Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: ODOT reopens I-84 after severe weather closures, McMenamins confirms employee data compromised

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Tuesday, Jan. 4 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. ODOT reopens I-84 between Troutdale and The Dalles following closure due to severe weather

The Oregon Department of Transportation has reopened I-84 between Troutdale and The Dalles after “blizzard-like conditions” closed the stretch of freeway in both directions for 19 hours on Monday. SR-14 has also reopened on the Washington side of the Columbia River between Washougal and White Salmon after a lengthy closure.

The National Weather Service reported that the Columbia Gorge got 8 inches of snow overnight. Severe winter weather is still impacting several areas on Tuesday. Highway 26 on Mount Hood and Highway 35 out of Hood River County remain closed due to heavy snowfall and poor visibility.

For updates on road conditions and closures, check tripcheck.com.

2. Oregon reports 9,700 new COVID-19 cases over New Year's weekend

Following the holiday weekend, Oregon reported over 9,700 new cases of COVID-19, souring past previous records for weekly cases with around 2,400 new cases per day. According to the Oregon Health Authority, 18.2% of COVID-19 tests administered over the weekend were positive. OHA’s latest update also includes the largest single-day increase in cases, with 3,534 new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 reported on Dec. 30.

“We already have seen the impacts of the highly transmissible omicron variant across the country since late December,” Tom Jeanne, M.D., M.P.H., deputy state health officer and epidemiologist, told KATU. “Our data show the omicron variant is here and now fueling the surge in cases. It will likely lead to a rise in hospitalizations and, sadly, deaths.”

OHA reported 11 deaths on Monday. There are currently 60 adult intensive care unit beds available statewide.

3. McMenamins confirms confidential employee data was compromised in ransomware attack

McMenamins confirmed Monday that a ransomware attack that occurred in December compromised employee data dating back to 1998. Information belonging to employees across the company’s 56 locations includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, gender, disability status, medical notes, social security numbers, income amounts and more. McMenamins said it’s possible that direct bank deposit information may have been compromised as well but there’s currently “no clear indication” that this happened.

The company announced that they’ll be offering former and current employees identity and credit protection following the attack. McMenamins is cooperating with the FBI and working with a cybersecurity firm to determine the full scope of the ransomware attack.

“We’re devastated our people need to do so, but we’re urging them to vigilantly monitor their accounts and healthcare information for anything unusual. They should immediately notify their financial institutions or health providers if they see anything out of sort,” Brian McMenamin said. “They should sign up immediately for free monitoring and identity theft protection. All the information is on our website, and we encourage them to call with any questions.”

4. New ODOT service allows deaf, hard-of-hearing drivers to identify to police

Starting this week, Oregonians can add an indicator that they are deaf or hard-of-hearing to their vehicle registration, driver license, permit or ID card through the DMV. This places an indicator on the person’s record, allowing law enforcement to be notified when they run the license plate or license number. It’s voluntary and can be set up anytime.

“The worry: The officer approaches the car, the driver doesn’t respond to commands and the situation escalates,” ODOT said. “That’s one reason many states, including Oregon, are setting up ways to alert law enforcement that a driver is deaf or hard-of-hearing – before an officer approaches the driver.”

Bridges Oregon, a nonprofit organization serving those who are deaf, deafblind, hard-of-hearing or experience other communication barriers, said the new option is a “significant milestone to build trust and cooperation.”

Oregonians interested in registering for the service can do so here.

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