The latest news stories of interest in the Rogue Valley and around the state of Oregon from the digital home of Southern Oregon, Wynne Broadcasting’s RogueValleyMagazine.com
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Rogue Valley Weather
Today– Sunny, with a high near 89. Calm wind becoming north northwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday– Sunny, with a high near 93. Calm wind becoming northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Friday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 96. Calm wind becoming north northwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 101.
Sunday– Sunny and hot, with a high near 98.
Asante Three Rivers Medical Center Locked Down after Threats
Threats made against a patient at the Grants Pass hospital prompted a lockdown Tuesday morning.
While not many details are being made public at this time, the hospital released the following statement after the lockdown was lifted:
On Tuesday, July 20, a Code Silver was called at 8:30 a.m. at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.
A Code Silver is called when there is a threat, attempt or active use of a weapon to cause harm. In this case, a man called the Asante Three Rivers Medical Center Emergency Department three times threatening to harm a patient.
The medical center was immediately locked down and no one was allowed entrance into the facility, other than those seeking emergency medical care.
After receiving medical treatment, the patient who was threatened was moved to a secure location by law enforcement officers.
Asante Three Rivers Emergency Department remains on lockdown, and access to the hospital is restricted to one entrance.
Additional security is monitoring entrances as well as the external campus for the person who made the threats. His photo and a description of a possible vehicle has been distributed among staff.
The Code Silver was cleared at 10:20 a.m.
Questions concerning the suspect and the circumstances of events that led up to the threats are to be directed to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.
The lockdown was lifted at 3 pm. The hospital will have increased security for a limited time. There’s no word on whether an arrest has been made.
Police Asking For Help in Search For Missing 74-Year-Old Man From Grants Pass
Police are looking for a 74-year-old man last seen driving a vehicle on Tuesday morning in Grants Pass.
Hayden “Jay” Collins was last seen around 7 a.m. on Ramsey Avenue, driving a silver Honda CRV with Oregon plate number ZBK837.
Collins is described as a white male adult, 5-foot, 7-inches tall, with receding dark brown and gray hair, and wearing bifocals.
He was last seen wearing a blue shirt with multi-colored handprints, blue athletic pants, and red Nike shoes.
Anyone who has seen Collins should call Grants Pass Police at 541-450-6260.
AROUND the STATE of OREGON
Gov. Brown Press Conference On The State’s Wildfire Response
Wildfires in Oregon and Washington have already burned more than 500,00 acres this year. This time last year, about 24,000 acres had burned. ‘We’re facing a long, difficult fire season’: Gov. Brown, state leaders urge Oregonians to be prepared.
As hot, dry weather conditions continue to fuel wildfires across much of the United States, the Bootleg Fire in Oregon has become so intense that it’s creating its own weather.
The fire has scorched more than 606 square miles — an area larger than Los Angeles and about half the size of Rhode Island. It grew to more than 388,350 acres overnight from Monday to Tuesday and is 30% contained, according to data from the InciWeb interagency website.
The fire was only 30% contained Tuesday and continued to advance toward mountain towns, even as 2,250 firefighters and others fought it. The blaze absorbed the Log Fire this week to become the largest wildfire now burning in the U.S., and 3rd-largest in state history — so big that it has created its own lightning.
Firefighters came to help from as far away as Florida and Kentucky, along with many from California. At a fire base in the tiny town of Bly, firetrucks had arrived from Fremont, Rancho Cucamonga and San Bruno. Firefighters who emerged were sooty and exhausted after days of being forced to retreat as the blaze leapt fire lines.
On Tuesday, temperatures dipped, with clouds and even some spotty rain that helped firefighters tamp down lingering fires on the southern flank.
The incident commander for the south side of the fire, Joe Hessel of the Oregon Department of Forestry, said Tuesday that he expected firefighters to gain control of the Bootleg fire’s southern flank within 48 hours.
Pointing to a map in his command post, set up at Lakeview High School on the fire’s southeast edge, Hessel traced the fire’s latest path northeast toward the rural communities of Paisley, Summer Lake and Silver Lake. Some residents who grew up around smaller wildfires had refused to evacuate, he said.
“They’ve lived with fire their whole lives,” he said. “But we’re not used to having million-acre fires” — which the Bootleg fire was shaping up to be.
On the Bootleg fire map, Hessel traced the western edge of Summer Lake’s basin, known as Winter Rim or Winter Ridge. “If it goes over that rim, it’s going to get really challenging,” he said.
- Evacuations: Evacuation centers for the Bootleg fire are located at the Klamath County Fairgrounds (in Klamath Falls), South 6th Street entrance only, the Daly Middle School Auditorium (220 South H Street in Lakeview) and La Pine Middle School. Additional evacuation levels for Lake County were issued July 19. Evacuation levels rapidly change due to the nature of this wildfire. An interactive, up-to-date evacuation map can be found here . For the latest information about evacuations in Klamath County for the Bootleg Fire, please visit the Klamath County Facebook page or sign up for alerts . For the latest information about evacuations in Lake County, please visit the Lake County Facebook page or sign up for alerts .
The Jack Fire continues to grow in Douglas County. The fire has grown to 18,993 acres. Containment is now at 55%.
A total of 741 people are working the fire. Four aircraft, six dozers and 35 engines are being used in the firefighting efforts. Officials say 243 structures are threatened by the blaze. Six people have been injured.
The Jack Fire was reported on July 5 and comes nearly ten months after the Archie Creek Fire last fall in the same area.
Public Information Officer Mary Nordeen said there is increased fire traffic on Highway 138E. Drivers are asked to follow posted speed limits.
North of Highway 138E, along the north flank, firefighters have deepened the control line, and are continuing mop-up and securing control line. On the eastern flank, crews are working to complete burnout operations for increased depth of fire lines. Fallers are removing snags and at-risk trees to make roads safe to travel. Crews continue to monitor fire behavior along the North Umpqua River.
South of Highway 138E, firefighters have prepared control lines and burned vegetation to create a secure control line on the west and southwest flanks. On the south and southeast flank, crews are utilizing heavy equipment and fallers to clear and brush out roads used as control lines. The update said crews will also be scouting for alternative lines to tie into existing hand line. Contingency line construction will continue with the primary focus to utilize existing roads as much as possible. Fallers plan to remove snags and put in shaded fuel breaks.
Crews continue to mop-up and patrol around structures in the Dry Creek area and around Horseshoe Bend Campground.
Evacuation locations and levels set last Wednesday, remain in place.
Elbow Creek Fire:
The Elbow Creek Fire, located about 17 miles northwest of Wallowa, has grown to 17,260 acres. Containment is estimated at 15 percent.
The north and east sides of the fire are in excellent shape as crews transition into mop-up operations. The primary focus for crews remains on the south and west sides with overnight growth into the Deep Creek and Sickfoot Creek drainages. Wildland firefighting crews will continue to establish and strengthen containment lines and seek opportunities for burnout operations on this portion of the fire. One helicopter is assisting with suppression efforts with options available from other fires if needed.
Structural task forces based in Troy and Promise, which were brought in by the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, have prepped structures in the area by reducing flammable vegetation around homes. With defensible space measures complete, the task forces are now assisting wildland firefighters with fire line construction.
A Red Flag Warning remains in effect until Wednesday morning. While no lightning was reported in the fire area yesterday, the ongoing threat of thunderstorms could bring erratic winds, further challenging fire suppression efforts.
Level 2 and 3 evacuation notifications by the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office remain unchanged. Additional information regarding evacuations is available on the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Wallowa-County-Sheriffs-Office-147212815486187).
Mop up work continued yesterday around the perimeter of the Bruler Fire. Firefighters continue to engage the fire more directly where possible. Containment is listed at 10%. Fallers have completed work on the north side of the fire, removing hazardous snags that pose a direct threat to firefighters on the ground. This will allow engines to engage heat sources with water. This work will move to the northwest side of the fire today.
Today, firefighters will continue to activate sprinklers around the Bruler Fire. Additional hose, pumps and sprinklers will be added to the fire for the next few days. Masticators are working on the south side of the fire to improve the 1152 road for the incoming heavy equipment. The heavy equipment will work to create alternative control line around the fire perimeter.
A large closure area has been established to maintain firefighter and public safety. This closure encompasses large portions of Forest Service lands south of Detroit Lake, west of Highway 22 and north of Highway 20. The closure also includes the Middle Santiam Wilderness, Daly Lake, Tule Lake and the trail network known as the Old Cascade Crest trail system. The closure is posted to the Willamette National Forest webpage. A Bureau of Land Management (BLM) closure area is also in place for lands along the Quartzville Scenic Byway/Quartzville road including Yellowbottom Campground, Old Miner’s Meadow Group Site, and nearby dispersed camping areas.
Oregon reports 595 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 6 new deaths
There are six new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state�s death toll to 2,832.
The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (1), Benton (5), Clackamas (35), Clatsop (4), Columbia (13), Coos (12), Crook (7), Curry (1), Deschutes (14), Douglas (14), Harney (2), Hood River (3), Jackson (63), Jefferson (4), Josephine (19), Klamath (8), Lane (42), Lincoln (6), Linn (19), Malheur (7), Marion (87), Morrow (3), Multnomah (36), Polk (32), Sherman (1), Umatilla (72), Union (6), Wallowa (1), Wasco (4), Washington (64) and Yamhill (10).
Domestic Wells Running Dry in Many Klamath Basin Properties
The Klamath County Watermaster’s office has received 82 complaints In the last two weeks from people in the Klamath Basin experiencing water shortages in their personal wells. Since the Klamath Project received no water from Upper Klamath Lake this year, farmers have not been able to irrigate as much of their land from surface water, forcing those who want to irrigate to drill deep and pump water.
Many rural households in the Klamath Basin use domestic wells both for in-home, running water and to care for pets or a herd of livestock. In times of drought when surface water is unavailable, some even use their domestic wells to irrigate small amounts of farmland.
Dani Watson, watermaster of District 17 in Klamath Falls, knows there are many more empty wells that have yet to be reported.
Some were able to find water tanks and fill them from their neighbor’s pumps, or from other wells that haven’t yet dried up.
Water storage tanks are wide-based, plastic cylinders with a hole in the top to put water, and a few holes on the side to hook pumps into. They are bulky and not easy to transport — you have to bring water to them.
Many who are experiencing well water shortages live near irrigation canals. In past summers, wells 80-200 feet deep can draw from a shallow aquifer that is recharged by water pumped through canals and over fields.
Paul Simmons, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, is not surprised to see these water shortages in such areas. He has been hearing about the shortages for at least a month now.
“The areas where it is happening are all along major canals that have been left dry this season,” Simmons said.
Since the Klamath Project received no water from Upper Klamath Lake this year, farmers have not been able to irrigate as much of their land from surface water, forcing those who want to irrigate to drill deep and pump water to the surface.
Without extensive and time-consuming research, there is no way to tell where the groundwater level is in the Klamath Basin and how far it has dropped during the current drought.
The United States Geological Survey monitors water in the Klamath Basin and other areas with various sensors that can detect water levels. They monitor about 40 wells, including household and commercial wells with landowner permission, as well as USGS wells installed specifically to measure aquifer levels.
The recent measurements “are some of the lowest levels we’ve seen and it looks like a long-term trend,” said Terrence Conlon, a regional science coordinator for the USGS.
Klamath County Commissioners are working with Oregon Emergency Management and the Oregon Department of Human Services to secure portable water in places where wells went dry. There is no cost.
“This is considered emergency water,” said Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris. “People need to conserve as much as they can.”
The county has ordered 320 water storage tanks. Due to supply shortages, the county will receive shipments in increments, with the first one is expected to arrive late next week.
They are currently working to establish a distribution area where people can pick up tanks and fill them with fresh water, as well as a plan to refill tanks as people need them.
To ensure eligibility for a water tank, Minty Morris encourages people experiencing well issues to contact the watermaster’s office, where they will be added to the queue.
Brad Kirby, the manager of Tule Lake Irrigation District, received a shipment of tanks ranging from 550-2,600 gallons on Friday for people experiencing well issues in the Tulelake area. Kirby encourages people to call the Tule Lake irrigation district and they will work to get a water tank delivered.
Bill Proposal in Oregon Causing Concerns it Would Outlaw Hunting, Fishing, Harvesting Livestock, Rodeos & More
Hunting, fishing, fur trapping, eating beef, and riding broncs and bulls may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but those activities are deeply woven into the cultural fabric of rural America and a big part of parts of Oregon.
Petition 13 would make the killing of any animal legal only under the circumstances of self-defense. That would legally prohibit hunting and fishing for food, fur trapping, harvesting livestock, and even pest control. The petition would also classify catch and release fishing and activities like rodeos as animal abuse.
Given the scientific and economic data that supports those activities, an attempt to make them all illegal would seem crazy if it didn’t have a legitimate chance at potentially happening.
In the case of hunting, fishing and fur trapping, they’re also critical components of managing modern ecosystems and funding fish and wildlife conservation efforts.
In 2020 alone, the state sold more than $28 million worth of hunting licenses and $26 million worth of fishing licenses. Excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, and fishing gear also raised more than $22 million for fish and wildlife conservation efforts in the state in 2020.
Historically, those funding mechanisms have raised more than $2 billion for the same cause in the state. Without those activities the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife would go bankrupt and be unable to manage the state’s resources.
According to Oregon Fresh, cattle ranching alone in Oregon is a $900 million industry which makes beef the state’s top agricultural commodity. Defining cattle ranching as animal abuse would absolutely cripple the state’s economy and leave untold numbers of people hungry.
Rodeo culture goes hand in hand with cattle ranching, and events in Oregon like the St. Paul Rodeo frequently draw more than 50,000 attendees which proves the entertainment and cultural value of cowboy sports in the state.
Under state law, ballot initiatives like Petition 13 need only 112,000 valid signatures by July of 2022 to be eligible for the November 2022 election cycle. The city of Portland is a hub for animal rights extremists, and with a population of about 650,000 there is a fairly decent chance enough of them sign the petition to ensure that the measure winds up on the ballot.
If it weren’t for Portland, such an absurd idea would never be realistic.
Outside of Portland, the state of Oregon is mostly rural and filled with people who have a close connection to agriculture, logging, ranching, hunting, and fishing. It will be up to them to stop the attempt at banning the very activities that entire rural communities and ways of life throughout the state are founded on.
Almost 950,000 people bought a hunting or fishing license in Oregon in 2020 according to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Millions of people in the state presumably ate farm raised meat last year too, so for their ability to go hunting or fishing to be threatened by just over 100,000 people in Portland is absolutely nuts.
If Petition 13 does wind up on the ballot, it will be up to the states more than 4.2 million residents at large to push back on these issues.
Petition 13 has deceptively been titled “Abuse, Neglect, and Assault Exemption Modification and Improvement Act.” The name alone though, is enough to fool people into signing onto the petition in good faith without realizing the lunacy they’re signing up to support. That’s a major reason why highlighting the absurd facts about Petition 13 is so important.
Amy Patrick, outreach coordinator for the Oregon Hunters Association sees the hypocrisy of what the petition is attempting to do. “Under this initiative, it would be illegal to put a deer in the freezer, catch fish, or raise animals to offset a family’s grocery bill. While it prevents Oregonians from securing their own naturally raised or harvested food, it does not prohibit grocery stores from carrying animal proteins, meaning those items would be imported from states that do not have such outrageous regulations, effectively creating even more distance between Oregon families and their food.”
READ MORE About PETITION 13: https://www.yesonip13.org/about
Rare Sumatran Tiger Cubs Born At Wildlife Safari
Wildlife Safari has welcomed two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs. Riya, who is 9 years old, became a first-time mother to the cubs — one boy and one girl — who were named Phoebe and Luhahn.
Wildlife Safari says Riya cleaned the cubs off immediately and has been nursing since.
This is also big news for tiger conservation. The safari hasn’t had tiger cubs born there since the early 80s and these are only the second litter of cubs born into the Sumatran Tiger Species Survival Program since 2018.
There’s been a lack of tiger cubs born due to shutdowns and restrictions at zoological facilities. There are only an estimated 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.
The cubs will spend time with Riya off display for some time before being visible to the public.