Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, July 5 – Fire Season Begins in Klamath County With A Number of Smaller Area Wildfires

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

The first major fire of the season started Saturday just south of Klamath Falls near Midland.

The blaze began near a residence on Cross Road. Moderate to heavy winds then picked up the fire’s momentum, sending it toward homes and structures in the immediate area.

Klamath County Fire District 1, Klamath County Fire District 4, Keno Fire, Merrill Fire, Kingsley Field Fire Department, and the Oregon Department of Forestry. Among others were able to knock down the blaze withn a reasonable amount of time after the blaze was said to have charred about 60 acres, climbing up a steep hillside in the area.

An Oregon Department of Forestry helicopter called to the fire was forced to be grounded for about two hours as lightning and more heavy winds were reported in the area. At the fire’s peak, flames were clearly visible from traffic on Highway 97.

No structures were damaged and no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation and has not been announced by fire officials.

A little further south, ODF Southwest crews responded to the Skookum Creek Fire, located about two miles north of the Oregon-California border in the BLM Soda Mountain Wilderness.

ODF ordered in two Type 2 helicopters, and two ODF Type 6 engines, and Medford Crew 10 and CAL FIRE Siskiyou Unit resources responded as well.

According to a resident near the area, the fire is located in a remote area, and ODFSW it has been difficult for their firefighters to get access to the area. 

No structures were threatened and while this is expected to be a lightning-caused fire according to officials, ODF Southwest is investigating to confirm or determine the cause.

Michelle Culpepper joined Klamath Basin Behavioral Health (KBBH) in May 2022 after a nationwide search for a Chief Human Resources Officer.

Michelle is a seasoned human resource leader with a background in healthcare administration. She brings over 20 years of experience in organizational development including streamlining processes, cost reduction, policy and procedure enhancements, and ensuring compliance. Michelle is highly effective in employee relations, performance and project management, managing system data integrity, and strategic project planning with leaders.

Michelle was born and raised in Chicago, IL and looks forward to exploring Klamath County.

Farmers, ranchers and tribal members alike are urging the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation not to extend its interim operations plan for the Klamath Project, describing it as “unworkable and irrational.”

The plan is a product of complex water management scenario in the Klamath Basin. It provides a formula for how much water will be allocated each year to irrigators, while balancing water needs for endangered fish in the Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake.

Brian Person, a senior adviser for the Bureau of Reclamation in Klamath Falls, said the current interim plan was formalized in March 2020 and was set to expire Sept. 30.

Instead, Reclamation plans to extend its interim operations plan in anticipation of removing four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River, which is expected to open about 400 miles of fish spawning and rearing habitat.

Under the Endangered Species Act, Reclamation is required to consult with both the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure the Klamath Project does not jeopardize the survival of imperiled fish.

Hundreds of people are now relying on weekly water deliveries through a state and county water program established to deal with the county’s third year of drought.

It has affected millions of people across the West, from residents to ranchers and farmers, with limited irrigation supplies and the dry land fueling immense wildfires.

In early June, in light of Klamath County’s ongoing drought and declarations of drought in 14 other counties, the legislative Emergency Board approved $5 million from the state’s general fund to help municipalities deliver water to residents in Klamath and other counties with dry wells. Some of the money will pay costs from last year, and the rest will go to future needs.

About 70,000 people live in Klamath County, and many rural residents depend on wells for water. Klamath is the first county to tap into the program.

The Oregon Department of Human Services administers the water program in partnership with the counties. The money can be used through February next year.

In Klamath County, the department contracts with water tanker truck companies to refill tanks once a week.

Klamath County will have road work crews at the following locations this week.

Please use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If you are able to avoid the work zones, please use an alternate route for your safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and our contractors.

Chip Seal Crew
July 5 th to July 6th – Keno Worden Rd, Buck Rd.
July 7th – Maupin Rd, Pope Rd, Dodds Hollow

4:00 AM – Early Morning Broom Crew
July 6th – Keno Worden Rd, Buck Rd
July 7th to July 8th – Keno Worden Rd, Buck Rd, Maupin Rd, Pope Rd, Dodds Hollow

ODOT – Buck Creek Bridge Closure HWY 140, 3 miles East of Dairy
July 5th to July 6th – Road Closure Hwy 140 at MP 22.23. Detour in place.

See the following link for a map of roads to be chip sealed for the 2022 season, or log onto the Klamath County Public Works website at http://www.klamathcounty.org/734/Maps.

In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be 0 to 20 minutes for the motoring public. Our goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public. Other minor work is occurring through the County but we are only listing the major items in this announcement. There may be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside of the County’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.) Please do not contact the County if you do not see work occurring, it could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

Please drive slow through Chip Seal and Paint Stripe areas. This will reduce damage to the Chip Sealed and Painted areas. It will also reduce the probability of oil or paint getting on your vehicle. Klamath County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners appreciate the motoring publics’ patience during the repair season for our local roads and bridges.

If you have any questions regarding work, please contact the Public Works Department at (541) 883-4696.

Oregon Department of Forestry has two reconnaissance flights scheduled to look for wildfires sparked by this weekend’s thunderstorm in Jackson County.  The agency says it is borrowing Douglas Forest Protective Association air support today while, they will also be fully staffed and ready to respond to additional fire starts that may be a result of this storm.

Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District (ODF) says its firefighters worked early into this morning, getting all confirmed fired 100% lined and mopped up.

ODF says Saturday thunderstorms across the Rogue Valley brought eight reports of fire, with firefighters able to confirm and locate three fires.

ODF says the largest fire was the Rattlesnake Point Fire located off of Dead Indian Memorial Road southeast of Ashland.  It says the fire was stopped at one acre of private land by the landowner, Timberland Logging, who extinguished it before ODF firefighters and Jackson County Fire District #5 arrived.

ODF says the second fire was the Y Creek Fire located on Mt. Ashland to the north of Mt. Ashland Ski Road.  It says Colestin Rural Fire District and CAL FIRE Siskiyou Unit responded with ODF to the fire that was contained to a single tree that firefighters fell to extinguish.

ODF says its third fire yesterday involved a a strike to another single tree.  It says the Valley View Road Fire east of Valley View Road was kept to 1/100th of an acre as Jackson County Fire District 5 and ODF firefighters stopped it, “completely lined and mopped up this morning.”

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon City Man Arrested For Kidnapping Missing Canadian Teenager

A 13-year-old girl who went missing in Edmonton, Canada 10 days ago has been found in Oregon, and an Oregon City man has been arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping.

Noah Whitefield Madrano, 41, will face charges of child luring in Canada and may face additional charges as the investigation continues, according to a press release from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS).

The press release said the investigation involved multiple other law enforcement agencies in both the United States and Canada, including the FBI.

The teen has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation, EPS said, and police are making arrangements to return her to her family.  It’s been reported that the girl’s parents posted to Facebook that they were on their way to Portland to pick her up.

Oregon City police confirmed officers arrested Madrano on Saturday per a request from the FBI and he is being held in the Clackamas County Jail. According to the jail roster, Madrano faces Oregon state charges of second degree kidnapping, first degree sexual abuse and second degree rape.

The Portland FBI office confirmed Madrano was arrested for allegedly luring the 13-year-old from Canada to the United States, and that the girl was found in Oregon City, but declined to comment further.

White City Woman Dies After Van Runs Over People and Crashes at RV Park in Harbor Oregon

Authorities in Curry County are investigating after an out-of-control van driven by a Brookings man struck several people and vehicles in Harbor Monday afternoon during a 4th of July event. One person has been pronounced dead.

Authorities in Curry County are investigating after an out-of-control van struck several people and vehicles in Harbor, July 4, 2022. (Curry County Sheriff's Office)
Authorities in Curry County are investigating after an out-of-control van struck several people and vehicles in Harbor, July 4, 2022. (Curry County Sheriff’s Office)

The Curry County Sheriff’s Office said dispatch received calls just before 2:30 p.m. to the area of the Beach Front RV Park near Brookings. Callers reported a van running over several people and into an RV, with the suspect still at the scene.

The driver of the van was identified as Paul Armenta, 66, of Brookings. Officials say 38-year-old Hiedei Bailey of White City died from injuries sustained. A 79-year-old Discovery Bay woman and a 46-year-old White City woman were also injured.

Deputies say the van also crashed into cars, picnic tables and two RV’s, one of which had two children inside. The children were not injured, according to officials.

Sheriff’s deputies along with Brookings PD officers, Harbor Fire Department and Cal Ore Life Flight Ambulance responded. The Curry County Sheriff’s Office said an investigation is underway.

Vehicle Eludes, Crashes on Highway 62 in Eagle Point

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – A car has crashed after attempting to elude Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies this afternoon in Eagle Point.

A JCSO deputy attempted to pull over a black 2015 BMW around 12 pm on Highway 62 at South Shasta Avenue after observing the vehicle driving recklessly. The suspect vehicle eluded and crashed into two other cars on Highway 62 near Dutton Road.

One suspect was taken into custody from the vehicle. Another suspect fled on foot and was picked up by an uninvolved motorist. Medford Police Department (MPD) officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and apprehended the suspect. One victim from the crash was transported to a local hospital.

One lane of traffic is open on the north and south lanes of Highway 62 from Dutton Road to Shasta Avenue while Oregon State Police is investigating the accident.

Both occupants from the suspect vehicle are in custody. MPD and Eagle Point Police Department assisted with the elude and arrest. This is an open and ongoing investigation.

Covid-19 Update for Oregon

People in two-thirds of Oregon’s counties should again wear masks indoors and on public transportation, based on a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC website shows there are 24 Oregon counties in the “high” COVID community level, meaning they’ve had 200+ new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, or they’ve had more than 20 new coronavirus hospital admissions per 100,000 people within a seven-day period.

Oregon’s most populous county, Multnomah, has seen nearly 310 cases per 100,000 over the past week, while in Crook County that rate is over 500.

The federal agency recommends people living in counties with high COVID-19 community level should wear a mask in indoor public settings and get tested if they have symptoms.

People at high risk for severe illness should also take additional precautions along with indoor masking, the CDC said, like staying 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing their hands often.

The CDC updates its data on Thursdays, with the most recent update happening on June 30.

You can see more on the COVID-19 Community Levels on the CDC’s website.

A new COVID-19 forecast for Oregon is scheduled to be released this week, but Oregon Health and Science University’s lead forecaster is still working on some new details. He did say he expects COVID to keep spreading through July.

The pandemic has taken some unexpected turns in the past two years, so predicting what to expect in a coming month can be challenging. In fact, it has OHSU’s Peter Graven working into the holiday weekend to get a complete handle on the outlook for July in Oregon. 

The late additions Graven is considering are the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, both of which have come on strong in Oregon after initially remaining in the background during prior weeks when BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 were driving most of the state’s cases.

The increased spread has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to raise the COVID-19 transmission risk level to high in most Oregon counties, including Oregon’s most populated places. Klamath County remains in the “high” category range.

The Oregon Health Authority’s Dr. Paul Cieslak said he’s not surprised by the CDC’s take.

Lane County, Oregon, has reported two presumed monkeypox cases after testing from the state public health lab — the second and third presumptive cases reported in Oregon.

Jason Davis, a spokesperson for Lane County Public Health, said an epidemiological link between the first and second case reported in the county — which both were reported Friday — has not been established.

Officials said the first patient is an adult who did not have a travel history in areas with known cases. Lane County noted the test sample has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. The second patient was identified only as an adult residing in Lane County.

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness might develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

The disease is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected through bites from rodents or small animals. It does not usually spread easily among people.

Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation seeks advisory committee members who want to help people with disabilities achieve employment

(Salem) – Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) invites Oregonians to apply to serve on a Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) that will update administrative rules governing vocational rehabilitation services.  

Vocational Rehabilitation is a program within the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS). VR provides a wide variety of employment services to people with disabilities to get and keep jobs that match their skills, interests and abilities. VR also serves businesses to find ready-to-work applicants with a wide range of skills and abilities and to access work incentive programs that can help businesses save money.  

The Rules Advisory Committee will advise VR on how its rules affect people with disabilities who want to seek, maintain employment and advance in their careers. It will also consider how the rules contribute to equity. VR prioritizes applications from individuals who have experienced barriers to employment related to a disability or know about employment and persons with disabilities. 

More information on the workgroup and how to apply to participate is provided below. 

Committee scope of work 

The VR Rules Advisory Committee gives feedback and recommendations on administrative rules that govern vocational rehabilitation services. Committee members will discuss: 

  • Are the rules clear and understandable? 
  • What impact will the rules have on Vocational Rehabilitation clients? 
  • Rule impact on business, particularly small businesses.  
  • Rule impact on racial equity.  

Timeline and commitment 

The VR Rules Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on the fourth Monday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The committee meets once a month, for an hour. The meeting might be extended depending on the work to be done. Committee members can anticipate spending one to two hours before the meeting to read and review proposed rules. 

How to apply 

Are you interested in being on Vocational Rehabilitation Rules Advisory Committee? You can apply by: 

Applications are accepted year-round.  

### About Vocational Rehabilitation: ODHS Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) assists individuals with disabilities to get and keep a job or advance in their career that matches their skills, interests, and abilities. VR staff work in partnership with the community and businesses to provide services that are individualized to help each eligible person receive services that are essential to their employment success 

DMV Reminds 10 Months Left For Oregonians To Get REAL ID For Air Travel

Oregonians will need more than a standard Oregon driver license or ID card at airport security checkpoints to board a flight within the U.S starting May 3, 2023.  Residents will need a Real ID-compliant driver license or ID card, or a passport or other federally acceptable ID.

We’re now less than 10 months to that deadline.

The Transportation Security Administration has a full list of identity documents it will accept for air travel at TSA.gov.

“A year may sound like a long time, but it isn’t when it comes to issuing secure identification such as driver licenses, ID cards and passports,” said DMV Administrator Amy Joyce.

“It can take weeks to gather the documents you need to qualify for a type of ID that the TSA will accept at airports.”

DMV offices in Oregon and across the country are busy, and the U.S. Department of State has a backlog for passport applications and renewals. As the REAL ID deadline approaches, DMVs and the State Department will get busier.

You can renew your Oregon license or ID card up to 12 months before your expiration date.

If you need to renew between now and May 3, 2023, the Oregon Department of Transportation recommends to do it early and add the Real ID option in order to save you a second trip to DMV or the wait for a passport.

Real ID is optional in Oregon because you may already have a passport, passport card, military ID or other credential for air travel.

However, if you want the Real ID option on your Oregon driver license or ID card, don’t wait until you book a flight.

How do I get the Real ID option in Oregon?

  1. Make sure you have the documents you need to qualify for Real ID. Create your own checklist at Oregon.gov/Realid.
  2. You must apply for Real ID in person. You can visit a DMV office or make an appointment at DMV2U.Oregon.gov.
  3. Bring the documents on your checklist and your current license or ID card, and pay the $30 Real ID fee in addition to the regular issuance, renewal or replacement fee.
  4. Then the process is the same as a standard Oregon card: signature, get your photo taken and receive a paper interim card until your Real ID plastic card arrives in the mail in 5-10 business days. You cannot use the interim card for air travel.

“You may already have the ID you need for air travel,” Joyce said.

“But if you don’t, please act now – get or renew your passport, or add the Real ID option to your Oregon license or ID card. Oregon DMV offices are already very busy, but they will get busier in 2023 because of Real ID.”

Anyone working for the minimum wage in Oregon will got a raise July 1. The last phase of the state’s minimum wage increase took effect Friday.  

Oregon has three rates.  The Portland area rate increases to 14 dollars and 75 cents, the standard rate will be 13 dollars and 50 cents and the rate for nonurban counties will be 12 dollars and 50 cents an hour.  Starting next year, the minimum wage will increase based on the Consumer Price Index.

The cryptocurrency financial institution BlockFi will pay 100 million dollars in a multi-state settlement.

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation says BlockFi violated Oregon Securities Law.  The company wasn’t registered in Oregon.  BlockFi would take cryptocurrencies and promised investors at least six-point-two percent interest each month.  They told investors that loans were overcollateralized, when they weren’t.  

Money from the settlement will be split between the SEC and states.  Oregon will get nearly one-million dollars.

“In A Landscape, Classical Music in the Wild,” featuring classical pianist Hunter Noack, will be performed along the rim of Crater Lake on July 13 and 14.

The concert series, which is being performed at more than 50 sites around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, received permission from the National Park Service for the two shows, both at 5 p.m. at Discovery Point. Tickets went on sale Thursday and, based on previous concerts, will likely sell out quickly.

General admission tickets are $35 and tickets are limited because of park restrictions. 

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