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Douglas County Sheriff's Office responds to video of homeless man shivering outside jail

A video circulating on Facebook this week showed what appeared to be a homeless man shivering shirtless in the cold outside the Douglas County Jail after having been released.

The video was posted by Julie Huffman who said it was taken by a friend about a week ago. As of noon Thursday, the original video had more than 86,000 views.

Huffman took down the video early Thursday afternoon. She said she had been contacted by the man’s family members who asked her to take it down.

In the video, a woman attempts to communicate with the man, who lies on the ground and is largely unresponsive. He’s not wearing shoes or a shirt. The woman speaks through an intercom to someone inside the jail and is told that the man has been released.

Sgt. Brad O’Dell, a spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, responded to an inquiry from The News-Review by issuing an email. In it, O’Dell wrote that the man in the video had been ordered to be released from custody by the Winston Municipal Court.

“The individual would not cooperate with deputies in his release process and refused to leave,” O’Dell said. “As we no longer had any lawful authority to keep the individual in custody, deputies had to escort the individual outside of the jail facility.”

He said the sheriff’s office is “currently reviewing the facts surrounding this incident before additional statements are released.”

Directly across the street from the jail is a United Community Action Network office where clothing, supplies and support could have been provided, according to UCAN Homeless Outreach Coordinator Larry Clark.

Clark said he couldn’t comment on what happened with the jail facility, but if anyone had either called or walked across the street to his office at 308 SE Jackson St., he could have provided clothing, socks and hygiene supplies. It’s hard to provide shoes, he said, and he’d love to see more donations of those. Additional supplies and food are available at the Dream Center down the street, he said.

Clark also helps homeless people find the resources they need to get back on their feet.

“If we would have known, we definitely would have done something. That’s what we do,” he said.

The office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but is closed from noon to 1 p.m.

Huffman said she was surprised by how many people watched and responded to the video while it was posted. She said she originally posted the video because she has a heart for the homeless.

“We don’t have a mental health facility here anymore and we need something like that. We used to have one. It was upsetting to me,” she said.

She said her intent wasn’t to make law enforcement look bad or to embarrass the family. She just wanted to illustrate how bad things are downtown.

“I see it all the time. I work downtown, and it’s horrible. I was just trying to make people aware of how really bad it is, and I didn’t agree with the way they handled it,” she said.

Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce names Nielson and Crowe as 2018 First Citizens

Vicki Nielsen and Gary Crowe were announced as the 2018 Roseburg First Citizens at the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce 65th Annual Awards Dinner and Membership Meeting on Thursday.

A male and female citizen who give back to the community are recognized every year along with the small, medium and large businesses of the year and volunteer of the year.

Nielsen came up to the stage with a tissue in hand and said she always wondered how people felt when they realized they were the person being described “and now I know.”

“I’m always excited for all those people, to see them up there, and then it’s like, you start to realize, ‘Oh my gosh, I think they are talking about me,’” Nielsen said. “I’m so honored. It’s such an interesting thing. It’s a huge honor. I’ve always admired the people that have been First Citizen. To be among them is a huge honor.”

MSullivan / MICHAEL SULLIVAN/The News-Review 

Vicki Nielsen accepts the female Citizen of the Year Award during the 65th Annual Awards Dinner and Membership Meeting for the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday night at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Nielsen owns Northwest Lifestyles, a clothing store on Jackson Street, and has been involved in the chamber for almost 30 years. The chamber’s 2018 board chair, Toby Luther, introduced her as someone with high energy and a “wicked sense of humor.”

“She is almost better known by the fact that she tackles every project, every event, every committee meeting with the same enthusiasm,” Luther said.

Crowe owns FCC Commercial Furniture on Old Highway 99. He joked that the chamber must have run out of people in order to choose him for the honor.

“No expectation whatsoever,” Crowe said. “It’s really neat. It’s a wonderful community. It feels great to give back. We’ve been very welcomed here. It’s a very friendly atmosphere. It’s a good community.”

Crowe has been volunteering his time on committees, commissions, task forces, fundraising campaigns, and boards since his family moved to Roseburg in the mid-’90s. He was introduced by 2019 Chamber Board Chair Allen Pike.

MSullivan / MICHAEL SULLIVAN/The News-Review 

Gary Crow accepts the male Citizen of the Year Award during the 65th Annual Awards Dinner and Membership Meeting for the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday night at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

“Twenty-four years ago, our honoree and his entire family ... brought their wonderful company to our community,” Pike said. “Much more than that, it is the world-class people that came here and embraced this community as their own that is the true and everlasting gift.”

Overhead Door won small business of the year, Umpqua Insurance Agency won medium business of the year, Roseburg Forest Products won large business of the year and Donna Arnold won volunteer of the year.

Traditionally, the dinner is also used to announce the Future First Citizen scholarship for Roseburg High School students, but the scholarship was discontinued this year.

“This is my favorite event every year,” Chamber President and CEO Debbie Fromdahl said. “When we can celebrate our business community as a whole and especially the individual businesses, it’s exciting for us.

“That’s the lifeblood of this community,” she continued. “Then, to be able to recognize individuals on top of it.”

Fromdahl said the event gives her a chance to take a step back and really see how much the individuals and businesses have given to the community.

“I’m always just awestruck every year,” she said. “You think you know somebody, and then you sit back and look at the last 20 or 25 years of their life in the community and it’s just incredible. It’s one of the best things about our community.”

Oregon man dies in fiery crash near Sutherlin

An Oregon man is dead after a fiery crash on Interstate 5 near Sutherlin.

Just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, first responders were called to the freeway overpass after it was reported that a semi trailer crashed into a white Ford pickup truck that was allegedly backing up.

Witnesses said the truck, operated by Jelacio Carrasco Vargas, 59, of Keizer, had stopped in the northbound lanes of the freeway and was beginning to back up when a northbound semi trailer, operated by Xueyou Chen, 60, of San Gabriel, California, crashed into the back of the pickup.

People who saw the crash rushed to the pickup, which came to rest on the shoulder of the highway, and pulled Carrasco Vargas and his passenger, 29-year-old Ernesto Rodriguez Vargas, out of the vehicle as it caught fire, according to police.

Carrasco Vargas died from his injuries at the scene of the crash. Rodriguez Vargas was rushed to CHI Mercy Medical Center for serious injuries before being transferred to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield.

Chen was not injured in the crash.

Police said alcohol was being investigated as a possible contributing factor.

Traffic was reduced to a single lane near the off ramp near milepost 136 for about four hours while troopers from the Oregon State Police investigated the crash.

Troopers were assisted by the Sutherlin Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Fire District No. 2, the Sutherlin Fire Department, Bay Cities Ambulance and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Douglas County disagrees with court's decision regarding Jordan Cove pipeline permit

A Douglas County judge ruled in favor of petitioners suing the county over a key land use permit for the Jordan Cove Energy Project pipeline Wednesday.

The county issued statements to The News-Review Thursday showing that it disagrees with Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Johnson’s decision.

The ruling prevents a part of the natural gas pipeline from running through a 7-mile stretch of county forestland near Camas Valley.

The Canadian energy company Pembina plans to construct the pipeline across 229 miles of Southern Oregon from Malin to an export terminal in Coos Bay; 64 of those miles would be in Douglas County.

The ruling nullifies the permit, stating it became void when the county failed to grant its sixth permit extension by the deadline on Dec. 10, 2016. The permit was originally granted on Dec. 10, 2009. The county began granting one-year extensions for the permit in 2011 after construction didn’t begin within two years as required by the permit.

The county disagrees with the judge’s decision.

Tamara Osborne, a spokeswoman for the county, said county “commissioners are not allowed to directly comment on pending or potential land use decisions, should this matter come to the Board in a subsequent land use process.”

“The Douglas County Planning Department processed the requests for extension of land use approvals for the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline in accordance with County Land Use and Development Ordinance (LUDO), under which such extensions are ministerial actions,” read a statement issued by the county. “The requests were received in a timely manner and processed as required by the LUDO. Obviously, the Judge has a different opinion of events.”

Johnson’s opinion letter filed with the court states that the county’s argument is inconsistent with its previous positions.

“It appears from the record that up to and including Oct. 16, 2016, the county took the position that the extension must be approved prior to expiration or it become void pursuant to LUDO 2.800(1),” Johnson wrote.

Johnson also disagreed with the county’s statement that issuing an extension is a ministerial action by the county planning director.

“I do not believe that the extension is a ministerial action despite the efforts of the county to title it as such,” she said.

The energy company is currently exploring ways to continue its plan to build the pipeline on the 7-mile stretch of county forestland at issue, according to a statement from company spokesman Michael Hinrichs.

“We are now examining yesterday’s court decision and considering all options, including appeal,” Hinrichs said. “We are also looking at the administrative option of filing for a new permit. Any suggestion that we are out of options is misleading.”

Opinion letter from Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Johnson