Klamath Basin News, Friday, Aug. 4 – Klamath County Fair Is On All Weekend!

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Friday, August 4, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Air Quality Alert Today

Red Flag Warning in effect on Friday, August 4, 11:00AM to 11:00PM

Today
A 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 11am. Widespread haze and smoke during the day, partly sunny with a high near 89 degrees.  Overnight, scattered showers, possible thunderstorms with a low around 56. Chance of rain 40%.
Saturday
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Sunny, with a high near 88. Light north wind becoming northwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. A 20% chance of showers overnight, gusty winds to 15 mph, low around 55.
Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 90. North wind 5 to 9 mph.
Monday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 95.
 

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County Fair

The Klamath County Fair is on at the Fairgrounds on So. 6th Street!

            SEE MORE HERE!

Residents of the Klamath Basin can enjoy all the fun, music, events, exhibits and a lineup of top performers all weekend. The annual fair runs through Sunday with a long list of events in store for all who attend.

Highlights include performances from Clay Walker, .38 Special,  Warren Zeiders, the Demo Derby, 4-H & FFA Events of all kinds, food court, the carnival rides and much more!

The family friendly event promises fun for all ages, with free admission to anyone who comes before 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Regular admission is $6 for ages 13 and up with discounts for military, seniors and season-pass holders. Admission is free for children under 12 years old.


Fair Hours:
Friday: Noon-Midnight
Saturday: 10am-Midnight
Sunday: 10am-8pm

Carnival Hours:
Friday: 4pm-11pm
Saturday: Noon-11pm
Sunday: Noon-6pm

Supporting local businesses has never been easier than at this year’s Klamath County Fair. More than 40 local and regional businesses will be on site both indoors and outside at the Klamath County Fair, including a smorgasbord of eateries and dining options.

World Amusement’s World of Family Entertainment returns this year to offer folks all the fun and thrills of carnival rides and games. Carnival operating hours will be from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Presale wristbands are $30 apiece and can be found at klamathcountyfair.com/carnival. Wristbands will be $40 at the door.  Klamath County Rotary returns to host the annual 4-H/FFA livestock showing and auction Sunday at the 2023 Klamath County Fair  (Herald and News/KC Fair board)

 

Negasi Zuberi (aka Sakima, Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi)
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) says the man who is accused of kidnapping a woman and holding her in a cinder block cell that she escaped by punching her way out here in Klamath Falls, had been on law enforcement’s radar and is now suspected in other sexual assaults in Oregon and other states.

The woman was kidnapped from Seattle, chained, and driven to a home in Klamath Falls, according to the FBI. 

The man, 29-year-old, Negasi Zuberi (aka Sakima, Justin Hyche and Justin Kouassi) is now behind bars in Nevada, waiting to be extradited to Oregon, where he is charged in federal court with interstate kidnapping and transporting an individual across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

A search here of Zuberi’s rental home and garage, owned by Klamath Falls Mayor Carol Westfall and her husband, Kevin, turned up the woman’s purse and handwritten notes, according to investigators.

One note was labeled “Operation Take Over” and included entries that read, “Leave phone at home” and “Make sure they don’t have a bunch of ppl (sic) in their life. You don’t want any type of investigation.”

Another handwritten document appeared to include a rough sketch for an underground structure using concrete blocks, foam insulation and waterproof concrete.

The FBI said Zuberi may have used other methods of gaining control of women, including drugging their drinks. The agency suspects him in sexual assaults in at least four more states that it did not name and said it set up a website asking anyone who believes they may have been a victim to come forward.

Before moving to Klamath Falls a few months ago, Zuberi lived in Vancouver, Washington near Portland, where court records show the landlord sought to evict him.

Former neighbors in Vancouver say Zuberi showed very disturbing behavior from the moment he moved in, including going on their property to harass and verbally threaten them, with police repeatedly being called and showing up at his home often.

In one instance, a neighbor who didn’t want to give his name, said he found a young woman in shorts locked out of Zuberi’s home in 30-degree weather. She seemed too scared to accept his help and didn’t want the police there called. 

After police sat with the woman who escaped from Zuberi’s home in Klamath Falls, two Nevada State Patrol officers tracked Zuberi down at a Walmart parking lot in Reno the next day, July 16, the complaint says. He was in his car holding one of his children in the front seat while talking to his wife, who was standing outside the vehicle. Zuberi eventually surrendered.

The investigation is ongoing and police in Klamath and the FBI is asking for your help with any information you may have. 

If you believe you have been a victim or have any information concerning Zuberi (aka Sakima) visit the website: fbi.gov/SakimaVictims or call 1-800-CALL-FBI. You can also contact the FBI Portland Field Office at (503) 224-4181, your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or you can submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. (Herald and News and other media sources)

 

A vote by workers at Masami Foods in Klamath Falls to remove United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 union officials’ forced representation powers has been certified

A petition filed by employee Scott Child with the National Labor Relations Board Region 19 (NLRB) led to this successful vote. Child received free legal aid from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation.

Child and his coworkers at Masami Foods filed for a decertification vote on March 2, 2023. Under federal labor law, workers can trigger such a decertification vote with the support of at least 30% of workers in a unionized workplace. The NLRB then scheduled a vote for May 11, 2023.

On May 11, Masami employees made their position on the union clear, voting 54-25 to remove the union from their workplace. However, UFCW union officials had previously filed a number of “blocking charges,” presumably to delay the NLRB’s certification of the results. As a result of these blocking charges, the vote certification was delayed until August 1, 2023, when the NLRB Regional Director certified the election results

The case is an example of how the NLRB’s union decertification process is prone to union boss-created roadblocks. Foundation-backed reforms the NLRB adopted in 2020 made it somewhat easier for workers to remove unwanted union officials. However, the Biden NLRB is attempting to roll back these protections and make it much harder to decertify a union.

The Masami Foods decertification is another example of a growing movement among workers to remove incumbent unions from their workplace. Currently, the NLRB’s data shows a unionized private sector worker is far more likely to be involved in a decertification effort as their nonunion counterpart is to be involved in a unionization campaign. NLRB statistics also show a 20% increase in decertification petitions last year versus 2021. (submitted press release)

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in coordination with the Klamath Tribes, issued an Air Quality Advisory Wednesday afternoon on the Klamath Reservation due to increases in air pollution. This advisory will continue until further notice.

The cause of the current advisory is the Bedrock Fire in central Oregon, causing intermittent increases in wildfire smoke.

The EPA requests that residents reduce all additional sources of air pollution, such as automobile exhaust, as much as possible. Sensitive groups should avoid outdoor exercise and minimize exposure to outdoor pollution as much as possible. To check conditions, visit the EPA AirNow website. For a list of current burn bans on tribal lands, call the EPA Federal Air Rules for Reservations Hotline at 1-800-424-4372, or visit the FARR website. (Herald and News)

Roadwork that began last year at Lava Beds National Monument last year is scheduled to resume this month with a goal of completing pavement preservation by September.

Lava Beds spokesman Marc Blackburn said that when road repairs ended last November, crews had completed the work on the park road from the north entrance to about a mile south of the visitor center. He said paving and other miscellaneous tasks will be ongoing this month, noting, “we anticipate that work will be completed by the Labor Day weekend.”

Over the course of the coming weeks, he said visitors should expect delays up to 20 minutes in the construction zone. Work will be done Monday through Friday but not on weekends or holidays, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. People are asked to obey the instructions of the flaggers and watch for the pilot car before traveling through the construction zone. As always, visitors are asked to obey posted speed limits.

Although visitation figures were not available, he noted during the Juneteenth holiday “we had nearly 1,000 people in the visitor center.”

Free cave permits, which are required for any of the lava tube caves, are available at the visitor center during operating hours, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The permits are intended to ensure visitors cave safely and to reduce the chance of a fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that can spread and inflict bats.

Caves that are currently closed are Ovis, Paradise Alleys, Blue Grotto and Balcony.

Among the several caves most commonly visited, the least challenging with relatively high ceilings and established trails currently open include Mushpot, Valentine, Skull, Sentinel, Merrill, Heppe, and Big Painted and Symbol Bridge Caves. Open caves regarded as moderately challenging are Golden Dome, Sunshine, Indian Well, and Boulevard. The most challenging caves, which require crawling and have confusing passages, include Labyrinth, Lava Brook, Hopkins Chocolate, Hercules Leg, Juniper, Catacombs and Thunderbolt. (Herald and News)

 

The Klamath County Museum and the Klamath Falls Downtown Association will offer a walking history tour of Main Street in downtown Klamath Falls this Saturday, August 5th.

A museum news release said the free tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. in front of the Klamath County Courthouse, 316 Main St. Spanning five city blocks over the course of an hour, the walking history tour will present and discuss prominent buildings and notable events in the area.  Topics will include the Linkville Trolley, the “great courthouse battle,” and origin of the name of Sugarman’s Corner.

For more information contact the museum at (541) 882-1000. (kc museum/herald and news)

 

The Board of Klamath County Commissioners have chosen to increase Solid Waste Fees by 13% during their weekly business meeting this week. 

Not since 2014 has the county made a fee increase to the dumping at outlying transfer stations, and further back still in 2009 was the last time it was decided to increase the “per ton” fee.

Community development coordinator Stephanie Brown said simply, “it’s time”.  Brown said last fiscal year (June 1, 2022-June 1, 2023) the county saw a disparity of $900,000 between revenues and expenses attributed to personal and contract services, material services and internal services. She said there’s been a 124% increase of cost over the past nine years since the last time fees were increased.

Commissioner Derrick DeGroot said the Klamath County Solid Waste Division is an enterprise department and is not funded by county tax dollars.

Commissioner Dave Henslee said when the board was approached about increasing the fees, conversations were had about reducing services and even closing the dump an extra day.

Klamath County’s new Solid Waste Division’s complete fee schedule is available on the county website and takes effect Sept. 1.  (Herald and News)

The Board of Klamath County Commissioners also declared a state of emergency in Klamath County for the Golden Fire.

Decided during an emergency meeting held on July 26, 2023, the resolution comes after all local and regional emergency and recovery services have been exhausted and 166 total structures, half of which are residences, have burned.

Commissioner Derrick DeGroot said He said a meeting was held Monday with emergency management staff, the county’s building department, the county assessor’s office, code enforcement and a “multitude” of other agencies to ensure that the “best possible” program will be available to help with the recovery of the Golden Fire. (Herald and News)

 

The largest dam removal project in United States history is underway along the California-Oregon border, out Highway 66 — a process that won’t conclude until the end of 2025, with the help of heavy machinery and explosives.

But in some ways, removing the dams is the easy part. The hard part will come over the next decade as workers, partnering with Native American tribes, plant and monitor nearly 17 billion seeds as they try to restore the Klamath River and the surrounding land to what it looked like before the dams started to go up more than a century ago.

The demolition is part of a national movement to return the natural flow of the nation’s rivers and restore habitat for fish and the ecosystems that sustain other wildlife. More than 2,000 dams have been removed in the U.S. as of February, with the bulk of those having come down within the last 25 years, according to the advocacy group American Rivers.

When demolition is completed by the end of next year, more than 400 miles of river will have opened for threatened species of fish and other wildlife. By comparison, the 65 dams removed in the U.S. last year combined to reconnect 430 miles of river.

Along the Klamath, the dam removals won’t be a major hit to the power supply; they produced less than 2% of power company PacifiCorp’s energy generation when they were running at full capacity — enough to power about 70,000 homes. Though the hydroelectric power produced by dams is considered a clean, renewable source of energy, many larger dams in the U.S. West have become a target for environmental groups and tribes because of the harm they cause to fish and river ecosystems.

The project will empty three reservoirs over about 3.5 square miles near the California-Oregon border, exposing soil to sunlight in some places for the first time in more than a century.

For the past five years, Native American tribes have gathered seeds by hand and sent them to nurseries with plans to sow the seeds along the banks of the newly wild river. Helicopters will bring in hundreds of thousands of trees and shrubs to plant along the banks, including wads of tree roots to create habitat for fish.  (Herald and News)

 
A ban on wood and charcoal fires, fireworks and smoking goes into effect today, Friday, at Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake Park officials said that with the increase in fire danger in southern Oregon, the park will go into a full fire ban. According to Fire Management Officer Phil Heitzke, “The outlook is for above normal significant wildland fire potential for the next several months, To ensure public safety and to provide the highest degree of protection to park resources, the following fire ban will be implemented effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday.”

Under the restrictions, wood fires and charcoal fires are not allowed. Liquid fuel and propane camp stoves and gas grills are permitted in campgrounds, picnic areas, backcountry areas and residential areas.

Smoking is permitted only in vehicles — “provided that an ashtray is used for ashes and butts,” or “while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or free of all flammable materials. Ashes and butts must be disposed of safely and may not be discarded on the ground.”

Fireworks are prohibited in the park at all times.

“The purpose of these restrictions is to ensure the safety of park visitors and employees, and for the protection of the park’s natural and cultural resources,” Heitzke said in the statement. “These restrictions are dependent upon fire activity and weather conditions and will remain in effect until conditions improve. … Our goal is voluntary compliance; however, persons who fail to comply with these restrictions may be cited or arrested.” (CLNP/Herald and News)

 

EagleRidge HS MEETING NOTICE 
The Board of Directors of EagleRidge High School, an Oregon Nonprofit Corporation, will hold a Board Meeting on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 4:00 pm at EagleRidge High School, 677 South Seventh Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  The meeting is In-person and available on Teams.  The meeting agenda is attached in PDF File Format.   

EagleRidge High School was established to create and implement an autonomous, high achieving and equitable small high school in collaboration with the Klamath Falls City School District pursuant to the Oregon Charter School law.  The meeting will be conducted in accordance with the Oregon Public Meetings law. 

Coming to The Ragland Theater, Klamath Falls…. Disney’s THE LION KING!

 

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon House Republican lawmakers want Gov. Tina Kotek to review her predecessor’s commutations of sentences of former inmates.

The House Republican Caucus sent the request to Kotek on Friday. It stems from former Gov. Kate Brown’s commutation of the 50-month sentence against Jesse Lee Calhoun, a 38-year-old who police say is “a person of interest” in the killings of four Portland-area women.

Brown commuted Calhoun’s prison sentence for theft and burglary in 2021, and he was released nearly a year early. He was part of a group of 41 inmates granted commuted sentences and early releases because they fought wildfires in 2020. While in office, Brown commuted sentences and granted clemency to more than 1,000 people, more than other governors.

Republican Reps. Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer sent a letter to Kotek on July 20, asking her to review Brown’s commutations and develop a clear and transparent clemency procedure that gives Oregonians a voice in the process. (Herald and News)

 

Fire crews are increasing containment of the roaring Flat Fire in western Oregon.

Local Forest Service River Ranger, Stephen DiCicco is helping boat firefighters across the Illinois River to access the Flat Fire
Local Forest Service River Ranger, Stephen DiCicco is helping boat firefighters across the Illinois River to access the Flat Fire

Current Situation:  Yesterday, In the southwest corner of the fire area, firefighters used Unstaffed Aerial Systems (UAS/drones) aerial ignitions to increase the burnout to about 200 feet interior from the fire line.  Helicopters also used a Plastic Spherical Dispenser (PSD) for aerial firing operations further interior, bringing the main fire southwest towards the fire line. This strategy moves the main fire toward the prepared fire line under more favorable and controlled conditions.  Fuels consumption is varied due to the existing vegetation mosaic on the landscape (brush, grass and timber).  Aburn-out operation along the dozer line heading east from Game Lake was completed with about 150 feet of depth interior of the line to the main unburned area.

Structure protection resources continue scouting for and identifying additional homes and buildings and are collecting data to aid firefighters in protecting structures if there is a future need.  The alternate control line on Forest Service Road (FSR) 3313, 1503, and 3680 is planned for completion on Tuesday.

A community meeting was held in Brookings-Harbor last night and was live streamed on Facebook.  A recording can be viewed at https://fb.watch/m8b1R2JtRk/ .

Todays activities:  Firefighters will use aerial resources to achieve additional fireline depth between the western and eastern portions of FSR 3680 in the southwestern corner of the fire.  Aerial interior burning will also start in the Game Lake area.  Fuels removal will begin today from vegetation cut in preparing fireline along the western containment lines. The northern containment line, from Wildhorse Lookout east to FSR 3577, is being actively mopped up and patrolled.  The northeastern corner of the fire, using FSR 2308 and 150, has been prepared for firing operations if the need arises due to changes in weather conditions and/or fire activity.

With fire traffic on Bear Camp Road, all motorists on Bear Camp Road are asked to slow down, use headlights and proceed with caution.

Resources no longer needed for remaining suppressions efforts are being released to return home, get rest and be ready for future assignments as we head into the remaining fire season.

Evacuations:  As of July 31, all remaining evacuation levels were reduced to Level 1 “Get Ready” evacuation status for all areas in the vicinity of the Flat Fire.

The Curry County Sheriff’s Office will continue to coordinate with the Fire Incident Management Team and will notify all residents affected by the fire of any reasons to change evacuation levels. Curry County is using Everbridge to send evacuation notices.  You can sign up for notifications herehttps://www.co.curry.or.us/departments/emergency_management/index.php.

 

Two More Illegal Grow Busts in Josephine County
Press Release from Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office 

 

INCIDENT DATE: July 31, 2023

REPORTING DEPUTY: Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET)

ARRESTED: Jesus Ayala-Farras, 29 years-old

Gerardo Gutierrez Calderon, 21 years-old

CHARGES: 1- Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana

2- Unlawful Appropriation of Water

DETAILS:

On July 31, 2023, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) with the assistance of Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety, executed a search warrant in the 200 Block of Beaver Meadows Road, Cave Junction, regarding an illegal marijuana grow site.

During the execution of the warrant, over 3,450 marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.

The property also had multiple water and solid waste code violations. These violations could result in the criminal forfeiture of the property.

Jesus Ayala-Farras and Gerardo Gutierrez Calderon were both taken into custody and lodged in the Josephine County Jail for Unlawful Manufacturing of Marijuana and Unlawful Appropriation of Water.

At the time of this press release the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released.

Josephine County Marijuana Search Warrant 07/27/23 

 

INCIDENT DATE: July 27, 2023

REPORTING DEPUTY: Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET)

CHARGES: 1- Unlawful Possession of Marijuana

2- Unlawful Appropriation of Water

DETAILS:

On July 27, 2023, the Josephine Marijuana Enforcement Team (JMET) with the assistance of Josephine County Public Health & Building Safety, executed a search warrant off Bill Creek Road, Williams, regarding an illegal marijuana grow site.

During the execution of the warrant, over 4,300 marijuana plants were seized and destroyed.

The property also had multiple water and solid waste code violations. These violations could result in the criminal forfeiture of the property.

The primary suspect was not at the location during the search. They will be charged with Unlawful Possession of Marijuana and Unlawful Appropriation of Water if located.

At the time of this press release the investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released.

 

$10.7 million coming to Oregon to protect forest land

A historic investment from the Forest Legacy Program will help protect more than 11,000 acres of working forest in Oregon

SALEM, Ore. – Two working forests in Oregon received a major investment from the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Forest Legacy program, which protects environmentally and ecologically important private forest lands across the country. The Minam Conservation and Connectivity Project in northeast Oregon and the Tualatin Mountain Forest Project in northwest Oregon are among 34 projects nationwide that will receive funds from the program to protect working forests for wildlife, people, and climate resilience.

Some 3,111 acres of the Tualatin Mountain Forest in northwest Oregon will be secured as a working research forest�to be�owned�and managed�by Oregon State University thanks to grants from the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Forest Legacy program, administered in Oregon by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry.

 

These investments were made possible by the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provided a historic $700 million over 10 years to permanently conserve state and privately-owned forestlands through the Forest Legacy program. The program is administered in Oregon by the Oregon Dept. of Forestry (ODF).

Josh Barnard, Chief of ODF’s Forest Resources Division, said, “The Forest Legacy program’s investments ensure that working forests that are vital to the fabric of local economies remain working forests. They also maintain the ecological benefits of working forests, including natural watershed functions, maintaining habitat for at-risk species and mitigating climate change.”

Kelley Beamer, Executive Director of the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, agrees with Barnard. “The Forest Legacy Program is a critical tool to keep working forests working while protecting important habitat for fish, wildlife, and people,” she said. “This is the largest investment in Oregon’s working lands in the Forest Legacy program’s history and land trusts are poised to leverage these funds to protect even more of these ecologically and economically important lands.”

The Minam Conservation Connectivity Project phase II will acquire 10,964 acres of working forestland and a corridor along the Minam River in Union and Wallowa counties. Spearheaded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, this project will conserve scenic viewsheds on over 2.4 million acres of adjacent public lands. This property has been managed as a working forest since the early 1900s and will continue to generate timber and support jobs in the local area.

“This commitment of Forest Legacy funding is a vital step toward completion of a landmark conservation project that will conserve and protect habitat for elk, mule deer, fish, birds and other wildlife, while also providing access by hunters, anglers and others,” said Kyle Weaver, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “We would like to recognize our partners at Manulife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the U.S. Forest Service as well as support from elected officials, both locally and in Congress, for making this conservation victory possible.”

The Tualatin Mountain Forest project will secure a 3,111-acre forest near Scappoose as a working research forest to be owned and managed by Oregon State University. The project will serve as a national model for an actively managed forest, mitigate climate change, and create public access and recreation opportunities..

“The Tualatin Mountain Forest project has great potential to develop a research and demonstration forest with expanded community benefits,” says Kristin Kovalik, Oregon program director for the Trust for Public Land, who is acquiring the land. “Projects like this require diverse partners and we are grateful for the Oregon Department of Forestry and US Forest Service ongoing commitment to the Forest Legacy Program, and Senators Merkley and Wyden for supporting the Inflation Reduction act and the Great American Outdoors Act which help fund projects like the Tualatin Mountain Forest.”

About the Coalition for Oregon Land Trusts – The Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT) serves and strengthens the land trust community in Oregon. At COLT, we build connections and advance policies that help protect our natural world—our water, wildlife and open space—for all people, forever. This work helps our coalition members—30 conservation organizations around the state—do what they do best: protect wildlife and wild places, defend working farms and forests, provide recreation and parks, drive climate solutions and science, champion clean water for all and engage communities to protect our natural world.

About ODF – The Oregon Department of Forestry protects some 16 million acres of Oregon’s forest lands from wildfire, and regulates timber harvests to protect soil, water quality and threatened and endangered species. The head of the agency – the Oregon State Forester – approves a Forest Stewardship Plan developed by ODF staff for each project approved for funding under the Forest Legacy Program. Through Oregon Department of Forestry,  the Forest Legacy Program seeks projects that strengthen local communities across Oregon, through state, local and private partnerships in conservation.

If you’re planning to recreate around or near Bear Creek in the Rogue Valley, be aware of this.

Authorities are urging residents to exercise caution after high levels of bacteria were detected in parts of the Bear Creek watershed in Medford, Ashland, Phoenix, Talent, Jacksonville and Central Point.

Residents are asked to use caution when in contact with any waterways and especially to avoid ingestion (which may cause illness) and contact with open wounds (which may cause infection),” the release said. “Very young children should be fully supervised when playing in the water to avoid swallowing the water. It is important to note that contact with any water body – creeks, rivers, lakes, or swimming pools – carries some level of risk.”

The release did not say why these creeks have high levels of bacteria, but noted that it could be because of several reasons including pet waste, livestock waste, wild animals or illegal dumping of portable toilets or RVs. (KDRV 12)

 

Investigators in Josephine County are trying to find two runaway teens who were reported missing.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office said 17-year-old Kamryn Davis and 17-year-old Karson Davis were last seen in an older, faded black Honda with three other unknown females.

Kamryn is described as a 5’8” tall female, 120 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

JCSO described Karson as a 5’7” tall male, 135 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call JCSO at 541-474-5123. The sheriff’s office provided no further information. (JoCo SO)

 

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a magnitude 4.0 earthquake Tuesday morning off the southern Oregon coast, about 117 miles southwest of Coos Bay. The earthquake happened around 11:26 a.m. It had a recorded depth of about 8.6 miles.

On the USGS web page for the quake, nobody had reported feeling the quake as of about 1 p.m. Tuesday. There were no reported injuries.

Earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon coast are very common. Since July 14, there have been 15 recorded earthquakes within a 155-mile radius of Tuesday’s earthquake.

Tuesday’s quake registered as the third strongest during that time frame, behind a magnitude 4.6 earthquake on July 14 and a magnitude 4.4 earthquake on July 29. Both of those earthquakes were located about 143 miles west of Bandon. (USGS)

 

More locally produced meat will be available because of a nine-million-dollar program approved by the Legislature. Oregon is the first state on the West Coast to have its own meat inspection program approved by the federal government.

Oregon Ranchers were facing 18-month wait times to process livestock and the local inspection program reduces that delay. The Meating Place in Hillsboro is the state’s first slaughter facility under Oregon’s State Meat Inspection Program. It processes farm-to-fork meat within a 20-mile radius. (Oregon News)

 

A new report says extreme weather and poor air quality may be impacting mental health.

A climate health report by Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties found that during the 2020 wildfires and 2021 heat dome people had difficulty reaching mental health services. They interviewed first responders to get the information. The lack of mental health providers in the first place was compounded by smoke from the wildfires affecting travel and hot temperatures from the heat dome causing people to seek cooling centers instead of mental health support. A lack of information in languages other than English was also a problem. (Oregon News)

 

A former priest who was accused of molesting boys in Pennsylvania and later convicted of sexually abusing a young disabled man in Oregon died at a Salem hospital this week, state corrections officials disclosed Tuesday.

Roger Alan Sinclair, 75, was in “comfort care,” the Department of Corrections said in a statement, but a spokesperson would not say why Sinclair was in the hospital or what caused his death Sunday, citing health privacy rules.

Sinclair pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree attempted sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse in March 2018 in Deschutes County, according to court records.

He was arrested in 2017 for repeatedly molesting a young disabled man in Bend, but allegations of sexual abuse against Sinclair dated back as far 1981, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Sinclair served as a board member and volunteer at a Bend senior center and passed a background check because he hadn’t faced criminal charges in the other cases, according to the AP investigation.  (Oregon News)

 

The Perseid Meteor Shower, an annual event in August over Oregon, looks like it may offer clear skies for the mid-August sky watch fun as it peaks the mights of August 12th and 13th.

Technically active from July 14 to Sept. 1, the meteor shower typically produces an average of 50 to 75 meteors per hour at peak, according to the American Meteor Society, making it one of the biggest astronomical events of the year.

Meteor showers are best seen under the darkest skies possible, since the quick flashes of meteors can be drowned out by city lights or the light of the moon. Anyone in a rural location should be in good shape this year, with a moon that will pose very little threat to seeing the show.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs as the Earth moves through a debris path left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet during its last trip past the sun in 1992. (Oregon News)

 

You can start pumping your own gas this Saturday.  Despite strong opposition from many Oregonians, Gov. Tina Kotek will allow a bill allowing self-serve gasoline across Oregon to become law, ending a 72-year ban on most drivers pumping their own gas.

Oregon will join 48 other states allowing Americans to pump their own gas, leaving only New Jersey out.

Announcing a slate of potential vetoes Friday, as required by the Oregon Constitution, Kotek did not include House Bill 2426, which will permit Oregon gas stations to open up to half of their pumps for self-serve gas. The law will still require gas stations to staff at least half their pumps for people who can’t, or don’t want to, pump their own gas.

The new law will simplify Oregon’s patchwork of self-serve gas regulations. Since 2015, some rural counties have permitted self-serve gas at night. And each summer since 2020, the state fire marshal has permitted self-serve gas statewide during wildfire season and heat waves, when smoke or extreme temperatures make it dangerous to be outside. (Oregon News sources)

 

BLM celebrates Great American Outdoors Day with free day-use access on 8/4/23.

PORTLAND, Ore, — The Bureau of Land Management is waiving recreation day-use fees for visitors on August 4, 2023, in celebration of the third annual Great American Outdoors Day. The BLM is inviting all communities to explore the unique and diverse natural landscapes and recreation facilities available on their public lands throughout Oregon and Washington.

Within Oregon and Washington, the BLM’s standard amenity day-use fees will be waived at the following:

The standard amenity fee waiver does not guarantee admission to some busy recreation areas where reservations for day-use, group sites, and overnight camping are recommended. Please contact the local BLM office if you have any questions about a recreation site you are interested in visiting.

“Providing outdoor recreation opportunities to all communities is a top priority,” said Anita Bilbao, BLM Oregon/Washington Associate State Director. “We invite everyone to enjoy the spectacular beauty of your public lands firsthand.”

The Great American Outdoors Day was established to celebrate the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act into law on August 4, 2020, which invests in the protection and sustainment of public lands. With GAOA funding, the BLM is addressing deferred maintenance needs and improving public access to numerous popular outdoor recreation destinations throughout Oregon and Washington, including the Lower Deschutes Wild and Scenic River, Loon Lake Recreation Site, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and Hyatt Lake Campground. You can comprehensively search all available BLM recreation opportunities to explore on your public lands here.

Know before you go:
• Be fire aware. Check for local fire restrictions and active fire closures.
• Practice Leave No Trace principles and leave your public lands cleaner than you found them.
• The fee waiver only applies to standard amenity fees for day-use at the recreation sites listed. The waiver does not apply to any expanded amenity fees for overnight camping, group day-use, and cabin rentals or individual Special Recreation Permit fees along permitted rivers.

Fee-free days occur each year in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Great American Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.

The remaining fee-free days in 2023 are:
• September 30 (National Public Lands Day)
• November 11 (Veterans Day)

For more information about the BLM’s recreation fee program, please visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-fees.

 

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