Oregon Beach News, Friday 5/7 – Travel Oregon Awards Grant to Seaside Visitors Bureau, Brookings Announces the 19th Annual ‘Yard of the Month’ Program

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

Friday, May 7, 2021

Oregon Beach Weather

Today- A 30 percent chance of showers before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 56. Northwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

Saturday- Partly sunny, with a high near 57. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.

Sunday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 59. North wind 7 to 11 mph.

Monday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 60.

Tuesday- Mostly sunny, with a high near 63.

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Oregon reports 763 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 5 new deaths

There are five new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,514. The Oregon Health Authority reported 763 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 189,162.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (12), Benton (14), Clackamas (38), Clatsop (3), Columbia (9), Coos (3), Crook (14), Curry (4), Deschutes (95), Douglas (13), Grant (3), Harney (1), Hood River (2), Jackson (38), Jefferson (4), Josephine (9), KIamath (31), Lake (1), Lane (70), Lincoln (2), Linn (42), Malheur (5), Marion (72), Morrow (1), Multnomah (115), Polk (20), Tillamook (1), Umatilla (9), Union (1), Wallowa (2), Wasco (2), Washington (107) and Yamhill (20).

Oregon’s 2,510th death is a 69-year-old woman from Josephine County who tested positive on April 4 and died on April 30 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,511th death is a 91-year-old woman from Jackson County who tested positive on April 28 and died on May 4 at Providence Medford Medical Center. She had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,512th death is a 50-year-old man from Klamath County who tested positive on April 20 and died on May 4 at Sky Lakes Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.

Oregon’s 2,513rd death is a 63-year-old man from Linn County who tested positive on April 15 and died on May 3 at Salem Hospital. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Oregon’s 2,514th death is a 68-year-old man from Marion County who tested positive on April 20 and died on May 4 at Salem Hospital. He had underlying conditions.

OHA releases latest monthly update on breakthrough cases

Oregon Health Authority has identified 611 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases through May 3, including eight deaths. The number of vaccine breakthrough cases identified in Oregon remains very small when compared to the more than 1.3 million people who have completed their vaccine series against COVID-19.

Vaccine breakthrough cases are defined as instances in which an individual received a positive COVID-19 test result at least 14 days after the completion of any COVID-19 vaccine series.

OHA is not reporting the regions in which the deaths took place. Of the 611 reported vaccine breakthrough cases, 14% (n=89) were observed in individuals who reside in long term care facilities or other congregate care settings.

OHA is now providing updates on breakthrough cases the first Thursday of each month. The current report for May 2021 can be found here.

Oregon counties have new indoor capacity limits for indoor recreation and indoor entertainment

Under the direction of Governor Brown, indoor capacity limits in moderate- and high-risk levels are now updated for indoor recreation and fitness and indoor entertainment for Oregon counties. As of Wednesday, May 5, indoor entertainment establishments and indoor recreation and fitness establishments in all Oregon counties may allow the following:

  • Moderate risk: Maximum 20% occupancy or 100 people total, whichever is larger
  • High risk: Maximum 10% occupancy or 50 people total, whichever is larger

Lower and extreme risk capacity limits for these sectors remain the same.

To view the updated capacity limits, please refer to the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart.

Vaccinations in Oregon

Today, OHA reported that 36,259 new doses of COVID-19 vaccinations were added to the state immunization registry. Of this total, 23,539 doses were administered on May 5 and 12,720 were administered on previous days but were entered into the vaccine registry on May 5.

The 7-day running average is now 30,909 doses per day.

Oregon has now administered a total of 1,706,865 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,349,096 first and second doses of Moderna and 101,923 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, 1,353,250 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series. There are 1,902,244 who have had at least one dose.

Cumulative daily totals can take several days to finalize because providers have 72 hours to report doses administered and technical challenges have caused many providers to lag in their reporting. OHA has been providing technical support to vaccination sites to improve the timeliness of their data entry into the state’s ALERT Immunization Information System (IIS).

To date, 2,062,125 doses of Pfizer, 1,692,720 doses of Moderna and 242,800 doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

These data are preliminary and subject to change. OHA’s dashboards provide regularly updated vaccination data, and Oregon’s dashboard has been updated today.

COVID-19 hospitalizations

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 328, which is two fewer than yesterday. There are 90 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is seven more than yesterday.

The total number of COVID-19 positive patient bed-days in the most recent seven days is 2,364, which is an 8.7% increase from the previous seven days. The peak daily number of beds occupied by COVID-19 positive patients in the most recent seven days is 351.

The total number of patients in hospital beds may fluctuate between report times. The numbers do not reflect admissions per day, nor the length of hospital stay. Staffing limitations are not captured in this data and may further limit bed capacity. More information about hospital capacity can be found here.

Church in Salem has one of Oregon’s Largest Covid Outbreaks

The Oregon Health Authority said Wednesday that 74 people had contracted Covid through an outbreak tied to the church after beginning an investigation after Easter Services in April. Ironically, the church’s lead pastor, Scott Erickson had joined nine other Oregon churches in a 2020 lawsuit unsuccessfully seeking to overturn Gov. Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order.

Oregon’s current Covid health guidelines allow indoor church services, but require attendees wear masks or face coverings, maintain six feet of distance between people from different households and clean frequently-touched surfaces regularly.

Capacity is also limited based on a county’s risk level. Counties labeled “high risk” for Covid spread, including Marion, limit faith gatherings to 25% occupancy or 150 people, whichever is smaller.

Health officials say the fourth wave of the pandemic may have peaked in Oregon.

 The Oregon Health Authority reports new cases declined three percent over the last week.  Hospitalizations dropped 18-percent, while the number of deaths declined 38-percent.  Meanwhile, the percent of positive tests increased from six to six-point-eight percent.


Travel Oregon Awards Grant to Seaside Visitors Bureau

The City of Seaside Visitors Bureau received $14,000 in grant funding through Travel Oregon’s 2021 Competitive & Recovery Grants Program in May.

The visitors bureau and its partners, the Seaside Museum & Historical Society, Seaside Public Works, Travel Oregon, and Formations Inc., will use the funds to make and install five interpretive signs along the Seaside Promenade with history about the area, including information about “Terrible Tilly” lighthouse, the Seaside Aquarium and more.

The Seaside Promenade, also known as the Prom, was officially dedicated in 1921, so the city is celebrating its centennial with a free booklet, walking tour of historic homes and a sweepstakes program.

“Experiencing the Prom is one of the northwest’s most rewarding and enduring traditions,” said Joshua Heineman, director of tourism marketing for the City of Seaside. “Now, 100 years after its dedication, we’d like everyone to understand their unique place in Seaside’s rich history, deepen the enjoyment of being here now, and encourage return visits to the Prom throughout the changing seasons.”

For more information, visit SeasideProm.com.

Travel Oregon works to create a better life for all Oregonians through strong, sustainable local communities that welcome a diversity of explorers.


Brookings Announces the 19th Annual ‘Yard of the Month’ Program

The city of Brookings is accepting nominations from the public for its 19th annual Yard of the Month awards program.   

Yard of the Month
Council Representative John McKinney presented Altona Mefford with the Yard of the Month Award for her Asian inspired landscape that is impeccably maintained. Contributed photo.

This program is such a great way to recognize city of Brookings business and property owners who go to great lengths to make their property look attractive, and by so doing, make the city as a whole look better.  

The Yard of the Month program, begun in 2002, recognizes the most attractive residential and commercial properties inside the city limits from May through September. Monthly award recipients receive a $50 credit on their water bill, a commemorative certificate and a sign posted at their property declaring their award-winning status.

Nominations may be made by email or phone to Natasha Tippetts at ntippetts@brookings.or.us; 541-469-1102 or Lauri Ziemer, lziemer@brookings.or.us; 541-469-1103. 

Eligible properties must be located within the city limits.  

Burger King Coming to Florence

For the past week Florence area residents have been wondering what is going gin behind the chain link fencing at 35th and Highway 101.  Florence City Manager, Erin Reynolds states: “That is going to be a Burger King. So that has gone through most of its approvals. They’ve pulled permits.”

The Florence Planning Commission approved the Design Review submitted by Ambrosia QRS Oregon LLC on December 8th of last year.   Ambrosia QRS of Vancouver Washington is franchising organization of quick service restaurants in the Pacific Northwest that include not only Burger Kings, but Popeyes’ Louisiana Kitchen brands.


Former Eugene Resident Admits Role to Smuggling Endangered Turtles from Oregon to China

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, May 6, 2021

California Man Pleads Guilty For Role in Scheme to Smuggle Endangered and Vulnerable Turtles from the U.S. To China

EUGENE, Ore.— A Chinese national residing in Los Angeles pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to purchase hundreds of endangered and vulnerable turtles in the U.S. and smuggle them via U.S. mail and commercial airline flights to China.

Yuan Xie, 30, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiring to smuggle goods from the U.S.

According to court documents, beginning in at least May 2017 and continuing until October 2018, Xie conspired with another Chinese national, Xiao Dong Qin, 35, of Shanghai, China, to purchase more than 769 live turtles from reptile dealers in Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina. All of the turtles purchased and smuggled by Xie are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

A two-year investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) revealed that in an 18-month period, Xie facilitated the purchase and transportation of approximately 134 Florida box turtles, 178 eastern box turtles, 127 North American wood turtles, 220 spotted turtles, 77 diamondback terrapins, 25 three-toed box turtles, seven yellow-blotched map turtles, and one Blanding’s turtle from his former residence in Eugene, Oregon. USFWS investigators determined the cost of the turtles involved in this investigation exceeded $150,000 and estimated the market value was more than double that amount in the Chinese pet trade.

In November 2018, Xie was arrested by USFWS agents at his residence in Los Angeles.

Xie faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on August 12, 2021 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

As part of the plea agreement, Xie has agreed to pay $2,233 in restitution to a rehabilitation facility near Chicago and The Turtle Conservancy near Los Angeles for costs associated with the care of turtles intercepted by law enforcement.

Qin was sentenced on February 27, 2020 to two years’ probation and paid nearly $8,000 in restitution.

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This case was investigated by USFWS with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Pamela Paaso, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.


Forestry Department Invites Public Comment on State Forest Management Activities

Salem— The Oregon Department of Forestry is inviting public comment on planned projects, timber sales and other management activities in state-owned forests for fiscal year 2022. These plans lay out the on-the-ground activities expected to take place in the coming fiscal year, such as timber harvests, reforestation, and trail improvements.

Starting Friday, May 7 through Monday, June 21, Oregonians can weigh in on the draft annual operations plans for state forests in the Astoria, Forest Grove, Klamath-Lake, Tillamook, West Oregon, and Western Lane Districts, which includes the Tillamook, Clatsop, Sun Pass and Gilchrist state forests. Draft plans are available at: https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Working/Pages/StateForests.aspx

 ODF is offering several convenient avenues for those who want to provide input on the draft plans:

By law, state forests must provide economic, environmental, and social benefits to Oregonians. These lands are managed to create healthy, productive forests that provide high-quality habitat, clean water, revenues for rural communities, and recreation opportunities. Overall management policies and goals are established in long-range forest management and implementation plans. Annual operations plans describe activities to achieve the policies and goals laid out in those longer-range plans. Activities that affect fish and wildlife habitat are reviewed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, while operations that may affect threatened and endangered fish and wildlife habitat are shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Common activities included in an Annual Operations Plan include:

  • Timber harvest operations
  • Recreation improvement and maintenance projects
  • Forest road construction, maintenance, and improvements
  • Reforestation/replanting and young stand management activities
  • Habitat improvement for native species
  • Invasive species management

The most useful input speaks to these specific activities and whether they are consistent with longer-range plans, offers suggestions to improve efficiency or effectiveness, corrects errors, provides additional information, and is solution-oriented, understanding that state forests are working forests and by law must provide a variety of economic, environmental, and social benefits.

A public comment process on planned projects, timber sales, and other management activities on the North Cascades District for fiscal year 2022, including extensive restoration efforts on the Santiam State Forest, will be conducted separately. — Oregon Dept. of Forestry

STEM Hub Oregon to Host Over 100 Events as Part of Remake Learning Days Across America, the Nation’s Biggest Family-Friendly Festival of Learning, Returns in 2021

Remake Learning Days Across America (RLDAA) returns this spring in 17+ regions, launching more than 700+ innovative learning events to engage caregivers, parents and kids around the country.

Oregon’s network of regional STEM Hubs will host more than 100 event during this learning festival between May 8 and 16, 2021. These events are designed for parents and caregivers to learn alongside their kids and offer relevant and engaging educational experiences for youth of all ages (pre-K through high school). The majority of events are free and are offered virtually, in-person or in hybrid models. 

Oregon’s festival of events will capture the themes of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and more and include in-person and virtual events such as:

  • KATU Innovation Challenge – Student Finalist Pitches (Virtual) 
  • Oregon Connection Industry Chat – Visit a Wildlife Safari! (Virtual) 


  • Glendale Community Library – STEAM Week at the Library! (In-Person)

 https://remakelearningdays.org/event/steam-week-at-th…re-stem-thinking/ ‎

Find a complete list of events and registration information here 

Oregon’s regional STEM Hubs create equitable access to real-world STEM experiences for learners across Oregon, igniting students’ passion for STEM.  Oregon’s STEM Hub network was honored as a Learning Forerunner in education by Finland’s HundrED.org in 202.

Remake Learning Days Across America is led by Remake Learning (RL), a network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change. National partners of RLDAA include PBS Kids, Digital Promise, Common Sense Media, Learning Heroes and Noggin. RLDAA is generously supported by The Grable Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. Visit remakelearning.org for more information or follow RL on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. For more information specifically on Remake Learning Days Across America, visit remakelearningdays.org or follow RLDAA on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and the hashtag #RemakeDays.  —Future School Lab 

Firefighters fully line the Meadow Fire north of Chiloquin and started as a prescribed burn.

According to fire officials, the Meadow Fire is 815 acres in size, all of it within the 4,000 acres that were planned for the initial treatment.

As of Thursday morning, the fire was 5 miles northeast of Chiloquin and continues to move away from the community.

On Wednesday night, two heavy air tankers dropped retardant, checking the fire to allow crews to get around it.

The Winema and the Rogue River Hotshots, 21 engines and 5 dozers were also mobilized to help and successfully got the fire lined. On Thursday morning the Zigzag and La Grande hotshot teams arrived, along with three more engines, four water tenders and the Type 3 incident management team.

Oregon says it won’t be ready to start providing paid family and medical leave benefits

Oregon says it won’t be ready to start providing paid family and medical leave benefits by a January 2023 deadline and has asked lawmakers to delay the rollout of the state’s long-anticipated program. A bill introduced in the Oregon
House on Tuesday on behalf of the Employment Department would give the state agency until September 2022 to adopt rules to establish the program and would defer the date when employers must begin paying into the program until January 2023 – delaying both deadlines by a full year.

If the bill is adopted, Oregon workers would not start seeing benefits through the new program until September 2023, eight months after the program is currently supposed to go into effect. Both advocates of the legislation and the Employment Department said the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the vital need for paid family and medical leave Oregon became the ninth state to commit to offering a paid family and medical leave program when
lawmakers enacted the Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program in 2019.

Search for Missing Oregon Woman in Doña Ana County New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M.  – Authorities say a woman from Oregon reported missing since April 13, 2021, is believed to be in Doña Ana County. The Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office reports that deputies were dispatched to the Aden Lava Flow Wilderness near I-40 on May 5 regarding a possible missing person.

Officials say that the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority had received a call about a vehicle that appeared to be abandoned for a while in the area about five miles southwest of Robert Larson Blvd. According to a press release from Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the individual who reported the incident stated he had met the owner of the abandoned vehicle a few months prior to reporting it.

He allegedly told deputies he was an acquaintance of the vehicle’s owner and knew she camped out of the vehicle. He told authorities that he was flying his drone in the area and noticed her vehicle but didn’t see any signs of the female in the area. After getting a closer look at the woman’s campsite and vehicle it had appeared the area had been abandoned for a while.

Deputies at the scene discovered a 2008 white Subaru Forrester with Oregon State plates in a remote area and several personal and camping items were found outside of the vehicle. The windows of the car were reported to be slightly rolled down and the items were covered in dirt and appeared weathered.

Deputies stated they did not see any foot tracks that led away from the vehicle. Authorities discovered the vehicle’s owner, Natasha Nelson was reported as a missing person out of Oregon State on April 13, 2021, and made contact with the Milwaukie Police Department.

Milwaukie PD stated Nelson’s parents had reported her missing after not hearing from her and said their last contact with her was on March 18, 2021. Authorities say Nelson had told her father, Titus Miller, that she would be moving camping locations within the next few days.

Deputies spoke to Miller who said Nelson often called or texted family and that it was uncommon for her to go more than two weeks without communication. Miller stated Nelson was an archaeologist and frequently moved to different campsites.

According to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, authorities were able to obtain Nelson’s cell phone from her vehicle and learned it was last turned on over a month ago. Expired food was also found inside the car.

A search of the surrounding area was conducted by foot and ATV and at this time no new discoveries have been made. The investigation into this case is ongoing.

Deputies are asking for the public’s help in locating Natasha Nelson. Anyone with information is asked to call the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office at 575-525-1911 or the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority at 575-526-0795

Tax Season Coming to a Close

The deadline to file state and federal personal income tax returns—May 17—is approaching, and the Oregon Department of Revenue estimates it will receive more than half a million more returns between now and then.

Obtaining Your Business Identification Number (BIN)

At least 1.5 million Oregonians have already filed their state personal income tax returns. The department is expecting about 2.2 million returns this year.

While most returns are processed without issue, there are a number of reasons returns may get flagged for additional review, including miscalculations on the return, misapplied payments, or missing documentation. Some of these can be corrected automatically, but others may require a request for more information or validation of the information by a staff member.

If your return ends up in manual review status, the best thing taxpayers can do is respond to any requests from the department as quickly as possible. Generally, taxpayers will receive letters requesting additional or missing documentation or asking them to take an identity verification quiz.

Do you owe taxes?

Those who owe taxes must make their payments by the same due date as their return, May 17. Some taxpayers are granted filing extensions, which means their returns aren’t due until October 15. However, an extension to file is not an extension to pay. Interest on taxes due starts accumulating the day after the return is due.

To make a payment:

Online: Make or schedule electronic payments from your bank account or by credit or debit card through Revenue Online at www.oregon.gov/dor.

In person: The department’s field offices can no longer accept cash, but they do still accept payments by check, money order, or credit or debit card by appointment. Cash payments are only accepted at the department’s main office in Salem. Appointments can be scheduled using the department’s self-service tool on the Contact Us page of Revenue’s website.

By mail: If you’re mailing your payment separate from your return, be sure to include a payment voucher so it can be appropriately credited. Visit www.oregon.gov/dor/forms for a blank personal income tax payment voucher (OR-40-V). The department’s website also has a list of mailing addresses for personal income tax payments. To avoid penalty and interest, your payment must be postmarked by May 17.

If you can’t pay your taxes, please contact the department as soon as possible. Based on your financial situation, you may be eligible for a payment plan.

Do you still need to file your return?

File electronically. E-filing is the fastest way to get your tax refund. Taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

Free e-filing. All Oregon taxpayers preparing their own returns can file electronically at no cost using Oregon’s free fillable forms. There are many other free or low-cost preparation options available for both federal and Oregon tax returns. Some software companies offer free software use and e-filing for eligible taxpayers. Visit the Department of Revenue website to take advantage of the software and free offers and get more information about free tax preparation services.

Earned Income Tax Credit. You may be missing out on a bigger refund if you’re not claiming the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Eligibility information is available at www.irs.gov/eitc. Taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC can also claim Oregon’s Earned Income Credit (EIC).

Unemployment exclusion. Unemployment benefits are generally treated as income for tax purposes. The American Rescue Plan enacted on March 11, 2021 allows individuals with modified Adjusted Gross Income of less than $150,000 to exclude up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits at the federal level, which Oregon follows. For taxpayers who already filed before the law was enacted, Oregon is adjusting these returns for the exclusion. If you are one of these taxpayers and have not received a refund or a notice of adjustment by the end of May, please contact the department.

The Department of Revenue continues to expand features available through Revenue Online. Individuals can view letters sent to them by the department, initiate appeals, make payments, and submit questions. Visit Revenue Online to learn more.

To get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments, visit www.oregon.gov/dor or email questions.dor@oregon.gov. You can also call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), we accept all relay calls. — Oregon Dept. of Revenue

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