Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 6/3 – Klamath County Applies for Phase Two Status With Gov. Brown

The latest news stories in the Klamath Basin and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.


Klamath Basin Weather

Today  Sunny with a high of 83.

Thursday  Sunny, with a high near 83.

Friday  Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.

Saturday  A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 63.

Today’s Headlines

COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 157, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday.  However, no new cases were reported in Klamath County, or any other southern Oregon county.

Oregon Health Authority reported 33 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 4,335.

The new cases are in the following counties: Benton (1), Hood River (4), Lincoln (2), Linn (1), Marion (8), Multnomah (10), Umatilla (1), Wasco (2), Washington (4).

Oregon’s 155th COVID-19 death is a 36-year-old woman in Multnomah County, who tested positive on May 31 and died the same day at Adventist Hospital. She had underlying medical conditions.

Oregon’s 156th COVID-19 death is a 66-year-old woman in Multnomah County, who tested positive on April 1 and died on May 22 at her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.

Oregon’s 157th COVID-19 death is an 81-year-old woman in Washington County, who tested positive on April 6 and died on May 26 at her residence. She had underlying medical conditions.


The Klamath County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown’s office Friday requesting Klamath County be approved to move into phase two of reopening by June 5.

Although the state hasn’t yet announced what phase two will look like, its website states that phase two may allow for gatherings up to 100 people with distancing, as well as limited visitation to nursing homes.

In the letter, the local commissioners assure the governor’s office of the county’s sufficient PPE levels, timely contact tracing capabilities, testing capacity in outlying communities in the county and ability to handle a surge with a team of 10 Klamath County Public Health staff ready in the event of a surge.

The county hadn’t reported any new cases since May 12, however the letter states KCPH anticipated new cases with increased testing.

Friday’s new cases brings Klamath County’s total cases to 44, with 36 of those recovered.

Oregon’s governor Brown called a last-minute press briefing on Monday afternoon in the wake of protests in Portland, around the state, and across the nation sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police.

In Portland and Eugene, some of those protests ended with heavy property destruction and looting.

The Governor was joined by Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton, and several state lawmakers.

Brown said that there were multiple peaceful protests across the city of Portland over the weekend, consisting of thousands — but late at night “much smaller groups” broke away from the main protests and committed those acts of vandalism.

Following the protests in Portland, Governor Brown said on Monday that she had approved reinforcements for the Portland Police Bureau — 100 troopers from Oregon State Police, and 50 members of the Oregon National Guard in a “support function only.” Brown said that the Guard troops would not be used to hold the line for any potential protests and would not be armed.

Portland Mayor Tim Wheeler addressed the city Tuesday morning after a fourth night of large-scale protests prompted by the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis last week, but he declined to extend the curfew that’s been imposed on the city for the last several nights.

With all the Covid-19 restrictions in place, the Klamath Falls Farmers Market (KFFM) is moving forward with plans for the 2020 market season, according to a news release.

The market will open Saturday, June 6 at 9 a.m. at its regular downtown location on 9th Street between Main Street and Klamath Avenue. Under the Governor’s executive orders, farmers markets are considered “essential businesses” (like grocery stores) and are exempt from shutdown. However, a number of modifications will be implemented at the market this year in order to prevent further spread of the virus and keep everyone safe and healthy. KFFM is expected to continue through October.

The Board of Directors of KFFM has carefully considered guidelines for social distancing and other changes designed to help protect the health and safety of market vendors and customers alike. These guidelines have been reviewed by officials of the City of Klamath Falls, who are in full support of the farmers market and the associated benefits it brings to the community. It is hoped that the safety measures that will be implemented at the Saturday markets may be able to be eased as time goes on and as public health conditions allow.

Some key changes this year from past operation of the market will include:

-vendor booths will be spaced farther apart, and some will be located in the parking area which will be closed to vehicles;

  • vendors whose product or service requires close contact between people will not be allowed at the market this year;
  • hand washing and sanitizing stations will be available in the main walkways of the market;
  • the Market Manager, Charlie Wycoff, will act as the market’s “Social Distancing Officer” and will monitor and enforce 6-foot distancing between people in the common areas of the market;
  • anyone who is sick, even a little, should not come to the market
  • all vendors and customers/visitors are encouraged to wear face masks
  • all vendors have been advised to set up their booths to enforce social distancing, to regularly sanitize and wipe down their tables and surfaces, and to not allow customers to touch their products, especially food items;
  • all non-essential programs such as music and children’s activities will be cancelled until further notice;
  • other modifications may also be implemented as needed to ensure public health and safety.

The mission of the Klamath Falls Farmers Market is to provide support for local small agricultural producers and provide a venue for them to sell their fresh local products directly to the public. The market also welcomes artisans and crafts persons who create and sell their unique local hand-made products. KFFM is also a tourist attraction and gathering place for community and social interaction on Saturdays, but unfortunately these must be limited for the duration of the current public health crisis. All visitors to the market this year will be encouraged to keep distance from others, not gather in groups, and basically do their “shopping” and then be on their way.

It is also part of the market’s mission to provide fresh, healthy food choices for low-income families. As always, the market supports and accepts SNAP/EBT Oregon Trail cards (food stamps) for food purchases, as well as the Oregon Farm Direct Nutrition Program for seniors and WIC program recipients.

Further information about KFFM is available from the website www.klamathfallsfarmersmarket.org, by email to charlie@klamathfallsfarmersmarket.org, or by telephone at 541-273-1102.

A Florida man who defrauded the Mill Casino in North Bend by claiming to represent the Village People has been sentenced at the federal court in Eugene, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

According to court documents, in August of 2015, 67-year-old Howard Harlib gave a flier to the casino, which is owned and operated by the Coquille Indian Tribe. The flier advertised an opportunity for the casino to book the Village People for a show.

Harlib claimed that the band had a show in Las Vegas, Nevada the night before, so traveling to North Bend would not be an issue. Soon Harlib sent the casino a contract, which the casino signed and returned — along with a check for $12,500. According to court documents, Harlib cashed the check two days later.

The Village People rep confirmed that Harlib did not have any association with the band. Harlib later admitted to that fact.

After spending five years in prison for that conviction, Harlib reportedly spent another five years in prison for impersonating a doctor and possessing a variety of prescription medications. 

ODOT has developed a web-based request form for limited in-person services at DMV field offices. The form will temporarily replace a phone scheduling process that was overwhelmed by more than 18,000 calls in one hour on Monday. DMV normally gets about 8,000 in a day.

The new form will be in place at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 3.

When it is available at www.OregonDMV.com, a simple tool will ask you a short series of questions to determine whether you can do your business online or need an in-person visit. If you qualify, you can fill out a form with your name and contact information. A DMV agent will contact you to schedule the in-person appointment.

Please remember, once you submit the online form it will take some time for DMV to respond to the historically high demand.

The law enforcement grace period for expired licenses, permits, and registration is still in effect.

The latest report from the National Interagency Fire Center  shows “significant large fire potential” for southern Oregon and northern California through the end of summer.

According to the BLM, almost 80 percent of Oregon is currently experiencing some level of drought conditions. Much of western Oregon is classified in “severe or extreme” drought. The NIFC report found that most areas on the West Coast got less than 25 percent of average precipitation in May, although areas of northern California did see significant rainfall by the end of the month.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) has released a list of state park campgrounds that are scheduled to open with limited services within the coming days. 

OPRD Director Lisa Sumption said, “I am cautiously delighted. We are working hard to welcome campers wherever we can safely do so, as soon as we can.”

Sumption said that campgrounds will open only when the following conditions are met:

  • Public health guidelines (OHA established) for the county are fulfilled.
  • The local community agrees.
  • The park has enough staff, supplies and equipment to safely open and operate at a basic level.

Sumption also noted that revenue loss, COVID-19 precautions and staff reductions will curtail services at most if not all campgrounds. Cabin and yurt camping, except in rare cases, will not be offered. Group camping remains closed across the state, due to distancing concerns.

RV and tent campers with existing reservations for a campground that opens will be honored beginning June 9. Not all sites or loops may be available at open campgrounds. For parks in the coastal region, there will be no walk-in or first come, first-served camping until further notice.

The online reservation system has been suspended since April 28. It will reopen for new reservations sometime next week, and will accept new reservations one day to two weeks in advance. OPRD will announce the reservation reopening date early next week through its website, stateparks.oregon.gov.

First come, first-served campgrounds in eastern Oregon lead the way. The following campgrounds open Friday, May 29. Others may be added to this list without a formal announcement. For updates, please check the website:

  1. Goose Lake, south of Lakeview
  2. Jackson Kimball, northwest of Chiloquin
  3. Minam, north of La Grande
  4. Hilgard Junction, near La Grande
  5. Catherine Creek, near Union
  6. Clyde Holliday, near John Day
  7. Cottonwood Canyon, southeast of The Dalles

 Campgrounds scheduled to open June 9, 2020:

Note: All group camping, cabins and yurts closed. No walk-in or first come, first-served camping until further notice. Additional services or changes will be on park page. Please visit the link. 

Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge
Note: All group camping, cabins and yurts closed. Additional services or changes will be on park page. Please visit the link. 

Southern, Central and Eastern Oregon
Note: All group camping, cabins and yurts closed unless otherwise noted. Additional services or changes will be on park page. Please visit the link. 

The Office of State Fire Marshal, Oregon fire service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and health and safety experts want to encourage Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using legal fireworks, according to a news release.

The 2020 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6. The OSFM is providing downloadable items that help Oregonians understand the fireworks that are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are permitted to be used, and the important safety steps to take when using fireworks. The OSFM is asking Oregonians to share this information with their friends, families, and neighbors.

Edible food is wasted on a massive scale in the United States, but there are signs that it could be coming back to Americans’ plates. 

The Upcycled Food Association has officially defined “upcycled food,” paving the way for a certification program akin to organic labeling later this year.

One member company, Caskai, makes beverages from the byproducts of coffee fruits. Joel Jelderks is the company’s co-founder and an Oregon native.

The association defines upcycled foods as using “ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.” As much as 40-percent of food is wasted, according to the U-S Department of Agriculture.

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

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