Klamath Basin News, Friday, Sept. 8 – New Washburn Way Pavement Project Begins; Narcan/Naloxone To Be Sold Over-The-Counter; Annual Crater Lake Ride The Rim Days Starts Saturday

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Friday, Sept. 8, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Light southeast winds 5-10 mph. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 48, light winds to 8 mph.

Saturday Sunny, with a high near 82. Calm wind becoming south southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Sunday Sunny, with a high near 83 Monday Sunny, with a high near 84. Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 83. Wednesday Sunny, with a high near 82.


Today’s Headlines

Klamath Falls City Council and Klamath County Commissioners News

Washburn Way will soon undergo phase two of the asphalt preservation project after a contract with Rocky Mountain Construction was approved at the Klamath Falls City Council meeting Monday night.

The second phase will including varying depth grind and inlay work in order to rehabilitate the segment of the road spanning from South Sixth Street to Crater Lake Parkway.

Council authorized the contract with Rocky Mountain in the not-to-exceed amount of $2,257,257 with a 20% contingency allowance of $451,451.

Additional roadwork was also approved with crack sealing planned for 11 city streets.

Councilors gave unanimous approval to enter into a contract with Commsurf Pro for $113,652 with $22,730 in contingency funds if needed. Crack Sealing will begin in the fall.

Another infrastructure improvement project at Veterans’ Memorial Park is also slated for the coming fall season.

The start of the new season, Oct. 1, will also bring with it a 13% increase in fee rates for Waste Management services. Waste Management provided a notice of pass-through rate increase for city council at the Monday night meeting. According to the agenda report, Klamath County Cmmmissioners approved the fee increase last month to address growing disparities between revenues and expenses in the solid waste division. The county’s approved resolution includes a 13% increase in 2023 and two subsequent 13% increases in 2024 and 2025.

Another county action regarding tobacco retailer restrictions was addressed by city council during the meeting. To compromise with county regulations, the city drafted an ordinance which will allow for a two-year delay on implementing the buffer zones. (Herald and News)


Narcan/Naloxone, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug will soon be sold over the counter starting this month.

The Food and Drug Administration originally approved its over-the-counter sale in March of this year, but it will be available this month because of the manufacturer, Emergent Biosolutions, sending shipments last week to retailers nationwide with a suggested price of $44.99 for a pack of two.

Klamath County has already had a program in place hosting dozens of boxes of available Narcan throughout the community. These free boxes are in place for anyone who needs it in an area that is no stranger to addiction and rehabilitation.

Klamath County Public Health said while many would like to think they wouldn’t need Narcan, no one is far removed from the realities of the opioid epidemic.

The boxes in Klamath falls are predominantly serviced by Rogue Valley nonprofit, Max’s Mission. Max’s Mission primarily focuses on overdose prevention, teaching people how to use Narcan as providing the drug for free. 

Officials say the open availability of Narcan will be good for the community, and prevent overdoses within the area. (kdrv 12 TV)  


Sports coming to KCC

Amidst rapid expansion of facilities and academic programs in recent years, Klamath Community College this fall will begin a new venture – Athletics.

KCC will add a soccer club beginning in the fall 2023 term. Enough interest has been garnered among the KCC student body to establish a formal soccer club with intent to eventually hold matches against other regional community colleges.

An introductory meeting of the KCC Soccer Club will take place on Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Henley High School Soccer Field. This free and open event will provide information about becoming a KCC student and how to participate in club activities.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to bring soccer gear for a friendly scrimmage.

Registration is now open for Klamath Community College’s fall term, classes will begin on Monday, Sept. 25. For more information visit www.klamathcc.edu. (kcc)  


The Annual Ride the Rim days at Crater Lake National Park returns this week with events planned for the upcoming two Saturdays.

The famed event brings cyclists from far and wide together to ride the East Rim Drive roadway around Crater Lake.

Ride the Rim’s official website says, “Ride the Rim is a pedestrian friendly event closing off East Rim Drive to vehicular and motorized traffic, creating a safe space to enjoy the park on two wheels, one wheel, or by your own feet.”

East Rim Drive will be closed to vehicles from North Junction to the park’s headquarters starting at 8 a.m. with reopening at 6 p.m., according to a news release.

The 25-mile ride is expecting a large turnout this year with cyclists from across the country and abroad. Hosted by Crater Lake National Park, Friends of Crater Lake and Discover Klamath, the annual event already has more than 2,600 registered riders and counting, according to a report by the Rogue Valley Times. Discover Klamath’s senior marketing manager Tonia Ulbricht said a typical turnout brings 2,500 to 3,500 riders but has gathered as many as 5,000 in the past. The site notes that while electric bikes with bike assist are allowed, self-propelled bikes are not.

An additional 8-mile segment of the route is available for riders to complete, though it is not vehicle-free and includes a steep incline with a narrowing roadway.

Riders must be single-file in the midst of traffic. Those riding with children are encouraged to review the route before registering. Parking for the event is available at the North Junction, park headquarters and at the picnic hill area of Rim Village. Space will be limited, the release said.

The event offers a free shuttle service from the parking locations which will transport riders to the start of the event. Bikes will not be transported on the shuttle service.

Two onsite bike corral will be available for single riders, located at the North Junction and park headquarters. (Herald and News)  


Fun for the whole family is on tap this week as the 72nd Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair returns. This year’s fair will be held from Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 7-10, at the Tulelake Fairgrounds in Tulelake, California.

The fair’s theme, “Growing Traditions Together,” reflects the purpose that the fair has provided each year. “It’s everything that you’ve grown up loving, but evolving to provide entertainment and fun to the younger generation,” said Megan Halousek, Tulelake Fairgrounds office manager and contract coordinator. Halousek said there will be many new attractions for this year’s fair. “The grounds have been revitalized, and we have new layouts for sheep and swine pens. There are a lot more livestock exhibitors this year, so we created a separate grooming area for beef entrants.” Kicking off the festivities on Thursday will be Tulelake High School Soccer hosting Modoc at 5 p.m. Then on Friday, Tulelake High will play a football double-header hosting Chiloquin JV at 5 p.m. followed by Butte Valley at 7 p.m.  

New for this year are headlining acts: Fleetwood Mask, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, will perform Thursday, and country music star Joe Nichols with opening act Huckleberry Road, performs Friday, Sept 8th. Gates open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now at$20 general admission. 

Joe Nichols has been a mainstay of country music for over two decades, bridging the gap between the genre’s old school roots and contemporary era. He’s a 21st century traditionalist, an artist who’s both timely and timeless, racking up more than 2 Billion streams, a half dozen Number 1 singles and ten Top 10 hits with a sound that honors his heroes. From his first radio smash, 2002’s “The Impossible,” to his most recent “Good Day For Living,” his first Top 20 single in nearly a decade, Nichols has proudly done things his own way, blurring the boundaries between country music’s past and present along the way.

Also new for this year will be the Fair Destruction Derby, with a Power Wheels Derby for kids aged 2-7 years, on Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $20 for ages 6 and up, with kids 5 years and under free. The power wheels cars will be provided for the first kids that sign up. Saturday will also host a parade starting at noon and the 21st Annual Pioneer Day Celebration.

The Celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Honker, Tulelake’s Community Center. All four days will feature vendors, exhibits and carnival, with three outdoor stages and live music for all to enjoy. (Herald and News/TBVF)  

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that the Klamath Project water supply allocation, originally announced on April 13 and increased on May 19, will remain at 260,000 acre-feet and no reductions will be made to Klamath Project water users. 

Irrigation districts and Tribes were notified on August 18, that a curtailment may be necessary due to a potential shortfall in water supply.

Due to improved hydrology in the Klamath Basin over the last two weeks; opportunities for Upper Klamath Lake water conservation this fall and winter; and coordination with Tribal partners and water users, no curtailments will be necessary.

Reclamation is required to meet a minimum water elevation in Upper Klamath Lake for endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers, as well as to provide streamflows in the Klamath River for threatened salmon.  Reclamation continues to monitor hydrologic conditions and plan for end of season activities as the water year comes to a close. (bureau of reclamation)  


Fire management officials at the Fremont National Forest Headquarters in Klamath County lifted public use restrictions on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Bureau of Land Management Lakeview District, and Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Crater Lake National Park will lift its fire restrictions Friday, September 8.

Public use restrictions will remain in place within the Klamath River Canyon. Lifting public use restrictions means campfires are now allowed outside of designated campgrounds. 

Fire officials want to remind the public to be cautious with any possible ignition sources and ensure campfires are properly extinguished. Industrial Fire Precaution Level II Limited Shutdown will remain in effect on public lands where the public use restrictions have been lifted. 

Power saws, rotary head saws, cable yarding, blasting, and welding many only happen between 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. (Fremont National Forest Office)  


City and County Schools in the Klamath Basin 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)    


Around the state of Oregon

A tropical weather system called El Niño is beginning its march up the coast of Oregon, bringing with it a warmer winter and inescapable heat for some marine life.

Oregonians on the coast could experience flooding from high tides and rising sea levels. In the mountains, areas hoping for snow are more likely to get rain, which could accentuate the drought plaguing the West. For aquatic species, warming ocean temperatures could spur a northern migration and could be deadly for plankton vital to salmon and other species up the food chain.

Spurred by a change in air pressure over the Pacific Ocean near the equator, El Niño last visited Oregon in the winter of 2018, and has occurred more than 20 times since 1950.

It is both an ocean and atmospheric weather pattern that touches all parts of the West.

The latest system, which recently reached the southern Oregon coast, is predicted to be among the fiercest in years, according to Oregon’s state climatologist, Larry O’Neill. There have only been three El Niños since 1970 that have reached the category of “very strong” as determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The last one was in 1997.

The system typically arrives in early September, reaches its peak in the winter and fades toward the spring of the following year. (herald and news)


Jesse Lee Johnson walked out of the Marion County Jail Tuesday evening. The 62-year-old had been behind bars for 25 years for a murder he denied committing. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2004.

Johnson, was charged in 1998 with killing Harriet Thompson in her Salem apartment. In 2004, despite his claims of innocence, Johnson was convicted and sentenced to death for killing the mother of five.

The reversal was possible because of an eyewitness account from one of the victim’s neighbors, who was never interviewed by police or Johnson’s original defense team. The neighbor said the man she saw running from the victim’s apartment after the murder was not Johnson.

That testimony is why in October 2021 the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed Johnson’s murder conviction and ordered a new trial. Fast forward to this week, the state filed a motion to dismiss the case. Prosecutors said they could not prove Johnson’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt because certain evidence is unavailable and many critical trial witnesses are deceased.

Prosecutors in the Marion County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.  (oregon news)


On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, at approximately 7:33 A.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy-62, near milepost 7, in Jackson County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a Yamaha motorcycle, operated by Jamie Davenport (38) of Shady Cove, was southbound and turning east on Avenue H when a Toyota Highlander, operated by Vickie Kuras (65) of Medford, was northbound traveling through a green light.  The Yamaha made a left turn in front of the Toyota and the Toyota was unable to avoid the collision with the Yamaha.

The operator of the Yamaha (Davenport) was critically injured, transported to a local hospital, and was later pronounced deceased. 

The operator of the Toyota (Kuras) was not injured.

The highway was impacted for approximately two hours during the on scene investigation.

OSP was assisted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and ODOT.   (jcso)


Wildfire Update for the Smith River Complex North in Southern Oregon

U.S. Route 199 has reopened after closing last month due to wildfires on the Oregon and California state line. The U.S. Forest Service is still warning of hazardous conditions and traffic congestion.

The highway from Pioneer Road near Gasquet to the Oregon state line closed Aug. 15. More than 150 lightning strikes ignited the Smith River Complex Fire that has burned more than 85,000 acres. The Forest Service said an unusually dry summer and rugged terrain have made the 27 confirmed fires difficult to suppress.

The complex of fires is now about 20% contained.

May be an image of helicopter

Several days of little fire activity allowed crews to begin extinguishing hotspots at the fire’s edge. They plan to continue indirect suppression efforts to contain the main fire.

The Forest Service expects low levels of smoke until crews begin firing operations later this week. An updated air quality map is available from the U.S. Wildfire Air Quality Response Program.

Still, the 11-mile stretch from Sandy Beach to Oregon Mountain Road has one-way piloted control, leading to potential traffic delays of up to 45 minutes. The Forest Service said this segment could grow or contract depending on guardrail repair efforts or road debris.

Dry, breezy weather expected through the end of the week could aid fire development.

Six Rivers National Forest lands, roads and trails surrounding the Smith Complex remain closed. For additional information on road conditions, go to the Caltrans website and the Oregon Department of Transportation’s TripCheck website .

Smith River Complex as of 9/7 Acres: 85,520/10,261 acres in Oregon – Containment: 19%

VIDEO INFO: https://www.facebook.com/smithrivercomplexnorth/videos/693316932816381


Lookout, Bedrock, Horse Creek, Pothole and Grizzly Wildfire Updates

Lookout Fire — Acres: 24,417  Containment: 25%
Pothole Fire — Acres: 109   Containment: 35%
Horse Creek Fire — Acres: 765  Containment: 30%
Bedrock Fire — Acres: 31,590 Containment: 90%
May be an image of 2 people
Lava River Hand Crew, mopping up Horse Creek Fire.

The United States Forest Service has additionally implemented a forest closure for the entire Cottage Grove Ranger District. 

An evacuation map is available at https://www.lanecounty.org/news/brice_dinner_grizzly_fires

Residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts at www.LaneAlerts.org


More people are moving to Oregon after nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced this past year during legislative sessions across the U.S., and over 80 of them were passed.

Oregon has not passed any proposed laws that include preventing transgender students from participating in school activities, blocking funding for gender-affirming care, and limiting people from updating gender information on IDs and records. Kyle Rodriguez-Hudson, Executive Director of TransPonder, said Oregon has seen an influx of LGBTQ+ people because of Oregon’s more tolerant laws.

Kyle Kurzet, physician, and owner of Transition Health, said one of the stronger protections for LGBTQ+ people that Oregon provides is better access to health care, especially for gender-affirming care. Kurzet said Oregon Health Plan has provided a lot of much-needed care that is not always offered in other states. (kdrv 12)  

Yesterday, Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in collaboration with Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), announced proposed timelines to begin offering new Medicaid benefits that eligible Oregon Health Plan (OHP/Medicaid) members would receive under Oregon’s ground-breaking 1115 Medicaid waiver agreement with the federal government.

If the federal government agrees to the proposal, eligible OHP members would start receiving benefits for climate-related supports in January 2024, housing insecurity in November 2024, and food insecurity in January 2025. Oregon would be the first state in the nation to gain federal approval to offer six months of temporary rent assistance as a medically necessary Medicaid benefit.

These benefits would first roll-out to people who are at risk of losing their current housing, beginning on Nov. 1, 2024, if the federal government approves the plan.

In lockstep with Governor Tina Kotek’s priority to reduce homelessness, state health officials have determined that the most immediate and effective way to implement Oregon’s new short-term Medicaid housing benefit is to help people who are medically and economically vulnerable avoid becoming homeless in the first place.

According to state housing experts, the rate of Oregonians losing housing is increasing faster than state and local programs can rehouse them, due to a critical statewide shortage in affordable housing.

The short-term Medicaid rent assistance benefit will help prevent people from losing housing due to a health issue that disrupts their ability to stay current on their housing payments, or because they need to be connected to mental health or substance use services to maintain stable housing. This preventive approach should help slow the rate of growth in the homeless population.  (OHA)  


Public Invited to Visit 9/11 Memorial at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem

On Monday, Sept. 11, the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) invites the public to visit the 9/11 Memorial at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem. 

The Oregon Public Safety Academy hosts a permanent 9/11 Memorial that includes multiple artifacts from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as artwork and a video tribute to first responders and victims.

The Academy hosts a permanent display of artifacts from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people, including more than 400 firefighters and law enforcement officers. In addition to the lives lost in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hundreds of first responders have died due to illnesses contracted while engaged in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

Guests are welcome to view the memorial to honor the victims and all whose lives were impacted by the attacks, including the firefighters, police officers and rescue workers whose heroism prevented further loss of life. The gates of the Academy, located at 4190 Aumsville Hwy. SE in Salem, will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for drop-in viewing.

The memorial is located in the lobby of the Academy; guests should follow the signs for the main entrance.

Artifacts included at the 9/11 Memorial include:

  • A floor beam from either 5 or 6 World Trade Center, both of which sustained heavy damage in the September 11 attacks as the towers fell. 
  • A section from the base of 1 World Trade Center, also known as the North Tower.
  • A strap used to support mechanical systems in the towers
  • A smaller floor beam from above the 50th floor of one of the Twin Towers
  • A piece of aluminum used in the outer “skin” of one of the towers
  • A piece of limestone fascia from the outer wall of the Pentagon, taken from near where the aircraft impacted the building

The artifacts are accompanied by a video tribute to the first responders and victims, and a painting by artist Ricardo Salazar, “Memoriam,” which depicts the attacks on the World Trade Center.

“We welcome the public to join us in upholding the memory and honoring the firefighters, police officers and other first responders who gave their lives on September 11,” said DPSST Director Phil Castle. “We will never forget the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice on that tragic day in America’s history, as well as those who have succumbed to illness in the years since.”

In addition to the 9/11 Memorial, the Oregon Public Safety Academy campus is home to memorials honoring the state’s fallen first responders. The Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial honors more than 190 officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1860’s, and the Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial honors more than 170 fire service personnel who have died in the line of duty since 1881. Memorial ceremonies are held annually to honor the officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.


Researchers at OHSU have found a new cause of Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia.

A new study led by scientists Oregon Health and Science University found that iron-rich cells in the brain destroy cells that are supposed to help clean connections between nerves. Researchers say it’s surprising this wasn’t found during previous research.

They found it using a new technique to isolate the cells. The hope is that pharmaceutical manufacturers can now use this information to create drugs that can prevent that type of damage in the years ahead. (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)  


Gas prices declined slightly over the past week. Following Labor Day, Triple-A reports the national average declined a penny to $3.81 a gallon.

Oregon’s average declined two cents to four-74. Grants Pass had the highest average at four-94 and Corvallis has the lowest at four-50. The average in Portland was four-83. While demand for gasoline this summer was below average, vacation travel helped boost prices ahead of the holiday weekend. 


A new study released by Self Storage Company shows that Oregon has the fifth-largest increase in home prices in the nation over the past decade.

Idaho was number one with an increase of just under 79-percent. Oregon prices increased 61-percent. Illinois had the lowest increase, at 16-percent. The study looked at average prices in 2012-2016 compared to 2017-2022 to see the increase.

A Self Storage spokesperson said that the study underlines the strong differences in parts of America. Most on the list are on the West Coast. (oregon news)  


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)  


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)  


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. 

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)    


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