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Local News


MEDFORD -- A helicopter contracted to the Oregon Department of Forestry made an emergency landing in a wooded area Sunday afternoon while returning to its Grants Pass base from a firefighting mission.

The pilot, the only person aboard, was not injured in the incident, which occurred 15 miles north of Medford at about 3:15 p.m.

 

"Safety is our absolute priority, and we're very grateful that no one was hurt," said Dan Postrel, the department's public affairs director.

 

The helicopter, under contract from Columbia Basin Helicopters Inc., of Baker City, went down after supporting suppression of two small fires in the area.

Department employees were in immediate cell phone communication with the pilot, and reached the site on foot within 90 minutes of the incident. A bulldozer was dispatched to open up an unmaintained road to allow access to the site, on a forested slope.

 

Department officials said the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.

 

The department provides fire protection on about 16 million acres of Oregon forestland. Aircraft are essential to putting fires out as rapidly as possible, and the agency currently has several water-dropping helicopters under contract.

Department officials also reminded the public Sunday that although fall has arrived, forests are extremely dry, and fire danger remains high. "We ask everyone to follow local fire restrictions, and to use utmost caution while visiting or working in the forests," Postrel said.

 

Traffic & Weather

 

 

 

King Solomon Lane closed between Ferguson Road and King David. (7/25)

 

Jones Road, full road closure between Bennington Lane and NE Butler Market Road. May 18 – August 18, local access only.
 

Oregon State University off-site improvements for intersection reconstruction, July 11 – August 3,    7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at intersection of Chandler Avenue and Yates Drive.

 

Orion Drive closed in two locations for sewer work; at the intersection with Avery Lane and between Desert Woods Drive and King Hezekiah Way.  From July 11 to Sept. 6. Detours marked.

 

Valhalla Sewer Relocation Project, Mt. Washington Drive at Shevlin Park Road intersection and North to Regency Street. Nighttime closures with detours marked during roundabout construction. Daytime closures for construction towards Regency Street.    7 p.m. – 7 a.m., July 11 – November.

 

R.A.B. Construction:

 

Murphy Road and Parrell Road closed with detours. (9/30)

 

Powell Butte Highway at Neff and Alfalfa Market Roads (8/31)

 
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