Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 11/9 – Motorcyclist Killed at Summers Lane and Bristol; The Lower-dose Pfizer Vaccine for Kids now Available in Klamath County

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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Showers before 10am. Snow level 5800 feet. High near 50. West southwest wind 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Overnight, rain and snow, mainly after 4am. Snow level 4600 feet. Low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Wednesday A chance of rain and snow before 7am, then a chance of rain. Snow level 5100 feet and rising, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Thursday, Veterans Day Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. Low of 38 overnight.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 59.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 59.

Today’s Headlines

A local motorcyclist died in a multi-vehicle accident in Klamath Falls on Sunday.  Robert Allen Washburn, 66, of Klamath Falls, was pronounced dead at the scene after his motorcycle was hit by a car, causing Washburn to fall off of his bike and directly into the path of a second vehicle.

The crash occurred on 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the intersection of Summers Lane and Bristol Avenue.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash, with support from the Klamath County Fire District 1 and Oregon State Police. 

According to a release from the KCSO, an initial investigation suggested motorcycle speed, handling and equipment failure may have contributed to the crash. However, the investigation is ongoing. No citations were issued and there were no additional injuries reported from the crash, the release added.

There are 58 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,620. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported 2,125 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 374,253.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (43), Clackamas (205), Clatsop (17), Columbia (28), Coos (38), Crook (10), Curry (1), Deschutes (249), Douglas (61), Grant (2), Hood River (12), Jackson (85), Jefferson (36), Josephine (50), Klamath (21), Lane (169), Lincoln (22), Linn (97), Malheur (7), Marion (159), Morrow (12), Multnomah (366), Polk (31), Tillamook (29), Umatilla (29), Union (6), Wallowa (2), Wasco (14), Washington (250) and Yamhill (67). 

The 58 new deaths and 2,125 new cases reported today include data recorded by counties for the three-day period between Friday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 7. There are 61 available adult ICU beds out of 673 total (9% availability) and 289 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,081 (7% availability).

Sky Lakes Medical Center reports 21 patients in their care with Covid, six of those in intensive care.  None in intensive care are vaccinated. However, in the three day period, 21 new cases were reported here in Klamath County. 

Adjacent counties counts include Jackson (85), Deshutes (239), Lane (169), and Douglas (61)  Lake County reported no new cases.

The lower-dose Pfizer vaccine recently authorized for kids 5 through 11 is now available in Klamath County, public health officials announced Friday.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup convened earlier this week and unanimously concluded that the vaccine is safe and effective, and the Oregon Health Authority informed healthcare providers they could begin administering doses as soon as they became available.

KCPH noted that the roll-out of the pediatric vaccine is a little different from the adult and youth vaccine.

In Klamath County, these doses will be available at a short list of locations: Sky Lakes Medical Center Walk-in Clinic; Walmart Pharmacy; Klamath Tribal Health Clinic- for Chiloquin residents; Wholesome Family Medicine- for established patients and Sanford Children’s Clinic- for established patients Families are encouraged to ask questions of their primary care providers, pediatricians, or pharmacists.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Klamath County Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District are busy replanting after the Bootleg Fire.

All of those agencies have come together to offer landowners like Shields expertise, funding and technical knowhow to protect her land from short-term erosion, and offer tips on how to return long term health and resiliency to the property.

One of the first steps is quickly seeding the ground to reduce soil erosion into waterways. That is especially crucial on steep slopes where landslides are a concern.

The organization has also been busy removing as much dense, dead, and burnt materials left behind by the fire. The USDA’s Klamath County Farm Service Agency is also helping with forest restoration on private forest land, but is also focused on bringing the grazing pastures back so ranchers can feed their animals. It also subsidizes hay prices for ranchers so they can get through the winter.

The Farm Service Agency will help ranchers feed their animals as the process unfolds.

Upgrades to Tulelake’s Veteran’s Park will be on display Thursday for the city’s 14th annual Veteran’s Day program.

David Misso, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and will serve as master of ceremonies, said activities will begin at 11 a.m. at the park in downtown Tulelake.

He said several upgrades to the park were recently completed, thanks to a grant from the state of California and through the regional revitalization committee. A planned gazebo will be installed later.

Thursday’s Veteran’s Day program will include a reading by Jane Schultz, the presentation of colors by the honor guard, a talk by Misso remembering the deaths this past year of veterans from Tulelake, Macdoel, Dorris and the neighboring region. Three fifth- and sixth-graders from Tulelake Elementary School will read winning essays on “What it means to be a United States citizen,” a contest sponsored by the Tulelake Basin Republican Women.

The Klamath Falls Parks Advisory board seeks community input on a request to change the name of Kit Carson Park. Interested parties can have their voice hard via email, postal mail or in person. The first question of the survey is “Should the park be renamed?” Take the survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2BFH3BB or email admin@klamathfallscity or mail to Parks Advisory Board, 500 Klamath Ave., Klamath Falls, OR 97601.

The former Oregon 8 Motel and RV park will reopen next week as temporary housing for the recently incarcerated, a place for homeless individuals with mental illness, and for wildfire victims and emergency responders.

The project is known locally as Project Homefront. It was finalized in April after the county completed a $1.5 million purchase, with state dollars, of the the motel located on Highway 97 just north of Klamath Falls.

Kelly Minty Morris, chair of the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, said when the project comes to fruition, it will function as a “multi-purpose, temporary, and flash emergency use facility.” Minty Morris said the bulk of the rooms will be utilized by Klamath County Community Corrections as transitional housing for local residents who have been recently incarcerated.

Other rooms will be utilized by Klamath Basin Behavioral Health as housing for homeless individuals with mental illnesses. Still other rooms will be used by Klamath County Emergency Management to house wildfire victims and first responders from outside of the area who are working in Klamath County.

Kit Carson Park is going to sparkle like never before this holiday season. Paul Stewart, retired CEO of Sky Lakes Medical Center, and his family, plan to decorate the park with Christmas lights this holiday season

The lights are being installed by Stewart and his family, with the help of the City of Klamath Falls, and are expected to go on starting Friday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. There will be a brief ceremony at the lighting, with hot cocoa available.

The lights will be turned on each night from 5-10 p.m. through the end of the year.  City crews are currently rerouting electricity at the park, and the plan is to first decorate the north and central sections of the park with numerous displays, one of which will spell out “Winter Lights.” 

The hope is that Kit Carson will become a place for people to gather during the holiday season, where there could be a hot cocoa stand and carols sung by a high school band.

The Linkville Playhouse will portray a thrilling new play, titled “Rope,” on Friday, Nov. 12.

A dramatic play written by Patrick Hamilton and directed by Linkville veteran Heidi Neill, “Rope,” will open at the Linkville Playhouse, located at 201 Main.

The show will run for four weekends.

Rope is a 1929 British thriller based in Mayfair, London. For the mere sake of adventure, danger, and the fun of the thing, Wyndham Brandon persuades his weak-minded friend to assist him in the murder of a fellow undergraduate, a perfectly harmless man named Ronald Raglan.

Performances will run on Fridays and Saturdays from Nov. 12 through Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m., with an additional Sunday matinee performance on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive at the theater in advance of curtain time. COVID precautions will be in place, masks will be required, and attendees are encouraged to social distance.

November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, which draws attention to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention, including the Klamath County public health department.

Many men supporting ‘No Shave November’ or ‘Movember, as coined by the Movember Foundation, will grow out a mustache this month as a “billboard” spreading awareness about men prioritizing their health this month.

Klamath County recognizes that there are different behaviors men have that can either fall among the factors of poor men’s health or promoting men’s health.

Among the factors in men’s poor health are: Lack of awareness and understanding of the health issues men face; Men not openly discussing their health and how they’re feeling; Reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physically or mentally well; Men engaging in risky activities that threaten their health; Stigmas surrounding mental health and Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year

The National Alliance on Mental Illness trains its staff in the Klamath Basin to assist families, not just those struggling with mental health.

Around the state of Oregon

Caltrans issued a winter travel advisory on Monday with a winter storm system expected to blow in overnight.

The National Weather Service expects that storm impacts will begin Monday night and last throughout Tuesday.

Motorists are advised to prepare for chain controls in higher elevations, and are asked to check weather and roadway conditions prior to travel or during breaks. Higher elevations travel is discouraged during winter weather systems like these. Truck and possibly widespread vehicle screening could be possible for I-5 northbound traffic at Fawndale Road about ten miles north of Redding, depending on roadway conditions or accidents.

Snow levels will be low at the onset of this storm, quickly falling down between 3,500′ to 4,500′ across our region. Snow will impact travel over our higher passes in Southern Oregon. Snow totals over Lake of the Woods will likely be in the 2-4” range with Diamond Lake receiving 4-6” of accumulating snow. Siskiyou Summit should be a bit better when it comes to travel, as only 1-3” of snow is expected.

After a brief segue into the issue of illegal marijuana grows in southern Oregon during a US House Judiciary meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland last month, Congressman Cliff Bentz followed up with a letter to the nation’s top law enforcement officer on Friday, urging him to put federal resources on the issue.

Rep. Bentz met with law enforcement and elected leaders from Jackson and Josephine counties on October 14, where they briefed him on the extent of the illegal marijuana issue.

Hours earlier, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners had declared a local state of emergency for the problem. In his letter, Bentz referenced a DOJ memo that established federal resources would avoid crackdowns on cannabis in states like Oregon that have legalized its use.

Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, but enough states have legalized the plant in one form or another that federal law enforcement has largely de-prioritized its pursuit. An unintended consequence is the flourishing of black market marijuana.

The Congressman pointed the finger at both the federal government’s marijuana policies and the Biden administration’s “lax border policies” for a humanitarian crisis

The Medford Police Department is investigating a fatal shooting that happened during the course of an apparent domestic dispute, the agency said on Friday.

Around 10:45 p.m. on Thursday night, MPD officers responded to a home in the 2200-block of Smokethorn Way for reports of a shooting.

According to Medford Police, one of the parties involved in a domestic dispute had called 911 to report that they had shot their significant other. When officers arrived, they found the gunshot victim was “beyond help.” While the case is still under investigation, MPD said that no arrests have been made and there are no further suspects.

The names of the involved parties, including the decedent, are not being disclosed pending next of kin notification.

Governor Kate Brown announced Friday that she is headed to Glasgow, Scotland to attend the ongoing 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties — commonly referred to as COP26 — to discuss the impacts of climate change on Oregonians and the actions the state has taken to reduce carbon emissions and transition to clean energy.

Several Democratic governors are slated to attend the summit, including Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state. California Governor Gavin Newsom had initially planned to travel, but later announced that he would only attend virtually due to family obligations. California’s Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis was tapped to lead the state’s delegation instead.

Items on Governor Brown’s agenda for the conference stretch from Sunday through Tuesday, beginning with participation in the US Climate Alliance/Under2 Supernationals Event and the Under2 General Assembly panel: “Accelerating finance and investment for state and regional climate leadership.” On Monday, Brown is scheduled to participate in the Under2: States and Regions for the Climate Decade panel, the Pacific Coast Collaborative panel on the Public-Private Partnerships to Reduce Food Waste Along the West Coast of North America, the US Department of Energy/America is All In panel, and the Pacific Coast Collaborative/Ocean Acidification Alliance panel: 

The Oregon Department of Transportation says it expects to receive more than $1 billion as a result of the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the US House of Representatives on Friday.

ODOT expects that the funds will go toward projects around the state to benefit drivers, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians, help maintain roads and bridges, and address climate change.

That said, the agency is still looking at the bill to find out exactly how much the state will receive and where it can be directed — some ODOT projects are ready for construction, and others are in the final stages of planning so that the agency can move quickly.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said that the need in Oregon for this funding is clear. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Oregon a C- grade on its last infrastructure report card.

Thousands of Kaiser Permanente workers in Oregon and Southwestern Washington are set to go on strike next week.

Union leaders representing the employees gave management a ten-day notice last Thursday of their intent to strike over what they claim are proposed wage cuts for new and existing workers.

The Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals alleges Kaiser Permanente proposes to depress wages for current employees and slash pay for incoming workers by way of a two-tier system that would take effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaiser officials deny the claim.

The first king tides of the season were expected throughout the Oregon coast this weekend, as conditions came together to bring high waves from Astoria to Brookings.

The mean high tide at Nehalem is 6.45 feet, according to the Oregon King Tides Project.

On Sunday, the high tide was predicted to be 8.45 feet. In Newport, the predicted high tide was 9.88 feet on Sunday, as compared to the mean high tide of 7.61 feet. In Bandon, the high tide was predicted to be 8.47 feet on Sunday, as compared to a mean high tide of 6.42 feet. A king tide is the non-scientific term for the highest winter tides of the year.

According to the Oregon King Tides Project, these high waters happen when the moon’s orbit comes closest to the Earth, and the Earth’s orbit is closest to the sun. The U.S. Coast Guard urges people to be aware of safety concerns during king tides. Visitors are urged to stay off jetties, beaches and low-lying areas.

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