Oregon Beach News, Wednesday 5/1 – Federal Government States It Is Ready To Sell Commercial Wind Energy Leases Off The Coast of Coos Bay and Brookings for Floating Offshore Wind Facilities & 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, May 1, 2024

Oregon Beach Weather

Federal Government States It Is Ready To Sell Commercial Wind Energy Leases Off The Coast of Coos Bay and Brookings for Floating Offshore Wind Facilities

The Southern Oregon coast is closer to hosting floating offshore wind energy, after the Biden administration announced it’s preparing to accept proposals for the area. This is the first step in a multiyear process before any wind developer could begin construction.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, proposed an auction for developers seeking floating offshore leases to develop wind energy in two locations off the coast of Southern Oregon. The announcement kicks off two opportunities for the public to comment on the proposal — on the areas that would be developed, and on the federal government’s draft environmental assessment.

offshore wind energy
The map shows the two wind energy areas approved off the Oregon coast. The federal government says it is ready to sell commercial wind energy leases for the two areas.

Ocean areas approved for wind energy development off the coast of Coos Bay and Brookings, which were finalized in February, total nearly 195,000 acres. There, offshore wind could have the potential to power more than one million homes with renewable energy, according to the federal agency.

Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint, near the Charleston Marina on Dec. 7, 2023, where potential floating offshore wind turbines could be seen.
FILE: Coos Bay Harbor Entrance Viewpoint, near the Charleston Marina, where potential floating offshore wind turbines might someday be seen. Photographed on Dec. 7, 2023.Monica Samayoa / OPB

But the federal push to advance offshore wind has also prompted concerns from tribal leaders and commercial fishing groups about impacts on the marine environment, and broader concerns along the Southern Oregon coast at the speed of federal action before a state effort to guide offshore wind is in place. Federal officials said development will take years, and there will be time to incorporate Oregon’s roadmap, as long as the state meets its own deadlines.

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said the agency will work with government partners and stakeholders.

“We’re excited to unveil these proposed sales and emphasize our commitment to exploring the potential for offshore wind development from coast to coast,” Klein said in a release.

BOEM is also seeking feedback about several of its drafted lease stipulations, including requirements that offshore wind developers make commitments to union jobs and workforce training, that they engage with impacted communities like tribes and the fishing industry, and that they create a community benefits agreement.

The details of the proposed auction and the draft environmental assessment will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday.

A statewide emissions goal, and concerns about marine environments — Floating offshore wind could potentially help Oregon reach its goal for electric utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity they provide by 100% by 2040. But the prospect of the new technology has prompted pushback from residents, as well as calls from Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek for more research. The governor and affected communities have asked for more transparency and engagement from the federal government, which has so far shared limited information about environmental impacts.

That pushback was a factor in the passage of state House Bill 4080, which requires Oregon to develop a roadmap, drawing on engagement with impacted communities and tribes, to define standards for offshore wind energy.

A group that included environmentalists, climate advocates, fishing industry representatives, labor unions and city officials helped draft the legislation, which state lawmakers passed in March.

That informal group, working through the facilitator Oregon Consensus, has provided Kotek with recommendations for creating an floating offshore wind energy roadmap. Recommendations include protecting the environment, culturally significant viewsheds and resources important to tribes, and supporting local communities and the fishing industry.

Kotek said the roadmap will be a critical tool to ensure the state is prepared to assess and coordinate offshore wind opportunities with the federal government, “while also ensuring that local communities are at the forefront of economic, workforce, and supply chain development opportunities,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to reviewing the recommendations from the work group.”

Nicole Hughes is the executive director of Renewable Northwest, and was part of the informal group. She said the most important part of getting so many voices from diverse interests together on this issue was to begin to understand the different concerns from each group as well as build relationships with each other to figure out solutions.

“We know we did not get all the issues, we know there’s things that were left out of consideration, we know that not every Oregonian is going to be able to see themselves in the outline that we wrote,” Hughes said. “But we’re hopeful that the work we did just sets the state agencies up for better success in the actual development of this road map, which we hope and are pushing for a much broader formal stakeholder process than we were able to accommodate in our informal working group.”

She said the group spent about nine months working on the recommendations that also includes “exit ramps,” or checks and balances on how a project should move forward and when to reevaluate or pause a project.

“Some of the ways that those can come up, you know, a new environmental situation that hadn’t been identified before, a new economic situation that hasn’t been identified before,” she said. “These are all things that might cause us to rethink the viability of offshore wind or make us go out and do more research to get more answers to questions that hadn’t yet been posed.”

The Oregon offshore wind energy roadmap is set to be completed by fall 2025.

BOEM’s Klein reiterated the federal agency’s commitment to working with Oregon’s roadmap in a letter sent to Kotek Monday. The federal government expects a sale of the proposed areas is expected to occur in October, she said, and that would likely have an effective date of Jan. 1, 2025.

“A lease does not authorize the construction of projects,” she said in the letter.

Once a developer is chosen, they will have up to five years to submit a project proposal, which will undergo an environmental review before final approval. That review, Klein said, could take at least four years to reach completion.

“Therefore, if the state adheres to the current planned roadmap timeline, the roadmap report and resulting formal policy amendments should be completed well before any [Construction and Operations Plan] decisions are made,” she said.

But news of BOEM’s proposed sale lease announcement on Tuesday left people from the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and some from the fishing industry saying they are disappointed.

Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper said the federal agency should delay moving forward until more research is available to understand environmental and cultural impacts to the tribes and the fishing industry. He also said offshore wind leasing should wait until the Oregon Roadmap is complete.

“No one, including BOEM, has an understanding on how wind development will impact the fragile marine environment,” Tribal Council Chair Brad Kneaper said. “Commercial fishing interests separately requested such a delay. This only makes sense because the roadmap may be a futile effort without a commitment from BOEM to actually consider the recommendations of the Tribe, the State, and coastal stakeholders.”

According to BOEM’s website about Oregon wind energy, “the environmental impacts of any proposed wind energy projects will be assessed after a lease is issued and before BOEM decides whether or not to approve any lessee’s project construction and operations plan.”

Heather Mann, who is the executive director of Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and worked on creating and collaborating with the informal group, said BOEM is rushing the process. She is also considering switching her views to oppose offshore wind.

“BOEM does not care about the Oregon Roadmap process, instead they are rushing to meet a political and electoral deadline,” she said in a statement. “Just because BOEM claims they worked collaboratively with stakeholders doesn’t make it true.

Mann said BOEM’s announcement is undermining the work the informal group has done to work with different interests and to provide recommendations on how to move forward. (SOURCE)

Largest Cascadia Exercise Ever Planned On Coast May 14th And 15th

In the largest exercise of its kind ever on the Oregon coast, Lincoln County Emergency Management, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Human Services’ Office of Resilience and Emergency Management (OREM), city of Newport, Scappoose Fire District, Life Flight, Team Rubicon, and the United States Coast Guard, will host a two-day exercise to introduce and train first responders and volunteers in the deployment of the newest Evacuation Assembly Point (EAP), housed at the Newport Municipal Airport.

On May 14 and 15, emergency management personnel from around the state will respond to a simulated emergency, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and ensuing tsunami. First responders will have an opportunity to set up, test, and demobilize tents and other EAP equipment.

Last month, OREM delivered two Conex containers — heavy duty metal storage and shipping containers — storing the EAP equipment in the northeast corner of the Newport Municipal Airport. Partner agencies, hosted at Oregon Coast Community College, have met several times since to plan for the exercise and familiarize themselves with the equipment.

This EAP is intended for temporary use to triage and provide shelter to individuals who will need to be evacuated off the coast to receive additional assistance or to return home to other parts of the state. Over the course of the two-day event, there will be demonstrations, preparedness activities, and overnight sheltering provided.

This is the second such exercise OREM has delivered to the coast, the first being housed at the Tillamook Airport. The agency plans to establish a third EAP on the south coast this summer. OREM delivers the equipment to local responders and conducts initial training, leaving the EAP in the hands of those who will be faced with the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

“As the lead state agency for mass care and shelter services following disasters, we believe it’s important to get EAP supplies to coastal communities like Lincoln County,” said Ed Flick, OREM director. “Data shows coastal communities are likely to be cut off from the rest of the state during the Cascadia earthquake. Prepositioning EAP supplies and training local communities to use them is one of our priorities.”

Demonstrations will include the use of drones operated by Scappoose Fire’s Aviation unit, a Life Flight rescue helicopter, and the Coast Guard Newport Air Station’s MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter.

“Lincoln County is grateful to ODHS for providing us with the Evacuation Assembly Point,” Lincoln County Emergency Manager Samantha Buckley said. “In a large-scale emergency event, the ability to quickly remove individuals from the area is essential to life safety and the wellbeing of our community. The EAP will allow us to provide shelter and other resources for those being medically evacuated by air. It will make a significant difference in the type of care we can provide.”

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will hold their bi-monthly business meeting on site during this event on the second day, starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15. As always, attendance at the commissioners’ meeting is open to the public. Remote attendance is encouraged, as access to and from the EAP site will be limited to shuttles from the main airport parking lot. If you have special transportation needs and wish to attend the meeting in person, contact public_affairs@co.lincoln.or.us.

County commissioners, county and city emergency management teams, the OREM team and at least one state legislator plan to spend the night at the EAP May 14 as part of the exercise. —- Information provided by Lincoln County and the Oregon Department of Human Services https://www.newsbreak.com/newport-or/3419243392812-largest-cascadia-exercise-ever-planned-on-coast

Fatal Crash – HWY 101 – Tillamook County

Tillamook County, Ore. 27 Apr. 24- On Saturday, April 27, 2024, at 4:55 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy 101, near milepost 39, in Tillamook County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a northbound Dodge Charger, operated by Ellis Miller Heine (56) of Cottage Grove, attempted to pass another vehicle and lost control. The Dodge slid across the northbound lane and into the ditch at highway speeds before striking a tree.

The operator of the Dodge (Ellis Heine) was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital. A passenger in the Dodge, Rhonda Sue Heine (55) of Cottage Grove, was declared deceased at the scene.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. OSP was assisted by the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office and Nehalem Bay Fire.

Fatal Crash – HWY 20 – Lincoln County

Lincoln County, Ore. 26 Apr 24- On Friday, April 26, 2024, at 4:42 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-20, near milepost 1.5, in Lincoln County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a westbound Subaru Forester, operated by Velma June Freudenthal (78) of Newport, crossed the centerline into the eastbound lanes and struck an eastbound Nissan light duty pickup, operated by Christopher Michael Robeson (62) of Siletz, head-on.

The operator the Nissan (Robeson) was declared deceased at the scene. A passenger in the Nissan, Ramona Lynette Luledjian (55) of Toledo, was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital.

The operator of the Subaru (Freudenthal) suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. The highway was impacted for approximately four hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is under investigation. OSP was assisted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Newport Fire, and ODOT.

Arrest Made In Hatchery Fish Kill

An Oregon man was arrested this week, accused of breaking into a Reedsport, Oregon, hatchery and pouring bleach into a rearing pond that killed 17,890 young Chinook salmon.

The targeted Gardiner, Reedsport, Winchester Bay hatchery is part of Oregon’s volunteer Salmon Trout Enhancement Program and hosts four such tanks. The fish killed were intended for release into the lower Umpqua River, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a release Thursday.

Once grown, the survivors would have numbered 200 to 400 available to be fished, the hatchery said in a Facebook post.

Law enforcement was made aware of the break-in to the hatchery and the tank poisoning on Monday. Joshua Heckathorn, 20, is accused of breaking in and pouring the bleach, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook.

On Tuesday, a sheriff’s deputy spotted Mr. Heckathorn back at the hatchery behind a locked gate and a “no trespassing” sign. The suspect admitted to breaking in and handling the bleach the day prior, the sheriff’s office said.

Mr. Heckathorn was then arrested.

He is charged with second-degree burglary, the unlawful taking of Chinook salmon and first-degree criminal mischief, all felonies, as well as criminal trespass and making a toxic substance available to wildlife, both misdemeanors, according to state wildlife officials and the sheriff’s office. The Chinook is the largest and most highly valued species of Pacific salmon.

If convicted, Mr. Heckathorn could face up to five years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.

National Small Business Week Celebrated April 28 to May 4, 2024

There are far-reaching advantages to deciding to “shop local.” By supporting local businesses, you are in turn supporting your local economy; significantly more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally owned – rather than nationally owned – businesses.

The U.S. Small Business Association and the U.S. Department of Labor report the positive impacts of small, independent businesses on local economies.

  • Local businesses are more likely to utilize other local businesses such as banks, service providers, and farms.
  • For every $100 you spend at local businesses, $68 will stay in the community.
  • Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains.
  • Small businesses employ 77 million Americans and accounted for 65% of all new jobs over the past 17 years.

In addition to helping build the local economy, there are also notable intangible benefits that come from supporting businesses in your local community.

  • Local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors!  They care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future.
  • Local businesses are more accountable to their local communities and donate more money to non-profits.
  • Supporting local businesses is good for the environment because they often have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies.

It isn’t always the easiest or most convenient option to visit a local independent business rather than a large national chain that might be down the street. However, there are plenty of ways you can help support your local economy by thinking local first:

  1. Try the menu at a local restaurant for lunch or dinner
  2. Purchase a birthday present at a local gift shop
  3. Join a local gym
  4. Visit a local nursery or hardware store for your lawn and garden needs
  5. Get your car serviced at a local mechanic
  6. Visit a farmer’s market to purchase the ingredients for your family dinner.

Top 10 Reasons to Shop Local First

  1. To shape and preserve our distinctive community character
  2. Local competition and diversity leads to more product choices
  3. It keeps and recirculates money in our community
  4. You’ll help support local job and opportunity creation
  5. It reduces environmental impact locally
  6. Because local businesses reinvest in our community
  7. It strengthens the local economy
  8. Because the local businesses help fund local non-profits
  9. To ensure that tax dollars stay local
  10. It encourages community pride and ownership

So the next time you need to run out for some groceries or do a little shopping, seek out a local business and see what they have to offer!  You could discover some great products and services while helping to build a strong and successful community around you.

When you invest money in your local economy, you’re not just helping local business owners — you’re also helping yourself. You’re making your town a better place to live in, with a rich character, thriving economy, and tightly knit community. And the more local businesses prosper, the more new ones will open, making it even easier to continue shopping locally in the future.

Join the conversation and tell us about a great local business in your community:  info@oregonbeachmagazine.com

Coos Bay Man Sentenced To More Than 8 Years In Prison For Stabbing And Attempted Kidnapping

A 40-year-old Coos Bay man has been sentenced to more than 8 years in prison last Friday as part of a plea deal for an incident last October in which he stabbed a man and attempted to kidnap the victim’s girlfriend, according to the Coos County Sheriff’s Office and court records.

CCSO officials said that Brian A. Springer was sentenced to 100 months on April 19 after accepting a plea agreement on the charges of second-degree assault, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, and menacing. The charges stemmed from an incident that happened in the area of John Topits Park on October 27, 2023 in which authorities responded to a report of a man and his girlfriend being attacked, according to the Coos Bay Police Department. Authorities said that Springer allegedly stabbed another man and then attempted to kidnap the woman he was with and was arrested by the CBPD with the help of the Coos County Sheriff’s Office and a K9 unit after being spotted in a parking lot at Southwestern Oregon Community College. At the time he was arrested, Coos Bay police held probable cause for his arrest in relation to several other cases, authorities said.

Lincoln County Announces Low Income Program To Help Spay And Neuter Pets

Lincoln County has announced it will use some of its federal relief funds for a spay and neuter service to help counter dog and cat overpopulation that was substantially worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The program is for local low-income households that cannot afford spay and neuter services for their pets. County staff will work with applicants and participating veterinarians’ offices to coordinate and submit payment for the procedures.

To qualify, people must be a resident of Lincoln County and income eligible, which can be confirmed by showing eligibility for SNAP/TANF; WIC; OHP; Medicaid; housing assistance; supplemental social security income; veterans pension benefits; and surviving spouse pension benefits.

The applications are online. For the English version go here; for the Spanish version, go here.

For assistance filling out the application, call the helpline at 541-270-3393. Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter has volunteered to help answer questions on the helpline and assist applicants who do not have access to computers.

“Our county fell woefully behind in spaying and neutering during the pandemic, when many vets had to suspend elective surgeries altogether, and after the fires of fall 2020, which meant financial hardship for many residents,” said FOLCAS president Emily DeHuff. “These subsidies will go a long way in getting spay/neuter rates back on track.”

People who do not meet the income qualification for the county program can apply for spay/neuter and other veterinary care assistance through other programs administered by the humane society by visiting www.centralcoasthumanesociety.com and completing a request for assistance form. (SOURCE)

Rhododendron Quilt Guild (RQG) is pleased to announce a quilt show and sale taking place from 10:30 am to 5 p.m. on Friday May 17th and 10:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 18th.

This exciting event will feature a stunning display of beautiful and intricate quilts, handmade by local artisans.

Visitors to the quilt show and sale can expect to see a variety of quilt styles, including traditional, modern, and contemporary designs. The quilts on display will feature a range of colors, patterns, and techniques, showcasing the diverse talents of the local quilting community. In addition to the quilt show, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase quilts, as well as other handmade items such as table runners, wall hangings, and tote bags. There will also be fabrics, patterns, and quilting supplies sold, making this event a one-stop-shop for all quilting enthusiasts. Rhododendron Quilt Guild is proud to host this event and celebrate the talent of the local quilting community.

MORE INFO: http://www.rhodyquilt.com/

EVCNB

Emergency Volunteer Corps of Nehalem Bay

Garden volunteers needed at Shore Acres State Park April through September

— Come share your gardening skills or learn new ones as a garden volunteer at Shore Acres State Park.

Join rangers in caring for the gardens 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Friday of every month from April through September. Tasks vary depending on the season and could include cleaning out the pond, pruning roses, trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, mulching, planting and helping to remove invasive species.

The 2024 garden volunteer schedule:

  • April 19: Pond clean out
  • May 17: Prepare for summer
  • June 21: Garden clean up
  • July 19: Garden clean up
  • Aug. 16: English ivy pull
  • Sept. 20: Prepare for fall

Sign up for one or more of these events at https://form.jotform.com/240225153017140

Participants should be prepared to travel a short distance on uneven ground and trails to the service site. Service will take place outdoors, and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools.

Dress for the weather. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. Remember to bring a water bottle, sack lunch and work gloves if you have them (some will be provided if not).

Three People Announced as Winners of $1.3 Billion Powerball Jackpot

Cheng “Charlie” Saephan of Portland is one of three winners sharing the historic $1.3 billion Powerball prize.

Salem, Ore. –  A Portland man, his wife, and their friend are making history as winners of the fourth largest Powerball jackpot. Cheng “Charlie” Saephan, 46, purchased the ticket for the April 6, 2024 drawing and was the only person in the country to match all five numbers plus the Powerball.

Saephan is sharing the prize with 37 year-old Duanpen Saephan, his wife, and friend Laiza Chao, 55, of Milwaukie. The prize will be split among the three individuals: 50% (Chao) and 25%, 25% (Saephans). All three elected to take the cash option, which totals $422,309,193.97 after taxes.

Saephan, who has battled cancer and is fighting a recurrence, was relying on a combination of faith and luck when he purchased over 20 tickets for the drawing. In the weeks leading up to the jackpot, he wrote out numbers from the game (1-69) on a piece of paper and slept with it under his pillow.

“I prayed to God to help me,” he said, “My kids are young and I’m not that healthy.”

Saephan, who is Iu-Mienh, was born in Laos and has lived in Portland for the past 30 years. He said the prize will allow him and his family to live “worry free” in light of his illness.

Chao gave Saephan $100 toward the purchase of tickets for the game. After discovering he was holding the winning ticket, he called her to share the news.

“I said, ‘Laiza, where are you?’ and she said, ‘I’m going to work,’” said Saephan. “I replied, ‘You don’t have to go anymore.’”

The win is by far the biggest prize ever won in Oregon. Previously, the largest Powerball prize won in Oregon was a $340 million jackpot in 2005.

“I want to offer my heartfelt congratulations to the Saephans and Ms. Chao on this historic win,” said Oregon Lottery Director Mike Wells. “Not only is the prize life-changing for the three of them and their families, it’s also a huge win for the state.”

Approximately a third of sales from Powerball will be returned to state beneficiaries to support economic development, education, veteran services, state parks and more. The retailer that sold the winning ticket, Plaid Pantry, will also receive a $100,000 bonus.

Powerball is a multi-state jackpot operated by 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned nearly $15.5 billion for economic development, public education, outdoor school, state parks, veteran services, and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery, visit www.oregonlottery.org.

 

PNW News: The last of four zebras that escaped Sunday from a trailer on Interstate 90 in North Bend, Wash., is still on the loose in the Seattle suburb.

“There have been a couple of sightings that folks in the North Bend area of King County have called in today,” Cameron Satterfield, a spokesperson for Regional Animal Services of King County, said Tuesday afternoon.

zebra

But, he noted, “As yet, we have not been able to capture the fourth zebra.”

That fourth zebra is an adult male. Initial reports said the four zebras were being taken to a wildlife refuge in Montana, but according to Satterfield, the zebras were actually heading from Winlock, Wash., to a petting zoo in Montana.

So far, Satterfield said, the Animal Services agency has received reports of the zebra walking through yards, and it was once caught on a Ring camera.

Radio station MyNorthwest shared a video of the zebra on a trail camera.

While the typical spring Pacific Northwest weather shouldn’t pose much of a problem for the zebra, authorities are concerned about predators, including cougars and bears, and the busy freeway in the area the zebra has been wandering.

“It’s in an environment it’s not used to,” Satterfield said. “It’s scared.”

Animal control officers are stepping up patrols in the area, Satterfield said, and officials are relying on neighbors to report any zebra sightings. The King County Sheriff’s Office asked anyone who sees the zebra to call 911 or 206-296-7387.

“DO NOT try to capture it yourself,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.

Ultimately, Satterfield said, the goal is to recapture the zebra and get him back on the path to Montana. “We really don’t want a zebra running wild through the foothills of the Cascades,” he said. (SOURCE)

May is Wildfire Awareness Month

SALEM, Ore. – May is Wildfire Awareness Month. Oregon experiences its heaviest wildfire activity during the summer months, but fires occur all seasons of the year including spring. Keep Oregon Green, in partnership with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will be spreading the word about the steps we all can take to prevent the start of careless, unwanted wildfires this summer, and encouraging Oregonians to create defensible space around homes and outbuildings.

At stake: lives, property and scenic beauty – Each year, over 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people. Many are a result of escaped debris burn piles or gas-powered equipment and vehicles casting sparks or catching fire.

During the 2023 fire season, the Oregon Department of Forestry reported that people were directly responsible for sparking 823 wildfires that burned 6,197 acres. Any spark can gain traction in dry vegetation, spread quickly and impact lives, personal property, and the many benefits provided by Oregon’s scenic natural areas.

Before heading outdoors this summer, contact the agency or landowner who manages the land at your destination for an update on current fire restrictions or bans. Any visitor to Oregon’s natural areas should be familiar with these restrictions before building campfires or using equipment that could ignite a wildfire.

Put Your Smokey Hat On – Smokey Bear is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Smokey is a beloved and trusted American icon that has educated the public on preventing human caused wildfires since 1944. His timeless and important message celebrates people who take responsibility and prevent wildfires. Smokey’s hat is the driving force behind Keep Oregon Green’s 2024 summer wildfire prevention campaign. “Put Your Smokey Hat On” is a call to action, encouraging the public to predict the outcome of their actions and do everything they can to prevent wildfire ignitions. Campaign artwork, PSAs, and additional wildfire safety tips can be found at keeporegongreen.org and its various social media platforms.

Coming soon: More Wildfire Awareness Month tips – During May, a new wildfire prevention topic will be shared each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to prevent their outdoor activities from sparking the next wildfire. For more information, visit the websites for Keep Oregon Green at www.keeporegongreen.org, the Oregon Department of Forestry at www.oregon.gov/odf, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal at https://www.oregon.gov/osfm/education/pages/prevent-wildfires.aspx

Follow Oregon wildfire news and prevention updates on social media: Twitter @keeporegongreen, @ORDeptForestry and @OSFM

Former Oregon Department of Human Services Employee Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Violating the Civil Rights of a Developmentally Disabled Woman in His Care

PORTLAND, Ore.—A former Oregon Department of Human Services employee was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison today for violating the civil rights of a woman with developmental disabilities in his care by engaging in sexual misconduct with her.

Zakary Edward Glover, 30, of Lebanon, Oregon, was sentenced to 300 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

“Mr. Glover’s crimes profoundly betrayed the trust placed in him as a state health care support specialist,” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We thank our partners at the FBI, Oregon State Police, and Civil Rights Division for their commitment to this victim and the safety of all Oregonians.”

“This defendant engaged in deplorable acts of sexual misconduct and targeted a victim with severe developmental disabilities who was entrusted to his care and could not defend herself,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The defendant breached the public trust and violated the most basic standards of decency. The significant sentence imposed should send a strong message that the Justice Department will do all it can to hold accountable those who abuse their authority by sexual assaulting people in their custody and under their care.”

“Zakary Glover’s actions are inexcusable and appalling,” said Douglas A. Olson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “The FBI will not stand by when people in positions of trust violate and victimize vulnerable community members. Mr. Glover abused his power and today’s sentence sends the message that the FBI and our partners will hold accountable anyone in a position of power who fails the citizens of their community.”

According to the court documents, Glover served as a Direct Support Crisis Specialist for the Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Developmental Disabilities Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU). SACU operates several 24-hour crisis residential programs in Oregon that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a SACU employee, Glover was tasked with ensuring the health, safety and security of the individuals who lived at the residential facility where he worked.

The victim, who has severe autism and cognitive deficits, was one of the individuals under Glover’s care. As part of his duties, Glover took the victim on outings in a state-owned van. The van used for such outings was purposely secured with child locks and a heavy plastic partition between the front and rear seats so that individuals like Glover’s victim cannot get out.

On November 2, 2021, while on an outing with the victim, Glover drove down a dead-end road near a cemetery in Aumsville, Oregon. Upon reaching the dead-end, he parked the van near the cemetery’s gate and proceeded to engage in sexual acts with the victim without her consent.

On February 18, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Glover with depriving the victim of her constitutional right to bodily integrity under color of law involving attempted aggravated sexual abuse and kidnapping.

On January 9, 2024, Glover pleaded guilty to depriving the victim of her constitutional right to bodily integrity under color of law involving attempted aggravated sexual abuse.

This case was investigated by the FBI Portland Field Office with assistance from Oregon State Police. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gavin Bruce of the District of Oregon and Trial Attorney Daniel Gruner of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

One quarter of Oregon’s 197 school districts will get summer school money from state

The Oregon Department of Education is doling out $30 million to school districts and charters for summer programming this year

Most Oregon school districts and the hundreds of thousands of students that they serve, once again, will not benefit from any additional summer school funding from the state this year.

The Oregon Department of Education recently released the list of 48 school districts and 24 charter schools that will have access to a portion of $30 million allocated for summer school during the short legislative session in February. The selected districts have until May 3 to submit their plans to receive their allocated money or to decline.

The state is allocating $20,000 to $1.5 million to each of those 48 districts, depending on the number of students served. The state’s 19 education service districts this year will also each get between $20,000 and $80,000 to help support multiple districts within their boundaries, but overall, only about one-quarter of the state’s 197 school districts will get additional funding. An estimated 48,000 students will benefit, according to a news release from Gov. Tina Kotek. There are more than 547,000 students enrolled in Oregon public schools.

Districts that get additional money will be able to pay for more credit recovery programs, tutors and other classes that can help students get caught up in key subjects and grade-level knowledge this summer. Others will likely have to limit some offerings.

The Oregon Department of Education prioritized allocating money for districts with high proportions of historically underserved students, and it focused on helping small and rural districts and spreading out payment based on geographic diversity, according to Marc Siegel, a spokesperson for the agency.

Adjusting offerings

Portland Public Schools is on a waiting list for $1.5 million, as are some of the largest districts within different parts of the state, including the Medford, Eugene and Bend-La Pine school districts.

“As the largest district in the state, estimated to serve more than 3,000 focal students this summer, we are disappointed that we will not likely have an opportunity to apply for the funding passed by the Legislature this spring,” said Sydney Kelly, a spokesperson for Portland Public Schools.

She said the district found one-time funding sources to help this summer and will adjust offerings to account for the lack of money, but she said the district needs sustainable funding from the state to offer summer school going forward.

The $30 million allocation from the Legislature is significantly less than the hundreds of millions that districts received in the two years immediately following pandemic school closures and the $50 million that Kotek wanted lawmakers to pass this session. Advocates for summer school had hoped the Legislature would continue a higher level of funding to get students caught up following more than a year of school closures and to address behavioral health issues exacerbated by the pandemic.

“It is important to note that the $30 million allocated under House Bill 4082, while substantial, is significantly less than the $200 million and $150 million provided during the peak of federal pandemic aid in 2021 and 2022, respectively,” Siegel said in an email. “Those exceptional amounts reflected the temporary availability of federal resources, which are no longer available.”

Most Oregon school districts have spent their portion of the $1.6 billion of pandemic aid money sent to Oregon from the U.S. Department of Education. About $319 million remains to be spent before the funding expires in September, according to state data.

During the summer of 2023 lawmakers did not allocate any additional money for summer school or community-based summer learning programs. Some programs that were staffed in 2021 and 2022 shut down in 2023. School districts and larger groups such as YMCA and Boys & Girls Club cut field trips and other offerings. A survey from the Oregon Afterschool & Summer for Kids Network, or OregonASK, a nonprofit network of educational groups, found that despite increased demand statewide, about half of community groups were forced to scale back programs without the additional state funding.

Districts are allowed to partner with nonprofit community groups and to use the money to collaborate on programming. Whitney Grubbs, executive director of the nonprofit Foundations for a Better Oregon, said she expects a “meaningful” level of district funding to reach community-based organizations, but that they’ll need more in the future.

“It’s an important start, but still nowhere near enough,” Grubb said in an email. “Students in every community deserve access to summer learning, and many school districts and community-based organizations are spotlighting the overwhelming desire and need to do more.” (SOURCE)

CMS Places Oregon State Hospital in Immediate Jeopardy Status

(Salem, OR)_Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has placed Oregon State Hospital (OSH) in immediate jeopardy status. CMS surveyors noted that emergency response equipment was located in more than one room in the admissions area of the Salem campus.

CMS surveyors were on site after OSH reported a patient death shortly after arrival. Although the location of the Code Blue equipment did not contribute to the patient death, it was identified as a potential future safety risk.

“The primary concern was that all Code Blue equipment for the admissions area was not in the same room. We have already rectified this,” said Interim Superintendent and Chief Medical Officer, Sara Walker, M.D. “I am confident that together we will make the necessary changes to provide a safer environment for patients.”

Meanwhile, a core team of clinical and administrative personnel are creating an immediate jeopardy removal plan describing exactly how and when the hospital will correct any remaining issues (e.g., updating signage) and will continue to abide by this standard to ensure patient safety. OSH will submit the plan early this week. If the plan receives preliminary approval, a CMS surveyor will conduct another unannounced visit to review implementation.

If the plan is successful, CMS will take OSH out of immediate jeopardy status. Otherwise, the hospital may lose eligibility to receive federal Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement for services.

Oregon Secretary of State releases 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released a civic engagement toolkit today, aimed at helping organizations do voter registration and voter turnout work in the 2024 elections.

The tools included in the 2024 toolkit are official, non-partisan, research-backed and free to use with or without attribution to our office.

Download the 2024 Civic Engagement Toolkit here.

 

ODOT Reminding The Public That Political Signs Posted Incorrectly Will Be Removed

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would like to remind the public that political signs posted incorrectly will be removed.

 

ODOT will remove improperly placed signs like the one above and hold them at the nearest ODOT maintenance yard. Photo courtesy of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

During election season ODOT tells us they receive complaints from the public and candidates regarding the improper placement of political signs on the state highway rights of way, where only official traffic control devices are allowed. Improperly placed signs can distract drivers and block road safety messages.

Wrongly placed signs will be taken down and held at a nearby ODOT district maintenance office for 30 days. To reclaim signs, go here to find the nearest ODOT maintenance office.

Signs are prohibited on trees, utility poles, fence posts and natural features within highway right-of-ways, ODOT tells us. They also are prohibited within view of a designated scenic area.

State highway width rights of way can vary considerably depending on the location. Check with your local ODOT district maintenance office to determine whether placing a sign is on private property or highway right of way. Local municipalities may also regulate the placement of political signs.

Political signs are allowed on private property within view of state highways with the following restrictions:

  • Signs are limited to 12 square feet but can be up to 32 square feet with a variance from our Oregon Advertising Sign program
  • Signs cannot have flashing or intermittent lights, or animated or moving parts
  • Signs must not imitate official highway signs or devices
  • Signs are not allowed in scenic corridors
  • No payment or compensation of any kind can be exchanged for either the placement of or the message on temporary signs, including political signs, which are visible to a state highway

For more information go to ODOT’s Outdoor Advertising Sign Program.

Oregon Offers Electric Car Rebates Again – Apply Now Until June 3rd

Home

Due to high demand and limited funding, OCVRP will be open for a short time in 2024. Vehicles must be purchased or leased between April 3, 2024, to June 3, 2024, to be eligible for a rebate.

Applicants have six months from their date of purchase or lease to apply. Low- and moderate-income households can prequalify for the $5,000 Charge Ahead rebate by completing the application now at https://apps.oregon.gov/DEQ/Voucher/apply.

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.

May be an image of 4 people and text

Contact us: Info@OregonBeachMagazine.com

Related posts

Oregon Beach News, Friday 5/20 – The Rhododendron Festival in Full Swing, Oregon Coast Aquarium Celebrates 30 Years

Renee Shaw

Oregon Beach News, Thursday 12/24 – Bags of Chia Seeds Wash Ashore on Central Coast, Oregon Fares Better Than Nearly All States by Two Key COVID-19 Measures

Renee Shaw

Oregon Beach News, Monday 5/13 – Largest Cascadia Exercise Ever Planned On Coast May 14th And 15th, 117th Annual Rhododendron Festival Crowns Court and Gets Ready to Kick off on Thursday & Other Local and Statewide News…

Renee Shaw