The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Oregon Beach Weather
Today– Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. Breezy, with a north northwest wind 8 to 13 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 31 mph.
Friday– Sunny, with a high near 74. Northeast wind 5 to 9 mph becoming north northwest in the afternoon.
Saturday– Patchy fog before 10am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 64. Calm wind becoming west northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday– A 40 percent chance of rain. Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, partly sunny, with a high near 65.
Monday– Rain. Cloudy, with a high near 63.
Dead Salmon Shark Washes Ashore at Arch Cape
A dead salmon shark washed ashore at Arch Cape on Monday. The Seaside Aquarium said they were able to collect the four-foot shark to study it.
According to the aquarium, salmon sharks give birth to pups off the Oregon coast in the spring.
They commonly eat salmon, and are known to become stranded.
Their average size is around seven feet long and weigh an average of 300 pounds.
While the salmon shark may look fierce, there has never been a reported incident of a salmon shark attack on a human. If you have a question about a stranded shark or other stranded marine life, be sure to contact local experts at the Seaside Aquarium 503.738.6211.
Curry Medical Center in Brookings Begins Renovations
Curry Medical Center in Brookings begins renovations that are expected to end in December. Curry Health Network says work is being done to make key technological upgrades to diagnostic imaging equipment.
“Curry Health Network continues to improve and expand the services it offers to the communities it serves. The renovations at Curry Medical Center provide for the installation of a new CT Scanner and Nuclear Medicine Camera, both arriving at the of October,” said Ginny Williams, CEO of CHN.
Williams wants to reassure patients and visitors to the facility that impact will be negligible.
“They will notice a mobile CT Scanner outside the building, but the quality of the mobile CT is better than the CT being replaced, and patients will present to registration, as usual,” she said.
CHN provides expert care in health — from diagnosis to rehabilitation — and this new state-of-the-art technology will improve the health network’s imaging capabilities. The CT scanner is a critical diagnostic tool that helps with everything from identifying fractures to aiding in cancer screenings. This new scanner provides for more accurate scans, a better patient experience, and is an overall aid to the medical team.
The Nuclear Medicine Camera allows diagnosticians to get a clear and thorough picture of your heart, which helps identify coronary artery disease. The technology can be lifesaving as it can show which patients may have a greater risk for heart attacks.
These technological advances are an investment in the health of the Curry County community. They will help the expert team at CHN have a clearer picture of your healthcare needs and provide the best possible tools right here in your community.
High quality care and excellent service are the top priorities at Curry Health Network, and there will be no disruption to normal services at Curry Medical Center during construction. Appointments can be scheduled as normal by calling 541-412-2000.
Crash on Hwy 101 between North Bend and Hauser
Expect congestion and delays of about 20 minutes on U.S. Highway 101 between North Bend and Hauser due to a crash at milepost 229.6, ODOT reported last night. Cleanup efforts were ongoing. A detour is in place. “Watch for signs and drive with caution.” For updates, visit TripCheck.com.
Oregon reports 2,312 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 26 new deaths
There are 26 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,649 the Oregon Health Authority reported 2,312 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 317,107.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (19), Benton (41), Clackamas (218), Clatsop (14), Columbia (33), Coos (53), Crook (12), Curry (4), Deschutes (169), Douglas (59), Gilliam (1), Grant (68), Harney (27), Hood River (9), Jackson (106), Jefferson (21), Josephine (33), Klamath (39), Lake (9), Lane (143), Lincoln (28), Linn (119), Malheur (41), Marion (266), Morrow (7), Multnomah (319), Polk (45), Sherman (1), Tillamook (12), Umatilla (72), Union (16), Wallowa (13), Wasco (18), Washington (224) and Yamhill (53).
OHA updates reporting for schools in weekly Outbreak Report
Starting today, the weekly Outbreak Report is updating how school outbreaks will be reported.
The Outbreak Report will continue to report the number of cases in school by student and staff or volunteer status. Active and resolved outbreaks will now include all cases linked to the outbreak and will no longer differentiate cases among students and staff cases.
Outbreaks in K-12 schools are defined as having two or more cases identified, where there is evidence of transmission, at school. Outbreaks may include cases who were not at school but are close contacts of those exposed at school. This provides a more accurate picture of the scale of K-12 related outbreaks and how they may link to other cases in the community.
Schools should continue to notify their local public health authority of all positive cases identified among students and staff, including those who are reporting a positive at-home COVID-19 test.
COVID-19 weekly cases and hospitalizations decline, deaths rise
The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows decreases in daily cases and hospitalizations and an increase in deaths.
OHA reported 11,655 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Sept. 13 through Sunday, Sept. 19. That represents a 10% decrease from the previous week.
There were 579 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, down slightly from 592 last week.
There were 148 reported COVID-19 related deaths, up from 120 reported the previous week.
There were 140,538 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Sept. 12 through Sept. 18. The percentage of positive tests was 10.5%, down from 12% the previous week and the lowest level of test positivity in six weeks.
Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 187 active COVID-19 outbreaks in senior living communities and congregate living settings, with three or more confirmed cases and one or more COVID-19 related deaths.
State Employees Get Extra Time to Get Vaccinated
More than half of Oregon’s state employees have an extra six weeks to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a deadline has been pushed back to Nov. 30. The change affects about 24,000 state employees represented by the Service Employees International Union 503 out of about 42,000 state executive branch employees.
The SEIU’s success at pushing back Gov. Kate Brown’s initial Oct. 18 deadline for full vaccination may bode well for other unions. The same Oct. 18 deadline set by Brown for health care workers and teachers remains in place, Brown’s office said.
Brown announced the vaccine mandate among all executive branch employees Aug. 10. At the time, SEIU made clear its plans to bargain over Brown’s mandate. Union members now have more time to complete shots but no more leeway in getting vaccinated than they did before.
The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for week 4.
Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline for the next year. Patricia was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at conquercovidinklamath.com.
Each week the prize changes and this week it is $5,000 worth of furniture for your home. The drawing for this week’s prize will take place on Monday morning.
Other Weekly winners to date include: Elizabeth Gaxiola of Bonanza who won a Big Screen TV, Home Theater System and Pizza gift certificates Gillian Bradford of Klamath Falls who won $6,000 in groceries from Grocery Outlet Nolan Napier of Chiloquin who won a top of the line Traeger Grill and 12 bags of premium pellets.
There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winner’s choice of a new Dodge RAM pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous runner up prizes as well. To enter Klamath County residents can go to conquercovidinklamath.com. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.
Partly cloudy skies for most of yesterday kept temperatures on the cool side with improved relative humidities. The winds were lighter on the west side of the Cascade Divide, while conditions through the Columbia Gorge, Kittitas Valley and eastern basins of Oregon were gusty at times.
Trace to light precipitation occurred in northwest Oregon and western Washington. A few lightning strikes before midday with traces of rain were recorded in northwest Oregon and later in the day another light round of lightning struck near Baker City, Oregon. Fire growth was light on existing large fires.
An upper-level ridge brings back calm, warm and dry conditions today into the weekend. Offshore flow is expected in
southwestern Oregon today, extending all the way into British Columbia by Friday morning as a thermal trough grows along the coast.
Another upper-level trough should shift winds back to onshore Saturday and maybe bring some precipitation to the west side. Further weather systems will follow Sunday into next week with cooler temperatures and potential for widespread precipitation. Breezy afternoon winds are likely over the weekend as the systems pass through.
New significant fire potential will remain at or below normal through the week. With the warming and drying spell, fire danger will rise a bit heading into the weekend, but no critical weather patterns are anticipated.
Cougar Peak. 15 mi NW of Lakeview, OR. Start 9/7. Cause: Unknown. 91,332 acres (-7). 52% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. Structures threatened. Evacuations in effect. Road, trail and area closures.
Devils Knob Complex. 30 mi SE of Roseburg, OR. Start 8/3. Cause: Unknown. 69,942 acres (+4). 51% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. Structures threatened. Evacuation notices. Road, trail and area closures.
Rough Patch Complex. 26 mi SE of Cottage Grove, OR. Start 7/29. Cause: Unknown. 50,376 acres (+0). 42% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. Road, trail and area closures.
Jack Fire. 20 mi E of Glide, OR. Start 7/5. Full Suppression. Cause: Human. 24,165 acres (+0). 55% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. Road, trail and area closures.
Bull Complex. 12 mi NE of Detroit, OR. Start 8/3. Cause: Unknown. 24,837 acres (+60). 20% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. Road, trail and area closures.
Middle Fork Complex. 9 mi N of Oakridge, OR. Start 7/29. Cause: Unknown. 30,928 acres (+0). 55% containment. Minimal fire behavior. Timber. Road, trail and area closures.
COVID Case Delays Contentious Oregon Redistricting
The lingering possibility of a Republican walkout, a broken power-sharing deal, and a COVID-19 case is adding greater uncertainty to whether Oregon legislators will successfully redraw the state’s political districts ahead of a tight deadline. Stakes are high as Oregon gained a new, sixth U.S. House seat following the latest census.
Lawmakers were told the House would reconvene in Salem Wednesday morning following news Tuesday that someone in the building had tested positive for COVID-19.
But House Speaker Tina Kotek now says the chamber won’t convene until Saturday to give time for those exposed to the coronavirus case to be tested and receive results.
Democrats say their entire caucus in the House has been vaccinated. The number of Oregon’s vaccinated Republican lawmakers was not immediately available. When the House reconvenes on Saturday lawmakers will have just two days to vote on and pass new political boundaries before a Sept. 27 deadline.
If congressional maps are not passed by that deadline, the task will fall to a panel of five retired judges appointed by
the Oregon Supreme Court.
Oregon Receives Grant for Mobile Crisis Intervention Services
Oregon’s Medicaid program will receive a planning grant of nearly $1 million in order to develop statewide mobile crisis intervention services modeled on the Eugene-based CAHOOTS program, US Senator Ron Wyden’s office announced this week.
Sen. Wyden has championed expanding the CAHOOTS model for some time, sponsoring bills intended to take it national. Ultimately, the funding came from the massive American Rescue Plan, which provides a total of $15 million in planning grants for state Medicaid agencies to set up similar mental health crisis intervention services across the
country. Oregon will receive $952,951 in this initial grant.
White Bird Clinic in Eugene developed the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) program to help bring care to people struggling with mental illness instead of involving law enforcement, wherever possible. The White Bird model has multi-disciplinary teams that respond to mental health crises in order to stabilize and de-
escalate delicate situations and connect people with the services they need.
According to Wyden’s office, there has already been interest from other Oregon cities like Portland, Medford, Pendleton, and Astoria for adopting the CAHOOTS approach.
Reminder: Public Hearings This Week on Rule Defining Wildland-Urban Interface
SALEM, OR—Public hearings are scheduled this week to gather feedback on the proposed administrative rule defining the “wildland-urban interface” (WUI) in Oregon.
This proposed rule sets the definition of the WUI and provides the framework for the additional rulemaking needed to establish boundary criteria required by Senate Bill 762.
Public comment can be made by joining any of the public meetings at the specified time through the Zoom meeting links:
- Sept. 22, 2021, 2 p.m., Zoom meeting
- Sept. 23, 2021, 7 p.m., Zoom meeting
- Sept. 24, 2021, 9 a.m., Zoom meeting
The department received input on the proposed WUI definition from a diverse group of stakeholders through a rulemaking advisory committee. The Board of Forestry approved the proposed administrative rule during a special meeting on August 24.
General comments or questions the department’s implementation of Senate Bill 762 can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org“>email@example.com. Additionally, all RAC meetings have time set aside for public input. Meeting schedules and links to virtual meetings can be found on the ODF webpage for Senate Bill 762. — Oregon Dept. of Forestry
OLCC Orders Portland Company’s CBD Recalled over High THC Levels
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission ordered a recall this week of 1,000-milligram bottles of unflavored Select CBD Drops, labeled as “Broad Spectrum.” The drops contain too much of the psychoactive ingredient THC, according to the OLCC.
That poses a risk, the commission said, because unsuspecting consumers might get high on a product that isn’t supposed to have that effect.
“We are currently working closely with the OLCC, our testing laboratories and our labeling team to gather all facts and determine next steps,” Curaleaf, the company that owns the Select brand, said in a written statement. The company said the recalled batch is being removed from store shelves.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is derived from hemp but typically doesn’t have high levels of THC associated with recreational marijuana. Adherents use CBD as a wellness product, though its specific benefits haven’t been conclusively documented for many health applications.
The OLCC’s recall affects 500 products sold beginning June 19. The commission said about 200 units remain in retailers’ inventories and must now be quarantined. People who bought the product can return it to the store or simply destroy it.
Curaleaf said the recalled batch was only sold in Oregon. The company asked that people who bought the recalled Select drops contact Curaleaf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select ran afoul of the OLCC in 2020, too, for falsely claiming that a line of vaping products were 100% marijuana.
The state leveled a record $110,000 “dishonest conduct” penalty against Cura Cannabis, the Portland company that manufactured the Select product line. Cura’s former owners later settled a class-action lawsuit over the mislabeling, agreeing to pay $500,000.
Once Oregon’s biggest marijuana company, Cura was also among the state’s most troubled.
It obtained its initial funding from a notorious real-estate scam that sent a Lake Oswego investment manager to federal prison. And former Cura CEO Nitin Khanna quit in 2018 when women in the marijuana community highlighted a past rape allegation against him. Khanna denied the accusation but had settled a civil lawsuit in the case.
Cura sold last year to Massachusetts-based marijuana giant Curaleaf in an all-stock deal valued at the time at $400 million. Subsequent increases in Curaleaf’s share price have increased the value of the transaction.
Grand Ronde Tribe Reclaims Willamette Falls and Begins Work To Tear Down Oregon City Mill
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde invited gathered media to watch as an excavator tore into a wall of the old, abandoned paper mill that the tribe says has stood on its ancestral grounds for too long.
The tribe held a symbolic demolition event at the old Blue Heron Paper Mill at Willamette Falls on Tuesday, representing a small step toward removing the industrial site and returning it to Indigenous hands.
Chris Mercier, vice chair of the Grand Ronde Tribal Council, said the tribe has been trying to reclaim as much of its traditional homelands as possible. The acquisition of the land at Willamette Falls represents the biggest step in that direction, he said.
“This site here is of deep historical and cultural significance,” Mercier said at Tuesday’s event. “The fact that we’ve actually purchased it and own it now is kind of a dream come true for many of us and many of our tribal members, because our roots run deep here.”
The land around Willamette Falls was once home to the Clowewalla and Kosh-huk-shix villages of the Clackamas people, who ceded the land to the U.S. government under the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855 before being forcibly removed and relocated, according to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
For generations, the falls were also frequented by residents of other Indigenous villages around the area, including the Chinookan peoples of the lower Columbia River, who today are represented by several different tribal bodies.
The Grand Ronde call Willamette Falls “tumwata,” which is the Chinook jargon word for waterfall, and refer to the river as “walamt.” Every year, members of Oregon tribes visit the waterfall to harvest lamprey, a prehistoric eel-like creature that has been caught there for thousands of years, along with salmon and other fish.
Located on the Willamette River at Oregon City, Willamette Falls has long been one of Oregon’s best, least-accessible natural wonders, with public access blocked off by the paper mill that shut down in 2011.
In 2019, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde purchased the land, valued at $2.9 million, and earlier this year the tribe laid out an ambitious vision that would transform the old mill site into a community center where visitors could walk along the river, dine at a restaurant, stay the night or attend an event. The plans also include space for tribal members to hold ceremonies near the waterfall.
Stacia Hernandez, chief of staff to the Grande Ronde Tribal Council, said that vision will likely take years to complete. With any luck, the property will be cleaned up and safe for the public within two to three years, she said, though construction on other buildings is expected to take longer.
When it’s finished, however, the Willamette Falls site promises to be a place that is special for both tribal members and the general public alike.
“We want it to be a very welcoming and inviting place and we want people to have a real experience when they come here,” Hernandez said. “We don’t want it to be a show-up, grab-a-cup-of-coffee-and-leave place, we want people to be able to experience it and feel the falls.”
In total, the site has space for up to 300,000 square feet of new buildings, the tribe said, and would be a natural extension of downtown Oregon City. Current plans call for Main Street to simply be extended into the newly developed area.
Plans are similar to those previously drawn up by the Willamette Falls Legacy Project, a collaborative partnership between Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro and the state of Oregon. The partnership officially organized in 2014 to find a way to provide public access to Willamette Falls and had previously secured an easement on the property to create a riverwalk.
“We’re excited about the progress at the Blue Heron site,” Carrie Belding, spokesperson for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project, said. “We support the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s vision and look forward to continuing working together.”
Now, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Willamette Falls Legacy Project and the Willamette Falls Trust (a nonprofit tasked with raising money for the planned riverwalk), are all working together on the project. The first phase of the riverwalk project is estimated to cost $65 million the trust said, and so far $28 million has been raised in public and private funds. An additional $20 million in public funding is earmarked for the overall project, as part of the Metro Parks and Nature Bond passed by voters in 2019.
In August, that collaboration expanded to include four additional tribal governments with ancestral ties to Willamette Falls: the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
Gerard Rodriguez, associate director for the Willamette Falls Trust, said the recent influx of Indigenous voices has created a new “expanded table” when it comes to who will determine the future of Willamette Falls, and, thankfully, all parties involved seem to agree on what should be done.
“There’s general support of the vision that the Grand Ronde put out in the spring of 2021,” Rodriguez said, as well as plans originally proposed by the Willamette Falls Legacy Project in 2017. “Aligning both of those plans is a necessary part of moving forward with the project and creating a shared vision.”
Both plans call for public access, as well as extensive environmental rehabilitation of the area by removing industrial structures and restoring habitat for salmon, lamprey and other aquatic species.
The event Tuesday was a groundbreaking of sorts that represents one of the clearest steps forward at Willamette Falls in nearly a decade of planning.
“We’re excited to share this place with people,” Hernandez said. “For us, it’s an opportunity not only to come home to this place and reclaim this place, but to make it better and leave it better for future generations.”
In addition to its cultural significance, Willamette Falls ranks among the most impressive waterfalls in Oregon thanks to an average volume of about 32,000 cubic feet per second during the rainy season – more than 200 times the flow of Multnomah Falls.
Visitors hoping to see the falls will find no public access points along the Willamette River now, though the waterfall is visible from a viewpoint on the side of Oregon 99E, and from the McLoughlin Promenade in Oregon City. For years, the best way for the general public to see Willamette Falls up close has been on one of several boat tours that run up the Willamette River.
With the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s purchase and redevelopment of the old Blue Heron site, there will soon be not only good public access, but a chance for Indigenous communities to once again have a strong, year-round presence at Willamette Falls, the tribe said.
“It’s a chance for us to tell our story,” Mercier said at Tuesday’s event. “What we do here will reflect the value and the mission of this tribe.”