Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 11/17 – High Winds Warning Through Tonight at 7PM for the Klamath Basin; 11 New Covid-19 Cases in the County

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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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Showers today, high near 50. Heavy winds from 25-45 mph expected until 7pm tonight in the Klamath Basin. Snow level 6200 feet. High near 50. Overnight, more showers and a snow level at about 5800 ft.

Wednesday Showers. Snow level 5100 feet. High near 46. Windy at times with 15-25 mph gusts. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday A chance of rain and snow showers before 1pm, then a chance of rain showers. Snow level rising to 4900 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.

Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.

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Klamath County Public Health officials reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the community on Monday, Nov. 16, according to a news release. The local case count is 534.

COVID-19 has claimed four more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 765.  Oregon Health Authority reported 781 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 57,646.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (8), Benton (6), Clackamas (71), Columbia (5), Coos (4), Crook (1), Deschutes (35), Douglas (9), Hood River (3), Jackson (59), Jefferson (1), Josephine (9), Klamath (11), Lake (2), Lane (41), Linn (11), Malheur (5), Marion (103), Multnomah (231), Polk (16), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (10), Union (23), Wasco (1), Washington (118) and Yamhill (11).

The state also reported 347 people were hospitalized with the disease, a dramatic jump of almost 40 people since Friday, and the highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. The number of people in intensive care and on ventilators shot up sharply, as well.

While no hospitals in Oregon have reported reaching capacity, healthcare leaders from around the state said the upward trend is troubling and some began canceling elective procedures last week to free up space in anticipation of a new surge of cases. Oregon is now averaging 927 cases a day over the past week. The number of cases reported on Mondays is typically low, with this week’s figure up 8% from last Monday.

And it’s here. The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for parts of our listening area through 7pm tonight.

Drive carefully.  Areas Affected include Central and Eastern Lake County; Northern and Eastern Klamath County and Western Lake County. South winds will prevail from 35 to 50 mph with gusts up to 80 mph expected. For the Wind Advisory, south winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph expected. Areas most susceptible include The Warner Mountains including Cedar Pass, higher elevations of the east side including the Winter Rim, and Highway 31 between Summer Lake and Paisley. For the Wind Advisory: Lower elevations of the East Side including Silver Lake, Lakeview, and Willow Lake. The advisory also included portions of Highway 140, the rest of highway 31, and US Highway 395.

In response to Governor Brown’s “Two-Week Freeze” announcement last Friday, Steen Sports Park buildings (including restrooms) will be closed from November 18 through December 2.  At this time, the park intends to keep the gates open for outdoor recreation only unless circumstances change. The park trusts that those recreating outdoors at the park will act safely and responsibly consistent with standard COVID-19 recommendations. The park anticipates to reopen on December 3rd for indoor use. Officials ask that you use the park responsibly so we can get back to normal as quickly as possible. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Bonanza Junior/Senior High School has received a $2,000 equity and diversity grant from the OSAA Foundation to create an inclusion mural and organize cultural service projects on campus. The mural will feature 16 famous faces with words that exemplify what it means to be “all in,” the school’s motto, said Jordan Osborn, principal at Bonanza Junior/Senior High School, adding that the faces on the mural will represent the Bonanza community and its youth. “We want every student who comes in the door to be able to look at that wall and see someone who looks like them or has the same interests as them,” he said.

Bonanza will kick off its Equity and Diversity Initiative by asking students, staff, and community members to help determine a school-wide vision that encompasses the school’s “All In” theme.

The next phase, scheduled for the week of Jan. 25, will be a weeklong series of workshops, lessons, and activities that revolve around inclusion and diversity.

Plans include:

  • a Ted Talk followed up with a Socratic seminar
  • a cultural art activity led by teachers
  • an educational lesson on the different famous faces that will be included on the diversity “all in” mural
  • a session on acts of service; students will write letters, paint pictures, or do some act of service for underserved and too often unnoticed groups within their community.

The last day of the week will include a “Breaking Bread Together” session during which students and teachers during lunch will gather to discuss what they learned about diversity and equity.

Throughout the week, local muralist Robert Terrell will be painting the 10×33-foot mural on the wall in one of the school’s main hallways.

“This mural will serve as a reminder of what Bonanza stands for and as a commitment to diversity and inclusion for all future students and staff,” the application reads. “Understanding the awesome variety of each human being is quintessential for success in any field (especially education), and taking the time to learn who each student, staff and community member is — who each really is — is fundamental to any successful school.”

The Klamath County Public Works Department announces the following IMMEDIATE ROAD CLOSURE:

Campbell Road (South Fork Sprague River Bridge) located 1.7 miles north of HWY 140 Bridge closure anticipated from Tuesday, November 17th (at approximately 8:00 am) through Wednesday, November 25th.

Emergency repairs are necessary to replace bridge structural members. Motorist should use alternative routes including but not limited to Forest Road 34 and/or Ivory Pine Road. For additional questions or concerns, please contact Jeremy Morris, Klamath County Public Works Director at 541-883-4696.

Due to the latest two week “freeze,” the new Fairfield Inn and Suites in Klamath Falls has made the decision to postpone its Grand Opening previously scheduled for November 19th. A new date and time will be announced when restrictions allow.

Around the state of Oregon

Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in Oregon for a rally to protest what they perceived as flawed or fraudulent results of the Nov. 3 election.

The event in Salem Saturday was billed by organizers as a “Defeat the Steal” rally and coincided with similar demonstrations across the U.S. A crowd of 100 to 200 people gathered at the state Capitol, where many demonstrators said they do not believe the election results naming Joe Biden as the nation’s president-elect.

Attendees said they came to express their love for Trump and to exercise their First Amendment guarantee of free speech. Many said they want a legal fight over the results. Biden defeated Trump by topping the 270 electoral vote threshold needed to clinch the presidency.

As of Sunday, Biden had 77.5 million votes, the most ever by a winning candidate, to Trump’s 72.3 million votes.

Meanwhile, Voters in Oregon made their pick for president while holding negative views about the country’s direction, according to an expansive AP survey of the American electorate.

The race between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden concluded Tuesday as the nation remains in the throes of a global public health crisis and mired in the economic downturn it brought on.

AP VoteCast found that 34% of Oregon voters said the U.S. is on the right track and 65% of voters said it is headed in the wrong direction. In the race for president, Biden had an advantage over Trump among both voters under 45 and older voters. Biden led among college-educated voters while Trump and Biden were about tied among voters without a college degree. Both voters in cities and suburban voters were more likely to prefer Biden over Trump while voters in small towns and rural areas were more likely to back Trump.

Yasmine McGinnis

On Sunday morning, the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety (GPDPS) received a call from Three Rivers Medical Center about an assault incident.

A 19 year-old female victim, who is a Grants Pass resident, was treated for a serious head injury in the emergency room.

Zahira Azamar

It was said the assault took place in the 900 block of NE D Street, Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon. GPDPS Patrol Officers responded to TRMC to begin an investigation. The victim was in stable condition and subsequently transported to a Eugene area hospital for further treatment. 

Morgan Riley

A GPDPS Detective responded to assist. During the course of the investigation, 23-year-old Grants Pass residents Yasmine McGinnis, Zahira Azamar and Morgan Riley were identified as the suspects.

GPDPS Patrol Officers located McGinnis and Azamar and placed them in custody. After interviews were completed, McGinnis and Azamar were lodged at the Josephine County Adult Jail on the charge of Assault in the Second Degree. Riley later turned herself in and was also arrested and lodged for Assault in the Second Degree. 

The GPDPS is asking anyone who witnessed the incident or has further information to please contact Detective Archie Lidey at (541) 450-6342. 

Fires and Wildfires Cleanup offered by State of Oregon

The second phase of clean-up after Oregon’s devastating September fires will be offered at no cost to property owners, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management announced on Monday. While hazardous household waste clean-up is already wrapping up in areas ravaged by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires, Monday’s announcement marks the first indication that state officials have a no-cost plan to clean the ash and debris left behind.

No government agency — whether state, federal or contractor — will seek payment from any insurance policy unless it is “specifically designated for debris removal or left over after the home or business is completely rebuilt.”

The no-cost cleanup is available to home and business owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.

Home and business owners that opt into this government-led wildfire cleanup program will pay no upfront costs for any cleanup work. Additionally, no government agency – state, federal or contractor – will seek payment from any insurance policy unless it is specifically designated for debris removal or left over after the home or business is completely rebuilt.

“Our mission is to safely clear the ash and debris as quickly as possible, and leave Oregonians with a clean site so they can rebuild,” said Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “This will take time, strong partnerships and a lot of hard work, but we’re already well on our way. I encourage every Oregonian who lost a home or business in the wildfires to sign a Right of Entry form with their county, if they haven’t already, to help keep this important work moving forward.”

Property owners need to sign a Right of Entry form to allow cleanup crews onto their property. Cleanup crews will remove ash and structural debris, hazard trees, concrete foundations, and burned vehicles. To submit your Right of Entry form and for more information, visit wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup or call the wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700.

Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process. Step 1 is removal of household hazardous waste, which is dangerous to people, communities and the environment. This work is nearly completed in all fire-impacted counties. Progress on Step 1 efforts can be viewed on EPA’s 2020 Oregon Fires Recovery website.

Step 2 is removal of ash and debris. The state is currently hiring contractors to carry out this work, scheduled to begin in December 2020. The task force is working closely with local governments to determine cleanup priorities for each area. Given factors such as weather impacts, property access limitations and the large area to be covered, Step 2 is estimated to take approximately 6 to 18 months to complete statewide. As the state task force gets contractors on board, more clarity on timing will be provided.

The 2020 September wildfires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon’s history. Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery.

FEMA will reimburse the state for a portion of eligible costs. The State of Oregon will fund the remaining costs, regardless of FEMA reimbursement. Initial estimates put the debris cleanup tally at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove damaged trees. This estimate is preliminary and is likely to change.

Wildfire cleanup webpage: https://wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup

Wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700

Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force, which includes the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Transportation, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, is coordinating federal, state, and local government agencies to clean up debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires.


On Monday, November 16, 2020 at approximately 7:50 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 395D near milepost 73.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Dodge Ram, operated by Jerry Henderson (78) of Lakeview, was southbound when it left the roadway and rolled.

Henderson sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

On Monday, November 16, 2020 at approximately 5:50 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle collision on Hwy 22E near milepost 24.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Chrysler Town & Country van, operated by William Miller (66) of Scio, was westbound when it went into the eastbound lane and collided with a Dodge pickup operated by Richard Kruger (71) of Salem.

Miller sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased.

Kruger was transported to the hospital with injuries.

Hwy 22E was closed for approximately 4.5 hours.

Oregon authorities are seeking help in tracking down the people behind “a frenzy” of poaching cases, including one in which a black bear was found decapitated in October. 

The bear’s body was found on Oct. 15 on the Roseburg Forest Products property west of Eugene and outside of Veneta, according to Oregon State Police. The majority of the bear’s body was left to waste, according to the report. Police said multiple deer and elk have also been reported as poached this season. The carcasses of three deer were found on Oct. 15 alone, police said.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife administrator Doug Cottam said in a statement that there are available and inexpensive opportunities to legally harvest a deer or bear to eat in Oregon.

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Medford District has closed the gate on Bear Camp Road, located near Galice, OR. The gate, which is closed annually for public safety ahead of winter weather, will remain closed until spring snow conditions allow for safe passage for public travel.  

Bear Camp Road, which is managed by both the BLM and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (RRSNF), is a remote, mountainous route that connects the Rogue Valley to coastal areas. It is not plowed during the winter, and weather conditions can often change quickly, making road conditions hazardous.  

The BLM and the RRSNF remind the public that it is crucial to Know Before You Go this time of year.  

  • Carry extra food, water, and warm clothing to provide for longer travel times. 
  • In addition to paper maps, go digital and download all of your public lands maps on Avenza, and know where you are at all times! Cell service is NOT necessary! 
  • District Maps and Motor Vehicle Use Maps 
  • Know Before You Go: Be aware of predicted weather and road conditions of major highways that provide access to your public lands! Be prepared for sudden changes in weather and road conditions. Know the predicted weather for your route and your destination, and how it can possibly affect your travel plans. 
  • Always let someone know your expected travel route. 
  • Be prepared: Bring additional warm clothing, water, and extra food to account for unexpectedly longer travel times. Carry chains, a flashlight, and proper attire to install the chains, should the need arise. 

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