Regional News Archives for 2021-05


(Portland, OR)  --  A middle school teacher in Estacada is dead after contracting COVID-19.  The family of 46-year-old Samantha Fox tells the Oregonian she died just weeks after contracting the virus.  Fox taught 6th and 7th grades at Estacada Middle School for 20 years.  Family members say she was otherwise healthy.  They add that she didn't get a vaccine because she was afraid of needles.



(Portland, OR)  --  Nearly a dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19.  The Oregon Health Authority confirmed nine new coronavirus deaths yesterday along with 616 new cases.  There are 346 people hospitalized with the virus, which is up one from Tuesday.  Oregon has now seen two-thousand-558 deaths and 193-thousand-14 cases since the pandemic began.  More than two-million Oregonians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
 



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon's average number of new COVID-19 cases is down for the second week in a row.  The Oregon Health Authority reports the number of new cases is down 12-percent from the previous week.  COVID-19 hospitalizations also declined from 272 to 245.  The number of positive tests was six-point-one-percent.  There were 31 deaths, which nearly doubled the previous week's total.



(Salem, OR)  --  May 18th is election day in Oregon.  Voters should have received ballots and voter pamphlets.  Most of the candidates are for school boards and other local races.  It's too late for voters to mail in their ballots, but voters can still drop their ballot in a secure drop box.  The deadline to turn in ballots is 8 p.m. on Tuesday.



(Salem, OR)  --  Sprint is paying Oregon one-point-six-million dollars for overcharging the Oregon Lifeline program.  Lifeline helps low income Oregonians afford phone and internet service.  In 2019, the Oregon Public Utility Commission found Sprint's subsidiary Assurance Wireless was overcharging the Lifeline program for ineligible usage.  A nationwide investigation found it was happening across the country, and the FCC recovered 368-million dollars from the company.  Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says it sends a strong signal that waste and abuse of critical state subsidies won't be tolerated.



(Portland, OR)  --  Over a dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19.  The Oregon Health Authority reported 16 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to two-thousand-549.  The health department also confirmed 660 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 new hospitalizations for the virus.  Oregon has now seen over 192-thousand cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  Officials say 49-percent of Oregonians have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.



(Portland, OR)  --  Online learning resumes today in the Centennial School District following a cyberattack on the district's computer system.  Online learning has been shut down in the district for over two weeks after officials discovered the ransomware attack on April 26th.  Students were only in the classroom for in-person learning for a few hours each week during that time.  An investigation into the cyberattack is ongoing.
 



(Portland, OR)  --  Portland Public Schools says its campuses are expected to be fully reopened for in-person instruction this fall.  The district announced on Twitter yesterday it's presenting its Fall 2021 reopening plans to the board of education.  District Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero says he expects schools will be welcoming back all students for the fall unless guidance from public health prevents it.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Oregon legislature is sending Governor Kate Brown a bill that will extend the deadline for renters to repay back rent until February 28th of 2022.  Lawmakers gave final approval to the bill yesterday.  The additional time will help renters and landlords make use of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal rent assistance.  The bill also temporarily allows families to share housing that would be in violation of landlord-imposed occupancy limits.  It also protects against the use of COVID-era rental and credit records when tenants apply to rent in the future.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon lawmakers are considering a proposal to make police discipline records public.  The Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on the bill yesterday.  The bill is aimed at increasing transparency and trust in law enforcement.



(Olympia, WA)  --  Republican U.S. Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler will vote against efforts to remove embattled Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming from her GOP leadership position.  A spokesperson for Herrera Beutler tells the Seattle Times she'll vote to keep Cheney in her position as House GOP conference chair.  Fellow Washington state Republican representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers have not yet revealed how they plan to vote.  House Republicans are expected to vote today to oust Cheney from her leadership position over her criticism of former President Trump.



(Portland, OR)  --  The Oregon Employment Department is activating a new program to help "hybrid workers" who earn both self-employment income and W-2 wages.  The department launched the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation program yesterday.  The program offers an additional 100 dollars a week to workers who earned at least five-thousand dollars in self-employment income during the most recent taxable year before they applied for unemployment benefits.  Benefits are available from December 27th of last year through September 4th of this year and will be retroactive.  Application details are on the employment department's website.



(Portland, OR)  --  State lawmakers are getting closer to approving a nine-point-three-billion-dollar budget for Oregon schools.  The budget would draw 200-million dollars from the Education Stability Fund, which is a rainy day fund for schools to use during a crisis.  The fund will still have over a billion dollars in reserve.  This is in addition to the 250-million dollars for the summer learning and enrichment programs that are intended to help students catch up from a year of remote learning.  The bills are expected to move out of committee sometime today.



(Portland, OR)  --  The federal government is approving 550-million dollars in food assistance for 572-thousand kids in Oregon.  The money is for families who don't have access to free or reduced price meals that are usually provided at school.  The money will be distributed on Pandemic EBT cards.  Children who are enrolled in free or reduced meal programs will get the cards automatically.  Kids who aren't enrolled can sign up on the Oregon Department of Education website.



(Portland, OR)  --  A 71-year-old hiker who was reported missing on Saturday night is safe after being found alive Monday morning.  Joe Dean got lost on the Rock of the Ages trail and texted his wife he needed help.  Rescuers say the terrain was the most difficult they've ever searched because of damage from the Eagle Creek Fire.  Dean was brought out on a stretcher and taken to a hospital for evaluation.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon is dealing with nearly 400 new coronavirus cases.  The Oregon Health Authority reported 388 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday along with three new deaths.  A total of 326 people are hospitalized with the virus, which is up eight from Sunday.  Oregon has now seen two-thousand-533 deaths and 191-thousand-774 cases since the pandemic began.  One-point-46 million people in Oregon have been fully vaccinated.



(Portland, OR)  --  Organizers of the mass vaccination clinics at the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland International Airport plan to close on June 19th.  The organizers say demand for the vaccine is declining.  They are offering first doses through May 27th, and then during June they will only offer second doses.  Since the clinic opened, they have administered 465-thousand vaccinations.



(Eugene, OR)  --  The University of Oregon will require the COVID-19 vaccine for students and staff this fall.  The university announced the news yesterday, saying vaccinations are critical for public health.  Exemptions may be requested for medical and religious reasons.



(Portland, OR)  --  A new series of billboards is bringing attention to the violent impact of racism on Portland's Black residents.  Artist Elijah Hasan tells the Oregonian that the billboards unveiled yesterday are aimed at connecting "the issue of Black-on-Black gun violence to the self-hate that is (created) by racism."  The billboards include phrases like "Destroy white supremacy, not each other" and "Racism plus self-hate equals gun violence."  Four billboards are currently up around the city, and three more are scheduled to be installed later this month.



(Portland, OR)  --  The FDA has approved using the Pfizer vaccine on children between the ages of 12 and 15 to prevent COVID-19, but it'll be a few days before kids can get the shot here in Oregon.  The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup needs to give its approval first.  That's been the same process for all of the vaccines that have been released so far.  After that approval is given, the Oregon Health Authority will allow the shots to be administered to the younger kids.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon is reporting two new coronavirus deaths and 610 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.  The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday.  A total of 318 people are hospitalized, which is down eleven from Saturday.  Oregon has now seen two-thousand-530 deaths and 191-thousand-405 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.



(Portland, OR)  --  Portland Police say a hit and run driver killed a rider on a Lime scooter in Northeast Portland early Saturday morning.  The crash happened at Northeast Sandy and 149th Avenue.  Another driver remained at the scene until police arrived.  Police are asking for help identifying the driver.  It's the 26th traffic fatality in Portland so far this year.  That's double the number of fatal crashes from this time last year and the highest number of traffic fatalities in 30 years.



(Salem, OR)  --  People moving to Oregon who have a driver's license from another state soon won't have to take a written test to get an Oregon license.  Governor Kate Brown has signed a bill last week that eliminates the requirement.  The bill takes effect June 5th.



(Woodburn, OR)  --  Police are warning residents about a cougar that has been spotted in the Woodburn area.  The Marion County Sheriff's Office says the big cat was seen around Butteville and Ten Oaks Lane, and that it doesn't appear to fear people or dogs.  Police are urging residents not to approach it and call the sheriff's office's non-emergency number if you see it.



(Oregon City, OR)  --  An investigation is ongoing into an officer-involved shooting following a police pursuit in Oregon City.  Police say the pursuit started on I-205 Saturday night and stopped at the onramp from Highway 213.  The Clackamas County District Attorney's Office says the suspect, Gerald Barnes the second, fired at officers before they returned fire.  He's charged with attempted aggravated murder.  Barnes was treated at a hospital and booked into jail.  An Oregon City Police officer suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries.



(Salem, OR)  --  Oregon had five new deaths from COVID-19 and 763 new cases reported yesterday.  There are 328 people hospitalized, which is two less than on Wednesday.  There have been two-thousand-514 deaths in Oregon since the pandemic began and 189-thousand-162 confirmed cases.



(Tigard, OR)  --  The Tigard Police Department will expand its body camera program to all officers.  For more than ten years, they've had dash cameras and some body cameras for K-9 handlers, traffic officers, community service officers and school resource officers.  Those systems are outdated, so City Council has approved new body worn cameras, along with in-car video systems, Tasers, interview room technology and digital storage.  The program will cost nearly one-and-a-half-million dollars over five years.



(Portland, OR)  --  An investigation is ongoing into a confrontation between drivers and demonstrators at Interstate Avenue and Killingsworth Street.  KATU-2 reports video of yesterday afternoon's incident circulating on social media shows people confronting each other with guns drawn.  Demonstrators were marching for justice for Patrick Kimmons, a Black man who was shot to death by police in 2018.  Kimmons's mother says the confrontation started after a driver started speeding toward the group of demonstrators and then yelled a racial slur at them.  One of the drivers tells police that people surrounded their vehicle, broke its windows and damaged its tires before spraying some sort of irritant at them.



(Salem, OR)  --  The Oregon Health Authority reports there have been 611 COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases as of May 3rd, and eight of those people have died.  Breakthrough cases are when a person tests positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after being fully vaccinated.  OHA isn't saying where the deaths occurred in the state, but 14-percent of the cases were in long-term care facilities.  The 611 breakthrough cases are a small percentage of the one-point-three-million people who have been fully vaccinated.



(Salem, OR)  --  Governor Kate Brown has approved new guidance for indoor recreation and indoor entertainment facilities.  In Moderate Risk counties, they can have 20-percent occupancy or 100 people, whichever is larger.  In High Risk counties, they can have ten-percent occupancy or a maximum of 50 people.  The new rules took effect on Wednesday.



(Portland, OR)  --  The COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic at the Oregon Convention Center will start taking walk-ins without appointments today.  The clinic isn't normally open on Fridays, but they'll be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  They'll be closed Saturday and Sunday.  They'll return to normal hours on Monday.  They prefer that people make appointments at the All 4 Oregon website.  They hope the ability to offer walk-in vaccinations will make it easier for people who can't make an appointment.



(Portland, OR)  --  Police are releasing the identity of a person who was shot and killed Wednesday morning in North Portland.  The Portland Police Bureau identified the victim yesterday as 20-year-old Breauna White.  Police were called to a shooting near North Willamette Boulevard and Charleston Avenue where they found White's body in an apartment.  The suspect had fled the scene, and there hasn't been an arrest.  White's killing is the 28th homicide this year in Portland.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon is reporting one new death from COVID-19 and 808 new cases.  The Oregon Health Authority says 330 people are hospitalized, which is 15 less than on Tuesday.  There have been two-thousand-509 deaths and 188-thousand-417 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.



(Portland, OR)  --  Regal is opening three more theaters this Friday.  They are Regal Cascade, in Vancouver, Regal Evergreen Parkway, in Hillsboro, and Regal Three Rivers Mall in Kelso.  A wide range of health and safety measures will be in place.  They'll be showing Guy Ritchie's Wrath of Man, Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong, along with other movies.  Regal had already reopened Willamette Town Center and Bridgeport Village theaters.



(Salem, OR)  --  A 22-year-old Salem man is under arrest, accused of starting a four-alarm fire that caused over a million dollars in damage at a Salem storage facility.  It happened Monday evening at Airport Self Storage on Turner Road, Southeast.  The fire burned for several hours and destroyed multiple storage units.  Salem Police say Tristan Stillman was arrested Tuesday on 25 counts of Arson and Criminal Mischief.



(Portland, OR)  --  Students and faculty at Portland State University will need to get their COVID-19 vaccinations before returning to campus for the fall.  The university announced yesterday it will require proof of vaccination from students and staff before the fall semester begins.  The university is allowing exemptions for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.  Oregon State University, the University of Portland, Lewis & Clark College and Willamette University are also requiring proof of vaccination.



(Portland, OR)  --  Health officials say the fourth wave of the pandemic may have peaked in Oregon.  The Oregon Health Authority reports new cases declined three-percent over the last week.  Hospitalizations dropped 18-percent, while the number of deaths declined 38-percent.  Meanwhile, the percent of positive tests increased from six to six-point-eight-percent.



(Salem, OR)  --  Governor Kate Brown is reversing the decision she made a week ago to place 15 counties in the COVID-19 Extreme Risk category.  Brown announced yesterday the counties are being moved to High Risk.  The statewide seven-day average increase for hospitalized COVID-19 patients has dropped below 15-percent, which means the state no longer meets the metrics for the Extreme Risk level.  A total of 24 counties will be in the High Risk category, which limits restaurants, fitness centers, theaters and bowling alleys to 25-percent indoor capacity.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon is reporting six new deaths from COVID-19 and 748 new cases.  There are 345 people hospitalized with COVID-19 which is one less than Monday.  There have been two-thousand-508 deaths and 187-thousand-611 cases confirmed since the pandemic began.



(Corvallis, OR)  --  Oregon State University will require students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting in the fall term.  Students who are enrolled exclusively in online courses won't be required to be vaccinated.  The school is still working out details of the program and how students and employees will need to show they've been vaccinated.  There will also be an exemption policy that would allow some people to avoid being vaccinated.



(Salem, OR)  --  Former Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt is facing charges in connection to a human trafficking sting.  Pamplin Media reports Hunt was one of eight men arrested for commercial sexual solicitation during the undercover operation last month.  Officers posted online decoy ads on human trafficking websites and then cited the men who contacted them to arrange payment for sexual acts.  Hunt served as speaker of the house from 2009 to 2011.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon is reporting over 500 new coronavirus cases.  The Oregon Health Authority confirmed 540 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday along with one new death.  The department also reported six new hospitalizations for the virus.  Oregon has now seen nearly 187-thousand cases of COVID-19 and two-thousand-502 deaths since the pandemic began.



(Gresham, OR)  --  Several groups representing businesses and parents plan to file a lawsuit against Governor Kate Brown in an attempt to end her COVID-19 state of emergency.  Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam announced the lawsuit yesterday on behalf of Heart of Main Street, the Oregon Mom's Union and other groups.  The groups say the governor can't support her executive orders with science.  The lawsuit will be filed in federal court and will argue that a governor's powers in a state of emergency must be narrowly defined and temporary.



(Portland, OR)  --  Three people are facing charges in connection to a riot that followed a peaceful day of May Day demonstrations in Portland.  Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced yesterday he's filed charges against Phoebe Loomis, Quang Nguyen and Jeremiah Day.  Police arrested a total of seven people in connection to the unrest.  The Portland Police Bureau says one group demonstrated at Portland City Hall, where they broke windows and spray painted graffiti.  A second group demonstrated outside of the ICE building in south Portland.


 



(Medford, OR)  --  A Oregon man is pleading guilty to cashing nearly a half-million dollars worth of Social Security checks that were intended for his Aunt, who died 50 years ago.  The Social Security Administration started the investigation, because the woman would have been the second-oldest person living in the U.S. at 114-years-old.  They learned she died in New York in 1971.  George Doumar, of Klamath Falls, admitted to cashing 458-thousand dollars worth of Social Security checks.  Under his plea deal, he'll repay the money and could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.



(Portland, OR)  --  A weeks-old kitten is doing all right after being abandoned on the side of the road in Washington County.  The Washington County Sheriff's Office says a woman discovered the kitten last week and pulled over to rescue it.  However, after she picked the kitten up, it reportedly wiggled its way into the center console of her Jeep Wrangler and got stuck there.  The woman called the sheriff's office for help, and two deputies arrived to extricate the kitten.  Deputies say the kitten is now named Wrangler and is enjoying life in his new home.
 



(Hillsboro, OR)  --  Hillsboro-based Parr Lumber is acquiring Deer Park, Washington-based Evergreen Truss & Supply.  Parr Lumber says it's expanding into the truss manufacturing market as part of its three-year plan to grow its business.  Evergreen Truss & Supply has been providing products to Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho since 1987.



(Eugene, OR)  --  The University of Oregon is condemning a large, maskless house party that was held last weekend.  Lane County is under Extreme Risk restrictions.  Photos show students attending the party for hours without wearing masks.  The university tweeted that they have worked hard to educate students about the serious COVID-19 risks of gathering in groups without masks.  However, the university says it's limited in what actions it can take against students living in private housing.



(Portland, OR)  --  Oregon is marking a grim new milestone in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The Oregon Health Authority says the state has now surpassed two-thousand-500 coronavirus deaths.  The agency confirmed three new deaths yesterday, raising Oregon's death toll to two-thousand-501.  Officials also reported 756 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new hospitalizations for the virus.



(Portland, OR)  --  Police are searching for a suspect of group of suspects accused of scrawling swastikas on the Oregon Holocaust Memorial's stone wall in southwest Portland.  The Oregonian reports the anti-Semitic vandalism was reported just before noon yesterday.  Maintenance crews managed to remove the graffiti.  The Portland Police Bureau is investigating.



(Portland, OR)  --  Meteorologists say the month of April is going down as Portland's driest April ever recorded.  KATU-2 reports Portland's rainfall total for April was zero-point-39 inches.  That beats the previous record for driest April of zero-point-53 inches recorded in 1956.  Portland usually sees an average of one-point-63 inches for April.
 



(McMinnville, OR)  --  Longtime Linfield University trustee Ronni Lacroute is resigning from the board in protest of the abrupt firing of an English professor who spoke critically of the university.  Lacroute resigned yesterday, saying she could no longer serve on the Board of Trustees "in good conscience" following the firing of Daniel Pollack-Pelzner last Tuesday.  Lacroute says she's "appalled" by Pollack-Pelzner's termination, calling him an "esteemed, brilliant and respected" professor who has sought to "bring deep-seated problems to light in order to help the Linfield community thrive."  Pollack-Pelzner was fired after he denounced the university for not doing more to address allegations of sexual misconduct against four board members.  He held the Ronni Lacroute Endowed Chair in Shakespeare Studies before his termination.



(Portland, OR)  --  More than half a dozen men are facing charges following a human trafficking sting.  The Portland Police Bureau says its Human Trafficking Unit cited eight men on charges of commercial sexual solicitation during the undercover operation last month.  Officers posted online decoy ads on human trafficking websites and then cited the men who contacted them to arrange payment for sexual acts.  Police say survivors of human trafficking may be hesitant to get help from law enforcement because they're concerned about their personal safety and they fear arrest.  The Human Trafficking Unit has victim advocates for those who need help.



(Portland, OR)  --  Police say officers arrested six people during a riot that followed a peaceful day of May Day demonstrations in Portland.  The Portland Police Bureau says one group demonstrated at Portland City Hall, where they broke windows and spray painted graffiti.  A second group demonstrated outside of the ICE building in south Portland.  Police say one man pulled a knife on officers.  Police arrested 22-year-old Jeremiah Day for menacing officers with a knife.  Charges against the other five people include riot and criminal mischief.


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