Klamath Basin News, Friday, Nov. 18 – Fed Energy Regulatory Commission Gives Final Approval for Plan to Remove Four Dams on Klamath River in California and Oregon.

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Patchy freezing fog before 1pm. Sunny, with a high near 41. Northeast wind 6 to 8 mph. Overnight, mostly clear with a low around 17.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 45. East wind around 7 mph. Mostly clear, with a low around 19.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 46 with light winds. Overnight, cloudy, with a low around 23.
Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 49, and an overnight low of 25.
Tuesday A chance of rain and snow showers before 1pm, then a chance of rain showers between 1pm and 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Overnight a slight chance of showers. Snow level 5700 feet lowering to 5000 feet after midnight . Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28.
Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 50.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day Mostly sunny, with a high near 53.


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Today’s Headlines

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its final approval Thursday for a plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River in California and Oregon. 

The order paves the way for enactment of a settlement agreement nearly 15 years in the making by California, Oregon, the Yurok and Karuk Tribes, Berkshire Hathaway Energy-owned utility company PacifiCorp, fishing groups, and other stakeholders to carry out the ambitious plan to remove dams and address fish populations, river health, and Tribal communities and cultures.

In its ruling, FERC commissioners found “surrender of the Lower Klamath Project license and removal of the project to be in the public interest and grant the Renewal Corporation’s surrender application, subject to terms and conditions and acceptance of the license transfer.”

The approval of the dam removal plan provides the final ruling from the federal regulator needed for parties to fully implement the Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement as signed in 2016.

In June 2021, FERC approved allowing dam owner PacifiCorp to be removed from the license for the hydroelectric project and transfer it to the states of California and Oregon and the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) as co-licensees to carry out the removal of the dams pending final sign-off on the dam removal plan.

Following formal acceptance of the license transfer by the states and the KRRC, parties led by the KRRC will take a number of pre-construction steps during 2023 to lay the groundwork to complete the removal of the dams.

The Copco No. 2 dam will be removed as soon as the summer of 2023 under the approved plan, with the removal of J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, and Iron Gate dams planned during 2024.

The four dams are located in Klamath County, Oregon, and Siskiyou County California.
[Remember the Spotted Owl? -Editor]

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) is looking for a missing person out of Chiloquin, Oregon. Steven Kenneth Davis was last seen in December 2021 in Chiloquin and reported to have left with an unidentified individual in a vehicle that could not be described.

Steven Davis is 39 years old, stands 5’6” tall, has brown hair, blue eyes, and weighs close to 170lbs.

If you have seen Steven Davis or have any information about him, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 541-883-5130.

For the first time since the Modoc Nation, formerly known as the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, was granted federal recognition as a tribe in 1973, the group has a new chief.

Robert Burkybile III was elected the Modoc Nation’s Chief last month following the death of Bill Follis, 89, on Oct. 14. Follis had been the Modoc leader since the tribe was re-recognized. The Modoc Nation consists of relatives of Modocs who were removed to Oklahoma after the Modoc War 150 years ago.

Burkybile, 36, has lived most of his life in the Miami, Okla., area where the Modoc Nation has its offices, casino and other operations. He said he hopes to continue the tribe’s efforts to improve and develop lands it has purchased in the far Northern California counties of Modoc and Siskiyou near the Lava Beds National Monument.

During a telephone interview, Burkybile said the Modoc Nation’s goal is to improve private lands near the Lava Beds National Monument for a planned Modoc Nation Ranches bison range. He said it’s part of a larger effort to re-involve the tribe in the region, with a focus on the Tulelake Basin.

The Modoc Nation has and continues to oppose efforts to have Lava Beds National Monument designated as a national park.

Around the state of Oregon

Labor Union Considers Lawsuits Against Kroger Owned Fred Meyer For Shorting Worker’s Paychecks

A labor union that represents workers at Fred Meyer and QFC stores in Oregon, southwest Washington, Idaho and Wyoming, said on Thursday that they are connecting grocery workers with attorneys after a series of disrupted paychecks.

Local 555: United Food and Commercial Workers Union said Fred Meyer and QFC stores have been issuing incorrect, short or late paychecks.

Lisa Loucks, UFCW 555 grievance director, said that while the union has a “very strong grievance procedure,” they are also connecting members to attorneys to help them get compensation for hardships caused by payment issues.

“As the damage is ongoing and is becoming more than just a simple correction on next week’s check, we are helping our members get help from outside attorneys who may be able to initiate class-action lawsuits to not only recover their lost wages, but also assess and possibly recover additional punitive damages not available under the labor agreement,” Loucks said.

Dan Clay, UFCW Local 555 union president, said workers are being pushed into a financial hole by the delayed income.

“Kroger, who owns Fred Meyer and QFC, implemented new accounting software they didn’t know how to use,” Clay said. “When you are living paycheck to paycheck, a short or missed check isn’t just a temporary inconvenience; it can mean racking up late payments on rent and bills, skipped meals, and struggling to afford gas.”

A spokesperson for Fred Meyer said they are working to quickly resolve known issues with the new payment software.

Gun Sales Skyrocketing In Oregon After Passage Of Measure 114

With three weeks until Measure 114 officially becomes law in Oregon, there’s a rush to buy guns, ammo, and gun magazines.

Oregon State Police said since the election, applications for background checks have jumped nearly 400%. Gun stores around the metro area agreed with that statistic saying customers have been coming in nonstop. At one store in Milwaukie, there was a line of about 30 people waiting to get inside before the doors even opened. When they did, it was almost shoulder-to-shoulder inside.

The Oregon State Police (OSP) is aware that the public has many questions regarding Ballot Measure 114.  The Oregon Secretary of State’s office notified OSP that Ballot Measure 114 will go into effect at 12:00 a.m. on December 8, 2022. 

The Oregon State Police is working very closely with the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police to assess the required processes that need to be completed to implement this law.

Measure 114 expands background checks, requires gun owners to take a training course for a permit before they can even buy a gun, ban magazine clips that have more than 10 rounds, and registers all gun owners in a database run by Oregon State Police. Local law enforcement agencies, like the Marion and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Offices, said they’re working to understand what role they play in implementing the new law.

So far, the Union County and Linn County Sheriff’s announced they’re not going to enforce Measure 114. With the clock ticking on it becoming law, Oregon’s gun owners are anxious to see what’s next.

For the month of November 2022, approximately 63% of the requests received into the OSP Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) unit have been approved. The remaining transactions must be evaluated by an OSP employee to determine what caused the person to be kicked out of the automated process.  If applicable a manual correction can be made, and the application can be approved. 

Here are some important notes to consider when submitting for a Firearms purchase or transfer that could exclude you from the automated process:

  • If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime in Oregon or any other state.
  • If you have incomplete or incorrect information listed on federal ATF Form 4473
    • Potential Fix- Double-check the information for accuracy.
  • If your registered DMV address does not match the address listed on federal ATF Form 4473
    • Potential Fix- Update your personal address with DMV.

This unit has been working through these extreme firearms request volumes and will continue to process them as quickly as possible.  

The FICS unit’s hours of operation is set in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS), and largely determined by retail hours.  FICS is open and processing background checks from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days a week 363 days a year with only Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day off. 

For more information about the Oregon State Police’s Firearms Instant Check System (FICS) including how to complete a Firearm Pre-Purchase Self-Assessment Questionnaire click here: 

https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/cjis/Pages/Firearms-Instant-Check-System.aspx

Oregon’s Predicted 2024 Kicker Rebate Grows To $3.7 Billion Ahead Of Likely Mild Recession

Oregon income levels remain strong despite worries about a potential recession and that has pushed state economists’ expectations for tax revenues up yet again, in the latest forecast they delivered to lawmakers on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

One likely upshot is that taxpayers will receive an even larger “kicker” tax rebate on their 2023 taxes when they file returns in 2024: $3.7 billion total, up from $3.5 billion just three months ago.

At the same time, economists Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner said they now believe it’s more likely Oregon will experience a recession in the near future. They incorporated a recession starting next year in their revenue and economic forecasts.“It’s rather mild from a historical perspective,” McMullen said of the recession the state economists included in their modeling.

Oregon lawmakers will start working on the next two-year budget in a couple of months and economists had already predicted months ago that lawmakers would have approximately $3 billion less in revenue compared with the current budget cycle. That is because economists expected the state’s long run of windfall tax revenues, which was fueled in part by federal pandemic stimulus programs and upper income Oregonians cashing out capital gains, to slow down.

In 2021, Oregon tax filers reported 77.9% more capital gains income than in the previous year. By contrast, tax filers’ reported wage income only grew 5.8% in 2021, according to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.

“2021 was a great time to cash in your stocks or sell your business or the like,” McMullen said.

Oregon’s current two-year general fund and lottery budget is $29.3 billion, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office. For the 2023-2025 budget cycle, state economists currently expect lawmakers will have $30.7 billion in general fund and lottery money to allocate.

“It’s going to make it more difficult to write the budget,” McMullen said.

The state is also on track to have $2 billion saved up in a general rainy day fund and a specific account for “education stability,” Lehner said. However, lawmakers can only appropriate money from the savings accounts by a three-fifths vote and that will require bipartisan support next year because Republicans picked up enough seats this month to eliminate Democrats’ state House and Senate supermajorities.

3 Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide In Beaverton

Three people are dead after an apparent murder-suicide at a home in Oregon, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday night.

Police said deputies responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at a home on Wednesday shortly after 8 p.m.

Deputies arrived to find two people dead outside the house. A third person, 46-year-old Carlos Jimenez-Vargas, was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Investigators said they believe Jimenez-Vargas shot the other two people during an argument before killing himself.

The sheriff’s office has not released the names of the two victims in the case. Police said an investigation is ongoing.

Oregon State Police Trooper discovered approximately 12 pounds of suspected fentanyl during a traffic stop- Linn County

On November 16, 2022, at approximately 10:30 p.m., an Oregon State Police Senior Trooper stopped a passenger car for failure to drive within its lane of travel on Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 227 south of Albany. 

During the traffic stop, the Trooper noticed signs of criminal activity and requested consent to search, which was granted by the occupants of the vehicle.  During a search of the vehicle, the Trooper located five large plastic bags, approximately 12 lbs., of suspected fentanyl pills concealed in the trunk of the vehicle.

The driver was identified as Jose Manuel Gonzalez Obeso (22) and the passenger was identified as Carla Joanna Castillo Arce (18) both from Scottsdale, Arizona.  

Both subjects were released after being interviewed about their involvement and charges will be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office.

OSP Troopers were assisted during the investigation by Detectives from the OSP-Criminal Investigations Division-Drug Enforcement Section (Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative), Special Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration – Salem Resident Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon – Portland Office. 
The Oregon State Police-Domestic Highway Enforcement Initiative is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including the OSP-DHE Initiative.

Free parking at Oregon State Parks the day after Thanksgiving

SALEM, Oregon – Oregon Parks and Recreation Department invites Oregonians to head outside the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25.

North Falls at Silver Falls State Park
North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

Popularly known as “Green Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving has become a tradition in recent years. Oregon state parks will once again waive day-use parking fees in the 24 parks that are open and charge for parking on that day.

“We’re proud to promote this tradition and offer Oregonians an alternative to the busiest shopping day of the year,” said Lisa Sumption, director of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the parks that charge $5 daily for parking. Fee parks include popular destinations such as Fort Stevens, Cape Lookout, Silver Falls, Champoeg, L.L. Stub Stewart, Smith Rock and Milo McIver. A complete list of parks that require day-use parking permits is available online at stateparks.oregon.gov (Fall Creek is listed, but closed for the season).

The fee waiver applies from open to close on Nov. 25, except at Shore Acres State Park, where it expires at 4 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. 

Use #OptOutside and #OregonStateParks on social media to share your adventures.  Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. 

Medford, Oregon – Groundbreaking Ceremony For Royal Oaks Mobile Home Park Destroyed In Almeda Fire So Rebuilding Can Begin

Thursday afternoon, a groundbreaking and shovel ceremony took place along South Pacific Highway in Medford at the Royal Oaks Mobile Manor community, a manufactured home park that was destroyed in the 2020 Almeda Fire.

State, county, and city officials joined community members in celebrating the first steps toward rebuilding.

“To have this place where piles of dirt are moving, where we have modular homes that are in the community waiting to go on their pad, it’s almost like you can taste it, “said Caleb Yant, deputy director of Oregon Housing and Community Services. “It’s getting close.”

Royal Oaks, an affordable housing development, is expected to open in the second half of 2023. The community will provide homeownership opportunities for people who were impacted by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires.

The Almeda Fire burned more than 3,200 acres, destroyed more than 2,500 homes and left three people dead. Recovery efforts have been in place for nearly three years and state officials say it feels good to see another community start coming back together.

“What we’re doing as best we can is to really rebuild the community in a way that gives everybody who wants to come home a chance to come home,” said Rep. Pam Marsh. “That’s what today is really about.”

A Southern Oregon woman is facing federal charges alleging she used her deceased spouse’s identity to fraudulently obtain more than $36,000 in federal student aid.

On October 6, 2022, a federal grand jury in Medford returned a nine-count indictment charging Cynthia Pickering, 55, of Central Point, Oregon with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and student loan fraud.

According to court documents, beginning in September 2017 and continuing though April 2019, Pickering is alleged to have devised a scheme to use her deceased spouse’s personally identifiable information to submit multiple applications for federal student aid and enroll her former spouse at three different colleges and universities in Oregon.

These fraudulent applications caused the three colleges and universities—Eastern Oregon University, Rogue Community College, and Western Oregon University—to disperse $36,341 in federal student aid into Pickering’s personal checking account.

To conceal her scheme, Pickering attended online classes pretending to be her former spouse so that her spouse would remain eligible for the student aid. Pickering did what was necessary to pass first term courses at each institution and collect the funds.

Wire fraud and student aid fraud are punishable by up 20 years and five years in federal prison, respectively, per count of conviction. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by up to two years in prison consecutive to any other carceral sentence imposed.

Union Pacific Railroad says today it is cleaning up a train derailment in Siskiyou County. 

Union Pacific says nine of its rail cars derailed about two miles northwest of Dunsmuir yesterday.  It says the empty lumber cars were moved off the right-of-way and rail traffic resumed overnight.

UP says no injuries occurred with the derailment, which is under investigation.

Prescribed burns at Lava Beds National Monument will begin later this month and continue to late March.

Park officials said plans to implement the Lava Beds’ Pile Prescribed Fire will be done when conditions are favorable. Eighty piles were created by removing hazard trees along the park road system caused by the 2020 Caldwell Fire and 2021 Antelope Fire. Along with mitigating a hazard to the public from falling dead trees, the project will help create a defensible line for future fires.

The prescribed fire is located along the main park road and at the Heppe Cave parking area. There will be no closures created by the burning, but traffic may be temporarily slowed if roads are impacted by smoke.

A smoke management plan has been approved by the local air district. Wind directions that are likely to carry smoke to sensitive areas will be avoided.

As with every prescribed fire, Lava Beds managers emphasized prescribed fires will be ignited only when sufficient firefighting resources are in place and weather conditions are favorable enough to give firefighters the upper hand in containing them to designated areas. Resources from the Modoc National Forest and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge may be used to assist in the prescribed fire.

Jennifer “Jen” Gibson, who has overseen several jobs at Crater Lake National Park, has been selected as the Post-Wildfire Coordinator for the National Park Service (NPS).

The NPS Post-Wildfire program assesses threats from severe loss of vegetation and soil erosion. Post-fire recovery is facilitated through the Burned Area Emergency Response, or BAER program.

Gibson replaces Rich Schwab, who is now the NPS’s national program lead for Wildfire Science and Ecology.

After obtaining a degree in Biology at UC Santa Barbara, Gibson started her career working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California Condor Recovery Program, where she tracked condors throughout the Los Padres backcountry. She later moved on to Channel Islands National Park to work on fox monitoring, peregrine falcon banding, and vegetation monitoring programs.

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) announced Tuesday, Nov. 15 it has delivered two Peterbilt water tenders to the Siskiyou County Fire Chiefs Association to strengthen local fire prevention and response capabilities.

The trucks are just the first pieces of equipment KRRC will provide to increase the capacity of local fire departments. The water tenders were built and purchased in Siskiyou County, adding an economic boost to a local business. A 2023 Dodge Ram 5500 diesel flatbed truck and other equipment is on order from regional suppliers.

In addition to the newly delivered trucks, the agreement with the Fire Chief’s Association calls for KRRC to provide four fire pumps, eight 3,000 gallon aluminum frame tanks, twenty fire hoses with 50’ lengths, a 15-inch drum chipper, a dump trailer, four helicopter dip tanks, radio equipment, four 24’ flatbed trailers to transport tanks, and more.

KRRC has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Siskiyou County Fire Chiefs Association to establish procedures for implementing KRRC’s Fire Management Plan and firefighting operations in response to the removal of four dams in the Lower Klamath Project. Although the MOU does not require KRRC to provide the equipment until after regulatory approvals for dam removal are finalized, Bransom explained that KRRC decided to provide the equipment in advance.

The Oregon Department of Transportation is gearing up for winter driving season, while still working on various construction improvements around Southern and  Central Oregon.

Some of those projects will pause for the holiday, but ODOT public information officer Kacey Davey says drivers should still plan ahead,  And at the top of the list, always log on to trip check dot com or call 511 from any phone in Oregon for up to the minute road conditions.

It’s also the first busy weekend for ODOT’s new safety equipment on Highway 97 between Bend and LaPine.  Many areas in the Basin are also construction zones with bridge work happening in multiple areas.

Paid Leave Oregon launches statewide campaign to help employers prepare for paid leave

This week, Paid Leave Oregon launched a statewide campaign aimed at notifying Oregon employers about their role and responsibilities in the new program, which begins in just six weeks, on Jan. 1.

To make sure employers are ready to participate in the program, the statewide campaign includes social and digital advertising featuring Oregon employers. High-resolution photos for media from the campaign are available at this link.

Paid Leave Oregon also has a new online employer toolkit, a one-stop place for employers to find all the resources they need to prepare. The toolkit includes the required notice poster, an employer guidebook, a new video, and sample social posts that employers and partners can use to share information with their employees and networks, and much more. Resources for employers are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, simplified Chinese, and traditional Chinese.

“Paid Leave Oregon is here to support employers so they can help their employees prepare for this new program,” said Karen Madden Humelbaugh, director of Paid Leave Oregon. “We are excited to share all of these new resources with employers, who we know are still learning about the program and how it will help Oregonians.”

Paid Leave Oregon allows employees to take paid time off for some of life’s most important moments. It covers leave for the birth or adoption of a child, for serious illness or injury, for taking care of a seriously ill family member, and for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment.

The new campaign targets employers, because all employers, regardless of size, will collect contributions from employees starting Jan. 1. Both employers and employees fund Paid Leave Oregon with a total contribution rate of 1 percent of gross payroll. Employees will pay 60 percent, and large employers will pay 40 percent, of the 1 percent contribution rate. For example, if an employee makes $5,000, the employee will pay $30, and the employer will pay $20.

However, only employers with 25 or more employees also will contribute to the program. Small employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to make contributions, but they can choose to participate in coverage as a benefit to their employees.

“Paid Leave Oregon will make it easy for business owners like us to support employees, and that helps keep trained folks on our team,” said Kathryn Weeks of Peoria Gardens in Linn County. 

Peoria Gardens is one of the local Oregon employers featured in the Paid Leave campaign. 

“Without this program we could not afford such comprehensive coverage, and we know that our workers are also contributing,” Weeks said. “The state will confirm a worker qualifies, and of course pay for the leave itself out of the fund. This is a real service, both for us and for our employees.”

Paid Leave Oregon will administer the program, including paying employees while they are on leave and determining their eligibility for benefits. Benefits will be available to employees in September 2023. Another statewide campaign focusing on employee outreach begins in 2023.

### The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. OED provides free help so you can use our services. Some examples are sign language and spoken-language interpreters, written materials in other languages, large print, audio, and other formats. To get help, please call 503-947-1444. TTY users call 711. You can also send an email to communications@employ.oregon.gov. — MORE INFO: https://paidleave.oregon.gov/Pages/default.aspx

BPA proposes holding power and transmission rates flat

Settlement informs initial proposals for rates and tariff proceedings

Portland, Ore. – The Bonneville Power Administration proposes to leverage its strong fiscal year 2022 financial performance to buffer against market volatility while holding power and transmission rates flat overall. 

“This is one of those bountiful years where all the elements and timing came together in such a manner that we can consider staving off inflation for another two years by keeping rates flat for our power and transmission customers,” said BPA Administrator John Hairston.

For transmission rates, a portion of BPA’s strong FY 2022 financial performance is being proposed to keep BPA’s 2024 and 2025 rates flat. 

For power rates, that financial performance provided an opportunity to include in power rates $129 million per year in additional risk protection without a rate increase. The additional risk protection increases the chances that BPA will see continued strong financial performance during the 2024 and 2025 rate period by building a financial buffer against the increased market volatility that the region is observing.

As a nonprofit entity, BPA is legally required to cover its costs and adjust rates accordingly. BPA establishes those rates for two-year periods through administrative proceedings called for by statute.  Similarly, BPA makes adjustments to the non-rate terms and conditions of its open access tariff for transmission service through a separate administrative process. 

As preparatory workshops for the BP-24 Rate Case and the TC-24 Tariff Proceeding came to a close at the end of summer, BPA proposed settlements based on stakeholder interactions that would address all of the issues in staff’s initial proposals for each proceeding. The general consensus from stakeholders showed strong support in favor of proceeding with the settlements. 

The terms of the settlements will be reflected in the initial proposals from staff in the BP-24 Rate Case and the TC-24 Tariff Proceeding, which will be published Dec. 2 on BPA’s website. BPA’s final rates, if approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will become effective Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2025. The proposed tariff revisions would take effect Oct. 1, 2023.

With the publication of the Federal Register Notice today initiating the BP-24 Rate Case, the prohibition of ex parte communications begins. Similarly, when the Federal Register publishes a notice on Nov. 22 regarding the beginning of the TC-24 proceeding, ex parte will be in effect for that proceeding as well.

Salem, Oregon – Stephanie Kim of Hillsboro, a senior color designer at Nike, has been appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission by Governor Kate Brown. 

Kim received her BFA in textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design. Upon graduating she pursued NYC’s fashion industry, working for various brands like Ann Taylor, Tory Burch and Tibi until she was recruited by Nike in 2016. She currently works as a senior color designer for Nike Women’s Footwear.

“We are thrilled to have Stephanie join the Arts Commission,” said Commission Chair Jenny Green. “Her experience and appreciation of the power of the arts, added to her passion for arts access, will contribute to the work of the Commission and our focused effort to bring the arts to previously underserved audiences.”

Kim has established roots in Oregon and believes in serving her local community. She currently sits as a board member on the Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council and Five Oaks Museum and is actively serving as a mentor in her Korean immigrant community.

“I strongly believe in the power of art and feel it is my duty to be a bridge for Korean immigrants and the wider Asian community to fully integrate into society and create accessibility in the arts,” said Kim.

Kim begins her four-year term immediately.

*  * *  *  * *  *  * *  *  *

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 

OHA offers telehealth visits to improve access to COVID-19 therapy

Agency partners with Color Health to provide free clinician appointments so people can find out if they’re eligible for oral antivirals

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) now offers free telehealth visits statewide for those at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. This provides easier access to potentially life-saving treatment.

OHA partnered with Color Health to launch the new program Monday. Through this program, any person in Oregon, regardless of health insurance status, can make a no-cost telehealth appointment with a clinician. During the appointment, they can find out if they are eligible for COVID-19 oral antiviral medicine.

People at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness whose symptoms started in the prior five days are eligible for treatment. If a clinician confirms the patient is eligible for treatment, the clinician can prescribe the medication.

“These medicines can help prevent severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and even death,” said Andrea Lara, M.D., M.P.H., therapeutics clinical and equity lead with Oregon Health Authority. “They should be available for free for anyone who needs them, whether or not the person has health insurance.”

She added that the service will especially benefit communities hit hardest by COVID-19. This includes Tribal nations and communities of color.

OHA recommends people with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID test first call or visit a health care provider. If they don’t have a provider or are unable to quickly get an appointment, they can find a federal Test to Treat site.

If there is no Test to Treat site nearby or they can’t get to one, they can make a telehealth appointment through Color. The process is as follows:

  1. Visit Color.com/COVID-19-treatment-OR and take the survey, or call 833-273-6330 and describe your symptoms.
  2. Join the video or phone call.
  3. Those given a prescription can pick it up at their local pharmacy or get home delivery.

Telehealth visit hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Consultation is offered in 17 languages. You can visit OHA’s COVID-19 treatments page, or call Color at 833-273-6330 for more information.

For people who can’t use the service or who need additional assistance or accessibility accommodations, there is another option. They can find participating federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) on the Test to Treat site. They should look for sites that say “HRSA supported health center” or read OHA’s monthly COVID-19 Therapeutics Newsletter, found on OHA’s COVID-19 Treatments page, for a list.

Oregon’s Doctors and Nurses Join Together, Ask Oregonians to be Vigilant Against RSV, Other Illnesses

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)

(Portland, Ore.) – Across the state, hospitals are seeing a serious surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV. RSV is a common airborne respiratory virus.

Young children are especially vulnerable to RSV, with children under the age of two at increased risk for severe symptoms.

Combined with increased risk for cases of influenza and COVID-19, hospitals are on the verge of being overwhelmed, if they aren’t already. Public health officials across the country are warning that winter could see a “triple-demic” that will add overwhelming stress to an already stressed health care system in Oregon.

The Oregon Medical Association (OMA) and the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) are joining together to call on Oregonians to take steps to protect themselves and their children from the threats of RSV, flu, and COVID-19 – not only for their own health, but also to reduce the impact on the physicians and nurses who are facing unprecedented patient numbers in hospitals and clinics.

“All signs indicate that we are at the very beginning of this RSV surge,” said Marianne Parshley, MD, internal medicine specialist and President of the OMA. “Public health officials believe we won’t see the peak of this surge for another 10 to 12 weeks, until well past the holidays. Physicians and physician assistants across the state join their nursing colleagues in asking all Oregonians to take extra precautions now to help reduce the impact of these illnesses on our health care workers and prevent further strain on hospitals and clinics.”  

A crucial step for Oregonians is to know when (and when not) to go to the emergency room. “Our ERs are overflowing with patients right now,” said Tamie Cline, RN, President of the ONA Board of Directors. “It is important for people to know when they should head to the ER and when it is better to visit urgent care, call an advice nurse, see your primary care provider, or simply stay at home and care for yourself.” 

“If you suspect you or your child has been exposed to RSV, call your primary care physician or nurse advice line rather than coming into the ER where you will face a long wait, or even risk exposing yourself and your child to other illnesses like COVID-19 or the flu,” said Parshley. “Your doctor or advice nurse can run through a checklist of warning signs and symptoms and make suggestions for potential at-home treatments or recommend other steps, like visiting an urgent care clinic or coming to the ER, as needed.”

A serious symptom of RSV includes working extra hard to breathe – like flaring of the nostrils, grunting while inhaling or exhaling, or when skin between the ribs or collarbone pulls in and out. If an individual experiences such symptoms, they should be seen by a medical professional immediately. Check with your primary care provider or advice nurse if you have any questions about other symptoms.

“Just as we have been for the past two years, we are all in this together,” said Cline. “Physicians and nurses are asking everyone to take precautions like voluntarily wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands frequently, keeping your hands away from your face, disinfecting frequently used surfaces, staying home from work or school if you suspect you might be ill, and, of course, make sure you get your flu shot and your COVID-19 booster. Spreading the message now, before this surge gets worse, is essential if Oregon is to avoid the worst impacts of an overwhelmed health care system.”

The Oregon Medical Association (OMA) is the state’s largest professional organization engaging in advocacy, policy, community-building, and networking opportunities for Oregon’s physicians, physician assistants, medical students, and physician assistant students. In the state capitol of Salem and in Washington, DC, the OMA’s members speak with one voice as they advocate for policies that improve access to quality patient care and reduce administrative burdens on medical professionals. For more information visit: www.TheOMA.org

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.

On Thursday, November 17, 2022 at approximately 4:00 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 99W, 7 miles south of Monmouth. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a northbound Infinity G37, operated by a 17-year old male of Lacy, Washington, crossed into the southbound lane colliding with a Subaru Legacy, operated by Brian Pillette (69) of Adair Village. 

Brian Pillette and a passenger, a 2-year old female, were transported to an area hospital with injuries. An additional passenger, Lori Pillette (64) of Adair Village, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. The 17-year old male and his passenger, Hermino Cabrera (42) of Lacy, Washington received minor injuries and were also transported to an area hospital. 

OSP was assisted by Polk County Fire Department and Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  

FBI Investigating Suspicious Death on Warm Springs Reservation

WARM SPRINGS, OR – The Federal Bureau of Investigation, partnered with the Warm Springs Tribal Police, are investigating the death of a man on the Warm Springs Reservation.

Warm Springs Tribal Police received a call Monday night notifying that a man had died in a home on Dry Creek Trail Road. 

Once police arrived they noticed a wound to the man’s head. The man is identified as 43-year-old Diamond Tewee. 

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team is processing the scene. As this is an ongoing investigation, no further information will be released at this time. FBI – Oregon

Reynolds High School Teacher Arrested In Bend In Online Sex Sting

A Reynolds High School teacher faces possible attempted rape and other charges after being arrested last Friday in an “online sex sting” operation, the Bend Police Department said Monday in a statement.

Edward Hernandez-Corchado, 26, began messaging a Bend police officer on November 4, with the officer posing as a 15-year-old girl, according to the statement. Over the course of the week, Hernandez-Corchado “continued contacting the officer and making sexual statements, and then began making plans to meet up in person at Target in Bend to engage in sexual acts with her,” police added.

The Portland-area teacher and the officer posing as the teen girl agreed to meet Friday evening “so he could take her to a hotel,” officials said. Police arrested him when he arrived at the agreed meeting spot.

Police said they took Hernandez-Corchado into custody on charges including online corruption of a child, attempted rape and luring a minor for sexual conduct. The Portland State graduate has been teaching social studies at Reynolds since 2019, according to a LinkedIn profile.

In a message to parents and staff, Reynolds High School said the teacher has been put on leave.

Police say there may be victims who have not been identified and ask anyone with possible information to contact the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office at 503-988-0560.

North Falls at Silver Falls State Park

Park Waived Fees. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department invites Oregonians to head outside the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25.

Popularly known as “Green Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving has become a tradition in recent years. Oregon state parks will once again waive day-use parking fees in the 24 parks that are open and charge for parking on that day.

Parking is free year-round at almost all state parks; the waiver applies to the parks that charge $5 daily for parking. Fee parks include popular destinations such as Fort Stevens, Cape Lookout, Silver Falls, Champoeg, L.L. Stub Stewart, Smith Rock and Milo McIver. 

The fee waiver applies from open to close on Nov. 25, except at Shore Acres State Park, where it expires at 4 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event that runs Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. 

Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink Set to Open Nov 19, 2022

City of Ashland press releaseIt’s that time of year again to lace up your skates and hit the ice! The Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink will officially open on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

The outdoor rink is located in beautiful Lithia Park at 95 Winburn Way, across from the playground, around the bend from the Downtown Plaza, at the corner of Nutley Street and Winburn Way. The rink is managed by Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC).

APRC and the City of Ashland hope you can recreate, eat and shop locally this winter. Holiday celebrations in Ashland include:

  • The Ashland Chamber & Travel Ashland’s Festival of Light— Celebrate 30 years of magical moments this winter as they flip the switch on more than one million holiday lights! Watch for Santa at 5 p.m. on November 25, as he makes his way from the Ashland Public Library to the Downtown Plaza in a choreographed procession that will lead to the Grand Illumination of Ashland. Caroling, entertainment on the plaza and a season full of festive activities awaits. Travelashland.com/FestivalOfLight
  • The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will present, “It’s Christmas, Carol.” The play will open on November 23 and run through January 1, 2023. Osfashland.org

Please visit ashland.or.us/IceRink BEFORE every trip to the rink as the schedule offers opportunities for all, from figure skaters to hockey players to families with young children, and you will want to plan your visit accordingly. (Weather can also affect the schedule.)

The direct line to the rink, on or after November 19, is 541.552.2258. The rink will be open through February 2023. If you have questions before November 19, please email ParksInfo@ashland.or.us or call 541.488.5340.

Come to the Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink this season and experience one of the most magical places in Ashland… that little outdoor rink in beautiful Lithia Park, where the air is fresh, and the white lights are twinkling. May you find your holiday spirit in Ashland’s season of celebration!  Follow us on social media… Facebook & Instagram @AshlandParksandRec  —

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