Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 8/24 – 30th Anniversary of Klamath Wingwatchers Trail Celebration is Friday, Aug. 26th

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

TodaySunny, with a high near 94. Calm wind becoming west southwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.TonightClear, with a low around 59. North northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.ThursdaySunny, with a high near 93. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.Thursday NightMostly clear, with a low around 59. North northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.FridaySunny, with a high near 91. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.Friday NightMostly clear, with a low around 53.SaturdaySunny, with a high near 85.Saturday NightMostly clear, with a low around 49.SundaySunny, with a high near 88.

Today’s Headlines

Wynne Broadcasting has learned that the Klamath County Major Crime team responded to an area where a body was discovered Tuesday morning.

It is known that the body of a male was found in the open field by Klamath Learning Center, which is near Fred Meyer.

No other information was immediately available as investigators continue to process the scene. This is a developing story. We will update this information as it becomes available.

Since 2015, the Klamath County Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) coalition has orchestrated and presented the annual Klamath County Symposium, which tackles tough societal problems, such as child abuse, sexual abuse and, this year, human trafficking.

The symposium is intended to inform the community and those working in relative fields on the prevalence of these forms of abuse and how to handle cases involving survivors.

Each symposium consists of guest speakers who are considered experts of their various fields, some local, some otherwise.

For the 2022 symposium, which took place Aug. 16-17, Klamath County CAP brought in specialty speakers Task Force Officer and Seattle Police Department Detective Megan Bruneau Zentner, and Forensic Interview Specialist, Jennifer Ginsberg, both of whom are embedded in Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Beginning her career as a volunteer systems-based advocate, Zentner said her work with survivors of violence was very rewarding. She soon became the AmeriCorps Victim Support Team Supervisor, and, after two years of running the program, she went into patrol, working in downtown Seattle. She soon earned the rank of detective and began her line of work in human trafficking.

The focus of the HS presentation was on labor trafficking — a type of human trafficking that involves forced servitude by means of abusive control. It can take many forms and be found in lines of work such as hotels, domestic service, landscaping, factory work and agriculture, just to name a few.

Traffickers make people work against their will through tactics of force, such as social and residential isolation, withholding of documentation such as passports and physical force.

When looking for signs of fraud, the investigator said they look into banking records and pay stubs to see if the suspected traffickers have been cashing victims’ paychecks and withholding pay.

Oregon has never documented its Black historic sites, making the community’s understanding of Oregon’s past incomplete.

Help fill that gap in the community’s collective knowledge with a presentation at the Klamath County Library at 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22.

Join Zachary Stocks, executive director at Oregon Black Pioneers, and Ann Craig from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History for an illustrated presentation on a new project that will document and celebrate Black historic sites across the state — including some here in Klamath Falls.

Oregon Black Pioneers is the state’s only historical society dedicated to documenting and showcasing the experiences of Black people throughout the state. For more information about Oregon Black Pioneers and their mission, including an interactive map of notable Black people, groups and businesses in Oregon’s history, go to oregonblackpioneers.org.

Two more calves were killed earlier this week by wolves, but both incidents were in the Doak Mountain north of Klamath Falls and both depredations were attributed to OR103.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported both incidents were investigated Wednesday, Aug. 17, both on the same 36,000-acre private land allotment between Klamath Falls and Rocky Point.

ODFW staff found the carcass of a 250-pound, two-month-old calf in an area where the livestock producer had seen an injured calf and where ODFW staff had repeatedly hazed OR103 away from cattle.

The examination determined the organs and most muscle tissue on the calf’s hindquarters were missing and that the calf had died 18 to 24 before the investigation. After skinning the calf, a serious injury was found on the inside of its right leg above the hock that had been inflicted a few days before the calf died. According to report, “The severity and location of the wound is consistent with prior injuries observed on calves attacked by wolves.”

 According to ODFW, OR103 is an adult male that was originally captured and GPS radio collared southeast of Bend in February 2021. It later dispersed into northern California and remained there until returning to Oregon’s Klamath County in July.

There is still time to see artwork by Fran Belcastro Dearborn as the Klamath Art Association and Gallery opened a free exhibit of Dearborn’s works Sunday, Aug. 7. The exhibit is slated to remain open through Sunday, Aug. 28.

Dearborn grew up in Klamath Falls and went on to attend Oregon State University where she minored in Art Studies. She owns and operates Gino’s Café & Sports Bar, 147 E. Main St. in Klamath Falls.

Dearborn’s art can be viewed inside the restaurant when it is not displayed in art galleries.

According to a press, Dearborn’s “art mostly depicts turn of the 19th century life, nature, and other topics that strikes her fancy; such as Victorian ladies, beautiful flowers, black and white scenes of her Italian heritage, and sepia tone paintings of neighborhood life. She mostly works in acrylic paint, colored and charcoal pencil.”

The release states that Dearborn has shown her artwork at Clearwater Gallery, Two Rivers Village Arts, Running Y Art Festival and the Klamath Art Gallery.

The Klamath Art Gallery is located in historic Maple Park at 120 Riverside Drive, at the south end of the Link River “birding trail.” Regular gallery hours of operation are noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. The gallery is closed the last week of each month (Monday through Saturday) for exhibit change outs.

The 30th anniversary of the Klamath Wingwatchers Trail will be celebrated Friday, Aug. 26, with live music, free food and a walk along the trail.

Located near downtown Klamath Falls near Riverside Drive, the trail includes a section along Lake Ewauna and connects with two other trails, the recently upgraded Ken Hay Trail and the Link River Trail.

The celebration will be hosted by the Klamath Wingwatchers, the group that helped create the trail and does periodic maintenance. The event will include a 30-year celebration from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. followed by food, conversation and exhibits from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. A walk along the wetland interpretive trail will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Wingwatchers board members note the group moved the Ken Hay Trailhead closer to Riverside Drive earlier this year to provide easier access and visibility from the road. In addition, wayfinding signage is planned along the trail, a project by Healthy Klamath. The group also previously installed wayfinding signs along the Link River Trail, which is only a tenth-of-a-mile from the north end of the Wingwatchers Trail.

People planning to attend are asked to RSVP at Klamathwingwatchers.org or to contact Leslie Lowe at inharmony46@charter.net.

The Klamath Independent Film Festival, now in its 10th year, is coming to town once more to showcase made-in-Oregon films.

Scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at the Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls and streaming online, tickets are now on sale for the film festival.

For single-day passes, the price will be $25 while weekend and online passes will cost $40 and a festival-wide pass that includes livestreaming/on-demand access will be $50.

The film festival will kick of Friday, Sept. 16 with a street festival featuring food trucks and a beer garden. There will be other activities as well, such as the making-of documentary film about “Animal House” — “Animal House of Blues” — a special presentation by original National Lampoon’s “Animal House” casting director Katherine Wilson, and a screening of the iconic film complete with a toga costume contest and “Shout!” dance-off on stage.


Saturday, Sept. 17 will feature full-length films shot across Oregon, including a special panel discussion highlighting the Modoc Wars and Klamath Traibes surrounding two films made about the Moduc Wars — “Modoc Nation: An Untold Story of Survivial” and “This is Their Land.”

The programming for Sunday, Sept. 18 will open with a K-12 student film showcase and short film selections There will also be an awards ceremony that includes $5,000 in cash prizes and custom-made awards by the Southern Cascade Woodcrafters Guild. This will be the third year the awards have been made by the guild.

Around the state of Oregon

After more than three weeks since the McKinney Fire first sparked in the Klamath National Forest, destroying more than 60,000 acres,  the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has positively identified the four confirmed fatalities.

They have been identified as Kathleen Shoopman, age 73, Charles Kays, age 79, Judith Kays, age 82 & John Cogan, age 76, all from Klamath River, California.

According to the Klamath National Forest, the McKinney Fire has burned 60,392 acres and is 95% contained. All lines continue to hold on the McKinney Fire as well according to officials. 

Anonymous Tip Leads to Arrest After Thieves Disable Early Fire Detection Cameras at Lookout Near Prospect

An anonymous tip led to the arrest of a thief who broke into an Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) lookout tower in the Prospect area last week.

The suspect, Chad Allen McPherson, 30, of Prospect, was indicted today by a Grand Jury and charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree theft, first-degree criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools, and felon in possession of a restricted weapon.

McPherson is lodged in the Jackson County Jail and due to a parole violation for felon in possession of a firearm is not eligible for pre-trial release. 

McPherson and another suspect were captured on surveillance footage breaking into the tower around 12:45 on Sunday, August 14. The additional suspect shown in the surveillance footage has not been identified. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives have identified a person of interest and are actively working to identify the additional suspect by analyzing latent prints and submitting DNA. 

JCSO detectives arrested McPherson during a traffic stop Friday after receiving the tip and matching his photos to the surveillance footage. After searching his vehicle, detectives discovered burglary tools. During a search warrant of his property on the 2000 block of Shelly Lane in Prospect, detectives found a restricted weapon he was prohibited from possessing as a convicted felon. Investigators also discovered a black-market marijuana grow on the property.

Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET) detectives served a search warrant and destroyed 256 cannabis plants and 300 lbs. of processed black-market marijuana on the property. There was no licensing for any type of cannabis growing, handling, or processing at this location.

Later Friday, Dispatch received a call about a duffel bag at the intersection of 1st Street and Highway 62 with a note which read “call the cops.” JCSO deputies retrieved the bag and it contained items matching that of the stolen ODF equipment. The solar panels and batteries are still missing. The theft disabled ODF’s early fire detection capability for the northeastern portion of Jackson County near Prospect. ODF is currently working to get the camera system back up and running.

Video on JCSO Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/100064820435399/videos/pcb.432565942247417/564022975504442

This case is ongoing with detectives working additional leads. If you have any information on the additional suspect or the whereabouts of the missing equipment, call the JCSO Tip Line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case 22-4725.

Biden announces student loan relief for borrowers making less than $125,000

Today in his press conference to the nation, President Joe Biden announced new steps to address student loan debt, which includes forgiving up to $20,000 for some borrowers and extending the payment freeze one final time until the end of the year.

The President’s sweeping plan on student loans follows extended, down-to-the-wire negotiations at the White House among stakeholders and lawmakers ahead of when payments were set to resume at the end of this month. The decision is already disappointing many, with those on the left arguing that the President should have provided even more loan forgiveness and those on the right asserting that Biden is punishing Americans who avoided going into debt. But it fulfills one of Biden’s campaign promises, issuing major reforms to America’s student loan system and providing relief to millions of current and future borrowers.

Borrowers who hold loans with the Department of Education and make less than $125,000 a year are eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness if they obtained Pell Grants. Individuals who make less than $125,000 a year but did not receive Pell Grants are eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness.

The Department of Education will announce details on how borrowers can claim this relief in the coming weeks, with the application expected to be available no later than when the pause on repayments terminates at the end of December. Millions of borrowers will be able to receive relief automatically based on existing income data.

This week the Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard is helping the Oregon Department of Forestry coordinate a weeklong 24-hour honor watch for fallen firefighter Logan Taylor.

An honor watch is for the fallen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in a line of duty. It represents never leaving the fallen behind, it doesn’t involve standing at attention or being immediately next to him, but being seated in a room to ensure he is not left alone.

“The folks that are coming here and performing this honor watch are all members of the emergency response community – we’ve had law enforcement folks that have shown up – fire service personnel that have shown up – not only from the structural side of the fire service but from the wildland side of the fire service which is where Logan was working,” says an Oregon Fire Service Honor Watch representative.

Other emergency service members who have attended the honor watch are members in the Oregon Department of Forestry, and people from emergency management. The Oregon Fire Service honor guard says there has been an amazing response from the emergency response community.

“We’re honoring logan and his sacrifice in the highest degree possible this not only impacts the community it obviously impacts the emergency response community,” says Oregon Fire Service Honor Watch representative.

Holding an honor watch is something that doesn’t happen often, but when it does the honor guard does its best to circle around his family and loved ones and show their support. A date for a public ceremony for Logan Taylor will be announced soon.

—— Family and friends are remembering the Southern Oregon wildland firefighter for his kindness after he died while fighting the Rum Creek fire in Josephine County.

On Thursday, 25-year-old Logan Taylor of Talent, Oregon died after being hit by a tree while working as a contracted wildland firefighter with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

“If there are angels among us he was one, and he will be missed forever,” Debra Herring said. Herring explained Taylor and her son went through the Phoenix-Talent School District together.

Herring said after the Almeda fire devastated the Rogue Valley community, Taylor was the first one to reach out and offer help. She said as the former manager for Talent Mobile Estates, doing a lot of the maintenance work was challenging, but Taylor always assisted with the hard labor.

She said Taylor was a kind young man who would drop what he was doing without a second thought to help someone in need. She said the 25-year-old thrived in the forest and had recently opened his first business, Sasquatch Reforestation.

A family friend, Nichole Daniels created a  GoFundMe account to assist Taylor’s family after his unexpected loss. Those who would like to donate can click here to visit the GoFundMe page.

On Monday, at approximately 9:59 PM, Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy 234 near milepost 16. 

Preliminary investigation revealed a westbound Hyundai Sante Fe, operated by Sheldon Hensley (24) of Medford, crossed the centerline and collided head-on with an eastbound Subaru Forrester, operated by Feliz McGonagle (67) of Trail.  Impairment is being investigated as a contributing factor. 

Hensley and his passenger, Maria Regalado (24) of Medford, were transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. McGonagle sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

Hwy 234 was closed for approximately 5 hours while the scene was investigated by OSP’s Collision Reconstruction Unit.  OSP was assisted by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Fire Department, AMR, Lifeflight and ODOT. 

WILDFIRE UPDATES

The Oregon Department of Forestry is continuing mop-up operations across the Westside Complex fires. With swift response times, ODF is relying on its numerous resources.

With more than 50 lighting-caused wildfires that ODF has responded to, officials say they are more than prepared to send out resources when lightning strikes. ODF Public Information Officer Natalie Weber says has been six fires in the Applegate area from the lighting storm last Wednesday.

She says when a fire is spotted through their lightning detection center they need to size it up to determine how many resources to send to the incident. Other resources could include tree cutting companies, aircraft for bucket drops and recon, as well as crews from other districts.

Westside Complex Incident Commander Taylor Wilkerson says the biggest challenge is the terrain. The Westside Complex fires are not along roads or highways. They have had to face steep inclines, brush, and weakened trees that have the potential to fall down.

He says crews are able to jump on all of the fires because they have so many resources available for them district-wide.

—- The Umpqua National Forest has reduced the Emergency Fire Closure for the Windigo fire (details below). 

Weather: Today will be hot and dry, with isolated thunderstorms possible near the crest of the Cascades. Temperatures will be in the low to mid-80s with relative humidity around 30%. Winds start the day light, increasing this afternoon with gusts up to 14 mph. For smoke information visit AirNow.gov.

Big Swamp Fire:  Firefighters continue to utilize the sprinkler system along the 2153 Road to check any forward advance of the fire. Elsewhere on the fire, crews continue to patrol, mop up, and repair control lines.

Potter Fire: Crews continue with dozer, hand line, and road repair. Chipping, processing, and hauling of danger trees that have been removed is ongoing.

Camel Hump Fire: Firefighters were able to begin construction of the hose lay around the fire yesterday. A water tender is being brought in today to allow fire crews to charge the hoses and bring water to the fireline. Fire crews are making good progress mitigating hazard trees around the fire perimeter. 

Windigo Fire: Firefighters continue work repairing remaining dozer hand lines to restore natural drainage on the landscape and minimize the potential for sediment to flow into local streams. Fire crews also made excellent progress grading, repairing, and removing hazard trees along the 60 Road to the Windigo Pass Trailhead on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Resources: 15 hand crews, 10 engines, 3 dozers, 10 water tenders, 5 helicopters. Total personnel 643. 

Closures: The portion of the Pacific Crest Trail within the Umpqua National Forest and the Kelsay Valley Horse Camp have been reopened. Other trails in the area, as well as the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness, are now open. Area closures for the Windigo and Potter Fires remain posted on the Umpqua National Forest – Alerts & Notices (usda.gov) page.

Public Safety:  As fire activity diminishes, hazards from fire effects and suppression activities remain. Crews and equipment continue to use roads for both suppression and post-fire suppression repair. Activities like brushing and chipping along roadsides and falling trees remain hazards on the landscape. You can help keep firefighters and the public safe by adhering to the closure orders until they are officially lifted. As roads begin to open, please drive slowly through the areas. Stopping along roads and highways to observe operations creates a safety hazard for both firefighters and the public. 

Christine Drazan, who hopes to become the first Republican elected as Oregon governor in 40 years, visited the Baker County Events Center on Aug. 16 for a speech to about 120 people.

In closing her 25-minute speech to the audience, Drazan, a Klamath Falls native, Drazan emphasized the importance of voting.

Multnomah County, which includes Portland, has about 560,000 registered voters out of almost 3 million registered in the state.

And more than half of those voters are registered Democrats, a big reason why Oregon has not elected a Republican to the state’s top office since Victor Atiyeh, who won his second four-year term in 1982.

That’s led people in counties like Baker, where 47% of the 12,800 registered voters are Republicans, to feel “uncomfortable” with representation, as one question from the crowd on Tuesday night put it.

That’s led people in counties like Baker, where 47% of the 12,800 registered voters are Republicans, to feel “uncomfortable” with representation, as one question from the crowd on Tuesday night put it.

That person also asked Drazan about the possibility of Eastern Oregon becoming a part of Idaho, an idea the Move Oregon’s Border group has promoted.

Drazan had said earlier in her speech that she had been working with Idaho Gov. Brad Little, also a Republican, and that she saw an “incredible” opportunity for collaboration between the states.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted will step down next year, the sports apparel maker said Monday, and the company has started looking for a successor.

Rorsted, who has been CEO since 2016, and its supervisory board “mutually agreed” that he will hand over during the course of 2023, Adidas said. The company has its North American headquarters in Portland.

He thanked Rorsted for “major achievements” that included strategically repositioning the company, vastly expanding its online sales and doubling sales in North America. Rabe said the firm can now focus on its core brand after divesting TaylorMade, Reebok and CCM Hockey.

Recent years “have been marked by several external factors that disrupted our business significantly” and that it took “huge efforts” to deal with those challenges, Rorsted said.

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