Klamath Basin News, Monday, 4/5 – Klamath Health Partnership Hosting Second Drive-Thru Covid Vaccination Event on Wednesday at the Klamath County Fairgrounds.

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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, April 5, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Klamath Tribes want water to remain in the lake, irrigators want it diverted to the Klamath Project — and neither party wants to see more water sent down the Klamath River.

Earlier this week, Klamath Irrigation District filed an emergency motion against the Bureau of Reclamation in Klamath County Circuit Court, requesting a judge bar the agency from releasing water from Upper Klamath Lake for flushing flows in the Klamath River this spring.

The motion comes after the Klamath Tribes filed a notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this year if the agency allows the lake to drop below 4,142 feet during Lost River and shortnose sucker spawning season in April and May.

As of April 1, the lake was below 4,141 feet — the lowest it’s been at this time in years. KID’s motion argued that by sending stored water from Upper Klamath Lake into the Klamath River, Reclamation is violating the Amended and Corrected Findings of Fact and Final Order of Determination, which has governed the allocation of Oregon water rights in the Klamath Basin since 2013.

Reclamation has a right to store water in the lake for use by Klamath Project irrigators. The storage right does not give Reclamation the right to use the water that it stores for purposes of enhancing instream flows in the Klamath River according to the motion. It also cites agency documents from February indicating Reclamation’s plan to send a flushing flow down the river later this month.

The same action occurred last April, when Reclamation released approximately 32,889 acre-feet of water over three days. Reclamation’s unauthorized diversion of stored water to which KID owns the water rights actually constitutes a crime under Oregon law according to the filing.

There is 1 new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,392, the Oregon Health Authority reported today. Oregon Health Authority reported 404 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 today bringing the state total to 166,882.

Klamath County reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (5), Clackamas (59), Clatsop (1), Columbia (7), Coos (3), Curry (2), Deschutes (31), Douglas (8), Grant (2), Jackson (24), Jefferson (3), Josephine (12), Klamath (13), Lane (30), Lincoln (4), Linn (12), Malheur (1), Marion (28), Morrow (1), Multnomah (84), Polk (13), Tillamook (3), Union (4), Wallowa (1), Wasco (1), Washington (45) and Yamhill (6).

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 150, which is three fewer than yesterday. There are 43 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one fewer than yesterday.

Klamath Health Partnership will host a second and final free, drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine event on Wednesday at the Klamath County Fairgrounds. The event is by appointment only beginning at 9 a.m. and will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “We know it is important for the community to be immunized, so we advocated with the Oregon Health Authority to receive this Johnson & Johnson allocation,” said Dr. Flor Mounts, medical director at KHP. “We encourage community members to take any opportunity they have to get vaccinated, don’t wait for any particular vaccine because they all have very good efficacy. The J&J vaccine has the benefit of being a one dose vaccine instead of needing to get a second dose.” Any Klamath County resident, regardless of patient status, may register. You must pre-register to receive a vaccination. For more information, call 541-851-8110.

According to data collected from the Oregon Health Authority, Josephine County will most likely be moving back into the ‘Extreme Risk’ category after the county reported 212 cases of Covid-19 in the last two weeks. Josephine County needed to report around 184 cases during its ‘Two-Week Extension’ if it wanted to remain in the ‘High Risk’ category Two weeks ago, Josephine County was put on a ‘Two-Week Extension’ after the county experienced a rise in Covid-19 cases as did Klamath County. During that extension Josephine County reported 114 cases from March 21 to March 27, and reported 98 cases last week. That’s all according to daily cases reported by the Oregon Health Authority. As of last week, Klamath County has logged 161 cases between the last two-week period. At the very least, that means the county will move back into “High Risk” next Friday, meaning that business capacities will be further restricted.  If the new metrics are not put into place by next week, or if they don’t change how many cases must be reported per 100,000 people, Josephine County will lose indoor dining, access to entertainment facilities such as movie theatres, bowling alleys, etc and gyms will be limited even further to how many people can be inside at a given time. Klamath County may follow.

Water crews will replace water mainline in the 1800 block of Lancaster between Shelley and Addison today. The roadway at Lancaster and Addison will be closed so crews are able to perform the work. Affected residents have been notified. Also today through Friday the westbound, right-hand lane of South 6th Street will be closed between Avalon Street and Austin Street from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Track Utilities, on behalf of CenturyLink, will be installing underground utilities. For more information, call public works at (541) 883-5363.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon’s Frontline Workers Become Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine Monday

Oregon’s frontline workers become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine today. The list of qualifying workers is long, including those who’ve delivered mail, served up food and drinks, bagged groceries, sold clothes, and more throughout the pandemic.For a full list of frontline workers, click here.

Officials Say ‘We’re Back On Alert’: Oregon Hits ‘Fourth Surge’ Of COVID-19

Despite a rising number of vaccinated Oregonians and widening eligibility, “the fourth surge of the virus is at our doorstep,” Gov. Kate Brown said Friday as she and state health officials pleaded with the public to keep up safety measures, despite growing COVID fatigue.

Vehicle Drives into Providence Medical Center Building

Providence Building

On April 2nd, 2021 at about 12:29 p.m., officers responded to Providence Hospital, for a vehicle that drove into the building. Upon arrival, officers discoverd a 1994 Dodge Ram 1500 had driven through the front doors of the north entrance to one of the buildings on the Providence Campus.

The male driver was immediately detained without incident. Luckily there were no injuries.

The investigation revealed that the male driver intentionally drove into the building, and drove 110 feet into the front entrance hallway, stopping at the elevator.

The damage to the building is excessive and the amount is not known at this time.

Officers believe the driver was having a mental health crisis, and provided him with appropriate care. Criminal charges are pending. His name is not being released at this time. Medford Police Dept

UPDATE: Arrest Made in Greenway Homicide

Hall, Richard Kemo John

During the course of the homicide investigation, detectives developed a person of interest as Richard Hall, 43 years old. Hall was believed to be camping in the area of where the homicide occurred. On March 31st, 2021 at about 1225 hours, detectives located Hall walking on foot on the greenway, north of Railroad Park.

Officers attempted to stop him, but he fled on foot. Officers caught him after a short foot pursuit. Hall was initially arrested on an oustanding warrant for Failing to Appear on a Trespassing charge. He was interviewed that day and lodged in jail on the warrant only. 

Detectives continued the investigation and developed further evidence on Hall, resulting in criminal charges. The investigators believe Hall was an acquaintence of the victim, Mather, and developed a plan to murder him for reasons not being disclosed.

Hall struck Mather in the head with a weapon similar to an axe, killing him. Hall then took the body to an area nearby and buried him with dirt and logs. The exact day and time of the death is still under investigation.

On April 1st, at about 2000 hours, detectives charged Hall with Murder and Abuse of a Corpse 2nd degree. No bail.

On March 30th, 2021,an autopsy was performed of the decedent. The manner of death has been ruled as homicide, and the cause of death is only being described as “homicidal violence.” Details of the exact cause of death are not being disclosed at this time, to maintain the integrity of the investigation. 

The identity of the victim has been confirmed as Aaron Michael Mather, 46 years old. Next of kin have been notified. 

Mather photo (victim)
Mather photo (victim)

Mather is well known to MPD officers. He is known to be homeless and camped in the general area where he was located. If anyone has information on this murder investigation, please call 541-770-4783. Case 21-4424.

On March 26th, 2021, at about 10:15 a.m., Medford police officers responded to a report of possible dead body on the green way, north of Railroad Park. Officers found the remains of deceased subject, about 75 yards off the bike path, between the path and Bear Creek. Based on the circumstances of the scene, the case is being treated as a homicide. Medford police detectives are being assisted by the Oregon State Police Crime Lab and the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office. 

At this point, the identity of the deceased is unknown, as well as sex, race and age. The decedent is an adult. More information will be released after an autopsy is performed. This is still in the very early stages of the investigation, and we appreciate your patience. Medford Police Dept.

UPDATE – Homicide Investigation – Josephine County

Picture for Grants Pass man arrested in connection to bodies found in charred car – Portland, Oregon
Hrley Boitz

On Thursday, April 1, 2021 at approximately 2:30 P.M., members of the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office arrested Harley Boitz (26) during a traffic stop on Laurel Rd. in Cave Junction. 

Boitz is being held in the Josephine County Jail on the charges of Murder, Arson, Abuse of a Corpse, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.

On March 24, 2021, at approximately 12:50 P.M., law enforcement responded to a call regarding a vehicle on fire in Selma about 6 miles up McMullen Creek Road on forest management property.

Detectives responded to the scene and located two deceased persons in the burned vehicle. The incident is being treated as homicide and is actively being investigated.

On March 29, 2021 investigators were able to identify the two persons in the vehicle as Daniel T. Hill (24) from Josephine County and Paul M. Folk (26) from Josephine County. Folk was previously reported as a missing person to the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.

The Oregon State Police is leading the investigation and are being assisted by Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, the Josephine County District Attorney and the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office. – Oregon State Police

Rare Shark Washes Ashore in Gearhart

Broadnose sevengill shark

Walkers along Gearhart beach last Wednesday when they discovered a 6-foot broadnose sevengill shark, the Seaside Aquarium reported. 

The shark was dead before washing in and had what looked to be bites from another shark the aquarium’s Tiffany Boothe said. Broadnose sevengill sharks are one of 17 species of sharks that can be found off the Oregon Coast.

While they are known for their aggressive behavior when feeding and the fact that they can get quite large, nearly 10 feet and weighing up to 400 pounds, there has never been an attack on a human in Oregon. Worldwide, they have only been responsible for five attacks on humans since the 17th century and none were fatal.

The broadnose sevengill shark is unique in that it has seven gills while most species of sharks have five gills (apart from two species of sixgill sharks). They can be found off the eastern and western Pacific, Argentina, and South Africa in estuaries, bays, and at ocean depths from nearshore to 400 feet. Smaller sevengills feed on fish and squid but as they get bigger they start to prey on marine mammals and are known to hunt in packs.

The Seaside Aquarium recovered the shark and it will be used as an educational tool for a local school group.

Lawmakers Moving Forward On Plan To Provide Health Care To All Oregon Residents

Oregon’s health care goals include eradicating health inequities by 2030. A big part of meeting that goal is making sure all residents, including undocumented workers, can get health insurance. We talk with Representative Wlnsvey Campos, D-Aloha, chief sponsor of HB 3352.

If you’d like to comment on any of the topics in this show or suggest a topic of your own, please get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter, send an email to thinkoutloud@opb.org, or you can leave a voicemail for us at 503-293-1983. The call-in phone number during the noon hour is 888-665-5865.

Man Killed in Officer Involved Shooting in Salem

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A man is dead following an officer involved shooting in Salem, according to Oregon State Police.

Police responded to the 400 block of Ewald Avenue SE around 6:30 p.m. to a report that a
“suicidal” man had injured himself, OSP officials said.

Firefighters arrived prior to officers and the man allegedly threatened them with a firearm, according to OSP.

When Salem Police officers arrived, the man, still armed, confronted them. An officer then shot him.

Despite lifesaving efforts, the man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to OSP.

No other injuries were reported.

Per standard protocols, the Marion County District Attorney’s Office has selected the Oregon State Police to lead the investigation into the shooting. The officers involved in the incident have been put on paid administrative leave.

This is a developing story.

Eugene Man Struck and Killed by Train

On Friday a person who was walking on the tracks in Eugene was struck and killed by a train. At 2:44 p.m. a man was reported to have been walking on the train tracks and was hit by an oncoming train near Chambers Street and Railroad Boulevard.

The train had activated its horn and whistle, and applied emergency breaks. The man however, did appear to hear the train and was struck. Eugene Police responded to investigate and the train line’s traffic was stopped to allow incidence response. The man, in his mid-50s,died and police withheld his name until his family is notified.

Police Shooting Fatality in Corvallis Hotel

Oregon police on Saturday shot and killed a man they said was trespassing into a Corvallis hotel and trying to get into guests’ rooms. A Days Inn hotel employee had told dispatchers that the man was acting aggressively and trying to access rooms that were not his, the Corvallis Police Department said. The man had a knife, police said. They shot him sometime after making contact with him.

The man, a 32-year-old Philomath resident, died at the scene. The police did not detail the circumstances that led to the shooting. They said officers were involved in the shooting but did not say how many fired their weapons or how many shots were fired. The officers have been put on administrative leave, pending an investigation by Albany police.

72 Year Old Man Shoots His Son

A 72-year-old man faces charges including attempted murder for the alleged shooting of his son in a rural area of central Oregon. The shooting occurred in a rural area near the town of Silverton, about 40 miles south of Portland, according to the Marion County sheriff’s office.

Hospital officials notified police Friday night of a patient with multiple gunshot wounds that were not considered life-threatening. Police went to a property near Silverton where they met the victim’s father, who surrendered peacefully. He was booked on second-degree murder, first-degree assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.

Oregon Nonprofit Saves Cat Stuck In Rat Trap

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A friendly feline who looks great in shades was recently rescued by an Oregon nonprofit after she got her paw caught in a rat trap.

Members of Meow Village, a cat rescue based in Aurora, found the starving, underweight stray in the Portland area. A veterinarian later discovered that part of her paw had been cut off from a large rat trap affixed to her left front paw. Part of her bone was also exposed.

Veterinarians were able to save her paw by trimming part of the protruding bone. The Stray — now called Betty Boop — is on her way to a smooth recovery.

Betty Boop must have laser treatment as part of her recovery process, which is why the rescue group gave her protective glasses, but they think she actually prefers wearing them.

Betty Boop will be available for adoption soon, The 10-year-old is spayed and friendly. Visit meowvillage.org to learn more.

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