Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, Feb. 19 – Stream Flows in Klamath Basin Remain Below Normal For February

Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM/102.5FM, BasinLife.com and The Herald & News.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2020

Klamath Basin Weather

Today  Sunny, with a high near 48. Overnight, cold with a low near 23.

Thursday  Partly Cloudy, with a high near 51.  Low overnight of 23.

Friday  Sunny, with a high near 55.

Saturday  Partly sunny, with a high near 55.

Sunday  Possible Snow, with a high near 46.

Road Conditions

Traveling? Click and check these cameras below for the latest road conditions.

Lake of the Woods Hiway 140
Greensprings Drive at Hiway 97
Doak Mountain looking east
Chemult, Oregon
LaPine, Oregon
Bly, Oregon
Medford at I-5 -Biddle Road & Crater Lake Parkway

Today’s Headlines

The Klamath County Public Health Air Advisory is Green until noon today.

The February 2020 mid-month stream flow forecasts from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for the Klamath Basin have been released. 

All forecast values have decreased since February 1st as a result of much below average precipitation for the first 15 days of the month.  The current 1-month long-term forecast from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center calls for the increased probability of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.

The Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council which represents a diverse membership of skilled labor and Rye Development a leading developer of new low-impact hydro power energy generation and energy storage in the United States announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding construction of the Swan Lake Energy Storage Project.

According to Drew Waits, Secretary-Treasurer of the Southern Oregon Building and Construction Trades Council the Swan Lake Energy Storage will create an estimated 1,440 full-year equivalent construction jobs and almost 2,000 induced jobs in supporting industries during its 4-year construction period. Swan Lake Energy Storage is a proposed $800 million, 394 megawatt pumped hydro facility that could help support Oregon’s transition toward 100 percent renewable energy by powering almost 400,000 homes with clean energy when running at full power.

The project will be located 11 miles northeast of Klamath Falls.

Want to know what’s going on at Bonanza Junior-Senior High School? Check out the school’s weekly live newscast and special programming on BTV.

The idea of Bonanza TV was planted in September when leadership and history teacher Corey Hedger began livestreaming volleyball games on the Bonanza Schools Facebook page. His goal was to get students involved, and by late fall, his leadership students launched BTV with a weekly live newscast, featuring school events, sports, and even the local weather. The school’s home girls and boys basketball games are livestreamed and attract viewers from across the country.

The media committee in Bonanza’s leadership class operates BTV and comes up with content ideas. The goal is to boost school spirit by promoting activities such as sports, robotics, dances, FBLA, FFA and other events.

Around the region

Between February 3rd and 16th the Medford Police Department participated in a high-visibility traffic enforcement operation focusing on safety belt and child restraint use.

On these dates, law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon used federally funded overtime to educate the public about safety belt and child seat laws including a 2017 law increasing safety for children under age two.

During this two week operation the Medford Police Department stopped 74 vehicles and issued 71 citations. 34 of those citations were for failing to use a seatbelt.

Around the state

A snowboarder has been found dead at an Oregon ski resort a day after another snowboarder suffered a fatal fall in the same area.

Tim Bauters had been in Oregon on an extended work trip, but did not return home to California as planned. His family reported him missing to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office on Monday after not hearing from him since Friday when he was at Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort.

Authorities say Bauters was believed to be snowboarding alone but was in good shape and had visited Meadows multiple times before. Meadows security verified that his rental car was still there at the mountain and the record of his lift scans narrowed down his last known location and time.

Around 6:15 p.m. on Monday, the ski resort told authorities searchers had found Bauters’ body in Heather Canyon. The body was recovered in the same area where a snowboarder suffered a fatal fall Sunday. 45 year old Ryan Zeitner of Portland was pronounced dead at the scene by responding paramedics.

A 16-year-old student at a Coos Bay high school has died due to complications of Influenza B. Coos Bay Public Schools Superintendent Bryan Trendell said in a statement that the student at Marshfield High School had died early Monday morning.

Marshfield High School Principal Travis Howard said he’s been been in contact with an infectious disease specialist who assured him that the school was not in danger of further infection or contamination. The student was a football and baseball player and was also in band, Howard said. A room has been set up at the school for students who might need counseling.

A new ballot initiative effort is hoping to move Oregon counties to Idaho, and it’s gaining momentum.

Welcome to Idaho.  The Cascadia movement has been around for years in the Pacific Northwest, inspired in part by Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 utopian novel “Ecotopia,” while others in the region call for a conservative, rural-centric “State of Jefferson”.

Mike McCarter doesn’t think anything will come of these efforts.

“I’m a proponent of the state of Jefferson,” the retired La Pine nurseryman says. “But I don’t see it happening.”

Which doesn’t mean he’s willing to accept the status quo. Secession is a sticky constitutional question, but simply moving a state’s borders is doable.

“That’s been done recently,” he told The Oregonian/OregonLive, pointing to a 1961 land transfer that moved about 20 acres from Minnesota to North Dakota after a federal project to straighten the Red River cut off the Minnesota parcels from the rest of the state.

McCarter is one of the leaders of Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho. The goal, as the group’s name suggests, is to flip Oregon’s eastern counties into Idaho.

And, while success remains extremely unlikely, Move Oregon’s Border is gaining a little traction. In the past month, proposals to let voters weigh in on the issue have earned initial approval from Josephine and Douglas counties, setting the stage for a signature-gathering push to get them on the ballot in November.

“We’re picking up momentum,” McCarter says. “It takes a lot of oomph to get something like this started. I call it a peaceful revolution.”

The group wants to have initiatives on the ballot of every eastern Oregon county this fall.

“Our approach is to go county by county rather than a state initiative,” McCarter adds. “We want people [in the counties that would move to Idaho] to chime in and say, ‘Yes, we want this.’ It takes more work to go county by county, but it informs the public more.”

Of course, it’s not as easy as that. Even if Oregon’s eastern counties do vote to join Idaho, approval would then be needed from the Oregon and Idaho legislatures — and the U.S. Congress.

Valerie Gottschalk, a Josephine County resident and another Move Oregon’s Border leader, said in an email last week that she expected the effort “to grow rapidly, having seen the response to the ‘Recall Kate’ petition circulated last year” — a reference to a failed attempt to launch a recall election of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

“People here would prefer Idaho’s conservative governance to the progressive/liberal current Oregon governance,” Gottschalk said. “Every time I look at the Facebook group Greater Idaho, the group has gotten bigger.”

Sure enough, the movement’s Facebook page consistently showcases conservative political views. Last week someone posted an article on the page from an obscure satirical-news site with the headline “Breaking: Health Officials Quarantine Portland To Prevent Spread of Communism.”

But McCarter, for one, doesn’t like to position the issue as Republican vs. Democrat.

“It’s a lifestyle/values judgment between urban and rural more than anything else,” he insists. He says many residents of rural Oregon “aren’t as conservative as me” but still see the benefits of being part of a more rural-minded state like Idaho.

He and Gottschalk acknowledge there are a lot of questions eastern-Oregon voters would need to chew on, such as schools funding (Oregon spends more per student than Idaho) and the advantages/drawbacks of a sales tax (Idaho has one, Oregon doesn’t) and an estate tax (Oregon has one, Idaho doesn’t).

He admits the Oregon counties would have to accept that they’d likely receive fewer services from the state if they jumped to Idaho. But this also could be one of the reasons Oregon might be willing to let them go.

“Most of the counties east of the Cascades are upside down,” he says. “They have to be supplemented by the state. So, potentially, Salem might be willing to do it.”

Needless to say, those counties’ services needs probably wouldn’t make a border switch more attractive to Boise.

And that’s one reason the target map for Move Oregon’s Border swings west in the southern part of Oregon. (The group is also targeting parts of northern California.)

“Idaho wouldn’t be land-locked anymore,” McCarter points out. “It would have a shipping port in Coos Bay. That’d be huge.”

McCarter recognizes that the movement is a long shot, but he nevertheless believes the dominoes could fall quickly after the counties’ voters are on record with their wishes. After all, the redrawn border wouldn’t create two new U.S. senators, as a new state would, nor is it an attempt to leave the U.S. And it would make Oregon bluer and Idaho redder, which would probably please those legislatures’ majorities.

“How often do you have the opportunity to be part of a movement to make things better for people?” McCarter says. “We are dealing with our liberty.”

Klamath Falls News from partnership with the Herald and News, empowering the community.

…For complete details on these and other stories see today’s Herald & News.  Wynne Broadcasting and the Herald and News…stronger together to keep you informed.

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