November 16, 2023
       Work Session
       North Bend High School Library at 6:00 p.m. 
       2323 Pacific St., North Bend, OR

The schedule is subject to change. Please email mbrix@nbend.k12.or.us or visit the NBSD Website: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/1573 for agenda information

Bargaining is still underway between Portland Public Schools and the Portland Association of Teachers. The main issues involve pay, more planning time and smaller class sizes.

Negotiations between the teachers union and the district continues, with PPS officials telling KGW that they’re making progress with educators on the topic of planning and preparation time. However, on the issues of cost-of-living wage increase and class size caps, both sides appear to still be far apart.

On Tuesday, district officials announced that they had called on Gov. Tina Kotek to help identify a facilitator to continue bringing both the union and the PPS bargaining team together over the next two days, since the current mediator had another mediation commitment on Wednesday and Thursday. The district said if none could be found, they’d resume on Friday morning.

Kotek released a statement, saying that the state’s chief financial officer, Kate Nass, will work with PPS and PAT during the ongoing mediation sessions. Nass will review financial information “to ensure the district and union are working from the same set of numbers as they keep working to resolve this strike.”

“My office successfully worked to secure a mediator to remain at the table with PAT and PPS,” she said. “My focus continues to be on providing the support needed to deliver a fair contract for PPS educators and return students to the classroom.”

There will be more bargaining on Friday when schools would have been closed anyway for Veterans Day.

Lane County Elections Office Reopens Following Suspicious Mail Incident

The Lane County Elections Office reopened Thursday at 8:00 a.m. to resume normal operations. The Elections Office closed unexpectedly on Wednesday after staff received a suspicious piece of mail.

“We are appreciative of the quick response from Eugene police and other partners,” said Lane County Clerk Dena Dawson. “Situations like this are scary for everyone involved. We will, of course, cooperate with the investigation and hope the person or people who wanted to terrorize our staff and disrupt the elections process are held accountable.”

Although the Elections Office was closed for part of yesterday, ballot processing was not significantly affected as staff had stayed late on Election Day to process ballots. Clerk Dena Dawson believes they will be able to get caught up today and provide an update on election results at www.LaneCountyOR.gov/elections.

“I am disheartened by the continuing threat landscape for election officials. We are dedicated public servants and we take our role in defending democracy very seriously. We just want to do our jobs without having to fear for our lives,” said Dawson.  An investigation is underway and any questions regarding its status should be directed to law enforcement.

There were suspicious mail received all around the country at election offices this week including fentanyl in letter at Spokane. The FBI is investigating election threats in Oregon. And a report was issued earlier this week:

Oregon County Clerks Struggling with Staffing, Retention, and Recruitment in the Midst of a Toxic Political Environment

Oregon’s 36 county clerks play a critical role on the front lines of administering Oregon’s elections and are essential in promoting our democracy.

But an increasingly toxic political environment, inadequate funding model, and rapidly growing and changing workload are threatening the clerks’ ability to recruit, hire, and retain county elections staff, according to a new study published by Reed College…

The study was commissioned by the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division to better understand the changing landscape county clerks face in advance of the 2024 Presidential election year. Researchers at Reed College’s Elections and Voting Information Ce… (EVIC) spent months interviewing nearly all Oregon county clerks and have compiled the sobering findings in a study to be presented before the Legislature today.

“This report is a grim but realistic look at what our county clerks face,” said Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade. “But it’s also a testament to their professionalism and ingenuity.”

The researchers found:

• Staffing recruitment and retention is hampered by out-of-date job classifications, compensations, and perceptions of the work. Staffing today is at or below staffing levels from a decade ago.
• Public records requests are becoming increasingly burdensome, as false information is spread and distrust in elections systems continues to fuel more frequent and complicated requests for information.
• Local elections offices are experiencing retirements, resignations, and loss of expertise. Since 2020, 34% of county clerks have retired or resigned.
• Oregon’s funding model for county elections, dependent largely on fluctuations in interest rates and the real estate market, is inadequate for election needs. Counties are already laying off workers because of this outdated funding model.
• Elections officials and staff are subject to unacceptable levels of abuse, threats, and harassment, driving many of them to quit despite expressing their pride and passion for the work.

“We have active shooter training that we’ve done,” said one individual to the researchers. “We kind of know how to recognize some of the signs that somebody might be escalating versus deescalating.”

“I saw in [previous Clerk] this love and passion that I didn’t know was there,” said another. “It pushed me into really caring and loving and making sure that people really know what they had, and how important elections are, and the rights they have. And if you are not involved, it’s really hard to see change.”

Elections Division staff commissioned the study at the request of the Oregon Association of County Clerks, after hearing concerns from elections officials about the changing electoral landscape. Prior to the study, officials lacked data to fully capture the needs of elections administration in Oregon. This study is a critical first step to understanding the discrepancies in staffing challenges across the state and provides information for Oregon clerks to use when advocating for increased investment.
“For the last few years, we have heard hundreds of anecdotes about underfunding and understaffing at county elections offices, both here in Oregon and around the country,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “Now, we have some real data to back up those anecdotes. We call on legislators and county governments to read this report and consider its recommendations.”

Researchers include several recommendations in the study, directed at both the Secretary of State’s Office and the Oregon Legislature, on ways to provide coordinated and statewide support to county elections officials.

The Secretary joined two Oregon County Clerks and the Reed College researchers to share the study’s findings during November Legislative Days at the Capitol. Hearing Room A at the Capitol. You can also watch a live stream of the meeting on OLIS: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023I1/Comm… (SOURCE)

OSP K-9 teams seize illegal drugs along I-5 corridor


Fentanyl powder stamped “Versace” seized
OSP K-9 teams seize illegal drugs along I-5 corridor

LINN COUNTY, Ore. 8 Nov. 2023 – Oregon State Police (OSP) K-9 teams recently seized six pounds of meth, two kilograms of cocaine, and 2.3 pounds of fentanyl powder.

In October 2023 alone, troopers across the state seized 3.9 pounds of fentanyl – enough for 800,000 fatal doses. Recent seizures along the I-5 corridor in the Willamette Valley highlight the continuing efforts of OSP interdiction teams focused on disrupting the flow of illegal drugs.

  • During an Oct. 19, 2023, traffic stop in Linn County the police K-9 alerted to the presence of drugs. During a search of the vehicle, six pounds of meth and two kilograms of cocaine were found hidden in the vehicle. The suspect, Ari Noel Quiroz Jimenez, was arrested for Attempted Delivery of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine, Attempted Delivery of Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine, and lodged at the Linn County Jail.
  • A second stop in Linn County on October 26, yielded a vacuum sealed package containing a compressed white powder stamped with the word “Versace.” The white powder tested positive for fentanyl. The driver, Luis A. Duran, was arrested for attempted delivery and possession of fentanyl.

OSP reminds the public of the danger of illicit drug use, which is the leading cause of injury deaths in Oregon. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, or is in crisis, help is available. Call or text “988” or visit 988lifeline.org to chat. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free and confidential support.

# # # About the Oregon State Police K-9 Program 
The Oregon State Police K-9 program includes explosives, fish and wildlife, and drug detection K-9s. A variety of dog breeds are included in the program including Blood Hound, Springer Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Belgian Malinois, and German Shepherd. K-9’s are selected based on the dog’s personality, high drive, workability, and intense desire for tracking and detection. K-9 teams assist in the detection of illegal drugs, recovery of stolen property, and the arrest of wanted persons on Oregon’s highways and in local communities. These teams work closely with other troopers, drug enforcement detectives, as well as city, county, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement Team Arrest Yields 117 Pounds of Fentanyl

On the evening of Wednesday, November 8th, members of the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team (MADGE) intercepted a vehicle on Highway 97 outside of Chiloquin, Oregon. MADGE investigators had received information of the vehicle transporting large amounts of narcotics between Southern California and Washington State. With the assistance of the Oregon State Police, investigators stopped the vehicle and a Medford Police K9 “Bodie” alerted to the presence of narcotics. A search of the vehicle yielded 117 pounds of powder and pill form Fentanyl. A loaded 9mm handgun was also located in the vehicle.

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The MADGE team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-support approach. MADGE is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) which is compose of members from the Medford Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, Parole and Probation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including MADGE.

As a result of this case and with the assistance of HSI, this case was accepted for prosecution by the Assistant US Attorney’s Office for federal charges.

Suspect arrested:

Barrios-Chable, Jothan Paul (20 years old) out of Portland, Oregon.

Contest promoting young worker safety in Oregon is open to high school students; submissions due Feb. 16, 2024

Salem – High school students across Oregon are encouraged to let their video or graphic design skills flourish by engaging in a competition involving cash prizes and a noble cause: increasing awareness about workplace safety and health for young workers.

The 2024 media contest, organized by the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]), calls on participants to create an ad – through a compelling graphic design or video – that captures their peers’ attention and convinces them to take the O[yes] Young Employee Safety Awareness online training.

The door to creativity is open: Participants get to choose the key message, theme, or tagline they believe will enthrall their audience and move it to act. The contest is now open for submissions. To compete, participants may submit either a graphic design or a video that is no more than 90 seconds in length.

Participants are expected to choose their key message, theme, or tagline in a wise and positive manner as they work to convince their target audience – teen workers or teens who are preparing to work for the first time – to take the O[yes] Young Employee Safety Awareness online training to improve their knowledge of how to stay safe and healthy in the workplace.

The top three entries in each of the two media categories will take home cash prizes ranging from $300 to $500. In each category, the first-place winner’s school, club, or organization will receive a matching award. Moreover, O[yes] will use the best of the submissions as ads in its ongoing efforts to improve on-the-job safety and health protections for teens.

While they carry out their projects, participants must ensure the health and safety of their team. No one should be endangered while creating their video or graphic design project.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. 

Participants are encouraged to submit entries online. Submissions may also be mailed on a USB thumb drive or delivered in person.

For more information about the entry form and rulescontest expectations, and resources – including the entries that won in 2023 and 2022 – visit the O[yes] online contest page.

The contest sponsors are local Oregon chapters of the American Society of Safety Professionals, Construction Safety Summit, Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, Hoffman Construction Company, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, Oregon OSHA, SafeBuild Alliance, SAIF Corporation, Oregon SHARP Alliance, and the Oregon Utility Notification Center.

Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to osha.oregon.gov.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to oregon.gov/dcbs.

The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) is a nonprofit dedicated to preventing young worker injuries and fatalities. O[yes] members include safety and health professionals, educators, employers, labor and trade associations, and regulators. For more information, go to youngemployeesafety.org.

Enrollment In Individual Health Insurance Now Open Through Mid-January

The tens of thousands of Oregonians who buy their own health insurance can now start shopping for the best plan for next year.

Open enrollment on the federal online marketplace, which Oregon will continue to use for the next few years, runs this year from Nov. 1 through Jan. 16. Those who enroll by Dec. 15 will be covered starting Jan. 1, and those who sign up after that will be covered starting Feb. 1.

Premiums will increase 6% next year on average but individuals can obtain subsidies through the marketplace to reduce costs. The subsidies come in the form of tax credits that can be used throughout the year or at tax time. In the past, around 70% of those who applied obtained financial help. That jumped to 80% last year, according to Amy Coven at the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees health insurance enrollment.Sign up for coverage

For general information about the three levels of plans, go here. For information about coverage and to sign up, go here.

But before buying a plan, state officials recommend that people use the window-shopping tool to compare plans, which vary among different areas.

Oregon also offers free help through experts in health insurance. Find someone for the marketplace, or healthcare.gov, by clicking here.

“Premiums can start as low as a dollar, sometimes even less with the financial help, and they go up from there,” Coven said.

The average tax credit last year was around $500 per person a month, Coven said. That translated to an out-of-pocket premium cost per person of about $225.

Subsidies are based on the marketplace’s silver, or mid-range plans, and there’s no upper income limit to qualify for financial help. Individuals can also sign up for a bronze plan, which has the least expensive premium but costs more out-of-pocket for services, or gold plans, which have the highest premiums but lowest out-of-pocket costs.

All plans include 10 essential benefits, which include emergency care and hospitalization, prescriptions, mental health and addiction services, lab services and maternity and pediatric care. The plans also include free preventive care, which is mandated by the Affordable Care Act. All Oregon plans also offer coverage for abortions, acupuncture and chiropractic care and the first three primary care or mental health care visits cost $5 even before the deductible kicks in.

“The coverage is very robust,” Coven said.

The state has offered catastrophic coverage, which is designed to cover unexpected medical costs. And its website says it still does, but Coven said Thursday in a follow-up call that they will not be available for 2024.

Enrollment on the marketplace increased in recent year, hitting nearly 147,000 in 2022 and nearly 142,000 last year. Coven expects 2024 enrollment figures to increase over this year’s as a result of the thousands of people who are being bumped off Medicaid because they no longer qualify. Since April, state officials have been auditing the nearly 1.5 million Oregonians on Medicaid to see whether they still meet the income and other qualifications as part of the end of extra Medicaid benefits during the pandemic.

Although a majority of people on Medicaid have retained coverage, the health authority’s dashboard shows that more than 62,000 have lost the free medical and dental coverage.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that folks understand what other coverage options are available and provide direct assistance for enrollment,” Coven said.

She said officials have sent out 50,000 letters to those who’ve lost Medicaid coverage. It’s not yet clear how many will remain insured by buying health insurance. The state increased the percentage of those who have health insurance during the pandemic thanks to federal and state programs. The state’s insured rate stands at 96%, though that could fall if a lot of people who lose Medicaid do not buy coverage. (SOURCE)

Oregon is Searching for its Next Poet Laureate

Oregon is searching for its next Poet Laureate. Over the two-year-term, the Poet Laureate promotes the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses issues relating to the humanities and reflects on public life in Oregon.

Information about the Poet Laureate program, how to nominate the next Poet LaureateAnis, and how to request an appearance can be found on this website. Please also check out our Facebook page.

Nominations are accepted through January 8th, and poets are welcome to nominate themselves. The next Poet Laureate term begins in May. MORE INFO: https://culturaltrust.org/oregon-poet-laureate/?fbclid=IwAR0O-Gx81HjAKwXHwyrEVtxpgyXma9XRb5xwacG_o57ga3_lKUwIbPRMXks

Missing Yachats Man’s Vehicle Found in North Lane County

On 08/25/2023, Dustin Steyding was reported missing to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office after he left work on 07/22/2023 and hadn’t been located since. Dustin was living and working in the Yachats area. 

Dustin was reported to be in good physical condition, having previously worked as a hot shot firefighter in New Mexico. Dustin is very experienced in the woods and commonly goes out for hikes to stay in shape. Without means to locate Dustin, Deputies entered Dustin as a missing person in a national database. 

On 09/04/2023, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Dustin’s family after they located his vehicle on Keller Creek Rd, just outside of Lincoln County in Lane County. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputies contacted the vehicle and determined it had been at the location for some time. Deputies were unable to determine Dustin’s direction of travel from the vehicle.

The vehicle having been located in Lane County, Lincoln County Deputies contacted the Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team and arranged for their response the next day to started searching the area. After two days of searching, no clues to Dustin’s have been found.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dustin Steyding should contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 541-265-0777 and reference case number 23S-07321.

83-year-old Clarence Edward Pitts walked away from his home in Bandon on Tuesday, January 31 at around 1:00 p.m. Pitts is described as:

  • 6′ 00″
  • 150 lbs
  • Gray hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Last seen wearing an orange beanie, plaid jacket, tan pants and white shoes
  • May have a walking cane
  • Has dementia and PTSD

Pitts may be in a vehicle that was also found to be missing from the home:

  • 1999 Toyota Van
  • White
  • Oregon license plate: WYN 788

If you see Clarence or have any information pertaining to where he may be, please call the Coos County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center at 541-396-2106 or the Bandon Police Department at 541-347-3189.

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