Oregon Beach News, Wednesday 3/20 – Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue solves a 20-year-old problem with an evening of high angle training at Heceta Lighthouse & 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

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather



* WHAT...South winds 15 to 25 kt with gusts up to 35 kt and seas
7 to 10 ft at 17 seconds expected.

* WHERE...All areas in zones 350, and 370. In zone 356 beyond 5
nm from shore west of Port Orford until 11 pm pdt Thursday,
then all areas. In zone 376, beyond 40 nm from shore west of
Point St. George and 20 nm from shore west of Gold Beach until
11 pm pdt Thursday, then all areas.

* WHEN...From 5 PM Wednesday to 2 PM PDT Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Gusty winds and/or steep seas could capsize or
damage smaller vessels.

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

Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue solves a 20-year-old problem with an evening of high angle training at Heceta Lighthouse

Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue is always training.  Last week, they were able to train and help out our Oregon State Parks at the same time!  About 20 volunteers practiced rigging and operating our high and steep angle rescue systems at Heceta Head Lighthouse…to “rescue” a picnic table on the cliff below that has been an eyesore for 20 years. 

The rope rescue systems can be deployed quickly almost anywhere by just a few trained personnel, and have been used to rescue many injured swimmers and hikers.  But a picnic table was a first! The unique “patient” presented an excellent challenge for our problem solving and adaptability. The training provided as close to a real-world scenario as it could get – and a perfect view.

Nearly every week, Sheriff’s Search & Rescue volunteers assist our residents in all types of environments. Learn more about our Search & Rescue program at www.lanecounty.org/government/county_departments/sheriff_s_office/volunteers/search_and_rescue.

OSU extension service’s 11th annual livestream shows off egg hatch

For the 11th year in a row all eyes are on the chicken eggs hatching today in Clatsop County, Oregon thanks to Oregon State University’s Extension Service live stream.

The live stream from the Extension office in Astoria, Oregon will show the chicken eggs in the incubator before and during the hatch. The camera will then rotate once the eggs have hatched to the brooding pen where the chicks will grow before finding a home with an Extension 4-H member. The public could see these chicks again, as the new chick parents are expected to care for them and show them during country and state fairs later in the year.  

“I think sometimes we don’t know where animals come from so I think this is a pretty easy way to show people what is going on,” said Julie Scism, 4-H program assistant with OSU Extension in Clatsop County. 

Scism said the live stream is there for anyone who wants to watch the life cycle of a chick and is a fun springtime activity. 

According to Scism, a curriculum, kit of supplies and eggs loaded into incubators, like those shown on the livestream, are given to local elementary schools every year to watch chicks hatch right there in their classroom. 

The program is free for the classrooms who choose to be involved through Extension in the hopes of exciting children about being involved with animals in the future. 

According to Scism, the eggs for both the elementary schools and livestream are provided by the chickens of local 4-H and Extension members.

Those hoping to observe the lifecycle of a chick can access the livestream now through March 21 here. (SOURCE)

Marine Reserves Protection Plan Awaits Governor’s Signature

The Oregon Senate has passed House Bill 4132, which builds on the success of Oregon’s marine reserves program.

Based on the recommendations from the Oregon State University10-year review study, the bill calls on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to create a management plan for Oregon’s five marine reserves that will continue to protect the Oregon Coast, a vital economic and cultural hub for the state, according to a release from the Oregon Senate and House Republicans’ offices.

Sen. Dick Anderson (R – Lincoln City), carried HB 4132 on the Senate floor.

“This bill builds on the findings of the Marine Reserves Program by communicating vital scientific research back to communities to ensure collaboration between coastal stakeholders – yielding informed policy decisions in the future,” Anderson said. “This is the Oregon way.”

The bill also directs ODFW to work with tribes, fisheries, and local communities to make sure that the scientific work being done on the reserves incorporates regional knowledge and is usable for the communities on the coast.

“Oregon’s marine reserves are so important to the long-term health and stability of our beautiful coast. This bill is going to help this program stay flexible and adaptive, which is especially important as our coastal communities navigate the uncertainties of climate change,” Senate Energy and Environment Committee Chair Senator Janeen Sollman (D – Hillsboro) said.

Both Senate Democrats and Republicans agree that protecting Oregon’s vital natural resources is a key priority for the 2024 session, according to the release. HB 4132 now heads to the Governor’s desk. (SOURCE)

Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office Warning


  · The scam calls have ramped up again today. They identify themselves as Sgt. Dotson or some other deputy (believe me, they are not cool like Sgt. Dotson!) PLEASE, PLEASE remember we will NEVER call you to tell you there is a warrant for you or demand money. Hang up with them immediately (no need to be polite here!). You can always call your local law enforcement to double check if we are truly trying to reach you. Stay safe and don’t fall for this.

Coos County Man Arrested For Allegedly Shooting Pellet Gun At Neighbors Home

A Coos County man was arrested on March 16th for allegedly shooting a pellet gun at a neighbor’s house in violation of a Stalking Protection Order in place.

Authorities from the Coos County Sheriff’s Office said on March 16, around 6:45 p.m., Coos County Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a disturbance on Bruce Road in Coos Bay. They said a resident reported that their kitchen window was damaged by what appeared to be shots from a pellet gun. Deputy S. Starr responded to the area to investigate.

Authorities said that when Deputy Starr arrived, he observed multiple damages to the property, including a kitchen window with several holes and inoperable outdoor light fixtures, consistent with being shot by a pellet gun. Authorities also said the damage and the trajectory of the pellets suggested that the shots originated from a neighboring property.

Deputy Starr identified the suspect as 41-year-old Christopher Bergstrom of Coos County. Bergstrom is the respondent of a Stalking Protection Order, which prohibits him from interacting with the victim in this case.

According to the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, during the investigation, Deputies Starr and H. Francis located Bergstrom in a vehicle outside his residence. The deputies discovered firearms and ammunition unlawfully concealed by Bergstrom. Authorities said witnesses reported frequent use of a pellet gun by Bergstrom, correlating with the damage observed on the victim’s property.

Bergstrom was arrested and transported to the Coos County Jail for Violating a Stalking Order, Criminal Mischief, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm. Bergstrom is in custody at the Coos County Jail.

Horsfall Campground Enhancements Funded by Great American Outdoor Act

Horsfall Campground, a favored destination for outdoor enthusiasts has undergone significant improvements thanks to the Great American Outdoor Act (GAOA). The campground, located near North Bend, Oregon was temporarily closed from March 11 until today, March 14 to facilitate maintenance and repair work.

Horsfall Beach Camping | North Bend, OR | The Dyrt

As per a Western World report, the closure marks a pivotal moment in the campground’s history, as it benefits from the Legacy Restoration Fund established by the GAOA. Passed in 2020 by the US Congress, the act aims to reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance on federal lands, significantly impacting national forests and grasslands.

Central Coast District Ranger Michele Holman expressed gratitude for the funding. Thanks to funding from the Legacy Restoration Fund, we will be able to update infrastructure at Horsfall Campground,” Holman stated. The project, in partnership with Northwest Youth Corps, focuses on enhancing the visitor experience and preserving the natural beauty of the area.

During the closure, recreation staff and Northwest Youth Corps members undertook several key projects at the campground. Efforts include replacing fire rings, repairing picnic tables, and mending fencing. These improvements are part of a broader initiative to upgrade and maintain the district’s recreational facilities.

Despite the campground’s temporary closure, the surrounding recreation areas along Horsfall Road remained open. Visitors can still enjoy Horsfall Beach Day Use, Bluebill Campground, Old Bark Road OHV Staging, and Sandtracks Day Use areas.

The GAOA’s impact extends beyond immediate repairs, with $106.2 million allocated to the Pacific Northwest Region. This funding supports a variety of maintenance and improvement projects across federal lands in the area.

Looking forward, the district has planned more maintenance activities for the spring. These include signage replacement, trail work, and campground brushing, aiming to enhance the overall visitor experience and ensure the sustainability of these cherished outdoor spaces.

As the Great American Outdoor Act continues to fuel significant improvements across the nation’s federal lands, Horsfall Campground’s enhancements stand as a testament to the act’s success. Through strategic funding and dedicated partnership, these efforts aim to preserve the natural heritage and improve outdoor recreation for future generations.

With the support of the Great American Outdoor Act, the campground is set to emerge from this brief hiatus with improved facilities and a renewed commitment to visitor satisfaction and environmental stewardship. (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. 

Homicide Investigation in Siletz

On March 12, 2024 at approximately 9:27 PM, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 400 block of E. Logsden Rd in Siletz, OR on a report of a male stating his mother was deceased. Deputies arrived in the area and located a deceased elderly female near a motor vehicle who had injuries consistent with homicidal violence. Deputies detained the adult male who made the report.

The Lincoln County Major Crime Team was activated, as well as members from the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. The investigation is currently ongoing with assistance from the Oregon State Police, the Newport Police Department, and the Lincoln City Police Department. There is no ongoing risk to the public. The suspect and victim names are not being release at this time, pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.

Anyone with information relating to this incident should contact Sergeant Jason Spano at 541-270-5067 or jspano@co.lincoln.or.us. Reference case number 24S-04261.

Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay North County News



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

Forest Service Seeks Concessionaire For Devils Churn Day Use Site

Grey building with a light on

The Siuslaw National Forest is soliciting proposals for a business opportunity at the Devils Churn Day Use Site within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. A 100-square-foot concession space is available within a Forest Service building, and the agency is seeking a food and beverage service provider to operate this facility. Devils Churn is a popular year-round day use area and trailhead along U.S. Highway 101 just south of Yachats, Oregon.

The Forest Service has released a prospectus to advertise the opportunity and explain the application process. Interested parties are encouraged to review the prospectus and accompanying appendices. The application period opens on January 30, 2024. Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3. Please read the instructions carefully before submitting an application.

One successful applicant will be chosen. The successful applicant will be issued a 5-year special use permit to conduct business in the concession space. MORE INFO: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/siuslaw/home/?cid=fseprd1162886

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.

The City of Reedsport is Seeking a City Attorney

A City release said they are inviting proposals for contracted attorney service. For a list of duties and services required, go to the city’s website: www.cityofreedsport.org. Proposals are due to the city recorder’s office by 4:00 p.m. this Friday. Call 541-271-3603 for more information.

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

With Most Medical Renewals Complete, Oregon Among Top States Keeping People Covered

More than one million people are keeping their Oregon Health Plan benefits due to Oregon’s efforts to expand coverage options

SALEM, Ore. — With more than 88 percent of the state’s 1.5 million renewals complete, more than 4 out of 5 Oregonians are keeping their Oregon Health Plan (OHP) or other Medicaid benefits.

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the federal government allowed states to keep people on Medicaid benefits. This ended when the pandemic emergency ended, and since April 2023, Oregon has been making sure everyone on OHP is still eligible.

At this point in the PHE unwinding process, most of the initially planned 10 waves of renewals are complete.

  • Under 4,800 members, about 0.3 percent, still need to respond to renewals from those initial waves.
  • About 2.9 percent of members have responded to their renewal but are awaiting state action on the response.
  • The remaining renewals, about 8.6 percent of the total, will occur over the summer.

Oregon’s 82.6 percent renewal rate continues to one of the three highest in a national comparison of state renewal rates by KFF, a nonpartisan health policy organization. KFF analysis also shows Oregon also has saved more people from unnecessary renewal paperwork than any other state via the automated renewal process. Oregon’s high renewal rates are also due to proactive efforts by the state to keep people covered, including a structured renewal schedule, extended response timelines, and addingthe upcoming OHP Bridge program for adults with higher incomes.

Members who have not received a renewal yet should:

  • Keep their address and contact information up to date.
  • Check their mail or ONE Online account for their renewal letter.
  • Do what the renewal letter asks as soon as possible.

Anyone concerned they missed their letter should get help with their renewal via one of the ways to find help listed below. Members who did not respond to renewals can still re-open their case three months after it closes if they are still eligible, and can reapply at any time.

Although most people are keeping coverage, approximately 224,000 people will lose or have reduced OHP benefits and need to consider other coverage options.

  • People who do not have coverage through an employer or Medicare may be able to enroll through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and get financial help. Most people who enroll through HealthCare.gov qualify for this help.
  • The Marketplace is sending information to people who are no longer eligible for OHP benefits, advising of other potential coverage options.
  • People who have recently lost OHP benefits can enroll anytime until July 31, 2024, or within 60 days of their benefits ending.
  • For more information and ways to get help signing up for Marketplace, Medicare, or employer coverage, see “What to do if OHP is ending” below.

Extended unwinding schedule

On February 13, 2024, the federal government approved a revised plan for Oregon’s remaining 125,000 renewals.

Many of these renewals were affected by a federal request for more than 30 states to review automated renewal processes, or restorations of some Oregon Supplemental Income Program Medical (OSIPM) benefits. A May 2024 update to Oregon’s automated renewal process will enable Oregon to use the new process for the remaining renewals.

Renewal letters will be sent to members in four waves between June and September. Members will still receive 90 days to respond, and 60 days’ advance notice before any termination or reduction in benefits. This means the final responses would be due in December 2024, and the final closures will happen in February 2025.

Data about these renewals now appear again in the Medical Redeterminations Dashboard.

March OHP renewal data

As of March 15, 2024, 1,283,356 people have completed the renewal process. This represents 88.2 percent of all OHP and Medicaid members.

  • 1,059,425 people (82.6 percent) were renewed and kept their benefits.
  • 208,629 people (16.3 percent) were found ineligible.
  • 15,032 people (1.2 percent) had a reduction in their benefits. Most of these members lost full OHP but were able to continue Medicare Savings Programs that help pay their Medicare costs.

Find help renewing your benefits

  1. Learn more about how to renew your Oregon Health Plan medical coverage.
  2. Call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075. All relay calls are accepted, and help is available in multiple languages. Wait times are lowest between 7 and 8 a.m.
  3. Visit or call a local Oregon Department of Human Services office. People can find their local office at https://www.oregon.gov/odhs/Pages/office-finder.aspx.
  4. Visit a community partner for free, in-person help. To find one near you visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp(English) or orhim.info/ayuda(Spanish).

The large number of OHP renewals, along with renewals of long-term services and supports, may cause greater wait times, delays, and possible interruptions to people’s OHP benefits. The fastest way members can provide an update is by going to benefits.oregon.gov and logging into their ONE Online account.

What to do if your OHP is ending:

  • First, review the case summary in your letter to make sure the information used to make the decision was correct. If that information has changed, notify the state. You can call the ONE Customer Service Center at 800-699-9075 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted) or find other options to connect at benefits.oregon.gov. If the information on file for you is correct and you disagree with the decision, you can request a hearing. Learn more about hearings.
  • Explore options through an employer. If you, your spouse, or a parent are working, you may be eligible for health coverage through that employer. Talk to your manager or Human Resources department to see if you qualify. You will have a special enrollment period to enroll mid-year due to loss of OHP benefits.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare: For help understanding and choosing the right Medicare options, go to OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find an insurance agent or a counselor at the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance Program (SHIBA). You can also call SHIBA at 800-722-4134.

If you need to sign up for Medicare for the first time, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213 to enroll by phone or find a local office. You can also enroll in Medicare online at ssa.gov/medicare/sign-up.

  • Nearly 80 percent of Oregonians qualify for financial help through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to answer a few quick questions, find out how much you can save and find out how much coverage may cost you. You can also call the Marketplace Transition Help Center at 833-699-6850 (toll-free, all relay calls accepted).
  • Need free local help finding other coverage? Visit OregonHealthCare.gov/GetHelp to find professional help near you.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) are committed to transparency and will continue to send monthly information about medical coverage among Oregonians as the agencies continue to track the programs. Check our ONE Eligibility Operations Dashboards for more frequent updates on medical renewal data and wait times for callers to the ONE Customer Service Center.

DCSO and SAR Continue Efforts to Locate Glide Teacher Rachel Merchant-Ly

𝐈𝐃𝐋𝐄𝐘𝐋𝐃 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐊, 𝐎𝐫𝐞. – Search and Rescue efforts continue in the search for Rachel Merchant-Ly, a Glide Elementary kindergarten teacher whose vehicle was found crashed in the North Umpqua River.

Merchant-Ly was reported missing on Thursday, February 29th when she didn’t arrive at school. A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy located signs of a motor vehicle crash near milepost 41 on Highway 138E.

On Friday, March 1, 2024, Merchant-Ly’s vehicle was recovered from the North Umpqua River, but she was not found inside.

Since that time, nearly 300 hours volunteer hours of searching has taken place. Douglas County Search and Rescue has been using various methods of searching to include drone, ground and K9. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol has conducted water searches as well. Volunteers have searched along the riverbank from the crash site to Idleyld Park Trading Post; approximately 21 miles.

“We all want to find Mrs. Merchant-Ly and return her to her family,” Sheriff John Hanlin said. “Our deputies are in constant communication with her family and providing them with updates as to our efforts. We will continue searching and using all means necessary to accomplish our mission,” Hanlin added.

In addition to the efforts of DCSO and Search and Rescue volunteers, several community members have been actively looking for Merchant-Ly.

“We are aware of rafting guides and groups of rafters who have been launching all in an attempt to assist in finding her. We have also been contacting community members who are walking along the North Umpqua Trail and the highway,” Hanlin said. “As always this community steps forward to care for each other.”

As the weather turns more springlike, the Sheriff’s Office encourages those recreating around the area to be aware Merchant-Ly is still missing and to report anything which may assist in concluding this missing person case.

Biden administration awards Intel $8.5B to expand US chip manufacturing

Oregon’s premier chip manufacturer, Intel, has been awarded up to $8.5 billion by the Biden administration to expand its investments in chipmaking plants in the U.S.

Over the next five years, Intel estimates to create over 10,000 manufacturing jobs and nearly 20,000 construction jobs in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and Ohio.

The funding is part of the CHIPS and Science Act, $280 billion package signed into law in 2022, which is aimed at building up the U.S. semiconductor industry.

The agreement, a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT), includes approximately $50 million in dedicated funding to develop Intel’s semiconductor and construction workforce. Along with requirements for Intel to provide affordable, accessible childcare for its workers across its facilities.

In Oregon, the CHIPS funding would go to expanding and modernizing Intel’s innovation hub in Hillsboro. In 2022, Intel spent more than $4 billion with more than 500 suppliers across Oregon, according the news release. The added investment would support several thousand manufacturing and construction jobs. (SOURCE)

One-time adjustment of student loans could lead to forgiveness

Salem – The U.S. Department of Education has begun what it describes as a one-time payment count adjustment for certain federal student loans toward the income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) programs. This could lead to borrowers potentially having their loans forgiven if they consolidate commercially owned Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Perkins Loans into a federal Direct Loan by April 30, 2024.

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) issued a bulletin on this topic in February. The adjustment will apply to Direct Loans and government-owned FFEL borrowers who are working toward forgiveness via their payment plan, or PSLF. Covered loans that have been in repayment for at least 20 years (for undergraduate loans), or 25 years (for graduate loans) will be forgiven, and all covered loans will have their payment counts updated toward those goals. Although commercially owned FFELs and Perkins Loans are not themselves covered by the one-time adjustment, borrowers who consolidate such loans into federal Direct Loans by April 30, 2024, will receive the full benefits of the adjustment.

“We want to ensure that the current servicers are aware of the one-time account adjustment and pertinent deadlines,” said Lane Thompson, Oregon’s student loan ombuds. “Most borrowers will not need to take action in order to benefit from the one-time adjustment. However, some loan types are not owned by the Department of Education and need to be consolidated (FFEL, Perkins) in order to become eligible.”

Borrowers will need to visit the student loan consolidation webpage on studentaid.gov to consolidate into Direct Loans by April 30, 2024.

Anyone with questions or concerns can contact Thompson at .bankingproducthelp@dcbs.oregon.gov“>dfr.bankingproducthelp@dcbs.oregon.gov or 971-374-3619.

### About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dfr.oregon.gov and  www.dcbs.oregon.gov.​​

Record $74.2 million going to Oregon public schools from the Common School Fund in 2024

Fund that’s supported education since statehood sends highest-ever amount to schools

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon’s K-12 public schools will receive a record $74.2 million from the Common School Fund in 2024, state officials announced today.

Every one of Oregon’s 197 public school districts receives money from the Common School Fund every year. How much each district receives depends on the number of students served.

The average 2024 distribution is approximately $376,000. Astoria School District will receive about $230,000. Bend La-Pine Schools will receive $2.3 million. Klamath Falls City Schools will receive nearly $344,000. See how much every Oregon school district will receive from the Common School Fund in 2024.

Portland Public Schools, serving the most students in the state, will receive $6.4 million this year.

“The Common School Fund consistently contributes critical funding for Oregon classrooms,” said Michael Hisler, teacher at Roosevelt High School in North Portland. “Every district gets those dollars, which can be used to support specific needs of my students as well as students across the state.”

The Common School Fund has supported Oregon schools since statehood, when the federal government granted our new state nearly 3.4 million acres “for the use of schools.” The State Land Board was established to oversee these school lands, which generate revenue for the Fund.

Now valued at $2.3 billion, the Common School Fund is invested by the State Treasurer and the Oregon Investment Council. The Fund earned an average 5.4 percent rate of return over the three-year period ending in December 2023.

“We’re incredibly pleased with the Common School Fund’s performance in recent years under Treasury’s management. These sustained returns will allow us to send a record-setting amount to Oregon public schools,” said State Treasurer Tobias Read. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on students across the state, from increased resources in the classroom to facility improvements.”

Annually, 3.5 percent of the Fund is distributed to schools. The 2024 distribution of $74.2 million, the highest-ever distribution, is $2 million more than the 2023 distribution of $72.2 million and $10 million more than the 2022 distribution of $64.2 million.

Today, approximately 681,000 acres of school lands in all 36 Oregon counties are managed by the Department of State Lands on behalf of the State Land Board. Ranchers and farmers, local governments, Tribes, businesses, and more work with DSL to lease and buy lands, plan for future community needs, and keep lands healthy.

“Since 1859, Oregon students have counted on school lands and the Common School Fund as a reliable revenue source,” said DSL Director Vicki L. Walker. “DSL’s hardworking land management team is incredibly innovative and effective in protecting that legacy.”

DSL is currently seeking public input on the plan that will guide management of school lands for the next 10 years. The comment period is open through April 3, 2024.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Tina Kotek, Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting waterways and wetlands for their many benefits. 

Hop Aboard the Easter Bunny Express!

Join us for a 45-minute train ride featuring the Easter bunny! Historic passenger cars pulled by a diesel locomotive offer comfortable seating and spectacular views of the city, river and wildlife.

Kids of all ages will enjoy an Easter scavenger hunt and other fun activities. And the Easter bunny will be onboard to greet everyone!

Snacks and adult & kid friendly beverages will be available for purchase.

Saturday, March 30 @ 1:00pm, 2:30 and 4:00pm. Adults $20, Kids 3-12 $15; 2 and Under Ride Free on Lap

For tickets and more info, visit www.orhf.org/saturday-train-rides/

Troutdale man found guilty of murder in 1980 cold case of college student after DNA link

A man living in Troutdale has been found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Barbara Tucker in 1980 near Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham.

Credit: Multnomah Co. Sheriff’s Office
Plympton, 58, is facing a number of charges including murder and rape.

A man living in Troutdale has been found guilty in the 1980 cold case murder of 19-year-old college student after DNA from a piece of chewing gum linked him to the crime.

Multnomah County Circuit Judge Amy Baggio on Friday found Robert Plympton, 60, guilty of first degree murder in the death of Barbara Tucker, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s (DA) Office said.

Tucker was sexually assaulted and beaten to death the night of Jan. 15, 1980, near a parking lot at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Witnesses reported seeing her run onto Northwest Kane Drive from the woods, reportedly waving at someone or trying to get someone’s attention, but nobody stopped.

A witness saw a man emerge from the woods and lead Tucker back to campus. Her body was found the next morning between Kane Drive and a school parking lot.

“The community was gripped in fear as to who was the suspect, what happened, why, a lot of unanswered questions,” said Detective Aaron Turnage of the Gresham Police Department when Plympton appeared in court after his arrest. “Gresham was a quiet town.”

In 2000, a DNA profile of the suspect was created from samples taken during Tucker’s autopsy. A genealogist with Parabon Nanolabs using DNA technology then identified Plympton as likely linked to the DNA in the case a year later.

Detectives with the Gresham Police Department began conducting surveillance and collected a piece of chewing gum he had spit onto the ground, the DA’s Office said.

Police arrested Plympton after the Oregon State Police Crime Lab determined the DNA profile developed from the gum matched the DNA profile developed from swabs taken from Tucker’s body.

Plympton remains in custody in Multnomah County. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June. (SOURCE)

Prineville Paid Out Separation Agreements for Top Police While Under Investigation

The Prineville police chief who was accused of making a woman officer wash patrol cars as punishment for seeking light duty due to an injury got more than $300,000 in severance to resign while under investigation and his captain got close to $200,000.

The city still faces a lawsuit over the accusation. The city fought to keep the separation agreements secret even after the Crook County district attorney ordered their release, but then capitulated Monday after The Oregonian hired a lawyer to press the news organization’s public records request.

The city paid Seymour a total of $331,212.15 to resign — $250,125 as severance pay plus $81,212.15 for accrued sick and vacation time, according to the agreement signed Jan. 12. The city also allowed Seymour, who started as chief on July 1, 2022, to weigh in on any statement the city released regarding his resignation.

Separately, the city paid $180,461.96 to Capt. Robert Gray — $150,937.55 in severance plus $29,524.41 for accrued sick and vacation time. As in Seymour’s agreement, Gray also was allowed to work out a “mutually agreed-upon media statement” regarding his resignation.

Voters sue to keep Rep. Christine Goodwin from running for Oregon Senate

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Josephine County Circuit Court, alleges that Goodwin’s listed address is actually a wine tasting room

A group of Josephine County voters are suing to keep Rep. Christine Goodwin from running for the state Senate, alleging that she doesn’t live in the district she wants to represent and that the address she lists on campaign paperwork is actually a vineyard’s tasting room. 

Goodwin, R-Canyonville, has served in the state House since 2021, when she was appointed to replace state Rep. Gary Leif after his death. She’s running for the Senate district now represented by Art Robinson, one of 10 Republican senators barred from running for reelection because they participated in a six-week walkout in 2023, after Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment barring lawmakers with 10 or more unexcused absences from serving another term.

Robinson’s son Noah is also running in the Republican primary. The 2nd Senate District has nearly twice as many registered Republicans as Democrats, so the winner of the Republican primary is all but certain to represent the district in Salem. 

The lawsuit was filed Friday in Josephine County Circuit Court against Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade by Josephine County Commissioner John West and Grants Pass residents Edgar Pelfrey, Winnie Pelfrey, Victoria Marshall and Cathy Millard. They allege that Goodwin lives in Myrtle Creek, not in her current House District or the Senate District she hopes to represent. The lawsuit, first reported by the conservative southern Oregon publication the Oregon Eagle, further alleges that the home Goodwin lists on her candidate paperwork is actually the tasting room of Falk Estate Vineyards. 

The complaint seeks to remove Goodwin from her current position in the House and keep her off the May 21 primary ballot.

“Irreparable injury will occur if Christine Goodwin’s name is placed on the ballot for the May 21 election because votes for other candidates will be diluted by votes for Christine Goodwin, who is not qualified to represent Senate District 2,” the plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Joncus wrote in a motion for a preliminary injunction. “The primary campaign would also unnecessarily cost her competitor money that could be reserved for the general election, thus weakening the Republican nominee for Senate District 2. Christine Goodwin could conceivably win the nomination for Senate District 2, a seat that she is not qualified to hold, leaving Republicans without a candidate for the Senate District 2 seat.” 

Goodwin, a retired teacher and former Douglas County commissioner, flatly denied the allegations, telling the Capital Chronicle that no vineyard or tasting room existed and that she lives in a house on the Falk ranch in Canyonville. 

“This baseless attack from Noah Robinson’s minions, led by John West, does not faze me,” she added. “I trust the voters of southern Oregon to elect me to the Senate like they have to the House – with overwhelming support.” 

Her November filing with the Secretary of State’s Office lists her home and mailing address in Canyonville.

West told the Capital Chronicle he drove by that address on Sunday and spoke to someone who told him Goodwin was in Salem and has a studio on the Falk property. He said he finds it hard to believe Goodwin lives there instead of in the Myrtle Creek home, which he described as a $1 million house with a swimming pool. 

‘A phony address’

“For some reason, she don’t want to run in her own district,” West said. “She either didn’t think she could win or whatever the reason was, but she thought, ‘Well, they won’t know. They won’t know that I actually don’t live in my district. I’ll put down a phony address, and the Secretary of State won’t check it,’ and voila, we didn’t. Nobody thought anything for the first two years she was state rep.”

Documents attached to the lawsuit include Douglas County property tax records showing that Christine and Lynn Goodwin have owned a home in Myrtle Creek since 1991, as well as her voter history that shows she updated her residential address to the Canyonville home in December 2021. Candidates for legislative office typically have to prove they’ve lived in a district for at least one year prior to the general election, but candidates running in 2022 only had to prove residency by Jan. 1, 2022, because of redistricting in 2021. 

The Myrtle Creek home is in the 1st Senate District and 2nd House District, represented by Sen. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, and Rep. Virgle Osborne, R-Roseburg. The Canyonville address is in the 2nd Senate District and 4th House District, represented by Art Robinson and Goodwin. 

The lawsuit also includes a copy of a business registration in Goodwin’s name from July 6, 2022 that lists her address as the home in Myrtle Creek. Goodwin Properties Inc. dissolved in September 2023, according to state business records. 

Goodwin’s first campaign finance account, which was active for just over one week in November 2021, listed the Myrtle Creek home as her address. Since then, she’s used the Canyonville address. 

Laura Kerns, a spokeswoman for Griffin-Valade, said the Secretary of State’s Office had no comment on the lawsuit. Kerns added that the office received an anonymous letter about Goodwin’s residency in December, but is barred by state law from investigating anonymous complaints. 

The office has a mixed record when it comes to investigating candidates’ residency. Days before the March 12 filing deadline, the Secretary of State’s Elections Division disqualified Republican Senate hopeful Shannon Monihan, who owns a condo in the 28th Senate District outside Bend and rents an apartment in the 27th Senate District, where she hoped to run to replace disqualified Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend. 

In instances in which candidates maintain two or more homes, the Secretary of State’s Office determines which one counts for residency purposes by looking at where a candidate votes, pays taxes, registers licenses and works, rather than statements about the area a candidate considers home, election officials told Monihan in a letter about her disqualification.

Last year, the office declined to investigate a complaint about state Rep. Hai Pham, D-Hillsboro, who insisted that he lived with his parents in a three-bedroom home in the 36th House District rather than the $1.3-million, five-bedroom home where his wife and young son resided in the 31st House District. Pham still owns the home in the 31st House District but has since bought a new home in the 36th District, county property tax records show.  (SOURCE)

Cherry blossoms illuminated at State Capitol State Park March 16-April 6

Salem, OR—Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will host “Yozakura,” night viewing of the Akebono cherry blossoms, March 16 through April 6 in the North Mall at State Capitol State Park.

Parks staff will illuminate the cherry blossoms with Japanese lanterns and lights nightly 6-9 p.m. Visitors may bring blankets, camping chairs or an evening picnic to enjoy under the canopy of the illuminated trees.
The lanterns and lights create a striking and beautiful scene inside the park at night.

The Focal Point Photography Club of Dallas will be in the park March 23 at 7 p.m. to help photographers capture the perfect shot of the illuminated blossoms. SamaZama, a koto and cello duo, will perform in the park March 30 at 7 p.m. The duo will also perform March 16 as part of the Cherry Blossom Day, https://oregoncapitol.com/event/cherry-blossom-day… , sponsored by the Oregon State Capitol Foundation and the City of Salem.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will livestream the cherry blossoms on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@OregonParks beginning March 16 during the day and evening through April 6.

Park staff ask that tree limbs and blossoms are left as is so everyone can view them throughout the bloom. Alcohol is not allowed in State Capitol State Park (without permits) and the park closes at 10 p.m.

For more information on events at the Capitol, call Visitor Services at 503-986-1388 or visit the events page, https://oregoncapitol.com/events/ .

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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