Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 6/10 – Major General Dan Bunch Retiring From Air National Guard But Remaining Klamath County Circuit Judge

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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 Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 64. Overnight cloudy, with a low around 45.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 63.
Friday A 40% chance of rain.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.
Sunday A slight chance of showers after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 85.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon reports 269 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 16 new deaths

There are 16 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 2,716. The Oregon Health Authority reported 269 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 203,933.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (2), Benton (2), Clackamas (37), Clatsop (1), Columbia (3), Coos (1), Crook (2), Curry (3), Deschutes (19), Douglas (14), Gilliam (1), Grant (6), Harney (3), Hood River (1), Jackson (15), Jefferson (6), Josephine (7), Klamath (4), Lake (1), Lane (10), Lincoln (3) Linn (8), Malheur (7), Marion (40), Morrow (2), Multnomah (32), Polk (7), Umatilla (7), Union (3), Wallowa (1), Washington (14), Yamhill (7).

Oregon has now administered 2,319,302 first and second doses of Pfizer,1,651,646 first and second doses of Moderna and 152,192 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 weekly cases, hospitalizations decline

The Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 Weekly Report, released today, shows the sixth consecutive week of declining cases and lowest since weekly case tally since last September. OHA reported 1,725 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week of Monday, May 31, through Sunday, June 6. That represents a 26% decline from the previous week.

Dan Bunch, who wears two hats as a Klamath County judge and as an Air National Guard Major General, is in the waning weeks of a decades-long military career.

As he wades through his final commitments, Bunch has realized he’s putting away some of his uniforms for the final time. Bunch won’t be hanging up his judge’s robes any time soon though.

After wearing his dress blues for his June 26 retirement ceremony at Kingsley Field, Bunch will return full time to his seat on the Klamath County Circuit Court.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Bunch as a Klamath County Circuit Judge in 2009, after he’d served as the county’s counsel since 2006. He’s been on the bench ever since. Those who have worked with Bunch around the Klamath County Circuit Court say that even when he’s gone, he’s still 100 percent committed to local justice.

Klamath County residents watched their recycling bins fill up and then overflow after the Tingley Lane waste transfer center was destroyed by fire in May.

Recycling collections have been stopped since, but respite is on the way. Waste Management announced Tuesday that recycling collections at the Tingley Lane transfer station will resume next week on Monday, June 14.

Waste Management will collect double loads at no additional cost until recycling collections are caught up. Ben Hirengen, district manager for the company, asked residents to limit to double loads, no matter how much they have saved up at home.

It is possible that heavy volumes may prevent collection from all customers on regular service days. If that occurs, Waste Management said residential customers should pull their garbage cans from the curb, then set them out on their next regular service day.

As the drought crisis in the Klamath Basin continues to unfold, the city of Klamath Falls has no plans to curtail local water usage but is urging residents to take water conservation into their own hands. Kristina Mainwaring, public information administrator for the city of Klamath Falls, said that the city is still discussing what to do locally as far as water conservation goes, but will soon deploy a public education program designed to inform residents on how to reduce their water consumption. Mainwaring said the city is actively monitoring the situation, and will act accordingly depending on what unfolds. The public works section of the city’s website features a number of water conservation tips as well as other information pertaining to preserving water. The website urges residents to consistently check for leaks at home, and points out that the city offers an in-house water mainline leak detection and repair program.

Registrations are filling up quickly for the 45th Crater Lake Rim Runs, which are returning after being canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The runs – with distances of 6.7, 13 and 26.2 miles — set for Aug. 14. As usual, the three races will begin near The Watchman overlook, with the shorter race ending near the Cleetwood Cove Trailhead, the half-marathon near the Mount Scott Trailhead and the marathon at the Lost Creek Campground. About 150 people who were entered in last year’s canceled runs will be back. Coffman said that as of the first week of June about 350 people had entered. The marathon is rated as one of the nation’s most scenic because it mostly follows Rim Drive. But it’s also regarded one of the most challenging because of challenging hills and elevations ranging from 5,980- to 7,850-feet above sea level. Aid stations will be located about every two miles with electrolytes, water and sponges. For more information and to register visit the website at craterlakerimruns.com. The  event is limited to about 500 people.

Around the state of Oregon

Jessica Gomez is running for Governor of Oregon

A Rogue Valley-based business leader says that she will run for Governor of Oregon in 2022. Jessica Gomez officially announced her candidacy on Tuesday, declaring her hopes for becoming the state’s first female Republican governor.

Gomez is the founder and CEO of local tech company Rogue Valley Microdevices, and she currently serves as Chair of the Oregon Tech Board of Trustees.

This isn’t Gomez’s first brush with politics, either. In 2018, she ran for a seat on the Oregon state Senate — winning the Republican primary, but losing in the general to Democrat Jeff Golden.

Prior to her run, she worked as a legislative aide to outgoing Senator Alan DeBoer. Gomez leverages her experience as a business owner for promoting Oregon’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic by creating an attractive business climate, deriding “relentless” taxes and regulations.

Her campaign says that she will encourage targeted investments in infrastructure for both urban and rural communities.

Jackson County Fair Announces Schedule and Concert Headliners

2021 Jackson County Fair - Central Point, OR

The Jackson County Fair is ready for a comeback this year, with organizers releasing the first list of coming events and concert headliners this week. The Expo announced a few weeks ago that they were optimistic about the fair’s return.

This year’s fair is scheduled to run from July 14 through 18. Tickets will be $12 for adults and kids over 13, $6 for seniors 62 to 74, and free for those either 12 and younger or 75 and older.

The Jackson County Fair – July 14-18, 2021

  • FREE parking every day thanks to Butler Automotive Group
  • FREE fair admission for kids 12 and under, courtesy of the West Family Foundation
  • Sunday – FREE admission for EVERYONE courtesy of Ray’s Food Place

Due to limited capacity at many of the events, only a limited number of tickets will be sold for each day, and registration is required even for free admission. Tickets can be bought in advance at Sherm’s Food 4 Less or at the Expo’s website.

Attractions include free events and exhibits — more than 70 vendors selling everything from sunglasses and handbags to homemade fudge, creative arts competitions, livestock auctions at the Olsrud Arena, a petting zoo, and the Pirate’s Parrot Show.

This year the fair will feature a new carnival from Paul Maurer Shows, and carnival-goers can save money by purchasing wristbands in advance at Food 4 Less or online. Wristbands are $25 in advance or $35 at the gate.

Wednesday night brings a night of “heart pounding, dirt stomping” bull riding from Challenge of Champions at the Isola Arena, free with admission. The tour features professional bullriders from around the Northwest and beyond.

Over the next three nights, concerts will be handled differently depending on Jackson County’s COVID-19 risk level when the fair begins. Those will determine whether the concerts are enjoyed in the North Parking Lot or in the BiMart Amphitheater. Either way, concert tickets include parking in the north lot, with each ticket accounting for 4 to 6 people, depending on the risk level.

Concert lineup:

  • Thursday, July 15 – Matt Stell
  • Friday, July 16 – Marshall Tucker Band
  • Saturday, July 17 – Colt Ford

“If we get to ‘Low-Risk Restrictions’ we will open the BiMart Amphitheater and your car pass will be turned in for 6 GA Concert Tickets,” organizers said. “This means there are a limited number of opportunities to watch these concerts in person — don’t miss out.” MORE INFO: https://attheexpo.com/fair/ — FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/attheexpo/

AROUND the STATE of OREGON

Oregon Legislature Passes Measure To Protect Homeless

The Oregon Legislature gave final passage Wednesday to a bill to protect homeless campers in public spaces.

Oregon communities must rewrite local rules to allow Oregonians to sit, lie, sleep and keep warm and dry on public property in most circumstances.

House Bill 3115, which passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon and is en route to Gov. Brown’s desk, is a response to a 2018 landmark homelessness case that impacted most Western states with an intent to better support individuals experiencing homelessness.

While local governments should already be following rules set forth by the case known as Martin v. Boise, the bill, written at the behest of House Speaker Tina Kotek, forces cities to officially change any ordinance language still on the books to be in line with the court decision.

In its ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said governments cannot criminalize conduct that is unavoidable as a result of experiencing homelessness. To punish a homeless individual for sleeping outside when there aren’t enough shelter beds would be comparable to punishing that individual for the fact that they are homeless, a consequence the court described as cruel and unusual.

Alison McIntosh, policy director for the Oregon Housing Alliance, said in a letter supporting the bill that Martin on its own doesn’t provide clarity about what public property people are allowed to sleep on. Also, she said, cities have worked around Martin by enforcing “no camping” rules on some public property while not enforcing it on other public land.

“This does not solve the problem, though, for either people experiencing homelessness or law enforcement,” she wrote. “It does not provide people experiencing homelessness clear guidance about where they can or cannot sit or sleep.” McIntosh said the bill is a step in the right direction.

While the Martin case could be overturned in the future, the new law would still protect unsheltered individuals sleeping on public land.

The bill also goes a step further than the court case with the addition of the demand to allow people to engage in activities necessary to “keep warm and dry.” This could include things like pitching a tent on public property to stay protected from severe weather.

Under the measure, a homeless person charged with violating a ban on camping or loitering would have an affirmative defense against a law that is not objectively reasonable. A person experiencing homelessness may also sue to challenge the objective reasonableness of a city or county law, and be awarded attorney fees if the plaintiff prevails

Cities have until July 1, 2023, to update their ordinance language.

Under these new rules, cities can still decide what is considered reasonable enforcement. This means a city could prevent someone from sleeping on one piece of land if it clearly makes other public land available for individuals experiencing homelessness to sleep on. If a city wants to completely prohibit people from sleeping on public land, the city must first provide enough housing or emergency shelter beds for every person who is experiencing homelessness within that jurisdiction.

Death Row Gifting Club Scam Prevalent in Oregon

Salem, OR – The pyramid scheme has a new look and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is warning consumers to steer clear. Gifting clubs, such as Death Row, are illegal pyramid schemes that are scamming several Oregonians. 

The Death Row gifting club, not associated with Death Row Records, was operating in Oregon last year. It advertised on social media and in online forums as a community wealth share group. More than 20 Oregonians lost their initial $1,400 investments.  

The Death Row gifting scheme promised financial returns of at least $9,000. The division was alerted to the scheme when an Oregonian reported not receiving anything in return for their $1,400 investment. The investment was not registered with the division and no one was licensed to sell investments in Death Row. Victims invested their money using a cloud-based payment platform and communicated with others about the investment during online forums for the Death Row program.

The division is still investigating the Death Row gift club. Anyone who has information about the scheme or was a victim of it are asked to contact the Division of Financial Regulation Advocacy team at 888-877-4894 (toll-free). 

“If someone invites you to join a gifting club, just say no to their high-pressure tactics and stories of high earnings,” said TK Keen, Division of Financial Regulation administrator. “The simple reality is that only a few people profit from these schemes at the expense of everyone else who ultimately lose their investments.”  

Gifting club schemes are similar to pyramid schemes because no new money is created. Members of the scheme encourage friends, family, and co-workers to give gifts of cash to higher ranking members. The only way for a person to recover the initial investment is to bring new members into the scheme.

The division has three tips to spot an illegal gifting scheme:

  • Promises of cash, gifts, or electronic payments via mail, email, or social media
  • The primary focus is to recruit new investors – no goods or services are being sold
  • No written agreements and the promoters boast about high earnings of a few people

Oregonians are encouraged to contact the Division of Financial Regulation’s consumer advocacy team if they spot a gifting scheme or believe they are a victim of one. Advocates can be reached at 888-877-4894 (toll-free), email .financialserviceshelp@oregon.gov“>dfr.financialserviceshelp@oregon.gov, or by visiting dfr.oregon.gov.  

Do not become a victim of an illegal gifting scheme. Be skeptical about investment opportunities, avoid giving your personal information to strangers, and remember – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For more information about investments and protecting yourself from investment fraud, visit the division’s avoid investment fraud page. 

About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.  

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspxOregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services 

House Bill Passes Restricting Use of Mugshots

Democrats in the Oregon Senate carried a bill on Wednesday that would restrict the availability of law enforcement booking photos — colloquially known as “mug shots” — which supporters say complements another bill intended to fight back against doxing.

Doxing is an increasingly common practice in the internet era that involves the release and spread of an individual’s private information (even if that information is publicly available, but not widely so), often resulting in a deluge of harassment or threats. 

House Bill 3047, which passed earlier this week, provides victims of doxing with the ability to seek civil recourse in court.

Under the bill, law enforcement can only release booking photos under certain circumstances — directly to
the person who was booked, to another law enforcement agency, to the public if it will assist with the arrest of a suspect, or in an attempt to identify other suspected crimes.

UPDATE – Fatal Crash on Hwy 126E – Lane County

The operator is being identified as Staci Jackson (56) of Eugene.

On Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at approximately 11:48 P.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single vehicle crash on Hwy 126E near milepost 17.

Preliminary investigation revealed a Ford Escort was westbound when it left the roadway and struck a power pole.

The operator was transported to Riverbend Hospital where she was pronounced deceased.  The name of the operator will be released when appropriate.

OSP was assisted by Emergency Medical Services and ODOT — Oregon State Police

Wrong Way Driver Runs Commuters Off I-5 Near Saginaw

A wrong-way driver forced dozens of cars off Interstate 5 during the evening commute Wednesday.

Oregon State Police said the vehicle used an emergency turn around and began driving northbound and was followed by an ODOT employee.

The vehicle was followed into Eugene where law enforcement contacted the 94-year-old driver. No signs of impairment noted. The family was contacted. They advised the driver is beginning to suffer from dementia and is easily confused. The vehicle was secured on scene. 

South Lane Fire and Rescue responded to multiple cars off the freeway near the Saginaw exit around 4:30 p.m. An official with the department said a car was driving north in the southbound lanes. No one was injured but a handful of cars were damaged. The driver will be put in for a DMV retest.

Oregon Law Will Require ‘Do Not Flush’ Labels On Wipes

Disposable wipes sold in Oregon will soon have to come with a label that says “Do Not Flush.”

That’s the result of House Bill 2344, which was approved by state lawmakers and signed this week by Gov. Kate Brown. Wipes that aren’t meant to be flushed can clog up wastewater systems, leading to costly repairs. A number of municipalities in Oregon have reminded the public of this over the past year, especially during the early months of the pandemic when toilet paper was sometimes hard to find on store shelves.

Rep. Marty Wilde, D-Eugene, said even wipes labeled as “flushable” can cause problems. “Those wipes often contain longer wood fibers, or they contain plastics in them. And because of the length of those fibers, they can create clogs in the system,” he said.

Wilde is one of the bill’s chief sponsors.

The measure allows local governments to fine retailers up to $10,000 for selling disposable wipes that don’t display the “Do Not Flush” warning, although the penalty for a first offense is no more than $2,000, and even that won’t come until the store has had the chance to respond to a written warning.

Wilde said the law is modeled after a similar one approved in Washington last year. Oregon’s requirement takes effect in July of 2022. 

When flushed, products like disinfecting wipes, ‘flushable’ wipes and paper towels cause clogs which can cause damage to the sewer pipes in your home and yard, the sewer system in your neighborhood, Lake County’s pumps and treatment facilities, and the environment. 

Even if a product is marked ‘flushable’, it does not mean it is. These products do not degrade like toilet paper and will end up clogging pipes. Only toilet paper and human waste should be flushed – all other products should be disposed of. 

Officials from the Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services issued a statement on Wednesday warning the public to steer clear of “gifting clubs,” an increasingly prevalent form of illegal pyramid scheme. An example cited by the agency is called the Death Row gifting club — no relation to the hip-hop record label — that started popping up in Oregon last year. The club advertised on social media and in online forums as a “community wealth share group,” but at least 20 Oregonians lost their $1,400 initial investments. State officials say that no one was licensed to sell investments in Death Row, and the investment was not registered. Victims paid their money through a cloud-based payment platform and communicated about the investments on online forums with others. Gifting clubs are similar to pyramid schemes in that no new money is created. Instead, members encourage friends, family, co-workers and strangers to give gifts of cash to higher ranking members — the only way to make that money back is to bring in new members.

Fred Meyer is set to host a hiring event today for stores in the Pacific Northwest.  The company hopes to hire two-thousand workers at its 132 stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.  The hiring event will include both virtual and in-store interviews.  There are positions in retail, e-commerce, pharmacy, manufacturing, and logistics.  The company’s average wage is 15-50 an hour.  The Fred Meyer website has details on the hiring event.

Cities in Oregon will have an easier time building affordable housing under a bill that passed the Oregon legislature.  The bill approved yesterday removes barriers faced by developers, cities, and nonprofits.  It expands where affordable housing can be built to include land zoned for commercial uses or land that’s owned by public or religious entities.  The bill now goes to the Governor for her signature.

Democrats in the Oregon Senate carried a bill on Wednesday that would restrict the availability of law enforcement booking photos — colloquially known as “mug shots” — which supporters say complements another bill intended to fight back against doxing. Doxing is an increasingly common practice in the internet era that involves the release and spread of an individual’s private information (even if that information is publicly available, but not widely so), often resulting in a deluge of harassment or threats. House Bill 3047, which passed earlier this week, provides victims of doxing with the ability to seek civil recourse in court. Doxing is an increasingly common practice in the internet era that involves the release and spread of an individual’s private information (even if that information is publicly available, but not widely so), often resulting in a deluge of harassment or threats. House Bill 3047, which passed earlier this week, provides victims of doxing with the ability to seek civil recourse in court. Under the bill, law enforcement can only release booking photos under certain circumstances — directly to the person who was booked, to another law enforcement agency, to the public if it will assist with the arrest of a suspect, or in an attempt to identify other suspected crimes.

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