Klamath Basin News, Friday, 7/15 – BLM Team from Klamath Office Cleans Up Illegal Dump Site Near Windy Ridge

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The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Fire Weather Watch in effect from July 17, 03:00 PM PDT until July 17, 08:00 PM PDT
Red Flag Warning in effect from July 16, 03:00 PM PDT until July 16, 09:00 PM PDT

Today Sunny, with a high near 94. South southeast wind 5 to 8 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. Overnight, clear, with a low around 55.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming west southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 94.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 94.

Today’s Headlines

When Leroy Cabral, executive director of United Way of the Klamath Basin, first revealed the giant key he’d had made, the representatives present from Washington Federal Bank erupted in glee.

Officials from Washington Federal Bank donated their closed building at the Dahlia Street address to the United Way of the Klamath Basin on Wednesday. Cabral said this marks the largest single-year corporate contribution ever made to the Klamath location during its 77-year history.

Lauren Jespersen, manager of the building gift committee, said United Way will sell the 1,696 square foot property, appraised at $220,000.

The building has served various functions in the past. At one time it was an Italian restaurant, according to Washington Federal Branch Manager Heather Tyler. It is located near the Oregon Institute of Technology campus and surrounded by bustling business so it could be a restaurant again.

Plans to donate the building began in November of last year and took about six months to finalize. Cabral said that was a short time frame for a gift of this magnitude.

Cabral said that proceeds from the sale of the building will help to support various United Way social service agencies for years, and that a specific action plan will begin in September when the board of directors next meets.

A classroom at Stearns Elementary School was converted to a barbershop Tuesday when Fresh Cut Barber Shop owner Cesar Lopez and his four barbers set up five chairs and shared their expertise by providing free haircuts and trims to students attending the Klamath County School District’s migrant summer school.

Students patiently waited their turn, watching classmates get their locks cut. By lunch time, 45 students sported new haircuts and gathered for a photo with the Fresh Cuts crew.

This is the second year Lopez has set up a barbershop for students in the migrant summer program.

The Bureau of Reclamation filed suit against Klamath Drainage District last week for diverting water during a year characterized in the lawsuit by “extreme drought conditions,” citing a breach of contract.

The lawsuit states that as a junior contractor, no water has been made available through the project supply to KDD in 2022, “barring dramatic shifts in hydrological conditions.”

The lawsuit came as a surprise to KDD general manager Scott White who said the district maintains state rights to divert water, even in cases when Reclamation designates none of their project supply to KDD. He said that KDD owns all of their own infrastructure, which is unique compared to other districts.

White cited chapters 537-548 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, which cover water rights and appropriation in the state of Oregon.

According to the KDD website, the district serves ranchers and farmers on a triangle of land north of Stateline Road that runs east to Highway 97 and north almost to Midland.

KDD received the complaint three days after water from their north canal was used to fight the Midland Fire; a point they emphasized in their media release announcing the lawsuit.

White said he didn’t hear about the suit until two days after it was filed.

The 173rd Fighter Wing is conducting night flying operations all week, Tuesday through Friday.

Operations will take place between approximately 7:00 p.m. through 12:00 a.m.   Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15C student pilots at Kingsley Field, the premiere F-15C schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.

The majority of the training will occur in the military operating airspace to the east of Lakeview where the pilots can fly without lights.  However, the local community will most likely hear the jets during take-offs and approaches to and from Kingsley Field.

Take-offs will occur after sundown and the jets will return approximately an hour-and-a-half later. “Whether defending the homeland or deployed in contingency operations, F-15 pilots must be proficient at night flying,” said Col. Micah Lambert, 173rd FW Vice Commander. “Night flying training includes the full spectrum of skills needed to be a combat-ready F-15 pilot.”

Republic Services proposed a 10% price increase to the solid waste collection services that it offers to residents in North Klamath County in a meeting with the Klamath County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, July 6.

If approved as proposed, the increase will take effect Sept. 1. Solid Waste Manager Tom Crist said the price increase would impact those in the Crescent and Chemult landfill areas but would not affect those in Klamath Falls.

Joseph Dear, the general manager of Republic Services said at the Board of Commissioners’ work session meeting that the 10% increase will help to cover the cost of fuel and wages, while allowing the company to hire certified drivers. Dear also said a lack of annual price adjustments since 2014, before Republic Services took ownership of the service area, necessitated the large price increase.

In the meeting with the commission, Dear said the additional size options will allow customers who use the on-call service to receive service less frequently, thus mitigating the increase in cost.

Personal finance company, SmartAsset, has released its 2022 report of the Best Value Colleges in the U.S., with a degree from Oregon Institute of Technology noted as the highest value of any college or university in Oregon.

According to the report, Oregon Tech graduates earn an average starting salary of $67,200, which is the highest in state. The study lists the average starting salary for all Oregon higher education graduates as $53,308.

SmartAsset ranked colleges by tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, student retention rate and starting salary for new graduates to determine the best value in higher education. The categories were weighted to determine each institution’s “Best Value Colleges” index. The study lists Oregon Tech’s College Education Value Index at 62.28, nearly 10 points higher than the second Oregon school in the rankings.

Ross Ragland Theater wants to encourage parents and families to register their youth for Summer Theater camp, prior to the start of the program on Monday, July 25th ,2022 at 8:30 AM.

Scholarships from the Klamath County School District are still available to low-income students who wish to participate in the program but are running low. To apply for these scholarships please reach out to our Education Director.

High School juniors and seniors may also apply for an internship and learn additional skills on how to organize, plan, and run a theater production.

This series will end with a final performance of Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr. On August 13th, 2022, at 2:00 PM and 5:30 PM

Visit the theater’s website at www.ragland.org to apply for scholarships or register a student for camp. The box office is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or two hours before show time the day of any show.

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Recently, six Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees from the Klamath Falls Field Office spent the day cleaning up an illegal dump site from Windy Ridge, ten miles east of Klamath Falls.

The team removed 110 car and truck tires, three commercial tires, and other trash and broken glass that had been illegally dumped on public lands.  

Similar pop-up dump sites have been identified elsewhere on public land throughout Lake and Klamath counties.  

Whenever visiting the outdoors, the Bureau of Land Management always stresses the importance of Leave No Trace ethics. Anything packed in should be packed out.  

Illegal dumping on federally managed lands can lead to fines and restitution for clean-up costs, jail time, and even a ban from BLM public lands. 

To report a natural resource crime on BLM-managed public land, call 1-800-637-9152. 

Researchers at Oregon State University are partnering with a northern California tribe to envision what lies ahead for the Klamath River.

Demolition of the J.C. Boyle, Copco 1, Copco 2 and Iron Gate dams could begin as early as next year, though federal energy regulators are still reviewing plans submitted by the Klamath River Renewal Corp. to decommission and raze the structures.

Removal of the four dams is expected to open 400 miles of upstream spawning habitat for endangered salmon. It will also dramatically alter parts of the river system, impacting water quality, water use and the aquatic food web. Desiree Tullos, professor of water resources engineering at OSU, is leading a multi-year study to assess these changes and help inform future management decisions in the basin.

Tullos said the project was recently awarded $870,000 from Oregon Sea Grant to conduct the research, including outreach among five key stakeholder groups tribes, irrigators, commercial fishing, recreation and conservation organizations.

The history of the Klamath County Fairgrounds will be explored in a presentation to be offered at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night in the Blue Building at the fairgrounds.

This year marks 100 years since the county acquired farmland on South Sixth Street to create a fairgrounds. In the years since, countless events have been staged on the fairgrounds where buildings and facilities have been continually improved.

“Our county fairgrounds have been the center of social life in our community for a century,” said Klamath County Museum Director Todd Kepple, who will join with fairgrounds personnel to make Thursday’s presentation. “We’ll be sharing a photo history of the structures that have come and gone, and just a few of many people who have devoted their time and energy to support fair activities.”

A large wooden building with a barrel roof was the main exhibit hall at the fairgrounds for the first 50 years. More modern and much larger facilities have been built in recent years. Thursday’s program is free and open to anyone interested. Refreshments will be served. Anyone with memories of events or activities at the fairgrounds is encouraged to share stories with museum and fairgrounds staff on Thursday.

For more information contact the Klamath County Museum at (541) 882-1000.

Integral Youth Services starts its annual summer free lunch program on June 20th through August 26th.

The program is intended to feed youth ages 1-18 in the parks and other locations during the summer months while school lunches are unavailable.  During the pandemic, the USDA offered “Grab-and-Go” meals.

This is the first year since 2019 that people can gather together again in the parks, share a meal, and have fun with summer activities. In addition to the twenty-two sites throughout the county, there are five Park and Play sites where youth can participate in recreational sports and games while enjoying their summer lunches.   

IYS says they are delighted to return to congregate feeding, which encourages recreation, use of parks, and engagement and social interaction. We are a community, and we love to see our community gather together to eat a meal and enjoy one another’s company. IYS will be feeding youth in the parks every day in the parks across the city and county limits of Klamath Falls. To learn more about this event and what programs will be in attendance, visit their website at integralyouthservices.org.

The State of Oregon is holding big game regulations meetings across the state this month.  Three of them are in Southern Oregon in the next ten days.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is hosting 19 annual big game regulation meetings in July.  Southern Oregon sessions include:

6pm, July 14 in Klamath Falls at Shasta Grange Hall,

7pm, July 14 in Central Point at Eagles Club, and 

8am-5pm, July 19 in Lakeview at Lakeview ODFW Office.

ODFW says district wildlife biologists will present proposed statewide and local changes to the 2023 hunting seasons, answer questions and ask for feedback.

On July 8th, members of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office as well as their Search and Rescue team responded to a call of a missing child around the Chiloquin Water Tower area.

A search of the area was conducted and after an hour and a half of searching, Deputy Mark Borges located the child in the river holding on to a rock. Without hesitation, Deputy Borges waded out into the river where he rescued the child, then carried him back up the ridge to his pickup. A happy ending for family and individuals involved with the search.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office dispatched a number of deputies to the area along with members of the Chiloquin Fire and Rescue Fire Department. Chief Cook did an on-site medical check and the boy did not require additional medical treatment as he was uninjured. The communication between all agencies that responded was remarkable and contributed substantially to the success of this search and the safe return of the child.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our deputies along with all partnering agencies who responded to this incident. Your commitment to your profession and displayed teamwork is appreciated and does not go unnoticed. We would also like to recognize Deputy Borges for going above and beyond to ensure the best possible conclusion.

When Leroy Cabral landed an interview for the position of executive director at the United Way of the Klamath Basin, they told him to bring his wife along with him.

They traveled up through California, witnessing a deep December snow before coming upon Klamath Falls for the first time.

Though Cabral didn’t realize it at the time, the fact that he was told to bring along his wife may have signaled United Way’s intention to offer him the job. He’d received a glowing recommendation from the West Region Director and had done good work during his 10 years as associate executive director in Modesto, Calif.

He agreed to a five-year plan in Klamath Falls, figuring that he’d move on afterward and join a larger community.

Instead, after 33 years of service in the Klamath Basin, Cabral will be retiring at the end of the year. His exit leaves an opening for the executive director position; United Way is accepting applications through Friday, July 15.

The United Way is one of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations, with each location serving its own community by providing funding to local nonprofit agencies. The United Way of the Klamath Basin provides funds to 32 program services, helping to address the issues that are most important to Klamath County such as substance abuse, child abuse and hunger.

While Cabral is leaving his position as executive director, he doesn’t plan to go far, except perhaps when he vacations. He said that he might write a book about the nonprofit sector and volunteerism.

As for the United Way of the Klamath Basin, Cabral doesn’t expect its impact to slow down in his absence.

The summer lunch site at Brixner Junior High has been temporarily moved to the Baptist Church at 3052 Homedale Road.

This is because sidewalk replacement construction is blocking entrance to the junior high school all this week and likely for a few more. To get your free lunch, look for a white Subaru in the church parking lot.

Lunches will be provided at the regular time — between 11:30 a.m. and noon.

The Klamath County School District says to call their main office if you have any questions.

Cyclists in the longest bike-riding fundraiser in the world stopped to catch their breath in Crater Lake on Saturday.

The ride began June 4, when 45 students from the University of Texas hopped on their bikes and took to the road. Over a total of 70 days, these students will traverse more than 4,000 miles of mountainous terrain, come rain or shine.

Texas 4000 is a nonprofit organization that works to spread cancer awareness across all 50 states. Their motto is, “Hope, Knowledge, Charity,” aiming to inspire hope for cancer patients and their loved ones, expand and spread knowledge about cancer prevention and treatment, and give charitably to cancer research and care services.

In addition to fighting cancer, the nonprofit also focuses on the cultivation of leadership skills in young adults. Each year, a group of students from the University of Texas are selected to participate in an 18-month leadership program which they must complete prior to the event itself. In that time, participants are required to meet three goals: volunteer for 50 hours over the course of three semesters; fund raise $4,500 for cancer research and awareness; and ride approximately 2,000 training miles.

Lake County leaders, state officials and a private consultants have held multiple closed-door meetings concerning a new regional landfill as early as January 2021.

But those behind the project have yet to disclose key details about where it might be built, how many people it would employ and how it could impact the environment, even as they take steps to purchase property.

Even less has been divulged about the group of investors promising to finance — and presumably profit — from such a landfill. The public face of this group, Don Jensen of Salem, won’t disclose his financial backers. Jensen himself has little experience siting new landfills, except for one in Idaho with a history of state violations.

Lake County’s plan comes as landfills across Oregon are expected to close in upcoming decades, leaving many communities looking east for places to send future generations’ waste.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Oregon sited a new landfill, and it’s unlikely the state will ever approve another facility in the Willamette Valley, its most populous region. That’s because of the area’s extremely wet conditions, said Shane Latimer, an environmental planner in Portland who specializes in landfill permitting for SCS Engineers.

Across the state, local governments are opting to ship their garbage to several large regional landfills. Where there used to be hundreds of smaller landfills across Oregon, there are now only several regional facilities, Latimer said.

Lake County’s vision includes serving areas as nearby as neighboring Klamath and Deschutes counties, and those hundreds of miles away, like Marion County and Portland metro locales.

Around the state of Oregon

Man Drowns Kayaking on Rogue River Near Shady Cove

A 49-year-old man visiting from California drowned this afternoon after his inflatable kayak overturned on the Rogue River. He was not wearing a life jacket.

His rented inflatable kayak rolled in the “Slide Hole” rapid just below the Casey State Park up river from Shady Cove. Fellow rafters attempted to throw him a life jacket but were unsuccessful and he disappeared down river.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Marine deputies responded to search for the missing man. Jackson County Fire District 4 firefighters discovered him down river and performed CPR. Mercy Flights ambulance responded to transport him to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

JCSO would like to remind everyone that during summertime the river is swift and cold. Please remember to always wear your life jacket. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office 

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Death of An Adult Female Found In Cow Creek

No photo description available.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an adult female found in Cow Creek near Riddle. On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office was notified of a deceased person found in Cow Creek in approximately the 9000-block of Cow Creek Road.

Investigators responded to the scene and confirmed the death of an adult female. The Douglas County Medical Examiner’s Office also responded. Identification and next of kin notification are pending. The investigation is ongoing and no further details will be released at this time.

Public Assistance Requested In Missing Person Case

Kendra Hanks

ROSEBURG, Ore. – The search and investigation into the disappearance of a Winston woman is ongoing and the Sheriff’s Office is asking for the community’s assistance in the missing person investigation of Kendra Hanks.

Kendra was last seen walking past B&D Meats towards Winston on Highway 99 near Grange Road in the Green District at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, 2022. Investigators are now asking business owners and residents in the area of Highway 99, Pepsi Road, SE Main Street, NW Lookingglass Road and Brosi Orchard to check their security cameras which may have captured footage of Kendra on Thursday. The timeframe of interest is 3:45pm-7:00pm on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

“Any video footage is helpful, even if you don’t believe your system captured anything of significance,” Lt. Brad O’Dell said. “We ask that the community provide the footage and allow investigators the opportunity to review it.”

Residents are asked to upload any footage they have using this website address: www.dcso.com/publichelp. Those who are unable to upload the footage are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division at (541) 440-4458 for assistance.

Kendra was last known to be wearing a dark blue tie-dye sweatshirt, jeans, yellow checkered Vans shoes and carrying a black backpack style purse.  

Investigators along with Search and Rescue crews have been searching for Kendra since she was last seen. She is described as 5’02” tall weighing approximately 140lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. It is believed she was walking to her residence in Winston after leaving her place of employment on Ingram Drive.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information as to her whereabouts or who may have seen Hanks to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 440-4471 referencing case #22-2871 or to email dcso.pio@co.douglas.or.us 

Task Force Busts Black-Market Marijuana Grow in Central Point; Seizes 5k Plants, Firearms, $5k Cash; Code Enforcement Fines Total $61k

JCSO Case #22-3578 —- CENTRAL POINT – Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives along with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies served a search warrant on a marijuana grow site in rural Central Point early yesterday morning.

The property, located on the 6000 block of Foley Road in Central Point, contained approximately 5,014 illegal cannabis plants in 21 temporary “hoop-style” greenhouses and two permanent greenhouses, as well as 100 lbs. of processed black-market marijuana, $5,440 in cash, and two firearms. The illegal cannabis was seized and destroyed on site. Subjects on scene were detained, interviewed, and released. Detectives identified additional suspects and investigations are ongoing. 

This case was the result of a months-long investigation of an illegal/black market marijuana growing operation. There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location. Jackson County Code Enforcement responded to the scene to conduct an independent investigation. Code Enforcement issued citations totaling $61,000 for unapproved marijuana production, unapproved greenhouses and outbuildings, unapproved electrical installations, occupied RV’s, solid waste, and burning of household trash. 

While regulatory agencies investigate permitted cannabis operations, IMET is focusing on the black-market marijuana trade in the Rogue Valley. IMET is a multi-agency task force funded by a grant from the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. The task force includes personnel from JCSO, Medford Police Department, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. 

Investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads. No further information is currently available for release. Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office 

Sixteen-Year-Old Found Dead in the Roadway on Hemlock Street in Brookings 

The Brookings Police Department says a 16-year-old boy is dead in a death considered a homicide.  It also is asking for public help investigating the death.

Brookings Police says early Monday morning, July 11, the Brookings Police Department (BPD) Communications Center took a 911 call reporting someone lying in the roadway on Hemlock Street near Fern Street.

BPD says its officers found a dead 16-year-old boy and activated the Major Crimes Team with investigators from BPD, Curry County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and Curry County District Attorney’s Office.  It says Oregon State Police Crime Lab also responded.

BPD and the Major Crimes Team are investigating, saying at this time they “do not believe there is an increased danger to our community.”

Police invite information about this incident to the Brookings Police Department at 541-469-3118.

22-Year-Old UO Football Player Dies After Hitting Head At Triangle Lake

“The Lane County Sheriff’s Office responded to the rock slides just a short distance west of Triangle Lake at approximately 2:30pm after receiving the report of an injured person,” officials wrote on Facebook.

Upon arrival, deputies learned that a 22 year old male recreating in the area fell and struck his head. Bystanders and responding paramedics were unable to revive him.

Lane County Sheriff Search and Rescue personnel responded to assist with bringing him back to the roadway as he was approximately 100 yards down a steep trail. Deputies said his death appears to be an accident and there is no evidence of foul play.

He has been identified at Spencer Webb, a member of the University of Oregon football team.

Players, coaches, and fans are sharing memories and reacting to the tragic news. Webb played in 11 games for Oregon last season and was set to be the starting tight end under new head coach Lanning.

A Little Good News at the Pump…

AAA’s Marie Dodds says the price of crude oil has fallen about 20% over the past month, adding that this is the fourth week in a row that we are seeing gas prices fall.

The national average for regular drops 14 cents to $4.66 a gallon. The Oregon average loses 9 cents to $5.38. The regional average lost a dime, landing at $5.42.

The price of crude is the biggest factor that impacts the price that consumers pay for gas at a neighborhood gas station. About 53% of what consumers pay for in a gallon of gas is the result of crude oil prices.

Global markets are responding to recession concerns, Despite that downward pressure, the war in Ukraine and high demand continue to hold prices higher than they otherwise would be.

Lawsuit Over Oregon’s Forest Management Moves To State Supreme Court As 13 Counties Say They’re Owed $1.1 Billion

13 counties have asked the Oregon Supreme Court to review a ruling reversing a $1.1 billion verdict in a case over the state’s management of forestland and revenue from timber harvests.

The appeal to the state’s highest court, filed last Wednesday, comes in the wake of an April decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals which said the state did not have to pay the counties over timber sales. Linn County, claiming it was shortchanged by the state, originally sued in 2016. The Supreme Court must decide whether to hear the appeal in the case.

Roger Nyquist, the chair of the Linn County Board of Commissioners, said he hopes the court takes the case.

“We just think it’s an issue of such statewide concern that the highest court in the state should weigh in,” he said. “Court action aside, between the gap in finances and the gap in attitude between the rural and urban parts of the state, it all calls for a solution.”

At issue in the case is timber revenue from more than 500,000 acres of forestland in western Oregon counties. In the 1930s and 1940s, the counties donated the lands to the state. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including about 150 governmental entities in the counties, contend that the state agreed to manage those forestlands for the “greatest permanent value,” which the counties interpreted as maximizing timber harvests and funneling the associated revenue to the mostly rural counties. The counties argue in the lawsuit that the agreement constituted a contract between the state and the counties.

The lawsuit, filed in Linn County Circuit Court, argued that changes beginning in 1998 in how the state managed those lands broadened the definition of “greatest permanent value” to include environmental goals. That resulted in a decline in the timber harvest and a drop in revenue to the counties.

“That promised revenue is a critical source of funding for services to rural Oregonians in particular,” John DiLorenzo Jr., the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, wrote in court documents filed with the Supreme Court.

In its April ruling, the Court of Appeals determined that the case hinged on whether the law directing the state to “secure the greatest permanent value of those lands to the state” was part of a contractual agreement between the state and the counties. The court concluded that it was not.

Judge Douglas Tookey, writing for the Court of Appeals, found that the text and context regarding the phrase “greatest permanent value” does not “clearly and unmistakably create a contractual obligation.”

Tookey noted that “the ‘greatest permanent value’ management standard is, at the very least, ambiguous as to whether it requires maximization of revenue.” He wrote that the Linn County trial judge erred in not granting the state’s motion to dismiss the case.

DiLorenzo’s pleading to the Supreme Court argues that the Court of Appeals decision misapplies the high court’s framework for determining whether a particular provision is part of a statutory contract. He also argues that the Court of Appeals misinterpreted a key earlier ruling involving a parcel of forest trust lands in Linn County.

Big issues are at stake in the case, DiLorenzo wrote: “Whether the trial court judgment is affirmed or reversed significantly affects those communities whose economies and quality of life have been decimated by the loss of employment in the natural resources sector. These rural communities depend on the stream of timber revenues and the services they provide, and this appeal is their last opportunity to realize the value of the lands they conveyed in reliance on the state’s promises.”

But when the Court of Appeals issued its ruling in April, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Gov. Kate Brown both praised it. Brown said the decision validated the state’s “balanced, science-based approach to public forest management. In Oregon, we manage our forests not only for the benefit and prosperity of this generation but those to come.”

The counties listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Douglas, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk, Tillamook and Washington.

Drug Dealing Pilot from Southern Oregon Who Attempted to Hire a Hitman to Kill Associate Sentenced to Federal Prison

A Josephine County man who distributed marijuana throughout the U.S. using his private airplane and who hired a hitman to kill a drug trafficking associate was sentenced to federal prison today.

John Tobe Larson, 71, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, in May 2019, law enforcement received reports that Larson was distributing marijuana from South Oregon throughout the U.S. via his private airplane and smuggling bulk cash proceeds back into the state. Investigators further learned that Larson had expressed interested in hiring someone to murder an associate he believed threatened his drug trafficking enterprise.

Following these revelations, investigators staged a series of undercover meetings with Larson wherein a federal law enforcement officer posed as someone willing to carry out Larson’s murder-for-hire scheme.

In meetings with the undercover officer, Larson disclosed the identity of his targeted associate, discussed his reasoning for wanting the associate killed, and offered to pay the officer $20,000 to carry out the scheme. At their third and final meeting, federal agents arrested Larson and executed a search warrant on his residence and airplane hangar. Agents seized various items associated with Larson’s trafficking scheme including his airplane, approximately $100,000 in cash, and marijuana distillate.

On July 22, 2019, Larson was charged by criminal complaint with using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire. Later, on October 15, 2020, a federal grand jury in Medford indicted Larson on the same charge and added a second charge of possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance. On April 20, 2022, Larson pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives with assistance from the Oregon State Police Southwest Region Drug Enforcement Section team. It was prosecuted by Marco Boccato, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. U.S. Attorney’s Office – District of Oregon

California firefighters gained ground in the last few days in the battle against a wildfire that poses a threat to a grove of giant sequoias and a small community in Yosemite National Park.

The Washburn Fire on the western flank of the Sierra Nevada had scorched about 3.6 square miles but was 25% contained as of early afternoon, according to an incident update. The fire was a threat to more than 500 mature sequoias in the park’s Mariposa Grove and the nearby community of Wawona, which has been evacuated.

The area in the southern portion of Yosemite was closed to visitors but the rest of the national park remained open. A heat advisory was issued for the Central Valley sprawling below the Sierra while up in the fire area, a high temperature of 88 degrees was forecast for the village of Wawona, where hundreds tourists and residents were forced to evacuate last Friday.

The Jackson County Fair in the Rogue Valley is ON!

The Oregon Health Authority wants to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently.

Note: This week’s Omicron BA.5 estimates of 100% is higher than expected due to a small number of specimens (n=2) available in GISAID during the most recent week. We do not believe this estimate to be accurate.

The CDC‘s COVID Data Tracker Nowcast model (http://ow.ly/L0FA50JV8Yp) estimates that ~65.0% of SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in the US during the last week were the Omicron BA.5 lineage. We believe our true Omicron BA.5 estimates to be similar to the national figure. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/IqqT50JVlhm

Screen shot of linked dashboard shows an increase trend in cases and hospitalizations. Test positivity and vaccinations have plateaued. Please visit healthoregon.org/coronavirus for more.

OHA, Lane County, OSU working with UO to monitor COVID-19 in wastewater during World Athletics Championships

The World Athletics Championships in Lane County, July 15-24, will feature some of the planet’s greatest track athletes competing at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, with tens of thousands of expected attendees coming from across the country and the world.

For scientists who track the spread of diseases, the event also offers a perfect real-time laboratory for monitoring viruses in the sewage, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

During the event, Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in collaboration with Lane County Public Health and its university research partners, will share daily results from special sewage monitoring in Eugene. Testing will be performed for COVID-19 and other viruses of interest, including influenza, hepatitis A, hepatis E, measles and MERS-CoV.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted risks of international travel and large gatherings in spreading communicable diseases. “An international sporting event that brings together people from different countries provides scientists, public health experts and state and local partners a perfect opportunity to evaluate this population monitoring system used widely in Oregon and across the United States,” says Melissa Sutton, M.D., medical director of respiratory viral pathogens at OHA. “We’ll be able to see how accurate our system is in detecting SARS-CoV-2 variants as well as other viruses that may be present outside of Oregon and even the United States, and that may arrive with travelers.”

Each day during the championships, wastewater will be collected and tested, with results available within 48 hours on a new OHA webpage. The webpage will be published on Friday afternoon. It will resemble Oregon’s SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Monitoring dashboard.

Pre-event sampling has detected hepatitis A in Eugene.

“Cases of hepatitis A occur sporadically in Lane County; therefore, finding hepatitis A virus in a sewage sample that was collected well before the World Championships even started is not a surprise,” said Lane County Senior Public Health Officer Dr. Patrick Luedtke. “This finding does, however, highlight the opportunity for our community to get protected.  Hepatitis A vaccines are readily available, highly effective and have been used with great success for decades.”

The emerald ash borer has been found in Northern Oregon. It is an invasive wood-boring beetle that infests and kills North American ash trees.

The discovery was the first known sighting on the West Coast, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The beetle was found on June 30 by Dominic Maze, an invasive species biologist for the City of Portland. The notorious emerald ash borer which is native to Asia has left widespread destruction in its path across the country so its arrival on the West Coast concerns biologists. ODA calls the emerald ash borer the most destructive forest pest in North America. According to a 2022 study in the academic journal Sustainability, since it was first found near Detroit, Michigan in 2002, the beetle has killed more than 8 billion native ash trees.

Environmental and conservation groups are poised to sue the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to stop logging plans in 17,000 acres of Oregon forests to protect an endangered seabird and the near-extinct coastal martens.

The green groups filed a notice of intent to sue Tuesday, July 5, indicating a pending Endangered Species Act lawsuit challenging BLM allowing logging in Southern Oregon as part of forest thinning efforts. The lawsuit aims to stop logging allowed via BLM’s Integrated Vegetation Management Project which looks at ways to thin forests and reduce wildfire risks in southern Oregon. The BLM forest management program is slated to run for 10 years. The conservation groups also worry about the impacts of reducing tree canopies.

Oregon to launch 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

New, easy-to-remember number that starts Saturday will connect people in need of behavioral health crisis support

Starting Saturday, July 16, people in Oregon and nationwide who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis will be able to call, text or chat 988 to get compassionate care and support from trained crisis counselors. The new three-digit 988 number will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was established to improve access to crisis services in a way that meets our country’s growing suicide and mental health-related crisis care needs.

The 988 number is easy to remember, like 911. 988 will be available to help people who are experiencing a range of behavioral health crises, including: thoughts of suicide or self-harm, substance use, or any other kind of behavioral health crisis.

People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

“Too many people in Oregon don’t have easy, quick access to the support and care they need when facing a mental health crisis,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. “While fully implementing a transformative crisis care system will take time and further investments, the launch of 988 is a sound first step to connect more people in need with critical, life-saving care.”

The 988 dialing code connects callers to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; a network of local crisis call centers throughout the country. In Oregon, 988 call centers are operated by Lines for Life statewide, and Northwest Human Services in Marion and Polk counties.

“988 is going to transform the way we support people in crisis,” said Lines for Life CEO Dwight Holton. “It will take time to build, but 988 will deliver hope to people in crisis as well as their families, loved ones and communities.”

How 988 works to help people in crisis

988 call services will be available in English and Spanish, along with interpretation services in more than 150 languages. Texting 988 and online chat (available at http://988lifeline.org/) are currently available only in English.

According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, counselors resolve more than 95 percent of calls over the phone. The crisis counselors are trained to use the least invasive interventions and are linked to a network of services. Often, a supportive conversation is all that is needed to help someone in crisis. When in-person support or intervention is needed, counselors may dispatch a mobile crisis team or first responder.

Preparing for 988 calls

In 2020, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline received nearly 2.4 million calls, and call volume is anticipated to significantly increase with the launch of 988.

The Oregon Legislature, through House Bill 2417 (2021) and other transformative investments, is strengthening and expanding the state’s behavioral health crisis system. This includes approximately $7 million for staffing Oregon’s two 988 call centers and approximately $39 million allocated to Community Mental Health Programs to enhance and expand community-based mobile crisis intervention services.

In Oregon, Lines for Life has staff who can provide culturally and linguistically specific services around the clock and Northwest Human Services has expanded its staff to do the same. As the 988 crisis response system expands, additional funding will be required to sustain the call centers, response units and other services.

Community input is designing the future of 988

OHA is working with communities with lived experience in the behavioral health system to guide the design, implementation and policies of 988 and a broader crisis response system, especially through the Crisis System Advisory Workgroup (CSAW). OHA recognizes that many individuals and families with lived experience and from disproportionately affected communities have experienced adverse impacts of the crisis response system due to systemic and historical social injustice.

With community partnerships and insights, OHA hopes that 988 can provide an empowering, culturally responsive experience for individuals in crisis and that the system will meet the unique needs of groups disproportionately impacted by health inequities, including youth, rural populations, communities of color, veterans and people in the military, Tribal communities and people who identify as LGBTQIA2S+.

While 988 is the first step, OHA continues to work with partners to develop a crisis response system that will help divert people from emergency rooms and connect people to other community-based behavioral health treatment facilities, such as the Behavioral Health Resource Networks, funded by Measure 110 dollars.

What do people need to know about calling 988?

Important facts to know:

  • 988 will be available through every landline, cell phone and voice-over internet device in the United States, as well as text and chat.
  • The current technology for 988 will route callers by area code, not geolocation.
  • 988 is not currently available when phones are locked or do not have prepaid minutes.
  • The transition to 988 will not impact the availability of crisis services for veterans and military service members. They can call 988 and press 1 to connect with the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • For support in Spanish, callers can press 2 to connect with the Red Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has an infographic with more information on what happens when people call, text or chat.

Learn more about 988 in Oregon on OHA’s 988 webpage.

Note: Until Saturday, July 16, those in crisis should continue to use the current number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which will continue to function after the transition.

OHSU Environmental Employees Walk Off The Job

Environmental services workers at OHSU in Portland walked off the job Wednesday to demand better working conditions.  The union employees say they’ve experienced bullying by managers and staffing issues.  They delivered a list of demands to management with more than 50 signatures.  

OHSU released a response saying they recognize the issues raised by the staff and look forward to working collaboratively to reach an agreement on a new contract.  OHSU says they’ve been bargaining with the union
since February and more mediation is planned.

This Could Be a Busy Year for Mosquitos

If you haven’t been bit by a mosquito yet this summer, count yourself lucky. Entomologist Gail Langellotto says it’s going to be a busy year for those little disease-carrying pests. “Mosquitoes breed in freshwater. With the abundant rains we had early in the summer, it probably created a lot of small pools of water that make perfect mosquito breeding sites.”

Langellotto is a professor with the OSU Extension Service and says there are things you can do to prevent mosquitoes from getting too cozy. Reduce the standing water in your yard. Yes, even the bird bath and pet dishes. “If they have any pots that aren’t draining that are holding water, old tires are oftentimes receptacles for standing water where mosquitoes can breed,”

Some aromatic oils are effective as a natural repellent, and Langelloto says the chemical Deet is the gold standard for mosquito protection. Or, you can get a little more creative, “You can even put a fan out there, because mosquitoes don’t fly in windy conditions, just to keep them away from you when you’re trying to enjoy the outdoors.” She says Bug zappers aren’t much help in combating mosquitoes. 

‘American Pickers’ to Film in Oregon

The American Pickers are excited to return to Oregon! They plan to film episodes of The History Channel hit television series throughout your area in October 2022.

American Pickers is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on The History Channel. The hit show follows skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, the Pickers are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, they want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items. They hope to give historically significant objects a new lease on life while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way. The Pickers have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.

We at American Pickers continue to take the pandemic very seriously and will be following all guidelines and protocols for safe filming outlined by the state and CDC. Nevertheless, we are excited to continue reaching the many collectors in the area to discuss their years of picking and are eager to hear their memorable stories!

The American Pickers TV show is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to:

americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 646-493-2184 — Facebook: @GotAPick

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Women Missing Since May between Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg per Oregon State Police

MAKENNA KENDALL                                   5/3/2022
ERICA LEE  HUTCHINSON                          5/26/2022                          
DANIELLE MARIAH SHARP                          6/12/2022          
KAITLYN RAE NELSON                                  6/14/2022                 
BROOKLYN JOHNS                                     6/14/2022
DONNA LEPP                                               6/27/2022  
BARBARA  DELEPINE                                    7/4/2022                     
KENDRA MARIE HANKS                              7/7/2022
CORI BOSHANE MCCANN                             7/8/2022
RAVEN RILEY                                                7/13/2022
TAHUANA RILEY                                        7/13/2022

Women Missing Since May in Lane County per Oregon State Police

BREISA RAQUEAL SIKEL                            5/3/2022
HANNAH MARIE RHOTEN                             5/17/2022
MARISSA ALEESA DAMBROSIO                  5/18/2022
LOUISA DAY AVA                                           5/28/2022             
AMY CHRISTINA SULLIVAN                          6/1/2022
NIKKI ELIZABETH  ZEREBNY                              6/6/2022
SHADOW STAR SEVIGNY                               6/17/2022
SHAUNA LEAH HOGAN                             6/17/2022
AIRIONNA CHEALSEY RHODES                    6/27/2022           
KARISSA RENEE ADAMS                                7/6/2000
VERONICA ESSYNCE DELERIO                    7/6/2022
AUBRIE HANNA STEPHENS                           7/10/2022     
LARA IVEY STEINMETZ                                 7/11/2022
SARA LINDSAY SCHAEFER                            7/12/2022

That’s 26 women missing in 2 1/2 months between Medford and the Eugene area. Four more just over the last couple of days. That averages out to 8 women missing per month in Southern Oregon.  https://www.oregon.gov/osp/missing/pages/missingpersons.aspx


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