The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com
Friday, November 26, 2021
Oregon Beach Weather
Today– Rain likely, mainly before 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 55. South wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Saturday– Rain. High near 60. Breezy, with a south wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.
Sunday– A 40 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 58. South wind around 9 mph.
Monday– A 30 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 57.
Tuesday– A slight chance of rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Razor Clam Harvesting Closed From Cape Blanco South To California
The Oregon Coast is closed to razor clam harvesting from Cape Blanco south to the California border due to levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid.
Razor clam harvesting remains open from the Columbia River to Cape Blanco, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
According to the state agencies:
Mussel, bay clam and crab harvesting, remain open along the entire Oregon coast. Coastal scallops are not affected by biotoxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten. ODA does not recommend eating whole scallops. Commercial shellfish products sold in stores and restaurants remain safe for consumers.
Paralytic shellfish toxin and domoic acid toxin are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. ODA will continue to test for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.
Suspect Sought in Stabbing Incident at Oregon Dunes
Law enforcement officers are searching the Oregon Dunes for a suspect in a stabbing near South Jetty Road just south of Florence, according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
Oregon State Police are also involved. “The suspect was last seen on foot headed into the dunes from the Goose Pasture ATV staging area,” the sheriff’s office said.
The suspect is described as a white male adult with long brown hair. He is believed to be approximately 30-40 years of age and stands about 5’08” to 6’00” tall. The suspect was last observed wearing a brown or black jacket.
If you observe the suspect, please dial 911 and do not approach him. Numerous police resources are on scene and actively searching the area.
The sheriff’s office added: Witnesses have described the suspect as likely having long blonde hair and facial stubble.
“An alert from Lane County Sheriff’s Office went out by phone around 5:30 pm with details to those generally in the area,” police said via the City of Florence Facebook page. “Please avoid the South Jetty Road area as they continue their work.”
Oregon reports 862 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 50 new deaths
There are 50 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,116. Oregon Health Authority OHA reported 862 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 387,485.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (10), Benton (12), Clackamas (71), Clatsop (11), Columbia (14), Coos (13), Crook (7), Curry (7), Deschutes (88), Douglas (37), Harney (1), Hood River (8), Jackson (67), Jefferson (2), Josephine (12), Klamath (21), Lane (67), Lincoln (15), Linn (51), Malheur (7), Marion (68), Morrow (2), Multnomah (93), Polk (23), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (15), Union (5), Wallowa (5), Wasco (3), Washington (94), and Yamhill (29).
Scheduling note: OHA will be closed Friday, Nov. 26, so employees can commemorate Thanksgiving with family and friends. For this reason, there will be no Daily Media Release, Oregon Coronavirus Update or other OHA reports and communications tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – Nov. 25 – 28. OHA will be open regular hours on Monday, Nov. 29. Thank you for understanding.
COVID-19 weekly cases and hospitalizations decline, deaths rise
OHA’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows a decrease in daily cases and hospitalizations and an increase in deaths.
OHA reported 5,698 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 21. That represents a 2.4% decrease from the previous week, despite a 19% increase in reported tests.
There were 133,410 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Nov. 14 through Nov. 20. The percentage of positive tests declined slightly to 6%, down from 6.5% the previous week.
The overall incidence of reported COVID-19 in Oregon varied by county vaccination rate but continues to be less in counties with higher vaccination rates and the lowest in the five counties where the vaccination rates were more than 70%.
There were 268 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from 356 last week — a 25% drop.
There were 214 reported COVID-19-related deaths, up from 183 reported the previous week, bringing the state’s toll for the pandemic to more than 5,000. The past three weeks of data for COVID-19 related deaths also reflect ongoing data reconciliation of COVID-19-related deaths that primarily occurred from May to Aug. 2021, as reported last month.
Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 61 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.
Scammers posing as the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) are texting cell phones claiming that a refund is available.
It is a fake message and a phishing scam trying to get payment information from unsuspecting Oregonians. DMV urges customer not to click on any links and delete the message.
“DMV does not text customers to let them know about a payment issue, or issue refunds via text message,” DMV Customer Services Manager Katie Hafner said.
DMV staff members are aware of the issue and are unable to provide any technical assistance with a customer’s phone. If customers have questions about how to block a number, they should contact their cell phone provider.
If you are issued a refund by DMV, you will receive it through the mail or directly back on your payment card. DMV will not text or call to inform you that you will be receiving a refund.
This holiday season customers are encouraged to skip the trip and visit the DMV online at DMV2U.oregon.gov. Customers can go online to renew vehicle registration, notify DMV of a vehicle sale, renew or replace a license/ID card and more.
The Federal Communications Commission has issued the following consumer tips to avoid such phone scams:
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
- You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.
- If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
- Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
- Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
- If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
- Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
- If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
- Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
- If you use robocall-blocking technology already, it often helps to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others.
- To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.
For the latest DMV news, visit www.oregondmv.com.
For the latest DMV news, visit www.oregondmv.com.
Grace period to renew expired Oregon driver license, vehicle registrations ends Dec. 31
If you’ve got an expired Oregon license or vehicle registration, it’s time to consider booking an Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle appointment — fast.
In 2020, the DMV closed its 60 offices across Oregon amid the pandemic, prompting a huge backlog, DMV spokesperson David House said. When the offices reopened, the backlog was exacerbated by staff shortages and restrictions such as capacity limits and appointment-only services.
To help alleviate the pileup of requests and clogged phone lines, multiple vehicle-related moratoriums were put in place throughout the year.
One rolling moratorium provides a grace period on citations for expired driver licenses, permits, vehicle registration and disabled parking placards. The law only applies to expiration dates of six months or less and will expire Dec. 31, according to the DMV website.
Since reopening, the DMV has increased its available appointments and is also now accepting walk-ins. Though there are no capacity limits, customers are required to wear masks in the offices and during driving tests. You can check the wait estimates here.
Save yourself a trip to the DMV —
Many services are now available online, so agency officials say it’s worth checking the DMV website before making the trip. If you have to go in person, make an appointment through dmv2u.oregon.gov/eServices, or just show up.
Nov. 24 Oregon Employment Department Media Statement
Our next media availability is scheduled for 1 p.m., Wed., Dec. 1.
Helping Oregonians Get Back to Work
The Oregon Employment Department and its WorkSource Oregon partners continue to help workers find good jobs and employers find talented employees. WorkSource Oregon centers are offering job fairs and employer meet-and-greets across the state.
Here are a few highlights of upcoming WorkSource Oregon events:
- A virtual job fair hosted by the Oregon Dept. of Health Services is scheduled for Noon – 1 p.m. Tues., Nov. 30
- A Veterans job fair is scheduled for Sat., Dec. 4, in White City, Oregon.
- Meet the Employer events are scheduled in Salem on Wed., Dec. 8 and Thurs., Dec. 9
- A job fair with interviews conducted on-site is scheduled from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sat., Dec. 11 at the Portland VA Medical Center
More information on these events and more are at WorkSourceOregon.org.
Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.4% in October. The state has regained 74% of its pandemic recession job losses, compared with 81% for the U.S. The Employment Department also recently released unemployment rates and jobs numbers for all Oregon counties in October.
Eleven of Oregon’s counties had unemployment rates at or below the statewide rate of 4.4%. Wheeler County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state (2.8%), while Grant County had the highest rate (6.4%) in October.
Oregon’s rural areas are still further ahead in their collective recovery than the state’s metropolitan areas. As of October, rural counties had regained 81% of the jobs lost in spring 2020.
Oregon’s metropolitan areas have seen more improvement in job gains in recent months. As of October, Oregon’s metropolitan areas have regained seven out of 10 jobs lost in the spring of 2020. At least nine out of 10 jobs have been regained in the Albany and Bend areas.
Within the Portland area, Multnomah still lags behind all other metropolitan counties. Half of the county’s spring 2020 job losses were regained by October 2021.
Last week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest job openings and labor turnover survey results for all states. Oregon made the list of states with significant changes in several aspects of job openings and worker movements in September.
- Oregon was one of 10 states with a significant decline in job openings (-11,000) between August and September.
- Oregon was one of 12 states with significantly fewer layoffs in September (-10,000).
- Oregon also was one of 20 states with a significant increase in job separations over the month. Job separations may occur due to layoffs, being fired, retiring, or quitting.
- It was also notable that Oregon’s quits rate rose significantly, from 2.9% in August to 3.9% in September.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Update
The Oregon Employment Department will meet a significant milestone in the development of the PFMLI program next week. We appreciate the immense employee effort it took to get us to this point.
Two public hearings are scheduled on the first batch of PFMLI’s administrative rules. These relate specifically to wages, contributions, employer size, assistance grants, self-employed people and the PFLMI program’s outreach plan.
The virtual hearings are set for 9 – 11 a.m. Tues., Nov. 30, 2021 and 4 – 6 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 9, 2021. The public can register to attend either or both public hearings or submit their feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org“>OED_Rules@employ.oregon.gov.
The first batch of PFLMI’s administrative rules can be reviewed at the OED website.
The PFMLI Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet 9 – 11 a.m. Thurs., Dec. 2 and 9 – 11:30 a.m. Tues., Dec. 7. They will discuss the second batch of PFMLI’s proposed administrative rules, which relate specifically to equivalent plans. Businesses have the option to develop their equivalent PFMLI benefit plan instead of participating in the Oregon state PFMLI program.
RAC meetings are one of many opportunities the public will have to provide comments on proposed rules before they enter into the formal rulemaking process.
The drafts of the second batch of PFLMI’s administrative rules can be reviewed at the OED website.
We are on track to meet our timelines and are confident in our ability to successfully launch this critically needed safety net program.
Employer Payroll Tax Update
As a reminder, the Employment Department has good news for employers next year. Oregon is lowering the payroll tax rate to an average rate of 1.97 percent (tax schedule three) for the 2022 calendar year. This is down from an average rate of 2.26 percent (tax schedule four) in 2021. House Bill 3389 allows Oregon to lower tax rates while other states are increasing UI tax rates and continuing to borrow funds.
The department has mailed individual 2022 tax rate notices to employers. Any employer who has not received their notice should contact the Employment Department Tax Section at OED_Taxinfo_User@oregon.gov or call 503-947-1488. Due to the projected high call volume, employers may receive a quicker response by emailing the department or using the Oregon Payroll Reporting System website. More information is on our employer taxes webpage.
Last week’s statistics
- Last week, the Employment Department paid about $18.7 million in benefits to nearly 26,700 Oregonians.
- From Monday, Nov. 15 – Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, the Employment Department answered more than 98% of calls in 15 minutes or less. Of all the calls, more than 94% were answered in under five minutes.
- Approximately 96% of Contact Us inquiries were resolved in seven days or less.
Upcoming Holiday Hours
All Oregon Employment Department offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday and the UI and PUA contact centers will not be accepting inbound calls.
Because of the holiday, some benefit payments may be delayed, and people may not see their claims online until Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: 971-673-6400. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services. Oregon Employment Department
Gift Responsibly – Lottery Tickets are Never for Children
The Oregon Lottery would like to remind everyone that no matter the time of year, you must be at least 18 years old to play Lottery games.
Each holiday season, Oregon Lottery ticket sales experience a spike as people buy tickets as stocking stuffers, gift tags and easy-to-give gifts. The holiday gift-giving season also provides the Lottery with an opportunity to share the message that if the gift is a Lottery ticket, be sure the gift’s recipient is at least 18 years old.
“While we put added emphasis on this during the holidays, it is simply part of how we promote our games year-round,” said Oregon Lottery Senior Marketing Product Manager Stacy Shaw, also a board member of the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling. “We believe that responsible gaming is for all customers, all the time.”
During this holiday season, the Oregon Lottery and lotteries worldwide are partnering with the National Council on Problem Gambling and the International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors at Canada’s McGill University to promote giving lottery tickets responsibly. The Oregon Lottery has been part of this annual campaign for over a decade.
Oregon Lottery proceeds provide funding for free, confidential, and effective problem gambling treatment programs statewide. Since 1992, over $111 million in Lottery dollars has been directed to fund problem gambling treatment and awareness in Oregon. Oregon Lottery
UPDATE: Final Almeda Fire Victim Identified
The final unidentified victim of the September 8 2020 Almeda Fire has been positively identified. Derrick Glenn Mills, 55, originally from Yreka, Calif. was found deceased approximately one mile from the fire’s origin. Mills was reported missing in March of 2021.
Late last month, an extended family member provided a DNA sample that ultimately identified him as the remaining Almeda Fire victim.
Mills has been a Jackson County community member since at least 2002, after being born and raised in nearby Yreka, Calif. On the day of the Almeda Fire, Mills’ remains were found at the 8.9-mile marker of the Bear Creek Greenway between Ashland and Talent.
An autopsy conducted on September 9 confirmed Mills perished in the fire. His cause of death was determined to be thermal injuries and inhalation. There are no indications of suspicious circumstances surrounding Mills’ death.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Medical Examiner detectives worked alongside Ashland Police Department (APD) to identify the remains of the final unidentified victim of the Almeda Fire. JCSO ME detectives worked diligently to identify the remaining fire victim, eventually tracking down and ruling out more than 20 missing person leads during their investigation.
In June 2021, Mills was determined to be a possible match for the unidentified fire victim, but authorities were unable to obtain a DNA standard from the close identified relative. Mills’ extended family out of Kansas contacted JCSO after seeing a news story about the unidentified person case. At that point they were able to provide the DNA sample that ended up identifying their missing family member. Oregon State Police (OSP) Medical Examiner Division obtained positive scientific identification while working with the DNA technology company, Parabon Nanolabs to process potential DNA matches and create a victim composite.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. APD is heading the criminal homicide investigation. For further information contact the OSP Medical Examiner’s office at (971) 673-8200. For information on the criminal homicide investigation call APD at (541) 488-2211. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office
Oregon State Parks annual parking permit $5 off in December
Spice up your holiday gift-giving this season by selecting from three new parking permit designs. The new permit hangtag designs feature the whimsical work of Portland artist El Tran. Holiday shoppers can buy the annual parking permits for only $25 each–that’s $5 off the regular price of $30, Dec. 1-31.
“Give the gift of unlimited access to Oregon’s state parks during our 100th anniversary in 2022,” said Lisa Sumption, director of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).
“The new permit designs showcase iconic park views, plants and animals, and the visitors who cherish state parks.”
Purchasing passes is easy–buy them online at store.oregonstateparks.org. Parking permits are also sold at some state park friends’ group stores and selected local businesses throughout the state. For a complete list of vendors, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.
Parking costs $5 a day at 25 Oregon state parks unless you have a 12- or 24-month parking permit or a same-day camping receipt. The 24-month pass is $50 and are also available at store.oregonstateparks.org. The permits are transferable from vehicle to vehicle.
Oregon State Parks are primarily funded by camping and day-use fees, the Oregon Lottery, and a portion of state recreational vehicle registrations. Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept.