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Klamath dams: Under pressure

Iron Gate Dam near Hornbrook is one of several dams on the Klamath River that tribes want to see removed. Triplicate file photo
 On the heels of Yurok Tribe's rejection of deal to remove dams on the Klamath, Hoopa Valley Tribe says it will challenge federal relicensing

The Yurok Tribe announced this week intentions to withdraw from the Klamath Agreements that would help remove four dams on the Klamath River, but while the complex, multi-party deals have collected congressional dust, the Hoopa Valley Tribe — never a party to the deals — have been fighting for dam removal in court.

The Hoopa Valley Tribe plans to file a brief by Friday in the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging that the federal dam regulatory agency has violated the Clean Water Act in its approach to the relicensing — or lack of it — of the Klamath River dams.

The hydropower license needed for PacifiCorp to operate its hydroelectric dams on the Klamath expired in 2006, but the Warren Buffett-owned power company has delayed the relicensing of the dams since then using a legal-gray-area strategy outlined in one of the Klamath Agreements. All in hopes that Congress would pass legislation implementing the Klamath Agreements. But that hasn’t happened after three years of sitting in Congress with little traction.

Seven apply for vacated seat

Seven applicants hope to take over Rich Enea’s seat when he resigns from the Crescent City Council next month.

The Council will interview the applicants at a special meeting 4 p.m. Monday and may select someone to fill Enea’s seat effective Oct. 6. The vacated seat will then be up for special election during the June 2016 primary election, according to the city’s staff report.

The applicants include College of the Redwoods student Alexander Fallman; Crescent City Fire and Rescue captain Darrin Short; Hambro Forest Products CFO David Slagle, who ran for the City Council in 2014; Crescent City Planning Commissioner Holly Greene; Surf Apartments Manager Kristopher McGill; Robin Sutherland, former acting director of planning and budgeting for the Corporation for National Service; and Humboldt State University social work student Steven M. Bevier.

Just a few hotspots remain in wildfires

Crews were able to get back to mopping up perimeters of mostly static wildfires Friday after two days of rain dampened the Gasquet Complex blazes and kept fire personnel off the back roads.

Inland rainfall in Del Norte County ranged from over two inches at higher elevations near the G-O Road to about an inch in Gasquet, said Public Information Officer Adrienne Freeman.

At 11,619 and 12,166 acres, neither the Bear nor the Peak fires made any gains this week. The Coon and Feeder Fires are being assessed by a Burnt Area Emergency Response team, which will make recommendations to Six Rivers National Forest on how to mediate for damages done by the fire.

Fisherman at mouth of Klamath rescued

A Yurok Tribal member was rescued from the powerful Pacific surf Thursday after his boat was sucked from the Klamath River into the ocean and capsized in the waves while allegedly fishing for salmon in an area prohibited by tribal ordinance.

Joseph Hernandez was drifting a net in the chute of the Klamath’s mouth when his boat’s motor became stuck in his net, according to Paul Van Mechelen who witnessed the incident and ultimately saved Hernandez.

Van Mechelen, of Paul’s Smoked Salmon in Klamath, said he was providing Yurok fishing guide services from the banks of the river mouth and a client had just hooked a salmon when he saw Hernandez floating through the chute towards the ocean.

Tsunami waves under a foot but second-highest in Calif.

A .8-foot increase in tide in Crescent City was all that came of an 8.3-magnitude earthquake off the coast of central Chile.

Millions of people were evacuated from coastal Chile where many of their homes were destroyed; 12 people were reported dead. The resulting tsunami fanned out across the Pacific: In Hawaii, Japan and Alaska, tides exceeding their normal fluctuations by 2.8, 2.6 and .9 feet were recorded.

A tsunami advisory was issued for Southern California until noon Thursday.

Local emergency personnel were allowed to stand down around 7 p.m.  Wednesday, once the Tsunami Warning Center had deemed the tsunami risk in Del Norte County was low. A .8 foot surge is not a threat to land dwellers.

Supervisors work on letter of support for mineral withdrawal

Del Norte County Supervisors plan to finalize their latest statement Tuesday in opposition of mining proposals in the North Fork Smith River basin.

In a letter to the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, county representatives are expected to voice their support for the next development in a multi-phase action to temporarily safeguard the designated stretch of the Smith from mining interests. This will be the second formal position issued by the county office, following a July 2014 letter opposing the request for a Limited Use Water License for mineral drilling by the Red Flat Nickel Corporation.

A two-year segregation, currently in effect, prohibits any new mining claims in certain sections of southwest Oregon including the North Fork Smith basin. The two-year mineral withdrawal and a five-year withdrawal in question would also make it more difficult for owners of existing mining claims to carry out mining projects.

Slow, blocked traffic while road work proceeds in Smith R.

Motorists traveling through Smith River may have noticed a recent increase in radar feedback signs letting them know how fast they’re going.

The signs are one component of a larger project spearheaded by the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation that will create a seven-mile long safety corridor on U.S. 101 between the Oregon border and Rowdy Creek Road in the Smith River area.

The project is designed to get motorists traveling through the area to slow down near Lucky 7 Casino and in the town of Smith River. The safety project is expected to be finished by the end of October.

Emergency dispatch call logs, Sept. 16-17, 2015

Excerpts from the call logs for the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department, September 16-17:

September 16, 2015

At 3:46 a.m., caller reports persons involved in suspicious activity on the 1200 block of Northcrest Drive but was advised they are doing work there.

At 9:22 a.m., caller reports a suspicious vehicle driving slowly down the street on the 5400 block of South Bank Road.

At 9:35 a.m., caller reports two bikes were stolen from the back of his truck and the chains securing them cut. He says this occurred at night on the 700 block of U.S. 101.

News of Record, Sept. 11-17, 2015

Del Norte County Superior Court felony and misdemeanor sentencings for the week of Sept. 11-17 include:

Korena Shelton, 25, Crescent City, was sentenced to 24 days in jail for two probation violations.

Lynnann Vangieson, 26, Crescent City, was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years probation, and fined $671 for petty theft.

Friday power outage affects 2,000 customers

Pacific Power restored power Friday evening for approximately 2,000 customers in the Crescent City area who had gone without it for as much as six hours.

Outage numbers fluctuated throughout the afternoon while crews worked to make switches and route the system around a blown breaker, spokesperson Ry Schwark said.

Substation operators from Medford arrived Friday afternoon to assess the breaker lockout. The cause has not yet been determined.

Details concerning the location of the breaker and area affected by the outage were not immediately available from Pacific Power; however, Pacific Power crews were working on the substation on West Washington Boulevard, and there were customers without power within short distances to the east of the substation but not to the west. Reports indicated the outage extended at least as far as Elk Valley Cross Road.

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