Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 2/15 – KF Man Sentenced to 29 Years in Sexual Abuse Case

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Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 47. North wind 7 to 11 mph. Tonight, cloudy with a low around 25, light winds.

Wednesday Early morning heavy frost, then mostly sunny, with a high near 49.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 55.
Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.

Today’s Headlines

A Klamath Falls man was sentenced to more than 29 years in prison on Friday after he was convicted of sexually abusing a 9-year-old child.  

The man, 59-year-old Joseph Elmer Woods was arrested and charged in the case back at the beginning of June 2021.

The Klamath County District Attorney’s office thanked Klamath Falls Police, highlighting the work of Detective Loudermilk, for investigating the case — conducting interviews and finding corroborating evidence. The details of the case were “particularly disturbing,” the DA’s office said.

A police affidavit in the case indicates that Woods took video of one of the episodes of sexual abuse. Woods was sentenced Friday by Judge Alycia Kersey, who gave him a prison term of 350 months based on his pleas.

Under Measure 11, Woods won’t be eligible for sentence reduction until he’s served the first 100 months of that sentence. The court also found that Woods was dependent on drugs, recommending that the Oregon Department of Corrections offer treatment. After release, Woods will be subject to post-prison supervision and is required to register as a sex offender.

The DA’s office said that the mother of the victim participated in the settlement conference and helped to reach a resolution.

There are 18 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,373. OHA reported 4,756 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 679,241.

The 18 new deaths and 4,756 new cases reported include data recorded by counties for the three-day period between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (16), Benton (152), Clackamas (403), Clatsop (30), Columbia (47), Coos (74), Crook (55), Curry (29), Deschutes (280), Douglas (93), Harney (9), Hood River (25), Jackson (282), Jefferson (26), Josephine (110), Klamath (83), Lane (580), Lincoln (61), Linn (202), Malheur (17), Marion (395), Morrow (9), Multnomah (761), Polk (102), Sherman (1), Tillamook (33), Umatilla (59), Union (40), Wasco (21), Washington (629) and Yamhill (132).

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 865, which is 49 fewer than yesterday. There are 152 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two fewer than yesterday. There are 79 available adult ICU beds out of 668 total (12% availability) and 286 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,242 (7% availability). Klamath County had 83 new cases.  Jackson County had 285.

Around the state of Oregon

For the first time in years, Oregon’s Dungeness crab season is bringing in a record-breaking haul. 

Fishermen have brought in about $80 million this season, which began December 1st, according to the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission.  It’s the most revenue since the 2017-2018 season, which brought in $74 million for the entire season, according to the commission. 

The strong season is a welcome change for those in the crabbing industry, which has been plagued by delays to the start of the season over recent years due to a number of factors.  Locals say cities up and down the Oregon coast benefit from a strong crab season. 

 Things are getting back to normal at a Junction City thrift store after the discovery of a grenade prompted evacuations over the weekend.

Police responded to the St. Vinnie’s thrift store Saturday morning after employees discovered the grenade inside a box of donated items. Police evacuated the store and called in explosive ordinance technicians, who X-rayed the device and determined it did not appear to have a detonator cap.

Police took possession of the device with plans to destroy it.

The U.S. Department of Energy is giving Oregon seven-point-seven million dollars to build charging stations for electric vehicles.

Environment Oregon estimates that over 12-hundred fast chargers and nearly 21-thousand Level Two chargers will be needed by 2030 to meet the demand. Level Two chargers use an outlet similar to one needed for a dryer and can fully charge a vehicle in three to eight hours. Oregon currently has 36-thousand electric vehicles on the road.

Oregon State Police troopers say that three drivers were taken to local hospitals late Saturday evening after a multi-vehicle crash on I-5 near mile post 42 in Gold Hill.

OSP has informed us that the crash was a result of a wrong way driver who was traveling south in the northbound lane. Police say that 81-year-old James Airhart and struck a white Audi SUV, operated by Christian Davis and a black Lincoln SUV, operated by Robert Lewis, head on. Airhart was interviewed by police and the investigation is being forwarded to the Jackson County District Attorney. 

Saturday afternoon at approximately 3:30 pm, Troopers were dispatched to a reported vehicle vs. pedestrian collision located on Interstate-5 northbound to Beltline Highway in Eugene.

A preliminary investigation revealed a female driver came across a mattress blocking a lane on the flyover. She turned on her hazard lights and removed the mattress from the roadway. As she walked back to her vehicle, a red pickup came around the corner at a high rate of speed and struck the pedestrian.

The suspect, described as an elderly white male, stopped approximately 50ft from the crash scene, walked back to the victim, and saw her laying on the ground. He then ran back to his red truck and fled the scene.

The pedestrian suffered extensive injuries as a result of the collision. The Oregon State Police are seeking public assistance with information identifying the driver or vehicle. It is unknown the extent of damage to the truck. If you have any information, please contact the Oregon State Police Dispatch at 1-800-442-2068.

Portland Man Charged After Attempting to Open Emergency Exit on Portland-Bound Flight 

A Portland man is facing federal charges after attempting to open an emergency exit on a commercial airline flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to Portland.

Michael Brandon Demarre, 32, has been charged by criminal complaint with threatening to interfere and interfering with a flight crew and attendants.

According to court documents, on February 11, 2022, while on a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to Portland, Demarre attempted to open the aircraft’s emergency exit door while it was in flight. According to witness statements taken by police, Demarre removed the plastic covering over the emergency exit handle and forcefully pulled on the handle. A flight attendant demanded Demarre cease touching the handle and move to the rear of the aircraft. Demarre complied and was physically restrained by the flight crew.

Once in Portland, Demarre told officers he created the disturbance so other passengers would video record him sharing his personal views.

Demarre made his initial appearance in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Portland Police Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mira Chernick is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

Forestry Department announces $5 million in grant awards for small forestland owners to reduce risk of wildfire

The Oregon Department of Forestry has issued $5 million in grants authorized by Senate Bill 762. Awards are to owners of small forestlands for reducing the risk of high-severity wildfire through the reduction of hazardous fuels. 

Approximately $4.2 million was awarded to 23 proposals submitted through grant sponsors, supporting over 600 landowners treating nearly 4,000 acres across Oregon. 

Landowner fuel treatment that burned during a wildfire in 2021. The treatment prevented the fire from reaching the canopy, protected trees and helped firefighters directly engage the fire front.

Approximately $800,000 was awarded to 20 active Firewise USA communities in good standing that are outside of urban-growth boundaries. Awards are up to $75,000 per community and target treating over 2,000 acres through a variety of treatment approaches. 

Details of the proposals and awards for both small forestland owners and Firewise USA communities can be found on ODF’s Small Forestland Grant Program website

Senate Bill 762 is comprehensive legislation passed with bipartisan support that provides more than $200 million to help Oregon modernize and improve wildfire preparedness through three key strategies: creating fire-adapted communities, developing safe and effective response, and increasing the resiliency of Oregon’s landscapes. The bill is the product of years of hard work by many Oregonians, the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response, the Legislature, and state agencies.

Additional information about Senate Bill 762 is available on ODF’s website.

Oregon Gets $7.7 Million to Build EV Charging Stations

The U.S. Department of Energy is giving Oregon seven-point-seven million dollars to build charging stations for electric vehicles. Environment Oregon estimates that over 12-hundred fast chargers and nearly 21-thousand Level Two chargers will be needed by 2030 to meet the demand. Level Two chargers use an outlet similar to one needed for a dryer and can fully charge a vehicle in three to eight hours.

Oregon currently has 36-thousand electric vehicles on the road.

Have you ever tried to pay for something in cash, but it wasn’t accepted? State lawmakers are hoping to change this scenario with a new bill in the Oregon legislature.

Senate Bill 1565 makes it unlawful for businesses to refuse cash as payment for goods. Senator James Manning, one of the sponsors for the bill, said the idea began when one day in 2020, he was driving to the Capitol and stopped at a restaurant; he went to pay with cash and was denied.

Manning says the dollar bill or currency of that nature are backed by the fore strength and credibility of the United States government.   It is legal tender; many people don’t qualify, don’t have banking, or don’t have access to plastic. So, to deny them of the ability to pay is un-American, and we can’t have that.

Oregon has released draft rules for the therapeutic use of psilocybin, commonly called magic mushrooms.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports voters approve Measure 109 in November of 2020, giving the state two years to set up the framework to regulate legal magic mushrooms in the state. Researchers believe psilocybin could help treat depression, PTSD and addiction, and Oregon’s system would allow for consumption of the substance in a therapeutic setting for anyone 21 years or older. No prescription or diagnosis would be required to take part in the program. The rules released last week by the Oregon Health Authority are not complete and are not yet adopted, but they give a glimpse into what the program might look like.

The draft rules deal with how training programs for those administering psilocybin will be evaluated and credentialed, what the psilocybin itself will be and how that substance will be tested.

State Representatives Pass Bill Making Housing More Flexible In Mobile Home Parks

The Oregon House of Representatives approved a bill designed to cut some of the red tape around mobile home parks in the wake of the 2020 wildfires that destroyed so many of these communities around the state.

House Bill 4064 A is designed to streamline local regulations on manufactured housing and clarify that Oregonians can place prefabricated homes in mobile home parks. House Democrats say that this will break down barriers to “more innovative housing options.”

The bill is also intended to help Oregonians in mobile home parks rebuild after the 2020 fires. It expands the use of Oregon’s manufactured dwelling replacement loan program, giving people who lost their mobile home the option of using the loan to rebuild outside of the disaster area.

“Even before the 2020 wildfires, the need for affordable housing was a crisis in our communities,” said Representative Pam Marsh (D-Southern Jackson County). “Manufactured housing is a tried and true housing option that can give Oregonians more options to find a safe and affordable place to call home.”

The Almeda Fire alone burned through 18 mobile home parks in the Rogue Valley, destroying between 1,500 and 1,700 manufactured homes or RVs. Across Oregon, there are about 140,000 manufactured homes. Nationally, the median annual income of manufactured residents is about half that of households living in single-family homes.

The bill passed the House in a 41-11 vote and goes on to the Senate for consideration.

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