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More residents evacuated in face of Chetco Fire
Level 3 evacuation initiated from Pistol River to Brookings

SOUTH COAST - A Level 3 evacuation has been initiated for residents from Pistol River to Brookings in response to the growing Chetco Bar Fire.

The city of Brookings is being encouraged to be ready for evacuation, according to the Coos County Sheriff's Office.

The evacuation orders were announced on Sunday, following evacuation orders for residents in Curry County. Evacuees with no place to go are being directed to stay at the Brookings High School, currently designated as the official evacuation center.

According to TripCheck early Monday morning, U.S. Highway 101 was closed between Pistol River (milepost 341) and north of Brookings (milepost 362) to everyone except residents and emergency personnel for evacuation purposes.

The fire ignited after a lightning strike on July 12 and spread along the burn scar where the Biscuit Fire burned in 2002, one of the largest in Oregon, and where the Silver Fire spread in 1987.

"The residents who received the evacuation notice are housed along the Chetco River, upstream from Loeb State Park," said Bruce Palmer in an earlier interview, the public information officer with the U.S. Forest Service. "There is at least one community of 13 residents there. I'm not sure how many homes are scattered along the river who are included in that evac notice."

As of Friday, the fire was reported at zero containment, though the forest service is pulling resources from neighboring fires that have been brought under control. Right now there are 100 firefighters on scene.

"How far this might continue to spread is weather dependent," Palmer said. "At this time, our hot and dry weather is increasing the fire behavior. I don't think this fire will stop burning until it rains."

When the fire began in July, the forest service tried to suppress the flames by dropping repellent. However, when they discovered that the efforts were failing, the service pulled back.

"The burn scar where this fire is spreading is steep, there is no safety zone," Palmer said. "There are no necessary escape routes, so we pulled the repellents out. We decided to meet the fire on our terms."

This story will be updated as it develops.

Mural to honor Steve Prefontaine

COOS BAY—Steve Prefontaine has been memorialized in various ways in his childhood home of Coos Bay.

Next month, a mural of the iconic runner in downtown Coos Bay will be added to the list of tributes.

It is designed to honor Prefontaine, a Marshfield graduate who held every American record between 2 miles and 10,000 meters at the time of his death in 1975.

The project is being paid for by Coos Bay, which has a contract not to exceed $50,000, according to city manager Rodger Craddock. The cost covers concept development, labor and materials.

The mural design was chosen by Pre’s sister, Linda Prefontaine, and the Prefontaine Foundation, with input from the Coos Bay city council.

Originally, Prefontaine saw mural artist Erik Nicolaisen’s work in Springfield. He and his company, the Old City Artists, painted a mural of Ken Kesey there.

Prefontaine passed along the artist’s information to Coos Bay.

She said she thinks the mural will be a nice addition to the community.

“To have another tribute to him in his hometown I think is great,” Prefontaine said.

The images selected represent different phases of Pre’s running career.

The first depicts his days as a track athlete at Marshfield, the center is an image of him during his junior year at University of Oregon, and the final picture shows him at the Olympics in Munich, Germany.

Above reads the famous Prefontaine quote: “to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Nicolaisen said the final composition ties into the 275 S. Broadway Street space.

“This one (design) came toward the tail end of the process and it was kind of a eureka moment,” Nicolaisen said, “It really symbolizes the progression of Steve Prefontaine.”

The artist said the images encapsulate the story they wanted to tell about Pre.

“The embodiment of the guts and 100-percent investment that he embodied,” Nicolaisen said.

Like Prefontaine, Nicolaisen also attended the University of Oregon.

As a native Oregonian, Nicolaisen said he knew about Pre from a young age.

The artist said the mural will be completely hand painted by a team of artists who will premix the colors before starting.

Nicolaisen said he anticipates completing the mural in a matter of four or five days.

“I think we'll kind of amaze people at how fast we work,” Nicolaisen said, “If you blink you might miss some of the good parts.”

The goal is to have the mural done before the annual Prefontaine run, scheduled for Sept. 16.

There’s also talk of painting a track on the ground coming out of the mural. It’s something the city, Prefontaine and Nicolaisen have expressed enthusiasm for, however Nicolaisen said there’s not enough time to figure out what to do with the substrate. He said there would need to be paint on the ground that will last through the rain and foot traffic.

Painting is scheduled to begin around Sept. 1

Operation Kidsafe works to protect children
Event being held August 26

COOS BAY – Operation Kidsafe International is coming to town to help parents protect their children.

Since Mark Bott founded the organization 16 years ago, over 1 million children in North America have been safeguarded and maintained the two key points to the program: always free and always private.

“At a kid safe event, parents don't even have to give the names of their kids,” Bott said. “That's because I believe every database is meant to be cracked. When I worked with John Walsh from America's Most Wanted, he told me when you start taking names of kids, you end up with a family on the wrong end of the deal.”

The organization is making its way to Coos Bay on Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Coos Bay Toyota.

Parents will walk away from the event with a bio document that holds their child's fingerprints and photograph that can be used if ever their child is abducted. On the back of the document are safety tips on how to start a family action plan to keep their child out of danger.

“The parent's document is the only document, we don't keep any copies,” Bott said.

In the '90s, Bott was attending a town meeting in Dallas where sitting in the front row were Amber Hagerman's parents, the people who founded the AMBER Alert.

“I was moved by what they had faced, what they talked about, and they basically said that we need to come up with something where the public, police, media, everyone is on the same page when something terrible happens to your child,” Bott recalled. “Back at that time, when their daughter was abducted, no one was in coordination. You could have a description like a red truck and a man with long hair, but that description only was shared with the cops and cops can't do it all. But if you put two million eyes on it, that guy will get caught or afraid enough to getting caught that he drops the kid off somewhere.”

From that point on, Bott wanted to do his part in keeping children safe. The idea for the bio document came from listening to the FBI, law enforcement, and one man from the Secret Service. Around the same time when he heard the Hagerman's story at the town meeting, he was on a panel with a man from the Secret Service in Jacksonville, Fla. who had retired. When Bott first got started with Operation Kidsafe International, he wanted to use the old fingerprint system.

“He leaned over and said those cards are worthless,” Bott remembered. “He said 80 percent aren't useable in an investigation, they are just giving parents a great feeling, but when an amateur just smashes a finger on a piece of paper, it's too smeared. If a professional does it, there's a chance. But he said there were new machines that used infrared technology that when you put your finger on it, it looks like your skin and like a perfect print every time. So I found one, bought it and we started using it.”

He and his wife, Patty, went onto purchase more in order to make the technology more accessible.

During the event, Bott will help educate parents on how to better protect their families and children from predators. One of the main tips he offers are for parents to “check first.”

“Years ago, safety folks pushed the 'family code,' where you had to know the code before picking kids up from school,” Bott said. “But the problem with abduction is proximity. If someone has the intent, then the next question is how close they are to the child. If the child is negotiating with a stranger on if it's okay to pick them up, the five-year-old is going to lose.”

The number one tip suggested by the FBI is to “check first,” where children are taught only one strategy. Even if they know someone, they need to run away and ask the adult in charge if they can leave with whoever is picking them up.

“Eighty percent of crimes against children are people they know or perceive as approved by their parents, like a neighbor who waved to Dad and Dad waved back,” Bott said. “Whether they know them or not, run as fast as you can to the adult in charge. That should be the family rule.”