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 Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Monday, April 10, 2023
Klamath Basin Weather
Today, Sunny, with a high near 65. South southwest wind 6 to 11 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 31 mph. Overnight, rain likely. Snow level 8900 feet lowering to 5400 feet after midnight . Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
See Road Camera Views around the Basin:
Lake of the Woods
Hiway 97 at Chemult
Hiway 140 at Bly
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.
Hiway 97 at LaPine
Klamath County Public Health officials recently announced new communication plans related to prescribed burns in the region.
The season’s first prescribed burn started Sunday, April 9 and continues today, Monday, April 10 in the Gerber Ranch and Wilson Lake area. Smoke might be expected in Langell Valley and Bonanza.
The U.S. Forest Service projected the burn to be about 175 acres, which would fall under KCPH’s first tier of the new communication plan.
Prescribed burn information will be available at tinyurl.com/HN-Prescribed-Burn-Info. A link to the GIS map is available on that page, or it can be accessed at arcg.is/nSz8n.
Subscription to the Health Alert Network is available by sending an email request to email@example.com.
The City of Klamath Falls along with the Klamath Falls Downtown Association, is announcing the opening of the application period for the downtown Seasonal Pedlet/Parklet Program available for businesses located within the Downtown corridor.
A pedlet is a temporary thoroughfare, that allows a business to use the sidewalk as outdoor dining/retail space, while providing a safe area for pedestrians to walk. The pedlet uses the area of one parallel parking space, is level with the sidewalk and is ADA compliant. The City of Klamath Falls has fabricated two pedlets in collaboration with Healthy Klamath and the Klamath Falls Downtown Association.
These structures are currently available and ready to install as early as May 2023. If interest exceeds current availability, the City may consider constructing additional pedlets, dependent on the number and quality of the applications received. 2021 was the first year pedlets were introduced downtown and they were again put out in 2022. They were well-received and added vibrance to our Downtown area.
If interested, there is the option available to apply to construct your own pedlet/parklet. Applicants are encouraged to provide as much detail and information as possible when applying to participate in the pedlet program.
The Seasonal Pedlet Program Manual and Application can be found on the City’s website at: https://klamathfalls.city/415/Seasonal-Pedlet-Program-City-of-Klamath-. If you would like more information, please contact City Development Services at (541) 883-4950.
Klamath County Commissioner Dave Henslee, a former city police chief and long time law enforcement officer, said at this week’s county commissioner meeting that Fentanyl is literally killing our communities.
Henslee’s comments came while the commissioners were approving a motion for an amended agreement between Klamath County Public Health and the Oregon Health Authority for financing of public health services. The amendment replaces a description for overdose prevention and increases the original grant award for fiscal year 2023 by $5,272 to be used toward a fentanyl awareness and prevention campaign.
The commissioners discussed their sensitivities to the topic with Klamath County Public Health Director Jennifer Little. Little explained that the prevention campaign is directed more at youth and at parents rather than on those who are already using drugs. She said the prevention campaign is entirely media based with social media posts, posters in schools and radio advertisements performed in conjunction with other agencies such as Klamath Tribes, Citizens for Safe Schools, Klamath Project Youth Empowerment, Lutheran Community Services and Friends of the Children of the Klamath Basin. Little said the campaign materials also will be shared with Lake County.
In 2021, fentanyl was identified in 77.4 percent of adolescent overdose deaths across the nation, Little said. In Oregon, a briefing the Oregon Health Authority provided the Governor’s Office reported that between 2019 and 2021 fentanyl overdose deaths in the state increased nearly 600 percent.
At their meeting, the commissioners also approved a zone change for a property located in Fort Klamath. The property in question will go from the residential zone to the commercial zone for a planned reopening of a historical gas station and mini-mart.
The commissioners also voted to allow the County Clerk’s Office to fund a project of scanning and indexing marriage licenses to go paperless and to provide access to the public to retrieve the licenses electronically.
The County Clerk’s Office told the commissioners they had received a quote of $49,900 from Docutopia, which will address the secure transport, preparation, imagining, indexing and uploading of the county’s marriage licenses that date back to 1882.
The plan is for the marriage licenses to be fully digital and available by December.
Two public hearings were held for liquor license recommendations — one for Garage Taphouse & Food Truck, owned by Stan Langdon, and the other for Tipsy Tater, owned by Makayla Byrd at a recent Klamath Falls city council meeting.
Garage Taphouse will be located on the 600 block of South Sixth Street.
10th Annual ART of SURVIVAL CENTURY and GRAVEL GRINDER BIKE RIDE
Looking for a memorable way to spend the Memorial Day weekend? In conjunction with Remembering the Modoc War events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Modoc War, this year’s 10th annual Art of Survival Century and Gravel Grinder bicycle rides will include sites where, or near, some of the war’s major events occurred. The 59-mile Metric Century, for example, will include stops or information at Captain Jack’s Stronghold, Canby Cross and Hospital Rock.
The two-day event is set for Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28. The Saturday rides — with four routes offering a choice of distances — will begin and end at the Broadway Theater in Malin while the trio of Sunday Gravel Grinder rides will start and end at the Butte Valley Community Center in Dorris.
Organizers emphasize the events are “rides,” not races, with opportunities to stop for some interpretative programs and snacks along the routes.
Organizers also noted the Saturday ride will include areas along the banks of Lost River near Merrill, where a battle between Army troops from Fort Klamath attempted to return Modocs back to a reservation near Chiloquin. The Modoc’s refusal ignited the war between the Modoc Indians and U.S. Army.
Along with Modoc War sites, Woodley and others emphasize “there is plenty to see and do in our region, so bring your family and enjoy the holiday weekend.”
Since it began in 2015, Oregon Tech’s Catalyze Challenge has awarded nearly $100,000 in prize money and services, and the competition continues this year with a prize pool of $16,000.
The Catalyze Challenge fosters project development, design, and communications skills, while boosting public understanding of the talent pipeline available at Oregon Tech.
This year, six Oregon Tech student teams will compete on Thursday, April 20, at 4 p.m. They will be joined by a team of two Klamath Community College (KCC) alumni. Each team has invented a solution for a real-world challenge and has a plan to commercialize their product in Klamath Falls.
The 2023 event is made possible through generous sponsorship and donations from the City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), Klamath IDEA Center for Entrepreneurship, VertueLab, Oregon Small Business Development Center, and the Wendt Family Foundation.
The Ross Ragland Theater will present Matilda the Musical! for their 2023 summer production.
Three performances will be held July 7-9. The show will be directed by former Klamath Union theater teacher, Richard Hoffman. With musical direction by Katie Garvin and choreography by RRT Executive Director, Samantha Burris.
Auditions will take place at the Ross Ragland Theater on May 1and 2 at 6:00PM. Callbacks are on May 3 and are by invitation only.
Matilda is the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny. Inspired by the twisted genius of Roald Dahl, the Tony Award-winning Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dreams of a better life. With book by Dennis Kelly and original songs by Tim Minchin, Matilda has won 47 international awards and continues to thrill sold-out audiences of all ages around the world.
The production will feature a cast of young performers ranging in age. All ages are encouraged to audition.
RRT is seeking: Triple threat young performers. They are looking for experienced performers of all types and backgrounds to play a variety of interesting characters. This is a very challenging show. Strong singers and dancer/movers needed.
Find out more about auditions this May by visiting the Ross Ragland Theater’s website at https://ragland.org/AUDITIONS/
The Ella Redkey Pool is closed for a couple of weeks for Spring maintenance. The closure began April 3rd and will last through Sunday, April 16.
The closure will not affect the Aqua Egg Hunt — scheduled for 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8 — but there will be limited locker room access during the event. For more information, call 541-273-1477.
This years’ Sky Lakes Foundation Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, June 23 at Running Y Ranch Resort. Participants can join by us this year by registering a team or sponsoring the event.
The event includes 18 holes of golf, fun games along the way, trophies for group winners, 50/50 card game, box lunch, heavy appetizers, and so much more. All proceeds from the event and sponsorships will go towards our Family Birthing Center to purchase equipment to help our mothers be more comfortable, safe, and provide an overall better birthing experience.
The tournament starts at 9 a.m. with a shot gun start, four person scramble. The goal for the tournament is to raise $40,000. There are many potential sponsorship opportunities for the 2023 Golf Tournament listed on the event website.
Around the state of Oregon
The deadline to file state and federal personal income tax returns is a week from tomorrow, on Tuesday, April 18th, with more than 1 million Oregon taxpayers still expected to file.
More than 1.1 million Oregonians have already filed their state personal income tax returns. The department is expecting over 2.2 million total returns this year. Of those 1.1 million taxpayers, more than 820,000 have received refunds, with other refunds still pending. A Where’s My Refund? tool is available on Revenue’s website for personal income tax filers now.
The department offers the following information for taxpayers who still need to file their state return.
E-filing is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks. Taxpayers should file just once. Sending a paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund.
Oregon personal income tax return filers with an adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less may qualify to file both their state and federal taxes electronically for free. There are four approved tax preparation software products that partner with Oregon to offer free electronic filing.
Each vendor has different free filing criteria, so filers should do their research and choose the best vendor to fit their needs. Read about the free options listed to see if you are eligible.
Taxpayers that don’t meet the income requirements for guided preparation can file for free using Oregon Free Fillable Forms. Free Fillable Forms performs basic calculations and are ideal for taxpayers who don’t need help preparing their returns and want the convenience of filing electronically. A detailed series of steps for using free fillable forms are available on the agency’s electronic filing page. The IRS offers a similar option for filing federal taxes electronically.
The Oregon Department of Revenue reports that about half of Oregonians have filed their state income taxes. They expect around two-point-two million people to file returns this year. Of the one-point-one million people who have filed so far, over 820-thousand have received refunds. The Oregon Department of Revenue website has a “Where’s My Refund” tool. Both federal and state income tax returns need to be filed by April 18th, because in Washington D.C. April 17th is the Emancipation Day holiday.
Gas prices in Oregon go up, up and up
Average gasoline prices in Oregon have risen 7.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.94/g Monday, according to GasBuddy’s survey of 1,307 stations in Oregon.
Prices in Oregon are 6.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago and stand 69.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 1.6 cents in the last week and stands at $4.15 per gallon.
According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Oregon was priced at $2.89/g Sunday while the most expensive was $4.79/g, a difference of $1.90/g. The lowest price in the state Sunday was $2.89/g while the highest was $4.79/g, a difference of $1.90/g.
The national average price of gasoline has risen 8.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.57/g Monday. The national average is up 13.0 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 52.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million weekly price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country.
Homelessness is out of control in Oregon. The state is experienced one of the nation’s largest increases in homelessness between 2020 and 2022, federal data indicates.
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Oregon grew nearly 23% during the two-year span, increasing by 3,304 people to about 18,000, according to a federally mandated physical count of homeless individuals.
That rate was well above the national average of less than 1% growth in people experiencing homeless and also far outstripped that of the other West Coast states, with Washington experiencing a 10% hike and California a 6% increase, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report to Congress. John Tapogna, senior policy adviser at ECONorthwest, an economics and development consulting firm, said the simple explanation for Oregon’s homelessness crisis is rooted in housing costs. He said West Coast states and the East Coast corridor that stretches from Boston to Washington, D.C., all have high priced housing markets with too little housing supply and low vacancy rates.
Two People Survive Plane That Crashed And Burned At Ashland Airport
Ashland police and firefighters were at the scene of an aircraft that crashed and caught fire at Ashland Airport Friday night. They are investigating the crash and the fire.
First responders said the two people on board survived the crash. Ashland Fire Department Division Chief Chris Chambers says they declined medical attention.
The aircraft, however, is getting attention. Chambers says the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were contacted to initiate their investigations of the incident. Those agencies generally require aircraft to stay in place until they can see the crash in place before having the aircraft and its recoverable parts removed and moved to a safe location for closer inspection.
Chambers says that during a practice landing exercise that went wrong, the plane came to a rest off the runway at Ashland Airport. It was setting nose down and charred in a creek along the west side of the Airport and its runway. The crash caused a fire, which caused a small tree to catch fire and burn around 5 p.m.
Another pilot said the aircraft was carrying its owner and another pilot on the experimental turbine-engine airplane with a cabin capable of carrying at least six people.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified, as well as an environmental agency because of plane chemicals and non-toxic firefighter foam.
Britt Festival Announces Several More Concerts For The 2023 ‘Britt Presents’ Season
Britt Music & Arts Festival is excited to announce several more concerts for the 2023 Britt Presents season, adding more music and comedy performances to the previously announced lineup.
First released at an announcement party in Jacksonville, Oregon, this announcement introduces a wide range of musical acts and comedians, from one of the Beatles, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band to the hilarious Tig Notaro. Other highlights include Britt fan favorite reggae sensation UB40, popular rock band Train, and country stars Ashley McBride, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Chase Rice. Americana and bluegrass fans will enjoy Lyle Lovett and his Large Band and Greensky Bluegrass.
Rock lovers will enjoy the sounds of southern rockers Gov’t Mule, 90’s sensations, Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Daughtry, and Switchfoot,plus the amazing George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Other artists include electric blues pioneer Buddy Guy, Gregory Alan Isakov with special guest Shovels & Rope, and Pink Floyd tribute band Brit Floyd returns to the main stage to celebrate 50 Years of Dark Side with another incredible light show.
The Britt hill will come alive with amazing performances this coming summer in Southern Oregon.
“My favorite thing about Britt is the incredible array of different artists we present – there’s really something for everyone,” says President & CEO, Abby McKee. “After this long winter, we are ready for summer back on the hill and time with our wonderful Britt community!”
MORE INFO: https://www.brittfest.org/second-britt-presents-season-announcement-brings-exciting-names-to-the-britt-main-stage-2/
Meth/Fentanyl Arrests in Roseburg
Detectives with the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team (DINT) arrested two Honduran men in the early morning hours of April 6th, 2023. Detectives have been investigating this organization for some time and have developed information indicating they are involved with large scale drug trafficking crimes.
Detectives contacted the individuals as they were sitting in their vehicle in the parking lot of a business in the 700 block of NW Garden Valley Blvd in Roseburg, at approximately 2:45 AM on Thursday morning. The individuals had just arrived in the area from California. Both individuals were detained, pending application for a search warrant for their vehicle.
Detectives obtained the search warrant and upon searching the vehicle found a huge amount of both methamphetamine and fentanyl, including a large amount of suspected carfentanil.
As many know at this point, Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid that is the dominant drug of choice among opiate addicts today. Fentanyl has been the driving factor in the astronomical rise in overdose cases across our country, including here in Douglas County. Fentanyl is estimated to be 50 times more potent than heroin.
Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog, but is estimated to be 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Carfentanil is used in the veterinary industry, usually on very large mammals such as elephants. Carfentanil is odorless and tasteless, and is often cut into other drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin. The dangers of such a drug cannot be overstated.
In the suspects’ vehicle, detectives found the following:
Approximately 1,614 grams (3.5 pounds) of suspected methamphetamine.
Approximately 2,000 grams (2 kilos or 4.4 lbs) of suspected fentanyl.
Approximately 1,000 grams (1 kilo or 2.2 lbs) of suspected carfentanil.
Assorted drug paraphernalia.
32 year old Jorge Alvarenga, and 26 year old Daniel Mendoza-Archaga were both lodged in the Douglas County jail on the following charges:
Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, and Delivery of Methamphetamine
Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, and Delivery of a Controlled Substance Schedule II
The DINT team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-supported approach. DINT is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and is composed of members from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg Police Department, Oregon State Police, Bureau of Land Management, and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. The Oregon-Idaho HIDTA program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates with and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement initiatives, including DINT.
TODAY: Nurses Lead Rally at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart in Springfield
Local nurses from Eugene, Springfield and the surrounding areas will be joined by Congresswoman Val Hoyle, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, ONA President Tamie Cline and community allies in a rally for safe staffing Monday, April 10 from 3 – 6 p.m. outside PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, OR. Speakers will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m.
WHAT: Hundreds of local nurses and health care providers are leading a rally to demand PeaceHealth address its staffing crisis and give nurses and patients the support and conditions they need to thrive.
PeaceHealth Sacred Heart has nearly 300 nurse vacancies–leaving emergency department patients and their loved ones waiting hours before seeing a provider or being admitted to the hospital and delaying emergency response times as ambulances line up to hand off patients.
Nurses will be joined by local elected leaders, worker advocates and community allies.
WHEN: Monday, April 10 from 3 – 6 p.m. Speakers will begin at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Nurses and advocates will be available for media comment during the event.
WHERE: The intersection of MLK Blvd. and Cardinal Way in Springfield, OR. Outside PeaceHealth Sacred Heart RiverBend (3333 Riverbend Dr, Springfield, OR 97477).
WHO: Frontline nurses from PeaceHealth Sacred Heart and Sacred Heart Home Care Services along with other health care providers, elected officials and community allies including:
- Congresswoman Val Hoyle
- Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis
- Pacific Northwest Hospital Medicine Association President Dr. Charlotte Yeomans
- ONA President Tamie Cline
- ONA Sacred Heart Medical Center Chair Chris Rompala
- ONA Sacred Heart Medical Home Care Services Chair Jo Turner
- Worker advocates
- Community allies
The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) represents 1,500 frontline nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center and Sacred Heart Home Care Services.
WHY: ONA nurses are standing up for safety to improve health care for our patients and our community. PeaceHealth’s corporate executives have chosen to cut local care, close clinics, and refuse to staff safely. PeaceHealth Sacred Heart currently has nearly 300 vacant nursing positions. Fewer nurses means Eugene-area patients and families pay more for worse care. Decades of research proveEditSign, safe nurse staffing is the best medicine money can buy. Studies show adding just one nurse to a health care team can decrease the odds of a patient dying by 6-16%.
Conversely, when hospital executives refuse to staff safely, patients and communities suffer. When staffing isn’t safe, you and your loved ones have longer wait times and more expensive hospital stays; there are more in-hospital infections and injuries; patients are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital; and patients are ultimately more likely to die.
Local nurses are calling on PeaceHealth’s executives in Washington to do the right thing and adopt safe staffing standards as part of a fair contract agreement for nurses and our community.
Nurses invite community members to attend the rally to talk with local nurses and hear how decisions made by PeaceHealth’s corporate executives are affecting your health care.
The rally is a family and pet-friendly event. It will be held rain-or-shine. Attendees are asked to follow guidance from designated rally officials and safety personnel.
The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents more than 16,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state, including 1,500 frontline nurses at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center and Sacred Heart Home Care Services. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.
Salmon Fishing Season Canceled For Most Of West Coast
A federal regulatory group voted Thursday to officially close king salmon fishing season along much of the West Coast after near-record low numbers of the fish, also known as chinook, returned to California’s rivers last year.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved the closure of the 2023 season for all commercial and most recreational chinook fishing along the coast from Cape Falcon in northern Oregon to the California-Mexico border. Limited recreational salmon fishing will be allowed off Southern Oregon in the fall.
“The forecasts for Chinook returning to California rivers this year are near record lows,” Council Chair Marc Gorelnik said after the vote in a news release. “The poor conditions in the freshwater environment that contributed to these low forecasted returns are unfortunately not something that the Council can, or has authority to, control.”
California had already last month issued a salmon fishing ban for the remainder of the season. According to CBS Bay Area, it marked only the second time in state history that California had canceled its salmon fishing season, with the last ban taking place between 2008 and 2009, also due to drought conditions.
Biologists say the chinook salmon population has declined dramatically after years of drought. Many in the fishing industry say Trump-era rules that allowed more water to be diverted from the Sacramento River Basin to agriculture caused even more harm.A Chinook salmon leaps from the water in a holding pond at Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Jan. 19, 2022, in Anderson, California. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
The closure applies to adult fall-run chinook and deals a blow to the Pacific Northwest’s salmon fishing industry.
Much of the salmon caught off Oregon originate in California’s Klamath and Sacramento rivers. After hatching in freshwater, they spend three years on average maturing in the Pacific, where many are snagged by commercial fishermen, before migrating back to their spawning grounds, where conditions are more ideal to give birth. After laying eggs, they die.
The council is an advisory group to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, which makes the final decision, but historically has followed the council’s rulings. The secretary’s decision will be posted in the Federal Register within days.
Experts fear native California salmon are in a spiral toward extinction. Already California’s spring-run chinook are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, while winter-run chinook are endangered along with the Central California Coast coho salmon, which has been off-limits to California commercial fishers since the 1990s.
Recreational fishing is expected to be allowed in Oregon only for coho salmon during the summer and for chinook after Sept. 1. Salmon season is expected to open as usual north of Cape Falcon, including in the Columbia River and off Washington’s coast.
Though the closure will affect tens of thousands of jobs, few are opposed to it. Many fishers say they want to take action now to guarantee healthy stocks in the future.
They hope the unusually wet winter in California that has mostly freed the state of drought will bring relief. An unprecedented series of powerful storms has replenished most of California’s reservoirs, dumping record amounts of rain and snow and busting a severe three-year drought. But too much water running through the rivers could kills eggs and young hatchlings.
The Oregon Department of Emergency Management honors the state’s dedicated 911 professionals during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Emergency Management (OEM) recognizes April 9-15 as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, an annual event that honors the critical role emergency response coordination professionals play in keeping the nation’s communities safe and secure.
Oregon has 43 standalone 911 centers known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that serve as the first and single point of contact for people seeking immediate relief during an emergency. Nearly 800 dedicated telecommunicators across the state answer at least 2 million emergency calls annually for law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services. These 911 professionals respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance in times of intense personal crises and community-wide disasters.
“Oregon’s 911 telecommunicators are heroes devoted to public safety and helping others. They work long hours, remaining calm in all types of situations and quickly constructing plans of action based on limited information,” said OEM State 911 Program Manager Frank Kuchta. “These individuals are lifelines in an emergency, and this annual observance honors their skills, dedication and commitment to helping Oregonians.”
Some 911 professionals are certified as emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs), emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) or emergency police dispatchers (EPDs). All 911 professionals work diligently behind the scenes to help citizens during emergencies ranging from mental health crises, car accidents, missing person reports, burglaries and domestic violence disturbances. Since early 2020, Oregon’s public safety telecommunicators have had the added responsibility of serving throughout a pandemic, historic wildfires, heatwaves, winter storms, floods and severe staffing shortages.
“On any given day, our public safety dispatchers have an incredibly stressful job; during the last several years, that’s been compounded as they’ve responded to unprecedented disasters in which they were the first to answer the call,” said Kuchta. “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week brings well-deserved attention and recognition to these invaluable professionals.”
The critical work of Oregon’s public safety telecommunicators directly supports the operations of federal, state and local government agencies, including emergency management, highway safety, and search and rescue. Oregon’s 911 program was established by the 1981 Oregon Legislature and is managed by the Oregon Department of Emergency Management. Learn more at Oregon.gov/OEM.
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Photo Caption: The Oregon Department of Emergency Management State 911 Program team celebrates the state’s 911 professionals. Pictured top row left to right: Tanner Rousseau, Aaron Askren. Second row left to right: Frank Kuchta, Robbie Sigleer, Alex Petzold, Michael Warren. Bottom row left to right: Pat Lustig, Kamille Basaca, Juliana Wold, Jeanie Stark.
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