Klamath Basin News, Monday, Aug 14 – Temp Of 102 Expected Today; Downtown Traffic Lights Remain Controversial

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Monday, August 14, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

HEAT ADVISORY until Thursday, August 17, 11:00 PM

Today
Sunny and hot, with a high near 102.  Light winds to 8 mph. Overnight, mostly clear with a low near 64.
 
Tuesday
A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Sunny and hot, with a high near 101. Calm wind becoming south southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. A 20% chance of showers and thundershowers overnight, low around 65.
Wednesday
A 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Sunny and hot, with a high near 99.
Thursday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 94.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 93.
Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 90.
 

Today’s Headlines

Since the summer months began, traffic flow through downtown Klamath Falls has taken on a new “light.”

Starting last June 1, the city initiated their three-month street lights test, which turned ten downtown traffic signals into blinking red, or four-way stops, and 3 into blinking yellow signals to serve as two-way stops. [We haven’t found anyone in favor of these sloppy various light changes. -Editor]

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the city should remove the affected traffic signals and replace them with stop signs where necessary to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.

The change in traffic signals and their potential removal is controversial among downtown business owners, with some in support, some ambivalent and others in strong opposition.

Chris Smith, owner of Main Street Jewelers, is in strong opposition of removing traffic signals.

Main Street Jewelers is in the process of collecting signatures from residents to put a stop to the project. The business has filled nearly all allotted spaces for signatures on the petition provided by city staff.

Citizens have expressed concerns and entered complaints regularly at city council meetings since the traffic test began.  Data collected during the test run as well as input from business owners in the survey and comments received from the general public will be presented before city council, most likely at the second council meeting in September. (herald and news)

 

Too Hot For Ya? The National Weather Service says hazardous heat is likely in Oregon this week, with widespread highs at least in the high-90s across most of the state.

Tanja Fransen, with the National Weather Service, said some areas could see temperatures warmer than 105 degrees. Fransen added that low temperatures won’t fall far below 70 degrees.

“Those overnight temperatures aren’t going to recover very much,” she said. “If you can open your windows, 10 or 11 o’clock at night, and maybe have fans push the heat from the house out, that’s going to help.”

For most of next week, Fransen said, people should plan to avoid spending time outdoors, especially between 2-7 p.m. While the temperature may start to drop a few degrees each day from Wednesday on, she said it may not be back to the low-90s until the following weekend.

She urged people to check in on friends, family and neighbors who might not have access to cool indoor spaces. She added that pets should be indoors as much as possible.

 

Meanwhile, Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) officials announced the Bedrock Fire will continue to affect the county’s air quality through at least Monday.

“The northern part of Klamath County is experiencing a lot of smoke intrusion,” KCPH Director Jennifer Little said. “Wind is also causing it to drift south which will find air quality reaching the threshold of unhealthy for sensitive groups periodically throughout the county.”

The Bedrock Fire is in Lane County with 10% containment. It is now 15,178 acres. It is burning actively on rugged forested land. Resources from the USDA Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, and private industry are working to fully suppress the fire. Unusually dry fuels, steep slopes, and gusty winds have contributed to rapid fire growth.

Projected containment for the Bedrock Fire is Oct. 1.

There can be air quality changes from moment to moment. Check hourly air quality conditions at https://aqi.oregon.gov/ or https://www.airnow.gov/. (herald and news)

 
Klamath County will have work crews at the following locations this week and ask you to please use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers.

If you are able to avoid the work zones, please use an alternate route for your safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and our contractors.

Chip Seal Crew

August 21— Westside Road; August 22 — Westside Road, Sunset Beach, Lakeshore Drive; August 23 — Lakeshore Drive, Sharp Road, Horsely Road; August 24 — Dayton Street, Derby Street, Gary Street, Gettle Street.

4 a.m. – Early Morning Broom Crew

August 22 — Westside Road; August 23 — Westside Road, Sunset Beach, Lakeshore Drive; August 24 — Westside Road, Sunset Beach, Lakeshore Drive, Sharp Road, Horsely Road; August 25 — Sharp Road, Horsely Road, Dayton Street, Derby Sreet, Gary Street, Gettle Street.

Paint Striping/Stencil Crew

  • Clover Creek Road, Westside Road, Fort Klamath area, Williamson River Road
  • Road and Utility Work — Vicinity of Stearns Elementary School
  • Expect daily lane closures. — Crest Street: Clinton to Denver

See the following link for a map of roads to be chip sealed for the 2023 season, or log onto the Klamath County Public Works website at http://www.klamathcounty.org/734/Maps.

In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be 0 to 20 minutes for the motoring public. Our goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public. Other minor work is occurring through the county but we are only listing the major items in this announcement. Please do not contact the County if you do not see work occurring, it could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

Klamath County Public Works and the Board of County Commissioners appreciate the motoring publics’ patience during the repair season for our local roads and bridges. If you have any questions regarding work, please contact the Public Works Department at (541) 883-4696.

(public works/Herald and news)

 

The man accused of kidnapping a woman in Seattle and holding her in a cinder block cell in Klamath Falls is now in the Multnomah County jail in Portland.

Negasi Zuberi was extradited to Oregon from Nevada. He’s facing federal charges and will appear in federal court either in Eugene or Medford. If he’s convicted of interstate kidnapping, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The victim escaped and waved down a passing driver to get help. The incident became an overnight national news story. Zuberi was reportedly living and renting a home of current Klamath Falls mayor Carol Westfall. 

Zuberi was on the TV show Judge Judy with his ex-partner, whose last name is Westfall in 2018, in an unrelated case.  The ex-partner says she doesn’t believe Zuberi is capable of the crimes he’s being charged with, and says the cinderblock cell the woman allegedly was taken to is just an additional add-on in the garage of the home. (local sources)

 

Around the state of Oregon

Lookout Fire Grows, Gov. Kotek Declares Emergency Conflagration

Oregon’s state-run paid leave program starts taking applications today (Monday). The first leave can start September 3rd with payments going out through direct deposit or prepaid cards two weeks later.

Paid Leave Oregon will cover time off for family members, illness, and safe leave. Around 41-thousand claims are expected at the start and then 12-thousand a month as the program moves forward. Grants are available for small businesses to help cover for employees while they’re on leave. Eleven states have similar programs. Details at paidleave-dot-oregon-dot-gov. (oregon news)

 

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek declared the Emergency Conflagration act for the Lookout Fire burning in the Cascade foothills of Lane County.

The move allows the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) to mobilize firefighters and equipment and the Blue Incident Management Team to protect life and property. Sunday afternoon the fire was pushed by extreme temperatures and gusty winds. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has level 1 and level 2 evacuation notices in place for homes near the fire. On Saturday, the OSFM pre-positioned two task forces in Lane County in because of the increased fire danger and Red Flag Warnings posted for the region. 

“The Lookout Fire has been growing rapidly due to the dry, windy conditions in Lane County,” Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said. “The next few days are very concerning with continued red flag conditions. To face these challenging conditions will coordinate the resources necessary through the power of the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System to help our local fire service partners.”  
  
In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined the fire poses a threat to life, safety, and property, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. The governor’s declaration cleared the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources in battling the fire and further support a coordinated response.  
  
The OSFM’s Blue Incident Management Team will be briefed and assume unified command of the Lookout Fire. The additional task forces are coming from other counties around the state through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System. 

 

ODF Southwest said the National Weather Service is not predicting huge wind gusts, but it’s still a concern with the forecasted heat.

ODF Southwest wants to remind people to be cautious with Josephine and Jackson counties at an ‘extreme’ fire danger level. That means it’s the most restrictions ODF puts in place in order to limit potential human-caused fires.

Right now, wildfire and heat hazards are two major potential emergencies the county wants people to be ready for. The county said residents should always be informed, have a plan, and make a go-kit.

A go-kit should include all the essential elements you need. That includes things like cell phones, important documents, water, food, and more.  Knowing your evacuation zones and signing up for emergency alerts are critical to do before a disaster.  (odf press release)

 

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, is thankful for the community support to find a baby, Wiley Wolf. 

Wiley Wolf is an infant who went missing from Portland on July 18. He was found Aug. 10. 

Sometimes when a child is missing they may be in significant danger and ODHS may need to locate them to assess and support their safety. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and assess their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. 

 

Gas prices in Oregon are up four cents a gallon over the last week to $4.66 a gallon. Triple-A reports the national average is also up four cents to $3.82 a gallon. While Los Angeles is paying arouind $6.24 a gallon, the midwest is seeing $3.69 a gallon.

Medford has the highest prices in the state at $4.77 while Pendleton has the least expensive gas at $4.49 a gallon. The increase is mainly due to high crude oil prices and heat in the southern U.S. that’s reducing production at refineries. Oregon’s move to some self-service pumps is not expected to affect prices, because it’s the same for full-serve and self-serve. Diesel in Oregon increased 11 cents to four-61 a gallon. (oregon news)

 

Lots of mosquitos in Oregon

Health officials are reminding people heading outdoors in eastern Oregon to prevent mosquito bites after a recent jump in the number of mosquito pools – collections of up to 50 insects – testing positive for West Nile virus, according to local vector control districts.

Emilio DeBess, D.V.M., state public health veterinarian at Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Public Health Division, said high heat combined with sporadic precipitation has created perfect conditions for mosquito growth in recent weeks. As a result, eastern parts of the state are seeing more mosquitoes and a corresponding increase in traps containing West Nile-positive insects.

The increase in mosquito populations may be behind new human cases of the virus.

“Eastern Oregon has seen a little bit of rain, leading to additional water available for mosquitoes to lay eggs,” said DeBess. “We saw an increase of 13 West Nile-positive mosquito pools in one week, 10 of them in Baker County, and two presumptive human cases.”

So far in 2023, a total of 22 mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus. Eleven have been in Baker County, seven in Malheur County, two in Union County, and one each in Jackson and Umatilla counties.

Last year, there were five human West Nile virus cases in Oregon, and three cases among horses, with 45 positive mosquito pools. There also were five human cases in 2021, along with eight horse cases, two bird cases and 75 positive mosquito pools.

Groups at risk for severe disease include adults 50 and older, immunocompromised people and those living with certain conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

While most infected people show little to no signs of disease, one in five show signs of West Nile fever. Flu-like symptoms can last from a few days to several weeks and may include fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, severe headaches, stiff neck, mental confusion, muscle weakness, shaking, paralysis or rash. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should contact their health care provider.

The easiest and best way to avoid mosquito-borne diseases is to prevent mosquito bites:

  • People should mosquito-proof their homes by following these steps:

    • Eliminate standing water in and around the home and business where mosquitoes can breed.
    • At least once or twice a week, empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans.
    • Clean out clogged rain gutters.
    • Remove discarded tires and other items that could collect water.
    • Look for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
  • Take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites.
    • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. Generally, the more active ingredients a repellent contains the longer it can protect against mosquito bites. Repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus or Picaridin are recommended; follow directions on the container for applying it to the skin.
    • Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children. When using an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the products.
    • When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
    • Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when outdoors with infants.
    • Consider staying indoors at dawn and dusk, which are peak mosquito biting times. Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
    •  
The Klamath National Forest is still seeking members to serve on the Siskiyou County Resource Advisory Committee.

The RAC recommends projects for funding to federal land managers to benefit resources on public lands. The committee constitutes of community members representing the public, industries, schools, environmental organizations, and local government. RAC members solicit, review, and recommend projects that aim to:

  • Improve maintenance of existing infrastructure,
  • Implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems,
  • Restore and improve land health and water quality, and
  • Create additional employment opportunities.

The RAC has helped fund numerous projects in Siskiyou County. For example, as the representative of archeological and historical interests, landscape architect Bob Talley has advocated for funding of historical trail maintenance. These projects are funded under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000,

Interested applicants must submit a cover letter and download and complete the Member Interest Form and the Advisory Committee or Research and Promotion Background Information Form (klamath national forest press release)

 

Sports fans at Oregon State can now see the 160-million-dollar renovation of Reser Stadium on the OSU campus in Corvallis which is complete, and the public is invited to an open house.

Hoffman Construction rebuilt the older half of the stadium. The open house will be held August 19th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Under the stadium seating is a 30-thousand-square-foot Health Center and a student Welcome Center. Donors contributed 90-million dollars toward the project. (oregon news)

 

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