Oregon Beach News, Thursday 1/27 – Sea Pickles Washing Ashore Along the Coast, Lincoln County Jail Covid-19 Outbreak Sickens Inmates And Staff

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

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Oregon Beach Weather

Today– Sunny, with a high near 57. East wind 5 to 10 mph.

Friday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 57. South southeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Saturday– Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 54. East southeast wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable in the morning.

Sunday– Rain. High near 50. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Monday– Rain likely. Snow level 2400 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.

Sea Pickles Washing Ashore Along the Coast

Pyrosomes, or “sea pickles” as some people refer to them, are appearing along the Oregon coast again. These cylindrical or cone-shaped colonies of creatures are certainly an odd thing to spot on a walk along the beach.

A pyrosome is what’s known as a colonial tunicate, meaning it’s composed of several small organisms known as zooids. Each zooid is about the size of a grain of rice and has cilia to swim around. Although most of the time, a pyrosome’s movement is determined by the current.

“They don’t really look like your typical fish or sea star or dog or cat. They’re just these round tubes,” described Tiffany Boothe from the Seaside Aquarium. “It looks like plastic, for the most part.”

Boothe said the current is the likely explanation for how these creatures that are usually found in tropical waters ended up on the Oregon coast.

“We’ve been getting some really big storms, especially from the south. So the pyrosomes, while they are found off the Oregon coast in the summer months, usually in the winter we won’t see them unless we get these big, big winter storms,” she said.

In Seaside, Boothe said they’ve only seen an occasional pyrosome wash ashore on the beach. But on the beaches in Florence, and the coastline south of there, they’ve received reports of hundreds of sea pickles on the beach. Bothe said through the winter, it’s possible they’ll appear more on the Northern Oregon coast.

The Seaside Aquarium said Pyrosoma atlanticum is the most observed species found along Oregon beaches. Pyrosomes can reach a length of 60 feet, but Boothe said the colonies that wash ashore in Oregon are usually no more than 2 feet long.

Boothe said she’s never seen a live pyrosome before and that the ones that wash ashore on the beach are usually dead before a human discovers them. So, throwing them back into the ocean won’t save them.

However, she said it is safe for people to pick them up and feel them. They’re harmless, but marine experts don’t recommend allowing pets to eat them. Pyrosomes could make them sick.

Boothe said not a lot is known about the life history of pyrosomes and scientists don’t know if they’re a major food source for any animal. In 2017, when there was an abundance of pyrosomes washing ashore on the Oregon and Washington coast, scientists feared fish and large sea mammals would consume them and fill up on something that doesn’t have much nutritional value. Pyrosomes themselves feed on microscopic plankton.

Boothe encourages more people to head to the Southern Oregon coast to see the pyrosomes for themselves. She said they’re interesting animals and it’s an opportunity to take a closer look at them.

Here’s more information from NOAA Fisheries: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/science-blog/pyrosomes

Lincoln County Jail Covid-19 Outbreak Sickens Inmates And Staff

Lincoln County, Oregon Jail Inmate List

Sheriff Curtis Landers told county commissioners on Wednesday that four inmates in one jail pod were showing Covid-19 symptoms Jan. 19 and tested positive. Further testing the next few days showed an additional 21 inmates – all men – and 10 jailers were positive, he said.

The Covid-19 outbreak has hit 25 inmates and 10 staff of the Lincoln County Jail, resulting in a weeklong lockdown of the facility.

Landers said the jail was put on lockdown, meaning that inmates were confined to their cells and prohibited from mixing with other inmates, staff and visitors. It was either that, he told commissioners, or “face a large release into the community.”

The jail currently has 106 men and women in custody, a capacity of 121 during the pandemic and a staff of 35 corrections deputies.

Landers said staff is working overtime to fill in for the deputies who are ill, although some staff had started to return Wednesday. Nine of the 10 deputies who tested positive had been vaccinated, Landers said. Tests of all inmates and staff will be conducted again Saturday. “Hopefully by next week there will be a decline in the spread,” he said.

In a news release later Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said in addition to regular testing, the jail is being cleaned, temperature checks are being conducted on all staff and inmates, and face coverings are required.

The Florence Winter Music Festival this Friday and Saturday

“Jam sessions are sure to reflect the diversity of styles with young and old alike participating,” said Florence Winter Music Festival chairperson Kirk Mlinek. “We have dedicated space for jamming at the Florence Events Center. The room will be clearly marked and available as soon as the doors open on Friday morning (Jan. 28) and close at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The River House Inn and the Lighthouse Inn are also hosting jam sessions. Don’t leave home without your instrument.”

“Our outstanding workshops are back too,” Mlinek added. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Linda Leavitt as our instructor and emcee for the workshops. Workshops are free to any person holding a ticket to any one of the main-stage shows; others may attend for $20 payable at the door.”

Workshops include:

  • Beginner’s Bluegrass Jam with Linda Leavitt on Friday, Jan. 28, at 1 p.m.
  • Songwriting workshop with award-winning duo Kristen Grainger and Dan Wetzel of True North on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 9 a.m.
  • How to Play as a Duo with John Lowell and Ben Winship of Growling Old Men at 10:30 a.m. John and Ben will explain how it works to play in a duo as opposed to playing in a full band. They will work up a song on the spot to show the process of arranging the tune, figuring out harmony parts, when to play leads and the role of each player.
  • Blues and Rags Guitar with Mary Flower at 11 a.m. Flower will delve into left and right-hand moves that drive both Delta and Piedmont guitar styles. Expect some of her original songs that will demonstrate syncopation, movable chords, alternating thumb and dead thumb. Students will come away with a few new tunes as well as tools to apply to their own arrangements. Both the ability to read tab and fingerpicking experience will be helpful. Students are encouraged to record the class (audio).

COVID-19 protocols will be in place for all jam sessions and workshops, including proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival at the venue. Social distancing is required and masks must be worn. Organizers said they will be grateful for the public’s understanding and cooperation and that persons unwilling to comply with these requirements will be asked to leave the building.

The festival also includes performance workshops and jam sessions. Workshop topics and schedules, and jam schedules, along with tickets and artist profiles, can be found online at WinterMusicFestival.org

New this year is a livestream option for each show and for the weekend as a whole. The event will not be recorded for later viewing.

On-site performances at the Florence Events Center are $98 for the two-day pass, $42 for reserved seating for Friday Bluegrass, $31 for Saturday afternoon Folk/Americana general admission, and $49 for Saturday evening’s reserved seating headliner show.

Livestreaming prices are $20 each for Friday night bluegrass, Saturday afternoon folk/Americana, and Saturday night headliner show. An all-access two-day livestream pass is $55. Links will be sent to each buyer in advance of each show.

Visit WinterMusicFestival.org for schedules, artist profiles, tickets and more.

Oregon reports 8,207 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, Oregon surpasses 6,000 COVID-19 related deaths

PORTLAND, Ore. — There are 54 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,048, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today.

OHA reported 8,207 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 605,363.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (45), Benton (289), Clackamas (551), Clatsop (46), Columbia (92), Coos (158), Crook (110), Curry (33), Deschutes (541), Douglas (188), Gilliam (2), Grant (41), Harney (9), Hood River (51), Jackson (558), Jefferson (104), Josephine (224), Klamath (155), Lake (20), Lane (692), Lincoln (69), Linn (398), Malheur (78), Marion (910), Morrow (55), Multnomah (931), Polk (238), Sherman (6), Tillamook (48), Umatilla (198), Union (55), Wallowa (26), Wasco (82), Washington (911), Wheeler (14) and Yamhill (279).

“Today Oregon surpassed another heartbreaking milestone – the 6,000th COVID-19-related death. We’ve lost mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Coworkers and neighbors. These losses pain all of us,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer and state epidemiologist.

“What makes these losses more painful is that nearly all our most recent deaths could have been prevented by COVID-19 vaccines, which remain the best protection against serious illness and death.

“These losses also remind us that COVID-19 is still a formidable foe in Oregon, and the heart wrenching impact on our lives is not behind us yet.”

Hospitalizations from the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 soon will exceed the peak from the delta variant, according to the Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems.

“The next couple of weeks are going to be really tough, and it is important for people to understand that,” association President Becky Hultberg said during a Thursday, Jan. 20, press conference. “There is a war going on in our hospitals against this virus that isn’t visible to the public.”

“We have 1,059 confirmed and suspected hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Hultberg said. “Our delta hospitalization peak was just over 1,200. We’re on track to exceed that peak possibly by this weekend, maybe early next week.”

Hultberg said hospitalizations have been growing steadily and it is accelerating. Shortages in treatments effective against the omicron variant — such as monoclonal antibody treatments and antiviral pills — have complicated hospitals’ responses, she said.

“This omicron surge is different than delta,” she said. “Delta hit Southern and Central Oregon harder than other regions of the state, but omicron is impacting all regions of the state and pretty much all hospitals in the state.”

She described the stress on hospitals as approaching a “breaking point,” but said there is good news.

“The good news is that most patients in the hospital with COVID-19 aren’t as sick as they were during the delta wave,” Hultberg said. “But the sheer number of patients, exacerbated by staffing and discharge challenges, has the potential to overwhelm the health care system.”

Hultberg called for more support for health care centers but thanked the deployment of National Guard members to Oregon hospitals. She said hospitals are facing staffing shortages from both sick calls and people quitting their jobs.

“Schools have gone remote, businesses have shut down, but that is not an option for a hospital,” Hultberg said.

Hospitals are relying on contract staffing instead, she said, calling it an expensive, but essential option that is not sustainable for the long term.

Delays in moving patients to places like long-term care facilities have put a wrench in discharges, which keeps hospital beds filled in the meantime with people who could find more appropriate care elsewhere, Hultberg said.

“Today, hospitals have 582 patients who could be discharged from the hospital but there’s nowhere for them to go,” she said. “They may need a nursing home, a rehab bed, behavioral health support or they may not even have a home to go to.”

Hultberg said it is “past time” for the issue to be addressed.

The Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems is a trade organization that coordinates among local leaders in government, business and the health care community.

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Employment Department Mailing 1099G Tax Forms

Jan. 26, 2022 (Salem, OR) — This month, the Oregon Employment Department will mail 1099G tax forms to the nearly 400,000 people who received unemployment insurance benefits in the 2021 tax year. 

The 1099G form is used for filing both federal income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state income taxes to the Oregon Department of Revenue. 

People can expect to receive the 1099G form by Jan. 31, 2022. Starting Feb. 1, the form will be on the Online Claims System under the tab “1099G Tax forms” toward the bottom of the page.

Sara Cromwell, unemployment insurance division deputy director for benefits, urges people to inform the Employment Department if they receive a 1099G and did not claim benefits in 2021. 

“If you didn’t file a claim last year, this means someone may be trying to steal your ID. Please complete our online ID theft form or call 503-947-1995, so we can review the claim for possible fraud,” she said. 

More information on the 1099G form is at unemployment.oregon.gov. For more information on what to do if your identity has been stolen, visit the IRS website and the department’s fraud resources web page.

Increased emergency SNAP benefits continue in February

  • Most Oregonians who receive SNAP benefits will continue to receive increased emergency food benefits in February
  • Approximately 380,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $61 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits
  • Find resources to meet your basic needs: Dial 2-1-1, or text your zip code to 898-211, www.211info.org 
  • Oregon Department of Human Services COVID-19 help center 

Most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive emergency allotments in February. 

The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since March 2020. This gives SNAP recipients additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In February, approximately 380,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $61 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits.

“We know that many rely on these additional emergency food benefits to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families,” said Claire Seguin, deputy director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Programs. “We also know that many Oregonians are still struggling to meet their basic needs and we encourage them to contact our partners at 211 and the Oregon Food Bank for support during this difficult time.”

Emergency allotments will be available on Feb. 11 for current SNAP households. New SNAP households will receive the emergency allotments Feb. 26 or March 2.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards. 

More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Emergency-Allotments.aspx.

Questions about your SNAP benefits should be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075.

If you are a SNAP household and your income or the number of people in your household has changed, it could impact your benefits. It is important to make sure ODHS has the most up-to-date information. 

You can report any changes to your income or household in many ways: 

  • Online at: ONE.Oregon.gov
  • By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
  • By fax at: 503-378-5628
  • By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711

Resources to help meet basic needs

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372.

Oregon Resumes Rental Assistance Program

Oregon Housing and Community Services is once again accepting applications for their emergency rental assistance program, aimed at helping tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent.

OHCS says it will be a “limited reopening” expected to run 3 to 5 weeks, with roughly enough funding to provide assistance to 6,700-9,300 additional applications.

The portal to submit an application on the state of Oregon’s website is up and running.

For the last six weeks, OHCS has been on pause while they go through a backlog of applications to see if any money from the nearly $400 million in federal assistance and special session allocation was left to give out.

OHCS is first processing applications received before the Dec. 1 pause.

Households with the most need will have priority in accessing these resources, not a first-come, first-served basis.

Then, applications received on Jan. 26 will be processed after that, using the same means of identifying need to determine the order of processing.

Tenants who apply on Jan. 26 or after may receive safe harbor protections that prevent landlords from evicting tenants until their application is processed.

All safe harbor protections expire on Sept. 30, 2022.

The state provided the following information for renters who apply on or after Jan. 26 when the portal reopens

  • Tenants who apply on Jan. 26 or after can receive safe harbor eviction protections that prevent landlords from evicting tenants until their application is processed. Tenants must show proof to their landlord that they applied for the program to receive the protections. Tenant applications will be paid based on the remaining funding available and are not guaranteed.
  • Applications still awaiting landlord/tenant response at the time of closure are subject to funds remaining when application is finalized and approved, and prioritization scoring is applied and are not guaranteed for payment.
  • Tenants at immediate risk of eviction should apply for rental assistance right away to access safe harbor protections and should contact a legal organization.
  • Oregon Law Center’s Eviction Defense Project: 888-585-9638 or evictiondefense@oregonlawcenter.org
  • Oregon State Bar: 503-684-3763 or legalhelp@oregonstatebar.org
  • Tenants should expect a delay prior to processing and payment but can count on accessing their safe harbor eviction protections immediately.

OHCS and local program administrators (LPAs) have paid $235.4 million in federal emergency rental assistance to 33,770 households, up from $222.4 million and 31,816 applicants last week, through OERAP.

Oregon’s Worker’s Comp Expands Services

The State of Oregon’s independent advocate to help injured workers navigate the workers’ compensation system is changing its name and adding workplace safety and health as part of its services. The Ombudsman for Injured Workers is now the Ombuds Office for Oregon Workers.

It has expanded its role to also help workers protect their rights under Oregon OSHA’s laws and rules.  The Office of the Ombudsman for Injured Workers was created in 1987. Since then, it has served as an independent advocate for
injured workers by helping them understand their rights and responsibilities, investigating complaints, and acting to resolve those complaints. It is an independent office that is part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). 

Even though the office is taking on this new role, the needs of injured workers will still be met. In addition to expanding its services for helping Oregon workers understand their rights in workplace safety and health, the Ombuds Office will also work with the DCBS director and Oregon OSHA to identify ways to improve protections and
interactions with workers.  The Ombuds Office for Oregon Workers can be contacted at 800-927-1271 (toll-free). Direct services are available in English and Spanish. Language service is used to help callers who speak other languages.

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Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Asks for Public’s Help in Search For Trucker Suspect

The first real clue to come in on all the missing person cases in the area. Help Klamath Falls Oregon Sheriff Office ID this trucker. He was the last to see this woman alive and could be the key to not only solving this woman’s disappearance but a number of the hundred other women missing in PNW. IF you have any information, please call (541) 883-5130

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A 17-year-old was reported missing in Salem and detectives say the teen might be the victim of an online catfishing scheme.

Ezra Mayhugh, 17, was last seen on October 15, 2021 after being dropped off in downtown Salem by a friend, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. He was reported as a runaway the following day when he did not return home.

Investigators say he might be in Washington or California. They hope to reunite Ezra safely with family members.

He’s described as about 5-foot 11-inches tall, weighing 130 pounds, with blonde hair and brown eyes.

If you have had contact with Mayhugh since October 15 or have other helpful information on his whereabouts, the sheriff’s office asks you to contact Detective M.J. Sphoon at 503-588-6808 or to submit a tip by texting TIPMCSO and your tip to 847411.

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

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