The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald & News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your local health and Medicare agents.
Monday, November 7, 2022
Klamath Basin Weather
Today Snow arrived overnight and today some snow showers are likely, mainly after 5pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, more snow showers likely, with a low around 21. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Tuesday Snow showers likely before 2pm, then snow showers likely, possibly mixed with rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible. Overnight a chance of rain and snow showers before 8pm, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Wednesday A 30% chance of snow showers, mainly before 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 39.
Thursday Partly sunny, with a high near 39.
Friday, Veterans Day Partly sunny, with a high near 40.
Saturday Partly sunny, with a high near 42.
See Road Camera Views:
Lake of the Woods
Hiway 97 at Chemult
Hiway 140 at Bly
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.
Hiway 97 at LaPine
A Klamath County nurse will appear in court next week on charges of alleged sex crimes. Registered Nurse Tiffany Fregoso, 35, was arrested Oct. 8 by the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and charged for crimes committed against a 14-year-old boy.
Fregoso has been charged with three counts of sexual misconduct, two counts of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, two counts of third degree rape and one count of third degree sodomy.
On Oct. 10, Fregoso was released from custody after posting 10 percent of the $43,000 bail bond.
Documentation stated Fregoso had been in a relationship with the minor for multiple weeks prior to arrest, which included two instances of intercourse and a sex act which occurred in a public movie theater.
Fregoso will go before Judge Andrea Janney for a pre-trial hearing at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7. A 12-person jury trial is set for Nov. 30 before Judge Dan Bunch.
Community members in Klamath Falls and surrounding areas are invited to attend an open house to learn how to become a licensed teacher without leaving Klamath County through Klamath Community College (KCC) and Southern Oregon University (SOU).
The event is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 in the KCC Business Center (Building 7). This year marks an in-person return for the annual public information session, which was presented virtually previously due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Representatives from KCC and SOU are jointly hosting the open house to share information about their partnership, which allows students registered at SOU to complete a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at KCC.
The KCC-SOU collaboration provides a clear pathway for students in the Klamath Falls area to earn a bachelor’s degree and provides options for earning a teaching license and/or a minor in early childhood development.
Community members who already hold a bachelor’s degree and want to become teachers can also get information about earning a teaching license. Options include a K-12 special education teaching license, a second bachelor’s degree with licensure, and the Master of Arts in Teaching at SOU.
For more information, contact Susan Faller (SOU) at firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-552-6919, or Peggy Bullock (KCC) at email@example.com, 541-880-2336.
The United Way of the Klamath Basin announced that $150,000 or 30% of its $507,000 Community Campaign goal has been raised according to a press release.
According to United Way Campaign Chairperson Jenine Stuedli, the community campaign will continue throughout the holidays and tax-deductible contributions large or small are greatly appreciated and will help fund 16 local social service agencies supported by your local United Way.
According to Stuedli, for every dollar donated to our United Way campaign, 99% will stay local and help nearly 20,000 Klamath Basin citizens.
For more information or to send a contribution, please contact the United Way of the Klamath Basin 136 N. Third St. Klamath Falls, OR 97601.
You can also call 541-882-5558 or go to www.unitedwayoftheklamathbasin.org.
The Klamath National Forest will issue a free Christmas tree permit for fourth-graders as part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Every Kid Outdoors program. Tree permits are available now.
Every Kid Outdoors is part of an interagency call to action to build the next generation of conservationists and encourage children and their families to spend more time outdoors. In addition to free Christmas tree permits, all fourth-graders are eligible for a pass that allows free access to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and water sites across the country through August 2023.
Instructions on how fourth-graders can obtain an Every Kid pass or voucher are available at everykidoutdoors.gov. Fourth-graders can also visit any of the Klamath National Forest’s district offices or Supervisor’s Office to get a pass.
To obtain a free Christmas tree permit from the Klamath National Forest, the fourth-grader must be present and show a valid paper voucher or pass obtained from the website or participating federal agency.
The Forest Service Every Kid Outdoors program emphasizes recreation and conservation on national forests and grasslands. The website also provides teachers educational activity guides related to land stewardship and environmental science.
Klamath National Forest personnel have been reaching out to schools throughout Siskiyou County to get the word out on this exciting opportunity and facilitate the process to issue fourth-grader passes to the students
The top-seeded Mazama Vikings under head coach Vic Lease rolled to a 49-6 victory against No. 16 Seaside in a Class 4A state first-round game Saturday afternoon, their shutout bid spoiled by a last-second touchdown.
Quarterback Tyson Van Gastel attempted only three passes, completing one – a 35-yard touchdown to Brendon Monteith – and rushed for 70 yards and two scores to lead the Vikings (10-0 overall).
Teammate Treyce Horton had a team-high 92 yards on just nine carries and two TDs as Mazama gained 265 yards on the ground.
“We all became closer this week and played as one unit,” Van Gastel said. “Coaches preached that all week to us in practice and (Saturday) we became one unit and played for each other.
“We all did what we needed to do … we came together and did the right things on offense and defense.”
Mazama coach Lease, whose postseason record improved to 10-7, including a championship in the COVID-19 truncated 2020-21 season, said he was pleased with the first-round effort.
“We controlled the ball and set things at our pace, and we did what we do which is running well,” Lease said. “We are tough to defend with our triple option, especially when we are running it like how we are right now. Offensively we looked pretty sharp.”
The Seagulls (5-5) won their final three regular-season games just to make the playoffs.
“We were 2-4 at one point, we are a young team, we only had like four seniors, and we have most of our guys coming back,” Seaside coach Aaron Tanabe said. “We were able to finish this year and get us into the playoffs, something we are really proud of, and the resiliency the kids showed all year.
“We are real excited (about next season). Our goal this year was to be in the playoffs and next year we want to win a playoff game and maybe more.
Seagulls senior quarterback Tanner Kraushaar was 6-of-15 passing for 58 yards but rushed for a game-high 97 yards on 16 carries. He scored on a 1-yard run on the game’s final play.
“Scoring at the end was everything for us,” Krashaaar said. “The whole team fought hard for it.”
Mazama is scheduled to play host to No. 8 Scappoose (8-2), which defeated defending state champion Marshfield 26-6, in the quarterfinals at noon Saturday at Viking Field.
“They are a prolific passing team and have been for a long time,” Lease said. “Their head coach, Sean McNabb, and I go way back to our college days. He is a great football coach and this will be a good game next week.”
Around the state of Oregon
Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday. Make Your Vote Count
Election Day tomorrow is fast approaching and sadly so is all of the misinformation.
The county clerks throughout Oregon are seeing many forms of media that is incorrect and misleading voters regarding Oregon elections. This includes but is not limited to texts, emails, calls and social media posts. Some are even made to look like they are from a trusted source.
Be cautious, know your trusted source. If you hear or see anything from a source other than the County Clerk’s Office or the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, please verify the information with your County Clerk’s Office. Do not be misled.
Turnout this year could be crucial to the results. Voters have key races to decide and several are highly competitive, including the three-way gubernatorial contest between Democrat Tina Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson. Three congressional races also could be tight, including for the 4th, 5th and 6th districts. Those results could influence the balance of power in the U.S. House.
Oregon voters are also deciding the makeup of the state’s next Legislature, which Democrats have dominated for years. “There are a lot of close races, and they could be won very narrowly,” said John Horvick, senior vice president and an elections expert at Portland-based DHM Research. “Every vote matters. And though that’s a cliche, it really is true.”
Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies Responding to Suspected Hunting Accident, Victim in Hospital, Suspect Left Scene
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) responded to a call for a reported gunshot wound victim yesterday at 12:24 p.m. The victim was hunting in the area of Conde Creek Rd. and South Fork Little Butte Creek Rd. with two partners when he was shot in the leg from close range. The victim yelled out and the suspect left the scene.
A witness spotted a white Chevy truck with a canopy leaving the area.
Upon preliminary investigation this incident appears to be a hunting accident, further details are unclear at this time. JCSO detectives have assumed the investigation and are following additional leads. U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement, Oregon State Police, JCSO, and Ashland Police Department are attempting to locate the suspect vehicle.
After being shot the victim drove to the intersection of West Fork Little Butte Creek Rd. and Lake Creek Rd. where a JCSO deputy applied first aid to the wound. A Mercy Flights ambulance arrived and transported him to a local hospital where he was treated for superficial injuries.
This case is under further investigation with detectives following additional leads. More information to follow.
75-year-old Woman Arrested after 112 mph Pursuit on I-5 from Merlin to Ashland
Multi-Agency Pursuit Ends on I-5 After Vehicle Spiked, 75-Year-Old Woman In Custody JCSO Case 22-6472
Josephine County Sheriff’s Office (JOCO) deputies spotted a vehicle traveling 112 MPH on I-5 south near Merlin shortly before midnight last night. JOCO Sheriff’s deputies attempted to pull over the vehicle and the suspect eluded. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies spiked the car as it crossed the Jackson County line and took over the pursuit just after midnight at I-5 mile marker 45 southbound.
During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle was spiked at least 7 times and drove without tires from Central Point to I-5 exit 14 in Ashland. A Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) was conducted to stop the vehicle and the 75-year-old female suspect was taken into custody and lodged in the Jackson County Jail on charges of elude and reckless driving. There were no injuries to anyone during the incident.
Multiple agencies assisted including JOCO, Oregon State Police, and police officers from Rogue River, Central Point, Medford, Phoenix, Talent, and Ashland. Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon ECSO 911 did a great job coordinating the many law enforcement agencies leading to a successful and safe resolution of the pursuit.
Hostage Standoff Incident Near Roseburg
A police pursuit turned into a several hour standoff hostage incident on Saturday night.
Shortly after 9:00 pm on Saturday, November 5, 2022, deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 2500-block of Strickland Canyon Road.
The driver attempted to flee from law enforcement. The driver drove out Lookingglass Road before turning onto Happy Valley Road. Spike strips were successfully deployed before the driver turned onto Rolling Hills Road.
The passenger, identified as Carlos Bernal, fled from the vehicle on foot and then fired at law enforcement officers. The officers returned fire.
Bernal entered an unsecured residence in the 100-block of Bunting Court. Bernal held two people as hostages as law enforcement attempted to negotiate and defuse the situation. One of the hostages, a minor, was later able to escape on their own.
Shortly before 2:30 am, Bernal was taken into custody. The second hostage, an adult female, was located alive and determined to have been suffering from a gunshot wound. She was transported by ambulance for treatment.
Bernal was transported to Mercy Medical Center for treatment of a gunshot wound to his leg.
At this time, the Douglas County Major Crimes Team has been activated and is currently processing the scene. No further details will be released at this time.
Snow Comes Early to Southern Oregon
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY ISSUED: 6:37 AM NOV. 7, 2022 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PST THIS AFTERNOON ABOVE 2500 FEET... * WHAT...Snow above 2500 feet. Additional snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches, except 3 to 6 inches in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Snow may briefly accumulate at elevations as low as 1500 feet early this morning. * WHERE...The higher terrain of eastern Curry County and Josephine County and Jackson County. This includes the peak of Highway 227 between Tiller and Trail, the vicinity of Prospect and Butte Falls, and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. * WHEN...Until 4 PM PST this afternoon. * IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute. * View the hazard area in detail at https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?wfo=mfr
Only two days left to cast your vote. Oregon voters to decide key races for Governor, Congress, Legislature and more…
The Oregon Elections Division announced Friday that Oregon has hit a new milestone of 3 million registered voters.
Overall Oregon voter registration has seen steady increases since the state passed the Oregon Motor Voter Law, an automatic voter registration law, in 2016.
The Elections Division says vote by mail, automatic voter registration and other Oregon-led innovations are why the state was recently ranked as the most accessible state for voting in the country.
As of Friday night, the latest numbers from the Secretary of State’s office show 29% of registered voters had returned their ballots.
Drop boxes and county elections offices will stop accepting hand-delivered ballots tomorrow, on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Any mailed ballots must be postmarked by that time as well.
In the final hours of campaigning before voters have their final say, the 3 candidates for Oregon governor kept stumping for votes.
For the three former state lawmakers campaigning to be Oregon’s next governor, the final stretch before Election Day looked a lot like the rest of their campaigns: Republican Christine Drazan highlighted public safety concerns. Democrat Tina Kotek reminded voters of her record as a reproductive-rights champion. Betsy Johnson, a former Democrat running as an unaffiliated candidate, promised to be the best of both parties.
The campaign talking points voters are seeing on television, hearing on the radio and getting in the mail aren’t the only signal the race isn’t over until Nov. 8. The money also continues to roll in. Last week, Drazan reported another $1.25 million donation from the Republican Governors Association and Kotek received a $250,000 boost from the Democratic Governors Association. This is already the costliest governor’s race in state history, topping $60 million.
The race has also gained national attention. Republicans are hoping to capture the governor’s office for the first time in 40 years. Polling has repeatedly shown Drazan and Kotek nearly deadlocked, with Johnson trailing and possibly siphoning votes from Kotek.
Democratic nominee Tina Kotek and unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson spent their time in the Portland metro area. Republican nominee Christine Drazan launched her statewide fly-around tour to get out the vote in southern Oregon.
On Sunday, Kotek kicked off canvassing with an event at the Lloyd Center in Portland with Sen. Ron Wyden and former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richardson.
“We believe in reproductive freedom do we not? We believe in protecting our environment do we not? We believe in public education do we not? We believe in standing up for our workers do we not?” Kotek told the crowd.
Meanwhile, Christine Drazan is flying all over the state to shore up support with her Get Out The Vote tour. On Sunday Drazan visited both Salem and Medford, urging supporters to help her turn Oregon around. On Monday, Drazan will be in Klamath Falls, Eugene and Clackamas County.
At her stops, Drazan repeated her closing message: “Vote vote vote! We can turn this state around together but only if we work together,” Drazan said. “Let’s get this done.”
Betsy Johnson, who just finished her fly-around tour of the state, also stayed busy campaigning. She met with voters in the Portland metro area.
“Whether they’re rural or urban people want their state back,” Johnson said. “So, one of my main goals is to get everybody back to the table. That’s the beauty of an independent governor. “My main goal is, I think all 3 of us, want to deal with crime and violence and homelessness. I would broaden my agenda to say education. Oregonians feel as though Oregon is off the track,” Johnson said. “This is a very consequential election. It’s consequential nationally. It’s consequential here. So I am encouraging people to vote. How they vote is up to them in the sanctity of whatever place they choose to mark their ballot. But please vote. This is an extremely important election.”
Johnson plans to spend the remaining time on the campaign trail meeting with more Oregonians at local businesses.
Unless there is a big surprise before the election on Tuesday, it’s probable that none of the candidates in the three-way race for Oregon governor will get a majority of the vote. Instead, Democrat Kotek, Republican Drazan, and non-affiliated candidate Johnson will split the vote in such a way that the “winner” of the race will have received more votes against them than for them.
Oregon voters to weigh in on 4 state measures – Healthcare, slavery, an attendance policy and gun laws are up for vote in this year’s election. On Nov. 8, Oregonians will decide on four state measures.
Measure 111 is about health care for all Oregonians. If passed, it would mean amending the Oregon constitution by making it a state obligation to ensure every resident has access to cost-effective and affordable health care. It would be up to the Legislature to determine how to fulfill this obligation, however, as there is no funding set aside for it.
Measure 112 had almost unanimous support in the Legislature. Oregon is one of four states voting this November on state constitutional amendments prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude. If passed, Section 34 of the Oregon Bill of Rights would be amended to prohibit slavery or involuntary servitude without exception.
Measure 113 would create an attendance policy for state lawmakers. It would disqualify lawmakers from holding office for the next term if they have 10 or more unexcused absences from the House or Senate.
Measure 114 would require permits to buy a firearm, require safety training and prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds. The cost for a permit would be $65, plus an additional $50 to renew every five years.
This is the first general election in which Oregon ballots that are postmarked by Election Day count. The postmark rule could mean that the winner of a close race, such as the one for governor, is less likely to be determined the night of the election.
The Oregon Secretary of State will post the initial results around 8 p.m. on Tuesday and will continue to tally ballots until Nov. 16. The state’s deadline to certify the election results and ballots is Dec. 16.
The elected Mayor of a small town east of Biggs Junction faces a number of charges, including Attempted Murder, following an apparent road rage incident.
According to the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, a family of four was southbound on Highway 281 at about 8:45 p.m. on Halloween. They were behind an SUV they described as driving erratically. The SUV pulled over abruptly, causing the driver of the family vehicle some concern, according to investigators.
The family slowed to get a description of the suspect vehicle to report the erratic driving. As they passed the suspect vehicle, a man stepped out of the passenger side and fired multiple rounds from a handgun at the passing family, damaging their car. Two adults and two children, ages five and eight, were inside the victim vehicle at the time. No one was injured.
On November 1, investigators identified and located the suspect vehicle, as well as the suspected shooter, Dowen Jones. Deputies from the Sherman County Sheriff’s Office contacted Jones in the City of Rufus, where he is the elected Mayor. He was arrested and lodged at Northern Oregon Regional Corrections (NORCOR) in The Dalles on one count of Attempted Murder and four counts of Attempted Assault in the First Degree. The investigation is ongoing.
4.4 Earthquake Friday Southeast of Salem
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported a magnitude 4.4 earthquake in Linn County Friday morning. It happened around 5:52 a.m. about 9.3 miles from Lacomb, Oregon, which is southeast of Salem.
A preliminary report from USGS initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 4.2. There were no immediate reports of major damage or serious injuries, according to dispatchers with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.
Friday’s 4.4 earthquake was unusually big for western Oregon. But it’s not believed it’s a precursor for the 9.0 magnitude earthquake known as “the big one” that has a 37% chance of hitting the Pacific Northwest sometime
in the next 50 years.
Reports of an active shooter at a La Pine bowling alley Friday evening sent law enforcement pouring into South County.
The report turned out to be untrue, but a 34-year-old was arrested for allegedly firing shots into the air
in Shandy’s parking lot. The Sheriff’s Office says Anthony Bauman got in an argument over a pool game and grabbed a gun from his car. After firing into the air, they say he left the scene. No one was hurt.
Deputies identified Bauman from witness statements and video evidence from the scene. They found Bauman’s vehicle at his residence in the 52000 block of Hwy. 97 in La Pine. Deputies maintained surveillance on the house
until members of Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office SWAT responded. SWAT negotiators were able to get everyone to come outside.
At approximately 9:00 PM Bauman was taken into custody without incident. He’s charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Menacing, Theft I (stolen firearm), Reckless Endangering, Disorderly Conduct II, Tampering with Evidence, and felony arrest warrant out of Texas.
Red Cross Cascades Responding to More Home Fires Year over Year
As daylight saving time ends on November 6, the American Red Cross encourages everyone to test their smoke alarms as theyturn their clocks back to help stay safe from home fires.
“Home fires claim more lives in a typical year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” said Dawn Johnson, Interim Communications Director, Red Cross Cascades Region. “The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. When you turn your clocks back this weekend, also test your smoke alarms to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”
So far this year, local Red Cross volunteers have responded to 671 home fires, which is a 10% increase over last year at this same time.
HOW TO TURN AND TEST When turning your clocks back this weekend, test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed.Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to create and practice with your family, or download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
- Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components such as sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.
- Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.
- Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.
IF YOU NEED HELP If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross may be able to help. Contact your local Red Cross for help.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVES LIVES Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with community partners have made more than 1 million homes safer — including nearly 13,000 in the Cascades Region — by educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing more than 2.4 million free smoke alarms in high-risk neighborhoods across the country. Visit redcross.org/homefires for more information.
B-roll of smoke alarm installations.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross. — American Red Cross – Cascades Region
Oregon Attorney General Scrutinizes Special Dividend Payout Planned Ahead Of the Kroger Albertsons Merger
A plan by Albertsons to pay investors a $4 billion dividend ahead of the grocery chain’s sale to Kroger is drawing scrutiny from Oregon state officials.
A special counsel for Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sent a letter Thursday to Albertsons, asking its board of directors to “reconsider its decision and to rescind the ‘special dividend.’”
In the letter, Oregon Department of Justice antitrust attorney Tim D. Nord said the state “intends to fully investigate all the conduct of individuals and entities involved in negotiating and determining the ‘special dividend’ in conjunction with a thorough review of the parties’ proposed transaction.”
The same day, a Washington judge approved state Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s motion for a temporary restraining order to block the dividend payment. Ferguson had sued to block the payment.
He was also among a bipartisan group of six attorneys general that sent a letter to Albertsons last week urging the company to delay the payment to its shareholders.
The attorneys general argue that the dividend — which equals nearly a third of Albertsons’ $11 billion market value — would deprive Albertsons of cash it needs to compete during the lengthy time period government regulators will be scrutinizing the merger and could result in more store closures.
Attorneys general for California, Illinois and Washington, D.C., have also sued to prevent Albertsons from going forward with the payment.
Albertsons said the dividend payment is unrelated to the merger plans but “part of Albertsons’ long-term strategy for growth,” which was “determined well before Albertsons’ discussions with Kroger began.”
In response to Washington’s ruling Thursday, Albertsons issued a statement saying that the company “intends to seek to overturn the restraint as quickly as possible” because the temporary order was based on incorrect assumptions regarding its proposed merger with Kroger.
Kroger announced plans last month to buy Albertsons for nearly $25 billion. Together, the two chains have revenue of more than $209 billion.
In Oregon, Albertsons owns Safeway, while Kroger owns Fred Meyer and QFC. The two supermarket giants account for nearly 200 grocery stores across the state.
The sale is sure to raise anti-competitive concerns, but it remains unclear what steps Oregon’s top lawyer might take in a region where the two chains overlap heavily.
In response to questions, Rosenblum’s office said the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons “has the potential for a significant impact on Oregon consumers and must be thoroughly reviewed by state and federal antitrust enforcers.
“Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum strongly supports the efforts of the Washington Attorney General to protect customers in the Northwest and is considering her legal options with respect to the excessive shareholder dividend Albertson’s plans to distribute next week,” Rosenblum’s office said.
William Gary, a Eugene lawyer who served as deputy attorney general in the 1980s, said one possible reason why Oregon had stayed relatively quiet compared to Washington and California is because of the state’s limited resources, particularly in antitrust matters.
“It’s all a matter of marshaling resources,” Gary said. “In the past, the Department of Justice always had a modest general fund appropriation to fund antitrust enforcement activities, and it’s a very limited budget.”
Gov. Kate Brown’s office did not respond to questions about the merger, nor did two of the three candidates to replace her.
The third, Democratic nominee Tina Kotek, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the “lack of competition will only make things worse.”
“Plus, this merger will likely increase food deserts in low income and rural communities,” Kotek said. “This is a big reason why I have concerns about this merger — we need to make sure that Oregonians are at the center of this conversation, not the financial interests of big corporate executives.”
On Monday, House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, on Monday said on Twitter that he had “a lot of concerns about this potential merger and its impact on low-income Oregonians,” adding that the merger could create more food deserts at the hands of company executives.
Sen. Ron Wyden said he’s pressing Albertsons’ largest shareholder, the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, to delay the dividend payment, saying Cerberus was attempting to “loot” the company before its sale closes.
“I’ll keep watchdogging this merger proposal by ensuring all parties answer questions about how this deal could reduce options for consumers especially in rural Oregon, undercut grocery-store workers and raise prices at the checkout stand for food shoppers across our state,” Wyden said.
Beginning downhill skiers and snowboarders will have an easier time learning and honing their skills when the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, one of the closest to the Klamath Basin, opens this winter.
The area will open a new learning center featuring a “Magic Carpet,” a conveyor belt that will allow users to slide onto the belt and move up a portion of the hill while standing still.
The $250,000 fundraising drive was accomplished earlier this year in only three weeks. The “carpet” is expected to attract more beginners who might otherwise be intimidated by a rope tow.
The ski-snowboard area is located on 7,532-foot Mount Ashland and features 23 trails on 200 acres and, along with the “carpet,” is served by four chairlifts. On average, the mountain receives more than 300 inches of snow annually, with its season typically running from November or early December until mid-April. Half of the terrain is rated as advanced, 35% as intermediate, and 15% as beginner.
The area has been without a general manager since Hiram Towle resigned earlier this year to accept a similar position at the Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Bozeman, Mont. “We’re not in any hurry,” a spokesperson for Mt. Ashland’s board of directors said of replacing Towle.
The opening date for the 2022-23 season remains weather dependent, but skiers and riders are reminded the date for purchasing discounted season tickets is Monday, Oct. 31. T
Meanwhile, last weekend’s storm was a welcomed sight for at least one Oregon ski resort. At Mt Bachelor, the switch has flipped.
The resort got more than a foot of snow over the weekend, and more is expected this week. That puts the resort on track for a November 25th opening – if the snow sticks around.
Mt. Bachelor hosts a winter job fair Saturday, to try to fill the remaining 40+ openings for the season.