Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 12/2 – Healthcare Providers In the Basin Receiving Millions from American Rescue Plan Act According To New Report

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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, December 2, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 58. Light winds. Overnight, clear, with a low around 30. 

Friday Sunny, with a high near 58. Light and variable wind.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 52.

Today’s Headlines

Several healthcare providers in Klamath County will receive millions in federal COVID relief funding. The funding comes from a total of $118 million earmarked for COVID relief funding for rural health providers in Oregon, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden in March, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said in a press release Tuesday. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data showed eight healthcare providers in Klamath Falls will receive portions of the funding, with a total of $7,688,916 coming to local health providers. Sky Lakes Medical Center will receive the lions share of the funding: $7,079,601. Sky Lakes CEO Paul Stewart said the funds would be used help solidify the hospital’s finances after Sky Lakes, like many hospitals across the country, was forced to cancel many elective procedures and delay equipment upgrades due to influx of COVID-19 patients.

United Way of the Klamath Basin officials reported Tuesday that the organization has raised $274,000, or 55% of its $501,000 community campaign goal. Funds raised help support 16 local health and social service agencies throughout 2022. The United Way fund drive is expected to announce its final results at its annual meeting of the board and supporters on Jan. 25 at noon at the Waffle Hut. According to Amber Gomes, United Way campaign chairperson, work is progressing well with many workplace campaigns still wrapping up their fund drives. United Way and its supported agencies are reviewed annually by a large group of local volunteers as well as audited by certified local accounting firms according to Sheri Hargrave, United Way fund distribution chairperson. According to officials, the United Way of the Klamath Basin has operated for 76 years, and 98.5 percent of all funds designated to our United Way stays local.

More than $160 million will be headed to the Klamath Basin over the next five years, thanks to the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by Congress. It is likely the largest singular federal investment in the basin to date, and it could help watershed restoration efforts take a big step forward. Signed into law by President Biden on November 15, the funding package will allocate $162 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically for “Klamath Basin restoration activities,” according to the text of the bill. That includes planning and designing projects, applying for permits, paying contractors and maintaining projects after they’re completed, among other purposes. Those familiar with the funding say it’s a unique opportunity for the Klamath Basin to get to work on large-scale projects that measurably, positively impact water quality and species habitat. Also notable is the money’s flexibility — not only in the kinds of projects it can fund, but in the time USFWS has to disburse it. Whereas much of the federal COVID-19 related relief funding expired at the end of the last fiscal year, unused Klamath infrastructure money can roll over into subsequent years. Federal agencies have until mid-January to figure out exactly how they’re going to spend their windfalls.

The Ross Ragland Theater will present the Klamath Chorale’s annual holiday choral concert “ Home for Christmas,” on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. The 50-voice community choir is directed by Robin Schwartz and accompanied by Bill “Slippery” Eaton. The all-volunteer singing group, which has not performed in concert since the fall of 2019 due to the pandemic, will present songs that celebrate the joys of being home for the holidays, including large scale choral works in unique arrangements, along with special solos, duets and small ensembles. In addition, there will be a special appearance by the Ross Ragland Theater’s Rag Tags Children’s Choir, directed by Danielle Harmon, which will join the Chorale in a special number and then perform two pieces from the Choir’s upcoming concert on Dec. 15, also at the Ragland. Reserved tickets are priced at $15 for adults, plus transaction fees, with discounts available for students, seniors and members of the military.

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.

Fremont-Winema National Forest Christmas tree permits on sale

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – With the holiday season underway, Christmas tree permits for the Fremont-Winema National Forest are available through area vendors in Lake and Klamath counties, online through www.Recreation.gov or by contacting local Forest Service Offices.

Permits cost $5 and are nonrefundable.  A maximum of five permits can be purchased and can be used through December 31.

Each permit is valid to cut one tree and must be secured to the tree in a place visible during transport of the tree from the forest.

Permits purchased in person do not expire, so if weather or other conditions make it impossible to get a tree this year, the permit is still valid for use the next year.

For those who plan to purchase and use their Christmas tree permit this year, purchasing the permit online through Recreation.gov is a great option.  Just search for “Fremont-Winema National Forest Christmas Tree Permit”.

The permit cost through Recreation.gov is $5, but it is only valid for the 2021 season.  Up to five permits can be purchased and there is a $2.50 service charge per transaction.  The purchase can be done from a computer or mobile device.  The permit must be printed to be valid and visible on the vehicle dashboard when transporting the tree.

For those who still want to get their permit from their local Forest Service Office, please call or write to the local office at the number or address listed below.  Customers mailing in a request need to include their name, mailing address, phone number, the number of Christmas tree permits being ordered and a check or money order made out to “USDA Forest Service” for the total purchase.

Christmas tree permits from the Fremont-Winema National Forest are valid for use on the Forest in Klamath and Lake Counties.  It is the responsibility of the cutter to ensure they are not getting their tree from private, state or other federal lands.  Christmas trees also cannot be harvested in Congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas, active timber sales, developed recreation sites or tree plantations.

Fourth graders with a valid Every Kid Outdoors (EKO) pass can use their pass to get a free Christmas tree permit on the Fremont-Winema National Forest to enjoy with their family.

EKO passes can also be acquired by visiting https://everykidoutdoors.gov and completing the application process.  Recreation.gov has an option for EKO passholders to get their Christmas tree permit online, but there is still the $2.50 service charge for the transaction.  Just search for the national forest where you want to cut your tree, check the box for the EKO pass, enter the EKO voucher or pass number and complete the purchase information. 

Some parking areas on the Forest require a Sno-Park permit issued by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Permits are sold at all DMV offices and by permit agents at resorts, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets.  Certain Forest roads are designated as snowmobile trails and closed to wheeled vehicle traffic.

Local Forest offices can answer questions regarding Christmas tree cutting, current conditions and roads.

All Forest offices are open for phone calls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Bly Ranger Station

61100 Hwy 140 E

Bly, OR 97622


Chiloquin Ranger Station

38500 Hwy 97 N

Chiloquin, OR 97624


Forest Supervisor’s Office

1301 S. G St.

Lakeview, OR 97630


Klamath Ranger District

2819 Dahlia St., Suite A

Klamath Falls, OR 97601


Lakeview Ranger Station

18049 Hwy 395 N

Lakeview, OR 97630


Paisley Ranger Station

303 Hwy 31

Paisley, OR 97636


Silver Lake Ranger Station

65600 Hwy 31

Silver Lake, OR 97638


Christmas tree permits are available from the following vendors.  Please call for prices and availability.

Palomino Deli and Mini-Mart

42620 Hwy 140 E

Beatty, OR 97621


Hours: Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Ed’s Fast Break

61430 Hwy 140 E

Bly, OR 97622


Hours: Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sycan Store

61278 Hwy 140 E

Bly, OR 97622


Hours: Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Bonanza General Store

31919 Hwy 70

Bonanza, OR 97623


Hours: Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Wright’s Hardware

117 First St.

Chiloquin, OR 97624


Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Santa’s General & Hardware Store

87038 Christmas Valley Hwy

Christmas Valley, OR 97641


Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Keno Store

15211 Hwy 66

Keno, OR 97627


Hours: Monday-Sunday 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Campus Valero

2820 Biehn St.

Klamath Falls, OR 97601


Hours: Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

Fuel Good ISA Fuel

3320 Washburn Way

Klamath Falls, OR 97603


Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Grange Co-op

2525 Washburn Way

Klamath Falls, OR 97603


Hours: Monday-Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Lake of the Woods Resort General Store

950 Harriman Route

Klamath Falls, OR 97601


Hours: Monday-Sunday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Lake of the Woods Resort Marina

950 Harriman Route

Klamath Falls, OR 97601


Hours: Thursday-Sunday 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Oregon Avenue Food Mart

2075 Oregon Ave.

Klamath Falls, OR 97601


Hours: Monday-Sunday 24 hours a day

Parker’s Rod & Gun Rack

7364 S. 6th St.

Klamath Falls, OR 97603


Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Sportsman’s Warehouse

1863 Avalon St.

Klamath Falls, OR 97603


Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

ACE Hardware

318 North F Street

Lakeview, OR 97630


Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Lake County Chamber of Commerce

126 North E Street

Lakeview, OR. 97630


Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

FastBreak Convenience Store Lakeview Shell

17697 Hwy 395 N

Lakeview, OR 97630


Hours: Monday-Sunday 4 a.m.-10 p.m.

Tall Town Bike and Camp

19 North E Street

Lakeview, OR 97630


Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Silver Lake Mercantile & Motel

65554 Highway 31                                           

Silver Lake, OR 97638


Hours: Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Cutting a Christmas tree on the National Forest is a great holiday tradition for many families and also helps with hazardous fuels reduction by removing smaller trees from the Forest.  Following are some tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

  • Plan your trip – check the weather, bring plenty of warm clothes, water, emergency food, tire chains, shovel, a saw or axe to cut your tree, and a tarp and rope to bring it home.  Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave and are prepared for changing conditions in the mountains!  Also, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • Keep vehicles on designated roads and be aware of changing weather and road conditions.  Wet dirt roads can quickly turn to mud, making it possible to get stuck and causing damage to road, soil and water resources.  If there are puddles in the road, mud flipping off the tires or you can see your ruts in the rearview mirror, consider pulling over and taking a hike to look for a tree, or turning around and finding a different area to cut your tree.
  • Cut your tree early in the season before favorite cutting areas can’t be reached because of snow.
  • Cut the tree as close as possible to the ground and leave as little of a stump as possible.
  • Attach the permit on the tree where it will be easily visible with the tree packed or tied on your vehicle for transport home.
  • To help keep your tree fresh, cut at least one inch off the base when you get home and stand the tree in a container of water in a cool, shaded area, checking the water level daily.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema or follow the Forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF.

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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

There are 25 new COVID-19 related death in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 5,187. OHA reported 1,111 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday bringing the state total to 392,197. 19 new cases were reported here in Klamath County.  Lake County reported two new cases.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (10), Benton (9), Clackamas (90), Clatsop (9), Columbia (29), Coos (29), Crook (23), Curry (5), Deschutes (82), Douglas (64), Hood River (8), Jackson (75), Jefferson (6), Josephine (55), Klamath (19), Lake (2), Lane (67), Lincoln (17), Linn (72), Malheur (3), Marion (100), Morrow (3), Multnomah (141), Polk (36), Tillamook (4), Umatilla (9), Union (5), Wallowa (3), Wasco (9), Washington (102), and Yamhill (25). 

CDC recommends booster doses for immunocompromised people

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends booster doses for immunocompromised people who have received a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna. 

  • The booster dose should be given six months after the third dose of Pfizer or Moderna and would constitute a fourth dose.  
  • The Moderna booster dose is half the strength of the primary doses. 
  • Everyone who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster dose of any one of the three authorized vaccines two months after the initial vaccination. 

You can find more details about booster doses for immunocompromised people on our blog, Oregon Vaccine News. 

Much still unknown about the Omicron variant. Here’s what we know today.

Posted on by oregongov

The news of the Omicron variant emerging in several countries may cause many people anxiety about the unknown.

The news comes on top of pandemic fatigue, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue, and as we continue to deal with nearly two year’s worth of disruptions to our daily lives.

It may be helpful to know that viruses mutate or change constantly. The virus SARS-CoV-2 is no exception.

Several variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged since the beginning of the pandemic, but you’ve probably only heard about a few, such as Alpha, Delta, and now Omicron. You can read more about virus variants in general in our September blog post.

Very little is known about Omicron today, but scientists from around the world are actively studying whether it is more contagious than Delta, causes more severe disease, can evade the protection our COVID-19 vaccines provide and how it responds to current treatments. We will know more in the coming weeks.

And while it may feel like we are back at square one, we are not. We now have highly effective tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones from infection.

Vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are now available to everyone age 5 and older. The vaccines are highly effective at protecting against severe illness and death. If you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, get vaccinated today.

Boosters. Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for everyone age 18 and older – six months after a vaccination of Pfizer or Moderna and two months after a dose of Johnson & Johnson. Boosters add an extra layer of protection as immunity may wane over time. Schedule your appointment today.

Tests. Testing options have expanded to include highly accurate rapid, at-home tests.

Masks. Wearing effective face coverings protects the wearer and those around them from infection. The virus primarily spreads from person to person through airborne particles and droplets. Well-fitted masks stop most particles and droplets.

Distancing and handwashing. Keeping at least six feet away from others outside your home and washing your hands frequently also protects against spreading the virus.

If you’re doing all of the above, you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself and those around you from getting COVID-19.

Now is a time for us to be aware, to keep up with the facts from reputable sources, and to redouble our efforts to stay safe while we wait to learn more about what this new variant holds for us.

Find a vaccine near you on the Get Vaccinated Oregon locator map.

Two People Found Dead In Car On Hwy 26 Near Banks

A husband and wife were found dead inside of a car along Highway 26 near Banks early Wednesday morning in what officials say appears to be a murder/suicide situation.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy spotted the 2012 black Nissan Altima at about 3:30 a.m. on the side of the highway near Northwest Mountaindale Road.

Deputies say they found two people dead inside of the vehicle and called out detectives from the violent crimes unit to investigate.

Investigators say it appears that “Alejandro Gomez-Blanco, age 46 of Beaverton, shot and killed his wife, Yolanda Constantino, age 44 of Beaverton, before turning the gun on himself.”

Officials say family members have been notified of the deaths. Highway 26 westbound was closed through about 10 a.m. for an investigation.

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Rep. Peter DeFazio, the longest serving U.S. House member in Oregon’s history and a staunch advocate for environmental issues, said Wednesday he is retiring and will not seek reelection next year.

The 74-year-old Democrat is the powerful chairman of the House Transportation Committee. While his announcement comes as his party faces a number of challenges ahead of the 2022 midterms, DeFazio’s seat is probably safe for Democrats.

Oregon’s 4th District covers the southwestern portion of the state, including coastal communities and the liberal university towns of Eugene and Corvallis. DeFazio was first elected in 1986.

The last time a Republican was elected to the seat was 1972. In 2020 DeFazio faced a spirited challenge from Alek Skarlatos, a hero soldier-turned-Republican congressional candidate. In 2015, Skarlotos, a member of the Oregon National Guard, helped disrupt an attack on a train bound for Paris by a heavily armed man who was a follower of the Islamic State group. DeFazio beat Skarlatos by 5 percentage points, his closest margin of victory in many years.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is calling a special session of the Legislature on December 13th to consider eviction protection for renters.

The state has received 289-million dollars in federal rental assistance which has now been fully allocated.

The Governor wants the Legislature to extend eviction protections for renters who have applied for assistance, ensure landlords get paid in full for back rent, provide 90-million dollars in rental assistance to cover the winter months, and 100-million dollars to create long-term, locally delivered eviction prevention services.

Company Says Jordan Cove Pipeline Project Will Not Go Forward

The company behind the Jordan Cove natural gas pipeline will drop its push to see the project approved, according to a document filed with federal regulators this week.

Pembina, a Canadian oil and gas pipeline company, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to vacate its previous authorizations, saying that it had “decided not to move forward with the Project.”

“Despite diligent and persistent efforts, Applicants have not been able to obtain the necessary state-issued permits and authorizations from various Oregon state agencies,” Pembina said.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied a water quality certification for the project in 2019. In early 2020, Jordan Cove withdrew its application for a state removal fill permit after it was denied an extension on the deadline. And in July, the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) reversed an earlier approval for dredging around the proposed terminal facility in Coos Bay.

In March of 2020, the FERC gave its approval to the Jordan Cove project. But Pembina still had not received the state permits needed to move ahead with construction, and FERC in January of this year rebuffed a request by Pembina to bypass the DEQ clean water certification.

Opponents of the project celebrated Pembina’s withdrawal as a victory on Wednesday, hailing the project as “dead.”

“This is amazing news. We knew the project wasn’t viable because of all the risks that it brought to our communities,” said Chairman Don Gentry of the Klamath Tribes. “I am thankful for the cooperative effort to bring about this victory. This is a significant relief for our members who have been so concerned about the impacts for our members and the region as a whole.”

“The defeat of this project shows what communities can accomplish when we insist that public officials put the public interest ahead of the special interests of big corporations,” said Hannah Sohl of Rogue Climate, an organizing group of residents of the South Coast and other Southern Oregonian counties. “Now, we need those same public officials to act with urgency to speed our transition to clean energy jobs and greater energy efficiency.”

Though Pembina’s withdrawal certainly marks a major milestone in the ongoing conflict, it is not the first iteration of a proposed gas pipeline through southern Oregon and it may not be the last. The Jordan Cove project originated with Fort Chicago Energy in 2006, which designed the Coos Bay facility as a terminal for importing natural gas from foreign sources.

Fort Chicago became Canada-based Veresen Inc. in 2010 — reapplying for the Jordan Cove project, this time as an export facility. Federal regulators ultimately rejected Veresen’s proposal in 2016, citing dubious market demand.

Pembina took control of the project in 2017 after acquiring Veresen. The same year, the company proposed the Jordan Cove LNG project in its current form.

Increased emergency SNAP benefits continue in December

Most Oregonians who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will receive emergency allotments in December. 

The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since March 2020. This gives SNAP recipients additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In December, approximately 391,000 SNAP households will receive approximately $62 million in extra food benefits in addition to their regular SNAP benefits.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide emergency benefits to most SNAP households in Oregon,” said Dan Haun, director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Program. “We also know that many Oregonians are still struggling to meet their basic needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we encourage them to contact our partners at 211 and the Oregon Food Bank for support during this difficult time.”

Emergency allotments will be available on Dec. 11 for current SNAP households. New SNAP households will receive the emergency allotments Dec. 30 or Jan. 4.

SNAP recipients do not have to take any action to receive these supplemental benefits as they will be issued directly on their EBT cards. 

More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/About-SNAP.aspx.

Questions about your SNAP benefits should be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075.

If you are a SNAP household and your income or the number of people in your household has changed, it could impact your benefits. It is important to make sure ODHS has the most up-to-date information. 

You can report any changes to your income or household in many ways: 

  • Online at: ONE.Oregon.gov
  • By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
  • By fax at: 503-378-5628
  • By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711

Resources to help meet basic needs

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, low-income families and individuals in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities. Oregonians in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP, child care, cash assistance and Medicaid. Learn more at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-benefits. For local resources in your area, such as food or shelter, please call 2-1-1 or reach out to the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at 1-855-ORE-ADRC or 1-855-673-2372. — Oregon Department of Human Services 

Ho, Ho, Ho, Holiday Scams !
…from the FBI – Oregon Divison

If you’re doing online shopping this holiday season, be on the lookout for scammers trying to steal a deal, too!

During the 2020 holiday shopping season, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov) received more than 17,000 complaints regarding the non-delivery of goods, resulting in losses of more than $53 million. The FBI anticipates this number could increase during the 2021 holiday season due to rumors of merchandise shortages and the ongoing pandemic.

“Oftentimes when we talk about cyber crimes, we are referring to massive intrusions into financial institutions or ransomware attacks against large providers. Smaller cyber scams run by individuals or groups can be just as frustrating and difficult for families this time of year when all you want to do is provide the perfect gift for your family. The best thing you can do to be a savvy shopper is to know what scams are out there and take some basic precautions,” says Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.

Here’s a look at some of the more common scams:

Online Shopping Scams:

Scammers often offer too-good-to-be-true deals via phishing e-mails, through social media posts, or through ads. Perhaps you were trying to buy tickets to the next big concert or sporting event and found just what you were looking for – at a good deal – in an online marketplace? Those tickets could end up being bogus.

Or, perhaps, you think you just scored a hard-to-find item like a new gaming system? Or a designer bag at an extremely low price? If you actually get a delivery, which is unlikely, the box may not contain the item you ordered in the condition you thought it would arrive. 

In the meantime, if you clicked on a link to access the deal, you likely gave the fraudster access to download malware onto your device, and you gave him personal financial information and debit/credit card details.

Social Media Shopping Scams:

Consumers should beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer special deals, vouchers, or gift cards. Some may appear as holiday promotions or contests. Others may appear to be from known friends who have shared the link. Often, these scams lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is designed to steal personal information.

If you click an ad through a social media platform, do your due diligence to check the legitimacy of the website before providing credit card or personal information.

Gift Card Scams:

Gift cards are popular and a great time saver, but you need to watch for sellers who say they can get you cards below-market value. Also, be wary of buying any card in a store if it looks like the security PIN on the back has been uncovered and recovered. Your best bet is to buy digital gift cards directly from the merchant online.

Another twist on this scam involves a person who receives a request to purchase gift cards in bulk. Here’s how it works: the victim receives a spoofed e-mail, a phone call, or a text from a person who they believe is in authority (such as an executive at the company). The fraudster tells the victim to purchase multiple gift cards as gifts. The victim does so and then passes the card numbers and PINs to the “executive” who cashes out the value. 

Charity Scams:

Charity fraud rises during the holiday season when people want to make end-of-year tax deductible gifts or just wish to contribute to a good cause. These seasonal scams can be more difficult to stop because of their widespread reach, limited duration and, when done online, minimal oversight.

Bad actors target victims through cold calls, email campaigns, crowdfunding platforms, or fake social media accounts and websites. Fraudsters make it easy for victims to give money and to feel like they’re making a difference. The scammer will divert some or all the funds for personal use, and those most in need will never see the donations.

Tips to Avoid Being Victimized:

  • Pay for items using a credit card dedicated for online purchases, checking the card statement frequently, and never saving payment information in online accounts.
  • Never make purchases using public Wi-Fi.
  • Beware of vendors that require payment with a gift card, wire transfer, cash, or cryptocurrency.
  • Research the seller to ensure legitimacy. Check reviews and do online searches for the name of the vendor and the words “scam” or “fraud.”
  • Check the contact details listed on the website to ensure the vendor is real and reachable by phone or email. 
  • Confirm return and refund policies.
  • Be wary of online retailers who use a free email service instead of a company email address.
  • Don’t judge a company by its website. Flashy websites can be set up and taken down quickly.
  • Do not click on links or provide personal or financial information to an unsolicited email or social media post.
  • Secure credit card accounts, even rewards accounts, with strong passwords or passphrases. Change passwords or passphrases regularly.
  • Make charitable contributions directly, rather than through an intermediary, and pay via credit card or check. Avoid cash donations, if possible.
  • Only purchase gift cards directly from a trusted merchant.
  • Make sure anti-virus/malware software is up to date and block pop-up windows.

What to Do if You Are a Victim:

If you are a victim of an online scam, the FBI recommends taking the following actions:

  • Report the activity to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov, regardless of dollar loss. Provide all relevant information in the complaint.
  • Contact your financial institution immediately upon discovering any fraudulent or suspicious activity and direct them to stop or reverse the transactions.
  • Ask your financial institution to contact the corresponding financial institution where the fraudulent or suspicious transfer was sent.

For additional information and consumer alerts, and to report scams to the FBI, visit IC3.gov. — FBI – Oregon 

So far most of  the Northwest has dodged the kind of storms that cause large power outages, but experience tells us that it is wise to be prepared even if the weather is mild at the moment.

Pacific Power reminds its customers and the public in Oregon, Washington and northern California to take precautions to stay safe and comfortable should outages occur.

To ensure that you are prepared for outages, we ask that every home maintain an Emergency Outage Kit that includes  a Flashlight, Battery-operated radio and clock, Extra batteries, Non-perishable foods, Manual can opener, Bottled water and Blankets. If a power outage occurs, Pacific Power encourages customers to first check their fuses and circuit breakers.

If the power failure is not caused inside the home or business, customers should report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088.

Plus you can Get the App. The Pacific Power App for mobile devices can become invaluable during an outage. You can report and track an outage affecting you from your mobile device. The app is free and can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play. For more information, visit www.pacificpower.net/app.

Pacific Power suggests these safety precautions once a storm has hit: Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous. Call 911 and report the outage to Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088. Extensive rain may cause flooding or landslides. Be especially careful of any standing water or even soggy ground.

A live down wire may seem to be a safe distance away, but it is still extremely dangerous due to wet conditions. Don’t drive over downed power lines.

The Oregon State Police is seeking public assistance in locating the person or persons responsible for the poisoning of the Catherine Wolf Pack in eastern Oregon. 

On February 9, 2021, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division Troopers received information from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) regarding a possibly deceased, collared wolf. Troopers responded to the area and located five deceased wolves, three males, and two females. It was later determined the wolves were from the Catherine Pack, with all known members present and deceased.

The wolves were located southeast of Mount Harris, within Union County. Fish and Wildlife Troopers and ODFW personnel with the assistance of a helicopter searched the area for anything of evidentiary value. An additional deceased magpie was also found in the vicinity of the deceased wolves. 

The five wolves and magpie were collected and transported to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Lab located in Ashland, Oregon to determine the cause of death. 

On March 11, 2021, Fish and Wildlife Troopers again received information from ODFW personnel of an additional wolf collar emitting a mortality signal in the same general location. A search of the area located a deceased female wolf, a skunk, and a magpie all very close to the scene. All animals were collected and immediately submitted to the USFWS lab for testing. The female wolf was dispersing from the Keating Pack. 

Fish and Wildlife Troopers were initially hampered in investigating the scene due to snow levels and inclement weather. Troopers continued searching over the next few weeks as snow continued to melt and located evidence of suspected poisoning. The evidence was submitted for testing and analysis. 

In April 2021, the USFWS submitted their examination reports with findings consistent with poisoning as the cause of death for all six wolves, the skunk, and two magpies. Lab results also indicated the suspected evidence confirmed a poisonous substance. 

In addition, two more collared wolves were found deceased in Union County after the initial incidents. In April 2021, a deceased adult male wolf from the Five Points Pack was located west of Elgin and in July 2021, a young female wolf from the Clark Creek Pack was located northeast of La Grande. In both cases the cause of death was not readily apparent, a necropsy and testing were conducted. Toxicology reports confirmed the presence of differing types of poison in both wolves. Based upon the type of poison and locations, it was determined the death of the young female wolf may be related to the earlier six poisonings.

Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Troopers have continued in their investigation in the intervening months but have exhausted leads in the case. OSP is asking any person with information related to this investigation to contact the Oregon State Police through the OSP TIP Hotline: 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (677) or TIP E-Mail: TIP@state.or.us. Please reference Case #SP21-033033.

To learn about the Wolves in Oregon specifically wolf-livestock conflicts please visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/index.asp#livestock   

** Report Wildlife and Habitat Law Violators** 

The Oregon Hunters Association TIP reward offers preference points or cash rewards for information leading to an arrest or issuance of a citation for the unlawful take/possession or waste of Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat, Moose, Elk, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Cougar, Wolf, Upland Birds, Waterfowl, Furbearers, Game Fish and Shellfish. Cash rewards can also be awarded for turning in people who destroy habitat, illegally obtain licenses/tags, and for the unlawful lending/borrowing of big game tags.

Preference Point Rewards:

* 5 Points-Bighorn Sheep

* 5 Points-Rocky Mountain Goat

* 5 Points-Moose

* 5 Points-Wolf

* 4 Points-Elk

* 4 Points-Deer

* 4 Points-Antelope

* 4 Points-Bear

* 4 Points-Cougar


* $1,000 Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Goat and Moose 

 * $500 Elk, Deer and Antelope 

 * $300 Bear, Cougar and Wolf 

 * $300 Habitat Destruction

* $200 Illegally Obtaining License/Tag(s)

* $200 Unlawful Lend/Borrow Big Game Tags(s) 

 * $100 Upland Birds and Waterfowl 

 * $100 Furbearers 

* $100 Game Fish and Shellfish 

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