Regional News Archives for 2022-08

Prolonged, Record-Breaking Heat Wave Building Over West Coast

(Undated)  --  A prolonged and dangerous heat wave is building over the West Coast.  National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Roser says high temperatures are set to soar from Montana to San Diego. 

Roser says expect a gradual warm-up each day through the week peaking during the holiday weekend.  A high pressure system is moving into the region creating a "heat dome," which is the reason for the intense and extreme conditions.  Dozens of heat records in the western U.S. are forecast to either be tied or broken this week.  Meteorologists say the hottest areas will be in the Southwest.  
 

Largest Yamhill County Illegal Pot Grow Shut Down

(Dayton, OR)  --  The Yamhill County Sheriff's Office has shut down the largest illegal marijuana growing operation ever found in the county.  It was happened on two rural properties near Dayton.  There were 99 greenhouses used to grow the pot.  Police destroyed over 22-thousand plants and 10-thousand pounds of dried marijuana.  12 people were arrested.  Yamhill County Code Enforcement is investigating solid waste concerns, electrical code violations, and illegal use of water from a nearby creek.  13 other police agencies and the Oregon National Guard helped secure the property while the search was underway.

Beaverton In-N-Out Application Denied

(Hillsboro, OR)  --  A hearing officer has denied an application by In-N-Out to build a restaurant on the Beaverton Hillsdale Highway at Southwest 107th Avenue, just east of Highway 217.  The hearing officer determined In-N-Out didn't have enough space on its property for the crush of drive-thru customers expected during the opening.  The popularity of the restaurants normally causes long lines for at least the first year.  In-N-Out can appeal the decision.

Brick Column Collapses Killing One, Injuring Two

(Portland, OR)  --  One person is dead and two others are injured after a brick column collapsed on the Lewis and Clark College campus.  It happened Monday night.  Police say three hammocks were connected to the column with two people in each hammock when the column collapsed.  One 19-year-old man died at the scene and two 18-year-old women were injured.  They were transported to hospitals, and their conditions haven't been released.  Monday was the first day of classes at the college.

District Attorneys Fight State Hospital Early Release

(Salem, OR) -- District attorneys from Washington, Clackamas, and Marion counties are fighting an effort to reduce the time the Oregon State Hospital has to evaluate and treat defendants before trial. Disability Rights Oregon and Metropolitan Public Defenders have asked a federal judge to address capacity issues at the hospital. The attorneys general argue it will allow people with dangerous mental health issues to be released on their own. The judge has approved the motion but will allow the district attorneys to present more information. The Oregon Health Authority and Oregon State Hospital are not challenging the reduced time limits.

Bend Firefighters Deploy To Rum Creek Fire

(Galice, OR) -- The Rum Creek Fire, burning northwest of Grants Pass, is just 1% contained as resources from across the west respond to help. Marcus Kauffman is with the Oregon Department of Forestry management team working the Rum Creek Fire. He says ongoing drought led to extremely dry fuels in a very rugged area, "It’s up a steep river canyon, which makes access very difficult. And then we’ve had some critical fire weather, with high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. You put all those things together, and it makes for a fire that’s very difficult to control."

Governor Kate Brown declared a conflagration over the weekend, clearing the way for more help to respond, "The resources who work for us are coming from all over Oregon, Washington and California. We just received a bunch of Cal Fire and Cal EOS resources that came out of the Bay Area," says Kauffman. Bend Fire & Rescue tells KBND News the agency sent three firefighters, two chiefs and an interface engine. They’re expected to remain in Josephine County for two weeks.

As of Wednesday morning, the Rum Creek Fire was estimated at 13,994 acres and evacuation orders remain in place for some nearby areas. It's also causing very unhealthy air quality in southern Oregon, "The smoke has been pushing south into the community of Illinois Valley and Cave Junction, pushing east over into the Applegate Valley, and then also pushing all the way far south into San Francisco." 

The Rum Creek Fire was first spotted August 17. It’s believed to have been sparked by lightning.

Governor Reacts To Bend Shooting

(Salem, OR) -- Governor Kate Brown says Oregonians should be able to go to a grocery store without fear of gun violence. In reaction to the shooting Sunday night in Bend, Brown says Oregon State Police are working with local authorities to investigate the shooting. She says it was one of several shootings that happened in Oregon over the weekend and that Oregonians need to be safe from gun violence.

Violent Salem Weekend

(Salem, OR) -- Two people are dead and a woman was injured in three separate shootings in Salem over the weekend. Police say Friday night, a man who tried to force his way into a home was shot and killed by his former domestic partner. Early Saturday morning, a dispute at Geer Park involving people in a camp ended with a man being fatally shot. Then, Sunday night on 24th Street Northeast two women standing in front of a home got into an argument with two men and shots were fired. A woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The investigations continue. No arrests have been made.

Deadly Weekend In Portland

(Portland, OR) -- Three people were killed and nine were injured in shootings over the weekend in Portland. Police say it pushed them to their limits investigating the incidents. A man was killed in a shooting on Northeast Broadway. Another man died in a shooting on Southeast 148th Avenue. And a woman was killed in a shooting involving domestic violence. 33-year-old Mohamed Adan is charged with murder. In another incident, a ride-share driver was held at gunpoint. After leaving the car, the suspect fired a shot into the air. Police say they weren't able to respond to lower priority calls, including several incidents of street racing.

Wildfire State Of Emergency Declared

(Salem, OR) -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown has declared a wildfire State of Emergency. Brown says much of the state continues to experience high temperatures, wind, storms with dry lightning, and persistent drought. With the extended forecast calling for continued warm and dry conditions the threat of wildfire in Oregon is imminent. The declaration allows the state to work faster to deal with the threat of wildfire. Brown says Oregonians need to prevent starting wildfires and be prepared to evacuate if necessary.

Fire Marshal Sends Local Crews To Protect Structures

(Galice, OR) -- Over 75 homes and 20 commercial buildings are threatened by the Rum Creek fire that has burned over 84-hundred acres near Galice in Southern Oregon. The Oregon State Fire Marshal has mobilized five task forces from local departments and Crew 30 to help protect structures. A strike team and three task forces from California will also come to help. Oregon has an agreement with California to help provide structural firefighters. Earlier this year, Oregon sent firefighters to help battle the McKinney Fire in California.

Police Investigate Portland Food Cart Explosion

(Portland, OR) -- No injuries are reported after a food cart exploded in downtown Portland early Sunday morning. Several food carts were damaged and windows in buildings were broken over a wide area. Portland Fire & Rescue and the Portland Police Explosive Disposal Unit are investigating. There's no evidence a device caused the explosion. Investigators say it appears to be consistent with a gas or propane explosion. The investigation into the cause continues.

PGE Boardman Plant Stack To Come Down

(Boardman, OR) -- The 656-foot stack and boiler at Portland General Electric's decommissioned coal power plant in Boardman is set to come down on September 15th. The plant was shutdown in 2020 as PGE transitioned to more renewable power. Explosives at the base of the stack will cause a controlled fall. PGE replaced power from the plant with the Wheatridge wind, solar and battery storage plant that's located less than 30 miles away.

Willamette River Algae Warning Issued

(Portland, OR)  --  The Oregon Health Authority has expanded the health advisory for the Willamette River at Cathedral Park to an area upriver to the railroad bridge.  An algae bloom can cause cyanotoxins that make people and pets sick.  The advisory warns people to avoid swimming and drinking the water in that area.  High-speed water activities, such as water skiing, should also be avoided.

Renewed Effort To Solve 44-Year-Old Cold Case

LA GRANDE, OR -- The body of a young woman found outside La Grande on August 27, 1978 remains unidentified. Now 44 years later, State Police say they hope for new leads in the case. 

Earlier this month, forensics experts combed through a rural property in Union County where cadaver dogs had shown recent interest. Searching the three acres around the original burial site, they found more than 50 bones. But none turned out to be human, and no useful evidence was discovered.

The Finley Creek Jane Doe remains unidentified but OSP hopes to eventually bring closure to her family.

If you think you might have any information in this case, please contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 800-442-0776 and reference case #SP78-752103. 

 

Johnson Officially Qualifies For Ballot

SALEM, OR -- Former Democratic State Senator Betsy Johnson has officially qualified for the November ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for Governor. Her campaign says volunteers collected more than twice the necessary signatures to put her on the ballot. The Secretary of State reportedly verified nearly 80% were valid. 

Johnson faces Democrat Tina Kotek, the former State House Speaker, and Republican Christine Drazan, the former State House Minority Leader. This is the first time in Oregon all of the top Gubernatorial candidates are women.

 

Oregon Locations Get Name Change Approval

SALEM, OR -- A state board has agreed to renaming a list of geographical features around Oregon. It was a unanimous vote by the Oregon Geographic Names Board, to change the potentially offensive names of a handful of locations. Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk says the new names honor people who lived in the area, "Negro Knob in Grant County was changed to Columbus Sewell Knob. Mr. Sewell was an African American who lived in that area in the mid 19th Century. A Negro Ridge in Douglas County was changed to Malvin Brown Ridge. Mr. Brown was a member of the famed Triple Nickles US Forest Service smokejumpers who trained here in Oregon, and was killed in a training exercise here, in 1945." He tells KBND News, "Negro Creek in Douglas County was changed to Jack Carson Creek. Mr. Carson was an African American who lived and worked near Canyonville in Douglas County in that area, in the 19th and early 20th Century, I believe. And then we also began the process of changing another, totally different Negro Creek in Douglas County - there were two - to Triple Nickles Creek, to honor the whole elite 555 Triple Nickles US Forest Service smokejumpers who trained here in Oregon."

All of the renaming recommendations will be sent to the US Board on Geographic Names, which grants final approval. 

Change is also in the works for Lane County’s Swastika Mountain, "Which had bore that name for more than a century. [It was] Given the name Swastika before that became associated, of course, with Nazi Germany," says Tymchuk, "The one that we considered, and I believe we’ll recommend, is Mt. Halo, referring to a former Native American Chief from the 19th Century, who was part of a tribe in that area." Due to a timeline requirement, state approval of that change is pushed to the board's December meeting. A Wasco County summit called "Chinaman Hat" is also in the pipeline for a name change. Tymchuk says the board is waiting for a list of suggestions from people in that area. The board expects that will also come in December. 

 

156th Oregon State Fair Starts Friday

SALEM, OR -- The Oregon State Fair kicks off Friday in Salem. It’s considered the state’s biggest party, "summer’s big finish," and after 2020’s cancelation and 2021’s pandemic restrictions, it’s Oregon’s first full-sized state fair in three years.

Kimberly Jacobsen says Pavilion events were canceled last year, but they’re back in full force, "We have two days’ worth of the Hell on Hooves Summer Showdown Rodeo, which is two nights of bareback riding, barrel racing, poker with buckin’ bulls. And, we also have Motor Mania, which is monster trucks doing crazy stunts."

Jacobsen says all the traditional attractions are back - carnival rides, games, livestock competitions, concerts, and lots of food. "Our food truck area is in our Homegrown Oregon area of the fair, which is beautifully landscaped. It has live music, beer and wine from Oregon and, we also have healthy foods and of course we have the traditional fair food that everyone loves - the deep fried food and the deep fried s’mores and anything else you can put in a fryer."

Headliner concerts start August 29th and advance tickets are required. Most other attractions are included with fair admission. You’ll find details and a daily schedule at OregonStateFair.org.

The fair runs through Labor Day.

 

Reemployment Report Shows Strong Rebound

PORTLAND, OR -- New research shows what happened to all those people laid off during pandemic-related shutdowns. State Employment Economist Gail Krumenauer calls it a remarkable turnaround, "Oregon has regained nine out of ten jobs lost during the pandemic recession, and that’s a relatively fast recovery. By comparison, it took Oregon more than six years to recover from the Great Recession."

Krumenauer and Regional Economist Damon Runberg studied the employment records of those laid off in the spring of 2020. "The most common outcome we saw with these workers who were impacted by the pandemic, that lost a job, was that they went back to work with the exact same employer that laid them off," says Runberg, "So, slightly more than 1/3 of those claimants returned and were still working for the same employer by the beginning of 2022." He says the vast majority of those are over the age of 55. "For those claimants who lost a job that were 25 or younger, they were more likely to not just switch employers, but also to switch industry sectors completely by 2022." And, according to Runberg, their wages are as much as 13% higher compared to before the lay-off.   

Overall, 70% of those who claimed unemployment during the pandemic are again working somewhere in Oregon. They found 29% no longer appear in state records. Runberg says they may be self-employed, retired or back at school, or moved out of state.

The recovery is still uneven, based on the study. Runberg says Industries like Construction, and Professional and Technical Services have more jobs than before the pandemic. "On the other end of the spectrum, we do have industries that are continuing to lag behind in the recovery. But these were sort of industries that were disproportionately impacted by those COVID-related layoffs: Leisure and Hospitality, which includes restaurants and hotels, and Local Government, which includes to a large extent local school districts, which saw large COVID layoffs."

According to the Oregon Employment Department, the state has seen more than 100, 000 job openings at any given time, over the past year. 

OSP Actively Recruiting To Avoid Future Trooper Shortage

SALEM, OR -- Oregon State Police may soon have a shortage of troopers, if the agency can’t recruit more people to join its ranks. OSP Recruiting Sgt. Melody Richmond says the potential shortage is from attrition; mostly, anticipated retirements, "Back in the late 90s, we used to hire pretty big classes. You might have a class of 50 recruit troopers come in. And, we’re hitting a point in time where we’re going to start having these big classes ready to retire."

The biggest issue: those big classes don’t exist anymore. Sgt. Richmond tells KBND News they’re lucky to get a couple hundred applications for a cohort. Of those, most won't last through even just the first round of the process, "There’s a physical agility test, there’s some other components that they have to physically show up for. So, even though we may start with 200-300 applicants, which doesn’t seem like a bad number when you’re trying to hire 15-20, by the time we get through the next steps, we might be reduced to 100, now." Then, of that 100, she says only around 15 will graduate from the academy.

Sgt. Richmond knows it’s a tough process and a difficult job, but says OSP has a positive reputation among law enforcement, "Whether it’s being a patrol trooper or a fish and wildlife trooper, because of our size, we have a lot of opportunities that some small agencies just aren’t going to have."

Listen to our full conversation with Sgt. Melody Richmond at our Podcast Page. For more information, stop by the OSP recruiting booth at the state fair, which begins Friday, or the Pendleton Round Up. You can also visit OSPTrooper.com.

 

Water Safety Urged Ahead Of Labor Day

PORTLAND, OR -- Following a number of drownings around Oregon, officials urge safety as we head toward the last big recreation weekend of the summer.

Previous Coverage: At Least Seven Apparent Drownings In 12-Day Span. 

Tom Conning, with the US Army Corps of Engineers' Portland District, says men make up nearly 90% of the drownings on waterways managed by the agency. Speaking from a rescue boat Thursday, he told KBND News that most weren't wearing a life jacket. "[It's] Arrogance maybe? Or overconfidence about swimming abilities. I mean, there are some other risky behaviors that males tend to do, as well. You know, 'I’m not expecting to go in the water, so I don’t need to wear a life jacket.' Or, 'I’m a strong swimmer, I don’t need to wear a life jacket.' A lot of that compounds, I think, those numbers."

With just two weeks before Labor Day weekend, Heather Roberts has more with USACE's Tom Conning: 

 

OHA, ODE Says Start Of School Will Be More Normal

SALEM, OR -- The Oregon Health Authority reports COVID-19-related hospitalizations are down, and daily reported case counts continue to decline. It’s good news for schools preparing for the first somewhat normal back-to-school we’ve seen since 2019. 

Director of Oregon’s Department of Education Colt Gill says there are no plans to impose statewide mandates, "This year, nearly all health and safety protocols will be locally determined, with district leaders partnering with local health authorities to make decisions about how to implement health and safety protocols to keep schools open by keeping staff and students healthy."

He says they'll do that thanks, in part, to steps taken last year to upgrade ventilation, provide access to testing and implement universal masking as needed, "They’ll continue to have those tools this year. So, through those kinds of variants and surges, I’m really confident in our local school leadership and our local public health authority leadership to manage and help maintain in-person instruction for our students. We think that’s really important; it’s what they need right now."

Parents are encouraged to get kids vaccinated; although, the Oregon Health Authority does not expect the COVID vaccine to be added to the list of required shots for students any time soon. 

Statewide Unemployment Holds Steady, In Line With National Rate

SALEM, OR -- Statewide unemployment held steady in July at 3.5%, matching the national rate. Employment Economist Gail Krumenauer says Oregon employers added 4,200 jobs last month, "Oregon is continuing to experience a strong labor market, with ongoing hiring and really low unemployment. As of July, we’ve added back 94% of the jobs that were lost in the pandemic recession."

She adds, "Leisure and hospitality added 1,500 jobs over the month, Other Services, which includes auto repair shops and hair salons - they added 1,400 jobs in July. And both the Private Education Services and Manufacturing sector each added 1,300 jobs over the month." Retail Trade has inched downward over the past year, with general merchandise stores seeing the biggest job losses. 

 

Oregon’s labor participation rate is now 63.5%, which is the highest in a decade.

Rainbow Fentanyl Found In Oregon

PORTLAND, OR -- A new form of a popular drug is now in Oregon, concerning law enforcement. During a search in northeast Portland this week, Multnomah County deputies found cash, weapons and drugs, including a multi-colored powder commonly called “rainbow fentanyl.” The Sheriff's Office says, "We’ve been hearing about this over the last six months, about it working its way up the west coast. It is now here in Portland. The people that we end up dealing with and talking to on the street that we catch with this say that this is kind of what people want now."

He says powdered fentanyl is more dangerous than the better-known blue tablets, "It’s stronger and it almost looks like cocaine, but it’s actually fentanyl powder." Rainbow fentanyl is dyed attractive colors like blue, orange, pink and yellow. And, deputies say what they found this week matched the color and consistency of sidewalk chalk, "My worry is that kids are going to be affected more so than users that we deal with on the street. Because, if this shows up at a party or some other places where they’re not familiar with what they’re dealing with, it could have deadly consequences."

Fentanyl and other drugs are frequently trafficked to Central Oregon through Portland. 

 

Theft From Lookout Tower Threatens Firefighting Efforts

PROSPECT, OR -- Two men broke into a southern Oregon fire lookout tower over the weekend and stole batteries and solar panels used to power the fire detection camera system. "They stole pretty much everything but the camera - that makes the camera function," says Natalie Weber, with the Oregon Department of Forestry's Southwest District. That camera system sits atop a fire lookout in the Prospect area. 

Now, with it out of commission, Weber says fires will be harder to spot before they grow large. And, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time - in the heart of fire season. And, she says, Jackson and Josephine counties see about a third of all ODF-protected fires, "The terrain and topography, as well as the fuels and the climate, really just give us that perfect storm for fires to really thrive here." 

Images from southwest Oregon lookouts are sent to the fire detection center in Central Point, where Weber says they are constantly monitored. "It’s not only benefitting ODF. All of those camera feeds we share with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. All of our structural partners have access to that," she says, "So, not having that available in that area, really it’s just one less tool in the toolbox." 

They’ve lost that birdseye view in Prospect until the gear is recovered or replaced, but ODF is still watching the area, "We have people who are out there boots on the ground. It’s a priority for us to still find fires early," Weber tells KBND News, "Despite the fact that we don’t have that as a resource."

Video and photos of the thieves are available on the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Facebook pageIf you can identify the suspects or have any information about the theft, you're asked to call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case # 22-4725.

 

Betsy Johnson Delivers Signatures

SALEM, OR -- After months of speculation and campaigning, former State Senator Betsy Johnson is another step closer to being an official candidate for Oregon Governor. Her campaign says supporters delivered 48,214 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday.

Because she’s not affiliated with a political party, she needs 23,744 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. “By delivering more than twice the number of signatures needed, we’ve made it very difficult for the political establishment to imagine ways to keep me off the ballot,” said Johnson. 

The Secretary of State has until August 30th to verify those signatures.

Johnson faces Democrat Tina Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan in the gubernatorial race. 

Previous Coverage: Three Candidates For Governor Face Off

 

Funding Requested To Remove Abandoned Boats

SALEM, OR -- The Department of State Lands plans to ask the Governor for stable funding to address the problem of abandoned and derelict boats on Oregon’s waterways. The DSL's Ali Ryan Hansen says the agency’s budget comes from the Common School Fund, which has spent $13 million over the last five years to remove these hazards - taking money needed for Oregon schools. She says $40 million from the state's general fund would pay to create a program for two missions, "One: removing abandoned and derelict vessels currently on Oregon waterways. And two: supporting the Department of State Lands’ ongoing work with other partners to identify what’s needed for Oregon to have an actual program to keep more boats from getting onto waterways and creating hazards."

Ryan Hansen tells KBND News abandoned and derelict boats pose a big problem in Oregon, "There are 19 known large commercial vessels of concern and hundreds of recreational vessels."

For example, the DSL is working to remove a 1920s-era ferryboat that’s sinking in Astoria. She says it’s an environmental hazard and public safety concern. But because of its condition, clean-up is complicated, "Crush the vessel in place, pull it from the water and set it on a barge, with some barriers in place to catch the debris, and then haul it away. But, it’s expensive. The initial price tag is over a million dollars."

Ryan Hansen says developing the needed long-term program will take time. The $40 million needs to be included in the Governor's 2023 budget request. But, she points out, the election could lead to a shift in state priorities. If it's included in the Governor's budget, it would still need to be approved by the Legislature in the next session. 

Sen. Wyden: Oregon Benefits From CHIPS Act

PORTLAND, OR -- President Biden signed the CHIPS Act earlier this week, to increase domestic semiconductor production. "From the time you get up in the morning, til the time you go to bed at night, you’re using chips," Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) tells KBND News. Semiconductor chips are in everything from cars, to smartphone to vacuum cleaners. Wyden believes making them in the U.S. will lower consumer costs, "If you can manufacture in the United States, you’re not subject to the same kind of cost-boosting supply chain disruptions that stem from China and around the world."

An Oregon tech company stands to gain a lot from the $52 billion bill. Wyden says Hillsboro-based Intel will get a piece of that funding for research, "The fact that they are going to be in a position to do even more in the research and development area is going to be a big boost in Oregon. In my view, it’s going to create additional economic opportunities. And then, on top of that, is the provision I wrote as Chairman of the Finance Committee, to increase domestic manufacturing."

 

U.S. Energy Secretary Visits OR Renewable Energy Sites

PORTLAND, OR -- The U.S. Energy Secretary was in Oregon Tuesday, touring renewable energy sites with several state dignitaries. Governor Kate Brown welcomed the Secretary to Daimler’s “Electric Island." It's a first of its kind public dual purpose charging station - for electric Daimler trucks and any EV. "The future of transportation in this country is electric," said Gov. Brown, "And Electric Island is a shining example of what is possible when we collaborate." Electric Island is a partnership between Daimler and PGE.

The Portland stop was one of several in Oregon for Secretary Jennifer Granholm to promote the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) ahead of the House vote, "You will get a $7,500 tax credit at the dealer, off the top, so that that reduces the cost of that electric vehicle." She says there’s also a $4,000 tax rebate on used EVs.

She pointed to three recent bills she says are bringing down the cost of electric transportation, "In the space of less than a year, you have the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, you have have the bill that was signed this morning, called the CHIPS Act, which - for all the electronics that are going into these vehicles, as well as a whole bunch of other things - making sure that we’re making the full supply chain for these technologies in America. And then, of course, the bill that came out of the Senate - that Inflation Reduction Act. 

Granholm said there has never been a more urgent time to act on Climate Change, "Last year, the United States spent $150 billion to clean up after these extreme weather events: the wildfires, here, the droughts, the incredible heat domes that have enveloped our country, the weird storms that have popped up in unusual places, because Mother Nature’s mad."

Granholm toured several other renewable energy sites in the state with Governor Brown and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, including OSU’s wave research center.

 

Gov. Kate Brown and Sec. Jennifer Granholm tour Daimler's Electric Island in Portland.

 

Sec. Granholm speaks to dignitaries and reporters in Portland on Tuesday.

 

(L-R) Daimler Trucks President/CEO John O'Leary, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sec. Jennifer Granholm, PGE CEO Maria Pope, Gov. Kate Brown, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

 

Gov. Urges Caution Over hMPXV

PORTLAND, OR -- With 89 presumed and confirmed cases of hMPXV in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown urges everyone to take precautions against the virus commonly called “monkeypox.” But infectious disease experts say there is no need to panic. “Although we anticipate that we will see cases rise, and more cases in the near term, not to the same number of cases that we saw with COVID,” says Dr. Katie Sharff, Chief of Infectious Disease for Kaiser Permanente in Portland. 

She tells KBND News, “Although this is very debilitating and very uncomfortable for the individuals that suffer from this infection, the case fatality rate is extraordinarily low. I think there have been a handful of fatalities worldwide, and none yet reported in the US.”

However, she worries people aren’t talking openly about who is most at risk, “The majority of cases are in men who have sex with men. But within that social network, it’s a small subset; it’s men who have sex with men with multiple anonymous sexual partners.” And, there is a lot of misinformation and ignorance about how people catch the virus. Dr. Sharff says it’s spread by prolonged skin-to-skin contact; not daily activities.  

Kaiser starts vaccinating people Tuesday, but only those deemed at high risk because availability is limited. Dr. Sharff says, “In Oregon, we have received 6,800 doses.” Nationwide, there are 600,000 doses, with another 800,00 expected soon. 

Wyden Praises Inflation Reduction Act

(BEND, OR) -- Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) says the Inflation Reduction Act, now on its way to the U.S. House, will help almost every American. He points to the $20 billion included for climate-smart agriculture, "It empowers farmers to make decisions, with respect to drought mitigation, how to promote carbon sequestration - our farmers are so well positioned to sequester carbon, and that’s part of climate-smart agriculture." He says it also provides major protections for drought relief and wildfire.

Wyden is taking partial credit for provisions to lower the cost of prescriptions for Medicare recipients, saying he was one of the primary architects of that section and has worked on the issue for years, "Obviously, big pharma is going to fight this every step of the way. They’ve already announced that they’re going to fight any efforts. Our bill will now go to the House and we anticipate it will be passing. And Big Pharma is still going to try to tie it up in the courts, in the state legislatures and administrative agencies." If signed by the President, Wyden says next year, Medicare will select the first 10 drugs and begin negotiating costs, they’ll start with medications for arthritis and cancer. 

He told reporters Monday, "What’s on offer here are lower healthcare costs for seniors, lower carbon emissions, help for working families - like their premiums, beefing up the fight against wealthy tax cheats."

U.S. Senate Passes Inflation Reduction Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Senate has passed the Inflation Reduction Act along party lines, over the weekend. It still must get through the House.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says it takes on big pharma, "By negotiating the price of Medicare drugs. It’s an absolutely first step that we need to build on in the future. We should be negotiating every single drug the way that every other developed country does. And we should be getting the best prices, not the worst."

He says it also reduces the dependency on fossil fuels, by promoting electrification. And, it addresses a tax loophole, "Where corporations like Amazon don’t pay a dime. I mean they should be paying a million times what you and I pay, instead of paying nothing. So they’ll have a 15% minimum tax; and that’s way overdue."

Republicans have said it will increase inflation and kill jobs.

State Fair Needs 400+ Workers

SALEM, OR -- The Oregon State Fair needs to bring on more than 400 people before the fair opens in Salem on August 26th. Kimberly Jacobsen says organizers know it’s a lofty goal, "We’re expecting that things could be a little bit challenging. But we have a couple things going for us, as the Oregon State Fair: It’s a fun place to work, it’s a great way to earn some extra cash in a short amount of time during the summer. Also, working for the fair helps people learn to connect with other people, learn life skills."

The state fair hosts an employment event Saturday, where managers will interview and hire people on the spot. "Some positions will have specific training. Carnival, for rides, security will require a little bit more training," says Jacobsen. 

Saturday's job fair is to hire for Admissions, Parking, Admin, Carnival, Security, and Concessions. Job seekers should bring their picture ID, along with a social security card or birth certificate / or a passport. Applicants must be 16 or older for Carnival and Concession positions and 18 or older for Carnival Ride positions.
When: August 6, 2022 – 9:00 am until all positions filled
Where: Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center Pavilion - 2330 17th Street NE Salem, OR 97301 
Bring: Picture ID, social security card or birth certificate / or a passport
Parking: Plenty of free parking – (enter from Sunnyview Road)
More information: info@oregonstatefair.org  

 

 

French Cyclist Stops In Oregon On Transcontinental Ride

PORTLAND, OR -- A peace advocate riding his solar bike from Argentina to Canada stopped in Oregon this week. David Ligouy is originally from France. But, after biking through Europe, decided to bring his solar-powered recumbent bike to the Americas to raise awareness for what he says is a connection between peace, climate change, poverty and gender equity.

He travels back roads, relying on the solar panel "roof" to power and charge a battery that assists him in pedaling the three-wheeled trike. The bike averages about 25 km/hour - or, around 15 mph. Over four years, Ligouy has biked through 26 countries; Canada will be his 27th when he arrives next week. Overall, he's gone more than 30,000 kilometers, so far - or, nearly 19,000 miles. Click HERE to learn more about Ligouy and his mission. 

Before arriving in Portland Thursday, he says firefighters helped him navigate around the Cedar Creek Fire as he rode through the mountains near Oakridge.

KBND's Heather Roberts talked to him during his Oregon visit:

 

David Ligouy sits on his solar recumbent trike in a SW Portland yard, where his hosts allowed him to camp for the night. 

Victim Killed In Old Town Stabbing

(Portland, OR)  --  Authorities say one person was killed in a stabbing yesterday morning in Portland's Old Town.  Just after 9 o'clock, police responded to Northwest 5th and Davis where they located the victim.  Despite receiving medical care, the person died at a hospital.  A suspect was taken into custody.

Two Oregon Wildfires Have Zero Containment

(La Pine, OR)  --  Firefighters are battling two wildfires in the south-central Oregon Cascades.  The Windigo Fire is about 20 miles southwest of La Pine [[ luh-PINE ]].  It has burned 12-hundred acres.  The Potter Fire has burned 85 acres in the Toketee [[ TOKE-eh-tee ]] area.  Both fires are burning in a mix of timber with heavy dead and downed trees and they have zero containment.  The Potter Fire was caused by lightning.  The cause of the Windigo Fire is being investigated.

Train Kills Pedestrian

(Salem, OR)  --  Authorities say a man walking along railroad tracks in Salem was hit and killed by a train.  Salem Police say the accident happened yesterday morning near 14th and Hines Street Southeast just after 6 a.m.  The rail crew says they sounded the horn and tried to stop the train but couldn't avoid hitting the man.  He died at the scene.  His name will be released after his family his notified. 

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Confirmed In Oregon

PORTLAND, OR -- Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHDV2) has again been confirmed in domestic rabbits in Oregon, according to Oregon's Department of Agriculture. State Veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholz says RHDV2 is nearly 100% fatal for domestic animals, "Which is why it’s such a big deal in rabbits. If it gets into your rabbit tree, it’ll kill pretty much everything within days, if not hours." In this most recent case, 21 rabbits from a property in Multnomah County died within 72 hours.

He tells KBND News, "The strain that we have and have been dealing with also is able to infect North American wild rabbits and jackrabbits. That really worries us because of the ecological damage that this virus could do if it gets into, especially, some of the threatened or sensitive populations of wild rabbits." Dr. Scholz believes the Multnomah County rabbits likely contracted the virus from nearby wild rabbits, which can survive longer, allowing them to infect more rabbits. He suggests rabbit owners take immediate precautions, "Keeping domestic rabbits and wild or feral rabbits separate. Utilizing good bio-security: If you’re buying rabbits from someone, checking out the health of those rabbits, making sure that they haven’t lost rabbits recently; making sure you’re quarantining those new rabbits before you add them in with yours."

The last case of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in an Oregon domestic population was 14 months ago in Deschutes County.

 

FBI To Help PPB Investigate Threats Against Officers

PORTLAND, OR -- Gun violence continues in Portland at a record-setting pace. According to the FBI, law enforcement are now being targeted in the course of investigations aimed at curbing the problem. 

Kieran Ramsey, Special Agent In Charge of the Portland Field Office, says the FBI is helping Portland Police track down threats against officers, "We understand and accept the trauma that’s involved when we have this gun violence issue on any particular incident. We also appreciate the trauma that’s involved when there is a use of force by law enforcement. But one of the problems that right now we’re seeing is the fact that police officers are being attacked in the course of responding to 911 calls. And that is just absolutely unacceptable."

Ramsey told KBND News Friday, "In the last week, we have seen officers assaulted when making arrests, we’ve seen one officer almost run over by a vehicle, another officer actually run over by a vehicle - who is, I think, being released from the hospital today, and then another officer who was nearly shot at point blank range."

Portland Police now say the agency will withhold the names of those involved in recent officer-involved shootings because of threats against officers and concerns related to doxing - when someone’s personal information is released online.

Ramsey says the FBI is helping PPB any way it can, "If we do see legitimate threats made, our intent then is to identify who is making those threats, what their capability is to carry through those threats, and if in the course we see that, we can determine whether federal jurisdiction applies with some kind of violation of a federal statute; let alone, perhaps state and local statutes."

 

Three Candidates For Governor Face Off

WELCHES, OR -- The three candidates running for Governor in Oregon faced off in their first formal debate of the general election season, Friday, hosted by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. 

Republican Christine Drazan, Democrat Tina Kotek, and Independent Betsy Johnson each insisted they are the right person to address current and future challenges. In opening statements, Drazan said, "I’m running for Governor because I believe, with single party control, that politicians have lost sight of serving everyday Oregonians. And this year is about making a change." Kotek claimed, "Oregonians deserve a strong, effective leader that can get the work done and deliver results. And that’s why I’m running for governor; to make sure we can bring people together, listen to each other’s concerns." and Johnson added, "If there was ever a clarion call for real change it’s right now. Oregonians are distrustful of the radical right and they are terrified of the progressive left."

On the homeless crisis, former House Speaker Kotek told the group she’s already working on solutions, "I have a five-point plan on my website that specifically starts off by talking about the urgency of helping people move from the streets into permanent housing. And the key to that is to make sure we have more organized street response teams."

Johnson - a former Democratic State Senator - said homelessness is tied to drug use and mental illness, "We all talk about homelessness but we have not infused a sense of urgency about it. As governor, I would convene public safety, social service experts, mental health experts."

And Drazan, aformer State House Republican Leader, called the issue non-partisan, "What we have been experiencing in Oregon right now has enabled this problem to spiral out of control. And it will only get better if Oregonians themselves, and the people who are leading in local governments and the state level are willing to look at these challenges on a person-by-person basis."

During the more than one-hour debate in Welches, candidates also covered concerns about climate change, a lack of mental health services, and the Greater Idaho Movement.

Man Arrested Following Police Standoff

(McMinnville, OR)  --  Police say a man accused of throwing mortar style fireworks and firing a gun in McMinnville on Saturday was arrested following an officer-involved shooting and brief police standoff.  Police say when officers arrived, the man fired at officers and they returned fire, but no one was struck.  Negotiators talked the man into surrendering and he was taken into custody.  No one was hurt.  Several homes were hit by gunfire.  More than 200 rounds were fired.

Sandy River Drownings

(Troutdale, OR)  --  The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is urging river swimmers to wear lifejackets after two drownings in the Sandy River last week.  On Wednesday, a stand-up paddler drowned near Oxbow Park and on Friday a swimmer drowned near Dabney State Park.  Also last week, a family of three had to be rescued after being swept away by the current.  They were taken to a hospital for evaluation.  Free life vests are available at parks along the river and lifeguards are on duty at Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale.

Water Limit Requested

(Wilsonville, OR)  --  Residents of Wilsonville and Sherwood are being asked to limit non-essential use of water.  One of four pumps at the Willamette River Water Treatment Plant failed on Friday.  A part to repair the pump is on order, but could take a week to arrive.  Residents are asked to limit outdoor irrigation, washing cars, and other non-critical uses of water.  The pump failure doesn't affect the quality of the water.

Old Town Shooting Kills One

(Portland, OR)  --  One person is dead and two are injured following a shooting Friday night in Portland's Old Town.  The shooting happened near 5th and Northwest Couch [[ kooch ]] Street.  Police found two people wounded.  They were taken to a hospital where one person died.  A third person was taken to a hospital in a private car and has life-threatening injuries.  Police have not made any arrests.

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