Brush fire 3CRESWELL, Ore. — Quick action may have helped to save some homes from a brush fire.

Flames tore through a field near Dale Kuni Road and Emerald Valley Drive. Crews managed to stop the fire which was burning right next to a residential area.

As for a possible cause, one homeowner gave her take after the people working on her house explained what happened.

“Evidently there was someone mowing from the city of Creswell,” said Judy Moore. “It looks like they took a big chunk out of the curb. Low and behold, there was a fire right after that.”

KEZI 9 News cameras did find a big chunk missing from the curb. Firefighters on scene did not confirm that the lawn mower was the source of the fire.

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EUGENE, Ore. — A long debated and at times contentious ordinance, now approved.
Employers in Eugene are required to provide sick leave for their employees.
The Eugene City Council passed an ordinance Monday night making employers provide their workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
The council didn’t waste any time in passing this ordinance.
It was an item on their agenda for their 7:30 p.m. work session Monday night but the council ended up voting on the ordinance in their earlier 5:30 p.m. meeting.
At the later meeting a number of people applauded the council’s decision.
In fact, not one person during public comment spoke against the council’s vote.
The decision comes after months of talks on this issue and hearing from a divided community.
At a public hearing last week nearly 70 people signed up for public comment.
Workers have said they need the paid sick leave because they often end up choosing between paying their bills and going to work sick.
Business leaders have said this ordinance would go over their heads and business would suffer.
But Mayor Kitty Piercy says both sides have had a voice on the matter.
“We had a task force that had people who were for it and people who were against it and a lot of businesses. And they all got to bring up all their issues because that was the whole purpose of the task force, tell us all the things you’re concerned about,” said Piercy.
There were some amendments to the ordinance.
Businesses who are based outside of Eugene won’t fall under this ordinance.
But if they have employees who work inside the city limits for 240 hours a year, then they’d need to provide them with paid sick leave.
Lane County recently passed its own ordinance exempting county employees from the ordinance.
But Monday night the council also amended its version exempting governmental agencies including Lane County, potentially avoiding a legal battle.

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High pressure is centered over the Desert Southwest spinning warm, unstable air into the Pacific Northwest. This will keep inland temperatures well above normal, into the 90′s and maybe warmer, all week long. Every afternoon there will be a chance for thunderstorms to bloom along the Cascade Range. Tuesday and Wednesday look like the best chance for the strongest storms. These thunderstorms could drift into the Willamette Valley and Umpqua Basin. This basic weather pattern will last into early next week.

Along the coast, the weather pattern will stay stable for you as well: morning cloud cover burning off to afternoon sunshine and high temperatures in the 60′s. The afternoons will be breezy with north winds around 15 mph with higher gusts.

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EUGENE, Ore. — New documents were released Monday about a man police say killed a Sweet Home woman.

According to court documents, police arrested 33-year-old Austin Rolfe on July 9 for an assault case unrelated to the murder of the woman. That same day, hikers found Heaven King’s body in the Umpqua National Forest.

The documents said Austin Rolfe was arrested in early July for assaulting 56-year-old Larry Delatorre of Springfield.

The victim did not wish to speak on camera, but says Rolfe hit him in the back of his head with a tree branch as he was getting out of his car. Delatorre says he didn’t know the man, and though he’s not critically injured, he says he had to go to the hospital.

That very same day, the Lane County Sheriff’s Office says hikers found 36-year-old King’s body in the forest east of Cottage Grove.

“It’s hard to look over there and not see her car,” said Carla Schmidt, King’s neighbor.

Meanwhile, neighbors are trying to understand why she was killed.

“She wasn’t just a friend. She became family. I mean, that’s how close we all were,” Schmidt said.

Rolfe is also accused of King’s murder.

“I met him, but I wasn’t close to him or personal with him at all,” Schmidt said.

“I barely knew him,” said Schmidt’s daughter Veronica, who says King was her best friend. “When he was over here with her, he was always in the house. He very rarely came out and talked to anybody.”

And for friends who considered King family, they didn’t realize King and Rolfe were dating.

Their relationship is still a mystery, but on Facebook, King posted this comment on one of Rolfe’s photos in January: “Your cute in every picture:)you have a beautiful soul and I’m glad your mine..”

Then on July 2, just a week before her body was found, Rolphe posted this on his Facebook wall. He wrote, “I love u Hun. Mrs. Heaven.King.Rolfe.”

Rolfe is being charged with assault in the second degree for the first case. He is also being charged for the murder of Heaven Angel King and for the abuse of a corpse in the second degree. He is schedule to be back in court in a few weeks.

WHITEAKER CONSTUCTIONEUGENE, Ore. — Expect detours if traveling through Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood.

Crews started construction Monday along First Avenue, and Monroe and Madison streets.

The $2.2 million project is largely funded through a bond measure voters passed two years ago.

The project manager says when construction is finished, not only will the roads be smoother but the sidewalks will be more accessible and bike lanes wider.

“It’s important that we get in here and we fix them while we can before they deteriorate to the point where we have to spend extra money to do the same amount of work,” said Chuck Mueller, project manager.

Construction’s expected to be finished by early October.

hair stylist awardEUGENE, Ore. — A local woman is proud to learn she’s a cut above the rest when it comes to styling hair.

Alisha Basham works at London Hair Studio and Day Spa in Eugene.

She’s only been doing hair for five years, but just recently won a gold medal at the Trend Vision 2014 Competition.

Basham will be one of two stylists representing the united states at the international level in Monaco in November at the Olympics of Hair World Championship.

“It just meant everything to me and when you’re there at the show and you’re looking around at how amazing all of the competitors are it just feels so good that you’re in there right there with them,” Basham said.

Basham will represent the U.S. as the young talent, and a second stylist will contend in the color category.

11-11-SCOUT-FOR-FOODEUGENE, Ore. — FOOD for Lane County stocked its shelves Monday.

Hundreds got into the Lane County Fair Sunday with a donation of three canned food items.

Thirty-nine percent of residents in Lane County are eligible for emergency food assistance.

Organizers say this year’s drive brought in about 26,000 pounds of food.

FFLC-c says this year’s donations will go toward eliminating hunger throughout the county.

“It’s phenomenal because they’re trying to make their ends meet and make their budget work, and the fact that they’re able to get people in on a Sunday and do some good for the community is fantastic,” said Brad Bassi, food resource developer.

This is the tenth year the fair has partnered with FFLC for this food drive. Last year’s collection brought in more than 27,000 pounds of food–the most ever.

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UPDATE: Confirmed by UO Police Department - Three of 4 missing Ethiopian athletes are safe in Beaverton. Missing persons case active on fourth. Latest on KEZI 9 News at 5 and 6 p.m.

EUGENE, Ore. — New information is surfacing about the four missing Ethiopian track athletes who disappeared from the World Junior Track and Field championships this weekend.

Investigators think they may have pinpointed their location.

University of Oregon police say they believe the athletes are in the Portland area visiting friends and family.

“The three women are all over 18 and then the one juvenile male who is 17,” said Kelly McIver, UOPD spokesman.

The athletes were reported missing Saturday morning.

“They had not checked into their residence hall room when they were expected to, and so that’s where the report originally came from,” McIver said.

Since the report, UO police have been working with the FBI and homeland security to try to locate them.

Investigators say they believe the missing persons are still in Oregon.

“What we have heard is that they are reportedly in the Portland area visiting family friends of some kind,” McIver said.

UOPD says although they have spoken on the phone with people who claim the four athletes are safe, it still poses a challenge.

“We’ve can’t verify identities over the phone, so that’s where we need, that extra step of people being able to step up and show their identification, show their faces to some kind of government agency or police department,” McIver said.

Until identities can be confirmed, investigators are treating this as a missing persons case. Police say the team is leaving with our without the team members, who can stay if they choose.

“They’re here on a visa. They’re here legally. We don’t have an interest in anything other than making sure they’re safe, so we just want to make sure that they can come forward, verify that they’re safe and secure, and then they can go about their business,” McIver said.

Speculations have come up that the four athletes may be trying to seek asylum, but police say they can’t confirm that. UOPD says with international events like the World Juniors, incidents like this are always a possibility, and they do discuss how to handle it if it were to happen.

Sick SneezeEUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene could join a number of other cities, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Portland, requiring all employers to provide sick leave for their employees.

Over the last several months the community has debated the ordinance, and now the city council is scheduled to make a decision Monday night.

The decision hinges on weeks of input from the community. Last week we heard from a packed house. Harris Hall was at full capacity. Nearly 70 people signed up for public comment on the issue.

The ordinance would require all employers to provide workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Testimony last week was divided. Some employees who spoke said many workers have to choose between paying their bills and going to work sick. But business leaders said they object to an ordinance that reaches into cities and companies who have neither a voice nor a vote in the matter.

“I’m sure if the shoe were on the other foot, if Springfield passed an ordinance mandating how you do business in Eugene, you’d have a strong and immediate negative response. And you should,” said Dan Egan, Springfield Chamber of Commerce President.

“Many workers without paid sick leave are low-wage workers, women, immigrants and people of color. Providing these workers with paid sick leave would be a powerful declaration of our community’s commitment to the well-being of all workers, not just the favored few,” said a resident at a public hearing.

Councilors have gone back and forth on this issue talking about the importance of protecting the health of the community and what kind of impact it could have on small businesses.

If the council passes the ordinance, it would go into effect July 2015 with a grace period of about six months.

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EUGENE, Ore. — Marchers are on a cross-country journey called The Great March for Climate Action.

Several of the marchers are from Eugene.

We first told you about them back in February. They started walking on March 1, trekking 3,000 miles Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

On Monday, the group of about 30 marchers will be arriving in Omaha, Nebraska.

John Abbe, a walker and organizer of this event, joined us on KEZI 9 News Midday via Skype. Click on the video to watch the interview to learn more about the march.

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