KWSO News for Mon., Sep. 28, 2020

Command of the Lionshead Fire transitioned yesterday from the Rocky Mountain Area Team 1 to Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 13.  The fire is mapped at 204,340 acres and is 34% contained.  Roads and trails near the fire remain closed for public safety including: the 12 and 46 Roads; roads and trails on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Spring lands adjacent to the fire;  the Pacific Crest Trail in the Deschutes National Forest.  The Willamette National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and State lands around the fire remain closed to the public.  You can get more details at:


The Oregon Health Authority announced a new grant program Friday that will distribute $45 million dollars to community organizations and tribal governments to help them fight COVID-19.  OHA announced the availability of grant funding and opened for applications to not-for-profit organizations statewide and Oregon’s nine federally recognized Tribes and the Urban Indian Health Program on Aug. 18. OHA received hundreds of applications and has funded 205 organizations and tribes. Requests totaled close to $170 million, and not all applicants could be funded.  The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs was awarded one million dollars.  Here is a list of the OHA COVID-19 Health Equity Grant Awards:


Two men have been charged with fraud against the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the U.S. Department of Justice said.  A federal grand jury in Portland has returned a six-count indictment charging Roderick Ariwite and Thomas Adams with conspiracy and theft/misapplication of funds from a Tribal organization, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a news release Friday.  The indictment charges Ariwite, of the Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho, and Adams, of the Warm Springs, with conspiring to misappropriate $93,700 of tribal funds.   Ariwite is also charged in a separate indictment in which it says he took a $23,000 check obtained by fraud from a board member of a tribal business entity from Oregon to Idaho.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case with the Warm Springs Police Department, Williams said.


Oregon’s Republican secretary of state hailed the state’s pioneering vote-by-mail as an example for the rest of the nation, though another election official warned of likely delays in announcing election results because of the coronavirus. Secretary of State Bev Clarno challenged all voters in the state to cast ballots “so that Oregon can lead the nation in voter turnout and your voice will be heard.” The statements from Clarno represent a strong counterpoint to President Donald Trump’s repeated statements, which are baseless, that voting by mail leads to massive fraud. Since Oregon held the first all vote-by-mail in the nation 20 years ago, four states have followed.


A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration’s leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and blocked him from continuing in the position. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said Friday that U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley was never confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate as required under the Constitution and served unlawfully for 424 days. The ruling marks the latest pushback against the administration’s practice of filling key positions without U.S. Senate approval. Montana’s Democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley. The agency oversees almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West.