Oregon Beach News, Friday 5/3 – Salmon Harbor Sets Sights on a New Master Plan, Bike Month Kickoff in Florence & 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, May 3, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY ISSUED – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 8 AM THIS MORNING TO 11 AM PDT SATURDAY...

* WHAT...South winds 15 to 25 kt with gusts up to 30 kt and steep wind driven seas 5 to 7 ft. Highest winds and steepest seas are expected from Gold Beach northward. Steep west seas of 5 to 7 feet at 7 seconds continue Friday night and Saturday morning.

* WHERE...All waters.

* WHEN...From 8 AM this morning to 11 AM PDT Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Gusty winds and/or steep seas could capsize or damage smaller vessels.

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

Salmon Harbor Sets Sights on a New Master Plan

Douglas County Commissioners Chris Boice, Tim Freeman, and Tom Kress, along with Salmon Harbor Director James Zimmer and staff at Salmon Harbor Marina, a division of Douglas County Government, are excited to announce that they have started on the development of a new master plan exclusively for Salmon Harbor Marina and the Waterfront. 

Master plans provide a comprehensive look at the current economy and infrastructure while helping to identify other factors relating to development, planning, acquisitions, tourism, and sustainability. Master plans then go one step farther and provide a glimpse into the future growth of a community.

Salmon Harbor is partnering with Healthy Sustainable Communities (HSC) and HGE Architects, to craft a new master plan that not only lays the groundwork for a thriving and resilient future, but also identifies potential development sites and assesses infrastructure requirements.  The new plan will also include considerations for future tourism opportunities, sustainability, community growth, support for our local commercial fisheries, and innovative solutions that enhance navigation within the marina.  HSC and HGE were the successful bidders in the request for proposals process conducted in 2023. 

The process for development of the new master plan will actively involve the residents, business owners, stakeholders, as well as the creation of a diverse Technical Advisory Committee representing various sectors of Salmon Harbor Marina and Waterfront communities.  The process also includes the completion of a comprehensive market study, which is currently underway.   

This collaborative journey signifies our commitment to steering coastal Douglas County towards a sustainable and prosperous future,” expressed Board Chair, Commissioner Chris Boice. “Through the combined efforts of our community, stakeholders, and expert advisors, we aim to establish a master plan that becomes a beacon of responsible development along the coast.”

As this collaborative process moves forward our commitment remains steadfast in addressing our community’s needs while proactively fostering public involvement and developing solutions that promote long-term, sustainable development. We anticipate that the unveiling of the new master plan will help us chart a course for new standards in growth, prosperity, and environmental resilience for coastal development. 

We encourage residents, business owners, tourists, and stakeholders to stay informed and participate in shaping the future of Salmon Harbor Marina and the Waterfront by visiting the weblink provided below. Our new webpage will host documents, future open house announcements, and essential information during the master planning process. https://douglascountyor.gov/900/Master-Plan-2024.

City of Florence, Oregon – Government  · Come out to Miller Park today, May 3, from 1 to 4 pm and help us kick off Bike Month!

The Wildlife Center of the North Coast is holding its Birds of a Feather Spring Festival, an open house and native plant sale, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

There is no cost for the event, which includes tours of the facility, activities for kids, raffle prizes, Battle for the Burrow corn hole, afternoon bird walks, a chance to meet a wildlife ambassador and an opportunity to shop for official merchandise and pick up a do-it-yourself bird-safe window kit.

https://coastwildlife.orghttps://coastwildlife.org/event/birds-of-a-feather-spring-festival-2022/

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Saturday May 4th at 11:30 HWY 101 will be shut down from HWY 20 to NW Oceanview Drive. This map shows the detours if your working in Newport or coming to the Parade please review this Map.

Death Investigation in Siletz, OR

On 04/30/2024 at approximately 10 am, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office served a scheduled Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) Eviction issued by the Lincoln County Circuit Court for a residence in Siletz, OR. Deputies knocked on the door of the home multiple times to determine if anyone was home. Neighbors in the area advised Deputies that the sole resident of the property was last seen approximately two days prior and did not have a functioning vehicle.

Deputies obtained a phone number for the resident of the home and made attempts to make contact by phone. Deputies were unable to contact the resident by phone and observed no indication that anyone was home. Upon entry into the home, Deputies located 57-year-old Miriam Barber deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies transitioned to an unattended death investigation, as required by Oregon law, and determined no suspicious activity was involved in the death. There is no indication of risk to the community at this time. The next of kin in this matter have been notified.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office would like to express our condolences for this loss to Miriam’s family and friends. If you or anyone you know is thinking about suicide, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, visit their website at www.988lifeline.org, or call the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 541-265-0777. We understand every struggle is different and there are resources available.

•••Convicted Felon Arrested for Attempted Murder After Shooting at Victim in Coos County•••

On April 25th, 2024, around 1:40 a.m., Sergeant J. Clayburn responded to a call placed to Coos County Dispatch. The caller indicated that the suspect, Blaine Monson (28), had fired a weapon at him on Old Highway 42 in Myrtle Point.

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During the investigation, Sergeant Clayburn learned that Mr. Monson had allegedly fired multiple rounds from a handgun at the victim. The victim was in his vehicle and fled away from Mr. Monson. The victim had multiple bullet holes in his vehicle and a flat tire. It was also learned through a records check that Mr. Monson was a convicted felon and was not legally allowed to own or possess a firearm.

After concluding his investigation, Sergeant Clayburn issued probable cause for Mr. Monson’s arrest. Myrtle Point Police Officers assisted in trying to locate Mr. Monson, but they were unable to do so.

On April 26th, 2024, at 4:49 p.m., Mr. Monson was arrested and booked into the Coos County Jail without incident for Sergeant Clayburn’s probable cause. The initial charges were Attempted Assault in the First Degree, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Menacing, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

On April 29th, 2024, Mr. Monson was formally charged and arraigned for the crimes of Attempted Murder, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful use of a Weapon, and Menacing. Bail was set at One Million Dollars.

Federal Government States It Is Ready To Sell Commercial Wind Energy Leases Off The Coast of Coos Bay and Brookings for Floating Offshore Wind Facilities

The Southern Oregon coast is closer to hosting floating offshore wind energy, after the Biden administration announced it’s preparing to accept proposals for the area. This is the first step in a multiyear process before any wind developer could begin construction.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, proposed an auction for developers seeking floating offshore leases to develop wind energy in two locations off the coast of Southern Oregon. The announcement kicks off two opportunities for the public to comment on the proposal — on the areas that would be developed, and on the federal government’s draft environmental assessment.

offshore wind energy
The map shows the two wind energy areas approved off the Oregon coast. The federal government says it is ready to sell commercial wind energy leases for the two areas.

Ocean areas approved for wind energy development off the coast of Coos Bay and Brookings, which were finalized in February, total nearly 195,000 acres. There, offshore wind could have the potential to power more than one million homes with renewable energy, according to the federal agency.

Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint, near the Charleston Marina on Dec. 7, 2023, where potential floating offshore wind turbines could be seen.
FILE: Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint, near the Charleston Marina, where potential floating offshore wind turbines might someday be seen. Photographed on Dec. 7, 2023.Monica Samayoa / OPB

But the federal push to advance offshore wind has also prompted concerns from tribal leaders and commercial fishing groups about impacts on the marine environment, and broader concerns along the Southern Oregon coast at the speed of federal action before a state effort to guide offshore wind is in place. Federal officials said development will take years, and there will be time to incorporate Oregon’s roadmap, as long as the state meets its own deadlines.

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said the agency will work with government partners and stakeholders.

“We’re excited to unveil these proposed sales and emphasize our commitment to exploring the potential for offshore wind development from coast to coast,” Klein said in a release.

BOEM is also seeking feedback about several of its drafted lease stipulations, including requirements that offshore wind developers make commitments to union jobs and workforce training, that they engage with impacted communities like tribes and the fishing industry, and that they create a community benefits agreement.

The details of the proposed auction and the draft environmental assessment will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday.

A statewide emissions goal, and concerns about marine environments — Floating offshore wind could potentially help Oregon reach its goal for electric utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity they provide by 100% by 2040. But the prospect of the new technology has prompted pushback from residents, as well as calls from Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek for more research. The governor and affected communities have asked for more transparency and engagement from the federal government, which has so far shared limited information about environmental impacts.

That pushback was a factor in the passage of state House Bill 4080, which requires Oregon to develop a roadmap, drawing on engagement with impacted communities and tribes, to define standards for offshore wind energy.

A group that included environmentalists, climate advocates, fishing industry representatives, labor unions and city officials helped draft the legislation, which state lawmakers passed in March.

That informal group, working through the facilitator Oregon Consensus, has provided Kotek with recommendations for creating an floating offshore wind energy roadmap. Recommendations include protecting the environment, culturally significant viewsheds and resources important to tribes, and supporting local communities and the fishing industry.

Kotek said the roadmap will be a critical tool to ensure the state is prepared to assess and coordinate offshore wind opportunities with the federal government, “while also ensuring that local communities are at the forefront of economic, workforce, and supply chain development opportunities,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to reviewing the recommendations from the work group.”

Nicole Hughes is the executive director of Renewable Northwest, and was part of the informal group. She said the most important part of getting so many voices from diverse interests together on this issue was to begin to understand the different concerns from each group as well as build relationships with each other to figure out solutions.

“We know we did not get all the issues, we know there’s things that were left out of consideration, we know that not every Oregonian is going to be able to see themselves in the outline that we wrote,” Hughes said. “But we’re hopeful that the work we did just sets the state agencies up for better success in the actual development of this road map, which we hope and are pushing for a much broader formal stakeholder process than we were able to accommodate in our informal working group.”

She said the group spent about nine months working on the recommendations that also includes “exit ramps,” or checks and balances on how a project should move forward and when to reevaluate or pause a project.

“Some of the ways that those can come up, you know, a new environmental situation that hadn’t been identified before, a new economic situation that hasn’t been identified before,” she said. “These are all things that might cause us to rethink the viability of offshore wind or make us go out and do more research to get more answers to questions that hadn’t yet been posed.”

The Oregon offshore wind energy roadmap is set to be completed by fall 2025.

BOEM’s Klein reiterated the federal agency’s commitment to working with Oregon’s roadmap in a letter sent to Kotek Monday. The federal government expects a sale of the proposed areas is expected to occur in October, she said, and that would likely have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2025.

“A lease does not authorize the construction of projects,” she said in the letter.

Once a developer is chosen, they will have up to five years to submit a project proposal, which will undergo an environmental review before final approval. That review, Klein said, could take at least four years to reach completion.

“Therefore, if the state adheres to the current planned roadmap timeline, the roadmap report and resulting formal policy amendments should be completed well before any [Construction and Operations Plan] decisions are made,” she said.

But news of BOEM’s proposed sale lease announcement on Tuesday left people from the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and some from the fishing industry saying they are disappointed.

Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper said the federal agency should delay moving forward until more research is available to understand environmental and cultural impacts to the tribes and the fishing industry. He also said offshore wind leasing should wait until the Oregon Roadmap is complete.

“No one, including BOEM, has an understanding on how wind development will impact the fragile marine environment,” Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper said. “Commercial fishing interests separately requested such a delay. This only makes sense because the roadmap may be a futile effort without a commitment from BOEM to actually consider the recommendations of the Tribe, the State, and coastal stakeholders.”

According to BOEM’s website about Oregon wind energy, “the environmental impacts of any proposed wind energy projects will be assessed after a lease is issued and before BOEM decides whether or not to approve any lessee’s project construction and operations plan.”

Heather Mann, who is the executive director of Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and worked on creating and collaborating with the informal group, said BOEM is rushing the process. She is also considering switching her views to oppose offshore wind.

“BOEM does not care about the Oregon Roadmap process, instead they are rushing to meet a political and electoral deadline,” she said in a statement. “Just because BOEM claims they worked collaboratively with stakeholders doesn’t make it true.

Mann said BOEM’s announcement is undermining the work the informal group has done to work with different interests and to provide recommendations on how to move forward. (SOURCE)

Largest Cascadia Exercise Ever Planned On Coast May 14th And 15th

In the largest exercise of its kind ever on the Oregon coast, Lincoln County Emergency Management, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services’ Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM), city of Newport, Scappoose Fire District, Life Flight, Team Rubicon, and the United States Coast Guard, will host a two-day exercise to introduce and train first responders and volunteers in the deployment of the newest Evacuation Assembly Point (EAP), housed at the Newport Municipal Airport.

On May 14 and 15, emergency management personnel from around the state will respond to a simulated emergency, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and ensuing tsunami. First responders will have an opportunity to set up, test, and demobilize tents and other EAP equipment.

Last month, OREM delivered two Conex containers — heavy duty metal storage and shipping containers — storing the EAP equipment in the northeast corner of the Newport Municipal Airport. Partner agencies, hosted at Oregon Coast Community College, have met several times since to plan for the exercise and familiarize themselves with the equipment.

This EAP is intended for temporary use to triage and provide shelter to individuals who will need to be evacuated off the coast to receive additional assistance or to return home to other parts of the state. Over the course of the two-day event, there will be demonstrations, preparedness activities, and overnight sheltering provided.

This is the second such exercise OREM has delivered to the coast, the first being housed at the Tillamook Airport. The agency plans to establish a third EAP on the south coast this summer. OREM delivers the equipment to local responders and conducts initial training, leaving the EAP in the hands of those who will be faced with the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

“As the lead state agency for mass care and shelter services following disasters, we believe it’s important to get EAP supplies to coastal communities like Lincoln County,” said Ed Flick, OREM director. “Data shows coastal communities are likely to be cut off from the rest of the state during the Cascadia earthquake. Prepositioning EAP supplies and training local communities to use them is one of our priorities.”

Demonstrations will include the use of drones operated by Scappoose Fire’s Aviation unit, a Life Flight rescue helicopter, and the Coast Guard Newport Air Station’s MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter.

“Lincoln County is grateful to ODHS for providing us with the Evacuation Assembly Point,” Lincoln County Emergency Manager Samantha Buckley said. “In a large-scale emergency event, the ability to quickly remove individuals from the area is essential to life safety and the wellbeing of our community. The EAP will allow us to provide shelter and other resources for those being medically evacuated by air. It will make a significant difference in the type of care we can provide.”

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will hold their bi-monthly business meeting on site during this event on the second day, starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15. As always, attendance at the commissioners’ meeting is open to the public. Remote attendance is encouraged, as access to and from the EAP site will be limited to shuttles from the main airport parking lot. If you have special transportation needs and wish to attend the meeting in person, contact public_affairs@co.lincoln.or.us.

County commissioners, county and city emergency management teams, the OREM team and at least one state legislator plan to spend the night at the EAP May 14 as part of the exercise. —- Information provided by Lincoln County and the Oregon Department of Human Services https://www.newsbreak.com/newport-or/3419243392812-largest-cascadia-exercise-ever-planned-on-coast

Lincoln County Announces Low Income Program To Help Spay And Neuter Pets

Lincoln County has announced it will use some of its federal relief funds for a spay and neuter service to help counter dog and cat overpopulation that was substantially worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program is for local low-income households that cannot afford spay and neuter services for their pets. County staff will work with applicants and participating veterinarians’ offices to coordinate and submit payment for the procedures.

To qualify, people must be a resident of Lincoln County and income eligible, which can be confirmed by showing eligibility for SNAP/TANF; WIC; OHP; Medicaid; housing assistance; supplemental social security income; veterans pension benefits; and surviving spouse pension benefits.

The applications are online. For the English version go here; for the Spanish version, go here.

For assistance filling out the application, call the helpline at 541-270-3393. Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter has volunteered to help answer questions on the helpline and assist applicants who do not have access to computers.

“Our county fell woefully behind in spaying and neutering during the pandemic, when many vets had to suspend elective surgeries altogether, and after the fires of fall 2020, which meant financial hardship for many residents,” said FOLCAS president Emily DeHuff. “These subsidies will go a long way in getting spay/neuter rates back on track.”

People who do not meet the income qualification for the county program can apply for spay/neuter and other veterinary care assistance through other programs administered by the humane society by visiting www.centralcoasthumanesociety.com and completing a request for assistance form. (SOURCE)

Rhododendron Quilt Guild (RQG) is pleased to announce a quilt show and sale taking place from 10:30 am to 5 p.m. on Friday May 17th and 10:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 18th.

This exciting event will feature a stunning display of beautiful and intricate quilts, handmade by local artisans.

Visitors to the quilt show and sale can expect to see a variety of quilt styles, including traditional, modern, and contemporary designs. The quilts on display will feature a range of colors, patterns, and techniques, showcasing the diverse talents of the local quilting community. In addition to the quilt show, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase quilts, as well as other handmade items such as table runners, wall hangings, and tote bags. There will also be fabrics, patterns, and quilting supplies sold, making this event a one-stop-shop for all quilting enthusiasts. Rhododendron Quilt Guild is proud to host this event and celebrate the talent of the local quilting community.

MORE INFO: http://www.rhodyquilt.com/

EVCNB

Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay

Garden volunteers needed at Shore Acres State Park April through September

— Come share your gardening skills or learn new ones as a garden volunteer at Shore Acres State Park.

Join rangers in caring for the gardens 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Friday of every month from April through September. Tasks vary depending on the season and could include cleaning out the pond, pruning roses, trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, mulching, planting and helping to remove invasive species.

The 2024 garden volunteer schedule:

  • April 19: Pond clean out
  • May 17: Prepare for summer
  • June 21: Garden clean up
  • July 19: Garden clean up
  • Aug. 16: English ivy pull
  • Sept. 20: Prepare for fall

Sign up for one or more of these events at https://form.jotform.com/240225153017140

Participants should be prepared to travel a short distance on uneven ground and trails to the service site. Service will take place outdoors, and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools.

Dress for the weather. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. Remember to bring a water bottle, sack lunch and work gloves if you have them (some will be provided if not).

During Mental Health Awareness Month, OHA reminds Oregonians of support resources for those in need and their loved ones 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health Authority is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month during May by promoting resources that support mental well-being for all Oregonians.

One in five people will experience a mental health condition in a given year, and about half of all Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their lives, according to national statistics.

Nearly everyone faces challenges in life that can affect their mental health and emotional well-being.

“Too many people in our state are facing mental health challenges, and we want everyone to know you do not have to struggle alone,” said OHA Director Sejal Hathi, M.D., MBA.

Dr. Hathi, who has spoken about her mental health journey, added, “In many of our communities, societal or cultural norms discourage people from reaching out, or even admitting that we may need some help. Mental Health Awareness Month is a critical opportunity to highlight that mental health is health.”

Here are a few highlights of resources available for Oregonians:

  • OHA provides support for Community Mental Health Programs that provide services related to mental health, substance use, and problem gambling, in counties and communities across Oregon. A directory of these services, listed by county can be found
  • In Oregon, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The easy-to-remember 988 number is available for people experiencing any type of mental health challenge, substance use crisis or thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Anyone who needs support can call, text or chat in English and Spanish (interpretation services and American Sign Language are also available) and connect with trained crisis counselors. The 988 Lifeline is also a resource for friends and families concerned about a loved one.
  • The Mental Health Toolkit was created through a collaboration between OHA and Oregon Department of Education to help educators increase students’ academic achievement through meeting their mental and behavioral health needs.
  • Online resources from Sources on Strength – Sources of Strength has two online resource packets. The first is Resources for Practicing Strength at Home, and the second is a shorter version that also offers a wellness plan. Any resource in these packets can be used in classrooms, staff meetings, in individual or group counseling, or to practice strength wherever you are.

OHA encourages communities, organizations, and individuals to use the month of May to help raise awareness of mental health and well-being.

15 Portland Police Vehicles Burned at Training Facility

At least 15 police training vehicles were set on fire early Thursday morning at the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) training division located on Northeast Airport Way, PPB reported.

At around 1:55 a.m., officers and firefighters were dispatched to the training center, where they found at least 15 vehicles on fire inside a fenced training area. Firefighters put out the fires. PPB said no injuries were reported and the building was not damaged. Portland police have not said whether the arson at the PPB training center was done by protesters. Hours earlier, protesters had marched through downtown Portland, smashing windows at businesses and blocking traffic.

PPB Chief Bob Day posted a statement on social media, saying that property destruction won’t be tolerated.

“I am disheartened by the acts of vandalism over the last 12 hours. Damaging downtown businesses and vehicles at our Training Division is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” he wrote. “I understand people in our community are hurting, but in no way is property destruction a productive way to address that angst. I want the community to know these criminal actions will be fully investigated.”

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek released a statement condemning the criminal actions over the past week.

“I fully condemn the criminal actions taken Thursday morning that resulted in the burning of 15 Portland Police Bureau cars and endangers first responders and the surrounding community,” Kotek wrote. “I have absolutely no tolerance for discriminatory harassment, violence, or property damage. This includes the acts of vandalism seen this week at the Portland State University library and against nearby businesses.

“These actions are in direct opposition to Oregon values and threaten working people, families, businesses, and our community as a whole. The Oregon State Police have launched a response on the outer perimeter of Portland State University. The state is prepared to exercise the full extent of the law.” (SOURCE)

Child Exploitation Task Force Arrests Eagle Point Man for Victimizing Children Online Nationwide, Investigators Looking for Additional Victims

JCSO Case 22-4129 EAGLE POINT, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force arrested a Medford man on multiple child sex crime charges at 2:28 p.m. today in Eagle Point. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and Eagle Point Police Department assisted with the arrest at a business near the intersection of Hwy 62 and West Linn Road.

During their investigation, SOCET discovered the suspect was communicating nationwide with at least five underage victims through several social media sites. SOCET investigators identified a 13-year-old victim from Kansas City, Missouri, and are attempting to identify the additional underage victims.

The suspect, Zachary Elijah Bowen, 22, of Medford, Ore., was arrested on 12 felony charges including using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct, 10 counts of second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse, and luring a minor. He was booked and lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

SOCET started investigating Bowen after more than a dozen National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) cyber tips led to multiple residences where he lived in Portland and at a licensed marijuana farm in Trail, Ore. SOCET served a search warrant on February 7, 2023, at the marijuana farm in the 4700 block of Highway 227 in Trail. Investigators seized digital devices for forensic examination by Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force (SOHTCTF).

Investigators found evidence of Bowen communicating nationwide with at least five underage victims through social media sites such as SnapChat, Instagram, Kik, and Google under the username “zach_grant2152.” If you have any information on Bowen, contact investigators through the Sheriff’s App “Submit a Tip” feature. Download the App here: https://apps.myocv.com/share/a72997501. You can also call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case number 22-4129.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from JCSO and Homeland Security Investigations with some collaboration from Oregon State Police and Medford Police Department; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.

This case is under further investigation with detectives following additional leads and attempting to identify other victims. Jackson County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case. There is no further information available for release.

Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center Is Contacting More Patients and Families About Infections Amidst Criminal Drug Diversion Case

Shlesinger & deVilleneuve, a Medford law firm, states the hospital involved in a criminal drug diversion investigation is notifying more former patients or their families about possible injury or death related to more cases of in-hospital infection.

Medford attorney David deVilleneuve told NewsWatch 12 today his firm, Shlesinger & deVilleneuve, has a possible new civil case client who says Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center (Asante) contacted the client this week to notify that its related patient, who died, could have been infected at Asante.

“I’m interested in whether the hospital staff responded appropriately, not necessarily that the hospital staff was perpetrating a crime or actually stealing fentanyl, though I’m not ruling that out, either,” said deVilleneuve. “I’m investigating whether Asante responded to the increase in infections in a timely manner and in a responsible manner.”

deVilleneuve said today his firm now has 74 prospective client cases related to Asante and possible deadly drug diversion there. He said 15 cases with the strongest evidence could bring his firm’s initial civil case filings in the next 30-60 days.

deVilleneuve said eight of those 15 cases involve deaths of Asante patients, besides the new prospective client contact this week which indicates Asante is notifying more former patients who could have been affected adversely by a bacterial strain while at the hospital. He said the possible new case that surfaced this week involves a patient hospitalized at Asante in 2022.

“I’m concerned that maybe there’s a list or maybe a group of patients on their list that they (Asante) want to notify or they’ve tried to reach out, to some degree tried to reach out, but have never been contacted,” said deVilleneuve. “And maybe they’re in our community, and they don’t know they’re a potential victim because they’ve never been contacted.”

About Asante, deVilleneuve says, “I see no efforts on their part to inform the public about what’s going on. They are making efforts to whom they have articulated as potential victims. I’m concerned that maybe their search criterion isn’t going to pick up some of the potential victims. That’s why people who have not been notified by Asante or Medford Police Department should still call us because most of these people on our list have not been contacted by Medford PD or Asante, and they’ve all suffered from infections. That number (of his firm’s cases) alone doesn’t match up with the CDC numbers (for Asante in-hospital infections), so there’s a much higher rate of infections, I think, than has been reported, and so it begs the question, ‘Are there other people?’”

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said last week it had received Medford Police Department’s (MPD) criminal investigation of drug diversion at Asante. MPD said it started that investigation in December when Asante administration alerted police to its concern that hospital staff might have diverted drugs prescribed for patients. MPD said Jan. 3, 2024, “Additionally, there was concern that this behavior resulted in adverse patient care, though the extent of the impact on those patients is yet to be determined. MPD is actively working on investigating these claims.”

One claim became a civil case filed in February by Idiart Law Firm, when it listed Asante and its former nurse Dani Schofield as defendants for a case by the estate of Horace Wilson, who died at Asante Feb. 25, 2022. The case said Schofield charted that she administered fentanyl to Horace Wilson on several dates beginning Jan. 29, 2022, and, “In order to divert the fentanyl, Defendant SCHOFIELD replaced this entire quarter of a liter of ‘missing fluid’ with non-sterile tap water, thus reintroducing new inoculums of the bacterium Staphylococcus epidermidis into Horace Wilson’s bloodstream via his central line each time she administered the solution.”

MPD also said in January this year that the Department, “has received numerous calls from individuals asking if they or a family member have been impacted by the suspected actions of the former Asante employee. Asante has informed MPD that they have identified the involved patients and have notified or are in the process of notifying them or their families.”

deVilleneuve said this week’s Asante call to his prospective client causes him to expect more clients and claims to surface.

He said his firm’s investigation has noted that perhaps 10% of hospital staff are involved in drug diversion, which suggests it could be underway more broadly than the public knows.

deVilleneuve also said his firm’s investigation found some drug diversion involving clear fluid medicine either substituted saline solution as a sterile replacement or substituted nothing, leaving an intended patient in pain, so he’s surprised a medical professional would use tap water to replace an IV drug, knowing the possible illness it could cause. (SOURCE)

Several Oregon Cities Ranked Among the Best Places In The Nation To Call Home

livability

That’s according to Livability’s 2024 report on the 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S. >  https://livability.com/best-places/2024-top-100-best-places-to-live-in-the-us/

Livability looked at data on thousands of American cities and judged them based on nearly 100 data points, considering metrics like economy, housing, cost of living and amenities.  Beaverton, Hillsboro, Eugene, Medford and Salem all made the top 100 list.

Demand for Electricity in the Pacific Northwest Expected to Jump 30%

Demand for electricity in the Pacific Northwest is expected to rise dramatically over the next decade and the region’s power sources may not be able to keep up.

That’s according to a new annual report out this week from the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee.

The Portland-based industry think tank projects demand will grow by over 30% over the next 10 years. That’s three times the growth in demand the group predicted three years ago.

“It really is this dual challenge of meeting this extraordinary growth and demand for electricity — while you’re transitioning to lower carbon emitting resources — that is translating into an urgent and tremendous need for upgrading the region’s electricity infrastructure,” said Crystal Ball, executive director of the group. (SOURCE)

PNW News: UPDATE – The last of four zebras that escaped Sunday from a trailer on Interstate 90 is still on the loose in the Seattle suburb.

zebra

King County officials are asking community members concerned about a missing zebra who is likely somewhere along the Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail to stay away.

People have flooded the area, bringing unleashed dogs and mountain bikes and scaring off the zebra, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Sarah Perry said Thursday.

Perry asked the director of the county’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks on Thursday morning to close off the Boxley Creek area to the public to help capture the zebra.

Parks employees will post “trail closed” signs Friday morning at key access points along the Snoqualmie Valley Regional Trail near the Boxley Creek Natural Area, department spokesperson Eleanor Lee said.

The zebra, known as Z, remained on the loose Thursday after escaping a trailer Sunday on Interstate 90, when her owner stopped on the side of the road to secure the trailer in North Bend. The three other zebras were returned to their trailer. Their owner was transporting them from Lewis County to Montana, where she runs a 7-acre petting zoo.

Contrary to initial reports, the missing zebra is a mare, or female zebra, the Regional Animal Services of King County said Thursday.

“Help us rescue him by staying away for a couple days and just hearing about it, then we will have a chance,” Perry said. “But with all this mountain biking, dogs and people, he’s never going to come forward.”

“It’s in an environment it’s not used to,” Satterfield said. “It’s scared.”

Animal control officers are stepping up patrols in the area, Satterfield said, and officials are relying on neighbors to report any zebra sightings. The King County Sheriff’s Office asked anyone who sees the zebra to call 911 or 206-296-7387.

“DO NOT try to capture it yourself,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.

Ultimately, Satterfield said, the goal is to recapture the zebra and get him back on the path to Montana. “We really don’t want a zebra running wild through the foothills of the Cascades,” he said. (SOURCE)

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

SALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer months, but fires occur all seasons of the year including spring. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will be spreading the word about the steps we all can take to prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer, and encouraging Oregonians to create defensible space around homes and outbuildings.

At stake: lives, property and scenic beauty – Each year, over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people. Many are a result of escaped debris burn piles or gas-powered equipment and vehicles casting sparks or catching fire.

During the 2023 fire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported that people were directly responsible for sparking 823 wildfires that burned 6,197 acres. Any spark can gain traction in dry vegetation, spread quickly and impact lives, personal property, and the many benefits provided by Oregon’s scenic natural areas.

Before heading outdoors this summer, contact the agency or landowner who manages the land at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Any visitor to Oregon’s natural areas should be familiar with these restrictions before building campfires or using equipment that could ignite a wildfire.

Put Your Smokey Hat On – Smokey Bear is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Smokey is a beloved and trusted American icon that has educated the public on preventing human caused wildfires since 1944. His timeless and important message celebrates people who take responsibility and prevent wildfires. Smokey’s hat is the driving force behind Keep Oregon Green’s 2024 summer wildfire prevention campaign. “Put Your Smokey Hat On” is a call to action, encouraging the public to predict the outcome of their actions and do everything they can to prevent wildfire ignitions. Campaign artwork, PSAs, and additional wildfire safety tips can be found at keeporegongreen.org and its various social media platforms.

Coming soon: More Wildfire Awareness Month tips – During May, a new wildfire prevention topic will be shared each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to prevent their outdoor activities from sparking the next wildfire. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green at www.keeporegongreen.org, the Oregon Department of Forestry at www.oregon.gov/odf, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal at https://www.oregon.gov/osfm/education/pages/prevent-wildfires.aspx

Follow Oregon wildfire news and prevention updates on social media: Twitter @keeporegongreen, @ORDeptForestry and @OSFM

OHCS on track to help hundreds of disaster survivors through the Homeowner Assistance and Reconstruction Program

Program moves into application and review phase — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is moving into the application phase of the Homeowner Assistance and Reconstruction Program (HARP) after receiving nearly 800 Eligibility Questionnaires from survivors of the 2020 Labor Day wildfires and straight-line winds. This is an important milestone only made possible because of the partnership of local organizations.

ReOregon, an OHCS program, launched HARP at the end of March to help homeowners with low to moderate incomes who still need assistance to repair, rebuild, or replace their homes in the wake of the disasters.

“The HARP program is now progressing into the application review phase, which brings us closer to getting survivors the resources they need on their path to recovery,” said Ryan Flynn, director of Disaster Recovery and Resilience at OHCS. “We also want to thank all of our outreach and intake partners for their help in reaching and assisting hundreds of survivors. We couldn’t do this without them.”

ReOregon is now working on notifying more than 300 of the 800 people who submitted questionnaires with instructions on how they can apply for HARP. Local culturally specific organizations are helping households that may need additional support navigating the application process. ReOregon estimates there may be more survivors who may be eligible for assistance in later phases of HARP.

Those who are interested can still fill out the Eligibility Questionnaire on the re.oregon.gov website where eligibility requirements are also listed.

For assistance with the process, contact the ReOregon Call Center at 1-877-510-6800 or 541-250-0938 or email t@oregon.org“>housingsupport@oregon.org. Additionally, OHCS has partnered with community-based organizations to provide in-person support. A full list of these partners is on the re.oregon.gov website.

About Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS)  – OHCS is Oregon’s housing finance agency. The state agency provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of low and moderate income. OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization. OHCS delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers. For more information, please visit: oregon.gov/ohcs.

OHA Director visits Central Oregon on fifth regional visit, hears community concerns

(Bend, OR) – Director of Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Dr. Sejal Hathi, visited Central Oregon this week and heard about the health issues that are of greatest concern to local residents and health care providers.

Feedback from the Central Oregon community was consistent, from a lack of affordable housing to barriers to mental health treatment and workforce shortages. She also heard about steps local clinics are taking to give people greater access to mental health treatment in primary care clinics and growing number of local people who are receiving substance use services through Measure 110.

Central Oregon is the fifth region Dr. Hathi has visited since she was confirmed by the legislature as OHA’s permanent director in February.

“One of the most consistent appeals I heard was for the state to do its best to sustain some of the services our public health and community-based partners have built over the past few years, with federal as well as Measure 110 funding, which continues to fill real and previously unmet needs. Even and especially as federal pandemic-era funding comes to an end, it would be a huge loss to let those services wither,” Dr. Hathi said.

Monday, Dr. Hathi started her visit to Central Oregon at Pacific Source, a Coordinated Care Organization (CCO), then toured Mosaic Community Health’s Conners Health Center in Bend. She visited Rimrock Trails, which provides comprehensive counseling and treatment services for individuals and families struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. Tuesday, Dr. Hathi met with Local Public Health Authorities (LPHAs) and Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) from Deschutes, Jefferson, Crook and Wheeler Counties. She also toured the Deschutes County Stabilization Center; a crisis care clinic in Bend.

“We found Dr. Hathi to be a great listener and really appreciate that she genuinely wants to learn about the regional healthcare needs that we face here in Central Oregon,” said Megan Haase, FNP and CEO of Mosaic Community Health. “We look forward to continuing our conversation and collaboration in the future.”

Dr. Hathi also discussed her three biggest policy priorities as OHA Director: eliminating health inequities, transforming Oregon’s behavioral health system, and expanding access to affordable health care.  But she emphasized that local input will inform and shape OHA’s approach to this work, as well as its partnerships with community.

Here is a link to the video of what Dr. Hathi said she learned during her visit to Central Oregon] She will head to Hood River and Pendleton later this month to speak with Oregonians. A full schedule of all of Dr. Hathi’s upcoming regional listening visits is  posted on her web page.

Springfield Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison for Repeatedly Possessing and Distributing Child Sexual Abuse Material

EUGENE, Ore.—A Springfield, Oregon man was sentenced to federal prison today for repeatedly possessing and distributing photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse.

Randy Lee Cook, 43, was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison and a life term of supervised release.

According to court documents, in 2006, Cook was convicted of state child pornography charges in Missouri and served a significant prison sentence for sending child sexual abuse material to a minor, engaging in sexual chats with the minor, and then engaging in additional sexual chats with an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a minor and propositioning the decoy minor for sex. Following his release from prison, Cook was required to register as a sex offender.

In the summer of 2020 and spring of 2021, investigators learned that Cook had resumed distributing child sexual abuse material online, this time using Kik Messenger, an instant messaging mobile application. Investigators traced multiple Kik accounts to Cook and learned he was residing in Springfield. On June 11, 2021, investigators executed search warrants on Cook’s residence, truck, and person. Cook’s phone was found to contain approximately 194 images and 63 videos depicting child sexual abuse.

In July 2021, Cook was charged by criminal complaint with possessing and distributing child pornography and arrested. On July 20, 2023, a federal grand jury in Eugene indicted him on the same charges.

In December 2023, while Cook’s case was being litigated, an FBI task force officer in Louisiana investigating an unrelated matter began conversing with an individual on Kik who was later determined to be Cook. In conversations online with the officer, Cook claimed to have engaged in sex acts with children and sent the agent an explicit video of a child. On December 14, 2023, Cook was arrested a second time when he was leaving his Springfield residence to plead guilty in federal court.

On January 24, 2024, Cook pleaded guilty to three counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.

This case was investigated by the FBI Eugene Resident Agency with assistance from the FBI New Orleans Field Office, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Shreveport Police Department. It was prosecuted by William McLaren, Marco Boccato, and Mira Chernick, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.

Anyone who has information about the physical or online exploitation of children are encouraged to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. It is important to remember child sexual abuse material depicts actual crimes being committed against children. Not only do these images and videos document the victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when shared across the internet, they re-victimize and re-traumatize the child victims each time their abuse is viewed. To learn more, please visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at www.missingkids.org.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Oregon Secretary of State releases 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released a civic engagement toolkit today, aimed at helping organizations do voter registration and voter turnout work in the 2024 elections.

The tools included in the 2024 toolkit are official, non-partisan, research-backed and free to use with or without attribution to our office.

Download the 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit here.

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

Home

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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