Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 10/12 – Darin Rutledge of Klamath Falls Downtown Association Receives 2021 Exec Director of the Year Award from Oregon Main Street

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 55. Overnight, rain and snow after midnight. Snow level 4200 feet rising to 4700 feet after midnight, a low around 34. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday A slight chance of rain and snow showers before noon. Snow level 4400 feet, with a high near 52. Overnight a low around 26.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 58.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 67.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 70.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon reports 2,895 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 20 new deaths

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (8), Benton (86), Clackamas (212), Clatsop (15), Columbia (57), Coos (43), Crook (10), Curry (13), Deschutes (275), Douglas (62), Gilliam (2), Grant (4), Harney (8), Hood River (30), Jackson (126), Jefferson (50), Josephine (69), Klamath (58), Lake (6), Lane (259), Lincoln (26), Linn (181), Malheur (35), Marion (277), Morrow (13), Multnomah (374), Polk (37), Tillamook (14), Umatilla (94), Union (26), Wallowa (7), Wasco (12), Washington (322), Wheeler (11) and Yamhill (73). 

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 644, which is five fewer than yesterday. There are 170 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is one more than yesterday. 

There are 44 available adult ICU beds out of 675 total (7% availability) and 334 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,106 (8% availability). 

Oregon pauses to remember the more than 4,000 lives lost to COVID-19

“Today, Oregon has now recorded more than 4,000 deaths,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. “That’s two short months since we last paused to mark the painful milestone of 3,000 COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon. Our condolences go out to everyone who has lost a loved one, a family member, a friend or a neighbor. 

“These two milestones tell the story of how swiftly and severely the Delta variant has moved through our communities. 

“This is even more heartbreaking because many of these deaths are preventable. COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout Oregon, and the vaccines are our best protection against serious illness and death from this virus. My message to Oregonians today is simple: The Delta variant has changed everything. Please, get vaccinated as soon as you can.” 

A man was stabbed in the chest Saturday after a confrontation on Michigan Avenue. According to Klamath Falls Police Department, the incident took place at roughly 5 p.m. Saturday on the 200 block of Michigan.

A preliminary investigation by police found the victim was a passenger in a vehicle driving northbound toward Esplanade Avenue. Jedadiah Decker was reportedly riding a bicycle with a trailer attached. He started throwing rocks at the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle stopped and the victim exited the passenger side of the car. The victim walked up to Decker and words were exchanged, according to police.

Witnesses stated the victim attempted to punch Decker, and Decker responded by stabbing the victim in the chest. Decker then fled the scene with the weapon. The victim got back into the vehicle and was driven to Sky Lakes Medical Center. The 27-year-old male victim was transported to Sky Lakes with an apparent stab wound to the chest area.

The man was stabilized and transported to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend and underwent surgery. He is currently in stable condition.

Darin Rutledge of the Klamath Falls Downtown Association received the 2021 Executive Director of the Year award from Oregon Main Street.

Joining KFDA in 2018, Rutledge helped the board broaden their reach by creating a structure to include key partners. These partnerships have helped keep KFDA at the forefront of many revitalization efforts, according to the organization. Rutledge also helped restructure the membership base growing it by 67% just before COVID-19 struck.

He also initiated swift and effective COVID response, according to the organization. His “Main Street Resiliency” page was a welcome site for the vulnerable business community and an early model for other communities in Oregon KFDA also partnered with the city in developing and executing several COVID relief programs, such as a restaurant relief gift certificate program, on street short term restaurant take-out parking, business grant programs, and distribution of PPE.

Rutledge also helped KFDA develop and implement activities to take the place of cancelled community events, including a modified fall festival, a virtual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and a fun virtual annual meeting and membership drive.

Cooler temperatures, increased humidity and a handful of autumn storms are providing enough relief to allow further reduction in restrictions and fire danger in South Central Oregon.

Effective yesterday the agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership will lowered the fire danger from “high” to “moderate”. Despite this change, fuels remain dry and caution is needed to prevent wildfires. The Oregon Department of Forestry Klamath-Lake District regulated use closure, which regulates things like the use of campfires, chainsaws and other activities that could start a wildfire, have been lifted. Regulations remain in place restricting debris burning and timber harvest operations.

All outdoor debris burning is still prohibited. Restrictions on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin national wildlife refuge complexes and most of the Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District were lifted Oct. 1. Public use restrictions remain in place on BLM lands in the Klamath River Canyon.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon is relaxing requirements to become a substitute schoolteacher in the face of a widespread shortage currently stretching educators thin.

Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission Executive Director Anthony Rosilez told Pamplin Media Group Monday that the licensing agency will file a temporary rule in order to implement an emergency substitute teaching license.

In December 2019, he said, the state had at least 8,300 active substitute licenses, although that number does not include retirees and other part-time school staff with active teaching licenses who can also substitute. By December, that number dropped to 5,500, and this month, Rosilez said, the state is down to around 4,738 substitute teachers.

The emergency rule, which Rosilez said he hoped to finalize this week, will relax a requirement for a bachelor’s degree.

The second Monday in October, long celebrated as Columbus Day, was officially be recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in Oregon yesterday.

The Legislature this spring overwhelmingly approved a bill declaring Oct. 11 to be Indigenous Peoples Day. The legislation was sponsored by the Legislature’s only Indigenous lawmakers, Rep. Tawna Sanchez and Rep. Teresa Alonso-Leon. Oregon is one of 13 states to recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Oregon Zoo is caring for 23 tiny northwestern pond turtles. They’re an endangered species.

The hatchlings are taken from the Columbia River Gorge and placed in a special habitat that allows them to grow as much as they would in three years in about nine months, so that when they’re returned to the wild they have a better chance at survival.

The Portland Police Bureau says officers responded to 13 shootings in 28 hours over the weekend. One person was killed and three people were injured. Five shots fired calls came in during one three hour period, and the bureau’s resources were so strained that a sergeant was the only person gathering evidence at one incident while citizens were used to control traffic at the scene of another shooting. Investigators believe some of the shootings were related. At least 151 casings were recovered from all of the crime scenes.

Oregon is enacting new legislation to help people facing the prospect of being put under guardianship or conservatorship, in an effort to protect the rights of some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

Senate Bill 578, which is set to go into effect at the beginning of next year, will require courts to appoint legal counsel for many people facing that circumstance. It will affect guardianship and conservatorship cases in Multnomah and Lane counties in 2022, expand to Columbia County in 2023 and go statewide in 2024.

The concept of conservatorship and guardianship has gone from a relatively obscure legal process into the mainstream in recent years. In Oregon, some counties and courts already appoint a lawyer to represent a person who needs representation during guardianship proceedings. The new law will codify that process.

Police found a 22-year-old Albany man with “multiple gunshot wounds” in the parking lot of a city park late Sunday night.

Medics rushed Joshua Johnston-Partain from the scene to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries. Police are investigating the shooting as a homicide. Albany Police responded just before 11 p.m. on October 10 to a report of a shooting at Timber Linn Park. Albany Police ask anyone with information about the incident to contact the Albany Police Detective Unit at (541) 917-7686.

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