Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, Dec. 5 – Snowflake Holiday Events Continue in the Basin; Sky Lakes Medical Center Installs Bronze Sculpture by artist Stefan Savides

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Partly sunny, with a high near 57. South winds 3 to 7 mph. Overnight a 30% chance of rain, with a low around 39 degrees.
Rain much of the day, high of 48 degrees. Snow level lowering to 6200 feet in the afternoon.  South southeast wind 10 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Overnight, rain mixed with snow, snow level dropping to 4200 feet, low of 30 degrees.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Snow showers in the morning possible then rain as it warms up.  High near 41. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Partly sunny, with a high near 38.
A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40.

Today’s Headlines
Area Holiday Events…

Sky Lakes Medical Center has installed a beautiful bronze sculpture in the center of the roundabout on Campus Drive. This impressive artwork was built and designed by the renowned sculptor and artist, Stefan Savides.

The concept for the “red hawk sculpture” was brought to the Sky Lakes board in 2019 by Paul Stewart, former CEO/President of Sky Lakes Medical Center. The piece created represents nature’s ability to overcome obstacles created by urban development. The entire process, from conceptualization to installation, spanned over two years.

Stefan Savides employed an intricate process that involved crafting miniature clay molds, followed by wax molds, and eventually welding the elements into the beautiful bronze sculpture. The three columns depicted in the sculpture represent the urbanization of land, with a branch breaching each column, symbolizing the resilience and adaptation of nature. At the top of the tallest column, a life-size hawk sits majestically. To further enhance the space, the landscaping around the sculpture will be adorned with native plants and boulders that complement the artwork.

The installation of the sculpture was generously donated by Diversified Contractors Inc and coordinated by Healthy Klamath. This artistic addition is a testament to Sky Lakes’ dedication to fostering a vibrant and thriving community. Public art has been shown to curate a culture of creativity as well as elevate community members’ sense of pride.

Sky Lakes hopes to continue making investments in the community, offering opportunities for people to connect with and take pride in the place we call home. (Sky Lakes Medical Center press release)


Leigh Ann Vradenburg of Klamath County is slated to become Operator of the Year for eastern Oregon.

The Eastern Oregon Regional Forest Practices Committee (an advisory committee to the Oregon Dept. of Forestry Board) selected Vradenburg to represent this region earlier this fall. She and recipients for Northwest and Southwest Oregon will be recognized in Salem at the January meeting of the full ODF Board in Salem. 

Vradenburg is a forest consultant working with Klamath Watershed Partnership, a community based non-profit organization focusing on the needs of landowners and sustainability of natural resources. In her role, Vradenburg brings together landowners, agencies and other partners to conserve, enhance, and restore the natural resources of the Klamath Basin, while ensuring economic vitality for the community.

ODF Stewardship Forester Jason Pettigrew works with Vradenburg in the Klamath-Lake District. And says this about Vrandenburg:  “She works tirelessly to educate owners of small forest parcels about health risks to their forestland, including overly dense tree numbers, insect pests, mistletoe and fire danger, and to identify their objectives for their property. She then works to obtain federal grants to fund the work.

By assembling many small jobs into larger projects, Vrandenburg makes it economically viable for local logging firms to do the work. And she is very hands on, meeting multiple times with landowners before marking trees to be thinned or retained and inspecting the work at every stage. She is a trusted partner for landowners and loggers in this area.”

Because of her work, Pettigrew says large swathes of overcrowded forest stands have been thinned and had brush cut back, reducing drought stress on remaining trees and improving their health and resistance to pests.  (ODF press release)


The Klamath County Library Service District will soon have an official programming policy in place following a recent county commission meeting.

During last week’s meeting, Klamath County Commissioners Derrick DeGroot and Kelley Minty met with Library Director Nathalie Johnston to review the inaugural library programming policy.

DeGroot expressed concern over, and later removed, one line from the programming guidelines section of the policy, which reads:

“Library sponsorship of a program does not constitute an endorsement of the content of the program or the views expressed by presenters or participants.”
“I think that’s a good sentiment, but I don’t think that’s how things will be viewed,” DeGroot said. “As soon as you say ‘yes I’m willing to have that program in the library,’ you’re essentially saying the county endorses that program.”

The line was later removed from the policy.

The county’s solution to addressing the problem was to require book clubs to be moderated by volunteers from the group of participants. However, the social justice book club remains canceled, replaced by the “real reads book club” in which participants discuss staff-selected books about relative social issues.

The new programming policy will be presented to the board of commissioners for a vote in December.   (HeraldandNews.com)


Klamath Falls has been named 44th in the Top 50 best places to travel globally by Travel Lemming, a U.S.-based online travel guide that is read by more than 10 million travelers.

The article calls Klamath Falls an “uncrowded gateway to Crater Lake National Park,” and says that its “numerous hiking trails lead to lakes, mountain summits and stunning waterfalls (are) a key feature of southwest Oregon.”

It cites seeing the Klamath Falls Rapids, hiking the Link Trail, and zipping on the Crater Lake Zipline as a few things that visitors shouldn’t miss while in the area.

County Commissioner Kelley Minty says, “It’s encouraging to see others recognize what we all know — Klamath County has so much to offer our citizens as well as visitors. I hope others feel as proud as I do of our community.”

Other American cities making the list were: Memphis, Tenn., ranked 5th; Kodiak, Alaska, ranked 8th; Eureka Springs, Ark., ranked 10th; Quincy, Mass., ranked 21st; Jacksonville, Fla., ranked 29th; and Steamboat Springs, Colo., ranked 41st.



Ben Goodin, who has been serving as the acting district ranger for the Lakeview-Bly Ranger District, has been named deputy forest supervisor for the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

“We’re excited to announce that Ben has been selected … and want to extend a warm welcome to him and his family,” Forest officials said in announcing his selection.

Before serving as acting district ranger, Goodin was the Supervisory Rangeland Management Specialist for the Southeast Zone of the Fremont-Winema.

He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for 21 years. Previous assignments were in the Forest Service’s Southwest, Intermountain, Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest regions.

He held numerous management, supervisory and leadership positions during those years, including service as the Detailed District Ranger at the Eagle Lake Ranger District on the Lassen National Forest in far northern California.

In addition, Goodin is currently a Complex Incident Management (CIM) Logistics Section Chief Trainee.

Goodin grew up in Fruitland, Idaho, and attended the University of Idaho, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Ecology and Conservation with a minor in Rangeland Management, a topic of importance to the Lake and Klamath communities.

(Herald and News)


A third calf has been killed by wolves on private land in Klamath County.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed the killing of a seven-month-old calf by the Gearhart Mountain Pack on Nov. 24.

The same pack was determined responsible for a pair of nine-month-old calves in two separate incidents in late November. All three incidents were on private land near the Hyde Reservoir located north of Bly.

In April 2022, ODFW biologists reported that two wolves, LAS13 and OR115, were documented in an area that includes portions of Lake, Klamath and Deschutes counties. LAS13M was described a male wolf traveling alone after leaving the Lassen Pack in California in late 2020 when an Area of Known Wolf Activity (AKWA) was designated.

Earlier this year, on April 18, the pair was designated a breeding pair after they produced three pups, which led to the pack being designated as the Gearhart Mountain Pack.

The AKWA’s includes a region just north of Bly, includes a portion of the OC&E-Woods Line Trail, stays just east of Summer Lake and north near Silver Lake in Lake County Within the AKWA is a smaller Area of Depredating Wolves that extended north and west of Silver Lake to the west side of Summer Lake.

Counties are currently listed as endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act so all management related to harassment and the taking of wolves is regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, not ODFW.   (HeraldandNews.com)


Klamath Community College is working to bring law enforcement training and certification to its students.

This is due to a new partnership with The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. The partnership allows officers across Southern Oregon to attend recertification and maintenance training courses on campus.

The program hopes to help current KCC students in the criminal justice program through exposure and access to training and educational opportunities, offering a different offering a direct route to a law enforcement career.  For more information, visit Klamathcc.edu

he town. For example, the local outdoor pool is heated year-round. (HeraldandNews/OPB)


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)


Around the state of Oregon

A Portland man is facing federal charges today for distributing counterfeit Oxycodone pills containing fentanyl that caused the overdose death of a Portland teenager.

Nasir Overton, 20, a resident of Portland, has been charged by criminal complaint with one count each of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, resulting in death, and distributing and possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl, resulting in death.

According to court documents, on September 20, 2023, a detective from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) responded to a local hospital after receiving a report of a 15-year-old who had fatally overdosed on fentanyl. The detective learned that the day prior, the teenager had ingested a single counterfeit Oxycodone pill containing fentanyl and overdosed. The teenager was pronounced dead four days later. Further investigation revealed that the teen received the fatal pill from a friend who had purchased two pills from Overton

If convicted, Overton faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison.

(Oregon atty generals’ office)


Medford Police Department detectives have lodged 18-year-old Joseph Larry Lopez of Grants Pass on charges of Attempted Murder, Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Assault in the First Degree. 

Police believe that a confrontation between two groups of people precipitated this shooting in front of Buffalo Wild Wings. The victim in this case remains in very serious condition at a local hospital.

On Friday, December 1 at 11:25 p.m. a Medford Police Officer was near the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings (1700 Delta Waters Road) on routine patrol when multiple gunshots were heard coming from the front of the restaurant.

The Officer found a victim lying on the ground next to the front door and immediately began providing medical aid. Several individuals were seen running to a vehicle and fleeing towards Highway 62. The suspect vehicle description and direction of travel were quickly broadcast to other officers. Responding officers located and stopped the vehicle on Highway 62 near Bullock Road.

The vehicle occupants, including the suspect, were detained and are currently being interviewed.  (mpd press release)


The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public input regarding the removal of dead Douglas Firs.

Douglas Firs have been dying at alarming rates in southern Oregon, with more trees dying in the last four years than in the past four decades.

To decrease increased fire risk from the dead trees, BLM is planning on removing an estimated 5,000 acres worth of salvage timber. They are pushing to remove the trees by the end of next year, to allow them to remove the dead trees within a time frame that allows for them to still sell the wood.

They plan on selling the wood to minimize the price of the tree removal on Southern Oregon tax payers.

The input period ends on Jan. 7.  (kdrv12)


Gov. Tina Kotek announced plans for an advisory council that will guide the role of artificial intelligence in state government.

The decision underscores the growing influence of artificial intelligence and its potential to streamline government and make agencies more efficient or create confusion and infringe on privacy protections.

Kotek is charging the Oregon State Government AI Advisory Council with developing a plan for artificial intelligence in state government that values transparency, privacy and equity. It will have up to 15 members.

At its core, artificial intelligence can mimic human analyses and decision-making while carrying out tasks that society traditionally relies upon people to do. It can be a time saver, for example by transcribing audio into text or sorting through mountains of data to find trends. But in the hands of criminals, it could be deceptive and even put people at risk.  (Oregon news)


Former President Donald Trump’s name will be on Oregon’s Republican primary ballot next year.

The Oregon Secretary of State says there’s been significant voter response on the issue. There’s been legal action in other states over whether Trump took part in an insurrection which has been unproven, and if that should keep him off the ballot.

Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade says she doesn’t have the authority to determine the qualifications of candidates in a presidential primary. Oregon’s primary doesn’t determine a candidate, it communicates a preference to party delegates who determine the nominee at the party’s nominating convention.

(Oregon news)


Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is proposinh legislation to increase protection for U.S. Postal Service workers.

In 2020, the Postmaster General issued a directive that restricted Postal Police from operating outside of USPS facilities. Wyden is co-sponsoring legislation to address the sharp increase in letter carrier robberies. They’re often targeted, because they carry keys that open multiple mailboxes. Wyden’s bill would reverse the restriction and allow Postal Police to expand their operations.

(Oregon news)


Starting next month, Oregonians will have more options to take the train to Seattle.

Amtrak Cascades, jointly operated between the Washington and Oregon state transportation departments, said it will add two new round-trip trains between the states’ two largest cities.

The two new trains will begin running on Monday, Dec. 11, with the earliest one departing Seattle at 5:52 a.m. and Portland at 6:45 a.m. The latest trains of the day will leave at 7:25 p.m. from Portland and 7:50 p.m. from Seattle. With the two additions, there will now be a dozen trains between the two cities every day.

The two cities are the busiest stops on the Cascades route, which runs from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene.

One train, the Coast Starlight, runs out of Klamath Falls northbound for Portland and points north, leaving Klamath Falls around 8:15am.

(Oregon news)


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)


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.


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