64.78 F
Klamath Falls
May 30, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, 4/19/23 – Farmers, Irrigators and Wildlife Refuges Need More Water says KWUA

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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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today   A 20% chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 44. West wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Overnight cloudy with a low around 24 degrees, winds gusty to 28 mph possible.
Thursday   Partly sunny, with a high near 54. Light and variable wind becoming west southwest 6 to 11 mph in the morning. Cloudy overnight with a low of 36.
Friday   Mostly cloudy, with a high near 62. Southwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming west northwest in the afternoon.
Saturday   Mostly sunny, with a high near 72.
Sunday    Mostly sunny, with a high near 65.


See Road Camera Views around the Basin

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

While the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last week that 215,000 acre-feet of water would be available for the Klamath Project this year, the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) said that’s still merely 60% of what is needed for farms and wildlife refuges in the area.

Upper Klamath Lake stores approximately 460,000 acre-feet, meaning the entire lake will be emptied this year to produce temporary flows in the Klamath River. Forecasts indicate more water will be released for river flows this summer than will flow into Upper Klamath Lake.

The KWUA said the announced supply represents a deviation from the Interim Operations Plan that Reclamation extended last fall. If Reclamation was following the Interim Operations Plan, which requires using inflow specific forecasts from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the actual allocation should be 285,000 acre-feet, KWUA contended.

KWUA says for months, KWUA urged Reclamation to abandon the Interim Operations Plan, only to have Reclamation refuse to develop a new plan,” Liskey said.

“Now, once the hydrology improves and a decent irrigation supply should be available, Reclamation refuses to follow the very Interim Operations Plan that it just re-adopted.

The Klamath Project provides water to roughly 230,000 acres of farms and refuges in northern California and southern Oregon. Farming in the Klamath Project produces half a billion dollars in regional economic activity.

Reclamation also announced $9.85 million will be available through the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency for contractors who receive a reduced water allocation.

[To the Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Falls…let the water flow! -Editor]


Settlement hearings for a local woman charged with minor child sex crimes and furnishing alcohol to minors in a separate case have been postponed until June 5, 2023, according to court documents.

Tiffany Fregoso, 37, was set to appear in court for two settlement conference hearings on Monday, April 17.

In light of new charges having been filed against her client, Salem attorney Jennifer Schade filed a motion for continuance on Friday, April 14.  The state objected to the motion on behalf of the family, but the motion was granted Monday morning.

Fregoso was arrested last October after a 14-year-old, male victim reported having had a sexual relationship with Fregoso for the three previous weeks. The case was dismissed after the state filed additional charges on March 6, 2023, including using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct, a Class A felony, and encouraging child sexual abuse, a Class B felony. Since the charges arose from the same crimes, the first case was dismissed and replaced by the second case.

Fregoso is also charged with two counts of furnishing alcohol to minors in a separate incident which took place while Fregoso was out of custody on a conditional release agreement.

Now Fregoso’s cases are currently scheduled for settlement hearing conferences at 2 p.m. June 5, at the Klamath County Circuit Court. Judge Alycia Kersey is presiding over the case.


Around the state of Oregon


Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.4% in March, down from 4.7% in February.
For the past 20 months since August 2021, Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained relatively steady and near historic lows. The unemployment rate averaged 4.3% in that time, while ranging between 3.5% and 4.8%. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5% in March and 3.6% in February. In March, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,400 jobs, following a revised loss of 2,700 jobs in February. 
In March, gains were largest in health care and social assistance (+1,600 jobs) and professional and business services (+1,200). The only major industries to cut a substantial number of jobs were retail trade (-900 jobs) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-500). 
Health care and social assistance added jobs at a rapid pace over the past year. Since March 2022, it added 8,300 jobs, which was a 3.1% increase. Nearly all of the gains over the year were in social assistance, which added 5,400 jobs since March 2022 and is now 2,500 jobs above its pre-pandemic high. Hospitals added 800 jobs in March, following little gain during the prior 11 months. 
Professional and business services grew rapidly over the past three years. It added 8,900 jobs, or 3.4%, since March 2022. One of its component industries, administrative and waste services, was a primary driver of jobs expansion lately, as it added 4,400 jobs, or 4.2%, in the past 12 months. Employing 110,400 in March, this large industry makes up one in 20 nonfarm payroll jobs in Oregon. It includes firms such as temporary help services, janitorial services, landscaping services, and telephone call centers. 
Retail trade hovered close to 210,000 jobs throughout the past two years, with a slightly downward trend over the past year. Since March 2022, the broad retail trade sector lost 1,600 jobs (-0.8%). Most retail components cut between 100 and 600 jobs. The only published component industry expanding in that time was food and beverage retailers, which added 900 jobs. 

To file a claim for unemployment benefits or get more information about unemployment programs, visit unemployment.oregon.gov. 


Memorial Service For Joseph Johnson, The Nyssa Police Reserve Corporal Murdered On Duty, Is Scheduled For Saturday, April 21st, 2023

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A memorial service for Joseph Johnson, the Nyssa police reserve corporal murdered on duty, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, April 21, at Nyssa High School.

An overflow crowd is expected and organizers are preparing additional venues to watch the ceremony.

A law enforcement procession will wind through Ontario and end at the high school but route details have yet to be announced. Organizers are urging people to line the route to show support for Johnson’s family, which will be in the procession.

As friends and colleagues share memories, a portrait is emerging of a man dedicated to his community, willing to help out on many fronts.

Johnson, 43, worked as a behavioral specialist at Snake River Correctional Institution, served as a reserve police in Nyssa for five years, worked as a therapist and served as a volunteer firefighter.

He died Saturday, April 15, while on patrol in Nyssa. He responded to a disturbance at a home well-known to police for domestic violence calls. Johnson was shot to death after pulling up behind a man reported to be on a rampage who had led the officer on a short pursuit.

The grief of law enforcement was evident during a news conference in Ontario on Tuesday, April 18. They did not use the defendant’s name, instead referring to Rene Castro, 36, only as “the suspect.” He is in jail, charged with aggravated murder and four other felonies.

Nyssa Police Chief Don Ballou said it would take a long time for his team to recover from Johnson’s death.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be fully recovered,” said Ballou, who last December had presented Johnson his agency’s Outstanding Performance Award.

The chief thanked police agencies for their swift response to the murder and the subsequent tracking and arrest. He also said his team appreciated the community’s response.

“I’m overly humbled to see the support we have,” Ballou said.

Malheur County District Attorney Dave Goldthorpe shared that the suspect in Johnson’s killing, Rene Castro, 36, of Nyssa, was in custody and had been charged with aggravated murder and four other felonies and was in custody.

He said police worked “tirelessly” to find the suspect.

“It really has been a great team effort to enact swift justice,” said Malheur County Sheriff Travis Johnson.

Mike Iwai, Ontario police chief, said the murder and investigation had taken a toll on officers and asked for continued public support for police.

“They will definitely need it,” Iwai said. “Now is not a time for us to rest.”

Earlier in the day, a procession of about 50 police, fire and medic rigs formed on Stanton Boulevard, falling into line to escort Johnson’s body the final miles back to Ontario, to the Haren-Wood Funeral Chapel on Southwest Fourth Avenue.

There, law enforcement officials saluted as the flag-draped coffin was moved into the chapel.

David Peterson, a Bend police officer and board member of the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, said the nonprofit group is covering expenses for the memorial service.

“Nyssa police and the Johnson family will not pay for any of these services,” Peterson said.

He said the foundation is collecting donations to support Johnson’s family. Donations can be made online, by check or at any U.S. Bank branch. He said the foundation should be considered the “official” conduit for contributions for the family.

Too Many Drugs Causing Too Many Overdose Deaths in the Medford Area

Since the start of 2023, the Medford Police Department (MPD) has seen a staggering number of suspected overdose deaths within the Medford area.
The Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement (MADGE) Team are actively working cases to combat current drug issues by putting an incredible amount of time and resources into fentanyl related cases. As previously mentioned by MPD, MADGE has seen the presence of xylazine (a central nervous system depressant) in recent fentanyl seizures. 
“Fentanyl and xylazine are being found in everything right now,” said MADGE Sergeant Josh Reimer, referencing other drug seizures such as cocaine, methamphetamine or counterfeit opiate pills. 
In March 2023, MPD responded to a total of 13 suspected overdose deaths within the City of Medford. This number is alarming, and the public should heed the advice from medical personnel and local law enforcement warning of the dangers of drug use in general. 
“Any type of experimentation with street drugs is life-threatening, now more than ever,” said MPD Lieutenant Rebecca Pietila.
MPD wants the public to be aware of the current dangers related to drug use in our community. When using or experimenting with illicit drugs, the user is not aware of the actual contents or properties of the suspected drug they are about to consume. With the increase of fentanyl and xylazine in our area, it is likely the users will consume these substances unknowingly, thus experiencing an overdose. 


Oregon License Plate Funds Safe Animal Crossing

The “Watch for Wildlife” license plate is available for purchase at all DMV locations in Oregon.
For more information about Oregon specialty license plates and how to get your own Watch for Wildlife plate, please visit www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv.


Proceeds from a new license plate in Oregon will fund two projects meant to help wildlife make it safely across busy highways.
More than 13,000 of the plates have been sold since the new option was unveiled last May. The Oregon Wildlife Foundation says an initial disbursement from the fund will go toward a crossing for mule deer and elk across Highway 20 near Sisters. A second project will help coastal martens get across Highway 101 at a still-to-be-determined location.
Tim Greseth, the Executive Director of the OWF, said the projects were created with help from ODOT’s Wildlife Passage Program.
“We can create more opportunities for habitat connectivity in the state of Oregon,” Greseth said. “Wildlife passage structures are not inexpensive, and so this is an important source of revenue.”
The Oregon Wildlife Foundation said each year, almost 6,000 drivers in Oregon alone are involved in a collision with a deer, elk, bear, or other wildlife species.
MORE INFO: https://www.myowf.org/watchforwildlife


Nearly 100 species of flowers are usually displayed at the festival.
Silver Falls State Park will host its annual Mother’s Day Birding and Wildflower Festival May 13 and 14
Come see the migratory birds and spring blooms at the park this time of year. The event coincides with World Migratory Bird Day. 
The festival includes guided birding and wildflower hikes, a wildflower show, live raptor presentations, a native plant sale and educational presentations and discovery tables. The birding guide is a woodpecker expert so visitors are likely to spot a few of the birds in addition to these frequent fliers: Wilson’s warblers, Pacific wrens, varied thrushes and American dippers. 
“It’s a great time of year to visit because the migratory birds should be here in force,” said Silver Falls Park Ranger Matt Palmquist.
If you’re all about the blooms, the park will be filled with trilliums, bleeding hearts, violets and some calypso orchids. The wildflower show features at least 100 species of flowers on display as well. 
Most activities will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an early bird hike each morning at 7:30 a.m. All activities take place in the South Falls day-use area, with the exception of some birding walks. 
All activities are free, but a $5 daily parking permit or Oregon State Parks annual parking permit is required to park at Silver Falls State Park. 


Prineville, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management approved a plan this month to acquire about 4,000 acres of private land in central Oregon to increase public access to recreation opportunities and restore healthy landscapes.
The land is located on the west side of the John Day River, approximately 14 miles east of Wasco. The area is generally referred to as McDonald’s Ferry and is on the west side of McDonald’s Crossing, which was used in the 1800’s as part of the Oregon National Historic Trail. 

Once acquired, these lands will be managed in accordance with the Bureau of Land Management’s multiple-use mission and will provide the public with a wide range of recreational opportunities, including boating access, camping, and hiking. These lands will also be managed to maintain and restore healthy rangelands and wildlife habitat, including the restoration of critical habitat for the Mid-Columbia Summer Steelhead.
“The majority of feedback we received about the proposed acquisition was positive,” said Acting Central Oregon Field Manager Stephanie Mckinney. “We look forward to expanding dispersed recreation and hunting access along the John Day River.”   The BLM will acquire the lands from the Western Rivers Conservancy based on the parcels’ appraised fair market value with financial support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The BLM still must complete the necessary realty transactions before obtaining the title to the land and will announce when public access is available. Until such time, the BLM requests that the public respects private property rights.
The Decision Record approving the acquisition is available on the BLM’s ePlanning website. The public may also request a copy of the documentation from the Prineville District Office by calling (541) 416-6700 on weekdays between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays. Those interested may also contact Chris Ryan, Project Lead, at (541) 416-6700 or at blm_or_pr_lands@blm.gov.


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