Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, Nov. 21 – Thanksgiving Travelers Will Be On The Roads Soon; Where To Find a Holiday Meal

The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald and News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your Local Health and Medicare agents. Call 541-882-6476.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Air Stagnation Advisory until 10PM Tonight in the Klamath Basin

Today
Mostly sunny, with a high near 55. Mostly clear overnight with a low around 29.

Wednesday
A 10% chance of showers after 4pm. Snow level at 6200 feet and rising. Partly sunny, with a high near 52. Overnight a 20% chance of showers, snow level lowering to 6200 feet, cloudy with a low around 30 degrees.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day
Mostly sunny, with a high of 48 expected.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 46.
Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 46.
Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 46.

Today’s Headlines

Doxo Surveys includes a look at Klamath Falls in a recently released report called: U.S. Mobile Phone Market Size and Household Spending Report 2023.

Featured in Fierce Wireless, the report found that, on average, Americans spend $119 per month on their mobile phone bills.

In comparison, Klamath Falls residents spend $72 per month, 39.5% lower than the national average.

In addition to this report, doxo has cost of living data like this for more than 4,000 cities across the U.S. In the study, specifically for Klamath Falls, doxo’s data shows:

  • The average Klamath Falls household pays $1,701 per month, or $20,417 per year for the 10 most common household bills
  • This makes Klamath Falls the #52 most expensive city in Oregon
  • The cost of living in Klamath Falls is 16.9% lower than the national average of $2,046, and 24% lower than the state average of $2,239.
  • Klamath Falls households spend 42% of their income on household bills
  • Oregon residents spend $112 per month on mobile phone services

Doxo’s proprietary and comprehensive dataset — based on actual bill payments across 97% of U.S. zip codes and 45 bill pay service categories, enables precision much greater than typical survey-based estimates of market size and consumer spend. The doxo Household Bill Pay dataset provides resolution at the national, state, county and city levels, enabling the deepest and most complete picture of the essential financial obligations of US Households.  (submitted press release)

 

The Klamath County School Board approved the application to accept the Early Literacy Success Grant initiative award, a formula-based funding allocation for KCSD.

For the 2023-2024 year, the KCSD has been awarded about $580K, and approximately $600K for the 2024-2025 year. As required, the district must invest a 25 percent match in which the matching funds can be from other grants and/or general funds.

Funds received from Early Literacy Success grants allow for funding of the following research-aligned activities: adoption and implementation of curricula; employment of literacy specialists, coaches, or interventionists; professional development and coaching; and extended learning programs; high-dosage tutoring.

The board also approved $31,760 for a variety of grant fundings to specific schools for supplies, materials and other teacher-specified needs through the Donor’s Choose program and other private sources. One of the more significant awards was $3K to Chiloquin High School for its Suicide Prevention Program.

The board was then informed about major and minor capital construction projects throughout the district in Superintendent Szymoniak’s report.

Walk-throughs of all district schools were conducted this fall to develop a master list of suggested upgrades for each school. The KCSD Facility Committee met and prioritized projects for board approval.

All projects on the Proposed Projects for 2024-2025, except the Lost River turf and all of the stadium lighting projects, were approved by the board. Those excepted projects will be considered after the district receives the results of the upcoming budget audit.

The board also approved the application to accept the Early Literacy Success Grant initiative award, a formula-based funding allocation for KCSD.  (HeraldandNews.com)

 

The sewer connection for the new PetSmart business next to Sportsman’s Warehouse as been completed.

However, paving still needs to be finished. Pershing Way was opened to weekend traffic,  but will be closed to through-traffic again between Avalon and Austin Streets starting Monday, Nov. 20, and continuing through Wednesday, Nov. 22.

The affected businesses will still have full ingress/egress from South 6th Street. Customers can also exit to Pershing Way but will only have an east or west turning option on Pershing Way depending on which side of the work zone they are on. Traffic control will be in place to help direct motorists.  (city of KF)

 

Toys For Tots Annual Drive Is On

With the holidays upon us, the season brings a time of giving for children in need in both Klamath and Lake counties.

The annual Toys for Tots toy drive is already underway this year, and the longstanding organization is asking community members to give what they can.

Online monetary donations for Klamath County children can be made by visiting klamath-falls-or.toysfortots.org.

To donate online to children in Lake County, visit lake-county.toysfortots.org.

For those who want to donate a new, unwrapped toy in Klamath County, you can drop off your donation at one of four locations:

  • Leatherneck Club, 1019 Main St.
  • My Mechanic, 3000 Pershing Way
  • Fred Meyer, 2655 Shasta Way
  • Bi-Mart, 1920 Washburn Way

In-person monetary donations can also be made at the Leatherneck Club. (HeraldandNews.com)

 

The Klamath County Quota Club is collecting new pajamas for foster children. All sizes from baby to age 18 are needed.

The pajama drive runs through Monday, Nov. 20.

Donations are accepted at the Oregon Department of Human Services, Coldwell Banker Holman Premier Realty office, the Elks Lodge and the following churches: First Presbyterian; Shasta Way Christian; Hope Lutheran; New Horizon; Foothills Christian Fellowship and the 55 and alive group at the Klamath Christian Center.  (HeraldandNews.com)

 

Where To Find a Thanksgiving Meal

Looking for a Thanksgiving meal? Always there when needed, the Klamath Falls Gospel Mission has two holiday meals planned for Thanksgiving Day.

Serving turkey, stuffing, butter rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing and a dessert, the meal times are noon to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.

VFW

The Veterans of Foreign Wars is again providing meals to the community and no prior or current military service is required to join the table. Offered the day of Thanksgiving, the VFW is loading plates with all the traditional offerings from 1 to 4 p.m.

Leatherneck Club

Available for members, the Marine Corps League is serving a Thanksgiving dinner at the Leatherneck Club on Main St. from 3 to 5 p.m.

A few restaurants in town are also offering Thanksgiving meals, for a cost:

Waffle Hut

Aside from their typical offerings for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Waffle Hut has a special on Thanksgiving Day consisting of turkey or ham or a combination of both for $21.95. The meal is served with a side of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberry sauce, a dinner roll and pumpkin pie. Plates are available for dine-in or take-out between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Running Y Resort

The Running Y Resort is currently taking reservations for an annual Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet. Starting with salads, deviled eggs, yeast rolls and cornbread, the buffet is offering a carving station of turkey, pork sirloin and ham with sides of green beans in almond butter, baby carrots, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and whipped sweet potatoes. Three different pies are for dessert.

Held in the Woodlands Ballroom on Nov. 23, seating is available for 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. by reservation on the Running Y website. (HeraldandNews.com)

 

The Umpqua National Forest is receiving a donation for improvements at Diamond Lake campgrounds.

The donation came from the National Forest Foundation.  The money will go toward a few different projects such as felling hazard trees, buying new picnic tables, ADA accessible fire rings for campsites, as well as replacing an electrical panel at the Visitor Center.

Diamond Lake is northeast of Klamath Falls, about 90 miles via US 97 and Oregon 138 East near the Klamath/Douglas county border.  (unf press release)

 

Last week, a strategy for improving lower proficiency scores was up for discussion at the Klamath Falls City Schools regular board meeting.

Conger Elementary Principal Sara Johnson and key staff members gave a presentation on the outcomes of their 2022-2023 academic year report card, published by Oregon Department of Education. While students did better with small increases in science and math scores, scores in English decreased.

Conger’s report card indicated increases of two percent in science and one percent in math proficiencies for students over the previous year. However, fluency in English language arts decreased by seven percent, a big disappointment for teachers and staff at the school, Johnson said.

KFCS board member Andrew Biggs questioned principal Johnson on reasons for low test scores and pressed her for an answer to what goals Conger has to remedy the situation. Biggs also asked that Johnson submit that plan to the board when she completes it.

Board chair Trina Perez told the board that she had attended the Oregon School Board Association’s annual convention last week from Nov. 9-11 in Portland, and that the strategy principal Johnson described was exactly what the sessions in the conference recommended.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the board received updates o Klamath Union High School, and approved a new social studies curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year.   (Herald and News)

 

Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin will host its Ugly Sweater Fun Run Saturday, December 2, starting at 9 a.m. from Harbor Links Golf Course.

The 10th annual fundraising event will feature a 5K fun run, a free Santa Dash with prizes for kids, festive beanies for all registrants and extra swag for the first 125, free drinks and snacks, and prizes for first finishers and best-dressed people and pets.

Register through the QR code, at http:tiny.cc/uglysweater23, or by calling 541-273-2022.

Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit that creates generational change by empowering youth through relationships with professional mentors (“Friends”) for 12+ years. The Klamath Basin chapter was established in 2000 and will support 70 youth this year. Learn more at friendsklamath.org.  (submitted press release)

 

The Oregon Department of Human Services is holding a community diaper drive in Klamath County.

A news release from ODHS said, “Donate new diapers to help those in need … Let’s make a difference in the community.”

The drive runs  through Nov. 30.  Families in need of diapers for infant children will receive all donations through ODHS.  New packages of diapers can be dropped off at the Klamath County branch of ODHS, located at 355 Timbermill Drive.   Monetary donations are also accepted via Venmo payments to @Wendy-Brown-171.

For more information, contact Wendy Strohkirch at (541) 850-3603. (Herald and News)

This week’s Klamath Animal Shelter Pet of the Week ready for adoption is a dog named ” Kurious “.
Kurious is an 11 month old male Bully mix. He is very nice, tan with white with slick short hair, and he weighs around 50 pounds. 
Kurious’s previous person said that he is partially house trained, has been around children as young as 6 years old, and has been around other dogs. He is very playful and full of energy but also loves to snuggle and get pets.  
If you are interested in adopting Kurious stop by the Klamath Animal Shelter, located at 4240 Washburn Way, Monday through Friday from 12:00 – 4:00, walk throughs are available, pet meet and greets are by appointment, you can reach the shelter at 541-884-PETS (541-884-7387)    View all adoptable pets anytime online at www.klamathanimalshelter.org

 

Around the state of Oregon

AAA projects 55.4 million Americans (16.5% of the population) will travel 50 miles or more from home for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 2.3% from 2022.

This year is expected to be the third-busiest for Thanksgiving travel since AAA started tracking in 2000, only behind 2005 and 2019.

About 785,000 Oregonians will head over the river and through the woods for turkey and all the trimmings. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 26.

Most Thanksgiving travelers – nearly 89% – will drive to their Thanksgiving destinations. Air travel is seeing a 6.6% increase compared to last year. Americans are also heading to their Thanksgiving destination by other modes of travel including bus, train or cruise ship. These modes are up 11% over 2022.

Marie Dobbs from AAA/Oregon says the long holiday weekend is shaping up to be one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades.

Roads and airports will be stuffed so expect lots of company whether you’re driving, flying or cruising.”

Demand for travel has been strong all year, and this Thanksgiving will see more travelers take to the roads, skies and seas compared to last year. With some planning and preparation, you can have an enjoyable trip. Weather is always the wild card so be prepared for the possibility of winter storms.

AAA projects 88.7% of travelers (49.1 million Americans) will drive to their Thanksgiving destination. This is a 1.7% increase over 2022.

In Oregon, roughly 671,000 travelers will drive.

While automobile travel will increase this year, it will remain lower than 2019 when 49.9 million Americans drove.

AAA says Gas prices have dropped below 4 dollars a gallon in 12 counties in Oregon, but Klamath County is not one of them.  (AAAOregon)

 

FEDERAL CHARGES FILED AFTER “FENTANYL PRESS” FOUND IN GLADSTONE APARTMENT

PORTLAND, Ore.—An 18-year-old drug trafficker with ties to a recent fatal overdose is facing federal charges after he was caught transporting several packages of powdered fentanyl and a 20-ton shop press used to manufacture fentanyl bricks was found in his apartment.

Cristhian Martinez, 18, of Gladstone, Oregon, has been charged by criminal complaint with possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Seized FirearmsAccording to court documents, in September 2023, members of the Clackamas County Interagency Task Force (CCITF) were called to investigate a fatal overdose in Clackamas County.

While processing the scene, investigators discovered numerous counterfeit M30 Oxycodone pills believed to be manufactured with fentanyl. Martinez was soon identified as the person who sold fentanyl to the deceased victim’s dealer.

On November 16, 2023, investigators located Martinez traveling north from California into Oregon, followed his vehicle and conducted a traffic stop in Gladstone. During a K-9 sweep of Martinez’s vehicle, investigators found multiple concealed packages containing more than 1,000 grams of compressed fentanyl.

Later the same day, investigators executed a federal search warrant on Martinez’s Gladstone apartment where they located a fentanyl manufacturing and distribution operation. They seized additional quantities of fentanyl, a 20-ton shop press used to produce bricks of fentanyl powder, ten handguns, an AR-15 style assault rifle, ammunition, and other materials consistent with drug trafficking.

Martinez made his first appearance in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

This case was investigated by the FBI, CCITF, and Westside Interagency Narcotics team (WIN). It is being prosecuted by Scott M. Kerin, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

CCITF, led by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, works to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in and around Clackamas County, and reduce illegal drugs and related crimes throughout the community. The task force is comprised of members of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Canby Police Department, Oregon State Police, FBI, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

WIN is a Washington County-based interagency drug interdiction task force that includes members from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Beaverton and Hillsboro Police Departments, Oregon National Guard Counter Drug Program, FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and HSI.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

On Saturday morning, November 18th at 6:16 AM, Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO) began receiving multiple calls about a disturbance on North Keene Way Drive near North Medford High School.

Some of the callers reported a female screaming and a male assaulting the female. Almost immediately, ECSO received a phone call from the involved male, who told dispatcher’s that he had just assaulted a female and made somewhat incoherent statements.

Officers arrived in the area within 3 minutes and the first responding officer contacted 22-year-old Anthony Siple walking away from the scene with evidence that he had been involved in an assault. He was taken into custody immediately. Other responding officers located the 51-year-old female victim nearby, in serious condition. Medical responders arrived and transported the victim to a nearby hospital. She remains in critical condition.

Anthony Siple was arrested and lodged at the Jackson County Jail for Attempted Murder and Assault in the First Degree.

The investigation is on-going, but Medford Police Detectives believe that the suspect and victim were unknown to each other. The suspect used a blunt object during this assault and this object has been recovered. The female victim frequently made morning walks and lives in the area of the assault.

While stranger-on-stranger assaults are extremely rare, the police department cautions people to remain vigilant during outside activities . Being in groups, walking during daylight hours, carrying protective measures, and remaining aware of your surroundings are all important steps for your continued safety.

Detectives are continuing to determine a motivation for this assault. Records indicate that the suspect is homeless and from the Ashland area. He has had minor contacts with law enforcement in Jackson County over the past year including arrests for relatively minor crimes.  (Medford PD)

 

Two men are dead after a shooting incident in Cave Junction on Saturday, according to a news release from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.

The release also said there was an unrelated shooting incident on Sunday that hospitalized another man.

On Saturday, police answered calls about a “shooting incident” in the 1700 block of White Schoolhouse Road, the release said. When police arrived at the house, they saw two dead men with gunshot wounds.

“Due to the nature of the incident and the lack of investigative resources, the Sheriff’s Office requested the Oregon State Police investigate this incident,” the release said. “The Oregon State Police has assumed the investigation.”

One of the victims is a 15-year-old boy and the other was “a relative,” but not a father or brother. Because OSP is handling this case, the sheriff did not say more.

On Sunday, police also responded to a call about shots fired in the 100 block of S Kerby Road in Cave Junction, the release said.

“When the Deputies arrived on scene, they located a male subject with gunshot wounds to the upper body,” the release said. “The victim was transported to an area hospital and is in stable condition.”

Josephine County Sheriff Dan Daniel says that the suspect is on the loose, and the victim is a man in his 20s from Cave Junction who was shot three times.

The victim has had surgery and is expected to survive. (kdrv 12)

 

PORTLAND MAN CHARGED WITH COERCING AND ENTICING A MINOR ONLINE

PORTLAND, Ore.—A transient man residing in Tigard, Oregon is facing federal charges for using social media to coerce and entice an 11-year-old child into engaging in criminal sexual activity.

Jakob Joshua Stickney, 25, has been charged by criminal complaint with coercing and enticing a minor.

According to court documents, in October 2023, the FBI and Portland Police Bureau (PPB) began investigating Stickney after receiving information that he had been engaging in sexually explicit communications with a 11-year-old child on Discord, an instant messaging social media application. On multiple occasions, Stickney, who used by the names “UNHOLY,” “unholy_xx2,” or “Unholy_22x” online, attempted to arrange an in-person meetup with the child. On at least one occasion, Stickney went in person to the child’s house where he was observed and confronted by the child’s mother, who reported the contact to law enforcement.

Stickney was located November 17, 2023, in Tigard and arrested without incident. He made his first appearance in federal court today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

This case was investigated by the FBI and PPB. It is being prosecuted by Eliza Carmen Rodriguez, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Anyone who has information about possible crimes committed by Stickney, or the physical or online exploitation of any children, are encouraged to call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A man is accused of firing a gun at a woman and barricading himself inside a porta potty near the Moda Center in Portland, last Friday night.

The incident happened while the Los Angeles Lakers were getting ready to play the Portland Trail Blazers at home. The Moda Center went into lockdown as a result of the incident. Thirty-year-old Edward Murdock is charged with unlawfully discharging a firearm in city limits. No one was injured. (Oregon news)

 

Veterinary laboratories in several states are investigating an unusual respiratory illness in dogs and encouraging people to take basic precautions to keep their pets healthy as veterinarians try to pin down what’s making the animals sick.

Oregon, Colorado and New Hampshire are among the states that have seen cases of the illness, which has caused lasting respiratory disease and pneumonia and does not respond to antibiotics. Symptoms of respiratory illness in dogs include coughing, sneezing, nasal or eye discharge and lethargy. Some cases of the pneunomia progress quickly, making dogs very sick within 24 to 36 hours.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has documented more than 200 cases of the disease since mid-August. It has encouraged pet owners to contact their vet if their dog is sick and told state veterinarians to report cases as soon as possible. The agency is working with state researchers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory to find out what is causing the illnesses.  (Oregon news)

 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says the commercial Dungeness Crab Season is being delayed at least until December 16.

According to ODFW, pre-season testing shows the crabs are too low in meat yield in some ocean areas.

The commercial bay crab fishery closes at midnight on December 1 in conjunction with the delayed open season.  ODFW says it will reopen when the ocean commercial season opens.

ODFW says the next round of crab meat yield and biotoxin testing will happen in the coming weeks.  The results of those tests will determine whether the season opens on December 16 or splits into areas with different opening dates.

California and Washington are also delaying their commercial seasons until at least December 16.

Last year, the commercial Dungeness crab season was delayed and opened in stages due to low meat yield and biotoxin levels above the safety threshold.

The recreational ocean Dungeness crab season is expected to reopen December 1 as scheduled. (ODFW)

 

Gov. Tina Kotek has announced that Shana McConville Radford has joined the administration as her Tribal Affairs director. Radford has recently served as the deputy executive director of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

“Communication and transparency are cornerstone to the state’s relationship with Oregon’s nine sovereign Tribes,” Kotek said. “Shana McConville Radford has extensive experience in Tribal matters, policies and government-to-government relations through a career of promoting Tribal sovereignty, fostering positive relationships and advancing the interests of Oregon’s Tribal nations.”

Radford brings more than 15 years of Tribal relations, policy, Tribal facilitation, negotiation and intergovernmental relations experience to the role, Kotek said in a news release. Outside of her role with the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Radford previously served as the superintendent of the Flathead Agency in Montana for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also worked with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and served as a Tribal consultant on energy, education and health.

During the 2020 Decennial Census, Radford played an instrumental role with the U.S. Census Bureau as the Tribal and Congressional lead in ensuring that Oregon and Idaho’s historically undercounted Tribal nations were meaningfully and accurately counted, the release said.

Radford is a former American Australian Association Education Fellow and holds a postgraduate degree in international law and international relations from the University of New South Wales.  (Oregon news)

 

State of Oregon health authorities have found evidence that recalled applesauce found to have lead contamination has affected multiple children in Oregon.

Officials with the Oregon Health Authority said pouches of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Purée applesauce have been linked to cases of elevated blood lead levels in six children in Oregon. The OHA said the affected children live in Lake, Lincoln, Multnomah and Washington Counties.

The applesauce was recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late October. Although the product was taken off shelves shortly after the recall was announced, the OHA said it’s possible some product may have been bought before the recall was announced. OHA said the applesauce was distributed nationwide through retailers including Dollar Tree, Amazon and other online stores.

The OHA said they, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are carrying out an investigation.

(OHA)

 

 Changes are underway to how the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) distributes rare liquors through its “Chance to Purchase Program.”

The OLCC was cast into the spotlight in February after an investigation revealed that for years top agency officials were buying some of the rare bourbons — like Pappy Van Winkle — before raffling the rest off to the public.

The agency will soon contract with an outside vendor to run the raffle.

Rich Evans, OLCC’s senior director of licensing and compliance, said the process would be “similar to what Fish and Wildlife does with licenses so it would be auditable to show the public that there is no funny business.”

While OLCC is working to contact with a vendor, the raffle process will be overseen by an impartial state agency representative, according to the new policy adopted by the OLCC commission on Nov 16.

The policy also makes changes to how often the raffles are happening.

(Oregon news)

 

A state judge preparing his ruling for release in the next week about Oregon’s gun control law has 64 pages of additional case filings to consider.

Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio has said he planned to issue his ruling about Oregon Measure 114 by Thanksgiving day.  Then the Court received three filings from the defendants in the case of Joseph Arnold, Cliff Asmussen, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation vs Ellen Rosenblum, Tina Kotek, Casey Codding.

Court records show Oregon Governor Tina Kotek and State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum both filed 21-page documents Friday afternoon in the case, and Oregon State Police Administrator Casey Codding’s filing was 22 pages in length.

All three filings are responses to plantiffs’ “First Request for Admissions” to certain case factors involving Oregon gun control policy and its implementation.  The plaintiffs filed a document listing two points to support its case, insisting the defendants concede to the plaintiffs’ arguments as the defendants’ “admissions” to those arguments.

The case went to trial in his court in September with plaintiffs arguing Oregon Measure 114 violates the State Constitution regarding gun ownership rights, listing three state leaders involved with the measure’s enforcement as plaintiffs.

Measure 114 supporters argue the measure supports public safety with limits on gun clips, requirements that prospective gun buyers apply for a purchase to buy any gun and that they complete gun training before applying for a gun purchase permit — both at the prospective buyers’ expense, and the requirement that police decide who gets permits to buy guns and maintain a related database.

(Oregon news)

 

Pacific Power Warning Customers About Billing Scams

PORTLAND, OR (Nov. 15, 2023) – Heading into the holiday season, Pacific Power is reminding customers to be vigilant about fraudulent communications from scammers posing as utility representatives. This activity tends to increase during this time of year.

Customers can protect themselves from these types of schemes by being aware of the following facts:

  • Scammers will often tell you that your service is scheduled to be interrupted in the next 30-60 minutes.

Fact: Pacific Power will not contact any customer demanding immediate payment to avoid disconnection of service the same day.

  • Fraudsters may ask you to purchase a prepaid card and tell them the card information over the phone.

Fact: Pacific Power does not ask customers to make payments by purchasing a prepaid card. You and other customers can always choose how you would like to make your payments.

  • Be suspicious of anyone who approaches you by phone, email, text or in person and demanding on-the-spot payment.

Fact: Pacific Power will not demand immediate payment for damaged or broken electrical equipment or any other service.

  • If you receive one of these calls, ask the caller to state your account number and compare it with the number listed on your bill.

Fact: Pacific Power customer service employees will always have your correct account number.

  • Scammers increasingly have used text messages as a means of targeting victims. 

Fact: Pacific Power will not demand payment via text message. Pacific Power encourages customers to set up their online billing profile at Pay My Bill (pacificpower.net) where they can pay bills and review statements.

Scammers may also use a sophisticated deceptive tactic that makes it appear to caller ID systems that the call is coming from Pacific Power when it is not. If you receive a call that uses one of the scamming methods mentioned above, or that seems suspicious in any way, hang up and call Pacific Power’s customer service team directly.

Remember, if you still have concerns about the legitimacy of a call, you can always call our published customer service number, 1-888-221-7070. Pacific Power is asking customers to report information about any scam calls received, including the phone number the person is calling from and any information that may help to track down the fraudsters.  

 

Silver Falls in winter with snow on the ground.SILVER FALLS STATE PARK HOSTS WINTER FESTIVAL DEC. 9 AND 10

Enjoy guided nature hikes, seasonal crafts and educational activities at the Silver Falls State Park Winter Festival 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. 

Visitors will have a chance to learn about the park in winter including the changing landscapes and habitats for resident and migratory birds and animals. 

Activities include guided walks and talks; building bird nest boxes; making bird feeders and paper bird crafts; creating wreaths and decorating gingerbread and sugar cookies.

Schedule of Activities:

  • Make a wreath at the Evergreen Picnic Shelter (South Falls day-use area)
  • Build a bird nest box at the Creekside Shelter (South Falls day-use are)
  • Make a bird feeder or paper bird craft in the Stone Kitchen Shelter (South Falls day-use area)
  • Attend a short educational talk or guided walk at the South Falls Theater (South Falls day-use area unless otherwise noted)
    • 11 a.m.*: Winter Hibernators Walk (45-minute walk *at Smith Creek Village)
    • 12 p.m.: Mushroom ID hike (1-hour hike)
    • 1 p.m.: Winter Tree ID hike (1-hour hike)
    • 2 p.m.: Learn to Love a Lichen (20-minute talk)
    • 3 p.m.: Winter birds of Silver Falls (20-minute talk)
  • Visit a discovery table near South Falls to learn about the waterfalls in winter or learn about the winter solstice (South Falls day-use area)
  • Decorate a cookie, make a paper bird craft or learn about winter animal tracks (Smith Creek Village, 1.5 miles from the South Falls day-use area)
  • Earn a commemorative Silver Falls ornament from taking part in at least five of the above activities

All activities are free, but a day-use parking permit is required. Permits cost $5 per day; annual permits, normally $30, are on sale for $25 in the month of December and are available at the park. For more information, visit the event page on our calendar at stateparks.oregon.gov or call 503-874-0201.

 

Are you ready to quit smoking and improve your health?

Today is the annual Great American Smokeout, a national challenge to those who smoke to commit to smoke-free lives. You don’t have to quit today, but we are here to help as you begin your journey to healthier living.

Nearly 8,000 people in Oregon die of tobacco-related diseases every year. Nationwide, more people die from tobacco than from illicit drug use, car crashes and guns combined. Additionally, a person who smokes a pack a day will save about $2,000 per year if they quit.

Quitting tobacco is difficult, but you don’t have to go through it alone! What works for one person may not work for another. Find help to quit your way through OHA’s Smokefree Oregon program.

Resources include:

  • Oregon Tobacco Quit Line offers free tips, information, one-on-one counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to any person in Oregon over age 13, regardless of income or insurance status. Coaches will help you build a plan and get free nicotine gum or the patch. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) 24/7, text “READY” to 34191 or get started online. They offer coaching in many languages and special services for youth, pregnant people, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Native Quit Line is a free 24/7 service that draws on Indigenous values and provides resources, coaching and support to help American Indians and Alaska Natives quit commercial tobacco. Call 800-QUIT-NOW and press 7.
  • This is Quitting is a texting program for youth and their parents that helps youth quit vaping e-cigarettes.
  • Some pharmacies can prescribe medications to help quit smoking. Most health insurance plans, including Oregon Health Plan, cover medications like patches and gum for free with a prescription. Search for a participating pharmacy in Oregon here or ask your local pharmacist for help.

If you have questions, use this form to send your message to the Smokefree Oregon team.

 

Salem – The 2023 holiday shopping season is here and the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) is reminding people to watch out for financial scams that can target their pocketbook, particularly gift card scams. 

Gift card scams often start with a call, text, email, or social media message. Scammers will say anything to get you to buy gift cards – such as Google Play, Apple, or Amazon cards – and hand over the card number and personal identification number (PIN) codes. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, here are some common tactics scammers use:

  1. Scammers will say it is urgent. They will say to pay them right away or something terrible will happen. They don’t want you to have time to think about what they are saying or talk to someone you trust. Slow down. Don’t pay. It is a scam.
  2. Scammers will tell you which gift card to buy (and where). They might say to put money on an eBay, Google Play, Target, or Apple gift card. They might send you to a specific store – often Walmart, Target, CVS, or Walgreens. Sometimes, they will tell you to buy cards at several stores, so cashiers will not get suspicious. The scammer also might stay on the phone with you while you go to the store and load money onto the card. If this happens to you, hang up. It is a scam.
  3. Scammers will ask you for the gift card number and PIN. The card number and PIN on the back of the card lets scammers get the money you loaded onto the card — even if you still have the card itself. Slow down. Don’t give them those numbers or send them a photo of the card. It is a scam.

Scammers tell different stories to get you to buy gift cards so they can steal your money.

  • Scammers say they are from the government. They say they are from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or even the Federal Trade Commission. They say you have to pay taxes or a fine. However, government agencies will not contact you to demand immediate payment, and they never demand payment by gift card. It is a scam.
  • Scammers say they are from tech support. They say they are from Microsoft or Apple and there is something wrong with your computer. They ask for remote access and say to pay them to get it fixed. Don’t give them access to your computer. It is a scam.
  • Scammers say they are a friend or family member with an emergency. If the scammer uses voice cloning, they may even sound just like your loved one. They ask you to send money right away – but not to tell anyone. It is a scam. If you are worried, contact the friend or relative to check that everything is all right.
  • Scammers say you have won a prize. But first, they tell you to pay fees or other charges with a gift card. It is a scam. No honest business or agency will ever make you buy a gift card to pay them for a prize. And did you even enter to win that prize?
  • Scammers say they are from your utility company. They threaten to cut off your service if you don’t pay immediately. Utility companies don’t work that way. It is a scam.
  • Scammers ask for money after they chat you up on a dating website. Romance scammers will make up any story to trick you into buying a gift card to send them money. Slow down. Never send money or gifts to anyone you have not met in person – even if they send you money first.
  • Scammers send a check for way more than you expected. They tell you to deposit the check and give them the difference on a gift card. Don’t do it. It is a scam. That check will be fake and you will be out that money.

To help prevent yourself from getting scammed, DFR offers these reminders:

  • Don’t answer unknown numbers – block unwanted calls and text messages.
  • Don’t give personal identifying information to unsolicited calls, texts, or emails. Hang up, look up their number, and call them to verify.
  • Be skeptical. Ask questions and be wary of offers “too good to be true.”
  • Resist the pressure to act immediately. Scammers use urgency as a tool.
  • Stop and talk to someone you trust. Talking about it can help you spot the scam.
  • Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

If you feel you may have been scammed, the division’s consumer advocates may be able to help. They can be reached at 1-888-877-4894 (toll-free) or dfr.financialserviceshelp@dcbs.oregon.gov.

 

Data dashboard tracks COVID-19 vaccinations in long-term care

OHA launches interactive tool to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccine among high-risk older adults at assisted living, nursing, residential care facilities

PORTLAND, Ore.—State and local health officials will use Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) newest interactive data dashboard to track COVID-19 vaccination rates among long-term care facility residents and staff.

The LTCF COVID-19 Vaccination Data dashboard, launched today by the OHA Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Program, will allow epidemiologists to monitor trends in COVID-19 vaccinations among long-term care residents and staff at state, county and facility levels. The goal is to help improve facilities’ reporting of vaccinations and provide guidance on ways to increase their vaccination rates.

“This data collection is a natural extension of our program’s work to track vaccinations and support infection control in these settings,” said Dat Tran, M.D., M.S., medical director for the HAI Program. “Nursing, assisted-living and residential care facilities are still experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, and many of their residents are at high risk for serious illness from the virus. Vaccination remains our No. 1 tool for reducing infection risk for vulnerable persons.”

Licensed nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities are required to report COVID-19 vaccination data to OHA every month. Facilities report total counts of staff and residents, along with counts of staff and residents who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.

The new dashboard uses the facility-reported data to show percentages of long-term care residents and staff who received the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. Users can filter the data by hospital region – Oregon has seven – as well as county, facility, facility type and facility characteristic.

For the 2023–2024 respiratory virus season, the definition of “up to date” on COVID-19 vaccination aligns with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations – to reflect anyone who receives the 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccine that became available in mid-September. Previously, the definition for being up to date on COVID-19 vaccination was anyone who received the bivalent vaccine that became available a year earlier.

Data for staff and residents who received the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine or a primary series, are no longer collected.

Through the week of Oct. 2–8, only 6% of staff and 11% of residents were reported as up to date on their 2023–2024 COVID-19 vaccination. Dr. Tran acknowledged that up-to-date vaccination rates reported so far by Oregon facilities are woefully low, which he attributes to “facilities not yet having vaccine clinics as well as limited availability of the new vaccine.” However, Oregon’s rates through that week were higher than national rates reported by CDC for nursing facilities, which were at 1% of staff and 9% of residents.

In Oregon, up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination rates are lowest in Region 6 (1% of staff and 5% of residents) and Region 7 (2% of staff and 8% of residents). Of the 528 total facilities statewide that reported, 76% (403) reported zero staff and residents were up to date.

There are ways long-term care facilities can improve vaccination rates among staff and residents, Dr. Tran says. OHA has developed a toolkit with strategies employers have used to increase influenza vaccination rates, and they can be used for COVID-19 vaccines as well.

 

Adoption Excellence Awardees Brian and Josie Parker with children(Salem) – The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) congratulates adoptive parents and foster care advocates Brian and Josie Parker who received the national Adoption Excellence Award for family contributions.

The Children’s Bureau at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awards recognize individuals, families and organizations who have demonstrated excellence in making contributions to providing permanent homes for children formerly in foster care.

The Parkers have been resource and adoptive parents with ODHS Child Welfare since 2007. Resource parents provide foster care as well as other supports to children and biological families.

They have also written, illustrated and self-published more than 20 books reflecting their experiences. Their books, many of which focus on stories about children in foster care, include children who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ and youth who have experienced trauma. Their books are included in the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center library and provide support for children in Child Welfare offices across the state.

“It is gratifying to see the Parkers who have helped so many children and families receive this national recognition,” said Child Welfare Director Aprille-Flint Gerner. “The Parkers bring awareness to the critical role of people of color in adoption from foster care, contributing to the local community with positive messages about adoptive families. Their books help families process their challenging circumstances and represent kids of color experiencing foster care and adoption.”

ODHS recognized the Parkers in 2018 with a Certificate of Recognition Award for their commitment to children.

After receiving the award, the Parkers provided a statement:
“We hope that our lives have served to make fostering and adoption more visible and to de-stigmatize the lives of foster/adoptive kiddos and families. People deserve to see that the fostering process can be a supportive, healing, and redemptive journey. We have made this a focus in not only our lives, but also in the books we create.”

The Children’s Bureau acknowledged the Parkers’ contribution to the community through their family-owned book design and publishing companyBelieve in Wonder.

The Adoption Excellence awards are presented each year in Washington, D.C. during National Adoption Month. The Parkers were among eight awardees honored at an event led by ACF Acting Assistant Secretary Jeff Hild, and Children’s Bureau Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg.

 

AICs standing on the completed Wilson River Trail bridge. Construction of the bridge took a total of 14 days to complete. Tillamook, Ore.— This fall 30 adults in custody (AICs) from South Fork Forest Camp helped build a bridge on the newest section of the Wilson River Trail in the Tillamook State Forest. The bridge connects the eastern end of Wilson River trail to Drift Creek trailhead. 

Once opened, this will create a hiking experience for trail users that connects over 30 miles of non-motorized trails in the Tillamook State Forest. There are still about four miles for trails to build before this section can open. “The goal is to have the trail and bridge open to the public in the fall of 2024,” said Joe Offer, ODF’s Recreation Program Manager.

Since 1951, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has partnered with Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) in jointly operating South Fork Forest Camp, which houses AICs who assist in performing a variety of key forest management functions which include:

  • fire suppression
  • reforestation
  • pre-commercial thinning
  • maintenance of recreation buildings
  • forest road improvement
  • invasive weed removal and riparian rehabilitation
  • making wooden signs for all state forests and campgrounds.

This interagency partnership allows AICs to gain valuable work skills while supporting ODF’s management of state forests and statewide fire suppression efforts.

South Fork Forest Camp can house up to 200 AICs and is located on state forest land about 28 miles east of Tillamook, OR.

Learn more about the South Fork Forest Camp here.

Learn more about Oregon’s state forests here.

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