Klamath Basin News, Friday, Sept. 4 – Labor Day Weekend Ahead; Masks and Precaution Reminders from OHA

The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high around 98.

Saturday Sunny and hot, with a high near 97.

Sunday Sunny and hot, with a high near 97.

Labor Day Monday Sunny and hot, with a high near 92.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 85.

.Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 90.

Today’s Headlines

The state of Oregon reporting another 274 confirmed and preseumptive Covid-19 Cases, 3 new deaths.

COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 470, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. OHA also reported 274 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 27,336.

The new cases are in the following counties: Baker (2), Clackamas (24), Columbia (2), Coos (4), Deschutes (4), Douglas (1), Jackson (18), Jefferson (6), Josephine (4), Lane (13), Lincoln (1), Linn (2), Malheur (23), Marion (36), Morrow (7), Multnomah (65), Umatilla (15), Wasco (4), Washington (40) and Yamhill (6).

Late Wednesday afternoon, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 140 near the intersection of Hwy 62. Preliminary investigation revealed that a Chevrolet Silverado, operated by Daniel Mejia (21) of White City, was eastbound when it crossed into the westbound lane and struck a Chevrolet Lumina, operated by Sheila Johnson (64) of Eagle Point. Johnson sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. Hwy 140 was closed for approximately 3 hours following the crash. OSP was assisted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Mercy Flights, and Jackson County Fire District #3.

As you pack up the family for an outdoor adventure, take a few moments to reduce the chances of igniting sparks along the way to your destination.

A loose trailer safety chain dragging on the pavement can send a shower of sparks into dry vegetation. You can reduce the chances of igniting a wildfire by ensuring safety chains are not touching the ground.

The Klamath National Forest has tips on how to be safe in the woods this weekend. Make sure trailer wheel bearings are greased and properly maintained. Check tire pressure and condition. Keep vehicles off dry grass—red hot catalytic converters are notorious fire starters in dry vegetation.  Equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and maintained. A faulty spark arrestor can shed hot metal and start a fire.  Carry a shovel and a fire extinguisher in your vehicle. Make sure your campfire is extinguished—unattended and abandoned campfires are the leading cause of wildfires. And be aware of and follow all public-use restrictions and access closures. It is important to check with local agencies about any closures before venturing out. The Klamath National Forest will have a number of recreation facilities open for the Labor Day weekend. Open facilities include all trailheads and all river access areas. All off-highway staging areas are open except restroom facilities. Open facilities also include 22 campgrounds and day use areas.

Labor Day weekend is normally a time of celebrations, reunions and family vacations. This year, though, it’s important to reconsider the activities you engage in with friends and family.

We’ve seen the number of people infected with COVID-19 spike after Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays. To keep our communities healthy and to be able to reopen schools statewide, we need to avoid that happening this holiday weekend.

This means staying close to home, spending time with members of our household, avoiding crowds, and following public health guidance.

While thinking about how to celebrate the end of this unusual summer, it’s a good idea to get clear with family and friends about what activities you are comfortable doing. Here are some ways to discuss your approach when someone asks you to attend a gathering:

  • Share how you feel. What are your thoughts about the current protections? What fears do you wish your loved ones would understand?
  • Share information. For example, if you feel pressured to join an activity because your family or friends think you are unlikely to catch the virus, you can explain that you do not want to potentially spread the virus.

The American Automobile Association says gas prices are at the lowest in four years. The average price per gallon for Oregon is steady at $2.67, last year it was $3.05.

This comes just in time for the Labor Day weekend.  AAA says with Covid-19 precautions and travel restrictions in place, more people reluctant to fly and are choosing to travel by car. In fact, according to AAA 97% of people are making the choice to drive than use any other means of transportation.  They advise that lodging and attractions should be booked in advance. Travel restrictions and advisories need to be researched as well. AAA says tourists should make sure the place they want to visit is open and welcoming visitors. The national average of gas prices per gallon rose about five cents to $2.23 per gallon. Prices across the board are expected to drop as the fall season approaches, but other major storms, like hurricanes, do have the potential to cause an increase in prices even in the Oregon area.

If a day trip to the Lava Beds sounds like a good idea to you, more sites at Lava Beds National Monument that were closed by last month’s Caldwell Fire, which burned portions of 70 percent of the park, have reopened. Several areas usually enjoyed by visitors, however, remain closed. Marc Blackburn, Lava Beds chief of visitor services, recently issued the following update about newly-reopened areas of the park: Visitor Center is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entire length of the park road is now open, as well as roads to Schonchin Butte, Cave Loop and Forest Service Road 49. Indian Well Campground is reopened, along with trails to Schonchin Butte, Mammoth Crater & Hidden Valley, Big Nasty, and the Whitney Butte Trail. Other areas, like Fleener Chimneys, Gillems Camp, Canby Cross, Hospital Rock and the Petroglyph section are now open. Until further notice, Blackburn emphasizes that all burned areas are closed to public access.

Learn about your rights as a renter during COVID-19 with the Klamath County Library, on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 5:30pm via Zoom

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an emergency moratorium on evictions through the end of the year, due to the economic damage wrought by the COVID-19 crisis. But if you’re a renter – or a landlord – what exactly does that mean, in practice?

Learn about tenants’ rights during COVID-19 at an online Lay Person Legal presentation on Thursday, September 17th at 5:30 pm. Please email lawlibrary@klamathlibrary.org to receive a link to join the presentation.

Lay Person Legal is a seminar series for average folks, presented by the downtown Klamath County Library, the Loyd De Lap Law Library, the Klamath County Bar Association and Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Attendees will get a better appreciation of how the legal system works, particularly if they are attempting to navigate the courts without a lawyer.

Presenter Drew Hartnett is an attorney with Legal Aid Services of Oregon, practicing, among other areas, in the field of Landlord/Tenant law, focusing on protecting tenant rights and maintaining safe, habitable, and available housing in the Klamath and Lake County communities.  Hartnett is licensed in Oregon, and has lived in Oregon for 15 years.

Please note that while Hartnett is a licensed attorney, he cannot give individual legal advice on any specific case. For more information, please call 541-882-8894 or email lawlibrary@klamathlibrary.org

Around the state of Oregon

Portland antifa member Michael Reinoehl shot and killed by Federal officers in Lacey, Washington.

Federal law enforcement agents confirmed on Thursday that they fatally shot a suspect in the killing of right-wing protester Aaron J. Danielson, a member of a pro-Trump caravan that drove through downtown Portland last weekend and clashed with anti-racism protesters.

U.S. Marshals and other law enforcement agencies at scene where Michael Reinoehl was attempted to be apprehended in Lacey, Wa.

Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, was shot by law enforcement agents as they attempted to arrest him in Lacey, Washington, on Thursday, the U.S. Marshals Service confirmed.

Unemployed Michael Forest Reinoehl seen in his own riot gear during many nights of Portland protests. He had been arrested twice during the summer for carrying a loaded handgun in a public place, resisting arrest and interfering with police. Both times he was released just hours later.

Reinoehl was a suspect in the killing of Danielson, part of the far-right Patriot Prayer group that drove a pro-Trump caravan of 600 vehicles through Portland on Saturday, before he was shot in a clash with anti-racism demonstrators.    

Reinoehl’s death came a day after VICE News published an interview with the army veteran who was reportedly a longstanding presence at Portland’s Black Lives Matter protests.   

In it, Reinoehl says he acted in self-defense as he thought he and a friend were about to be stabbed, known by Danielson’s friend as a complete lie, who was at the scene that night.

A statement by the U.S. Marshals Service said that the Portland Police Bureau issued an arrest warrant for Reinoehl on Tuesday on a murder charge, while on Thursday, members of the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force located him in an apartment in the Olympia, Washington, suburb, which he was spotted leaving at around 7:30 p.m., 

Witnesses told the paper that up to 50 shots were fired as officers attempted to detain Reinoehl, while the Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Brady said four officers fired their weapons.

U.S. Marshals say Reinoehl produced a gun as officers tried to take him into custody.  Task force members responded to the threat and struck the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Portland has seen around 100 days of sustained anti-racism protests following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer on Memorial Day. But fresh clashes broke out last Saturday between anti-racism demonstrators and a pro-Trump caravan of about 600 vehicles that drove through the city and began inciting violence and firing paintballs, with counterprotesters throwing objects back.

Video appears to show Danielson’s shooting and the moments that led up to it, with Danielson appearing to spray mace in the shooter’s direction, before two gunshots were heard and the victim fell to the ground immediately after. Soon after Danielson’s killing, Patriot Prayer, an Oregon-based far-right group that has repeatedly clashed with left-wing groups, paid tribute to him on social media, which was retweeted by President Trump.

In the VICE video Reinoehl said of Danielson’s killing, which he appeared to admit to: “I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that.” VICE said it had not independently verified the details of Reinoehl’s story. Reinoehl said he had been at the protest to provide “security.”


Eva Warner, aka Joshua Warner, 25, of Beaverton, Oregon, has been charged by criminal complaint with civil disorder, a felony, after targeting the eyes of multiple law enforcement officers with a high-powered laser during an August 8, 2020 riot in North Portland.

According to court documents, in the late evening on August 8, 2020, a riot was declared at the Portland Police Association office on North Lombard Street in Portland after individuals broke windows and set fire to the office. The crowd also used vehicles and dumpsters to illegally block nearby vehicle traffic.

Oregon State Police officers notified the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team that Warner had directed a high-powered, green laser into the eyes of numerous law enforcement officers attempting to disperse the riot. Warner resisted arrest, prompting officers to use force. Officers found a black, pen-style laser pointer on Warner’s person. Warner was taken into custody and later released.

On September 2, 2020, Warner was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in a southeast Portland apartment without incident. Warner appeared in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and was released pending further court proceedings. If convicted, Warner faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

The City of Bend has renewed its order telling people not to plan trips to the central Oregon community as coronavirus cases are on the decline in Deschutes County. On Wednesday, Bend renewed its coronavirus order discouraging travel through October 26. The order was initially set to end on Labor Day, which traditionally brings a lot of out-of-towners to Bend.  The city order states that: Travel to Bend for recreational, discretionary, or vacation purposes is strongly discouraged and should be avoided. All stays in Bend at hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, RV parks, short term rentals, and all other temporary lodging facilities are discouraged unless for reasons of health, safety, or employment, or other permitted essential travel. Operators of temporary lodging facilities are strongly requested to refrain from booking any new reservations for tourist or vacation accommodation, expect for reservations needed for health, safety, or employment or other permitted essential travel. City of Bend officials say they decided to extend the order because the surrounding area is seeing a decline in cases as students Return to Learn for the coming school year.

Three days of legislative hearings on the crisis at the Oregon Employment Department culminated Thursday with emotional testimony from several people who described months of frustration waiting for their jobless benefits. Oregon has paid more than $4 billion in unemployment benefits since the pandemic shutdown began in March, but hundreds of thousands of payments were delayed for weeks or months as the department struggled to cope with an unprecedented flood of claims. The surge – Oregon’s unemployment spiked to an all-time high of 14.9% in April – overwhelmed the department’s staff and jammed its phone lines, the main way the department communicates with claimants. Underlying the department’s problems is an obsolete computer system that dates to the 1990s. 

The rate of positive coronavirus tests in Oregon dropped to 4.4%, the lowest it has been in two months, officials from the state’s health authority said Wednesday. The weekly amount of cases in Oregon also continued to decline, decreasing 8.6 percent from the previous week. The age group with the highest incidence of reported infection remains 20 to 29 years old. On Tuesday, Gov. Kate Brown announced that she was extending her declaration of state of emergency for an additional 60 days ahead of Labor Day weekend. The declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the governor has issued, including her orders surrounding reopening Oregon, childcare, schools and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect. The governor also urged Oregonians to continue to follow coronavirus safety regulations during the holiday weekend, warning that celebrations could “sow the seeds of COVID-19 outbreaks” and could “set us back for months.”

COVID-19 guidelines for colleges and universities

As the new school year gets closer, you may wonder how Oregon’s colleges and universities are planning for the safety of students, faculty and staff during COVID-19. Here are some facts that may help:

Each college has the flexibility to determine whether and how to open their campus within state guidelines and work with their local public health authority. Across Oregon, institutions must follow the current COVID-19 guidelines for higher education, which include:

  • Requiring face coverings
  • Measures to control spread of the virus, such as increased cleaning and physical distancing.
  • Increased protections for higher-risk populations
  • Limiting public access to campus
  • Limiting the number of people in dorm rooms

But what will keep schools and their communities safest is if everyone, including students, make smart choices to best protect themselves and others, and make them over and over.

You can learn more by watching this Q&A from the Higher Education Coordination Commission and Oregon Health Authority about what to expect at Oregon colleges and universities during COVID-19.

National Forests to change permit process for Matsutake mushroom season

Due to COVID-19, people will need authorizing letter rather than permit

Beginning next Tuesday and continuing into early November the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema and Willamette National Forests will provide an authorizing letter at no cost to allow for Matsutake collection, transport and sale instead of a paid permit. This interim change to the matsutake permitting process is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and an effort to maximize social distancing measures to the extent possible.

Next Tuesday, September 8, at 8 a.m. the  Forest Service offices listed below will offer an authorizing letter for Matsutake mushroom harvest rather than a permit. Packets with the authorizing letter and the requirements for harvesting the popular mushroom will be placed in the front of the offices. The public is asked to maintain social distancing while picking up packets. The authorizing letter covers the entire Matsutake mushroom season, which goes from September 8 to November 8, 2020.  The authorizing letter will allow harvesters to gather Matsutake mushrooms on the Deschutes, Fremont-Winema, Umpqua and Willamette national forests.

Matsutake harvesters will be required to have the following in their possession while harvesting, transporting and selling matsutake mushrooms:

1.      A completed and signed hard copy version of this Matsutake Collection Authorization Letter.

2.      A digital or hard copy version of the 2020 Matsutake Collection Synopsis, included in the packet of information.

3.      A digital or hard copy version of the appropriate harvesting area map (i.e., the map covering the area where the matsutakes are harvested).

The Authorizing Letter packet can be acquired at Forest Service offices (located outside near the front doors) or at any of the three national forests’ websites:

Deschutes National Forest

The authorizing letter, materials and maps for the Fremont-Winema National Forest will be available electronically on their website at www.fs.usda.gov/main/deschutes/home

  • Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend, OR 97701, 541-383-5300
  • Crescent Ranger District 136471 Hwy 97 N Crescent, OR 97733, 541-433-3200

Fremont-Winema National Forest

The authorizing letter, materials and maps for the Fremont-Winema National Forest will be available electronically on their website at www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema

  • Chemult Ranger District 110500 Highway 97 N Chemult, OR 97731,  541-365-7001
  • Chiloquin Ranger District 38500 Highway 97 N, Chiloquin, OR 97624, 541-783-4001
  • Klamath Ranger District 2819 Dahlia St., Klamath Falls, OR 97601, 541-883-6714

Willamette National Forest

The authorizing letter, materials and maps for the Willamette National Forest will be available electronically on their website at www.fs.usda.gov/willamette/

  • Detroit Ranger District 44125 North Santiam Highway SE Detroit, OR 97342, 503-854-3366
  • Sweet Home Ranger District 4431 Highway 20 Sweet Home, OR 97386, 541-367-5168
  • McKenzie River Ranger District 57600 McKenzie Hwy McKenzie Bridge, OR 97413, 541-822-3381
  • Middle Fork Ranger District46375 Highway 58 Westfir, OR 97492, 541-782-2283

Harvesters need to be aware that dispersed camping is not allowed on the Deschutes National Forest for the purpose of commercial harvest of the mushrooms. The Crescent Ranger District will have their Industrial Camp open free of charge to the public during mushroom season. The Industrial Camp is located on Forest Service Road 5814. Services at the camp are limited to trash at the current time. There are over 50 sites available on a first come, first serve basis with 10 of the sites having fire rings. Campfires are only allowed within those 10 fire rings. Directions to the camp will be included in Matsutake Collection Authorization packets at the Bend-Fort Rock and Crescent Ranger District offices.

Harvesters need to be aware that there are Public Use Restrictions on all three national forests. Campfires are not allowed outside of designated campgrounds on any of the forests.

For lists of designated campgrounds where campfires are allowed, harvesters can go to the following sites:

Deschutes National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/deschutes/home/?cid=fseprd795399&width=full

Fremont-Winema National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd779887.pdf

Willamette National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd778815.pdf

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