The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com
Monday, November 6, 2023
Oregon Beach Weather
HAZARDOUS SEAS WARNING / SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
...HAZARDOUS SEAS WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 PM PST THIS EVENING... ...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 PM PST TUESDAY... * WHAT... For the Hazardous Seas Warning, very steep and hazardous seas 10 to 16 ft at 11 seconds expected. For the Small Craft Advisory, seas 9 to 12 ft at 13 seconds expected. * WHERE...All areas between Florence and Pt. St. George. * WHEN.... For the Hazardous Seas Warning, until 10 PM PST Monday. For the Small Craft Advisory, from 10 PM Monday to 10 PM PST Tuesday. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...A second front will move through Sunday night into Monday, and very steep seas and gusty south winds may return. * IMPACTS...Very steep and hazardous seas could capsize or damage vessels. Bar crossings will become especially treacherous. * View the hazard area in detail at https://go.usa.gov/x6hks
David’s Chair Places Electric All Terrain Track Chair in Florence
David’s Chair Outdoor Mobility Systems (David’s Chair) has added another location for one of their all-terrain electric Track Chairs to be used for free. The city of Florence in Lane County Oregon has now become the new home and the seventh location where a Track Chair provided by David’s Chair will be permanently stationed. The chair can be reserved now at davidschair.org and accessed and used at Heceta Beach County Park at 88466 1st Ave. in Florence.
CEO and Founder Steve Furst said, “We have been working for several months to make this happen. We are excited to continue to work with the Florence community and wonderful volunteers that are helping facilitate the use of this track chair.” Initially the all-terrain track chair will be available three days a week with hopes of expanding the use in the spring. “I am so proud of the work that Jeff Kallevig (Operations Manager for NW Oregon) has been able to do. He has taken on this project and coordinated with the volunteers and is working with the City of Florence, Lane County and other local organizations to provide support for this location”, said Steve Furst. “We also want to thank the Driftwood Shores Resort for providing a place on the edge of their property near the beach access trail to store our track chair.”
David’s Chair and Oregon Parks Forever have partnered to provide this new way to get out on the beach and into nature for people with mobility challenges. The two non-profits have set a goal of having 10 locations along and near the Oregon Coast where mobility challenged visitors can pick up and use an electric all-terrain Track Chair at no charge.
Anyone with mobility impairments, requiring the assistance of wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes or crutches, will be able to use these chairs free of charge.
These chairs provide a new freedom for a mobility challenged park visitor – to get off the pavement and out into nature.
With increased accessibility to trails, lakes, rivers and beaches, through demanding conditions like sand, snow and mud, mobility-impaired visitors will be able to participate in activities never-before possible.
From birdwatching and fishing, to riding along the beach, to simply enjoying the fresh air and solitude of nature, these all-terrain chairs will invite many new people to share the wonders of the great outdoors in our parks.
See these chairs in action at: https://davidschair.org/video-gallery/
Track Chairs are also currently available for free use at Tigard, Seaside, Manzanita, Pacific City, Netarts, Gold Beach and White City. Newport Oregon should be up and running within a couple of weeks.
Two locations (Tigard and White City) also allow guests to pick up a trailer and chair and take it to their location of choice. Linn County’s location will also offer this “Tow and Go” opportunity.
Reservations for free use must be made at least three days in advance at: https://davidschair.org.
About David’s Chair Outdoor Mobility Systems — David’s Chair is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit based in White City, Oregon with a mission to provide people with mobility challenges the free use of electric all-terrain track chairs offering freedom and independence to get outdoors and experience terrain and conditions that would otherwise be unavailable to them. The organization currently has 20 electric all-terrain track chairs and 7 trailers, available in many areas of Oregon for use for free by people with mobility challenges who reserve them at www.davidschair.org.
Contact: Steve Furst, CEO 541/941-8976 firstname.lastname@example.org
About Oregon Parks Forever — Since 1995, Oregon Parks Forever has been raising funds to help fund programs and projects that enhance the experience and accessibility of Oregon’s parks & forests. Emphasis is placed on projects that protect existing facilities and amenities, increase park accessibility, provide healthy activities and educate the future stewards of our public lands. Oregon Parks Forever is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission includes working with federal, state, local and tribal public land managers to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in all Oregon parks. For more information, visit orparksforever.org/
Structure Fire South of Florence this Morning
Florence Fire and Western Lane Fire are on scene of a working structure fire in the 5000 block of Mitchell Loop Rd, near Highway 101, south of Florence.
The fire was fully involved, with water having to be brought in by tanker, as there are no hydrants nearby. Reedsport, Mapleton and Yachats Fire all have been called in for mutual aid. No word yet if there was anyone inside, fire crews are staying on site to mop up. Fire investigators are on scene.
Coos County Sheriff’s Office · •••Disturbance call leads to a man’s arrest on an outstanding felony warrant and a new charge of giving false info to a police officer•••
On November 3rd, 2023, at 9:30 a.m., the Coos County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a report of a disturbance in progress at Seaport R.V. Park in Charleston.
Deputy H. Francis responded and contacted the female victim, who advised the suspect had fled the location on foot. Deputy Francis checked the area for the suspect and located him on the Charleston Bridge. The suspect initially provided Deputy Francis with a fictitious name; however, through her investigation, she determined the suspect was Joseph Fuller (48) of Coos Bay. Dispatch advised Mr. Fuller had a valid felony warrant for his arrest.
Joseph Fuller (48) was arrested on the outstanding warrant after it was confirmed and charged additionally with False Info to Police for providing a false name. Mr. Fuller was transported to the Coos County Jail, where he was booked and remains in custody.
Astoria Development Commission Meeting Tonight at 6pm
ASTORIA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION MEETING Monday, November 6, 2023 7:00 PM or after the ending of the Astoria City Council Meeting Astoria City Hall, Council Chambers 1095 Duane Street, Astoria OR Public meetings are conducted in the Council Chambers and video live-streamed. Go to www.astoria.or.us/LIVE_STREAM.aspx for connection instructions. Visit here for more details
Fatal Crash – HWY 6 – Tillamook County
On Friday, November 3, 2023, at 7:08 a.m., the Oregon State Police responded to a log truck versus passenger car crash on Hwy 6, near milepost 12, in Tillamook County.
The preliminary investigation indicated a loaded Kenworth log truck, operated by Michael Julius Woodward (67) of North Plains, was traveling eastbound when a westbound Toyota Prius, operated by Tyler James Street (30) of Rainer, crossed the center line and struck the log truck head-on.
The operator of the Prius (Street) was declared deceased at the scene. The operator of the Kenworth (Woodward) suffered minor injuries.
The highway was impacted for approximately 5 hours during the on-scene investigation. OSP was assisted by the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office, Tillamook Fire, and ODOT.
Three Oregon Ports Will Share $36,489,508 In Federal Investments
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Val Hoyle, announced the funding Nov. 1 for Astoria, Coquille Indian Tribe’s Ko’Kwel Wharf, and Newport.
“Ports play a crucial role in keeping the economies of Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest running smoothly—transporting goods, people, and services throughout our region—and we rely on them to export our amazing, homegrown products around the world,” Merkley said. “This funding will provide crucial support to Astoria, the Coquille Indian Tribe, and Newport to improve existing infrastructure, increase storage capabilities, and bolster security while improving operational capacity for these critical ports.”
“Oregon’s ports produce jobs and act as economic linchpins for their communities as well as the entire state economy,” Wyden said. “I’m glad these three ports have secured these significant federal infrastructure investments to ensure they can keep exporting our state’s world-renowned products as well as generating economic opportunities for Newport, Astoria, the Coquille Indian Tribe and beyond.”
“Pier 2 West in Astoria is crucial to the region’s economy, but the structure has been deteriorating over the years,” Bonamici said. “I’m thrilled that the Port of Astoria will receive close to $25.3 million from USDOT to make overdue repairs to this essential infrastructure.”
“I’m thrilled that the Port of Newport will be receiving this important grant to upgrade its port infrastructure,” Hoyle said. “This is exactly the type of support that the federal government should be providing to Oregon’s ports, which are essential for local jobs and businesses on the Oregon coast. I will continue to strongly support investment in Oregon’s coastal communities.”
This past spring, Merkley, Wyden and Bonamici sent a letter to U.S. Maritime Administration urging their support for the Port of Astoria’s rehabilitation project application as well as a letter of support from Merkley and Wyden for the Newport operational capacity project application.
The federal investments come from the Fiscal Year 2023 Port Infrastructure Development Program.
“The Port of Newport greatly appreciates the support of our Federal Legislators and the Maritime Administration for this investment in our International Terminal,” Port of Newport Executive Director Paula Miranda said. “We are also grateful for our state legislators, stakeholders and community for years of investment in our terminal. This will allow us to expand our operational capacity through the purchase of equipment and the improvement of a nine-acre parcel for lay-down purposes. These enhancements make the Port more attractive to prospective customers and support economic opportunity in Lincoln County.”
“The Port of Astoria is extremely grateful to be a recipient of Port Infrastructure Development Program funding through MARAD for the rehabilitation of Pier 2 on the Astoria waterfront,” Port of Astoria Executive Director Will Isom said. “The seafood processing cluster on Pier 2 is vital to the Port, the City of Astoria and the entire region. Federal investment into this infrastructure was critical for its future and will help provide a safe, economically viable pier for generations to come!”
“The Coquille Indian Tribe is proud to take part in the nationwide effort to rebuild our port infrastructure. With this funding, our Tribal One team will continue their work to rebuild Ko’Kwel Wharf as a productive and reliable economic resource that will help secure the future of the Coquille Tribe and our North Bend community and become a valuable member of the nation’s maritime industry,” Coquille Indian Tribe Chair Brenda Meade said.
The Oregon projects funding and descriptions
$3,444,100 to Port of Newport: This project and funding will support the Port of Newport in the grading of nine acres of land adjacent to the port’s existing Newport International Terminal to create additional laydown and storage space; fence three acres of land for increased security; and purchase two loaders to load, unload and move cargo within and around the port, especially breakbulk cargo, which the port’s current cargo handling equipment is not well suited to safely and efficiently handle.
These improvements to the Newport International Terminal enable the Port of Newport to continue to support the economic development and prosperity of the Oregon Coast.
$25,315,758 to Port of Astoria: This project funds the rehabilitation of the Port of Astoria’s Pier 2 West – the region’s hub for seafood processing and maritime commerce – which is in critical need of repairs and rehabilitation. Project elements include:
1) A new steel bulkhead wall with a 75 year lifespan and that will include a new fendering system, 50 ton double bitt bollards, and a cast-in-place concrete bullrail.
2) Removal of the old timber dock.
4) Underpinning of the Pier 2 warehouse.
5) Warehouse building concrete slab repairs.
6) New concrete pavement on the pier surface.
7) Construction of a stormwater drainage system.
8) Replacement of a water line and fire hydrants adjacent to the warehouse for fire protection of Pier 2.
$7,729,650 to Coquille Indian Tribe: This project funds the following three components:
1) Repairs of the dock face along Lot 2 of Ko’Kwel Wharf that will bring the entire dock area up to safe operating standards and open opportunities for new uses of the terminal and wharf facility.
2) Bring 800-amp service and a shore power outlet box to the wharf to reduce or eliminate the need for idling diesel engines.
3) Support development phase activities leading to the construction of a 600’-700’ extension of the Ko’Kwel Wharf dock. (SOURCE)
Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission to meet Nov. 14 and 15 in Newport
The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission will convene Nov. 14 and 15 in Newport, Oregon.
On Nov. 14, commissioners will tour Brian Booth State Park in the morning and gather for a work session to discuss training from 1 to 3 p.m. at Hallmark Inn, 744 SW Elizabeth Street in Newport.
On Nov. 15, commissioners will convene an executive session at 8:30 a.m. at Hallmark Inn, 744 SW Elizabeth Street in Newport to discuss real estate and legal issues. Executive sessions are closed to the public. A business meeting will begin at 9:45 a.m. and will be open to the public.
Anyone may attend or listen to the business meeting; instructions on how to listen will be posted on the commission web page prior to the meeting. The business meeting includes time for informal public comment related to any items not on the agenda. Registration is required to speak at the meeting if attending online, and is available online at https://bit.ly/registernov2023commission. The deadline to register to speak at the meeting virtually is 5 p.m., Nov. 13. No advance registration is required to speak in person at the meeting. Time per speaker is limited to three minutes. Please submit written public comments by 5 p.m. Nov. 13 to email@example.com“>firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full agenda and supporting documents are posted on the commission web page. Notable requests:
- Request to adopt OAR 736-010-0020 and 736-021-0040-Amending Park Exclusion Rules
- Request to adopt- OAR 736-021-0090– Amending Territorial Sea Plan Rocky Habitat Site Designation Rules
- Request to adopt- OAR 736-004-0015– Amending ATV Class definitions
- Ft. Stevens Guard House Construction Contract
Anyone needing special accommodations to attend the meeting should contact Denise Warburton, commission assistant, at least three days in advance: email@example.com“>firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-779-9729.
The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission promotes outdoor recreation and heritage by establishing policies, adopting rules and setting the budget for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. The seven members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate. They serve four-year terms and meet several times a year at locations across the state.
•••A woman calls 911 to report she is lost after trespassing while looking for mushrooms•••
On November 1st, 2023, at noon, the Coos County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center took a 911 call of a missing mushroom hunter on Weyerhaeuser property who advised she was lost and scared. The caller was identified as Lisa Simones of Charleston.
Sgt. M. Smith and Deputy Z. Smith responded to the Weyerhaeuser property near the intersection of Seven Devils Road and West Beaver Hill. After searching the area, Sgt. Smith located Ms. Simones and safely transported her out of the woods and back to her residence.
Ms. Simones was issued a citation for Criminal Trespass II for knowingly trespassing behind a locked gate to hunt for mushrooms. This is the second person in less than a week who has become lost while trespassing on Weyerhaeuser property in that area.
•••Woman arrested on several charges after being found trespassing on private property•••
On November 1st at 11:30 a.m., the Coos County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center took a report of a disturbance in progress occurring on private property off Woods Way Lane near Bandon. While Deputies were en-route, dispatch advised another woman had assaulted the female property owner after confronting the suspect about trespassing on the property.
Capt. S. Sanborn arrived and began an investigation into the incident. Capt. Sanborn learned the suspect, Katrina V. O’Neal (46), had physically assaulted the victim and subsequently stolen property belonging to the victim during the altercation. Capt. Sanborn was advised Ms. O’Neal had fled on foot, and he provided a brief description over the radio to responding units.
A few moments later, Deputy K. Mong arrived in the area and located Ms. O’Neal, a short distance away on McTimmons Road. Capt. Sanborn and Deputy Mong attempted to place Ms. O’Neal under arrest, and she actively resisted their attempts. Deputies were eventually successful in placing Ms. O’Neal under arrest without injury to her or the officers.
Katrina V. O’Neal (46) was transported to the Coos County Jail on the charges of Robbery III, Assault IV, Theft I, and Resisting Arrest. Ms. O’Neal was booked and remains in custody.
Peace Harbor Medical Center Receives Level 3 Trauma Certification
The emergency department at Peace Harbor Hospital has been designated a level 3 Trauma Center for its ability to handle more severe cases. Dr. Willie Foster, the head of the ED department says for most of his tenure the hospital has been a level 4, but has for some time had the prerequisites to be a level 3 trauma center, but has been waiting for the certification.
“A Level 3 means that you have 24/7 coverage of both general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons who could come in to the hospital, when called, within 30 minutes to provide that next level of care.”
Foster says most hospitals the size of Peace Harbor don’t have that capability and it is rare for rural hospitals. “we are very unique as a smaller hospital being a level three”
The certification lasts for three years and the hospital would have to undergo another process to maintain its status. Foster did add that they passed in all categories with flying colors.
North Bend School District Public Meetings — November 2023
Below are North Bend School District public meetings currently scheduled for November:
November 16, 2023
North Bend High School Library at 6:00 p.m.
2323 Pacific St., North Bend, OR
The schedule is subject to change. Please email email@example.com or visit the NBSD Website: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/1573 for agenda information
Portland Teacher Strike Continues
Negotiations between Portland Public Schools and Portland Association of Teachers continued Saturday and Sunday, but the two sides had not reached an agreement by Sunday evening. With teachers not planning to show up to school Monday, the district is set to cancel classes for a third day, after cancellations on Nov. 1-2.
Teachers at Portland Public Schools, Oregon’s largest school district, have been on strike since Nov. 1. PAT and PPS differ on spending on wages and planning time for staff and teachers, among other issues.
Union members said on Saturday that if an agreement wasn’t reached by Sunday, picket lines would resume at school sites at 8 a.m. Monday.
Federal Judge Orders Oregon Counties to Release Criminal Defendants from Jail If They Aren’t Appointed An Attorney Within a Week of Their First Court Appearance
A federal judge ordered Oregon counties to release criminal defendants from jail if they aren’t appointed an attorney within a week of their first court appearance. The ruling will go into effect November 16th.
The state is one of many that have struggled to ensure their public defense systems meet the requirements of the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, and Oregon has faced multiple lawsuits over the issue in recent years.
Ruling Thursday in a case filed this year by the Federal Public Defender’s Office, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said indigent defendants are essentially being locked up and deprived of a voice simply because they are too poor to hire their own lawyer.
“While the reasons underlying the shortage of publicly funded attorneys in Oregon are complex, all parties agree that the state is facing a crisis in its constitutional mandate to provide qualified attorneys to those charged with crimes,” McShane wrote.
Fixing the problem will take systemic change and time, the judge said, “But the luxury of time, unfortunately, is not something that many petitioners have when faced with a criminal prosecution.”
Roughly 135 people were in Oregon jails without access to attorneys at the end of October, the judge said. Many of them had technically been appointed public defenders but no attorney ever actually showed up to represent them. State laws generally require that criminal defendants have their first court appearance within 36 hours of being arrested, though that time frame doesn’t include weekends.
Judges in Multnomah County, which is home to Portland, routinely dismiss cases due to a lack of defense attorneys. More than 300 cases, most of them felonies, were dismissed in 2022.
The county’s top prosecutor, Mike Schmidt, has called the shortage “an urgent threat to public safety” and said 10 cases were dismissed between Oct. 20 and Nov. 2.
Public defenders say uncompetitive pay, high stress and overwhelming caseloads affect staffing levels, and the state has historically relied on a contracting system that made it difficult to track which attorneys are assigned to which cases. Lawmakers passed a public defense reform bill earlier this year, but the reforms will take time to implement.
The U.S. Constitution says people charged with a crime have a right to an attorney, but it’s up to states to decide how to make sure that happens. States have carried out that constitutional mandate with varying degrees of success.
“America’s dirty little secret is that thousands of people go to jail every single day in our country without ever having spoken to an attorney,” said David Carroll, executive director and founder of the Sixth Amendment Center, which advocates for equal access in the criminal justice system.
Earlier this year the Mississippi Supreme Court changed that state’s rules so that poor criminal defendants must be appointed an attorney before they are indicted. The indictment process in Mississippi can sometimes take a year or more, forcing indigent criminal defendants to spend months or longer in jail without anyone to fight for their legal rights, Carroll said.
But Mississippi, like most states, lacks enforcement mechanisms to make sure the criminal defense requirements are actually followed, Carroll said.
The lack of enforcement mechanisms means improvements are sometimes forced by lawsuits rather than legislation.
In August the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine obtained a settlement over the failure of that state’s public defender system with a state agency’s commitment to press for more funding, additional public defender offices and other improvements.
A 2004 ruling in a Missouri state court took action similar to this week’s Oregon ruling, ordering that indigent inmates could not be held in lieu of bail for more than seven days without an attorney. But civil rights advocates said the problems continued, and additional lawsuits were filed in 2017 and 2020. In February of this year, a state judge ordered that poor defendants facing imprisonment must be provided a public defender no later than two weeks after they qualify for representation.
2 People Dead In MAX Train Collision
Two people died after being hit by a MAX train in Northeast Portland late Saturday night, the Portland Police Bureau and TriMet reported.
Portland police said responding officers found two people dead at the scene who were hit by a MAX light rail train.
The two individuals were within the restricted area of the train tracks along I-84 at Northeast 28th Avenue when they were hit at around 9:39 p.m. Saturday. Portland police said that a car was damaged in a single vehicle crash along the freeway resulting in no injuries. Speeding is believed to be a factor in the crash. After the crash, the two people in the crashed car jumped over a barrier to pick up a car part that was in a restricted area of the train tracks. While retrieving the part they were both struck by the train.
All I-84 westbound lanes between Northeast 43rd Avenue and I-5 were closed for several hours.
The blue, green and red line services were disrupted for several hours, reopening around 6:14 a.m. Sunday. During the disruption, shuttle buses provided service for the area.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to email Portland police at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject as attn: Traffic Investigations Unit. The reference case number is 23-288616.
In late October, a man was killed by a MAX train in Gresham. The man was within the restricted area of the train tracks and may have been wearing headphones. In September 2021, a woman died after she was hit by a MAX train traveling west between the Civic Drive station and Ruby Junction, and then in November 2022, a man died after he “inadvertently” walked in front of a train traveling west in the area of East Burnside Street and Southeast 197th Avenue.
Reporting at the time said all three victims were inside the restricted area of the tracks when they were hit. (SOURCE)
Enrollment In Individual Health Insurance Now Open Through Mid-January
The tens of thousands of Oregonians who buy their own health insurance can now start shopping for the best plan for next year.
Open enrollment on the federal online marketplace, which Oregon will continue to use for the next few years, runs this year from Nov. 1 through Jan. 16. Those who enroll by Dec. 15 will be covered starting Jan. 1, and those who sign up after that will be covered starting Feb. 1.
Premiums will increase 6% next year on average but individuals can obtain subsidies through the marketplace to reduce costs. The subsidies come in the form of tax credits that can be used throughout the year or at tax time. In the past, around 70% of those who applied obtained financial help. That jumped to 80% last year, according to Amy Coven at the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees health insurance enrollment.Sign up for coverage
But before buying a plan, state officials recommend that people use the window-shopping tool to compare plans, which vary among different areas.
Oregon also offers free help through experts in health insurance. Find someone for the marketplace, or healthcare.gov, by clicking here.
“Premiums can start as low as a dollar, sometimes even less with the financial help, and they go up from there,” Coven said.
The average tax credit last year was around $500 per person a month, Coven said. That translated to an out-of-pocket premium cost per person of about $225.
Subsidies are based on the marketplace’s silver, or mid-range plans, and there’s no upper income limit to qualify for financial help. Individuals can also sign up for a bronze plan, which has the least expensive premium but costs more out-of-pocket for services, or gold plans, which have the highest premiums but lowest out-of-pocket costs.
All plans include 10 essential benefits, which include emergency care and hospitalization, prescriptions, mental health and addiction services, lab services and maternity and pediatric care. The plans also include free preventive care, which is mandated by the Affordable Care Act. All Oregon plans also offer coverage for abortions, acupuncture and chiropractic care and the first three primary care or mental health care visits cost $5 even before the deductible kicks in.
“The coverage is very robust,” Coven said.
The state has offered catastrophic coverage, which is designed to cover unexpected medical costs. And its website says it still does, but Coven said Thursday in a follow-up call that they will not be available for 2024.
Enrollment on the marketplace increased in recent year, hitting nearly 147,000 in 2022 and nearly 142,000 last year. Coven expects 2024 enrollment figures to increase over this year’s as a result of the thousands of people who are being bumped off Medicaid because they no longer qualify. Since April, state officials have been auditing the nearly 1.5 million Oregonians on Medicaid to see whether they still meet the income and other qualifications as part of the end of extra Medicaid benefits during the pandemic.
Although a majority of people on Medicaid have retained coverage, the health authority’s dashboard shows that more than 62,000 have lost the free medical and dental coverage.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that folks understand what other coverage options are available and provide direct assistance for enrollment,” Coven said.
She said officials have sent out 50,000 letters to those who’ve lost Medicaid coverage. It’s not yet clear how many will remain insured by buying health insurance. The state increased the percentage of those who have health insurance during the pandemic thanks to federal and state programs. The state’s insured rate stands at 96%, though that could fall if a lot of people who lose Medicaid do not buy coverage. (SOURCE)
Food Insecurity Rises in Oregon
The percentage of Oregonians whoaren’t sure where their next meal will come fromhas risen steadily since 2020 after a significant drop over recent years, new data shows.
Why it matters: Even with near-record low unemployment across the state, hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon are experiencing food insecurity.
Details: Food insecurity means that at times during the year, a given household couldn’t afford enough food for one or more of its members, write Axios’ Emily Peck and Kavya Beheraj.
- Those with “very low” food security often skip meals.
By the numbers: According to new USDA data, 11.2% of Oregon households experienced food insecurity over 2020-2022, and 4% were at the extreme end with “very low” food security, compared to the U.S. three-year average.
Context: Three-year averages — especially spanning the pandemic — paint only the big picture, Oregon Food Bank senior policy manager Matt Newell-Ching tells Axios.
- Oregon Food Bank data shows a “massive spike” in food requests in the six months after the pandemic hit.
- But as government cash payments and temporary, emergency food benefits kicked in, demand “kind of came back to earth,” Newell-Ching said.
Yes but: When COVID-era benefits ended, the need for food started to rise.
- “It was so frustrating” to see programs that helped alleviate hunger “just taken away,” Newell-Ching said.
Flashback: Oregon struggled with hunger for years — in 1999 the state was shocked to find itself ranked first in incidents of “outright hunger” by the USDA.
- A decade later, it remained in the top five worst states for food security.
- Oregon changed that in part by signing up more people for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), says Mark Edwards, an Oregon State University professor and researcher who sits on the state’s Hunger Task Force.
- He also said the improvement in Oregon’s hunger levels coincided with increases in the state minimum wage.
Threat level: Edwards, who regularly researches local data on hunger, says food insecurity hits people with limited means hardest, such as renters or single parent families.
- In communities of color data often shows “rates that are almost twice that of the rest of the state,” Edwards tells Axios.
- Older people are hardest to get signed up for SNAP, Edwards says, with fewer than half of those eligible signed up.
State of play: At Southwest Portland’s Lift UP food pantry, staff say rising inflation — including high housing costs — is increasing demand.
- “Food costs more, everything costs more,” CaSaundra Johnson, Lift UP development manager, tells Axios.
The intrigue: While waiting for the pantry to open last week, Alejandro Saucedo told Axios he appreciates the fresh food Lift UP provides, which is otherwise outside his means.
- “The amount of produce, and how good it is,” he said.
Fall Out From Fight at South Medford/Jefferson Game Friday Night
The Columbia Cup matchup between Jefferson (Portland) and South Medford was cancelled on Friday night after a fight broke out in the second quarter. The Oregon School Activities Association is investigating the incident.
Before the fight, South Medford had the lead over Jefferson. The fight started after South Medford intercepted a pass by Jefferson with just over seven minutes left in the second quarter.
OSAA to rule on outcome after Panthers held 34-0, second-quarter lead when game was halted
The Oregon School Activities Association and the Medford School District shared statements about the ongoing investigations. These investigations come as the Jefferson (Portland) and South Medford game was cancelled on Friday night after a fight broke out in the second quarter.
“We have been communicating with both schools and the officials association since Friday night. We are still gathering information and working through this situation with all involved,” OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber shared in a statement.
“The incident that took place at Friday night’s football game between Jefferson and South Medford is currently being investigated by OSAA per OSAA protocol. The Medford School District doesn’t condone any behavior that’s unsportsmanlike and not representative of our district’s shared values. South Medford, with the support of the district, is also conducting its own investigation to see if any further disciplinary action will be taken. No further information is being released at this time,” Medford School District shared in a statement.
OSAA will make a decision about who moves on to the next round of the Columbia and is expected to announce it on Monday. We will keep you updated as more information is made public.
Work On Copco No. 2 Dam Removal Completed
Crews put the final touches on the removal of the Copco No. 2 Dam this week.
Removal of the dam structure was completed in September, and crews spent the past month removing the remaining diversion infrastructure, grading the river channel, and performing erosion control.
That work prepared the river canyon for consistent river flows, likely commencing within 30 days, which the canyon hasn’t seen in 98 years.
Currently, flows in the canyon are fluctuating due to work being done to prepare Copco No. 1 for drawdown.
“Copco No 2 is the first dam to be removed due to its small stature, location, and lack of reservoir,” said Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), the entity tasked with the removal of the four lower Klamath hydroelectric dams. “However, while Copco No. 2 was significantly smaller than the other dams slated for removal, it still had a significant impact on the river.”
Copco No. 2 was located right below Copco No. 1 in a steep river canyon, commonly known as Ward’s Canyon, named after Kitty Ward, a Shasta woman who lived in the valley now submerged by the reservoir created by Copco No 1.
Completed in 1925, Copco No. 2 was a diversion dam that funneled the river’s flows out of the canyon and into a tunnel system that sent the water to the Copco No. 2 powerhouse located downstream, essentially dewatering the 1.7-mile-long canyon.
Without the river’s presence in the canyon, trees grew in the riverbed which, when exposed to consistent river flows, would have died off creating a hazard for future recreationists. Those trees were removed in September in collaboration with area tribes.
“Seeing the Klamath River flow through this canyon after being diverted for nearly a century is inspiring,” said Laura Hazlett, COO of KRRC. “It makes me excited for everything else that is to come with the removal of the other three dams.”
The remaining three dams, Copco No. 1, Iron Gate, and JC Boyle are slated for removal next year.
In January, KRRC will implement the drawdown, the slow draining of the reservoirs, which is expected to take 3-5 months, depending on the amount of water entering the system as a result of spring runoff.
Once the drawdown is complete, restoration and deconstruction activities will begin in earnest. All three dams are expected to be completely removed by November 2024.
In a related story, Researchers at Oregon State University have concluded that a large-scale dam removal and restoration project currently underway on the Klamath River in southern Oregon and northern California will help salmon populations, according to college officials.
The college said a group of scientists published their findings in a new paper that concludes salmon populations devastated by disease and other factors will be aided by the removal of four hydroelectric dams along the river. The project will not, however, fully alleviate challenges faced by the species, OSU said.
The researchers said that factors that affect salmon health include stream-flow levels, water temperature, and pathogens. Opening up habitat and creating longer fish migration routes by removing the dams will decrease fish disease risk by flushing out pathogens and unclogging a pathogen hot spot that formed below the Iron Gate Dam about five miles south of the California-Oregon border east of Interstate 5, OSU officials said.
Oregon Parks and Recreation To Discuss Drone Rules And Maps
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will livestream a virtual meeting Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. to present draft drone take-off and landing classification criteria to be used in future park drone use maps. The agency will then invite the public to share their views on the criteria from Oct. 23 through 5 p.m. on Dec. 29.
The meeting will be livestreamed on YouTube for the public here.
Attendees who want to ask questions during the Q&A portion of the meeting must register beforehand here.
Although the formal rulemaking process for drone take-off and landing began in 2021, the agency temporarily stopped in April 2022 to form a work group and explore the matter in more detail.
The work group included various partners including conservation groups, drone users, state and federal agencies and met from June 2022 through the summer of 2023.
OPRD’s region resource and Geographic Information Services (GIS) staff, alongside park managers reviewed the draft criteria and applied them to three sample areas, one from each region of state parks.
Feedback will be reviewed by agency staff and the work group as part of a final report to the OPRD Director Lisa Sumption, who will then decide whether to direct staff to resume public administrative rulemaking or do more work on the proposals.
Individuals who require special accommodations to view the meetings should contact Jo Niehaus at least three days in advance of the meeting at 503-580-9210 or email@example.com .
Oregon is Searching for its Next Poet Laureate
Oregon is searching for its next Poet Laureate. Over the two-year-term, the Poet Laureate promotes the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses issues relating to the humanities and reflects on public life in Oregon.
Nominations are accepted through January 8th, and poets are welcome to nominate themselves. The next Poet Laureate term begins in May. MORE INFO: https://culturaltrust.org/oregon-poet-laureate/?fbclid=IwAR0O-Gx81HjAKwXHwyrEVtxpgyXma9XRb5xwacG_o57ga3_lKUwIbPRMXks
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
- 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.
Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com