60.55 F
Klamath Falls
April 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 4/2 – Yard Waste Burn Window Announced; Traffic Stop Nets 5,000 Illegal Marijuana Plants; State & Federal Tax Deadline Coming April 15th

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. Call 541-882-6476.

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Sunny, with a high near 75. Calm wind becoming south southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Mostly clear overnight with a low around 39. Southwest wind 6 to 11 mph.
Wednesday
Rain, mainly after noon. Snow level 7500 feet lowering to 6000 feet in the afternoon . High near 51. Southwest wind becoming west 9 to 14 mph in the morning.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. Expect rain overnight and snow at times, low near 29 degrees.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Thursday
Snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Friday
A chance of snow showers, mainly after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 43.
Saturday
A slight chance of rain and snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 46.

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

Lake of the Woods
Doak Mtn.

Hiway 97 at Chemult
Hiway 140 at  Bly
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County Public Health has announced the window for residents to burn yard waste. 

From April 6th to April 21st, Klamath County residents can burn yard waste. Any burn must be fully extinguished by 7 p.m.

Only residential yard waste can be burned. That means no rubber, tar, petroleum products, or treated wood. Burn Barrels are prohibited.

If wind speeds are above 10 mph, then burns are not allowed. Even in the time frame set. Burn piles may be no longer than six feet in diameter and 4 feet high.

Piles must be 20 feet from flammable structures like buildings or fences. And must have 6 feet of soil around the outside of the pile.

 

Starting Monday, April 8th, Basin Transit Service will be drastically reducing services offered, shortening weekday services and completely getting rid of weekend service.

Monday through Friday service will be cut by 1.5 hours, running from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Many community members brought up concerns on the implications this reduction can have on those who use public transit to get to work or school that oftentimes has already started by the time the bus starts running for the day.

The reduction in service hours comes as a last resort after looking for funding  since the shortfall was found to be coming in 2019. This comes after voters rejected a property tax levy that would fund the transit service. 

This reduction in services avoids a full shutdown, it is only sustainable for the next five years. Once those five years are up, if no other funding comes in, they will have to revisit what the future of Basin Transit Services will look like.

 

Integral Youth Services gave an opportunity over spring break for kids of the Klamath Basin to do what they do best, play Minecraft.

Minecraft, the best-selling videogame series with over 300 million copies sold and 140 million monthly active players as of 2023, is a pixelated procedurally generated, three-dimensional world where players can discover and extract raw materials, craft tools and items and build structures.

Depending on the chosen game mode, players can fight hostile mobs, as well as cooperate with or compete with each other.

On the surface, the kids involved in the Integral Youth Services (IYS) Spring Break Camp thought that’s what they were going to do — adventure around Minecraft’s world. However, hidden behind the blocky characters and colorful world lay a unique and engaging way to introduce coding to the youthful participants. Instead of playing the standard, commercial version, the kids were playing the educational version.

Appearing similar and using similar game mechanics, the education version of Minecraft is a game-based learning curriculum that inspires creative, inclusive learning through play. With a multitude of subjects to choose from spanning STEM, history, language arts and even mathematics, Minecraft Education is a way for educators to connect with students in the digital era. For their spring camp, IYS elected to teach the youngsters the beginning of coding.

 

The city of Klamath Falls is happy to announce that the City with the Klamath Falls Downtown Association, has approved eighteen applications for the 2024 Façade & Building Improvement Grant Program.

A press release say the program provides matched grant dollars to support exterior building improvements and interior renovations, aimed at encouraging building re-occupancy and increased utilization.

The 2024 cycle marks the fourth year of this successful program, which was initiated in 2016. Through targeted grant funding, this program has sparked the renovation of numerous downtown buildings, leading to the opening of new businesses and the creation of downtown residences. It has also spurred new private investments in the area. “We are thrilled by the continued positive impact this program has on the revitalization of our downtown community”.

 

After three weeks in their new location at 2491 Dahlia St., Brevada Brewhouse patrons and staff are loving it.

Opening at their new location on March 9, co-owner David Murphy said the biggest worry about the move was whether he and partner Seth Gretz and their staff could maintain the same atmosphere and energy that was experienced at the original location.

Explaining the layout of Brevada, Murphy said everything branches from a banquet-style table in the center of the cafe to promote greater community. Every other table is placed in a position that invites communication amongst the brewhouse’s visitors, but also leaves enough distance to have private conversation.

With an outdoor patio as well that comes with multiple fire pits, Brevada aims to be a place not only to get a cup of coffee, but also to be a place beneficial to a person’s well-being socially, physically and mentally.

A collection of photos taken by local photographers are easily recognized, and intended to illustrate the surrounding beauty in the Klamath Basin, Murphy said.

Not completely forgoing their original location, Murphy said they plan to maintain it as a private rental space for receptions, business meetings, dinner parties, weddings and so on. The space will also have available bar service and catering and comes equipped with a projector and a public address system.

Now located at 2491 Dahlia St., Brevada Brewhouse is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

 

The DEQ is proposing permanent rule amendments to chapter 340 of the Oregon Administrative Rules to redesignate the Klamath Falls Airshed as attainment for the national air quality health standards for small particulate matter (PM2.5) and includes a 10-year maintenance plan to keep air quality within the PM2.5 health standards. DEQ invites public input on these changes.

Oregon must update its Clean Air Act State Implementation Plan to document that DEQ has the authority, regulations, and enforcement capability to implement the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for PM2.5.

In addition to the redesignation of the Klamath Falls airshed into attainment, a 10-year maintenance plan provides assurance that air quality programs are adequate to prevent future violation of the NAAQS.

DEQ is seeking public comment on the proposed rule amendments. More information on this rulemaking, including the draft rules, can be found on the Klamath Falls PM2.5 Maintenance Plan 2024.

How to comment: DEQ will accept comments by email, postal mail or verbally at the public hearing. Anyone can submit comments and questions about this rulemaking.

  • Email: Send comments by email to KFalls.2024@DEQ.oregon.gov
  • Postal mail: Oregon DEQ, Attn: Graham Bates, 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, Oregon 97232-4100
  • At the public hearing: 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 29, 2024 (see below)

DEQ will only consider comments on the proposed rule amendments that DEQ receives by 11:59 p.m., on April 29, 2024.

 

The City of Klamath Falls is excited to announce the upcoming reconstruction of the Central Parking Lot, located between Main Street, Klamath Avenue, and 9th Street.

The project is expected to begin on Monday, April 8th, and is scheduled to be finished before the end of May. The complete Central Parking Lot rebuild will include, but is not limited to, a new base, asphalt surfacing, landscaping, stormwater, and lighting improvements.

These upgrades will enhance the parking lot’s appearance and create a safer, more efficient parking area for years to come. Given the nature of the rebuild, the Central Parking Lot will need to be closed for use during reconstruction. Business customers and Parking Permit holders who have purchased the Pelican Pass Plus for the Central Parking Lot will need to use alternate parking areas for the duration of the project.

During reconstruction, Pelican Pass Plus Permit holders (Central Lot only) may park all day in any marked All-Day, on-street parking space or in any of the eleven other City public parking lots.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding project work or alternate downtown parking options, please contact City Planning by phone at 541-883- 4950 or by email at devservices@klamathfalls.city. In-person inquiries can be made by visiting the City Planning office located at 226 S 5th Street.

 

City Maintenance Crews will be performing tree stump grinding and removal work around the County Government Center located at 305 Main Street.  Work will take place on Main Street between 3rd and 4th Streets and on 4th Street between Main and Pine Streets.

This is a two-day project with future sidewalk replacement to follow. Barricades will be in place surrounding the work zone. Heavy equipment will also be in use and citizens are asked to stay clear of the work zones. If you would like more information, please call the City Public Works Department at (541) 883-5363.

 

Klamath County Emergency Management recently provided three Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) to the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office that will be installed in some of its patrol vehicles.

Additionally, one AED each was given to the Merrill and Malin police departments.

The devices were added to the four existing units at the Sheriff’s Office, totaling nine AEDs for Klamath County law enforcement.

Sheriff Chris Kaber said the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office welcomes the addition of AEDs to the emergency response equipment carried by our deputies.

The new AED’s have been distributed to patrol vehicles which are routinely in remote areas of the county, often far from other emergency medical service providers,

Law enforcement officers in rural parts of the county may respond to situations where people are in cardiac arrest. The county’s topography often results in long medical response times.

In these situations, law enforcement individuals may need to provide CPR while waiting for Emergency Medical Services to arrive. In some cases, additional resuscitation efforts may be needed, and this is where the use of AEDs comes in.

AEDs deliver an electric shock to stabilize the heart tissue and condition immediately. The units installed in law enforcement patrol vehicles or police departments in smaller communities can enable life-saving emergency care.

 

                  Coming to Ross Ragland Theater!

The prehistoric age is going futuristic for an upcoming show at the Ross
Ragland Theater, Thursday, April 4th.
Lightwire Theater is presenting DINO-LIGHT. It’s a glow-in-the-dark story of
adventure, self-discovery, and of course dinosaurs. The show itself
combines dance and puppetry as well as some cool light displays.
Artistic director for Lightwire Theater, Ian Carney, said, “The technology is
called electroluminescent wire or EL wire or L wire for short. It is a
phosphorus-based wire, so a copper wire with phosphorus sprayed on it
and a gel coating, PVC coating basically around it. That’s what gives us its
different colors.”
Lightwire Theater will be in Klamath Falls on April 4 and the show starts at
6:00pm. It is only in town for one day so make sure to buy your tickets at
the Ross Ragland Theater website.

 

Each week, BasinLife.com features a Pet of the Week ready for adoption from the Klamath Animal Shelter.

This week’s pet is a dog named ” Sebastian “.  Sebastian is a 4 1/2 month old male Border Collie/Labrador mix.  He is black with white markings, he weighs about 35 pounds and still has growing to do.
Unfortunately, one of the other dogs in the family home was not liking having a new addition, they felt that Sebastian would be safer in a new home. They said that he is started on his crate training, has been around visiting children of all ages, he lived with 2 other dogs and a cat. Sebastian is very active, loves his Groot toy and can be vocal.
If you are interested in adopting Sebastian the shelter is 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

 

 

Just for reading our news, click to enter to win Free Movie Tickets from BasinLife.com and Wynne Broadcasting. 
  Click here!

 

 

In Weed CA, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office found over 5,000 illegal marijuana plants after a traffic stop.

Saturday morning, deputy sheriffs conducted a traffic stop of a Dodge van for speeding on I-5 in inclement weather in Weed. Deputies noticed the smell of marijuana and discovered dozens of boxes of marijuana plants sticking out.

The driver claimed he didn’t know what was in the back of the car adding he was told by an unknown person to rent and drive the empty van into the Mojave Desert the previous morning. He was told to leave it and return a couple of hours later for money.

The driver 41-year-old James Lucatero and 27-year-old Dixon Pena were cited for “the cultivation and transportation” of marijuana.

It was the second such bust by SCSO in two weeks.

 

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek has signed a package of bills that makes minor drug possession a crime again and infuses millions into behavioral health programs, officially marking the end of the state’s short-lived and politically tumultuous experience with drug decriminalization.

Kotek signed House Bill 4002 as expected but not before meeting with a wide-range of groups, including prosecutors, defense lawyers, the state’s chief justice and the Department of Corrections, in an effort to outline her expectations for what comes next.

Senate Bill 5204, the other bill signed by the governor, sets aside $211 million for programs and projects intended to expand access to substance abuse treatment, including in jails, and mental health services across Oregon. It also includes funding for substance abuse prevention education.

Both bills passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and were among the top policy priorities of the short session that ended last month.

Wondering how important this is to Kotek remains to be seen, as the change won’t go into effect until Sept. 1st, 2024.

 

A Springfield Police Officer vehicle that was parked, blocking traffic while repairs were being done, was struck by a reckless driver on Saturday, hit so hard that it deployed the police vehicle’s airbags.

According to SPD, around 8:27 pm on Saturday, a police officer and their K9 partner were parked in the patrol vehicle, sitting in the rear of the kennel, while blocking traffic for Springfield Utility Board (SUB) workers. Sub crews at the time were working to repair a broken water main along Mohawk Blvd. and Centennial Blvd.

Officials say while the officer and their K9 were in the rear of the vehicle, a pick-up truck had drove through the intersection at around 40 mph and crashed into the patrol vehicle.

Witnesses say the driver of the pick-up, identified as 69-year-old John Manuel Wilson of Springfield, was looking down instead of ahead at the road before traveling through the intersection.

The police department says the officer was transported to a local hospital via ambulance, their K9 parter was also evaluated for injuries and appeared to be unhurt. Wilson was subsequently arrested and charged with reckless driving.

 

Over the course of the past couple of months, the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement team (MADGE) has been busy removing dangerous drugs and firearms from the local area.

The below three cases highlight some of the work this team has been doing. 

On 10/26/2023, MADGE investigators made contact with a suspect in the North Medford Walmart parking lot as a result of a month’s long investigation. A search of the suspect’s vehicle resulted in the seizure of 9 pounds of Methamphetamine and cash. This case involved three suspect’s transporting drugs from northern California to Medford. Arrested were 52-year-old Angela Rehberger of Grants Pass and 51-year-old Stacy Carlisle, also of Grants Pass. 

On 01/31/24, MADGE detectives made contact with two subjects in the parking lot of the South Medford Walmart as a result of a month long investigation. During this contact, the suspects were found to be in possession of 10 pounds of Methamphetamine, 6 ounces of Fentanyl and cash. Arrested were Luis Lepe-Rodriguez (45 years old) and Aurora Mendoza-Valencia (55 years old). Both of these subjects were from Cresent City and had been transporting drugs to the Medford area. 

On 02/15/24, MADGE served a search warrant at the Motel 6 in North Medford as a result of a month’s long investigation involving Honduran nationals delivering drugs to our area from the Bay Area in California. During the execution of the warrant, 10 pounds of Meth and a loaded handgun were seized. Yoel Fernando Valladares-Galvez (29 years-old) and Carlos Rivas-Gamez (19 years-old) were both arrested for the drug charges.     

The MADGE team is a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force that identifies, disrupts, and dismantles local, multi-state and international drug trafficking organizations using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency prosecutor-support approach. MADGE is supported by the Oregon-Idaho High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) which is compose of members from the Medford Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, Parole and Probation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.

 

Regence BlueCross BlueShield patients will be able to continue using Legacy Health providers at in-network prices.

The insurance corporation and health system announced a last-minute deal over the weekend to keep Legacy Health in-network. The agreement came just hours before last night’s deadline. Without the agreement, some 200-thousand patients would have had to start paying out-of-pocket costs for seeking care at Legacy Health facilities. With the new deal in place, officials say there won’t be any disruption of care for patients.

 

In Springfield Oregon, police there are investigation the scene at a home where two individuals were found dead on Sunday, in what is being described as suspicious circumstances. 

According to the Springfield Police Department, at about 6:43 p.m. on Sunday police heard a report of a shooting at a home on south 70th Street. Officers responded to find two individuals had died due to gunshot wounds. However, police also said there is no ongoing threat to the community in relation to the incident.

Springfield PD detectives are working with the Oregon Medical Examiner’s office to determine the precise manner of death. The names of the deceased have not yet been released as the investigation continues. Springfield Police Department did not release any additional details about the shooting.

 

Some Oregonians are still struggling to use the new Frances Online system to get unemployment benefits.

The Oregon Employment Department says the number of people using Frances Online increased two percent over the last week to 89 percent.  More than half of people trying to call for help are waiting over 15 minutes for their calls to be answered.

Nearly 15-million-dollars in benefits were paid last week.  The new system went live a month ago.

 

The April here today, it marks a key time of the year.  It’s when mountain snow usually peaks across Oregon — offering a hint at the severity of the coming wildfire season and about conditions for farmers who rely on irrigation.

Throughout the state, snowpacks are about normal, with some exceptions in northeast Oregon, where levels are below average. The Umatilla-Walla Walla-Willow region is at 83% of normal as of late March.

Snowpack, and more specifically its snow-water equivalent percentage — a measure of how much water the snow contains — is like a natural water reservoir, and the measure gives experts a good idea of water supplies for the spring and summer months, said Larry O’Neill, Oregon’s state climatologist.

O’Neill said weather conditions this year have been erratic. In early January, snowpacks were well below normal levels, then mid-January snowstorms gave Oregon mountain ranges a boost.

The March snowmelt “wasn’t the worst, but it was definitely way above normal,” O’Neill said. “And the reason that is so critical is because it’s a reservoir of water and it would release that water too early into the system before we can use it.”

Ryan Andrews, a hydrologist for the Oregon Water Resources Department, said conditions on average throughout the state are good, given that it’s a El Niño year. El Niño is a Pacific Ocean event that usually creates warmer, drier winters in the Northwest.

 

One suspect is in custody, and another is on the loose after attacks targeting homeless encampments in Grants Pass, Oregon.

According to Grants Pass Police, around 11:20 Wednesday night officers responded to Tussing Park where a 50-year-old woman was hit in the face with a large tree branch.

The woman told officers two men walked through the park yelling and hitting tents. When she looked out of her tent she was hit by the branch.

Police then received reports of men matching the description attempting to assault people at Morrison Centennial Park on Rogue River Highway.

Police arrested 18-year-old Petersen Pearce Amotai of Grants Pass for assault and unlawful use of a weapon.

His accomplice is believed to be a juvenile who has not been arrested yet.

 

The Columbia County, Oregon Sheriff’s Office is investigating reports that puppies were being frozen and later used as feed for snakes.

Deputies searched a home in Goble, near St. Helens, last Friday and found 18 dead, frozen puppies.  A snake was also seized by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  There were several snakes at the home.  The Oregon Humane Society will determine how the puppies died.

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed yet.

 

Mt. Ashland Ski Area announced Friday that their shuttle service will be returning thanks to funding from Travel Oregon to purchase a new shuttle bus.

With only a few weeks left of the season, skiers and snowboarders will be able to catch a ride up to the mountain from Ashland.

The 12-passenger mini-bus will stop at three pick-up locations with two trip times available. The three pick-up locations in the city of Ashland area are the Evergreen Federal Bank, Southern Oregon University at The Hawk and at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites.

All shuttle tickets must be purchased online prior to departure time, and the ski area asks that you please carry proof of ticket purchase (printed or on your cell phone). Shuttle drivers won’t be able to accept payment. Round-trip shuttle service will cost $10.

 

TAX DEALINE IN TWO WEEKS

Salem, OR—This year’s tax deadline is just two weeks away as both state and federal income taxes need to be filed by April 15. 

Nearly 1.3 million Oregonians have already filed their state personal income tax returns. The state expecting to receive 2.2 million returns in 2024, leaving more than 900,000 Oregonians who still have to file their taxes in the next two weeks.

The department offers the following information for taxpayers who still need to file their state return.

File electronically. 

E-filing is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks. Taxpayers should file just once. Sending a paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund. 

Free filing options

Revenue provides several options for taxpayers to e-file their returns for free. Oregon Free Fillable Forms performs basic calculations and is ideal for taxpayers who don’t need help preparing their returns and want the convenience of filing electronically. The IRS offers a similar option for filing federal taxes electronically.

New this year, the department is also offering Direct File Oregon, which allows taxpayers to file their Form OR-40 through Revenue Online. Direct File Oregon is not currently linked with the IRS Direct File. Taxpayers will need to file a separate federal return with the IRS before filing an Oregon return with Direct File Oregon through Revenue Online.

Information about other available free tax preparation tax preparation software is available on the Revenue website, along with a list of organizations providing free or reduced cost assistance.

What’s My Kicker? calculator

In 2024 Oregon is returning $5.61 billion in surplus revenue to taxpayers in the form of a “kicker” tax credit. Taxpayers will receive their kicker as part of their refund, or the kicker can reduce the tax they owe.

Taxpayers, who have not filed their 2023 return, should not guess at their kicker amount. They can determine the amount of their kicker using the What’s My Kicker? calculator available on Revenue Online. To use the tool, taxpayers will need to enter their name, Social Security Number, and filing status for 2022 and 2023.

Where’s my refund? tool and video

Revenue has issued nearly 1.1 million refunds already this year, most within two weeks of filing. Taxpayers wondering about the refund on their 2023 tax year return, can use the Oregon Department of Revenue’s Where’s My Refund? tool to check its status and, if they want more information, watch a video outlining the refund timelines to better understand the process.

Filing an extension

Individuals who are not able to file by April 15, 2024 can file an extension directly with the Oregon Department of Revenue or with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If the IRS extension is granted, the Oregon extension is automatically granted. A timely filed extension moves the federal tax filing deadline and the Oregon filing deadline to October 16, 2023.

Only request an Oregon extension if you:

  • Don’t have a federal extension.
  • Owe Oregon taxes.
  • Can’t file your return by April 15, 2024.

Remember that having a filing extension is not an extension to pay any tax owed. Taxpayers who can’t pay the full amount they owe, should pay what they can to avoid late payment penalties.

Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get tax forms, see a list of approved tax preparation software products, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments. For questions not answered on our website, call 800-356-4222 toll-free (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 or emaiquestions.dor@dor.oregon.gov. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), we accept all relay calls. Due to the number of calls Revenue receives during tax season, you may experience extended wait times.

 

PORTLAND, Ore.—The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon announced today that it has forfeited on behalf of the United States 14 real properties located in Oregon—together worth more than $5.7 million—that were used by an interstate drug trafficking organization to illegally grow marijuana for redistribution and sale in other states. The owner of a 15th property agreed to pay the government $400,000 in lieu of having their property forfeited.

Beginning at an unknown time, and continuing until September 2021, the properties, located in Clatsop, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties, were used as illegal marijuana grow houses by an interstate drug trafficking organization led by Fayao “Paul” Rong, 53, of Houston, Texas. On July 19, 2023, after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, Rong was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release.

“This prosecution and yearslong effort to forfeit properties used by the Rong organization to grow and process thousands of pounds of marijuana demonstrate the long reach of our commitment to holding drug traffickers accountable and mitigating the damage these criminal organizations inflict on neighborhoods and communities,” said Natalie Wight, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

“The goal of drug traffickers is to generate profits through their crimes,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Seattle Field Division. “The DEA and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon and the Oregon State Police worked hard in this case to investigate and forfeit the ill-gotten gains of this organization, benefiting our entire community.”

“The Oregon State Police is committed to disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations operating within our state. Our priorities include safeguarding Oregon’s natural resources and mitigating the impact illicit marijuana has on them,” said Tyler Bechtel, Oregon State Police (OSP) Lieutenant. “This case is a great example of the results that can be achieved when all levels of law enforcement work together toward our common goals.”

According to court documents, Rong purchased numerous residential houses in Oregon using several different identities and, with others in his organization, used them to grow and process marijuana and prepare it for transport to states where its use remains illegal. In a 12-month period beginning August 2020, Rong’s organization trafficked more than $13.2 million dollars in black market marijuana.

In early September 2021, a coordinated law enforcement operation led by DEA and OSP targeted Rong’s organization. Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners executed search warrants on 25 Oregon residences and Rong’s home in Houston. During the precipitating investigation and ensuing search warrants, investigators seized nearly 33,000 marijuana plants, 1,800 pounds of packaged marijuana, 23 firearms, nine vehicles, $20,000 in money orders, and more than $591,000 in cash.

The Rong organization takedown followed a 14-month investigation initiated by OSP after the agency learned of excessive electricity use at the various properties, which, in several instances, resulted in transformer explosions. Multiple citizen complaints corroborated law enforcement’s belief that Rong was leading a large black market marijuana operation. With the assistance of the Columbia and Polk County Sheriff’s Offices, OSP found associated marijuana grows in Clatsop, Columbia, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, and Polk Counties. On February 18, 2022, Rong was arrested by DEA agents in Houston.

This case was investigated by DEA, OSP, and the U.S. Marshals Service with assistance from the FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; Oregon Department of Justice; Portland Police Bureau; the Yamhill, Clatsop, Marion, Multnomah, Columbia, and Polk County Sheriff’s Offices; Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team; and Linn Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. Forfeiture proceedings were handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Division.

The proceeds of forfeited assets are deposited in the Justice Department’s Assets Forfeiture Fund (AFF) and used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of other law enforcement purposes. To learn more about the AFF, please visithttps://www.justice.gov/afp/assets-forfeiture-fund-aff.

This prosecution is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the U.S. by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

 

A federal government plan for hunters to kill thousands of invasive owls to protect the rapidly declining northern spotted owl has ruffled the feathers of dozens of animal advocacy groups.

On Monday, a coalition of 75 animal rights and wildlife protection organizations sent a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland asking her to scrap what they describe as a “reckless plan” to wipe out half a million barred owls in West Coast states over the next three decades.

The letter, spearheaded by the Animal Wellness Action group and the Center for a Humane Economy, lambastes the plan for being unworkable and short-sighted, arguing that it will lead to the wrong owls being shot and disruption to nesting behavior.

Federal wildlife officials believe the action is necessary to control the population of the barred owl — which they consider invasive — and give the threatened northern spotted owls a fighting chance on their home turf.

 

GARDEN VOLUNTEERS NEEDED AT SHORE ACRES STATE PARK APRIL THROUGH SEPT.

COOS BAY, Oregon— Come share your gardening skills or learn new ones as a garden volunteer at Shore Acres State Park.

Join rangers in caring for the gardens 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Friday of every month from April through September. Tasks vary depending on the season and could include cleaning out the pond, pruning roses, trimming shrubs, pulling weeds, mulching, planting and helping to remove invasive species.

The 2024 garden volunteer schedule:

  • April 19: Pond clean out
  • May 17: Prepare for summer
  • June 21: Garden clean up
  • July 19: Garden clean up
  • Aug. 16: English ivy pull
  • Sept. 20: Prepare for fall

Sign up for one or more of these events at https://form.jotform.com/240225153017140

Participants should be prepared to travel a short distance on uneven ground and trails to the service site. Service will take place outdoors, and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools.

Dress for the weather. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty. Remember to bring a water bottle, sack lunch and work gloves if you have them (some will be provided if not).

For more information, contact Ranger Hayward or go to https://form.jotform.com/240225153017140.

APPLY FOR THE SMOKE MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Department of Forestry is soliciting applications to join the Smoke Management Advisory Committee. The committee is currently seeking applications to fill one vacancy to represent the public.

Created in 1989, the Smoke Management Advisory Committee (SMAC) provides advice and assistance to the Oregon Department of Forestry Smoke Management Program. The membership of the committee consists of an industrial forestland owner representative, a non-industrial forestland owner representative, a public representative, a Forest Service representative, and a Bureau of Land Management representative. Each representative serves for two-year terms that are renewable after the two-year period.

“This is an opportunity for the public to get involved and make sure that their voice and concerns are heard when it comes to prescribed fire smoke management in Oregon.” Said Stacy McCarter, Mitigation Program Manager.

Committee members gather for public meetings in Salem twice a year to discuss and provide advice to the Smoke Management Program regarding current prescribed burning and smoke intrusion trends, program fund balance, implementation plan items, and other current issues and projects of the program.

To apply, complete an online questionnaire at https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/Documents/smac/smac-public-nomination-form-2024.pdf and submit to Stacy McCarter at ODF by email stacy.mccarter@odf.oregon.gov by May 1, 2024.

 

The Heceta Head Lighthouse is celebrating its 130th birthday.

The landmark structure turned 130 on Saturday. The Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast held celebrations to mark the occasion. The Heceta Head Lighthouse is the West Coast’s most photographed lighthouse.

 

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You can receive Daily Radio Mentions across our 6 stations, Articles, direct link Banner Ads, floating Banner Ads on hundreds of article pages daily, Social Media Posts, geo-fencing and geo-targeting services, and also available are monthly Email Blasts to thousands of local residents. We keep you updated with the latest smart digital marketing strategies for 2024 for your business. BasinLife.com is still the best value in the Klamath Basin for advertising, as we celebrate our 8th year promoting businesses!

For information or prices on plans, simply call us today at 541-363-7503 or email us at Info@BasinLife.com.  Let us keep your business top-of -mind!

 

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