Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, Nov. 29 – Light Snow At Times Through Sunday; Poor Air Quality Alert for the Basin

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.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Air Stagnation Advisory Through Nov. 30, 10PM.
Winter Storm Watch in effect from Friday, Dec. 1-Dec. 2, at 10PM

Sunny, with a high near 47. Overnight, a 30% chance of snow with a low around 26 degrees.  Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Snow likely before 1pm, then rain likely between 1pm and 4pm, then a mix of rain and snow throught the evening, high of 42.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, snow likely, low around 25. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Snow likely before 1pm, then rain. High near 40.  Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight rain dn snow mixed, low around 29. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Rain and snow during the day, high near 42. Snow level rising to 4600 feet in the afternoon.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Rain. Snow level 5900 feet rising to 6800 feet in the afternoon. Cloudy, with a high near 44.
A chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 46.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County, along with Jackson and Josephine counties, are among several locations under an air quality alert today.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued an air quality advisory today to those areas through Thursday morning.

DEQ and Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) collectively issued an air quality advisory for mid and southern Willamette Valley, with other parts of Oregon affected by the same condition: air stagnation.

DEQ said today it issued the advisory “due to stagnant air conditions trapping smoke and other air pollutants near the ground where people breathe.”

The following areas are affected through Thursday morning, Nov. 30, 2023:

  • Jackson and Josephine counties
  • Baker City, Burns, Klamath Falls and La Pine
  • Salem area
  • Eugene-Springfield area

Check current air quality conditions and advisories by downloading the OregonAIR app.



Back in the 1960s, the Oregon Institute of Technology was looking for somewhere to build a new campus.

School leaders picked a spot on the northeast corner of Klamath Falls, with one very unusual feature.

Oregon Tech administrators wanted to showcase the emerging technology of geothermal energy, essentially a process in which hot water hidden deep underground is brought up to the surface and put through heat exchangers to warm buildings.

Oregon Tech bought the land and drilled 2,000 feet into the rock — the equivalent of 185 stories down — to a deposit of water that measured 196 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s 16 degrees short of boiling.

Sixty years later, the water remains just as hot, and the Southern Oregon school still uses the clean, cheap energy to heat classrooms and dormitories; campus leaders estimate that saves them $1.4 million a year.

The school is in the process of replacing its old heat exchangers, valves and pipes at a cost of $18 million, which is being picked up by state taxpayers.

Such high maintenance costs — and the geographic availability of hot water — help explain why not everyone in Klamath Falls uses geothermal energy.

Residents in neighborhoods like Pacific Terrace and Hillside, on the northeast edge of Klamath Falls, have been tapping geothermal since the 1930s. But they lie on a fault line, meaning property owners only have to dig 100 to 400 feet to reach hot water. Homes sell for a premium of $10,000 to $30,000 over other neighborhoods in the Klamath Falls area because of the cheap energy.

The finances mean that it’s mainly just large institutions, like Oregon Tech or the city government, that have the deep pockets to tap geothermal.

Once in use, the resource is a real boost for the town. For example, the local outdoor pool is heated year-round. (HeraldandNews/OPB)


A fatal shooting and suspected homicide in Crescent, Oregon, resulted in the death of one local man and the arrest of the victim’s brother for alleged second-degree murder.

Robert William Frates, 59, was arrested at the scene of the incident in Crescent RV Park, according to online arrest records.

Klamath County Sheriff Chris Kaber confirmed there was a crime scene investigation in progress as of Sunday evening.

“We’ve activated a major crime team,” Kaber said. “All local agencies are involved.”

The KCSO-led major crimes team includes the Klamath Falls Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and both the Bend and Klamath Falls offices of the Oregon State Police.

A 9-1-1 call came into Klamath County Dispatch at 6:05 p.m. Sunday with reports of shots heard.

The victim of the shooting, John Eric Frates, 56, is the younger brother of the suspect in custody.

The arraignment of Robert Frates, held Monday afternoon before Judge Marci Adkisson, denied bail for the suspect until his preliminary hearing next week.

Frates is charged with second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.


The 173rd Fighter Wing night flying operations continue each evening and run through Thursday, Nov. 30th. The operations will take place between approximately 6 and 11 p.m.

Night flying is one part of the course curriculum for F-15C student pilots at Kingsley Field, the premiere F-15C schoolhouse for the United States Air Force.

Much of the training will occur in the military operating airspace to the east of Lakeview, where the pilots can fly without lights. However, the local community will most likely hear the jets during take-offs and approaches to and from Kingsley Field. Take-offs will occur after sundown and the jets will return approximately an hour-and-a-half later.

Community members may contact the wing’s public affairs office at (541) 885-6677 to express any concerns they have during this time. (HeraldandNews.com/173rd FW press)


The holiday season is a time for giving. In the spirit of spreading warmth and joy, Citizens for Safe Schools is proud to present ‘Citizens Santa,’ a heartwarming annual community initiative.

‘Citizens Santa’ aims to brighten the holiday season for ‘At-Promise’ mentored youth by connecting caring members of our community with the opportunity to fulfill a special holiday wish and foster a little good cheer in the hearts of our young people.

How Citizens Santa Works:

  1. Sponsor a Child: Anyone can participate by selecting a child from our curated list of wishes! This list can be found at partnering business Everybody’s Vintage located at 733 Main Street, or you can visit the Citizens For Safe Schools Facebook page at facebook.com/citizensforsafeschools to select a child in need.
  2. Gift Collection and Drop-Off: Once you’ve chosen a child to sponsor, we encourage you to purchase and wrap your gift, then drop-off under the tree at Everybody’s Vintage before December 18th.

Citizens Santa is not just a gift-giving campaign; it’s an opportunity to bring our community together and make a positive impact in the lives of local children.

By sharing the joy of the season, we can ensure that every child in our community feels the love and warmth that this time of year represents.

To learn more about ‘Citizens Santa’, or Citizens for Safe Schools and youth mentoring, visit our website at citizensforsafeschools.org, or contact Sarah Miller at 541-238-4839 or smiller@citizensforsafeschools.org.

(press release)


Klamath Basin Sports is scheduled to hold its annual Ski and Snowboard Swap this weekend.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to bring in old/used ski and snowboard gear, winter apparel, gloves, goggles, etc., for a chance to turn it in to cash or store credit. For more information, stop by Klamath Basin Sports at 316 S. 6th St. or call (541) 273-9527.  (HeraldandNews.com)


The Jefferson State Shooting Association’s Fall Gun Show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2 and 3, at the Klamath County Fair/Expo Center in Klamath Falls.

The show will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

There will be 200 show tables to look over and many different types of collectibles, including antique and modern firearms, knives, ammunition, optics, targets, holsters and other leather gear.

There will be a special display by the Cascade Civil War Society showing a typical encampment from the Civil War time and displaying weapons, uniforms, cooking implements, medical supplies and a cannon.

The Jefferson State Shooting Association is a nonprofit organization devoted to shooting sports in Klamath County. It builds and maintains the ranges at Sportsman’s Park east of Keno.

Membership is available at the show.  (HeraldandNews.com)


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)


Permits are available this month for Christmas tree cutting in U.S. national forests where allowed, starting today in Klamath National Forest.

The Klamath National Forest (KNF) and Six Rivers National Forest (SRNF) in Northern California issue permits that allow Christmas tree cutting.

SRNF knows cutting a holiday tree is a special tradition for family and friends “while helping to maintain a healthy forest. For every tree that is found, cut and carried home as a holiday fixture, you’re also contributing to the overall forest health. Christmas tree permits are a unique opportunity for citizens to help thin densely populated stands of small-diameter trees – the perfect size for a Christmas tree.”

It reminds people they must purchase a Christmas tree permit before their visit to Six Rivers National Forest, and permits can be purchased in-person at a local ranger district office or online through December 23, 2023, using this online site to purchase a permit online, following tips and guidelines for the cutting area to ensure a safe and fun forest adventure.

SNRF also notes that fourth graders who participate in the Every Kid Outdoors program are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit.

Permits cost $10 each with a limit of two permits per household, and maps of cutting areas are provided by SRNF, which says people must be at least 18 years old to buy permits. The Forest Service accepts cash, check, or credit/debit cards as payment. All sales are final with no refunds.

(kdrv12/Klamath national forest)


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)


Around the state of Oregon

An Oregon judge will hear arguments Thursday that the state has been acting unconstitutionally when trying to claw back unemployment benefits from more than 60,000 people since 2020.

A lawsuit filed last year argues that the Oregon Employment Department has a convoluted and chaotic process for notifying people when the agency believes it has paid them too much. Many faced claims that they owed the state thousands of dollars. In some cases, the state sought $10,000 or more from people who reported losing their jobs during the pandemic.

The lawsuit seeks to compel the employment department to reform its process for notifying people when the agency thinks it has paid them too much and to overhaul its policies for collecting the money.

The employment department declined to comment on the suit but in legal filings argued the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to order the changes the plaintiffs seek.  (Oregon news)


On Saturday, November 25, 2023, Oregon State Police responded to a vehicle versus motorcycle crash on Hwy 99, at the intersection with Oak St, in Jackson County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a Hyundai Elantra, operated by Melissa Dolmage (38) of Medford, was stopped on Oak St, at the intersection with Hwy 99, when it turned left onto Hwy 99 southbound. The Hyundai entered the path of a northbound Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Kevin L. Norman (69) of Central Point, causing a side impact collision.

The operator of the Harley Davidson (Norman) was declared deceased at the scene.

The operator of the Hyundai (Dolmage) and passenger, a male infant, were not injured.

The highway was impacted for approximately 2.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. The operator of the Hyundai was cooperating with investigators.

OSP was assisted by the Central Point Police Department, the Medford Police Department, and ODOT. (OSP)


A driver was killed in a crash into the Siuslaw River Sunday afternoon.

Oregon State Police say 72-year-old Benjamin Beecher, of Florence, was driving westbound on Highway 36 when he crossed the centerline of an icy curve and struck an eastbound car. Beecher’s Ford Explorer went airborne and crashed, fully submerged, into the Siuslaw River. He was dead when members of the Lane County dive team recovered his body. The driver and passenger of the car that was hit were hospitalized with serious injuries.

(Lane Co search/rescue)


Detectives are renewing their request for information as to the whereabouts of a homicide suspect who killed a Grants Pass man last Monday.

Gauge Douglas James Main of Riddle is wanted in connection to the homicide of 20-year-old Devonte Lovell Clark of Grant Pass. A felony warrant has been issued for his arrest. Main was last known to be in the Northern California area following the homicide.

On Monday, November 20, 2023, shortly after 11:30 p.m., 9-1-1 dispatchers received information about a shooting which had taken place in the area of Main Street / E. Third Avenue in Riddle, Oregon.

Deputies arrived on scene to discover Clark had died at the scene. A second victim, 29-year-old Killian Mavity of Grants Pass, sustained a gunshot wound to the arm.

Main fled the scene of the homicide after stealing a silver 2017 Honda Civic 4-door sedan bearing Oregon license plate 276PAT, which has since been recovered in California.

Detectives say Main is to be considered armed and dangerous. Sheriff John Hanlin has officially enlisted the assistance of the United States Marshal’s Fugitive Taskforce in apprehending Main. Anyone with information which may lead to Main’s arrest is urged to contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at (541) 440-4471 referencing case #23-4651.

The Douglas County Major Crimes Team is investigating the homicide. The investigation is being led by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The Major Crimes Team consists of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Roseburg Police Department and Oregon State Police working in consultation with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.


Oregon’s unemployment rate remains near a record low at 3.6%, but many laid-off workers are having to wait much longer for assistance. The share of jobless claims processed within three weeks fell sharply beginning in August, from more than 90% to around 75%.

The delays are reminiscent of the agency’s pandemic breakdown, when Oregon was among the slowest in the nation at paying jobless benefits. But the reasons for the new delays appear very different.

Three years ago, Oregon was coping with an unprecedented number of jobless claims and a dysfunctional agency that had endured a succession of leadership failures and had repeatedly postponed structural reforms. The state notoriously delayed replacing the employment department’s obsolete computer system despite receiving more than $80 million in federal funds to pay for an upgrade in 2009.

The department says bigger factors in the slowdown are a decline in federal funding and a deluge of fraudulent claims. (Oregon news)


Avian Flu Kills One Million Birds in Oregon
Close to one-million birds have been euthanized in Oregon after avian flu was detected in two commercial poultry operations and two backyard flocks earlier this month.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture says a total of 790-thousand birds were put down. The Department reports the commercial operations are in Linn and Marion counties. The backyard flocks are in Deschutes and Marion counties.

Quarantines were placed around the commercial operations to make sure no additional cases are detected. (Oregon news)


Students in the Portland Public Schools district are returning to the classroom following a three-week-long teachers’ strike.

Officials say classes are scheduled to resume this morning but will start two hours late. The school district and the teachers union reached agreement on a tentative contract yesterday. The Portland Association of Teachers says it gives teachers pay raises, more time to prepare and additional mental health supports for students. The school district released a statement saying they’re relieved students will return to school.

The missed school days will be made up by reducing winter break, adding days in January, February, and April and extending the school year by three days.

(Oregon news)


Grants Pass Police say they are still searching for armed and dangerous suspects. 

November 21st, Grants Pass PD said officers were searching for suspects who had fled the scene of a shooting. They said they closed off the road and used K-9s to search the 1400 block of the Rogue River Highway.

One neighbor says they were told by police not to talk to the media. Another told us they were in the dark about the investigation.

GPPD later updated their Facebook post saying that Rogue River Highway has since reopened to the public and there was no known direct threat to the community.

At this time, GPPD says the investigation is ongoing, but declined to provide further details.



State attorneys general in Oregon, Washington and California and two Oregon-based environmental groups are asking federal energy regulators to reconsider their approval of a natural gas pipeline project that would increase the flow of gas through the Northwest.

Federal regulators voted unanimously Oct. 19 to allow Calgary-based TC Energy to expand the capacity of its 1,400-mile-long GTN Xpress gas pipeline through Oregon, Idaho, Washington and northern California. The expansion would allow 150 million more cubic feet of gas to be delivered to the region each day. It currently transports about 2 billion cubic feet of gas from western Canada to West Coast consumers each day — enough to power 5 million U.S. homes each day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and California Attorney General Rob Bonta and lawyers for Rogue Climate in southern Oregon and Hood River-based Columbia Riverkeeper, filed petitions with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Environmentalists on Tuesday asked for a rehearing from the commission, and accused commissioners of violating two federal laws meant to mitigate environmental harm and ensure gas projects are in the public interest. The state attorneys general filed their petition Wednesday.

Natural gas is almost entirely made up of methane, a potent greenhouse gas and a main contributor to global warming. It’s primarily used to heat homes and businesses, including at least a quarter of all homes in Oregon, according to the state’s Department of Energy.

The state attorneys general claim that TC Energy has not demonstrated the long-term demand for the increase in gas, and that the project is counter to the region’s climate laws, which require greenhouse gas emissions to decrease at least 90% in Oregon by 2050 and 95% in Washington by the same year. In Oregon, at least 26% of that reduction will have to come from natural gas. (HeraldandNews)


In 2022, the state of Oregon witnessed an increase in syphilis cases, marking a troubling milestone with nearly 2,500 reported instances according to Oregon Health Authority. A significant surge compared to fewer than 600 cases back in 2013.

Dr. Tim Menza, medical director for the HIV, STD, and TB Section said this rise in Syphilis rates follows a trend that began in the late 1990s and early 2000s, where low rates of the infection led experts to believe that syphilis might be eradicated.

Unfortunately, that information was wrong.  According to CDC data from 2021, Oregon ranked among the top ten states nationally for both primary and secondary syphilis cases, especially among individuals assigned female at birth.

Within the public health sector, a significant factor is the insufficient funding allocated to support sexually transmitted infection prevention. According to Menza Oregon, like many other regions, has witnessed a contraction in public health services dedicated to sexual health over the past five years, a decline that was further accelerated by the pandemic.

In the battle against Syphilis, Oregon is focusing on various fronts to combat the prevalence of this sexually transmitted infection. The efforts include raising awareness among medical providers, implementing targeted training programs, devising performance metrics, and launching public campaigns. (kdrv12)


A ruling from a federal judge that would allow criminal defendants to be released from jail after 10 days without a lawyer has received a temporary stay from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Michael McShane’s ruling was scheduled to go into place on Nov. 23. While the Oregon Department of Justice works on an appeal to the ruling, it will remain on hold.

While it’s important for defendants to receive a lawyer as soon as possible, there is worry about seeing serious offenders potentially get released back onto the streets.

A team of public defenders will be arriving in Douglas County early next year. There is  hope they will be able to help out in Jackson County, amid an ongoing public defender shortage.

But, when it comes to solving the issue of having too many people in jail and not enough lawyers to represent them, the solution is a systemic one.



A Rogue River man pled guilty to multiple animal neglect related charges in court Monday.

Michael Lee Hamilton, 72, was sentenced to three years of probation and two years in jail if probation is revoked.  Additionally, he is not allowed to have animals for 15 years.

The charges stem from an incident almost a year ago.  Hamilton and his wife were arrested after 32 animals were found either neglected or dead inside their Rogue River home last October.

In court Monday, Deputy District Attorney Sara Shaw says it’s important that Hamilton take accountability for his role in the care of these animals.

Hamilton’s wife, Debbie Hamilton, previously pled guilty to the same charges in March. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail, three years probation, and is not allowed to have animals for 15 years

(Oregon news)


It was a chaotic scene on Interstate 5 yesterday, Tuesday morning, between Eugene and Albany due to heavy fog.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) are reporting multiple crashes on I-5, near Halsey, on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.

At approximately 5:53 a.m. 911 dispatchers in Albany, Halsey, and Brownsville began receiving reports from motorists of several multiple vehicle crashes.

Oregon State Police (OSP), Linn County Sheriff (LCSO), ODOT, Brownsville Fire, Halsey Fire, and Eugene Springfield Fire responded to several crashes on northbound I-5 at mile posts 214, 216, and 219.

As well as in the southbound lanes at mile posts 220, 221, and 222.

One driver, with unknown injuries, was transport to Albany General Hospital.
Icy conditions near Junction City were enough to also close schools for the day in that district.

(Oregon news)

The Oregon Rail Heritage Center is operating its Holiday Express through December 17th. The historic Polson number two steam locomotive pulls the vintage passenger cars along the Willamette River. Santa Claus is a special guest during the ride. Trains run every 90 minutes Fridays through Sundays. Tickets are available online. They typically sell out. (Oregon news)

Over the weekend, Oregon State Beavers Head Football Coach Jonathan Smith has resigned and has accepted the position of Head Football Coach at Michigan State

May be an image of 1 person, playing football and text that says 'JONATHAN MICHIGAN STATE FOOTBALL WELCOMES SMITH MICHIGAN MICHIGANSTRE STATE'

Michigan State has hired Jonathan Smith as their new head coach. Smith has been at Oregon State since 2018 and has a record of 34-35.

He led Oregon State to their first 10-win season since 2006 last year. Smith has a proven track record of success and has been part of championship staffs.

He is replacing Mel Tucker, who was fired earlier this season amid a sexual misconduct scandal.


Unusual Respiratory Illness Effecting Oregon Dogs

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.

Dogs have died, said Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University. But without a clear way to define the disease or test for it, he said it’s hard to put a number on how many died from a severe form of the infection.

Williams had a simple message for dog owners: “Don’t panic.” He also said dog owners should make sure that their pets are up to date on vaccines, including those that protect against various respiratory illnesses.

Labs across the country have been sharing their findings as they try to pinpoint the culprit.

David Needle, senior veterinary pathologist at the University of New Hampshire’s New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, has been investigating the mysterious disease for almost a year.

His lab and colleagues at the university’s Hubbard Center for Genome Research have looked at samples from dogs in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and more will be coming from Oregon, Colorado and possibly other states.

He said his team has not seen a large increase in dogs dying from the illness but still encouraged pet owners to “decrease contact with other dogs.” (SOURCE)


Red Cross of Oregon Asking for Blood Donations During The Holidays

Help on Giving Tuesday and during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also register for volunteer opportunities in their area.

INCREASING SUPPORT AMID EXTREME DISASTERS With the growing frequency and intensity of climate-driven disasters, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this national work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes, including for wildfire recovery in the Cascades Region.

Across the country, the Red Cross is delivering this vital financial assistance on top of its immediate relief efforts — including safe shelter, nutritious meals and emotional support — which have been provided on a near-constant basis for this year’s relentless extreme disasters. In fact, this year’s onslaught of large disasters drove an increase in emergency lodging provided by the Red Cross with partners — with overnight stays up more than 50% compared to the annual average for the previous five years. 

In the Cascades Region we opened four times as many evacuation shelters in June than previous years because of a wildfire season that burned more than 250,000 acres across Oregon and SW Washington. Altogether, nearly 200 of our local volunteers responded to disasters in 2023, including more than 770 in the Cascades Region.

RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond extreme disasters, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:

  • BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year and helped us meet the needs of patients in the Cascades Region in 2023. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion. 
  • The holidays can be a challenging time to collect enough blood for those in need. To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS. As a thank-you, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Dec. 1-17 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Terms apply. See rcblood.org/Amazon.
  • LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Cascades Region has trained more than 57,000 people in lifesaving-skills while, nationally, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs. 
  • MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.

Visit www.redcross.org/CascadesGiving for more information about how the Red Cross Cascades Region helped people in 2023.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood and is the primary blood supplier to 65 hospitals throughout Washington and Oregon; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


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.


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