Klamath Basin News, Monday, Feb. 17 – Ross Ragland “Light The Tower” Campaign Receives Generous Contributions

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Klamath Basin Weather

Today, President’s Day Sunny, with a high near 44.   Overnight, cold and clear, with a low of 18 degrees.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 46. Overnight, cold with a low near 19.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 49.  Low overnight of 23.

Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 51.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 55.

Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 58.

Road Conditions

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Lake of the Woods Hiway 140
Greensprings Drive at Hiway 97
Doak Mountain looking east
Chemult, Oregon
LaPine, Oregon
Bly, Oregon
Medford at I-5 -Biddle Road & Crater Lake Parkway

Today’s Headlines

The Klamath County Public Health Air Advisory is Green until noon today.

The Klamath Falls Downtown Association presented a donation from “Downtown Supporters of Arts & Culture” to the Ross Ragland Theater’s “Light the Tower!” capital campaign at the KFDA Annual Meeting & Social last week. Pictured are KFDA President Nic Phair; l-r, RRT Director of Development Terra Russo, RRT Executive Director Scott Mohon, and KFDA Executive Director Darin Rutledge.

Klamath Falls Downtown Association held its Annual Meeting & Social where it announced the results of its matching fund drive to support the Ross Ragland Theater’s “Light the Tower!” capital campaign. 

The fund drive had an initial goal of $5,000. Attendees at the event were pleasantly surprised when a check was presented to newly selected Ross Ragland Theater Executive Director Scott Mohon and Director of Development Terra Russo, in the amount of $25,130.

The fund drive was kicked off last month as a challenge from KFDA to Downtown supporters to match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500.  According to Executive Director Darin Rutledge “It’s kind of typical in Klamath Falls.  A group of people get an idea that is the right thing to do at the right time, they set a modest goal, and this community over-delivers.

Jo Rae Perkins

Two Republican U.S. Senate candidates stopped in at Waffle Hut Thursday night for a meet and greet with area Republicans.

Jo Rae Perkins from Albany and Paul Romero from Roseburg spoke at the Klamath County Republicans meeting to gather support from the Klamath Basin in their campaigns to unseat Sen. Jeff Merkley, who is running for reelection to the position he’s held for 12 years.

Paul Romero

Each candidate spoke to the crowded room at Waffle Hut, in downtown Klamath Falls.

The candidates spoke and answered questions from people whose tickets were pulled from a basket by Republican Chairwoman Patti Horton. Attendees drilled the candidates about water issues, dam removal and the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

One person also asked the pair if they had a strategy to beat Merkley, a Democrat, and flip his seat red.  Both assured the room they could win.

The controversy over the 2018 sale of the Tulelake Municipal Airport by the Tulelake City Council to the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma remains simmering.

In July 2018, the Tulelake City Council unanimously accepted a bid from the Tribe, which is now known as the Modoc Nation, to buy the airport for $17,500, a cost that city officials said covered the city’s legal fees. Following the sale, the Tule Lake Committee filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento challenging the transfer.

In opposing the sale, Barbara Takei, the Committee’s chief financial officer, terms the airport “hallowed ground, where hundreds of Japanese Americans died from illness, harsh conditions, and despair.”Tulelake Mayor Hank Ebinger said the city is not involved in the proceedings because the Modoc Nation is handling legal matters and covering the expenses.

Ebinger said they are really not involved anymore in regards to the airport’s ownership emphasizing they believe the airport was legally transferred.

Around the state

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reports that a County Jail  inmate died after being transported to a local hospital in Medford on February 15, 2020.

Carl George Sullivant, age 46, passed away at Rogue Regional Medical Center Saturday afternoon following a medical emergency which occurred while he was in custody at the Jackson County Jail.

 Sullivant, who was in custody following a conviction for drug related charges, was alone in a jail cell when deputies found him unresponsive at about 0745 hours. Medical staff and EMS were notified and he was transported to RRMC. Sullivant was awake and responsive when he left the Jackson County Jail but passed away a few hours later at approximately 1620 hours.

Information from the preliminary investigation revealed Sullivant tripped in his cell, fell and struck his head. It is unknown if a pre-existing medical condition was present prior to the fall but he had indicated he was not feeling well and was moved from general housing to an area where medical staff could observe him more closely.

The Ashland Police Department along with the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit are investigating the incident, standard procedure for any death which occurs while in custody. As part of the investigation an autopsy will be scheduled.

More details will be released following completion of the investigation.

Officer-Involved Shooting in White City

On Sunday Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a report of an adult male who was bleeding from his arm, requesting an ambulance in the area of Lakeview Dr. and Merry Lane in White City.

Deputies arriving at the scene found the injuries were bullet wounds. Shortly after the initial report, deputies were advised that a suspicious vehicle had left the scene at a high speed driving recklessly. The two events were believed to be related.

The investigation revealed that the victim of the shooting and two subjects were inside the victim’s vehicle when he was shot. The vehicle was parked at the intersection of Lakeview and Merry. After the victim was shot, the two subjects fled in their own vehicle.

At about 1740 hours, the suspicious vehicle was located off of Gramercy Rd. Subsequently, two persons of interest were detained. There is no on-going threat to the community.

The victim was transported by Mercy to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening wounds.

At this time the case remains under investigation. Additional details are expected to be available later today.

Highway 22 is closed today near milepost 63 after this tanker truck accident on Sunday.

A section of Oregon Highway 22 will be closed indefinitely following a tanker truck crash and fuel spill, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The crash occurred Sunday near milepost 63. Oregon State Police said the driver was treated for minor injuries.

After the crash, ODOT reported that fuel was spilling from two tanks. Crews pumped fuel from the tanks on Sunday and would return Monday morning to continue the cleanup.

ODOT said Highway 22 will remain closed between Idanha and the junction with Highway 20, mileposts 53-81.

Drivers are asked to avoid the area. Highway 20 and Highway 126E can be used as alternative routes for most traffic traveling between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.

A man robbed three Portland banks in less than one hour last week, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

The robberies occurred Friday.  The man wore glasses, a black beanie and flannel shirt.He robbed the Bank of the West on Northwest Broadway near Flanders Street at 1:52 p.m., police said.He robbed the OnPoint Community Credit Union on West Burnside Street and 20th Avenue at 2:17 p.m. and he followed that at 2:29 p.m. with a third robbery of a bank near Northwest 23rd Avenue and Burnside, police said.

The unshaven man each time passed a note to a bank employee and did not display a weapon

Not content with efforts to remove the dams on the Klamath River Governor Brown has come out in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state, saying that is the best way to increase endangered salmon runs.

She sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee this week, offering her support for removing the dams.The letter outraged Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams, the Tri-City Herald reportedThe three said it is best to wait for the release of a federal environmental study of the Columbia and Snake river hydrosystems that was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon of Portland.

Winter Fire School in Salem trains firefighters vehicle rescue techniques. Read more below.

More than 200 career and volunteer firefighters from more than 75 fire agencies (city and tribal fire departments, fire districts, and wildland) throughout the state were at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem this weekend for the State’s annual Winter Fire School.

This two-day event began with the posting of the colors by the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard after which all military service members in attendance were recognized for protecting our nation.  Those attending the training made a $500 donation to help support the state’s Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial which is located on the grounds of the Academy and honors more than 150 men and women from diverse backgrounds who died in the line of duty while protecting our communities, airports and natural resources.

This is the 17th annual Winter Fire School hosted by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) and is held at the Oregon Public Safety Academy 4190 Aumsville Highway in Salem.

Nine classes are being offered by the National Fire Academy, DPSST, and the City of Dallas Fire & EMS Department.

Classes range from leadership topics such as Incident Safety Officer, Leadership in Supervision: Creating Environments for Professional Growth, Instructor Development, Fire Service Culture: Who Protects Firefighters from Firefighters?, Leadership in Supervision: Frameworks to Success, Wildland Urban Interface: Fire Adapted Communities-Introduction and Leadership.  Hands-on training classes include Vehicle Extrication, Emergency Vehicle Operations, and Live-Fire Training.

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers are asking for the public’s assistance in locating and apprehending the person(s) responsible for shooting a bighorn sheep ram in Wallowa County near the town of Troy sometime during the week of January 27.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the ram was shot on the Wenaha Wildlife Area along the road leading to the feed sight.  The ram was fitted with a telemetry collar and an ear tag.  The collar and severed ear were the only items left at the scene.

Anyone who may have information that will help identify the suspect(s), is asked to call the Turn In Poachers (TIP) line at (800) 452-7888, *OSP(677) or Sergeant Chris Hawkins (541) 963-7575 ext. 4670.

** Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators** 

** Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators** 

The TIP program offers preference point rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of big game mammals.

Preference Point Rewards:

* 5 Points-Bighorn Sheep

* 5 Points-Rocky Mountain goat

* 5 Points-Moose

* 5 Points-Wolf

* 4 Points-Elk

* 4 Points-Deer

* 4 Points-Antelope

* 4 Points-Bear

* 4 Points-Cougar

Or the TIP program also offers cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, and Furbearers. Cash rewards can also be awarded for the unlawful take of Game Fish and Shellfish and for Habitat Destruction.

* $1,000 Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat and Moose 
* $500 Elk, Deer and Antelope 
* $300 Bear, Cougar and Wolf 
* $300 Habitat Destruction 
* $100 Upland Birds and Waterfowl 
* $100 Furbearers 

* $100 Game Fish and Shellfish 

How to Report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity: 

TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP(677)

TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us (Monitored M-F 8:00AM – 5:00PM)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin.

This Final PEIS provides for the construction and maintenance of a system of up to 11,000 miles of strategically placed fuel breaks to control wildfires within a 223 million acre area that includes portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.

The Preferred Alternative outlined in the PEIS analyzes a full suite of manual, chemical and mechanical treatments, including prescribed fire, seeding, and targeted grazing to construct and maintain a system of fuel breaks. These treatments would be implemented along roads and rights-of-way on BLM-administered lands to minimize new disturbance and wildlife habitat fragmentation and to maximize accessibility for wildland firefighters.

“Recovering from the devastating effects of wildlfires can take decades in the rugged, high-desert climate of the Great Basin. These tools will help firefighters contain fires when they break out,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management Casey Hammond. “That’s why creating fuel breaks is incredibly important to the entire basin, the people who live in these communities, and our wildland firefighters.”

“Wildfires pose an enormous threat to rangelands in the Great Basin – rangelands that people depend on for both recreational opportunities and their livelihoods, and that wildlife rely on for habitat,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “Fuel breaks are one of the most important tools we have to give wildland firefighters a chance to safely and effectively contain rapidly moving wildfires and potentially reduce wildfire size.” 

Wildfires in sagebrush communities in the Great Basin states are becoming more frequent and larger, fueled by large, unbroken swaths of grasses, brush and other vegetation. Over 13.5 million acres of historically sagebrush communities on BLM land burned within the project area between 2009 and 2018. Wildfires that consume sagebrush provide the opportunity for invasive annual grasses to increase, making future large and severe wildfires more likely.

Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

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