Oregon Beach News, Tuesday 1/31 – Florence Receives Grant To Create More Accessible Travel Experiences, North Bend City Council Cancels Police Agreement With Coos County Airport

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Oregon Beach Weather

…GALE WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE THURSDAY NIGHT… * WHAT…South winds 25 to 35 kt with gusts up to 45 kt and very steep seas 11 to 16 ft possible. * WHERE…All areas. * WHEN…From Thursday morning through late Thursday night. * 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

Florence Receives Grant To Create More Accessible Travel Experiences

The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce will receive $30,500 from Travel Oregon to partner with Wheel the World, an international organization focused on advancing access to travel for those with limited ability, according to the chamber.

The chamber said it plans to use the money to conduct a study to assess the accessibility of local tourism businesses and to receive accessibility training through Wheel the World Academy. It will also allow for viable local businesses to be included on WheeltheWorld.com, a website where people can search for accessible travel opportunities across the world.

“The end result, after we receive the study’s findings, will be a more accessible Florence for visitors,” said Bettina Hannigan, president and CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “Tourism is our largest economic activity providing more than 1,400 jobs (about 40% of our local employment) and roughly $200 million in economic impact to our community. Eventually, this will boost tourism capacity and our local economy, and help more people to enjoy Oregon’s Coastal Playground who couldn’t before.”

The grant is part of more than $1.4 million Travel Oregon has awarded through its Capacity and Small Project grant program. The program is designed to to help travel management and marketing organizations and federally-recognized tribes enhance and expand economic impact through travel and tourism.

North Bend City Council Cancels Police Agreement With The Coos County Airport

According to a press release from the City of North Bend, the North Bend City Council came to a unanimous decision to cancel a police agreement with the Coos County Airport.

On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, the council voted 7-0, at its business meeting, to cancel an Intergovernmental Agreement signed by the Coos County Airport District (CCAD) on  November 15, 2012, and the North Bend City Administrator on January 30, 2013.

The city council provided 90 days for CCAD to renegotiate a new agreement with the city, or to secure other services to meet TSA/Homeland Security obligations.

It wasn’t until April 2022 that Police Chief Gary McCullough and City Administrator David Milliron were area of the IGA until TSA/Homeland brought it to their attention.  Since then, Chief McCullough has informed TSA/Homeland Security and CCAD personnel that his department lacks the necessary resources and staff to abide by the agreement.

The city says that North Bend Police and Fire will continue to respond to emergencies at the Airport in the same manner and service level they provide to the community.

In a statement the city said: The City of North Bend and its Governing Body recognize the importance of quality commercial air service to the local and regional economy through improved access for visitors and, most importantly, to support area businesses, organizations, and institutions in promoting and fostering economic development opportunities on Oregon’s South Coast. Therefore, the City remains committed to helping CCAD’s effort to expand aviation travel and services in North Bend and beyond.

Crews Continue Work On Siletz Hwy 229 Closed By Rockslide

Oregon Department of Transportation is updating travelers after a rockslide covered the OR 229 Siletz Highway early Saturday.

ODOT says the rockslide has covered the highway near milepost 18, about six miles north of Siletz.

The photo shows rock and debris covering the two-lane highway halfway between Lincoln City and Siletz.

Over the next few days, the area will be closed to drivers between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. while crews remove an estimated 900 cubic yards of rock, ODOT says. While crews aren’t working, one lane will be controlled by flaggers from 5 p.m. and 8 a.m.

ODOT says the schedule could change if more rocks continue to fall in the area. Check http://tripcheck.com


Manhunt Continues For Suspect After Car Recovered Ditched Over Embankment

Victim Still In Critical Condition – Grants Pass Police Say Man Suspected Of Torture And Kidnapping Of Woman In Using Dating Apps To Evade Police

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, an extremely dangerous suspect wanted for Attempted Murder, Kidnapping, and Assault, remains on the run. Detectives and Fugitive Apprehension Teams are continuing to follow investigative leads.

It is possible that Benjamin Foster may attempt to change his appearance by shaving his beard and hair or by changing his hair color. The Grants Pass Police Department asks the public to pay particular attention to Foster’s facial structure and eyes since those features are very difficult to change. Additional photos of Foster, as they become available, will be released to assist in his identification.

————————– Foster narrowly eluded a police raid last Thursday in the nearby unincorporated community of Wolf Creek and may have changed his appearance by shaving his beard and hair or changing his hair color, police said.

Police initially released a photo of Foster showing him with shoulder-length brown hair, but he had cut it and grown a thicker beard since the photo was made. He may have altered his appearance further since then, Hattersley said.

“We’re getting all kinds of calls about people walking along I-5, they have long beards and long hair,” Hattersley said. “We have a feeling that’s not really what he is looking like at this point.”

Police offered a $2,500 reward Friday for information leading to Foster’s arrest and prosecution. None of the 50 or so tips that have come in, mostly by phone, since then has been solid enough to lead to Foster, who is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and assault, according to Hattersley.

The Thursday night raid in Wolf Creek, some 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Grants Pass, involved Grants Pass police, sheriff’s deputies, an Oregon State Police SWAT team and federal agents.

Foster, who had been staying on family property there, slipped away. His car was found over an embankment. Forested mountains surround the community, but investigators believe that instead of disappearing solo into the wilderness, Foster had help getting out of the area.

They arrested 68-year-old Tina Marie Jones of Wolf Creek last Thursday , and she has a court date this week accused of helping Foster.

She has a Friday Josephine County Circuit Court appearance, accused of hindering criminal prosecution.

Court records today say she helped Foster destroy and conceal crime evidence.  Police say Jones followed Foster last Thursday, January 26, 2023, to a remote location at Wolf Creek.  The court document says Foster intentionally drove his vehicle off of an embankment to destroy and hide crime evidence, then Jones gave him a ride to safety.  Josephine County jail’s inmate record shows she’s in the jail on $25,000 bond.

Grants Pass police want Foster for attempted murder, assault and kidnapping charges.

Grants Pass police announced Friday that Foster was using online dating applications to contact unsuspecting people to lure them assisting with his escape or to potentially find new victims. Hattersley said Monday that investigators no longer believe Foster was trying to find more victims but could have been seeking an unwitting person to help him avoid the intensive police manhunt.

“That’s why we put that out there,” he said. “We don’t want someone to unknowingly think that they’re meeting some great guy that’s actually a wanted felon that’s trying to get away.”

Tips regarding sightings of Benjamin Foster continue to flood into the department, and we are confident this dangerous criminal will soon be captured with the assistance of a concerned citizen. The Grants Pass Police Department appreciates the engagement of the community in this investigation, as well as the extensive media coverage from across the nation.

The man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state’s custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.

Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36, faced decades in prison in Nevada after he was charged in 2019 with five felonies, including assault and battery. But a deal with Clark County prosecutors allowed him to instead plead guilty to felony and misdemeanor battery, and a judge sentenced him in September 2021 to serve between one and 2 1/2 years in a state prison.

William Quenga, a spokesperson for the Nevada prison system, told The Associated Press in an email that Foster arrived Oct. 18, 2021, at a prison intake facility but was released the same day, because the judge had factored into Foster’s punishment the 729 days he had spent in jail awaiting trial.

That means Foster had served his minimum sentence behind bars but was a half-year from serving the maximum time given by the judge.

The victim in the Oregon case was found unconscious and bound in Grants Pass, Oregon, on Jan. 24. She was hospitalized in critical condition and has not regained consciousness since then, said Grants Pass Police Lt. Jeff Hattersley.

Before moving to Oregon, Foster held his then-girlfriend captive inside her Las Vegas apartment for two weeks before she managed to escape in October 2019. Police said the woman suffered seven broken ribs, two black eyes and had been choked to the point of unconsciousness during her captivity.

Foster was released from custody two years later after reaching his deal with Clark County prosecutors.

Grants Pass police are working to find an attempted murder suspect tonight, and they’re working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Grants Pass Police Department (GPPD) met with the FBI to develop leads to find 36-year-old attempted murder suspect Benjamin Foster of Wolf Creek.

GPPD says he tortured and beat a woman to unconsciousness, updating today that she remains in critical condition and she has not regained consciousness since she was discovered last Tuesday.

Grants Pass police consider Foster extremely dangerous.  They found his blue Nissan Sentra Thursday night, and GPPD is actively searching for him.  He seems to have local ties that go back to high school — and back to last week.

Phoenix-Talent School District says a “Benjamin Obdiah Foster” graduated from Phoenix High School in 2006.

Police are sharing a different photo of foster today, as displayed without a beard and mustache because he might have shaved them — and maybe shaved his head — to evade capture.

Police advise people to call 911 with any information about Foster’s location.

The Grants Pass Police Department has established a Tip-Line and is offering a $2,500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Anyone with information is asked to call the Grants Pass Police Tip-Line at 541-237-5607. Citizens should not approach this extremely dangerous suspect and call 9-1-1.

Lawmakers In Salem Are Hearing A Bill That Would Restore Emergency Protections For Tenants

Oregon tenants could soon get more time to pay their rent or find a new place to live when facing eviction.

Senate Bill 799 would return a series of rules for landlords that were in effect during the early part of the pandemic. The proposed changes include giving tenants a 60 day “safe harbor period,” which would prevent landlords from evicting while the tenant has a rental assistance application pending. The bill would extend the 72-hour eviction notice timeline to 10 days. The proposed bill would also require landlords to accept payment after the termination notice has expired.

Furthermore, the bill would require a landlord to accept payment before a tenant is formally evicted.

The bill could bring welcome relief for renters who are already face mounting challenges in 2023. The state rent control law, tied to inflation, has set the maximum rent increase to 14.6% this year, which will put keeping up with rent payments out of reachfor many Oregonians. And even finding housing may be unfeasible — the state is currently short more than 100,000 housing units, a problem Gov. Tina Kotek has pledged to solve with an ambitious housing production plan.

Pandemic-era rules limiting evictions began to expire last year, leading to a marked increase in eviction filings. Since October, when the last of eviction protections expired, there have been an average of 2,155 eviction filings per month statewide, according to the Oregon Law Center. The organization, which provides free legal help to low-income Oregon residents, reported that was a 43% increase in average monthlyfilings from pre-pandemic levels. More than 85% of those filings are for nonpayment. A team of researchers at Portland State University also maintain an online database tracking evictions statewide.

Simply put, Senate Bill 799 would make it harder to evict a tenant. Landlord groups say that it would make it harder to evict any tenant — not just those who haven’t or can’t pay their rent. Supporters, meanwhile, believe that it will prevent people from becoming homeless.

SB 799 would require landlords to extend the “notice to pay” window from 72 hours to three days after an eviction notice is posted. It would also increase the notice period for evictions and postpone evictions up to 60 days if a person is applying for rental assistance.

“Our data shows that when the safe harbor was available, 80% of the 2,000-plus tenants who accessed the safe harbor in court ultimately stayed in their housing,” said Becky Straus, managing attorney of the Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project. In the absence of those protections, Straus said, the number of tenants forced into move-out agreements in court nearly tripled.

The real number of evictions is likely much higher, the Oregon Law Center reported. Most people are evicted informally and never even make it to court.

“I know the challenges and barriers of having an eviction on your record can be detrimental to families,” said Kamelah Adams, a business owner, renter and former housing stability specialist who testified in favor of the bill. “It’s hard to find an apartment or house once you have that on your record.”

Opposition to the bill comes mainly from landlord groups, but supporters of the bill said reducing evictions is a crucial step toward addressing the state’s homelessness crisis.

Since there’s been several delays with Oregon’s pandemic rental assistance program — the bill would also require local governments and programs like that to inform landlords and tenants about the status of rental assistance.

Landlords say as far as nonpayment evictions the proposed bill is one thing — but they fear it will make it harder to evict someone who is a bad tenant or a bad neighbor.

“The only tool in the tool belt for a landlord is an eviction — is a for-cause termination,” Ron Garcia, the executive director for Rental House Alliance Oregon, explained. “There are very strict guidelines around it. So to create a legal maze to get through it and elongate that time period really affects the safety of the neighboring people.“

Community Alliance of Tenants Executive Director Kim McCarty says, however, that the goal is to prevent evictions and to prevent homelessness.

“We know the rate of evictions is skyrocketing,” she stated.

Before the pandemic, there were a little bit more than 1,500 evictions per month across Oregon. In October 2022, all of the pandemic protections in the state lapsed. Between then and now, McCarty’s organization has tracked that there’s been an average of 2,100 evictions each month — a 43% increase.

Yet, this bill comes as rental assistance is becoming more common. Requiring landlords to accept payments, even partial ones, is crucial to McCarty. She has helped clients who have tried to pay landlords during the court portion of an eviction process. She has seen landlords refuse payment in the courtroom.

“Or, they have accepted the money and that tenant still gets evicted,” McCarty said.

Garcia hasn’t seen that in his organization. Rental assistance is growing as a means of response to the homeless crisis and preventing people from losing housing, considering the $100 million lawmakers are debating to spend on the cause. To that end, Garcia says he sees rent assistance as means to keep a tenant.

“All my clients, all the property providers I know are happy to get a payment,” Garcia said.

Garcia does worry about the 60-day period for someone to apply and receive rental assistance. Most of his organization is made up of landlords with fewer than four properties, not corporate-sized apartment conglomerates, and he feel it will be hard for many to swing going two months without that income.

“What would you say to the owner who has tenants who aren’t paying, who don’t have any real likelihood of getting any assistance and are just using the system to stay in a house without payment?” he said.

Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), the chair of the Senate Committee on Housing and Development, said the hearing is the beginning of an important conversation about reforms to the eviction system and how they could prevent homelessness.

“Our goal is to run an inclusive process that leads to people staying in their homes and paying rent, while making sure Oregon attracts and retains affordable rental housing,” she said in a statement released Monday morning. “Homelessness hurts us all – from the human beings living on our streets, to families struggling to meet their basic needs, to the folks losing rental income and property value. We have to come together and leave no stone unturned in pursuit of reasonable, effective solutions.”

Roles For Chiropractors Will Expand If Oregon Bill Passes

Health care staffing shortages in Oregon have forced several new proposed measures for 2023, one of which is a legislative proposal allowing chiropractors to be listed as medical providers qualified to be attending physicians in workers compensation claims.

House Bill 3150 would also “remove limits on duration of medical service and number of visits and certain areas of practice for chiropractors serving as attending physicians in cases involving injured workers,” according to Jon Campisi at BusinessInsurance.com.

The bill also allows injured workers to receive compensable medical treatment from a primary care physician or chiropractor who is not a member of a managed care organization but serves as the individual’s regular doctor.

The bill would also authorize temporary disability payments for longer durations while authorizing chiropractors to provide medical services. Another bill introduced prevents employers from forcing employees to use paid personal time off, vacation or sick days to attend doctor appointments relating to compensable injury.

The two bills were introduced on Jan. 14 of this year and, filed as emergency legislation, would take effect immediately upon passage.

“We’re experiencing a very bad workforce exodus in the public behavioral health system,” Cheryl Ramirez, executive director of the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, told the Oregon House Behavioral Health and Health Care Committee, according to The Lund Report. “It was bad already, but since COVID, it’s just multiplied. We probably could use at least double the number of workforce than we have in the public behavioral system right now.”

Some legislation introduced seeks to relax health care licensing requirements and offer financial incentives.

Becky Hultberg, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, said 75% of hospitals lost money in the third quarter of 2022.

Also this year an estimated 300,000 Oregon citizens could lose their state health insurance as coverage offered during the COVID-19 pandemic for low-income coverage comes to an end. Approximately 426,000 Oregonians will also lose supplemental food benefits expanded during the pandemic due to federal funding ending.

Oregon Lawmakers Propose Bills To Keep Prescription Costs Down

Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation aimed at keeping drug prices affordable for patients. Prescription drug prices account for a share of rising health care costs in the U.S. (Getty Images)

Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation to rein in soaring prescription drug prices for Oregonians and help rural independent pharmacies stay open.

Prescriptions are an expensive part of Oregonians’ health care, especially for specialty or cancer medications necessary to treat life-threatening illnesses. The highest priced drug in Oregon in 2022 was Carvykti, a new drug that costs $465,000 on the wholesale market for a one-time infusion and uses a patient’s white blood cells to target cancer, according to a 2022 state report  Wholesale prices influence overall drug costs but they are different from what consumers pay, which varies based on insurance plans.

Oregon lawmakers passed bills in 2018 and 2021 to increase the transparency of drug prices for Oregonians and establish a state prescription affordability board that recommends ways to make prescriptions cheaper. But the program lacks regulatory muscle to control prices.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry’s system of selling drugs to pharmacists has become so complex and expensive, it threatens to put independent pharmacies out of business – and reduce access for people in small Oregon towns.

“The rural pharmacies in my district are closing or struggling to stay open,” Rep. Christine Goodwin, R-Canyonville, said in a presentation Tuesday to the House Committee on Behavioral Health and Health Care. “The low reimbursements to pharmacies are harmful to patients because staff and hours of operation must be decreased. And the result is long wait lines, sometimes as long as 24 to 72 hours. For vital medications, this may have serious consequences.”

Goodwin and other lawmakers are considering ways to regulate a behind-the-scenes operator in the drug industry: prescription benefit managers. They serve as a middleman between insurance companies that cover patients and pharmacies and drug manufacturers.

They negotiate the prices that are reimbursed to the drug maker and the pharmacist and are part of a complex system that includes drug manufacturers, pharmacies, insurers and prescription benefit managers.

As brokers, they have the ability to influence drug pricing, availability and the reimbursements pharmacies receive. Their business practices can impact whether a pharmacy can stay open – and the prices Oregonians pay for their medicine.

The bills under consideration:

  • House Bill 2716 would prohibit prescription benefit managers from discriminating against pharmacies that participate in the federal 340B program, which provides patients drugs at discounted prices.
  • House Bill 2725 would prohibit prescription benefit managers from charging certain fees to rural pharmacies. They can cause pharmacies to lose money on some sales, supporters say.
  • House Bill 2715 would prevent insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from requiring patients to go to a pharmacy to get physician-administered drugs. These medications usually involve an infusion or injection a patient receives in a doctor’s office.
  • House Bill 3015 would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers from retroactively charging pharmacies fees after reimbursing them.
  • House Bill 3013 would require pharmacy benefit managers to be licensed by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. The bill would allow pharmacies to appeal price disputes directly to the state agency instead of the pharmacy benefit manager.

In rural Oregon, the need for more regulation to control prices is acute, pharmacists said in testimony.

“Prescription benefit managers must be reined in,” Michael Daher, owner of Myrtle Drugs, located south of Roseburg in Myrtle Creek, told the committee. “I implore you to vote for the bills.”

Emily Savage, the store’s pharmacy manager, gave an example: A patient’s payment was $90 less than the pharmacy’s cost for the medication. The pharmacy appealed the amount to the prescription benefit manager and was denied, Savage said.

The issue has also come up in urban areas. The Portland-based Cascade AIDS Project, in submitted testimony, said House Bill 2716 is necessary for Prism Health, its LGBTQ health center that serves low-income Oregonians regardless of ability to pay. The center is in the federal discount program. Pharmacy benefit managers give participating pharmacies lower reimbursement rates because they get limited revenue from the program, the group said.

Supporters voiced frustration. Joshua Free, a pharmacist and past president of the Oregon State Pharmacy Association, criticized the practice of some pharmacy benefit managers to require patients to visit a different pharmacy instead of receiving medicine in their doctor’s office.

“The requirement to use an outside pharmacy isn’t for safety,” he said. “It’s only for greed.”

Lawmakers also heard from Tonia Neal, senior director of state affairs for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, which represents pharmacy benefit managers.

Neal said the pharmacy benefit managers view their role as helping people save money. Neal said the group is still reviewing the bills but urged lawmakers to consider the potential impact of more regulation: “A lot of costs go on to the consumers.”

In a letter, Kaiser Permanente, which provides insurance and has a network of Oregon clinics and hospitals, told lawmakers the company is concerned the legislation would limit its ability to pick its pharmacies.

“Requiring health insurers or integrated systems such as KP to contract with all willing pharmacies would undermine the quality and savings achieved through carefully tailored pharmacy networks,” Elizabeth Edwards, the company’s director of government relations, wrote to lawmakers.

OSP Traffic Stop Leads to Arrest and Drug Seizure — Klamath County

On January 18, 2023, around 11:26 a.m., an Oregon State Police Senior Trooper stopped an SUV for a lane usage violation on Highway 97, milepost 276, near Klamath Falls.

During the traffic stop, the Sr. Trooper noticed signs of criminal activity, and a search of the vehicle was conducted.  During the search of the vehicle, the Sr. Trooper located approximately 10 pounds of suspected methamphetamine, 3 pounds of suspected heroin, and 1.4 pounds of suspected counterfeit pills containing fentanyl- all concealed within the vehicle. 

The driver was identified as Sergio Luis Salazar-Mercado (30) of Wapato, Washington.  Salazar-Mercado was taken into custody and lodged in the Klamath County Jail.

OSP Troopers were assisted during the investigation by Detectives from the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) and Detectives from the OSP-Criminal Investigations Division-Drug Enforcement Section (Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative). 

The Oregon State Police-Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including the OSP-DHE Initiative.

New round of Electric Mobility Grants connects more Oregonians to EVs and their benefits

More than $2 million in funding will help bring EV charging stations, electric trucks and work vehicles, e-bikes and more to rural and underserved communities  

PortlandOre. (January 30, 2023) — Pacific Power recently awarded more than $2 million to 18 cities, small towns, community colleges and nonprofits throughout the state for projects that will connect more Oregonians to the cost-saving, clean-air benefits of electric vehicles and electric mobility — including residents of underserved and rural communities that Pacific Power serves. 

For example, in Sweet Home, Pendleton and Grass Valley, Pacific Power Electric Mobility Grants will help bring EV charging stations to places where few or none exist. In Central Oregon, low-income residents in Bend may receive vouchers for e-bikes, and a community-driven coalition will map out the first EV charging and car share plan for the region. In Multnomah County, the public library, as well as nonprofits that repair homes and improve energy efficiency in diverse and historically underserved communities, will be able to purchase electric trucks and vans to deliver services.

“Pacific Power is hard at work building a safe, reliable, affordable clean energy future. A critical part of that work is helping to ensure that Oregonians at all income levels, in all kinds of communities, have access to electric transportation and the economic growth and vitality it can bring,” says Kate Hawley, electric transportation senior product manager for Pacific Power. “These Electric Mobility Grants are an important way that we can strengthen the communities we serve and help them thrive.” 

Since 2020, Pacific Power has distributed more than $4.5 million in Electric Mobility Grants to Oregon communities. Funding is made possible by the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, which is administered by the state Department of Environmental Quality and aims to reduce the carbon  intensity of Oregon’s transportation fuels. Pacific Power raises funds for the Electric Mobility Grants through the sale of Clean Fuels Program credits. 

In addition to electric mobility Grants, Pacific Power is helping Oregonians plug into the benefits of electric mobility by offering valuable customer rebates and other incentives for homeowners, businesses and multifamily property owners who install EV chargers. A free technical assistance program is available for businesses, property owners, and organizations, which provides a feasibility analysis for EV charging options, costs, rates and best practices for siting, installing and managing equipment.

Pacific Power is also expanding Oregon’s EV charging infrastructure beyond big cities with the installation of public fast-charging stations in Klamath Falls, Madras, Otis and Mill City. 

These efforts to help more Oregon drivers choose electric are also helping communities improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions. Gas-engine cars and trucks are the number one source of air pollution in Oregon, according to the Department of Environmental Quality’s 2022 Biennial Energy Report. EVs with zero tailpipe emissions are key to improving air quality over the long term. 

Previous rounds of Pacific Power Electric Mobility Grants have helped communities purchase electric tractors in Prineville, an electric school bus in Bend, an EV and charger for a Portland health clinic, and a traveling EV educational exhibit that visits rural parts of the state. 

The 2022 grant recipients and projects are similarly creative and wide-ranging:

  • Chiloquin Visions in Progress (Klamath County). Funds will be used to install a Level 2 charger and DC fast charger in downtown Chiloquin, a rural area with few charging options. Chargers will help draw visitors to a business district with an art center, grocery store and county library. 
  • Oregon Environmental Council (multiple locations). In a partnership between Oregon Environmental Council and Oregon State University’s Agricultural Research/Extension, funds will be used to purchase four utility EVs to test and promote the viability of electric farm equipment to agricultural students and communities, through workshops, visits and field day demonstrations. 
  • Genesis XXI LLC (Medford). At Genesis XXI, a workforce housing development in downtown Medford expected to open in 2023, funds will be used to install four Level 2 chargers and to purchase one EV that residents may use via the GoForth CarShare platform. 
  • Umpqua Community College (Roseburg). Funds will be used to install the first EV chargers on the campus. The two Level 2 chargers will be available at no cost to students and staff. 

For information about the Electric Mobility Grant program and customer rebates for installing EV chargers, please visit pacificpower.net/ev.

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