Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 8/17 – Windigo Fire, North of Crater Lake Now 78% Contained

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Heat Advisory until August 17, 11:00 PM PDT

Red Flag Warning in effect from August 17, 12:00 PM PDT until August 17, 11:00 PM PD

Today A 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny and hot, with a high near 97. Overnight a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 63. Northwest wind around 6 mph becoming southwest after midnight.

Thursday A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 97. Southwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming northwest in the afternoon. Overnight a 20% percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 58. Northwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming calm after midnight.
Friday Sunny, with a high near 95. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Sunny and hot, with a high near 96.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 93.

Today’s Headlines

Some information has been released on the fatal accident on South 6th over the weekend. On Saturday at about 9:30 PM, Oregon State Police (OSP) Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a vehicle versus pedestrian crash on South Sixth Street near Hope Street in Klamath Falls.  

Preliminary investigation revealed that, an adult male pedestrian, walked out into the roadway and stopped in the middle of the travel lane facing westbound traffic. A westbound Toyota pickup, operated by James Richardson-Lawson, age 38, from Klamath Falls, collided with the pedestrian.

The pedestrian was pronounced deceased at the scene by emergency personnel.  Richardson-Lawson was uninjured and cooperated with investigators at the scene. 

The name of the pedestrian is being withheld pending next of kin notification. 

OSP was assisted by Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and ODOT.

Hailie Harkins entered a plea of not guilty to a list of charges at her arraignment Monday, which included second-degree murder for the killing of Tyler Bates, 33, of Chiloquin on Aug. 7.

Harkins faces a total of 12 charges related to the incident, all felonies. In addition to the second-degree murder charge, these include first- and second-degree manslaughter; first- and second-degree assault and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon. Her court appointed lawyer is Phil Studenberg, who also represents Ward 1 on the Klamath City Council. Judge Andrea Janney set Harkin’s next court date for Sept. 15 and continued to deny her bail.

Raylin Harkins, who after the incident was originally charged with conspiracy to commit murder, was not indicted and will instead be released.

The Harkinses appeared remotely before the court on a screen that was projected at the front of the room. Neither expressed noticeable emotion during their appearance before the court. They both moved through the process quickly and without incident.

The thousand-acre Windigo Fire crews have 78% containment as of today.

The wildfire is burning north of Crater Lake National Park along the Klamath-Douglas County line. Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 10 (NWT10) assumed command of the Windigo, Big Swamp and Potter Fires 6am today, saying incident objectives remain the same as, “fire managers will work to minimize further fire spread, the impacts of wildfire and suppression activities on commercial timberland, forest campgrounds and recreational facilities while maintaining relationships within the community served. NWT10 will remain vigilant in accomplishing the established mission in the safest way possible as we experience changes in assigned resources, critical weather and fire behavior.”

Windigo Fire crews are working across the 1,007-acres fire area today to protect public safety and prevent further degradation of the landscape and to mitigate post-fire damages to cultural resource.

The nearby Potter Fire is 473 acres in size, getting attention today on its east and south sides where fire crews will work on line preparation and attempt tactical burnout operations as conditions permit.

Also nearby, the Big Swamp Fire has burned 121 acres where hotshot crews are advancing hand line construction around the perimeter of the fire and mop-up operations have started on the south and western portions of the fire.

871 total fire personnel include 27 hand crews, 22 engines, nine dozers, 11 water tenders and eight Type 1 helicopters. 

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“Engage-Inspire-Empower” is the theme of the 2022 Oregon Main Street Conference that will take place October 5-7 in downtown Klamath Falls at the Ross Ragland Theater and Ragland Cultural Center.

Through inspired leadership, main street programs throughout Oregon are helping to increase the vitality of historic downtowns and traditional commercial districts. The conference theme reflects the goals of Main Street communities to engage people from all walks of life, inspire their communities towards enhancement, and empower leaders to make a difference.

The Klamath County libraries’ Summer Reading Program Family Performance Series concludes with music by singer-songwriter Jessa Campbell.

Campbell is a multi-genre musical talent, performing with her children’s-music band Jessa Campbell & the Saplings as well as her Talking Heads tribute band, LDW, and a hip-hop band called Eastern Sunz. She’s toured with Wayne Newton and as a singer on Holland America Cruise Lines. Her musical accolades include a Parent’s Choice Award and Independent Music Award for her children’s music work.

Campbell will perform at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the Klamath County Library, 126 S. 3rd St. in downtown Klamath Falls. After the show, attendees are invited to join a lunch across the street at the Klamath County courthouse. Performances at the downtown library will take place outdoors; bring a chair or blanket to sit on.

The First United Methodist Church served its last free community dinner Tuesday, in Klamath Falls, bringing an end to the twice-weekly food service that began 15 years ago. A celebratory event honoring the service will take place on Wednesday, (today)from 5:30-7 p.m.

PALM, which stands for Provide a Loving Meal, has served dinners to members of the Klamath Community since 2007 every Sunday and Tuesday. The service has been helmed since its inception by Vickie and Don Dumbeck, who are retiring from the position, in part due to health concerns. Vickie said that she was struck by a car earlier this year, resulting in a concussion and a leg injury that has taken away her ability to stand.

Though nobody has volunteered to take on the role of running PALM, Dumbeck hopes that Tuesday isn’t a true ending to the community food service.

The public is invited to the event at the church this afternoon at 5:30 to celebrate the success of the program.

The 2022 Oregon Main Street Conference is a great way to look at the “big picture” of why our main street districts are so incredibly important to the health and well-being of local communities – physically, economically, and socially. Sessions cover a variety of topics for both beginners and those with experience. The format includes keynotes, interactive workshops, and networking time.  

The opening keynote will feature Mary Means who is best known for leading the team that created the National Main Street Center. More than 1,600 towns and historic neighborhood corridors in 45 states have successfully used the Main Street Approach™ to bring people back to their historic cores. Mary is the author of Main Street’s Comeback and How It Can Come Back Again, published in 2020. 

Also featured is Andrew Howard with Team Better Block. He is internationally respected for his people focused design approach and rapid-implementation strategies that are being replicated around the world. Howard’s overarching goal is to equip new leaders to take action in their communities. 

Staff and volunteers of organizations focusing on downtown historic preservation and economic development, downtown business and property owners, government leaders, chamber of commerce professionals and volunteers, and others with an interest in the future of downtown will benefit from attending this conference.

Oregon Main Street is part of Oregon Heritage in Oregon Park and Recreation Department.

Around the state of Oregon

 

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After months of speculation and campaigning, former State Senator Betsy Johnson is another step closer to being an official candidate for Oregon Governor.

Her campaign says supporters delivered 48,214 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday.

Because she’s not affiliated with a political party, she needs 23,744 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. She says “by delivering more than twice the number of signatures needed, we’ve made it very difficult for the political establishment to imagine ways to keep me off the ballot.”

The Secretary of State has until August 30th to verify those signatures.

Johnson faces Democrat Tina Kotek and Republican Christine Drazan in the gubernatorial race.

Authorities Warn Potent ‘Rainbow Fentanyl’ Is Spreading On The West Coast

Authorities are warning that a more potent form of fentanyl is making its way along the West Coast after a bag of the drug was seized during the execution of a warrant in Portland recently.

Deputies found body armor, $5,000 in cash, nine guns, some of which were modified and stolen, and drugs including meth, heroin, 800 pills of fentanyl and four grams of multi-colored, powdered fentanyl, often referred to as ‘rainbow fentanyl.’ in the suspect’s home in Northeast Portland, according to a statement on Tuesday.

“We are partnering with Multnomah County health departments to sound the alarm,” SIU Sergeant Matt Ferguson said. “The public needs to be aware of the rising use of powdered fentanyl. We believe this is going to be the new trend seen on the streets of Portland.”

Deputies are particularly concerned about rainbow fentanyl getting into the hands of young adults or children, who mistake the drug for something else, such as candy or a toy, or those who may be willing to try the drug due to its playful coloring. The powdered fentanyl found during this investigation resembles the color and consistency of sidewalk chalk. The rising use of powdered fentanyl and the brightly colored variations is cause for concern. Fentanyl in powder form generally has a higher potency than other forms of fentanyl. The colorful fentanyl powders are new to most law enforcement agencies. Providers in recovery treatment also report being unfamiliar with the new form of fentanyl.

People who choose to use drugs outside of a care plan developed with a healthcare provider should take steps to reduce the risk of overdose. Don’t use alone, in case you or someone you’re with starts to overdose. Signs of overdose include:

  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Bluish or pale lips and fingernails
  • Limp body
  • Slow or no breathing
  • Vomiting or foaming at the mouth
  • Difficult to or not able to awaken

Naloxone, a medication that counteracts the effects of opioids, can reverse an overdose. Oregon’s Good Samaritan Law will protect both the person who administers naloxone and the person who is overdosing from prosecution.

Thieves Steal Early Fire Detection Cameras From Lookout Tower Near Prospect

JCSO Case 22-4725 Early Fire Detection Camera Power Equipment Stolen near Prospect

PROSPECT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is investigating the theft of Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) equipment stolen from a lookout tower in the Prospect area. Two men broke into the tower on Sunday afternoon around 12:45. The thieves stole batteries and solar panels used to power the lookout tower’s fire detection camera. With these items stolen, the camera is no longer operational, leaving a hole in the camera network and taking away the opportunity for early fire detection.

The ODF Southwest Oregon Detection Center is a system of cameras across Jackson and Josephine counties used to monitor rural areas in an effort to catch fires at a small size, provide critical fire information to firefighters responding to active incidents, and allow the department to use resources more strategically. This particular tower enables early fire detection for the northeastern portion of Jackson County near Prospect. ODF is currently working as quickly as possible to get the camera system back up and running. The list of items stolen includes batteries and solar panels to power the cameras.

If you can identify the subjects in the video and photos or have any information about the theft please call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case # 22-4725.

High-Tech Crimes Task Force Discovers Local Child Victim After Digital Devices Seized During Search Warrant, Butte Falls Suspect Arrested for Child Sex Abuse

JCSO Case 22-2677

Both health officials said staying hydrated by consuming water is key for everyone to stay safe in the heat and if you must be outdoors during the hottest portions of the day, there are extra steps you can take to stay safe.

We want to keep you informed about COVID-19 in Oregon. Data are provisional and change frequently. For more information, including COVID-19 data by county, visit our dashboard: http://ow.ly/tzKu50Klp3a

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

People with monkeypox (hMPXV) may experience all or some of these symptoms: Rash that looks like pimples or blisters on or near your genitals (penis, testicles, labia and vagina) or anus (butthole). Flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, achiness and sore throat. If you're feeling sick and notice new rashes, talk to a health care provider (or call 211). Cover lesions and let them know you suspect monkeypox.

Monkeypox (hMPXV) may start with flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, achiness, or sore throat, but may also start with a rash or sores.If you’re feeling sick and notice any new rashes — especially on the genitals or around the anus — avoid close skin-to-skin contact and talk to a health care provider (or call 211 if you don’t have one).

Before the appointment, let your provider know that you think you might have monkeypox and cover any lesions you have. Ask your provider about monkeypox testing. You may be eligible for testing, even if you’re not in a high-risk category. Most cases of monkeypox have been detected among gay or bisexual men or men who report having sex with other men.

While monkeypox cases are rising in Oregon, it’s important to remember that monkeypox is not another COVID-19. To learn more about monkeypox, including how it is spread and who is most at risk, visit http://ow.ly/mwPI50Klsqi.

OHA and ODE hold media briefing Wednesday on COVID-19 and the 2022-2023 school year

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) are co-hosting a COVID-19 media availability on Wednesday, Aug. 17, from 1-2 p.m., via Zoom.

Dean Sidelinger, M.D. MSEd, health officer and state epidemiologist at OHA, will provide an update on the state’s pandemic response and the importance of COVID-19 vaccines and routine childhood immunizations. Colt Gill, director of ODE, will highlight what families and students can expect with COVID-19 planning and in-person instruction for the academic year. Both will be available to answer reporters’ questions. A livestream will be available for the public on YouTube.

BUTTE FALLS, Ore. – The Southern Oregon Child Exploitation Team (SOCET) joint inter-agency task force arrested a suspect today on multiple child sexual abuse charges. Joshua Remington Pettry, 28, is lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of using a child in the display of sexually explicit content, first-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual abuse, and incest. 

The case began when SOCET received tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that numerous images of child exploitation were uploaded from Pettry’s residence on the 300 block of Broad Street in Butte Falls. SOCET and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Patrol deputies served a search warrant July 26 and seized several digital devices.

Based on evidence uncovered at the scene, SOCET arrested Pettry on two counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force forensically examined the devices and uncovered further evidence of child exploitation with a local victim, leading to the additional charges. This case will be prosecuted by the Jackson County District Attorney’s office. Further information will come from the DA’s office.

SOCET is a joint inter-agency task force that started in June of 2020 to combat child exploitation and human trafficking. The task force consists of investigators from JCSO, Grants Pass Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations; as well as prosecutors from our local, state and federal law enforcement partners in Jackson and Josephine County.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says a suspect is in the County Jail on Monday after attempting to steal a car with an infant inside.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) says 33-year-old Jason Lee Cheatham of Bend is charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle, two counts of second-degree kidnapping, two counts of recklessly endangering, first-degree robbery, second-degree disorderly conduct, and harassment.

JSCO says its deputies tracked him when they responded to a carjacking and attempted kidnapping at the Shady Cove Chevron gas station.

JSCO says Cheatham stole the victim’s running vehicle parked with her one-year-old child inside and, “A few feet away the mother saw what was happening and ran to the car, opening the driver’s door and pleading with him to stop so she could get her child out. Knowing the infant was in the car he still attempted to flee with the mother hanging on the outside of the door. The mother fought with the suspect and was able to get him to stop in the middle of Hwy 62.”

JSCO says Cheatham fled the scene and JCSO deputies with a K-9 unit tracked him and found hiding under a tarp at the 21500 block of Highway 62 where they arrested him.

It says Cheatham is jailed under several Measure 11 felony charges and is not eligible for pretrial release.

A small-but-mighty crew of three people logged out the Twin Ponds Trail #993 in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. They removed 292 trees in about 4 miles. There are a few trees left on the East side, from Fourmile Lake, which is currently closed.

Because of this small crew’s hard work, visitors can now get through from the Twin Ponds Trailhead all the way to the Sky Lakes Wilderness boundary near Fourmile Lake.

Following their hard work, the trail is log-free, but still needs a lot of brushing work. The RRSNF is hoping a few folks will want to be a part of this volunteer stewardship opportunity!

Are you interested in being a part of the brushing/trail clearing effort? High Cascades Ranger District Recreation Technician, Angie, is looking for volunteers who want to come out and help brush open the first mile and a half from the trailhead on September 27, 2022. Interested people should email her for details or to sign up at angela.panter@usda.gov.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is investigating the theft of Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) equipment stolen from a lookout tower in the Prospect area. Two men broke into the tower on Sunday afternoon around 12:45.

The thieves stole batteries and solar panels used to power the lookout tower’s fire detection camera. With these items stolen, the camera is no longer operational, leaving a hole in the camera network and taking away the opportunity for early fire detection.

The ODF Southwest Oregon Detection Center is a system of cameras across Jackson and Josephine counties used to monitor rural areas in an effort to catch fires at a small size, provide critical fire information to firefighters responding to active incidents, and allow the department to use resources more strategically. This particular tower enables early fire detection for the northeastern portion of Jackson County near Prospect. ODF is currently working as quickly as possible to get the camera system back up and running. The list of items stolen includes batteries and solar panels to power the cameras.

If you can identify the subjects in the video and photos or have any information about the theft please call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case # 22-4725.

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The University of Oregon’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to appoint Patrick Phillips as the University’s interim president.

Phillips started as a faculty member at the University in 2000. He is currently the provost and senior vice president at the University. He’s served as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, and led the University’s Biology department.

Phillips will officially start as interm president on August 20.

The Board of Trustees will start the search for a new permanent president during its meetings on September 15-16.

Last week, Michael Schill announced he would be leaving the University of Oregon to become the new president at the prestigious Northwestern University in Chicago.

What do wildfire smoke, coal mining, and vaping have in common? A respiratory condition known as “popcorn lung,” and as wildfire season continues in western Oregon, doctors at PeaceHealth want you to understand the risks of wildfire smoke inhalation.

Popcorn lung damages your lungs, causing them to become inflamed, damaged, and scarred, making it harder to breathe and get the air that you need.

Symptoms include a dry cough, wheezing, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Some doctors have even reported a crackling sound when you breathe in and out.

Popcorn lung is not contagious, but during wildfire season, you are at greater risk of developing this condition.

As wildfires burn, they release micro-particles into the air, which irritates your lungs’ smallest airways.

Those most at risk include firefighters and people with respiratory conditions like asthma, but the doctors say it can affect anyone at any age.

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A 38-year-old firefighter from Oregon died in a small plane crash Monday, according to Bend Fire & Rescue.

Daniel Harro was flying with his twin brother Mark near Yellow Pine, Idaho, when their plane crashed, fire officials said in written statement.

The brothers were returning to Bend from a backcountry plane camping trip near McCall, Idaho. Daniel was flying the plane and was an avid flight enthusiast, officials said. The cause of the crash is unknown and under investigation by local authorities, fire officials said.

Harro had been with Bend Fire since 2014 as a firefighter and paramedic after previously working for the Scappoose Fire Department in Oregon, officials said. Bend Fire Chief Todd Riley said Harro was well-loved and well-respected by everyone who worked with him.

 New state regulations now allow recreational crabbers to catch triple the number of invasive green crabs from Oregon’s bays and inlets.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission increased the bag limit of European green crab from 10 to 35 per day. It’s part of a concerted effort to eradicate these invasive crustaceans- which are known to compete with native crabs for food.

Green crabs themselves are fine to eat and some recipes even call for them. They are way smaller than Dungeness or even the red rock crab, making them harder to clean.

Mitch Vance is a Shellfish Project Leader with the Marine Resources Program at Oregon Fish and Wildlife. He wants people to know for certain it is a European green crab they are harvesting.

Vance said green crabs cannot reproduce in cold temperatures, but since the ocean warming events of 2015, their numbers have dramatically increased.

Vance said the increased daily limit was also meant to give recreational crabbers a break.

Three people died in a crash that  closed Highway 101 for several hours Monday between Depoe Bay and Lincoln City, the Oregon State Police said.

The crash was reported late Monday morning near milepost 122, which is north of Lincoln Beach.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said that the north and southbound lanes were closed for accident reconstruction purposes.

No other information was immediately available on the crash.

 An Oregon man has a federal court record and a federal prison sentence today for kidnapping his ex-girlfriend and taking her from her home in Ilwalco, Washington to Rainier, Oregon.

Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office says a federal court has sentenced 61-year-old James Donald Cooley of Rainier to 120 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release.

Court documents say Cooley went from his Rainier home to his ex-girlfriend’s home in Ilwalco without notice or invitation May 18, 2020 when he approached her “and a confrontation ensued. Cooley grabbed the woman’s arms, tied her hands with zip ties, and began pulling her toward the highway. Cooley drug the woman several hundred feet to his vehicle, put a knife to her throat, shoved her into the backseat, and began driving back to Rainier, threatening to kill her several times en route.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says when Cooley arrived at his residence his sister, saw Cooley’s ex-girlfriend at his residence, and when the ex-girlfriend told Cooley’s sister that she feared Cooley was going to kill her, Cooley’s sister immediately contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.  Sheriff deputies responded and arrested Cooley.

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