Oregon Beach News, Thursday 9/30 – North Bend Police Teams Up With Foundation for Suicide Prevention Campaign, Suspect in Benton County Child Sex Abuse Case Arrested in Florence

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

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Oregon Beach Weather

Today– A 40 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 67. Calm wind becoming north northwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.

Friday– Sunny, with a high near 65. Breezy, with a north wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 13 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 28 mph.

Saturday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 65. Light north northeast wind becoming north 5 to 10 mph in the morning.

Sunday– Mostly sunny, with a high near 66.

Monday– Partly sunny, with a high near 65.

North Bend Police Teams Up With Foundation for Suicide Prevention Campaign

The North Bend Police Department and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention have teamed up for a new campaign.

And there is a message behind a new squad car for the department… it promotes suicide awareness.

“If there’s a very simple goal in this, it’s that even if it creates just one connection where a life is saved it was definitely worth it,” says North Bend Police Chief Robert Kappelman.

Sporting the suicide awareness colors of purple and teal and resource contacts, the car will be driven around by their school resource officer (SRO).

SRO Dustin Parkhurst says providing this accessibility to resources is important, especially for youth.

“We’re working on a day-to-day basis with kids that are struggling with mental health conditions, questioning suicide or self-harm and working through some of those different struggles.”

Coos County is consistently in the top five of the worst suicide rates in the state of Oregon and unfortunately Oregon is one of the worst states in the United States for suicide rates, so that puts Coos County as one of the worst counties in United States, unfortunately,” says Lance Nelson, Oregon Chapter President of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The police department is often the first to respond to these calls. That’s why it was important for them to be involved in the campaign.

“If we can create the link to see a car to match with the SRO to match with the relationship that kids have with the SRO, what a great way to hopefully prevent a death in the future,” Kappelman says.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, call 1-800-273-TALK.

Suspect in Benton County Child Sex Abuse Case Arrested in Florence

Detectives have tracked down a man accused of sexually abusing a girl under the age of 18 in Benton County to Florence on the Lane County coast, where he was taken into custody to face charges.

Sheriff’s office detectives found Joshua Allen Reeves, 40, of Alsea on September 22, 2021, in Florence.

Reeves now faces two counts of Sex Abuse II, seven counts of Sodomy I, three counts of Sex Abuse III, three counts of Rape I, Sexual Penetration I, and Strangulation.

The investigation started February 21, 2021, when “a minor female disclosed to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office she had been sexually assaulted by Joshua Reeves over a five-month period in 2019.”

The sheriff’s office releases this information too:

If you are currently being sexually assaulted there are many ways to report: call 9-1-1 if you are in immediate danger; contact your local law enforcement office; or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). You may also go online to https://www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff/page/victim-assistance to learn about victim services and common concerns.

Sad Reminder to Be Safe Near Jetties as Crescent City Man Dies

Crescent City Police are reporting that a little after noon on Wednesday a wave swept a man off the jetty there.

Their Facebook page reports, “Members of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the location and took over the incident as it turned into a Search and Rescue incident.”

The man was ultimately located, brought to shore and take to the Big Boat Basin where life saving measures began, they reported. “Ultimately the subject was not revived,” their Facebook post stated.

The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances.

Oregon Missing Persons


Oregon reports 2,011 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 21 new deaths

There are 21 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,771. The Oregon Health Authority reported 2,011 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 328,184.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (24), Benton (32), Clackamas (131), Clatsop (6), Columbia (23), Coos (53), Crook (24), Curry (10), Deschutes 205), Douglas (53), Gilliam (1), Grant (1), Harney (14), Hood River (11), Jackson (135), Jefferson (40), Josephine (16), Klamath (48), Lake (10), Lane (100), Lincoln (46), Linn (95), Malheur (32), Marion (217), Morrow (11), Multnomah (193), Polk (95), Sherman (1), Tillamook (7), Umatilla (80), Union (32), Wallowa (11), Wasco (26), Washington (182) and Yamhill (46)

Lane County Public Health September 29th COVID-19 Case Update

Total Cases: 25,244 (+106) Hospitalized: 89 Lane County Residents Hospitalize: 70 (-25) ICU:  25 

Deaths: 264 (+3) Infectious: 714

5 ICU beds available – 20% of all beds are being used COVID-19 patients – 40% of all ICU beds are COVID-19 patients – 14 COVID-19 patients on ventilators – 14% of ventilators being used by COVID-19 

COVID-19 weekly cases, hospitalizations and deaths decline

The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows decreases in daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

OHA reported 11,410 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 26. That represents a 2.1% decrease from the previous week, despite a 13% increase in testing.

Newly reported cases have now fallen for four consecutive weeks. The incidence of reported COVID-19 continues to be higher in Oregon counties with lower vaccination rates.

There were 512 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from 579 last week, which marks a 12% reduction and the third consecutive week of declines.

There were 115 reported COVID-19 related deaths, down from 148 reported the previous week.

There were 159,442 tests for COVID-19 for the week of Sept. 19 through Sept. 25.  The percentage of positive tests was 8.9%, down from 10.5% the previous week.

Today’s COVID-19 Weekly Outbreak Report shows 186 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.

New Variant Classification added to OHA Daily Data Update and Variant Counts Dashboards

Starting today, OHA’s COVID-19 Daily Data Update and Variant Counts dashboards will include the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s new classification of SARS-CoV-2 variants, designated as Variants Being Monitored (VBM).

This classification includes variants previously designated as Variants of Interest (VOIs) or Variants of Concern (VOCs) that are no longer detected or are circulating at very low levels in the U.S., and do not pose a significant or imminent risk to public health in this country.

Variant classification scheme defines four classes of SARS-CoV-2 variants:

There has been some recent movement of variants among classifications, including:

  • Alpha (B.1.1.7, Q.1-Q.8), Beta (B.1.351, B.1.351.2, B.1.351.3), and Gamma (P.1, P.1.1, P.1.2) have been downgraded from Variants of Concern to Variants Being Monitored based on significant and sustained reduction in national and regional proportions.
  • Eta (B.1.525), Iota (B.1.526), Kappa (B.1.617.1) and B.1.617.3 have been downgraded from Variants of Interest to Variants Being Monitored based on significant and sustained reduction in national and regional proportions.
  • Additional Variants Being Monitored include Epsilon (B.1.427 and B.1.429) and Zeta (P.2) based on their previous classification as Variants of Concern or Variants of Interest.

To date, no Variants of High Consequence have been identified in the United States.

—- Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday that she was “gravely concerned” about an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases across Eastern Oregon with a common factor the Pendleton Round-Up.  During a morning press call, Brown and state health officials gave an upbeat update on the state’s efforts against the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.

Statewide, the COVID-19 surge of late summer and early fall “appears to have reached its peak,” said Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Tom Jeanne.

The Pendleton Round-Up was canceled in 2020 amid COVID-19 concerns, but plans moved forward in early summer as Brown had dropped many restrictions on activities when COVID-19 cases appeared to bottom out at the end of June. The event went off as scheduled despite a steep wave of cases linked to the the highly contagious delta variant that swept across Oregon and filled state hospitals to capacity. It’s still too early to say if cases foreshadow a new spike statewide and health officials are watching closely for that possibility.

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for week 6

Terri Torres of Klamath Falls won $5,000 worth of furniture for her home this week. Terri was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at http://conquercovidinklamath.com. Each week the prize changes and this week it is an Ultimate Vehicle Package which includes $1,000 of new tires, a $500 audio system upgrade and $500 in gasoline.

The drawing for this weeks 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. Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline for her vehicle.

There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winners 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. There is nothing to buy and no charge whatsoever to enter. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

Most counties across Oregon are lifting fire bans as fall showers and cooler temperatures descend on the Northwest.

Officials in Multnomah County announced Wednesday it had lifted bans on recreational campfires and fire pits. Agricultural burning is now permitted on Department of Environmental Quality-approved burn days. Yard debris and open burning is allowed only in permitted areas.

Vancouver lifted its ban Monday, and Clark and Lincoln counties lifted their fire bans in mid-September. People can now also have recreational fires in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area as fire officials changed the fire danger rating from extremely high to high.

Lane County has extended its ban on burning until the end of October due to being still dryer than normal because of the drought despite recent rain.

Officials urge people planning to take advantage of the lifted bans to contact their local fire authorities for more information.

That rain, mixed with a drop of temperatures and increased nighttime moisture over the past weeks, has released some parts of Oregon from a hot, dry grip, fire officials said.

Lasting Effects of Wildfires on Water Supplies

Wildfires and their lasting effects are becoming a way of life in the West as climate change and management practices cause fires to increase in number, intensity and acreage burned, while extending the length of the fire season.

In “burn scars,” where fires decimated forest systems that held soil in place, an increase in droughts followed by heavy rainfall poses a different kind of threat to the water supplies that are essential to the health of communities.

Dirty, turbid water can contain viruses, parasites, bacteria and other contaminants that cause illness. But experts say turbid water from burn scars is unlikely to make it to people’s taps because water utilities would catch it first.

Still, the cost to municipal utility systems — and the residents who pay for water — is immense. Rural small towns in particular face the choice between spending millions of dollars to try to filter turbid water or shutting off their intake and risking shortages in areas where water may already be scarce.

And as fires move closer to communities, burning synthetic materials from houses and other buildings can create toxic compounds that leach into water supplies, which is what happened in California after major fires in 2017 and 2018.

“When we put [fires] out, we become less aware of them,” said hydrologist Kevin Bladon, of Oregon State University. But from a water perspective, “that’s when all the problems start.”

While dry states like Colorado expect fires each year, recent blazes in wetter places like western Oregon have caught researchers off guard. Last September, fires scorched about 11% of the state’s Cascade mountain range, leaving burn scars above rivers and reservoirs that supply much of the state’s water.

“We have to be very proactive,” said Pete Robichaud, a research engineer with the U.S. Forest Service in Moscow, Idaho.

After a wildfire is extinguished, Robichaud’s agency and others send teams of specialists to evaluate the risks that erosion and ash pose to water supplies. Their data can help land managers decide whether to take actions like thinning forests above rivers, dredging contaminated reservoirs, covering the area with mulch or seeds to reduce erosion, or forming a plan for alternative water sources.

Even advance notice of a flood could help immensely, said Stepp, the Glenwood Springs resident. She is the executive director of the nonprofit Middle Colorado Watershed Council, which recently worked with the U.S. Geological Survey to install rain gauges along Glenwood Canyon. These monitor weather upstream and notify downstream water users that a sediment-laden flood could be coming.

She said it is crucial for small communities in particular to partner with state and federal agencies. “Basically, we work with everybody,” she said.

Although debris flows can bring soil bacteria into water supplies, city utilities can disinfect them with chemicals like chlorine, said Ben Livneh, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder. But those disinfectants can themselves cause a problem: Organic matter from sediment can interact with these chemicals and create carcinogenic byproducts that are difficult and expensive to remove.

Another waterborne danger comes from chemical byproducts and heavy metals from burned structures. “Those would be potentially really problematic to treat,” Livneh said.

After the 2017 Tubbs and 2018 Camp fires that devastated the Northern California communities of Santa Rosa and Paradise, researchers examining the tap water of nearby homes found benzene and other carcinogens. Public health researcher Gina Solomon at the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California, said the contamination likely came from plastic pipes that melted and leached chemicals into the water.

Smoke and ash from burned structures may also add toxic chemicals to water supplies. “The smoke from the fires is a truly nasty brew,” Solomon said.

California has been relatively lucky when it comes to sediment flow. The yearslong drought in most of the state means burn scars remain intact — though a heavy rain could wash down years of debris.

It’s unclear how long burn scars continue to pose a landslide risk, said Bladon, the Oregon hydrologist. But parts of Alberta in the Canadian Rockies, for instance, continued to see extremely turbid water for a decade after a 2003 fire.

“My fear is we may not have seen the worst of it yet,” Solomon said.

Here’s a good article to read and find out more information: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/wildfire-its-effects-drinking-water-quality

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Changes With the Postal Service

Oregonians and Americans across the country could start seeing slowdowns in mail delivery across the country as early as Friday when the United States Postal Service implements its new service standards.

The new changes, which include longer first-class mail delivery times and cuts to post office hours, are part of embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan for the agency that he unveiled earlier this year.

According to USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum, most first-class Mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.

However, the Postal Service will be increasing the transit time for mail traveling longer distances, which will lead to slower mail delivery in some cases. According to USPS spokeswoman Kim Frum, most first-class Mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes.

Standards for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days. However, the Postal Service will be increasing the transit time for mail traveling longer distances, which will lead to slower mail delivery in some cases.

Oregon Lawsuit on Mask Mandate Dismissed

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Kate Brown’s initial mask mandate, saying the requirements have been revised so many times the issue is moot.

The conservative Freedom Foundation asked the Oregon Court of Appeals in July 2020 to temporarily invalidate masking rules as the court delved further into the legalities of the order. The group alleged that Brown and the Oregon Health Authority didn’t follow legal procedures in mandating masks in all public indoor spaces and outdoors when 6 feet of physical distancing can’t be maintained.

The Oregon Health Authority maintained that mandate stemmed from an executive order by Brown and wasn’t subject to review as an administrative rule by the Oregon Court of Appeals. While the appeals court didn’t necessarily buy that argument, it didn’t matter. The 2020 mask order has since been superseded.

The state of Oregon is facing two more lawsuits over vaccines and state prisons.

The first was brought by the union representing prison workers. Its issue is with the governor’s vaccine mandate, claiming it’s a major condition of employment that should be subject to bargaining.

It also takes issue with the limited exemptions employees can get.

Meanwhile, another lawsuit claims the state is not protecting prisoners during the pandemic, which they liken to cruel and unusual punishment.

They also claim COVID cases spread among inmates were brought in by corrections officers employed by the state, who often failed to follow mask mandates.

Merkley and Wyden Announce $18 Million in Funding for Oregon Health Centers

Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the federal department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded more than $18 million in funding for health centers all across Oregon.

The funding – provided through the American Rescue Plan, which Merkley and Wyden helped to pass last spring comes as Oregon faces its most difficult COVID-19 surge yet, fueled by the Delta variant. The funding will be awarded to 28 health centers and local governments.

Health centers will use this funding to help pay for new needs brought on by the pandemic, including constructing new facilities, renovating and expanding existing facilities, and purchasing new equipment – including telehealth technology, mobile medical vans, and freezers for vaccine storage.

“Oregon’s health care providers are working valiantly on the front lines of this pandemic, and they are dealing with more patients than ever before as Delta surges across the state,” said Merkley. “This funding couldn’t have come at a more critical time to help expand capacity in our health clinics as we fight the fourth wave of the pandemic. Health centers are also key community hubs for vaccines and testing, and I encourage every eligible Oregonian to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting vaccinated if they haven’t already.”

“Health care providers and the Oregonians counting on them for care need these resources to provide treatment during this public health crisis for the latest wave of cases as well as to provide vaccinations and tests,” Wyden said. “I’m glad these American Rescue Plan resources are headed to every nook and cranny of our state. And as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I’ll keep battling for similar funds to support the health care heroes working long hours throughout Oregon to keep people safe.”

Research Shows Cows Produce Less Milk When They’re Breathing Wildfire Smoke

A research team at Oregon State University has started a three-year study into the effects of poor air quality from wildfires on dairy cows. In an area beset by increasingly severe and numerous wildfires, and where there are large dairy herds, identifying the impacts of wildfires on cows’ milk production and welfare is crucial.

Juliana Ranches, working in eastern Oregon, said cows in that area are grazing outside in some of the most polluted air in the U.S. “We know there is a negative effect, but we cannot say for sure because there are no studies in a controlled environment looking into that.”

Research into the impact of particulate matter from smoke has been limited, but it is known to represent a significant health risk to the animals, especially when talking about long-term exposure.

New preliminary research from the University of Idaho has found that dairy cattle exposed to poor air quality and heat stress produced around 1.3 liters (1.4 quarts) less milk per day than the average. The study was only conducted on a small-scale and must be expanded in order to explore broader patterns. 

Ashly Anderson, who worked on this particular study, said, “Due to climate change and global conditions, we’re going to be seeing a lot more wildfires and because of that there are going to be a lot more people and animals exposed to wildfires. Being able to tell what kind of effects there are and how we might be affected in the future is very important.”

As summers in Oregon become hotter and drier, wildfires are on the rise, even in western parts of the state which have not historically seen them as frequently. This study and others into the impacts of smoke on dairy cows provide crucial information for dairy farmers, when it comes to both the welfare of their animals and their commercial yields. 

Even in coastal areas where wildfires are less frequent, rising temperatures and smoke from inland fires are becoming major concerns. Most coastal farm facilities are not equipped to provide shelter from severe smoke and prolonged heat. 

Dairy farmers in these regions may well have to consider finding solutions to changing weather patterns. For example, barns have to be redesigned to provide adequate cooling and ventilation, and such changes will come at a cost; but, of course, cow care and comfort are top priorities for all conscientious dairy farmers. And studies like this one will help inform best practice in our fast-changing world. 

Tami Kerr, executive director of the Oregon Dairy Farmers Association, is confident that farmers will be able to keep their livestock safe. Many have already installed fans and misters in their barns, and, as she stated, “Oregon is a national leader in milk quality, which reflects well on the care our farmers provide to their animals. Our producers are creative and will explore more options to keep their workforce, as well as their cows, as safe and comfortable as possible.”

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