Hood River Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Earthquakes due in oregon
Earthquakes due in oregon
For Earth Day - "The Big One, what Gorge residents need to know" Thursday night in Hood River, Springhouse Cellar winery 5:30-8:30pm (Photo) - 04/19/16
Join Hood River County, Hood River Sheriff's Office, Columbia Gorge Community College, public safety leaders from across Gorge communities and Oregon Office of Emergency Management this Thursday night 5:30- 8:30pm for a hands-on informational event in Hood River, THE BIG ONE, what Gorge residents need to know about Cascadia Subduction earthquakes.

This Earth Day event offers compelling speakers and more than a dozen hands-on "skill stations" where you can learn how to prepare for disasters and emergencies.

Enjoy the mini safety fair while you enjoy free hors d'oeuvres catered by Fresh Start Culinary Arts Program and the no-host bar wine from 5:30-8:30pm at Hood River's Springhouse Cellar Winery.

At 6pm, State geological expert Althea Rizzo, Ph.D., offers an interesting and engaging presentation about Cascadia Subduction earthquake impacts on the Pacific Northwest and the Gorge.

Hood River County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management will offer a quick orientation on how our region is preparing and what you can do to prepare your home, family and business - then we'll send everyone to skill stations to practice.

Cascadia earthquake is "Oregon's greatest natural threat," according to the Governor's Task Force on Resilience. The Oregon Resilience Plan (Feb 2013) reported "very large earthquakes will occur in Oregon's future, and our state's infrastructure will remain poorly prepared to meet the threat unless we take action now to start building the necessary resilience. This is the central finding of the Oregon Resilience Plan requested by Oregon's 76th Legislative Assembly." As a result, Oregon has begun preparing for a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia quake, comparable to the 2011 Tohoku, Japan earthquake.

Hands-on skill stations include:

What's in your "Go kit" - how do you prepare for emergencies? Sample survival kits on display and talk to the experts

* OSU - with Lauren Kramer, Asst. Professor of Extension Family and Community Health and Lynette Black, Oregon's rep to Extension Disaster Education Network
* Red Cross
* Hood River County Emergency Management

What to do when is the power is out. How do you shut off utilities and water? How do you switch safely from electric to generator power?

* Pacific Power will stage their Hazard Hamlet - a 5-foot long display that is interactive and shows how community hazards come into play in emergencies - Pacific Power showcases this prop at Hood River Harvest Fest some years and it's very popular. Presenting is Ricky Walker, Transmission Distribution Manager, Pacific Power.
* Find out about safe shut off of your natural gas from NW Natural -- Tonya Brumley
* Hood River County Public Works Dept. -- where are your shut off values? Check out a solar power generator or other alternative power display - Nate Lain

Hood River County Sheriff's Office -- public safety, water sports safety, search and rescue

* With Hood River County Sheriff Matt English and Deputy Quintin Nelson, marine safety officer

Hood River County -- David Meriwether, Barb Ayers, Belinda Ballah, Sandi Lain, Heidi Ochsner

* Family safety -- checklists, Go-kits, family communication plans. How does your family reconnect if separated? Talk through some scenarios and take home a family communications plan template
* What's in the County's Emergency Operations Plan? What is an EOC (Emergency Operations Center,) when is it activated and how does it support our region in disasters? Find out how responders work together with regional, state and federal teams.
* Learn about some of our major planning assumptions / concerns (cut off in disasters, landslides, reduced access to fuel and groceries, medical and emergency supplies, volunteer and donation management needs, damage assessment and recovery.)
* Learn about statewide (OR/WA/ID/CA) Cascadia Rising earthquake drills June 6-10 in Hood River and other communities
* Seismic retrofitting grants are coming up soon for Oregon public buildings (schools, fire agencies, county and city buildings) -- some of our buildings need work.
* Is your home or business quake-ready? Unreinforced masonry (old brick) buildings and those built before earthquake codes are a concern.

Hands-only CPR and fire extinguisher practice with Hood River Fire Department

* CPR skill station - Kip Miller and the HRFD Fire/EMS team bring manikins - learn how to and practice hands-only CPR
* Fire extinguisher practice - we all have them, when have you ever used one?

Hood River County Health Dept. -- vaccines and drinking water safety - tetanus shots offered

* Inoculation station - get your tetanus shot and we'll bill your insurance right there at the event - most vaccines have no co-pay. You can request that specific vaccines by contacting Alison, 541-387-7119 or alison.donnelly@co.hood-river.or.us
* How do you quickly/easily purify water if it's contaminated? With Ian Stromquist.
* Quick and easy hand wash station to set up - prevents health problems from escalating

911 -- with Commander Erica Stolhand

* What we do and when to call 911
* Sign up in person for the countywide Citizen Alert System for emergency notification (aka evacuations or other emergencies) before wildfire season. All local safety agencies use this phone/email notification system to reach you with important information. We can't reach you on your cell or email if you don't opt in. We can only access your land line, if you have one.

Health care tips:

* Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital's ER Manager Jane Burke and MCMC Nurse Manager Liesl Peterson -- when to go to the ER
* What's in your first aid kit - Dr. Michele Beaman

OSU Extension - Food safety and Preservation

* What to do if your freezer or fridge stops working
* Storing Food for safety and quality
* Water storage for emergencies

Waucoma Bookstore will showcase books on earthquakes and preparedness

Catering by Fresh Start Culinary Arts Program. Menu:

* Crostini with a trio of spreads; white bean and herb, beet hummus, deviled egg and bacon spread.
* Vegetable Crudités with lemon and dill yogurt dip
* Cacahuates, chili and garlic roasted Spanish peanuts
* Brownie bites

Hood River County Sheriff's Office offers a broad array of emergency response services to communities across the county, including Emergency Management, Search and Rescue, Marine Patrol, 911 dispatch, patrol division, Animal Control, Forest Patrol, civil division and management support for the NORCOR regional jail.
Sheriff Says Tourist Safety Programs Need Attention - 04/09/16
HOOD RIVER, ORE. -- Hood River County has been the fastest growing County in the State since 2010. The Sheriff's Office has been working on ways to increase staffing needed to keep up with the growing demand for services. One area of focus has been the exponential increase in recreation related services the Sheriff's Office has to provide.

Oregon law requires that all sheriffs respond to Search and Rescue calls in their counties. Additionally, Oregon Sheriff's run Marine programs, Forest Patrol and Off Highway Vehicle Enforcement programs.

"Our personnel do an exceptional job responding to recreational emergencies with the resources we have. The bottom line is, we don't have nearly enough resources to respond to the increasing volume of calls we're now seeing." said Sheriff Matt English.

English went on to explain that there is a direct correlation to tourism. He said the vast majority of people accessing these services are visitors. "Ideally, our local taxpayers shouldn't be paying for the increased recreational services we need, because they're not benefiting from them".

Currently, the Sheriff's Office has to pull patrol deputies from their duties to help respond to marine emergencies or staff search and rescue calls. "We routinely have to short our patrol shifts to cover some type of search" said Undersheriff Brian Rockett. "That means deputies that need to be out patrolling our communities and responding to criminal calls, are tied up dealing with recreational emergencies".

English cited that in the last three years, the HRCSO has taken about 300 search and rescue calls for service. In that time, only two searches were for Hood River County residents. Hood River County ranks twenty-fourth out of thirty-six counties in terms of population yet ranked in the top fifth for search and rescue missions in 2014. Sheriff's Office records indicate that almost all of the searches are conducted on United States Forest Service (USFS) land.

The Sheriff's Office is currently working with the USFS to increase funding. Currently, the office receives about $19,000 a year to fund a seasonal deputy that works three days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Nearly 70% of the land in Hood River County belongs to the USFS. National Visitor Usage Monitoring, the system utilized by the USFS to track forest usage, indicates there are over two million individual visits to the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area and 4.9 million individual visits to the Mt. Hood National Forest annually. Parts of both National Forests lie within Hood River County.

The Oregon State Sheriff's Association has been looking at ways to both raise money for search and rescue as well as recover costs. Current Oregon law only allows an agency to charge $500 for a search and rescue. The fine is a civil penalty that isn't easily collected. Actual mission costs can quickly soar into the thousands of dollars.

In November, the Sheriff, County Commission Chair Ron Rivers, County Administrator David Meriwether and Marine Deputy Quintin Nelson met with Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) Director Scott Brewen about additional funding. Although there are potential plans to capture additional revenue at a state level from recreational water users, the OSMB, who currently funds most of the Sheriff's Marine program, isn't in a position to fully fund additional deputies. For the remainder of this biennium and the following two year cycle, the OSMB was able to allocate an additional $55,000 beginning in July of 2016.

Sheriff's Office Marine contacts on the Columbia indicate that between 20%-25% of the contacts are local. The vast majority are from out of the area. "We rescued people from California, Florida and Texas this summer season" said Marine Deputy Quintin Nelson, the lone Marine Deputy for Hood River County. "One of the first questions I ask a person is where they're from. It's rare that we rescue a local." Nelson also reported providing marine services to visitors from New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Canada.

"The sad reality is that a lot of the recreational activity visitors are engaging in comes with some level of risk", said English. He noted that there were two recreational water deaths in Hood River last year, both were visitors and both were participating in non-motorized activities. "Unfortunately we usually respond to at least one recreational fatality every year whether it's on the mountain, one of the trail systems or a local waterway. We're really working on promoting safety, education and prevention but that also requires appropriate staffing levels and resources."

The Port of Hood River counts vehicles that access their lots. They're seeing over 350,000 vehicles a year in the three lots they track by the waterfront. In July of 2015 alone, there were almost 68,000 cars that entered the river access parking lots.

"The numbers are staggering", Nelson said. "We will literally see hundreds of people out on the water at one time in a single day."

This year, the Port of Hood River provided a small amount of funding to help provide extra help to the Sheriff's Office for additional marine coverage during busy summer weekends.

In December Sheriff English and staff presented the recreational response issues to the Hood River City Council. The Sheriff asked the Council for 15%-20% or about $240,000 to $320,000 of the Transient Room Tax (TRT) they are collecting to support programs like Marine and Search and Rescue.

Transient Room Tax is a 9% tax collected from hotels and vacation rentals. In the last several years, the City of Hood River has annexed hotels that were within Hood River County proper. With the annexation came a loss of TRT revenue to the County. The City has seen TRT revenues more than double in the last four years going from $727,017 in fiscal year 12/13 to projected receipts of $1,600,000 in the current fiscal year. The addition of the new Naito waterfront hotel could push city revenues near the $2,000,000 mark annually.

In working with Deschutes County, Sheriff English noted that Deschutes County appropriated 80% of their transient room tax receipts to the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office recreational response programs.
The City of Hood River has since declined to help fund the Sheriff's Office recreational programs.

English said, "I don't expect one entity to completely fund the amount of recreational response services we need in Hood River County but we are looking for a commitment from the stakeholders that are promoting and benefiting from the tourism that is the driving force behind this issue. The Sheriff concluded, "The bottom line is we have to provide these services and we're committed to finding a way to fund them, so our local taxpayers aren't shouldering the burden."
False Report Leads to Closure of Indian Creek Sexual Assault Investigation - 04/05/16
HOOD RIVER, Ore. - On 03/30/2016 at about 10:00 a.m. a female juvenile student at Hood River Valley High School reported that she was the victim of a sexual assault that occurred on the Indian Creek Trail, near the school. The alleged victim in the case has admitted to investigators that the incident did not occur and the allegations were false. As a result, deputies are no longer searching for any suspects.

Although this is an unfortunate situation, the fact remains that sexual assault is a very real problem that occurs at alarming rates in our nation. According to data from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. National statistics from multiple sources confirms that sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with between 63% and 68% still being left unreported. Research from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network indicates that 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.

Despite the fact that false reports do happen, they are rare. Data collected from around the United States suggests that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2% and 10%. Misconceptions about false reporting rates have direct, negative consequences and can contribute to why many victims don't report sexual assaults.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Hood River County Sheriff's Office wants to remind parents that you can help protect your children from sexual abuse by being active in their lives and teaching them safety skills. Learn about their activities and people with whom they are involved. Stay alert for possible problems. For more information, visit: www.hoodriversheriff.com/events/april-blue-ribbon-campaign .