Administrators at Roseburg High School are investigating a report that a school employee brought a firearm to work that was later stolen by a trespasser, according to police.
The backpack was stolen from an unlocked closet around 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Police were notified immediately and, with the help of security footage, the suspect was identified and arrested.
Hope Elaine Shaw, 39, was charged with two counts of first-degree theft, second-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. She was transported to the Douglas County Jail and arraigned. She is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
The stolen property, which included a magazine, ammunition, holster, magazine holder and a Sig Sauer 229 .40 caliber handgun, belonged to Curtis Lee Guyer, a school custodian, according to court documents.
Roseburg Public Schools has a policy against firearms on campus for students and staff and, according to a press release, the district’s human resources department will be addressing any possible personnel issues.
“The security and safety of our students is our highest priority,” Roseburg Public Schools interim Superintendent Lee Paterson said, who added there may have been a handful of students on campus at the time.
According to the district’s policy, the employee would be subject to discipline up to, and including dismissal. Guyer has been at Roseburg High School since 2015, according to the school website.
“Any questions regarding the school employee or any reasons why the gun may have been on the campus, are part of the ongoing investigation and therefore cannot be answered at this time,” Roseburg Police Department spokesperson Jeff Eichenbusch wrote in a press release. “We can say that based on information obtained during this investigation so far, there were no crimes committed by the school employee.”
According to the police report, Shaw left a “loaded gun magazine inside a booth at Denny’s.” When police investigated, they saw a woman who matched the description of the suspect.
Shaw, a convicted felon, was observed tossing an object into the river from the Washington Street bridge, which is believed to have been the handgun. Police interviewed Shaw, and “she admitted to throwing the handgun and one of the magazines over the bridge into the river,” according to the report.
Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, a police spokesman said the Douglas County Search and Rescue team located the firearm in the river and it is now in police custody.
Paterson hoped to have a full report from the police department by the end of the week, while the district is conducting its own interviews.
“We’re doing regular employee interviews right now to find out to what extent our policies were violated and what the response might be,” Paterson said. “Probably early next week we’ll know how we’re going to respond.”
In 2017, a wanted felon who was later found to be in possession of 50 grams of methamphetamine was arrested at the school after police say he snuck into the school’s faculty lounge through an unlocked food service door.
After that incident, Principal Jill Weber said the arrest gave the school a chance to review protocol.
A lot of years have been spent getting students to go to universities and to pursue four-year degrees, unintentionally creating a shortage of skilled laborers across the country.
“There’s millions of jobs available in the country right now that are only open because the skills aren’t there,” said Jason Aase, Umpqua Community College’s dean of career and technical education. “People don’t have the skills, so (Career Technical Education) is a critical part of building that skill set.”
Gwen Soderberg-Chase, who teaches Early Childhood Education at UCC and is the executive director for Douglas County Partners for Students Success, is working hard to change people’s perspective of skilled labor jobs.
“You can get a satisfying, high-wage job without a four-year degree,” she said. “We try to help students and families see the increased value they get from a career that can be satisfying.”
In 2016, voters approved Measure 98, which provides funding for drop-out prevention and career and college readiness programs at Oregon high schools. This year the Oregon Legislature will decide whether school districts with a remote high school are able to use some of the money to improve existing career and technical education programs.
Legislators will also vote on a bill this year that would direct the Oregon Department of Education to coordinate with the Oregon FFA Association to increase student achievement and improve college preparation and career placement for students enrolled in agricultural classes, including funding contracts for school district personnel to manage these programs during summer months.
Roseburg High School Principal Jill Weber went to the state capitol in February to seek an expansion in funding, while also informing legislators of the success of CTE programs at the high school.
Graduation data released by the Oregon Department of Education for the 2017-18 school year showed that high school students concentrated in CTE courses had a 92.8% graduation rate, where those participating in CTE had an 88% graduation rate. The overall graduation rate for Oregon was more than 78%.
Thanks to the passing of Measure 98, Roseburg High School has added two programs in the past two years. High schools in Riddle, South Umpqua, Glendale, Days Creek and Winston-Dillard are pooling funds to build a CTE center, while other school districts are increasing courses taught at their schools and buying equipment to keep up with advancements in technology.
“CTE programs allow students who have interest in and prefer to learn kinetically, to have a more enriching education,” Roseburg High School Career Center Coordinator Jim Early said. “Additionally, learning the practical skills and techniques that students learn in these programs can give them a clearer and more positive outlook on life after high school.”
Aase reiterated that point.
“CTE education is not a second choice, it’s not a second seed, it’s a first choice and it is collegiate level, it’s not a fail-safe, it’s not anything hack university,” he said. “CTE is a first-level choice. These are collegiate level courses I’m teaching and they are very good family-wage jobs.”
Funding for career and college readiness programs started in the 2017-19 biennium and has helped not only Douglas County high schools but also the community college and business owners.
According to legislation, $170 million was made available for the biennium, which equates to approximately $800 per student.
Although this money has in part helped students get ready for college, higher education institutions are not receiving state funding for technology programs.
“We now have to find funding to update UCC labs and equipment to ensure that UCC keeps current with, and ahead of, the new technologies now available to many high school students,” said Clay Baumgartner, department chair of applied science and technology at UCC.
The college relies on donations and grants to keep up with technology.
It received $8 million in state funding for a capital project, which was included in the governor’s budget for the 2015-17 biennium, for construction of a 60,000-square-foot Industrial Arts Technology Building. The college has to secure a funding match by January 2021 to proceed.
Another portion left out of the Measure 98 funding is anything prior to high school.
“At some point when you’re young, everything is possible. It doesn’t matter your gender and it doesn’t matter who you are, everything is open,” Aase said. “It seems like when you get to sixth, seventh and eighth grade, at some point social norms, social pressures kicks in. ... If you don’t catch them before that switch gets flipped, it’s sometimes hard to get that switch turned on again.”
Douglas County Partners for Student Success has been working with the Douglas Education Service District and schools throughout the county to help provide materials to students from preschool to college with the Umpqua Valley STEAM hub and Bright Futures Umpqua. The two programs are aiming for shared outcomes, with different approaches.
The group helps with educator development, partnership development and supplying materials for science fairs and education through the Umpqua Valley STEAM hub. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Additionally, DCPSS serves as a go-between for businesses and schools, particularly through Bright Futures Umpqua. The program helps connect community volunteers with students for job shadows, mentoring, field trips, internships, camps, or presentations.
Bright Futures Umpqua has four main components: career awareness career exploration, career preparation, and career training, skills and education.
Beyond focusing on improving the image of CTE, Soderberg-Chase, director of DCPSS, said the hands-on approach is something that should be explored in areas outside of technical jobs.
Seven Oregon state lawmakers have submitted a letter opposing a request to extend the public comment period for the Jordan Cove Energy Project.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed 229-mile natural gas pipeline on March 29. The public comment deadline is July 5. The document is more than 1,100 pages and includes 34 appendices, many of which are hundreds of pages.
On April 11, Oregon U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden submitted a letter to FERC requesting an extension to the public comment period. They cited concerns that landowners don’t have enough time to review the document and submit comments. Many rural landowners don’t have internet access, and the document is only available online or at public libraries.
On April 17, a group of state lawmakers, including Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Roseburg, and Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, submitted a letter to FERC opposing Wyden and DeFazio’s extension request. They said the 98-day comment period is enough time for adequate review, and an extension would only further delay the project.
Rep. Caddy McKeown, D-Coos Bay, and Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, also submitted the letter opposing the extension. A natural gas export terminal for the project has been proposed in Coos Bay.
Wyden and DeFazio’s request was a response to landowners’ complaints that the public comment period is insufficient to fully review environmental impacts of the pipeline.
The pipeline’s proposed path would cross more private landowners’ properties in Douglas County than any other county.
“Given the considerable size of this project, the fact that the project affects landowners in four separate Oregon counties, and the fact that the (document) itself is more than 1,000 pages, we believe a 90-day public comment period is an inadequate amount of time for the public to review and make comments,” read the letter submitted to FERC by DeFazio and Wyden.
They also encouraged FERC to further engage with Native American tribes whose lands will be affected.
“There are several tribes with strong cultural and historical interests in the affected areas, the federal government has a responsibility to engage in meaningful and robust government-to-government consultation,” read the letter.
FERC did not respond to The News-Review’s inquiry regarding a decision on the extension request.
The letter stated many rural landowners lack high-speed internet necessary to download and review the document. FERC hasn’t provided paper copies of the document to affected landowners, who said the option of viewing the document in public libraries still presents a substantial barrier.
In a response letter, state lawmakers opposed the extension and said the current comment period is sufficient.
“While I agree on certain points made in the letter, I have serious concerns about extending the comment period for this Project,” the letter said. “And while I agree that Oregonians need to have genuine public engagement in the FERC’s review of the project, I believe the current 98-day comment period is an adequate amount of time for the public to review and make comments.
“Extending the comment period for the project would only serve to delay, not further inform, the permitting process,” read the letter.
Frank Adams, a landowner in Winston whose property would be crossed by the pipeline, filed a complaint with FERC on April 26, stating there are significant barriers to his review of the document.
“As a veteran who fought for this country, I am deeply disappointed that the U.S. government would allow a foreign company to take my land in order to ship gas to another continent,” Adams said.
“I do not have internet in my home or on my property. As I understand it, Jordan Cove filed a letter on the internet with FERC on April 16, 2019, noting that they had distributed ... hard copies to libraries. This is not a practical solution for giving rural Oregon landowners sufficient access and time to the (documents) to properly review it.
“As a full-time rancher, the library’s hours do not allow me nearly enough time to review the (documents),” Adams said.
He said he didn’t have access to the document on the date of his complaint, and if he obtained access, he would need at least 90 days to review it.
Separately, a group of landowners filed a motion on April 18 to strike the current environmental impact statement, stating it doesn’t provide adequate opportunity for review. The motion also requested FERC send paper copies of the document to affected landowners and extend the public comment period to 180 days. More than 40 landowners signed onto the request.
“Landowners demonstrate that the (draft environmental impact statement) and comment period are constitutionally and statutorily insufficient,” said Tonia Moro, an attorney representing the landowners. “Landowners are extremely confident that correcting the document, ensuring landowners have access to the document and extending the comment period to 180 days will lead to many more meaningful comments which are necessary to minimize the risk of an erroneous decision.”
In a letter to FERC responding to the extension request, Jordan Cove stated the extension should not be granted because the public comment period is longer than those of other similar projects. Oregon state lawmakers made the same argument in their letter opposing the extension.
The landowners’ motion states that while the 98-day public comment period is about 40 days longer than that of other proposed pipeline projects, the Jordan Cove draft environmental impact statement is about five times the size of the other projects.
The final environmental impact statement and FERC’s final decision are scheduled on Oct. 11 and Jan. 9, 2020, respectively.