Klamath Basin News, Tuesday – 118 New Covid Cases Reported in Klamath County; 2,431 New Cases Over The Weekend in Oregon

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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, January 5, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Partly sunny, with a high near 39. Snow at times late this evening and overnight, with a low of 29.

Wednesday Rain and snow likely, becoming all rain after 1pm. Snow level rising to 5100 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 40.

Friday A chance of snow before 1pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40.

See Road Camera Views

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

Released today from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Department is information regarding a body found in Bly on December 24th, 2020.  Just after midnight on Christmas Eve Day, Klamath County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to the 7000 block of Bly Mountain Cutoff Road in eastern Klamath County on reports of a deceased person.

Upon arrival deputies began investigating the suspicious death of Troy Allen Gordon, 54 of Bonanza, OR.  During the initial investigation, deputies interviewed John Bartlett Gordon Jr, 56 of Bonanza, OR.  

John Gordon was found injured and subsequently died on December 28, 2020 of self-inflicted injuries in the Bonanza area.  On December 30, 2020 the Oregon Medical Examiner ruled the death of Troy Allen Gordon a homicide.  

No further investigation is anticipated into the death of either man.

Klamath County Public Health officials reported 118 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The local case count is 2,026.

Of the new cases, 81 counted toward last week as they were in the statewide database on Saturday. Last week’s count was 158. The reporting week runs from Sunday through Saturday. This week’s count is 37.

To protect yourself: keep your distance by maintaining six feet of social or physical distancing between yourself and others. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, utilizing hand sanitizer when washing facilities are not available. Sanitize surfaces that are often touched. Avoid gatherings of any size where social or physical distancing is not possible. To protect others around you: cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, and wear a clean mask in public spaces, including outdoors when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.

COVID-19 has claimed six more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 1,506, the Oregon Health Authority reported on Monday. Oregon Health Authority reported 731 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of today, bringing the state total to 118,456.  

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (10), Clackamas (67), Clatsop (2), Columbia (10), Coos (20), Curry (2), Deschutes (45), Douglas (14), Harney (2), Jackson (40), Jefferson (6), Josephine (16), Klamath (118), Lake (1), Lane (62), Lincoln (4), Linn (10), Marion (79), Morrow (4), Multnomah (92), Polk (16), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (24), Union (4), Wasco (2), Washington (141) and Yamhill (22).

Oregon had two-thousand-431 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the weekend along with ten new deaths. There are 109 patients hospitalized in ICU’s. There have been 15-hundred deaths and more than 117-thousand cases of COVID-19 in Oregon since the pandemic began. Nearly 49-thousand people have been vaccinated against the virus.

A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect for the Cascades, including Willamette Pass and Santiam Pass. “Heaviest snow expected above 4500 feet, with total snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches.

Winds gusting as high as 40 mph,” the National Weather Service said. “Travel could be very difficult.” Snow levels fell from 5,500 feet Monday morning down as low as 3,000 by midnight last night.  That is below pass level on Highway 58 and US 20 over the Cascades.

Meanwhile, The National Weather Service says “dangerous high surf along southern Oregon beaches and shorelines will continue into Thursday morning.” Surf heights will remain near peak values of 23-27 feet. Beach erosion is possible, as well as damage to exposed infrastructure Beachgoers should stay off of jetties, rocks, and logs. Beachcombing is strongly discouraged. An active weather pattern will continue into the weekend with another episode of dangerous surf conditions possibly beginning early Friday.

Following a call to action to the community about a need at the Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank, Cascade Health Alliance responded with a $50,000 donation.

Anonymous donations of $40,000 and two $10,000 donations soon followed, all helping to quell a $100,000 shortfall.

Niki Sampson, executive director of the Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank, was elated but not surprised to find out about the collective $100,000 in donations poured in to the nonprofit from the community this week. Cascade Health Alliance made the contribution in response to seeing the need published in Herald and News on Dec. 12. The hope is that the donation inspires others to contribute to the cause. Sampson also praised food drives from schools, including Mazama High School. The school raised $1,000 and collected 2,000 pounds of food for the food bank leading up to the holiday season through their “Fill the Boat” campaign.

Sherm’s Thunderbird also plans to deliver their annual 35,000 to 40,000-pound truckload of non-perishable food — Sampson calls it the Sleigh-O-Food — to the food bank in mid-January.

Around the state of Oregon

The spike in shootings and deaths that began last year has continued into 2021.

According to Portland police, on New Year’s Day a male victim was seriously wounded in the Hazelwood neighborhood. And a person who was wounded on New Year’s Eve has died.

The most recent investigation began at 2:45 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, when East Precinct officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 200 block of Southeast 146th Avenue. When officers arrived, they located a victim with serious injuries. The officers immediately offered medical assistance until paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital by ambulance.

The name and condition of the victim was not immediately released. No suspect information was available, either.

Police also said that a Thursday, Dec. 31st shooting victim was killed in the incident. An autopsy determined that he died by homicide by gunshot wound. His identity was not released, and no suspect information is available, either.

The investigation began at 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31 when North Precinct officers were dispatched to a report of someone shot at Northeast Alberta Street and Mallory Avenue. When officers arrived, they located two people injured.

The name and condition of the second victim has not been released. No suspect information is available, either. The investigation is continuing. Police recorded approximately 900 shootings in 2020, compared to 393 shootings in 2019. Last year also saw the highest number of homicides in Portland since a wave of gang violence in the early 1990s.

Oregon is preparing to start using a mobile phone app that will tell you if you came in contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. The Oregon Health Authority says Apple inadvertently turned on the app too soon. It’s being tested by Oregon State University. OHA says the project is still under development, and they haven’t said when the app will go active. Washington, and several other states, are currently using the app.

Groups Rally For and Against Opening of Schools in Oregon

Over the weekend, parents showed up for rallies and marches for groups pushing for both opening schools and keeping them closed took place on Sunday in Portland.

Demonstrators at Tilikum Crossing held a march and vigil to open schools. The group highlighted the mental health crisis in youths due in part to schools being closed. 

They held a moment of silence for students in America who committed suicide during school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They asked schools to reopen in Washington and Oregon. 

Across the city, at the Portland Public Schools building, another group demonstrated to keep schools closed during the pandemic. The group is upset that Gov. Kate Brown changed metrics to allow reopening decisions to individual districts instead of the state as a whole. 

The demonstrators planted small flags in memory of students and teachers who have died of COVID-19. The group feels reopening too soon puts students, teachers, and other school employees unjustly in harm’s way. 

“A vaccine is in sight. If we can be patient, then we can beat this, but if we rush into it, then there are lives that are going to be lost of people that are never going to have the chance to get the vaccine because we were not patient enough,” said Leeann Moldovanyi, a parent of students. 

The group pointed out that the vaccine rollout has been slower than anticipated. That means the new metrics set with certain vaccine expectations are no longer attainable.  Stay tuned.

More free community testing events added in January

If you need to get a COVID-19 test, you have some options.  

  • If you have insurance, contact your health care provider or use the map on OHA’s testing webpage to find a clinic near you. Most insurance providers cover the costs of COVID-19 testing and associated care.
  • If you need a free community testing event, you can find a list of upcoming events on the Do I Need a COVID-19? Test website. Sixteen free community testing events have been added for January, and more are planned. You’ll need to register and create a new user account that will ask for contact information. This will let you schedule an appointment for your selected event and get your test results. Because of the high demand for COVID-19 tests, an appointment and voucher are required for testing, one person per appointment. If there are no appointments available, please select another location and date. Only those with appointments are guaranteed a test.   
  • Need help? You can also call 211 for help finding a testing site.  

Over the weekend, Congressman Cliff Bentz was officially sworn in as a member of the 117th U.S. Congress, representing Oregon’s Second Congressional District.

Bentz, a Republican, was elected in November after beating Democratic candidate Alex Spenser. He replaces longtime Congressman Greg Walden, who announced last year that he would retire from politics instead of seeking another term. The massive 2nd District encompasses most of south, central, and eastern Oregon. It has become the state’s only reliably Republican federal seat in recent years.

“It is an honor to represent the citizens of Oregon’s Second Congressional District, and I humbly thank them for entrusting me with this responsibility,” said Bentz. “I will fight every day to protect rural communities and stand up for Oregon values in Congress.”

Bentz was accompanied at the swearing-in by his wife, Dr. Lindsay Norman. Bentz formerly served as a state Senator in the Oregon legislature.

The start of a new year brings with it new laws that take effect throughout the state. The new year means increased taxes on cigarettes and cigars, in addition to a new tax on nicotine vaping products with the passage of Oregon Measure 108 in the November general election.

Cigarettes taxes increased by $2 to $3.33 per pack. Taxes on cigars doubled to $1. Vaping products and e-cigarettes are taxed at 65% of the wholesale price. The money from the new taxes will largely go toward funding the Oregon Health Plan, with 10% of the tax revenue funding smoking prevention programming.

The Oregon DMV will no longer require proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency to obtain an Oregon divers license after a bill passed by the state legislature in the summer of 2019 removed the requirement.

Those licenses will not include automatic voter registration like other Oregon licenses. To get a license, the person must still show proof of residency in Oregon, pay fees and pass a driving test.

Voters also passed Measure 110 in November which decriminalizes possession of small amounts of Schedule I drugs beginning Feb. 1.

Those found in possession of amounts of drugs like heroin and LSD deemed for personal use will only face a $100 fine for a class E violation. The fine can be waived if the person seeks treatment.

On December 30, 2020 the Oregon State Police received reports of thefts at Fogarty Creek State Park , Otter Crest Scenic Viewpoint, Boiler Bay Scenic Viewpoint, and the Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area . 

Oregon State Park Rangers had discovered the thefts of interpretive sign displays (photographs attached).  The approximately 2’ x 3” signs and their metal bases were removed from the parks.  

The thefts are believed to have occurred between December 24, 2020 and December 30, 2020. 

The Oregon State Police is investigating the thefts and requests anyone with information to contact the Oregon State Police Northern Command Center 1-800-442-0776 and leave information for Detective Brian Eskridge.

Washington, Oregon, more than two dozen Native American and Alaska Native tribes and cultural groups from the Northwest are suing the federal government to stop the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle, a plan that would force the relocation of millions of invaluable historical records to California and Missouri.

The government is planning to sell the vast warehouse under a law aimed at unloading excess federal property, but the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday says the building is anything but “excess.” It contains irreplaceable documents dating to the 1840s and is used all the time for research about everything from tribal history to Japanese internment during World War II and fur seal hunts on remote Alaskan islands. The National Archives building is one of a dozen properties around the country, collectively valued at $500 million to $750 million, identified for sale by the Public Buildings Reform Board.

The board initially intended to sell the properties individually, but has announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the commercial real estate market, it will offer the buildings early this year for an expedited sale as a single portfolio.

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