Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 1/26/22 – New Cascades East Family Medicine Physician Residency Program Will Increase Training and Medical Personnel

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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

This Afternoon Sunny, with a high near 44. Calm wind.TonightIncreasing clouds, with a low around 24. Calm wind.

Friday Mostly sunny, with a high near 42. Calm wind becoming west northwest 5 to 9 mph in the morning. For Friday night, partly cloudy, with a low around 23. West northwest wind 3 to 8 mph.
Saturday Mostly sunny, with a high near 40. West wind 3 to 8 mph. Overnight, a 20% chance of snow showers after 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19.
Sunday Mostly sunny, with a high near 25. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 3.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 28. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 5.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 36.

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Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

A medical program involving Sky Lakes Medical Center will get physician resident training positions from Medicare funding.

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week announced that Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program will receive an equivalent to about three additional physician resident training slots in July.

The Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program is a partnership between Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls.  The Program says it has nine residents per year, with a total of 25 medical residents.  It says while all three years of medical residency training occur in Klamath Falls, three to four months of the three year residency are spent in other Oregon communities, including three weeks in Medford for NICU, four weeks in Portland for inpatient pediatrics, four weeks of ICU in either Bend or Klamath Falls, and five weeks in one of the Program’s “frontier communities” of John Day, Enterprise and Lakeview.

The medical residency program says it trains residents to become family medicine physicians who provide comprehensive care to their patients.

This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) advanced health equity and access to care by awarding the first 200 of 1,000 Medicare funded physician residency slots to enhance the healthcare workforce and fund additional positions in hospitals serving underserved communities.  The funding is effective July, 2023, and the Senators say about three-fourths of the new positions will involved primary care and mental health specialties.

Cascades East Family Medicine Residency Program, a partnership between Sky Lakes Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University, is excited to have been awarded new physician residency slots,” said Sky Lakes Medical Center Chief Executive Officer David Cauble, adding, “These new residency slots will allow Cascades East to add three residents to its robust rural training program at Sky Lakes Medical Center.

The Klamath County Board of County Commissioners acknowledged January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month this week.

The commissioners discussed Human Trafficking Awareness Month during their regular business meeting Tuesday, Jan. 24.

During the meeting, the commissioners were joined by Oregon State District Attorney John Casalino and representatives from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, the Juvenile Department, Klamath County Advocacy Center, and members from Klamath Tribes.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, in 2022 there were 32 reports of human trafficking within Oregon. Of those reports, 77% were sex trafficking, 13% were labor and 10% were both.

Kristin Blodgett of Klamath County Advocacy Center broke down the center’s statistics for the commissioners:

She says within the past calendar year we have worked with 17 sex trafficking victims with four who also identified as being trafficked for labor.. Blodgett continued by saying an estimated 41% of child trafficking experiences are facilitated by a family member or caregiver and that the exploitation is often normalized and accepted.

Dan Golden, the director of the Juvenile Department, provided advice to those in the community who wish to help combat human trafficking. He suggested community members reach out to law enforcement, Klamath Tribes and other agencies as the best way to help.

The county commissioners turned to other business following the human trafficking discussion, first hearing from NextRequest, a software company, regarding an agreement between the company and the county. This agreement, however, was met with some backlash from members of the community.

The software will be used to assist the county in handling public records requests by providing a portal to track records requests and release the information seamlessly.

Community members Rita Vinning and Alan Headly expressed concerns about the background of NextRequest as well as the security of the service.

However, NextRequest was approved for a one-year trial run of a fiscal impact of $699 from the Technology Maintenance budget.

Oregon’s governor is looking for Klamath County’s next district attorney.

After over five years of service as Klamath County’s head lawyer, then-District Attorney Eve Costello resigned last fall. Now, Governor Tina Kotek is inviting applications to fill the position.

County-level district attorneys are responsible for prosecuting people who violate the state’s criminal laws, both felonies and misdemeanors.

She is inviting applications for the position of Klamath County District Attorney, to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Eve Costello. Governor Kotek intends to fill the District Attorney vacancy by appointment, as provided in Article V, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution and ORS 8.640.

The Governor’s Office welcomes applications from candidates with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. Applicants must submit a District Attorney Interest Form to the Governor’s Office. Please note that the District Attorney Interest Form is not the same form that is used for judicial vacancies.

Oregon law requires that, at the time of appointment, the appointee must be admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Oregon (ORS 8.630 and ORS 8.640).

The Murdock Charitable Trust recently released its Fall 2022 Grants Report which included a total of $28.6 million in grants awarded to 82 nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest.

Among those nonprofits, 33 serve various Oregon communities and $9.3 million went to those organizations.

In Klamath County, just one nonprofit — Crosspoint Christian School at 5000 Hosanna Way in Klamath Falls — received a grant. Crosspoint Christian School was awarded a $250,000 Facility, Renovation and Expansion grant “to expand educational opportunities.”

Murdock Trust Director of Communications Colby Reade said Kimberly Thornbury, the senior program director for enrichment with the Murdock Trust, was the program director who oversaw the grant to Crosspoint.

According to Reade, this was the second time the Murdock Trust has partnered with Crosspoint Christian School on a grant. The first grant was in 2021, when the school requested funding for a merge with Triad Christian Schools.

According to a press release, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is a private, nonprofit foundation that has invested more than $1.3 billion in nonprofits serving the Pacific Northwest since 1975.

The Ross Ragland Theater presents “Squirrel Girl goes to College,” a teen theater production.

This Marvel spotlight play is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.

According to a press release, “the protagonist, Doreen Green, arrives at Empire State University to make new friends — and protect them from super villains — by keeping her superhero identity as Squirrel Girl a secret. When a beloved computer science professor suddenly disappears, Doreen must trust her friends with her inner squirrel so she can save the day.”

Learn more about the Ross Ragland Teen Theater program, and purchase tickets, at ragland.org.

Tickets for adults cost $10 while tickets for children 12 and younger cost $5.

The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays or two hours before show time the day of any show at 218 N. 7th St.

Around the state of Oregon

Victim in Critical Condition as Grants Pass Police Search for Dangerous Attempted Murder Suspect

On Tuesday at 6:52 PM, Grants Pass Police Officers responded to a residence in the 2100 block of Shane Way regarding an assault. Upon arrival, officers found a female victim who had been bound and severely beaten into unconsciousness. The victim was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.

The suspect fled the scene before officers arrived but was positively identified as Benjamin Obadiah Foster, 36 years old, of Wolf Creek. Foster was last known to be driving a dark blue 2008 Nissan Sentra 4-door with Oregon license 407EDX.

He has a history of this behavior and not sure if and why he is still on the loose in Oregon.

OCTOBER 2019 — At the time of the alleged attacks and kidnapping, between Sept. 16 and Oct. 2, when the woman escaped, Benjamin Obadiah Foster had been free on a suspended jail sentence in connection with a 2018 case for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. In addition to the suspended sentence, Foster was awaiting trial in Clark County District Court in another 2018 case involving domestic violence by strangulation. It was unclear whether the victim in that case also was his girlfriend.


Foster is known to be armed and should be considered extremely dangerous. Foster is wanted by the police for Kidnapping, Attempted Murder, and Assault. Anyone seeing Foster or knowing his whereabouts should immediately call 9-1-1 and reference Grants Pass case #23-3570. 

The Grants Pass Police Department and partner agencies are actively investigating this case and thank the citizens who have assisted thus far. Further details will be released as they become available.

Program To Assist Businesses Impacted By Covid-19 Closes Friday

A program to assist businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic closes on Friday.

Business Oregon has partnered with the CCD Business Development Corporation to offer $3 million in funding. It is paid for with money from the Oregon Community Development Block Grant program CARES Act funding for communities impacted by COVID-19.

Small Business and Microenterprise Grant Assistance grants of $2,500 to $30,000 will be awarded per business. Microenterprises whose owner meets low- and moderate- income criteria can quality for up to $10,000 in grant funding. Small businesses can quality for $2,500 per employee retained for up to $30,000 in funding.

Small businesses and microenterprises must meet certain criteria to be eligible:

  • Was in business prior to March 8, 2019
  • Can document COVID-19 impact, including lost revenue, mandated closures, workforce issues, supply complications and the like
  • Was generally stable/strong prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Has an owner and/or employees who meet low- and moderate-income criteria

Applications for this grant program will be processed on a lottery basis. At the time the program closes, all submitted applications will be randomized and processed. To register and apply, go to: www.ccdbusiness.org/oregonsbma

Open enrollment has ended for 2023 health coverage: Enrollment options still available for many people

(Salem) – During the 2023 open enrollment period, 141,963 Oregonians enrolled in health insurance coverage, the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace announced today.

The open enrollment period was from Nov. 1, 2022 to Jan. 15, 2023 for 2023 health coverage. People who missed the open enrollment deadline may still have an opportunity to get health coverage through the Marketplace if they experienced a qualifying life event such as moving, involuntarily losing health coverage, having or adopting a child, marriage, a change in citizenship, and being released from incarceration. Enrolled Tribal members, Alaska natives, and people who have lower income can enroll in health coverage at any time throughout the year.

Oregonians can preview plans and savings available to them by answering a few short questions at OregonHealthCare.gov. The website is also the best place to find a health insurance expert who can give one-on-one help with the application and enrollment process by phone, email, or in person. Visit OregonHealthCare.gov today to get started.

### The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov. For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

Unemployment Rate Rises Again Even As Oregon Adds Jobs

According to the latest report from the Oregon Employment Department, 6,100 jobs were added to Oregon’s workforce in December. The December total was less than the 8,200 jobs added the previous month.

Most of that growth was in the private sector, which did set a record total of just short of 1.7 million jobs, 22,500 ahead of the previous peak in February 2020.

The sectors with the largest job gains in December: Manufacturing, 2,400; construction, 1,300, and professional and business services and local government, each at 1,100. The local government category includes public schools. About 500 jobs were lost in the other-services sector.

“No broad sector of Oregon’s economy lost jobs,” Gail Krumenauer, Employment Department economist, said in a videotaped statement accompanying the monthly report.

Construction continued its rapid expansion in December. The industry added 10,200 jobs in 2022, for an annual growth rate of 9.1%. Gains were widespread throughout the industry, with all published components growing between 5.9% and 14.9% over that 12-month period. Building equipment contractors (3,700 jobs, or 11.5%) and building finishing contractors (2,200 jobs, or 14.9%) grew at the fastest rates.

Leisure and hospitality – lodging, restaurants and bars – gained 600 jobs on top of a revised gain of 1,500 for November. That sector remained below its peak reached prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 16,900 jobs added in the past 12 months account for about a quarter of the overall private-sector job gains.

However, Oregon’s statewide unemployment rate for December was at 4.5%, the fifth consecutive month it has risen from a low 3.5% in May, June and July. The national average was at 3.5%. For Oregon, the most recent time it was 4.5% was back in September 2021.

Oregon’s rate was at a modern record low 3.4% in the fourth months between November 2019 and February 2020, just before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in business shutdowns and curtailments that caused a record one-month jump to 13.2% in April 2020.

But employers still added 81,000 jobs during all of 2022.

Krumenauer said that despite the rising rate, Oregon has rarely recorded an annual rate below 4.5%.

This occurred during the 14 months prior to December, when the rate averaged 3.9%. Also, from 2017 through 2019, the rate averaged 3.9%. But prior to late 2016, Oregon’s rate never dropped below 4.5% in any month dating back 40 years — from 1976, when comparable records began, to October 2016.

“Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained relatively low by historical standards,” she said. “But job growth remains strong.”


News Release from Oregon Health Authority
Posted on FlashAlert: January 26th, 2023 10:06 AM

EDITORS: State and local health officials will answer questions during a media availability today from 11 to noon through Zoom; members of the public can view a livestream on YouTube. Samples of contaminated products will be displayed and photos available for download.

January 26, 2023

Media contacts

Jonathan Modie, OHA, 971-246-9139, PHD.Communications@oha.oregon.gov

Sarah Dean, Multnomah County, 971-349-0287, sarah.dean@multco.us

Wendy Gordon, Washington County, 503-849-9117, wendy_gordon@washingtoncountyor.gov

High lead levels found in two tubes of Diep Bao cream used to treat eczema in babies

Health officials warning parents about skin cream product

PORTLAND, Ore.—High levels of lead have been found in two tubes of a skin cream known as Diep Bao that’s advertised as treatment for eczema in young children. State and local health officials are warning parents to avoid using the product while its safety is investigated.

Two Portland-area children were recently found to have elevated blood lead levels. The children, one in Washington County and one in Multnomah County, are both younger than a year old. During investigations by state and local lead experts, parents of the children pointed to Diep Bao as the product they recently used on their babies’ faces to treat eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, a condition common in young children that causes dry, itchy and inflamed skin.

Ryan Barker, Oregon Health Authority’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program coordinator, said laboratory tests on samples of the product provided by the families showed the product in the Washington County case contained 9,670 parts per million (ppm) lead, while the Multnomah County sample contained 7,370 ppm lead. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been alerted and is investigating. Only the two tubes of the cream have been tested so far, so whether lead is present in other tubes of Diep Bao is still being investigated.

Downloadable video clips of Barker discussing this investigation as well as photos of the product are available on OHA’s Media Resources page. 

Clips of an interview with Hai, the mother of the Multnomah County child, are available on the county’s YouTube page: with Vietnamese interpreter, https://youtu.be/Izy5JvtjEqw (viewers should adjust the volume to hear the interpreter’s voice, which is in the background); without interpreter, https://youtu.be/ExhPIoSAw-Q.

Diep Bao is promoted primarily by online retailers in Singapore and Vietnam, with one seller advertising it as “a cream that supports skin problems such as eczema, heat rash, rash, redness, dry chapped skin, skin care, skin cooling, skin healing.” Health investigators say the product is manufactured in Vietnam.

OHA, Washington County Public Health and the Multnomah County Health Department are jointly investigating the cases. They are asking families who have the product to avoid using it while its safety is investigated. Parents can help the investigation by providing tubes of Diep Bao in their possession to investigators so the product can be tested. They also are asking parents to learn about the risks of exposure to other lead-tainted products and make sure children’s blood levels are tested if they have been exposed to them.

“We are concerned this product caused or significantly contributed to the elevated blood lead levels in these children,” Barker said. “Any product containing high lead levels should be considered extremely dangerous and parents should immediately stop using it on their children or any other family member.”

There is no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory limit on lead in medications, but for cosmetics it’s 10 ppm. This means the two creams that were tested contained nearly 1,000 times the maximum allowable amount of lead in cosmetics. It’s unclear whether Diep Bao is considered a cosmetic under federal law.

The Washington County case was found to have a blood lead level of 11.8 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), while the Multnomah County case had a blood lead level of 7.3 µg/dL. Oregon’s case definition for lead poisoning has been a blood lead level of 5 µg/dL or greater, which is when public health agencies investigate and provide case management to families. However, out of an abundance of caution – and to align with lead poisoning definitions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA – public health agencies in Oregon have recently begun investigating cases with blood lead levels above 3.5 µg/dL.

People with high blood levels of lead may show no symptoms, but the condition may cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Acute lead poisoning may cause a wide range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloody or decreased urinary output.

Children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. If a child is exposed to enough lead for a protracted period (e.g., weeks to months), permanent damage to the central nervous system can occur. This can result in learning disorders, developmental defects, and other long-term health problems.

“If your child has a skin condition like eczema, consult with your health care provider about prevention and treatment options,” said Christina Baumann, M.D., Washington County health officer. “If you have been using this Diep Bao cream, please talk to your provider about getting a blood lead test for your child.”

Perry Cabot, senior program specialist at Multnomah County Health Department and an investigator on the lead exposures, said the lead poisoning cases were discovered through a combination of regular pediatric check-ups, parent engagement, and public health follow-up to “connect the dots.”

“All these factors highlight the importance of staying engaged in your children’s health, whether it’s you, your medical provider, or your local or state health program,” Cabot said.

OHA and county health officials are working with the FDA to investigate the cases and test more products as they become available. Until the source and scope of the lead contamination are better understood, local health officials are also asking anyone selling these products to stop selling them and remove them from their websites to protect their customers.

Local health officials are working with culturally specific community groups and other partners to warn residents of potential risks associated with the eczema cream. People who have a tube of Diep Bao, or other concerns about lead, can contact the following:

Risk of lead

Oregon health care providers and laboratories are required by law to report certain diseases and conditions, including lead poisoning, to local health departments. On average, 270 Oregonians are diagnosed with lead poisoning each year; about a third are children younger than 6. The most common cases are due to ingesting paint and paint dust containing lead, but exposures from traditional cosmetics and informally imported spices have been identified.

For more information, visit the CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program page.

Get Child immunizations updated before School Exclusion Day Feb. 15

Parents must provide schools, child care facilities with kids’ vaccine records

Portland, Ore. – The third Wednesday of February (Feb. 15) is School Exclusion Day, and the Oregon Immunization Program reminds parents that children may not be able to attend school or child care that day if their records show missing immunizations.

Under state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date documentation on their immunizations or have an exemption.

“Immunization is the best way to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles,” said Stacy de Assis Matthews, school law coordinator at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division.

“Just a few years ago, we saw several measles cases in the Northwest, and Central Ohio just experienced a severe measles outbreak with more than 30 unvaccinated children hospitalized,” Matthews said. “There also were recent polio cases in New York state. We don’t want another disease outbreak in Oregon of on top of COVID-19. Immunizations are the most effective way to stop the spread of measles and other diseases, to keep kids and school communities healthy and safe.”

If a child’s school and child care vaccination records are not up to date by Feb. 15, the child will be sent home if they don’t have an exemption. In 2022, local health departments sent 26,149 letters to parents and guardians informing them that their children needed immunizations to stay in school or child care.

A total of 5,118 children were kept out of school or child care until the necessary immunization information was turned in to the schools or child care facilities. This year, reminder letters to parent will be mailed by Feb. 1.

COVID-19 vaccinations are not required for students in Oregon schools or child care. OHA strongly recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 immunizations. Parents can check with their health care provider or pharmacist about current COVID-19 recommendations.

Parents seeking immunizations for their children should contact their child’s pediatrician or local health department, or contact 211Info by dialing 211 or visiting to 211info.org. No one can be turned away from a local health department because of the inability to pay for required vaccines. Many pharmacists can immunize children 7 and older; parents can contact their neighborhood pharmacy for details.

Additional information on school immunizations can be found at the Immunization Program website.

Statewide school vaccination data is available on the OHA website, or at OHA’s new School Law Immunization Dashboard.

Personal stories on why people in Oregon are deciding to vaccinate can be viewed by visiting OHA’s Facebook and Twitter pages. OHA also invites people to join the conversation and share why they vaccinate by using the hashtag #ORVaccinates on social media.

As a parent, Dr. Choo talks about why she vaccinates her children: https://youtu.be/aDy7sseKs24

Reverend Dr. Currie discusses whether there are legitimate reasons for religious exemptions: https://youtu.be/D6XnPm1N4iQ

Hear how Sarah’s powerful conversations changed her mom’s long-held views on vaccinations: https://youtu.be/dPB2sfySwJQ

Honduran Man Arrested in Portland Trafficking Rainbow Fentanyl and Firearms Charged in Federal Court

A Honduran man residing in Portland is facing federal charges after he was arrested moving two kilograms of rainbow-colored fentanyl and several firearms between two Portland-area motels.

Jose Isidro Zuniga Torres, 47, has been charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.

According to court documents, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Tigard Police Department are engaged in an ongoing investigation into the suspected trafficking of illegal narcotics from Mexico for distribution and sale in Oregon and Washington state. To date, law enforcement officials have charged or arrested eight individuals with connections to an international drug trafficking organization and seized more than five kilograms of powdered fentanyl, four and a half kilograms of heroin, three kilograms each of cocaine and crystal methamphetamine, 45,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, and 12 firearms.

As part of this investigation, on January 23, 2023, investigators were surveilling a motel in Portland when they observed two men, one later identified as Zuniga, exit a room carrying multiple boxes. The two men loaded the boxes and several additional bags into a vehicle and began driving toward another area motel. The investigators followed the vehicle and observed the two men unload the boxes and bags into a room at the second motel.

The next day, on January 24, 2023, investigators executed a federal search warrant on the second motel room. After making entry into the room, Zuniga was arrested without incident. Investigators located and seized more than 2 kilograms of hard, rainbow-colored fentanyl packaged for distribution, 417 grams of counterfeit oxycodone pills (M30s) containing fentanyl, 393 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 49 grams of cocaine, and eight firearms. 

Zuniga admitted to possessing most of the drugs found in the motel room. He further told investigators the firearms were to be shipped to Honduras and were wrapped in tinfoil and clothing to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Zuniga made his first appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie A. Russo. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

This case is being investigated by the DEA, HSI, and Tigard Police Department. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

With big changes proposed, state to hold off on release of next wildfire risk map

SALEM, Ore.— The Oregon Legislature will be considering a number of recommendations for changes related to the statewide wildfire risk map during the 2023 session, some of which would substantively change the map itself.

Following conversations last week with the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Wildfire Programs Advisory Council, the state has decided to postpone the release of an updated draft of the map, which was planned for March 2023.

Those recommendations are in addition to several bills proposing a variety of changes ranging from which areas are assigned a risk classification to abolishing the map entirely. “We want to avoid expending resources on work that may not align with new direction that may come from the Legislature this session,” Mukumoto said. Without knowing what decisions will be made by the Legislature, the department does not yet know how long it will take to implement that direction.

Members of both the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council have expressed support for continued mapping of wildfire hazards to identify where to direct investments in wildfire mitigation activities including fuels reduction and building defensible space. 

“Our goal this session is to get resources and expertise to Oregonians already doing good work on the ground to protect their properties and neighborhoods,” said Sen. Jeff Golden (D), Ashland. Golden chairs the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and was the chief sponsor of SB 762. “It’s important to get that done and to do all we can to ease the homeowner insurance challenges that the era of megafires has brought us before moving forward with any map.”

There is also broad recognition of the need for increased outreach, education and engagement with communities. “We need an integrated, coordinated and robust communications and outreach effort across all Senate Bill 762 programs to help property owners understand what their classification means, how they can better protect their homes and what resources are available to help them with that work,” said Mark Bennett, chair of the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council.

OSU, ODF’s partner in the development of the map, will lend technical expertise to upcoming educational efforts related to wildfire risk and hazard. “We are prepared to support state agencies in education plans and will help develop and implement an operational plan as needed,” said Tom DeLuca, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry. Other state agencies with SB 762 responsibilities that have a nexus to the map are Office of the State Fire Marshal, Department of Consumer and Business Services – Building Codes Division and the Department of Land Conservation and Development.

“The success of this whole program depends on strong collaboration between state government, local leaders and property owners in wildfire-prone areas. Building that partnership has to be job number one over the coming months,” Golden explained. “When we feel like we’re pulling in the same direction, we’ll be ready for a much better conversation about the map.”

While the Legislature is in session, the department will:

  • Continue to work with OSU on exploring technical adjustments in response to feedback received on the initial map, including concerns related to irrigated lands and classification differences on adjacent lots. 
  • Follow the progress of bills related to the risk map to plan quickly and appropriately for any rulemaking actions or other activities required to implement new or changed legislative direction.
  • Work with the Wildfire Programs Advisory Council to identify community needs and with partner agencies to leverage opportunities for outreach, education and engagement.

OSP Conservation K-9 Team Announces Expansion

(SALEM, Ore.) – At first glance, Scout might look like he’s a typical, playful pup, but this 18-month-old, black Lab is developing a nose for crime. Meet the newest member of the Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Conservation K-9 team.

Scout along with his handler, Trooper Shae Ross will be following in the footsteps of the first anti-poaching team in Oregon made up of K-9 Buck and Senior Trooper Josh Wolcott.

The OSP Fish & Wildlife Division, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) Stop Poaching Campaign, and the Oregon Wildlife Foundation (OWF) held a joint press conference to announce the expansion of the OSP Fish & Wildlife Conservation K-9 team Jan. 25 at ODFW headquarters in Salem.  

“Adding another wildlife detection K-9 team provides another asset to our division to address poaching issues and increase awareness across the state,” said OSP Fish & Wildlife Division Captain Casey Thomas. “Senior Trooper Wolcott and K-9 Buck have done a great job of getting this program started. Adding a second team will increase the program’s efficiency and reduce the excessive travel strain of the current team. I want to thank everyone involved in establishing, maintaining, and supporting OSP’s Conservation K9 program,” continued Thomas. “This program wouldn’t be possible without them and these strong partnerships.”

Speakers at the event included: Senior Trooper Wolcott, Trooper Ross, Stop Poaching Campaign Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Yvonne Shaw and Oregon Wildlife Foundation Executive Director Tim Greseth. A demonstration by Buck and Senior Trooper Wolcott followed the presentations. 

“Oregon’s fish, wildlife and other natural resources belong to all of us,” stated Stop Poaching Campaign Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Yvonne Shaw. “The partnership between Oregon Wildlife Foundation and the OSP F&W Conservation K9 program helps to protect these natural resources for current and future generations. OWF’s generous donors recognize the value of these dogs, which offer a unique connection between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” continued Shaw.

OWF, in collaboration with OSP Fish & Wildlife Division, launched Oregon’s first Wildlife K-9 team in 2019. K-9 Buck and Senior Trooper Wolcott have conducted numerous poaching investigations and logged hundreds of hours in the field since the inception of the program. The current team is located at OSP’s Springfield Area Command but has worked across the state over the last 2.5 years.

The effectiveness of the K-9 program led OSP leadership to the recent approval of the additional team (Scout and Trooper Ross) at the OSP Area Command in Bend. As with the inaugural team, OWF donors have generously agreed to help cover the costs of this program expansion. Ongoing canine expenses, primarily veterinary care, are financed by public donations to OWF.

“Oregon Wildlife Foundation is pleased to be able to support the OSP Fish & Wildlife Conservation K-9 program and our partnership with Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division,” said OWF Executive Director Tim Greseth. “We greatly appreciate generous donors stepping up, once again, to expand this successful program and help us introduce a new K-9 team to the public.”

Oregon Wildlife Foundation accepts public donations to the OSP Fish & Wildlife Conservation K-9 Fund to offset expenses associated with the canine members of the teams. Donations to the fund help defray the costs of veterinary care, training equipment and related supplies. To support and learn more about the OSP Fish & Wildlife Conservation K-9 program visit www.myowf.org/k9team

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Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 8/5 – Four New Covid-19 Cases in County, Oregon Reports 342, 5 More Deaths

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New Interim Medical Director at Sky Lakes Wellness Center

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Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 9/22 – Klamath County Receiving $13.2 million from The American Rescue Plan, Being Distributed for Covid Relief Recovery to State and County Governments

Brian Casey