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Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023
Klamath Basin Weather
Sunny, with a high near 81. Light winds southwest to 12 mph at times. Overnight, mostly clear, low around 48.
Oregon Tech hosted representatives from economic development groups Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc (SOREDI), Rogue Workforce Partnership (RWP), and WorkSource Rogue Valley for a campus tour and information session last week, aimed at fostering collaboration and employer support.
The visit included a meeting with Oregon Tech President Dr. Nagi Naganathan, key members of Oregon Tech’s executive staff, and the career services team. During the event, organizations discussed how their collaborative efforts would benefit local employers and enhance employment opportunities for Oregon Tech graduates.
Participants in attendance included Jaymes Tadlock (SOREDI’s Business Development Manager), Terrill Roper (SOREDI’s Business Development Loan Manager), Tyler Worthley (RWP’s Business Development Manager), Josh Morell (WorkSource Rogue Valley’s Career Developer), Tammy Schroeder (WorkSource Rogue Valley’s Business Team member), and Uriah Lamproe (WorkSource Rogue Valley’s Business Team member) alongside Oregon Tech staff members.
“This collaborative effort demonstrates Oregon Tech’s commitment to advancing workforce development programs through active partnerships with pioneering organizations such as SOREDI, RWP, and WorkSource Rogue Valley,” employer relations advisor Anna Fowler said. “Together, we will continue building a successful regional workforce environment that benefits both employers and Oregon Tech graduates entering the job market.” (Herald and News)
Schools are now open. Be careful on streets and near bus stops and watch for buses and remember these bus safety tips below.
Please be on the lookout for students crossing streets and slow down near bus stops, and stop behind buses when lights flash.
Their bright yellow buses are back on the roads, and they are counting on drivers to follow the rules to ensure students are safe while they are entering and exiting the bus. Also, don’t forget to slow down while driving in school zones and keep an eye out for kids walking or bicycling to school. School buses use flashing lights to notify drivers.
Here is a rundown of what the rules when you are sharing the road with a school bus and students: Yellow lights: Prepare to stop. Slow down. Do not pass the bus. Red lights: Stop. Drivers coming from both directions must stop. Do not pass the bus when the lights are flashing. When the lights turn off, proceed with caution. Be on the lookout for children near the road.
School zones: Oregon state law requires drivers to go no faster than 20 mph in school zones between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Bus routes for the 2023-24 school year are available on the KCSD website. Please be sure to check your route on the website for any updates as the first day of school nears. (KCSD press release)
Oregon DMV: Due to staffing, the Lakeview DMV office will be closed Monday, September 4 through Friday, September 8.
A local man is in custody after allegedly firing rounds from a rifle at buildings, residences and vehicles along the streets of Chiloquin last Thursday.
Brian Mason, 40, of Chiloquin, was arrested Thursday evening, Sherriff Chris Kaber said, after attempting to elude police by swimming across the Williamson River.
The suspect’s wet footprints were followed to a nearby residence where police confirmed Mason’s identity and arrested him for the alleged crimes. “He was taken into custody, and he had already changed into dry clothing,” the release said. “Wet clothing evidence was located inside of the house. After positive identification was made he was transported and lodged at the Klamath County Detention Center.” A news release from Klamath County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) said law enforcement first received a call just after 2 p.m. about a man entering a woman’s home, holding a rifle. By 4:18 p.m., the sheriff’s office started to receive multiple calls about a man in the area pointing a rifle at people and shooting the firearm at vehicles and nearby structures.
One of the subsequent reports originated from the Chiloquin Community Center. “A caller reported that the armed man had entered the Community Center and then was seen shortly afterwards behind the building still in possession of a rifle,” the release said. “An emergency alert was sent out for the Chiloquin area east of US Highway 97 advising everyone to shelter in place.” Chiloquin schools were placed on lockdown until the suspect was apprehended, and roadways were also shut down into downtown Chiloquin, the release said. All shelter in place orders were lifted at 5:47 p.m.
Mason is currently in custody at Klamath County Jail and is facing multiple charges, including two counts attempted murder, four counts menacing, unlawful use of a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. (Herald and News)
Police shut down a marijuana grow site north of Yainax Drive north of Beatty yesterday, according to a news release from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office.
“The outdoor grow was dismantled after 579 plants were discovered,” the release said. “The value of the illegal crop on the black market would have been approximately $3.3 million if the plants had been successfully harvested.
It is also estimated that 312,660 gallons of water had been used throughout the growing season.” No one was on the property when police raided the site, the release said. (Klamath County Sheriff’s Office)
It’s been one year, almost to the day, since John Casalino was appointed interim district attorney for Klamath County. He fit right in.
After Eve Costello stepped down as district attorney in 2022, former Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered Casalino, a renowned attorney from the Department of Justice, to fill the position until a new one could be appointed. As the latest application period for the position of Klamath County DA is now closed, Casalino’s time here will soon come to an end.
Casalino, the senior assistant attorney general for the DOJ criminal justice division, has spent the past 11 months dedicated to the people of Klamath County. He likes it here. Casalino relocated from his home in Multnomah County last October, traveling back and forth between family and work. In his time in Klamath Falls, Casalino has tackled some of the county’s more notorious cases, including the kidnapping and police evasion case of Eric Koon and the Jessica’s Law case of Souner Crane.
Last month, Casalino successfully prosecuted the state’s case against Hailie Harkins, a woman convicted for the murder of Chiloquin resident Tyler Bates. Bates, a father of five, was shot in front of his home in August 2022. Multiple shots fired resulted in the injury of two additional family members inside the dwelling. Casalino worked closely with Bates’ family throughout the case. The Yurok people, who have a tradition of carving canoes and paddles from fallen redwood trees, expressed their gratitude to Casalino by carving him a redwood paddle which now hangs in his Klamath County office.
Casalino’s efforts on behalf of Klamath County have extended beyond just the needs of the victims. With only two on-staff deputy district attorneys and two attorneys from the DOJ filling in, the prosecutor’s office is severely understaffed, since it was approved for 10 full-time attorneys to fulfill all the necessary duties. (Herald and News)
The most exclusive dinner reservation in south central Oregon is at the Cowboy Dinner Tree, located down a dirt drive in rural Silver Lake off Highway 97, about an hour’s drive northeast of Klamath Falls.
The menu offers only two items: a 30-ounce top sirloin steak or a whole roasted chicken. No substitutions. No vegetarian options. No sharing. Cash only.
And the place is booked out for months. Diners have signed the guest book from as far away as Colorado, Alaska and all across Oregon.
Owner Angel Roscoe still takes reservations via an ancient cellphone she calls “Mr. Flippy,” and writes them by hand in a three-ring binder that tracks dates a year out.
Her motto is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And clearly, the Cowboy Dinner Tree ain’t broke.
The restaurant opened in 1992, but the legend around it goes back more than a century. Most of the ranches in the area were established in the early 1900s. The building that became the restaurant was back then a little line shack, used by cowboys to escape from the elements as they watched over the herds.
Next to the shack was a juniper tree – it’s still there today, shooting up above the rear of the restaurant – where a chuckwagon would park and the cowboys and ranchers would gather to eat. (oregon news)
Regional economies were boosted by several million dollars because of the allure of Crater Lake National Park and the Lava Beds and Tule Lake National Monuments.
A new National Park Service report shows that 647,751 visitors to Crater Lake and 131,000 visitors to Lava Beds and Tule Lake in 2022 spent more $69 million in communities near the parks. That spending supported 961 jobs in areas near the park and had a combined cumulative benefit to the local economies of $97.7 million.
Nationally, the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by NPS economists shows $23.9 billion of direct spending by nearly 312 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. The spending supported 378,400 jobs nationally; 314,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $50.3 billion.
Based on the report, Crater Lake had 527,259 total recreation visits, total visitor spending was $51,208,0,00, accounted for 728 jobs, resulted in a labor income of $27,715, with value added totaled $42,626,000, with a total economic impact of $4,757,00.
The report says 98.4 percent of the visitor spending was by non-locals Lava Beds-Tule Lake had 130,969 total recreation visits, total visitor spending was $6,446,000, accounted for 74 jobs, resulted in a labor income of $2,597,000, with value added totaled $4,032,000, and had a total economic impact of $7,206,000.
The report says 95.3 percent of the visitor spending was by non-locals. (Herald and News)
Around the state of Oregon
Firefighting efforts continue on the Happy Camp Complex in Siskiyou County. According to incident management, the fire is currently 28,283 acres and 55% contained.
VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING: A virtual public meeting will be held today, September 6th, at 5:30 p.m. Fire personnel will provide an operational overview of the fire situation. The meeting will be live-streamed on Facebook (facebook.com/KlamathNF) and YouTube (youtube.com/@ciimt5). A Facebook account is not necessary to view the meeting.
Tomorrow at 7:00 a.m., a transition of command will take place. California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 and Incident Commander Dustan Mueller will transition command of the Happy Camp Complex to Northern Rockies Complex Incident Management Team 2, under the command of Incident Commander Scott Schuster.
WEST SIDE OVERVIEW (ACRES/CONTAINMENT): Elliot (12,129 acres, 51%), Ufish (5,105 acres, 33%), Hancock (1,738 acres, 21%)
Last night, fire activity was minimal on the west side of the Happy Camp Complex. Firefighters on the Elliot Fire observed less rolling debris near State Route 96. Crews will be working to build more fire line near Pony Peak south toward Dillion Creek, where the fire is holding. They will also work east toward Swillup Creek. Firefighters on the Ufish Fire plan to carry out strategic firing operations with the goal of removing dense vegetation to reduce the chance of the fire making a run toward Happy Camp. Smoke from this operation may be seen in surrounding communities. More resources will be flown into the Hancock Fire today. Firefighters have already gained 21 percent containment and will be working on the plan to prevent the fire from moving to the north and east.
EAST SIDE OVERVIEW (ACRES/CONTAINMENT): Head (6,940 acres, 100%), Townsend (81 acres, 100%), Den (294 acres, 100%), Scott (1,886 acres, 100%), Lake (199, acres, 100%)
As of last night, firefighters on the Head Fire secured the remaining section of open line and achieved 100% containment. Today, additional suppression repair work will take place on the Head and Scott fires. The remaining personnel on the Lake Fire will leave the area today. All fires on the east side of the complex will continue to be observed by infrared flights that can detect residual heat on the land.
EVACUATIONS: View current Siskiyou County evacuation orders and warnings by visiting: https://community.zonehaven.com. Siskiyou County residents are encouraged to sign up for rapid emergency notifications using the CodeRED emergency alert system at: www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/emergencyservices/page/codered-emergency-alert
ROAD CONDITIONS: No road work will be performed on State Route 96 through Wednesday, September 6th, at 7 a.m., to allow for holiday travel. Please keep in mind that one-way traffic control will remain in place from 2.8 miles west of Dillon Road to 8.8 miles east of Dillion Road, as this remains in an active fire area for the Elliot Fire. Motorists can expect up to 30-minute delays in this area. County road closures will be listed on the Siskiyou County Public Works website: www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/publicworks/page/closures-and-delays
FOREST CLOSURES: Two closure orders have been implemented: Happy Camp Complex Emergency Fire Closure No. 05-05-23-06 and No. 05-05-23-08. Additionally, fire restrictions remain in place to help minimize the chances of human-caused wildland fires. These restrictions prohibit campfires outside of designated improved recreation areas and wilderness. View closure orders, fire restrictions, and maps at: www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/klamath/alerts-notices
TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTION (TFR): A TFR has been established over the fire area. Flight restrictions include the use of drones. The operation of drones under the TFR is prohibited.
PACIFIC CREST TRAIL: All Pacific Crest Trail closures within the Klamath National Forest have been reopened.
AIR QUALITY: For information regarding smoke impacts and what you can do to protect yourself, visit the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District Fire and Smoke Information website at: www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/airpollution/page/fire-and-smoke-information or AirNow.gov
For additional information regarding the Happy Camp Complex, please go to the InciWeb page at: Inciweb.wildfire.gov
Dozens of Oregon homes have already been destroyed this wildfire season. But the State Fire Marshal’s Office says defensible space could prevent more from being lost.
OSFM is now traveling the state to help educate Oregonians about steps they can take now to protect their property.
Assistant Chief Deputy Chad Hawkins, says it’s critical to reduce the chances an ember will spark a fire in your yard. He says”A majority, if not three-quarters of structures lost during a wildfire, is due to what we call ember cast or ember showers. So, it’s those embers that are carried in the wind, whether created by the fire or the prevailing weather patterns or weather conditions in the area at the time of the fire, carrying those embers half a mile, three-quarters of a mile, a mile and a half in some studies.”
He adds there are simple and inexpensive things property owners can do now, “Raking leaves, cleaning gutters. We always think of them as small minutia tasks. But those are the ones that if we let slip just for that one-two minutes, and inevitably deal with that oncoming fire front from that escaped fire, or whatever it may be, that could be the time where your house becomes in jeopardy.” He says an ember can start a fire in just a handful of pine needles. (oregon state fire marshal)
Sometime between Monday, September 4th and Tuesday, September 5th, unknown suspects illegally entered the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) office at NW Hawthorne Avenue in Grants Pass.
The suspects took numerous items of value, including many financial documents, gas cards, a check writing machine, blank EBT cards, cell phones, an air scrubber, and a gold-colored Ford Escape belonging to the State of Oregon. The stolen Ford had Oregon License E270376
Two of the suspects were seen on surveillance video as they used stolen cards at a Grants Pass gas station. Though the images are low resolution, the suspects are very distinctive.
Anyone having information related to the identity of the burglary suspects or the property that was stolen, including the Ford Escape, is asked to call Officer D. Evans at the Grants Pass Police Department, 541-450-6260, and refer to case #23-37834. If the suspects or vehicle are seen, citizens should call 9-1-1 and not approach. (DHS/GP press release)
A Portland man is dead after a Saturday car crash on Highway 230 near milepost 6.
According to a Tuesday news release from Oregon State Police, 70-year-old Thomas B. Austen from New Zealand crossed into the opposite lane of traffic and hit a Harley Davidson motorcycle head-on.
The driver of the motorcycle, 66-year-old Richard L. Silverman, was declared dead at the scene, the release said.
“(Austen) and passenger, Victoria M. Austen (68)… both suffered minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital for treatment,” the release said. “The highway was impacted for approximately 7 hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is being investigated.” (osp release)
A Jackson County grand jury has indicted 45-year-old Ashland resident Thai Webb, for first-degree assault, second-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. This and Webb allegedly stabbed another Ashland man several times on Aug. 30th.
The incident has been investigated and revealed that the suspect and the victim, both transient Ashland residents, were inside a motor home in a public parking area near North Mountain Park, according to the Ashland Police Department.
“The suspect and victim were engaged in an argument, leading to the suspect stabbing the victim multiple times with a knife” the press release stated.
The victim was treated at Rogue Regional Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries, the release said. Webb is still in custody on a $100,000 bond. (APDnews release)
Valley of the Rogue, one of Oregon’s busiest state parks, is about to get a lot quieter.
The riverside park site, found alongside Interstate 5 near the state line in southern Oregon, will no longer be a freeway rest area, allowing rangers to focus their resources on the park’s campground and walking trails.
The rest area closure, originally announced Aug. 17th, officially went into effect Tuesday, Sept. 5., following the busy Labor Day weekend, park officials said. The park’s campground will remain open as usual, while the rest of the park will now be day-use only, open dawn to dusk.
Restrooms will remain open during day-use hours, but the Oregon Department of Transportation will remove blue “rest area” signs from the freeway.
Drivers are now encouraged to stop at the Manzanita Rest Area 18 miles to the north.
State park officials said the sheer volume of foot traffic at Valley of the Rogue put a strain on resources. In 2022, the park saw 2,149,928 visitors, according to department data, the third time in the last five years the park has eclipsed 2 million visitors. (oregon news)
Boaters planning to go on the Willamette River this week should be aware of unusually low water levels.
Officials with the National Weather Service say parts of the river in and around Portland could drop to as low as a foot multiple times in the coming week. Meteorologist Tyler Kranz says the lower water stage will likely expose new hazards to boaters. (oregon news)
Another Missing Woman in Oregon
Gwen Brunelle shouldn’t have been in Jordan Valley in late June, buying gas. The Boise woman was supposed to be hundreds of miles away near Fresno, California, getting coached in rabbit judging.
But roughly 24 hours after she told the station attendant she was “in a hurry,” her unattended vehicle was spotted off a state highway north of Jordan Valley.
The 27-year-old woman had disappeared. A missing person report soon triggered one of the most intense searches ever undertaken in Malheur County. Repeated searches found no trace of Brunelle.
Authorities believe she is somewhere out in rangeland that is sparsely vegetated with sagebrush, rabbitbrush, cheat grass and crested wheatgrass. Authorities report that 9 out of 10 of missing people are found within 48 hours.
Only 1 out of a 100 are still missing after a year. In Oregon, 220 people are still missing after being reported in 2022, according to Oregon State Police data. That includes two cases in Malheur County. (oregon news)
Oregon employees who need time off to care for family members or navigate serious illnesses can now take paid leave under the new state’s long-awaited paid family and medical leave program which began on Sunday.
Angela Yeager, a spokesperson for Paid Leave Oregon, said benefit payments will start going out Sept. 13. The program has received over 9,000 applications as of Thursday. The state has approved just over 1,250, according to Yaeger.
The Oregon Legislature established the program in 2019, making Oregon one of just 11 states, along with Washington, D.C., to offer paid family and medical leave.
Oregon’s program is funded by a payroll tax of 1% on gross wages.
Employers with 25 or more workers pay 40% of the contribution while employees pay 60%. Workers participating in the program receive between $63.48 and $1,523.63 a week during their leave, depending on their base salary.
Yaeger said the program “levels the playing field for working Oregonians who may not have had any access to paid time off until now.” (oregon news)
Cannon Beach lifeguards rescued six people, including two children, swept up by a rip current at Chapman Point on Saturday over the busy Labor Day Weekend.
Lifeguards watched the group get dragged farther from the shore by the current at 12:18 a.m., and one of them dove into the water while another guard called for help from local fire departments. Three other beach lifeguards dove in to help find the group.
Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District and the U.S. Coast Guard responded with water scooters and a helicopter, Cannon Beach lifeguards said in a social media post. With the help of three local surfers, all six people were rescued, officials said.
One lifeguard was treated for minor injuries. Rip currents, sometimes called riptides, are strong, narrow channels of water moving toward the ocean starting near the shoreline. Rip currents often look like darker, narrow gaps of water heading offshore between breaking waves or whitewater, according to the National Weather Service. Beachgoers should look for choppy, rippled water heading offshore.
These areas will often seem like safe places to enter because no waves are rolling in, but should be avoided. (oregon news)
Woman fatally struck by freight train in Salem
Salem, Ore. — Emergency responders were called to the area of 12th and Marion STS NE at approximately 9:40 a.m. Saturday on the report of a woman struck by a freight train.
Officers determined the woman stood on the tracks facing the oncoming train. The rail crew sounded the horn and attempted to stop but could not avoid the collision as the woman did not move. She was declared deceased at the scene.
The name of the decedent will not be released pending notification to the family.
Due to the significant length of train, about 74 rail cars, traffic impacts occurred along the Union Pacific track line from Court ST to Silverton RD NE for more than two hours.
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