Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 12/1 – KF Woman Dies in Car Crash in Wasco County

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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.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 62. Calm wind. Overnight mostly clear, with a low around 32. Calm wind.

Thursday Sunny, with a high near 59. Calm wind.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 58. Light and variable wind.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 55.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 52.

Today’s Headlines

A Klamath Falls woman died in a Monday morning crash on Highway 197 in Wasco County. Barbara Dillon, 77, died at the scene, according to Oregon State Police.

According to OSP, Dillon was driving south on Highway 197 about 8:30 a.m. when her Ford Windstar van drifted into oncoming traffic. The van collided with a northbound Ford F-350 operated by Stephen Hart, 66, of Tygh Valley.

Hart was transported to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center, The Dalles, with injuries. Highway 197 was closed for more than 3 hours. OSP was assisted by the Wasco County Sheriff’s office, ODOT and Dufur Fire and Rescue.

The National Weather Service in Medford has issued an air stagnation advisory for the Klamath Basin through Friday, Dec. 3.

According to NWS, poor mixing heights and light winds will keep stagnant conditions in place through at least Friday morning. Pollutants may be trapped near the ground level and this may result in reduced air quality at times.

Diminished air quality can create respiratory problems, especially for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma or other lung diseases. The air stagnation advisory predicts there will be little or no wind in the Klamath Basin. Smoke and other airborne pollution will increase in concentration, causing a build-up that will not be carried out of the basin.

To reduce pollution buildup, the Klamath County air quality and burning advisory is “red” from at 8 a.m. on Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, unless conditions improve.

The current air quality index can be viewed at: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/

Residents who want to voice their opinion on whether or not Kit Carson Park should be renamed have until Wednesday to submit their thoughts to the city of Klamath Falls.

After the survey closes at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1, the city’s parks advisory board plans to collect the results and make a determination as to whether it believes the name change has public support. The board will then submit their proposal to the city council, which can make a final decision on the matter.

In early August, the Klamath Falls Equity Task Force — which the city created to address equity and racism in the community — submitted its final recommendations to the city council. Those recommendations included the renaming of Kit Carson Park. About a month later, the city disbanded the task force.

The day before Thanksgiving, local activists staged a small, nonviolent protest at Kit Carson Park, hanging a sign that read “Genocidal murderer” over the park’s wooden signage off Highway 97. The protest’s organizer, Joey Gentry, said she hoped the protest would serve to remind people to respond to the survey before the deadline.

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A new documentary film, “The Great Balloon Bomb Invasion,” which focuses on the use of balloon bombs sent from Japan to do damage in the United States during World War II, will be featured beginning Thursday on the Discovery+ streaming platform.

Executive director Stu Chait said the documentary “will lift the lid on a relatively lesser-known attack” though the use of balloon bombs. Between 1944 and 1945, Japan launched more than 9,000 bomb-rigged balloons across the Pacific Ocean. Because the U.S. government prevented the news media from reporting on the bombs, the incidents remain largely unknown outside of Klamath County.

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The only deaths caused by balloon bombs happened in the woods outside of Bly on May 5, 1945, when six people on a picnic were killed after finding what turned out to be a balloon bomb. Elise Mitchell and five children died in the explosion. The site where the bomb went off has since become known as the Mitchell Monument.

Earlier this year, a film crew led by Chait was in the Klamath Basin. Filming at the monument was done June 13 after visiting and filming at the Klamath County Museum in Klamath Falls.

The filming was done before the Bootleg Fire burned and devastated a large portion of the surrounding area. The Mitchell Monument received special attention from fire crews and was not damaged. Filmmakers did record a series of interviews with people associated with or knowledgeable about the bomb in Bly. 

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for the week. Jeanne Roster of Klamath Falls won a complete Kitchen Appliance Package. Jeanne was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at conquercovidinklamath.com.

Each week the prize changes and this week it is winter clothes and winter boots for the whole family. The drawing for this weeks prize will take place on Monday morning.

Other Weekly winners to date include:

Elizabeth Gaxiola of Bonanza who won a Big Screen TV, Home Theater System and Pizza gift certificates.

Gillian Bradford of Klamath Falls who won $6,000 in groceries from Grocery Outlet.

Nolan Napier of Chiloquin who won a top of the line Traeger Grill and 12 bags of premium pellets.

Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline for her vehicle.

Terri Torres of Klamath Falls won $5,000 worth of furniture for her home.

Nicola Cherry of Klamath Falls won a $2,400 free standing pellet stove.

Kelly Hawk of Klamath Falls won $2,500 in groceries from Grocery Outlet,

Ashleigh Carter won a $2500 Gasoline Card.

Christian Ramirez won a 65” TV, Sound System and an additional smart flat screen TV.

David Wiles won $2,500 cash!

There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winners choice of a new Dodge RAM pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous runner up prizes as well.

To enter Klamath County residents can go to ConquerCovidInKlamath.com. There is nothing to buy and no charge whatsoever to enter. The site also lists prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon reports 1,054 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 19 new deaths

There are 19 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,161. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,054 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 391,099.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (13), Clackamas (55), Clatsop (6), Columbia (12), Coos (64), Crook (19), Curry (9), Deschutes (97), Douglas (52), Harney (5), Hood River (18), Jackson (73), Jefferson (10), Josephine (14), Klamath (50), Lake (12), Lane (79), Lincoln (14), Linn (30), Malheur (4), Marion (65), Morrow (4), Multnomah (121), Polk (50), Sherman (1), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (28), Union (2), Wallowa (3), Wasco (12), Washington (77) and Yamhill (45).

Yesterday was the deadline for roughly 38-thousand state workers, contractors and volunteers in Oregon to show they are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19.

Workers unions and state leaders negotiated a six-week extension from the original vaccination deadline from the original October 18th date. The extension mainly covered those working in the Department of Corrections, the Department of Agriculture and the Forestry Department.

Gov. Brown Sets Special Session On Rental Aid Protection For Tenants

Gov. Brown has called a special session of the Oregon Legislature to extend temporary protections against eviction for tenants awaiting rental assistance.

She also said she wants lawmakers at the Dec. 13 session to approve up to $190 million to replenish rental assistance, until more federal money comes in, and to help tenants make the transition once that rental assistance ends next year.

The Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services will stop accepting new applications for rental assistance as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1. The agency announced weeks ago that pending applications — an estimated 20,000 await review — would exhaust Oregon’s $289 million allocation from the U.S. Treasury for assistance. It has paid applications for about 22,000 households with the help of extra staff, an outside vendor and community action agencies in Oregon counties.

Lawmakers set aside a total of $200 million in state funds for rental assistance during a special session nearly one year ago. But all of that money was spent by June.

“I am continuing to work with federal officials at U.S. Treasury and the White House to secure additional federal emergency rental assistance funding for Oregon, but it is clear that a state solution is needed to address the urgent and immediate needs of Oregon renters,” Brown said Tuesday in her announcement of the special session.

“And, we must begin laying the groundwork now for the transition to local eviction prevention services after federal pandemic emergency programs draw to an end.”

Senate President Peter Courtney, the Legislature’s senior member, has gone through 26 of the 46 special sessions in Oregon history — counting the Dec. 13 meeting — and has presided over 11 of them. He has seen runaway special sessions with no apparent ending, though he was not in charge of them.

“Special sessions are the most difficult of all sessions,” the veteran Salem Democrat said. “Everything must be carefully planned. We have a lot of work to do. I hope we will be ready.”

The Democratic leaders of the housing committees in both chambers say they have been working for months to craft a plan that can win legislative approval. The statement by Rep. Julie Fahey of Eugene and Sen. Kayse Jama of Portland said this:

“After months of work, we have developed a proposal to extend the state’s bipartisan safe harbor protections and provide additional funds for direct rent assistance that will benefit both tenants and housing providers. As we head into the holiday season and the coldest winter months, this special session package will prevent heartbreaking evictions and support small housing providers who have made major sacrifices throughout the pandemic.”

Representatives of Stable Homes for Oregon Families have taken part in the talks, as well as previous legislative efforts. Their statement:

“We also appreciate all the state lawmakers who have been working together on a solution. Tenants are counting on the legislature to ensure no one loses their home while their applications are pending and also to provide additional funding to help keep people safe and stable during this time of ongoing economic upheaval.”

The Democratic majority leaders in both chambers, Sen. Rob Wagner of Lake Oswego and Rep. Barbara Smith Warner of Portland, are responsible for rounding up votes. Their statement:

“From the start of the pandemic, Oregon has committed to protecting individuals and families at risk of eviction. We can take action in a special session to ensure this doesn’t happen and that we keep our promise to Oregonians. No one should lose their housing because of administrative delays.”

Medford Shooting Investigation

On Tuesday, Medford Police officers were dispatched to the 1400 block of Poplar Drive for a report of an adult male that stated he had been shot.    

Officer responded and arrived within two minutes of the call for service.  Officers  located the victim near a vehicle in a parking lot suffering from a single gunshot wound.  

Medford police detectives were summoned to the scene and are currently investigating.  The victim has been transported to a local medical facility where he is reported to be in stable condition.  

No arrests have been made at the time of this press release.  The investigators believe that the victim knows who the shooter is, however has been uncooperative in the investigation. The Medford Police Department does not believe there is a threat to the community surrounding this event.  

The Medford Police Department encourages anyone with information surrounding this incident to call Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO) to be transferred to a law enforcement officer.  Medford Police Dept.

Joint Task Force Serves Search Warrant in Central Point After Child Porn Uploaded From Local Residence

The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force alongside Central Point Police Department served a search warrant Tuesday morning at a residence on the 500 block of Briarwood Drive in Central Point.

Investigators discovered numerous images of child pornography were uploaded from the residence. Investigators are interviewing possible witnesses and involved parties, and investigations are ongoing.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) tips started the investigation, which led to subpoenas, followed by the search warrant at the residence. Digital devices were seized, and will be forensically examined by the Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force for evidence of child exploitation.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Medford Police Department, Grants Pass Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

Smash and Grab Dispensary Burglary Arrests

On November 28th, 2021, at 5:00 a.m., Medford Police officers responded to a business alarm at 1411 Hilton Road, which is a marijuana dispensary called Cloud 9 Wellness.

Upon arrival, officers discovered the business was badly damaged, with windows broken and a metal roll up door was ripped from the building.

The suspects were gone, and officers ultimately learned cash was taken from the cash registers, and an entire ATM machine was stolen, which contained an undisclosed amount of cash. 

A review of surveillance camera revealed approximately seven suspects, all wearing masks, committed the burglary. Three vehicles were also observed associated with the suspects. The suspects worked quickly to commit the burglary, and used one of their vehicles to rip off the roll up door. 

On November 28th, 2021 at about 5:45 p.m., the ATM was found in a field near Judy Way in west Medford. The ATM was heavily damaged and the cash was removed. 

On November 29th, the case was turned over to detectives who learned that Ashland Police were investigating a similar marijuana dispensary burglary earlier that morning, in which a safe was stolen (APD Case 21-2428). Medford Police officers later found this stolen safe on November 29th, at 10:17 a.m., lying in the middle of the street in the 4100 block of Hemlock Drive.

Detectives received a tip of suspicious activity occurring at an Air-BnB residence in the 1500 block of Red Hawk Drive. Around 2:00 p.m., detectives responded to the address and observed the same vehicles seen on video in the Medford burglary, parked in the backyard, behind a fence, in what appeared to be an attempt to conceal them. Detectives conducted surveillance and observed suspects coming and going from the residence who matched the surveillance video. Additional police personnel responded, to include elements of the SWAT team. The residence was surrounded. Officers attempted contact, but the suspects ran inside.

Officers began making announcements to exit the residence at 2:19 p.m. At 2:44 p.m., the suspects exited the residence and were taken into custody. Six suspects were arrested.

Detectives obtained a search warrant on the property and located evidence linking the suspects to both Medford and Ashland burglaries. 

All six suspects are from the Oakland and Sacramento area of California, and all were charged with:

  • Burglary 2nd Degree
  • Criminal Mischief 1st Degree
  • Theft 1st Degree

Bail: $22,500. The suspects are facing similar charges for the Ashland case.

Two Jackson County Men Found Shot to Death in Shasta County

A multi-agency investigation is underway after two men were found dead NE of Redding in the Oak Run area on Monday evening. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has officially declared the deaths a double homicide.

Two Jackson County men discovered dead in Shasta County

Earlier on Tuesday, the two victims were identified as 32-year-old Meba Solomon Getachew, of Ashland, Oregon, and 33-year-old Gunnar Eliot Yeager, of Medford, Oregon.

Getachew and Yeager were both found with apparent gunshot wounds lying next to two parked vehicles on a dirt road near Oak Run to Fern Road on Zig Zag Lane.

SCSO says autopsies for the two victims have been scheduled. Although there is no indication of any risk to the general public’s safety, locals say this is a surprise, as the neighborhood is typically a quiet one.

Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) say they are working on follow-ups to determine those responsible for the homicides. SCSO MCU is urging anyone with information to contact the Sherriff’s office at (530) 245-6135, or by email at MCU@co.shasta.ca.us.

A group of former Republican elected officials have dropped their challenge to new Oregon congressional districts.

The move comes after a judicial panel last week unanimously dismissed a challenge to the new maps pushed through by state Democrats. Rather than appealing their case to the Oregon Supreme Court, challengers led by former Secretary of State Bev Clarno opted to let the matter rest.

That means that a new plan that could lead to Democrats holding five of the state’s six U.S. House seats will become operative Jan. 1. Oregon gained an additional U.S. House seat following the latest census.

A separate plan for redrawing the state’s 90 state House and Senate seats to reflect population changes was granted final approval by the state Supreme Court earlier in November. Democrats hold overwhelming majorities in the Legislature.

The congressional map that will now take effect was slammed by the GOP as a gerrymander in Democrats’ favor. They argued that Democrats had improperly split Portland among four districts, giving them a Democratic lean that would be hard to counteract.

 Authorities say 2021 has seen the most fatal crashes in Portland, Oregon, in more than 30 years – something police say is due in part to part to low law enforcement staffing.

The Portland Police Bureau said Tuesday there have been 62 fatal crashes on Portland roadways and 26 pedestrian fatalities to date. This is the highest number of roadway crashes since 1990 which had 63 deaths.

And a two-year progress report released in September showed traffic deaths increased 34% in 2019. The September report noted that on average, there are more than 23,000 crashes in our region each year that result in injury. The report notes that 38% of the people killed in traffic crashes in 2019 were walking.

There are fewer motor officers and car officers for traffic enforcement than in previous years meaning the bureau doesn’t have the resources to investigate crashes, according to officials.

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Oregon residents can expect to pay more at the Christmas tree lot this year.

Officials say a variety of factors has led to what is believed to be a ten-to-30-percent spike in prices over last year across the Pacific Northwest. Christmas tree farm owners say supply chain and transportation costs have been a huge factor. They say forest fires, drought, and extreme heat this summer in the Pacific Northwest took a collective toll on this year’s tree crop.

The Beaverton Holiday U-Cut Tree Farm says the summer heat wave killed more than 60-percent of the trees they planted last winter.

The Beaverton Holiday U-Cut Tree Farm tells reporters the summer heat wave killed more than 60-percent of the trees they planted last winter.

Police Seek Public’s Help: Missing Myrtle Creek woman, 77

— Police made a public appeal for help locating a woman who left home early Saturday morning and hasn’t been heard from since.

Myrtle Creek Police say Bonnie Jo Short, 77, left her residence around 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2021. She is about 5-foot-4 and weighs around 110 pounds with grey hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing blue slacks, a grey and black striped sweatshirt, black boots and a grey robe.

Short was driving a silver 2015 Ford Escape bearing Oregon license plate 900MLJ.

“It is unknown where Bonnie may have gone, and her cell phone appears to be shut off,” police said. “If you have any information regarding Bonnie’s whereabouts or have seen her vehicle, please contact the Myrtle Creek Police Department immediately at 541-440-4471.” 

May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'MISSING $50,000 CASH REWARD for the successful location and physical recovery of Shane Sprenger Missing . Snce: 11/3/2021 Last Seen: 51160 Mckenzie Hwy Vida, Oregon Details: White male, 47 years old, 6'1 approx 180 lbs Shane was believed to be wearing camouflaged jacket and dark colored work pants. His truck was located on Mill Creek Road, near Blue Rive Reservoir. Please share and help us bring Shane home!! Thank you. Foul play has not been ruled out. Please share any information at all, that may lead to the whereabouts of Shane. PLEASE CONTACT LANE COUNTY SHERIFF AT 541-682-4150'


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