Oregon Beach News, Friday 3/29 – Conservation Group Sues for Stronger Protection Of Oregon Coastal Martens, Easter Activities Along the Coast & 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, March 29, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

Active Weather Alerts – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM PDT SUNDAY...
...HAZARDOUS SEAS WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
SUNDAY MORNING...

* WHAT...For the Small Craft Advisory, north winds 20 to 30 kt
with gusts up to 40 kt and seas 10 to 15 ft at 12 seconds. For
the Hazardous Seas Watch, very steep and hazardous seas 6 to 11
ft at 8 seconds possible.

* WHERE...For the Small Craft Advisory, all areas through late
tonight. For the Hazardous Seas Watch, beyond 4 NM from shore
south of Cape Blanco and then north-northwestward to 60 NM west
of Charleston.

* WHEN...For the Small Craft Advisory, until 11 AM PDT Sunday.
For the Hazardous Seas Watch, from late tonight through Sunday
morning.

* IMPACTS...Very steep and hazardous seas could capsize or
damage vessels. Bar crossing could become especially hazardous.

* View the hazard area in detail at https://go.usa.gov/x6hks

Conservation Group Sues for Stronger Protection Of Oregon Coastal Martens

A conservation group says it’s going to sue the U.S. Forest Service for failing to protect a rare and threatened species in Oregon.

There are fewer than 400 coastal martens in the wild, according to estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The small, weasel-like animal was federally recognized as a threatened species in 2020.

The coastal marten, also known as the Humboldt marten, is federally recognized as a threatened species. Tala DiBenedetto with the Center for Biological Diversity said trapping and deforestation has historically caused its population to shrink.
The coastal marten, also known as the Humboldt marten, is federally recognized as a threatened species. Tala DiBenedetto with the Center for Biological Diversity said trapping and deforestation has historically caused its population to shrink.

Coastal martens have been found in isolated populations across Oregon and California, including around 70 estimated individuals in the Oregon Dunes between Florence and Coos Bay.

Now, the Center for Biological Diversity says the rising popularity of off-road vehicles in the Dunes is threatening that population, by tearing through habitats and creating disruptive noise.

Meanwhile, the Center accuses federal officials in charge of the area of putting few protections in place to stop the devastation.

“Agencies like Forest Service are permitting huge, annual events like UTV Takeover that bring in thousands and thousands of off-road vehicles,” said Tala DiBenedetto, an attorney with the Center. “And these events occur during times where martens can be sensitive, such as breeding, or when kits are still dependent on their mothers.”

DiBenedetto said coastal martens are vulnerable, with a slow reproductive cycle and a population in the Dunes that’s split by the Umpqua River.

Meanwhile, a study from OSU researchers in 2018 found that if humans caused two to three annual marten deaths, the sub-population south of the Umpqua could collapse.

“The agencies really need to take a hard look at what the impacts are,” said DiBenedetto, “and common sense things they can do, like put up fencing to protect marten habitat, and more signage or enforcement of noise limits that could disrupt the martens’ critical day-to-day behaviors.”

On Mar. 25, the Center sent the Forest Service a 60-day notice that it intends to sue the agency unless it complies with the Endangered Species Act. It also plans to take legal action against the Fish and Wildlife Service for its role as a consultant.

“With such a sensitive population, the martens just can’t afford to wait any longer for the agencies to act,” said DiBenedetto.

The potential lawsuit is one of multiple policy battles over the past decade surrounding the coastal martens. In 2019, Oregon officials banned trapping of the species west of I-5 following pressure from conservation groups.

In an email to KLCC, a U.S. Forest Service representative said the agency couldn’t comment on the Center’s notice ahead of prospective litigation. (SOURCE)

Lincoln City K-9 Assists OSP in Locating Missing Driver

On Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at approximately 2:30 PM Lincoln City Police K-9 Officer Nix and her handler, Officer Snidow, responded to the area of Mile Marker 17 on Highway 20 to help locate a missing driver.  The driver, an 81-year-old male, had driven off the embankment of Highway 20 in the area the night prior.  The crash was not discovered until approximately 2:00 PM by a passer-by.

Discovered inside the vehicle was an elderly female passenger who had suffered a head injury. She was subsequently transported by medical personnel to Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport.

When Officer Snidow and K-9 Nix arrived, they began searching the area.  K-9 Nix quickly located the driver, who walked away after the crash, approximately 100 yards from his car stuck in an area of dense blackberries.  The driver apparently had a medical episode, and was transported to the Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport.

This incident highlights the importance of the Police K-9 program available in Lincoln City.  As there were no other K-9 units available in the county, Lincoln City Police Officer Snidow and K-9 Nix were instrumental in locating the driver and ensuring he received medical care. The Lincoln City Police Department is grateful for the community support that allows us to run this beneficial program.

The Friends of Yachats Library spring book sale kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday in the Yachats Commons and is open for a second day on Saturday.

The sale is the group’s a major fundraiser in support of the Yachats Library, featuring books and puzzles.

May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'FRIENDS YACHATS LIBRARY SPRING BOOK SALE Fri. & Sat. March 29 & 30th, 2024 10am 4pm Commons Bldg at 441 Hwy 101 N, Yachats, Oregon OVER 6,000 BOOKS: Fiction, non-fiction, & childrens in the Commons basement. OVER 300 BOOKS: Donated from private collection in Rm 3. Winnie the Pooh. Wind in the Willows Practical Magic The Blind Assassin High Tide in Tucson House of Pomegranats Pigs in Heaven -FIRST EDITIONS ART DECO. COFFEE TABLE BOOKS. Please remember to bring your bags. BUND AMAIN'

This year a special collection of 500 books will be featured in Room 3 of the Commons, ranging in price from $5 to $60. These titles include classics, as well as first editions/first printings of fiction by well-known authors. Nearby will be a table with paperbacks for sale for $1.

In the Commons basement more than 6,000 used books in excellent condition will cover a wide array of genres — mysteries, cookbooks, gardening, biography, travel, history, romance and arts and craft. Fiction and nonfiction books will be $2, children’s books $1, with a separate section for titles priced $5 and up, such as signed copies and coffee table books. Jigsaw puzzles will be $5.

Shoppers are urged to bring their own bags, since cloth bags are no longer for sale at the event. For more information, visit the group’s website. — FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofYachatsLibrary

Florence Approves Estuary Trail

The Florence Planning Commission has approved a conditional use permit for the City to construct an estuary trail to connect Highway 126 to Quince Street, across from the Florence Events Center. At both meetings, commissioners heard lengthy public comment and had discussions regarding lighting, hours, and the potential for the trail to attract transient and homeless campers.   

A Conditional Use Permit application was submitted by Public Works Director Mike Miller on behalf of the City of Florence to develop a trail constructed of compressed gravel with associated parking area and trail head. The trail will essentially follow the tree line from just south of Highway 126 near Munsel Creek to Quince Street about a half block south of the Florence Event Center.

FREE Easter Bunny Photos with 4x6 Print Courtesy of McCurdy Jones Properties, 30 March | Event in Coos Bay

EASTER EGGSTRAVAGANZA TRAIN

a train covered in graffiti

VISIT WITH THE EASTER BUNNY AND TAKE HOME A GIANT EGG! —- https://oregoncoastscenic.org/train-rides/easter-train/

https://www.hecetalighthouse.com/latest-news/7-course-brunches-2

Join Lincoln City Kiwanis Club for their annual Easter Egg Hunt at Taft Park in Lincoln City! 12 PM.

FMI visit Facebook.com/KiwanisClubLincolnCity.

Fun for the whole family! Bring your Easter basket, there will be eggs, candy, and toys.

Easter Scavenger Hunt, 30 March | Event in Tillamook | AllEvents.in
Annual Easter Community Celebration , 31 March | Event in Coos Bay | AllEvents.in

Wolverine Sightings Reported Along Oregon Coast

Sightings been reported in Nehalem, Netarts and Newport, with the latest one on March 21.

There have been multiple wolverine sightings along the Oregon coast over the past week and a half, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)

The agency said wolverines have been reported in Nehalem, Netarts and Newport, with the latest sighting in Newport on March 21. ODFW investigated and verified the sightings, the agency said on Monday in a post on its Facebook page.

“Dispersing animals regularly travel through diverse landscapes while looking for a new home, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to have a wolverine population set up shop anytime soon,” ODFW said.

About a year ago, a wolverine was spotted on McGuire Island near Portland. That marked the first sighting in the area in more than 30 years. Before that, wolverines had only been reported in the Wallowa Mountains, though it isn’t unheard of for them to roam. Other sightings were reported around that time, with wolverines seen crossing Highway 20 east of Santiam Pass, near Damascus and wandering a wooded area near Colton.

Wolverines are rare and listed as threatened in Oregon. ODFW said they are legally protected in the state, and people are prohibited from hunting or trapping them.

If you see a wolverine, you’re asked to report it to ODFW and share the news on iNaturalist, an app and website that helps biologists track wildlife sightings.

Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office

 We are looking for Search and Rescue volunteers!

May be an image of 9 people and text that says 'HERIFF CLATSUP GUUNTY A SHERIFF CLATSOP SOP COUNT SEARCH& RESCUE VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT! WE NEED YOUR HELP! Clatsop County Sheriff's Office is looking for dedicated individuals tobe part our team consisting of <-9, ground search, rope rescue, ATV, drone work and water rescue ASESON SHERIFF JOIN NOW'

Our team consists of a K-9, ground searchers, rope rescue technicians, ATV, water rescue and a FAA-licensed drone pilot. We offer our volunteers training in navigation, search techniques and survival skills to name just a few. If you have any questions about how to apply or want more information about the program please reach out to Sr. Deputy Jeff Decker @ 503-325-8635. You can find the application on our website at https://www.clatsopcounty.gov/media/14981

Spring Whale Watch Week Returns to Oregon Coast Thru Sunday 3/31

OREGON COAST, Oregon— Oregon State Parks will host Spring Whale Watch Week along the Oregon Coast Saturday, March 23 through Sunday, March 31.

Trained Oregon State Park volunteers will be stationed at 15 sites along the Oregon Coast to help visitors spot whales and their calves and answer questions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily March 23-31. The sites are some of the best places to watch for whales on the Oregon Coast. 

The spring event is three days longer than last year and might include better odds of seeing gray whales on their journey home from the calving lagoons in Mexico in light of today’s announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

NOAA announced the end of an Unusual Mortality Event, a significant die-off of the gray whale population, that had affected the marine mammals since 2019.

“The latest counts indicate that the gray whale population has likely turned the corner and is beginning to recover. It’s a perfect time for people to see them as they swim north with new calves to feed,” said Michael Milstein, public affairs officer with NOAA Fisheries.

Researchers counted about 412 calves last year, which was almost double the number from the year before. That helped signal an end to the Unusual Mortality Event and a likely turnaround in numbers as the species begins to rebound.

An estimated 14,500 gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores from late winter through June as part of their annual migration back to Alaska.

“Spring is a great time for whale watching because the gray whales are usually closer to shore on their return trip, typically around a mile or so out, and the weather can be better for viewing. But don’t forget your rain gear just in case,” said Park Ranger Peter McBride.

A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available online on the official event webpage: https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=thingstodo.dsp_whaleWatching

The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23-31. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. Rangers from Oregon State Parks will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales.

All Whale Watch Week visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, to bring binoculars and to follow beach safety guidelines such as remaining out of fenced areas, knowing the tide schedule and keeping an eye on the surf at all times. Go to https://visittheoregoncoast.com/beach-safety/ for a list of safety tips.

For more information about coast parks and campgrounds, visit oregonstateparks.org.

Visitors are encouraged to share their photos and videos from Spring Whale Watch on social media using #OregonStateParks and #ORWhaleWatch24.

Respect nesting areas to protect threatened snowy plover March 15 – Sept. 15

OREGON COAST, OR – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Siuslaw National Forest remind visitors that it is plover nesting season on the Oregon coast March 15 to Sept. 15 ­— visitors can help recovery efforts for the threatened western snowy plover by observing recreation restrictions in designated plover areas.

Sensitive plover nesting areas will be roped off or identified by signs with rules and limits, such as staying on the wet sand, to help protect the small shorebirds and their exposed nests during this crucial period.
Recreation restrictions occur in designated plover management areas: stretches of beach along the coastline where plovers nest or might nest. These areas combined make up about 40 miles of Oregon’s 362 miles of shoreline.

Seasonal recreation restrictions have helped protect these small birds that nest on open sand. Nests, and especially chicks, are well-camouflaged. During the nesting season, human disturbances can flush adult plovers away from their nests as they attempt to defend their young. Left alone too long, or too often, eggs or chicks can die from exposure, predators or people.

Reminders for recreation on designated plover beaches March 15-Sept. 15:

*The following are not permitted: dogs (even on a leash), driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, camping, burning wood, flying kites or operating drones.

*Foot and equestrian traffic is permitted below the high-tide line on wet, packed sand.

*Respect signs and barriers to protect nesting habitat.

“We’re making great strides in reversing the decline of this species,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “But it takes all of us, so we urge people to do their part to understand nesting season rules and to share the beach this spring and summer.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993, when officials counted only 45 breeding adults. The numbers of breeding adults have steadily increased since then due to ongoing efforts. Officials counted 433 during the breeding season survey in 2023.

“We appreciate visitors’ support in keeping these shorebirds safe in the combined 40 miles of protected area along the coast. We invite visitors to enjoy permitted recreation in those areas or to recreate without seasonal restrictions on the hundreds of miles of beaches not designated as plover nesting areas,” said Laurel Hillmann, ocean shore specialist for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

More information on the snowy plover, including detailed maps of nesting sites, can be found on the Oregon State Parks website https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/pcb/pages/pcb-plovers…. and on the Siuslaw National Forest website https://t.ly/AKPAN

Visitors to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area can review Off-highway Vehicle (OHV) maps at its website to identify unrestricted recreation areas and information on riding motor vehicles on the sand: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recreation…

New plover activity — The increase in plover numbers may result in nesting occurring in new or historical nesting sites. For example, visitors to Sand Lake Recreation Area may see small roped off areas near the lake’s inlet to protect active nests, and may encounter plovers on the beach. Beachgoers are encouraged to protect these birds by restricting recreation activities to wet sand areas, avoiding roped off nesting areas, packing all trash out and keeping dogs on leash.

Background on plover protections — Several land managers oversee beach activity for plover protection, primarily the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

Habitat loss from invasive plants — as well as human disturbances, including litter and discarded food scraps that attract predators — have contributed to the birds’ decline. The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative, http://www.saveoregondunes.org/ , is working with land managers on a restoration strategy and to raise public awareness about the need to restore the dunes ecosystem for western snowy plovers, rare plants and animals and the unique recreation opportunities offered here.

SOLVE invites volunteers to register for their annual Earth Day celebration: The Oregon Spring Cleanup

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

Portland, Ore., March 12, 2024 – From April 13 to April 22, families, community members, neighborhood associations, and environmental enthusiasts are invited to engage in a signature event in SOLVE’s annual calendar: The Oregon Spring Cleanup, presented by Portland General ElectricRegistration for this environmentally conscious event series is now open.

Participants are invited to join SOLVE, event leaders, and partners from across the Pacific Northwest in a collective celebration of Earth Day. The SOLVE calendar showcases a variety of events throughout Oregon and SW Washington between April 13 and April 22, with the majority of events culminating on April 20. Diverse initiatives address specific environmental needs with opportunities ranging from beach cleanups to neighborhood and city litter pickups. Further activities include restoring natural habitats through native tree and shrub plantings, weed pulls, and mulching projects. Each project contributes to the enhancement of our shared surroundings.

With a variety of projects already online, the Oregon Spring Cleanup invites enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to a cleaner, greener, and brighter planet. Interested individuals can browse the map of projects to find events near them, learn about each opportunityand sign up for a meaningful contribution to the environment. Participating in the Oregon Spring Cleanup provides an excellent opportunity to bond with family members, coworkers, and neighbors, while collectively contributing to preserving some of Oregon’s most stunning locations.

As SOLVE anticipates another successful event, valued partner Portland General Electric, shares their commitment to the cause: ” PGE proudly supports SOLVE’s efforts to make our communities cleaner and greener. In 2023, our employees and their families volunteered with SOLVE for more than 220 hours. We’re excited to join community members again this Earth Day to help improve our beautiful state.” said Kristen Sheeran, Senior Director of Policy Planning and Sustainability, Portland General Electric.

For those inspired to host an event, SOLVE is still accepting new volunteer-led projects. The sooner projects are submitted, the faster SOLVE can care for the rest. Event leaders receive full support, including free supplies, access to project funding, disposal assistance, and help with volunteer recruitment

For more information, please visit solveoregon.org/oregon-spring and be part of the collective effort to create a cleaner, greener planet.

Along with Portland General Electric, other event sponsors include Clean Water Services, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Fred Meyer, Metro, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, KOIN, The Standard, Swire Coca-Cola, Holman, Demarini-Wilson, Trimet, and PepsiCo.

About SOLVE – SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings people together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon and Southwest Washington to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more information. 

Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay North County News

EVCNB

HAM RADIO TRAINING LEADS TO LICENSING OF 12 NEW TECHNICIANS

Tillamook County now boasts 12 new licensed Ham Radio Technician class radio operators thanks to EVCNB and a group of dedicated ham radio instructors.

On February 16 and 17, EVCNB offered a Ham Radio Technician Training class which was taught by John Beaston and Bruce Maxwell of Manzanita, and Bill Busch of Neskowin. Twelve students from around the county—Bay City, Cape Mears, Cloverdale, Garibaldi, Oceanside, Rockaway, and Manzanita—finished self-study modules and attended more than 10 hours of Zoom training. 

After the Zoom classes, each student registered to sit for the individually-scheduled online FCC Technician exam. We are happy to report that all of them passed with flying colors! These 12 new Ham operators join 415 other Hams throughout Tillamook County, many of whom are active in emergency communication protocols and practices in the county.

Owning a Ham radio comes with the responsibility of proper usage so as not to create unnecessary or unacceptable interference to other users. Just as drivers and pilots must be tested on their knowledge of “the rules of the road,” before being granted a license, so too must ham radio operators show they understand the rules that govern the Amateur Radio Service before becoming licensed. Trainees must demonstrate that they know, among other things, what frequencies, in what modes, and with what power levels they are permitted to operate.

Licensed amateur radio operators are invaluable resources to local CERT teams and emergency response professionals. When nothing else is functioning and the communication grid goes down, Ham radios will still work and Ham operators become front line responders by providing emergency information to and between each other, first responders, and citizens. No matter how remote or chaotic a disaster area is, Ham radios will find a way to bring communications where and when needed. https://evcnb.org/news-updates/ham-radio-training-022024?fbclid=IwAR1CHrvCgLOqLb73mqeQVIPCCdrqw3kcbCa4jVdZQPWVM2GwNr4lHW-S1mI

Learn important communication skills necessary during an emergency. You’ll be able to use your Yellow Radio to keep in touch with neighbors and support services.

Register now! https://evcnb.org/events-and-training/yellow-radio-03162024 —- https://evcnb.org/yellow-radio

Distracted Driving Enforcement Operations Planned During April

The month of April is designated as the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Lincoln City Police Department will be utilizing traffic safety grant funds to conduct enhanced enforcement operations during the month. The Lincoln City Police Department will be joining law enforcement agencies across the state and nation in working together to enforce distracted driving laws in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and deter drivers from using their cell phones while driving. The enhanced enforcement operations will be conducted periodically throughout the month of April.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021 there were 3,522 people killed and an estimated 362,415 people injured in traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted Driving is a dangerous behavior for drivers, passengers, and non-occupants alike, and is a leading cause of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roadways. Distracted driving is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the task of driving to focus on other activities, such as using their phones. During the month, drivers will see increased patrol efforts with an emphasis on seeking out drivers who are distracted by talking or texting on their cell phones, or using other electronic devices while they are operating their vehicle. The goal of these enhanced enforcement efforts is to increase the safety of the citizens and visitors of Lincoln City. 

The Distracted Driving Enforcement grant funds are a valuable resource that assist us in improving the traffic safety in our community. Our objective is to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the roadways to prevent crashes that cause injuries and cost lives. These grant funds were made possible through the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Impact.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s Bridge Condition Report Provides A Snapshot Of The Condition Of Bridges In Oregon

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s annual bridge report says the agency is “losing ground” to manage the state’s bridge system, as many are nearing the end of their life spans and planners are trying to keep up with new safety measures and seismic standards.

“With only an average of three bridges replaced annually ODOT
continues to lose ground in the eff ort to manage the system. Although a significant
portion of these bridges are in fair condition at this time, in the following decades, the
agency will be burdened with a huge responsibility to maintain or replace the 40% of
the inventory built between 1951-1970, as they continue to deteriorate.”

The 2023 Bridge Condition Report provides a snapshot of the condition of bridges in Oregon that are on state highways. Condition information is measured by Oregon’s Bridge Key Performance Measure and by the National
Bridge Performance Measure. In addition to condition information, there is information on bridge programs that are in place to manage and preserve state highway bridges. These include Major Bridge Maintenance, Bridge Preservation, the Seismic Program, and Load Rating. Eff orts to maintain and preserve existing bridges are critical, as an average of just three bridges are replaced each year. With adequate funding, approximately 27 state highway bridges could be replaced annually which is consistent with a 100-year service life.

According to ODOT’s 2023 Bridge Condition Report, a significant number of the more than 2,700 bridges in Oregon are in “fair” condition, but likely to transition to “poor” condition in the future.

40% of the bridges across the state need to be replaced in the coming decades, as a majority of them were built between 1950 and 1970 according to the report.

According to the report, there has been a “steady decline” in Oregon’s bridge conditions since 2016. There was some slight improvement in 2023 when nine bridges in “poor condition” were replaced, but ODOT does not have the funding to keep up with bride replacement. With adequate funding, ODOT could replace 27 bridges a year, but current funding levels pay on average for only three bridge replacements a year. At this rate, a bridge will need to stay in service for over 900 years, well beyond the expected service life of 75-100 years.

One of the serious causes of bridge deterioration is “scouring” or erosion of the bridge’s foundation due to fast moving water and gravel. ODOT officials said there are nearly 500 bridges that are unstable due to scouring.

ODOT officials said that as standards are constantly changing, and costs continue to rise, the bridges’ needs outpace their resources. READ MORE: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Bridge/Documents/2023BCR.pdf

Update on rollout of Frances Online for Unemployment Insurance benefits

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is now in its fourth week of using Frances Online for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits. 

With preliminary data for the week of March 17-23 now available, the transition to the new system continues to track with overall expectations, as most claimants are using Frances Online to file their claims. 

The preliminary data for last week shows that OED:

  • Paid out over $14.9 million in UI benefits.
  • Received 30,656 total weekly claims.
    • Of these, 29,713 were for the prior benefit week ending March 16, 
      • This is the metric we report in our weekly media dashboard
      • This is down slightly from the previous week (30,006) but has stabilized since the launch of Frances Online and is in line with seasonal trends. 

At 89 percent, the ratio of claimants who filed online using Frances rose for the second week in a row, climbing two points from 87 percent. 

“We are pleased to see that more and more people are using Frances Online and getting used to the new system,” Unemployment Insurance Director Lindsi Leahy said. “At the same time, call volume and wait times for our Contact Center remain high and we acknowledge the frustration that causes our customers. We are working as quickly as we can to answer questions and provide the support they need. We also want to remind customers of all the ways to contact us, including sending a message from their Frances Online account, or using our online Contact Us form, chatbot, and live chat in multiple languages. We will continue to monitor the system, listen to customer feedback, and make improvements to give Oregonians a better level of customer service.”

Agency Director David Gerstenfeld explained what obstacles the agency is facing as it strives to improve customer service. 

“Our biggest challenge is that we still have significant workloads and we lack the federal funding to hire enough people to provide the customer service Oregonians deserve. We are very grateful to the Oregon State Legislature for its support during the 2024 session.” 

Earlier this month, the Legislature passed House Bill 4035, which is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. It will provide additional administrative funding for 72 positions, but customers won’t feel the impacts until the second half of the year.

The power of information – The Oregon Employment Department’s Workforce and Economic Research Division has long been known as a national leader in its field, and it’s now gaining international recognition. The division develops workforce and economic information and tools, which it shares with local governments, businesses, the media, educational institutions, and the public via QualityInfo.org

After Research Director Bob Uhlenkott shared OED’s approach to supporting job listings with detailed labor market information with the World Bank earlier this year, his team was invited to give a formal presentation for government staff and policymakers in Uruguay and Argentina on March 20.  

With support from projections economist Sarah Cunningham and regional economist Nicole Ramos, workforce analyst Henry Fields delivered the presentation in Spanish via teleconference. The focus was to highlight best practices and innovative methods of providing labor market information to support career exploration and job searches using real-time job listings for the Argentinian and Uruguayan governments. Henry also shared insights on how Oregon’s advancements in this field are shaping policymaking and service delivery in a rapidly changing world.  

“This was an amazing opportunity for our team,” Uhlenkott said. “We’re happy to share the lessons we’ve learned in Oregon with leaders from around the world, but I’m especially proud to see our team’s world-class work receive some of the recognition that it deserves.”

Next OED Media Briefing April 17 – After hosting weekly media briefings about the rollout of Frances Online since early February, OED will return to holding monthly media briefings moving forward. The next media briefing will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, when OED will release the statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for March. Monthly briefings will coincide with the scheduled release of state unemployment rate and employment survey data. Information about the roll out of Frances Online for Unemployment Insurance benefits and other relevant updates from OED will be included at those briefings as needed. As always, members of the media are welcome to contact the Communications Office at communications@employ.oregon.gov with information and interview requests. 

### The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spoken-language interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503-947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to communications@employ.oregon.gov

El Departamento de Empleo de Oregon (OED) es una agencia de igualdad de oportunidades. El OED proporciona ayuda gratuita para que usted pueda utilizar nuestros servicios. Algunos ejemplos son intérpretes de lengua de señas e idiomas hablados, materiales escritos en otros idiomas, letra grande, audio y otros formatos. Para obtener ayuda, por favor llame al 503-947-1444. Usuarios de TTY pueden llamar al 711. También puede enviar un correo electrónico a communications@employ.oregon.gov

State of Oregon settles with cryptocurrency asset platform

Division of Financial Regulation logo

Salem – The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) has reached a settlement agreement in principle with a cryptocurrency asset platform for violating state securities regulations.

The group of affiliated companies – Plutus Financial Holdings Inc., Plutus Financial Inc., Plutus Lending LLC and Abra Boost LLC – offered and sold interest-bearing cryptocurrency depository products referred to as Abra Boost and Abra Earn.

As part of the settlement, the companies – commonly known as Abra – are required to notify all Oregon consumers with open accounts containing crypto assets with the companies that they are winding down U.S. operations and to encourage consumers to move any remaining crypto assets from the platform.

Consumers have at least seven days from the date they receive notice to remove their assets from the Abra platform. Assets remaining after that date with a value of $10 or more will be converted to fiat and a check or other instrument will be sent directly to the consumer’s last known address. 

In Oregon, 167 residents still have cryptocurrencies on the Abra platform valued at about $32,387.14.

The companies – controlled by William “Bill” Barhydt, who is also a party to the settlement – offered Abra Earn to all U.S. clients and Abra Boost to accredited U.S. clients. Investors in both programs earned interest by depositing digital assets with Abra and authorizing Abra to lend client assets to institutional borrowers.

“Although firms are creating new products tied to evolving technologies, they must continue to comply with existing securities laws,” said DFR Administrator TK Keen. “The division will continue to ensure that investors purchasing securities tied to digital assets are afforded the same protections as investors purchasing stocks, bonds and other traditional products.”

As part of the settlement, Abra and Barhydt will enter a consent order with DFR requiring that they cease and desist from offering or selling unregistered securities in Oregon and ordering them to pay an administrative penalty, which will be suspended if they comply with the process to return all assets owned by Oregon consumers before April 25, 2024.

“We strongly encourage clients in Oregon to withdraw their assets as soon as possible, but certainly within seven days of receiving notice from Abra,” said Keen. “We are available to assist and answer consumers’ questions about this settlement.” 

### The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dfr.oregon.gov and dcbs.oregon.gov.

Klamath Falls Search and Rescue – Use Ropes to Rescue Boy and His Dog

On Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at 2:21 PM, Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched regarding a report of a 17-year-old stuck on a cliff near the top of Hagelstein Ridge above Highway 97.

It was determined that the young man trekked down the steep rocky surface more than 200 feet from the top of a cliff in an attempt to save the family dog, a 3-year-old Boxer named ‘Wiggy.’ Wiggy had become separated from the family three days earlier while on an outing. The family returned several times to search for Wiggy until early Tuesday afternoon. The family said they’d almost lost hope when they heard Wiggy whining from below the rocky drop-off.

The Klamath Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) team was activated and responded to Hagelstein Ridge. The SAR team lowered a member, trained in technical ropes rescue, over 40 feet from the edge of the cliff while still
suspended over an additional 80-foot drop-off. The team safely and successfully brought the young man and Wiggy back to safety. No one was injured in the rescue event and all were grateful to be back on level ground.

The Klamath County Search and Rescue Team is comprised of volunteers from our community willing to risk their lives for others. We are exceptionally appreciative of our rescue teams. Through their teamwork and extensive training, another family is reunited. The search and rescue capabilities of the Sheriff’s Office include different specialty disciplines; this includes SAR (ground and mounted), Dive Rescue, Small Boat Rescue, and K9 search resources.

Hop Aboard the Easter Bunny Express!

Join us for a 45-minute train ride featuring the Easter bunny! Historic passenger cars pulled by a diesel locomotive offer comfortable seating and spectacular views of the city, river and wildlife.

Kids of all ages will enjoy an Easter scavenger hunt and other fun activities. And the Easter bunny will be onboard to greet everyone!

Snacks and adult & kid friendly beverages will be available for purchase.

Saturday, March 30 @ 1:00pm, 2:30 and 4:00pm. Adults $20, Kids 3-12 $15; 2 and Under Ride Free on Lap

For tickets and more info, visit www.orhf.org/saturday-train-rides/

Share your strength: Give blood or platelets with the Red Cross

Exclusive Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire + Red Cross T-shirt for coming to give through April 7

Portland, OR (March 26, 2024) — This spring, the American Red Cross asks donors to help defend the blood supply by giving blood or platelets now to combat a monstrous fact: only 3 out of 100 people donate blood. That’s why we’re teaming up with Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures to celebrate the epic new film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, and inviting donors to rise together and give blood. When donors share their strength by coming to give March 25-April 7, they’ll get an exclusive Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. (Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/GXK.)

In recent weeks, the Red Cross has seen an encouraging increase in the blood supply, but blood and platelet donation appointments remain vital this month. People of all blood types – especially those with type O blood – are critical to ensuring hospital shelves can be replenished as soon as possible.

To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Additionally, all who come to give April 8-28 will get a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice, plus be automatically entered for a chance to win one of two $7,000 gift cards. Visit RedCrossBlood.org/Spring for details. American Red Cross – Cascades Region

FBI Portland Division Now Accepting Applications for the FBI’s Teen Academy

PORTLAND, OREGON – Have you ever wanted to be part of a SWAT Team? Or fingerprint a suspect? Or learn how to catch a cyber-criminal? Then consider participating in the FBI Teen Academy.

The FBI Teen Academy program provides an excellent opportunity for rising high school juniors and seniors to learn about exciting careers in law enforcement within the FBI and beyond. Applicants chosen for the program actively engage with FBI agents and leaders in the Bureau to learn about case studies, crime prevention, evidence gathering, and investigative techniques related to criminal activity. The Teen Academy allows students to delve deeply into levels of law enforcement unavailable to them in a general classroom setting.

“Last year this office received a record number of applicants for the FBI’s Teen Academy, and we are excited to host them again this year,” said Aubree M. Schwartz, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “This is a unique opportunity for these teens to see how the FBI fits into the greater Department of Justice. They will interact with FBI Special Agents and learn how the FBI conducts investigations, from interviewing to evidence gathering and analysis, using deductive reasoning and logic-based skills. This week-long program is an excellent introduction into the field of federal law enforcement and will hopefully inspire the next generation of FBI employees.”

Students learn about how criminals are captured, hear from FBI agents about actual cases, and learn how to raise their self-awareness online and watch for cyber-predators. Graduates of the Teen Academy program develop a keen understanding of how the FBI interacts with local law enforcement agencies and how participants can raise crime prevention awareness in their communities. In addition, hands-on instruction by FBI experts and other law enforcement agents allows students to understand the importance of communication between national and local agencies. 

Teen Academy members engage in group activities ranging from small group exercises to hands-on simulations. As a result, students learn valuable life skills and increase their knowledge and understanding of how law enforcement agencies interact around the country.

Participation is free to the applicants chosen, and volunteer organizations provide supplies for the events. 

Applicants must be rising juniors or seniors in high school in the state of Oregon or Southwest Washington. Attendees will need to provide their own transportation to and from the FBI Portland Field Office. 

To Apply: FBI Portland is currently accepting applications for its 2024 Teen Academy. The session will take place Monday, July 15 to Thursday, July 18, 2024.

Submit your application to each.pd@fbi.gov“>outreach.pd@fbi.gov by Friday, April 26, 2024.

  ### https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/portland-teen-academy-application-2024.pdf/view

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

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Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate.

Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at https://apps.oregon.gov/DEQ/Voucher/apply.

Oregon to Honor Fallen Law Enforcement Officers May 7th, 2024

Every year, the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony honors the state’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year’s ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The annual event commemorates the more than 190 fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the state of Oregon since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is proud to host the ceremony in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and various statewide law enforcement associations.

 

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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Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com

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