The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com
Monday, August 8, 2022
Oregon Beach Weather
Study Looks at Reintroduction of Sea Otters to the Oregon Coast
A federal study ordered by Congress concluded it would be feasible to reintroduce sea otters to the Oregon and northern California coasts. However, that finding doesn’t mean the super-cute predators will be relocated into their former ocean habitat anytime soon.
A study released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week found reintroducing sea otters into their historical habitat on the Oregon and northern California coasts would be biologically, economically and legally feasible, though there’s still no active plan to do so.
Although sea otters occasionally visit Oregon’s coastal waters — there have been 18 strandings, and 32 individuals have been observed here since 2007 — the state’s last resident sea otter in the wild is believed to have been killed at Otter Rock in 1906.
In its 2021 Appropriations Act, Congress directed the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a study on the cost and feasibility of reintroducing the species to the area. Previous reintroductions in southern California, Washington and the nearshore waters of Alaska were successful — the species has multiplied rapidly in the latter, where 90 percent of the world’s sea otters currently live — while an attempt to translocate a population to the Oregon coast in the early 1970s failed (the last individual in that population was observed in 1981).
“There would be multiple substantial biological and ecological benefits to the nearshore marine ecosystem from a reintroduction of sea otters to their historical range in northern California and Oregon,” the executive summary of the newly-released feasibility and cost assessment stated.
Michele Zwartjes, USFWS Oregon coast field supervisor and one of the study co-authors, cautioned that her agency is years away from any decision to carry out a reintroduction plan.
“There’s no recommendation as to whether or not reintroduction should actually occur,” Zwartjes said in an interview. “We are in the very earliest stages of even considering the possibility of reintroduction.”
Zwartjes explained that restoring this keystone species could launch a cascade of positive, indirect effects. Hungry otters would reduce an overpopulation of sea urchins, which in turn could result in healthier kelp forests. More widespread kelp in turn could store carbon and nurse increased fish populations. The presence of sea otters could also spur increased tourism.
However, the federal agency acknowledged there is also risk to shellfish fisheries due to predation by sea otters on crabs, clams and sea urchins. The otters have big appetites because they need to eat heartily to stay warm in the cold Pacific waters.
Therefore, the federal report recommended as a next step that an experienced, neutral facilitator convene stakeholders, agency representatives and scientific experts to hash out reintroduction options “that might present an acceptable level of risk to all parties.”
Sea otters were hunted to local extinction along the Pacific Northwest coast as part of the fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. The critters were successfully reintroduced to Washington, British Columbia and southeast Alaska 50 years ago. It didn’t go so well along the southern Oregon coast, where the otters released during the same time period mysteriously vanished after a few years.
Now, a key federal agency has wrapped up a detailed look at whether it is worth trying again in Oregon. The bottom line according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is, yes. One of the study co-authors, cautioned that her agency is years away from any decision to carry out a reintroduction plan, explaining that restoring this keystone species could launch a cascade of positive, indirect effects. Hungry otters would reduce an overpopulation of sea urchins, which in turn could result in healthier kelp forests.
Crews Stop Two Fires Quickly Along Trans-Pacific Highway In Coos County
Firefighters from Coos Forest Protective Association and North Bend Rural Fire District responded to two fires burning along the Trans-Pacific Highway Wednesday.
Firefighters were able to stop the first fire at about a quarter of an acre and the second fire at 1 acre. The cause of the fires is under investigation.
Coos Forest Protective Association says firefighters were able to get the fires knocked down before the coastal winds picked up and these fires are a good indicatior of how dry grasses and fine fuels are along the south coast.
Lincoln City Community Center Gym, Cardio, and Weight Room closed from 08/08/22 – 09/16/22* due to New Roof Construction
Due to the NEW roof construction, the gym, cardio, and weigh room at the Community Center will be closed from August 08, 2022 through September 16, 2022* (*September 16 is estimated date).
Cardio and weight equipment will be available to use in lobby and large meeting room.
COVID-19 is widespread across Oregon.Enjoying the Oregon summer weather and gathering outdoors is safer than attending indoor gatherings.But if you are heading into an indoor public place, or to a crowded outdoor setting, consider wearing a well-fitting mask – such as a KF94, KN95, N95 or a cloth mask over a surgical mask – while COVID-19 is still circulating widely.
This is especially important if you or someone at home is at higher risk.The best way to prevent serious COVID-19 illness is to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. To find a vaccine or booster near you, visit getvaccinated.oregon.gov.People who are at higher risk should make a plan with their health care provider for getting tested and treated quickly should they develop COVID-19. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 211.
Recent Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) COVID-19 modeling estimates the current COVID-19 wave peaked July 13.As of August 3, there were 398 COVID-19-positive patients in Oregon hospitals, down from the peak of 464 reached July 17.
Wastewater surveillance data collected through July 14 shows viral concentrations have stopped increasing in most regions, and are either flat or declining.Along with staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, wearing well-fitting masks, particularly when you may be around others in indoor or crowded outdoor settings, can help protect you and those around you.If you need help finding a vaccine or booster, visit http://ow.ly/SNp550Ke7aUTo read the full report, visit http://ow.ly/jCRO50Ke7aV.
Mckinney Fire Effects Far Reaching
It’s now been a little more than a week since the McKinney Fire sparked in Siskiyou County, torching almost 60,000 acres.
The U.S. Forest Service says one of the McKinney Fire’s fatal victims was a Forest Service employee. It says today Kathy Shoopman died at her home in Klamath River, California from the McKinney Fire.
But while the blaze continues to go, new insight is being provided on the total damages that the fire has caused to surrounding communities. After weeks of canceled shows due to COVID-19, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival had to pivot once again to move shows indoors due to smoke from the McKinney fire. The McKinney fire blazed north of Karuk tribal homelands in Northern California and destroyed a building in Oak Knoll that housed the tribe’s archives.
On Friday, August 5, Siskiyou County’s Office of Emergency Services released new information on the total number of homes and structures destroyed by the McKinney Fire.
During the last seven days, officials are reporting that out of the 274 structures that were inspected, 87 homes have been destroyed along with 132 total structures (homes, garages, outbuildings, commercial etc.).
134 structures have been unharmed and 4 structures have minor damage.
We’ve also learned that the initial damage assessment for the McKinney Fire is more than 50% complete.
An interactive structure status map is available at Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services webpage: https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/emergencyservices
The wildfire burning in a remote area just south of the Oregon border appears to have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Klamath River fish, the Karuk Tribe said. The tribe said in a statement that the dead fish of all species were found Friday near Happy Camp, California, along the main stem of the Klamath River.
It’s unclear exactly what is causing the fish deaths but biologists with the tribe believe a flash flood caused by heavy rains over the burn area caused a massive debris flow that entered the river, said Craig Tucker, a spokesman for the tribe. The Karuk are working with the Yurok, another Northern California tribe, and state and federal agencies to gain access to the fire zone to get a better sense of what happened and the extent of the problem.
The 2022 wildfire season has fire crews battling blazes all across the Pacific Northwest. This is a roundup of the biggest fires in the region as of Sunday, August 7, 2022.
Despite the challenge of triple digit heat, firefighters announced they’ve made great strides fighting multiple wildfires in Oregon. With assistance from the air, planes dropping retardant on the Miller Road fire were a big part of that progress.
Operations Section Chief Dave Robertson said, “We’re calling it contained.”
The Wasco County sheriff’s office has lifted all evacuation orders for the fire near Maupin, as firefighters say it’s about 95% contained. They thanked everyone for their efforts, and shut down that fire’s Facebook page. They will have a mop up crew still looking for hot spots along the 25 mile perimeter. That fire burned an estimated 10,847 acres and one home.
Crews fighting the Windigo Fire near La Pine reported Sunday they had dug lines around the entire perimeter. Ground resources on Sunday went towards mop-up efforts and holding the line. The Windigo Fire is now about 25% contained on more than 1,000 acres, and firefighters are making progress on that and the Big Swamp, Shelter and Potter fires. Ryan Sullivan is their spokesperson, saying “The fire looks extremely good.”
Crews also dug lines all the way around the Potter Fire near Toketee Lake, although the fire was still reported to be 0% contained as of Sunday, according to Northwest Incident Management Team 6. The Potter Fire has burned about 185 acres.
Both the Windigo and Potter Fires, were started by lightning strikes, and they’re among 27 known fires across the Umpqua, Willamette, Deschutes and Fremont-Winema National Forests.
Miller Road Fire
On Sunday, officials reported the fire is burning 10,847 acres and is now 95% contained. At least one residence has been destroyed by the blaze.
Evacuation advisories were issued in Wasco County, Oregon as the Miller Road Fire burns through the Pine Grove area, officials announced Tuesday. Since then, evacuations have been downgraded by one level each.
“What does this mean?” the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post on Friday. “Anyone previously at a level 3 (GO NOW) evacuation order should consider themselves under a level 2 (GET SET) and may return to their property at this time. For the Dodge/Miller Fire this would be residents in the Juniper Flat / Victor Rd / Walters Rd and Hwy 197 area.
“Level 2 (GET SET) can relax a bit more at a level 1 (GET READY) and should just remain diligent for any changes. This includes Tygh Valley, Oak Springs, and Maupin. If you were previously under a level 1 (get ready) you can consider evacuation advisories lifted for your area at this time. This affects residents of The Dalles in the Columbia View Heights subdivision, the Oregon Vets Home, Viewpoint Trailer Park, and the Celilo Inn.”
Fire crews report they have gained some ground at the Windigo Fire, with 1,042 acres still burning on Sunday.
Officials said the blaze is 15% contained. The fire is actively burning in timber nearly 20 miles southwest of La Pine near Crescent Lake.
The Potter Fire, which was first reported on the morning of July 31, stands at approximately 167 acres while containment remains 0%, according to officials .
On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Forestry announced the emergency closure of both the Willamette and Umpqua National Forests due to the blaze.
It is burning near the south side of Potter Mountain on the Middle Fork Ranger District, closing the trail section between OR 138 and Summit Lake.
Cedar Creek Fire
Lightning is being blamed for another new fire, this time in Lane County.
The lightning-caused Cedar Creek Fire in Lane County expanded 500-plus new acres is now burning 1,438 acres west of the Black Creek Trailhead, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center . Officials called this blaze and the Potter Fire significant. On Sunday, officials reported the fire is 0% contained.
The fire forced officials to shut down Forest Roads 2421 and 2424. Trails and trailheads on the west side of Waldo Lake are also closed.
Fly Creek Fire
Good news from the fire lines of The 274-acre Fly Creek Fire burning near Lake Billy Chinook was 95% contained as of Friday morning. Officials say the fire will be downgraded and turned over to a different management team Saturday morning.
As of Thursday evening, the evacuation orders have been lifted for the Three Rivers area, along with Perry South and Monty campgrounds. However, officials say fire crews will still be at Perry South on Friday.
Firefighters have the majority of a bulldozer line built so it doesn’t spread further, but, officials said they are continuing to establish and connect control lines around the edge of the fire.
Beech Creek Fire
The Beech Creek Fire near Long Creek is burning 155 acres and is 40% contained, officials noted Sunday. The fire reportedly threatened nearby structures.
Tolo Mountain Fire
The Tolo Mountain Fire was 75% contained and 41 acres as of Tuesday. Crews will stay in place until full containment is reached.
Oregon’s new wildfire risk map was pulled after pushback from residents, who say state agencies didn’t consider the consequences of the map before its release.
The residents’ main concern with the map is financial. Property owners in areas the map classifies as high risk could be required to fix certain fire hazards on their own dime. But the Oregon Department of Forestry published the map before the rules for that were finalized.
The map breaks down what parts of the state are in residential areas that border wildlands, and it classifies all properties as high, medium, or low risk for wildfires. Some residents say they don’t trust the way those maps are
They also feel the map was released without taking possible property insurance increases into consideration.
ODF pulled the interactive map down, for now, but it will not necessarily be going back to the drawing board.
Oregon Will Receive $8.5 Million More In Federal Rental Assistance Funds
Oregon will get another $8.5 million in federal emergency rental assistance money, the state’s two U.S. senators recently announced.
The largest portion of the money – almost $6.9 million – will go to the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, which manages statewide rental assistance programs. The department has paid more than $386 million in rent and utility assistance for more than 51,000 Oregon households since May 2021.
People who fell behind on rent during the pandemic were eligible for up to three months of payments for future rent and utilities and up to one year of back rent and utilities. Applications for assistance closed in March because Oregonians requested more in aid than the department had available.
An agency spokeswoman said the new federal money will go toward requests that have already been submitted. Under a state law passed in December, the department must finish all pandemic-related rent payments by September.
The city of Portland, which runs its own rent assistance program, will get the next largest portion of federal funding, $1.1 million. As of June, the Portland Housing Bureau reported spending $90 million to help almost 20,000 households.
Clackamas County, Washington County and the Coquille Indian Housing Authority will also receive more federal money for rent assistance, at $251,000, $174,000 and $15,000, respectively.
In statements, Wyden and Merkley both said the additional federal money for emergency housing is just part of an ongoing effort to help Oregonians remain housed.
“The pandemic’s deep economic impact, including the challenges it placed on the consistent need to pay rent, continues to ripple even as Oregonians go back to work,” Wyden said. “Housing is a human right, so I’m glad to see more federal funds come into our state to help renters get extended assistance to cover costs. This is a good step in the ongoing battle to keep roofs over heads, as Senator Merkley and I keep fighting for more permanent housing solutions.”
Merkley added that he and Wyden will work together to get more federal money for Oregon.
“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home, but many Oregonians are struggling with the rapidly rising cost of housing,” Merkley said. “This critical emergency rental assistance will help provide a lifeline to many families to help cover the costs of rent.”
Task Force Busts Black-Market Marijuana Grow; Seizes 438 Plants, 2 Firearms, 1k Lbs. Processed Cannabis, 5 lbs. Psilocybin Mushrooms; Issues up to $37k Fine, Water Violation
Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives along with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies served a search warrant on a marijuana grow site on the 10500 block of West Evans Creek Road in Rogue River early yesterday morning. The property contained approximately 438 illegal cannabis plants, as well as approximately 1000 lbs. of processed black-market marijuana, and two firearms. Investigators also discovered five lbs. of processed psilocybin mushrooms on the property. The illegal cannabis was seized and destroyed on site. On scene, four subjects were detained, interviewed, and released. Detectives identified the primary suspects and charges are pending by the Jackson County District Attorney’s office.
This case was the result of a month-long investigation of an illegal/black market marijuana growing operation. This location generated multiple complaints from residents. There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location.
Jackson County Code Enforcement and Oregon Water Resources Department District 13 Watermasters responded to the scene to conduct independent investigations. Code Enforcement issued citations to the property owner totaling $13,000 for unpermitted electrical work, unapproved storage buildings, unapproved marijuana production and processing, solid waste, and occupation of an RV within a marijuana grow site. For the unapproved greenhouse structures, the property owner faces the potential of up to $24,000 in additional fines. Watermasters issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the responsible parties for using a domestic well for commercial crop without a ground water right. Water violations of this kind are subject to both civil and criminal penalties.
While regulatory agencies investigate permitted cannabis operations, IMET is focusing on the black-market marijuana trade in the Rogue Valley. IMET is a multi-agency task force funded by a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. The task force includes personnel from JCSO, Medford Police Department, Code Enforcement, and the DA’s Office.
Investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads. No further information is currently available for release. IMET Case 22-12966 Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office
More Than $20 Million in Federal Funds Allocated to 11 Oregon Airports For Renovations
The Federal Aviation Administration has allocated more than $20 million for repairs at 11 rural airports in Oregon and to help attract new flights from Salem to California, Nevada and Arizona.
Most of the money – $17.5 million – will go toward reconstructing runways at the Corvallis Municipal Airport, the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton and the Crater Lake/Klamath Regional Airport in Klamath Falls. About $2.6 million will be devoted to upgrades at airports in Hood River, Newport, Eugene, John Day, Aurora, Creswell and Florence.
Another $850,000 is allocated to Salem Municipal Airport to help launch commercial flights to California, Nevada and Arizona, according to a news release by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrats.
“Regional airports serve an important role in supporting Oregon’s economy and by expanding service, they increase opportunities for business and Oregonians,” Merkley said in the statement.
“I am gratified to see these dollars go toward expanding regional air service in Salem, to have a more accessible option for travel in and out of the mid-Willamette Valley,” Wyden said.
The total pot, $20.9 million, will support growth in rural airports that serve thousands of commercial, military, business and state flights a year.
The administration is giving $9.5 million to the Klamath Falls airport, which has had an uptick in business-related flights, according to Jonathan Teichert, city manager and acting airport director. He said the money will allow the airport to reconstruct its second runway and taxiways for use by smaller aircraft. That will free up the main runway for the Oregon Air National Guard and the U.S. Forest Service, which needs to fly air tankers to fight forest fires, he said.
“The runway’s asphalt has passed its useful life,” Teichert wrote in an email. Money will also be used for new lighting and airfield signs.
Last year, the airport served about 35,000 flights. More than half were private flights and more than one-third were military. Shippers including FedEx and United Parcel Service accounted for only 3% of the traffic. The airport has no commercial flights.
Teichert said he expects the work to be finished in the fall of 2023.
Besides supporting recent business growth in the area, Teichert said the money paid to Rocky Mountain Construction in Klamath Falls for repairs will fuel the local economy.
“Money paid to RMC will go towards wages, materials and services with other local businesses and have a trickle-down effect throughout the community,” Teichert said.
Nearly $5 million to Pendleton
The Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton is the next big recipient, winning nearly $5 million.
Steve Chrisman, the economic development director for Pendleton and the airport, told the Capital Chronicle the money will be used to fix “hotspots” – unsafe areas for aircraft – and to correct a blindspot for air traffic controllers.
“The airport has been experiencing unprecedented growth for the last several years, which requires safe and structurally sound runways and taxiways,” Chrisman said in a statement.
The airport’s revenues soared from under $500,000 in fiscal year 2014 to an expected $2 million this fiscal year, Chrisman said. Last year the airport served 19,600 flights; that compares with nearly 14,400 flights so far this year.
“We just (passed) the halfway mark, so you can see that we are likely to shatter last year’s high,” Chrisman said.
He said traffic from the airport’s sole commercial carrier, Boutique Air, which flies three roundtrips a day to Portland with eight-seater planes, plummeted when the pandemic hit but is now rebounding. Drones account for much of the recent growth, he said.
Nearly $3 million to Corvallis
The Corvallis Municipal Airport won nearly $3 million to update lighting and reconstruct a runway built in the 1980s. Airport manager Todd Hastie said the runway accommodates 95% of the traffic at the airport, with 50,000 annual flights including military, air taxis and general aviation.
Construction is slated to be completed by Oct. 15. Hastie said the fixes will allow the airport to boost traffic, especially at night. The broken lights essentially ended nighttime traffic, he said.
Besides these three regional airports, $2.6 million will pay for crucial safety improvements, including weather reporting and snow equipment, lighting, signs and fog prevention:
- $1 million to the Mahlon Sweet Field Airport in Eugene for snow removal equipment.
- $600,000 to the Grant County Regional/Ogilvie Field Airport in John Day for runway reconstruction, lighting and signs.
- $332,260 to the Aurora State Airport for runway rehabilitation and fog prevention.
- $198,137 to the Crater Lake/Klamath regional Airport for runways and visual guidance systems.
- $150,000 to the Hobby Field Airport in Creswell for lights and path indicators.
- $150,000 to the Newport Municipal Airport for tree removal.
- $100,000 to the Ken Jernstedt Airfield in Hood River for weather reporting equipment.
- $100,000 to the Florence Municipal Airport for runways and taxiways.
The final $850,000 allocated to Salem Municipal Airport is to help the airport attract commercial carriers. In its application, the city of Salem said the money would be used for revenue guarantees for carriers, marketing and fee waivers. Resuming commercial service in Salem could require up to $12 million in terminal renovations and a doubling of staff.
Two carriers wrote letters in support of the application, including Avelo Airlines, a small carrier based in Houston, Texas, and Aha!, a budget airline based in Reno, Nevada, the news site said. The companies are interested in two weekly flights each – Aha! to Reno and Avelo to Burbank, California or Las Vegas, Nevada.
Women Missing Since May 1st 2022 between Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg per Oregon State Police
|MAKENNA KENDALL 5/3/2022|
|ERICA LEE HUTCHINSON 5/26/2022|
|MARIAH DANIELLE SHARP 6/12/2022|
|KAITLYN RAE NELSON 6/14/2022|
|BROOKLYN JOHNS 6/14/2022|
|DONNA LEPP 6/27/2022|
|BARBARA DELEPINE 7/4/2022|
|****KENDRA MARIE HANKS 7/7/2022 FOUND MURDERED 7/21/2022|
|CORI BOSHANE MCCANN 7/8/2022|
|SHYHAILA SMITH 7/12/2022|
|ALEZAE LILYANNE MARTINEZ 7/13/2022|
|RAVEN RILEY 7/13/2022|
|TAHUANA RILEY 7/13/2022|
|DANIELLE NEWVILLE 7/14/2022|
|CONNIE LORAINE BOND 7/19/2022|
|KARIN DAWN RUSSELL 7/19/2022|
|CHEYENNE SPRINGS 7/19/2022|
|KAREN ANNETTE SCIORTINO 7/22/2022|
|MARLENE HICKEY 7/23/2022|
|MAKAYLA MAY VAUGHT 7/23/2022|
|WENDY JEAN HAZEN 7/26/2022|
|SHAHE SOPHIA CATRANIDES 7/27/2022|
Women Missing Since May 1st 2022 in Lane County per Oregon State Police
|REISA RAQUEAL SIKEL 5/3/2022|
|HANNAH MARIE RHOTEN 5/17/2022|
|MARISSA ALEESA DAMBROSIO 5/18/2022|
|ISABELLA BROSOWSKEYOUNGBLOOD 6/7/2022|
|LOUISA DAY AVA 5/28/2022|
|AMY CHRISTINA SULLIVAN 6/1/2022|
|NIKKI ELIZABETH ZEREBNY 6/6/2022|
|SHADOW STAR SEVIGNY 6/17/2022|
|SHAUNA LEAH HOGAN 6/17/2022|
|AIRIONNA CHEALSEY RHODES 6/27/2022|
|KARISSA RENEE ADAMS 7/6/2000|
|VERONICA ESSYNCE DELERIO 7/6/2022|
|AUBRIE HANNA STEPHENS 7/10/2022|
|LARA IVEY STEINMETZ 7/11/2022|
|SARA LINDSAY SCHAEFER 7/12/2022|
|ANGELINA MARIE NAZAR 7/16/2022|
|LUCIA MARTHA PANNIER 7/17/2022|
|MALINA LINN COATS 7/20/2022|
|KATHY A VERNACCHIO 7/23/2022|
|LILLY ANNE WARMUTH 7/28/2022|
|MALINA LINN COATS 7/29/2022|
|JORDYN CLARA GOHL 7/31/2022|
|QAVAH ALAH TILLILIE 7/31/2022|
As of 8/2/2022, there are now 44 women missing between Medford and Eugene. Sadly Kendra Hanks has been found murdered, though that takes her off the list. We send thoughts and prayers to her family as well as the families of all missing people in our area.
44 women missing in 3 months. That averages out to 14+ missing per month. Something needs to be done.
This is just a small compilation of missing women’s 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. https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx