Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 6/23 – U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Klamath Farmers Water Rights Case for Compensation

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.

TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 95. Mostly clear overnight with a low of 56.

Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 89. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 91.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 95.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 88.

Today’s Headlines

The U.S Supreme Court has declined to take up a long-running case filed by farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin demanding compensation from the federal government for water use limits.

The Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA), an organization that represents a coalition of irrig The case, dubbed Baley v. United States, was filed in 2001 after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation ordered that water levels in Upper Klamath Lake be kept at a certain level in an attempt to protect several species of fish native to both the lake and the Klamath River.

Attempts to revive the populations of Lost River and Shortnose suckers, two species sacred to the Klamath Tribe, have been led by the tribes and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

A separate but related effort to preserve Coho salmon in the Klamath River has come from the Yurok Tribe of northern California. Plaintiffs in the 2001 case argued that the federal government was required under the Fifth Amendment to pay compensation to irrigators for limiting their water rights.

Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials report six new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Monday, June 22, bringing the total to 94.

Of the 94 cases, 45 have recovered in our county. There are 49 active cases in Klamath County. As of this morning, 4,664 tests have been processed for Klamath County.

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 192. 

One new covid case was reported in Jackson County. 

Klamath County has now recorded more cases of covid than Jackson county, despite the large difference in population. The recent growth in COVID-19 cases is largely because of successful contact tracing. The tracing is done to identify and test those who have been exposed. The honesty and cooperation of positive cases and their contacts in answering calls and assisting in the protection of the community is a valuable contribution to helping keep the community safe and healthy.

The Klamath community is known for doing the right thing, especially when it concerns our friends and neighbors. Public Health is proud to participate in a process that demonstrates that our community rises to a challenge with integrity and respect for one another. While Klamath County is in Phase 2 of Reopening Oregon, community members must continue to be careful in personal actions to guard against COVID-19 contagion. Maintain six feet of social or physical distancing between yourself and others.

Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, utilizing hand sanitizer when washing facilities are not available. Cover coughs and sneezes. Stay home when sick. Know how and when a properly worn face covering may be used when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Klamath County Freedom Celebration/Foundation announced planned community activities in celebration of the Fourth of July Independence Day holiday in Klamath Falls, according to a news release.

Activities planned include an Independence Day Drive-Thru Display car show in lieu of the traditional parade on Main Street, which will be limited to 40 entries. Entrant’s parking will be on the north of Main Street, while spectators in vehicles will be able to drive down Main Street to see display. During this event there will be no parking permitted on Main Street, except for vehicles entered in the event.

Sign-up for the Drive-thru event will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 4 on Spring Street at Sharky’s Shack, with the display available to the public from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event will also include a flyover by Kingsley Field aircraft and DJ music provided along Main Street.

More information is available at www.klamathfc.org.

Also on Saturday, July 4, a drive-in fireworks show will be held at the Klamath County Fairgrounds, starting at 7:30 p.m. with fireworks to commence at 10 p.m. It will be a vehicle-only show inside the RV and carnival area of the fairgrounds, utilizing proper spacing between vehicles

The Office of State Fire Marshal, the Oregon Fire Service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts are asking Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using all fireworks.

The 2020 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6. The OSFM and its partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are allowed to be used, and how to use fireworks safely Residents who plan to visit public lands and parks for the July Fourth holiday are asked to leave all fireworks at home.

The use of fireworks is prohibited in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on state beaches, in state parks, and in state campgrounds. Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground, without a permit issued by the OSFM.

Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon, without a permit.

A second lawsuit has been filed against an Oregon ranch accused of causing millions of dollars in damages by negligently igniting a 2018 wildfire.

The federal government filed a complaint claiming that J-Spear Ranch of Paisley, Oregon, started the Watson Creek Fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, The Capital Press reported. A similar lawsuit was filed by a timber company last month. According to the federal government’s lawsuit, the fire claimed 59,000 acres, of which about 46,000 are administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The suit says it resulted in at least $14 million worth of losses in timber, habitat, water protection and environmental values, as well as fire suppression and rehabilitation costs.

The complaint alleges the fire was sparked in mid-August 2018 by a ranch employee on an all-terrain vehicle conducting maintenance on the Paradise Creek allotment, for which J-Spear Ranch is responsible. The ranch had not outfitted the vehicle with fire-suppression equipment or cleaned it to remove dried vegetation and other debris, as required by fire season rules for that area, the government claims.

Starting Wednesday, a new rule from Gov. Kate Brown will require people in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, Hood River and Lincoln counties to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

The rule is an attempt to stop the wave of new COVID-19 cases in Oregon, and will impact 55% of people who live in the state. If you plan to go to any indoor public place (including grocery stores) in the aforementioned counties, you need a mask. You can either buy one, or you can make your own.  Beware of online conspiracy theories about masks. Instead, listen to public health officials, like Dr. Paul Cieslak, senior health adviser to the Oregon Health Authority, who says Masks are recommended in situations where you encounter people outside of your immediate household members, because by wearing them, you could reduce the likelihood of transmitting COVID-19 if you are carrying it unknowingly.”

The search for a 20-year-old Washington County woman missing since December appears to be ending in tragedy.  

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office says search crews recovered the body of Allyson Watterson over the weekend in North Plains.  Police say a homeowner found the human remains while mowing an overgrown spot between their property and another property.  The remains have not yet been officially identified, but investigators say they’re confident they belong to Watterson.  Watterson was last seen on December 22nd with her boyfriend, Ben Garland.  Watterson’s mother says they were headed to a friend’s home when their car broke down and they got separated.

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

…For complete details on these and other stories see today’s Herald & News.  Wynne Broadcasting and the Herald and News…stronger together to keep you informed.

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