Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 3/29 -Modoc National Forest Reopens Areas for Obsidian Rocks Collectors With Valid Permits Available for Purchase

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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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 65. Overnight, partly cloudy with a low around 35. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight.


Wednesday Partly sunny, with a high near 57. Light northwest wind increasing to 10 mph in the morning.
Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 58.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 65.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 68.

Today’s Headlines

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There are 39 new COVID-19-related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 7,074. OHA reported 541 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of YESTERDAY, bringing the state total to 703,132.

The 39 new deaths and 541 new cases reported today include data recorded by counties for the three-day period between March 25 and March 27. The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 118, which is 15 fewer than yesterday. There are 19 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is three more than yesterday.

There were 3 new cases were reported in Klamath County.  24 were reported during the same time period in Jackson County.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Benton (23), Clackamas (39), Clatsop (3), Columbia (5), Coos (1), Crook (1), Curry (8), Deschutes (35), Douglas (9), Grant (2), Hood River (2), Jackson (24), Jefferson (1), Josephine (9), Klamath (3), Lane (62), Lincoln (3), Linn (14), Malheur (1), Marion (23), Multnomah (167), Polk (9), Tillamook (5), Umatilla (4), Wallowa (2), Wasco (3), Washington (79) and Yamhill (4).

Klamath Basin resident and former Miss America, Katie Harman, stars in Bring My Crown!: Miss America Sings Broadway at FEINSTEIN’S/54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, on April 20, 2022 at 7pm in New York City.

A nostalgic nod to crown jewels of the Broadway cannon interwoven with rarely-shared insight about her fascinating year as Miss America and life beyond the crown. Beloved Broadway tunes from across decades set the tone for a narrative about the wonderful and terrible dualities of serving as “America’s Ideal” in the wake of 9/11.

Special guests include Jimmie Herrod (recent America’s Got Talent superstar) and Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini, as well as unforgettable duets with Miss America 1998 and Broadway veteran Kate Shindle. 

Throughout the past 20 years, soprano Katie Harman parlayed her historic pop culture role as Miss America 2002 into a robust and multifaceted career in opera, musical theater as well as with symphony orchestras and a variety of special projects. 

She lives in Klamath Falls Oregon with her husband Tim and their children Tyler and Victoria.

To learn more about Katie, visit www.katieharman.com or follow her on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Klamath County is opening a burn period that started Saturday and runs 5:00 PM on Sunday, April 10, 2022. 

During the open burn period, use caution, check weather conditions, and always stay with your burn. With recent and forecasted warm weather, landowners are in the mode of spring cleaning their properties by removing dead material to reduce flammable vegetation build-up. 

Those choosing to remove vegetation and litter through burning need to be careful and take the precautions to prevent the spread of fire. 

Helpful hints to remember include: Be sure you are fully prepared before burning.  Extra people and tools may be necessary to control your fire.  Clear around your burn area to mineral soil to eliminate the fire spreading to dead and down material or green vegetation.  Check the weather — don’t burn on dry, windy days.  Be sure to stay with your fire until it is “out”; “from first flame to the last spark”.  Finally, Check your burn regularly and frequently.   Check your piles for hidden hot spots by digging into the piles, after the fire appears to be “dead out” and after the wind has blown in the area.

The Oregon Department of Forestry does not require a burn permit currently, bUT other fire protection agencies/departments do require permits.  Please contact your local fire department for current requirements, as well as the 882-BURN number.  

Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, the effort to flip most of rural Oregon into the Gem State, has received a lot of attention the past couple of years.

But a truer — and much older — Oregon secession movement is now elbowing its way back into the conversation.

The dream of creating an entirely new state, called Jefferson, out of large swaths of northern California and southern Oregon has been around for decades. Secession talk — and some action — has been around ever since in Oregon. That said, most of the State of Jefferson activity of late has come out of California, which is no surprise.

Siskiyou County, in particular, has a long history of secessionist longings.  Drive along the rural byways of southern Oregon and northern California today, and here and there you’ll see signs proclaiming Jefferson the “51st State” — a designation author Norman Mailer more famously gave to New York City 50 years ago during a quixotic campaign for mayor.

Love Easter egg hunting and want to add an exciting spin on the tradition?  You’re invited to the Ella Redkey Pool for a fun filled afternoon of hunting for eggs in the water.

On Saturday, April 9th from 1pm – 3pm, Ella Redkey Pool brings the Aqua Egg Hunt back to the Klamath Basin.

Admission is $5.00 per person for all participants and spectators.  There are four times available for age groups to get in the water and hunt for the most eggs! • Ages 1 – 3 years old hunt from 1:00pm – 1:20pm • Ages 4 – 6 years old hunt from 1:30pm – 1:50pm • Ages 7 – 9 years old hunt from 2:00pm – 2:20pm • Ages 10+ hunt from 2:30pm – 2:50pm.  

Space is limited, register online at ellaredkeypool.com or in person at the Ella Redkey Pool, 1805 Main Street in Klamath Falls. For more information email: ellaredkeypool@klamathfalls.city

The Klamath Falls City Council has approved two contracts totaling $52,396 annually for landscaping and maintenance services at Crater Lake – Klamath Falls Regional Airport.

Both contracts renew airport work for two existing vendors. Those vendors were the only bidders in the procurement process.

The city council approved a $25,000 contract with Klamath Falls-based Troy’s Janitorial to provide custodial and maintenance service at the airport. Troy’s has handled maintenance at the local airport since July 1985, according to city documents. The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) in February for custodial contract. Two firms showed interest but only Troy’s submitted a quote, according to city documents.

Modoc National Forest will reopen four designated areas for collection of obsidian rocks in the Warner Mountains this summer to personal users with a valid permit.

The four collection areas can be found at https://go.usa.gov/x6NKB.

Obsidian collection season will run from July 1 through Labor Day weekend. Adults 18 years or older will be issued one-day permits authorizing collection of two five-gallon buckets of obsidian using hand tools only. A maximum of three permits per person per year can be issued up to three days in advance.

Permits are only available at the Modoc National Forest Headquarters at 225 W. 8th St. in Alturas, California, from 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. weekdays. Picture identification is required for each individual seeking permits. Permits for weekends and holidays must be obtained on days the forest headquarters is open.

Around the state of Oregon

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The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force) is on the lookout for one of Texas’ 10 most wanted fugitives after he was recently spotted in the Southern Oregon area.

James Mark Bishop, a noncompliant registered sex offender, is currently wanted out of Texas for continuous sexual assault of a child, and in Oklahoma for probation violations for an original charge of knowingly downloading child pornography.

Bishop is a former law enforcement officer with prior military experience and extensive martial arts training. He is considered armed and dangerous and has made previous statements that he will not go back to prison. Bishop is likely using an alias.

He is a 50-year-old white male 6’1” and 245 lbs. with a bald head and blue eyes. Bishop has no known ties to Oregon, but investigators believe he may be working security or other jobs for a marijuana grow or processing facility in Southern Oregon or Northern California. He was last known to be driving a red 1999 Chevrolet Suburban with Texas plate HLW6688. The vehicle has been fortified with a grill guard and other accessories to assist in eluding law enforcement and living off the grid. It is possible that he has switched license plates and or painted the vehicle.

If you know of Bishop’s whereabouts, do not approach. Call the JCSO tip line at (541) 774-8333. If your tip leads to an arrest a reward is being offered of up to $8500.

Oregon Funding Expansion of Wildfire Detection System

State lawmakers have awarded $4.5 million to the ALERTWildfire camera network system, which is run in part by the University of Oregon.

“Alertwildfire.org is a set of mountaintop pan-tilt zoom cameras for early fire prevention and suppression,” said Doug Toomey, a earth sciences professor at the university.

It’s an online network of cameras allowing you to see or even spot fires in real time.

Toomey said the ground the cameras cover will be expanding thanks to the millions of dollars on the way to the program.

“What it’s going to go towards — it’s approximately 35 camera sites. It’s a very amazing system; it allows people to see what’s happening in real time. In fact, there was a fire in California that was almost reported by someone in New Zealand because they were watching the cameras.”

Toomey said considering the recent fire seasons and how dry it has been this year, the timing of these funds could not have come at a better time.

“It takes time to put up cameras; it will probably take us a year or more to go through these funds. I anticipate the major build will probably occur next year. But we are going to pull out all the stops to get up as many as we can as quickly as we can,” Toomey said.

You can access the cameras by going to https://www.alertwildfire.org

Prineville Woman Arrested For Fentanyl Trafficking

A Prineville woman faces controlled substance trafficking charges as the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team continues to pursue sources of fentanyl that have been flooding the region. 

On March 13th, 2022, at approximately 7:00 PM, the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team concluded a long-term investigation with the arrest of Bryanna Nelson, age 26, of Prineville, Oregon.  

During a concurrent investigation, drug Agents identified Bryanna Nelson as fentanyl traffickers in the central Oregon area. The initial investigation alleges Ms. Nelson have been importing large quantities of fentanyl pills from the Portland area into central Oregon where she distributes it primarily in the Prineville area.

After a multi-day surveillance operation throughout the metropolitan Portland area, CODE Detectives, the assistance of Oregon State Police Troopers, stopped Bryanna Nelson on Highway 26 between Madras and Prineville. She was detained at the scene with an un-involved male passenger and toddler. The male passenger was later released without charges. The toddler was released to Oregon DHS-Child Welfare.

Based on the investigation, CODE Detectives applied for and obtained a Search Warrant for her home and her Nissan Rouge.  

A subsequent search of Nelson’s Nissan Rogue located a commercial quantity of counterfeit Oxycodone tablets made of fentanyl. These counterfeit tablets have been linked to an ongoing overdose epidemic in Central Oregon and contain fentanyl or methamphetamine and can be deadly to an unsuspecting user. In addition to the fentanyl, drug agents seized a large amount of currency that was also seized.  

Ms. Nelson was lodged in the Crook County Sheriff’s Jail with the following criminal charges.

Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, and Attempted Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Fentanyl) 

Child Neglect I

Crook County District Attorney, Kari Hathorn, provided the following comment, “My office supports a public safety surge to address the alarming increase in the availability of these fentanyl-laced fake pills. It is the Crook County District Attorney’s Office goal to work with our law enforcement partners and the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team to protect the safety and health of our Crook County community from the harm, crime and overdoses driven by these criminal drug networks.”

Criminal complaints contain only charges; defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

CONTACT FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:   Sgt. Kent Vander Kamp, 541-550-4869 or kentv@deschutes.org 

Senator Ron Wyden is calling for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases related to the Capitol riot investigation and the 2024 election.

The Washington Post and CBS News report Thomas’ wife sent dozens of texts to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pleading with him to help overturn the election results.

Democrat Wyden says judges are obligated to recuse themselves when their participation in a case would create even the appearance of a conflict of interest. He says that bar has been met. None of the texts directly reference the Supreme Court or Justice Thomas.

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A man is facing charges after allegedly crashing his car into a homeless camp in Salem, killing four people.

Police arrested 24-year-old Enrique Rodriguez Jr. on several charges yesterday following his release from the hospital.

Those charges include four counts of first-degree manslaughter along with second-degree assault, third-degree assault and six counts of reckless endangerment. Police say he crashed into the homeless camp near Front and Division streets Northeast early yesterday morning.

Two people died at the scene. Four people were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, and two of those people later died.

Early yesterday morning, several calls were received by 911 dispatchers reporting gunshots being heard at Riverside Park in Grants Pass.  

Callers reported hearing screams coming from the park near the 6th and 7th street bridges.  Within three minutes of receiving the  911 call, police officers arrived and contacted several witnesses who were resting inside their vehicles.  

Responding officers confirmed shots had been fired during the disturbance. Grants Pass Police Detectives responded to the scene and initiated a criminal investigation. Detectives determined nobody had been injured during the shooting.  The incident is an open and active investigation.  

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Detective Heather Yerrick at 541-450-6260.

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the Oregon coast on Saturday, March 26. The quake was centered 266 miles west of Coos Bay in the Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake hit at 6:12 p.m., but did not spark any tsunami warnings.

Following the recent overdose deaths of two high school students in Portland, Central Oregon law enforcement say the battle against Fentanyl is here in Oregon, as well.  

In Deschutes County Sheriff’s officials indicate the amount of fentanyl equal to four grains of sand is enough to kill someone. And, there’s no way for users to know how much they’re taking. 

With illegal manufacturers there’s no state or federal oversight with regard to how much of a drug can go into a pill.  It’s especially dangerous for young people who may not realize Fentanyl is in a pill they’ve been given from a friend.

According to the C-D-C, deaths from Fentanyl among teens have tripled in the past two years.

The Portland Street Response team is expanding city-wide today. The program sends an unarmed team comprised of a firefighter paramedic, a mental health counselor and a peer support responder to respond to non-life-threatening behavioral and mental health crisis calls.

The program started in February of 2021 in the Lents neighborhood. Starting today, it will cover 145 square miles from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a full staff of 20 members. A study released last year from Portland State University found that during its first six months, the Street Response Team was meeting its goals.

A Reed College professor is facing backlash after a video on TikTok appears to show him making racist comments at a local business.

Internet sleuths identified Paul Currie as the man seen in his car arguing with the person recording. During the video, Reed appears to be criticizing a business for hiring what he believes are “illegal immigrants.”

College officials acknowledge the video depicts a faculty member, and they are investigating to see if the person in question violated Reed guidelines.


The U.S. Coast Guard is suspending its search for a man whose fishing boat sank off the Oregon coast, killing one woman.

The Coast Guard says 68-year-old Mike Morgan remains missing. Morgan reportedly sent a may-day call to the Coast Guard around 12 a.m. Saturday saying his 32-foot vessel White Swan III was sinking off the southern Oregon coast. Search crews found an unresponsive female crew member nearby, and she later died.

The Coast Guard says crews searched for Morgan for 24 hours before suspending the search yesterday.

Cyclist Hit By Car in Downtown Medford

A cyclist has been taken to the hospital after being struck by a car that was turning from East Main onto Almond Street in Medford.

“About 12:14 this afternoon, we received a report of a motor vehicle accident: it was a vehicle versus a bicyclist. Once medical personnel and initial responding officers were on scene they determined that the cyclist had serious physical injuries,” said Stephen Furst Medford Police Department’s Sergeant.

Furst stated that they believe the car made too wide of a left turn.

“With the serious physical injury comes the activation of our Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team. Right now the patient has been stabilized and transported to a local hospital and is being treated for their injuries, I do not have an update at this time,” said Furst.

Almond Street was closed until 6 pm. Medford Police Department was on the scene, along with Medford Fire Department, Mercy Flights, and Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR).

“We’re working with detectives who are with the driver and are cooperating with the investigation at this time. Traffic officers are with the STAR team at this time doing a diagram reconstruction of the scene so we can better understand what occurred today,” said Furst. Incident is still under investigation.

More Affordable Housing Approved for Medford

The Medford Urban Renewal Agency has approved financing for the new development to bring more affordable housing to the city’s Liberty Park neighborhood.

The Rogue Valley faced housing shortages even before the Almeda and South Obenchain fires of 2020. More than 2,300 units were lost in the fires tightening access to affordable housing.

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“This is a regional issue. This is not simply what happened in Talent and Phoenix. They bore the brunt of the destruction itself,” says Harry Weiss, the agency’s director. “But being able to house all these people is something that we have to accommodate within the entire Rogue Valley.”

He says the agency was lucky to find three plots of land up for sale, big enough for a large apartment complex.

“The truth is, finding sites to do multi-family housing in the center-city is a hard prospect, mainly because you need a certain amount of land,” says Weiss. “Land is so parcelized in our center-city that it’s hard to assemble property where you can do a significant amount of multi-family.”

Daniel Bunn is the president of Medford-based Rubicon investments, one of the developers chosen for the project. “Different parts of the state, different economic brackets, different cultural groups need different types of housing,” Bunn says. “We’re really focusing in the design phase on making sure not only that the housing is ultimately affordable, but that it’s meeting the needs of the community that we’re targeting.”

Bunn says they’ve already gotten community feedback, such as a greater need for family housing, community kitchen space and play areas for children. He says the group is especially focused on addressing the needs of the Latinx community.

Rubicon investments is teaming up with Portland-based Edlen & Co. on the project. Bunn says this is the first time his company has worked on an affordable housing project, whereas Edlen & Co. has prior experience in this space.

He says Rubicon’s history of working on government projects will help the team get through the red tape that comes with financing low-income housing.

The expected $48 million for construction will be raised primarily through state and federal low-income housing grants, with approximately $5 million coming from the City of Medford.

Applications for the state grants are due in April, with awards expected in August, Bunn says. If the project is approved for state funds, the federal money is included. Construction could finish by the end of 2024.

And this isn’t the only project in the works. Weiss says the agency is also working on another proposed 62-unit complex in downtown. This other property wouldn’t be low income, but would be targeted towards “workforce housing” for middle income individuals.

He says this middle section of housing, designed for those who make 80-120% of the region’s median income, is a challenging type of project, since units don’t benefit from low-income subsidies, nor do they generate as much revenue as high-end apartments.

Weiss says all of these initiatives are about bringing more people into downtown to create a more vibrant Medford.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse For Sale

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse off the northwest coast of Oregon is for sale for $6.5 million.

The island’s isolation, impossible boat landings and extreme weather as well as the lighthouse crews’ dislike of their months-long stays where they were cold, wet and constantly reminded of their dangerous job, earned the tower the nickname “Terrible Tilly.”

Investors had paid $50,000 in 1980 to buy the deteriorating lighthouse, Oregon’s only offshore light station. The structure sits a mile from Tillamook Head between Seaside and Cannon Beach.

The owners converted the structure, which has been brutalized for a century and a half by crashing waves, into the Eternity At Sea columbarium. About 30 funeral urns were interred there before the columbarium’s license was not renewed in 1999 by the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board.

The private Tillamook Rock property, which is part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, can only be reached by helicopter with the owners’ permission.

The Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, designed to guide ships on their treacherous ocean journey to the Columbia River, played a critical role in the development of the Pacific Northwest and World War II shipbuilding.

High Desert Museum to Welcome This Thursday Three Indigenous Artists of “Imagine a World”

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BEND, OR — Entering the High Desert Museum’s original exhibit Imagine a World, visitors are greeted by two life-size, brightly painted astronauts hovering over a mural with blue bison running over a moonscape and flying saucers in the sky above. The display is the artwork of Frank Buffalo Hyde (Onondaga Nation Beaver Clan and Nez Perce).

The Museum will welcome Hyde as well as two other Indigenous artists featured in Imagine a World–Camas Logue (Klamath, Modoc, Northern Paiute) and Brutis Baez (Wasco, Paiute, Warm Springs)—for the panel event “A Future That’s Indigenous” on Thursday, March 31 at 6:00 pm. Doors will open at 5:30 pm.

The three Native artists will explore a concept called Indigenous futurism and discuss their artwork in Imagine a World. Indigenous futurism envisions alternative worlds and recognizes the ways that cosmology, science and futurism have long been part of Indigenous worldviews and oral traditions. Artwork imagines Native people well into the future, including in the realms of science fiction and outer space.

Frank Buffalo Hyde was born in Sante Fe, New Mexico and raised on his mother’s Onondaga reservation in New York. Hyde returned to New Mexico to attend the Santa Fe Fine Arts Institute and Institute of American Indians Arts. His artwork, he says on his website, combines modern culture and technology with Indigenous themes and tradition using “overlapping imagery to mimic the way the mind holds information: nonlinear and without separation (sic). I don’t need permission to make what I make. Never have… no artist should.”

Camas Logue is a weaver, carver, fine woodworker, painter, illustrator, printmaker and musician who lives in the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in northwest 

Washington with his family. Logue’s artwork has been shown at the Portland Art Museum, Northwest Marine Ironworks and Abrons Arts Center in New York City.

Brutis Baez hails from California and Warm Springs, Oregon and has created music since 2002. In 2015, he released “More Than Music,” an autobiographical DVD. His short film Indians on the Moon featured in Imagine a World was also on exhibit in The Museum at Warm Springs 26th Annual Tribal Member Art Exhibit.

The original exhibit Imagine a World will be open at the High Desert Museum through September 25. It examines efforts over the decades to create ideal societies throughout the Western United States from the glass domes of Biosphere 2 to Rajneeshpuram. Learn more at highdesertmuseum.org/imagine-a-world.

Tickets for “A Future That’s Indigenous” are $10 (members receive 20 percent discount) and can be purchased online at highdesertmuseum.org/future-thats-indigenous

 ABOUT THE MUSEUM:

THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in Bend, Oregon in 1982. It brings together wildlife, cultures, art, history and the natural world to convey the wonder of North America’s High Desert. The Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is a Smithsonian Affiliate, was the 2019 recipient of the Western Museums Association’s Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence and was a 2021 recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. To learn more, visit highdesertmuseum.org and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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