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Klamath Falls
July 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Monday, 7/8/24 – Hot Temps Continue This Week in the Basin; Klamath County Has 12 Cooling Centers Available; Wildfires Rage Across The State of Oregon

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.

 

Monday, July 8, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Excessive Heat Advisory in effect thru Tuesday, July 9th to 10PM.

Today
Widespread haze before 4pm. Sunny and very hot, with a high near 102. West wind 3 to 5 mph. Overnight, hazy shkies continue, low of 63 degrees. Light northwest winds to 8 mph.

Tuesday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 101 degrees. Light southwest winds 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.
Wednesday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 99 degrees. 
Thursday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 99 degrees.
Friday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 100 degrees.
Saturday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 98 degrees.
Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 95 degrees.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath Falls celebrated America’s 248th birthday with flares and fun over the very hot holiday weekend.

Following the much-loved Fourth of July parade, which drew hundreds of residents to its viewing, the crowd regrouped at Veterans Memorial Park to witness the long-awaited static F-15 jet display dedication.

Elected officials and local military leaders who made the decommissioned fighter jet memorial possible presented the ceremony to dozens of community members.

From the amphitheater where the jet is now placed, Mayor Carol Westfall said the aircraft stands as a “symbol of strength and endurance.”

Long in the making, the static display features an F-15 Eagle fighter jet that came from Klamath Falls’ own airbase, Kingsley Field.

A partnership between city and county governments turned a near-decade’s long idea into a reality with each entity providing $300,000 in federal grant funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Kingsley Field is the second largest employer in Klamath County, Commissioner Derrick DeGroot said, with more than 1,100 employees who bring in about $70 million per year collectively.

DeGroot noted that there had been “a little bit of talk” about whether or not the jet should be placed in Veterans Memorial Park. Scores of complaints from the public at city council meetings resulted in a peaceful demonstration last summer.

Concerns regarding appropriate use of ARPA funds and the original planned placement of the jet in the center of the park were voiced at most city meetings for the better part of a year.

After the No Jet March protest through downtown, city council later decided to move the jet display to the already established concrete amphitheater in Veterans Park.

 

Shelly Fire Update, Monday, July 11AM

Rapid response from Klamath County Fire District crews helped put out a 30-acre fire off of Cypress Avenue, reportedly ignited by fireworks in the area.

Multiple units responded late Thursday night to the blaze, which was close enough to several area residences that evacuations were necessary.

The fire, dubbed the Eulalona fire, smoldered well after daybreak Friday as crews mopped up.

No injuries were reported, and official word on cause will be released in the future.

 

Klamath County has 12 cooling center safe havens to offer for cooling off: They include county library branches and the Klamath Basin Senior Center.

“Both the record-breaking temperatures and the duration of heat present a clear and present danger, particularly for children, elders, people with disabilities, and people who work outside,” Governor Kotek said in a statement. “I am urging Oregonians to take every precaution and check on your family and neighbors.”

The Oregon Health Authority has distributed nearly one-thousand air conditioners and other climate-control devices to Oregon Health Plan members. Nearly half of the units were air conditioners. Other units include heaters, air filters, small refrigerators for medication, and portable power supplies for medical equipment. Oregon is the first state to offer climate-related benefits tied to Medicaid coverage.

Gov. Kotek declared a statewide extreme heat emergency on Friday in light of the rising temperatures that are forecast through next Tuesday.

The Oregon Health Authority says people should take steps to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion as advisories predicting triple-digit temperatures are in effect through the weekend and early next week.

The National Weather Service on Friday extended its excessive heat warning through Tuesday, July 9, until 10 p.m.

 

Fire restrictions remain in effect for the Klamath National Forest.

These restrictions are designed to help minimize the chances of human-caused wildland fires. Human-caused fires, which range from escaped campfires, careless smokers, equipment use, vehicle exhaust, catalytic converters, parking on dry grass, or children playing with matches, are preventable. Due to recent exceptional heat and rapid drying of fuels, these restrictions also apply to wilderness areas.

Some of the fire restrictions in effect include:

  • Campfires, stove fires, and barbecue grills using charcoal briquettes are only allowed in open developed recreation sites, such as campgrounds (no permit required).
  • Smoking is limited to inside enclosed vehicles or buildings, within developed recreation sites, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine, except on National Forest System roads or trails, or within developed recreation sites is prohibited.
  • Welding, or operating an acetylene torch or other torch with an open flame is prohibited.

Outside of developed recreation sites, Forest visitors with a valid California Campfire Permit will still be able to use pressurized liquid or gas stoves, grills, or lanterns with shut-off valves, in an area that is cleared at least five feet of any flammable materials. Permits may be obtained at any forest office or online at www.preventwildfireca.org/campfires/.

For a complete list of fire restrictions and a list of developed recreation sites for the Klamath National Forest visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd1187464.pdf.

If visitors choose to have a campfire within a listed developed recreation site, follow these safety tips to prevent starting a wildfire:

  • Clear all flammable materials from the ground for five feet in all directions from the edge of the fire and make sure it is located away from overhanging limbs. Only use developed fire rings.
  • Have a shovel and water nearby.
  • Keep your campfire small and only use dead and downed wood…don’t cut live trees for firewood.
  • Make sure a responsible adult is always in attendance of your campfire. NEVER leave a campfire unattended!
  • Always make sure your campfire is DEAD OUT before leaving it! Drown it with plenty of water, stir well with a shovel, feel to see if it is hot, REPEAT. If it is too hot to touch, then it is too hot to leave.

Klamath Community in mourning gathered for a public vigil last Wednesday in remembrance of two teen sisters who killed in their home last weekend.

Aleeka and Zion Qualls were shot the morning of Saturday, June 29 in a Klamath Falls residence on North Hills Drive.

Aleeka, age 19, had just graduated from Klamath Learning Center in 2023 and received an award during the annual Graduation Sensation ceremony.

Her sister, Zion, was 14 years old. According to statements made by family members, the sisters were best friends.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Klamath Christian Center — relatives, friends, teachers and community members.

Originally, the Klamath Falls Police Department responded to a 9-1-1 call made by the teens’ father, Tashka Qualls. A KFPD news release said that Tashka Qualls reported a man in his home had pointed a gun at him and was now hiding in the house.  A second 9-1-1 call came in seven minutes later requesting emergency medical personnel.

KFPD officers heard gunshots when they arrived at the scene. Upon entering the residence, officers found Aleeka and Zion had suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Police reported one victim was found deceased, and the second victim was transported to the hospital where she soon after succumbed to her wounds.  Police confronted and arrested suspect Elijah Croy, 20, without incident. He is in custody at Klamath County Jail and facing first-degree murder and attempted murder charges as well as unlawful use of a weapon.

In the probable cause statement filed at Klamath County Circuit Court, the arresting officer said Croy confessed to the crimes.

Croy allegedly told the officer he had tried to kill the teens’ father when he discovered Croy in his daughter’s bedroom, but his gun jammed.

“The Klamath Tribes has continued to experience an unprecedented amount of violent crime, and many of these crimes do not appear to be properly investigated, prosecuted and addressed,” the Tribal Council statement reads. “This most recent murder must be immediately and fully investigated, holding any and all criminals accountable for their crimes.”

 

Coming soon to the City of Klamath Falls, from the team behind Retro Room Records and the Ross Ragland Comedy Nights, an economic and nostalgic family offering — the Retro Starlight Cinema.

Harkening back to the days of old, entrepreneurs Jim and Alison Turner are planning to bring a drive-in theater to Klamath County with a tentative opening in spring 2025.

“We need to bring families back together outside under the stars and laughing out loud as the popcorn is being passed back and forth enjoying movies as they should be presented,” Turner said.

Advising that everything is still “very nebulous” and that the Retro Starlight project will develop and become more concrete as more components are finalized, Turner said the operating plans are for the drive-in to show second-run movies (a recently released film shown at discount typically 3 to 4 weeks after its debut) in a double-featured format on a 75×100-foot screen.

Turner said the driver-in theater will be “totally modern but with a complete retro feel,” and that concessions, parking and payment will all be able to be handled by use of an app soon to be available on any smartphone.
As far as the location, Turner said that is the million-dollar question.

“We have a spot scoped out, but until we secure the final funding, I can’t make the announcement,” he said. “Trust me when I say that the spot is divine and perfect for the city and community.”

Turner did say that it’s within the Klamath Falls city limits and that the city planning commission helped find the location.

 

Around the State of Oregon

A fire broke out Thursday night, July 4th, northeast of Ashland, on Dead Indian Memorial Road. The call came in just after 10 pm on the Fourth. ODF responded alongside Jackson County Fire District Five and Ashland fire, to the forty-five-hundred block of Dead Indian Memorial Road.

The fire has been GPS mapped at 43 acres and is currently 100% lined.

Friday, crews are focusing on mop up and working hard to contain the fire despite a red flag warning between 4 and 8 pm Friday, promising windy conditions and temperatures well over 100 degrees.

Firefighters used all available resources to stop the fire at a crucial point.

“The fire itself actually was being driven by the wind down into a drainage,” says Natalie Wood with ODF. “And where firefighters caught it there, if they hadn’t caught it there, it would have been much more difficult to actually stop.”

ODF is asking the public to partner with them, by following the current regulations and preventing fires from starting.

 

 No photo description available.

ODF Morning Update:

𝙎𝘼𝙇𝙏 𝘾𝙍𝙀𝙀𝙆 𝙁𝙄𝙍𝙀 𝘼𝙈 𝙐𝙋𝘿𝘼𝙏𝙀: Firefighters assigned to the Salt Creek Fire, located approximately 10 miles east of Eagle Point, made significant progress last night, lining 40% of the fire.

The fire is burning on steep ground along Salt Creek Road, and is currently estimated to be 1,500 acres. It’s currently affecting both private and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 1, a Type 1 IMT, has been ordered and will be in-briefed at 10 a.m. They will shadow the current resources today and take command of the incident at 6 p.m. tonight. This will bring in additional resources and allow the local districts to be ready for any additional starts that may occur.

Fire activity naturally decreased last night when the sun went down and temperatures dropped. With this advantage, resources overnight were able to put in a mix of bulldozer and hand line constructed with tools along the entire northern portion, as well as the southwest border of the fire. The eastern and southeastern portion remain largely unlined and will be the focus of Monday’s day shift. Today, 321 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 12 20-person crews, nine engines, 10 water tenders, seven bulldozers, and six tree fallers. Snags, or hazard trees, are present throughout the fire and may fall unexpectedly. This, along with steep terrain and hot conditions are hazards for firefighters on the line today. Aircraft will be heavily used again today as soon as possible, including one Type 3, two Type 2 and three Type 1 helicopters that are exclusively assigned to this incident. Air tankers will be ordered again as needed.

The Salt Creek Fire was first reported Sunday afternoon just after 4 p.m. Both ODF Southwest Oregon District and Lake Creek Fire District initially responded. When firefighters arrived on scene, it was estimated to be 2-5 acres and growing quickly in the hot, dry and windy conditions. Numerous resources were ordered, including engines, bulldozers, water tenders and multiple types of aircraft. The fire grew to an estimated 10 acres within the half hour, and 200 acres an hour and a half into initial attack. Six helicopters, two Large Air Tankers (LATs) and a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) were ordered, and numerous retardant drops helped to box in the fire by creating temporary retardant lines around the majority of the incident. This allowed firefighters the upper hand on solidifying containment lines overnight.

The Jackson County Sheriff‘s Office and Jackson County Emergency Management has issued an Evacuation Level 1: BE READY for Zones JAC-316, JAC-317, JAC-319, and JAC-321. These zones are north of Highway 140 approximately 12 miles east of Eagle Point in the Lake Creek area- East of Salt Creek Rd, North of Hwy-140, South and West of Fish Lake Rd, including the Willow Lake area. There are no structures threatened at this time. Deputies are on scene to provide door-to-door notifications to houses in the areas. To find your evacuation zone, visit Genasys Protect https://protect.genasys.com/

Salt Creek Road and Wasson Canyon Road are closed at Highway 140, and Double Day Road is closed off of Butte Falls Highway. Highway 140 and Butte Falls Highway remain open at this time.

Temperatures of 105 degrees and wind contributed to the growth, along with the dry vegetation in the area and steep slopes. These conditions are continuing through Wednesday across the Rogue Valley. The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning, which extends into Tuesday night. Fire naturally thrives in these conditions, and any new starts will have the same potential to grow. Please be aware of all current fire regulations to help reduce the risk of new fires starting in southern Oregon.

Today, the fire danger level on the ODF Southwest Oregon District is high (yellow) and regulations are in place. Please be aware of and follow all current restrictions to help reduce the risk of fires in our communities. Information is available here:

• The ODF Southwest Oregon District: https://swofire.com/

• The RRSNF Alerts and Notices page https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices and website homepage https://www.fs.usda.gov/rogue-siskiyou

• The BLM OR/WA Fire Management Page: https://www.blm.gov/orwafire

McCaffery Fire – SE Mccaffery rd – Crook & Deschutes Counties

The McCaffery Fire (incident #353) is burning east of the Redmond Airport and south of Highway 126 on Prineville District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands near the Oregon Army National Guard Biak Training Center. The fire is currently estimated at 250 acres and is 0% contained.

The fire was reported approximately 2:00 p.m. and grew quickly to the south/southeast in extremely hot and dry conditions. Multiple large air tankers (LATs) and heavy helicopters were able to effectively slow the spread of the fire so BLM, Forest Service and contract engine crews, dozers and skidgines could begin constructing containment lines.

At 5:18 p.m., Deschutes and Crook County Sheriff’s Offices issued a joint Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation order for residences on Sunny Sage Road off of McCaffery Road, west Powell Butte Estates and the area south of Powell Butte Highway. As of 10:00 p.m. tonight, the Level 3 “Go Now” remains in effect for the areas on Sunny Sage Road off of McCaffery Road in Deschutes County. Crook County Sheriff’s Office has reduced the evacuation notice from a Level 3 to a Level 2 “Be Set” for the area of west Powell Butte Estates and the area to the south of Powell Butte Highway in Crook County.

Stay up to date on Crook County Emergency Alerts by visiting: http://www.alertcrookcounty.org/For Deschutes County Emergency Alerts, visit: https://www.deschutes.org/911/page/sign-deschutes-alertsFirefighters remain on scene constructing fire line in more moderate overnight weather conditions. The public is asked to stay out of the area for the safety of firefighters and equipment working to contain the fire.

At 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, July 7, a Central Oregon Type 3 Incident Management will take command of the McCaffery Fire. Multiple aerial resources remain available to the team, along with 12 engines, 2 dozers, 2 skidgines, 2 water tenders, and 1 Type 2 initial attack crew. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

Fatal Motorcycle Crash
Douglas County, Ore. 6 July 24- On Saturday, July 6, 2024, at 1:32 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a motorcycle crash on Hwy-101, near milepost 207, in Douglas County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a northbound Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Johnny Ray Boles (43) of Notus (ID), attempted to pass in between two northbound vehicles that were occupying both the A and B lanes of travel. The Harley Davidson lost control, left the roadway, and ejected the operator into a guardrail.

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

The highway was not impacted during the on-scene investigation. The cause of the crash is believed to be unsafe passing.

OSP was assisted by Gardner Fire, Douglas County Sheriffs’ Office, and ODOT.

 

Fatal Crash Highway 130

Tillamook County, Ore. 7 July 24- On Sunday, July 7, 2024, at 2:00 p.m., Oregon State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on Hwy-130, near milepost 3, in Tillamook County.

The preliminary investigation indicated westbound GMC Sierra, operated by Tyler Jacob Bell (32) of Dallas, left the roadway, rolled down an embankment, and came to rest on the driver’s side of the vehicle in the river below.

The operator of the GMC (Bell), who is not believed to have been wearing a seatbelt, was declared deceased at the scene.

The highway was impacted for approximately 4.5 hours during the on-scene investigation. Speed is considered the primary cause of the crash.

OSP was assisted by Nestucca Rural Fire, Tillamook County Sheriffs’ Office, and ODOT.

 

Two Rescued From the Low Head Dam on the Willamette River in Glenwood

Eugene Springfield Fire completed a water rescue on the Willamette River in Glenwood Saturday afternoon.

At 2:17 PM on July 6th, ESF’s water rescue crews were dispatched to the low head dam for two individuals on a strainer below the dam.  Crews arrived to find the two individuals who needed boat rescue from a dangerous situation. The individuals had been floating the river in an inflatable raft which is now deflated and stuck in the strainer.  The boaters were wearing life jackets which aided in the positive outcome. The low head dam is a dangerous obstacle in the river and people who float the river need to stay far right to avoid potential disaster.

We ask the community to make appropriate choices when floating our swift water rivers.  Cheap inflatable tubes, rafts, kayaks and other floats designed for pools and lakes should not be used on the river. Water rescue calls take a minimum of 3 fire crews and an ambulance out of service to manage.

 

Lane County Sheriff’s Office and Eugene Springfield Fire respond to multiple water rescues on July 4th

On July 4th, Lane County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue and Marine Patrol Deputies, along with Eugene Springfield Fire, responded to multiple water rescues throughout the day. Several occurred around the same time, complicating the response. LCSO and ESF coordinated resources on several of the calls, assigning boats and vehicles that were closest to each.

Most of the subjects were wearing life jackets and were able to at least get to shore to await rescue or assistance back to a landing by boat or patrol vehicle:

  • 3:55 p.m. – McKenzie River near highway milepost 30, 3 rescued
  • 4:34 p.m. – Willamette River near Clearwater Landing, 3 rescued
  • 4:42 p.m. – Willamette River near D Street Landing, 2 rescued
  • 4:43 p.m. – McKenzie River near Harvest Landing, 1 rescued
  • 6:07 p.m. – Willamette River near Hileman Landing, 3 rescued
  • 9:30 p.m. – Willamette River near Harbor Drive, 2 rescued

Thanks to the many individuals that assisted with each of these calls, and for the many responsible boaters who chose to wear their life jackets. Thanks also to McKenzie Fire & Rescue, Pleasant Hill Goshen Fire & Rescue, and Coburg Fire & Rescue for their medical assistance on these calls.

 

Douglas County Landfill Fire 

At 4:16 p.m. late Sunday Afternoon, Central Douglas Fire & Rescue was dispatched to the Douglas County Landfill for reports of a fire in the trash at the top of the landfill. Several reports were called into the dispatch center about heavy smoke in the area above the disposal and recycling center.

Initial units arrived on the scene to find a working landfill fire. Access to the seat of the fire was difficult due to the area that was burning. The burn was in the center of the landfill and crews had to fight the fire from a distance to stay out of the garbage while avoiding the toxic smoke being produced by the fire. CDF&R fire crews worked with landfill employees to contain the fire and prevent the fire from extending to other areas of the landfill.

At one point the fire had extended to some nearby grass which was quickly extinguished by on-scene crews preventing the fire from growing out of hand. After ensuring that the fire was well contained, and no more risk of spread was a concern fire units turned the scene over to landfill employees to bury with their excavation equipment.

CDF&R responded to this incident with eight pieces of fire equipment and one command unit, totaling 17 paid and volunteer personnel. The fire was difficult for crews due to the high heat and toxic smoke. Crews at the scene were assisted by Douglas County Solid Waste personnel, DFPA, and PP&L.

 

Oregon’s new Consumer Privacy Protection Act is now in effect. It allows you to get a list of entities that collect your personal data.

You can make corrections to your personal data, deletions or you can opt out of having a business sell your information. You can find out what’s involved and how to use the new Consumer Privacy Protection Act on the Oregon Department of Justice website.

 

Ballot measures on cannabis unions, higher corporate taxes could be on November ballot

Election officials will determine whether backers of the two proposals collected enough valid signatures from Oregon voters

Just two of the more than 50 new laws proposed by Oregonians through the ballot initiative process stand a chance at appearing before voters in November.

Friday was the deadline for groups to submit the more than 100,000 petition signatures needed to give voters a chance to approve or reject ballot measures. Only two measures – one that would tax corporations more to give $750 annual payments to all Oregonians and one that would restrict union-busting in the cannabis industry – submitted signatures by Friday.

If the Secretary of State’s Office confirms that both proposals collected enough verified signatures from Oregon voters, they’ll join three legislative referrals on the November ballot. Lawmakers in 2023 opted to let voters decide whether to give the Legislature the power to impeach top officials, let an independent commission set salaries for elected officials and change the way candidates are elected.

 

Study Finds Northwest Ecosystems Changed Dramatically When Wolves Were Nearly Exterminated

The wolves kept other species in check, like deer and elk, and maintained a healthy environment

Gray wolves are in Oregon and Washington.Gray wolves can be found in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Michigan and the Yellowstone area of Wyoming, according to the National Wildlife Federation. (Getty Images)

Ecosystems in the Northwest were heavily shaped by wolves before they were nearly wiped out of the region, a new study finds.

By the 1930s, gray wolves were nearly gone in Oregon and the rest of the West, leading to the multiplication of animals the wolves hunted and creating an imbalance in the environment, researchers at Oregon State University found.

But the full impact of their disappearance isn’t fully understood because ecological research from the last century largely left out the role of wolves on the landscape. Most of the research wasn’t done until the wolves were nearly gone.

This means our understanding of natural ecosystems in the Northwest is flawed, according to William Ripple, an Oregon State ecologist and the lead author of the study. He said that hampers habitat restoration projects in the Northwest and moves, for example, to reintroduce more gray wolves in the West.

“Since the presence or absence of wolves can dramatically affect ecosystem structure and function, we believe this is a major issue for restoration, conservation and management,” Ripple said in an email.

The study was published recently in the journal BioScience.

 

Heightened seismic activity continues under Mount St. Helens; 22 earthquakes this week

Despite the increase, scientists say there’s no signs of an eruption happening soon
Mount St. Helens continues to experience increased earthquake activity, according to a Friday update from the Cascades Volcano Observatory.

Mount St. Helens has experienced slightly heightened seismic activity this year, compared to recent years, with 22 earthquakes in the last week alone, according to the observatory.

There have been 423 recorded earthquakes under the volcano since Feb. 1. The largest earthquake over the past week was a magnitude 1.1. –

The largest earthquake recorded in the area since Feb. 1 was measured at magnitude 2.0.

The average depth for these earthquakes last week were 2.3 miles below the volcano’s crater. This is compared to an average depth of 3.8 miles since Feb. 1.

 

Oregon just keeps popping up on best-of lists, saluting our state’s food, campgrounds, scenery, and so on. Now, another accolade has come our way, as a popular vacation destination on the north Oregon coast has made the list of “The 28 Most Beautiful Towns in America.”

The list, compiled by Condé Nast Traveler magazine, consists of everything from “coastal cities to southern gems,” as the article says, adding, “these idylls are worth a visit.”

So, which Oregon north coast municipality takes the honors as a “most beautiful” town? Is it Astoria? Seaside? Manzanita? Gearhart?

Not surprisingly, Cannon Beach gets the nod. The town known for its scenic stretch of sandy beach, the imposing Haystack Rock, the annual Sandcastle Contest, super-tasty fish and chips, a top-ranked beach resort, and many more accolades, can now add this one, too.

But then again, any Oregonian who has visited Cannon Beach can testify that the place is gorgeous, and its natural setting is magnificent, as the tourist crowds indicate.

 

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