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Oregon News Update



In Bend, Oregon, a paralympic athlete is suing Home Depot for $1.5 million, claiming the company did not consider her disability when it fired her in 2017.

The Bulletin reports in a complaint filed Jan 22 in Deschutes County Circuit Court, Barbara Buchan claims that after suffering a concussion in a fall at work, management fired her for keeping $11 worth of presentation materials in her vehicle overnight.

Buchan suffers from a traumatic brain injury sustained in 1982 when she was competing for a spot on the U.S. Cycling Team.

Buchan later achieved success as a Paralympic athlete before she started work at the Bend Home Depot in 2006.

She's seeking damages for lost wages for claims including retaliating on a worker's comp claim and disability discrimination.

The Atlanta-based corporation has yet to be served with complaint and a spokesperson declined to comment.


Protecting an almost famous horse.  Attorneys for a once-neglected horse are filling an appeal after an Oregon judge dismissed their lawsuit last year, finding that animals don't have a right to sue.

The horse named Justice was discovered in March 2017 covered in lice, 300 pounds underweight and with frostbitten genitals.

Washington County Pro Tem Judge John Knowles tossed the lawsuit in September, saying "non-human animals are incapable of accepting legal responsibilities."

He said granting legal standing to animals could result in a "flood of lawsuits."

The animal rights activists argue the state Supreme Court has already recognized that animals can be considered victims under the state's animal cruelty statute.


From Salem, the Governor’s Advisory Committee on DUII will meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, February 1st, at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training building, 4190 Aumsville Highway SE in Salem.

Agenda topics include an update on the ignition interlock program, reports from liaison agencies and more.  The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants is tasked with helping raise awareness of the dangers of DUII and getting communities more involved in reducing DUII. The next meeting of the GAC-DUII is scheduled for March 1 in Salem.  For more information, call 503-986-4188.


Oregon’s Smoke Management Advisory Committee will meet Jan. 30, 2019 in Salem.

On the agenda are reports from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Fire Protection Division; a summary of the 2018 burning season, and a summary of smoke intrusions. In addition, during the afternoon the committee will discuss and develop an implementation plan for the recently approved updated Smoke Management Rules.

The public is invited to attend and there will be a period for public comment in the morning. The meeting is in the Santiam Room in Building D on the campus of the Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street in Salem. It will last from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. The meeting space is accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting by contacting Shauna Morris at 503-945-7529.

Created by the Legislature in 1989, the five-member committee assists and advises the Oregon Department of Forestry in carrying out its Smoke Management Program. Members are appointed by the State Forester to serve a two-year term, which is renewable.


January is Radon Action Month to encourage testing during winter months

Many parts of Oregon remain at risk of high radon levels, and for one Portland family it meant listening to their realtor, who not only helped them find their dream home, but was also looking out for their safety.

“Our realtor told us that we should have it tested for radon as part of our inspection. I had not even heard of radon or what it was,” explained Melanie Boekee. “There were borderline levels of radon, so we asked the seller to install a mitigation system.”

Radon is odorless, tasteless and invisible. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes up from the ground and is drawn into buildings, where it can build up to dangerous levels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after cigarette smoking, and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

Five years after the mitigation system was installed at the Boekees’ home, Melanie is re-testing for radon to ensure the air she is breathing is safe. “The radon test kit was easy to find. They have them all over the place, even on Amazon. It was very easy to use—it only took a couple of minutes to get it set up.”

Many test kits are priced between $15 and $25. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors for a cost similar to that of many common home repairs, such as painting or having a new water heater installed. The best time to test for radon is during the heating season, when the windows and doors are closed up tight. This is when you would expect to find the highest radon levels in your home.

“Every homeowner should test their home for radon every two to five years,” recommends Kari Christensen, Radon Program coordinator at the Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division. “Unfortunately, there are many cities and zip codes in the state for which no testing has been done and the Radon Program has little to no data.”

The Radon Program collects radon test data from test kit manufacturers in an effort to understand which areas of the state have the potential for high radon levels, and to identify areas where educational outreach efforts need to be focused. The program is offering a free radon test kit to residents whose homes are in zip codes with fewer than 20 radon test results. Residents can send an email to radon.program@state.or.us to receive instructions on how to get a free test kit, which will be provided while supplies last.

Many regions of the state are at moderate risk of having high radon levels, with several pockets of high-risk areas in the Northwest, around the Willamette Valley, and in eastern and southern Oregon, according to 2018 data published on the Oregon Radon Program website, www.healthoregon.org/radon. A large swath of Portland, particularly in the north, northeastern and southeastern parts of the city, also was found to be at high risk.

“We want that peace of mind, to know that we are safe,” Melanie said of re-testing her home. An update showing Melanie’s radon test results will be posted on OHA’s Facebook page within the next couple of weeks.

There will be an opportunity to attend a free, educational event to learn about radon, areas of concern, health effects and community resources. For details about the event visit: http://northwestradoncoalition.com.

For more information on radon testing and mitigation, radon-resistant new construction, or to order a test kit online, call the Oregon Radon Program at 971-673-0440 or www.healthoregon.org/radon.


On Saturday, January 19, 2019, Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to the report of a single vehicle crash on Hwy 42 near milepost 65.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2003 BMW 325i, operated by Sharp Slaughter (21) of Roseburg, was traveling westbound on Hwy 42 when for unknown reasons veered off the road and struck a power pole.

Slaughter sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.  A passenger in the BMW, Matthew Mendoza (22) from Roseburg, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The eastbound lane of Hwy 42 was closed for about three hours following the crash. OSP was assisted by Tenmile Rural Fire, ODOT, Winston PD, and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.



On Friday, January 18, 2019, Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle head on crash on Hwy 97 near milepost 159.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a white Toyota Camry, operated by Kevin Werts (56) of LaPine, was southbound on Hwy 97 and lost control and slid into the northbound lane and collided with a gray Hyundai Santa Fe, operated by Susan Pitarro (70) of Bend.

The roadway conditions at the time of the crash were packed snow and ice.

Werts sustained fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Pitarro and her passenger, Terry Thopson (63) of Bend, were transported to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend with serious injuries.

OSP was assisted by the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Sunriver Police Department, Sunriver Fire Department, LaPine Fire Department, and ODOT.


Oregonians participating in SNAP were issued February SNAP benefits early – today - roughly two weeks earlier than normal. 

Oregon was instructed to do this by USDA due to a quirk of the federal government shutdown.

Oregon SNAP participants should be aware that after today, no additional benefits will be issued in February. Just like normal, these SNAP benefits do not expire and will remain on the card until a household uses them.

New applicants can still apply for SNAP and receive benefits. These are being processed normally and will continue to be accepted in February.

For Oregonians who need to take action on their SNAP case in January (such as an Interim Change Report or Recertification), clients should complete that as soon as possible. These are being processed as normal. SNAP households that turn in this paperwork after January 18 will receive their February benefits as soon as the paperwork is processed.

As of now, the timing of March SNAP benefits is unknown due to the shutdown.  

As of now, the government shutdown is not affecting the way people receive other nutrition assistance like school meals, WIC or food pantries.

Additional Information and Resources:


The OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences says Big earthquakes appear to follow a brief episode of “shallow mantle creep” and “seismic swarms.”  

Published today in Nature Geoscience, the findings are an important step toward understanding the relationship and interactions between aseismic slip and seismic slip. Also known as silent slip or slow slip, aseismic slip is displacement along a fault that occurs without notable earthquake activity.

The research involved the Blanco Transform Fault off the coast of Oregon; a transform fault is a plate boundary at which the motion is mainly horizontal.

Under the sea, transform faults connect offset mid-ocean “spreading centers,” places at seafloor ridges where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and gradually moves away from the ridge.

“Slow slip directly triggers seismic slip – we can see that,” said co-corresponding author Vaclav Kuna, a graduate student in geology and geophysics in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. “The findings are very interesting and may have some broader implications for understanding how these kinds of faults and maybe other kinds of faults work.”

Researchers deployed 55 seismometers on the ocean bottom on and around the Blanco fault for a year.

“It’s a very seismically active fault that generates significant earthquakes at higher rates than the majority of faults on land, making it ideal for studying the process of earthquake generation,” Kuna said.

The seismometer deployment – from September 2012 to October 2013 – resulted in the detection of more than 1,600 earthquakes at the Blanco Ridge, a 130-kilometer segment of the Blanco fault that served as the study area.

Two distinct asperities – basically rough edges – ­­­­­­­along the ridge rupture roughly every 14 years with quakes in the magnitude 6 range.

“Our work was enabled by recent advances in long-term ocean-bottom seismometer deployments and is only the second major project targeting an oceanic transform fault,” said co-corresponding author John Nabelek, professor of geology and geophysics at OSU.

At its southernmost point, the Blanco Transform Fault is about 100 miles from Cape Blanco, Oregon’s westernmost location, and the fault runs northwest to a point about 300 miles from Newport.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, a fault that extends from British Columbia to northern California, lies between the Blanco fault and the coastline. The fault was the site of a magnitude 9 earthquake in 1700 and is building up stress where the Juan de Fuca Plate is sliding underneath the North American Plate.

Some scientists predict a 40 percent chance of another magnitude 9 or bigger quake occurring along the fault in the next 50 years.

“The Blanco fault is only 400 kilometers offshore,” Nabelek said. “A slip on Blanco could actually trigger a Cascadia Subduction slip; it would have to be a big one, but a big Blanco quake could trigger a subduction zone slip.”

The Earth is put together in layers beneath the crust, the outermost skin that varies in thickness from about 40 miles (continental crust at mountain ranges) to about 2 miles (oceanic crust at mid-ocean ridges).

The boundary between the crust and the next layer, the upper mantle, is known as the Moho.

“We see slow, aseismic slips that occur at depth in the fault beneath the Moho and load the shallower part of fault,” Nabelek said. “We can see a relationship between mantle slip and crust slip. The slip at depth most likely triggers the big earthquakes. The big ones are preceded by foreshocks associated with creep.”

Kuna explains that the layers have different levels of seismic “coupling,” the ability of a fault to lock at asperities and accumulate stress.

“The crust is fully coupled – all slip is released in a seismic way,” Kuna said. “Fault in the shallow mantle is partly coupled, partly not, and releases slip both seismically and aseismically. The deep mantle is fully creeping, uncoupled, with no earthquakes. But the fault is loaded by this creep from beneath – it’s all driven from beneath. Our results also show that an aseismic fault slip may trigger earthquakes directly, which may have implications for active faults on land.”

The National Science Foundation supported this research.


The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) invites local residents to chat over a cup of coffee this Tuesday in Shady Cove.  The “Coffee with a Cop” event will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on January 22, 2019, at Mac’s Diner, 21900 Highway 62.

JCSO plans "Coffee with a Cop" events quarterly, hosted by local businesses around the county.  The informal setting allows citizens to interact with deputies when they aren’t busy with emergencies, investigations, and other duties.  There is no charge to attend and partake in coffee; attendees have the option to purchase food items on their own.

“Coffee with a Cop” originated in 2011 in Hawthorne, Calif., as a way for local law enforcement officers to engage with community members.  Since then, the idea has spread across the United States and beyond.

Those who are interested can learn more about “Coffee with a Cop” at https://coffeewithacop.com .  For more information on local efforts, contact Sgt. Julie Denney at (541) 770-8927.  













KEYWORDS:   Oregon News, News Update State Of Oregon, Southern Oregon News, Local Oregon News, Daily Oregon News,  Oregon Area News, State Of Oregon News Update

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