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Klamath Falls
May 30, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Friday, 12/30 – New Year’s Weekend; No Sign of Missing Man Steven Mainwaring Say Authorities

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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 and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insuranceyour local health and Medicare agents.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

This Afternoon Rain off and on, high of 42, light winds of 7 mph. Snow level 6700 feet rising to 7200 feet. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. Overnight, expect more rain with a low of 33. The snow level will be around 7000 feet lowering to 5700 feet after midnight . Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Saturday Rain before 1pm, then a chance of rain and snow. Snow level 4700 feet. High near 40. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight a slight chance of rain and snow before 7pm, then a slight chance of snow between 7pm and 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. Chance of overnight precipitation is 20%.
Sunday, New Year’s Day Mostly sunny, with a high near 36. Cloudy overnight with a low of 19 degrees.
Monday Snow likely, mainly between 10am and 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 35. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

See Road Camera Views

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

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An unsuccessful search for 22-year-old Oregon State University student, Steven Mainwaring of Klamath Falls hasn’t dampered the family’s hope for his safe return.

Wednesday afternoon, a search party gathered by the library in Alsea, near where Mainwaring’s cell phone last pinged, according to police. The group searched until the sun went down but unfortunately, didn’t find anything.

Mainwaring’s family says they are focusing on trying to locate his car, which is unique and should stand out. It’s a 1994 Ford Bronco with a custom fabricated rack mounted on top.

Mainwaring is from Klamath Falls but was living in Corvallis while he attended OSU.

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The Corvallis Police Department and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office are working together to find him.

Anyone with information on Mainwaring’s whereabouts is urged to call Detective Mark Smith at (541) 766-6911.

Emergency manager Brandon Fowler, center.

Two local Klamath County Sheriff’s Office employees received statewide recognition for their service to the public and their office during 2022.

On December 15th, Emergency Manager Brandon Fowler and Detective Sergeant Ryan Kaber were honored at the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association annual banquet. Emergency Manager Brandon Fowler received his award as the supervisor of the Emergency Management Program of the Year for the State of Oregon.

In the accompanying citation the program was commended for being a robust division under the Sheriff’s Office benefiting each and every citizen in the county and throughout the state. Staff and services have been added which provide a significant increase in response and recovery as demonstrated during numerous wildfires over the last three years.

The program and staff work year-round to reduce the threat of harm from natural and man-made disaster and also assist in recovery efforts. The team provided additional training to many other emergency service agencies, has responded to numerous mass casualty traffic accidents, train derailments and other emergencies throughout the county. Additionally, the Emergency Management team has provided much of the needed response and coordination for the domestic dry well program serving many residents throughout our county.

Sergeant Ryan Kaber, center.

Detective Sergeant Kaber received the award as the Enforcement Council’s Supervisor of the Year for the State of Oregon. As cited in the nomination by his immediate supervisor, it was noted there had been unique challenges to providing public safety services during the past year and that Sergeant Kaber voluntarily took on added responsibilities without hesitation. While not only supervising the Detective Division in major criminal and sensitive case investigations, he also assisted in the supervision of Patrol Division deputies providing service to the community, assisted in coordinating and conducting pre-employment background investigations which led to the successful hiring of seven new deputies during the past year.

A New Year’s Day tradition, the Hangover Handicap, will return Sunday, Jan. 1st, 2023.

Event director Alden Glidden said the run will begin at 9 a.m. at Veteran’s Park in downtown Klamath Falls! Participants are asked to register by 8:45 a.m. As always, the event, sponsored by the Linkville Lopers Running Club, has no entry fee.

The course is 2.3 miles long. From Veteran’s Park, the route goes along Klamath Avenue to and around the Klamath County Museum then returns to the park along Main Street. Runners and walkers typically participate. Some years the event has lured more than 100 men, women, youth and, increasingly, dogs.

He also emphasizes the event, which has been held for more than 50 years, is not only for runners. According to Glidden, a Klamath Falls doctor who has overseen the event for several decades, “More people walk it than run it. We have growing numbers of people who are out to have a good time.”

Glidden said 91-year-old Vic Versteeg, a longtime member of the Lopers and a frequent volunteer at club-sponsored events, will again be assisting with all phases of the New Year Day’s gathering.

As part of a relatively new tradition, trophies will be given to the first place male, first place female and, unusually, the first place dog. Jay Williams, who was the fastest finisher in 2020, also took home a second trophy for his dog. As is traditional, the trophies are mounted on beer cans, one can featuring a woman, another a man and a third a dog.

Klamath County lost a local patriot and community volunteer over the Christmas holiday weekend. On Thursday, Dec. 22, Doug Brown, 68, died in his home leaving behind a legacy in Klamath Falls that will be continued and enjoyed for generations to come.

Born in Ashland on Nov. 18, 1954, Brown moved to Klamath Falls as a toddler in the summer of 1957 and settled into the community with his family. Brown graduated from Klamath Union High School in 1972.

His family and friends said it was during his upbringing when he found his life’s calling. Disgusted by the treatment his father and other veterans received upon returning home, Brown decided to make a commitment to veterans.

Things really kicked off in 2008 when Brown, along with his wife Chris, started the Klamath Freedom Foundation to honor all active and non-active military, police, firemen and women who have served and their families, as well as the community who share the sacrifice with them.

Two years after the foundation’s creation, in 2010, Brown organized bringing the Vietnam Traveling War Memorial Wall — a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. — to Klamath Falls.

To further accomplish his goals, Brown structured the Klamath Freedom Days for the City of Klamath Falls in 2016. A two-week long celebration of freedom, veterans and Klamath Falls beginning with the Klamath Kruise and including Sentry Eagle (173rd Fighter Wing Kingsley Field’s open house), the 4th of July Parade, Independence Day Fireworks Display and ending with the Basin Brew and Q.

A date for a memorial has not yet been set.

All Klamath County libraries will be closed on Sunday, January 1st and Monday, January 2nd in observance of New Year’s Day, and on Monday, January 16th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

No materials will be due on a date that the libraries are closed. For more information, call us at 541-882-8894, or see our events calendar at klamathlibrary.org/library-events-calendar.

...More news from the Klamath County Library… After a couple years’ hiatus, the Creative Writers Group for adults is back.

The revamped group will meet from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of the month Jan. 4. The group is open to anyone who wants to improve their writing skills in a positive environment. No previous writing experience necessary.

We’ll have writing prompts and discussion to get you going, and feel free to bring in something you’re working on to workshop with the group.

For more information, call 541-882-8894, visit the downtown library’s Information & Reference desk, or email staff host Lia at ladamson@klamathlibrary.org.

Klamath Basin residents are invited to bring undecorated Christmas trees to the Klamath County Fairgrounds parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Jan. 7 to be chipped by Absolute Tree Care Service in exchange for any cash or check donation to “Friends of the Children of the Klamath Basin”.

Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit that creates generational change by empowering youth facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors, called “Friends,” for 12+ years.

Friends of the Children originated in Portland in 1993. It was established in Klamath Falls in 2000. Learn more at friendsklamath.org.

Collier Memorial State Park, located north of Klamath Falls off Highway 97 near Chiloquin, will offer a First Day Hike on Sunday, January 1st.

Park Ranger Ed Abell will lead the hike, which begins at 10 a.m. and is expected to end about noon. The meeting location is Collier Logging Museum parking lot. The hike will follow the Williamson River Trail loop, a flat dirt trail that goes alongside the wooded riverside and sometimes often offers views of nesting bald eagles. Participants are encouraged to bring cameras.

Pets are welcome but must be on a leash. Hikers should bring a liter or more of water, snacks, and dress in layers for a variety of potential weather conditions.

“Dress appropriately for our local winter conditions,” urges Abell, who also recommends participants check weather and road conditions before making the drive. Depending on conditions, participants may need snowshoes, which are not available at the park. Rentals are available in Chiloquin through Sky Lakes Wilderness Adventures and in Klamath Falls at The Ledge, Klamath Basin Sports, and Bullet rentals.

To learn more about the hike or conditions on the morning of the call Abell at 541-274-1077.

Boy Scout Troops 71 and 8 in Klamath Falls are offering their 18th annual Christmas tree pickup on Saturday, Jan. 7.

To arrange a pick up, call 541-850-9217 or 541-851-1947. The scouts are raising funds for summer camp and other scout activities. They ask for a minimum $10 donation. Trees are recycled for biofuel and feed for goats.

The Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), will be hosting an economic summit at the Ross Ragland Theater on January 9th, going from 8:30AM to 11:30AM.

This event will have industry experts and state officials come together to present on various topics impacting the county economy. At the event, community members will get the chance to introduce questions and participate in discussion on area priorities. Admission to the event is $10, and gives attendees access to the program, Gathering Grounds coffee and other refreshments. For more information contact KCEDA at 541-882-9600.

Around the state of Oregon

Falling Trees on Oregon Highways During Tuesday’s Windstorm Killed Five People

Five people traveling on Oregon highways Tuesday were killed by trees falling onto the road in the span of four hours, casualties of an intense windstorm that left 200,000 people without power.

The National Weather Service’s Portland office recorded hurricane-force winds along the northern Oregon Coast yesterday afternoon: 86 miles per hour at Cape Perpetua and 74 mph in Manzanita.

Tuesday’s storm system also brought massive waves, high tides and flooding to the region. Wave heights reached 30 feet along the Oregon coast, the National Weather Service said.

The Coastal Range also experienced severe winds, ranging from 50 to 73 mph—tropical storm force. It was those winds that toppled a “large diameter” tree onto the roof of a Ford F-150 traveling east on U.S. Highway 26 2 miles west of Camp 18 at 11:39 am Tuesday.

Three people—the driver, Justin Nolasco Pedraza, 19, of Seaside, and passengers Bonifacio Olvera Nolasco, 41, of Seaside and a 4-year-old girl—were found dead inside the truck, Oregon State Police say.T he deaths in the F-150 were the most horrifying of three incidents Dec. 27 in which people died from trees falling onto the highway in the windstorm. The investigation of the crash site closed Sunset Highway for five hours Tuesday, police said. “It was determined the tree fell directly onto the Ford F150 roof as it was passing by,” Oregon State Police said in a press release.

Wednesday saw the shoulders of Highway 26 covered in a green carpet of fir branches and needles for much of its Coastal Range stretch.

At about 2 pm, a tree fell onto Interstate 84 near Bonneville Dam and struck the passenger side of an eastbound Dodge Ram, state police said. The passenger in the vehicle, 20-year-old Paula Chamu Sanchez of Baker City, was killed by the tree. The driver, Rick Williams, was transported to a Portland hospital.

About 90 minutes later, a tree fell onto a Peterbilt truck on U.S. Highway 26 in Wasco County. The driver, James Darron Lyda, 53, of Prineville, lost control of the truck and veered off the highway. He was pronounced dead at the scene—the fourth person killed by a tree on U.S. 26 on Tuesday.

Strong winds felled trees and and knocked out power lines across large swaths of the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday, cutting power for more than 160,000 people at certain points. Wind gusts reached 86 mph near Cape Perpetua on Oregon’s central coast and 107 mph near the iconic Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, said Andy Bryant, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service’s Portland office.

After high winds battered the West Coast Monday night and Tuesday, crews worked through the night to restore power to several homes that were left without electricity due to downed power lines and fallen trees.

Pacific Power said the high wind event on December 27 left almost 50,000 customers without power and affected more than 86,000 in one way or another, but crews were able to restore power to about 14,500 customers. As of 11 a.m. on December 28, there are about 7,500 Pacific Power customers still without power, according to the utility. Pacific Power said about 1,100 of those are in various communities in the Willamette Valley, while another 570 are in Coos Bay. All customers should have their power restored by the morning of December 29 at the latest, according to Pacific Power.

Utility companies have progressively restored power, but more than 30,000 people in Oregon were still affected by outages as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to online tracker PowerOutage. Portland General Electric and Pacific Power — among the utilities reporting the highest number of outages — both said they had hundreds of service crew members, including from out of state, working to assess and repair damage.

Power cost inflation among the causes

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently finalized rate increases for PacifiCorp (dba Pacific Power) customers effective January 1, 2023.

The increase stems from decisions in two proceedings—an annual adjustment for power costs, which are markedly higher due to market volatility, and a general rate case filing for non-energy related costs, including costs to mitigate wildfire risk. 

The decisions result in an average overall rate increase of 14.8 percent combined for all customer types. A typical residential customer using 900 kilowatt hours per month can expect monthly bills to increase from $91.89 to $111.34. The impact varies depending on actual energy usage for residential, commercial, and industrial customer types. 

Significant increases in Pacific Power’s expected cost to purchase and produce electricity in 2023 are a primary driver of the increase, based on forecasts for both the higher cost of fuel (natural gas and coal) to produce electricity and the higher cost to purchase electricity in the market. Pacific Power cited global supply chain problems as one factor in reducing the supply and increasing the cost of electricity.

“We recognize that increasing rates at a time when Oregonians are already dealing with high inflation presents challenges for many customers,” said Megan Decker, PUC Chair. “Unfortunately, fuel cost increases and supply chain delays caused by global events, combined with increasing volatility in regional electricity markets, drive the price for utilities to produce and purchase electricity. Although the utilities cannot avoid all of the impacts of these higher prices in the short term, there may be options available for residential customers to help reduce the bottom line impact.”

Pacific Power recently launched a new program providing on-bill rate discounts ranging from 20-40 percent to support customers who are experiencing income restraints. Pacific Power’s most vulnerable customers can also access a variety of bill support programs through local community action agencies, including the Oregon Energy FundOregon Energy Assistance ProgramCOVID Energy Assistance Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  

The PUC recently approved a $46.7 million, or 3.7 percent increase for non-energy costs in a general rate proceeding, a reduction from the original requested increase of $84.4 million. This increase, which will also go into effect January 1, is driven by numerous factors, including increases in wildfire mitigation and vegetation management spending, capital additions, and miscellaneous increases to the company’s revenue requirement. The PUC also approved an agreement by the parties preventing Pacific Power from filing a general rate case in Oregon with rates effective earlier than January 1, 2025.

PacifiCorp serves approximately 630,000 customers in Oregon, and approximately 2.0 million total retail customers in California, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

OHA launches Hospital Community Benefit Program, and patient protections

New report shows the collaboration with hospitals creates greater opportunity for financial assistance, consumer rights for people in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – A new Oregon Health Authority (OHA) report highlights the implementation of House Bill 3076, a law the Oregon Legislature enacted in 2019 that requires a percentage of nonprofit hospital funds to be reinvested in communities.

Under HB 3076, OHA established minimum spending requirements for nonprofit hospitals and worked with them to develop policies that offer financial assistance to more patients, including those with income up to 400% of the federal poverty level.

The new guidelines also give people in Oregon medical debt protections; under the law, hospitals are prohibited from referring patients to collections prior to screening them for financial assistance eligibility.

“We know medical debt is a major issue for many Oregonians,” said David Baden, chief financial officer at OHA. “New financial assistance policies are now in place that can really make a difference. OHA will continue to work on awareness and compliance to further the goal of greater health equity in our communities.”

To establish the new Hospital Community Benefit Program, OHA began a formal rulemaking process in September 2020. The agency did outreach in all Oregon counties to solicit member applications for the Rules Advisory Committee (RAC), which then established a method for assigning minimum community benefit spending. Throughout the process, OHA partnered with Oregon’s nonprofit hospitals, patient advocates and health care economists. In July 2022, OHA convened a community benefit summit to provide guidance to hospitals during the transition.

The report includes the following key findings:

  • Hospital financial assistance policies are largely in alignment with new legal requirements. Hospitals have updated their policies with requirements for minimum levels of financial assistance. Most hospital policies pertaining to medical debt have also been updated to incorporate the added protections against referrals to collection and interest charges.
  • Patients continue to experience challenges with accessing financial assistance. While trends related to medical debt and consumer impacts are improving, inequities remain and must be addressed. OHA will continue working to ensure patients are aware of their rights, with a focus on monitoring the compliance of medical debt requirements, ensuring eligible patients are screened for financial assistance, and recommending that applications and processes are simplified.
  • All Oregon nonprofit hospitals have accepted their assigned minimum spending requirements for current fiscal years. As of December 2022, all participating hospitals have accepted their spending floors. Despite the program’s start during the COVID-19 pandemic, strong engagement with partners has allowed for a successful launch.

OHA will continue to work closely with hospitals to provide guidance about requirements under HB 3076. Data for the first year of implementation will be released after September 2023.

Oregon is close to becoming the first state in the nation to offer medical psilocybin mushrooms for patients.

This week, the Oregon Health Authority adopted the final draft of regulations for implementing the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act. The state can now start accepting applications for licenses to dispense magic mushrooms starting January 2nd. Soon, it will be legal for anyone 21 and older who qualifies to be prescribed psilocybin mushrooms.

Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks come from behind to win the Holiday Bowl 28-27.

Congratulations to Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks on a thrilling win on Wednesday night to grab a wild victory 28-27 over North Carolina in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego!

Nix threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chase Cota on fourth down with 19 seconds left and Camden Lewis’ PAT bounced off the left upright and went through to the amazement of almost everyone watching.

Chase Cota caught the ball at about the 1 and got it across the goal line as he was being tackled by Don Chapman. The play was upheld on review. Lewis then banked in the PAT.

North Carolina (9-5) got the ball to the Oregon 42 with one second left before Drake Maye’s desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete.

The Ducks finished 10-3 thanks to Nix, his offense and defense teammates, who came up big late in the fourth quarter after being held in check much of the second half.

Governor Brown Names Two judges to Oregon Supreme Court

Outgoing Governor Kate Brown has announced five new judicial appointments just days before her time in office ends. Two of those are to the state’s highest court.

Brown named Judge Stephen Bushong and Judge Bronson James to the Oregon Supreme Court.

She also filled vacancies on the court of appeals and the Multnomah County Circuit Court. Brown has appointed 112 judges, including eight to the Oregon Supreme Court — more than any other Oregon governor.

A Portland teen in foster care who was reported missing may be in danger, state officials say. The Oregon Department of Human Services is trying to find 16-year-old Taylor Halbrook, who went missing from her Portland home on December 24.

Taylor is known to spend time in the Portland metro area, Oregon City, and Medford. It’s possible that she may be with someone known as James Austin Buchanan.

Taylor reportedly has hazel eyes and dark brown hair, is 5’5″ tall, and weighs 180 pounds. She wears dark-rimmed glasses and was last seen wearing velvet silver sweatpants and a long sleeve black shirt.

Anyone with information about Taylor’s whereabouts is asked to call the police.

On Wednesday, December 28, 2022 at approximately 6:24 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to two vehicle crash on HWY 101, near milepost 2.5, in Clatsop County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a northbound blue 2002 Nissan Xterra SUV, operated by Edgar Mandujano Rodriguez (29) of Beaverton, attempted to pass other northbound vehicles on the Megler bridge when it struck a southbound blue 2013 Ford C-MAX SUV, operated by Connie Jackson (64) of Astoria. The head-on collision caused severe damage to both vehicles and cause the Xterra to become engulfed in flames. Mandujano Rodriguez was found deceased at the scene. Jackson was flown to a Portland hospital in critical condition.

OSP was assisted by the Astoria Fire Department, the Astoria Police Department, the Clatsop County Sheriffs’ Office, the Washington State Patrol, and ODOT.

Starting Jan. 4, tran riders can travel from Portland to Eugene for as low as $17 on Amtrak Cascades. In an effort to offer travelers more affordable options, the other Oregon stops have reduced fares as well – Oregon City, Salem and Albany – some by as much as 30%. Book now for travel after Jan. 4 at these reduced rates.

Now it’s easier than ever to get out and explore Oregon, with Amtrak Cascades operating two roundtrip trains between Eugene and Portland each day. Several trains make connections going further north to Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., though the Oregon portions are the routes with the new, lower prices.

Schedules and tickets are available on AmtrakOregon.com.

Travelers can learn more about exploring Oregon via Amtrak Cascades on the website, with ideas for places to see and things to do in the Willamette Valley and beyond. Passenger train service offers an option for travelers, reduces congestion on our roadways and greenhouse gas emissions in our environment, and serves as a great way to take the family on an affordable close-to-home getaway.

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving Awareness Campaign

The weeks leading up to the holiday season are a busy period on America’s roads.

To help keep drivers safe, our local law enforcement departments will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the national Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving drunk-driving-awareness campaign.

If you plan to go out and include alcohol in your celebration, make sure you refrain from driving. Review these facts and spread the word about the dangers of drunk driving.

  • During the 2016-2020 December months, more than 4,400 people were killed in drunk-driving-related crashes. 
  • Drunk male drivers were involved in fatal crashes at a much higher rate (660) in December 2020 compared to female drivers (191). 
  • Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs at or above .08). In 2020, there were 11,654 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
  • Although it’s illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2020 one person was killed every 45 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads.
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 was 3.1 times higher at night than during the day.

Plan for a Safe Celebration

Always remember to plan ahead when you will be celebrating with alcohol. If you plan to drink, make arrangements for a sober driver to take you home. Before you start celebrating this holiday season, look over these safety tips to keep you, your loved ones, and everyone else safe on the road. 

  • Plan ahead: If you wait until you’ve been drinking to make a smart decision, you might not. Before you have one drink, designate a sober driver who won’t be drinking.
  • If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously, and don’t drink. 
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, 911 immediately.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and let a sober driver get your friend home safely.

Medford Catalytic Converter Buyer Charged With Aggravated Theft And Racketeering

A Medford man with an online business that buys catalytic converters faces four dozen criminal charges accusing him of operating his metals business unlicensed and buying and selling more than $50,000 in stolen property.

Cedrus Jahson King, 25, was arrested and charged last week with racketeering and aggravated first-degree theft linked to his business, Core Kings LLC, surrounding the way it obtained catalytic converters and high-value diesel particulate filtration systems between Oct. 1 and Dec. 22, according to a 32-page document filed by the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Catalytic converters are being stolen at increasingly higher rates due to their valuable metals, such as rhodium, platinum and palladium. Recent disruptions in supply chains have made them more difficult to source and, in turn, more prone to theft. Vehicle owners can install an anti-theft device over the catalytic converter to prevent it from being stolen or etch a license plate number or VIN onto the part to deter thieves.

This investigation was made possible by the assistance of Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Justice, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Grants Pass Public Safety, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office.

A three-page affidavit filed by Medford police in the case was sealed in Circuit Court records Tuesday, but the District Attorney’s information document listing the charges outlines 22 separate counts of first-degree theft against King.

The charges allege King bought catalytic converters or other high-value metal parts with “defendant knowing that the property was the subject of theft.”

Another 22 counts of unlawfully purchasing or receiving metal property allege that King bought the metal property “without holding a license required by state law or local ordinance.”

The Oregon Secretary of State’s business registry shows King listed as the sole registered agent of Core Kings LLC. The business was incorporated Dec. 3, 2020, but is currently listed in the statewide database as inactive. The system automatically reported the business as dissolved in February of this year.

A search online shows corekingsllc.com is still active, as is a Facebook page created last year where King appears to have identified himself in multiple posts.

The website was asking individuals selling a catalytic converter to first upload a photo of the car part, fill out an online appraisal form then ship it to them. The website asks the seller “to include the interior honeycomb and the serial number.”

Whale Watch Week Returned In-Person In Oregon Despite High Winds And Waves

Whale Watch Week in Oregon returned in-person for the first time since the pandemic on Wednesday, drawing visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the annual gray whale migration to the state’s coastline.

By early afternoon, more than 500 people had flocked to the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, where a volunteer equipped with binoculars pointed out whales in the distance. A spokesperson for Oregon State Parks, which organizes the event, described scenes of excited spectators as several were spotted.

“She’s seeing the spray and calling it out,” Stefanie Knowlton told The Associated Press on the phone as she watched the center’s volunteer, the crowd cheering in the background. “There’s just so much energy. You could just really feel that people were ready to come back and watch whales together.”

Volunteers will be at 17 state parks along the coast through Sunday to help people spot the nearly 20,000 gray whales that make the southward journey to Mexico every year.

One of the sites, Cape Meares, was closed Wednesday after strong winds the previous day knocked over trees, Knowlton said.

Oregon State Parks organizes whale-watching events twice a year, in the winter for gray whales’ southern migration and in the spring for their return to northern waters near Alaska.

Oregon’s central coast is also a hot spot for whale-watching from June to mid-November, when the gray whales that remained in the state’s coastal waters during the summer migration come close to shore to feed, according to the agency.

Free Ranger-Guided Hikes at 20 Oregon State Parks On New Year’s Day

Rangers will guide hikes at Oregon state parks on New Year’s Day to kick off 2023. Choose from 24 hikes in 21 parks across the state. All hikes will be guided by a park ranger or volunteer who will share stories about the park’s history, geology, wildlife, and plants. 

Known as “First Day Hikes,” the trips typically cover just a few miles and are considered family-friendly.

The tours are free and the $5 day-use parking fee is also being waived on New Year’s Day at every state park that normally requires a fee. A few of the guided hikes do require registration.

Rangers will cover park history, geology, wildlife and plants during the hikes at parks around the state from the high desert to the coast, according to a news release.

“A guided hike is great way to kick off 2023 in the outdoors and begin a new tradition or continue a longstanding family tradition,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “As our centennial year comes to a close, we’re excited to begin the next 100 years of Oregon State Parks and continue to offer year-round recreation.”

The hikes begin at different times and locations. To get information on each of the different treks, including length, difficulty and whether you need to register, go to https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=v.feature-article&articleId=263

“Remember to plan for winter weather, dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and carry binoculars for viewing wildlife,” the news release said.

Here’s a list of some of the closer planned hikes at Oregon State Parks:

Willamette Valley/West Cascades

Southern Oregon

  • Collier Memorial State Park: 10 a.m., meet at the Logging Museum parking lot. Call the park office, 541-783-2471 X21 to register by Dec. 30. Leave a message that includes name, contact info and number of people attending.
  • TouVelle State Park: 1:30 p.m., meet at the day-use area by Area F at the far end of the park.
  • Valley of the Rogue State Park: 10 a.m., meet at the amphitheater fire pit in the program area.

Eastern/Central Oregon

Who loves to fish?

Right now, there are new requirements to the Steelhead Angling Regulations.

This new season, which runs from January 1 to April 30, anglers who want to keep wild winter steelhead in the Rogue and South Coast Rivers have to abide by a new regulation.

For those fishing for any winter steelhead, including catch-and-release, you will need an annual fishing license and combined angling tag or a daily or multi-day angling license with a valid Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) ID number. Additionally, you will need a Rogue-South Coast Steelhead Validation.

To keep the steelhead, you will need to meet the requirements above and have a Rogue-South Coast Wild Steelhead Harvest Tag.

ODFW says that the new regulations close a daily license loophole. The agency heard from anglers that some people repeatedly bought daily paper licenses to harvest steelhead. This potentially allowed them to go over the three-fish annual bag limit.

Since the new regulation requires an ODFW ID number, this loophole is now closed.

The Rogue-South Coast Steelhead Validation costs $2 for residents and $4 for non-residents. The Rogue-South Coast Wild Steelhead Harvest Tag costs $10 for residents and $20 for non-residents.

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Brian Casey