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Blue River Charred By Holiday Farm Fire

EUGENE, OR – A catastrophe scarred the forest surrounding Blue River when the Holiday Farm fire scorched three miles west of McKenzie Bridge, this past Monday.

In the stillness of Lane County, you wouldn’t expect for terror to strike. Alas, the Blue River Community went through Hell by way of a massive fire. There’s an estimate of 150 homes lost to the fire. Among those structures lost, the Goodpasture Covered Bridge, the Belknap Covered Bridge and also the McKenzie Bridge. More than one thousand families had to evacuate from their homes.

Currently, different choices are available for house families recovering from the Holiday Farm fire. While supplies are arriving, farm animals are held in shelter.

There are two distinct levels of recognition for how dire the fires are turning out to be. Level 1 means for the general public to be aware and potentially prepare to evacuate. Whereas Level 2 means you must evacuate.

Current, Level 1 protocol has extended to Fall Creek, Winberry and Lowell.

In a statement, the Blue River community expresses concern over the death of one individual as a result of the fires. “At least one employee in the County has lost a loved one to the fires. Our hearts go out to the loss all around us.”

The fire first occurred three miles west of McKenzie Bridge on the evening of Labor Day, Monday, September 7th. This information is from the National Interagency Coordination Center

As of September 9th, the Oregon Department of Forestry mentioned that thought most area structures burnt down, McKenzie High School still stands. In total, firefighters did their best to save most structures in Vida. The Holiday Farm Fire Incident page also reports regular updates about any new fires.

My advice? Move to Alaska. When do fires burn in Alaska?

Self-Immolation: Man Sets Himself On Fire In Tent

Eugene, OR – A dispatch was called in on Monday due to a stabbing. They approached the scene and found a man who had attempted self-immolation.

Local authorities issued a statement for commuters in the area for that time:

“Please avoid 5th Avenue from Seneca to Bailey Hill, and Market Street from 5th to 7th Avenue. Police responding to a reported stabbing in the area,” Eugene Police said at 9 a.m.

Self-immolation, by definition, is when and individual attempts to set themselves on fire. The man also had severe wounds to hits wrists.

“The man subsequently lit the tent on fire, and sustained burn injuries from the incident,” according to Eugene Police. “Police escorted the man to the medical unit, and he was transported to the hospital for treatment.”

It is unknown the reason why the man chose to commit self-immolation. Police found that a propane tank had been placed in the tent – open while the tent remained closed.

The individual is in the hospital and there is no indication as the identity of the man.

Self-Immolation Attempts Worry Residents

Suicide watches are in place throughout the city. While COVID-19 is putting a massive strain on the mental health of citizens, the results can be disastrous.

Many of these reports of suicide attempts come from individuals who are out of work. Currently losing their business, or scrambling to get by, the environment is under extensive stress.

“There are hotlines that many can call if they feel they are a harm to themselves,” says Rachel Chilton of Eugene.

Still, the impact of the current pandemic is continuing to worsen not only in the number of cases, but the economic disparity as well.

“Self-immolation is a terrible attempt. Some of the reasons why these people choose to end themselves can be helped and saved” says local citizens Kathy Levallier. “We can fix these issues in a better way.”

Eugene Teens Shop for Seniors

Teens in Eugene, Portland, Bend, and other cities now shop for seniors. As states reopen, many remain terrified for their health and safety. But the PDXdeliver website has a solution. The volunteer program allows teens to shop for the elderly and compromised.

Portland teen Neel Jain first got the idea while shopping for his grandmother. “…then I looked at all the other people who may need help in my community. I began by recruiting some people at my high school so we could get the deliveries going.”

Jain named the program PDX Concierge. There are currently about 20 volunteers involved. All volunteers are high school students and none of them receive any compensation for their work.

How Eugene Teens Offer Pandemic Protection

PDX Concierge connects the elderly, immunocompromised, and first responders with volunteer shoppers. Users fill out a submission form with their desired items. They can even attach pictures and specific brands. A volunteer then handles all of the shopping and delivers the goods to the user’s home. They practice social distancing and proper hygiene. Shoppers give recipients about ten minutes’ worth of notice before they arrive. Deliveries only ever take between 24-48 hours. And so far the group has completed about 85 no-fee transactions.

Jain enters his Junior year at Westview High School this Fall. His parents have helped to drive him around for some of the delivers but he does the brunt of the legwork for PDX Concierge. He acknowledges that they built the program through trial and error. This endeavor has inspired him to possibly study business.

PDX Concierge isn’t done growing, either. Jain opens his arms to any other teens that would like to start a chapter in their area. They have seven and counting at the moment. “I’d love to expand this as much as people want to help out.”

The Porsche Taycan Cross Tourismo Will Launch

Porsche has recently unveiled its plans to launch the Taycan Cross Tourismo.

Porsche hasn’t been too sneaky with releasing photos of its new project. This comes as a surprise for many car fanatics. With Porsche quickly developing its EV program, it is expected to hit the market some time next year.

Aside from the photos that Porsche has released, nobody actually knows what is going on inside the machine. The vehicle is shown to be a blend between the Mission E Cross Tourismo with the recently released Taycan.

This indicates a few things. The first is that the company is highlighting more sporty features for its EV line. With the proportions and features of a Taycan, the car needs to live up to the hype. This has also given way to more off-road capabilities. With its raised suspension and wider flares, the car looks like it can handle the off-roading challenges that its crossover line has utilized.

What else do we know about that car? Well the powertrain is pretty much up in the air at this point. MotorTrend expects it’ll be similar to the all-wheel-drive power Taycan 4S and Turbo. The two-motor setup will produce a whopping 522 horsepower. With an upgraded 93-kw battery pack, the car has the potential of 670 horsepower.

Porsche Taycan Range

One of the downsides for this model is the battery range. The original Taycan has the reach of approxmately 200 miles per charge. This is far below the competitive rate for many electric cars. Unfortunately with what we can see, the new version will have about the same.

As for the price, the car is projecting a price tag of $105,000 and up. This price works alongside the Porsche Taycan sedan. This might change, however. Porsche is currently working on less-expensive models.

We do not know about Porsche’s not-so-secret redesign, but we are excited that production is rolling out faster than we had originally expected.

Decontamination To Begin In Eugene

Decontamination has begun in Eugene. One big issue that the world is facing is not just the effects of the coronavirus, but the aftermath. With masks being bought up like hot-cakes the disposal has created concerns.

Current Decontamination Issues

Gloves and masks have been leaving shelves empty since the start of the outbreak. With so many people using a disposable form of face masks, many are left in parking lots and streets across the country.

For many, they find this to be an easy escape. Instead of taking them off and disposing of the properly, they leave them in shopping cars and grocery bags. This has negative consequences. For starters many who must dispose of those belongings have a higher chance of contracting COVID-19.

Streets in major metropolitan areas have taken a large hit with garbage not being properly disposed of.

Eugene Steps Up Their Efforts

You may have seen this on the news. People dressed up from head-to-toe in white hazmat suits are spraying down populated areas in order to contain the spread of the virus.

Similar in style to decontaminating places like Fukushima. Its uneasy, being a resident and seeing numbers of white-walkers slowly and methodically pacing down the street.

Many residents understand the circumstances for the efforts but have remained cautious and sometimes scared to see the effects this virus has taken.

Decontamination Across The World

Across the pond, Italians are also seeing decontamination efforts. Italy is the largest epicenter in Europe. With other major European nations like Germany, England, and France not far behind, Italy is fighting a long battle.

Korea and Japan are also going through major decontamination efforts. They have done such a good job that each country has been able to flatten the curve.

Eugene is just one city in a dozen US cities that are fighting back hard with decontamination efforts. The future is still uncertain as to when a curve will appear. Projections state that reopening won’t happen until June of 2020.

SpaceX Starlink Satellites Glow Over Eugene

Friday night, in the skies above Eugene, a series of brightly glowing lights captivated spectators below. Accounts of anywhere from a dozen to 60 lights grabbed the attention of people on the ground, curious as to their nature. Instead of unidentified flying objects, they came from a terrestrial origin. They came from SpaceX program Starlink.

Who in the Lane County area saw fast moving lights last night in the sky? They were described to look like bright stars. Lots of my friends are talking about this right now!

Posted by That Oregon Life on Saturday, April 18, 2020

They appeared at approximately 9:26 pm. Shortly thereafter, phone calls poured into KATU2 newsroom reporting the mysterious lights. They fielded calls from Gearhart, Salem, McMinnville, Canby and Lake Oswego in addition to Eugene.

A website for the SpaceX Starlink program predicted the timing. It also stated another viewing came around very early Saturday, at around 4:33 am.

The satellites catch rays from the sun when the perfectly align with it, reflecting back down to Earth. The glint of sunlight results in the display Eugene experienced Friday evening.

SpaceX Program to Deliver Internet in Rural Areas

The stated purpose of the Starlink program is to deliver high speed internet to areas otherwise incapable of receiving it. Since satellites float in orbit and essentially beam internet down, they avoid pitfalls of ground networks.

Their website refers to it as a “global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations,” and says its capabilities exceed traditional satellite internet. It began this year in the northern US as well as Canada. However, SpaceX hopes to begin expansion next year with the lofty ultimate goal of “global coverage.”

The profits from the Starlink program will serve an even loftier ambition. SpaceX plans to use them to fund their Mars program, in which they intend to put humans on the red planet by 2024.

Alongside SpaceX, other companies, such as commercial jet behemoth Boeing. After repeated budget cuts for NASA, private corporations poured into space travel as a field for expansion. Their aggressive pursuit aims to capitalize on the future of humanity’s exploration, banking on its ability to doggedly chase after the stars in the coming decades.

Police Use Of Force In Arrest Under Investigation

Late last week, Eugene police arrested 33-year-old Jared Anders Roy. During the arrest, a bystander captured video of their use of force, which now prompts an investigation into the matter.

Preceding the incident, Roy visited friends at St. Vincent de Paul, a nonprofit human services organization. They provide food, shelter, and clothing, and other services to the homeless. There, he exhibited what officials at the nonprofit described as “an altered and heightened state” while in the lunchroom of their Eugene Service Station. According to police, the call they received reported Roy throwing items and refusing to leave.

Following his display, he rushed out of the facility. In response, staff at the nonprofit put in calls to police and CAHOOTS. CAHOOTS, which stands for Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, assists law enforcement by providing specialized medical and behavioral services.

However, police encountered Roy first.

Following the call, an officer saw Roy walking along the 2900 block of Elmira Road. More police arrived to make an arrest. As the incident escalated, Rebecca Bourne, a resident from across the street, took notice and began recording.

Video Captures Violent Police Arrest

In the video, three officers work together to restrain Roy. One wrangles Roy’s arms to clasp his wrists in cuffs. Another stands over firing a taser into Roy’s back. A third, crouched beside Roy, strikes him in the face multiple times while he lies on his belly, arms held behind his back.

During the recording, Bourne says, “I know he’s fighting, but there’s no need to punch him in the face like that.” Later, in speaking with reporters from The Oregonian, she said, “He looked to be fully restrained while being struck.”

Eventually, paramedics arrived to transport Roy to the hospital. There, they treated him as an “Assault Victim” with “Altered Mental Status.” Roy had bruises, a black eye, and taser divots in the flesh of his back. After treatment, police arrested Roy, who later posted bail.

As a result of the altercation, an independent auditor launched an investigation into the use of force. Their findings will determine if it was reasonable.

Hash Oil Explosion Sends 1 To Hospital

Following an explosion in a residential neighborhood on Eugene’s west side, authorities suspect a hash oil operation as the culprit.

Police officers and firefighters responded to calls of an explosion Tuesday evening. They arrived on the 2900 block of Roosevelt Ave. around 6:30 pm.

First responders took 1 man to the hospital. He reportedly sustained injuries in connection with the explosion. Further details regarding his identity and condition remain unknown.

Upon investigation, authorities discovered evidence to suggest the explosion directly resulted from a butane hash oil operation. While Oregon legalized cannabis consumption in 2014 by passing ballot measure 91, production requires permits and regulatory compliance.

Home manufacturing of hash oil is illegal. Following several incidents of explosions, the reasoning becomes clear.

Hash Oil Manufacturing Pitfalls

In response to several fires resulting from the practice, Governor Kate Brown made the production of cannabis extracts illegal for anyone without a proper license.

Shortly thereafter, law enforcement made the first arrest under the new law. In 2016, a man residing in Springfield became the first to face charges of illegally producing cannabinoid extract.

However, he wasn’t the last. The following year, another man living in Cottage Grove received a prison sentence of 7 years. He operated a warehouse where he produced cannabinoid extract. That warehouse ignited, leading to his arrest.

As recently as last month, another individual sustained burns in connection with a suspected extract operation. He ran it out of a building he and his wife squatted in.

The volatile nature of cannabinoid extraction lies in the use of butane. The process involves dissolving cannabis leaves in a highly flammable solvent. Then, the second step sees the manufacturer cooking it. It produces fumes that often linger, presenting a fire and explosion hazard. Still, people utilize the method because it produces a cannabis product up to five times as potent as smoking bud.

Cap and Trade Bill Passes Committee

Senate Bill 1530 received some last-minute tweaks before receiving a vote from the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources to move the bill. SB 1530 seeks to implement a cap and trade system for Oregon industry.

Before it reaches the senate floor, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means takes it up. However, with a quick passage, it could arrive in the senate around the middle of next week.

The last-minute amendments appeased Republican detractors. Oregon’s Democrats worked for over a decade to pass some form of cap and trade policy in the state. Now, they finally arrive at the finish line. Though, Republicans signal dissatisfaction. In order to halt the bill’s passage, they may stage a walkout. Doing so would deny the senate a quorum, a tactic they utilized once last year.

Among other changes, the revisions include exempting Curry and Coos counties, and Bend and Klamath Falls until 2028.

Cap and Trade Draws Support, Ire

Thousands rallied at the Capitol in the run-up to the vote. Supporters and critics alike voiced their opinion at the building’s steps.

Renew Oregon, a clean energy coalition, released a statement from its executive director, Tera Hurst. In it, she expressed conflicting emotions. On the one hand, the bill represents forward momentum towards reduction. On the other, last-minute compromises show the influence of industry actively working against environmentally conscious policy.

“Even still, this is a good step toward meaningful climate action, which we’ll continue to push for on behalf of a vast majority of Oregonians who want to see it happen now,” the statement read.

Still, others criticize the passage, citing the inability for public engagement as it makes its way through the legislature. The Partnership for Oregon Communities, an organization comprised of industry interests, pushes against SB 1530 by citing previous measures and claiming negative economic impact.

With senate Republicans threatening to steal the vote away, the Partnership may just get what it wants.

Killer Escapes From Local Authorities

A killer convicted of murdering his own mother managed to escape from under the supervision of the Psychiatric Security Review Board.

Thaddeus Ziemlak, the 36-year-old escaped killer, left his residential facility the morning of January 5. The excursion was a planned community outing from which he was scheduled to return at 2:30 pm.

However, Ziemlak failed to return to the residence.

Subsequently, the review board released a notice. The Eugene Police Department then forwarded the notice, requesting public assistance in finding Ziemlak.

Ziemlak stands 5 feet 10 inches, weighing approximately 170 pounds, with green eyes, and light brown hair. He wears glasses, and at the time of his disappearance, wore a zip-up black hoodie sweatshirt, blue jeans, black tennis shoes, and beanie-style black hat. Notably, Ziemlak’s face features scars from acne, forming pockmarks across his cheeks.

The police also mentioned he carried a black backpack when he went missing, and generally walks with his head hung.

Most importantly, the notice explains not to interact with Ziemlak. They consider the killer dangerous and therefore recommend staying away. Instead, if seen, police request individuals to call them immediately.

The Killer’s Crime

Ziemlak’s conviction followed the murder of his mother in February of 2004. Police responded to an emergency call from his mother. In the call, Joyce Zeimlak informed dispatch her son armed himself with a rifle and threatened to kill her.

Law enforcement arrived to discover her body. In the brief interim between the phone call and their arrival, Thaddeus shot his mother with the rifle twice in the head, killing her.

Then 20-year-old Zeimlak faced murder charges for the crime. However, in September of the same year, court records show he was found guilty except for insanity.

Therefore, he was placed into the custody of the Oregon Psychiatric Review Board instead of facing prison time.

Since his conviction, Thaddeus twice escaped custody, once in November of 2006, and again in November of 2009. In the first case, during an approved visit to a sporting goods store in Salem, Ziemlak slipped away from his supervising hospital staff member.

The details of the second escape are unknown, though both times saw his return without incident.

If you encounter Thaddeus Zeimlak, don’t engage. Call police immediately.

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