Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 5/18 – Oregon Primary Voter Turnout Among Lowest in 60 Years; Proposed Idaho Annex Rejecting Jurisdictional Transfer In Early Returns

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. Light southwest wind becoming west 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Overnight, partly cloudy, low of 39.

Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 59. Northwest wind 7 to 12 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 65. North wind around 7 mph.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 72.

Sunday Sunny, with a high near 76.

Monday Sunny, with a high near 77.

Today’s Headlines

State election officials say early signs indicate yesterday’s turnout for the state primary elections may be among the lowest in the last 60 years.

Officials say through last Friday, only about 17 percent of ballots that had been sent to voters had been returned. The figure at this point was a little higher in the last primary four years ago — a little more than 18 percent.

Voter turnout in the 2018 primary was almost 34 percent. But voter numbers have also surged during this time. There are almost 285-thousand more Oregonians who are registered to vote compared with four years ago.

Details and an official statement from the Klamath Falls City police are yet to come, but we are continuing to follow the story of a chase and a shooting that resulted in the death of one person in downtown Klamath Falls Monday afternoon.

Details and the timeline are sketchy, but the chase was reportedly at one point through several streets in the Mills Addition. It is known that at some point, a bullet had struck at least one Klamath Falls area law enforcement vehicle. Initial reports indicate a female passenger in the vehicle being chased bailed out of a vehicle near Mills school.

According to unconfirmed reports, the chase continued onto commercial near Oak street and ended across the street from Eagle Ridge High School. The high school was put on lockdown as a precaution. Unconfirmed reports say at the end of the chase, the suspect driving the vehicle in pursuit ended their own life with a gunshot. Much of the downtown area was roped off and inaccessible throughout the afternoon and late into the night as the investigation continued.

As more information is released from law enforcement, we will update this story.

Klamath County Fire District 1 responded to an early morning structure fire located at the Klamath Falls City Schools Adult Learning Center.

Crews were dispatched at 1:01 am Monday to the facility on Eberlien street, first arriving units arrived within 4 minutes. Upon arrival, fire and smoke could be seen from one of the modular classroom/offices.

KCFD1 responded with 4 engines, a command unit and 1 ambulance. Additional assistance was provided by Kingsley Field Fire Department, Klamath Falls City Police, Avista Utilities and Pacific Power. Significant damages to the classroom/office were reported.

However, no extension of fire was reported to adjoining buildings or other buildings on the campus. No civilian or fire service injuries. The cause is currently under investigation.

The Mazama High School band finished second in the state in Class 4A in the Oregon School Activities Association competition last week at the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

The Vikings, directed by Rob Izzett, were surpassed only by Gladstone. Mazama received 267 points from the three judges for its performance and sight-reading to edge La Grande, which took third with 265. Gladstone finished with 320 points. 

A go fund me online account to help offset costs of a memorial service has been established for a ten year old girl killed in a vehicle vs. bicyclist accident last Friday afternoon in Klamath Falls.

Ten year old Katie Fridenfelt was killed near the intersection of North 3rd and McKinley street when she was struck by an unnamed motorist around 4pm Friday.

Despite CPR at the scene and live saving measures at Sky Lakes Emergency department, she succumbed to her injuries Friday evening.

The Go Fund Me page is organized by Sari Saluskin. You can find information about the account on Wynne Broadcasting’s Sunny 107 Facebook page.

As Oregon approaches wildfire season, Governor Kate Brown held a news conference Monday with several fire officials to discuss how the state is getting prepared.

Wildfires are becoming more of a threat across the Pacific Northwest, and Oregon has faced several challenging fire seasons over the past few years.

As summer approaches forecasters say Central Oregon has the highest fire risk. The outlook shows above-normal fire risk spreading across the state as the season progresses.

Gov. Kate Brown said Monday that last year’s passage of Senate Bill 762 has allowed the state to add additional seasonal firefighters in preparation for the drier months and purchase more aircraft. Hiring enough firefighters has proven a challenge nationwide this year.

A Blue Star Marker, the first in Klamath County on Highway 140 East and only the fifth such marker in the county, will be dedicated at 2 p.m. Saturday in Bly.

The markers, which are located on highways nationwide, are tributes to U.S. armed forces for defending the nation. Installation of the markers began after World War II by the national garden club.

The idea for the Bly marker began with the Klamath District Garden Club, which partnered with the Bly Community Action Team. After the group raised $1,590, they applied to the National Garden Club to order the marker.

Bly-area resident Pat Phillips, a member of the Klamath District club, helped lead the project. The installation was done by John Richmond, Perry Jones and other volunteers. At Friday’s ceremonies, Vickie Liskey will do the dedication of the marker and Lead Hunter will discuss the history of the marker.

Veterans from American Legion Post 84 and from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6147 will do the flag, rifle volley and taps. Following the ceremonies, which are expected to last about an hour, cookies and punch will be served.

Klamath Falls Streets Division crews will be performing work in Klamath Falls through Friday, May 20, during the hours of 2:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

The scheduled work includes: An asphalt crew will be performing dig outs and paving; Tuesday in the 900 block of Addison Street and the 600 block of Buena Vista Street; Wednesday on the 100 block of Dahlia Street; and Thursday at the South Eighth at Klamath intersection an the 200 block of Ewauna Street.

Paint crews will perform maintenance on the bike lanes on Oregon Ave and North Ninth Street, from Biehn Street to North Ninth Street from Tuesday through Friday. Sign maintenance and sweeping will be performed through Friday as needed.

Four Henley teams will take their wind turbines to San Antonio, Texas, to compete against teams from around the country next week at the KidWind National Challenge Competition.

The two middle school and two high school teams qualified during a regional competition last month by designing and building wind turbines, using 3D printed one-of-a-kind turbine parts and gears. They also utilized CAD designs to laser cut wind turbine blades. At the KidWind Nationalsn, teams will compete in wind tunnel tests, judging interviews, and engineering challenges, including building an off-shore wind turbine that floats while remaining stable enough to generate power.

Students also will have an opportunity to team up with college students to complete a separate engineering challenge.

Henley High School students competing are Travis Jacobson and Logan Parker (team name Tilted Tower) and Sarah Redd, Jaylee Smith, and Cameron Ransom (Keepers of the Winds). Henley Middle School students competing are Leeah Rainville, Will Grayson, Makayla Lambert and Garrett Hernandez, Carston Ransom, and K’den Decker. This will be Henley’s fourth trip to KidWind Nationals. 

Contestants came from as far away as Minnesota for the Klamath Falls Ninja Warrior competition Saturday night at Mike’s Fieldhouse.

But it was an Oregonian who took home the top prize. Jeremy Kaufmann of Portland, the second-to-last contestant, edged out local favorite Benjamin Darrow to win the $1,500.

Klamath Falls’ Silas Sanchez was the only other contestant to finish the course. Kaufmann finished with a time of 1 minute, 24.88 seconds, with Darrow clocking a 1:27.89.

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State election officials say early signs indicate yesterday’s turnout for the state primary elections may be among the lowest in the last 60 years. Officials say through last Friday, only about 17 percent of ballots that had been sent to voters had been returned.

The figure at this point was a little higher in the last primary four years ago — a little more than 18 percent. Voter turnout in the 2018 primary was almost 34 percent. But voter numbers have also surged during this time.

There are almost 285-thousand more Oregonians who are registered to vote compared with four years ago. As of last night: Statewide voter turnout is 29%.

Two Out Of Three Counties Voting On The Proposed Idaho Annex Rejected The Jurisdictional Transfer In Early Returns

Oregonians in two counties appeared to reject a plan Tuesday to annex parts of Oregon into Idaho, while a third county supported the proposal.

The symbolic thumbs down came from voters in Douglas and Josephine counties, while voters in Klamath County backed the measure. The early results indicated the Greater Idaho movement has secured buy-in from slightly less than a majority of the counties outlined in its target areas across Eastern and Southern Oregon, which represents about three-quarters of Oregon’s landmass.

Bomb Threat Suspect Arrested in Grants Pass

Grants Pass, Ore. – Over the weekend, the Grants Pass Police Department received information about a possible bomb threat targeting the Grants Pass area.

Detectives assumed the investigation and determined that 19-year-old Erik Pederson had made the threats. Erik Pederson was apprehended by police on May 16, 2022.

During the investigation and apprehension of Erik Pederson, detectives also discovered other incidents that resulted in a search warrant being granted for Erik Pederson’s residence. Inside the residence police located evidence of animal abuse, chemicals, recipes for destructive devices, and equipment necessary for creating destructive devices. 

Erik Pederson was arrested and lodged at the Josephine County Jail. The charges against Erik Pederson include Menacing, Strangulation, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Aggravated Animal Abuse in the First Degree (4 counts), and Attempted Manufacture of a Destructive Device. 

There is no ongoing threat to the community regarding this investigation. The Grants Pass Police Department would like to thank the citizens who assisted in protecting our community and would also like to encourage the reporting of concerning behaviors, such as animal abuse and violence, as they can be indicators of escalating dangers. Anyone having further information regarding this subject and his activities involving chemicals or explosives is asked to call the Grants Pass Police Department at 541-450-6260.

Further media questions should be directed to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office. Grants Pass Police Department

The Department of Interior last week announced an investment of $240.4 million for infrastructure repairs in fiscal year 2022 from the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed into law by President Biden last November.

Importantly, the IIJA aligns with the solutions advanced by a Western water coalition in 2021 that included more than 230 organizations from 15 states that collectively represent nearly one-third of all agricultural production in the country, and many of the local and regional public water agencies that supply water to more than 75 million urban, suburban, and rural residents.

The coalition was led by a steering committee that included the Family Farm Alliance, Association of California Water Agencies, California Farm Bureau, National Water Resources Association and Western Growers. Public Law 116-260 (December 2020) created a revolving fund called the Aging Infrastructure Account.

Roseburg Mom Helping Other Parents Find Formula With Facebook Group

Local moms are struggling to find baby formula as the national shortage continues. One mom is taking the initiative to start a Facebook group to help parents in Southern Oregon find the formula they need.

Sheila Ullom was a part of a national Facebook group for moms expecting in March, when her daughter was born. She saw a post from a mom who lives in another state, talking about being a member of a separate group to find baby formula.

When she looked to see if there was one locally, there wasn’t one. So she started her own – Formula Finders DC Oregon. https://www.facebook.com/groups/formulafindersdc/

If parents see formula on the shelves in a store, all they have to do is take a picture and upload it to the Facebook

The former romance novelist who’s charged with the murder of her husband — Nancy Crampton-Brophy — says she did not kill her husband at the Oregon Culinary Institute four years ago.

Brophy took the stand in her defense yesterday. She says she was home the night of his murder but prosecutors produced video that showed her driving near the institute around the time he was shot to death. Her husband was a chef at the institute. Brophy is scheduled for cross-examination today.

An invasive crayfish, native to the Midwest and parts of eastern and central Canada, has shown up in Oregon for the first time.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported Monday Northern crayfish were found in the Ashland Canal. The canal links into Bear Creek the Rogue River basin. State officails said the crayfish have also been found in California and Washington waterways.

Home prices have topped the 600-thousand-dollar mark in Portland last month for the first time ever.

According to local real estate data, new listings fell by more than nine percent over a year ago at this time. The total time a house spends on the market has fallen to 21 days. Last month, the most active areas for listings were in West Portland and Southeast Portland.

State health officials are urging schools across Oregon to return to COVID-19 safety measures as cases of COVID-19 begin to increase again.

Six counties — including the tri-county metro area — saw their COVID-19 levels rise from low to medium this past week. Cases in the metro area are up more than 40 percent from woo weeks ago. State health officials say schools should reinstate masking policies before returning to remote learning again.

Police in Eugene responded to what was described as an unruly gathering at a house that led to dozens of people either being ticketed or arrested this weekend.

Police say there were about 100 people on the scene on Hilyard Street at the time they arrived Saturday following calls of a disturbance. Most of the tickets were for noise violations and open containers. It’s the third time in recent weeks that Eugene police have responded to an unruly gathering.

May is Wildfire Prevention Month and ODOT and Keep Oregon Green want to make sure your summer memories don’t include starting a wildfire.

Over 70% of wildfires are caused by people and in Oregon last year, cars were the number one source of wildfires during the summer months.

With persistent and deepening drought conditions, we’re all becoming more aware of the potential wildfire dangers our vehicles pose. And that means we all need to remember the lessons about how to make sure our vehicles don’t cause devastating wildfires.

Here are tips for making sure you and your vehicle don’t start a fire.

  • Stay on hardened surfaces when pulling off the road. Avoid dry grass that might come in contact with your vehicle’s hot exhaust system or catalytic converter.
  • Never, ever toss a lit cigarette or ANY burning materials from your vehicle.
  • Carry a fire extinguisher with you and know how to use it. You may save lives by putting out a small fire before it turns huge.
  • Maintain proper tire pressure. Driving on rims will throw off sparks.
  • Secure tow chains and make sure they aren’t dragging. That can cause sparks.
  • Maintain your exhaust system. A worn-out catalytic converter can cast off extremely hot pieces of material into dry roadside grass and brush.
  • If you see something, say something. Warn others of the dangers of behaving carelessly with fireworks or other flammables.
  • Stay on the road. Off-road driving is prohibited in most areas during fire season.
  • Be prepared. Keep a cell phone, water, a shovel and a fire extinguisher with you in case a fire starts.
  • Service your vehicle regularly by a trained mechanic. Heat and electrical sparks coming into contact with leaking flammable car fluids can easily start a fire.

The wildfire risk gradually increases as grasses cure, forests dry out and winds give accidental sparks or car fires the ability to spread quickly. Remember, we all have a role in preventing wildfires in Oregon, especially as extended drought conditions create a greater window of opportunity for roadside ignitions.

Governor Kate Brown declared an “abnormal market interruption” Friday, due to the nationwide baby formula shortage.

“That allows Oregon’s price gouging laws to kick in and allows us to regulate and go after any businesses who are upping the price of baby formula,” says Kristina Edmunson with the Oregon Department of Justice.

She says it’s already happening, mostly on websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, “We’re seeing individuals who are selling to other individuals at really high prices. And we’re also seeing people who might hear of a shipment that comes into a store and goes into the store and purchases a high amount of this formula. And that’s why many stores have put the restrictions on.”

The shortage is due to a major recall of one brand, combined with labor shortages and supply chain issues. Edmunson tells KBND News, “We want to make sure that families who need this formula are able to go into their grocery store. So, we want to make sure that people have as much access to the limited supply of baby formula as there is right now.”  Report suspected violations to the Attorney General’s price gouging hotline at 503-378-8442 or online.

You’ll find more information on the statute at the Oregon DOJ’s website

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