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Corvallis police pursuit ends in Independence with spike strips


A Corvallis man faces eluding and hit-and-run charges for allegedly leading law enforcement agencies on a chase that began Thursday at 5:56 p.m. in downtown Corvallis and ended with spike strips in Independence.
Jon Daniel Tilles, 52, was arraigned Friday in Polk County Circuit Court on a felony charge of attempting to elude police and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving.
Corvallis police filed paperwork with the Benton County District Attorney’s Office on Friday to tack on additional charges of attempting to elude, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and hit-and-run, Capt. Dave Henslee of the Corvallis Police Department said Friday.
Two Corvallis officers were on an unrelated call on the 500 block of Southwest Second Street when a motorist in a white 2000 Subaru drove by, stopped at the intersection with Washington Avenue, then took off quickly.
“After he looked at the officers, he accelerated rapidly and squealed the tires,” Henslee said.
The officers recognized the suspect as Tilles from previous encounters. An officer followed him in a patrol car east onto Washington Avenue and First Street, then activated his lights when he saw that the suspect had stopped the car while facing north in the southbound lane. The suspect accelerated again, Henslee said, traveling north on First Street, then west on Jefferson Avenue – going the wrong way down a one-way street – then turned north onto Third Street.
A car ran into the passenger side of the suspect’s vehicle after he ran a red light at Third and Harrison Boulevard. No one was hurt in the minor collision, Henslee said, and the suspect continued speeding north on Highway 99W.
Corvallis police quit chasing the suspect shortly before they reached Circle Boulevard due to the high volume of traffic.
“They didn’t want to endanger the community, so they discontinued,” Henslee said. “But they knew who he was.”
Benton County sheriff deputies picked up the chase and contacted Polk County authorities as the vehicle sped north.
The Subaru turned east on Northwest Ryals Avenue at Adair Village, then west onto Independence Highway.
The first set of spike strips, which the Independence Police Department put down south of Independence, didn’t puncture the suspect’s tires. However, the second and third set, which Polk County sheriff deputies down a mile or two apart, were successful.
The second set took out the two driver’s side tires and brought down the speeds of the pursuit from around 90 miles per hour to around 50 miles per hour, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The remaining spike strip, laid down just north of Independence, took out a third tire, causing the vehicle to slow even further. The driver surrendered about one-third of a mile away.

Budget Commission passes city spending plan with one tweak


The Corvallis Budget Commission passed a $135 million spending plan for the city with just one minor amendment in a one-hour and 40-minute meeting Thursday at the downtown fire station.
Commissioners voted to take $35,000 from reserves to help with an effort to replace the boardwalk at the Marys River Natural Area.
The boardwalk washed out during 2012 flooding, and the Friends of Corvallis Parks and Recreation was working to raise more than $60,000 to allow the city to use a $195,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that requires matching funds.
The $35,000 approved by the Budget Commission will allow the project to go forward, while any further fundraising would be devoted to “paying back” the reserve account.
The budget plan for the 2014-15 fiscal year includes the addition of 7.5 full-time positions.
The $135 million pricetag is $13 million more than last year, with virtually all of the increase in capital spending. The biggest projects are a new training tower for the Fire Department and intersection reconstruction work at S.W. Washington Ave. and 15th Street.
General fund revenue and expenses remain relatively flat at approximately $42 million.
Most of the new hiring, 4.375 full-time positions, will be paid for by the local option levy that voters passed in November. Another 1.5 positions will be added to administer the expanded residential parking district plan the council passed April 7.
A total of 4.25 positions will be added elsewhere, and 2.6 positions will be eliminated. A total of 8.335 positions remain authorized but unfunded.
The Marys River boardwalk amendment was the only to one to receive approval of the commission, which consists of the nine city councilors and nine citizen volunteers.
Other amendments that were either withdrawn or defeated would have:
• Set aside a $50,000 fund for expenditures such as the boardwalk project.
• Spent $353,000 to have Pacific Power replace street lights with more energy-efficient bulbs that would save the city $100,000 per year.
• Set aside $60,000 to pay for changes that might be recommended by the Public Participation Task Force.
• Spent $125,000 for a new play structure at Franklin Square Park. The aging wooden one was torn down last month because it was considered unsafe.
Three residents spoke during public testimony. Two urged the commission to assist the Marys River boardwalk project. A third individual encouraged the commission to make sure the city does not spend more than it takes in.
Commissioners also applauded the new process the city used to review the budget this cycle. Added were four meetings at which department directors answered questions about their spending priorities.
“This is the best budget process I’ve dealt with in my five years,” said Mark O’Brien, a former Ward 1 councilor who served as vice chairman of the Budget Commission.
O’Brien thanked the city staff for their work and said that although “there were a few extra meetings, it was worth it.”
Contact reporter James Day at [email protected] or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

Man, 64, sentenced to 12 years for sex abuse


ALBANY — Francisco Lerado, 64, of Lebanon, sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in Linn County Court in February to first-degree sex abuse and second-degree unlawful sexual penetration.
The Lebanon Police Department investigated the case after receiving a report of abuse in July. Lerado was arrested in November and initially faced eight other sex crime charges, including first-degree rape. Those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Prosecutor Ani Yardumian said the victim in the case was a minor female who Lerado knew, and the crimes occurred between December 2006 and December 2010.
Lerado, who will be required to register as a sex offender, will be on post-prison supervision for about four years.

Extension cord ignited fire that destroyed Corvallis house


A fire that destroyed a house in Corvallis Tuesday was started by an extension cord that was plugged into an electric blanket.
The house, which 17 firefighters and 3 engines were called to at 4 p.m. Tuesday, was a total loss, said Jim Patton, the fire prevention officer with Corvallis Fire Department.
The house was located at 3049 N.W. Orchard Ave.
Patton said the fire was started by a 100 foot long extension cord that had been curled tightly with combustibles piled on top of it, which prevented heat from dispersing from the cord, and eventually it melted and sparked the fire.
According to Patton, the house’s sole occupant was not home at the time of the fire.

Toastmasters invites public to anniversary


Toastmasters club is celebrating 50 years of teaching people the art of communication and leadership at an open house scheduled for Friday.The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Willamette East and West Room at the Valley Library at O...

House on fire near campus


Corvallis fire crews are at the scene of a house fire that was reported shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday in the vicinity of Orchard Avenue and 30th Street.Police are diverting traffic from the area.Early reports had flames pouring from the windo...

Corvallis’ second medical marijuana dispensary set to open Wednesday


A second medical marijuana dispensary is getting ready to open its doors in Corvallis.
High Quality Compassion, 1300 N.W. Ninth St., will hold an open house from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, before any marijuana is available for sale.
The facility will begin dispensing cannabis to Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders Friday.
Visitors to Wednesday’s open house will find information on how the state’s medicinal cannabis program works and the therapeutic effects of the weed, according to dispensary owner Brock Binder.
They’ll also have the opportunity to tour the 1,150-square-foot facility, which previously housed an insurance agency, and they can sample nonmedicated versions of some of the marijuana-infused edibles the dispensary plans to stock for OMMP patients.
“We know people are going to have questions about what goes on behind the doors, and we’re just going to shed a little light on that,” said Binder. “Hopefully, we can change the stigmas a little bit and bring everything to a good standing.”
The renovated office space was scheduled to undergo a final inspection today, but Binder received his state dispensary certification in March and was confident he would be able to open for business as planned Friday.
Regular business hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, Binder said, although he hopes to add weekend hours as the new dispensary establishes itself.
High Quality Compassion will be open this Saturday, however, as part of a two-day grand opening.
In addition to 20 or more varieties of dried marijuana, the dispensary will carry salves, tinctures, concentrates and edibles. Young marijuana plants will be supplied “on request” to cardholders who want to grow their own, Binder said.
Eventually he’ll add hats and T-shirts with the High Quality Compassion logo, as well as other retail merchandise.
High Quality Compassion is the second state-licensed pot shop to open under Oregon’s new medical marijuana dispensary law. The Agrestic Green Collective opened at 1665 S.E. Third St. on April 15. At least three other applications have been filed to open dispensaries within the city limits.

Police release photos of gunman robbing market


PHILOMATH — Police have released surveillance photographs taken April 22 of the black-clad gunman who fired a shot while robbing the Philomath Market.
The photos reveal that the gunman stretched out the black handgun close to the clerk, who was shown removing cash from the register.
Philomath police said the man remained at large Monday. 
The gunman is described as having a light complexion, 25 to 30 years of age, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black watch cap, blue jeans and a dark bandanna or scarf over his lower face.
The robber walked into the store at 1401 Main St. around 11:57 p.m. on the 22nd and left on foot 25 seconds later with an undisclosed amount of money, Sgt. Ken Reuben of the Philomath Police Department said.
The clerk was alone in the store when the robber walked in and pointed a gun at him, demanding money, Reuben said. When the clerk hesitated, Reuben said, the robber lowered the semi-automatic pistol and moved it slightly to the right before firing it behind the clerk. No one was injured.
Officers were on the scene less than a minute after the 911 operator dispatched the call, Reuben said, and they scoured the area for potential suspects on foot or in vehicles. The Philomath Police Department was aided by members of the Oregon State Police, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Corvallis Police Department.
Anyone who has information about the robbery is asked to contact the Philomath Police Department at 541-929-6911.

Truck strikes, kills pedestrian on I-5 northbound near Woodburn; lanes reopen


Oregon State Police is continuing the investigation into the death of an adult male pedestrian who was struck by a commercial truck in the northbound traffic lanes of Interstate 5 about two miles north of Woodburn. Updated information.

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Ammonia leak repaired at Stahlbush Farms


Emergency medical personnel responded to Stahlbush Island Farms Thursday afternoon after one employee was briefly sickened by an ammonia leak.
“We have a lady who’s coughing,” said Karla Chambers, co-owner of the business just east of Corvallis.
She described the leak as minor and said no one else had been affected.
“We do ammonia drills,” Chambers said. “We have registered EMTs on site.”
Stahlbush Island Farms uses ammonia as part of the packaging process for frozen foods. The company operates a food processing plant for preparing and packaging fruits and vegetables.
The Corvallis Fire Department sent an ambulance, fire engine and battalion chief to the farm a little at 3:25 p.m. to investigate the leak and to tend to a worker who fainted after being exposed to ammonia.
By about 3:50 p.m., Chambers reported that workers had isolated the source of the leak and fixed the problem.
“It was a safety release valve that was stuck,” Chambers said. “There was no liquid ammonia that was released. It was just fumes.”
Chambers said the employee who was exposed to the fumes declined to be taken to the hospital.
Fire department personnel returned to the station at 4:30 p.m.

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