Oregon News, Tuesday, Aug. 20th – Oregon Man Pleads Guilty of Taking Endangered Gray Wolf

Southern Oregon News from Rogue Valley Magazine


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Latest Headlines…

Missing Man in the Wimer Area

ROGUE RIVER, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Deputies and Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers are searching for a missing Dementia patient in the Wimer area.

The Sheriff’s Office is looking for 86 year old Billy Brand. Brand lives off of Redthorne Rd., and is thought to have walked off sometime before noon on Monday the 19th.

Anyone with information about the location of Mr. Brand is asked to contact Sergeant Shawn Richards at 541-774-6800.

Oakridge Man Pleads Guilty in Gray Wolf Case

Colton Tony Dick, 22, of Oakridge, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to a single count of unlawfully taking an endangered species.

According to court documents, on October 5, 2016, using a rifle and scope, Dick shot at an endangered gray wolf without legal justification as the animal was walking away from him in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Dick was unable to locate the wolf.

Although Dick did not admit to killing a gray wolf, an investigation began on October 6, 2016 when an adult female GPS-collared gray wolf known as “OR 28” was found dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Oregon. On November 9, 2016, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensic Lab determined OR 28 died as a result of injuries sustained from a single gunshot wound.

Gray wolves (Canis lupus), located in Western Oregon, are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  Unlawfully taking an endangered species carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release.

Under a deferred sentencing agreement with the government, Dick has agreed to submit to one-year of supervised release, pay restitution of $2,500 to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, not hunt any wildlife for a period of one year and perform 100 hours of community service. If Dick complies with these conditions, he will be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea and the government will move to dismiss his charge.

Medford Anti-Drug detectives stopped a white 2008 Dodge Sprinter van on I-5 near milepost 16 and seized cocaine, scales and packaging. 

The van was seized for a search warrant.  When the search warrant was served detectives found 60,000-80,000 fentanyl pills located in a hidden trap and packaged in such a way as to attempt to mask any odor.  The pills are similar in shape, color and markings to Oxycodone 30 pills; round, blue with a M on one side and 30 on the other side. The street value a single fentanyl pills is approximately $50 to $80.  

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but can be 50 to 100 times more potent.  There is a high risk of overdose associated with fentanyl.

Oregon officials say a juvenile humpback whale was unfortunately euthanized after washing ashore southwest of Portland near Waldport.

A team with the Oregon State University-based Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network was working Wednesday to relieve the 20-foot whale’s stress by keeping it wet and digging out around it, but the whale did not return to the ocean during two high tides. Contractors with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arrived Thursday to evaluate the whale’s health and assess whether to wait for additional high tides, help it back to the ocean or euthanize the animal. The director of the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, Bruce Mate, says the animal was too young to live on its own. The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation confirmed that the animal was euthanized.

On Thursday, August 15, 2019 at approximately 4:34 P.M. Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a two vehicle crash on Hwy 199 near milepost 38.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a Harley Davidson motorcycle, operated by Keith Willis (58) of Cave Junction, was traveling south on Hwy 199 when it crossed into the northbound lane and collided with a silver Audi operated by Jose Ortiz Adata (25). 

Willis sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased. 

Ortiz Adata was transported to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. OSP was assisted by EMS and ODOT.

The Oregon Fire Service Honor Guard and the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) extend an invitation to attend the State’s 14th annual Oregon Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 1 p.m.

The ceremony will be held at the State’s Fallen Firefighter Memorial which is located on the campus of the Oregon Public Safety Academy at 4190 Aumsville Highway SE in Salem. Please note the event is held outside rain or shine.

We are honored to have Kim Lightley of the United States Forest Service as our keynote speaker on the 25th anniversary of the deadly Storm King Mountain fire in Colorado that claimed the lives of many of her co-workers from the Prineville Interagency Hotshots. 

About Kim Lightley – She is a Critical Incident Response Specialist with the United States Forest Service (USFS) assigned to the Washington Office of Fire and Aviation Management.  She was recognized in 2017 by the USFS through its Unsung Hero Award Program for her commitment to give back to the people who sacrifice so much fighting structure and wildland fires, and, even more so, to the survivors of those who never come home. Lightley survived the 1994 South Canyon Fire; nine of her crewmembers from the Prineville Interagency Hotshots and five others were overrun and killed.  Recognizing that her own experiences had impacted her life and recovery from this traumatic experience, Lightley has placed her daily emphasis on helping others within the wildfire community to prepare for—and recover from—tragic events.  She travels nationwide teaching Stress First Aid for Wildland Firefighters and You Will Not Stand Alone, assists in interventions for wildland fire critical incidents and promotes awareness of suicide prevention. 

Jason Hardrath, an elementary school physical education teacher at Bonanza Elementary school recently broke a mountaineering record.

Hardrath climbed the three tallest peaks of the Northern Cascades in 19 hours and 28 minutes beating the previous record of 22 hours and 53 minutes. Appropriately named the Cascades Trifecta, these towering peaks boast summit elevations of 14,411 feet, 12,280 feet, and 11,250 feet above sea level, respectively. They are tall enough that many mountaineers dedicate multiple days to climb just one. Combining all three means covering more than 35 miles on foot with over 20,000 feet of vertical gain

Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers from Southern Oregon have responded to seven  separate missions over the weekend.

Jail Commander and SAR Coordinator Brian Bryson said this many lost or disabled hiker missions is not unusual; on average, Klamath County SAR responds to anywhere from 25 to over 100 calls for assistance per year. This many in a short period of time, however, puts a strain on the volunteers who perform the work. Klamath County’s dive rescue volunteers alone have performed tens of hours of work the past several weeks assisting Jackson, Jefferson, Deschutes, and Wasco Counties with searches related to drownings. Klamath County’s team has a specialized site scan sonar boat that allows them to perform this type of work.

Recent headlines and social media posts declared that the Trump Administration weakened the Endangered Species Act (ESA) last Monday. Accompanying articles adhered to the talking points of groups insisting that the ESA had been “gutted.”

The reality?   The ESA has not changed. Only Congress can change a federal statute. All 2,200+ species listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA are still listed. Environmental groups can still file lawsuits alleging ESA violations, and recover their attorneys’ fees as they go. The amended rule affords increased transparency and allows the disclosure of negative economic impacts of listing decisions, without changing the rules that dictate whether and how these impacts are considered in the regulatory process.  There is no reason, at least no good reason, to fear candid disclosure of facts about the ESA’s negative impact.

PORTLAND, Ore.—Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced today that a local woman has been indicted for a tax fraud scheme targeting Somali refugees in the Portland Metropolitan Area.

Rukia Mohamed, 35, a resident of Portland, has been charged with thirteen counts of making false statements by willfully aiding and assisting individual taxpayers to submit false or fraudulent tax returns claiming tax credits for which the taxpayers were ineligible. Mohamed is also charged with three counts of filing false tax returns for her own taxes.

The indictment alleges that from 2014-2017, Mohamed claimed more than $1 million in false tax credits on behalf of ineligible taxpayers.

Road closure Tuesday through Thursday will restrict access to campground

CHEMULT, Ore. – Forest Service Road 9774 on the Chemult Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest will be closed starting tomorrow morning by Union Pacific Railroad for equipment repairs on the railroad tracks in the area.

The road is expected to close late tomorrow morning and reopen when the work is completed, which is expected to be done no later than Thursday.

Forest road managers were notified by Union Pacific personnel in Klamath Falls this afternoon of the need to close the road for public and employee safety.

The road accesses Corral Spring Campground off U.S. Highway 97 approximately 2 miles north of Chemult. 

The road will be closed between Highway 97 and Forest Road 9774-110.

The campground will still be accessible but will require longer travel on Forest Service roads.  Either from the north off State Highway 58 near the Little Deschutes Campground or from Chemult and the Walt Haring SnoPark and then taking the 110 road north.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema, follow the Forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF or on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/R6FWNF.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is beginning a preliminary investigation into the Kingsley Firing Range Annex on Old Fort Road just outside of Klamath Falls.

There is a possibility of live military munitions buried on the site, including ammunition, rockets and bombs, posing possible contamination and explosive hazards.

Efforts to clean up the area have been ongoing since 2003. The Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have all been involved in the effort. The Corps will be investigating the site for hazards beginning late this month, and is expected to be on the site for about six weeks. According to Corps public relations liaison David Kolerik, there are no residences on the actual site of the firing range. The area being investigated extends much farther than the original location of the firing range, however.

“There are a few residences located adjacent to where munitions response investigation work will be conducted. At this time, no impact is expected to their immediate living area. He went on to say that owners of properties in the investigation site have been informed about the investigation.

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