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July 20, 2024

Oregon News Update, Monday, Aug. 5 – Area Wildfires Update

News from around the State of Oregon from Basin Life Magazine



CANYONVILLE, Ore. – Firefighters continued to improve fire line over the weekend with the majority of the perimeter of the fire in mop up. The fire, near I-5 remains active in the northwest corner with a burnout operation planned to improve the line with firefighters focusing on locating unburned pockets within the interior and felling hazard trees.

The fire had minimal growth since yesterday, adding only 15 acres to 13,085 acres total. Those added acres were due to burnout operations, expanding and improving containment lines along the northwest portion of the fire.

A community meeting was held at North Valley high school Thursday evening, with agency representatives from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) providing background on the initial attack of the fire and the ongoing objectives to minimize impacts to BLM managed public O and C, state, tribal and private lands.

To monitor and address smoke impacts to local communities, the BLM has provided an Air Resource Advisor, Wendy Wagner with the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire Air Quality Response program. Daily updates can be found at: http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Cooperators assisting partner agencies ODF, DFPA and BLM on the fire include the U.S. Forest Service, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Roseburg Resources, Silver Butte Resources, Lone Rock Timber, Williams Pipeline, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation.

Milepost 97 Fire Statistics:

Size – 13,085 acres
Containment – 35%
Start Date – 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Expected Containment Date – Unknown
Location- One mile south of Canyonville, Oregon

Cause – Human Caused
Estimated Cost – $10,700,000
Personnel – 1,482
Resources – 49 hand crews
39 Engines
26 Dozers
31 Water Tenders
Aircraft – 8 Type 1 Helo
6 Type 2 Helo
4 Type 3 Helo
Evacuations – Levels 2, 1

Structures – 586
Threatened structures – 0
Damaged Structures – 0
Destroyed Structures – 0
Closures – None

Medford Police report that on Thursday at 11:08PM, a 53 year old female reported she was shot in the arm by a passing vehicle, which was later determined to be a BB gun.

The woman said she was walking along the roadway, near 1531 S. Peach Street, when a dark colored sedan stopped in the roadway. She heard a pop and the vehicle sped off, southbound on S. Peach Street.

The victim felt pain and saw blood on her arm. She went to the hospital where it was determined a BB was imbedded in her arm. She is still seeking treatment for the injuries.

The vehicle was only described as a dark colored sedan with blue paper on the license plates. If caught, the suspect(s) would be facing Assault 2 charges (felony).

Like other random cases of assault, we are seeking surveillance footage in the area. We are asking for folks to check their cameras for a possible vehicle in and around the time of the assault.  Any information, please call dispatch, 541-770-4783. Case 19-14565.

In Salem, a great story and a big Oregon Lottery winner.  After a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, 94-year-old William Bowker, a former pilot, knows a thing or two about double-checking himself. In this case, double checking saved him from throwing away a $6.5 million Oregon’s Game Megabucks ticket.

When Bowker’s granddaughter visited, she checked his Lottery tickets; he is a regular player of the draw games with high payouts.

“She thought it was a Mega Million ticket, and started circling matching numbers on the ticket,” Bowker said. “But they were for the wrong game. I had an Oregon’s Game Megabucks ticket. She got done, and later, I thought I should double-check it before throwing it away. I am glad I did. I immediately thought — BOOM! I won!”
Turns out one line of numbers on the ticket, without a single number circled, included the winning numbers. His winning numbers were 14-32-41-43-44-47.

“You can still see where she circled the wrong numbers!” he said.
The first thing the 94 -year-old Bowker did was call a family meeting to discuss the prize and how to use it. In fact, his daughter is a tax attorney, and Bowker plans to share his prize among his family members. He opted to take the bulk sum payment of $3.25 million. After taxes he took home $2.2 million.

“I have what I need, and I’m 94,” he said. “This is a wonderful way to help my family.”
Bowker purchased the ticket at the Jackson’s Food Store on SE 82nd Ave. in Happy Valley and used quick pick numbers. His $5 ticket had 10 numbers and, in addition to the $6.5 million jackpot, he also won a free Megabucks ticket. Jackson’s officials said they were very excited about selling the winning ticket and that it’s the largest ticket they have sold in Oregon so far. The company will receive a 1-percent selling bonus totaling $65,000 for selling the winning ticket.

Since the Oregon Lottery began selling tickets on April 25, 1985, it has earned nearly $12 billion for economic development, public education, state parks, Veterans services and watershed enhancements. For more information on the Oregon Lottery visit www.oregonlottery.org.

Recreational use advisory issued for Odell Lake August 2

The Oregon Health Authority issued a recreational use health advisory today for Odell Lake due to the presence of a cyanobacterial (harmful algae) bloom and cyanotoxins (harmful algae toxins) above recreational guideline values for human exposure. The lake is in Klamath County.

People should avoid swimming and high-speed water activities, such as water skiing or power boating, in areas of the lake where blooms are identified. Although toxins are not absorbed through the skin, people who have skin sensitivities may experience a puffy red rash.

People are encouraged to visit Odell Lake and enjoy activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, and bird watching. Boating is safe as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray, which could lead to inhalation risk.

Drinking water

Drinking water directly from areas of the lake affected by a bloom is especially dangerous. Toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating water with camping-style filters. Contact campground management or the local health department with questions about water available at nearby campgrounds or day use areas. People who are not on a well or a public water system and draw in-home water directly from an affected area are advised to use an alternative water source because not all private treatment systems are proven effective in removing cyanotoxins.


Fish caught from areas where cyanobacterial blooms are present should have fat, skin and organs removed before cooking or freezing, as toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Fillets should also be rinsed with clean water.


Exposure to cyanotoxins can be serious and result in a range of symptoms, from those similar to food poisoning such as stomach cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, to more serious symptoms like numbness, tingling, dizziness and shortness of breath that may require medical attention. Children and pets are at increased risk for exposure because of their size and level of activity. People who bring their pets to a lake with areas affected by a bloom for recreation activities should take special precautions to keep them from drinking from or swimming in these areas.

For health information or to report an illness, contact the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) at 971-673-0482.

Roadwork starting Monday on Fishhole Creek Road

BLY, Ore. – Work begins Monday, August 5, to repair Forest Service Road 3790, also known as Fishhole Creek Road, on the Bly Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

For approximately three weeks, Forest Service roadcrews will be working on the first phase of road repairs.  The work will be Monday through Thursday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Forest road managers plan to complete between .25 to .5 mile of repairs daily.  The work will be done on 3 miles of road, starting at the southern end and moving north to Oregon State Highway 140.

The first .6 mile of the road work is single-lane road and will have the largest traffic impacts.  Delays will be no more than 20 minutes.  It’s expected that this section will be completed within three days.

The remaining 2.4 miles of road is two-lane and, while there will still be stops, traffic delays will be much shorter.  In this section, traffic will be stopped briefly so the equipment operator can pause, allowing traffic to pass safely before resuming work.

“This project involves heavy equipment and employees on the road, which is more complex on the single-lane stretch.  We ask all drivers on Fishhole Creek Road during the next several weeks to slow down, be aware of their surroundings, watch for construction activity and help us maintain a safe work area,” said Forest Safety Officer Mike Cuff.

The work being done in the coming weeks is the first phase to repair the severely damaged road.  Special equipment will be used to mill the current asphalt surface, grinding it up and mixing it with the cinder base below. 

The resulting material will be shaped, compacted and rolled.  Approximately 3 inches of new aggregate rock material will be placed on the new road base, which will also be shaped, compacted and rolled to leave a smooth, compacted surface.

While improved, the resulting new gravel road is not intended to be the final product.

Forest road managers are working on a contract for paving the 3 mile stretch of road.

“We secured funding and were able to move forward with this project this week thanks to the availability of Forest Service roadcrews and equipment,” said Forest Recreation, Archaeology, Lands and Minerals Staff Officer Catherine Callaghan. 

“The challenge now is getting a paving contract in place and to get it scheduled.  The availability of the paving contractor and weather conditions will determine if the work gets completed this fall or needs to be pushed to next summer,” said Forest Transportation Planner and Road Manager Terry Orton.

The age of the pavement and traffic levels accelerated the deterioration of Fishhole Creek Road over the past 5 to 10 years.  The asphalt has thinned and broken apart to the point the road was too damaged to patch.

“The first phase of the project and the resulting groomed gravel road will be a large improvement over the current condition of the road.  But this is temporary as we work on the paving contract and the additional construction work is scheduled,” said Bly and Lakeview District Ranger Mike Ramsey.

Despite the compaction, there will still be loose rocks and dirt until the paving work can be done.  As on all Forest Roads, drivers should travel at appropriate speeds for the road surface and conditions, allow plenty of space between vehicles and watch for hazards.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema, follow the Forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF or on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/R6FWNF.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is seeking volunteers for three positions on the Recreation Trails Program (RTP) Grants Advisory Committee. Upcoming vacancies:

  • Biking representative
  • Off-Highway Vehicle representative
  • Accessibility representative

The ten-member committee typically meets once or twice per year to evaluate grant proposals for statewide trail projects. Members serve three-year terms; successful candidates will begin their terms Jan. 1, 2020. Members are eligible to serve a second term.

Ideal candidates can live anywhere in Oregon and will have experience in at least one of the following areas: land management, recreation planning, trail planning, project management, grant management or recreation-related volunteerism.

Those interested in serving must submit an OPRD grant advisory committee appointment interest form by Tuesday, October 15. The form is available online: http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/GRANTS/Pages/RTP-Committee.aspx

RTP grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration and administered by OPRD. Grants are awarded to nonprofits and governments for motorized and non-motorized trail projects, including building new trails, improving existing trails and developing or improving trail facilities.

For more information about the advisory committee or application process, contact Jodi Bellefeuille, RTP grant coordinator, at jodi.bellefeuille@oregon.gov or 503-986-0716.

What kind of volunteer job can you have that brings millions of dollars into the pockets of Oregonians? Become an AARP Tax volunteer to make a difference no matter where you live in Oregon!

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest volunteer-run, tax-preparation service. The foundation is looking to expand its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season and is accepting new volunteers through the end of October.

Tax-Aide offers free in-person tax preparation and assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals nationwide.Volunteers make a difference in their communities by helping taxpayers, and their families, who might otherwise miss out on the tax credits and deductions they’ve earned.

There are a variety of volunteer roles, including tax preparers, client facilitators, those who can provide technical and management assistance and interpreters. Every level of experience is welcome. Volunteer tax preparers complete tax preparation training and IRS certification.

To learn about our volunteer opportunities, visit aarpfoundation.org/taxaide  or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277). AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is offered in coordination with the IRS. 

Oregon DSL director selected as officer for national state lands organization

SALEM, Ore. – The Western States Land Commissioners Association yesterday selected Oregon Department of State Lands Director Vicki Walker to serve as national secretary. Walker’s election – after only 18 months in her job as Oregon DSL director – occurred at the association’s 2019 summer conference in Whitefish, Montana.

The Western States Land Commissioners Association is a non-profit consortium of administrators of state-owned trust lands totaling more than 500 million acres of public and school trust lands in 21 western states. The association assists states in managing assets that fund public education. The combined holdings of WSLCA member states represent the second-largest owner of land and minerals in the nation, second only to the federal government. According to the WSLCA web site, state trust lands generate more than seven times the amount returned to the U.S. Treasury by all federal lands combined.

“I’m honored to be selected as an officer of this great organization,” Walker said. “Its existence is testament to the vital public trust placed on state land managers on behalf of schools.”

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