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One in custody following morning pursuit

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Albany police have one man in custody following a chase this morning near Linn-Benton Community College.
Michael Paul Scoggins, 36, was taken down by Taser and arrested on outstanding warrants for failure to appear on a charge of possession of methamphetamine and failure to appear on two counts of first-degree theft.
Scoggins was also wanted on warrants for first-degree robbery, unlawful use of a vehicle, menacing and felon in possession of a weapon. The charges match the ones Scoggins faced in a February indictment linked to a 2013 robbery, but it was not immediately clear whether this was the same case.
Capt. Eric Carter said Scoggins also was charged with eluding in a vehicle, eluding on foot and reckless driving in connection with this morning's incident.
"There may be some charges later related to narcotics-related offenses," he said.
Carter said officers had been looking for Scoggins and received a tip he'd be in a certain area today. 
They caught up with him about 10:15 a.m. in the 1000 block of Queen Avenue S.W., but he drove away in a Dodge Caravan. Officers followed the caravan from Queen to Pacific and south to Belmont, where he traveled through several neighborhoods before coming back out onto Pacific. Speeds briefly reached about 80 mph, Carter said.
The chase ended shortly before 10:30 a.m., when Scoggins pulled the Dodge up over a curb at the corner of College Park and Jonna Court and fled on foot. 
Officers caught up with him a short distance away and deployed a Taser. 
He is lodged in the Linn County Jail.

Man, 49, charged with sex abuse of girl

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ALBANY — An Albany man was charged Monday afternoon with three counts of first-degree sodomy and three counts of first-degree sex abuse.
David Alan Salsman, 49, was arrested Sunday by Albany Police Department.
His bail was set at $50,000 by Judge Carol Bispham during Monday’s brief hearing.
Joan Demarest was appointed Salsman’s attorney.
The alleged victim in the case is an elementary school-aged girl who Salsman knows.
A status check in the case is set for June 2.
First-degree sodomy is a Measure 11 offense that, with child victims under 12, brings a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years.
The mandatory minimum prison sentence for first-degree sex abuse is more than six years in prison.

Giant Croc shoe sign stolen

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Motorists who whiz past the Chateau Furniture store don’t automatically expect that, in addition to furnishings, the store sells Croc shoes — the colorful, comfy foam clogs made by a company of the same name.
That’s why store owners Ed and Lois Dasteur hung an orange, 8-by-4 foot plywood sign — cut and shaded to look like a giant Croc shoe — outside the place at 1430 N.W. Ninth St.
“It brought in a lot of business,” Lois Dasteur said.
She speaks in past tense because, about three weeks ago, someone stole the sign.
“I didn’t notice it missing because I was so used to it,” she said.
When a new customer — sent in by a friend — asked Lois Dasteur if the store sold Crocs, Dasteur pointed outside to where the sign should have been.
It seemed almost inconceivable. The giant Croc was suspended at least 20 feet in the air, attached in two places by heavy metal rings.
“It would be really tough to get to it,” Ed Dasteur said, guessing that the culprits might have used a ladder, but adding that he didn’t perform maintenance work on the sign without a bucket truck.
The Dasteurs reported the theft to police on May 5, but with no surveillance cameras pointed in that direction, no idea when the sign actually was taken or who would have taken it, police don’t have much to go on.
“It hasn’t been assigned for investigation at this point. There are no leads,” Capt. Dave Henslee of the Corvallis Police Department said Tuesday.
The Dasteurs commissioned now-retired Santiam Christian School art teacher Paul Carlson to do the project about 12 years ago. They originally hung the shoe outside their shop, Forever Antiques, at Philomath Boulevard and 53rd Street. Then the sign moved with them when they opened Chateau Furniture about two years ago.
They don’t remember how much it originally cost to make, but estimate that a new custom-made sign made of the same material — marine plywood — would cost at least $2,500 today.
They gladly would accept the sign back, no questions asked, Lois Dasteur said. In fact, they even offered a cash reward for its safe return.
“It’s a valuable thing for us because it’s not something we can go downtown and find,” Ed Dasteur said.

Pickup, pulled by motor home, catches fire west of Philomath

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Firefighters put out a pickup fire Tuesday on Highway 20, about six miles west of Philomath.
A husband and wife from the Grants Pass area were traveling west in a motor home, towing a pickup behind them, when they noticed smoke, according to Philomath Fire Marshal Ray Hubbell. They pulled over about a mile west of Priest Road and call 911.
Philomath firefighters were dispatched at 1:04 p.m., and a Blodgett crew was sent out a short time later after it was determined to be in Blodgett’s fire protection district.
A motorist pulled over and helped the couple detach the motor home and move it safely away from the smoking Chevrolet Avalanche.
“The motor home was made of nothing but fiberglass and that stuff burns like no tomorrow,” Hubbell said. “Then you have propane and diesel fuel. They were lucky that they could get it away from the fire as fast as they did.”
By the time firefighters arrived, visible flames were coming out of the pickup’s engine compartment and moving into the passenger compartment, Hubbell said.
One of the two westbound lanes of the highway was blocked during the minutes it took to put out the fire and clear the scene, Hubbell said. The owner had disconnected the pickup’s battery so the cause of the fire must have been mechanical and not electrical, but firefighters didn’t investigate the specific cause.

Couple assaulted, robbed in downtown Corvallis

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A 27-year-old transient man was arrested in downtown Corvallis on Monday evening for allegedly assaulting a couple and their dog with rocks and a stick, then leaving with the woman’s purse and bicycle.
Corvallis police arrested Dennis Richard Becker on charges of robbery, theft, assault, animal abuse, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, attempted escape and disorderly conduct.
Robert and Lynette Brokaw of Corvallis flagged down a patrol car near Fourth Street and Western Boulevard on Monday at 8:07 p.m. after the alleged assault, according to Capt. Dave Henslee of the Corvallis Police Department.
They reported to police that a man who appeared intoxicated began talking to them as they were walking by his encampment beneath the bridge at Third Street and Philomath Boulevard.
After they asked him to leave them alone, the suspect allegedly pushed Robert Brokaw to the ground and picked up a stick and stuck their dog. As the couple tried to leave, the suspect reportedly threw rocks at them the size of grapefruit.
They suffered visible injuries, Henslee said, but refused medical treatment.
Police picked up Becker west of the location along the bike route.
He reportedly fought arrest and tried to slip out of his handcuffs while in the patrol car, Henslee said. Due to his behavior and perceived level of intoxication, he was taken to the hospital for medical clearance before being taken to jail. While at the hospital, he allegedly damaged a wheelchair and attempted to kick an officer.

Man sentenced to 12 years for sex abuse

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ALBANY — A Lyons man was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison on sex crime charges on Wednesday in Linn County Circuit Court.
Jonathan James Wallock, 26, of Lyons, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree sex abuse in March.
As part of a plea deal, two other counts of first-degree sex abuse were dismissed.
The victim in the case was a female younger than 14, and Wallock subjected her to sexual contact between April and October 2013.
Linn County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case and arrested Wallock in October.
Wallock will be required to register as a sex offender

Body found in pond identified as missing S.H. man

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SWEET HOME — The death of Tim E. Miller, 56, who was found Wednesday in a farm pond southwest of town, is being investigated as suspicious, according to Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley.
Miller was a Sweet Home resident and truck driver.
An autopsy was performed Thursday morning at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Portland.
Miller’s son, Jason Miller, also of Sweet Home, reported his father missing on Tuesday.
About noon Wednesday, the body was found in a farm pond at 25491 Crescent Hill Road, about six miles southwest of Sweet Home.
The property, known as Rockin Red Ranch, is owned by Janice Urben and encompasses more than 80 acres of pasture and timber.
Riley said the Major Crimes Team is investigating the incident, but could not say whether he believed incidents leading to Miller’s death occurred at the farm or elsewhere, with Miller’s body being moved to the site.
The Major Crimes Team includes members from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the Albany, Lebanon and Sweet Home police departments, Oregon State Police, the District Attorney’s Office and the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
“We’re talking to everybody,” Riley said. “It’s a big property and lots of people come and go through it. There are lots of people involved to be interviewed.”
In the past, the ranch had hosted an annual summer party and has hosted fundraisers to help families in need.
Riley said he didn’t know how long the body had been in the pond.
Linn County reporter Alex Paul can be contacted by calling 541-812-6114 pr by emailing [email protected]

ODOT to begin striping on I-5 on Sunday night

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Oregon Department of Transportation crews will begin striping Interstate 5 starting this Sunday, May 11 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Crews will begin at the southern end of ODOT’s Region 2 at around milepost 170 just south of Cottage Grove, and then moving north. The work depends on the weather.
Over the next month or so, crews will continue striping during the night, covering both southbound and northbound lanes until they’ve completed the work. The northern boundary of Interstate 5 in Region 2 ends around milepost 280 near Wilsonville.
During the striping project on the interstate, there will be temporary lane closures but no complete closures. There could be some congestion, so motorists should expect minor delays. Variable message signs on trucks will warn motorists of the road work and to slow down.

Zone change keeps Alsea quarry open

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The Benton County Board of Commissioners took steps on Tuesday to ensure the Oregon Department of Transportation would be able to continue using a rock quarry in Alsea.
The commissioners voted 3-0 in a public hearing to grant ODOT’s request for a zone change, applying a surface mining overlay to the 25-acre quarry on South Fork Road. The overlay also extends to neighboring private property within 1,500 feet, limiting new uses that could conflict with quarry operations.
ODOT has owned the site since 1948 and uses it sporadically to mine rock for highway-building and maintenance operations in the region.

New facts point to kidnapper of Corvallis girl in 1978

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It’s been more than 36 years since 12-year-old Ann Ellingwood went missing April 15, 1978, during a charity walk-a-thon, never to be seen again.
But on April 18, retired Salem Police Sgt. James “J.R.” Miller met with Ann’s parents and with the parents of Stephanie Newsom, 11, who went missing four days later in West Salem. Stephanie’s body was found eight days after that, near the Ankeny Hill Wildlife Refuge.
Monday, Salem police announced that Miller had been conducting a cold case investigation since November and had found new witness evidence that the man who committed suicide in June 1978, as he was under subpoena to testify about his possible involvement, indeed had been responsible.
That man was Earl “Woody” Chambers, a 42-year-old roofer who had done prison time for raping young girls . He’d done some construction in the Timberhill area that spring and several witnesses reported seeing his truck in the vicinity of Pioneer Park, where Ann last was seen. She’d lagged her friends due to a sore foot.
About that same time and place, a man in a maroon Ford pickup with a small white camp trailer approached another girl on the walk-a-thon and asked her to watch his small dog. The man then opened the door to the trailer and told the girl to put the dog in the trailer. But she didn’t get in herself; she sort of tossed the dog in the trailer and walked away.
Witnesses reported that moments later, they saw a girl matching Ann Ellinwood’s description talking with a man with a small dog next to the maroon pickup and camp trailer. They overheard the man telling the girl he was the chief of police. Within minutes the girl, the man, and the pickup with trailer were gone — and so forever was Ann Marie Ellinwood.
A similar vehicle was seen in the vicinity of Stephanie Newsom shortly before she disappeared from West Salem, four days later, as she was delivering advertising circulars.
Two days after that, the public had a description of the man and the vehicle. The description matched Chambers, who then had long strawberry blonde hair and a thick mustache. But not for long. As police began investigating his actions around the time of the disappearances, he shaved his face, cut his hair and dyed it black.
The young woman who’d put the dog into the trailer on the walk-a-thon was shown a photo of the clean-shaven version of Chambers — and she didn’t recognize him.
That changed after Miller began looking into the case, Lt. Steve Birr of the Salem Police Department’s criminal investigations section said Monday.
“They’d shown her (the unnamed witness) a lot of photos of sex offenders at the time, and they were similarly “mug shot-y”-looking pictures.” Birr said. “She was just never shown the one with his long hair. You wouldn’t even recognize the same person. She just figured they were different people. So when JR contacted her and said I’d like to send her photos, she jumped right away and said it was him (the man with the dog).”
While Birr said this should close the case for the Corvallis police, Capt. Dave Henslee of the CPD said it might solve who did it more decisively, but it will not be closed.
“Until she’s found, we will work it actively,” he said Monday.
Last month, for instance, based on a tip that Chambers spent some time at a property owned by one of his employers, police — including investigators from Corvallis — dug up an old well in Polk County after receiving a tip that Chambers had stayed there for a time in the spring of 1978. No remains were found.
Ann’s parents, Don and Susan Ellinwood, after having endured the media spotlight for so long, long ago stopped responding to media requests for interviews, as reported in a 2009 article about the case. They did not return calls Monday.
Birr said that the inquiry also has discovered another possible missed opportunity to have positively linked Chambers to the cases in June 1978, when then-embattled Marion County District Attorney Gary Gortmaker announced that two Salem attorneys were seeking permission from a judge to disclose information from a former client who had recently died.
Gortmaker — who later was disbarred on unrelated corruption charges — announced that the information would result in him convening a Marion County Grand Jury into the disappearances of the two girls.
But that never happened.
One of the attorneys who had sought legal permission in 1978 to tell what he knew recently told Miller that because of what Chambers told him, he knew that his client had been responsible for Ellinwood’s disappearance. Unfortunately, that information apparently did not extend to where her body might be found.

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