Oregon Beach News, Wednesday 11/30 – Landslide Closes Section Of Hwy 30 Between Astoria And Clatskanie, Investigation Leads To Drug House Bust In Lincoln City

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 

Oregon Beach Weather

HAZARDOUS SEAS WARNING ISSUED: 2:12 AM NOV. 30, 2022 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE

...GALE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON...
...HAZARDOUS SEAS WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO4 AM PST THURSDAY...

* WHAT...South winds 30 to 40 kt with gusts up to 45 kt and very steep wind driven seas of 10 to 15 ft through this afternoon. Very steep west seas of 12 to 17 ft at 12 seconds are then
expected this evening into tonight.

* WHERE...All areas.

* WHEN...The Gale Warning is in effect until 4 PM PST this afternoon, followed by a Hazardous Seas Warning from 4 PM this afternoon to 4 AM PST Thursday.

* IMPACTS...Strong winds and very steep seas could capsize or damage vessels. Low visibility conditions are expected.

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

Landslide Closes Section Of Hwy 30 Between Astoria And Clatskanie

A section of Highway 30 remains closed between Astoria and Clatskanie following a landslide Tuesday night.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said crews are working to clear the area near milepost 74, which is about halfway between Astoria and Clatskanie. 

Highway 30 is still closed in both directions Wednesday morning due to a landslide and semi-truck crash.

ODOT says heavy rainfall is likely the cause of the landslide. At least 10 truckloads of rock and mud slid onto both lanes of the highway at about 10:30 p.m., and debris is still sliding down the hillside.

Crews have begun to clear the debris. ODOT says they don’t have an estimated time for reopening, but it is likely to be no sooner than Thursday. Drivers are urged to use other routes. http://tripcheck.com

Investigation Leads To Drug House Bust In Lincoln City

2022-11/6142/159459/Fentanyl_Seized_Duing_Search_Warrant.JPG

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, November 23, 2022, Lincoln City Police served a residential search warrant at 2420 NE 29th Street. The search warrant was a result of a lengthy investigation into the distribution of narcotics coming from the residence. During the search, Officers located and seized criminal amounts of fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, and cocaine, along with other paraphernalia. 

Arrested at the residence was 32-year-old Oscar Mejia-Salazar of Lincoln City. He was charged with Delivery of Fentanyl, Possession of Fentanyl with Commercial Factors, Possession of Methamphetamine with Commercial Factors, Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon, and Frequenting/Maintaining a Drug House. Oscar Mejia-Salazar was transported to the Lincoln County Jail where he was lodged.

Also arrested at the scene was 24-year-old Erik Mejia-Salazar of Lincoln City. He was charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance to a Minor, and Frequenting/Maintaining a Drug House. In addition, he was also charged with First Degree Rape, Third Degree Rape, and Third Degree Sodomy with these charges stemming from a separate investigation. Erik Mejia-Salazar was transported to the Lincoln County Jail where he was lodged. 

Subsequent arrests of 26-year-old Mariah A. Willis of Lincoln City, and 25-year-old Cheyanne M. Hanson of Lincoln City, were made for Frequenting a Drug House. Willis was cited and released, and Hanson was transported to the Lincoln County Jail and lodged.

The Lincoln City Police Department would like to thank the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Newport Police Department for their assistance with the case. We are also grateful for the concerned citizens of Lincoln City who provided information about the illegal activity that helped with this investigation. This was another example of how our partnership with the Lincoln City citizens allows us to promote safety and solve crimes in our community.

This case investigation remains ongoing and more arrests may be made. The Lincoln City Police Department encourages citizens to report any suspicious activity they see to the Lincoln City Police Department at 541-994-3636.

Sea Of Lights Display Reopens At Oregon Coast Aquarium

Newport’s Oregon Coast Aquarium will be illuminated by colorful lights strung up alongside the various aquatic exhibits for the first time in three years.

The annual event, Sea of Lights, had been canceled twice due to the pandemic, but visitors will now be able to view the indoor galleries and touch pool lit up with vibrant hues in the spirit of the holiday season. Children in attendance will also get the opportunity to line up and take pictures with Santa Claus.

“We are so excited to host Sea of Lights again,” said Courtney Klug, Communications and Marketing Specialist at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. “It’s something that the community sorely missed. And we got so many questions over those two years with people talking about taking their kids to see Santa, how it was such a highlight of the season. So we are ready. We are absolutely thrilled.”

Sea of Lights will be held the first three Fridays and Saturdays in December from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. (12/2, 12/3, 12/9, 12/10, 12/16, & 12/17)

The aquarium, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is located at 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd in Newport. MORE INFO: https://aquarium.org/sea-of-lights/

Forecast for Blustery Winter Weather in Pacific Northwest Makes Preparation Top Priority

Check your emergency outage kit, keep mobile devices charged, revisit family storm prep plans

Forecasters are calling for a cold and windy next few days for the Pacific Northwest, which means you should update your household outage kit.  

“Wintery blasts can be unpredictable and lead to power outages,” said Allen Berreth, vice president, operations. “We are always prepared to respond with crews at the ready to repair damage as fast as possible and reduce the amount of time any customer is without service.”

Pacific Power’s meteorology team is forecasting periods of wind, rain and snow from late tonight through Thursday. Gusty winds may lead to a few power outages for coastal areas, the Willamette Valley, Pendleton and Walla Walla Wednesday morning. Elsewhere, heavy snow could cause power outages in portions of far southern Oregon and northern California on Thursday, including in and near Klamath Falls and Mount Shasta City. Another round of cold, unsettled weather is expected to arrive late in the week.

To ensure that you are prepared for outages, we ask that every home maintain an Emergency Outage Kit that includes the following: 

  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated radio and clock
  • Extra batteries
  • Non-perishable foods 
  • Manual can opener
  • Bottled water
  • Blankets

If a power outage occurs, Pacific Power encourages customers to first check their fuses and circuit breakers. If the power failure was not caused inside the home or business, customers should report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088 or by texting OUT to 722797.

Get the App. The Pacific Power App for mobile devices can become invaluable during an outage. You can report and track an outage affecting you from your mobile device. The app is free and can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play.

Pacific Power suggests these safety precautions once a storm has hit: 

  • Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous. Call 911 immediately, then report it to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088
  • Extensive rain may cause floodingor landslides. Be especially careful of any standing water or even soggy ground. A live down wire may seem to be a safe distance away, but it is still extremely dangerous due to wet conditions.
  • Don’t drive over downed power lines

About Pacific Power — Pacific Power provides safe and reliable electric service to more than 764,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. The company supplies customers with electricity from a diverse portfolio of generating plants including hydroelectric, thermal, wind, geothermal and solar resources. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with 2 million customers in six western states. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net.

With the upcoming storm, snow is expected down low and could be close to valley floors

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says it has been preparing for extreme winter since the end of summer. But because the department is short-staffed, it’s asking residents to be patient.

“We don’t want to give the impression that we are neglecting roads or neglecting people or anything like that. It’s just we need to prioritize,” said Matt Noble, spokesperson for ODOT. “So we’re asking people to be patient with us, the plow will come by the roads near you just maybe not as often.”

Along with plowing the main roads, ODOT is using other methods to help with the storm.

“We can put down cinder to help with traction, and then especially with lower temperatures later this week deicer will be a very good tool that prevents ice from forming,” Noble said. “We’re confident that we can meet the weather that’s coming in this week.”

Keeping chains in your car this winter is advised along with, warm clothes, chargers, medicine if needed, a shovel, lights, and water. ODOT is advising everyone to use tripcheck.com before leaving the house.

New state law allows all 241 cities in Oregon, as well as Multnomah and Clackamas counties, to apply for the authority to designate speed limits on roadways under their jurisdiction

Currently, all changes in speed limits go through Oregon’s state traffic roadway engineer. But the process can be lengthy. ODOT has only one investigator for each of its five regions, creating a case backlog extending as long as six months to a year.

Providing local governments with the authority to set their own speed limits should make the process quicker, more effective and more responsive to local needs, ODOT said.

Under the new law, any of Oregon’s 241 incorporated cities or the two Portland area counties may seek this new authority from the state. They would then get training in state speed zone practices, state rules and laws and would produce a quality control plan.

Speed is a major factor in road crashes. ODOT says making it easier and quicker for communities to lower their local speed limits will help reduce deadly crashes and reduce the impact on communities of color, which often bear an outsized brunt of highway crashes.

Oregon roads have statutory and designated speed limits. Statutory speed limits are set by state law, such as 25 mph in residential districts, 20 mph in school zones and 65 mph on most interstates. Designated speed limits, set by an engineering investigation, differ from the statutory speed limits.

If a statutory speed limit is not appropriate, a designated speed limit can be established through an engineering study. That study is based upon nationally accepted standards and includes a review of roadway characteristics and the type of users. These characteristics include traffic volume, crash history, roadside development and density and operating speeds.

Safety is the most important factor in establishing speed limits. The posted speed should inform motorists of maximum driving speeds that are considered safe and reasonable for a roadway section under favorable weather and visibility conditions. All designated speed limits, whether set by ODOT or by an agency granted the delegated authority, will follow the same procedures and guidelines.

Drug Dealing Husband and Wife Sentenced to Federal Prison

EUGENE, Ore.—A Douglas County couple known for distributing drugs was sentenced to federal prison today after they were linked to the overdose death of man to whom they had sold drugs to for more than a year.

Brian Joseph Ramos, 49, and Christine Marie Ramos, 41, residents of Yoncalla, Oregon, were sentenced to 70 and 51 months in federal prison, respectively. The Ramoses must also serve five-year terms of supervised release following the completion of their prison sentences.

According to court documents, in May 2018, detectives from the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT) learned that an adult male stopped by the Ramoses home in Yoncalla after his release from a residential drug treatment program. Later the same day, the man tragically died of fentanyl poisoning. The next day, investigators interviewed the Ramoses who confirmed the man was at their residence the day prior, but denied giving him drugs. Christine Ramos, who was at work when the man stopped by their residence, admitted to selling the man pills for up to two years prior to his overdose. At one point after learning the man was injecting the pills she sold him, Christine Ramos stopped selling him drugs, but resumed thereafter.

Detectives searched the Ramoses’ residence and found several dozen grams of methamphetamine, 260 pills, drug paraphernalia, and digital scales. Several pills that later tested positive for fentanyl were found in the Ramoses’ vehicles. Evidence recovered from Brian Ramos’s phone revealed that he had in fact sold a pill to the man who succumbed to the fatal overdose.

On August 30, 2018, the Ramoses were charged by criminal complaint with conspiring with one another to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, oxycodone, and hydromorphone. On March 29, 2021, both waived indictment and pleaded guilty.

This case was investigated by DINT and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It was prosecuted by Jeffrey S. Sweet, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Formed in October 1989, the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team is a special investigative unit formed to combat illegal narcotics activity in Douglas County. DINT member agencies include Douglas County, including the Douglas County Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices, the Oregon National Guard, Oregon State Police, and Roseburg Police Department. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

Construction At Oregon Capitol Cancels Annual Christmas Celebration

Most years, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving means a grand party at the Oregon Capitol, with Santa Claus, other dignitaries, visiting choirs, free cookies and a 30-foot tree. But this year, an ongoing construction project did what even COVID couldn’t do: Cancel Holidays at the Capitol.

In past years, choirs performed in the Oregon Capitol rotunda during the holiday season. This year, construction has shuttered the rotunda and much of the capitol. (Stacy Nalley/Oregon Capitol)

The tradition, which began in the early 1980s, is on hold until 2025 because of an ongoing $506 million construction project to make the Capitol seismically resilient. The construction also includes upgrading mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and making the 1938 building and its 1977 addition comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 

The Capitol has largely been closed since the summer, though legislators’ offices have remained open. Starting in December, the public will be able to use the State Street entrance on the south side of the Capitol across from Willamette University to access committee hearing rooms and the House and Senate chambers ahead of the legislative session that begins in January. 

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, the Capitol holiday event was a month-long celebration that brought school and community choirs and visitors from all over the state. The Oregon Department of Forestry would bring a 30-foot Christmas tree from the Clatsop State Forest to serve as the rotunda’s main focal point, with many smaller trees throughout the building. A lighted garland and poinsettias surrounded the state seal in the center of the rotunda. 

About 1,000 people typically attended the tree-lighting ceremony on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, said Stacy Nalley, the Capitol’s public outreach coordinator. They’d listen to performances from a local high school choir stationed on the grand staircase outside the House chamber, then hear from a few speakers – maybe the governor, Senate president or House speaker. And the arrival of Santa Claus, coming down the grand staircase instead of a chimney, would signal that it was almost time to light the big tree. 

“It’s really magical and special,” Nalley said. That event would start a month of festivities at the Capitol, with school and community choirs traveling to perform on the House steps Monday through Saturday. Historically, about 10,000 people would visit the Capitol for its holiday programming, including about 5,000 performing schoolchildren, Nalley said. 

In December 2020, the Capitol was closed to the public because of COVID. That year, Capitol staff, Senate President Peter Courtney, then-House Speaker Tina Kotek and Santa Claus recorded a virtual tree-lighting video and reruns of the 2019 choir performances ran on public TV.

In 2021, the Capitol was open to the public but COVID cases were on the rise as the omicron variant whipped around the state. There was no lighting ceremony or live choir performances, but the building was decorated and a large TV in the rotunda played video submissions from some choirs. This year there will be nothing.

Oregon Gas Prices Falling But Still More Expensive Than Last Year

The price of gas in Oregon continues to fall at a rapid pace after reaching record highs five months ago. But Oregonians are still paying plenty more than they did a year ago.

AAA says the average price of regular unleaded in Oregon has fallen 19 cents in the past week to $4.42. Oregon has the fifth-largest weekly drop and second-largest monthly drop for a state in the nation.

But that price is still 62 cents higher than this time in 2021.

In Bend, the average is $4.46 a gallon. That’s down nine cents in a week, but up 56 cents from last year.

AAA says “Crude oil prices are at their lowest prices since December 2021, below $80 per barrel, and that’s helping to push pump prices lower. Extreme coronavirus restrictions in China and concerns over a global recession are the major driving factors behind the lower crude oil prices.”

As usual, the West Coast has the most expensive gas prices in the country. AAA says this is due to consistently tight supplies — people buying as much as is produced — and due to a relative lack of nearby refineries compared to the rest of the nation.

The national average is $3.52 a gallon, down 12 cents in the past week.

Oregon State Parks offers $5 off annual parking permit purchases in December 

SALEM, Oregon— Give the gift of the outdoors and save this season with the Oregon State Parks 12-month parking permit sale through December.

The permit hangtag once again features whimsical designs from Portland artist El Tran. Holiday shoppers can buy the annual parking permits for only $25, which is a $5 savings starting Dec. 1 and running through Dec. 31. The pass is good for 12 months starting in the month of purchase.

Purchasing passes is easy. Buy them online at the Oregon State Parks store. Parking permits are also sold at some state park friends’ group stores and select local businesses throughout the state. For a complete list of vendors, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.

Parking costs $5 a day at 25 Oregon state parks unless you have a 12- or 24-month parking permit or a same-day camping receipt. The 24-month pass is $50 and is also available at store.oregonstateparks.org. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.

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