Klamath Basin News, Friday, 7/31 – Red Flag Warning for Tulelake To Medicine Lake Rec Area Around the Caldwell Fire; State of Oregon Reports 416 New Covid-19 Cases, 5 More Deaths

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   Widespread smoke at times. Sunny, with a high near 92.  Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 57.

Friday   Widespread smoke. Sunny, with a high near 94.

Saturday   Sunny, with a high near 92.

Sunday   Sunny, with a high near 92.

Monday   Sunny, with a high near 87.

Today’s Headlines

A red flag warning has been extended through 8 p.m. Friday around the July Complex fires, which grew to more than 80,000 acres by Thursday morning, below the Tulelake area.  

A mandatory evacuation remains in place for the Medicine Lake Recreation Area. The Lava Beds National Monument remains closed.

The Gillem and Caldwell fires, both lightning-caused, merged Wednesday and will now be managed and referred to only as the Caldwell Fire.

According to fire managers, that fire is now 79,316 acres and is now 45% contained. Firefighters made progress on control lines and burning operations, especially on the moderately active south and southwest sides of the fire.

Oregon health officials reported 416 new and presumptive coronavirus cases Thursday, bringing the state total to 18,131. Officials also reported five more coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the state death toll to 316 people.

One new case was reported in Klamath County.  A single new case was also reported in Lake County.

Public health officials in Jackson County reported 10 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, stressing the need to take necessary precautions after a month of record cases.

The latest cases bring Jackson County’s total to 335. Officials reported the first coronavirus-related death of a county resident on Wednesday, a 65-year-old man who passed away at a Portland hospital. 28 people in Jackson County have been hospitalized since the pandemic began, with 18 of those reported in July alone. Jackson County Public Health stressed the importance of people to taking preventative action to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19 — wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing hands regularly, and frequently disinfecting surfaces that are touched often.

Beginning Tuesday, August 4, 2020 and working through Friday, August 7th, road crews will be performing warranty work on the 2019 Slurry Seal Project in the downtown area and along South 6th Street to the East Main intersection.

Due to the nature of this product, the work must be performed during the daylight hours. Traffic will not be allowed on the material for approximately 2 hours after it is placed to allow for proper cure times. The contractor has proposed a traffic control plan to minimize street closures and impacts to downtown businesses. Detour routes and signage will be placed as needed to direct traffic through and around the work. “No Parking” signs will be posted on downtown streets the day before the work to be performed. Please be advised, the public will see traffic impacts during the construction period and is asked to seek alternate routes when possible. The City thanks our citizens in advance for their understanding during this construction project. If you would like more information, please call City Development Services at 541-883-4950.

The Klamath Falls streets division crews will be performing work August 3-7 during the hours of 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. as follows: Asphalt crew, Aug. 3-6 — Crews will be performing dig outs and paving in the Knob Hill area between Lexington Ave., Harmony Ln. and Van Ness Ave.

Paint Crew Aug. 4-7, Crews will be painting legends and crosswalks on Esplanade Ave. and N. Eldorado Blvd. from Crater Lake Pkwy. to Campus Dr. Sign maintenance and sweeping will be performed throughout the city as needed. Detours and signage will be in place where needed.

Oregon Tech plans to resume classes this fall, but it won’t be the normal campus experience for students or faculty. Cloth face coverings will be required for all faculty, staff, students and visitors on campus, including in classrooms, the cafeteria and the Student Rec Center. OIT announced back in June that the fall term would begin September 21, nine days earlier than planned. This will allow the majority of students to return to their homes for the Thanksgiving break and remain there for the remainder of the term as they finish the last week of course work and final exams remotely.

Klamath Community College (KCC) will offer a certified clinical medical assistant workforce training program in August. The six-week training will start Aug. 3 and focus on lab exercises in which students gain experience working in a clinical setting. KCC is able to offer this program during the coronavirus outbreak because healthcare professional training is considered essential.

KCC will follow all required physical distancing procedures, according to the college. The program consists of classes four evenings per week, and will be delivered partly online and part in small group practical labs. The usual internship required as part of the training will be waived. After successful completion, the student will be eligible to sit for the National Healthcareer Association certification exam. Class size is limited to 12 students and admission is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to the intensity of the course, it is recommended students have some previous healthcare work experience.

AROUND THE STATE OR OREGON

The fire danger level for Oregon Department of Forestry-protected lands in Jackson and Josephine counties rises to “Extreme” (red) first thing this morning, the agency announced.

Accompanying the fire danger increase Friday are additional regulations, primarily for the use of power equipment. The public fire restrictions that go into effect on Friday are detailed below. The industrial fire precaution levels remains at a level 2 for now:

  • Power saws are not allowed to be used at any time.
  • Equipment used for the cutting, grinding or welding of metal may not be used at any time.
  • The mowing of dry, cured grass with power equipment may not take place at any time. This regulation does not apply to farm equipment used for the culture and harvest of crops.
  • The use of any other spark-emitting equipment using an internal combustion engine is disallowed at any time.

Portland police cleared the two parks across the street from the federal courthouse in downtown early Thursday at the request of Oregon State Police, who are set to assume control of the scene of nightly protests that have continued for 65 nights and also damaging businesses in the city.


In the early morning hours, the Portland Police Bureau said it would be clearing Chapman and Lownsdale squares, closing both city parks and the sidewalks surrounding them.  And it did so.  Mayor Ted Wheeler said the move was part of the plan, for federal officers to leave the protection of the courthouse to state troopers.

A woman who was in the park when it was cleared said police used loudspeakers to tell people to get moving. Officers advised the people in the parks that they had 10 minutes to pack up or face arrest or non-lethal force.

Meanwhile, Mayor Wheeler is joining mayors from Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., Albuquerque and Kansas City to call on Congressional leadership to restrict the actions of federal forces in their cities.  The mayors say they want federal officials to consult with local officials and get local consent which likely will not happen according to the Department of Homeland Security.   They also want federal officers to wear identifying patches and have identification on vehicles.  The letter also asks for limits on federal agents’ crowd control activities to protect federal property.

Hold on Jackson County, Gov. Kate Brown’s new Metric Education Press Conference this week has thrown a wrench into the Medford School District’s original fall plan.

School districts are now scrambling to change on how they will be teaching classes after Brown announced new coronavirus metrics that will now determine when schools can allow in-person learning.   Superintendent of the Medford School District Dr. Bret Champion is working with his team to adjust to the governor’s changes.   A previous update to state guidance included face covering requirements for all Oregon students. 

“As of today (and please know things change quickly!), grades four through 12 will be fully virtual,” Dr. Champion said in a letter to MSD families. “Students will be taught by their teachers from the school the students attend.”

Because Jackson County’s COVID-19 numbers are currently below the metric threshold, schools would have the option of offering in-person classes to grades K-3.

“We will be studying our options and sharing updated and detailed information in the coming days,” Dr. Champion said. “We know that this continues to be a roller coaster for our families and staff. Please know that we continue to work to ensure that our system provides the best possible education for ALL our students, while protecting the health of our students, our staff, and our community.”

MSD will be holding a virtual town hall on August 5 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the evolving plans.

“In the Medford School District, we have a shared vision: ALL are learning and learning is for ALL,” Champion said. “That has never been more true than right now. This isn’t going to be perfect, but we will do our very best (along with you) to support students learning and wellbeing as we work toward opening this unprecedented school year.”  Stay tuned.

Southern Oregon University will pivot to a fall academic schedule in which most classes will be delivered remotely.

The shift is due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in southern Oregon and statewide.

The university updated its safety and health protocols, including strict capacity standards for indoor spaces and a requirement for face coverings both inside and outside where adequate social distancing is not possible.

SOU is working with Oregon’s other public universities, community partners and Jackson County Public Health to plan for and respond to positive COVID-19 cases when they occur.

On Wednesday, RADE detectives were notified of a male in Grants Pass who was in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine near SW Burgess and SW 4th Street.

Detectives began surveillance and located the male, Joshua W. Wheaton, from Crescent City, CA. Wheaton was detained during the investigation and GPDPS Narcotics Detection K9 Officer Gasperson and his partner Match responded. With their assistance, Wheaton was detained and he and his vehicle was searched. Located was over 508 grams (1.11 pounds) of methamphetamine, cash, packaging material and drug notes.

Wheaton was taken into custody and lodged for PCS/DCS Methamphetamine.

Missing child in Oregon City

Isaiah Moore, an infant born on July 25, 2020, went missing with his mother April Moore and her partner Aaron Elkin from Oregon City after his birth. The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) believes that Isaiah and his mother are at risk and is searching for them to assess their safety.

Oregon DHS asks the public to help in the effort to find them and to contact 911 or the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233) if they believe they see them. They are believed to be in the Multnomah or Clackamas County areas, they may also be traveling in other areas of Oregon or out of state.

Name: Isaiah Moore
Date of birth: July 25, 2020
Height: Unknown
Weight: Unknown
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children #1397430

Anyone who suspects they have information about the location of Isaiah Moore or his mother April Moore should call 911 or the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline at 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

Deputies are also trying to locate an 82 year-old Roseburg woman with dementia who left her home Thursday morning. At approximately 3:00 pm, deputies were notified that 82 year-old Elizabeth “Kay” Carroll was last seen at 11:00 am leaving her home in the Green District in her 2006 Gold Toyota Sienna with a yellow scrape on the passenger side. The vehicle bears Oregon license plate WTC271. Family is concerned about her welfare at this time her destination is unknown. 

Kay is described as 4’10” 110lbs with white hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a light blue and white striped shirt, gray sweatpants and gray shoes.  Kay is known to frequent casinos, Dairy Queen and China Buffet. She previously lived in Coos County and has ties to the Klamath Falls area.  Anyone having information about her whereabouts is asked to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 541-440-4471 or dial 9-1-1. Reference Case #20-3462.

On Tuesday morning, Oregon State Police and Clackamas Fire responded to the report of a multiple vehicle crash on Hwy 224 near SE 197th Ave. in Clackamas County.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 2007 Kia Spectra operated by Kurtiss Orcutt (51) of Milwaukie, OR. was traveling westbound and veered into the oncoming lane of travel. The Kia struck a Ford F550 traveling eastbound. The F550 was operated by Megan Scott (34) Sweet Home, OR. The F550 lost control and struck a black Acura occupied by Cynthia Martin (46), and her daughter (17) from Sandy, OR. A Chevrolet PGE vehicle and an unmarked OSP vehicle were also struck receiving minor damage.

The operator of the Acura was life flighted to OHSU with critical head injuries and was later pronounced deceased at the hospital. No other injuries were reported.

The driver of the Kia (Orcutt) was arrested on scene for DUII. Citizens who witnessed the event quickly provided aid at the scene.

On Thursday, July 30, 2020, at approximately 11:13 P.M., Oregon State Police responded to a death investigation on Hwy 194 near milepost 1 (Smith Rd) in Polk County. Preliminary investigation revealed a white Chevrolet Silverado, operated by David Joshua Gomez (34) of Independence, OR, was traveling southbound when for unknown reasons his vehicle left the roadway and collided with a tree down an embankment. The driver suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Mr. Gomez was reported missing when he did not show up for work on July 30.  His family searched for him and reported him missing around 8:00 P.M. After an extensive search Officers with Independence Police Department found the vehicle two-hours later with the driver inside. No foul play is suspected. The Investigation is ongoing.

Also on Thursday at about 9:30PM, Oregon State Police responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian on Hwy 101 milepost 17.  Preliminary investigation revealed a Chevrolet coupe, driven by Aaron Harris (29) Cannon Beach, OR, was traveling northbound when he saw a pedestrian but was unable to avoid them as they crossed into his path of travel.

The pedestrian, identified as Rachel Faith McCune (35) Seaside, Oregon, suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Hwy 101 was closed to one lane of travel for 3 hours.  

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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