Klamath Basin News, Monday, 10/25 – Homicide Investigation In Chiloquin; One Man Dead, Another Man Arrested; Recent Basin Illegal Marijuana Grow Busts Linked to Drug Cartels

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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.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A 20% chance of showers before 11am. Snow level 4700 feet rising to 5600 feet in the afternoon. Partly sunny, with a high near 48. Cloudy overnight with a low around 37. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Tuesday Rain likely. Snow level 5400 feet rising to 7000 feet in the afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 49. South southwest wind 6 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Cloudy overnight, with a low around 42.
Wednesday A 20% chance of rain before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56.
Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 64.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 63.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

Today’s Headlines

A man has been charged with homicide after a Friday night altercation in Chiloquin left one man dead.

According to police, Gabriel Moreno, 22, of Chiloquin died after an altercation with Shay Michael Treetop, 36.

Treetop was arrested and has been charged with criminally negligent homicide. 

According to police, Klamath County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the 300 block of Wasco Ave. in Chiloquin about 10 p.m. on Friday night to find Moreno suffering from serious injuries. An EMT performed CPR, but Moreno was pronounced dead at the scene. The Klamath County Major Crime Team has been activated. Detectives from Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Klamath Falls Police and Oregon State Police conducted the investigation and were assisted by the Klamath County District Attorney’s Office.

Treetop is currently in the Klamath County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

Many of the illegal marijuana grows in Klamath County have been linked to national and international criminal organizations, and the breadth of the problem has overwhelmed local law enforcement and justice systems and has begun to deplete county resources.

Two major marijuana busts in Klamath County just this month led to the seizure of more than $140 million worth of product on the illegal market.

One bust was at a potato shed south of town while this week’s find was a warehouse in the middle of downtown Klamath Falls. On Wednesday, a day after the warehouse bust — the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office pulled over three U-Haul trucks on Highway 66 near Keno.

The trucks contained more than 17,600 pounds of mostly processed marijuana buds with an estimated street value of more than $20 million. Sergeant Cliff Barden, of the Oregon Department of State Police Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (BINET) said illegal grows in Klamath County are clearly linked to drug cartels. He said the cartel’s strategy in the area is to overwhelm local agencies and resources with the sheer volume of production, ensuring that much of the operation will go unnoticed and ultimate generating immense profits.

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Oregon reports 1,517 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 10 new deaths

There are 10 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,284. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 1,517 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 357,526.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (10), Benton (28), Clackamas (119), Clatsop (12), Columbia (29), Coos (25), Crook (44), Curry (6), Deschutes (126), Douglas (53), Gilliam (1), Harney (2), Hood River (8), Jackson (80), Jefferson (36), Josephine (36), Klamath (54), Lake (15), Lane (120), Lincoln (19), Linn (134), Malheur (20), Marion (118), Morrow (6), Multnomah (153), Polk (37), Sherman (2), Tillamook (5), Umatilla (42), Union (11), Wasco (14), Washington (110), Wheeler (1), and Yamhill (41).

Booster doses for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine recommended by CDC

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for booster shots of Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines.

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CDC recommended that anyone 65 and older, and those between 18 and 64 who received the Moderna vaccine, should receive a booster dose of the Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose. Those groups include people 18 and older in long-term care settings, who have underlying medical conditions, and who work or live in high-risk settings. The CDC also recommended that anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster dose at least two months after their first dose.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, including Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada, met last night to discuss recommendations for COVID-19 booster doses for fully vaccinated people. Today, the workgroup announced its support for the CDC recommendations.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown praised the decision. “Whether you received the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, everyone eligible who wants a booster will be able to get one and the extra layer of protection a booster dose provides,” she said.

Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. The workgroup supported CDC’s decision that individuals eligible for a booster may receive either the same or a different COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose, depending on advice from a health care provider, individual preference, availability or convenience

Additional information on vaccine boosters and third doses can be found on this web page.

The parks advisory board for the city of Klamath Falls will compile a report and survey the community before making a recommendation on whether or not to rename Kit Carson Park.

Klamath Falls City Council will make the final decision on the matter. Changing the name of the park, which was named after a man who killed a number of Klamath Indians in the 1800s, was a recommendation made in August by the now disbanded Klamath Falls equity task force.

The parks advisory board — which includes Daniel Blake, Nancy Thomas, Todd Kepple, Michael Gerrard, Kristen Hiatt, Jim O’Connor and Kaitlin Hakanson — is currently researching the life and deeds of Carson and plans to send out a community survey to get residents’ thoughts on the name change.

The first wolf kill of the year in Southern Oregon was reported Thursday in the Klamath Basin’s Wood River Valley.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, on Thursday morning a ranch manager found a dead 500-pound calf in a 150-acre grass pasture. The report said the calf’s organs and the majority of its muscle tissue and portions of its hide had been consumed.

The calf was estimated to have died about 36 hours prior to the investigation. According to the ODFW findings “the size, number and location of bite scrapes and the severity of associated premortem hemorrhage are similar to injuries observed on other calves attacked by wolves.”

Klamath and Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS) was named in the Top 100 Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon for the second consecutive year.

Each April, the Oregon Business Magazine releases an online survey for employees of nonprofits across the state to complete. Nonprofit organizations must register and respond to a separate survey which requests information on employee benefits such as paid holidays, insurance coverage and vacation sick leave.

KLCAS has worked to provide consistent services throughout the pandemic, placing pressure on team members to learn to deliver services remotely while balancing their responsibilities at home. KLCAS has also been working to improve workplace culture and environment, recognizing the need for flexibility and innovation.

Solid Ground Equine-Assisted Activities & Therapy Center was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation to support providing scholarships for 12 weeks of equine therapy for youth throughout Klamath County.

This funding supports the work Solid Ground has underway, including the expansion of their student scholarship program throughout rural Klamath Basin to provide equine-assisted learning and therapeutic riding programs to those that could otherwise not afford them.

The Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation was founded in 1997 and began its philanthropic efforts in 1998. To date, the Foundation has awarded $20,263,524 to nonprofits in the seven southwestern Oregon counties from which it accepts grant requests.

Local historical landmarks visible on Google Earth will be examined in an online program scheduled for 7p.m. Oct. 28 by the Klamath County Historical Society.

“Klamath History as seen on Google Earth” will be presented by Klamath County Museum Director Todd Kepple, who will use photos and maps to point out sites around the Basin where human activity a century or more ago left marks on the land that can be seen in satellite images. To sign up for the presentation on Zoom, send a request to bill.lewis1960@gmail.com.

Around the state of Oregon

A Bend police officer is facing criminal charges after being accused of slamming a man’s head into the ground during an attempted arrest.

Bend Police Officer Kevin Uballez was charged Friday with fourth-degree assault and harassment, according to a media report released. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said in a news conference Friday that two other officers reported Uballez’s alleged conduct to supervisors. Uballez is a police dog handler hired by the department in 2014. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

The alleged incident happened around 1 a.m. June 6 after someone called 911 to report an intoxicated man running down NW Skyliners Road. Uballez reported that the man, Caleb Hamlin initially refused to comply with orders.

Siskiyou County search and rescue teams found the crash site on Friday of William Bushling, a pilot who went missing Wednesday after taking off from the airstrip in Ashland as he headed home to Orland, California.

Authorities confirmed Friday afternoon that Bushling had been found dead at the crash site. Debris from Bushling’s plane was found on the south side of Mt. Bradley west of Dunsmuir, toward Castle Crags. Search teams were able to confirm the tail number of Bushling’s distinctive black Cessna. Authorities confirmed Friday afternoon that Bushling had been found dead at the crash site.

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A multi-agency task force raided a Grants Pass massage parlor on Thursday, arresting or citing several people for alleged prostitution and human trafficking.

Officials said that this was a Grants Pass Police Department investigation into commercial sexual solicitation at the Silk Road Massage parlor, located in the 1500-block of NE 7th Street in Grants Pass.

The raid involved a combined force of Grants Pass detectives, the Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) and the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team (RADE). While this was initially a prostitution investigation, police said that human trafficking concerns came up during the investigation.

During the raid, officers arrested 58-year-old Wei Zhang of Grants Pass, charged with promoting prostitution. 41-year-old Kul Assavaphoom, also of Grants Pass, was cited for prostitution and released. A customer, 52-year-old Yhang Zhao, was found to have a US Marshals warrant out of Virginia and was lodged in jail. Police said that the business is owned by 48-year-old Min Zhang of Grants Pass.

UPDATE: Two Suspects from Eagle Point Home Invasion Robbery Charged, Booked at Jackson County Jail, One Suspect Still At Large

The suspects from Thursday night’s home invasion robbery and assault at a marijuana grow and processing site have been charged and booked in the Jackson County Jail.

The suspects, Vay San Duong, 51, and Kien Vihn Vong, 49, both from Sacramento, Calif. have been charged with four counts of first-degree robbery, four counts of second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, four counts of second-degree assault, and first-degree theft.

The remaining suspect, believed to be an Asian male, is still at large. The suspect fled from a vehicle outside of Eagle Point on HWY 140 near mile marker 13 and is believed to be on foot. If you have information on the suspect’s whereabouts, do not approach, call 911 immediately. The marijuana grow and processing site has been confirmed as containing illegal marijuana.

In Oregon’s biggest city, the Portland police say two people were killed at an Old Town apartment building on Sunday, and a man was detained as an investigation continues.

The report says that Sunday’s killings would bring the city’s homicide toll to 71 this year, breaking a record of 70 set in 1987.

The Oregonian reports that police responded at 6:25 a.m. to reports of shots fired inside the building on Northwest 6th Avenue. The two victims were found at the scene. The Portland Police Bureau says it isn’t looking for any suspects at this time. The victims’ names weren’t immediately released. Police say gang activity has contributed to a surge in gun violence during the coronavirus pandemic in Portland.

Weekend Storm Leaves Thousands Without Power

Tens of thousands of people were without power across Oregon as a record-breaking low-pressure storm rolled in from the Oregon Coast causing strong winds and several Severe Thunderstorm warnings. The storm was the lowest pressure storm we have seen in over four decades in the PNW.

A look at the power outage maps for both Portland General Electric and Pacific Power, the two main power companies in Oregon, show that around 1:45 p.m. there were more than 25,000 Oregonians without power. Around 4 p.m. that number had begun to decrease. Just after 6 p.m. on Sunday, Pacific Power reported that power had been restored to its customers.

The strong storm made its way into the area from the Oregon Coast. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the storm brought very windy conditions to the coast and beyond. Hillsboro police tweeted about a downed tree in their area and callers aboard an Amtrak train inbound to Portland from Seattle reported a delay of over an hour due to a downed tree on the tracks.

Several Severe Thunderstorm warnings were issued for SE Washington and Oregon from the NWS as the storm moved inland.

4.7-magnitude Earthquake off Coos Bay Coast Sunday Morning

A 4.7-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of southern Oregon Sunday morning.

The tremblor struck just after 4 a.m., with the epicenter about 110 miles west of Coos Bay, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.

As of 9 a.m., the USGS had 10 responses in its online “Felt Report” database, which asks the public if they felt any shaking. Earthquakes of magnitude 4.0-4.9 are considered “light.”

They’re also common off the Oregon coast. More than 3,500 seismic tremors of magnitude 2.5 or greater have buzzed there over the past 50 years. Back in April, at least five quakes from 4.4 to 5.3 rumbled the ocean bottom west of Bandon on one day.

More have come and gone without much notice since then. Saturday saw a 3.2-magnitude quake about 90 miles west of Gold Beach.

Which means that even a series of small quakes in or near Oregon’s waters doesn’t mean a massive shaking along the 600-mile Cascadia Subduction Zone is nigh. Nor does it mean the Big One isn’t about to happen. Seismologists just don’t know.

The last major rupture of the fault was in 1700. Experts say the likelihood in the next 50 years of a “megathrust” on the whole fault is 10-22%.

Open enrollment for 2022 health coverage starting soon: Additional savings available to thousands of Oregonians

(Salem) – Open enrollment – the time to sign up for health insurance for 2022 – has been extended this year. It runs from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022.

More than 75 percent of Oregonians who enrolled through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace for 2021 qualified for financial help, which lowered their monthly premium to as low as $1 per month. The Marketplace estimates that thousands of Oregonians throughout the state could see significant savings by enrolling in health coverage through the Marketplace for 2022.  

Trained health coverage experts are available to help with applying for financial assistance and choosing health plans. This help comes from licensed insurance agents and community groups, and is completely free to you. 

You can prepare for open enrollment by going to OregonHealthCare.gov/WindowShop to browse plans and find out how much savings for which you are eligible. This year, the tool has significant enhancements to help consumers wade through plan options, including:

  • A new provider and facility search option that allows users to see which plans cover their preferred providers or hospitals.
  • A new prescription drug formulary search that helps users see which plans will cover their prescription drugs and the estimated out-of-pocket costs for covered prescriptions.
  • A full tool translation into Spanish, which will be available at CuidadoDeSalud.Oregon.gov by Nov. 1.

If you do not get health insurance through your job or a program such as the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare, you may qualify for help paying for 2022 coverage through OregonHealthCare.gov. Even if you are temporarily uninsured or enrolled in COBRA coverage, you can sign up for a new plan by the Jan. 15 deadline to get health insurance for 2022. In order for coverage to begin Jan. 1, you must enroll by Dec. 15, 2021.

To start, go to OregonHealthCare.gov before Jan. 15 and answer a few questions to preview plans and savings available to you. You can find help by clicking “Get Help” on the site to find a health insurance expert who can help you complete the application and enroll. Insurance agents and community partners provide local, one-on-one assistance at no charge to you. This help is available virtually and over the phone, and in person following COVID-19 safety protocols.

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov. For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

US Forest Service Hiring 1,000 people for Seasonal Jobs Across Oregon and Washington

The United States Forest Service will be hiring more than 1,000 seasonal positions across Oregon and Washington for the coming spring and summer.  

The federal agency will be accepting applications from Nov. 5 to Nov. 12. Jobs are available across a wide variety of fields, including fire, recreation and archeology. 

“We’re looking for talented, diverse applicants to help us manage over 24 million acres of public land in the Pacific Northwest,” said Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “If you’re interested in stewarding our national forests and serving local communities, I encourage you to apply.”

The positions include a multitude of jobs, including Forestry Technician positions across Oregon in Bend, Eugene, Grants Pass, Portland and the Ochoco National Forest. The jobs typically last 3 to 6 months.

The Pacific Northwest region of the Forest Service spans 24.7 million acres of land across Oregon and Washington. This area includes 16 National Forests, a National Scenic Area, a National Grassland and two National Volcanic Monuments. These lands are used for recreation, timber, animal forage and habitats.  

Applications must be submitted on www.USAJOBS.gov by Nov. 12. However, the agency recommends that those interested should create a profile on the site as soon as possible, to save time during the application process. 

More information about the positions and applying is available at www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/jobs. The Forest Service will also be hosting a Facebook Live session to provide information and answer questions on Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.

FBI Warns Oregonians about Bomb Threat Scam

The FBI has received several reports through its Internet Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) of a new threat that businesses and agencies across the state of Oregon are receiving. The language in every case appears to be very similar.

The threat message says that the bad actor has planted bombs in the organization and that if anyone contacts police, the bombs will be detonated remotely. There is a demand for a payment of $5,000 – $20,000 to be made through an email or cryptocurrency address.  

The messages also include death threats to the recipients and their families.  

So far, the threats are targeting internet service providers, education institutions, and health care providers.    

If you receive such a threat, the FBI recommends that you do NOT pay the ransom and that you notify us at www.ic3.gov 

K9 Zoro Tracks Down Fleeing Suspect in Riddle

K9 Zoro

A Riddle man is in custody after he attempted to elude police and was tracked down by K9 Zoro.

On Friday, October 22, 2021, shortly after 10:30 pm, a Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to stop a 2003 Hyundai Tiburon in the 1100 block of Glenbrook Loop Road in Riddle for traffic violations.

The driver failed to stop and attempted to get away from the deputy.

The driver of the vehicle continued to the 4000-block of Glenbrook Loop before making a U-turn. The male driver continued to the 3500-block of Glenbrook Loop when he stopped the vehicle and fled on foot. A female passenger then took control of the vehicle and continued to attempt to elude law enforcement. The female, later identified as 34-year-old Sierra Marie Thompson of Riddle, was eventually stopped by a Myrtle Creek Officer and taken into custody.

K9 Zoro began tracking the male suspect from where he had ran from the vehicle. Zoro led deputies to the back of a property near a fence line, where the suspect, 36-year-old Travis John Byrd of Riddle was located hiding in the brush. Byrd surrendered to deputies after being located by K9 Zoro without further incident.  

Both Byrd and Thompson were transported to the Douglas County Jail where they were lodged on the following charges:

Byrd: Attempt to Elude – Vehicle, Attempt to Elude – Foot, Obstruction of Justice, Interfering with Police Officer, Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon, Violation Amount of Possession of Methamphetamine, Warrant Arrest.

Thompson: Attempt to Elude – Vehicle, Obstruction of Justice, Interfering with Police, Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon, Violation Amount of Possession of Methamphetamine.

K9 Zoro, a 3 year-old German Shepherd, has been with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office since September 2019. He was purchased by an anonymous donor in the community and gifted to the agency. The Sheriff’s Office K9 program, consisting of three K9 teams, is supported financially by private donations and the Friends of Umpqua Valley Police K9 Programs, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support local police K9 teams. Bailey’s Veterinary Clinic provides medical care for the Sheriff’s Office K9 program while Coastal Farm and Home Supply provides food.  — Douglas Co. Sheriff’s Office

Suspect in Panda Mask Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Woman and Stabbing Man in Eugene

On Friday evening, a man wearing a Halloween panda mask followed a woman to her home in west Eugene and attacked her as she was in the process of getting out of her car, according to a police report and video posted on social media by the victim.

The man was unknown to the woman, according to the Eugene Police Department. After the woman parked her vehicle and propped the door open to get out, a man who parked several doors down attacked her and tried to pull her into her vehicle.

The woman tried to fight off the suspect and honked her horn, alerting the man who was babysitting her child inside her home. The babysitter was able to get the attacker off the woman, but was allegedly stabbed in the struggle. The attacker ran off.

The Fire and EMS CAD call log show police were called to the area for a stab wound at 5:48 p.m. and an officer arrived at 5:53 p.m. Eugene Springfield Fire EMS transported the 45-year-old male victim for treatment of his non-life threatening stab wound.

Police identified a 31-year-old suspect from his car and other evidence left at the scene and later found him in the back of a vehicle of a person known to him, not far from the location of the assault. He was arrested and booked at the Lane County Jail for first degree robbery, second degree assault and coercion at 3:53 a.m. Saturday.

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