Klamath Basin News, Monday, Sept 21 – The New Campus Look for Oregon Tech Students Starts Today

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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.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   Widespread haze before 2pm. Patchy smoke after 2pm. Sunny, with a high near 80. Light and variable winds.  Tonight, cloudy and a low of 47.

Tuesday   Patchy smoke before 11am. Sunny, with a high near 77. Light south wind becoming west southwest 9 to 14 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.

Wednesday   Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. Light south southeast wind becoming south southwest 6 to 11 mph in the afternoon. Overnight a 30% chance of rain, low around 52.

Thursday   Showers likely, mainly before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 68. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Friday   Mostly sunny, with a high near 68.

Today’s Headlines

COVID-19 has claimed one more life in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 526, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday.

Oregon Health Authority reported 208 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today bringing the state total to 30,801.

One new case was reported in Klamath County.

Campus life will look different for the Hustlin’ Owls as they return to campus ahead of Monday’s first day of classes.

From directional signs on the floor to limited capacity in rooms to less furniture in common spaces to rescheduled and redesigned classes, the Klamath Falls campus has adjusted to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Oregon Tech leadership worked for months to get students back to campus for fall term, and students moved into residence halls on Friday.

The university may welcome its largest freshman class ever, with pre-enrollment at the Klamath Falls campus up 16%, according to President Nagi Naganathan. However, it might not feel that way with socially distanced classes, dorm rooms set aside for quarantine and reduced social gatherings.

Two primary care physicians joined the Sky Lakes Medical Center family this month.

Maria Johnson, MD, and Priscilla Villarreal, MD, both Family Medicine physicians, are now seeing patients at Sky Lakes Primary Care Clinic.

Dr. Johnson completed her Family Medicine residency at Siouxland Medical Education Foundation in Sioux City, Iowa, and practiced in the Emergency Department at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City.

Dr. Villarreal completed her Family Medicine residency at University of Arkansas Medical Sciences after earning her medical degree from University of Monterey School of Medicine. Most recently, she practiced at Kaiser Permanente Mt. Talbert Urgent Care in Clackamas.

Another Family Medicine physician, Danny Tudor, MD, joined the Sky Lakes clinic earlier this summer.

Dr. Tudor completed his Family Medicine Residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, last October following his internship at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga Graduate Medical Education in 2017.

Size: 14,473 Acres Containment: 64%
Firefighters worked throughout the day yesterday extinguishing heat next to the containment line. This is labor intensive work as they dig out stump holes and open up dozer berms to expose buried heat under the dirt. Last night crews continued to patrol for visible hot spots along Highway 97 and Highway 62. Crews worked through the night to extinguish what they could and marked areas they did not get to for the day shift. It will be warmer and drier with light winds over the fire area today. The extended weather forecast shows an increasing chance of precipitation over the fire late this week.


September 21, 2020 @ 9 AM
  50,447 acres


Many more positive developments were made yesterday, especially with mop-up activity. We experienced only moderate fire behavior, with the same creeping and smoldering we have seen for several days, with smoke mostly coming from the interior in the northwest corner of the fire. The northwest corner has heavy down and dead fuel loading which continues to slowly burn. Crews have a good handle on the location of those hotter areas. We continued mop-up and patrolling lines in all divisions.


Expect the same creeping and smoldering we saw yesterday, with smoke mostly coming from the interior in the northwest corner of the fire. Fuels along the line and interior pockets will continue to burn actively. Breezy conditions will continue Monday-Wednesday. We will continue mop-up and patrol lines in all divisions. Priority activities today include mop-up on the dozer line behind Withers Ranch and suppression activity repair/rehabilitation. A special landowner meeting was held today for landowners impacted by the Brattain Fire.


The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has updated the following evacuation notices:

Level 2 (Set) – South of the Murphy Ranch on Clover Flat Road east to Valley Falls

Level 1 (Ready) –Highway 395 from Valley Falls east to Chandler State Park; Highway 31 from Summer Lake Store south to Red House Lane, all of Paisley to Valley Falls; Clover Flat Road from Hwy 31 (Beachler’s Corner) to Murphy Ranch

Forest Closure:

From Forest Road 29 southeast to Forest Road 3510 and the 28 Road east, all National Forest System lands and facilities are closed per Forest Closure Order 06-02-03-20-03. Forest Road 3315 is closed; the 28 Road is open.

Firefighting crews continue to operate on a 24-hour schedule and are battling winds, extremely dry conditions and shortages of firefighting resources.

For all fire updates in Oregon, click here.

Last week Klamath County Rotary Club President, Chris Moudry, met with Klamath Tribal Council and other representatives to donate $2,000 to help support the tribe and community.

The funds came from the Rotary Emergency Fund and are expected to offset some of the many expenses due to the Two Four Two Fire devastation that has affected the tribe and the Chiloquin community. The Klamath Tribes has been working diligently with the local Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Team since the fire started Sept. 7.

Rotary President Moudry said the organization was “happy to be able to assist in some way. These funds have been in an emergency fund for several years. We decided this fire is definitely an emergency and when we discussed who should receive these funds, of course, the Klamath Tribe’s name came up.”

When the eighth annual Klamath Independent Film Festival (KIFF) kicks off Friday evening, it will be the lone film fest in the entire country this fall capable of hosting traditional in-person screenings.

Fall is a time for major film festivals, typically garnering huge crowds of film fanatics, producers and film studio executives to celebrate the latest buzz film, see world premieres of highly anticipated productions, and scout for possible partnerships. However, this year with COVID-19 crowd restrictions in place nearly every film festival across the country has either cancelled, turned to an online platform exclusively, or experimented with temporary drive-in theaters. However Klamath County, with its low COVID-19 positive case count and state-mandated crowd restrictions, stands alone nationwide as the only film festival in September capable of hosting crowds in a typical in-theater festival format.

Held across three days, Sept. 18-20, at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls; KIFF is recognized as the premier Oregon-centric film festival, showcasing the best in independent filmmaking in the State of Oregon over the past calendar year. What began as a single-day mini-event showcase for local filmmakers has grown to garner national attention. The festival is the main event hosted annually by Klamath Film – a 501c3 nonprofit based in Klamath Falls with the goal of promoting and supporting filmmaking in the Klamath Basin

Around the state of Oregon

Detroit, Ore. – September 19, 2020 – Mayor of Detroit, Jim Trett , Federal Coordinating Officer, Dolph Diemont and Rep. Schrader look over what remains of the Detroit city hall after it was destroyed by wildfire. – Rob McCulloch / FEMA

The State of Oregon Office of the Governor says Oregon Governor Kate Brown is issuing vetoes of several line-item appropriations to preserve funding for Oregon’s emergency wildfire response efforts. The vetoes are also aimed at maintaining a balanced budget.

In total, the Governor’s Office says the vetoes will preserve over 65 million dollars. That will improve the state’s ending balance budget 164.3 million dollars in general funds and 16.7 million dollars in lottery funds. 

The Governor also requested that legislators reserve at least 150 million dollars in the state’s emergency fund for upcoming requests related to Oregon fires.

More than 130,000 Oregonians will receive a special mailing this month from the IRS encouraging them to see if they’re eligible to claim an Economic Impact Payment.

The IRS will mail the letters to people who typically aren’t required to file federal income tax returns but may qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. The letter urges recipients to visit the special Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool on IRS.gov before the Oct. 15 deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment. 

More than 7 million people nationwide have already used the Non-Filers tool to register for a payment.

This month’s letters, delivered from an IRS address, are being sent to people who haven’t filed a return for either 2018 or 2019. Based on an internal analysis, these are people who don’t typically have a tax return filing requirement because they appear to have income below the filing threshold based on Forms W-2 and 1099 and other third-party statements available to the IRS.

The letter urges the recipient to register at IRS.gov by Oct. 15 in order to receive a payment by the end of the year. Individuals can receive up to $1,200, and married couples can receive up to $2,400. People with qualifying children under age 17 at the end of 2019 can get up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child.

The IRS cautions that receiving a letter is not a guarantee of eligibility. An individual is likely eligible for an Economic Impact Payment if they:

  • Are a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
  • Have a work-eligible Social Security number.
  • Can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s federal income tax return.

For more information on eligibility requirements, see the Economic Impact Payment eligibility FAQ on IRS.gov.

People who are eligible should not wait to receive a letter and should register now. Alternatively, people can wait until next year and claim the recovery rebate credit on their 2020 federal income tax return by filing in 2021.

The Oregon Department of Transportation of Southwest Oregon says Oregon 99 is now open between Medford and Ashland in the Almeda Fire zone. 

ODOT says to expect intermittent delays and lane closures as utility and other crews will continue working in the area.  ODOT also says to obey all closure and hazard zones that are cordoned-off for public safety.

Flying is tricky due to smoke, temporary flight restrictions over wild fires and on-and-off rain showers, but four Oregon and one Washington Civil Air Patrol aircraft joined the effort to recover from devastating wild fires today.

Working with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Oregon Emergency Management (OEM), CAP is tasked with photographing key infrastructure from the air to help assess damage caused by fires that have ravaged almost 1 million acres in the state this year. Air crews composed of a mission pilot, an observer, and an airborne photographer are taking on assignments all over Oregon.

Using high resolution digital cameras, the highly trained CAP aircrews returned more than 151 images to emergency operations supervisors yesterday.  Eight sorties were flown yesterday as the smoke started clearing and thundershowers dissipated.

“Conditions were challenging,” said 1st Lt Jonathan Ritchie, a pilot on Friday and Saturday sorties. “Low cloud layers interfered with access to target areas. Some crews could get to their target areas. It was a little bit challenging working around the TFRs (temporary flight restrictions). ATC (air traffic control) was very helpful in keeping us where we needed to be.”

“It is quite satisfying to be a pilot on these missions,” he said. “We do a lot of training to prepare for these kind of things. We have a great staff running the mission base to plan our sorties and keep us safe.”

Oregon CAP aircraft based in Hillsboro, Medford, Redmond, Salem and Vancouver, Wash., participated Friday. They flew assignments for the Beachie Creek Fire, the Riverside Fire, the Brittain Fire, the S. Oberchain Fire, and the Archie Creek Fire.

This is the fourth day of CAP participation. More than 33 CAP volunteers have worked on organizing, flying, and recording activities.  In addition, CAP has a couple of highly trained emergency services personnel that are imbedded with the OEM in Salem. They are responding to requests for air support and advising on other inter-agency cooperation.

Flying in the time of Coronavirus adds complications, as members of the aircrew need to follow special procedures to keep each other safe and protect the equipment.  You cannot use normal sanitizing wipes on aircraft instruments and surfaces, for instance.

CAP in Oregon has 290 adult volunteers who train vigorously each year to be ready to help in situations like Oregon’s unprecedented onslaught of wild fires that have burned thousands of structures and displaced more Oregonians that any emergency in years.  CAP trains to FEMA standards so they can operate jointly with other emergency agencies.  CAP also has 247 cadet members, who train in leadership, character development, physical fitness and citizenship.  Many of them train in emergency services as well, and participate in ground search and rescue and detecting emergency signals emitted by aircraft in distress.

About Civil Air Patrol
Established in 1941, Civil Air Patrol is the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force and as such is a member of its Total Force. In its auxiliary role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 single-engine Cessna aircraft and 1,944 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) and performs about 90% of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.

Investigators say the suspect in last month’s deadly shooting of a pro-Trump activist in Portland pointed a gun at officers before they shot and killed him.  The team investigating the incident says it’s not yet clear whether 48-year-old Michael Reinoehl fired his gun before officers opened fire on him in Lacey, Washington on September 3rd.  

Officers from a federal fugitive task force moved in on Reinoehl on the same day that Vice News published an interview in which Reinoehl claims he shot 39-year-old Aaron “Jay” Danielson on August 29th in self-defense because he thought the Patriot Prayer member was going to stab him and a friend.  Police found a loaded gun on Danielson’s body along with a baton and a can of bear spray, which witnesses say he used to spray Reinoehl before Reinoehl shot him.


On Saturday, September 19, 2020 at approximately 9:15 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 42 near milepost 74.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a Dodge Ram pickup, operated by Dustin Robinson (36) from Sutherlin, was westbound when it went off the road.  He struck a Pontiac Grand AM, operated by William McCullough IV (20) from Roseburg,  that was at the intersection of Jackie Avenue and Hwy 42.  

McCullough IV and his passenger, Mark Ritter (20) from Roseburg, sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced deceased. 

Robinson sustained minor injures from the crash.  

OSP was assisted by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Winston Police Department, Douglas County Fire District 2, ODOT and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. 

Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Robinson) is being investigated as a possible factor in the crash.  Any further information will be released by or with approval from the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.


On Sunday, September 20, 2020, at approximately 7:10 A.M.,Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 20 near milepost 67.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a Nissan Altima, operated by Robert Snyder (60) of Portland, was westbound on Hwy 20 when it went off the road and struck a tree.

Synder sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

On September 13, 2020 Oregon State Police Troopers received information that fresh skeletal remains of a bull elk had been discovered on private property between Mt. Richmond Road and Williams Canyon Road.

Evidence at the scene is consistent with a bull elk harvested in the first two weeks of the general archery season.

The person(s) responsible did not have permission to hunt on the property.

The Oregon Hunters Association of Yamhill County has agreed to match the Turn In Poachers (TIP) program reward of $500 for a total reward of $1,000.

The Oregon State Police is requesting that any person with information about this incident contact Oregon State Police Northern Command Center at 1-800-442-0776 or *OSP and leave information for Trooper Tayler Jerome if you are wishing to remain anonymous you may also contact the OSP through the Turn in Poachers line at TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us (Monitored M-F 8:00AM – 5:00PM)

The TIP program offers preference point rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of big game mammals.

The TIP program also offers cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Mountain Sheep, Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, and Furbearers. Cash rewards can also be awarded for the unlawful take of Game Fish and Shellfish and for Habitat Destruction.

How to Report a Wildlife and/or Habitat Law Violation or Suspicious Activity:

TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP(677)

TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us (Monitored M-F 8:00AM – 5:00PM)

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

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