Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 3/2 – KF Community Band Performing Spring Concert March 13th at Ross Ragland

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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 62. Light southeast winds to 10 mph. Overnight a 20% chance of rain, low around 36.

Thursday A 50% chance of rain, mainly after 10am. Cloudy, with a high near 49. Overnight mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. North northwest wind around 5 mph.

Friday A chance of rain and snow showers before 1pm, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 43. Overnight a chance of snow flurries, low around 29. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Saturday A 20% chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 42.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon reports 741 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 26 new deaths

There are 26 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 6,648, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported at 12:01 a.m. today. OHA reported 741 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of 12:01 a.m. today, bringing the state total to 694,649.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19-related cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (4), Benton (12), Clackamas (54), Clatsop (5), Columbia (22), Coos (11), Crook (7), Curry (9), Deschutes (51), Douglas (35), Gilliam (1), Grant (6), Harney (8), Hood River (6), Jackson (50), Jefferson (10), Josephine (23), Klamath (13), Lake (10), Lane (62), Lincoln (10), Linn (27), Malheur (10), Marion (57), Morrow (2), Multnomah (108), Polk (13), Umatilla (16), Union (8), Wasco (10), Washington (73) and Yamhill (8).

Arrows show that cases have increased and hospitalizations have decreased over the previous day. The 7 Day Moving Average shows a decline.

The Fremont-Winema National Forest is accepting proposals for forest improvement projects, funded through the Secure Rural Schools Act, through March 29.

Project proposals must be associated with the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath and Lake counties. Projects can be on private or state lands where there will be some benefit to the National Forest System lands.

Funds may be used for a variety of projects, including fuel reduction to reduce wildfire risk, watershed restoration and maintenance, tree planting, road and trail maintenance, wildlife habitat and recreation site restoration or improvement, soil improvement, streambank stabilization and environmental education.

Applicants should consult with the local District Ranger or related staff prior to proposal submission. To receive funding, projects must be reviewed and recommended by the local Resource Advisory Committee and approved by the Designated Federal Officer.

To submit a project for consideration, please complete the project submission form and submit it to Forest RAC Coordinator Avery Kool at avery.kool@usda.gov by March 29. The form is available on the Forest’s website at: www.fs.usda.gov/main/fremont-winema/workingtogether/advisorycommittees.

The Klamath Falls Community Band will perform their annual spring concert on Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m. at the Ross Ragland Theater.

The concert is titled “Infinity and Beyond” and features selections with an outer space theme. The band was only days away from performing this concert set in 2020 when the event had to be canceled due to the pandemic.

After two years, the band decided it was time to return to these pieces that never received a public performance despite the many hours of rehearsal and preparation that went into the original concert. Selections from the concert will include pieces exploring both fictional and nonfictional aspects of space. Familiar soundtracks from blockbuster hits such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and Toy Story will explore fantastical elements of the space theme.

The Apollo 11 mission and moon landing, the Challenger space shuttle tragedy, and the quest to explore space all serve as real-life inspiration for other pieces in the concert.

Tickets to the event can be purchased from the Ross Ragland Theater box office and are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors/military, $11 for students, and free for children 12 and under. Audience members who attend the concert dressed as their favorite space-themed character will have a chance to win a prize during intermission.

Yesterday, Senator Ron Wyden announced another round of virtual town halls in March. People wishing to send in questions can do so here.

Senator Wyden will have town hall meetings on March 18 for residents of Jackson and Klamath counties.

The Klamath County town hall is set for March 18th at 12:30pm. Wyden recently held his 1,000th town hall, fulfilling his promise to hear from each county each year since being elected.

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon Tenants Could Face Eviction As Oregon’s Extended Eviction Protections Just Expired

Many businesses were forced to shutter overnight when the COVID outbreak first hit the U.S. That led to a massive uptick in unemployment and widespread income loss on a national level.

Since many people didn’t have money in savings before the pandemic, they immediately began falling behind on essential bills, including housing. Recognizing a massive eviction crisis could be imminent, lawmakers intervened in the form of a federal eviction moratorium that barred landlords from removing tenants on the basis of not paying rent.

The federal eviction ban stayed in place until mid-2021. At that point, it was determined that economic conditions had improved enough to let the ban lapse. Plus, there were billions of dollars in rental assistance funds that had been made available under two separate stimulus packages. The logic was that tenants who owed money to their landlords wouldn’t necessarily risk losing their homes, because aid was available.

Meanwhile, some states extended their own eviction protections beyond mid-2021, and Oregon was one of them. But now, that lifeline has run out. Oregon tenants now risk eviction. Now, those unable to pay rent or catch up on past-due rent risk losing their homes.

Though Oregon’s eviction moratorium initially expired during summer 2021, tenants were given an extension until Feb. 28, 2022 to come up with past-due rent owed between April 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. But now, that extended protection has run out. Beginning March 1, landlords in Oregon can pursue evictions against tenants who are behind on housing payments, leaving many residents of the state in a very troubling position.

So far, more than $289 million in rent relief funds has gone out to over 40,000 Oregon households. But as of this writing, there are still more than 18,000 rent relief applications waiting to be processed. And unfortunately, a pending application won’t necessarily bar a landlord from pursuing an eviction. The Rental Housing Alliance of Oregon has confirmed that landlords do have the option to start the eviction process if tenants are still waiting on approval for their rent relief applications. However, in that case, they can’t be evicted until June 2022.

That buys some tenants a bit of added protection. But it also makes things complicated and stressful for tenants and landlords alike.The eviction process can be costly for landlords, and it can also be time-consuming. To some degree, it doesn’t make sense for landlords to start the eviction process if they have tenants who have applied for rent relief already.

On the other hand, applying for rent relief does not guarantee an applicant will get approved. And so landlords may not want to run that risk — especially those who may, at this point, be going on almost two years of not getting paid.

It’s not too late to apply— Although Oregon has already given out quite a bit of rental aid, struggling tenants can still apply for assistance to cover missed rent payments dating back to March 13, 2020. Applicants may be eligible for assistance to cover not just past-due rent, but also up to three months of future rent. That said, the state only has limited rent relief funds available. Those in need of aid should therefore apply sooner rather than later, especially now that landlords have the leeway to start moving forward with evictions.

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Part of a nationwide protest made its way through Eastern Oregon yesterday. According to a flyer shared on social media, the American Freedom Convoy will headed from Troutdale to Washington, D.C., stopping last night for the night at the Arrowhead Travel Plaza on the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton before driving along Interstate 84 and Interstate 80 on its way to the nation’s capital. The convoy will contain a mix of vehicles and is not limited to semitrailers. Paul Veluscek, a strong supporter of the convoy from Creswell said the spirit of the convoy will be about freedom, citing mask and vaccine mandates as the cause. The protest comes just after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Feb. 25 it was no longer recommending indoor mask mandates. The convoy will pass through La Grande and Baker City before briefly stopping in Boise and continuing on to Little America, Wyoming.

Medford Police Investigate Two Unrelated Stabbings

On February 26, 2022 at approximately 11:10 a.m., Medford Police officers responded to the area of S. Central Ave. and Boyd St. for the report of a stabbing. Upon Police Officer arrival, the victim was being tended to by several bystanders. Medford Police Detectives responded to assume the investigation. The victim was treated at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The suspect, Haley Oilar, was arrested on scene and lodged at the Jackson County jail (MPD case 22-3273). SUSPECT: Oilar, Haley 32 years old Lodged for Assault I and Unlawful Use of a Weapon 

On February 27, 2022 at approximately 9:22 p.m., Medford Police officers were dispatched to an assault with a weapon near the 9th Street Footbridge. Officers responded to the area and located two victims with stab wounds. Both victims were treated at a local hospital and released.

The suspect, a 16 year old female juvenile, was located at 10th St. and Front St. She was arrested without incident. The suspect was later lodged at Jackson County Juvenile Detention (MPD case 22-3366).  SUSPECT: 16 years old female  Lodged for Assault I (x2)   These two cases are unrelated and the investigations are on-going.  Medford Police Dept.

Fatal Crash on Hwy 238-Josephine County 

On Monday, February 28th, 2022, at about 6:13 PM, Oregon State Police and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 238 near milepost 3.

Preliminary investigation revealed an eastbound Chevrolet S-10 pickup, operated by Andrew Crist (54) of Grants Pass, drifted onto the shoulder of the roadway, lost control and slid into the westbound lane of travel colliding with a Toyota Rav-4, operated by Donnie Thomason (24) of Grants Pass. 

Crist suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Thomason was not injured. Hwy 238 was closed for approximately three hours while the investigation was conducted. 

OSP was assisted by Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, Rural Metro Fire and ODOT. Oregon State Police

Oregon’s Latino population has skyrocketed over the last three decades, and experts expect that number will only grow. Driven primarily by immigration in earlier decades, the growing Latino population is now fueled by that generation’s children and grandchildren, born in Oregon or moving here from other states, experts say. The state’s Latino population grew by more than 30% over the last 10 years as Oregon added nearly 140,000 Latino residents, numbers from the 2020 census show. That growth came after Oregon’s Latino population jumped by 144% from 1990 to 2000 and grew by another 63% from 2000 to 2010, with the most recent decade producing the lowest net increase of the three. Oregon’s Latino population now stands at 588,757 and has grown faster than the national rate in each of the last three decades. Latinos are now the largest minority group in the state, accounting for nearly 14% of the state’s population. Among Oregonians under 18, Latinos make up 23% of the population, according to Census redistricting data, a sign that their numbers will continue to climb in the coming years. About 40% of Oregon Latinos were born in the state, while 28% were born elsewhere in the U.S. and roughly 30% were born in other countries.

A Grants Pass man was killed Monday evening after his truck collided with an oncoming vehicle on Willaims Highway in Grants Pass. Andrew Christ, 54, was driving his Chevy S-10 pickup around 6 PM. The truck drifted onto the road’s shoulder and Crist is believed to have lost control and slid into the oncoming lane of traffic near milepost 3. Donnie Thompson, 24, of Grants Pass, was driving a Toyota Rav-4 and was not injured after the crash. Oregon 238 (Williams Highway) was closed for approximately three hours while the accident was being investigated.

Police Ask for Public’s Help in Search For Victim’s Roommate In Albany Homicide

 A 42-year-old woman, the roommate of a 75-year-old man whose death was ruled a homicide, is wanted for questioning in the case, Albany police officials said.

Elvin “Al” Pierce was found dead by officers around 9:10 p.m. Friday after a 911 caller reported a man was unconscious and not breathing. Investigators at that time said the circumstances surrounding his death were suspicious.

APD said Pierce’s roommate, 42-year-old Elizabeth Nicole Tyler Jimenez, wasn’t there at the home when officers found Pierce dead and they don’t know where she is. Authorities did not specifically state whether Jimenez is a suspect or if there are any charges against her.

Pierce’s car, a tan 2004 Buick Park Avenue with Oregon license plate 081FAX, is also missing.

Jimenez, who investigators believe is currently without a job, is described as often visiting local soup kitchens. She also has skills as a masseuse and a seamstress, officials said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact APD at 541-917-7680 or APD Lt. Buck Pearce at 541-917-3209.

Yesterday the Oregon Health Authority announced the launch of the new Health Care Market Oversight (HCMO) program, which was set up by HB 2362 in the 2021 Legislative Session.  This law directs OHA to review business deals that consolidate the health system in a way that could impacts, costs, quality, access and equity for Oregonians. As of the launch on March 1, large health care entities such as hospitals, health insurance companies, and provider groups proposing to merge or acquire other entities must file notice with the HCMO program. The review process also allows for the community to understand the potential impacts of a transaction and weigh in. Consolidation is increasingly common across the U.S., resulting in health care markets with fewer small or independent providers and more large, national companies. Between 2010 and 2017, there were 778 hospital mergers in the United States.] In 2014, 24% of physician practices were owned by hospitals and health systems; by 2018, it had increased to 46%.

Like regions across the country, Oregon continues to see the impacts of health care consolidations. Here are some examples seen in Oregon: 

  • Prices for health care in the Portland metro area are higher than the national average and have continued to rise each year.[4]
  • Most physicians in the Portland metro area work for health systems. In 2016, 39% of Portland metro physicians worked for health systems. In 2018, 71% worked for health systems.[5]
  • In 2003, 43% of Oregon’s hospitals were independent; by 2020, 25% were independent.[6]

Heavy rain from an atmospheric river is increasing the risk of debris flows and mudslides. The Oregon Department of Geology says residents should be extra careful in steep terrain. If you see a creek suddenly turn muddy or hear trees cracking and boulders knocking together it’s a sign that a slide could be on the way. Drivers should be especially carefully in hilly areas.

Oregon liquor stores are pulling out Russian-made liquor. The Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission ordered the stores to stop selling liquor that was distilled in Russia. There are around five-thousand bottles of Russian-made liquor in 281 stores and more than 62-hundred bottles in the OLCC warehouse. The OLCC says it’s taking the action because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and removing the products aligns with economic sanctions against Russia.

The Morrison Bridge is lit in blue and yellow this week to honor Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country. Blue and yellow are the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury says it’s a small but visible way that Multnomah County can show support for the people of Ukraine. The lights will be up through Sunday.

Problem Gambling Awareness Month logo

For the 19th year in Oregon and across the country, March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month [PGAM]. This dedicated effort helps increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment, and recovery services. PGAM’s campaign theme, “Awareness + Action,” brings all those elements into focus. National Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a grassroots effort that brings together a wide range of stakeholders – public health organizations, advocacy groups and gambling operators – who work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist. Visits to the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource website (www.opgr.org) historically also tend to increase during March as a result of our focused marketing and social media outreach efforts around problem gambling. The Oregon Lottery’s commitment to problem gambling support is year-round. Since 1992, one percent of Oregon Lottery profits have funded problem gambling treatment and prevention efforts throughout Oregon. Since that time, over $111 million in Lottery funds has supported those services. To get help for a gambling issue, anyone can call 1-877-MYLIMIT. Treatment is free, confidential and it works. For more information about problem gambling treatment resources or to chat with a specialist, go to Oregon Problem Gambling Resource at opgr.org. 

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