Oregon Beach News, Monday 11/27 – Justice Department Sides With Episcopal Church In Suit Against Brookings Over Providing Free Meals & 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

Monday, November 27, 2023

Oregon Beach Weather

Sneaker Waves Along The Coast – Anyone planning to spend time during the holidays along the Oregon coast should be mindful of possible sneaker waves.

King tides refer to the highest tides of the year and along the Oregon Coast these tides are typically 9 to 10 feet. There are four series of king tides, so mark your calendars. To learn more about these tides and/or to participate in some cool citizen science visit: https://www.oregonkingtides.net

King Tide Dates: November 25th-27th December 13th-15th January 11th-13th February 8th-10th

Sneaker waves are waves that suddenly surge further up the beach than expected, according to the NWS. They are powerful enough to sweep people into the ocean, and can roll logs and other debris along the beach.

Justice Department Sides With Episcopal Church In Suit Against Brookings Over Providing Free Meals

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a southern Oregon church got a boost in its long-running dispute with the city of Brookings over its free soup kitchen that has drawn steady complaints from neighbors and faces restrictions imposed under a city ordinance.


St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in the South Coast community of Brookings has been serving food to those in need for decades, sometimes as often as six days a week. (https://www.sttimothyepiscopal.org/our-ministries.html)

But a conflict started in 2021, when city officials received a complaint from neighbors called the Petition to Remove Homeless from St. Timothy Church. It asked the city to “prevent the congregation of vagrants or undesirables.”

The city says it then determined that the church’s kitchen was classified as a restaurant, which is not allowed in residential areas.

“The St. Timothy’s soup kitchen and others like it were already violating long-standing city land use ordinances,” according to the city’s motion for summary judgement, filed in October that year.

As a result, the Brookings City Council created an ordinance in October 2021 that required a permit for such meal services in residential zones. The ordinance also says meals can only be served two days a week.

St. Timothy’s sued the city in January 2022.

“The City suddenly claimed that St. Timothy’s long-established use of its property—which is, by the City’s own Land Development Code, a lawful nonconforming use— did not comply with the City’s zoning laws. And when Plaintiffs did not accept the City’s suggestion that they stop engaging in Christian acts of service for the Brookings community, the City decided to rewrite the laws in an effort to force them to do so,” the church’s complaint reads.

Father Bernie Lindley said the city is prohibiting the church from exercising its religious duty to serve the poor.

“When the city of Brookings said that we were going to be restricted to two days a week, we said, ‘We can’t do that.’ We can’t apply for a permit to only feed people two days a week when they may or may not need to be fed by us much more often than that,” he said.

Alli Gannett, director of communications the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, said this ordinance adds restrictions to the church’s work.

“Our ultimate goal is to not have any restrictions on feeding those in need. As Jesus calls us to serve the hungry and to care for those who are sick, any sort of restrictions put on that ministry prohibits us from fulfilling our call as Christians,” she said.

Heather Van Meter, one of the attorneys representing the city, said in an emailed statement Wednesday, “The City of Brookings adopted an ordinance to allow benevolent meal services to continue in the City, including those currently served by St. Timothy’s.”

The city says St. Timothy’s could continue its meal services elsewhere in the city in a commercial zone.

“What this case is really about, is St. Timothy’s belief that they are beyond the reach of any regulation that may impact when, where, or how they engage in their activities. Their position that none of their actions in a residential zone can be regulated is legally incorrect,” the city wrote in its response to the church’s complaint.

In an emailed statement on Wednesday, Rt. Rev. Diana D. Akiyam, bishop in the Episcopal Church in Western Oregon, wrote, “We welcome the DOJ’s interest in our lawsuit and join numerous other religious organizations who are fighting the suppression of religious expression in order to continue serving those in need.”

In its Tuesday statement, the DOJ says the city’s ordinance does not further the city’s interest in promoting public welfare and safety.

“The issues with noise, aesthetics, and crime that prompted the ordinance are byproducts of homelessness and poverty that would persist in Brookings regardless of St. Timothy’s meal service — and indeed may even be made worse if St. Timothy’s were forced to curtail its meal service,” the statement of interest reads.

Briefing on this case is expected to finish next month. After that, the court could decide to make a judgment or the case could continue.

Since the lawsuit has been filed, St. Timothy’s has continued to provide meal services four days a week. (SOURCE)

Rite Aid Closing Oregon Stores Amidst Financial CrisisFlorence and Warrenton Stores Closing This Week

As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing Rite-Aid has begun the process of shutting down what they are calling underperforming stores. 

Rite-Aid has reached agreements with its creditors and has also received a 3.4 billion dollar loan to keep some of their store open.  If you are a pharmacy customer with Rite-Aid you will need to make arrangements to switch your prescriptions to one of the other pharmacies in town.

The financial woes of the once-prominent Rite Aid pharmacy chain have reached a critical point, leading to a series of store closures that are set to significantly impact Oregon communities.

Founded in 1965, Rite Aid was once a cornerstone of American pharmacy retail. However, recent years have seen the company falter under a staggering debt of $3.3 billion, culminating in a bankruptcy filing last month. This financial downfall has led to a drastic reduction in Rite Aid’s nationwide presence. Originally operating over 2,330 stores across 17 states, the chain now faces a decline that will see its store count drop below 2,000.

In October, as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, Rite Aid announced the closure of 154 locations. However, this number has been continuously updated, with over 200 stores now earmarked for closure, including several in Oregon.

The closure wave in Oregon is particularly significant, affecting both urban and rural areas. The following Rite Aid stores are set to close soon:

  • Canby: 891 S.E. First Ave. Closing December 4
  • Portland: 1814 N.E. 41st Ave. Closing December
  • Warrenton: 145 S. Highway 101. Closing November 28
  • Florence: 3451 Highway 101. Closing November 29
  • Hines: 629 N. Highway 20. Closing November 27
  • Milton-Freewater: 105 S.W. Second Ave. Closing November 28

Additionally, three stores in Portland and Medford have already shut their doors. The company’s decision to close its Wilsonville warehouse in April will result in 136 layoffs, starting in January and continuing until April 5, 2024.

A Rite Aid spokesperson explained the decision as a strategic move to consolidate operations and improve efficiency, transitioning the distribution network to their Washington center.

As Rite Aid closures mount, Oregon residents face the looming threat of ‘pharmacy deserts’. These areas lack convenient access to pharmacy services, a problem exacerbated by the simultaneous closures of other major chains like CVS and Walgreens. According to Dima Qato, an associate professor at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy, pharmacy deserts pose a severe health risk, especially in vulnerable communities. When local pharmacies close, many people, particularly those living in underserved areas, may cease taking essential medications or face significant challenges in obtaining them.

The closure of Rite Aid stores in Oregon is more than a business headline; it’s a public health concern. As the state braces for the fallout of these closures, the healthcare landscape faces a significant shift. The situation underscores the need for a reevaluation of pharmacy accessibility and highlights the growing importance of addressing the challenges posed by pharmacy deserts in ensuring the health and well-being of communities. (SOURCE)

Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office Serve Multiple Search Warrants

Early Tuesday morning, November 21, 2023 the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office served multiple search warrants with the assistance of Oregon State Police SWAT, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Clatsop County Major Crimes Team.

The Major Crimes Team consists of detectives from the Sheriff’s Office, Astoria Police Department, Warrenton Police Department, Seaside Police Department and Cannon Beach Police Department. Warrants were served at residences in rural Astoria, Warrenton, and Seaside. Multiple firearms, ammunition, and stolen items, to include property stolen from other states, were recovered.

Jacob Dean Smart (38) was arrested for: Felon in Possession of Firearm, Unlawful Use of Motor Vehicle, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

Jason Daniel Chupp (41) was arrested for: Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Reckless Endangering, Unlawful Use of Weapon, and Criminal Mischief I.

Detectives continue to investigate the case and additional charges will follow. If you have information regarding these individuals, contact Detective Jodi Libertad. (503) 325-8635

The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office has reported that two teens have run away from Knappa, and is asking for the public to help locate them

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Penny is described as 5’5″ tall, 120 lbs, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Jonathan is described as 5’11” tall, 155 lbs, also with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Penny Lyles and Jonathan Stockle are believed to be traveling in a GREY 1998 Toyota Rav4, OR plate 547HRL.

The last known locations for Penny Lyles and Jonathan Stockle were in Clatsop and Columbia County, Oregon.

The CCSO says that Penny Lyles and Jonathan Stockle may be traveling outside of Oregon as they both have ties to Missouri.

Deputies state that Jonathan Stockle may “possibly be concerned about getting arrested and is trying to evade Law Enforcement,” but at this time the Sheriff’s Office does not plan to arrest him.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Penny Lyles and/or Jonathan Stockle is asked to contact Clatsop County Dispatch (503-325-2061) and ask to speak with a deputy.

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Have you reserved your vehicle timed entry and parking for Shore Acres Holiday Lights, Nov. 23 – Dec. 31, 2023?

Reservations are available now at https://bit.ly/2023holidaylights or call 800-452-5687, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Preferred date and time sold out or you need more flexibility to plan your visit? Beginning Nov. 16, ADDITIONAL timed entry and parking becomes available each day during a 7-day rolling window. So, on Nov. 16 you can reserve for visits on Nov. 23; Nov. 17 for visits Nov. 24; and it continues to roll through the event. The rolling window inventory online becomes available at 6 a.m. each day.

Visitors inside the vehicle don’t need reservations.

The $5 vehicle parking ticket assigned to a date and entry time of the visitor’s choice is needed to enter the show. Just reserve and then have your ticket for parking ready to show when you arrive at your selected time. Visitors no longer have the option to purchase a parking permit onsite to attend.

Go to https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm… for additional details, including options for waiving the $5 parking fee, and the link to reserve.

Image description: an illustration of a starry night, trees, and holiday lights strung along a hedge. Text reads: Shore Acres Holiday Lights. Nov. 23-Dec. 31, 2023.

The South Coast Development Council In Coos Bay Receives $300,000 Federal Investment For Local Tech Based Start Ups

The South Coast Development Council, Inc. in Coos Bay has secured a $300,000 federal investment to nurture local tech-based start-ups. The $300,000 from the federal Economic Development Administration is designed to accelerate technology entrepreneurship on the South Coast by increasing access to entrepreneurial support and startup capital.

The South Coast Incubator Technology Industry Ecosystem Development project is led by the South Coast Development Council, Inc. with support from Southwestern Oregon Community College and the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend.

The funding has been announced by Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

“This federal investment in the South Coast will generate jobs, innovation and economic activity that will ripple out for years to come,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified that key business, education and civic leaders in this rural Oregon community have teamed up to earn these resources. And I’ll keep battling for communities throughout Oregon to receive similar funds that build strong local economies.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of Oregon’s economy, and even more so for our rural and coastal communities,” Merkley said. “These important investments heading to the South Coast Development Council will support jobs, drive innovation, and help strengthen the local economy of the South Coast.”

“This is a perfectly-timed opportunity for our rural communities on the south Oregon coast. Our center now can develop a technology-based business incubator to help grow new businesses that focus on the fast-evolving Green Energy and Blue Economy sectors,” Southwestern Small Business Development Center Director Derek Tonn said. “That means direct assistance to local entrepreneurs developing tech-based products and services for clean energy innovation and people who work on the ocean and rivers.”

“This collaboration between South Coast Development Council, Inc., Southwestern Oregon Community College, their Small Business Development Center, and the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend is a potentially transformative step for Oregon’s South Coast,” South Coast Development Council Inc. Interim Executive Director Bryan Sykes said. “The business incubator located on Southwestern’s campus will foster tech-based entrepreneurship, offering prototyping services and comprehensive support to emerging businesses, entrepreneurs, and innovators.”

“This initiative will serve as a catalyst for our community’s economic growth, promising new opportunities and enhanced educational and networking pathways,” Sykes said. “It aligns with the state’s broader vision for an innovation hub, marking a significant step towards innovation and tech-based economic development. We look forward to continuing to bring resources to the community that will support economic growth, innovation, and increase the opportunities for success in our region.” https://www.scdcinc.org/

CAT Enrolling Participants For Septic System Replacement Program in Tillamook, Clatsop and Columbia Counties

The Community Action Team is actively seeking Tillamook, Clatsop and Columbia County property owners whose septic systems are failing to participate in a $1.5 million, grant-funded, no-interest, no-payment replacement program.

Casey Mitchell, who is overseeing the program for the Community Action Team (CAT), said that so far uptake has been slow, as property owners have been reticent to interact with team members for the project.

Mitchell stressed that although the program is being undertaken in conjunction with the county governments, they and CAT are committed to helping homeowners and are not using the program as an enforcement tool to penalize failed or failing systems.

CAT applied for the grant earlier this year in partnership with Tillamook County and received the $1.5-million award in June from state Coronavirus recovery funds, courtesy of the Department of Environmental Quality. The program offers homeowners in unincorporated parts of the three counties with septic system issues to apply for a loan to finance the repair or replacement of the system.

Loans offered through the program come with a 30-year term, no interest and no payments due. They are available to people making 120% of the area’s median income or less, which comes out to around $60,000 for an individual and $75,000 for a family of three in Tillamook County.

The loans are repaid when the property sells, with the funds returning to the program’s coffers for reuse in future loans. If the property is not sold or refinanced for non-emergency purposes during the thirty-year period, the loan will be forgiven.

Mitchell said that CAT has had great success with a similar loan program that offers the same terms to help residents repair roofs and siding and address other home maintenance issues. That program has been running for more than 30 years and Mitchell said that based on experience with it he expected that the septic loans could revolve three to four times before running out due to inflation and overhead and administrative costs.

The $1.5 million is expected to fund an initial round of up to 109 system repairs and replacements across the three counties, though only 35 property owners have applied to date.

Repairs financed so far have ranged from tank replacements costing several thousand dollars, to the installation of new drain fields for around $10,000, up to the installation of whitewater systems costing $25,000.

Mitchell said that the goal of the septic tank program was to help owners with failing systems remove the “anchor hanging over their head” of possible code violations and to help ensure the safety of wells on their properties and those of neighbors.

CAT has partnered with Tillamook Estuaries Partnership to help identify potentially failing systems and monitor future progress through their Environmental DNA testing program. Since 1997, the program has sent teams of volunteers into the field to gather water samples from around Tillamook County to be tested for contaminants, with the ability to pinpoint the source of contamination through DNA testing.

Mitchell said that he believed the unique program had been a key in CAT’s grant proposal being accepted and rated most highly of all applicants.

Tillamook County estimates that around 15% of properties in the county rely on septic systems and that some 5-10% of those systems are failing, threatening e. coli contamination of well and ground water.

Mitchell said that CAT had anticipated property owners’ reticence to welcome government-affiliated personnel onsite for inspections but said that he hoped people would see the positive results of participants and be willing to join the program.

“We knew that it was going to be a challenge to get to some of these folks and I think as we do more of these folks are going to see and say, ‘oh, this is legit,’” Mitchell said.

When a property owner contacts CAT with concerns about their system, they send a certified technician to the property to inspect the system. They then work with the county government to develop a plan for the property and obtain necessary permits for the work, with grant funds set aside to pay for engineering services on more complicated projects.

Once the planning work is complete, upgrades, repairs or replacements usually take two to three days of work, according to Mitchell.

Like CAT’s other housing initiatives, Mitchell said the goal of the septic program is to help facilitate home repairs that allow residents to age in place and avoid maintenance-cost induced home sales.

Property owners who believe their septic system is in need of repair can reach CAT at (503) 410-5833. https://cat-team.org/

Coastal Voices Presents December Concert Series

Coastal Voices (CV) provides a musical start to the month of December in Lincoln County with a series of concerts.

3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at Chapel by the Sea in Lincoln City.3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3 at Yachats Community Presbyterian Church in Yachats.3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Since 1998, the former Central Coast Chorale, now Coastal Voices, has enriched the holiday season on the Central Oregon Coast by performing sacred and secular music carefully selected by founder and director emerita Dr. Mary Lee Scoville.

Coastal Voices Artistic Director Rhodd Caldwell has chosen to honor that 25-year legacy in a program titled “Holiday Highlights – Our Favorites from 25 Years!”

“I culled these songs from our extensive library after consulting with long-time choir members and fans, asking them for their favorites,” Caldwell said.

The concert begins with “This Little Light of Mine” and ends with a medley from the 1954 musical movie “White Christmas.” In between, CV will present an eclectic musical roster. SoundWaves, a small ensemble drawn from the choir, will perform several numbers.

“However you choose to celebrate these December holidays, we have a song for you,” Caldwell said. “Come to hear madrigals, traditional carols, poetry set to music, familiar popular Christmas pieces, and medieval and modern sacred selections. Come prepared to sing as well!”

There will be a short sing-along with the audience following the intermission. Words to familiar holiday favorites will be printed in the program. An instrumental ensemble will accompany Coastal Voices on selected pieces at the Newport performance.

As a seasonal fundraiser, three concert-themed gift baskets will be raffled off at each venue.

The organization is also seeking badly needed storage space for the risers in use at each performance. Please call 541-283-6295 with donations or suggestions.

Tickets cost $20 per person, 18 and older, at the Dec. 2 and 3 performances; $25 at the Dec. 9 performance, 17 and under admitted free. Buy tickets at the door or online at coastal-voices.org.

Visit coastal-voices.org for more information about the group, including how to join, or to make donations. (SOURCE)

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

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

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

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

Portland Teacher Strike Ends and Students Head Back To Class Monday

Roughly 45,000 students will be back in class Monday morning after Portland Public Schools and the teachers union came to a tentative agreement on Sunday, ending a nearly month-long strike. Schools will start on a two-hour delay.

Both PPS and the union said this contract will end long-standing disputes over wage increases, planning time and class sizes. 

While the agreement is still considered tentative, both union members and the PPS School Board are expected to ratify the contract on Tuesday. Angela Bonilla, the president of the teachers union, expressed her confidence in an approval Sunday night.

Governor Kotek Orders Flags Lowered to Half-Staff in Remembrance of Rosalynn Carter

Governor Tina Kotek ordered flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff, pursuant to a Presidential Proclamation as a mark of respect for the memory of former First Lady of the United States Rosalynn Carter. The flag should be flown at half-staff from November 25, 2023, until sunset, on the day of her interment on November 29, 2023.

“Rosalynn Carter was a compassionate public servant,” Governor Kotek said. “She has left the world a better place, particularly for her efforts to advance women’s rights and support for people facing mental health challenges. Oregon sends love to President Carter and their family.” (SOURCE)

Harney County judge rules that Oregon gun control law Measure 114 is unconstitutional; State says it will appeal

BURNS – Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio has ruled that Measure 114 is unconstitutional under Oregon’s constitution.

Judge Raschio issued a permanent injunction on Tuesday, November 21, which blocks Oregon from enforcing the gun control law, ruling it infringes on the constitutionally protected right to bear arms.

Measure 114 was approved by voters in November 2022 and would require a police-issued, five-year permit and a federal criminal background check on all gun purchases, as well as required gun safety training. The measure bans the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, but leaves an exception for people who already own larger magazines.

The measure has been tied up for nearly a year in federal and state court since voters narrowly passed the measure.

In December of 2023, Judge Raschio temporarily blocked the measure from taking effect after gun owners filed a lawsuit arguing it violated Oregon’s Constitution. It has also been challenged in federal court. In July, a judge ruled the measure did not violate the U.S. Constitution.

On Tuesday, Judge Raschio ruled that two major provisions of Measure 114 violate Article 1, Section 27 of the state’s constitution: “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.” 

In the ruling, Raschio said that Measure 114 “does not increase public safety,” despite arguments from state lawyers that the new regulations were intended to reduce mass shootings, homicides and suicides. He stated that the 30-day window to process a gun permit application would allegedly prevent Oregonians from properly defending themselves from an imminent threat. 

The ruling continues, “mass shooting events are tragic and often involve the most vulnerable
sections of the population. However, the court finds that the number of people killed and injured is statically insignificant compared to the number of lawful gun owners.”

Judge Raschio continues to say Measure 114’s permit-to-purchase scheme unduly burdens Oregonians’ right to self-defense from an imminent threat of harm.

Judge Raschio determined the permit-to-purchase scheme is unconstitutional based on the measure’s 30-day-minimum delay to buy a firearm, the measure’s use of language from concealed handgun statutes, and because the Federal Bureau of Investigation refuses to conduct criminal background checks.

Raschio also determined the ban on large-capacity magazines is also unconstitutional under the state constitution because firearm components, such as magazines, are legally protected and magazines are a necessary part of guns, according to the ruling.

“The court finds no proof offered demonstrated Large Capacity Magazine bans would reduce the number of causalities in the future. Any such conclusion would be mere speculation by the court which it will not engage,” Raschio said.

The plaintiffs — Joseph Arnold, Cliff Asmussen, Gun Owners of America, Inc., and Gun Owners Foundation — argued Measure 114 violates the state constitution because the 30-day permit process prohibits Oregonians’ right to access a gun. Plaintiffs further argued the magazine limit prohibits self-defense.

The lawsuit was filed against Governor Tina Kotek, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and Oregon State Police Superintendent Casey Codding.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued this statement after Raschio’s ruling: “The Harney County judge’s ruling is wrong. Worse, it needlessly puts Oregonians’ lives at risk. The state will file an appeal and we believe we will prevail.” – (SOURCE)

Douglas County Homicide Investigation Underway – Suspect on the Loose

RIDDLE, Ore. – A Grants Pass man is dead and another is wounded after a shooting on Monday night in Riddle.

On Monday, November 20, 2023, shortly after 11:30 p.m., 9-1-1 dispatchers received information about a shooting which had taken place in the area of Main Street / E. Third Avenue in Riddle.

Deputies arrived on scene to learn that one victim, 20-year-old Devonte Lovell Clark of Grant Pass had died at the scene.

A second Grants Pass man, 29-year-old Killian Mavity, sustained a gunshot wound to the arm. Mavity was transported to an undisclosed hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Detectives are currently seeking information as to the whereabouts of 19-year-old Gauge Douglas James Main of Riddle. Main left the scene of the shooting after stealing a silver 2017 Honda Civic 4-door sedan bearing Oregon license plate 276PAT. Main should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who observes the vehicle or Main is asked to call 9-1-1. A booking photo of Main is being released per Oregon House Bill 3273.

The Douglas County Major Crimes Team is investigating the incident, which is being led by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The Major Crimes Team consists of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg Police Department and Oregon State Police working in consultation with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. Reference Case #23-4651

Eagle Point Couple Arrested for Child Sex Crimes, Special Victims Unit Detectives Looking for Other Underage Victims

JCSO Case 23-6341 EAGLE POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives arrested an Eagle Point couple last Thursday, November 16th for multiple sex crimes involving a child under the age of 12.


The suspects are Colton Joseph Thornton, 28, and Elizabeth Nicole Shockey-Rydall, 31, both of Eagle Point. Thornton is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual penetration, first-degree sodomy, and first-degree sexual abuse. Shockey is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. They are both lodged in the Jackson County Jail.

JCSO SVU detectives believe Thornton may have other juvenile victims. Anyone with information about the pictured suspect is asked to call SVU Detective Jill Wenzel at (541) 770-8928.This case is under investigation with SVU detectives working additional leads. Further information will come from the Jackson County District Attorney’s office.

Mushroom Hunter Found Near Philomath Airlifted to Safety

CORVALLIS, Ore. – In a heartwarming turn of events on Thanksgiving Day, Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) search and rescue teams successfully located a missing male looking for mushrooms off Botkin Road, west of Philomath. 

The individual, a 77-year-old male from Corvallis, had been reported missing by a family member at approximately 9:30 pm on Wednesday, November 22. 

The search operation, which involved the Benton County Sheriff’s Office Marys Peak Search and Rescue – MPSAR, Corvallis Mountain Rescue Unit – CMRU , and Region 3 K9 Search & Rescue were called out to search for the hiker Wednesday night. 

Search efforts continued on Thanksgiving Day with additional assistance from Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Searchers located the missing man on Thursday, November 23 at approximately 3:30 pm, down a steep drainage near a creek. The male was in a weakened state after a recent back surgery and unable to hear the rescuers due to the absence of his hearing aids. Since temperatures dropped, the man said he tried to stay moving throughout the night to stay warm. Unfortunately, he did not have a whistle or other essential gear with him and was wearing wool socks with crocs. 

The male was rescued approximately a mile and a half from his vehicle and immediately airlifted to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis for further medical assessment and care. 

“Thank you to all who helped on this mission,” stated Sheriff Van Arsdall. “Many volunteers sacrificed time away from family and friends on Thanksgiving Day to ensure this search had a positive outcome. We know you don’t do it for recognition but want the community to know what amazing resources our Office has, to keep the community safe.”

In light of this incident, BCSO would like to emphasize the importance of being prepared. To assist hikers in ensuring their safety, they would like to highlight ten essential items recommended by the American Hiking Society. To learn more about these essential items, please visit https://americanhiking.org/resources/10essentials/.

Oregon State Beavers Head Football Coach Jonathan Smith has resigned and has accepted the position of Head Football Coach at Michigan State

May be an image of 1 person, playing football and text that says 'JONATHAN MICHIGAN STATE FOOTBALL WELCOMES SMITH MICHIGAN MICHIGANSTRE STATE'

Michigan State has hired Jonathan Smith as their new head coach. Smith has been at Oregon State since 2018 and has a record of 34-35.

He led Oregon State to their first 10-win season since 2006 last year. Smith has a proven track record of success and has been part of championship staffs.

He is replacing Mel Tucker, who was fired earlier this season amid a sexual misconduct scandal.

Red Cross responds to growing disaster-driven humanitarian needs — American Red Cross Cascades Region

Donate on Giving Tuesday or give blood during the holidays to help for future crises

In 2023, extreme disasters took a devastating toll on people in the U.S. who turned to the American Red Cross for help coping with a record number of billion-dollar disasters.

So far this year, an all-time high of 25 billion-dollar disasters ravaged communities across the country and in the Cascades Region, wildfires resulted in nearly 400 overnight shelter stays in 2023. Back-to-back disasters led to a series of blood drive cancellations, which further strained the national Red Cross blood supply that was already dwindling from summer travel and back-to-school activities.

“Growing extreme disasters are causing more humanitarian needs for families in the Pacific Northwest and across the country,” explained Priscilla Fuentes, CEO, Red Cross Cascades. “This holiday season, please remember those who need support in the face of emergencies — and join us to provide care and comfort by making a financial donation or by giving blood or platelets.”

Help on Giving Tuesday and during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also register for volunteer opportunities in their area.

INCREASING SUPPORT AMID EXTREME DISASTERS With the growing frequency and intensity of climate-driven disasters, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this national work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes, including for wildfire recovery in the Cascades Region.

Across the country, the Red Cross is delivering this vital financial assistance on top of its immediate relief efforts — including safe shelter, nutritious meals and emotional support — which have been provided on a near-constant basis for this year’s relentless extreme disasters. In fact, this year’s onslaught of large disasters drove an increase in emergency lodging provided by the Red Cross with partners — with overnight stays up more than 50% compared to the annual average for the previous five years.

In the Cascades Region we opened four times as many evacuation shelters in June than previous years because of a wildfire season that burned more than 250,000 acres across Oregon and SW Washington. Altogether, nearly 200 of our local volunteers responded to disasters in 2023, including more than 770 in the Cascades Region.

RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond extreme disasters, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:

BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year and helped us meet the needs of patients in the Cascades Region in 2023. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion. The holidays can be a challenging time to collect enough blood for those in need. To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS. As a thank-you, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Dec. 1-17 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Terms apply. See rcblood.org/Amazon.
LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Cascades Region has trained more than 57,000 people in lifesaving-skills while, nationally, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs.
MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.

Visit www.redcross.org/CascadesGiving for more information about how the Red Cross Cascades Region helped people in 2023.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood and is the primary blood supplier to 65 hospitals throughout Washington and Oregon; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

FDA Issues Recall Alert for Dog and Cat Foods Sold in Oregon Due to Possible Salmonella Contamination

The Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners to a recall of certain pet foods that could be contaminated with Salmonella. TFP Nutrition and the FDA said all dry dog food and all dry cat food manufactured in one of TFP’s Texas facilities is contaminated and should be disposed of.

Brands affected by the recall include Exclusive Signature Dog and Cat Food and Feline Medley Formula Cat Food. The recalled food was sold at several pet and animal supply stores in Oregon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said babies and young children can get sick from contaminated pet food if they have access to pet food bowls on the floor, put pet food in their mouths, or if caregivers don’t wash their hands after feeding pets.

Pet owners are urged to throw away recalled pet food and clean any surfaces that might have come in contact with the pet food.

Suppliers who may have sold the recalled pet food include:

  • Wilco stores all over Oregon
  • H and E Feed in Eugene
  • Junction City Farm and Garden
  • Old Mill Farm Store in Cottage Grove
  • Country Farms and Ranch Supplies in Creswell
  • The Farm Store and J and S Supply in Veneta
  • Sweet Home Feed and Supply
  • Out West Farm and Ranch in Philomath
  • Scio Farm Store
  • Central Feed and Supply in Sutherlin
  • Douglas County Farmers Co-op in Roseburg
  • Tractor Supply Co. in Junction City and Creswell

More information on the recall, including a comprehensive list of the pet foods affected by the recall, can be found at TFP’s website and the FDA’s website.

Unusual Respiratory Illness Effecting Oregon Dogs

Veterinary laboratories in several states are investigating an unusual respiratory illness in dogs and encouraging people to take basic precautions to keep their pets healthy as veterinarians try to pin down what’s making the animals sick.

Oregon, Colorado and New Hampshire are among the states that have seen cases of the illness, which has caused lasting respiratory disease and pneumonia and does not respond to antibiotics.

Symptoms of respiratory illness in dogs include coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge and lethargy. Some cases of the pneunomia progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has documented more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August. It has encouraged pet owners to contact their vet if their dog is sick and told state veterinarians to report cases as soon as possible. The agency is working with state researchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory to find out what is causing the illnesses.

Dogs have died, said Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University. But without a clear way to define the disease or test for it, he said it’s hard to put a number on how many died from a severe form of the infection.

Williams had a simple message for dog owners: “Don’t panic.” He also said dog owners should make sure that their pets are up to date on vaccines, including those that protect against various respiratory illnesses.

Labs across the country have been sharing their findings as they try to pinpoint the culprit.

David Needle, senior veterinary pathologist at the University of New Hampshire’s New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, has been investigating the mysterious disease for almost a year.

His lab and colleagues at the university’s Hubbard Center for Genome Research have looked at samples from dogs in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and more will be coming from Oregon, Colorado and possibly other states.

He said his team has not seen a large increase in dogs dying from the illness but still encouraged pet owners to “decrease contact with other dogs.” (SOURCE)

Oregon Food Bank Teams Up With Shari’s to Raise Donations and Educate About Hunger

Shari’s Restaurant is partnering with the Oregon Food Bank for an education campaign. They are working together to launch a series of public service announcements to educate the community about hunger and raise donations for the food bank.

– Shari’s Restaurants (“Shari’s”), one of the largest full-service community restaurant chains in the Pacific Northwest, today announced that it has partnered with Oregon Food Bank on an education campaign to raise awareness for the fight against hunger. Through the partnership, Shari’s and Oregon Food Bank will develop a series of public service announcements designed to tell the full story of hunger and the breadth of anti-hunger work and to mobilize local communities across the state to take action against food insecurity and its root causes.

Oregon Food Bank, which is a member of Feeding America®, seeks to provide access to nutritious food for all while building community power and working across systems and networks to eliminate hunger. From Oregon Food Bank’s 21 regional food banks, the organization distributes free food equitably across the Network in Oregon and SW Washington and advocates for policies and programs to address the root causes of hunger.

“Shari’s is a community-oriented, family-style restaurant at its core, and we recognize the importance of lending a helping hand to our neighbors in need,” said Sam Borgese, principal of Gather Holdings and owner of Shari’s. “We are proud to renew our partnership with Oregon Food Bank and to play a part in raising necessary awareness and funds in the critical fight against food insecurity.”

“We are so grateful to Shari‘s for joining Oregon Food Bank to spread the true story of hunger,” shared Oregon Food Bank President Susannah Morgan. “Distributing enough food today will not end hunger tomorrow. Together, we’re working to fundamentally shift common understanding of food insecurity, its root causes and the actions needed to end hunger for good.”

Shari’s first partnered with Oregon Food Bank alongside Sysco food distribution on a similar education campaign during the 2019 holiday season. The campaign raised approximately $13,500 to support Oregon Food Bank’s end-of-year efforts against hunger.

Douglas County Celebrates the 50th Annual Christmas Craft Fair

            (Douglas County, Ore.) The kick off for the 2023 Christmas holiday season is fast approaching and in Douglas County that means it’s time for our annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Courthouse on November 26, followed by the Annual Christmas Craft Fairat the Douglas County Fairgrounds December 1-3.  This year the Douglas County Commissioners are excited to join with the Douglas County Fairgrounds staff in promoting the long-standing Christmas craft tradition a half-century in the making.  That’s right, this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Christmas Craft Fair at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

The Christmas Craft Fair at the Douglas County Fairgrounds will run from Friday, December 1, 2023, through Sunday, December 3, 2023.  Hours are Friday: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sunday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Santa will make appearances in the Exhibit Building on Friday: 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm; Saturday: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm & 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Sunday: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Admission is $5.00 for adults and kids under 12 are free.  The Craft Fair is also helping to stock local food pantries and provide pajamas for local foster care kids by accepting donations at the door.  Entrants donating canned food will receive a $1.00 discount at the door. There will be vendor donated door prizes drawn every hour, and a special drawing for a big door prize package to celebrate our 50th year.  For more information check out the attached flyer or visit their website at www.douglasfairgrounds.com.   

Silver Falls State Park hosts Winter Festival Dec. 9 and 10

Enjoy guided nature hikes, seasonal crafts and educational activities at the Silver Falls State Park Winter Festival 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. 

Visitors will have a chance to learn about the park in winter including the changing landscapes and habitats for resident and migratory birds and animals. 

Activities include guided walks and talks; building bird nest boxes; making bird feeders and paper bird crafts; creating wreaths and decorating gingerbread and sugar cookies.

Schedule of Activities:

  • Make a wreath at the Evergreen Picnic Shelter (South Falls day-use area)
  • Build a bird nest box at the Creekside Shelter (South Falls day-use are)
  • Make a bird feeder or paper bird craft in the Stone Kitchen Shelter (South Falls day-use area)
  • Attend a short educational talk or guided walk at the South Falls Theater (South Falls day-use area unless otherwise noted)
    • 11 a.m.: Winter Hibernators Walk (45-minute walk at Smith Creek Village)
    • 12 p.m.: Mushroom ID hike (1-hour hike)
    • 1 p.m.: Winter Tree ID hike (1-hour hike)
    • 2 p.m.: Learn to Love a Lichen (20-minute talk)
    • 3 p.m.: Winter birds of Silver Falls (20-minute talk)
  • Visit a discovery table near South Falls to learn about the waterfalls in winter or learn about the winter solstice (South Falls day-use area)
  • Decorate a cookie, make a paper bird craft or learn about winter animal tracks (Smith Creek Village, 1.5 miles from the South Falls day-use area)
  • Earn a commemorative Silver Falls ornament from taking part in at least five of the above activities

All activities are free, but a day-use parking permit is required. Permits cost $5 per day; annual permits, normally $30, are on sale for $25 in the month of December and are available at the park. For more information, visit the event page on our calendar at stateparks.oregon.gov or call 503-874-0201.

Missing Yachats Man’s Vehicle Found in North Lane County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com

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