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, your local health and Medicare agents.
Monda, May 3, 2021
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Sunny, with a high near 68. Light north northwest wind becoming northwest 11 to 16 mph in the afternoon. Overnight, mostly clear with a low around 38.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 71. Overnight low around 41.
Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. Overnight, clear and around 44 degrees.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.
Friday A slight chance of snow showers in the morning hours, then a good chance of rain during the day. Snow level rising to 5000 feet in the afternoon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
There are three new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,501. Oregon Health Authority reported 756 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 186,344.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (16), Clackamas (93), Columbia (4), Crook (8), Deschutes (67), Douglas (11), Grant (1), Hood River (6), Jackson (13), Jefferson (4), Josephine (10), Klamath (35), Lane (56), Lincoln (3), Linn (24), Malheur (1), Marion (81), Morrow (1), Multnomah (217), Polk (12), Tillamook (2), Union (1), Wasco (2), Washington (74) and Yamhill (14).
The seven-day running average for vaccinations is now 33,710 doses per day. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 345, which is 14 more than yesterday. There are 76 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is five more than yesterday.
Oregon has now administered a total of 1,632,561 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,315,255 first and second doses of Moderna and 96,938 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.
With Klamath and 14 other Oregon counties return to Extreme Risk restrictions last Friday, 2/3 of the county commissioners in Oregon – including each and every member of the county boards in Klamath, Jackson and Lakes counties – are calling on Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to reconsider- and one county commissioner has said it’s time to flood Kate Brown’s office with phone calls.
Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozievich issued what he described as a “call to action” Thursday “for citizens to contact Governor Kate Brown and ask her to postpone placing counties into the extreme risk category and to immediately reconsider the metrics used to set the risk levels based on our current vaccination levels and to review the sector guidance for high and extreme risk based on current trends in transmissions.”
A joint letter from the Association of Oregon Counties and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association that was signed by dozens of county officials from across the state.
Despite that letter, and others sent individually by other county officials throughout the state, Brown has not responded either in a letter or phone call to any of those that signed the letter.
In case you’re interested in calling yourself, here’s the number: 503-378-4582, then choose option 3 to leave a message as the phone will not be answered by a live person.
In a press conference on Friday morning, Governor Brown defended her decision to place 15 Oregon counties under “Extreme Risk” restrictions after the state surpassed a benchmark of 300 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
Vaccination progress has meant that fewer seniors are being hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms, Brown said, but severe cases have increased among younger groups with the increasing spread of virus variants. The Governor said that hospitalizations of people 18 to 34 has increased nearly 50 percent.
Brown reiterated that Oregon’s restrictions should be lifted by the end of June as vaccinations proceed, and highlighted another $20 million in relief funds earmarked for struggling businesses. That funding will be distributed to counties for them to make available.
After a week of forming a picket line at the entrance of the Klamath Falls campus of the Oregon Institute of Technology, Friday was a day of growing solidarity and new tactics from striking faculty to encourage a compromise on contract negotiations.
After a march across campus, students walked into Snell Hall — home to administration offices — chanting in support of faculty. Some participated in a sit-in outside of the cashier’s office. Their goal, said graduate student Brie Landis, was disruption. Students entered Snell saying they had business at the cashier’s office. When the students arrived chanting, the cashier’s office closed.
As the students sat in the hall outside the office, not blocking the walkway or the doors, they spoke about how much they are paying for classes and how much this week is costing them while their classes are stalled.
Rebecca Armstrong has been named plant manager for the new Wilsonart facility in Klamath Falls.
Armstrong has four years of strategy development and management experience. Most recently, she served as continuous improvement manager at Columbia Forest Products, where she oversaw problem solving, visual controls, standardization of processes and programs, and team building for the Klamath Falls branch of North America’s largest manufacturer of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer products.
Born and raised in Bonanza, Armstrong graduated from Bonanza High School and earned a bachelor’s from Oregon State in renewable materials and forestry with a minor in business and leadership. Wilsonart said it is filling about 50 jobs at the plant, which is expected to be fully operational by July 2021.
Henley High School student Grace Berardino didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic stop her and her fellow Key Club members from helping their community.
Berardino, a junior, has led the school’s community service club since her sophomore year. She is a member of the school’s Hunger Not Impossible program, and volunteers at the Klamath Lutheran Food Pantry, the Klamath County Library’s summer program, Sky Lakes Medical Center, and as a member of the United Way of the Klamath Basin’s Fund Distribution Team.
For her commitment to community service, the 17-year-old was honored this month as a youth division Klamath Country Volunteer of the Year finalist, winning the award from judges at the United Way’s annual event. Henley High Principal Jack Lee said he plans to honor Berardino in front of the student body later this spring.
After a whirlwind week of filming the final scene wrapped on Thursday afternoon for two films simultaneously shooting in the Klamath Basin this week; the first of multiple film productions planned for the region this year.
“This is Their Land,” a short film produced by Cal State Northridge students in the Tulelake area about the Modoc Wars of the 1870s, and a comedy-horror short film titled “Matterhorn” shot around Klamath Falls by a Los Angeles-based film crew completed production; but months of work remain before either film will be presented to audiences. Both productions arrived in Klamath Falls on Friday, April 23 for final pre-production planning and location scouting before cameras rolled, and despite an unexpected snowstorm on Sunday altering scheduled outdoor scenes, both projects managed to complete within their anticipated timelines.
For Martin Hilligoss, the director and screenwriter of “Matterhorn,” the trip to Klamath County was a return to familiar grounds. Raised in Ashland and now a resident of Los Angeles and recent graduate of the prestigious USC film program, Hilligoss last year had two of his short films shot around Lake of the Woods selected for the 2020 Klamath Independent Film Festival
In recent years the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, which has since renamed itself the Modoc Nation, has become involved in Klamath Basin issues.
In 2018, Blake Follis, the Tribe’s former attorney general and then its main spokesperson, led efforts to oppose the proposed re-designation of Lava Beds National Monument as a national park. He later guided the Tribe’s successful efforts to purchase the Tulelake Airport. The re-designation of Lava Beds, which has since gone into hiatus, was supported by a wide range of businesses, tourism organizations and other groups throughout Southern Oregon and far Northern California because of expectations it would benefit regional economies in the Tulelake and Klamath basins.
The Modoc Tribe also purchased the former Fleener Ranch near the Lava Beds. No development plans for the remotely located property have been disclosed.
The Chiloquin Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, in partnership with the agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership, are preparing to treat nearly 5,000 acres of fuels with prescribed fire, potentially the week of May 3.
The LoMi prescribed burn is expected to treat approximately 800 acres near Klamath Marsh off the Silver Lake Highway. The North 2 prescribed burn area —approximately 4,200 acres — is located 7 miles northeast of Chiloquin. It is also near the Two Four Two Fire area that burned last fall due to wildfire. For both prescribed burns, firefighting resources are preparing lines and ensuring resources are available.
LoMi is expected to be ignited by hand by firefighters.
For North 2, to treat the acreage efficiently, fire managers plan to use a helicopter to conduct aerial ignitions over the course of a few days, conditions permitting. The burns will only be conducted if weather conditions and resources allow, including factors like temperature, humidity and wind speed, and ensuring there are enough firefighting resources available to conduct the burn safely.
Around the state of Oregon
More than $28 billion in funding intended to support struggling U.S. restaurants goes up for grabs on Monday. The “Restaurant Revitalization Fund” is one component of the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law on March 11.
Made available through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund offers a total of $28.6 billion in direct relief for restaurants and other food establishments that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying shutdowns. The fund can provide restaurants with relief equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses — up to $10 million per business, and no more than $5 million per location.
Funds have to be used for allowable expenses by March 11 of 2023. Registration for the relief funds began on Friday, and the SBA will begin accepting applications on Monday, May 3, at 9 a.m. Pacific time.
Police arrested six people after two “autonomous” May Day demonstrations in downtown Portland turned destructive late Saturday.
About 100 demonstrators took the streets around Shemanski Park, smashing windows and spray-painting graffiti on multiple downtown Portland businesses. Police declared a riot just after 10 p.m. and began making what the bureau called “targeted arrests.”
Around the same time, Federal Protective Services warned a group of several dozen people near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in South Portland that the building was closed. Officers seized a baseball bat, body armor, a flare and a knife from demonstrators.
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