Oregon Beach News, Monday 3/25 – Study Shows Marine Heat Waves Disrupt The Ocean Food Web Along West Coast & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Monday, March 25, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

GALE WATCH
ISSUED: 1:58 AM MAR. 25, 2024 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
…GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY EVENING THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING… * WHAT…South winds 25 to 35 kt with gusts up to 40 kt and very steep, chaotic seas 11 to 16 ft possible due to a mix of west swell and south wind waves. * WHERE…All areas affected. The strongest winds will occur between 8 and 30 nm from shore. * WHEN…From Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning. * IMPACTS…Strong winds and very steep seas could capsize or damage vessels. Low visibility conditions are possible. * View the hazard area in detail at https://go.usa.gov/x6hks

Study Shows Marine Heat Waves Disrupt The Ocean Food Web Along West Coast

NEWPORT, OR. – Marine heat waves in the northeast Pacific Ocean create ongoing and complex disruptions of the ocean food web that may benefit some species but threaten the future of many others, a new study has shown.

The study, just published in the journal Nature Communications, is the first of its kind to examine the impacts of marine heat waves on the entire ocean ecosystem in the northern California Current, the span of waters along the West Coast from Washington to Northern California.

The researchers found that the biggest beneficiary of marine heat waves is gelatinous zooplankton – predominantly cylindrical-shaped pyrosomes that explode in numbers following a marine heat wave and shift how energy moves throughout the food web, said lead author Dylan Gomes, who worked on the study as a postdoctoral scholar with Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute.

“If you look at single species interactions, you’re likely to miss a lot,” Gomes said. “The natural effects of a disturbance are not necessarily going to be straightforward and linear. What this showed us is that these heat waves impact every predator and prey in the ecosystem through direct and indirect pathways.”

The project was a collaboration by Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationJoshua Stewart, an assistant professor with the Marine Mammal Institute, mentored Gomes and co-authored the paper.

“What I found both alarming and fascinating is the extent to which these pyrosomes absorb all of the energy in the system,” Stewart said. “Because nothing else really eats the pyrosomes, they just become this dead end, and that energy is not available for anyone else in the ecosystem.”

Marine heat waves are periods of prolonged, unusually warm ocean temperatures. The prevalence and intensity of marine heat waves is increasing around the globe. While the impacts of these heat waves on marine species have been well-documented on individual and population levels, the effects on the entire ecosystem have not been well understood, Gomes said.

To gain a more holistic view of the impact of marine heat waves, Gomes updated an end-to-end ecosystem model with new data on marine life throughout the ocean food web that was collected during local biological surveys.

He then compared how the food web worked before and after a recent spate of marine heat waves, including a large, well-documented event in 2013-2014 known as “the blob.” Much of the new data used in the model was collected following that event as researchers tried to better understand its impacts.

Some of the impacts were predictive – pyrosomes, for example, are known to thrive in warmer waters – but the analysis also showed that the ecosystem functions in ways that are not intuitive, Gomes said.

For example, the modeling showed how the dominance of pyrosomes drew energy out of the food web. That loss of energy is most likely to affect fish and marine mammals that are higher up the food chain, potentially impacting economically important fisheries and recovery efforts for threatened or endangered species, Stewart said.

Huge influxes of pyrosomes in the waters and on beaches in the Pacific Northwest in 2017 and 18 drew widespread public attention. Data from those events was included in the updated model.  

The updated model used in the study could help commercial fisheries adapt harvest strategies that are impacted when fish commonly found in one area move to escape the encroaching warm water or their populations drop due to lack of available food following a marine heatwave.

Numbers of Pacific jack mackerel, for example, have increased following marine heat waves, but so far, fisheries have not shifted to catching them, the researchers noted.

The researchers’ methods could also provide a template for future research to understand the impact of these events elsewhere, Gomes said.

Additional coauthors of the paper are James Ruzicka of NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and Lisa Crozier, David Huff and Richard Brodeur of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Gomes is now with U.S. Geological Survey.  

The Marine Mammal Institute is part of Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and is based at Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center also has a research station at Hatfield.

About OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center: The center is a research and teaching facility located in Newport, Ore., on the Yaquina Bay estuary, about one mile from the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. It plays an integral role in programs of marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a laboratory serving resident scientists, as a base for far-ranging oceanographic studies and as a classroom for students. In addition to Oregon State researchers and students, its campus includes research activities and facilities from five different state and federal agencies. (SOURCE)

Lincoln County Police Agencies To Conduct Active Shooter Response Training This Week

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Newport Police, Toledo Police, Oregon State Police, and Lincoln City Police will be conducting active shooter response training exercises March 26-28, 2024 to better prepare officers to respond to an active shooter type event should one occur in our cities. 

These training exercises will be taking place at the Newport Middle School and Taft High School campuses. We want to alert the public in hopes of minimizing any alarm or confusion that may occur when people see a large concentration of officers and police vehicles at the schools. The training exercise will be occurring during spring break when no students or staff will be present at the schools. Signs will be posted outside the school indicating that a training exercise is underway.

This training event is not open to the public and access to the school will be restricted while the training exercises are being conducted.  

Should you have questions or concerns, please contact Lincoln City Police Department Lieutenant Jeffrey Winn or Lieutenant Eric Henderson at 541-994-3636. 

Lincoln County law enforcement agencies would like to extend a big thank you to the Lincoln County School District for allowing the use of their buildings for this training exercise. The cooperation of all our emergency response agencies and our school district partners is crucial to helping keep the communities and citizens of Lincoln County safe. 

Fatal Crash – HWY 202 – Clatsop County

Clatsop County, Ore. 22 Mar. 24- On Friday, March 22, 2024, at 11:15 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-202, near milepost 3.5, in Clatsop County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a westbound BMW 328, operated by Alexander Campuzano Luna (22) of Seaside, left the roadway for unknown reasons, overturned, and came to rest upside down in a shallow body of water. The solo occupant of the BMW was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for approximately 6.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, however speed is being considered a contributing factor. OSP was assisted by the Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office, Seaside Fire, Cannon Beach Fire, Olney-Walluski Fire, and ODOT.

Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office

 We are looking for Search and Rescue volunteers!

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

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

A growing number of tribes in Oregon and California are coming out in opposition to federal offshore wind projects. Some tribes don’t believe there’s been enough research into the impacts on the environment.

At least five tribes along the West Coast have announced their opposition to proposed offshore wind development. Five areas off the California coast were auctioned off in late 2022 to build floating wind turbines. And the federal government is considering sales off the Southern Oregon coast.

Three people stand in front of a large screen that says "The Yurok Tribe is a proud sponsor of the Tribal Offshore Wind Summit" With the Yurok Tribe logo below. The people are holding five signs with handwritten statements including "Offshore Winds Not for out people, environment, fisheries" and "Tribes must unite to make change!"
Members of the Yurok Tribe at an offshore wind summit the Tribe hosted in early February 2024. The Tribe recently came out opposed to federal offshore wind projects.

Derek Bowman, a council member with the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria south of Eureka, said the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hasn’t involved the tribes enough in the process.

“We have a huge amount of traditional ecological knowledge that could assist in a lot of assessments that they’re doing,” Bowman said. “And we’re not really included in it. It feels like we’re just a checkbox that they have to check in order to say, ‘Hey, we talked to the tribes, we’re good to go.’ And we’re not alright with that.”

The Northern Chumash Tribe in Southern California expressed concerns about the proposed sale of two offshore wind areas near Morro Bay in 2022 before they were auctioned off. Their opposition wasn’t about offshore wind in general, but because of the sites overlapping with a nearby proposed National Marine Sanctuary.

This year, a number of other tribes came out in formal opposition to the projects. The first was the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians in mid-February.

“BOEM’s press release states that it has ‘engaged’ with the Tribe, but that engagement has amounted to listening to the Tribe’s concerns and ignoring them and providing promises that they may be dealt with at some later stage of the process,” said Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper in a statement.

More tribes quickly joined in opposition, including the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria and California’s largest tribe, the Yurok. All three announced their opposition in early March.

Bowman said that historically, logging and gold mining industries took natural resources and gave little back to tribal communities.

“It’s just hard for us to accept that what’s best for everyone actually means it’s good for us too,” he said. “Because we always suffer when the government comes in to say, ‘This is what’s best for everybody and we need to do it in your area to help people in another area.’ It never works out for us.”

Beyond a lack of engagement, Bowman says there hasn’t been enough research into the environmental effects, both on the ocean and on land. Those include

possible effects of turbines on fishing and marine animal activities as well as transmission lines on land that could harm endangered species in the region.

“More importantly, when it comes to overland transmission lines, it’s the potential for fires. They cause fires all over California,” Bowman said. “And now running right through our ancestral territory, there are going to be these very large transmission lines overland.”

In a statement, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it agrees that tribes must have a seat at the table.

“We have taken coordinated actions to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge and Tribal input into our decision making process and we are working to help Tribes expand capacity to engage in environmental reviews, work with industry, and develop partnerships,” said BOEM in a statement.

Development of offshore wind farms on the California coast are underway, but turbines won’t be deployed for at least four years. The agency is currently developing its environmental assessment for two offshore wind areas on the Southern Oregon coast. (SOURCE)

Spring Whale Watch Week Returns to Oregon Coast for Spring Break

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Respect signs and barriers to protect nesting habitat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay North County News

EVCNB

HAM RADIO TRAINING LEADS TO LICENSING OF 12 NEW TECHNICIANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Distracted Driving Enforcement Operations Planned During April

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

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

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

Quarterly Coffee with a Deputy – Waldport
Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Office 

More about these quarterly events:
Every three months our office will partner with a local coffee shop in Lincoln County to provide a time, space, and coffee for community members to meet our team and share what’s on their minds. Coffee with a cop events are a friendly and relaxed way for communities to connect with the deputies that serve them. 

These events offer a unique opportunity for community members to directly engage with law enforcement, ask questions, voice concerns, and build positive relationships. Whether you’re a regular coffee drinker or simply curious about the work of law enforcement, this is a chance to connect with deputies on a personal level, learn about each other’s experiences, and share local feedback.

Florence Area Chamber of Commerce Drawing to Promote Tourism

The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is consistently working on building the tourism traffic to Florence.  The latest is a drawing for a two-night stay at the Driftwood Shores Conference Center and Resort. 

The drawing is open to the public. Chamber President and CEO Betting Hannigan says the drawing comes with the two-night stay and a $50 certificate to the resort Market and Dine-in Deli.

You can register by using the qr code  the link posted below.  https://bit.ly/2NightsinFlorence 

Florence Café 60 Senior Meals Program Reopens for Dine-In Meals

Lane Council of Government’s Senior Meals Program is reopening its Café 60 location in Florence after being closed for the past three years.

Senior Meals logo

LCOG officials said that during the closure, LCOG’s Senior and Disability Services division offered grab-and-go meals but the reopening of Café 60 will provide a dine-in location for seniors who might otherwise go hungry. The Florence location will reopen on December 4 and operate three days a week at 11:15 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Florence Senior Center located at 1570 Kingwood Street, LCOG officials said.

Organizers said that interested seniors should make reservations at least a week in advance by calling ahead at 541-997-5673 or filling out a reservation menu at the Café 60 location. The program is open at no cost to seniors 60 years of age or over and those not 60 years or older are welcome to join by paying the meal cost of $8, program organizers said. Donations are welcomed to support the program’s continued operation in the community, LCOG officials said.

Volunteers are also sought to help with the program and those who would like to participate may call 541-682-1366. More program information is also available here: https://www.lcog.org/sdslane/page/florence-caf%C3%A9-60-reopens-dine-meals

Oregon, 14 other states join high-profile federal antitrust lawsuit against Apple

The suit alleges that Apple, one of the richest companies in the world, has tried to corner the market, driving up prices and padding its bottom line

Oregon is among 15 states and the District of Columbia in a federal antitrust lawsuit against Apple, claiming the company has attempted to distort the high-tech market to maintain a monopoly.

The civil lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, points a finger at Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple, indicating that the company’s monopolistic tendencies date to its beginning. The suit says that Apple has repeatedly tried to snuff competition by imposing restrictions on applications and service developers, making them reliant on Apple products.

“Rather than respond to competitive threats by offering lower smartphone prices to consumers or better monetization for developers, Apple would meet competitive threats by imposing a series of shapeshifting rules and restrictions in its App Store guidelines and developer agreements that would allow Apple to extract higher fees, thwart innovation, offer a less secure or degraded user experience and throttle competitive alternatives,” the complaint said.

The suit claims Apple has used the iPhone, one of the company’s most popular and lucrative products, to drive up its bottom line while making customers pay higher prices.

“For many years, Apple has built a dominant iPhone platform and ecosystem that has driven the company’s astronomical valuation,” the suit says. “At the same time, it has long understood that disruptive technologies and innovative apps, products and services threatened that dominance by making users less reliant on the iPhone or making it easier to switch to a non-Apple smartphone.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A company spokesman, Fred Sainz, said in a statement to the Washington Post that the suit was factually wrong and that the company would “vigorously defend against it.”

“This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets,” Sainz said. “If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple – where hardware, software, and services intersect.”

The suit comes amid mounting scrutiny of the California-based company, which was fined nearly $2 billion earlier this month by the European Union over allegations of abusing its music-streaming services.

Apple also came under scrutiny in Oregon during this year’s legislative session. It was the only company to oppose a “right to repair” bill to give consumers and independent shops the ability to repair their own phones, computers and other devices. Senate Bill 1596, which awaits Gov. Tina Kotek’s signature, would require manufacturers to provide the necessary parts, manuals and other material to enable individuals and shops to repair their devices.

Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon’s attorney general, indicated in a release that Oregon joined the suit as a plaintiff to protect consumers.

“This action is about protecting consumers and the integrity of the marketplace. Big Tech companies must play by the same rules as everybody else, and Apple is no exception,” Rosenblum said.

Joining the lawsuit means that Oregon will contribute to discovery, motions and negotiations and assist at any trial, said Roy Kaufmann, the department’s spokesman. The state will also collaborate with the other attorneys general in the suit along with the District of Columbia.

The suit seeks a court order forcing Apple to stop its monopolistic practices. Rosenblum’s statement cited several examples:

  • Disrupting the growth of apps that would make it easier to switch to a competing smartphone platform.
  • Blocking the development of cloud-streaming apps and services that offer consumers high-quality video games and other cloud-based applications that don’t depend on expensive smartphone hardware.
  • Making cross-platform messaging difficult and less secure than iPhone messaging so customers stick with iPhones.
  • Limiting the functionality of third-party watches to deter customers who’ve purchased an Apple watch from switching.
  • Limiting third-party tap-to-pay options to inhibit the creation of cross-platform digital watches.

“If left unchallenged, Apple will only continue to strengthen its smartphone monopoly,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

At stake, the complaint says, is not only the smartphone market but also related industries, and that Apple’s practices have a cascading effect on a wider market.

“Unless Apple’s anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct is stopped, it will likely extend and entrench its iPhone monopoly to other markets and parts of the economy,” the suit says. “For example, Apple is rapidly expanding its influence and growing its power in the automotive, content creation and entertainment and financial services industries – and often by doing so in exclusionary ways that further reinforce and deepen the competitive moat around the iPhone.”

The company is one of the richest in the world, with a market capitalization of $2.7 trillion, making it second after Microsoft’s $3.1 trillion, according to Forbes. And last year it netted $97 billion in income, more than any other company in the Fortune 500, according to a release by the Oregon attorney general’s office.

The other states joining the suit are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin. (SOURCE)

UO Study Looks At The Health Effects Of Homelessness In Oregon

Cities of all sizes are struggling with an increase in homelessness. A new study from the University of Oregon is now looking at the health effects of homelessness.

EUGENE, OR – Cities of all sizes are struggling with a rise in homelessness. In the Eugene-Springfield area, almost 3,000 people are without homes. About 74% of that population are unsheltered.

Associate Professor of Global Studies at the University of Oregon (UO) Jo Weaver says:

“At the last count by the Department of Urban Development, Lane County was at the top of per capita houselessness in the U.S.”

She says part of that is due to the size of the city. Jo says, “We’re a smaller city, we have a smaller tax base. So here is less wiggle room for us to start programs so we can address the root of this problem — which is lack of sufficient and affordable housing.”

Now, researchers from the UO want to figure out the health effects of people facing housing insecurity.

Jo says, “We’re not asking, ‘Is homelessness bad for health?’ we know it’s bad for health. That’s obvious. But what we’re asking is ‘How is homelessness bad for health?’.”

The study includes health tests, questionnaires, information about people’s life history and background to figure it out.

“We’re wondering, what are the sort of like of a better term pinch points where smallish but structured changes that could make a big difference in someone’s physical health, mental health, and overall well-being,” said Jo.

So far, the results provide a harsh reality of what many that are homeless face. “Everybody that’s experiencing houselessness is struggling with the stress and insecurity of not knowing where you’re going to sleep at night,” said Jo. “Not knowing if you’re going to be hassled at night, so a lot of sleep issues.”

Researchers from the UO say that also includes long-term health effects.

Jo says, “There’s a lot of people experiencing long-term effects of lack of health care, so folks that have ongoing medical conditions that may have predated housing insecurity fare — are having a hard time getting to the doctor.”

The hope is the study will spark change and more health equity for those facing housing insecurity. “One of the biggest challenges of this work is that many people that are in a position to do something about it — would rather not look at the frank brutality that people are dealing with,” said Jo.

The team from the UO is planning to do a presentation for local officials about the findings of the study.

Jo says they’re also planning to apply for larger grants that will allow them to do intervention work to help the homeless.

To learn more about the homeless crisis in Portland and other areas, you can check out this link: https://www.kgw.com/homeless — (SOURCE)

Oregon’s First Lady gets new state-funded adviser amid departure of Kotek’s top aides

Oregon Department of Administrative Services staffer Meliah Masiba has been appointed adviser for the “Office of the First Spouse” starting March 25.

Aimee Kotek Wilson, the Oregon governor’s wife, will get a state-funded adviser this week as the governor considers establishing the “Office of the First Spouse” in a move some have linked to the departure of three top aides.

Meliah Masiba, a staffer currently with the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, will join the governor’s office as an adviser on temporary rotation starting March 25, according to Elisabeth Shepard, a spokeswoman from the governor’s office.

“This six-month rotation will be to help explore the establishment of the Office of the First Spouse, a program that has been established in many states,” Shepard said in an email to OPB Saturday. “This position would also assist and support the current first spouse in her official capacity in support of the administration.”

Willamette Week first reported of the arrangement. — Kotek’s chief of staff Andrea Cooper, deputy chief of staff Lindsey O’Brien and special adviser Abby Tibbs are all departing the office in the coming weeks. Cooper’s last day will be March 29, Kotek’s office said, while Tibbs will transition to Oregon Health & Science University two days later. O’Brien will go on leave April 5.

The changes create a leadership vacuum in the governor’s office at a time Kotek is attempting to address massive crises facing the state, from housing to addiction. The three women make up three of four senior aides Kotek’s office lists as “executive” team. The fourth, deputy chief of staff Chris Warner, will assume the role of chief of staff.

As OPB first reported Friday, sources with knowledge of the governor’s office said the shakeup was largely due to personality conflicts between staff and Kotek’s wife. None of the sources said Kotek’s wife is trying to gain financially from her role as first lady, but many said it echoed other elements of the Cylvia Hayes scandal, which led to the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber. In that case, Hayes was leveraging the office for her own financial interest. Staff urged Kitzhaber to have clearer boundaries between his work life and personal life, which he did not do.

Kotek Wilson, the governor’s wife, currently attends meetings with staff to discuss behavioral health initiatives. Kotek Wilson has professional experience as a social worker. Kotek Wilson also has her own 8 x 8 office in the governor’s office building space. “The governor makes all policy decisions on behalf of the office,” Shepard wrote. (SOURCE)

Oregon auto sales remain far below pre-pandemic levels

Consumer spending has been strong in the years after the pandemic recession. But that spending hasn’t extended to new vehicle purchases. Oregonians registered about 170,000 new vehicles in 2023. That’s little change from the prior year and down about 18% from the average in the five years before COVID-19. National data paints a similar picture for new car sales across the U.S.

Economists and auto industry officials say there are several explanations for why car sales haven’t bounded back as quickly as other sectors. They’re optimistic a rebound may finally be in the offing in Oregon and elsewhere.
Driving habits changed, too. Those working from home didn’t put as many miles on their cars. Donaca said some families realized they didn’t need a second vehicle at all when they sold an old one, or when it gave out.

According to AAA Oregon, the top destination for spring break in the state is Bend.

Some of the other top regional destinations for spring break include Portland, Seattle, Eugene and Redding.

The agency said they’re also seeing a 28% increase in cruise bookings compared to this time last year. Oregonians are getting out of town, and some are even getting out of the country.

“Hotels bookings are up 37% and international flight bookings are up 20%,” said AAA spokesperson Marie Dodds. “European cities are some of the most popular as well like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, which are relatively easy to get to here from Oregon.”

Unfortunately, Dodds also said Oregon is seeing ‘March Madness’ for gas prices. The current average for a regular gallon of gas is $4.12, up almost 20 cents from just a week ago.

Dodds said prices are going up because of refinery maintenance, summer blend fuel and Russian involvement in a geo-political conflict, as one of the world’s major oil producers.

“One of the things to keep in mind is that crude oil is traded on the global market so that price of a barrel of crude is determined globally,” Dodds said. “Those international events have an impact.” Dodds said 2024 is shaping up to be the busiest year of travel yet.

Sherwood man arrested for alleged $700K embezzlement from junior baseball league

Police arrested a Sherwood, Oregon, man Wednesday for allegedly embezzling more than $700,000 from a local junior baseball league.

Terrence Haimoto, 52, served as the treasurer for Sherwood Junior Baseball Organization for more than seven years. Leaders within the SJBO reached out to law enforcement after an internal audit revealed discrepancies in the organization’s bank accounts, according to a news release issued by Sherwood Police on Friday.

Police said that, starting in 2017, Haimoto had transferred money from the league to his bank accounts, funds that were later spent at local casinos. He also served as the treasurer for the state Junior Baseball Organization. Police said detectives noticed similar suspicious transactions in that organization’s accounts.

Haimoto resigned from his position as treasurer in late 2023, according to SJBO meeting minutes. He now faces seven counts of aggravated theft in the first degree and three counts of theft in the first degree.

In a public statement, the SJBO said they have since implemented further financial controls to prevent future embezzlement or theft.

“We are deeply troubled by the actions of the individual involved in this unfortunate incident,” the statement reads. “We have implemented rigorous internal financial controls, ensured transparency by openly holding board meetings, and reaffirmed our unwavering commitment to prioritizing the kids first in everything we are doing.”

Leaders from the organization did not immediately respond to OPB’s requests for comment. (SOURCE)

Where’s My Refund? tool, video offer help for Oregon taxpayers

Salem, OR—The largest “Kicker” in Oregon history has Oregon taxpayers more excited than ever about getting their state income tax refund this year.

The $5.61 billion in surplus revenue for the 2021-23 biennium is being returned to taxpayers in the form of a “kicker” tax credit of 44.28 percent of the Oregon income tax they paid in 2022. The kicker can reduce how much taxpayers owe the state, or, increase how much they get back—a fact that has heightened refund anticipation.

Taxpayers wondering about the refund on their 2023 tax year return, can use the Oregon Department of Revenue’s Where’s My Refund? tool to check its status and a video outlining the refund timelines is also available to help taxpayers understand the process.

Through March 19, the Oregon Department of Revenue has received and processed nearly 1.1 million returns and has issued more than 916,000 refunds. That leaves a little more than half of the expected 2.2 million Oregon income tax returns to be filed in the final 26 days before the April 15 deadline.

“It looks like typical Oregon rainy spring break weather this weekend,” said Megan Denison, administrator of DOR’s Personal Tax and Compliance Division. “If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, take care of them this weekend and beat the April rush.”
Besides the high volume of returns filed at the end of tax season, there are other common things that can make it take longer for Oregonians to get their refunds.

Five common reasons refunds take longer and what to do about it.
• Filing a paper return. Paper returns take longer to process and, as a result, it takes longer to issue related refunds. File electronically instead.
• Filing electronically and requesting to receive a refund via a check takes longer. Request direct deposit instead.
• Filing more than once. Sending a duplicate paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund. Taxpayers should file just once.
• Refunds for taxpayers that are new to filing returns may be delayed so we can verify your identity. Taxpayers who receive a letter requesting identity verification are urged to respond promptly through Revenue Online to speed the processing of their return.
• Refunds can also be delayed when errors are identified on returns. Taxpayers who receive a letter requesting additional information are urged to respond promptly through Revenue Online to speed the processing of their return.

To check the status of their refund with the Where’s My Refund? tool tool on Revenue Online, taxpayers will need their:
• Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN);
• Filing status; and
• The exact refund amount shown on:
o Line 47 of their Form OR-40, or
o Line 72 of their Form OR-40-N, or
o Line 71 of their Form OR-40-P

The Department of Revenue recommends that taxpayers wait one week after they have electronically filed their return to use the Where’s My Refund tool.

Most refunds are issued within two weeks, but returns that need more review may take up to 16 weeks before a refund is issued.

Filing electronically is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund two weeks sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2024 can file electronically at no cost using one of the free file options that can be found on the Department of Revenue website.

Taxpayers can check the status of their federal tax refunds on the IRS website .

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com

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