Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 8/4 – Crater Lake Reminds Visitors of Fire Dangers at the Park

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   Sunny, with a high near 92.  Overnight low of 54.

Wednesday   A 20% chance of showers or thunderstorms, otherwise mostly sunny with a high near 89.

Thursday   Sunny, with a high near 83.

Friday   Sunny, with a high near 88.

Today’s Headlines

A Klamath Falls man was shooting at his girlfriend’s car outside a convenience store when he was shot twice by a bystander.

Taylor Reed Jackson, 29, was shot in the right shoulder and right leg by an armed person who witnessed the confrontation outside the East Main Market in Klamath Falls. According to investigators, Jackson had fired several shots toward a vehicle driven by Sara Kerekes, his girlfriend. Kerekes was not injured, but her vehicle was struck by multiple bullets.

A legally armed citizen saw the shooting and intervened, shooting Jackson twice. Detectives said they interviewed the citizen and said they were within their rights to shoot Jackson. Jackson attempted to conceal his firearm, a handgun that was later recovered by detectives. Jackson was taken to Sky Lakes Medical Center, Klamath Falls, where he was treated and released.

He has since been lodged at the Klamath County Jail and charged with attempted murder, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and reckless endangering.  This incident is still under investigation. If you have information, contact the Klamath Falls Police Department at 541-883-5336, or call the anonymous tip line at 541-883-5334.

Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials reported two new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Monday. To date there have been 196 cases in Klamath County. As of this morning 7,287 tests have been processed for Klamath County.

COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 328.   The Oregon Health Authority reported 272 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 19,366.

Oregon’s 327th COVID-19 death is a 71-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive on July 6 and died on August 1. His place of death is being confirmed. He had underlying conditions. Oregon’s 328th COVID-19 death is a 50-year-old man in Multnomah County who tested positive on July 20 and died on July 29, at Providence Portland Medical Center. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.

Today, OHA released its Weekly Testing Summary, showing 35,424 test results were reported during the week of July 26 – Aug. 1.  Of those test results 2,174 were positive, indicating a test positivity of 6.1 percent, one of the highest rates observed since the early pandemic.

The most recent weekly in-state theoretical testing capacity estimate is 48,000 tests for the week of July 22 based on supply, reagent and staff availability. This does not include capacity at out-of-state commercial laboratories. OHA continues to receive widespread reports of extended turnaround time from commercial laboratories; in some cases, results are being reported up to two weeks following specimen collection.  

Many of the fires threatening the Klamath Basin neared containment over the weekend, including the Caldwell Fire near Tulelake and Lava Beds National Monument.

The Caldwell Fire is at 85% containment after reaching 80,800 acres. The Lava Beds and Medicine Lake recreation site remain closed, but evacuation orders throughout the area have been lifted. The Allen and Dalton fires, which were a part of the “July Complex” of lightning-sparked fires on the Modoc National Forest, are contained and in “monitor-only” status. Closures on the Paisley Ranger District and Fremont-Winema National Forest for the Ben Young Fire were lifted on Saturday. Crews contained and controlled the fire that had grown to over 1,200 acres.

Forest Service roads, campsites and recreation areas were also reopened this past weekend.

With the increased fire danger in Southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park has gone into stage one fire restrictions. According to park officials, the outlook is for above normal significant wildland fire potential for the next several months. To ensure public safety and to provide the highest degree of protection to park resources, the following restrictions have been implemented:

Campfires at Crater Lake
Wood fires and charcoal fires are permitted only within established grills or fire rings, or portable self-contained grills, at the Mazama Campground and at park residential areas. Gasoline and propane camp stoves and gas grills are permitted in campgrounds, picnic areas, backcountry areas, and residential areas.

No Smoking at Crater Lake
Smoking is permitted only in vehicles, provided that an ashtray is used for ashes and butts and while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or free of all flammable materials. Ashes and butts must be disposed of safely and may not be discarded on the ground.

No Fireworks at Crater Lake
Fireworks are prohibited in the park at all times.Park officials said their goal is voluntary compliance, “however, persons who fail to comply with these restrictions may be cited or arrested.”

Hiroshima survivor Hideko Tamura-Snider

This Thursday, Aug. 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the atom bombing of Hiroshima, followed in a few weeks by the 75th anniversary of the close of World War II.

Just in time for these commemorations, the Oregon Department of Forestry has launched a new online map where people can find the location of 45 Oregon peace trees grown from the seed of Hiroshima trees that survived the atom bomb. Klamath Falls is one of 30 towns and cities across the state that received the trees and which are pinpointed on the new map.

The new site tells the story of how the trees came to be in Oregon, which now has one of the largest plantings of Hiroshima-origin peace trees outside of Japan. View the new site at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/ForestBenefits/Pages/Hiroshima-peace-trees.aspx

From Hiroshima to Oregon

Hiroshima survivor Hideko Tamura-Snider, co-founder of the Medford-based peace group One Sunny Day Initiatives, launched the effort to bring peace trees to her adopted state when she convinced Oregon Community Trees Board Member Michael Oxendine to obtain and grow seeds from her native city. Oxendine contacted Green Legacy Hiroshima, which collects the seeds from trees known to have survived the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima. After the seeds arrived in 2017, Oxendine germinated them and potted up the seedlings. With no facility to grow them on, Oxendine reached out to fellow OCT board members in late 2018 to find homes for the seedling ginkgo and Asian persimmon trees.

And OCT board member Jennifer Killian with Corvallis Parks and Recreation volunteered to care for the young trees for 18 months while OCT board member Jim Gersbach worked with Kristin Ramstad in the Oregon Department of Forestry to find permanent homes for the trees.

“We offered the trees first to Tree Cities USA and Tree Campus USA communities,” said Ramstad, who manages ODF’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. “We had a gratifying response from all parts of the state – the coast to eastern Oregon, and from the Columbia Gorge to near the California border. About three dozen entities, including schools and colleges, churches, cemeteries, parks and arboretums, were eager to obtain the trees and received them at no cost.”

Ramstad said the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting ban on public gatherings curtailed the many elaborate public ceremonies that were to be held by communities to mark the plantings. “Although planting ceremonies had to be canceled, dedicated staff or volunteers got the trees safely in the ground. Most communities are vowing to hold dedications after it’s safe to again hold public gatherings.”

OCT also provided funds to OSDI to make commemorative plaques for the trees, some of which may be unveiled at the future dedications.

Symbols of resilience, hope and peace

Gersbach said the project is a reminder that beyond the environmental benefits tree canopy provides in cities, trees also can bring a community together to reflect on life’s more meaningful aspects and values.

“We are again in a time of widespread loss of life and uncertainty due to the novel corona virus,” he said. “These seedlings’ parents leafed out from scorched trunks in the months following the atom bomb, giving hope to the bereaved survivors in Hiroshima. Their progeny serve as hopeful symbols in our current pandemic of the resilience of life.”

After learning how many communities embraced the Hiroshima seedlings, Tamura-Snider wrote that the numerous plantings “filled me with joy, remembering the long journey for both the tree[s] and myself. Thank you, people of Oregon, for your enduring faith in the future, in the resilience of life.”

Around the state of Oregon

An Ashland woman who had been missing since last month has been found dead. The body of 22-year old Theresa Graces Flowers was found near Billings Ranch, just north of Ashland, in a nearby pond. A citizen near the area discovered the body and called the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office saying that they believed that they had found the missing woman. The sheriff’s office along with Fire District 5 headed directly to the pond to discover the body. After police recovered the body, they were able to identify it as Theresa. Theresa had been missing since July 28 and was last seen on Jackson Road near Highway 99 North near Ashland around two in the afternoon in the Billings Farm area. Police say that she pulled into a driveway, parked her car and walked north east. 

In his passive style, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is apologizing to peaceful protesters who were tear gassed by police during nightly demonstrations against police brutality in the city.  Wheeler spoke at a news conference yesterday, saying he agreed with community members that Portland Police Bureau officers did use tear gas indiscriminately during nights in May and June.  Wheeler says state troopers taking over the guarding of the federal courthouse from federal officers will be under the same restrictions as Portland Police, meaning they cannot use tear gas unless someone’s life is in danger.

The Oregon Employment Department continues to struggle with unemployment claims for people who are self-employed and contract workers.  The department says it still has 19-thousand claims to finish by August 8th from a backlog of 70-thousand.  Last week, they processed 21-thousand claims.  A new webpage is taking weekly online claims which has sped up the process and eliminated mistakes.  They say they’re on track to meet next week’s goal.

One of the Oregon Zoo’s newest residents, a baby red panda, got its first veterinary checkup Monday, revealing that the tiny critter is a male. The yet-to-be-named cub was born June 18 and has been nestled up with its mother, 4-year-old Mei Mei, in the privacy of a maternity den ever since, as zoo staff have taken a hands-off approach with the new mom. Medical staff did a complete checkup and confirmed the gender of the cub, who weighs about 2.5 pounds.

On Sunday, August 2, 2020 at approximately 9:50 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle crash on Hwy 395C near Lost Creek Timber Rd. 

Preliminary investigation revealed that a Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Jon Meek (63) of Riverside, CA, was northbound when he attempted to pass a farm tractor pulling a bailer, operated by a juvenile male, that had just started a left turn.  The motorcycle struck the left front of the farm tractor.

Meek was transported by air ambulance to Saint Lukes Hospital in Idaho where he was pronounced deceased.The juvenile was not injured in the crash.

An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) adult in custody, Patrick R. Johnson, died the evening of August 1, 2020. Johnson was incarcerated at Two Rivers Correctional Institution (TRCI) in Umatilla. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified, and the medical examiner will determine cause of death.

Johnson entered DOC custody on October 31, 2017, from Marion County with an earliest release date of October 10, 2023. Johnson was 39 years old.  DOC takes all in-custody deaths seriously. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of approximately 14,000 individuals who are incarcerated in 14 institutions across the state. While crime information is public record, DOC elects to disclose only upon request out of respect for any family or victims.

U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Isaiah Jason Maza, Jr., 18, of Portland, has been charged by criminal complaint with assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon and willfully damaging government property during protests at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 22, 2020.

According to court documents, in the early morning hours of July 22, 2020, a group of individuals gathered in an exterior entryway of the Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Several members of the group, including Maza, began removing plywood attached to the front of the building to protect its damaged glass façade. After the group successfully removed the plywood sheeting, Maza made multiple attempts to kick in the window, struck it with a metal object, and repeatedly pounded on it with what appeared to be a hammer.

Shortly thereafter, a number of people successfully removed the entire wooden structure protecting the courthouse entryway and an unknown individual broke one of the windows. After this breach, Maza walked toward the building carrying a cylindrical object. Maza then appeared to light a fuse connected to the object and place it inside the broken window. A short time later, the object exploded in close proximity to law enforcement officers exiting the building through the broken window. A deputy U.S. Marshal sustained injuries to both his legs as a result of the blast.

On July 31, 2020, deputy U.S. Marshals spotted Maza less than one block from the courthouse. Maza ran from the deputy marshals who pursued him several blocks by foot before catching and arresting him.

Maza made his first appearance in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

Assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Willfully damaging government property is punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. This case is being jointly investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. Criminal complaints are only accusations of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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

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