Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 6/8 – Crater Lake National Park Gears Up For Summer Visitors Amid High Gas Prices, Seasonal Worker Shortages

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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Partly sunny, with a high near 79. Calm winds to 9mph. Overnight partly cloudy with a low near 46.

Thursday Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Calm wind becoming northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Cloudy overnight, low of 47.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 84.
Saturday A slight chance of showers, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 78. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Sunday A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 65. Overnight low of 38.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 68.

Today’s Headlines

From the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, members of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Bluebill Lane and Wigeon Drive for the report of a possible Arson.

Upon their arrival in the area, a female was contacted who advised her camper trailer and pickup had been set on fire while she and her two dogs were sleeping inside.

Initial arriving Fire crews from Klamath County Fire District #5 and the Oregon Department of Forestry contained the fire to the pickup and travel trailer, stopping it from spreading to the Wildland.

Through further investigation, deputies learned 32-year-old Porsha Weaver had intentionally set the trailer on fire, stole a nearby vehicle, and fled the scene.

The stolen vehicle has been recovered, however, Porsha Weaver has not yet been located.

If you know who she is and wish to report Porsha Weaver’s whereabouts anonymously, call us at 541-850-5380.

A 41-year-old man was arrested at a rest area on Highway 97 in Klamath Falls after state police troopers discovered he had outstanding arrest warrants.

Oregon State Police detained Justin Linza O’Neil at the Midland Rest Area on Highway 97 on May 28, after troopers found he had outstanding warrants related to arson charges at a marijuana growing operation.

Those charges stem from last year. O’Neil’s pleaded not guilty to the felony charges after his arrest and being arraigned May 31.

Southern Oregon and the northernmost reaches of California have seen a proliferation of illegal marijuana farms and grow houses providing unlicensed and unregulated cannabis to buyers in states were pot is still illegal. There is also demand for illegal weed stemming from legal cannabis being as much as 40% more expensive with taxes and other government levies imposed by California, Oregon and other states with legalization statutes.

While managers at Crater Lake National Park are gearing up for the summer season, there’s still uncertainty from how escalating gas prices, challenges in hiring seasonal employees and opening a temporary visitor contact station will affect visitation.

“We are moving back toward normal operations, but we have not yet arrived. A lot of people are anxious for it to be summer,” Superintendent Craig Ackerman said. “We don’t know yet how rising costs are going to affect visitation,” he added, referring to escalating costs for gasoline, lodging and meals.

A foreshadowing of what might come happened over the Memorial Day Weekend, when visitation skyrocketed. But, with 10 inches of fresh snow over the weekend and the ongoing closure of West Rim Drive and the park’s North Entrance, once in the park visitors had limited choices.

After an usually dry December and January, which included 35 days of no precipitation, park officials had expected to open West Rim Drive and the North Entrance unusually early. But, just as snowplow crews had nearly completed efforts to open those roads, a series of storms, along with falling rocks, scuttled those opening plans. Ackerman said he hopes they will be open within the next two weeks. West Rim Drive, however, is currently open to Discovery Point.

Gasoline prices in Oregon are almost $3 higher per gallon from two years and $2 higher than a year ago and diesel fuel is approaching the $6 per gallon mark statewide.

That is according to latest figures from GasBuddy and AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.

According to GasBuddy (which tracks fuel prices), Oregon’s gas prices averaged $2.40 per gallon in June 2020 and $3.38 per gallon a year ago. GasBuddy reports gas prices currently average $5.38 per gallon statewide.

On Monday, AAA pegged the average price of gasoline in Oregon at $5.42 per gallon, another record high in a string of record highs.

Around the state of Oregon

Employment Department announces new minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts

June 8, 2022 (Salem, OR) — Today, the Oregon Employment Department announced the new annual minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts (WBAs) for regular unemployment insurance (UI). For new regular UI claims filed in Oregon on or after July 3, 2022, the minimum and maximum WBAs will increase by approximately 7%.

This increase will be a significant income boost for new claimants who receive the minimum or maximum WBA. During the most recent quarter, 15% of regular UI recipients received the minimum WBA, and 20% received the maximum WBA.

The 7% increase is the result of growth in Oregon’s average weekly wage during 2021. Starting July 3, 2022, the minimum WBA for new regular UI claims will increase by $12, from $171 to $183 per week. The maximum WBA for new regular UI claims will increase by $50, from $733 to $783 per week. Individuals who file new regular UI claims prior to July 3, 2022, will continue receiving the same WBA they had been receiving.

Under Oregon law (ORS 657.150(4)), the Oregon Employment Department recalculates the minimum and maximum WBAs for regular UI benefits annually. The department sets amounts as percentages of the average weekly wage earned by Oregonians. The minimum WBA is 15% of the average weekly wage, and the maximum WBA is 64%. Both dollar amounts are rounded down to the nearest dollar, as required by law.

For more information, visit OED’s regular UI benefits calculator.

A 32-year-old climbing guide from Redmond Oregon died from a fall on Mount Shasta on Monday.

Jillian Elizabeth Webster was unresponsive after falling and receiving CPR from a nurse climbing nearby. Webster was flown by a CHP helicopter to Mercy Mount Shasta where she was later pronounced deceased.

Webster was tethered with two other climbers while ascending the mountain above Helen Lake. One of the climbers slipped, causing the trio to fall approximately 1,500-2,500 vertical feet on snow and ice.

The male climber was in critical condition after suffering an open fracture on his lower leg, as well as head trauma. He was flown by CHP helicopter to the parking lot and transferred to an air ambulance for a flight to Mercy Mount Shasta where he was reported to be under observation and recovering as of Monday evening.

The female climber was alert, and suffered a fracture to her lower leg. She was als flown to the parking area at Ski Bowl, where she was transferred to an ambulance and driven to Mercy Medical Center Mount Shasta. She was reported to be under observation and recovering.

This incident was reported shortly after 8:30 AM on Monday, June 6. It was the first of three such rescue efforts the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office would conduct Monday. The second incident was reported just after 12:30 PM.

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The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is searching for a missing man last seen in Ashland on Monday, May 30.

Harold Marcrum, 26, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is described as a white male, 6’ tall weighing between 180 to 200 pounds, according to police. He has blue eyes and blonde hair. He was last seen wearing a black shirt with black shoes.

Marcrum went missing May 30 on South Valley Road, according to police. A missing person alert was issued for the Pennsylvania man on Saturday, June 4.

Marcrum told his brother he was going for a walk one a greenway that connects to downtown Ashland. “Harold left his wallet and cell phone behind but took his laptop,” according to JCSO.

Bend Police are investigating the death of a person found in an apartment complex early Tuesday morning.

The body was discovered around 2:30 a.m. when fire crews responded to smoke inside the complex on Northeast Dagget Lane. Active fire was found on the second floor of the two-story unit; the body was on the first floor. 

While investigating the cause of the fire, authorities identified a person of interest and an arrest was made several blocks away. Firefighters had control of the blaze by 3:30 a.m. The Red Cross is helping tenants whose units were damaged by water from the sprinkler system. 

The arson and death investigation are ongoing, and the identities of the suspect and the victim have not been released.

Oregon posted an 11% weekly drop in identified coronavirus cases Monday, marking the second week of declining case counts.

The Oregon Health Authority recorded 9,800 confirmed or presumed infections in the past week, or 1,400 a day, down from 1,579 daily cases last week.

The significance of the drop is difficult to precisely measure but may indicate fewer infections spreading across Oregon.

Unlike earlier in the pandemic, publicly reported cases now represent an even smaller fraction of true infections, with many Oregonians opting for at-home testing that doesn’t show up in the state’s official numbers. Test positivity rates among publicly reported tests remain high, at 12.3% for the past three days, although down from the previous weekend.

Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Ceremony June 9th


Each year, the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Ceremony honors the sacrifices of brave individuals that protect our state. This year’s ceremony will be held on June 9, 2022 at 1pm at the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST).

Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) 4190 Aumsville HighwaySalem, Oregon 97317

Please join us on this day as we gather to honor four fire service members who made the ultimate sacrifice: Firefighter/Squad Boss Frumencio Ruiz-Carapia, Captain Richard Ilg, Captain Harry E. Klopfenstein, and Lieutenant Jerry A. Richardson. The 2022 ceremony will be open to the public for any who would like to attend in-person, as well as streamed live via DPSST’s Facebook webpage. Afterward, a link to a recording of the ceremony will be posted as soon as the video is ready to be shared. 

Ruiz-Carapia, who worked for GE Forestry Inc., was killed in the line of duty on August 23, 2021 when he was struck by a falling tree during the Gales Fire in Lane County. Forest Grove Fire & Rescue’s Captain Ilg passed away from work-related brain cancer after long battle on September 12, 2021. Silverton Fire District’s Captain Klopfenstein passed of cardiac complications on September 25, 2021 following a response to a motor vehicle crash. Lastly, on November 19, 2021, Lieutenant Jerry Richardson lost his battle with cancer and passed away after being diagnosed with mesothelioma after serving as a firefighter and fire paramedic for over 34 years.

In preparation for Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial, the names of the four fallen firefighters were recently etched into the memorial wall alongside the names of 170 other firefighters who are already honored and remembered on the State’s memorial. Families of the fallen were in attendance at the engraving event alongside members of the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard who stood watch while the names were added.

Background information on Frumencio Ruiz-Carapia – Frumencio Ruiz-Carapia passed away at 56 years old during the Gales Fire in Lane County when a tree suddenly snapped, crashing to the ground and striking Ruiz-Carapia. Ruiz-Carapia succumbed to his injuries at the scene despite efforts from his crew to save him. Immediately following his death, responders wrapped him in the American flag and formed a procession before his body was prepared for transport home to Medford, where he would eventually be sent to Queretaro, Mexico where his mother and brother live. Ruiz-Carapia was a 20-year firefighting veteran where he was known to be a kind, caring, upbeat individual that loved his wife and three children. Unfortunately, he was due to return home the day following his death where his wife had his favorite food prepared for him.

Background information on Richard “Rick” Ilg – Rick Ilg passed away peacefully in his home on September 12, 2021 after a courageous battle against brain cancer. He was just 49 years old. Ilg began his career with Forest Grove Fire & Rescue in 2003 after working as a Paramedic with Metro West Ambulance. During his years of service with Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, he became the department’s highest decorated firefighter with several commendations and awards in service to the community, including the department’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor, which he earned during a daring technical rescue in the Oregon Coast Range Mountains in 2014. Ilg was known in his region as a highly respected and regarded Paramedic who had an incredible ability to remain calm and collected on high-risk calls. Ilg is survived by a wife and daughter.

Background information on Harry E. Klopfenstein – On September 24, 2021 Harry Klopfenstein responded to a motor vehicle crash in Silverton, Oregon. The next day, Klopfenstein was assisting a neighbor near his property where he collapsed and eventually succumbed to cardiac complications at Silverton Hospital less than 24 hours after responding to the vehicle incident. Klopfenstein selflessly gave 33 years of service as a volunteer for Silverton Fire District as well as owned KS Seeds, but he was happiest when working with his family on the farm. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, five sons, and several grandchildren.

Background information on Jerry A. Richardson – Jerry Richardson, 56, passed away on November 19, 2021 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Richardson, a loving husband and father of two, started his life of service as a volunteer at Selah Fire Department in Montebello, California when he was just a junior in high school. After graduating high school, Jerry enlisted in the United States Air Force where he served as an airbase firefighter for four years. After the military, Richardson studied to become a Paramedic and began his firefighting career at Cottage Grove Fire in 1992. In 1999, Richardson started at Portland Fire & Rescue where he would become a well-respected Lieutenant and leader. Richardson enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, baseball, softball, coaching, woodworking, and church, but he valued his family most. In 1993, Richardson married the love of his life, Heather, and soon after they would expand their family with the birth of their children, Eddie and Kaylee. Though Richardson battled cancer for the last three years of his life, he still managed to find joy in each day.

If you have any questions regarding the Memorial, please contact Fire Program Manager Julie Olsen at 503-378-2297 or julie.olsen@dpsst.oregon.gov or Fire Certification Coordinator Brooke Bell-Uribe at 503-378-2254 or rooke.bell-uribe@dpsst.oregon.gov“>brooke.bell-uribe@dpsst.oregon.gov.

Give blood in honor of World Blood Donor Day

Blood donors needed ahead of summer break, when donations typically decline  


American Red Cross Home

Each year on June 14, the American Red Cross joins blood collection organizations around the world to celebrate World Blood Donor Day, which recognizes the importance of a safe and stable blood supply and the donors who make it possible.

Nearly 2.5 million people volunteer to give lifesaving blood and platelets every year with the Red Cross. Eligible donors are encouraged to be part of something big by making an appointment to give blood or platelets this month. 

Blood donations decline in late spring and early summer – especially during holiday weeks, like Memorial Day and Independence Day – but the need for blood and platelet transfusions doesn’t take a summer break. 

Generous blood and platelet donors are critically important in ensuring lifesaving care is available the moment patients need it. To schedule an appointment to donate, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit https://rdcrss.org/findappt1 or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

A few upcoming blood donation opportunities June 14-30:

June 14

  • Riversgate Church, 7634 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR, 12pm-5pm
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Vancouver Stake Center, 10509 SE 5th St., Vancouver, WA, 1pm-7pm
  • Venue 252, 252 Lawrence Street, Eugene, OR, 11am-4pm
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Medford Stake, 2900 Juanipero Way Medford, OR, 1pm-6pm

June 17

  • Hollywood Library, 4040 NE Tillamook St, Portland, OR, 12pm-5pm
  • Chick-fil-a, 16320 SE Mill Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA, 10am-4pm

June 21

  • Fight the Bite, Give Blood, 4252 SE International Way, Ste J, Milwaukie, OR, 7:30am-1pm

Find a drive or donation site near you by visiting https://rdcrss.org/findappt1 and putting in your zip code.

Find blood donation b-roll here: https://vimeopro.com/americanredcross/biomed-b-roll/video/658677305

Health insights for donors 

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.    

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.  

Blood drive safety 

The Red Cross follows a high standard of safety and infection control. The Red Cross will continue to socially distance wherever possible at blood drives, donation centers and facilities. While donors are no longer required to wear a face mask, individuals may choose to continue to wear a mask for any reason. The Red Cross will also adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance, or at the request of blood drive sponsors. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at a drive.  

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit https://rdcrss.org/findappt1, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross. —- American Red Cross – Cascades Region

OSU Names New President

Jayathi Y. Murthy, a national leader in higher education engineering teaching, research and service, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, was announced Tuesday as Oregon State University’s next president.

Murthy is the first woman of color to lead OSU.

Murthy, 64, who has served as the dean of the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science since 2016 and previously worked at several other top engineering universities and in the private sector, will become OSU’s 16th president Sept. 9.  She will succeed Becky Johnson, who has served as OSU’s interim president since May 1, 2021, and will remain OSU’s president through Sept. 8.

Oregon State’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday morning to approve Murthy’s appointment and a five-year employment agreement to lead the state’s largest public university.

“We are very pleased to welcome president-elect Murthy to Oregon State University,” said Kirk Schueler, chair of OSU’s Board of Trustees. “Dr. Murthy is the right person and leader to guide this remarkable university that is enjoying tremendous momentum. Under Dr. Murthy’s leadership, OSU’s incredible impact in Oregon, nationally and globally, and the university’s commitment and progress in advancing diversity, equity and inclusive excellence will grow.”

“This is the right place and right time,” Murthy said. “I am very impressed by Oregon State University. OSU is well-positioned to address the many challenges in how higher education will be best provided in the years ahead thanks to the university’s excellent faculty, staff and leaders, and its commitment to student success, inclusive excellence and its long experience and leadership in online education.”

Murthy wants to grow programs, and creativity — Murthy praised OSU for its growing national and global research prominence and its contributions to Oregon communities statewide through OSU Extension and engagement programs.

“Oregon State University is widely recognized in all things related to climate science and resilience, and also in trans-disciplinary research related to AI, robotics, natural resources, clean energy, public policy, public health and the social sciences,” she said. “This is the time to think big and do big things. I am confident that OSU can be a national leader in the post-pandemic era.”

Murthy said OSU can grow faculty research, scholarship, creativity and innovation by continuing to hire and retain excellent faculty.

“We also will invest even more in research infrastructure. We will support individual research investigators in their efforts to expand their research activities. And we will grow our work with federal and state leaders and agencies, and private sector businesses, to significantly expand large-scale and collaborative OSU research.

Murthy was the first woman dean at UCLA’s engineering school, which has 190 faculty members and more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. During her tenure, she made expanding access to a UCLA engineering education a top priority. This includes deepening relationships with local community colleges, increasing outreach to underrepresented minority groups and easing the transition for transfer students.

She underscored her intention to advance OSU’s commitment to inclusive excellence among students, faculty and staff.

“Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is a deeply held conviction of mine and is central to my work as an educator and administrator,” Murthy said. “As an engineer, I have often been the only woman in the room since I was 16.”

Murthy said the university will advance inclusive excellence by providing access to college for all learners and providing students enrolled on campus and online with strong student support services, including advising, internships, mentoring and financial assistance for those with need.

“I do not believe in exclusivity or in excluding certain students,” she said. “That’s not the future I see for OSU. I see broad access for all qualified learners.”

Before joining UCLA, Murthy was chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Texas at Austin and held the Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Memorial Chair in Engineering from 2012-2015. Prior to that, Murthy was a mechanical engineering professor at Purdue University from 2001-2011 and served as a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from 1998 to 2001.

Murthy began her career at Arizona State University, where she was an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering from 1984 to 1988. From 1988 to 1998, Murthy worked at New Hampshire-based Fluent, Inc., a developer and vendor of the world’s most widely used computational fluid dynamics software. She has authored over 330 technical publications.

Murthy received a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington State University and a bachelor’s of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where she was named a distinguished alumna in 2012.

According to The Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office on June 1, 2022  Paul Zwetsloot, 54, of Weed was sentenced to 4 years in state prison for sexually abusing several women while treating them as a licensed physical therapist on June 1, 2022.

He had pled guilty to sexual battery on April 6, 2022. The county DA’s Office says on July 9, 2019, a victim reported to the Weed Police Department that she had been sexually abused by her physical therapist a week prior.

She advised that she had subsequently learned that several other local women had also been assaulted or had complained of inappropriate conduct by the same physical therapist, Paul Zwetsloot.

The investigation by the Weed Police Department generated numerous leads. Some victims were willing to speak to law enforcement investigators about their experiences with Zwetsloot and others were not.

In order to investigate the matter further and see what evidence would be available for trial, the Siskiyou County District Attorney took the case to the Criminal Grand Jury in August of 2021.

Cannabis products only provide short-term reduction in chronic pain, according to a review by Oregon Health & Science University.

Researchers evaluated more than three-thousand studies and found only 25 with scientifically valid evidence concerning cannabis. The short-term benefit can help with pain experienced by diabetics and similar neuropathic pain.

Side effects include sedation and dizziness. Anyone considering using cannabis products for pain relief should consult with their doctor first.

An Oregon wildland firefighter remains hospitalized for injuries suffered on the job in New Mexico.  

The Bureau of Land Management says over Memorial Day weekend a Hot Shot crew was working on the Calf Canyon fire when a helicopter missed its drop location and hit firefighters with water.  Three firefighters were hurt, including one man from eastern Oregon.  A fundraising webpage says he faces a difficult recovery.  

The Calf Canyon Fire has burned more than 315-thousand acres.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputies rescued a man after he fell nearly six-hundred feet on Mount Hood.

CCSO says the fall happened on May 24th as the climber was descending the peak near the Pearly Gates and Hogsback area. The man fell into a snowfield and other climbers assisted until emergency officials arrived.

Investigators believe the climber was trying to adjust his boot when he lost the grip of his ice axe.

The wet Spring is benefiting parts of Oregon, but the drought also continues.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service reports well-above regular monthly precipitation in May and cooler temperatures that have extended the snowpack. The heavy rain in late May increased streamflows in northwest and northeast Oregon.

Much of central and southern Oregon didn’t get the rain, and below normal streamflows continue in those parts of the state.

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