Klamath Basin News, Monday, 5/2 – Oregon Tech Board of Trustees Conducting Performance Review of President Dr. Nagi Naganathan; Kate Brown Ranked Most Unpopular Governor in the Country

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Monday, May 2, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A chance of rain and snow showers before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 48. Breezy, with a west wind 15 to 24 mph. Overnight cloudy with a low around 31.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 66. Clear overnight with a low of 35.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 78.
Thursday A 20% chance of showers after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 67.
Friday A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 64.
Saturday A chance of rain and snow showers.

Today’s Headlines

The Oregon Tech board of trustees held a special executive committee meeting on Sunday morning, to discuss the list of people that will be contacted by an outside consultant as part of a performance review of the university’s president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, who has been at the helm of the polytechnic university since 2016.

The special executive session was held virtually on Sunday morning due to the “very condensed schedule” set by the outside consultant, according to Board Chair Jessica Gomez. Members present at the meeting included Gomez, Vince Jones, Fred Ziari, and Paul Stewart. There were also some community observers as well as the university’s general council, David Groff.

In the meeting, the attending board members discussed the groups that would be contacted for a full interview by the outside consultant regarding their interactions and feelings on Naganathan.

These groups included: members of the Board of Trustees; university vice presidents and those that report directly to President Naganathan; university faculty and members of the faculty senate; unclassified staff; student representatives, including the current Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology (ASOIT) presidents; community and government leaders; and finally members of the Alumni Advisory and Oregon Tech Foundation boards as well as stakeholders and donors.

The Klamath County Board of Commissioners will consider awarding a $2.37 million contract to replace sidewalks on Homedale Road.

The work generally consists of removing and replacing 12,000 linear feet of curb, gutter, and sidewalks, along with asphalt patching, drainage improvements, and traffic control.

The work is primarily located on Homedale Road between Delaware Avenue and Oregon Highway 140 in Klamath County. County originally estimated the cost of the project at between $1.8 million to $2.1 million. Rocky Mountain Construction LLC was the only bidder and submitted a $2.37 million bid.

While the excitement builds for three nationally known music acts to headline the Klamath County Fair this year, issues are sprouting up about third-party ticket sales.

In a press release last week, the fair board reminds residents and fairgoers that fair concert tickets are available for purchase at the fairgrounds office or at www.klamathcountyfair.com.

Any tickets purchased from a third party ticket site or venue are not valid for entry at the door, and can not be refunded.  If you’re interested in buying a ticket for Rodney Atkins, Daughtry, or Martina McBride, please visit klamathcountyfair.com. 

The city of Klamath Falls is looking to secure state money to help replace the popular but aging waterslide at Ella Redkey Pool.

The slide replacement is part of a package of improvements at the city complex on Main Street. The waterslide at the pool is 19 years old and needs replaced, according to city staff.

“The current slide is beyond the normal life expectancy, due to the cumulative corrosive effects of multiple winters exposed to the harsh climate of the Klamath Basin and the wear and tear of years of use,” according to city documents that part of state grant application to help fund the new slide.

The new slide is part of larger improvement program and capital campaign for the Redkey Pool complex. The city is also raising funds to renovate the pool’s locker rooms, install new and improved Americans with Disabilities Act walkways and create a new plaza area.

The cost to replace the slide is $141,840, according to Brielle George, community activities supervisor for Klamath Falls. George said the cost includes “removal of the existing slide, new equipment, installation, and permitting.”

On Saturday, April 30, K9 Artie and his handler positively identified fentanyl pills during a traffic stop in the area near Highway 97 and Hotlum, a one hour’s drive from Klamath Falls.

According to the Mount Shasta Police Department, K9 Artie and his handler were called in by a member of the Siskiyou County DHE team. Once on scene officials say K9 Artie sniffed the stopped vehicle and provided a positive alert to the presence of narcotics.

 Officers recovered approximately 10 pounds of Fentanyl pills in the trunk of the vehicle and the driver was arrested on felony drug charges including transportation and possession for sales.

Around the state of Oregon

Street drug users in Southern Oregon are being warned of a risk of fentanyl overdose deaths in school-aged youth.

The Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which includes several southern Oregon agencies, is warning Oregon schools and parents about the threat of overdose due to counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 40% of all counterfeit pills in circulation contain fatal amounts of fentanyl.

More information containing a bulletin guidance for schools and parents is available online at http://oridhidta.org/fentanyl-information.

ODF is hosting an additional virtual information session today Friday, April 29, 2022, starting 3pm.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is the most unpopular governor in the country, according to a new poll.

The survey by Morning Consult gauges approval and disapproval of U.S. governors. Brown, a Democrat, ranks at the bottom with a 54% disapproval rating and a 41% approval rating, according to Morning Consult. The research survey firm queried more than 600 registered voters in each state during the first quarter of 2022.

The most popular governors are Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker, Vermont’s Phil Scott and Maryland’s Larry Hogan. They are moderate Republicans and enjoy approval ratings of more than 70%.

Beyond the first quarter, survey Brown has faced recent criticism for granting clemency to the convicted killer of 19-year-old woman. The governor’s has not yet responded to a request for comment about the approval numbers. Brown was also of one of the more aggressive governors in the U.S. with COVID-19 mandates and orders.

The state and its image and tourism sector have also had to deal with negative national perceptions of civil unrest and rises in crime and homelessness in Portland.

The Biden administration wants to bring windmills and wind energy developments to the Oregon Coast.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Wednesday the government is opening up preliminary processes, including soliciting public comments and gauging interest from the energy sector, for bringing offshore wind energy farms about 12 nautical miles from Coos Bay and Brookings.

The Oregon coastal areas comprise 1.16 million acres, according to the federal government. The windmill push is part of renewable energy effort from the Biden administration and a marked change from President Donald Trump, a vehement and vocal opponent of windmills.

U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton said the project will create “good-paying, union jobs deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030,” according to a release announcing the wind effort.

Josephine County Sheriff’s Office Serves Another Marijuana Search Warrant 

Last Thursday, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) in partnership with the Oregon State Police Southwest Regional Marijuana Team, Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) consisting of Grants Pass Police Department, Josephine County Parole and Probation, and Josephine County Code Enforcement conducted a search warrant in the 2200 block of Azalea Drive regarding an illegal outdoor marijuana growing operation.

During the execution of the warrant, approximately 7600 marijuana plants were located in greenhouses on the property. 

The marijuana plants were seized and destroyed. Additionally, multiple firearms and equipment used for the unlawful manufacturing of marijuana were seized.  

Paula Powell, 64, was arrested and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacture of Marijuana.   

At the time of this press release the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released. Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office

Man Arrested for Armed Robbery in Ashland

On April 27, 2022, at approximately 7:45 p.m. officers from the Ashland Police Department, assisted by the Talent Police Department, responded to the area of the 2300 block of McCall Dr for a report of a robbery.

The investigation revealed that a man was witnessed breaking into a vehicle parked at a residence and stealing items from the car. The vehicle owner confronted the suspect and demanded his property back. The suspect pulled a handgun on the victim and told the victim to back away, fleeing the area on foot with the man’s property. 

On April 28, 2022, officers from the APD obtained security camera recordings of the robbery portion of the incident from an area business and subsequently identified the suspect as Phoenix Braun, 20 years old, address listed as being an Ashland area transient. Braun was taken into custody without incident and lodged at the Jackson County Jail on charges of Robbery 1st Degree, Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, Theft 2nd Degree and Unlawfully Entering of a Motor Vehicle.

The District Attorney’s office was consulted and additional charges may be forthcoming. Ashland Police Dept.

Riot at Grants Pass Juvenile Justice Center

On Sunday at approximately 6:45 pm,  the Grants Pass Police Department received a phone call from a Josephine County Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) employee.

The employee reported a male juvenile being housed on the detention side of the facility just assaulted one of the other juveniles housed at the facility. The male juvenile refused when ordered to get onto the floor or return to his cell. The situation escalated quickly, with other housed youths joined in open defiance to JJC staff. 

Within moments of the original call to the Police Department, two male and one female resident of JJC began destroying the common area of the secured side of the facility. The youths pushed items against the doors leading into the secured area to prevent law enforcement intervention. Every police unit from Grants Pass Police responded to the facility. Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office assisted, along with medical personnel from AMR and Grants Pass Fire/Rescue.

In addition to the three main participants of the disturbance, five other youths were present but secured inside their respective cells. The youth suspects attempted to break glass leading into the facility’s control room and individual cells of other youths that were not involved. Officers assigned to the Crisis Negotiations Team and Options Mental Health professionals responded to the scene to de-escalate the situation. 

When the youths refused to negotiate and armed themselves with make-shift weapons, The Grants Pass SWAT Team was activated for additional personnel and equipment to resolve the incident. Pepper ball munitions were introduced into the environment to encourage the youths to surrender. At one point, near the end of the incident, two of the youths threatened the life of the third youth by holding a make-shift-edged weapon to the neck of the third involved incarcerated youth. 

Officers and Deputies forced their way into the barricaded space and took all three youths into custody. Nobody other than the initial assault victim was injured during the incident. During the nearly two-hour standoff, the facility suffered several thousands of dollars in damage. The facility was rendered completely unusable, forcing all of the youths residing on the detention side of the facility to be moved to other regional facilities. 

All three offending juveniles were arrested on new charges and transported to regional juvenile facilities. The Grants Pass Police would like to thank all partner agencies who assisted with the incident and its ultimate resolution.  Grants Pass Police Department 

A process to assign wildfire risk to individual properties in Oregon is getting more time to develop.

Oregon’s Department of Forestry (ODF) says today it is extending a public comment period about a statewide wildfire risk map into next month. ODF says its public hearings to get feedback this month about rules setting criteria for wildland-urban interface and development of a statewide wildfire risk map are required by Senate Bill 762 from 2021. 

It says that during the public hearings it fielded several requests for more time to comment about the proposed rules. ODF says the rules will be used by Oregon State University to develop and maintain the statewide wildfire risk map, which includes assigning one of five risk classes to individual properties. The rules establish the notification process to property owners and how to appeal assignment of a risk classification.

ODF is hosting an additional virtual information session today Friday, April 29, 2022, starting 3pm.

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A 30-year-old man stole an ambulance from an Oregon accident scene and led police on a wild chase along Interstate 5 Friday night.

According to the Oregon State Police, the incident occurred on April 29 just after 7:30 p.m. when troopers and an ambulance responded to “single vehicle crash on Interstate 5″ near Woodburn.

The driver of the crashed vehicle, Noor Mohammad Baheej, 30 of Winnetka, California, fled the scene by stealing an ambulance, according to police. Noor drove north on I-5 into Portland with police in pursuit. There were attempts to “pin the ambulance but Baheej rammed a patrol vehicle, struck a building and was able to continue to elude troopers”, OSP said in a release on the incident.

Baheej eventually tried to gain entry into another car on the freeway and was detained by troopers, according to police. He faces DUII, reckless driving, eluding police and other charges.

Two people were injured in an assault at a rally for a candidate for Oregon governor in downtown Portland Saturday afternoon, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

Just after noon on Saturday, officers received reports of a group throwing items such as smoke grenades at another group in the area of Southwest Third Avenue and Southwest Main Street.

PPB said the assault happened at a campaign event for Oregon Republican gubernatorial candidate Stan Pulliam.

A sergeant began monitoring the situation and gathering available resources, although there were only a few available officers. Members of the group drove away and met officers nearby at the request of PPB.

Two people were hurt by mortars. One man had an injury to his hand and a woman complained of hearing loss. The victims planned to seek medical treatment on their own. There was evidence balloons filled with paint and other substances were thrown at people and vehicles. Portland police and Portland Fire & Rescue arson investigators responded to the scene once resources were in place. The suspects left the area, and no immediate arrests were made.

A Salem father is charged with attempted second-degree murder in connection to a shooting that left his son with life-threatening injuries.

Police responded to the shooting Wednesday night at an apartment on Woodside Drive Southeast. They found 24-year-old Timothy Quantrell Brewer Jr. with a gunshot wound. He was taken to Salem Health Hospital, where he’s on a life-support system. Police say 42-year-old Timothy Quantrell Brewer Sr. fled to Albany, where he was arrested.

SALEM, Ore. – With much of Oregon seeing another year of continued drought and the wildfire outlook for this summer very concerning, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal would like to remind Oregonians of the importance of defensible space around their home and property. 

Good defensible space can not only prevent embers from igniting your home, but it can also prevent flames from reaching your home altogether. You can protect your home and community from wildfire with some simple steps. 

A key to good defensible space is to keep it defined, keep grass and weeds cut low and always be prepared to respond to wildfire. With this in mind, the Office of State Fire Marshal urges you to look around your property. Look for areas where glowing embers could ignite spot fires and vulnerable areas like decks, patios, and fences that can spread flames to your home. The most significant risk of buildings catching on fire during a wildfire is the advancing ember shower that can reach your property long before an actual flame front. 

“Wildfire safety starts with all of us and our property. Now is a good time to take action to prepare our homes, families, and communities for wildfires by starting on our property before there is smoke on the horizon,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. 

To address the risk of wildfire, the Office of State Fire Marshal recommends the following steps people can take right now to help protect themselves against the upcoming fire season: 

  • Clear roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris, and pine needles that could catch embers
  • Ensure your roof is in good repair
  • Move any flammable material away from exterior walls, i.e., mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles
  • Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches
  • Give your home a non-combustible area where a fire in the landscape can’t reach your home
  • Keep lawns and native grasses mowed during high fire danger conditions.
  • Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns.

While defensible space at the individual home offers protection, communities can be better protected when every home in the area creates defensible space. This significantly increases the chances that more homes will survive a wildfire event. 

“By taking a neighborhood approach to defensible space and community preparedness, you also protect our firefighters,” Ruiz-Temple said. “Ultimately, individuals taking the right steps on their property before fire season will make firefighters safer and more effective.”

New Wildlife License Plates Start This Week

Oregon drivers can start watching for the new wildlife license plates on cars starting this week.

Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicles Services (DMV) will start issuing a new “Watch for Wildlife” license plate May 4 for the Oregon Wildlife Foundation as a tag available for passenger cars only.

Oregon car owners can order a set of the license plates starting May 4 online through DMV2U or at a DMV field office.  Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says DMV field offices are open for walk-up service and some offices also offer appointments, and, “You can also order the plates when you purchase a car at an Oregon dealership. To maintain fair distribution of desirable low plate numbers, DMV will not accept pre-orders.”

ODOT says this license plate raises funds for the Oregon Wildlife Foundation through an additional $40 donation when DMV issues, renews or replaces the plates.  It says, “That (money) is in addition to plate manufacture, registration, and any other vehicle fees that normally apply.”

ODOT says customers who purchased $40 vouchers from the Foundation during the plate’s launch phase can use the voucher at a DMV office or when purchasing a car at an Oregon car dealership, but not online at DMV2U.  It says all plate holders will be able to renew online the next time their registration fees are due.

The Watch for Wildlife plates begin at WW 00001, and DMV issues them in order.  ODOT says, “You cannot reserve a specific plate number in the series, but can apply for a custom configuration.”  FOR MORE INFO: https://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/pages/vehicle/plates.aspx

Portland City Council is giving final approval to a plan that puts 82nd Avenue under control of the city instead of the state.

That will allow the city to make improvements to the seven-mile long high-crash corridor. The state and the city will spend 185-million dollars to bring the street up to the city’s code. More than 20-thousand vehicles a day use 82nd Avenue.

PacifiCorp continues to advance its clean energy transition with its 2022 request for new energy projects 

 Proposals sought for projects on-line by year-end 2025 through end of 2027

PacifiCorp issued an all-source request for proposals April 29 for new energy projects, seeking competitively priced resources that can connect to its 10-state transmission system.

These projects are anticipated to continue to expand the amount of renewable and non-emitting energy resources serving customers in six western states. The company does business as Pacific Power in California, Oregon and Washington, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

PacifiCorp’s most recent Integrated Resource Plan outlines the need for 1,345 megawatts of new wind and solar generation resources, combined with 600 megawatts of co-located energy storage resources within the next six years. The request calls for bids with commercial operation dates by December 31, 2027, although PacifiCorp expressed a preference for bids which can come online by the end of 2025 or during 2026.

The company will accept bids featuring different resource types and bid structures, including build-transfer, power purchase, and tolling agreements for generating and storage resources as well as professional services contracts for resources such as demand-response proposals.

PacifiCorp will accept new and existing resources, subject to certain conditions, with terms between 5 and 30 years. Bids associated with these resources will be required to demonstrate an ability to be operational and deliver firm energy by December 31, 2027, or December 31, 2028, for long-lead time resources such as pumped storage hydroelectric resources and nuclear.

To support this request for proposals and assure a fair and transparent process, three Independent Evaluators will provide oversight services for the Public Utility Commission of Oregon, the Public Service Commission of Utah, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

“These projects continue PacifiCorp’s longstanding and enduring commitment to create an energy future that is affordable, reliable and increasingly sustainable,” said Rick Link, PacifiCorp senior vice president of resource planning and procurement. “This process will help realize that future and enable our customers and communities across the West to benefit from low-cost renewable energy to grow their economies, run their businesses and homes, and power industry.”

The 2022 all-source request for proposals is based on findings from a broad range of studies and technical analyses developed through an open and extensive public process, with input from an active and diverse group of stakeholders, including customer advocacy groups, community members, utility regulators and other interested parties. PacifiCorp met with stakeholders in five states and hosted 20 public-input meetings over 19 months to develop a plan to provide the cleanest, least-risk and lowest-cost electricity for customers.

While it is anticipated that most bids will feature wind, solar and energy storage resources, projects of any variety of qualifying energy production will be considered, allowing developers to present technologies and resources that fit their business model and best position them to compete in the energy market. PacifiCorp anticipates a robust response and a diversity of proposals.

Detailed information about the 2022 all-source request for proposals is available here:

PacifiCorp’s 2022 All-Source Request for Proposals

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