(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is marking a grim new milestone in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority says the state has now surpassed six-thousand deaths from COVID-19. The agency reported 54 new deaths yesterday, raising Oregon's death toll to six-thousand-48. The health authority also reported eight-thousand-207 new cases of COVID-19. Officials say weekly cases have started to decline, but hospitalizations are up 45-percent with one-thousand-61 people hospitalized with coronavirus. Deaths also declined over the last week.
(Portland, OR) -- Spitting on a TriMet employee can get you banned from the transit system for life. It's one of several new changes the TriMet Board has approved. The new rules take effect February 25th. Spitting on someone is already a crime, and TriMet has now included it as an offense that can get a long-term exclusion. The Board is also prohibiting police from checking fares. In 2018, TriMet removed criminal penalties for not having fare. The Board also dropped criminal penalties for possessing a small amount of drugs or drug use. People can get a citation or an exclusion for drug use or possession.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon Army National Guard soldiers have returned from a nine-month deployment in Poland. They were working in support of the European Deterrence Initiative as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. They arrived on Tuesday at the Portland Air National Guard Base and were part of nearly 130 soldiers that were formally mobilized in April of 2021. On January 2nd, about 120 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers deployed to Poland to support the same mission.
(Portland, OR) -- Police say at least five vehicles on I-405 in Portland were damaged after being shot by someone with a BB gun. Shortly after Noon on Tuesday, calls started coming in from drivers who had broken windows and dents from being shot. Officers searched the area and located a pellet rifle, a bottle of bronze BBs and a scope at a homeless camp. Police arrested 21-year-old Worku Bradford for Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Police are asking anyone who might have been a victim to report it to the Portland Police Bureau.
(Portland, OR) -- Airbnb says its initiative to stop parties at rental properties in the Portland area is working. Under the policy, guests who are younger than 25 without a history of positive reviews can't book entire homes in their local area. They can book private rooms in properties where the host lives on site. On the 4th of July, 550 bookings were denied, along with another 550 on Halloween and over 700 on New Year's Eve. Airbnb says the program has received positive reviews from hosts who own the properties.
(Salem, OR) -- Oregon is again taking applications for emergency rental assistance. More than 36-thousand Oregon households have received over 256-million dollars in rental assistance because they lost income during the pandemic. Oregon Housing and Community Services estimates it has enough money for as many as 93-hundred more households. Those who have the greatest need will have a higher priority for funding. Applicants can sign up at oregon rental assistance dot org. The website will be open for at least three weeks.
(Portland, OR) -- Over three-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 41 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to five-thousand-994. The health authority also reported six-thousand-904 new cases of COVID-19 along with 12 new hospitalizations for the virus. There are now one-thousand-57 people hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide. ICU capacity is at nine-percent, or 60 available beds.
(Salem, OR) -- Self-service gas could be coming to all of Oregon. A bill in the upcoming session of the Legislature has bipartisan support and would allow self-service gas while also requiring an attendant for customers who need service. Oregon is one of two states that don't allow self-serve statewide. Oregon does allow self-service at gas stations in smaller counties.
(Portland, OR) -- The director of the Oregon Health Authority is hospitalized following a serious fall. Patrick Allen was hospitalized on Sunday. The OHA says he's undergoing evaluation for subsequent heart issues and he's expected to be discharged from the hospital soon. They say he doesn't have COVID-19.
(Portland, OR) -- Half of the residents in Multnomah County are expected to get the omicron variant of COVID-19. That's according to County Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines. She says the county has around 12-hundred new cases a day, and those numbers don't reflect people who test at-home and don't report the results. She says vaccinations remain the best way to avoid a serious illness from COVID-19 and potential hospitalization.
(Portland, OR) -- The price of gas in Oregon increased about a penny last week to three dollars and 93 cents a gallon. It's the second-smallest weekly increase in the country. The triple-A reports the national average increased two cents to three dollars and 34 cents a gallon. The high price of crude oil and tight fuel supplies are keeping gas prices high.
(Portland, OR) -- Home prices in the Portland area are up 17-percent compared to a year ago. The S&P Corelogic Case-Schiller index shows that nationwide prices were up 18-percent. The markets with the fastest growth were Phoenix, Tampa and Miami with gains of 26- to 32-percent.
(Aloha, OR) -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office is asking for help finding an urn with human remains that was stolen last week in Aloha. The burglary happened at home near Southwest 198th and Farmington Road. The suspect stole jewelry and the urn from the home. Deputies searched the area but couldn't find a suspect. The urn is heart-shaped, brush-painted metallic blue with an engraving that reads "James Arthur Bishop, My Love."
(Woodburn, OR) -- The Marion County Sheriff's Office says the death of a woman whose body was found in a tent near Woodburn last week is suspicious. The body of 33-year-old Marguerite Senne was found in the tent on Wednesday near Evergreen Road and Sweetwater Avenue. Investigators say there's no evidence it was a homicide and there's no apparent danger to the community. The State Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
(Clackamas, OR) -- A Clackamas County firefighter has passed a rigorous course to become a "Georgia Smoke Diver." Only half of the participants in the course are able to complete it and pass. Officials say 59-year-old Josh Tyler spent up to 12 hours a day for six days taking part in exhausting drills, including full immersion in water while wearing firefighter gear. It pushes firefighters to physical and mental limits.
(Portland, OR) -- Over a dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 17 new deaths from COVID-19 yesterday since Friday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to five-thousand-953. The health authority also reported 19-thousand-400 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. There are one-thousand-45 people hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is 19 more than on Sunday. ICU capacity is at seven-percent, or 48 beds.
(Gresham, OR) -- Police say they've arrested a woman in connection to a fire that destroyed the building used by the Gresham Chamber of Commerce. Firefighters responded to a fire in the Walker Travel building at North Main and Division early yesterday morning. The building was fully involved in flames when crews arrived. Police arrested 43-year-old Sarah Arndt nearby.
(Gates, OR) -- The City of Gates is allowing the former site of a motel to be used for a tiny home village. It'll be build by Marion County and will house victims of the 2020 wildfires that were left homeless. They'll be able to live there for three to five years starting this summer. Services will be provided to help them find permanent housing.
(Keizer, OR) -- One woman is dead after an alleged drunk driver crashed into her home in Keizer and struck her. Police say 41-year-old Andrew Modine was on Lockhaven Drive Northeast Saturday morning when he lost control and crashed into landscaping and a utility pole before careening into the house, hitting 67-year-old Moira Hughes. She died at the scene. Police say 63-year-old George Heitz was also inside the home and was hospitalized with serious injuries. Modine is charged with Manslaughter.
(Portland, OR) -- Some Portland Public Schools that returned to remote learning because of the spike in COVID-19 cases are returning to in-person classes. Those schools include Alliance High School at Meek, Faubion KP through 8, Franklin High, Ockley Green Middle School and Roosevelt High. Alliance High School at Kenton returns in-person tomorrow. George, Harriet Tubman and Kellogg Middle Schools will extend distance learning through February 1st. Since early January, 86-percent of Portland Public Schools have remained in-person.
(Portland, OR) -- Northwest Bridge Avenue at the St. Johns Bridge will remain closed for eight to ten weeks because of a landslide. The road has been closed since January 5th when the slide happened. The hillside is still moving, which has caused the road to remain closed. ODOT is planning repairs that'll require removing vegetation and installing a wire mesh system to prevent future slides. It could be early April before Bridge Avenue reopens.
(Portland, OR) -- Masks were burned in front of the Oregon Health Authority building in Portland as the agency took testimony on a proposal to make the indoor mask requirement permanent. Under Oregon law, OHA can't make another temporary extension of the rule. If it's made permanent, the rule would be repealed when COVID-19 cases decline. Most people testified in opposition of the extension with many people saying they can't trust the agency to eliminate the rule.
(Corvallis, OR) -- New research out of Oregon State University shows drinking alcohol can make people care less about unpredictable things. Daniel Bradford at OSU says it can make drivers more likely to get in a crash after drinking alcohol. If they're surprised by something, like another driver or person doing an unexpected thing, they might not react in time to avoid a crash. For people who drink a lot, their reactions can be reduced significantly.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon hospitals say they're facing a crisis because of the latest COVID-19 surge in cases. The Oregon Association of Hospitals says they're facing staff shortages and illnesses along with problems discharging patients to other care facilities where they can recover. It's resulting in a shortage of hospital beds. The Governor has sent 12-hundred National Guard members to help, but hospital administrators say they need more support.
(Salem, OR) -- Oregon's unemployment rate declined from four-point-two percent in November to four-point-one percent in December. Oregon Employment Department Economist Gail Krumenauer says all sectors added jobs. Oregon added 103-thousand jobs in 2021. The state's unemployment rate in December was higher than the national rate of three-point-nine percent. Leisure and hospitality still has more than 23-thousand jobs to recover before it returns to pre-pandemic levels.
(Knappa, OR) -- Authorities say an Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife trooper rescued an elk calf that was stuck in a ditch yesterday. A property owner near Knappa, Oregon called police after finding the calf upside down in the ditch and unable to get out on its own. It appeared to have been there at least 12 hours. The trooper got into the ditch behind the calf's head and lifted it up, so it could get out. The calf appeared unhurt and it ran off into the woods.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 10-thousand-34 new infections of COVID-19 and eight new deaths. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. Hospitalizations are up by 60 patients to 981. There have been five-thousand-916 deaths and 559-thousand-960 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
(Salem, OR) -- The State of Oregon is warning investors about cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services says they are highly volatile and often unregulated. They advise investors to research what they're purchasing, use a licensed digital currency exchange, and don't spend money that you can't afford to lose.
(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kate Brown is facing a lawsuit over her early release of convicted felons. The lawsuit was filed by the group Common Sense for Oregon, which includes two district attorneys and four crime victims who are directly affected by the Governor's clemency decisions. The lawsuit claims the Governor's actions violate the state's clemency law. The Governor has given clemency to some convicts, because of a change the Legislature made in sentencing for juveniles which isn't retroactive.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 15 new deaths related to COVID-19 and eight-thousand-538 new infections. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 921 people hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is ten more than on Tuesday. The state's hospital ICU capacity is seven percent, or 47 beds. There have been five-thousand-908 deaths and 549-thousand-942 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.
(Hood River, OR) -- An armed burglary suspect is behind bars following an hours-long standoff with police at a motel in Hood River. Police say the 26-year-old man barricaded himself inside a motel room at the Lone Pine Motel around 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon and claimed he was armed with a knife. The suspect eventually emerged from the motel around 6:45 and was taken into custody. Police say he was wanted in connection to a recent burglary.
(Salem, OR) -- Officials say there are more job openings than job seekers in Oregon. The Oregon Employment Department reports a near record 103-thousand job openings in the last quarter of 2021. That drove the average starting wage up 14-percent to 21-dollars an hour. There were seven unemployed people for every 10 job openings.
(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Public School District is issuing Chromebooks to all students between 3rd and 12th grades to make sure every family is prepared in the event a school returns to distance learning. It can happen on short notice. The school district says it will allow them to get ahead of the transitions. They're encouraging students to test the Chromebooks to make sure they're ready if they have to use remote learning.
(Eugene, OR) -- Eugene Police are releasing new information about the six victims of Friday night's shooting outside of Wow Hall during a hip-hop concert. Four of the people were from Pendleton, one person was from San Francisco, and one victim was from Eugene. They're all in stable condition or have been released from the hospital. The suspect was only described as a person wearing a hoodie. Police are asking for anyone with video or photos of the incident to contact them, so they can get a better description of the suspect.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has over 28-thousand new coronavirus cases. The Oregon Health Authority reported 28-thousand-37 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from Friday through Monday. New numbers weren't reported Monday because of the holiday. There was an average of seven-thousand new daily cases over the four-day period. The health authority also reported ten new deaths. A total of 911 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, which is 51 more than on Monday.
(Newberg, OR) -- The two members of the Newberg School Board who faced a recall election Tuesday appear to be surviving the vote. The recalls of Board Chair Dave Brown and Vice Chair Brian Shannon are both failing as of 10 o'clock last night. The recalls were launched because both board members supported a ban on political signs in classrooms, including for Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights. Results will continue to be counted for the next several days as more ballots are returned in the mail.
(Salem, OR) -- Another 700 Oregon National Guard members are arriving at hospitals around the state to help with the surge in patients from the Omicron variant of COVID-19. They join 500 service members who arrived at hospitals last week. Their duties will include disinfecting rooms for new patients, food service, greeting visitors at entrances, and moving patients in hospitals.
(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Public School District says Jefferson High School will return to in-person instruction on Monday. The school has been closed, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases with students learning remotely. The school district has been making decisions on a school-by-school basis, depending on the impact of the Omicron variant.
(Portland, OR) -- The eighth annual March for Human Rights and Dignity was held on Martin Luther King Junior Day in Portland. It's organized by Don't Shoot PDX. They say it's a reminder to live by King's words and his legacy, and that he died as a result of gun violence. They also collected clothes, shoes, tents and other necessities for people who are homeless.
(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Health Authority wants to know when at-home COVID-19 tests results are positive. OHA has created a website where you can report the results. It'll give health officials a better idea of how widespread COVID-19 is in the community. People who report test results on the website or telephone hotline can also get information on isolation and quarantine. The hotline is 866-917-8881.
(Portland, OR) -- A group of nearly 40 nurses in the Portland Public School District are voicing concerns regarding COVID-19 protocols in the classrooms. The nurses issued a letter to district administrators yesterday. They say out-of-date tests are being used, students need to be provided with KN-95 masks, and many schools need better air filtration. They are also concerned contact tracing isn't as effective as it could be. The school district has said the precautions being taken will reduce the risk that the virus will spread.
(Portland, OR) -- Blood Bank Vitalant is seeking donations in Oregon as it struggles with a nationwide shortage of blood. Blood drives have been canceled across the Pacific Northwest because of the pandemic. Officials say winter weather has also reduced donations. Vitalant is asking previous donors and new donors to make appointments to give blood.
(Monterey, CA) -- A tsunami advisory that went into effect for the West Coast Saturday has expired but officials in some places are still urging caution in case lingering strong currents remain. The tsunami advisory came after an undersea volcano erupted near the South Pacific island of Tonga, triggering a huge earthquake. Despite the tsunami advisory, surfers and swimmers still flocked to beaches over the weekend, keeping first responders busy. Hundreds showed up to San Francisco's Ocean Beach to get a first hand look at the waves. About 25 ended up in need of rescue.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon Housing and Community Services will reopen the portal to accept applications for emergency rental assistance on January 26th. The state paused accepting new applications in early December, because funds were dwindling. OHCS estimates it has funds for between 67-hundred and 93-hundred additional applications. Households with the most need will be the top priority. The portal will be open for three to five weeks.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has started receiving the six-million rapid COVID-19 test kits it purchased, but most Oregonians won't get them. Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen says they'll go to hospitals and clinics around the state that help under served communities. All six-million test kits will arrive in the state by the end of January. Allen says if you can't get a test, but think you have COVID-19 you should isolate for five days and then wear a mask for five days.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 25 new deaths related to COVID-19 and nine-thousand-796 new cases. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 777 people hospitalized, which is 21 more than on Wednesday. There have been five-thousand-870 deaths and 504-thousand-731 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.
(Portland, OR) -- COVID-19 patients are expected to overwhelm hospitals later this month, and the Oregon Health Authority is working to get extra help. OHA Director Patrick Allen says they're developing a special team of 200 health care workers that can travel to hospitals in a crisis situation. Other contractors will have 13-hundred health care works available for hospitals and long-term care facilities. The Oregon National Guard has 12-hundred members who will be deployed to hospitals by next week.
(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Employment Department reports 24-million-dollars in fraud during the first year of the pandemic. More than seven-billion-dollars in total benefits were paid and the fraud accounts for three-tenths of one percent of all benefits. Three-million-dollars were the result of identity theft cases and 21-million dollars were from unemployment insurance fraud. Investigators have been able to get one-million dollars back from people who received fraudulent over payments.
(Salem, OR) -- Oregon is part of a settlement with student loan servicer Navient and it means 864 Oregonians with private loans will have the debt erased. Navient was accused of using unfair and deceptive practices. Nearly 55-hundred Oregonians will split one-point-four million dollars in restitution. Debt holders don't have to do anything. They'll get notice from Navient their debt has been erased. Oregon and Washington are among 37 states that were part of the settlement.
(Salem, OR) -- President Biden is appointing the head of Oregon Housing and Community Services to become a regional administrator of U.S. Housing and Urban Development. Margaret Salazar has been director of OHCS since 2016. She helped develop the state's first Statewide Housing Plan. Two years into that five year plan, 18-thousand affordable homes have been built. Salazar has been criticized for her agency's deployment of federal emergency rent assistance. Thousands of applications are still unprocessed and some Oregon legislators want an audit of the agency's management of rent assistance payments.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has 31 new deaths related to COVID-19 and eight-thousand-760 new cases. The Oregon Health Authority reported the new numbers yesterday. There are 756 people hospitalized, which is 29 more than on Tuesday. There have been five-thousand-845 deaths and 494-thousand-945 confirmed infections since the pandemic began.
(Salem, OR) -- Visiting the Oregon State Capitol will require going through a metal detector starting January 27th. New safety standards are being put into effect that will include a check for weapons. All bags and other items will go through an X-ray machine or have a visual search. The security procedures are similar to those used at courthouses around the state. Oregon joins 33 other states in using metal detectors at entrances to the state capitol.
(Corbett, OR) -- An investigation is ongoing into the discovery of an SUV submerged in the Columbia River at the Dalton Point boat launch. Police say the vehicle was found about 20 feet from the ramp and submerged in the water. Divers investigated and found no one was inside. A tow truck pulled the vehicle from the water. Stolen vehicles are often dumped into rivers and boat ramps.
(Salem, OR) -- The spike in COVID-19 cases is causing a rush to find COVID tests. Oregon's Attorney General is warning about fake testing sites. You can find a list of sites on the Oregon Health Authority's website. They shouldn't ask for personal financial information, like your social security number. If you're buying an at-home test on websites like eBay or Craigslist beware they might not be legitimate. They should cost around 20-dollars.
(Wilsonville, OR) -- A woman who walked away from the Coffee Creek Correctional facility in Wilsonville has been arrested in Texas. Oregon State Police have been working with authorities in Texas, and Brandy Woodward was arrested Tuesday night in Robertson County. She'll be extradited to Oregon. Shelly Radan also walked away with Woodward, but Radan is still missing. Radan's previous name was Michael Crawford.
(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Rose Festival parades will return this summer. The last two years, the parades were canceled because of the pandemic. CareOregon was announced as the new sponsor of the Starlight Parade. The theme for the Rose Festival is Rose City Reunion, to mark a comeback following the cancellations. The Rose Festival has started taking applications for parade entries.
(Tigard, OR) -- The Tigard-Tualatin School District is putting high schools and middle schools in remote learning. Tualatin High, Tigard High, and Fowler, Hazelbrook and Twality middle schools will be closed today. They will resume instruction online on Thursday and will remain online through January 21st. All events and sports activities will be postponed. Schools will return to in-person learning on Monday January 24th.
(Corvallis, OR) -- Researchers at Oregon State University are finding that hemp compounds are effective in preventing COVID-19 from entering human cells. The study was published in the Journal of Natural Products. The hemp compounds bind to the COVID-19 spike protein which blocks a critical step in the process the virus uses to infect people. The hemp would need to be taken orally and can't be smoked, because heat eliminates the function of the compound. More research is needed to determine the amount of hemp that would be necessary. Researchers say it wouldn't stop COVID-19, but it would create a much more challenging environment for the virus.
(Portland, OR) -- Nearly three-dozen more Oregonians are dead after contracting COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority reported 35 new coronavirus deaths yesterday, raising the state's death toll from the pandemic to five-thousand-814. The health authority also reported eight-thousand-40 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday along with 35 more hospitalizations for the virus, making for a total of 727 COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide.
(Portland, OR) -- The American Red Cross has declared an unprecedented national blood crisis. Blood donations are down 10-percent and blood drives are down 62-percent. Hospitals are rationing blood for patients who need it the most. The Red Cross is urging donors to make appointments to give blood. They're offering several prizes including a trip to the Super Bowl, a home theater package, and a 500-dollar e-gift card. Appointments can be made at redcrossblood dot org.
(Portland, OR) -- Metro is asking residents to wait if they need to dump garbage at a transfer station. The agency says the stations are nearly full as commercial garbage collectors pickup trash they missed during the snow storm. Plus, they're dealing with a staffing shortage. They're asking residents to postpone their visit until the garbage at the transfer centers can be taken to the dump in Arlington.
(Rickreall, OR) -- One person is dead following a crash with a log truck on Highway 22 west of Rickreal. Oregon State Police say 34-year-old Elisabeth Robin of Grand Ronde crossed over the center line Tuesday morning and hit the loaded log truck head-on. Robin was taken to Salem Health Hospital but died from her injuries. The driver of the truck wasn't hurt.
(Salem, OR) -- The State of Oregon is investigating a COVID-19 testing company with three sites in the Portland area and 300 sites across the country. Willamette Week reports the Oregon Department of Justice has confirmed the investigation. It received at least two complaints last October. One person who took a test said the company wasn't careful in how it handled the test material. The Center for Covid Control has testing sites in Northeast Portland, Southeast Portland, and Tigard. All three sites were closed on Tuesday, but the company's call center couldn't say why. The Oregon Health Authority says the company hasn't received any state funds.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is averaging over six-thousand new coronavirus cases a day since Friday. The Oregon Health Authority reported 18-thousand-538 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday from Friday through Sunday. The health authority also reported 18 new deaths from the virus. There are 692 people hospitalized with coronavirus statewide, which is 33 more than on Sunday. Just seven-percent of the state's ICU hospital beds are currently available. There have been five-thousand-779 deaths from COVID-19 and 478-thousand-203 cases in Oregon since the pandemic began.
(Bethany, OR) -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man who's accused of stabbing his father. On Sunday afternoon, the victim, a 58-year-old man who lives in the Bethany area, called 911 to report he'd been stabbed several times by his 18-year-old son. The victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect left the scene before deputies arrived. They located Aiden Samson later in the day and arrested him for attempted murder in the second degree.
(Hillsboro, OR) -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office is calling off the search for a possible small plane crash in the Coast Range. Witnesses called 911 Sunday afternoon to report what they thought was a plane crash and a plume of smoke. The Sheriff's Office, Coast Guard and Civil Air Patrol searched the area near the Sunset Highway and Highway 47 but found no crash scene. They have been no reports over overdue aircraft.
(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Legislature will hold committee meetings virtually again this year. Senate and House leaders say it's necessary because of rising COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. They reached the decision following discussions with infectious disease experts at OHSU. The public will be able to enter the Capitol building, during regular business hours. All state employees who can work from home are being asked to do so, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All committee meetings will be livestreamed.
(Salem, OR) -- New York Times columnist Nick Kristof is asking the Oregon Supreme Court to salvage his bid to become the next governor of the state. Kristof filed a petition, asking justices to overturn a decision from Secretary of State Shemia Fagan that he does not meet the three-year residency requirement to run. Kristof argues he grew up in Yamhill, and has returned there every year for three decades, paying Oregon residency taxes and even expanded his family home. The Court set a January 14th deadline for the Secretary of State's Office to file their own petition.
(Banks, OR) -- The Washington County Sheriff's Office is searching for the site of a small plane crash near the Sunset Highway and Highway 47. A caller to 911 reported a plane had trouble, there was an explosion and a plume of smoke, but they couldn't see the site of the crash. Search and rescue teams are looking for the crash site. The Coast Guard has also been helping.
(Portland, OR) -- The Portland city workers union is set to vote today on whether to authorize a strike over stalled contract negotiations. The District Council of Trade Unions says contract negotiations with the City of Portland are currently at an impasse. Union members held a rally on Saturday at City Hall. The union is asking for better cost-of-living raises to keep up with inflation.
(Portland, OR) -- An increasing number of schools around Portland are returning to remote learning, because of COVID-19. Portland has three high schools going to distance learning this week: Cleveland, Roosevelt and McDaniel. The entire Parkrose School District is closed today due to staffing shortages. In the Tigard-Tualatin District, Durham Elementary is returning to remote learning.
(Vancouver, WA) -- Clark County District and Superior Courts are suspending jury trials, because of increasing COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. Holding in-person jury trials brings additional groups of people into the courthouse which can contribute to the spread of the virus. The decision was made to protect the health of jurors, staff, and other court users. Jury trials will resume when it's safe to do so.
(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Secretary of State is rejecting Nicholas Kristof's filing to run for governor. Secretary of State Shemia Fagan says Kristof, who is a democrat, doesn't meet the constitutional requirements to serve. Under the Oregon Constitution, a candidate for governor must have been a resident in the state for three years before the election. Kristof is a former journalist for the New York Times who grew up in Yamhill. He can appeal the decision. Fagan says the Secretary of State's office will do everything possible to help provide information if there is a legal challenge. Kristof says he will appeal the decision in court.
(Salem, OR) -- It appears an outbreak of a dangerous fungal infection at Salem Health Hospital has been limited to three patients. Candida auris is difficult to treat, and is resistant to some medications. Officials say no new patients have been found and there have been no new detections of the infection in the hospital. Salem Health continues to take several steps to reduce risk of transmission and they're notifying secondary facilities that receive patients about the need to watch for the fungus.
(Portland, OR) -- A Lebanon man is being sentenced to four years in federal prison for stealing COVID-relief funds. The U.S. Attorney for Oregon says 51-year-old Andrew Lloyd used false information to file nine Paycheck Protection Program loan applications and six of them were accepted. Besides his prison time, Lloyd must also forfeit over 18-million dollars in stock and property he bought with the stolen funds. Lloyd pleaded guilty to the charges.
(Portland, OR) -- The Oregon Nurses Association is calling on state leaders and hospital administrators to take action ahead of the spike in cases expected from the omicron variant. They want N-95 masks to be required for frontline health care workers. More COVID-19 testing is needed for nurses. They believe hospitals should limit visitors. And, they want more mental health support for frontline workers.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon is marking a third straight day of record-breaking COVID-19 case numbers. The Oregon Health Authority reported seven-thousand-615 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, setting a new daily record. The department also reported nine new deaths from COVID-19. There are 588 people hospitalized with the virus statewide, which is 65 more than on Wednesday. There have now been five-thousand-728 deaths and 449-thousand-267 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.
(Portland, OR) -- A tip to the City of Portland's Fraud Hotline reported an on-duty firefighter washing his personal vehicle at a fire station and using city water. The Fire Bureau says it's an accepted practice. The City Auditor says it's a violation of city rules and has a bad public perception. Firefighters work 24-hour shifts and are allowed to take time for personal activities. The Fire Bureau says it will draft a policy clarifying what is and is not personal use, including washing personal vehicles.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has set a new COVID-19 record for the second day in a row. Six-thousand-203 new cases were reported Wednesday with nine new deaths. The Omicron variant is believed to be responsible for the sharp increase. Over the last week, the number of new cases increased 140-percent. The number of positive tests increased from seven-point-four percent to 15-point-seven-percent. There have been five-thousand-719 deaths and 441-thousand-648 new cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
(Salem, OR) -- Officials are warning Oregon hunters about a virus that's deadly to rabbits so they can help avoid spreading the disease. Rabbit hemorrhagic virus is not contagious to humans. Hunters should avoid areas where they find dead or sick rabbits. Wear gloves when handling rabbits and avoid eating, drinking, or smoking while handling animals. Rabbits with the virus might have a bloody nose or die suddenly. Deaths of wild rabbits should be reported to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
(Salem, OR) -- Oregon State Senator Peter Courtney is announcing his retirement. Courtney announced yesterday he will not be seeking reelection. He says it's been an honor and a privilege to have been allowed to serve locally on the Salem City Council and in the Legislature for nearly 40 years. He was elected Senate President in 2003 and has served a record 10 years in that post. He's the longest-serving legislator in state history.
(Portland, OR) -- An atmospheric river is bringing major precipitation from the ocean toward the Pacific Northwest. Heavy rain is forecast for Oregon and Washington today, and that's expected to melt snow that remains in lower elevation hills. The National Weather Service has flood watches and warnings posted for both states. Residents are being told to prepare for many creeks and rivers that could flood later this week.
(Salem, OR) -- Low and moderate income households in Oregon can now get bigger rebates for buying an electric or hybrid vehicle. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says a new law went into effect on New Year's Day that increases the rebate by five-thousand dollars. The previous rebate was 25-hundred dollars, which remains in place. The total rebate can be as much as 75-hundred dollars under the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program.
(San Francisco, CA) -- Airbnb will soon block hosts in Oregon from seeing prospective guests' full names, in an anti-racism experiment. For two years, beginning January 31st, Oregon landlords offering houses and apartments on the popular short-term rental website will initially see only guests' first initials. Full names won't appear until after the booking is confirmed. The experiment Airbnb announced Tuesday is aimed at curbing discrimination against Black travelers.
(Portland, OR) -- Oregon has set another record for new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in a single day. The Oregon Health Authority reported four-thousand-540 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday as well as 44 new deaths. Officials say 510 people are hospitalized with COVID statewide, which is 12 more than on Monday. There have been five-thousand-710 deaths and 435-thousand-453 cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began.
Average Gas Price In OR Up Six Cents (Portland, OR) -- The average price of gas in Oregon is up six-cents a gallon over the last week, which is the largest increase in the country. The triple-A reports Oregon's average is three-dollars-and-83-cents-a-gallon. A refinery fire in Texas and distribution problems due to weather in the Pacific Northwest caused prices to increase. Oregon's average is fifth highest in the country. Washington State is third with an average price of three-dollars-and-89-cents. Bend's average price for a gallon of regular is $3.91.
(Eugene, OR) -- A pair of missing hikers are safe after being rescued from the Oregon back country after writing 'SOS' in the snow. The two 19-year-old hikers were reported missing near Swastika Mountain outside of Eugene. The pair had gone camping around Christmas day but failed to return. The Lane County Sheriff's Office began a ground search on December 31st. The aircrew eventually located the teens near their vehicle and hoisted them to safety. Both were unharmed. Law enforcement recommends hikers carry personal locater beacons when traveling in the back country.
(Philomath, OR) -- The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Warning for the Marys River near Philomath. Heavy rain and melting snow is expected to cause the river to crest about a foot over flood stage. Some homes and several roads will be affected. The roads include Grange Hall Road, 13th Street, Chapel Drive, and Bellfountain Road. The Flood Warning ends tomorrow afternoon.
(Portland, OR) -- Officials are advising residents to avoid contact with Willamette River water from the Ross Island Bridge downstream due to sewage overflows caused by heavy rain. The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services says normally the advisory last for two days after an overflow, but they're keeping the warning in place through Sunday, January 9th because more heavy rain is forecast later in the week.
(Salem, OR) -- The Oregon Department of Education is advising schools to strictly follow COVID-19 protocols or risk outbreaks because of the omicron variant. The advisory is in place from now through January 31st. Students or staff with COVID-19 symptoms should quarantine for seven days and follow the test to stay protocols. Schools are asked to pause extracurricular activities, or make sure they closely follow COVID protocols. They say schools that allow extracurricular activities to continue without precautions will see COVID-19 outbreaks.