Oregon Beach News, Thursday 6/16 – Coos County District Attorney Reveals More About Officer-Involved Shooting Death Of Murder Suspect, Buoy Beer Company President Issues Update On Roof Collapse At Astoria Brewery

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

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Oregon Beach Weather

Coos County District Attorney Reveals More About Officer-Involved Shooting Death Of Murder Suspect

Coos County District Attorney released new details after two officers fired their handguns, killing a murder suspect who was staying at a Coos Bay hotel Tuesday night.

According to Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier, the murder suspect was Matthew Mikel, 37. He is believed to have shot and killed Amber Townsend, 34, with a shotgun while she was walking along Cape Arago Highway Saturday, June 10, at about 8:30 a.m.

“We do have some information that there might have been a relationship in terms of being acquainted over a year ago, but we are still looking into that,” Frasier said. “I wouldn’t say that they were romantically involved or anything along that line, but they were acquainted.”

Frasier said investigators named Mikel a suspect in Townsend’s death Tuesday afternoon. They then received information about his whereabouts, and at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night, six officers showed up at the Global Inn in Coos Bay to attempt to arrest him.

“They also determined that he was on felony probation for various felonies and that he had not been reporting to his probation officer as he had been directed,” Frasier said.

A plain-clothes officer knocked on Mikel’s hotel room door, Frasier said. Mikel may have seen three other officers behind the plainclothes officer. He tried to slam the door shut, but the four officers entered the room.

“Mr. Mikel ran to a bed, grabbed what appeared to be a knife, threatened the officers with it, and two of the officers fired, resulting in Mr. Mikel’s death,” Frasier said.

The officers who fired their handguns were identified as Detective Aaron Whittenburg with the Coos County Sheriff’s Office, the lead investigator in Amber Townsend’s death who has served in law enforcement for 22 years, and Coos Bay Police Officer Dan Henthorn, who has served 16 years in law enforcement.

“Right now, we’re continuing the investigation into the shooting,” Frasier said. “We need to do some interviews of all of the officers who were there and that’s going to take some time to do.”

Oregon State Police are investigating Mikel’s death.

Frasier said the investigation into Townsend’s death is still ongoing. There are currently no other suspects. He declined to comment on if a shotgun was recovered from the hotel room Mikel was staying in.

Buoy Beer Company President Issues Update On Roof Collapse At Astoria Brewery

UPDATE: Buoy Beer president/ co-founder David Kroening has issued a statement posted below:

“Last night a portion of the original Buoy building suffered significant damage. The most important thing is that no one was injured or around the area that was affected.

This building houses our restaurant, small batch brewery, brite tanks, lager tanks, and canning line. The entire original Buoy building is closed to everyone until further notice. We have secured the area with fencing so that no one can enter. We will continue to work with the City of Astoria officials and other professionals to inspect things more thoroughly as we figure out the next steps. Until we’re able to consult with those people, we unfortunately do not have more details to share, which will likely take some time to figure out.

We are working on plans to keep our entire team working and figure out ways to get back to brewing, as our brewhouse and fermentation facility has not been affected. Our sister companies, Pilot House Distilling and River Barrel Distribution are also unaffected and will continue to operate as normal.

We are humbled by the overwhelming support from our local community as well as our industry friends. We feel lucky to live and work in this place and in an industry like ours. Thank you for all your kindness while we navigate this situation.

David Kroening, President, Buoy Beer Company”

The cause of the accident is so far unknown, but the brewery has announced that luckily no one was hurt in the collapse. What we do know is that the brewery has been under continual expansion including new packaging facility, distribution, and a relocation of their family brand Pilot House Distilling which they acquired in 2019.

From aerial photos it appears the center north side of the main building collapsed along the waterfront, this multi-level area likely includes part of warehousing and the restaurant kitchen space. The kitchen itself has been partially closed for months in favor of a take out window. We know that the restaurant was in construction to add additional space that expands the entire river view side and developing a large second story event space to host future weddings, events, and meetings.

In 2021 Buoy Beer Co-founder David Kroening said that the prior year forced them to “pump the brakes hard as we dealt with the toughest months we have ever faced. After some really hard work from our entire team, we were able to make the decision that with some tweaks to our plan, focusing growth on our core areas was going to be the best path for us to make sure we’d be able to expand our team again into the future and meet the ever-growing demand for our beer and spirits.”

Buoy Beer Company recently held a ribbon cutting for completion of beer production moved into the Astor Street building across the street from the original facility, which is a good sign for the ongoing status of brewing operations. The new building houses a 50bbl 4-vessel brewhouse along with more fermentation tank. However, beer production did not leave the original Bornstein Cannery building, and instead they installed a pipe bridge between the new building and the current brewery where the lager tanks, bright tanks, kegging lines, and new higher-speed canning line are located. The pipe bridge carries wastewater from the brewery and distillery to the brewery’s own treatment facility that will process the water before it enters the city’s wastewater system.

US Geological Survey Reports Series of Tremors off Oregon Coast

A series of rumbles, about 274 miles off the coast of Newport, OR, were traced by geologists between 2:54 and about 7 AM.  The largest of them registered 5.6 on the Richter scale, which is just below what’s considered a dangerous stage of 6 and up.

Each year dozens of such mid-range quakes happen all over the earth, but this one perhaps gets extra attention because of the Cascadia Subfault.  It’s a huge rift that runs from CA past OR and WA and varies between  80 and 100 miles off the coast. The Cascadia Subfault makes the San Andreas Fault look like a paper cut.

This quake and others were further out than that, there have been some other similar ones over the last 3 years off the Oregon coast. No reports of any large waves of Tsunami activity from officials. Geologists have been closely watching the Pacific Coast because of the Cascadia Subfault. 

It’s estimated its last major activity was a couple of hundred years ago, but when it slipped, it sent a large tidal wave to the shore. Evidence of deposits of soil can be found along the Oregon and WA coast by experts who know where to dig, showing layers of soil brought in and stacked by that event.


Oregon State Police Remind Motorists It Is Road Construction Season

Oregon State Police are reminding motorists it is the road construction season, and in many cases, that means slowing down when necessary. Construction zones are there to protect our highway workers, so they can also go home at the end of the workday.

BeAlert and #PayAttention

Inattentive driving is the leading cause of work zone crashes. Work Zones can have narrow lanes, closed lanes, closed shoulders, and workers very close to live traffic.

When possible, #MoveOver and #SlowDown for highway workers – Give workers more room between you and them. Obey all speed zone signs. Speeds may be reduced for your safety and the safety of workers.

Orange is Your Clue! OSP says, when you see orange signs, barrels, cones, and barricades – slow down and watch for highway workers. Traffic fines double and sometimes triple in work zones.

ODOT PROJECTS: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/projects/pages/default.aspx — Check TripCheck: https://www.tripcheck.com/

We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/cfpe50JyzF2

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows trends in cases, test positivity, hospitalizations and vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.
An illustrated person in front of a night landscape. The sky above has lightning and a photo background of dry, cracked ground. Text reads "Unfair systems intensify climate-related stress and harm youth mental health." The first section, "Unfair systems intensify" has the following text around it: systemic disinvestment, adultism, racist housing policies, systemic racism, health inequities, historical and contemporary injustices. Text around "climate-related stress":  extreme heat, traumatizing, loss, flooding, wildfires, community displacement, drought, what disaster is next. Text around "and harm youth mental health": what future?, we're inheriting a disaster, it's on us to fix this, anger, climate anxiety, am I doing enough?, dismissed hopeless.

Climate Change and Youth Mental Health in Oregon

Climate-related stressors, slow progress from leaders and increased awareness of the negative effects of climate change are leading to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and frustration among young people.The findings, released today in our new report, “Climate Change and Youth Mental Health in Oregon,” also found that youth feel dismissed by adults and older generations in society, angry that not enough is being done to protect their future.“

As climate effects get worse, youth are becoming very worried about their future and the future of their younger siblings,” said Julie Early Sifuentes, M.S., program lead at OHA’s climate and health program and the report’s lead author. “I hope this report gets more conversations going in communities across the state, about how we can join with youth in confronting these crises.”

“Youth have spoken to what they need to move forward, including stronger connections with community, culture and nature, better access to mental health services and participation in policy making,” noted Dr. Meg Cary, M.D., M.P.H., child and adolescent psychiatrist and senior health advisor at OHA, and adviser to the study. To learn more and read the report, visit http://ow.ly/QUSM50JxGY1.

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Oregon Housing Stability Council awards funding to build affordable homes in wildfire-affected counties   

More than $73 million to fund over 600 affordable homes 

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services announced awards of more than $73.33 million for the construction of 625 affordable homes in wildfire-affected counties across the state. The Oregon Housing Stability Council (HSC) awarded the latest rounds of program funding during their past meetings. Most of the funding will go toward development of rental housing, and some will go toward homeownership. 

These awards will add needed affordable housing supply in the counties of the state affected by wildfires, including the 2020 Labor Day Fires that burned 1 million acres. More than 4,000 homes were destroyed, including more than 1,700 manufactured homes in 20 manufactured home parks.  

More than $7 million in funding will go to convert the Talent Mobile Estates into a resident-owned cooperative. The manufactured dwelling park was destroyed during the 2020 Almeda Fire in Jackson County, displacing 89 families. Many of the residents were Latino/a/x families who worked in agriculture and other low-wage service jobs. They have been displaced from their community for the past 20 months. The Phoenix-Talent School District reported that nearly 40% of its students lost their homes to the fire, causing a significant social, emotional and economic disruption. CASA of Oregon will work with its partner, Coalición Fortaleza, to engage residents displaced from the area as they develop the project. 

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in Southern Oregon and the Latinx community has been disproportionately affected,” said HSC Councilmember Gerard Sandoval, PhD. “This is a perfect type of project that is needed because it has strong community ties and is resident-owned.” 

The council also awarded funding to Marion County to buy 15 acres of land for future development of new affordable homes. The site has the potential to establish a mix of two- to-four-bedroom single-family homes for wildfire survivors, seniors and workforce housing in the Santiam Canyon. 

“Currently, we have around 300 households in Marion County who don’t have a place to call home,” said Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell. “This $1.7 million is not just going to purchase land; it’s going to give us the opportunity to create affordable, long-term housing that works for this community that was devasted by the wildfires.”  

Below is a list of the 10 affordable housing developments awarded funding in Clackamas, Jackson, Marion and Lincoln counties. 

County Development Name Total Homes Source of Funding Awarded Amount 
Clackamas Estacada Apartments 36 Rental              $9,720,000  
Marion Gateway Phase 2 138 Rental $25,175,000 
Jackson Orchard Meadows and Prescott Gardens 196 Rental               $9,000,000  
Jackson Summit Gardens 34 Rental               $6,060,000  
Jackson Talent Senior Apartments 22 Rental              $3,181,400  
Lincoln Wecoma Place 44 Rental                 $3,927,515  
Marion MacLeay CLT 24 Homeownership                 $2,760,000  
Jackson New Spirit Village 42 Affordable, 42 Market Homeownership                 $4,300,000  
Jackson Talent Mobile Estates 89 DRR – Acquisition                 $7,500,000  
Marion Mill City Homesteads  DRR – Acquisition                 $1,706,500 

Health care providers reimbursed with state funds required to work with certified or qualified health care interpreters starting July 1

New rules reflect bill passed by Oregon Legislature during 2021 session

PORTLAND, Ore. — New rules that go into effect July 1 will require health care providers reimbursed with public funds to work with credentialed health care interpreters qualified or certified by Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

The rules drafted by OHA reflect changes in the requirement for health care interpreting services in Oregon that were made by the state Legislature’s passage of House Bill 2359 during the 2021 session. These new rules will ensure that people for whom English is a second language (those with limited English proficiency) or who use sign language can access high-quality interpreting services so they can receive health care like anyone else in Oregon. This access is critical to achieving the state’s mission of eliminating health inequities by 2030.

In addition to requiring publicly reimbursed health care providers to work with a qualified or certified health care interpreter listed on OHA’s 900-plus-member central registry, the law outlines recordkeeping requirements for health care providers and interpreting service companies when they work with a health care interpreter. Among the requirements are that they document the interpreter’s name, central registry number and language interpreted.

The law also requires health care providers to supply appropriate personal protective equipment, or PPE, at no cost to a health care interpreter for onsite interpreting services. And it directs OHA to develop policies and processes to improve the quality, consistency, availability and affordability of training, and qualification and certification standards, for health care interpreters, as well as accuracy and usability of the OHA central registry.

In addition, OHA – and state boards that license and certify health care professionals – must develop rules to enforce the new requirements for health care interpreting services.

“We are pleased we received participation and input from community partners and pleased that this legislation strengthens and supports language interpretation services in Oregon,” said Leann Johnson, director of the Equity and Inclusion Division at OHA.

Johnson added that the new rules ensure health care providers and interpretation service companies work with best practices in providing health care interpretation services. The rules also will improve access to health care interpreters in rural communities in Oregon, particularly to interpreters capable of interpreting languages of limited diffusion – or spoken by a small population – in those areas.

One of the organizations OHA is partnering with to eliminate barriers that prevent access to health care interpreter services is Pueblo Unido PDX. The Portland-based nonprofit connects individuals with a vulnerable immigration status in the Pacific Northwest with legal, social and Indigenous language interpretation services.

“Pueblo Unido PDX and the Collective of Indigenous Interpreters of Oregon (CIIO) are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with OHA to identify and address barriers to healthcare interpreter credentialing for Indigenous language interpreters,” said Cam Coval, executive director of Pueblo Unido PDX.

He said OHA’s Equity and Inclusion Division staff actively listened to feedback from Pueblo Unido and CIIO and “did not hesitate to implement our suggested changes, including eliminating the background check requirement and creating an exception to the GED or educational equivalency requirement for health care interpreters.”

Pueblo Unido and CIIO, he said, look forward to continued collaboration with OHA to ensure that required interpreter trainings are offered in Spanish; verify that patients are paired with an interpreter that speaks the correct variation of their Indigenous language; and develop more robust language proficiency evaluation mechanisms to determine that Indigenous language interpreters are indeed proficient in the target language.

House Bill 2359 allows some exceptions for health care providers in working with a health care interpreter, including that:

  • The health care provider is proficient in the preferred language of the person with limited English proficiency.
  • The person with limited English proficiency has an interpreter they prefer to work with who is not on the central registry.
  • The health care provider tried to find an interpreter using the central registry, but no interpreters were available.

OHA has been working closely with Oregon Council on Health Care Interpreters, the Oregon Department of Justice, health systems and other community partners to identify additional changes that reduce costs for health care interpreters associated with inclusion in the OHA central registry and administrative burdens. For example, all OHA central registry application and renewal fees for interpreters have been removed; training is offered for free or at low cost; training and experience requirements have been updated to maintain and improve interpreter quality standards; and an interpreter’s transition from qualified to certified status is now optional rather than required.

Health care providers and interpreting service companies will be given time – one year – to transition to the new requirements for working with OHA central registry interpreters who work remotely. Also, interpreters will no longer need to pass a background check to be included as a qualified or certified interpreter on the OHA central registry.

For more information about HB 2359, OHA’s central registry or health care interpreter services, visit the Health Care Interpreter Program website.

Oregon Adds 6,200 Jobs in May

In Oregon, nonfarm payroll employment grew by 6,200 in May, following gains averaging 6,000 jobs in the prior six months. Monthly gains in May were largest in leisure and hospitality (+3,200 jobs); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+1,300); wholesale trade (+900); and manufacturing (+800). Construction (-1,100 jobs) was the only major industry that shed a substantial number of jobs.

Over the past 12 months, nonfarm payrolls rose by 82,700 jobs, or 4.4%. Leisure and hospitality accounted for more than a third of these gains, growing by 29,400 jobs, or 17.2%. Private educational services grew by 3,000 jobs, or 9.3%, which was the second fastest growth rate of the major industries. Several industries grew by close to 5% since May 2021, including construction; wholesale trade; professional and business services; and manufacturing. None of the major industries declined a substantial amount over the past 12 months.

Durable goods manufacturing growth accelerated, as the industry added 8,800 jobs, or 6.9%, during the past 12 months. All of its component industries added jobs in that time. Computer and electronic products (+4,200 jobs, or 11.2%) added the bulk of jobs in durable goods manufacturing. Primary metals manufacturing (+800 job, or 12.3%) grew at the fastest rate, while three other component industries each added close to 1,100 jobs—machineryfabricated metals, and wood products.

Oregon’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.6% in May, from 3.7% in April, reaching its lowest level in more than two years. The rate is close to Oregon’s record low of 3.4%, which occurred in each of the four months of November 2019 through February 2020. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6% in both April and May 2022.

Oregon’s rising labor force participation rate is another sign that more people are getting back to work. In May, the participation rate rose to 63.5%, its highest reading in 10 years. This measure of how many people are working or looking for work has risen rapidly since reaching a low of 59.2% in April 2020 during the worst of the COVID recession. Oregon’s labor force participation rate of 63.5% in May was well above the comparable U.S. figure of 62.3%.

Next Press Releases — The Oregon Employment Department plans to release the May county and metropolitan area unemployment rates on Wednesday, June 22, and the next statewide unemployment rate and employment survey data for June on Wednesday, July 20. 

Notes: All numbers in the above narrative are seasonally adjusted except for the component industries within durable goods manufacturing.

The Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) work cooperatively to develop and publish monthly Oregon payroll employment and labor force data. The estimates of monthly job gains and losses are based on a survey of businesses. The estimates of unemployment are based on a survey of households and other sources.

The Oregon Employment Department publishes payroll employment estimates that are revised quarterly by using employment counts from employer unemployment insurance tax records. All department publications use this Official Oregon Series data unless noted otherwise. This month’s release incorporates the October, November and December 2021 tax records data. The department continues to make the original nonfarm payroll employment series available; these data are produced by the BLS.

The PDF version of the news release can be found at QualityInfo.org/press-release. To obtain the data in other formats such as in Excel, visit QualityInfo.org, then within the top banner, select Economic Data, then choose LAUS or CES. To request the press release as a Word document, contact the person shown at the top of this press release.

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit Oregon.gov/employ.

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. Everyone has a right to use OED programs and services. OED provides free help. Some examples are: Sign language and spoken language interpreters, written materials in other languages, braille, large print, audio and other formats. If you need help, please call 971-673-6400. TTY users call 711. You can also ask for help at OED_Communications@employ.oregon.gov.

Conservation Groups Sue To Protect Old-Growth Forests

Six environmental groups sued officials of the Biden administration Tuesday, saying a Trump-era rule change that allowed logging of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest violates federal laws and was politically motivated.

The Trump administration amended a protection that had been in place since 1994 that prohibited the harvesting of trees 21 inches (53 centimeters) or greater in diameter and instead emphasized maintaining a combination of trees, with trees at least 150 years old prioritized for protection and favoring fire-tolerant species.

The area the rule covers is at least 7 million acres, roughly the size of the state of Maryland, on six national forests in eastern Oregon and southeast Washington state, east of the Cascade Range.

But the lawsuit said the government’s environmental assessment did not adequately address scientific uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of thinning, especially thinning large trees, for fire risk reduction. The groups said the thinning and logging of large trees “can actually increase fire severity.” The U.S. Forest Service said it doesn’t comment on pending or active lawsuits.

Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife is seeking public assistance in locating the owner of an SUV- Umatilla County 

OSP Fish & Wildlife is seeking public assistance with locating the owner of a light-colored SUV last seen near Hermiston, Oregon, around October of 2021. The vehicle was captured by an OSP Fish & Wildlife Division mobile recording device, but the license plate is unreadable. It is believed the vehicle may reside in the Benton County area of southeast Washington and is connected with a poaching incident nearby. 

OSP Fish & Wildlife Division has exhausted all other leads in this case and is now urging anyone with information regarding this case to call the Oregon State Police Tip-line at 1-800-452-7888, OSP (677), or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov.  Please, reference case number SP21-290284.

Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators

The Turn In Poachers (TIP) program offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation, to a suspect, for the unlawful killing of wildlife, and or waste of big game. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags. Learn more: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/fw/Pages/tip.aspx

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