KWSO News Mon., Jun. 1, 2020

Yesterday’s COVID-19 report from the Oregon Health Authority listed 58 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 4,243 statewide.  There have been 153 deaths of Oregonians to date.

Last Friday – the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs COVID-19 response team reported that there have been 22 positive tests of the coronavirus on the reservation with 17 of those individuals having now recovered.  5 people are currently quarantining themselves for a 14 day period.  Contact tracing led to 110 tests on Friday.  In all 502 Covid-19 tests have been done at the Health and Wellness since the pandemic began.

Everyone is reminded to still take all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Do not gather in large groups beyond your household.  That can include extended family gatherings or getting together with friends.  People with the virus may have no symptoms but can still spread it to others.  If you are around other people, maintain 6 feet of social distancing and wear a mask.  Continue to wear a mask in public spaces, wash your hands frequently and keep up the disinfecting of hard surfaces that you and others come in contact with often.

A big storm blew through Warm Springs and Central Oregon on Saturday afternoon darkening skies and bringing hail, strong winds and rain.  There was local flooding, rock and mud flow across outlying roads and large water volume racing through culverts and ditches.

Hardest hit were the communities of Culver and Metolious where trees fell on homes and power lines, irrigation pipe blew onto Highway 97, roofs flew off and power outages have had work crews working around the clock to restore electricity.

Pacific Power reports at peak, more than 10,000 customers were without power Saturday.  More than 45 Pacific Power crew members and contractors have been working around the clock in the area on outages involving 36 downed poles.  Crews continue to work this morning to restore power.  Pacific Power reminds customers to stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking.  If you are using a generator, make sure the generator is outside and not near any household air intakes.

The Jefferson County Commissioners met yesterday to put in motion steps to assist both private and public entities impacted by Saturday’s severe weather event.  Anyone with damage to property can contact Sergeant Dave Pond at the sheriff’s office with a description of damage & repair estimates.  Private homeowners should also contact their insurance company to file a claim.  In a statement from undersheriff Marc Heckathorn – the Deschutes Valley Water District and the cities of Madras, Culver and Metolious are asking all customers to stop all outdoor watering for a couple days to allow time for the Opal Springs hydro facility to get back on line with pumping water.  There is also coordination for use of equipment and manpower between the cities and county as well as an effort to identify a large enough location for trees and limbs to be taken.

Thunderstorms Saturday sparked 4 fires with the largest one northwest of the Perry South Campground near the Metolius River.  Fire personnel in the region will continue watch for fire starts today.  Additionally with more recreation sites open, the public is reminded to take extra care with ignition sources as the weather warms, creating drier conditions. Ensure your spark arrestors are in good working order on motorized equipment and vehicles, secure trailer chains so they don’t drag on the road while traveling and bring extra water to extinguish campfires.

Warm Springs Tribal Council is in session today.  This morning they will decide on a resolution for Housing to apply for Native Block Grant CARES act funding; they will hear a request for a letter of support for CRITFC.  There will be a CARES Act funding discussion and a COVID-19 team update.  This afternoon Tribal Council will be in Executive Session with regard to Vanport and a discussion on Warm Springs Receivership Discussion.

Warm Springs Housing Authority has received funding for privately owned Senior Home emergency repairs.  Each home owner can receive a one-time emergency home repair not to exceed $3,000.  Applications will be accepted this month.  Applications can be picked up at WSHA or emailed by request.  Each application must be fully completed including all income verifications and returned to Housing no later than June 30, 2020.  This is limited funding so only the completed applications will be screened and prioritized for health and safety issues.