Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 5/19 – Primary Election Results Are In; November Governor’s Race Will See Tina Kotek, Christine Drazen and Betsy Johnson

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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Sunny, with a high near 54. Northwest wind 9 to 14 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon. Clear overnight with a low around 29. Gusty winds to 20mph.

Friday Sunny, with a high near 65. Overnight low of 34.
Saturday Sunny, with a high near 66.
Sunday Sunny, with a high near 71.
Monday Sunny, with a high near 75.
Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 79.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon Election Results

We have a better idea of the candidates who will advance to the general election on November 8, 2022

It appears former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) will face former House Republican leader Christine Drazan (R) in the race for governor. They may be joined by Betsy Johnson, formerly the Oregon State Senate representative for the 16th district. Johnson was a member of the Democratic party but is running as an unaffiliated candidate; as such, she hopes to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November’s general election.

Senator Ron Wyden has held his seat since 1996. Jo Rae Perkins, who ran against Jeff Merkley in 2020, has a slight lead over fellow Republican Darin Harbick. Perkins got the most votes of any Republican candidate in every county in the primary election of 2020. Two will contend for the chair in November.

Congressman Cliff Bentz (R) is running for a second term in Oregon’s 2nd Congressional district. It appears he will face Joe Yetter (D), a retired US Army officer with more than 22 years of active duty experience. The 2nd Congressional district covers much of eastern Oregon including Lake, Klamath, Jackson, and Josephine counties.

Locally, it appears David Henslee will face Brandon Fowler in the non-partisan race for County Commissioner. Henslee has more than 50% of the votes cast, but, because the race is filling a vacancy, the top two candidates will advance to the November election.

Kelly Minty Morris will likely retain her current position as County Commissioner. She’s so far earned more than 68% of the vote and will not need to wait until November because Position 2 was not vacant.

People in Josephine and Klamath appear to have opposing views on joining the state of Idaho. Measure 17-106 in Josephine County appears to have failed, while Measure 18-121 in Klamath County appears to have passed.

The summary of Measure 18-121 reads: Approval of this measure would mandate that the Chief Deputy Clerk of the County appoint three members to a Border Relocation Board that would meet three times annually to study and evaluate, then report, on the potential benefits of any border relocations between states, specifically Oregon and Idaho.

The Board would meet three times a year. They would serve one year. They would serve without compensation.

A Klamath Falls student, Linnea Gebauer, is reaching milestone after milestone.

In early April, the Klamath Union senior earned second place, and a scholarship, in C-SPAN Classroom’s StudentCam documentary contest among high school students in the West for her piece titled “Fire Season.”

Her video highlighted key wildfires which have occurred in Southern Oregon in recent years, as well as explaining the concept of the national cohesive strategy to maintain and prevent wildfires.

Wednesday afternoon, a room full of dignitaries filled the seventh-period class of KU media design instructor Dan Stearns. Klamath County Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris first stopped by to recognize Gebauer. Commissioner Minty Morris was taken aback after she heard how far Gebauer’s video went in the national competition.

Renewable Energy Engineering senior Steven Barton of Oregon Tech is expanding on a project that won the 2017 Catalyze Klamath event.

The “Circe Hive” labels and captures a prototype for various solar-powered aspects as an addition of features for a honey beehive. The project will serve as a sustainable approach that can be assembled with minimal expertise, minimal investment, and can serve in commercial and personal settings.

The power is generated through a solar panel and stored in a battery similar to a standard car battery. The battery will power heaters during fall and spring treatments as well as powering an Arduino that controls the temperature, humidity, weight, and wireless access of the data.  Additionally, the user will be able to examine the various sensors, providing insight into the hive’s short-term and long-term well-being.

Lastly, the data can be accessed remotely for convenience.

The Klamath National Forest has completed the May 1st snow surveys.

These measurements are a part of the statewide California Cooperative Snow Survey program, which helps the State forecast the quantity of water available for agriculture, power generation, recreation, and stream flow releases later in the year. Although the end of April brought a more seasonal weather pattern to the area, snow gained at the higher elevations was insufficient to significantly alter the overall trend of a fast-vanishing snowpack in the Klamath National Forest of Northern California.

All survey sites continued to report as below the long-term average; and every locale, except for Swampy John, either lacked snow or supported patchy snow cover. According to measurements taken for the May survey, the snowpack is at 10% of the historic average snow height (snow depth) and at 9% of the historic average Snow Water Equivalent (SWE, a measure of water content) across all survey points (see result table).

Historically, snowpack reaches its annual maximum by late-March/early-April. Snow surveys are conducted monthly during the winter and spring months (February through May). Forest Service employees travel to established sites in the headwaters of the Scott River watershed to take measurements.

Coming to the Ross Ragland Theater, Saturday, May 21st, 2022

Space Oddity – The Ultimate David Bowie Experience is a live, multi-media spectacle that takes you on a musical journey through the constantly metamorphosing career of Rock and Roll’s most celebrated innovator. 

David Brighton and his amazing band deliver a stunning note-for note theatrical concert event… transporting today’s audiences back in time through some of the most exciting moments in the history of Rock music.

Experience this once-in-a-lifetime event this Saturday May 21st at 7:30 to 10:00 PM.

Around the state of Oregon

A man who kidnapped and bound and gagged three people (including a former girlfriend who he kept in remote area for three days) has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.

George Gene Rose, 45, was also sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty to kidnapping and gun charges last year, according to U.S. Attorney for Oregon Scott Erik Asphaug.

The kidnapping incident started in Fieldbrook, California (a remote areas 65 miles from the Oregon state line) on August 3, 2020.

According to prosecutors, Rose entered the apartment of a former “dating partner”, a 27-year-old woman, waited for her and a roommate to return home from work. Rose also stole a shotgun and shells belong into the property’s landlord. Three days after the kidnapping, the woman convinced Rose to turn himself in and he allowed her to go to nearby home to call police.

Rose, who is from Humboldt County, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Medford in May.

He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and weapons charges in September.

Multnomah County voters have made history by electing their first female sheriff.

She’s Nicole Morrissey O’Donnell and she was the county’s Undersheriff before winning the election. In partial returns last night, O’Donnell picked up more than 60 percent of the vote. She will succeed Sheriff Mike Reese, who could not run for reelection because of term limits. O’Donnell will take office January first.

Authorities in Washington County say the remains found inside a car that was discovered in the Willamette River last Friday are those of former Cornelius Mayor Ralph Brown.

Investigators say there were no signs of foul play. Brown — who was 77 — had been missing for a year. Brown was last seen leaving his home last May 16th. His family says he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a year before he disappeared.

Yesterday marked the 42nd anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The volcano lay dormant for more than a century, however there was an increase in seismic activity in March of 1980.

A cluster of earthquakes followed by newly formed cracks in the snow and ice at the top of the mountain. At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, a 5.1 earthquake hit Mount St. Helens. The mountain didn’t erupt up top; it erupted out to the side.

The blast sent up an estimated 3.2 billion tons of ash. The catastrophic eruption and resulting ashfall covered roofs and streets around the region caused more than $1 billion in damage. In total, 57 people perished.

The debris from the eruption covered more than 24 miles and damaged miles of property.

Oregon health officials shared an update Wednesday on the state’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

State health officer and state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger highlighted the latest data and the ongoing efforts to keep Oregonians “informed and safe, including through access to vaccines, boosters, and treatments.” Dr. Sidelinger said the risk of exposure exists in every Oregon community. Health officials said the Omicron variant BA.2 remains highly transmissible and widespread statewide.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, during the last month, daily reported cases more than doubled from a rolling seven-day average of 600 cases a day on April 20 to 1,350 reported on May 16.

Hospitalizations have nearly doubled from 110 to 251 COVID-19 positive patients. According to OHSU’s modeling, Oregon’s hospitalization rate will peak at 321 on June 10.

When in doubt, stay out

Increasing temperatures create potential for toxins in water

PORTLAND, Ore.—As summer approaches, and more communities and recreational areas around the state begin reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reminds people heading outdoors to be on the look-out for cyanobacteria blooms that can produce toxins in Oregon lakes, rivers and reservoirs. 

Cyanobacteria are beneficial bacteria found worldwide in all freshwater. Under the right conditions—when weather, sunlight, water temperature, nutrients and water chemistry are ideal—cyanobacteria can multiply into blooms in any water body. Many blooms are harmless, but some can produce cyanotoxins that make people and animals sick. 

Exposure to cyanotoxins occurs when water is swallowed while swimming, or when water droplets are inhaled during high-speed activities such as water-skiing or wakeboarding. Symptoms of exposure to cyanotoxins include diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, numbness, dizziness and fainting. Although cyanotoxins are not absorbed through the skin, people with sensitive skin can develop a red, raised rash when wading, playing or swimming in or around a bloom.  

Children and pets are particularly sensitive to illness because of their size and activity levels. Dogs can get extremely ill and even die within minutes to hours of exposure to cyanotoxins by drinking the water, licking their wet fur or eating the toxins from floating mats or dried crust along the shore. Similar to dogs, livestock and wildlife can become ill and die after drinking from waterbodies, troughs or other sources of drinking water affected by blooms and potential toxins. 

Only a fraction of freshwater bodies in Oregon are monitored for cyanotoxins. Due to continued staffing and safety concerns related to COVID-19, OHA expects less frequent visual monitoring and sampling of affected water bodies than normal. For this reason, it will be even more important as more recreational areas open and the summer recreation season begins for people to visually observe any water body they choose to recreate in before taking the plunge.  

OHA recommends that everyone stay out of water that looks foamy, scummy, thick (like pea-green or blue-green paint) or where brownish-red mats are present. If you are unsure, follow OHA’s guidance of “When in doubt, stay out.” 

Open recreational areas where blooms are identified can still be enjoyed for activities such as camping, hiking, biking, picnicking and bird watching. By being aware of signs of a bloom and taking appropriate precautions to reduce or eliminate your exposure, you can also enjoy water activities such as canoeing, fishing and boating, as long as speeds do not create excessive water spray and fish are cleaned appropriately. 

To learn if an advisory has been issued or lifted for a specific water body, visit the Harmful Algae Bloom website or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line at 877-290-6767. 

For health information or to report an illness, contact OHA at 971-673-0440. For campground or lake information, call the local management agency. 

From Citizens for Greater Idaho

Klamath County votes for “Greater Idaho” and Baker County Escalates the Issue

Klamath County Oregon voted in favor of a “Greater Idaho” ballot initiative, preliminary election results showed on Election Day.  The counties that have voted in favor of such initiatives now stretch from the Idaho border to the Cascade Mountains, without a break.

The Greater Idaho movement proposes to move the Oregon/Idaho border to include rural Oregon into Idaho so that conservative counties will be governed by a conservative state.

According to preliminary results, with at least two-thirds of ballots counted, Klamath County voted 56% in favor, Douglas County voted 57% in opposition, and Josephine County voted 53% in opposition.

Now almost half of Oregon’s territory has voted in favor. Similar initiatives have been approved by voters in nine of the fifteen eastern Oregon counties that are included in the proposal. The nine counties that have voted in favor have 60% of the population of those 15 eastern Oregon counties. More counties are expected to vote in November, including Wallowa County and Morrow County, according to the movement’s website, greateridaho.org.

At a meeting today, the Baker County Board of Commissioners decided to become the fourth Oregon board of commissioners to sign an open letter to its state legislators asking them to address the Greater Idaho proposal in the state legislature.  The Board’s letter supports the movement, saying “Eastern Oregon and Idaho, in general have much more in common.”

The ballot initiatives are not binding on state legislatures, where any decision to move the border would be made. The Klamath County measure requires that the county create a committee to look into the issue.

The movement is asking Oregon state legislators for hearings and for cosponsors for a resolution that would invite Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on moving the border. 

When asked why the Oregon Legislature would be motivated to give up a part of the state, Mike McCarter, leader of the Greater Idaho movement pointed to a January SurveyUSA poll.  A mere three percent of voters of northwestern Oregon think keeping eastern and southern Oregon in the state is worth the substantial cost, according to the poll.

McCarter gave another reason to move the border. “Moving the border would let us live and let live. We know we’ll never make Portland agree with us, and we ask that state leaders understand that our communities will never agree with Portland. We will keep sending legislators who slow down their legislature and block their bills. If they want to make progress, they will have to let us join Idaho. Eastern Oregon has always been different culturally and occupationally from the Willamette Valley. Eastern Oregon is using the democratic process. If it’s wrong for Ukraine to be forced into Russia, then it’s wrong for Oregon to hold eastern Oregon captive against its will,” he said.

McCarter reacted to the poor showing in western Oregon (Douglas and Josephine counties) by saying “that’s their decision to make, but eastern Oregon has consistently voted in favor and so we want eastern Oregon’s request to join Idaho to be heard.”

Uncopyrighted maps associated with this press release are available athttps://www.greateridaho.org/news/

Read the backgrounder for the Greater Idaho movement: www.greateridaho.org/backgrounder-intro-to-greater-idaho

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