Oregon State Police warns against armed takeover of Capitol

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon State Police says it is aware of “rumors” that armed groups are considering taking over the state Capitol and warned that anyone attempting that would be arrested.

The agency is also asking Oregonians to report anyone who may be planning an armed takeover to authorities.

Many armed and angry supporters of President Donald Trump gathered Wednesday at the statehouse and burned a life-size puppet of Gov. Kate Brown in effigy.

Police declared an unlawful assembly and made two arrests.

The pro-Trump crowd was rallying around false allegations of election fraud as an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

‘Only likely to go up’: OHA reports single day record for COVID cases and deaths

The Oregon Health Authority on Thursday reported the largest daily number of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has claimed 20 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 808, the OHA reported. The state surpassed 800 deaths less than three weeks after marking its 700 deaths.

The OHA also reported 1,225 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 60,873.

“I have heard frequently from those who have refused to believe this pandemic is serious if we aren’t seeing hospitalizations and deaths,” said OHA Director Patrick Allen. “Those hospitalizations and deaths are here and are only likely to go up. Please take this seriously, and do what you can to slow the spread: wash your hands, wear a mask, and limit the number of people you come in close contact with.”

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (16), Clackamas (121), Clatsop (2), Columbia (14), Coos (8), Crook (6), Curry (6), Deschutes (31), Douglas (21), Grant (3), Harney (5), Hood River (8), Jackson (89), Jefferson (10), Josephine (13), Klamath (20), Lake (5), Lane (130), Lincoln (1), Linn (11), Malheur (21), Marion (84), Morrow (1), Multnomah (376), Polk (20), Umatilla (20), Union (8), Wasco (8), Washington (127), and Yamhill (36).

According to the OHA, 95% of the total cases reported are later confirmed COVID positive.

Deschutes County has reported 1,781 cases and 14 deaths; 1,292 people have recovered as of Wednesday, the latest data available.

Crook County has reported 180 cases and six deaths.

Jefferson County has reported 738 cases and 11 deaths.

St. Charles reported Thursday it had 11 COVID patients; three are in the ICU and none are on a ventilator.

The hospital has 30 total ICU beds in Bend and Redmond.

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across Oregon increased to 414 Thursday, eight more than yesterday, marking a new record for the pandemic.

There are 96 COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, two fewer than yesterday.

More information about hospital capacity can be found here.


State commits $55M for businesses hit by COVID restrictions; counties to distribute funds

Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced the state will commit $55 million to support Oregon businesses impacted by COVID restrictions.

The money will be allocated to counties to distribute to businesses that have been financially impacted, with a priority given to the hospitality industry, businesses impacted by the freeze set to begin tomorrow, small businesses and women, Black, Indigenous, people of color and tribal-owned businesses.

“Our iconic main street businesses have sacrificed too much already in this pandemic,” Brown said in a statement, adding that the state has already invested $100 million to help businesses. “I know that this is not enough. I remain committed to fighting for additional resources at the federal level, including a reauthorization of the important features of the CARES Act, like the Payroll Protection Program and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.”

Last week Brown announced a two-week freeze that forces gyms, fitness centers and recreation facilities to close and restaurants to close their dining rooms, among other new, tighter restrictions.

Brown orders 2-week “freeze” to reel in COVID spike; restaurants back to take-out only

Each county will receive a base of $500,000 plus a per capita allocation of the remainder of the money.

The counties will be responsible for deciding how businesses apply to receive funds and communicating the application process to businesses.

The governor’s office anticipates that funds will be distributed to counties within the next several weeks.

Businesses who are interested in applying should contact their county for more information.

Oregon COVID-19 Update: 122 new cases; 1 new death

The Oregon Health Authority on Wednesday reported 122 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total past 6,000.

One new death brings that total to 183 while 6,218 have contracted the disease.

Union County, which had reported 218 new cases over the last two days, saw only two new cases on Wednesday bringing its total to 242.

Deschutes County reported two new cases, bringing its total to 139; 128 of those patients have recovered.

Jefferson and Crook counties reported no new cases, leaving those totals at 69 and nine respectively.

More than 178,000 Oregonians have tested negative for the disease.

Oregon-COVID-19-Daily-Update (18)

OHA Releases Weekly Report

Today, OHA released its COVID-19 Weekly Report, which outlines data and trends on outbreaks and other epidemiological information collected over the last week. This week’s report shows that during the week from Monday, June 8, through Sunday, June 14, OHA recorded 898 new cases of COVID-19 infection, a 44% increase from the previous week. In addition, 16 Oregonians were reported to have died, compared with10 deaths in the preceding week. In that same week, the number of COVID-19 tests* reported (24,708) increased substantially (35%) compared to the preceding week while the percentage of tests positive remained approximately the same (3.1% vs. 3.0% during preceding week).

In this week’s report there are several new figures (1, and 4 through 7) which shed light on additional trends. These depict weekly trends in reported COVID-19 cases by epidemiologic link to other known cases, age, sex, race, and ethnicity.

New outbreak reported

An outbreak of 20 cases of COVID-19 has been reported at Teeny Foods in Multnomah County. The case count includes all persons linked to the outbreak, which may include household members and other close contacts to an employee. The outbreak investigation started on June 8, but the initial case count was below the threshold for public disclosure.

State and county public health officials are working with this business to address the outbreak and protect the health of workers.

Medicaid Enrollment Report posted

This week, the Oregon Health Authority has begun posting a weekly Medicaid enrollment report. The report, which will be posted on Tuesdays on OHA’s COVID-19 page, lists the increase in Medicaid enrollment over the previous week, as well as the total increase since the COVID-19 emergency declaration March 8. This week’s snapshot shows that as of June 15, 2020, there are 1,149,620 members enrolled in Oregon Health Plan, an increase of 3,990 members over the past week (0.35%) and 70,007 members since the emergency declaration (6.48%). Please note that the chart marks snapshots of enrollment actuals produced every week. This data is preliminary and represents a point in time measurement of enrollment. It does not include retroactive eligibility changes. OHP data is finalized 90 days after the month ends to allow for retroactive enrollments.


Brown to convene special session to tackle police reforms, COVID-19

Gov. Kate Brown will convene a special session of the Oregon Legislature June 24 to discuss police reforms and address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are at a unique moment in America,” Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “I am calling a special session to take up two urgent issues facing our state: the COVID-19 pandemic and police accountability. Several pandemic-related policies that I have implemented via executive order, including the temporary eviction moratorium and protecting CARES Act payments from garnishment, should be codified in statute. And the public’s call for significant police reform is too urgent to wait until the next regular legislative session. It’s imperative that the Legislature take action on these issues right away.”

Brown said she also expects to call a second special session this summer to rebalance the state budget.

“In the meantime, I will continue pressing Congress to support the state and local governments that are reeling from the economic downturn,” she said. “Unless the federal government takes action, states like Oregon could be forced to make significant cuts to schools, health care, and senior services.”

Brown has warned state agencies to prepare for a shortfall of $3 billion and directed them to cut their 2-year budgets by 17%  due to declining tax revenues because of the coronavirus outbreak.

She plans to release a list of $150 million in general fund budget cuts “to put Oregon’s budget on better footing.”

Bend GOP Rep. Cheri Helt said in a statement she supported the special session.

“I support a special session to accomplish three things: 1) strengthen police accountability starting with outdated union contracts that protect bad cops and give our many good cops a bad name, 2) fix the broken unemployment insurance system still denying vital benefits to thousands in need and 3) protect workers, businesses and non-profits from costly opportunistic lawsuits as they seek to safely re-open from COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.

Redmond GOP Rep. Jack Zika issued a statement as well, saying Oregonians. needed the Legislature to convene.

“Through a pandemic and the Governor’s shut down of our economy, 18% unemployment in Deschutes County, the failure to process unemployment claims, and failure in distributing federal aid to local government, it’s shocking the legislature has not been allowed to convene,” he said. “However, this being said, there are concerns around the policy bills that have been released by Salem democrats so far as none seems to address budget concerns but add taxes and inhibit the ability to chose an online school for our kids.

“This special session should be for prioritizing our economic recovery efforts while maintaining public health guidelines and funding core government functions.”


State’s Rape Kit Backlog Officially Cleared

Oregon is now one of only a few states that has officially cleared its backlog of sexual assault evidence kits. Over 5,000 kits that have been on hold for years have been processed and some have even lead to arrests in perviously unsolved cases. Now lawmakers must figure out how to keep the resources needed to keep the backlog clear.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has more on the story.

The Great Outdoors: Riddle Brothers Ranch at Steens Mountain

After all these years, Eastern Oregon is still in many ways, Cowboy Country. For this week’s Great Outdoors, Brian Jennings takes us to the Riddle Brothers Ranch, a historic ranch that you can tour near the majestic Steens Mountain Wilderness.

A special thanks to our Great Outdoors sponsor, Parr Lumber, for giving us the time and resources to explore the lakes, rivers and mountains across our beautiful state every Wednesday night on Central Oregon Daily.


National Guard Trained for Fire Fighting Efforts

In the wake of fires burning throughout Oregon, Governor Kate Brown invoked the emergency conflagration act, authorizing the State Fire Marshal to mobilize resources to assist local resources battling the fire.

With those resources running slim, the Oregon National Guard has stepped in and trained over 400 citizen-soldiers and citizen-airmen to serve as wildland firefighters.

Central Oregon Daily’s Warren Shultz has the story.

South Valley Fire

Residents in Dufur Threatened by Third Fire in Three Weeks

About 150 firefighters from around the state, as well as 150 local personnel, have responded to the rapidly growing South Valley Fire, which grew to more than 15,000 acres overnight. Crews worked overnight to build a fire line, and the fire is reported to be about five percent contained.

The Fire Marshal’s Office says at least 400 people are under the level 3 evacuation orders and at least 80 to 100 homes are threatened.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed Highway 197 from milepost 14 to milepost 34 overnight while firefighters worked to control the flames. The highway has been re-opened in both directions and ODOT crews will continue to monitor fire activity in the area.

Officials say the fire is fueled by ponderosa pine, oak and wheat. Those dry fuels and steady winds over 45 miles per hour pushed the fire southeast.

The fire marshal’s office is currently investigating the fire as human-caused.

Destination Oregon: Freebridge Brewing

It’s not unusual to find new uses for old buildings. It happens all the time. In The Dalles two local entrepreneurs recently opened the town’s first brewery and you won’t believe what the building was originally built to be. 

In this week’s Destination Oregon report, sponsored by Bi-Mart, Dave Jones takes us to Freebridge Brewing in The Dalles.