Klamath Basin News, Monday, 5/20 – Klamath Man Dies After Crash on His Motorcycle; County Emergency Food And Shelter Receives Large Donation from The United Way; Tuesday is Oregon’s Primary Election; Sky Lakes Opens Remodeled Cafeteria

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Monday, May 20, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Sunny, with a high near 65. North wind 7 to 10 mph. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 37. North northwest wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

Tuesday
Increasing clouds, with a high near 69. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Overnight low of 43.
Wednesday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 60. West wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 13 to 18 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
Thursday
Sunny, with a high near 68.
Friday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 71.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath Falls Mans Dies While Riding Motorcycle

Oregon State Police responded to the crash last Wednesday morning and details are just coming in.

The preliminary investigation indicated George Henry Macomber, 66, of Klamath Falls, was riding his Harley Davidson westbound near milepost 11 on Highway 66 when he crossed the double-yellow line into the eastbound lane for unknown reasons and struck a Kenworth logging truck, operated by Robert David Sandene, 44, of Cave Junction, head-on.

The operator of the Harley Davidson, Macomber, was transported and declared deceased at the hospital. The driver of the logging truck was not injured during the collision.

The highway was impacted for approximately three hours during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

OSP was assisted by Ashland Fire and Rescue and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

 

The Klamath County Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) administered by the United Way of the Klamath Basin has received an additional $36,439 to support local public and private nonprofit organizations with existing programs that provide emergency food (meals and food boxes), shelter, and utility assistance to individuals throughout Klamath County.

The Klamath County FEMA board, currently chaired by Christine Hess and administered by the United Way of the Klamath Basin, will make local funding determinations in late May.

According to a press release, in fiscal year 2023, FEMA awarded to the national board of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program $130 million for Phase 41 of the program, which is made available under the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2022. FEMA funding priorities are intended to help senior citizens, children, veterans, Native Americans, homeless populations and, if possible, strive to prevent homelessness by providing emergency assistance to qualified organizations.

Applications for funding are available by contacting the United Way of the Klamath Basin located at 136 N. Third Street in Klamath Falls or by telephone at 541-882-5558, or email at info@uwkf.org. The deadline for submission of applications is May 28 at noon.

 

The chairman of the Klamath Tribes resigned from his position last week. Clayton Dumont Jr. had served in the leadership role since May 2022.

A news release from the Klamath Tribes’ Tribal Council announced his resignation Friday afternoon and announced Dumont’s successor.

The release read, “The Klamath Tribes are pleased to announce William E. Ray Jr. as presiding chair for the Klamath Tribes following the resignation of former Chairman Clayton Dumont Jr., effective May 13, 2024.”

Ray will officially take over the position Wednesday, May 22nd.

Until then, the release said, vice chairwoman Gail Hatcher will serve as interim chairwoman to ensure continuity of Tribal government.

“We have come a long way, and we have a long way to go, and we have a lot of potential for a successful future for our coming generations as long as we work together,” said Brandi Hatcher, treasurer for the Klamath Tribes.

 

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and beyond is back in full swing at Sky Lakes Medical Center is their remodeled cafeteria area.

Furthering its vision to be a catalyst for positive change and create a vibrant and thriving community through transforming the health and well-being of current and future generations, Sky Lakes Medical Center’s remodeled cafeteria is cooking up good health and spirits for employees, patients and visitors.

Having undergone a massive renovation to modernize the dining facility, Sky Lakes Medical Center’s update was described as “night and day” by Sky Lakes Senior Business Intelligence Developer Lori Spiesschaert.

The kitchen facilities also received major updates including new equipment and more accessibility such as two pass throughs, one for hot food and one for cold food, that allows for more efficient delivery of food products to the line.

As part of the renovations, the menu has been revamped and will see a six-week rotation with diverse seasonal offerings.

Open 24/7 and to the public, the cafeteria functions as a grocery too, for simple items such as fresh fruits, beverages and snacks.

 

Klamath and Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS) is marking 20 years providing energy assistance, family support, homeless prevention and supportive services for Veteran families in Klamath and Lake counties.

A part of a nationwide network, the National Community Action Partnership and Community Action Network was established by President Johnson through the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to help American families and communities overcome poverty. Community Action Agencies serve 99% of all American counties with life-changing services to help families achieve financial stability.

In 2023, KLCAS was ranked 32 in the Top 100 Nonprofits to work for in Oregon.

 

The Bureau of Land Management’s Klamath Falls Field Office is announcing the opening of the Gerber Campground in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

The Gerber Recreation Area is set in the high desert about one hour’s drive east of Klamath Falls, Ore. Mountain ridges and scattered Ponderosa Pine forests add variety and texture to the area.

Gerber offers opportunities for camping, fishing, horseback riding, and mountain biking, along with access to 100,000 acres of backcountry suitable for exploring, hunting, wildlife viewing, and scenic OHV driving. Developed campsites are available at Gerber North and South Campgrounds. The area also offers primitive campsites, a horse camp, and a day-use area as well as two boat ramps.

Fees will start on Thursday, May 23. Amenities include drinking water, vault restrooms, dump station, camp hosts, two boat ramps, fishing cleaning station at North Gerber, trash cans and day-use parking. Additionally, there are nine miles of hiking trails connecting the campgrounds.

The Gerber Campground is first-come, first-serve. Camping fees are $7 a night or $4 for senior/military/access card holders. $2 for day-use parking. There is a 14-day stay limit. Dogs are permitted with a six-foot leash. Camp hosts are on site at these locations.

For more information contact the Klamath Falls Field Office at 541-883-6916 or blm_or_kf_mail@blm.gov

 

The investigation continues by Klamath County Sheriff’s office in gunshot death of a local Bly, Oregon man. 

Last Wednesday on Kodiak Lane near Bly, deputies confirmed that Ted Foltz Tipton (age 53) was deceased near his pickup truck on Kodiak Lane. He was a resident of the area and lived on a nearby road.

Due to the nature of death, the Klamath County Major Crime Team was activated and responded to the area. The investigation is considered a homicide and continues.

At this time witnesses are being interviewed and the investigation is ongoing. If additional information is discovered that can be shared publicly it will be provided in an additional release.

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and the Klamath County Major Crime team request that anyone with information regarding this investigation phone (541) 850-5380 and provide that information to the investigators.

 

Klamath Tribes Public Safety Officers are searching for a missing 13-year-old Indigenous girl.

Ilana Jackson was last seen on April 27, according to an announcement posted on the Klamath Tribes Facebook page. Jackson is described as having black hair, brown eyes, weighing 110 pounds and measuring 5-feet, 4-inches in height.

Anyone who has seen or has any information on Jackson’s possible whereabouts are asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

2024 marks the 60th year since the Community Action Network was established to help American families and communities overcome obstacles to poverty.

Over 1000 agencies across the country are working every day to create opportunities and transform the lives of their neighbors, making communities stronger and helping families across the US survive and thrive.

This year, Klamath and Lake Community Action Services, a proud member of the Community Action Network, will also be celebrating 20 years of helping Oregonians throughout Klamath and Lake counties.

 See us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/klamathandlakecommunityactionservices

Community Action Agencies serve 99% of all American counties with life-changing services to help families achieve financial stability. All agencies are locally controlled and represented by the private, public, and low-income sectors of the community.

Klamath and Lake Community Action Services is a member of the National Community Action Partnership and the Community Action

Network, which was created by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

 

Oregon Tech welcomes graduates, their families, and friends to the Klamath Falls campus on June 15 at 10 a.m. to celebrate the Class of 2024.

Hoffman Construction Company President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Drinkward will provide the keynote address at the ceremony.

Founded in 1922, Portland-based Hoffman Construction Company has grown to become one of the largest construction companies in the United States. As CEO, Drinkward is ultimately responsible for creating Hoffman Construction’s vision and executing all aspects of the company’s work.

With nearly 17 years at Hoffman Construction, Drinkward has led some of the company’s highest-level initiatives and held several leadership roles in Risk Management, Safety, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Virtual Design and Construction.

Drinkward has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Linfield College and a Juris Doctor from Willamette University College of Law. He and his wife, Erin, have four children and live in Portland.

Following the Klamath Falls event, Oregon Tech’s Portland-Metro campus will celebrate commencement on June 16, at 11 a.m., with Oregon House Representative Tawna D. Sanchez serving as the keynote speaker. Oregon Tech’s Seattle campus commencement will take place June 17.

 

Memorial Day celebrations will continue with help from The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 12.  Commander Ray Ramirez is spearheading the project.

Fellow veterans from DAV, CVMA (Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association), Oregon Tech and various other organizations met with Ramirez last week to set up an official committee.

With only a couple of weeks left before Memorial Day — Monday, May 27 — time is limited.

Though the group has already managed to find a number of volunteers, more assistance is needed.

Registration for parade floats is still available online through the Klamath Freedom Foundation website. To register for the parade, visit klamathfc.org/event-registration and submit the online form.

Registrants will gather at the same location as in previous years, along Spring Street on the morning of Memorial Day at 8:30 a.m.

The parade will proceed down Main Street at 10 a.m., arriving at Veterans Memorial Park at 11 a.m.

The annual celebration at Veterans Park will begin then, shortly after the annual Kingsley Airfield F-15 flyover.

For more information, submit emails to klamathfallsparades@gmail.com.

 

Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin invites the community to its annual fundraising dinner auction, Friend Raiser, presented by Lithia Ford of Klamath Falls, Thursday, May 30th. Doors open at Mike’s fieldhouse at Steen Sports Park at 5 p.m.

“This year’s event theme is ‘You Belong!” because we help children feel the belonging and value they need to develop hope and skills for bright futures,” said Executive Director Amanda Squibb. “Our community health depends on our kids’ well-being, and I’m excited to see everyone come out to support professional mentoring in the Klamath Basin.”  

Friend Raiser begins with dinner and cocktail stations, a silent auction, wine and bourbon games, and raffle sales. A seated program and live auction follow at 7 p.m.  

To reserve seats, visit friendsklamath.org or https://fckb.ejoinme.org/FR2024. Silent and live auction items will be added May 23rd for preview. 

Friends – Klamath Basin was established in 2000 to impact generational change by empowering youth facing the greatest obstacles. It pairs youth with professional mentors for 12+ years, no matter what, and will serve 72 youth this year. 

 

Klamath Hospice and Palliative Care is excited to be kicking off our second annual Senior Awareness Fair.

Last year, we had more than 300 people attend and learn about community resources in the Klamath Basin and outlining areas.

This year, we will be hosting it on Wednesday, May 22nd from 10-2 pm. The fair will be held again at our building located at 2751 Washburn Way.

Also, Basin Transit Service has partnered with us again to provide FREE rides to all seniors during our event. They ask everyone to please give them a 24-hour notice to reserve their spot on the bus.

 

Around the State of Oregon

Celebrate State Parks Day with free parking and free RV and tent site camping at all Oregon State Parks June 1 as well as special events at selected parks.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive day-use parking fees at the 25 locations that charge them and camping fees for all tent, RV and horse campsites June 1.

OPRD will also waive day-use parking fees June 2, to support Free Fishing Days offered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State Parks Day has been a tradition since 1998 to thank Oregonians for their support of the state park system over many decades.

Visit the stateparks.oregon.gov event calendar for a list of additional events this summer.

For camping availability, please check oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com

 

Oregon is on track to see fewer than 40% of registered voters cast their ballot in Tuesday’s primary, as is customary in years without more than one well-known contender for either major party’s presidential nomination.

As of Thursday, 14.1% of Oregon voters had returned their ballots to county election offices, the state reported Friday. That compares to the 14.6% who had returned ballots at the same stage of the 2022 primary.

Ultimately, the May 2022 election generated statewide turnout of 37.8%.

That was weak compared to recent years with hot or at least unsettled presidential nomination races. In 2016, for example, when Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were still dueling and Republicans hadn’t fully given up on Ted Cruz’s bid against Donald Trump, turnout in Oregon’s May primary reached 54%.

But in 2018, a non-presidential year in which the major parties’ nominees for governor were largely settled, turnout sunk to 34.7%.

 

Bank Robber Arrested

Medford, Or.  – On Friday, May 17th, 2024, at approximately 1:50 p.m. Medford Police Officers responded to a report of a robbery at Key Bank at 2598 E. Barnett Rd.

The suspect entered the bank and demanded money from a teller. The male suspect stole an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the location in a dark colored Ford Escape. MPD Detectives and local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agents responded to the scene to assume the investigation. 

Detectives diligently worked on this investigation throughout the night and were able to identify the suspect as 52-year-old Timothy Michael Spencer of Medford.

Today a vigilant MPD Officer located the suspect and the outstanding suspect vehicle in Medford. Timothy Spencer was taken into custody and is currently being detained as the investigation continues. Spencer is being investigated for this robbery as well as the robbery that occurred at a Rogue River bank earlier this week. Charges are pending at this time.

 

Fatal Alarm Fire Destroys Adult Foster Care Home in Lebanon

Lebanon Fire District was dispatched to the report of a structure fire at an adult foster care home.

BC31 arrived on scene to a two-story home that was well involved in fire. The owners of the adult foster home stated that there was still someone inside the structure. BC31 upgraded the fire to a second alarm fire, requesting additional resources from across the county. The first arriving engine and medic unit forced their way through a locked door to search the room for the missing victim.

The victim was located and removed from the burning building and then emergently transported to Lebanon Community Hospital where it is reported that they passed away. Hot embers from the fire were being blown across the street and started another structure on fire. A single engine was able to quickly extinguish the second fire and return to the original fire. The crews remained on scene for several hours extinguishing the fire. The fire is currently under investigation.

Lebanon Fire District received assistance From Albany Fire Department, Sweet Home Fire District, Tangent Fire District, Harrisburg Fire Department, and Corvallis Fire Department

The owners of the adult foster care home were awakened by working smoke detectors and able evacuate majority of the residents until the the LFD was able to arrive on scene.

Student Protest Encampment at OSU

In a statement released on Thursday, less than a day after student protesters set up at the Memorial Union Quad, Oregon State University officials gave demonstrators until today, Monday, May 20, to pack up their tents or face consequences for student conduct code violations. It wasn’t immediately clear what those consequences would look like.

Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights organization at Oregon State University assembled an encampment Wednesday in the northwest corner of the Memorial Union quad.

Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights said in an Instagram post that the encampment was made in order to gather support for what they said is a stand for OSU to “divest from this genocide.”

The Associated Students of Oregon State University passed Senate resolution SR-83.09, calling for OSU to divest from any organizations funding Israel on May 9. 

OSU also released an encampment statement Wednesday. In it, OSU provides resources and statements for students, staff, faculty and community to read and understand OSU’s official stance on the encampment and what is happening with the people in Palestine.

“We will not accept violence or threats of violence, willful destruction of property, discrimination, harassment or hate speech that incites violence or criminal activity toward community members on the basis of nationality, ethnic identity or religious beliefs,” the statement states. 

In a written response last week, OSU invited protestors to help create new educational resources, and said it will launch a task force this fall to evaluate its procurement policies.

However, the university said the encampment must be gone by this Tuesday, or it will take disciplinary action.

“We will begin using methods available to us to hold participants accountable for violations of policy under the student conduct code and criminal statutes,” officials wrote.

OSU said the encampment violates the campus’ free expression and ground-use rules, while interfering with other scheduled events that have non-refundable contracts.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently tested 297 retail milk samples from 38 states for H5N1 virus. About 20% of these samples tested positive for H5N1 viral fragments, but none contained live infectious virus because the H5N1 virus had been killed through pasteurization.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are 49 dairy cattle H5N1 outbreaks across nine states. No outbreaks have occurred in Oregon, but H5N1 is believed to be more widespread than current testing suggests.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently tested 297 retail milk samples from 38 states for H5N1 virus. About 20% of these samples tested positive for H5N1 viral fragments, but none contained live infectious virus because the H5N1 virus had been killed through pasteurization.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), there are 49 dairy cattle H5N1 outbreaks across nine states. No outbreaks have occurred in Oregon, but H5N1 is believed to be more widespread than current testing suggests.

 

A Centennial High School teacher is on leave as Gresham police investigate reports of inappropriate behavior towards students.

The behavior was reported to school staff earlier this week, according to the police.

Police ask anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Mark Hawley at 503-618-3199.

 

Phoenix is the fastest growing city in Southern Oregon, growing at a rate of 5% — or 215 people — from 2022 to 2023.

This is according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This comes four years after the 2020 wildfires devastated the area. 

Behind Phoenix is Talent, which grew 2% from from 2022 to 2023.

Klamath Falls lost 78 residents since the last census, with a city grade population of 21,888.

 

University of Oregon students are into their week four of camping out on the university campus as part of a pro-Palestine demonstration, and remain committed to their demands, despite university administration urging them to disperse.  There seems to be on backbone from UofO officials.

Tensions over the protest encampment on the University of Oregon’s campus are reaching a new pitch after a group of protestors marched and chanted in front of university President Karl Scholz’s home last week in the middle of the night.

Neighbors in Eugene’s Fairmount Neighborhood just a few blocks from the UO campus said the group walked through the neighborhood chanting slogans and making noise at President Scholz’s home at about 1:55 in the morning. Neighbors said the chanting lasted for several minutes before protestors left.

“Wanted” posters were also set up all over the neighborhood with the names of Scholz and the CEO of the UO Foundation, Paul Weinhold.

Last week University of Oregon administrators gave protestors a deadline of May 11th to stop camping overnight, dismantle the encampment, and reserve a designated space to gather during daytime hours through an officially recognized student group. However, as of May 20th, today, protestors say they are there to stay.

Protestors are still having conversations about what their next course of action will be after calling the University’s recent response to their demands “cowardly.” The university told protestors they will not call for a ceasefire or divest from companies protestors have asked them to, as the university does not make decisions based on political views.

To try and compromise, the UO negotiating team said the university will provide more education on the conflict and will increase resources for people to learn about it. They also said they are willing to arrange a meeting, after the encampment has been dismantled, for a select group of students to meet with the president and CEO of UO Foundation, the UO’s senior vice president for finance and administration, and President Karl Scholz to share the university’s approach to investment and to also hear from students.

 

“Track Town Fever” is already underway in Lane County ahead of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the Olympic Trials in June at Hayward Field.

Of course in Eugene, track and field events are a multi-million dollar industry.

“People come, they stay in hotels, they eat at the restaurants, they shop in the retail stores,” said one official.  Businesses are preparing for the busy summer at “Track Town USA”.

Events like the famous Eugene Marathon will attract12,000-13,000 runners alone, bringing in millions of dollars to the city and businesses.

The NCAA Outdoor track meet is from June 5-8.

The Olympic Trials begin June 21 and run for 10 days.

 

Busy Wildfire season is on the horizon. The Red Cross says get ready now, prepare and volunteer.

Volunteers are needed to support families affected by continuous disasters.   

Residents of Oregon and SW Washington are anticipating another busy wildfire season as the climate crisis threatens to upend more communities. The best defense during an emergency is to be prepared and the American Red Cross, Cascades Region advises everyone to get ready now. 

“Today, the Red Cross is responding to more large disasters — almost twice as many — than we did a decade ago,” said Priscilla Fuentes, CEO of the Red Cross Cascades Region. “This growing need for help means we need more volunteers trained and ready to support families facing their darkest moments. Plus, it is critical for Oregon and SW Washington residents to make an emergency plan now.” 

The number of billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. has increased 85% in just the last decade as disasters grow in frequency and intensity. People across the country are feeling the impact as an estimated 2.5 million were forced from their homes by weather-related disasters in 2023 — with more than a third displaced for longer than a month. 

LOCALLY:

  • In 2020, Oregon experienced the worst wildfires on record, burning over a million acres of land. The Red Cross sheltered thousands of people for months across the state.  
  • In 2021, Oregon experienced a heat dome with record high temperatures. Later that summer, we responded to the Bootleg Fire which was the third largest in Oregon history.  
  • In 2022, dozens of fires consumed 465,000 acres. The Red Cross opened 10 shelters in one month alone. A wildfire erupted in Clark County in October, an unusually late time in the year.  
  • In 2023, the Red Cross started the summer with four times as many wildfire responses than the previous year. Our Cascades Region sent people on over 300 deployments, from Alaska to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Maui wildfires. 
  • In 2024, we are anticipating warmer summer temperatures which can intensify wildfire activity. 

Comprising 90% of the Red Cross workforce, volunteers are continuously providing shelter, comfort, hot meals, health services and recovery support to families in need across the country. We need you! 

VOLUNTEER TODAY The Red Cross is seeking new volunteers who are team-oriented and want to make an immediate difference. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up. Free online training will be provided 

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOUSEHOLD With the increasing risk of climate-driven disasters, help keep your family safe by getting prepared today.  

  • Build an emergency kit with bottled water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, and battery-powered radio. Also include medications, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers and emergency contact information.
  • Make an evacuation plan with what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and if you must evacuate. Make sure to coordinate with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans — and don’t forget your pets.
  • Know how to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

Plus, download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and more safety tips. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. 

 

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