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EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County is taking major steps to help more people gain access to mental health services by earning a $500,000 training grant to tackle the issue.

Lane County Behavioral Health Services Manager Katharine Schneider says many of those who frequent the Lane County Jail may share something in common.

“People with a mental health diagnosis are very over represented in the jails,” said Schneider.

Schneider says about 60 percent of inmates have a behavioral or mental health diagnosis and treatment is key in integrating them back into society, which is where the new training grant comes into play.

“Entry you know as people go through and as people are discharged from the legal system, so we’ll be focusing on the beginning part,” said Schneider.

While this training will hone in on providing a better treatment model for those behind bars, Schneider says mental issues are far reaching and those who need help may also be involved in other issues facing Lane County like substance abuse and homelessness.

“But we would like to instead of waiting to treat people or waiting until they’re feeling stable, or waiting until they’re clean and sober and then finding housing is not necessarily the way to go,” said Schneider.

Schneider says it comes full circle and other mental health professionals like Jeremy Jalabert agree — the training grant will enable the county to focus on the root of the problem.

“There’s a lot of compassion for bringing us to a place where we’re actually getting people the kind of treatment that they need and getting away from this idea of incarceration as treatment,” said Jalabert.

Lane County is one of six communities in the nation to receive the federal grant.

That training is next Tuesday — in addition to mental health officials, a number of political leaders and law enforcement are expected to attend.

Water Main BreakCORVALLIS, Ore. — Homes and businesses along 5th Street in Corvallis may be without water for at least 24 hours, as crews are working to fix a broken water main.

The break happened around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon near 5th St. and Harrison Blvd., and knocked out water along 5th St. between Tyler Ave. and Monroe Ave.

Public Works crews say water pressure may not have been as strong as usual in surrounding areas until about 4 pm, when crews were able to isolate the line.

“We’ve shut the valves off,” said Brian Rigwood, Utilities Division Manager. “Next crews will come out here and find where the leak is and see how big that main break is and what kind of repair we’ll have to do.”

Rigwood says crews are bringing water to neighbors in the area who need it. Crews expect to be out all night Tuesday, and will work until the repairs are made. He expects water to be out in the isolated area for at least 24 hours.

Crews say they are pressurizing the water system, which does not allow any outside contaminants into the water. They say the water is safe to drink.

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EUGENE, Ore. — On the eve of oral arguments in a major trial in U.S. District Court, supporters of same-sex marriage organized a rally on the steps of the Wayne Morse Courthouse in Eugene Tuesday night.

Close to 100 people showed up for the rally, which was one of seven across the state in anticipation of the trial.

Eugene will be the focus of national attention Wednesday as lawyers give oral arguments regarding the legality of Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, which voters passed in 2004.

Oregon’s Attorney General is choosing not to defend the ban in court, arguing that it is discriminatory.

The judge overseeing the case won’t issue a ruling until next month.

The National Organization for Marriage submitted a motion to intervene, meaning it wants to defend the ban since the state won’t. According to The Oregonian, Judge Michael McShane denied that request for Wednesday’s oral arguments, but is giving the organization more time to make its case.

Another hearing is scheduled for May 14th, when McShane will decide whether NOM has legal standing to intervene.

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University students, staff, faculty, and members of the Corvallis community went from booth-to-booth at OSU’s 14th annual Earth Day Community Fair on Tuesday, learning more about how to live more sustainably.

Dozens of booths promoted sustainability in different ways, including the promotion of buying locally and recycling.

“We should be doing this every day, but we’re celebrating the Earth,” said OSU student Efrain Cabrera, who helped sell local plants to fundraise for an on-campus group.

Other groups showcased their booths that promoted various sustainable practices – all as a reminder to keep the Earth green.

“With more people, we’re going to need more resources,” said OSU student Keeookaleo Noa, who was volunteering at a booth educating the public about overpopulation. “We need to know how to allocate those resources properly and more efficiently.”

Another booth, Plastics for Poets, shared information about plastic types.

“What you should not eat out of is PVC,” said OSU student Simon Fraher. “And obviously you’re not going to eat out of a PVC pipe but this is also PVC,” he said as he pointed to a Red Vines container. “This stuff isn’t that good for you. It can be carcinogenic and can cause hormonal problems. As can BPA.”

Fraher and other students in his class explained to visitors at their booth that BPA, though it has been banned from most water bottles, is still in many canned goods.

“Refried beans, canned tomatoes, canned anything,” Fraher said. “That has BPA in it. You have BPA in you right now. It’s in your blood stream from eating those foods. So that’s something people should be aware of.”

Fraher also stressed the importance of recycling.

“These PETE-type of plastic water bottles take about 10 million years to break down,” he said. “They’re reusable. So you can drink out of this. Your grandchildren can drink out of this. Their grandchildren can drink out of this.”

Earth Week events continue at OSU throughout the rest of the week. Click here for more details.

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Chief Meteorologist Justin Stapleton‘s Daily Forecast Discussion:  

On and off showers for most of the day this Tuesday as the trough of low pressure (think a big dip in the jetstream) is pooling chilly air across the Pacific Northwest. That allowed us to see everything from rain, mtn. snow, and even some soft ice pellets, or graupel. Tonight, more rain will fall, same as today, with showers and breaks throughout the night. Lows tonight will sit in the mid to low 40s.

The next two days will be fairly wet at the coast and inland valleys as back to back fronts will push through. Rainfall estimates are anywhere from 1-2″ in total at the coast and around an inch in the valleys. Winter weather advisories have been posted for the Northern Cascades, where close to 6″ of new snow may fall around the ski resorts level. Closer to the passes, travelers will see some icy conditions with 1-2″ of new snow to deal with. Highs will also be well below normal, only topping out in the mid 50s each day.

Friday also see plenty of showers, however by early Saturday, we might actually get about a 8 hour dry window as the next storm won’t arrive until Saturday evening. Sunday and Monday are back to showers but temperatures will be slowly rising back into the low 60s.

Have a great Tuesday night!

- Chief Meteorologist Justin Stapleton

Come chat with me on Facebook and Twitter ! 

Do you have a weather question you’ve always wanted to ask a meteorologist? Now’s your chance! Submit your questions here, and I might answer them on air.

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene man killed by a log on a Florence beach Sunday was remembered by his friends and frequent customers, Tuesday.

Ming Hsieh and his wife own the Yi Shen Market and Restaurant in west Eugene. Friends and acquaintances say the news of his death is heartbreaking. They remembered his generosity and how his American dream helped pave the way for other local businesses.

People who visit Yi Shen usually walk right through the front doors and were greeted by Hsieh and his wife while they ate or picked up grocery items. But on Tuesday, people who visited stayed outside the doors to drop stuff off.

People left flower, their thoughts and their prayers for Hsieh’s family.

Officials say he lost his life to help save a family member.

“My dad had called me and told me. I was driving. It probably wasn’t a good time to hear it. I actually had to pull over and I started crying. I started thinking about him,” said friend Angela Chan.

Chan knew Hsieh since she was a kid. She now co-owns the Koho Bistro and says his work ethic never went unnoticed by anyone who knew him.

“He has inspired me with all his hard work. He’s a super hard worker and he’s always there. Every time I went there, he was always at the restaurant,” Chan said.

Friends and frequent customers say Hsieh’s iconic store paved the way for other businesses in town.

“He was a big figure in the Asian community and a lot of people went to him. I think he was the first pho restaurant here in Eugene and really helped open the door for Vietnamese food,” Chan said.

“When you go in there, it’s always him and his wife, you know, iconic mom and pop, American dream store,” said frequent customer Tony Ngo.

“All I could think is he’s a hardworking man. He was always head down in his cuisine,” said frequent customer Bret Ford.

That hard work, paired with a soft heart leaves an impression on friends and anyone who walks out of those doors at Yi Shen.

“We just lost a great man,” Ngo said.

“He was a really sweet and gentle man,” Chan said.

4-22 house fireEUGENE, Ore. — Investigators are still looking into what caused a house fire in North Eugene Tuesday.

It happened just before 2 p.m. at a home on Gilham Road. The Eugene-Springfield Fire Department says no one was home at the time of the fire, but a pet cat died in the blaze.

About six units and 22 firefighters showed up on scene, putting out the fire in about 20 minutes.

Neighbors say it got pretty scary at one point.

“It was smoking pretty bad and coming out of all of the vents at the top of the house and then I looked in the back and the flames were shooting up out the back,” said neighbor Debbie Kostrikin.

Though the cause is still being investigated, firefighters believe the fire began in the back of the home. Damage was extensive and the home may be a total loss.

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EUGENE, Ore. –It’s been more than five months since a young man from Eugene was hit by a car while on his skateboard. He was critically injured, but has made an amazing recovery.

Scotty Svetal almost died, but his family calls him their hero as he works every day to regain his strength both mentally and physically. It would seem his positive attitude, strong spirit and smile are all helping him to heal.

Svetal’s smile is infectious and his strength, something to admire.

“He is my hero,” said his stepmom Christina Svetal.

In November Svetal was hit by a car while skateboarding. He has had four brain surgeries and was in a prolonged coma.

“There were several times we went through something, I wouldn’t wish on any parent,” said his dad Mike Svetal.

He spent almost two months in the hospital and is now here at the Green Valley Rehab Health Center.

Svetal doesn’t remember his accident, but tells us his feelings about it.

“I was scared because it’s a hard journey,” Scotty Svetal said.

That journey includes constant physical, occupational and speech therapy. His key to success he says is knowing one thing.

“Tomorrow is a beautiful day,” Scotty Svetal said.

“Scott just teaches me every day you got to wake up and say I choose to make this the best day ever,” Mike Svetal said.

He also hopes his accident will teach others the importance of wearing a helmet.

“Everyone wear a helmet, no matter how good you think you are,” Scotty Svetal said.

“Especially with the new skate park opening up, it is just so important to get the word out that everybody thinks it’s not going to happen to them, but that’s why you call it an accident because you never know,” Christina Svetal said.

Svetal will soon be transferred to the Oregon Rehab Center and his family hopes he can come home this summer.

“I look forward to tomorrow,” Scotty Svetal said.

Surrounded by inspirational quotes, it would seem the true inspiration is right here. Showing us the only way to get through the tough times of today is by looking ahead.

Svetal’s friends are organizing a run in his honor of him and to continue to raise helmet awareness. The Seize the Day 5k will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 3.

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EUGENE, Ore. — A downtown land owner was hoping to redevelop a chunk of land at Broadway and High Street. Already, rumors have been swirling that whole foods could again be trying to open a store in Eugene.

Talk among developers is that high-end grocer whole foods may want to try to move into the downtown Eugene area, but city leaders say they don’t know what retailer would be moving into the re-developed space.

The land near the Ferry Street Bridge is currently home to a parking lot, restaurant and an old credit union. But the owners of the lot are hoping that’ll soon change.

“The property owner of this block has submitted an application to the city to vacate east 8th Alley and Mill Alley,” said Becky.

The city giving up these alleys would pave the way for a major development in downtown.

“The alley vacation that the city council is being asked to approve essentially takes a very pivotal piece of property in town and will essentially position it to allow for one big development,” said Dave Hauser, Eugene Chamber of Commerce President.

The Eugene Chamber of Commerce says the opportunity to develop a piece of land that big is rare in the city, which is why the chamber is behind the project.

“We hope that the council will approve this alley vacation, which is a rather routine action and help us keep the momentum going that we have in terms of downtown revitalization,” Hauser said.

But it remains a mystery what retailer has its eye on the space.

“There’s also speculation about what will be built and we don’t know what will be built, the information that we have is that the property owner doesn’t have a lease signed with any particular tenant,” Becky said.

Whether the rumors are true, or not, local business leaders say with all the new apartment buildings going up around downtown, the people living downtown could use the extra places to shop.

“There are lots of retail uses we need downtown, some additional retail would be welcome throughout downtown,” said

A spokesperson for Whole Foods says the company has had its eyes on Eugene for years, but haven’t signed any leases for a specific site. There are no concrete plans for building one of their grocery stores in Eugene.

KilcullenSPRINGFIELD, Ore. – It was three years Monday, since the local law enforcement community lost one of its own.

A small memorial was set up at the intersection of Highway 126 and 52nd Street, where Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen was shot and killed while attempting a traffic stop.

His family says the loss doesn’t get easier, but they’re coping by trying to keep his memory alive, through a scholarship fund and the Kilcullen project, which raises money for the scholarship and other community events.

The woman accused of killing Kilcullen, Cheryl Kidd was committed to a mental hospital for two years, in November.

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