Klamath Basin News, Monday, 8/8 – McKinney Fire Torches 60,000 Acres with no Containment Yet, Four Related Deaths

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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.

Monday, 8, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2pm. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Light south wind becoming southwest 9 to 14 mph. Overnight a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 60.

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 92. Light and variable wind becoming south 11 to 16 mph in the afternoon. Winds gusting to 24 mph.
Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 87. Light south southeast wind becoming south 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 23 mph.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 91.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 92.

Today’s Headlines

KFLS news has learned of three major developments regarding Klamath Falls Police activity connected to this weekend.

One involves a shooting on or near Lalo Avenue in Chiloquin early Sunday. Though not confirmed by law enforcement in the form of a press release yet, it is believed at least one person suffered fatal injuries.  Several agencies including the Klamath County Sheriff’s office and Oregon State Police were busy at the scene yesterday but they did not release any information connected to the case.

Also this weekend, a high speed pursuit through the suburban area of Klamath Falls ended with the suspect being arrested on foot after allegedly stealing a vehicle, crashing it into two police vehicles, and attempting to escape on foot.  It is believed the suspect was taken into custody near the Starbuck’s coffee location on South 6th street Saturday morning.

And no information has been released but reports suggest a shooting incident near Commercial Street  late Thursday. Though not confirmed, KFLS news was told there was at least one fatality in that incident. We are hoping to get official word on these developing stories to share as soon as we get any further information.

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McKinney Fire has burned over 60,000 acres as of Monday morning, with 4 deaths and no containment yet of the fire.

It’s now been a little more than a week since the McKinney Fire sparked in Siskiyou County, torching almost 60,000 acres.

During the last seven days, officials are reporting that out of the 274 structures that were inspected, 87 homes have been destroyed along with 132 total structures.

The death toll from the fire is four.

Meanwhile, officials say  good progress has been made on the Yeti Fire in the last few days. The fire is currently 7,570 acres with zero containment. 

Firefighters used an Unmanned Aircraft System to bring fire down to the river along the northern perimeter of the fire. According to officials, operations went very well, and crews will continue to monitor for spots as vegetation is consumed.

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A wildfire burning in a remote area just south of the Oregon border appears to have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Klamath River fish, the Karuk Tribe said.

The tribe said in a statement that the dead fish of all species were found Friday near Happy Camp, California, along the main stem of the Klamath River.

It’s unclear exactly what is causing the fish deaths but biologists with the tribe believe a flash flood caused by heavy rains over the burn area caused a massive debris flow that entered the river, said Craig Tucker, a spokesman for the tribe.

The Karuk are working with the Yurok, another Northern California tribe, and state and federal agencies to gain access to the fire zone to get a better sense of what happened and the extent of the problem.

When the Oregon Institute of Technology extended the contract of university President Dr. Nagi Naganathan in June to run through 2027, the news sparked ripples throughout the campus and the greater Klamath Falls community.

On one hand, the Board of Trustees had sent a message of stability and solidarity in its leadership at a time when OIT continues to be recognized for its educational value.

According to a July report, the earning potential of the school’s recent graduates is the highest among Oregon universities according to SmartAsset.

On the other hand, internal strife at the school continues to be documented, with members of the student body and faculty publishing letters of grievance, from the faculty’s vote of no confidence in Dr. Naganathan in 2021, to the Associated Students of Oregon Institute of Technology’s resolution of no confidence in the Board of Trustees released by their executive committee in June.

Last week, management consulting firm ModernThink released their Campus Climate at Oregon Tech executive summary. The report highlights the experiences and perceptions of the faculty and students who work and study at the school, shining further light on the ideological disconnect between those teaching and studying there, versus those who make the decisions at the top.

The ModernThink assessment was commissioned in December 2021 by the OIT Board of Trustees following a faculty labor strike that occurred during the spring of that year.

The fun of the Klamath County Fair was a rousing success according to Klamath County Fair Board member Terry Sellars. This marks an increase in attendance from previous years, even above pre-pandemic years of the fair.

Sellars said the Board has worked to improve the fair by adding more vendors and more concerts than there were in previous years. Three concerts were scheduled for the fair this year, including country music star Rodney Atkins, who played for a crowd of 3,000 Thursday. Martina McBride’s Friday concert was sold out. Rock band Daughtry played Saturday evening after the afternoon’s big demolition derby event.

Sellars said vendor participation has also seen an increase, with 31 vendors active at the fair this year, versus 13 last year. Despite the increased competition and rising inflation that Sellars said affects merchants, food sales have been looking up.

Around the state of Oregon

Task Force Busts Black-Market Marijuana Grow; Seizes 438 Plants, 2 Firearms, 1k Lbs. Processed Cannabis, 5 lbs. Psilocybin Mushrooms; Issues up to $37k Fine, Water Violation

Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives along with Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies served a search warrant on a marijuana grow site on the 10500 block of West Evans Creek Road in Rogue River early yesterday morning.

The property contained approximately 438 illegal cannabis plants, as well as approximately 1000 lbs. of processed black-market marijuana, and two firearms. Investigators also discovered five lbs. of processed psilocybin mushrooms on the property. The illegal cannabis was seized and destroyed on site. On scene, four subjects were detained, interviewed, and released. Detectives identified the primary suspects and charges are pending by the Jackson County District Attorney’s office. 

This case was the result of a month-long investigation of an illegal/black market marijuana growing operation. This location generated multiple complaints from residents. There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location. 

Jackson County Code Enforcement and Oregon Water Resources Department District 13 Watermasters responded to the scene to conduct independent investigations. Code Enforcement issued citations to the property owner totaling $13,000 for unpermitted electrical work, unapproved storage buildings, unapproved marijuana production and processing, solid waste, and occupation of an RV within a marijuana grow site. For the unapproved greenhouse structures, the property owner faces the potential of up to $24,000 in additional fines.

Watermasters issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the responsible parties for using a domestic well for commercial crop without a ground water right. Water violations of this kind are subject to both civil and criminal penalties.

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, Code Enforcement, and the DA’s Office. 

Investigations are open and ongoing with detectives working additional leads. No further information is currently available for release. IMET Case 22-12966 Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

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Oregon’s new Wildfire Risk Map was pulled after pushback from residents, who say state agencies didn’t consider the consequences of the map before its release.

The residents’ main concern with the map is financial. Property owners in areas the map classifies as high risk could be required to fix certain fire hazards on their own dime. But the Oregon Department of Forestry published the map before the rules for that were finalized.

The map breaks down what parts of the state are in residential areas that border wildlands, and it classifies all properties as high, medium, or low risk for wildfires.

Some residents say they don’t trust the way those maps are drawn. They also feel the map was released without taking possible property insurance increases into consideration.

ODF pulled the interactive map down, for now, but it will not necessarily be going back to the drawing board.

COVID-19 is widespread across Oregon.Enjoying the Oregon summer weather and gathering outdoors is safer than attending indoor gatherings.

But if you are heading into an indoor public place, or to a crowded outdoor setting, consider wearing a well-fitting mask – such as a KF94, KN95, N95 or a cloth mask over a surgical mask – while COVID-19 is still circulating widely.

This is especially important if you or someone at home is at higher risk.The best way to prevent serious COVID-19 illness is to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. To find a vaccine or booster near you, visit getvaccinated.oregon.gov.

People who are at higher risk should make a plan with their health care provider for getting tested and treated quickly should they develop COVID-19. If you don’t have a health care provider, call 211.

Wear a mask: COVID-19 symptoms, positive COVID-19 test or exposed to someone with COVID-19. CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels show many Oregon counties at med/high. High: Mask indoors is recommended. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines/boosters. Take more precautions if you're at high risk for severe illness. Medium: Consider a mask and other precautions if you're at high risk. Stay up to date with vaccines/boosters

Recent Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) COVID-19 modeling estimates the current COVID-19 wave peaked July 13.As of August 3, there were 398 COVID-19-positive patients in Oregon hospitals, down from the peak of 464 reached July 17.

Wastewater surveillance data collected through July 14 shows viral concentrations have stopped increasing in most regions, and are either flat or declining.Along with staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, wearing well-fitting masks, particularly when you may be around others in indoor or crowded outdoor settings, can help protect you and those around you.

If you need help finding a vaccine or booster, visit http://ow.ly/SNp550Ke7aUTo read the full report, visit http://ow.ly/jCRO50Ke7aV.

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A federal study ordered by Congress concluded it would be feasible to reintroduce Sea Otters to the Oregon and northern California coasts.

However, that finding doesn’t mean the super-cute predators will be relocated into their former ocean habitat anytime soon.

Sea otters were hunted to local extinction along the Pacific Northwest coast as part of the fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries. The critters were successfully reintroduced to Washington, British Columbia and southeast Alaska 50 years ago. It didn’t go so well along the southern Oregon coast, where the otters released during the same time period mysteriously vanished after a few years.

Now, a key federal agency has wrapped up a detailed look at whether it is worth trying again in Oregon. The bottom line according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is, yes.

One  of the study co-authors, cautioned that her agency is years away from any decision to carry out a reintroduction plan, explaining that restoring this keystone species could launch a cascade of positive, indirect effects. Hungry otters would reduce an overpopulation of sea urchins, which in turn could result in healthier kelp forests. 

Oregon will get another $8.5 million in federal emergency rental assistance money, the state’s two U.S. senators recently announced.

The largest portion of the money – almost $6.9 million – will go to the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, which manages statewide rental assistance programs. The department has paid more than $386 million in rent and utility assistance for more than 51,000 Oregon households since May 2021.

People who fell behind on rent during the pandemic were eligible for up to three months of payments for future rent and utilities and up to one year of back rent and utilities. Applications for assistance closed in March because Oregonians requested more in aid than the department had available.

An agency spokeswoman said the new federal money will go toward requests that have already been submitted. Under a state law passed in December, the department must finish all pandemic-related rent payments by September.

The city of Portland, which runs its own rent assistance program, will get the next largest portion of federal funding, $1.1 million. As of June, the Portland Housing Bureau reported spending $90 million to help almost 20,000 households.

Clackamas County, Washington County and the Coquille Indian Housing Authority will also receive more federal money for rent assistance, at $251,000, $174,000 and $15,000, respectively.

Oregón supera la meta de ayudar a financiar 1,000 viviendas permanentes con servicios de apoyo para personas sin hogar

SALEM, Ore. – El Departamento de Vivienda y Servicios Comunitarios (OHCS, por sus siglas en inglés) anuncio que superó la meta del Plan Estatal de Vivienda de 2019–2023 de ayudar a pagar por la construcción de 1,000 viviendas permanentes con servicios de apoyo (PSH, por sus siglas en inglés).

El Concilio para la Estabilización de Vivienda de Oregón aprobó la semana pasada financiación para la construcción de unas 250 viviendas con servicios de apoyo lo que ayudo a la agencia a superar su meta un año antes de la fecha fijada. Hasta el momento, OHCS se ha comprometido a ayudar a pagar la creación de un total de 1,255 viviendas PSH. 

“Lograr este objetivo es la manifestación de un esfuerzo colectivo entre la gobernadora, la Legislatura de Oregón, socios comunitarios, Naciones Tribales, agencias federales, estatales y locales, desarrolladores de vivienda, negocios y comunidades locales”, dijo la directora de OHCS Andrea Bell. “No aceptamos la falta de hogar como un hecho de la vida. Invertir en soluciones humanas y dignas que sabemos funcionan es lo que las personas de Oregón se merecen y a la vez ahorramos dinero de los fondos públicos. Estoy orgullosa de lo que hemos logrado. Al avanzar hacia adelante, estamos dispuestos a construir y avanzar soluciones juntos”. 

La vivienda permanente con servicios de apoyo es un modelo que se ha comprobado funciona para apoyar a individuos y familias carentes de hogar. Este tipo de vivienda es una estrategia reconocida nacionalmente para afrontar la falta de vivienda crónica, la cual provee vivienda profundamente asequible y permanente con servicios extensivos para albergar a personas independientemente de las barreras que enfrenten.  

Alder House, localizada en el centro de Portland, es un ejemplo de vivienda permanente con servicios de apoyo en Oregón. Alder House provee 130 departamentos a individuos con ingresos bajos, con 30 departamentos designados como vivienda permanente con servicios de apoyo. Todos los hogares reciben servicios para ayudar a construir el sentido de comunidad y mejorar la estabilidad de los residentes, además de que los 30 hogares PSH reciben administración intensiva de casos. Alder House tiene una sala comunitaria donde residentes pueden organizar eventos y convivir con sus vecinos.  

Alder House está cerca de varias opciones de transporte y supermercados, para que las personas tengan acceso a las necesidades básicas. Con un enfoque principal en facilitar el acceso a la vivienda, Alder House ayuda a las personas a conectarse con los recursos que necesitan para permanecer en sus hogares y prosperar en sus comunidades.  

Los esfuerzos para construir más viviendas permanentes con servicios de apoyo en Oregón continúan dada la magnitud de la necesidad de vivienda en el estado. Actualmente, hay nueve proyectos PSH en Oregón participando en el Instituto de OHCS para Vivienda con Servicios de Apoyo de 2022.

La agencia continuará trabajando junto a la comunidad para encontrar soluciones innovadoras y orientadas en la equidad con la meta de ayudar a familias que carecen de vivienda. Para más información sobre este trabajo, visite el sitio de internet de OHCS.  

Avelo Airlines has announced its newest non-stop flight out of Eugene.

Avelo began operations in Eugene in May 2021 with a direct flight to Burbank. The airline has now expanded operations to host a new route from Eugene to Palm Springs. The announcement came early Thursday morning as Avelo’s communication manager broke the news at the Eugene Airport.

Twice-weekly flights to Palm Springs begin in November and start at $39 for one-way trips.

Avelo runs flights out of Eugene, Medford, and Roseburg, and is looking to add more routes in the future.

The Palm Springs route is the thirtieth route nationwide for the low-cost airline, and the second out of Eugene.

Ashland Asks People to Conserve as They Deal with Water Shortage

The hot weather continues which adds to the difficulty of the water flowing through all canals due to the aquatic weed growth. During the heat of the day when the water temperature increases the aquatic weeds raise up in the canal and slow the flow of water.

Overnight when the water temperature cools somewhat, the aquatic weeds tend to lay down more in the canals. We are currently performing mechanical aquatic weed removal operations on sections of the Talent Canal that are most affected to help improve the water flow. We will move these operations to other canals as needed.

As of now, we anticipate shutting the system off sometime between August 17th to 19th. It is possible that the water supply could run out slightly earlier, but we will keep you updated over the next couple weeks. We would like to ask for your continued cooperation and patience as we work to make the best of this extreme drought situation we are faced with.

On August 3, the Ashland began drawing water on the Talent-Ashland-Phoenix Intertie and mixing it with the water treated from Reeder Reservoir.  TAP water is treated by the Medford Water Commission, and includes water sourced from Big Butte Springs and/or the Rogue River.

As of August 6, about 40% of our water supply was coming from TAP, and 60% from Reeder.  TAP was contributing 1.99Mgal/day.  The maximum allowable supply at this time is 2.1Mgal/day from TAP.

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