PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — As daily COVID-19 cases doubled in the past week, Oregon health officials report the highly transmissible delta variant has now become the dominant coronavirus variant in the state. But even as cases steeply rise, around 29% of adults in Oregon have yet to be vaccinated. Health experts warn this is becoming a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Officials presented evidence on Thursday which showed that counties with low-vaccination rates directly correlate with high-infection rates. In places like rural Umatilla County 43% of the population is partially or fully vaccinated. On Thursday, health officials reported that the county’s coronavirus-test positivity rate surpassed 14%.
BLY, Ore. (AP) — Lower winds and better weather helped crews using bulldozers and helicopters battling the nation’s largest wildfire in southern Oregon. But gusty winds have pushed a Northern California wildfire into Nevada, prompting evacuations as blazes burn across the West. Oregon’s Bootleg Fire grew to 624 square miles, which is over half the size of Rhode Island. However, authorities said higher humidity overnight and better conditions allowed crews to improve fire lines. The fire also was approaching an area burned by a previous fire on its active southeastern flank, raising hopes that a lack of fuel could reduce its spread. The forecast was for favorable firefighting weather again on Thursday.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A state board has stripped ex-West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus and fired West Linn Sgt. Tony Reeves of their police certifications over the wrongful arrest of Michael Fesser of Portland. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the state Board on Public Safety Standards & Training voted unanimously to OK the lifetime revocations for dishonesty and discriminatory behavior. Timeus started a theft investigation of Fesser as a favor for a friend. Reeves led the investigation at the behest of Timeus. Timeus’ friend was Eric Benson, Fesser’s boss at A&B Towing in Portland. Benson feared Fesser, who is Black, was going to bring a discrimination complaint against him. The public safety board found Timeus’ actions “discredited the policing profession.”
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Rep. Gary Leif has died. He was 64. House Republican Leader Christine Drazan confirmed his death Thurdsay in a statement. A cause of death wasn’t immediately available. Leif was seven months into his third term as a Republican state representative. His House District 2 includes parts of Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties. Previously, the representative had been a Douglas County Commissioner. Colleagues of Leif, a Republican, described the lawmaker as patient, humble, hardworking and a mentor.