Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 10/14 – Oregon Republicans File Lawsuit Against New Congressional Districts Boundaries Including Klamath County

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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 59. Light and variable wind. Overnight mostly clear with a low around 30.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 71. Light and variable wind. Low overnight of 35.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 75. The overnight low expected to be around 38.
Sunday A 50% chance of rain after noon. Snow level 7100 feet lowering to 6400 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 61.
Monday Partly sunny, with a high near 55.

Oregon Republicans have filed a lawsuit against the new congressional districts that were approved by the special session of the legislature last month. Former Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno is one of three Republicans behind the lawsuit.

They accuse Democrats of gerrymandering. The lawsuit says the boundaries of the districts make it likely that Democrats will win five of the six seats in the House.

Oregon got a sixth congressional district, because the U.S. Census showed enough population growth in the state. State representatives and local election officials are trying to sort out how Klamath County’s house districts will change once a new state legislative map goes into effect in 2022. But one thing is certain: Local officeholders will soon have new titles.

As part of the redistricting, led by Democratic-controlled 2020 Legislature in Salem, the two Oregon House districts that cover Klamath County — districts 55 and 56 — will change dramatically. In the most basic explanation, the newly-drawn District 55 would cover parts of Klamath and Deschutes counties while District 56 would stretch across parts of Klamath and Jackson counties. That change — if it survives legal review — will push current Klamath County representatives Werner Reschke and Vikki Breese-Iverson into new districts. The new map would also create an unoccupied District 56, which will be filled with a new representative in the 2022 election.

Rep. Reschke said the redrawn maps, which he described as gerrymandering, is due to the self-interested nature of politics: Democrats are in control of the Legislature and they drew maps that benefit Democrats. The new map slices Klamath Falls in half — placing the east side of town in District 55, which will also include most of eastern and northern Klamath County. Klamath Falls proper and the western edge of town will be in District 56.

That district will also include south and west Klamath County and much of eastern Jackson County.

Oregon reports 1,278 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, 33 new deaths

Sky Lakes Medical Center reports they are at strain level today with 23 patients, four in the ICU all with Covid.

The Sky Lakes release says none of the 23 hospitalized are vaccinated. There are 33 new COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 4,117.

Oregon Health Authority reported 1,278 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, bringing the state total to 346,480.

The new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases reported today are in the following counties: Baker (7), Benton (25), Clackamas (106), Clatsop (3), Columbia (8), Coos (27), Crook (31), Curry (6), Deschutes (105), Douglas (50), Harney (5), Hood River (9), Jackson (66), Jefferson (20), Josephine (19), Klamath (33), Lake (8), Lane (130), Lincoln (20), Linn (73), Malheur (30), Marion (139), Morrow (3), Multnomah (113), Polk (30), Tillamook (3), Umatilla (58), Union (9), Wallowa (4), Wasco (15), Washington (101) and Yamhill (22).

The number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 595, which is 10 more than yesterday.

There are 145 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is 4 fewer than yesterday. Klamath County reported 33 new cases.  In the region including adjacent counties reports include Deschutes (105), Douglas (50),, Jackson (66), Josephine (19), Klamath (33), Lake (8), Lane (130).

Marco Morelos wins the Conquer Covid in Klamath weekly drawing this week, receiving $1,000 gift certificate for new tires, a $500 stereo and $500 in gasoline! Congrats Marco!

The Conquer Covid in Klamath campaign announces its winner for week 7. Marco Morelos of Klamath Falls won a $1,000 gift certificate for new tires, a $500 stereo upgrade and $500 in gasoline.

Marco was selected in a random drawing of all Klamath County residents that have entered at conquercovidinklamath.com. Each week the prize changes and this week it is a $2,500 Outdoor Gift Certificate. The drawing for this week’s prize will take place on Monday morning.

Other Weekly winners to date include: Elizabeth Gaxiola of Bonanza who won a Big Screen TV, Home Theater System and Pizza gift certificates Gillian Bradford of Klamath Falls who won $6,000 in groceries from Grocery Outlet Nolan Napier of Chiloquin who won a top of the line Traeger Grill and 12 bags of premium pellets. Patricia Merrill of Klamath Falls won $4,800 in gasoline for her vehicle. Terri Torres of Klamath Falls won $5,000 worth of furniture for her home.

There is a different prize each week along with the Grand Prize, which is the winners choice of a new Dodge RAM pickup or a new Dodge Durango SUV. There are numerous runner up prizes as well. To enter Klamath County residents can go to conquercovidinklamath.com. There is nothing to buy and no charge whatsoever to enter. The site also lists all prizes, rules and vaccination sites.

The City of Klamath Falls has contracted with Bob’s Excavating LLC to perform a sewer mainline relocation on Lakeport Boulevard.

Due to the nature of the work and the depths of the utility, Lakeport Boulevard will continue to be closed to through traffic between the Highway 97 overpass and Montelius Street until October 29, 2021.  Detour routes and signage have been placed to direct traffic around the work

A Bend man is facing a hate crime charge for an alleged road-rage incident in which he is accused of threatening a Black man with a knife, smashing his car window, slashing his tire and using a racial slur.

Christopher King, 34, appeared in Deschutes County Circuit Court Tuesday, The Bulletin reported. The state alleges the incident happened June 29, when King and alleged victim Isaiah Evans were driving vehicles in Deschutes County.

District Attorney John Hummel said King became upset over Evans’ driving, hit Evans’ car with his, pulled over and approached with a knife. The incident was investigated by Bend Police, and in August, a grand jury charged King with bias crime, unlawful use of a weapon, first-degree criminal mischief, failure to perform the duties of a driver and menacing. A plea hearing in King’s case is scheduled for Nov. 16.

Keizer Republican state lawmaker Bill Post has announced his resignation from the Oregon Legislature after saying he misunderstood the residency requirements for being in office.

His resignation announced Tuesday will be effective Nov. 30, The Statesman Journal reported. Post previously said he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2022, but said Tuesday he would resign after “discussions with an elections attorney.” Post, a former talk radio host, has served in the House of Representatives since 2015.

Republican precinct committee members from House District 25 will select three to five candidates to replace Post. County commissioners from Marion and Yamhill counties will then choose a candidate to serve out the remainder of Post’s term. A Republican has held the seat since 2003.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday declared a state of emergency for the proliferation of unlicensed marijuana operations throughout the county, calling for state and federal help in cracking down on the grows.

In a brief vote Wednesday morning, the commissioners approved Order No. 186-21, “Declaring a Local State of Emergency Within Jackson County Relating to Unlawful Cannabis Activities and Other Matters Related Thereto.” The declaration has been weeks in the making, and county officials scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. Wednesday morning to cover the specifics of “requests for immediate assistance to the Oregon Governor, House of Representatives, and Senate.”

Commissioner Dyer, Sheriff Nathan Sickler, and County Watermaster Shavon Haynes were on hand. With the state of emergency, Jackson County is specifically asking the state for funding that can be used to field more personnel: code enforcement officers, hearing officers, water resources staff, detectives, patrol deputies, law enforcement support staff, and the assignment of additional state water officials.

Several Oregon lawmakers are putting pressure on the state to address recent claims that National Guard members activated to help with the COVID-19 response are being mistreated.

A letter to Gov. Kate Brown and Major General Michael E. Stencel alleges mismanagement, delay of benefits and pay, and more. It was signed by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and by Congress members Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici.

In August, Brown announced up to 1,500 Oregon National Guard (ORNG) members would be brought in to help with the state’s most recent surge of cases. What allegedly ensued was a chaotic and disorganized activation.

The letter claims that once members had completed the normal administrative tasks, the state was not prepared to quickly place members in areas of need and provided contradictory information about where they would serve.

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