67.06 F
Klamath Falls
July 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 7/9/24 – Shelly Fire Update; Extreme Fire Restrictions In Effect This Week; Basin Cooling Centers Available All Week; Salt Creek Fire Update

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, July 9, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

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

Today
Widespread haze until 3pm, sunny and hot with a high near 101 degrees.  West southwest winds 5 to 7 mph. Overnight, hazy skies with a low around 63.

Wednesday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 98 degrees. 
Thursday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 99 degrees.
Friday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 97 degrees.
Saturday
Sunny and hot, with a high near 98 degrees.
Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 94 degrees.

Today’s Headlines

 

Klamath County has 12 cooling centers that include branches of the Klamath County Library and 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. Stay cool if you can inside one of these cooling centers in the Basin.

 

The Shelly Wildfire in Klamath National Forest is expected to be a “long-duration fire” according to fire officials.  Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation orders in the area and expanded the evacuation warning to 13 surrounding zones.

The wildfire is currently 0% contained. More than 900 personnel are fighting the Shelly Fire as of Sunday morning.  The blaze was discovered July 3 in the Marble Wilderness along Pacific Crest Trail near Shelly Lake.

Forest Service ShieldFire restrictions remain in effect for the Klamath National Forest and Fremont National Forest areas.

These fire restrictions are designed to help minimize the chances of human-caused wildland fires in our forests. 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.Fire Managers Increase Fire Danger Level and IFPL
    Lakeview, OR 
  • Beginning Thursday, July 11, 2024, at 12:01 a.m., the Fremont-Winema NationalForest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Klamath Basin National Wildlife RefugeComplex, and all private, county, and state wildlands protected by the Klamath-Lake District, OregonDepartment of Forestry (ODF) and Walker Range Forest Patrol Association will be raising the FireDanger Level to EXTREME.
  • With the progression of summer conditions and continued drying of forest fuels, local fire danger levels
    have reached EXTREME. Fires starting in these conditions have the potential for rapid fire spread and
    significant damage.
  • Additional fire prevention requirements have been placed on industrial forest operations. High speed
    rotary saws and tracked felling/skidding equipment are required to shut down between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • High speed rotary saws are REQUIRED to have an “operation area observer” visually inspecting the area
    worked in and additional fire equipment. These are in addition to the normal requirements listed in “A
    Guide to Legal Requirements for Prevention and Controlling Fires in Operations On and Near Forest
    Land in Oregon.”
  • These additional restrictions, along with Public Regulated Use Restrictions, will dramatically reduce the
    chance of an accidental fire start. For more information on restrictions please visit:
    https://www.scofmp.org/restrictions.shtml
  • Both Lake and Klamath counties have agreed to prohibit all outdoor debris burning. Forest operations that require a permit to operate power-driven machinery are required to have fire tools, on-site water supply, and watchmen service on privately owned forest land. The release of sky lanterns is prohibited during any time of the year. The discharge of exploding targets and the discharge of tracer ammunition are not permitted during the duration of the fire season.
  • Industrial Fire Precaution Level III (IFPL) will be implemented on public lands administered by the
    Fremont-Winema National Forest, BLM Lakeview District, and Sheldon-Hart Mountain National
    Wildlife Refuge Complex.
  • Under IFPL III, personal and commercial woodcutters are prohibited from operating power saws.
    Personal and commercial woodcutters are reminded of their responsibility to stay informed of current
    IFPLs and all restrictions that apply to activities conducted on public lands. Failure to comply with
    precautionary fire requirements may result in the issuance of a Violation Notice.

For more information on restrictions please visit: https://www.scofmp.org/
Oregon Department of Forestry – 541-883-5681 (ODF-Klamath) or 541-947-3311 (ODF-Lake)
Fremont-Winema National Forest – 541-947-2151
BLM Lakeview District – 541-947-2177 (Lakeview) or 541-883-6916 (Klamath)
Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex – 541-947-2731

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MOD Pizza is a pizza chain currently building a Klamath Falls location on South Sixth near Washburn, and now the news is the company is exploring a potential bankruptcy filing as they look for a buyer, according to several reports.

MSN reports people familiar with MOD Pizza say the Seattle chain with 512 locations across the country has hired legal and financial advisers to work on a possible sale of the business or bankruptcy filing.

“We’re working diligently to improve our capital structure and are exploring all options to do so. Since this is an ongoing process, it would be inappropriate to speculate about an outcome,” a MOD representative shared with Nation’s Restaurant News in a statement.

The restaurant industry publication said, at the end of 2023, MOD operated 553 locations, a 4.1% increase over 2022. It also noted that up until recently the chain was doing well and grew sales by 5.7% last year, to $699.2 million, according to Technomic data.

MOD Pizza was founded in 2008 as part of a wave of build-your-own pizza places. It currently has 32 locations in Oregon.

Earlier this year, MOD shut down more than two dozen restaurants, one of which was in Oregon. It also appointed Beth Scott as its new CEO after cofounder Scott Svenson stepped down from the position after 15 years

The news comes as several restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, announce bankruptcies.

 

Klamath County will have road work crews at the several locations this week.

Please use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If you are able to avoid the work zones, please use an alternate route for your safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and our contractors.

July 9th – July 11th – Williamson River Rd, a chip seal crew will be working.

The early morning broom crew will sweep July 9th – 10th – Bliss Rd, Sprague River Dr, Williamson River Rd
July 11th – July 12th – Williamson River Rd.

All week,  on Altamont to Crest – Expect road closure to thru traffic. Use Detour routes.

Highway 97 at Lakeport Blvd……is Closed for ODOT’s contractor to demolish the existing bridge and crane in the new bridge beams.
July 8th – August 15th.

And a BNSF crossing will have delays and detours on Hill Road, Closed for ODOT’s contractor to demolish the existing bridge and crane in the new bridge beams.
July 8th – July 14th.

Meet some BIG trucks at the downtown Klamath County Library Wednesday, July
10th at 10:30AM. 

It’s the Summer Reading special event on Wednesday, July 10th at 10:30 am is a returning fan favorite: the Big Truck Petting Zoo!

Fans of industrial and civil vehicles, rejoice! We’ll have a variety of
specialty trucks (and their drivers, of course) on display in the Klamath
Avenue parking lot for you to pose with and investigate. See how it feels in the driver’s seat of a police squad car, examine the dials and levels of construction equipment, climb aboard a fire truck and much more! The various organizations and agencies who operate and maintain these vehicles have items to give away to visiting fans, as well. (All the fun takes place outside – bring folding chairs or a blanket to guarantee a spot to sit down.) After the show, join us for lunch across the street at the Klamath County courthouse.

Thanks to employees of the City of Klamath Falls Public Works Department, Klamath County Fire District 1, the Klamath Falls Police Department, and the Oregon State Fire Marshal for generously donating their time – we couldn’t host this petting zoo without you!

This event is for all ages, but those under 10 years old need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian, please. For more information, call us at 541-882-8894 or visit
<https://klamathlibrary.org/SRP>.

 

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.

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Around the State of Oregon

After several days of record-breaking high temperatures across Oregon, Foresty officials are warning that peak fire season is fast approaching.

“As of today, elevations below, say, around 2,000 feet or so are what we call ‘red flag eligible,’ which means that the fuels are there,” said one meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Portland.

As of today, 24 wildfires are burning across Oregon that have prompted evacuation notices affecting more than 600 people, according to the Oregon Department of Emergency Management.

Peak fire season typically starts between late July and mid-August, Bishop said; however, hot temperatures are far from the only indicator. Dry grass, trees and other flora, as well as high winds, are key symptoms of a dangerous fire season. Officials remind everyone vacationing or spending time in the forests, to take extra precaution to keep our forest lands safe.

 No photo description available.

𝙎𝘼𝙇𝙏 𝘾𝙍𝙀𝙀𝙆 𝙁𝙄𝙍𝙀 𝙐𝙋𝘿𝘼𝙏𝙀

Firefighters are currently battling the  Salt Creek Fire, which is currently 1,500 acres and 40% lined. Today, 321 personnel are assigned to the fire, including 12 20-person crews, nine engines, 10 water tenders, seven bulldozers and six tree fallers.

The fire began Sunday and rapidly grew. Smoke from the fire has put the Jackson County air quality to a moderate level.  Some smoke from that fire may find its way into the Klamath Basin this week, dependent on winds.

 

Oregon is looking to increase the number of public fast-charging electric vehicle stations across the state, through a federal grant program.

The Oregon Department of Transportation received $52 million through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program to use over the next five years. The program aims to create a better network of public DC fast chargers, which can take an electric vehicle from zero to 80% charged in about 20 minutes, throughout frequently used highway corridors.

Brett Howell, ODOT’s transportation electrification coordinator, said the state agency recently opened its first round of funding to 19 pre-qualified EV charging companies.

The companies will focus on creating fast charging stations on Interstate 205 in the Portland area, Interstate 5 south of Eugene and U.S. Highway 97. They are also expected to install, own and maintain the EV charging infrastructure.

Electric vehicle sales in Oregon have been steadily increasing. More than 89,000 electric vehicles are registered, according to the state Department of Transportation. The state offers two electric vehicle rebates, one based on income, that have helped boost sales, so much so that the rebate program has run out of funding two years in a row.

But access to fast chargers for electric vehicles has been limited in certain areas across Oregon. The federally funded program could help create more fast-charging stations, with at least two chargers per station. That would help electric vehicles drivers avoid running out of battery charge before reaching their destinations and could help encourage more people to transition from gas-powered to electric cars.

 

On Monday the National Weather Service issued an updated excessive heat warning in effect until Wednesday at 10 p.m. for John Day Basin and Central Oregon.

“Dangerously hot conditions with limited overnight relief. Afternoon high temperatures of 95 to 110 degrees. Overnight low temperatures in the mid-50s to lower 70s. This will pose a major risk of heat-related illness,” says the weather service. “Hottest temperatures during this long-duration heatwave are expected Tuesday.”

Weather service Guidelines for staying safe in high temperatures

  • Stay hydrated:Keep yourself well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Seek cool shelter:Stay indoors in an air-conditioned room to keep cool.
  • Avoid sun exposure:Stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.
  • Child and pet safety:Never forget to safeguard young children and pets by not leaving them unattended in vehicles, especially during scorching weather when car interiors can become life-threateningly hot.
  • Caution outdoors:Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside.
  • Time your activities wisely:When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.
  • Recognize heat-related issues:Recognize the warning signs and familiarize yourself with symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Stay cool with clothing: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing to stay comfortable.
  • For outdoor workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends regular rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas.
  • If someone is overwhelmed by the heat, swiftly relocate them to a cool, shaded location.
  • In emergency situations, dial 911 for immediate assistance.

These NWS heat safety directives are essential for safeguarding your well-being when facing high temperatures. Stay well-informed and take the necessary precautions to shield yourself and others from the potential hazards of extreme heat.

 

Since the Pacific Northwest’s “timber wars” of the 1990s, the federal Northwest Forest Plan has managed conservation and logging interests in regional forests.

The plan was formulated by a team of scientists from several fields, tailoring their rules to mandates from Congress. The Forest Service announced earlier this year that it was looking to update those rules to meet the growing challenges of wildfire and climate change.

But Oregon environmental advocates say those rules, among many others issued by federal regulatory agencies, could now come under threat. The Supreme Court late last month overturned what’s known as the Chevron decision, a longstanding precedent that lower federal courts should defer to agencies — staffed by experts — on “reasonable” rule changes to enforce legislation.

The ruling effectively means federal regulators will have a harder time defending those rule changes in court. It could also make existing rules easier to challenge.

Industry groups and conservatives say the Chevron decision gave too much power to the executive branch. Liberal groups largely agreed with the doctrine, arguing judges should defer to topic experts on policy.

 

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.

 

Wildlife Safari held a grand opening for its renovated Children’s Zoo Saturday.

The biggest feature is the contact yard for the goats. Theye acquired eight new Nubian Goats, which is a different species not before available to them.

Wildlife Safari’s mission is to provide the highest quality interaction with wildlife to inspire commitments to wildlife conservation, preservation and education. With the newly renovated Children’s Zoo area, known as the Barnyard, people can get up close.

One family said they’re on a road trip from Canada and when they heard about the grand opening, they knew they couldn’t miss it.

Wildlife Safari’s resident goats, sheep and pig named Sir Henry all got brand new homes, and new species of chickens and goats were brought in. Mohlman says they’ll be adding Barn Owls in the next few weeks too.

Folks were able to meet the goats in the contact yard, which was free to the public for only the grand opening. The celebration also featured some great activities like games, free lemonade and popsicles, beer and wine tastings, and a raffle.

 

Oregon youth suicide data shows action needed to close equity gaps 

Despite culturally responsive suicide prevention efforts, racial inequities remain 

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available 24/7. Call or text 988 or chat online at 988Lifeline.org. Specialized support is also available through the Veterans Crisis Line (press 1 or text 838255), in Spanish (press 2 or text “AYUDA” to 988) and for LGBTQIA2S+ youth and young adults (press 3 or text “PRIDE” to 988). 988 is also available for individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing through American Sign Language videophone services.  

Salem, Ore.—Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan (YSIPP) annual report, which contains new analysis of 2022 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) death by suicide data, shows the risk of youth suicide continues to be a concern in Oregon, particularly for youth of color. 

In 2022, the most recent year of finalized data from the CDC, 109 Oregon youth ages 24 and younger died by suicide, Oregon’s first year-to-year increase since 2018. Despite the 2022 increase (up from 95 deaths in 2021), there were 16% fewer youth deaths in 2022 compared with a peak of 129 deaths in 2018. Moreover, preliminary data, which will not be finalized until spring 2025, suggest that 2023 will not see a further year-to-year increase in youth suicide rates. 

The 2022 data show that Oregon had the 12th highest youth suicide rate in the U.S. Suicide remains the second-leading cause of death in Oregon among this age group.  

The YSIPP annual report also highlights Oregon’s investments in this area, including support for statewide programming in youth suicide prevention, intervention and postvention services. The report details important advances in youth suicide prevention in Oregon, such as the addition of 343 suicide prevention trainers in the state, including 67 who speak languages other than English.     

In a letter to Oregonians accompanying the report, OHA Behavioral Health Director Ebony Clarke notes, “We have made some progress to create a system of suicide prevention that is better connected and better resourced. Yet, the tragedy of youth suicide remains. We need to do more, particularly for young people of color.”  

Data highlighted in the report show that stark racial disparities remain, both in Oregon and nationwide. Oregon deaths by suicide for youth identified as white have decreased overall since the overall peak in 2018, but the number of suicides for youth of other races and ethnicities either remained similar to 2018 or have increased.  

OHA’s suicide prevention team, along with the hundreds of suicide prevention trainers, advocates, community members and champions around the state, including the Oregon Alliance to Prevent Suicide, are working to implement key initiatives for youth suicide prevention discussed in the YSIPP. This includes programming that supports young people to find hope, help and strength, training programs to teach youth-serving adults how to recognize warning signs of suicide, and advanced skills training for providers to be equipped to help clients heal from thoughts of suicide.   

OHA and its partners are also working hard to launch culturally specific initiatives to increase protective factors that support youth in Oregon. In 2023-24, these efforts have included: 

  • Tribal prevention programs amplifying “culture as prevention” and hosting train-the-trainers for OHA’s “Big River” youth suicide prevention programming, which is available across the state at low or no cost. 
  • Black, African and African American youth-serving adults creating and sustaining the Black Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition, which is helping to bring healing to Black communities and creating spaces for young people to gather and feel a sense of belonging. Oregon also was one of eight states invited to participate in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Black Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative Policy Academy, which was highlighted as a key “Health Equity in Suicide Prevention” strategy in the federal government’s recently released 10-year 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
  • OHA infused an additional $500,000 of funding to increase the availability of suicide prevention training and trainers who are Latino/a/x, Spanish-speaking or both. 
  • Oregon’s suicide prevention leaders are also working with Joyce Chu and Chris Weaver of the Culture & Suicide Prevention Institute, to infuse their cultural theory and model for suicide prevention into existing trainings, policies and programming. This work, which will increase attention to culturally specific risk and protective factors in Oregon’s suicide prevention efforts, is also an equity initiative highlighted in the 2024 National Strategy. 

Alfonso Ramirez, interim director of OHA’s Equity & Inclusion Division, reflected on the power of suicide prevention that centers connections to culture and belonging. Ramirez said, “Thanks to our community partners and leaders, we’ve recognized how important it is to also focus on the cultural strengths and wisdom that have been passed on for generations across communities. As we do work in this way, we experience a bit of healing ourselves.”  

 

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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