Regional News


(Portland, OR)  --  State health officials are saying at least 88-percent of all active cases of COVID-19 in Oregon are the Delta variant.  Just a few weeks ago, the Delta variant accounted for just 33-percent of cases.  Now, Dr. Paul Cieslak with the Oregon Health Authority says that unvaccinated Oregonians are at a much greater risk of contracting the descendant of the novel coronavirus strand than when it first surfaced in the state 16 months ago.  The Delta variant, experts say, spreads twice as fast as the original and appears to make infected patients sicker than the novel COVID-19.   



(Portland, OR)  --  The Oregon State Fire Marshal is suspending the enforcement of regulations that prohibit pumping your own gas.  The expected heat wave and concern for employees working outside in triple-digit temperatures is the reason for the temporary suspension.  Any business that chooses to continue with full-service is encouraged to provide ample water and areas to keep cool for employees.  The temporary order is in effect through 11:59 Friday night.    



(Portland, OR)  --  Local health officials are warning residents to be careful amid an expected heat wave today in the Portland area.  Doctors are advising people to "listen to their bodies" and to seek shelter or other help if they need it.  Today's high is expected to hit around triple digits.  Cooling centers have been opened at local community centers to help people find respite from the sweltering heat.    



(Portland, OR)  --  The City of Portland is moving forward with clearing dozens of residents from a large homeless encampment along Laurelhurst Park.  On Thursday morning, police, park rangers, and several biohazard crews began clearing the area.  They were met by activists opposing the move amid ongoing pandemic concerns and the current housing crisis.  Many of the temporary residents had been staying in the park for nearly a year at this point, since the early onset of the pandemic. 



(Portland, OR)  --  The president of the Portland Association of Teachers is applauding Governor Kate Brown's decision to require masks for students K-through-12 this fall.  Elizabeth Thiel called the decision "crucial and important" amid increasing cases of COVID-19.  The teachers union committed to masks this fall shortly after the CDC recommended that people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, go back to masks indoors due to the highly contagious Delta variant.  Thiel says most parents of students have been supportive of the most recent mask initiative.   



(Portland, OR) -- A rescued otter pup is staying at the Oregon Zoo for the summer. Zoo officials say the pup was found abandoned by its mother near Deer Island last month. The pup was taken to Portland Audubon's wildlife center and then the Wildlife Center of the North Coast for rehabilitation. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the pup is not able to be released, because it's spent too much time with people. It'll stay at the Oregon Zoo with the other otters until a permanent home is found.



(Portland, OR) -- Half a dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported six new deaths yesterday along with 804 new cases of COVID-19. There are 274 people hospitalized, which is 15 more than Tuesday. There have now been two-thousand-849 deaths and 217-thousand-690 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. Around 46-hundred vaccinations are being given each day.



(Portland, OR) -- New COVID-19 cases in Oregon increased 53-percent over the last week. The Oregon Health Authority says hospitalizations were also up, but deaths were down. Both hospitalizations and deaths are trailing factors, so they will likely increase as cases rise. The number of positive COVID-19 tests increased from four-point-two to five-percent. Case rates have been higher in counties with lower COVID-19 vaccination rates.



(Portland, OR) -- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says that he wants all city employees to either be vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19. Wheeler made that announcement to City Council members yesterday. Wheeler says he doesn't have the authority to make the requirement on his own, so he'll be talking with council members, unions, and other groups that would be part of the decision. He says the increasing COVID-19 cases makes it important to take steps to keep the virus out of city offices.



(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's economy is recovering from the pandemic recession, but not equally. The Oregon Employment Department reports that rural counties are recovering faster than metro areas. Three in ten jobs in metro areas have come back. Seven out of ten jobs have returned in rural counties. Some counties east of the Cascades have regained all of their jobs.



(Lakeview, OR) -- The Bootleg Fire continues to grow in southern Oregon. An InciWeb update shows the blaze has now burned more than 413-thousand acres as of late last night. Containment is still at 53-percent. Firefighters got some relief yesterday and Tuesday in the form of rain. Operations Section Chief Brad Washa says it helped slow the growth on the north side of the fire, but the rain didn't fall on the south side of the blaze and it's still growing.



(Portland, OR) -- COVID-19 case numbers are spiking in Oregon. The Oregon Health Authority reported one-thousand-32 new cases yesterday along with five new deaths. State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger says the Delta variant now accounts for 80-percent of the new cases. They are reviewing updated guidance from the CDC to see how it can be applied in Oregon. There are currently 259 Oregonians hospitalized with coronavirus, which is an increase of 52 people from Sunday.



(Salem, OR) -- Former Oregon State Representative Mike Nearman is pleading guilty to Official Misconduct for allowing protesters into the locked Capitol building during a special session last December. Nearman entered the guilty plea yesterday in the Marion County Superior Court. After getting inside of the building, the protesters, some armed with guns, fought with police and caused damage to the building. Nearman was sentenced to 18 months of bench probation, 80 hours of community service, and he was ordered to pay 27-hundred dollars for damage to the building. He's also banned from the Oregon State Capitol and its grounds. A charge of Criminal Trespass was dismissed as part of the plea deal.



(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority is recommending that everyone wear masks in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. The agency issued the new guidance yesterday. More than a thousand new cases were reported in Oregon yesterday. The COVID-19 Delta variant was found in 80-percent of the new cases.



(Undated) -- Oregon is among half a dozen states that are banning high-end, pre-built gaming personal computers. Niche Gamer reports Oregon is joining California, Vermont, Hawaii, Colorado and Washington state in banning the products because of the large amount of electricity they use. This follows a study published in 2019 that shows computer gaming consumed four-point-one terawatt hours in 2016, which cost about 700-million dollars in energy bills. Gaming consoles are exempt from the law.



(Lakeview, OR) -- Firefighters remain on the scene of the massive Bootleg Fire burning in Southern Oregon. Fire officials say the blaze remains at 53-percent containment and has now burned nearly 411-thousand acres. Officials announced yesterday the fire has now destroyed more than 400 structures, including 161 homes. It's also destroyed 342 vehicles.



(Portland, OR) -- Health officials in Multnomah County are asking residents to wear masks in public indoor spaces whether they're vaccinated or not. The health department issued that guidance yesterday in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious delta variant. Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey says wearing masks now can reduce spread of the virus, preventing hospitalizations and deaths.



(Albany, OR) -- A man with a court order not to contact an Albany woman on his release from jail for domestic violence is now accused of violating that order and killing her. Albany Police say officers arrested 34-year-old James Anderson Friday after Angela Christian vanished and was later found dead near Mary's Peak in Benton County. Anderson is jailed on charges of Second Degree Murder and Contempt of Court for violating the no contact order.



(Lakeview, OR) -- The nation's largest wildfire continues to blacken the landscape in southern Oregon. Fire officials say the Bootleg fire grew by about a thousand acres on Sunday and has now burned 409-thousand-611 acres. Crews have now managed to get the blaze about 53-percent contained.



(Sweet Home, OR) -- A woman is dead after falling off her paddleboard in Foster Reservoir. Police say 36-year-old Courtney Anderson of Eugene was at Lewis Creek Park east of Sweet Home Sunday afternoon when she slipped off the board while trying to help a child. She wasn't wearing a life jacket and was underwater for several minutes before other swimmers pulled her from the water. She was taken to Lebanon Community Hospital where she died. Anderson was also a Lane County Sheriff's deputy.



(Portland, OR) -- Several bars in Portland's entertainment district are hiring guards with bullet-resistant vests in response to an increase in downtown shootings. Bar owners say they need to do it for the safety of the guards. Last weekend, Portland Police temporarily added officers downtown because of the mass shooting that killed one woman and injured six other people.



(Vancouver, WA)  --  Police are seeking the public's help in their search for an eleven-year-old girl who's been missing for a week.  The Vancouver Police Department says Shilo Faith Dove was last seen at her home on July 19th.  Police believe she may be with a 15-year-old boy named Zac.  Dove is described as white with blue eyes and blue and purple hair.



(Salem, OR)  --  The search continues for a climber who went missing after falling several hundred feet on Mt. Jefferson.  Police say 33-year-old Steven Vanpelt was descending the mountain when he fell on Friday.  Search and rescue teams from several agencies are trying to find him.  Life Flight and the Oregon Army National Guard searched by air over the weekend.  Search crews are battling difficult terrain, including snow, cliffs, large boulders, crevices and falling rock.



(Beatty, OR)  --  Fire officials say the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon has become so intense that it spawned a tornado of fire.  The National Weather Service says the fire is so large that it's creating its own weather and they confirm a firenado touched down last week.  Photos of the area show trees broken off at the trunk and in a circular pattern.  The Bootleg Fire has burned nearly 409-thousand acres and is 46-percent contained.



(Eugene, OR)  --  Police are releasing new details regarding a shooting that injured one person at the Lane County Fair over the weekend.  The Eugene Police Department says a 16-year-old boy fired a single gunshot Saturday during an altercation involving several other teens and one adult.  A security guard tells KATU-2 the 16-year-old and several of his friends were arguing with an older man near a stage when things turned physical and the 16-year-old threatened to shoot the man.  The guard says he stepped in and tackled the teen to the ground, and that's when the gun went off, striking a woman nearby.  She was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  Police arrested the 16-year-old as well as a 14-year-old for disorderly conduct.


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