Klamath Falls News Update
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019
KLAMATH BASIN WEATHER
A 50 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 54. A slight chance of showers overnight, low around 35.
Partly sunny, with a high near 55. Light west wind.
A 30 percent chance of rain after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 53.
A chance of rain mixed with snow showers before 8am, then partly sunny, with a high near 49.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 54.
See Road Camera Views:
Lake of the Woods
Hiwy 97 at Chemult
Hiwy 140 at Bly
Hiwy 97 at GreenSprings Dr.
Hiway 97 at LaPine
TODAY'S KLAMATH FALLS AREA NEWS HEADLINES & STORIES...
Auto Accident Shuts Down Traffic on Main St.
Klamath Falls City Police responded to a collision between a truck and sports car at 5th and Main Streets on Tuesday afternoon at around 3:15PM. Traffic was blocked for more than an hour on the busy intersection. No further details are available at this time.
City Approves $160K for TimberMill Shores Hotel
Klamath Falls City Council moved quickly Monday night to change language that gives new developers more flexibility to build at TimberMill Shores, in addition to giving one developer at least $160,000 to help with maintenance costs.
Councilors voted 4-0 to change language in its "mixed use" property zone code that previously held up several businesses. One of the sites could be a new $13 million Marriott hotel property — a Fairfield Inn & Suites.
Previously, a building in a mixed-use zone required that sites only have "vertical" multi-storied structures with housing units above. The code has since been changed from "required" to "encouraged" in that regard, which would also allow for single-story buildings.
At least two restaurants and a bank may be locating in the area, in addition to new Oregon Department of Human Services offices.
In a news release Tuesday, the city said it is a step to "encourage economic development in our community."
Bly Man Dies in Highway 140 Collision
A collision Monday afternoon on Highway 140 East claimed the life of a Bly man, according to an Oregon State Police report. Emergency personnel responded to a report of a two-vehicle crash on Highway 140 East and the intersection of Bliss Road at approximately 3:54 p.m. Monday.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a Ford Ranger pickup, operated by Chelsea Ridenour, 29, of Malin, was traveling on Bliss Road and failed to stop at the stop sign at Highway 140. The Ford Ranger collided with a Ford Explorer traveling on Highway 140 East, operated by Frederic Rouviere, 59, of Bly.
Rouviere sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.Ridenour and her juvenile male passenger were transported to the hospital with injuries.
Cynthia Schmidt, 59, of Bly, passenger in the Explorer, was transported to the hospital with injuries. Oregon State Police was assisted by the Klamath County Sheriff's Office, Klamath County Fire, and Air Link. An investigation into the crash is continuing.
Klamath Tribes to host C'waam Ceremony Saturday
The Klamath Tribes’ annual C’waam Ceremony will be Saturday, March 23, according to a news release.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, along the banks of the Sprague River behind Chiloquin High School. No animals will be allowed at the ceremony site. A lunch will be offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at goos oLgi gowa on Highway 62, with tickets for the lunch handed out at the ceremony. A powwow will follow the lunch, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., at goos oLgi gowa, where a naming ceremony will be held. Everyone is invited to attend.
The event celebrates the return of the Lost River sucker, traditionally called c’waam, to local waterways during spawning season. It is celebrated each year with traditional dancing and drumming, a traditional feed, releasing of a pair of c’waam into the river, and other ceremonial practices.
Meaning behind Petroglyph Point Rock Art Focus of Thursday Presentation
A free archaeological presentation on Lava Beds National Monument's Petroglyph Point, "Spirit Songs and Sacred Fire: Using Myth and Shamanism to Highlight Aspects of a Modoc Petroglyph Site," will be presented Thursday by Dr. Robert David, an archaeologist and Klamath Tribes member, according to a news release.
The public is invited to hear David speak about his most recent research on Petroglyph Point at 7 p.m. Thursday in the meeting room of the Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main St.
Petroglyph Point is among the largest rock art concentrations in California, exhibiting more than 5,000 individual images. Climatic studies, combined with information provided by local archaeological excavations, suggest the earliest petroglyphs may have been carved some 6,500 years before present.
For the past century, researchers have attempted to penetrate the meaning of these cryptic symbols using a variety of methods, both academic and otherwise. Missing from this growing body of knowledge, however, are the perceptions of the Basin’s First People.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Fatality on Highway 140
On Monday afternoon about 4pm, Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to the report of a two vehicle crash on Hwy 140 and the intersection of Bliss Rd.
Preliminary investigation revealed that a Ford Ranger PU, operated by Chelsea Ridenour (29) of Malin, was traveling on Bliss Rd. and failed to stop at the stop sign at Hwy 140. A Ford Explorer was traveling on Hwy 140, operated by Frederic Rouviere (59) of Bly, and a collision occurred.
Rouviere sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Ridenour and her juvenile male passenger were transported to the hospital with injuries.
Cynthia Schmidt (59) of Bly, passenger in the Explorer, was transported to the hospital with injuries.
Oregon State Police was assisted by the Klamath County Sheriff's Office, Klamath County Fire, and Air Link. Investigation is continuing.
A Kansas City, Missouri company that wants to build a 92 room Fairfield Inn and Suites at Timber Mill Shores wants 160-thousand dollars to cover expenses related to building the facility on a brownfield site. The Herald and News reports the Klamath Falls City Council will discuss the request tonight when it meets at 7-o'clock.
A letter from Ferguson Development Vice President, Jeff Sharp, says the company is very excited to bring a new hotel to the area but stated added project costs would add a significant amount to construction costs. The 13-point-75-million dollars Fairfield Inn project is expected to generate about 40-thousand dollars a year in transient room taxes and another 40-thousand a year in property taxes.
Sheriff Body Cameras
Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber is looking at implementing a body camera policy. Kaber told the Herald and News he is looking at a 30 day smart phone body camera trial that would begin in a few months. The Klamath Fall Police Department started been using 28 body and 18 dash board cameras in 2017 at a cost of 220-thousand dollars. Currently the sheriff doesn't use body or dash cameras. City Police Captain Ryan Brosterhaus says citizen complaints have dropped 25 per cent since cameras were implemented. District Attorney Eve Costello says cameras strengthen the pursuit of justice and leads to quicker resolution of criminal cases. Sheriff Kaber says there are positive arguments for body cameras and one factor that stands out is improved transparency. However Kaber says there are limits to what a camera can see or hear and the perception of the camera may be different than reality.
Fire engulfs Klamath home
Two families were displaced following a fire that destroyed a Klamath Falls home early Monday morning, according to a Klamath County Fire District 1 news release.
At 3:13 a.m. Monday, District 1 responded to the report of a fully engulfed structure on North Eighth Street. The approximately 1,800-square-foot two-story residence, with one-story below grade, sustained extensive damage. The estimated value of the home is $80,000, with approximately 75 percent loss to property and contents.
Red Cross assisted the two families who were displaced. There were no injuries to human occupants, although several animals perished in the fire. No firefighters were injured during the incident. The cause and origin of the fire was determined to be from the clothes dryer located on the main level of the home.
Klamath County Fire District No. 1 responded with 18 fire personnel from four engines, an ambulance, four chief officers and the fire marshal. The Klamath Falls City Police, Pacific Power, Avista Utilities and the office of the State Fire Marshal also assisted.
Groups Sought for Link River Festival
Every two years the gates are opened and access granted to a protected area of Klamath Falls...that is, the Link River canyon and its aptly named, Link River Festival.
Coordinated by the Klamath County Museums, the Link River Festival welcomes various community groups and partners to showcase aspects of history, ecology, conservation, geology and more in an all-day outdoor event that spans the length of Klamath Falls' shortest river.
With several months to go, the Klamath County Museum is seeking interested organizations and individuals for demonstrations and stations to showcase related activities.
The event routinely draws hundreds of visitors, who walk a roughly one and a half mile hike along the canyon, where stations every 50 yards or so offer different family-friendly activities and educational content. Shuttles will be offered to return visitors back to the parking area after completing the hike, and food vendors will be available.
Job Fair Thursday at KCC
Fifteen local employers who are hiring will be on hand to meet with job seekers at a Klamath Community College job fair Thursday. Please help us spread the word.
The job fair is Thursday, March 21, and will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the KCC Commons.
“The job fair is a terrific opportunity for job seekers to meet face-to-face with prospective employers and to make a memorable first impression,” said Chip Massie, KCC interim vice president of external affairs. “This is also the perfect time to connect with employers well ahead of the summer hiring period.”
The job fair is March 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Building 4 Commons. For more information call KCC Work Readiness and Pathways Coordinator Jan Goodyear at 541-880-2387.
Peterson event promotes literacy and science
Fourth-grader Mikayla-Rose Mitchell smiled as she picked up a new Junie B. Jones book, debating whether it would be the one she takes home for her personal library.
She was joined by hundreds of her classmates Thursday during Peterson Elementary School’s Family Literacy Night. After doing science and literacy activities with their families, students and their younger siblings crowded around tables full of new books – each child could pick one to take home and keep.
The annual two-hour event this year attracted more than 400 people and the school gave away 250 books.
“It’s a night to bring all our families in,” said Renee Criss, vice principal at Peterson Elementary School. “The kids get a free book, and they get to do activities that promote literacy and science.”
Fire, Explosions Claim Homedale Home and Car
Flames engulfed a residence on Homedale Road and 2008 silver Prius Thursday afternoon, blowing out glass from a nearby camper window and reducing the building to its charred skeleton.
Klamath County Fire District 1 Operations Chief Matt Hitchcock said there were no injuries from the fire on the 7300 block of Homedale. Hitchcock said he wasn't yet sure what kindled the fire and ensuing explosions, but it may have started in a Prius parked outside the home's front door. Renter of the home, Duane Martin, guessed it started from his wall heater. Martin said he also kept propane inside the building, which could also have fed the flames. Martin said just about everything inside had burnt up, but he figured he could stay for a while in his camper behind the home if he patched up its blown out window.
Jury Convicts Klamath County Man of Stealing Social Security Benefits From his Mother
MEDFORD — On Wednesday, a federal jury found Theodore Martin Kirk, 64, of Klamath County guilty of stealing more than $30,000 in Social Security benefits disbursed in the name of his elderly mother, Nadine Kirk. His mother has been missing since March 2010 and is presumed to be deceased.
“This case began with a single tip from an observant community member and led to the discovery of a multi-year scheme to exploit the Social Security program — a critical tax payer-funded program supporting the nation’s elderly. Tips play an important role in law enforcement and help to reveal crimes that might otherwise go undiscovered,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, in a press release.
According to court documents and information shared during trial, in July 2015, a concerned community member contacted the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office regarding the whereabouts of Nadine Kirk as she had not been seen for multiple years. At the time of this call, Nadine Kirk would have been 98 years old.
Man Arrested Following Truck Theft and Pursuit
A Klamath Falls man, Bryce Willhite, 32, was arrested Wednesday evening after stealing a pickup and attempting to elude Klamath County Sheriff's Office deputies, according to a news release.
A construction worker flagged down a deputy near Altamont Drive and Anderson Avenue and reported that a male, driving a late model white Ford F-150 pickup, was acting strangely. At approximately the same time, Klamath 911 received a call reporting the same pickup as stolen from an address on Bisbee Avenue. The caller said a physical altercation occurred between Willhite and the owner of the pickup prior to it being hotwired and driven away. The owner attempted to stop Willhite from taking the pickup and was dragged a short distance.
Deputies attempted a traffic stop on the pickup but it sped away on Anderson Avenue and onto Washburn Way. The pursuit was terminated for public safety reasons. Another deputy in the area located the pickup behind a vacant building at Washburn Way and South Sixth Street and again attempted a traffic stop.
Willhite drove across the OC&E Trail to Avalon and Boardman avenues and crashed into a power pole and ditch on Boardman Avenue. Willhite ran from the vehicle before being apprehended by deputies in a nearby backyard. He was lodged in the Klamath County Jail.
Warner Canyon Ski Season Extended to March 24, near Lakeview
Normally, Warner Canyon Ski Area’s annual February SnoFest marks the end of its ski season, but record-setting snowfall last month has extended operations through Sunday, March 24.
Located a few miles northeast of Lakeview, Warner Canyon may be modest in scale compared to Oregon’s other mountainous resorts, but makes up for it with few lines and short lift rides to maximize time on the snow. It has a single lift, a 6,500-foot summit, a recently renovated ski lodge, and some of the lowest lift ticket costs in the state.
Owned by Lake County via an acreage exchange with the U.S. Forest Service, Warner Canyon sits only a few miles outside of Lakeview. Its operation is overseen by an all-volunteer staff and the Fremont Highlanders Ski Club.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Commissioners Delay Signing KRRC Dam Removal Agreement
Klamath County commissioners on Wednesday delayed signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, reversing a Tuesday split vote decision to move forward with the MOU.
The MOU has no bearing on whether a Klamath River dam removal project will receive federal approval. KRRC and commissioners have met at least three times since November to address local concerns about the project through the MOU, and commissioners Kelley Minty Morris and Derrick DeGroot were ready Wednesday to sign the document.
While Morris and DeGroot said signing did not equate to support for dam removal, it was simply a pragmatic maneuver to have more say in the project, Donnie Boyd said he still didn't feel it was fair.
Morris stressed the importance of an MOU not coming across as an endorsement of KRRC's plan to remove four Klamath River dams owned by PacifiCorp: J.C. Boyle in Oregon, and Copco 1 and 2, and Iron Gate in California.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate because this board has been very neutral on that issue,” Morris said.
Specialist Urges Citizen, Local Government Participation in 2020 Census
The U.S. Census Bureau is hoping to receive 670 Klamath County applications for local short-term positions helping with the 2020 census. The last census was taken in 2010.
Nick Brown, Oregon Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, presented Klamath County commissioners with important census and related job information at a Wednesday morning meeting.
Brown said he didn’t yet know exactly how many Klamath County census jobs would be available or how long they will last, but the bureau would hire applicants as summer got closer. He said some positions will start in August.
The bureau is hiring enumerators to do footwork and research to confirm addresses, canvas and follow up with people who don’t respond to the mail census questionnaire. It is also looking for managers to oversee enumerators. Enumerators will be paid $14.50 per hour, and managers $16 per hour.
Engineering A Safe Route To School
Several senior engineering students at Oregon Tech have taken on a senior design project that aims to provide the Klamath Falls City School board with a site plan detailing the safest route for kids to and from Ponderosa Middle School.
Jonathan Blout, Kurtis Pipkin and project manager Trevor Lundsten presented the proposed site plan to the board during its regular meeting, but members of the group also include Trevor Davis, Joslyn Stansfield and Jacob Shelton.
“This project has the ability to change the way students come and leave Ponderosa Middle School, and we'd like to be a part of that,” Lundsten told school board members.
“This project represents something that we could genuinely imput to help the youth of this town, and with that ability, help the students of Ponderosa Middle School,” he added.
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