Oregon Beach News, Monday 10/11 – North Bend Gets Assistance From Coos Bay Police Dept. After Chief And Captain Resigned Suddenly, Structure Fires in Gearhart and Charleston

The latest news stories across the state of Oregon from the digital home of the Oregon coastal cities, OregonBeachMagazine.com

Monday, October 11, 2021

Oregon Beach Weather

Frost Advisory in effect from October 12, 12:00 AM PDT until October 12, 09:00 AM PDT

Today– A 30 percent chance of showers before 10am. Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 59. Light and variable wind becoming north northwest 6 to 11 mph in the afternoon.

Tuesday– A slight chance of showers between 11am and 1pm, then a slight chance of rain after 1pm. Patchy frost before 8am. Otherwise, increasing clouds, with a high near 58. East wind 5 to 9 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday– Showers likely, mainly after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 58. North wind 5 to 8 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Thursday– A 20 percent chance of rain before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 61.

Friday– A slight chance of rain after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 62.

North Bend Gets Assistance From Coos Bay Police Dept. After Chief And Captain Resigned Suddenly

The North Bend Police Department is getting assistance from Coos Bay Police Department after Police Chief Robert Kappelman and Captain Curt Bennett resigned their posts last Thursday.

“The City of North Bend is moving forward following yesterday’s abrupt resignation of its police command staff,” North Bend City Manager David Milliron said in a statement.

Milliron said he reached out to the City of Coos Bay and requested their police department’s temporary assistance in maintaining support services.

“North Bend will temporarily have some shared administration services with Coos Bay’s Police Chief and two Captains until an interim Police Chief is named,” Milliron said.

He explained that the City will move forward with plans for a 360-degree operational assessment of the police department, as requested by the City Council.

“I know we have a great police department with dedicated personnel that wants to evolve into the best agency possible,” Milliron said. “Once we have a roadmap and the police department is stabilized, we can begin the collaborative process of recruiting and hiring a new police chief.”

Here is the full statement:

Dear Team North Bend,

The City of North Bend is moving forward following yesterday’s abrupt resignation of its police command staff. Through even the most challenging times, the North Bend Police Department has emerged stronger – with clarity of vision and mission; and many organizational efficiencies realized. With Wednesday’s unexpected resignations of Police Chief Robert F. Kappelman and Captain Curt R. Bennett, I would expect nothing less. I am proud of their many accomplishments during their tenure and look forward to hearing of their success as we continue to move forward here at Team North Bend.

As we work together to recruit and appoint an interim police chief, I reached out to my counterpart at the City of Coos Bay yesterday. I requested his police department’s temporary assistance in maintaining support services. The team will also work to set the tone to help our valued police department employees continue to be successful here at the City of North Bend. In doing so, North Bend will temporarily have some shared administration services with Coos Bay’s Police Chief and two Captains until an interim Police Chief is named. Coos County District Attorney R. Paul Frasier also reached out today and offered his full support during this transition period.

Building community and maintaining public trust for all remains our local government’s primary mission. Therefore, North Bend will continue to move forward with plans for a 360-degree operational assessment of the police department, as requested by the City Council. The evaluation is expected to include on-site visits, significant analysis of current data, and a series of interviews with staff, government officials, and community members. The interim police chief and supervisory staff will have an opportunity to provide input into the request for proposal document before being put out for bid.

Studies of this nature are predisposed toward the identification of areas requiring improvement. Accordingly, they tend to present what needs work without fully acknowledging and highlighting the positive aspects of an organization. I know we have a great police department with dedicated personnel that wants to evolve into the best agency possible. The professional law enforcement study intends to help guide the administration and City Council forward in preparing a strategic plan for future growth and development, and address the long-standing concerns that have been discussed dating back to the public safety fee reduction in May 2020.

Once we have a roadmap and the police department is stabilized, we can begin the collaborative process of recruiting and hiring a new police chief. North Bend’s next police chief will be a proven leader who demonstrates a collaborative and team-oriented approach to leadership and service to the community, takes a proactive stance towards problem-solving, and understands and values the culture of North Bend, and knows its demographics, both culturally and socioeconomically, as well as its challenges and issues. We will take our time finding the right candidate, and I will be looking for ways to engage our residents in the process.

I want to thank you for your continued hard work and commitment to excellence. I am looking forward to accomplishing great things together. Know my door is always open.

Best regards,

David

David A. Milliron, City Administrator
City of North Bend, 835 California Ave, OR 97459-0014
541-756-8536 | dmilliron@northbendcity.org

Charleston Motel Fire

A Charleston motel is partially damaged following a fire early Saturday morning. Captain John’s Motel is located on the 63000 block of Kingfisher Road.

Crews first responded to the scene around 2:30 a.m. Officials said 4 rooms were damaged and one completely burned out.

No injuries were reported, they said. Coos Bay Fire and Rescue assisted Charleston Fire crews. Officials determined the fire to be accidental.

Gearhart House Fire

Gearhart Fire Dept. received a report of smoke coming from the cedar shake roof around the brick chimney at 976 North Cottage at 11:12 p.m.

Flames were also observed moving quickly from the roof and along the ridgeline of the structure.

While moving to the rear of the structure fire was also traveling along the entire ridgeline as well. Embers were drifting onto the roof of a neighboring building.

After confirming all people and pets were out of the home, firefighters conducted a knockdown of the fire from inside the structure. Seaside Fire arrived on scene providing backup, including command support and extra manpower to complete the interior knockdown. A second alarm brought Warrenton Fire and Lewis and Clark Fire Department to assist.

Officials state there were no injuries at the two-alarm house fire. The fire was accidental, caused by combustible materials exposed to extremely high temperatures around the wood over an extended period of time.

Oregon reports 1,580 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 23 new deaths

There are 23 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 3,982. The Oregon Health Authority reported 1,580 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 341,113.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (6), Benton (26), Clackamas (95), Clatsop (9), Columbia (28), Coos (25), Crook (51), Curry (6), Deschutes (142), Douglas (41), Harney (9), Hood River (11), Jackson (68), Jefferson (21), Josephine (23), Klamath (76), Lake (12), Lane (133), Lincoln (10), Linn (141), Malheur (25), Marion (136), Morrow (8), Multnomah (172), Polk (18), Tillamook (2), Umatilla (59), Union (28), Wallowa (11), Wasco (11), Washington (125), Wheeler (12) and Yamhill (40).

Newest COVID-19 modeling report projects decrease in daily cases and hospitalizations

Today, OHA released its latest COVID-19 forecast showing a continued decline in daily cases and hospitalizations through mid-October.

According to the report, the effective reproduction rate — the expected number of secondary cases that a single case generates — was estimated at .91 on Sept. 22, which is higher than last week’s projection.

At that level of transmission, the report estimates 425 cases per 100,000 people, or an average of 1,275 daily cases and 78 hospitalizations for the two-week period between Oct. 13 and Oct. 26.

The report also estimated the potential impact from the projected spread of the disease from Sept. 16 through 22, which closely tracks the reported data during that week.

At that rate of transmission, new daily cases and hospitalizations are expected to decline more steeply, with an estimated average of 350 per 100,000 people, projecting an average of 1,050 new cases and 62 hospitalizations through Oct. 26.

The report also indicated that hospitals across the state are seeing declines in COVID-19 hospitalizations and COVID-19 intensive care admissions.

The report also noted no increase in high-risk behaviors.

Vaccinations remain the most effective shield against COVID-19. Oregonians should wear masks in indoor public spaces and when outdoors among crowds.

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Cooler temperatures, increased humidity, and a few autumn storms are providing enough relief to allow further reduction in restrictions and fire danger in South Central Oregon.

Effective today, Monday, October 11th, the agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) will be lowering the Fire Danger from “High” to “Moderate”.  Despite this change, fuels remain dry and caution is needed to prevent wildfires.

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Klamath-Lake District Regulated Use Closure (RUC), which regulates things like the use of campfires, chainsaws and other activities that could start a wildfire, are being lifted tomorrow, Monday, October 11.

While the RUC is being lifted, Fire Season is still in effect and regulations are in place restricting debris burning and timber harvest operations.  All outdoor debris burning is still prohibited.

Forest operations on State and private lands that require a Permit to Operate Power Driven Machinery are required to have fire tools, onsite water supply, and watchman service.  The release of sky lanterns, discharge of exploding targets or the discharge of tracer ammunition is also prohibited while Fire Season is in effect.

“The recent light moisture and cooler temperatures we received last week going into this week is assisting us but not near enough to put us out of declared fire season,” said Randall Baley, ODF Protection Unit Forester in Klamath Falls.  “As hunting season and other fall outdoor activities arrive, please be fire safe and careful at all times.”

Public Use Restrictions, on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complexes and most of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District were lifted on October 1. 

Public Use Restrictions remain in place on BLM lands in the Klamath River Canyon.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) is lowering Monday, October 11 from Level II to Level I.  This means fire precaution requirements are still in effect, including a 1-hour fire watch following work that could spark a wildfire.  Under IFPL I, chainsaw use is permitted any time of day on federal lands, including the Fremont-Winema National Forest and Lakeview District BLM.

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.

Area residents and visitors are also reminded that the Emergency Fire Closure Orders for the Bootleg and Cougar Peak Fires are still in effect on the Fremont-Winema National Forest.  Both orders are available at www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema.

“The SCOFMP agencies are still seeing wildfires this fall, including a small lightning fire Friday on the Lakeview Ranger District,” said Interagency Deputy Fire Management Officer Coley Neider.  “While we are still prepared for these fires, fuels are still very dry and can carry fire. We need the continued efforts of the public to prevent wildfires this fall.”

Area residents and visitors can help prevent wildfires by doing the following:

  • Make sure campfires are never left unattended and are dead out and cold to the touch before leaving.  Use plenty of water to drown the fire.
  • If you are using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other fine fuels. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire.
  • Ensure chainsaws and other equipment, including generators, are maintained and have an approved spark arrester in good condition.
  • Make sure off-road vehicles have a properly functioning catalytic converter or approved spark arrester.
  • Never park a vehicle over dead grass and avoid driving through tall grass – your vehicle can ignite the fuels and start a fire.
  • If towing a boat or trailer, ensure safety chains are properly secured and not dragging.

Suspected wildfires should be reported to 911 as soon as possible.  Visit https://scofmp.org for more information on restrictions and IFPL.

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Oct. 11th – Oregon is celebrating its first-ever Indigenous Peoples’ Day today, a day intended to recognize and honor the contributions that Indigenous and Native peoples have made to the state’s history and culture.

The second Monday in October, long celebrated as Columbus Day, will now officially be recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in Oregon — a recognition of the Native American communities here long before Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas.

Massive Marijuana Bust in Klamath Falls

Klamath County Deputies stumbled Wednesday into the most significant illegal marijuana operation in Klamath County history. The 27,000-square-foot potato shed south of Klamath Falls was filled with marijuana in various stages of processing: drying in giant strands that stretched from the roof to the floor, buds pruned and stuffed into 40-pound bags, hundreds of those bags stacked against a wall, and years of discarded marijuana waste in piles ready for disposal.

Sheriff Chris Kaber said Friday he had never seen anything like it in 30 years of police work. And it wouldn’t have been found if a single car hadn’t thrown up enough dust that a neighbor mistook it for a wisp of smoke.

Klamath County Fire District crews and county deputies arrived at the location, west of Highway 39 not far from Klamath Community College, after a 911 call about possible smoke in the area was made about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Deputies noticed the back of a nearby building was open and they could clearly see marijuana inside. And there was more of it than any of them had ever seen before.

The scale of this operation was so massive, Kaber said it changed his perception of the extent of the problem locally. After securing the area and identifying some of the people on the premises, officers documented the property and made sure everything stayed put. And then a number of county agencies got to work removing the incredible amount of marijuana, which will take days if not weeks. The Sheriff’s Office conservatively estimated the street value of the marijuana inside the shed to be worth in excess of $100 million. No weapons or cash was found.

Many illegal grows in the county are operating on property owned by local landowners, who tend to lease their property to strangers who claim they want to grow legal hemp. In reality, people growing illegally are getting a good price for a place to grow at the expense of the landowner, who assumes most of the risk, the sheriff said.

The grows often require a staggering amount of water, stolen from local wells and rivers, in order to feed the crops. The issue has plagued many Klamath County residents, in addition to the smell and sometimes threats of violence from those operating and protecting the grows.

Oregon Warns Consumers of Mortgage Scam

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation is warning consumers about fraudulent activity from an alleged Internet-based mortgage lending and consumer finance company that is committing an advance fee scam, as well as impersonating a legitimate company.

The division has received five complaints from victims of the advance fee scam. Four of the five complaints were filed in the past year. The scammers have co-opted the name and address for a real Portland-based company named Canyon Investments. The real Canyon Investments has nothing to do with the lending scam.

The fraudsters, whose identities the division has not been able to determine, have set up an imposter website to make it look like the real Canyon Investments. They use Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP),  phone apps, spoof emails, and stock photos to give the appearance of a legitimate company offering funding for real estate purchases
and investments. The real Canyon Investments does not have a website and does not offer loans to consumers.

Oregon Employment Department Finally Getting Calls Answered

Have a question for the employment department? It’s now, after 19 months, back to normal when calling the employment department. That was one of the least productive things you could do for the first several months of the pandemic when the Oregon Employment Department was essentially inaccessible by phone.

New state data, though, shows that calls are finally getting answered. The employment department says it’s now answering more than 90% of calls within 15 minutes. Nearly 80% of calls are answered within five minutes. That’s within spitting distance of the state’s goal of answering 90% that quickly.

Four Alarm Fire in Mt. Angel

The Mt. Angel Fire District said a four-alarm fire broke out in the early morning hours on Saturday. At 12:48 a.m., officers from the Mt. Angel Police Department discovered that a building in the 200 block of South Main Street was on fire. The officers called in what they had found, and the Mt. Angel Fire District was dispatched to respond.

At 12:48 a.m., officers from the Mt. Angel Police Department discovered that a building in the 200 block of South Main Street was on fire. The officers called in what they had found, and the Mt. Angel Fire District was dispatched to respond.

Upon arrival of the first engine, the building was fully engulfed in flames. Additional alarms were called, and the fire eventually went to four alarms.

There were 35 fire apparatus that responded with nearly 120 firefighters battling the flames. Over a million gallons of water were used to knock the fire down.

There were 4 buildings damaged or destroyed by the fire. Damage estimates have not yet been done. The businesses affected by the fire were The Blackbird Granary, KP Harvesttime, Wood Pellet Stoves and Hiddenbed of Oregon.

There were no injuries as a result of this fire and the efforts to extinguish it. The cause at this time is unknown and is currently under investigation.

Oregon State Parks seeks input on several new rules being considered regarding park usage

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is requesting public comment on three proposed amendments to the Oregon Administrative Rules that govern state parks, as directed by legislation passed during the 2021 session.

The deadline for comments is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, 2021.

One change prohibits individuals convicted of a bias crime on public property or state waterways from entering state park property for up to five years, as per Senate Bill 289. The proposed amendment establishes a process for issuing exclusion notices.

The second change implements Senate Bill 794, which increases fees for RV campsites by 25% for out-of-state residents. Under the current system, out-of-state campers just pay the RV site rate. Oregon residents with RVs pay both the RV site rate plus an RV license plate fee, some of which goes to state park operations. Additional revenue from this surcharge will go to pay for day-to-day operations and repairs to state parks. With a system nearly 100 years old, those costs go up every year.

The third amendment under consideration adds a requirement that members of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council be appointed by the Governor, as per House Bill 2171. The council will advise the Office of Outdoor Recreation on outdoor policy and priorities.

Public Hearing: A virtual public meeting set for 6 pm. Oct. 27. Registration is required at http://oregon.gov/OPRD/PRP/Pages/PRP-rulemaking.aspx

A full copy of the proposed amendments is available on the Proposed OPRD Rules web page.

After reviewing public comments, agency staff will present final amended rules for consideration by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission at its November 2021 business meeting.

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