Oregon Beach News, Wednesday 9/21 – Hunger Remains A Constant Concern Along Oregon Coast, Waldport Area Meals On Wheels Desperately Needs Volunteers, Florence Food Share Sees Increase

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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Hunger Remains A Constant Concern Along Oregon Coast and Throughout Oregon

The Oregon Food Bank is working to make sure Oregonians know where their next meal is coming from, and they plan to take their efforts to the ballot box.

September is Hunger Action Month, and in their “State of Hunger” address the Oregon Food Bank said the last two years have led to hardships and higher costs for people due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, heatwaves and the war in Ukraine. These higher costs have impacted communities and food banks across Oregon. The Oregon Food Bank says groceries are costing families about 10% more, and with things like rising gas prices, it now costs food banks a lot more to get food to people in need. Oregon Food Bank CEO Susannah Morgan said these rising costs are making it harder for families to put food on the table.

“For families struggling to make ends meet, every dollar counts and these rising costs have a real impact on people’s ability to put food on the table,” Morgan said. “So yes, we are absolutely seeing a rise in need for support — whether through our emergency food assistance network or critical programs like SNAP and WIC.”

The Oregon Food Bank says about one in five Oregonians face food insecurity. This especially impacts communities that have faced hunger and poverty for generations, such as people of color, immigrants and single mothers. Oregon Food Bank says the best way to fight food insecurity is to vote.

“Legislators pass laws that impact our families’ ability to put food on the table. Governors set budget priorities that determine whether or not our emergency food assistance network has the resources we’ll need,” Morgan said. “Depending on where you live, we expect to see initiatives on racial justice, community safety, access to early childhood education, and more — all root causes of food insecurity.”

One of the issues the Oregon Food Bank is focusing on for the upcoming elections are measures that would guarantee access to affordable healthcare in Oregon. They say food insecurity and the cost of health care are directly linked — the more a family pays for health care, the more they will have to worry about putting food on the table.

Those who would like to get involved in the Oregon Food Bank’s efforts can visit their website, where key ballot information as well as various candidates’ thoughts on issues related to hunger can be found. They will even help interested individuals register to vote. For those who would like to fight hunger more directly, the Oregon Food Bank recommends volunteering to sort food at a warehouse or donating to a local food bank.

People are feeling the pinch everywhere. The number of people coming to Florence Food Share are up.

FLORENCE FOOD SHARE

“Significantly,” Florence Food Share Executive Director Colin Morgan said. “Times are tough. Right now an average day for us is 40 or 50 families, and 300 unique families a month.”

The average family is 2.75 individuals, which translates to over 3,000 people a year served.

“And that ranges from folks who are having a really tight month, in between jobs, to an individual who’s on social security. There are folks who use us just once a year when times are tough, and others use us frequently throughout the year. All are welcome,” Morgan said.

The executive director stressed that Florence Food Share has ample supply to support the need, and programs in delivering food to people have exceeded expectations. The food share also received financial help from a Lane County grant that will considerably help its bottom line.

But the increasing numbers are staggering. August use broke records, with Florence Food Share distributing 979 boxes of food, going to more than 400 families.

“During the pandemic, we saw our numbers dip, actually,” Morgan pointed out. “Folks had a significant amount of government aid.” While the aid dried up, the need for services didn’t.

“You have a lot of seniors and a lot of families who don’t have that government aid anymore that are coming in,” Morgan said. “We’re getting a lot of folks who never utilize services, utilizing them for the first time. At the same time, people who previously needed assistance are using food share more frequently.”

And the people are coming in from all over the Siuslaw region. While the majority of Florence Food Share clients live in Florence, Dunes City makes up a large portion, as do upriver community members. Morgan praised the neighboring Mapleton Food Share for its offerings, and stated the program does everything it can to be available to people.

“They have a number on their door to get assistance at any time,” he said. “But sometimes it’s easier if you work in Florence to just go into Florence Food Share.”

The motivations to use food share are complex. “Minimum wage might be going up, but gas prices went up a lot faster. And folks that are on Social Security aren’t seeing minimum wage go up,” Morgan said. “Employers are only able to employ people at part time, and not give them the full time because the benefits would bankrupt them. Folks are working multiple part-time jobs, which not only stresses out mom and dad, but it doesn’t bring in the kind of money that you would have with really good quality, full-time jobs.”

Gas prices have gone up, which is particularly difficult for those who commute to work. It also raises prices at the grocery stores.

“That means all of these little things you’d never think of are getting so much more expensive,” Morgan said.

And rising rates in the rental and mortgage market have made food insecurity even more tenacious. “Rent and house payments are massive reasons people are here,” Morgan said. “If the decision you’re making is, ‘Do I skip meals, or pay rent to have a roof over my head,’ the answer is ‘yes,’ you’re going to skip meals. But then you don’t have the energy to succeed. Employees aren’t as effective, which means that businesses need more folks to do the same jobs.”

This creates trickle down effects. Employees, exhausted from work and hunger, begin to withdraw from the community.

“Hunger is a real linchpin to the entire economy,” Morgan said. But helping to lessen hunger is a balancing act.

“You always want people to utilize services, and you want to make sure that they are able to get services,” Morgan said. “But at the same token, we’re not trying to keep people in this position. We’re hoping that anything that we do will help them fulfill their needs in the communities, and be members of that community. Our goal is not to make a problem, it’s to get help with a problem.”

Part of that goal is making it easier for people to obtain food. Morgan touted the “Rides United” program, through United Way, which allows community members to have food delivered by DoorDash.

“So far, it’s been successful. There’s around 30 folks who utilize it weekly, and that doesn’t count those who rotate periodically,” said Morgan. “It grew much faster than anticipated.”

More recently, it’s pushing the Florence Food Project. Green bags have been distributed throughout the community, with emphasis on churches, to be filled with non-perishable food items for the pantry. The bags are picked up every one or two weeks.

And Florence Food Share has received help for its own operations, with the recent awarding of a $25,000 grant from Lane County, taken from funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The grant is equivalent to around 10 percent of the food share’s annual budget.

“It’s going to help us continue to operate — keep the lights on, keep the truck running, picking up food,” Morgan said. “It’s going to keep people working here to make this vision happen. It’s more effective for us to accomplish the mission when we’re not having to spend as much time fighting for every operational dollar. So it makes a big impact when these types of funding opportunities come up.”

The grant is particularly vital for the food share as people typically don’t like to donate for operational expenses.

“A lot of folks and donors, big and small, don’t like to fund operations,” Morgan said. “They think, ‘Oh, it’s going to some bigwig’s paycheck.’ But that’s really not the case with Florence Food Share.”

Instead of donating cash, people tend to donate food, knowing that it will go directly to people.

“And we love that, we appreciate it, and it’s awesome — but it takes a lot to get the food from the store to the plate. There’s a lot of things that have to happen to get them there,” Morgan said.

Essentially, Florence Food Share is a grocery store, and with it comes all the costs.

“You have a lot of bills,” Morgan said. “You have insurance, you have to make sure that your dry goods facilities have good quality siding and roofing.”

There’s truck maintenance to get the food from the stores to the food share.

“And then we have to get it into the warehouse, process it, get it refrigerated,” Morgan said. “That’s another bill — you have to make sure you have the refrigeration and the maintenance on those appliances.”

And when Florence Food Share sees increases in clients, it introduces additional financial stress beyond keeping the shelves stocked.

“When you’re busier, you’re moving more products through, you have more staff time taken to make sure folks are okay, because you have more folks coming in,” Morgan said. “Take refrigeration. When you’re stressed, it takes longer to make decisions, which means you have doors open longer, which means energy bills go up.”

And there’s more staff time involved with helping people.

“Folks that you’re serving need more assistance with that service than when you’re quieter,” Morgan explained. “When you’re quieter, there’s not as much of a panic in the community, so there’s more staff time for de-escalation to help folks get into the services so that you try to alleviate that stress.”

And it’s unclear how long that community stress will last, as the issues facing Food Share clients are so varied.

“People are seeing the crunch. They’re worried, they’re concerned, they’re nervous,” Morgan said. “If this trend keeps continuing or increasing, there’s going to be a tipping point where the economy can no longer sustain. Employers will be cutting back significant portions of their employee base, and we’re going to be in real trouble. That would be my biggest concern right now.”

Despite that, Florence Food Share clients are hopeful.

“They lived through the recession in 2008 and are hopeful they can get through,” Morgan said. “My hope and goal is that food share can do the best it can to ease people’s worries. We have to be reminding ourselves that the world is really great. We have clean air, we have running water, we have food. Even with all the doom and gloom, we’re in a very privileged position.”

To help alleviate economic pressure, Morgan suggested that people focus on shopping local, to keep the money in the community.

“Another big part is saving what you can and being prepared for things to get worse — but hoping that they’re not,” Morgan said.

But most importantly, Morgan stressed the importance of community unity.

“The Florence community can do an awful lot, when it puts its mind to it,” he said. “We need to hunker down and do what Florence does best – which is stick together.”

For more information on Florence Food Share, and to donate, visit http://florencefoodshare.org. To take part in the Florence Food Project, call 541-997-9110.

Waldport Area Meals On Wheels Desperately Needs Volunteers

A shortage of volunteers has spurred an urgent call for more helpers – and possibly put the viability of the operation into question. More than 60 people from Yachats to Seal Rock and up Oregon Highway 34 depend on Meals on Wheels to provide warm mid-day meals three times a week.

Based at the Waldport Community Center, the agency overseeing Meals on Wheels has “a concern about the sustainability of the program,” said program director Randi Moore with the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments.

The meals program is the largest offered in the region by the Albany-based organization, serving seniors over 60 years of age and their spouses with both on-site meals and home delivery in Lincoln, Linn and Benton counties. People with disabilities who are under 60, and Native Americans over 55 are also eligible.

The Waldport operation maintains sit-down service on Mondays and Fridays; Wednesday service will be available in October when the weekly outdoor market ends. Home delivery is provided to recipients on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Recipients are asked to donate what they can, if anything, to help offset costs.

“Without our dedicated volunteers it would be impossible to pay for the work force hours needed to package, serve and deliver the 11,552 meals that were provided” by the Waldport site in fiscal 2021-22, Moore said. Federal and state funding sources, she said, cover only a part of the ongoing cost of operating Meals on Wheels.

After a Yachats volunteer described the Waldport operation as “desperately short of volunteers” on social media, Waldport site manager Nicole Person said she needs two types of volunteers — delivery drivers and kitchen staff.

“Volunteers in the kitchen portion out the meals, pack them for each consumer and then plate the hot entrees in trays for delivery by the drivers,” Person said in an email. Then, “we prepare for dining room service … and bring the food out to our diners. And then we clean up.”

Person said she needs two kitchen workers for each of the three days Meals on Wheels serves. Volunteers arrive between 9-9:30 a.m. and can expect to be done by 12:30-1 p.m. Drivers are also wanted for three different routes to deliver meals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Volunteers can pitch in for one day, two or all three.

People interested may call Person at 541-563-8796. She said she’s at the Waldport Community Center, 265 N.W. Hemlock St. from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

In addition to the Waldport operation, the Lincoln County program also includes sites in Newport, Toledo, Siletz and Lincoln City.

Prescribed Fire Planned for Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge September 24-25

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planning to conduct a prescribed fire on grasslands at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). The first burn is planned for September 24-25, 2022.

There are multiple factors to consider prior to burning, including public safety, the temperature, moisture content of the vegetation, and wind direction and speed. The prescribed fire will only be ignited when these factors are ideal for burning.

The Refuge is burning to restore healthy habitat for wildlife. One of the special habitats the Refuge is restoring at Nestucca Bay is coastal prairie. The coastal prairie restoration is designed to meet the habitat requirements of the Oregon Silverspot butterfly, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, which has declined significantly. The Refuge uses a variety of tools for this restoration, including haying, mowing, herbicide treatment, planting and seeding, and prescribed fire.

Prescribed fires are beneficial, carefully planned, and strategically located. They are carefully monitored and manipulated by trained fire professionals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is consulting with local fire management agencies to ensure all safety measures are taken to reduce risk to people and wildlife. Safety risks of any prescribed fire include potential smoke impacts, undesired fire effects, and the unlikely but possible escape of fire outside of the planned area. Extensive planning has occurred to ensure that all safety measures are taken to reduce these risks, including the approval of a Prescribed Fire Plan.

The Prescribed Fire Plan addresses everything needed to plan for and implement the fire. A prescribed fire is only conducted under very specific conditions set out in the plan and depending upon available resources, time of year, weather and desired results.
The prescribe burn will be conducted in the minimum number of acres required to meet habitat objectives.

The burn is planned and executed by fire management professionals with the Bureau of Land Management and the USFWS Fire Management Program. Fire managers are coordinating with the Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District and Oregon Department of Forestry. National Weather Service local forecasts are requested and reviewed to ensure the amount and duration of smoke impact on the local community is limited.

During the burn days, the Two Rivers Nature Trail, the Pacific View trail and access to the upper parking lot will be closed to the public. Call 541-270-3191 for up to date information on the burn schedule.

Join Lane, Lincoln, Douglas and Coos counties at the 2022 Color the Coast for Autism Acceptance — Autism Walk & Family Fun Day at Miller Park on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Autism Society of Oregon

Join the Autism Society of Oregon (ASO) for a family-friendly, Autism-friendly event celebrating Autistic people and the Autism community in Lane, Lincoln, Douglas and Coos counties at the 2022 Color the Coast for Autism Acceptance — Autism Walk & Family Fun Day at Miller Park on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Fun starts at 10 a.m. Fully accessible walk begins at 11 a.m. Participants can run or walk any length.

Registration is $10 for adults, 18-years and older, and $5 for children 3-17 years. Children under 2 years old are free.

Registration includes event t-shirt and snack bag. Event will include temporary tattoos, bouncy house, resource tables, costumed characters, raffles and much more.

Net proceeds from the event support ASO’s programs in Lane, Lincoln, Douglas and Coos counties.

For questions, contact ASO at 503-636-1676 or info@autismsocietyoregon.org.

When registering, you’ll have the opportunity to create a fundraising page to help support ASO’s programs, but it’s not required. To register online go to secure.qgiv.com/event/ctc4aa2022/register/form/registration by Thursday, Sept. 22, at 10 p.m. Registration will be available at event, but t-shirt is not guaranteed.

For more information on the event, go to https://secure.qgiv.com/event/ctc4aa2022/register/form/registration

OHA announced that Measure 110 is ready to fully launch across the state, with Oregon once again leading the nation by forging ahead with an innovative, community-driven approach to drug treatment and recovery services.

Measure 110 is now fully ready to launch in Oregon, with funding for service networks in every county. One each Behavioral Health Resource Network is up and running, they'll: Provide consistent and coordinated services to every community across Oregon; eliminate barriers to access by offering services that're available to all regardless of income or health coverage; offer services tailored to address people's needs, no matter where they are in their journey to recovery. Stay tuned for more info.

Through Measure 110, we’re building a new, better coordinated, locally driven system, backed with resources to make treatment and other supports available for more people.This change greatly improves access to drug treatment services that have been proven to help people in their journeys to recovery. From overdose prevention services to peer support and mentoring, to treatment and supportive housing, Measure 110 makes care more accessible to more people by removing barriers and meeting people where they are. To learn more, read our news release: http://ow.ly/lyGA50KOAB3

Oregon Supreme Court Declined To Hear Appeal In Long-Running $1 Billion Lawsuit Over Timber Revenue

The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from 13 counties in a long-running $1 billion lawsuit over timber revenue and what constitutes “the greatest permanent value” when it comes to forest management.

The denial ends a six-year legal battle over logging practices on 700,000 acres and is a victory for the state Department of Forestry and environmental groups. The decision leaves in place a lower court ruling saying that Oregon can manage forests for a range of values that include recreation, water quality and wildlife habitat — not just logging revenue.

“It’s the end of the road for what has been a false narrative for far too long … that it’s the public forestland’s obligation to provide the bulk of the revenues for local communities,” says Ralph Bloemers, who represented fishing and conservation groups in the case.

The counties gave forestland to the state decades ago and Oregon manages the land and funnels timber revenue to the counties.

But 13 counties took Oregon to court, alleging the state was not maximizing logging on the forests. A Linn County jury found in the counties’ favor in 2019 and awarded more than $1 billion in damages, but an appeals court struck down the verdict earlier this year.

A representative for the counties called the high court’s inaction “disappointing.”

“The underlying issue of forest practices on public lands is left unresolved,” Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist said in a statement.

Linn is one of several Oregon counties and special taxing districts that receive a cut of logging profits from forestland they gave to the state in the 1930s and 1940s. Oregon agreed to manage those lands, which were mostly burned and logged over at the time of donation, “so as to secure the greatest permanent value of those lands to the state.”

Oregon has sent millions of dollars to the counties over the years, bolstering local budgets. But 13 counties took the state to court, saying “greatest permanent value” meant managing forests for maximum timber revenue.

The Oregon Department of Justice, which represented the state government in the case, issued a written statement Friday calling the Supreme Court’s decision a “victory for Oregon’s environment and for sound forest management in general.”

“Our forests serve a range of environmental, recreational, and economic purposes,” the statement reads. “By allowing what we argued was the correct decision of the Court of Appeals to stand, we have a swifter resolution and finality after a 6-year dispute.”

Shooting at Manzanita Rest Area North of Merlin

On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at 4:17 PM, law enforcement officers from the Oregon State Police and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call reporting shots fired within the Northbound Manzanita Rest Area on I-5, just north of the Merlin Rd. Exit. The 911 caller further reported a female had been shot.

Upon arrival, Troopers and Deputies were confronted by the male suspect, which resulted in an officer-involved shooting. The involved Troopers and Deputies have been placed on administrative leave per Senate Bill 111 protocols. 

The incident is being investigated by the Grants Pass Police Department, assisted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Medford Police Department, and the Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory. The investigation will be referred to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office for review upon completion.

This is an active investigation, and no further information will be released at this time. The Northbound Manzanita Rest Area remains closed for the investigation, but there is no further threat to the public. Grants Pass Police Department 

Local Instagram Blackmail “Sextortion” Cases Increasing

2022-09/6186/157673/SOCET_Scam_Alert.jpg

The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force is investigating seven local cases of blackmail “sextortion” involving juvenile males on Instagram. The scammer poses as a young woman who befriends the victim, starts a chat-based dialogue, shares pornography they claim is them, and requests a sexually explicit image of the victim. Once that image is shared, the suspect threatens to send it to the victim’s friends and followers on Instagram unless money is wired to their account.

SOCET is investigating these seven “sextortion” cases with adolescent male victims from throughout Southern and Central Oregon. In at least two of the instances the victim has wired money to the suspect, and later been asked for more. Often, the suspect will have multiple accounts they use to threaten the child if they block them. In a few of the instances, the suspects have sent a screen shot of the victim to other friends and followers on their Instagram account.

Nationwide, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are tracking thousands of these blackmail schemes. This scam has even led to suicide and suicide attempts for victims. Investigators have tracked this particular scam to suspects overseas and are working with foreign authorities to prosecute them for their crimes. Past “sextortion” blackmail scams usually targeted juvenile females with coercion and threats to create more sexually explicit images of themselves. This particular scam is targeting young males on Instagram.

To make sure your child does not become a victim, parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing on social media. Make sure your child’s social media accounts are private and do not reveal personal information to the public. If your child becomes a victim of “sextortion” immediately block and report the offending account. Report any contacts to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at https://report.cybertip.org/

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Grants Pass Police Department, FBI, and HSI; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office 

Deputies Serve Search Warrant On Large Illegal Marijuana Manufacturing Operation Near Junction City

LCSO Case #22-4888 – Search Warrant Served on Illegal Marijuana Operation south of Junction City

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office recently received a tip regarding a large-scale illegal marijuana grow operation south of Junction City.  Lane County Sheriff’s Deputies were granted a warrant to search the involved property in the 30000 blk of Maple Ln. 

Authorities executed the warrant on 09/15/22 and seized approximately 8,000 illegal marijuana plants, 4,822 pounds of dried marijuana, processed concentrated marijuana products known as ‘BHO’ or ‘Butane Honey Oil’, nearly $50,000 in cash and $32,000 in silver.  Authorities also seized a luxury vehicle that was believed to have been purchased using funds from the illegal operation.   

This illegal operation was located directly adjacent to the Willamette River. Included in the operation were numerous unpermitted structures, a swimming pool, and two separate unpermitted wells, all within the flood plain,  which can have negative impacts on the environment when water levels rise. 

A typical marijuana plant uses approximately 1.5 gallons of water per day. A marijuana grow of this size could  be illegally consuming approximately 12,000 gallons of water each day or 1,080,000 gallons over a 90-day period.    

The extent of the environmental impact from this illegal operation remains under investigation by Lane County Code Compliance officials and the Oregon State Watermaster’s Office, who were present during the execution of the search warrant. 

50 year old Kevin John O’Donnell was issued citations in lieu of custody for Unlawful Manufacturing of Cannabinoid / Marijuana Items, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.

This investigation was conducted by personnel funded through a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.  In 2018 and again in 2022, the Oregon State Legislature made funds available to local law enforcement agencies for the specific purpose of investigating these large-scale illegal marijuana manufacturing operations, including the health and safety impacts on the community.  These include unsafe, unregulated working conditions, water stolen from the community, trash dumped on public lands, and dangerous chemicals used improperly. Butane Hash Oil (BHO) labs use volatile chemicals that create a significant explosion and fire hazard to anyone in the vicinity. Dangerous wiring and overloaded electrical systems also pose a significant fire risk..

Without this funding, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office would not have the resources needed to investigate and stop these operations, including the resulting serious impact on our environment and communities. 

Klamath Falls Theft and Forgery Ring Busted

On September 19, 2022, Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET), the Klamath Falls Police Department, the Oregon State Police, and the Klamath County Parole and Probation Department served a search warrant on Gatewood Drive in Klamath Falls. 

Several individuals were arrested during the investigation, including the ringleader Benjamin Sorenson, age 40.  Thousands of dollars worth of forged receipts were seized along with a loaded handgun and a dealer amount of methamphetamine. 

A stolen moped was also recovered and returned to its owner. 

BINET’s investigation into the drug-related forgery ring detailed that Mr. Sorenson was creating tens of thousands of dollars worth of forged store receipts from local stores in Klamath Falls for a fee. 

These stores included Home Depot, Fred Meyer, Diamond Home Improvement, Wal-Mart, Auto Zone, and possibly more.  Local offenders would pay Mr. Sorenson to make these forged receipts and then go to the listed store and walk out with hundreds, and often thousands of dollars worth of items.  If the suspect stealing the items was checked by store employees, they would show the fairly authentic-looking receipt and walk away with the stolen merchandise.

Mr. Sorenson was lodged in the Klamath County Jail on charges of:

  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Felony Possession of Methamphetamine
  • Theft I
  • Forgery I
  • Criminal Possession of a Forgery Device
  • Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle
  • Probation Violation

BINET served a search warrant previously on Mr. Sorenson’s residence in February 2022, resulting in the seizure of dealer amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and multiple firearms.  Mr. Sorenson was released from jail shortly after that incident and those charges are still proceeding through the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office.      

Anyone with information regarding organized theft rings associated with the distribution of dangerous drugs within Klamath County is encouraged to call the Klamath Falls Police Department Anonymous Tip Line at (541) 883-5334 or the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (541) 850-5380.

The national and Oregon averages have fallen for 14 weeks in a row and are at their cheapest prices since early March.

Lower crude oil prices, lackluster demand for gas in the U.S., and the switch to winter blend fuel are the major drivers of lower pump prices. For the week, the national average for regular slips three cents to $3.67 a gallon. The Oregon average loses four cents to $4.64.

The national average reached its record high of $5.016 on June 14 while the Oregon average reached its record high of $5.548 on June 15. Both averages have been steadily declining since then.

“The switch to less expensive winter blend gasoline is putting a bit more downward pressure on pump prices this month; however, some factors have the potential to push prices higher, including the ongoing war in Ukraine, refinery maintenance, and the possibility of a hurricane that impacts oil and gas infrastructure, refining and transportation,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Although AAA expects gas prices to continue to decline during the fall months, it’s possible we could see prices rise briefly at times.”

Most of the country is now using less expensive winter blend gasoline, so modest pump price reductions have occurred. On September 15, many refiners switch from summer-blend gasoline to winter-blend. The summer-blend gas has a lower Reid vapor pressure, meaning it doesn’t evaporate as easily and is more environmentally friendly during the hot summer months. In California, this switch occurs on November 1.

Crude oil prices have tumbled from recent highs due to fears of economic slowdowns elsewhere around the globe. Crude reached a recent high of $122.11 per barrel on June 8, and ranged from about $94 to $110 per barrel in July. In August, crude prices ranged between about $86 and $97. So far in September, crude prices have been between about $81 and $89 per barrel.

Crude prices rose dramatically leading up to and in the first few months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is one of the world’s top oil producers and its involvement in a war causes market volatility, and sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other western nations resulted in tighter global oil supplies. Oil supplies were already tight around the world as demand for oil increased as pandemic restrictions eased. A year ago, crude was around $70 per barrel compared to $84 today.

Crude oil is the main ingredient in gasoline and diesel, so pump prices are impacted by crude prices on the global markets. On average, about 53% of what we pay for in a gallon of gasoline is for the price of crude oil, 12% is refining, 21% distribution and marketing, and 15% are taxes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Demand for gasoline in the U.S. decreased from 8.73 million b/d to 8.49 million b/d last week. Thisis lower than last year at this time when demand was at 8.89 million b/d. Total domestic gasoline stocks declined by 1.8 million bbl to 213 million bbl., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Although gasoline demand has decreased, fluctuating oil prices have led to smaller pump price decreases. If oil prices spike, the national average will likely reverse as pump prices increase.

Oregon Department of Forestry celebrates conclusion of statewide plantings of Hiroshima peace trees

More than 50 of these saplings grown from the seed of trees that survived the atom bombing of Hiroshima have now found homes in Oregon.

SALEM, Ore. — A four-year-long campaign to plant saplings grown from the seeds of trees that survived the atom bombing of Hiroshima finishes Sept. 21 with a celebration at the Oregon Department of Forestry’s headquarters in Salem. That date was chosen because it is the International Day of Peace as declared by the United Nations General Assembly back in 1981.

Representatives from 45 organizations that planted a total of 51 peace trees in 35 communities around the state have been invited to the ceremony. Also attending will be a number of Japanese-American organizations.

Oregon State Forester Cal Mukumoto, whose ancestry is Japanese-American, will welcome guests and thank them for making Oregon the home to one of the densest concentrations of Hiroshima peace trees outside Japan. 

Guest of honor will be Hideko Tamura-Snider from Medford. She was 10 years old living in Hiroshima when the city was flattened by the first of two atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in August 1945. Buried in the ruins of her grandmother’s home, Hideko was able to free herself and survived the firestorm that later engulfed the city. Her mother and other relatives were killed by the blast. 

Hideko moved to the United States, eventually settling in Oregon where she wrote two books about her experiences. She founded the One Sunny Day Initiative to promote peace and nuclear disarmament around the world. At her urging, arborist Mike Oxendine in Ashland obtained seeds of survivor trees from the Green Legacy Hiroshima organization. Its volunteers collect and send the seeds around the world as ambassadors of peace. 

After Oxendine germinated the seeds, Oregon Community Trees and the Oregon Department of Forestry collaborated in finding homes for the trees. Communities large and small from all parts of the state responded enthusiastically. Today the trees can be found from the coast to La Grande, and from Hood River to Klamath Falls. The 51st tree was planted in Gresham just on Sept. 19. 

As part of Wednesday’s ceremonies, ODF will be dedicating the ginkgo peace tree planted on its campus back in April 2020. COVID restrictions at that time prevented large public gatherings so the dedication was postponed to Sept. 21 of this year to coincide with International Day of Peace.

“These peace trees not only convey a message of peace from the residents of Hiroshima, they are also symbols of survival and resilience in the face of unimaginable destruction,” said State Forester Mukumoto. “Seeing them putting down roots in the good soil of Oregon and reaching for the sky gives me hope that people in our state – like the survivors in Hiroshima – can not only endure harsh times but can share with others the hard-won wisdom from having persevered through them.“ Oregon Dept. of Forestry

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This is just a small compilation of missing women and their pictures in the area. There are of course women missing all over Oregon and men and children missing too. We don’t mean to dismiss that, however, there is an inordinate amount of women who go missing each week and there could possibly be a connection with an anomaly or two here and there. Sadly most of them never get any attention. Family and friends must keep any information going and lead investigations so that they aren’t just forgotten. 

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https://www.facebook.com/pg/Have-You-Seen-Me-Southern-Oregons-Missing-People-161249961222839/posts/

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