The latest News around the Klamath Basin from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019
Klamath Basin Weather
Sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 81.
A slight chance of showers after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 73.
Sunny, with a high near 75.
An Agency Lake man was sentenced to life at the Oregon State Hospital under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board after being found guilty of murdering a Klamath County man in 2017 with a revolver.
Gary Duane Ussing, 46, was found guilty by Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Dan Bunch. Bunch also found Ussing guilty of first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, and first-degree criminal mischief. Ussing came to the home of David Joseph Stringer on August. 19, 2017 on Sportland Court in Agency Lake, outside of Chiloquin. When Stringer opened the door, and Ussing fatally shot him in the right side of the head with a revolver. Ussing proceeded to enter the home, damaging more than $1,000 worth of property in the home, according to court documents.
While appearing in court, Ussing was restrained at the request of law enforcement due to safety concerns, according to court documents. Ussing waived his right to a jury trial and was slated to be transported to the Oregon State Hospital by Klamath County Sheriff’s Office personnel,. Ussing’s mother asked for nine firearms confiscated by the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office for evidence to be returned to the family.
Fishing groups and tribes have filed a lawsuit challenging new endangered species protection guidelines for the Klamath River.
The suit targets the biological opinion, which is an assessment of how the Bureau of Reclamation manages river flow, irrigation water and levels in Upper Klamath Lake to ensure protection of coho salmon and two species of sucker fish.
The newest opinion was finalized earlier this year. The lawsuit filed by the Yurok Tribe, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and the Institute for Fisheries Resource says the biological opinion is too permissive, allowing irrigation withdrawals at the expense of fish.
The complaint argues the river levels don’t require enough flow to prevent disease outbreaks and “will reduce the amount of Coho rearing habitat to far less than the standard the National Marine Fisheries Service has deemed necessary to conserve the species.” The groups are asking the district court judge to throw out the current biological opinion and require the Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service to start again. As it stands, the current biological opinion will cover Bureau of Reclamation operations on the Klamath River through 2024. But conditions on the Klamath could change significantly if a plan to remove four Oregon and California dams on the river is approved by federal and state energy regulators.
Yesterday a flatbed trailer hauling a large piece of earth moving equipment attempted to drive under the railroad bridge on Esplanade in downtown Klamath Falls.
The equipment was too tall to fit under the bridge and collided with the structure. The resulting collision pushed the equipment off the trailer closing the street for several hours as crews worked to remove the vehicle and equipment. The incident caused damage to the railroad overpass. The northbound lane of Esplanade Avenue between Spring Street and Michigan Avenue will be closed for bridge repairs today and tomorrow. The closure will be from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m both days.Traffic control, including detour routes, will be in place.
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation is going through the regulatory process with federal and state agencies in hopes they will allow the dams on the Klamath River to be removed by 2022. KRRC submitted evidence to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday, attempting to show that a small nonprofit corporation has the know-how to get the job done.
PacifiCorp owns the four Klamath River dams, but the utility doesn’t want to take on any liability that could result from dam removal. To ensure this, PacifiCorp plans to transfer ownership of the dams to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. A transfer of this sort requires FERC approval.
If federal energy regulators approve the transfer of ownership, KRRC would then have to seek approval to take down the dams. KRCC says the result would be the largest dam removal and river restoration project in U.S. history.Bottom of Form As it stands, the current biological opinion will cover Bureau of Reclamation operations on the Klamath River through 2024. But conditions on the Klamath could change significantly if a plan to remove four Oregon and California dams on the river is approved by federal and state energy regulators.
Milepost 97 Fire Update
The Oregon Department of Forestry says firefighters have gotten the upper hand on a wildfire that charred over 13,000 acres and is now 65% contained. The department said yesterday that after intensive efforts to combat the blaze which was caused by an illegal, abandoned campfire on July 24, firefighters are now securing lines around the fire, felling hazardous trees and mopping up to prevent any further spread.
The Milepost 97 Fire burned alongside Interstate 5 near Canyonville. No structures were damaged and roughly 1,200 people were involved in fighting the first large fire of Oregon’s young fire season.
Information regarding a Keno woman’s death earlier this week is being sought by the Oregon State Police. At approximately 4:43 p.m. Sunday, Klamath County 911 received a call from Keno stating a man had found his significant other, Audema Jean Tecumseh, 40, unresponsive in her bed.
Klamath County Medical personnel arrived at the home in the 15100 block of Clover Creek Road, shortly thereafter, and pronounced Tecumseh deceased.
Members of the Klamath County District Attorney’s office, Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Klamath Falls Police Department and Oregon State Police met, due to the suspicious circumstances. Oregon State Police has taken lead on the investigation. The circumstances of the death remain under investigation pending forensic analyses. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Oregon State Police at 541-883-5711.
The Klamath Falls City Council approved a request from Klamath IDEA Center for Entrepreneurship for $10,000 for the fiscal year 2019/2020.
The amount was half of what Klamath IDEA originally requested, but council staff recommended $10,000, as that is the remainder in Economic Development Funds.
The council also quickly approved two items involving the airport. The first was to approve a new contract with RMC Aviation allowing the company to use the North West Aviation Hangar Facility. The council also approved a $361,730 contract with Mead & Hunt, a national consulting firm, to design the Taxiway B1 and D Rehabilitation Project. A grant from the Federal Aviation Administration of $339,121 will fund the majority of the project. The remaining $22,609 will come from budgeted airport funds.
Fremont-Winema National Forest officials are reminding the public to slow down, watch for flaggers and use caution when traveling in road construction zones on the Forest following a crash Tuesday, Aug. 6.
The crash occurred on Forest Service Road 3790, also known as Fishhole Creek Road, on the Bly Ranger District. A private vehicle did not stop for the road construction flagger and hit the blade of a federal grader. There were no injuries, but the crash caused traffic delays and stopped work on the project for several hours.
Road construction started on Fishhole Creek Road yesterday and is expected to take approximately three weeks. Road construction is happening Monday through Thursday between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 3 miles of road, starting at the southern end and moving north to Highway 140 East.
Police shot and killed a 39-year-old man yesterday at the offices of the Oregon State Police in a Grants Pass. Josephine County District Attorney Ryan Mulkins said that Brandon C. Jones was in the Grants Pass state police office yesterday in connection with an investigation.
An altercation occurred after Jones’s 10:20 a.m. arrival, and Jones was shot after trying to take a trooper’s gun.
Several state troopers received minor injuries during the incident, according to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.
The Fremont-Winema National Forest, in cooperation with local, state, federal partners and the Klamath Fire Prevention Cooperative, will be celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday with a party in Klamath Falls this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Klamath Falls Tanker Base, located at 6300 Summer Lane in Klamath Falls.
There will be activities, wildland fire equipment, appearances by Smokey Bear and birthday cake. The event is free and open to the public.
Meeting Notice for EagleRidge High School
The Board of Directors of EagleRidge High School, an Oregon Nonprofit Corporation, will hold a Board Meeting on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, at 4:00 pm at EagleRidge High School, 677 South Seventh Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon. The meeting agenda includes discussion of information technology needs, new and revised policies and various items related to the curriculum for the school year. The Board may also consider other business brought before the board.
EagleRidge High School was established to create and implement an autonomous, high achieving and equitable small high school in collaboration with the Klamath Falls City School District pursuant to the Oregon Charter School law.
The meeting will be conducted in accordance with the Oregon Public Meetings law.
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