Oregon News for Monday, Aug. 12th – Lightning Sparks Several New Fires in Southern Oregon

News from around the State of Oregon from Rogue Valley Magazine

Monday, August 12, 2019

Today’s Headlines…

The National Weather Service Medford Office is reporting more than 1,600 ground lightning strikes were recorded across Southern Oregon and Northern California in the past 24 hours.

Scattered thunderstorms moved across many portions of South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) protected lands over the weekend. 

Multiple fires were reported over the weekend in Oregon, with the largest fire being the Ward Fire located 18 miles southwest of Klamath Falls. Multiple ground and air resources are on scene and more resources are being order.

The fire burning on private and BLM land has now reached 1,329 acres and has been determined to be lightning caused. Resources on scene include Oregon Department of Forestry, Forest Service, BLM and private industry. The fire is burning in grass, juniper and industry timber lands.

The Oregon Department of Forestry has ordered incident management team #2 to help support this incident. Extra resources from outside the area are also on order. According to reports the recent rains helped with fire suppression efforts. Four new fires were discovered in South Central Oregon today. The largest being 1/3 of an acre and as of this evening all fires have been contained.

Two charged with hoax bomb threat.  A federal criminal complaint was unsealed and now is charging two defendants with placing a hoax bomb at the Deschutes County Courthouse on July 29, 2019.

Kellie Kent Cameron, 31, and Jonathan Tyler Allen, 23, both of Bend, Oregon, were charged with conspiracy to make a threat regarding explosive materials in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 844(e) and (n) and false information and hoaxes in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1038.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and is being prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has decided not to veto a bill that will ease rules for farmers clearing out irrigation ditches.

Her decision was likely to please many in rural parts of the state like the Klamath Basin, but it spurred a furious reaction from environmental groups.

The legislation says farmers would need to give notice that they were going to clear an irrigation ditch, but would not need a permit unless they planned to move more than 3,000 cubic yards of material over a five-year period — a 60-fold increase from the current 50-cubic-yard threshold.

Environmental groups argued that the measure undermines the state’s ability to protect state wetlands.

Pacific Northwesterners who forage for wild mushrooms are noticing that the late summer and fall delicacies are coming in early this year.

Edible wild mushrooms are now flooding wholesale markets. In the Cascade Mountains mushrooms are poking up earlier than normal too.

Charlie Wiley, a commercial mushroom buyer  said “We’re already seeing mushrooms coming in that generally don’t show up until the middle of September,” He went on to say “We’ve got pine mushrooms coming in. I can’t remember ever getting them in August.” A new festival in Oregon to celebrate wild mushrooms had to be moved up by a week to Aug. 25 because the star attraction is arriving early. The Mt. Hood Meadows Mushroom Festival was originally scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

The Crater Lake Rim Runs were held this weekend and Sergio Morales returned to win the Crater Lake marathon on a cold, rainy Saturday.

The 29-year-old Morales returned after having missed the race a year ago because of injury, still ran with pain but turned in the eighth fastest marathon time in the 44-year history of the longest race in the Crater Lake trio of events. He also became the first male to win the marathon four times. Morales now has won four of the last five Crater Lake marathons.

Travelers should expect delays up to 20 minutes

Travelers should expect flagging and delays up to 20 minutes on U.S. 20 Santiam Highway west of the junction with OR 126 McKenzie Highway for a paving project.

The project between mileposts 63.0 and 67.2 begins Monday, August 12 and is expected to be completed on Friday, August 16. Work will be done during the day, between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

This project is seven miles west of the Santiam Junction – Jack Lake paving project. While that project is occurring mostly at night, early morning travelers may be stopped at both work zones and should be prepared for the additional delay.

Where traffic is routed through or around a work zone, pedestrians, including those with disabilities, will also be provided routes through or around the work zone. 

Oregon Farm Bureau statement on Governor Brown signing HB 2437

By signing HB 2437, Governor Brown has signaled that good faith cooperation and solution-oriented bipartisanship are the “Oregon Way” and will be honored. We thank Rep. Susan McLain, Rep. David Brock Smith, and Rep. Brian Clem for their hard work, leadership, and political courage during the long, inclusive, and difficult process to produce a good bill that won large bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate.

We thank the Governor for her deep study of the merits of the bill and the process that led to it and for signing HB 2437. We look forward to working with the Governor to address her concerns during implementation. We thank the Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited for coming to the table, rolling up their sleeves, and helping solve this long-standing issue.

Farmers and the environment both won today. More importantly, the Governor and all the involved stakeholders showed that the Oregon Way of solving problems together can still work.

Last week a man from Jacksonville became the fifth Oregon Lottery multi-million-dollar winner from the Southern Oregon town of a population of less than 3,000.

When Martin Oliverson of Jacksonville claimed his $3 million Mega Millions prize, he didn’t realize that since the prize wasn’t the overall jackpot, he would receive the whole amount, minus taxes. According to Oliverson he won double what originally thought.

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