Oakridge

Tire Slashing Victims Speak Out

0327151004OAKRIDGE, Ore. — Growing concerns from residents in Oakridge after more than two dozens tires were slashed.

Oakridge residents are voicing frustration about the vandalism, saying they’re not sure why this is happening or who is behind it.

Police posted on its Facebook saying they’ve received numerous calls about the slashed tires and several residents shared the information.

Victims of the crime say with the lack of jobs and financial stability in town, these crimes hit people hard. With no tire service shop in town, they have to rely on each other for help.

“It’s really too bad that we have people who are down and out and they’re wasting their energy and time doing things like that, when there’s so much beauty and lakes, rivers, and trails out here. There’s a lot better things they could be doing with their time,” said Matt Altemus, Oakridge resident and manager of Oregon Outdoors Sports.

One victim told me on the phone that she was hit as recently as Saturday night.

Police and victims say the majority of the crimes seem to have taken place in uptown.

This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with information is asked to call Oakridge police.

Charges to be Filed in Crash

3-28 PICOAKRIDGE, Ore. — Oregon State Police say on March 28 at 10:26 a.m., troopers responded to a two-vehicle fatal crash on Highway 58 near milepost 45 east of Oakridge. The investigation revealed a gold 1999 Honda Accord traveling westbound crossed over into the eastbound lane, colliding with a white 2014 Honda Accord. The gold Honda went down an embankment.

The white 2014 Honda Accord was driven by 73-year-old Charles Kuykendall, accompanied by 74-year-old passenger Patricia Kuykendall, both from Gig Harbor, Washington. Mrs. Kuykendall was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Kuykendall was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

The gold 1999 Honda Accord was driven by 36-year-old Billyroy Durham, accompanied by 38-year-old Tuesday Durham from Phoenix, Arizona. They were both taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

One lane of Highway 58 was closed for about 2 hours.

As a result of the investigation, Mr. Durham is expected to be charged with Manslaughter in the First Degree, Assault in the Second Degree, Assault in the Third Degree, Reckless Driving, and DUII- Controlled Substances.

Friday Night Blitz – October 17

For the October 17th edition of KEZI Friday Night blitz, watch highlights of 11 games including our Game of the Week between North Medford & Willamette, Thurston & Sheldon, South Eugene, Roseburg, and more.

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Deception Complex Fire, Sept. 8

Photo Courtesy of the Willamette National Forest

Photo Courtesy of the Willamette National Forest

OAKRIDGE, Ore. – The Deception Complex Fire continues to burn near Oakridge.

Firefighters have taken advantage of the shifting winds and ignited the northwestern perimeter and southern tip. They’ve utilized weather conditions to safely complete the burnout objectives of suppressing the fire while create a mosaic of mixed intensity burns on the landscape.

Crews, engines and heavy equipment continue to work along the fire’s perimeter to hold and improve the fire lines.

As of Monday morning the fire has burned 3,760 acres and was 64 percent contained.

Deception Complex Update, Sept. 3

Deception Creek ComplexOAKRIDGE, Ore. — The Deception Complex continues to burn near Oakridge Wednesday tonight. It’s now at 2,200 acres and 55 percent contained.

Nearly 1000 crews are helping with those efforts. Crews say recent the rain has helped, but this year has been particularly dry, making it tough to fight fires.

“The life fuel moisture and the large dead debris that’s on the ground is super dry this year drier than it has been in the past few years. So it’s made for a more severe fire season,” said Rob Allen, Deputy Incident Commander.

Crews expect another four to six weeks of fire season. Deception Creek Mobile Home Park, Middle Fork Ranger Station and houses along La Duke Road remain under a level 1 evacuation notice, which means be ready for a potential evacuation.

Deception Complex Fire Update

Photo Courtesy of Rita Dyer

Photo Courtesy of Rita Dyer

OAKRIDGE, Ore. — The air quality may be improving, but the deception complex continues to burn near Oakridge.

The fires have burned more than 2,200 acres since they started around August 12. They’re 55 percent contained.

Cooler temperatures and light rain helped improved conditions over the weekend. Eight helicopters are being used to attack the fire from the air, and more than a thousand personnel are on the ground.

Drivers are reminded to be careful because there is extra activity on Highway 58. Several trails are still closed, along with the Oakridge airport.

There will be a community meeting at the Green Water Park at 7 p.m. on Tuesday to provide information about the fire.

For information on closures click here.

Deception Complex Impacts Campgrounds

Still0831_00002NEAR OAKRIDGE, Ore. — Heavy smoke hung over Oakridge and nearby areas due to the Deception Complex wildfire Sunday. While fire crews are making progress containing the blaze during the weekend, that smoke is causing many many people to change their holiday plans, but others decided to carry out their weekend plans.

The Deception Complex Fire is just a few miles up the from the Black Canyon Campground. Many campsites at the campground sit vacant on a normally busy holiday weekend, after the campground’s manager said a lot of people cancelled their reservations because of the nearby fire.

For the campers who stuck out the smoke, they said it hasn’t impacted them too much, except for some with respiratory issues like asthma.

“We saw the haze coming in Thursday morning and then I started feeling my throat getting kind of tight and scratchy and started coughing. So I got my inhalers and took even a sinus pill and it helped,” said camper Shauna Wirth.

“We noticed the rain yesterday more than the smoke,” said camper Mike Jordan.

One family said they checked online before heading to the campground to make sure the site was still open and said they were confident the fire wouldn’t spread toward the area, so they decided to keep their reservation and head out toward Oakridge for the holiday weekend.

Family of Murder Victim Speaks

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OAKRIDGE, Ore. — No one is ever prepared to lose a family member.
News of Jenny Gamez’ death is hitting her foster family hard.
Law enforcement positively identified Jenny Gamez as on of the victims found in suitcases June 5th near the town of Geneva, Wisconsin.
The first body identified was 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Minnesota.
The 21-year-old last lived in Cottage Grove, but grew up in Oakridge.
Former police officer Steven Zelich was arrested last week in connection with the deaths.
Sources say he had relationships with both women and told authorities he was involved in their deaths.
KEZI 9 News Reporter Sarah Hurwitz sat down with Gamez’ foster dad and foster sister.
Click to watch the story as they look back on her years at home in Oakridge and the legacy she leaves behind.

LCGG: Hidden Valley Golf Course

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There is not one ounce of pretention at Hidden Valley. The course welcomes all in true “come-as-you-are” fashion. I arrived early for my interview and was welcomed into owner’s Dan and Molly Nord’s home located just off the first tee. They offered me coffee and invited me to sit at their dining table.

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The course is a lean operation. They have one employee who sets the sprinklers in the evening. The rest of the work is done by owner Dan, Molly and the rest of their family. Operating and maintaining a course is a huge task. Before purchasing Hidden Valley, Dan worked in landscaping and irrigation. Like many of us, he began to play a lot of golf with clients and became addicted to the sport. With a background in landscaping and irrigation he thought that he could take care of the grounds at a course. When Hidden Valley came on the market he jumped on the chance to practice his profession, live nearer to family and play all the golf time would allow.

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If you’re a little more laid back about your golf experience Hidden Valley may be the course for you. Don’t worry about what you’re wearing; t-shirt and jeans are more than acceptable. When you arrive you will be greeted by people so friendly, you’ll feel like you must have been friends for at least 20 years (if you’re younger than 20 than they’re probably friends with your parents).

Originally built in 1929, Hidden Valley is one of the oldest courses in the area. The age of the course led Dan to remark “I feel more like the caretaker than an owner, the course was here before me and it will be here long after I’m gone.” Because the course is so old there are a lot of regular golfers who have been regulars for a long time. “A lot of our golfers are in their 80’s and 90’s, the course has been here forever and so have the customers.”

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For a course that is relatively close to the freeway, and has been around as long as it has, Hidden Valley really is…hidden. With the exception of a few newer construction homes along the fourth fairway, your round is played in a very secluded setting. All of this leads to your round being relaxed in every sense of the word. The pace doesn’t need to be too quick, it’s quiet and secluded on the course, and you don’t need to play in a collared shirt and khakis. Part of that is location, and the other part is the mature trees.

Hidden Valley embraces sustainable course maintenance in several ways. When the course was built over 80 years ago it was seeded with local grasses, specifically poa annua (bluegrass). Because Hidden Valley is seeded with local grass, there is no need to use chemicals to eliminate unwanted grass varieties, which dramatically reduces the amount of chemicals needed to maintain the course. Because the grass has been at the course for so long it is naturally resistant to many of the local bugs and diseases which can harm grass; again, reducing the need for chemical treatments. Because of its age, the grass has also become incredibly drought tolerant, which makes the course a very efficient user of water. Dan has also installed Audubon Society certified birdhouses around the course. Rather than using chemicals, Dan uses birds keep plant-destroying insects in check.

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The measures taken at Hidden Valley to let nature take care of itself means the course has almost no impact on the environment.

When you arrive at Hidden Valley and are confronted by smiling faces and a relaxed atmosphere it’s easy to assume that the course will be equally accommodating: it isn’t. Hidden Valley is an incredibly challenging course. It’s long, the greens are small and many are guarded by bunkers, the trees are tall, the rough is thick and the course changes elevation more often than a roller coaster. When you visit Hidden Valley be prepared to play your best or post some high scores.

The level of difficulty ramps up early with the par 5 first. Most players will not be able to reach in two, but laying up is also incredibly dangerous because of the pond situated about 50 yards in front of the green which swallows the left side of the fairway. This means you’ll be left with a substantial third shot into a sloping back-to-front green that is protected by thick rough on the left. Though the hole itself is relatively straight forward, it is laced with landmines which can blow up in your face at any moment.

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Though holes two and three are on the shorter side, they both feature huge elevation changes which make gauging the distance much more difficult.

The fourth hole is the second par 5. The hole, like many others, features rolling hills through the entire fairway. There is a pond on the left side of the fairway about 175 yards from the tee, which makes landing your tee shot much more treacherous. Though the right side of the fairway is much more open, the fairway narrows quickly with mature trees on both sides. Even if you do manage to stay dry off the tee you may not have a clear second shot unless you manage to drive into a narrow corridor just to the right of the pond. The second shot is blind. If you do reach in two you’ll still have to navigate a very tricky multi-tiered green.

After the fourth hole the course becomes somewhat easier, although it may be best if you leave the driver in the bag for the rest of the round. The holes are straightforward, but you can quickly find trouble with even the slightest miscue off the tee. Any shot hit into the trees is devastating. Although many of the greens are within reach it’s best to avoid temptation unless you feel completely in command of your driver.

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Hidden Valley cultivates an incredibly friendly and laid-back atmosphere in their clubhouse, and it’s a good thing they do. You’ll need to feel good about yourself going into an incredibly difficult first hole on what is a very challenging course. Regardless of how you play, you’ll see the same smiling faces as you leave, which should cheer you up in preparation for your next round.

To My Surprise Groucho Marx Had It Wrong.

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Groucho Marx - "You Bet Your Life" | npr.org
Groucho Marx – “You Bet Your Life” | npr.org

As I was growing up in Rochester, NY I really enjoyed seeing the Marx Brothers’ movies on TV  ( I wasn’t born when the movies were first in theaters) and then the Groucho Marx TV show “You Bet Your Life.” If you have read any biographies of the Marx Brothers and especially Groucho’s autobiography you know they did have some escapades that would make a sailor blush. For me Groucho was and still is my favorite. I particularly liked to use one of his quotes when asked to join a service club. The quote is “I wouldn’t want to join an organization that would have me as a member.” It usually gets a laugh. What I found out was most of the members were just like me in many ways. The real reason I I used that excuse was that for 37 years on TV my schedule didn’t allow for time to attend meetings. I have belonged to church choirs, and still do, but when I was working I could not attend the evening rehearsals. They would record my part on tape and then I would play the tape at home and while driving my car. Today that is called distracted driving, but I felt that if I got killed in a car accident at least I might have a better chance at Heaven because I was singing a hymn when I died. Actually I’m just kidding about that, sort of.

Eugene Downtown Lions Club Banner | Tim Chuey
Eugene Downtown Lions Club Banner | Tim Chuey

We moved to Eugene in 1992 and rented a house for a year. In 1993 we bought a larger house because we needed to move my mother here as she was living alone in Upstate New York after my Father’s death. We needed help to find a house and my boss recommended his real estate agents, a couple, Dave and Nancy Haverstock, also known as “Mr. & Mrs. Real Estate” and who now work with John L. Scott Real Estate. They showed us some houses and we found the one that became our home. As it happened, Dave was a member of the Eugene Downtown Lions Club and he invited me to be his guest at one of their weekly Noon meetings. I had been a guest speaker countless times over the years all over the country, but this was the first time I didn’t have to eat quickly and prepare for my presentation. This time I had the opportunity to watch the members have a very lively meeting often interrupting their president with laughter and comments. Recently I was surprised when our club president passed out pins for years of service and my name was called for a 20-year-pin. I can’t believe I have been a member that long. As a service club the Eugene Downtown Lions perform so many good works it’s hard to write them all down.

Children's Miracle Network -Lions Guest House | Tim Chuey
Children’s Miracle Network -Lions Guest House | Tim Chuey

The Lions motto is “We Serve.” Here are some examples: the Community Services Committee collects applications from groups or individuals in need and they decide on a case-by-case basis the ones that we can help within our budget. We have a group of members who deliver “Meals On Wheels,” we helped found and fund the Children’s Miracle Network – Lions Guest house for Sacred Heart Hospital’s patients families (a place to stay so they can be near their patient family member), we donate to the Gales Creek Camp for Children with diabetes, and we have a Sight and Hearing Committee that has a budget to help needy people get hearing aids, glasses, examinations, and even cataract surgery. Our Environmental Services Committee has work parties who clear blackberries, clean up debris, and plant trees at the Delta Ponds. These are just some of the reasons the Eugene Downtown Lions Club needs the support of the community.

The Eugene Downtown Lions Club’s annual raffle is almost over. This is week 7 of 7 weeks of selling tickets. Please help the Lions help others. Buy a ticket for just $5.00 and you could win one of these 7 great prizes:

1) a $3,000 Travel Voucher 2) a Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair (value $1,400) 3) Apple iPad (value $729) 4) Specialized Sirrus – Man’s Bicycle (value $650) 5) Specialized Vita – Women’s Bicycle (value $650) 6) & 7) Bi-Mart Gift Certificates (value $500 each). The drawing will be held at 4:00 PM Saturday June 29,2013 at Bi-Mart at 18th and Chambers. You do not have to be present to win. Winners will be notified by phone if they are not present at the drawing. A maximum of 4,000 tickets will be sold. All of the proceeds (100%) go to fund the club’s many local projects. 

Eugene Downtown Lions Selling Raffle Tickets  | Tim Chuey
Eugene Downtown Lions Selling Raffle Tickets | Tim Chuey

Tickets will be on sale at Bi-Mart at 18th Avenue and Chambers Street from 10AM until 6 PM Tuesday June 25th through Friday June 28th and then on Saturday June 29th from 10 AM until 4 PM when the drawing will take place. I am the lucky guy who gets to call the winners immediately by cell phone if they are not present at the drawing. You can’t imagine how much fun it is to tell people they have won. The truth be known, when you buy a ticket, you are already a winner in our eyes and the eyes of those receiving our services. For more information on Lionism and the Eugene Downtown Lions Club check out the Club’s website. If you are interested in attending a meeting just shoot me an email and w’ll set it up for you.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can email me at: [email protected].

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