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May 30, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Monday, 1/9/22 – Klamath County Economic Development Association’s Annual Economic Summit Happens Today

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Monday, January 9, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today A 20% chance of showers before 1pm. Snow level 4800 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 43. Southwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Overnight a 30% chance of snow after 4am. Increasing clouds, with a low around 27. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tuesday A chance of snow before 10am, then rain and snow likely. Snow level rising to 4800 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Breezy, with a south winds 16 to 22 mph. Overnight a slight chance of rain and snow before 10pm, then a chance of snow after 4am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Wednesday Rain and snow likely before 1pm, then rain likely between 1pm and 4pm, then rain and snow likely after 4pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. South southeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Thursday A 20% chance of rain. Snow level 5900 feet rising to 6500 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.
Friday A chance of rain, mainly after 10am. Snow level 5200 feet rising to 6100 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.

See Road Camera Views

Lake of the Woods   
Doak Mtn.   
Hiway 97 at Chemult   
Hiway 140 at  Bly       
Hiway 97 at GreenSprings Dr.            
Hiway 97 at LaPine

Today’s Headlines

The Klamath County Economic Development Association is hosting its second annual economic summit from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. today at the Ross Ragland Theater.

Josh Lehner, economist for the State of Oregon, and Damon Runberg, Business Oregon Regional Economist, will be participating in the program, providing information on Klamath County’s economic and employment forecasts for the upcoming year.

County Commissioner Kelley Minty has been working with KCEDA to develop a compelling program that would explore several aspects of the county’s economy.

“Having an event like this helps our community be more informed on the state of the economy and gives people an opportunity to share their thoughts about where it is headed,” Minty said in a news release. “I think it is really valuable for the area’s stakeholders to come together and ‘touch base’ during the summit, because it reinforces a spirit of collaboration locally.”

The summit will include several presentations from various experts from throughout the state and region, as well offers attendees a chance to participate in a Q&A session with a panel of community stakeholders representing different industries and interests within Klamath County.

Panelists and presenters will discuss topics related to local health care, education, energy, finance, agriculture, real estate, and more. “There is economic momentum going on in Klamath County,” KCEDA CEO Randy Cox said in the news release.

“I believe it is important to talk about our economy with the community, and the summit provides an excellent opportunity to keep people informed on a wide range of relevant topics impacting our region.”

Cox is set to give a presentation at the event, detailing KCEDA’s work over the past year and discussing active development projects the organization is presently involved with. Admission is $10 at the door.

House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville) announced the leadership team as the caucus heads into the 2023 Legislative Session and it includes several representatives from our area. Klamath Falls Representative E. Werner Reschke was appointed the House Republican Whip.

Representative Kim Wallan from Medford and Representative Lily Morgan of Grants Pass were both named Deputy Whips. Breese-Iverson said “I am excited to announce the House Republican Leadership Team as we get ready for the 2023 Legislative Session,”.

“Our leadership team brings the experience necessary to tackle Oregon’s most pressing issues. Their knowledge of policy and budgets, along with their fortitude to hold steadfast to the Republican ideals of limited government and local control will serve the caucus and all Oregonians well. We are ready to get to work.”

Other appointees include Representative Shelly Boshart Davis (R-Albany), House Republican Deputy Leader, Representative Rick Lewis (R-Silverton), Assistant Leader, Representative David Brock Smith (R-Port Orford), Assistant Leader and Representative Greg Smith (R-Heppner).

Around the State of Oregon

Tina Kotek to be Sworn in as Oregon’s New Governor Today

Tina Kotek will be sworn in as Oregon’s 39th governor on Monday. After taking the oath of office, Kotek, a Democrat, will give her inaugural address before a joint session of the Oregon Legislature. She’ll give her first media interview as governor on Tuesday.

On Friday, Kotek announced Colt Gill, the director of the Oregon Department of Education will retire at the end of this year’s legislative session, and she also announced new people joining her administration in education and health.

Kotek’s transition team said in a news release the new governor will conduct a national search for a new education director.

“Colt Gill earned a reputation as a strong advocate for education equity, helping to make our schools more inclusive for all Oregon students,” Kotek said. “I appreciate his many years of public service — both as an advocate and as a leader in our state government.”

The Oregon Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, thanked Gill for his service in a news release.

“For more than 30 years Colt Gill has served Oregonians during his career in education, providing mentorship and leadership to both students and educators alike,” said OEA President Reed Scott-Schwalbach. “As Director of the Oregon Department of Education Colt led Oregon’s public schools through unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic with grace, poise, and tenacity, all rooted in a student-centered approach that is critical the work of education.”

Other staff additions Kotek announced Friday:

Pooja Bhatt will serve as Kotek’s education initiative director. She served as outgoing Gov. Kate Brown’s education policy adviser.

Melissa Goff will be Kotek’s education adviser. She was the deputy executive director of the Oregon School Boards Association.

Ebony Clark will serve as behavioral health director at the Oregon Health Authority. She served as the director of Multnomah County’s Health Department.

“These talented individuals are ready to dig into the details and form solutions that will deliver results for Oregonians. I’m grateful to have strong leaders joining my team who are ready to take on three of our state’s biggest challenges: housing and homelessness, mental health and addiction care, and successful schools,” Kotek said in her news release.

When Kotek takes office, she said she will focus on three things. 

“I will declare a homelessness state of emergency, and work with urgency to help Oregonians get off the streets. I will expand access to mental health and addiction treatment services. And I will work to bridge the divisions in our state,” Kotek said. 

She also stated she will work to make sure Oregon has successful schools for kids. 

Live streaming of the events will be available remotely on the Oregon Legislative website. There will also be designated hearing rooms to watch the events. In the morning, the Senate session will stream in hearing rooms A, B and C and the House session will stream in D, E and F. In the afternoon, the Joint Session will be streamed in hearing rooms A – E. Capacity is limited to 90 people per room.

For the inauguration, the House and Senate will meet at 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. for organizational sessions. There will then be a joint session with Tina Kotek at 1:00 P.M. This joint session will include her inaugural address.

House Organizational Session

  • When: 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9.
  • Where: Oregon State Capitol, House Chamber

Senate Organizational Session

  • When: Monday, Jan. 9, 9:30 a.m.
  • Where: Oregon State Capitol, Senate Chamber

Joint Session, including the inaugural address of Governor-Elect Tina Kotek

  • When: 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9.
  • Where: Oregon State Capitol, House Chamber

Keep an eye on your mailbox, Oregon’s State Treasury is planning to send checks of up to $10,000 to people with unclaimed paychecks, security deposits, tax refunds or other unclaimed property.

Treasurer Tobias Read announced last week that the agency will proactively return approximately $10 million in unclaimed funds to current and former Oregonians. It’s a small fraction of the nearly $880 million in unclaimed property stewarded by the state, according to Eric Engelson, the Treasury’s public information director.

“We’re excited to return millions of dollars in unclaimed funds to their rightful owners,” Read said in a statement. “In addition to collecting and safeguarding Oregonians’ unclaimed property, Treasury is committed to raising awareness across Oregon and offering easy, accessible ways for individuals to find and claim money owed to them.”

Oregonians and others can see if they have unclaimed property by checking unclaimed.oregon.gov.

This property can include money from forgotten bank accounts or investment accounts, checks that were never cashed, unclaimed tax refunds or overpayments on utility bills. In most cases, Oregonians then have to file claims with the Treasury to receive their money. But this spring, the agency will send checks directly to some people with unclaimed property reported in 2018, 2019 or 2020.

Property eligible for return is owned by a single person, is not an investment in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, ranges in value from $50 to $10,000 and was reported with the owner’s Social Security number. The Treasury will notify recipients with letters a month ahead of mailing checks, and the first checks, for property reported in 2018, will be mailed in February. Checks for property reported in 2019 will follow in April, and checks for property reported in 2020 will be mailed in June. Engelson said a few other states, including Louisiana and Illinois, have completed similar programs.

Jacksonville Inn Closes Down Dining Services

The famous Jacksonville Inn is no longer offering its dining services after decades of serving quality food to the Rogue Valley and the unique experience of dining there.

The historic brown bricked building was built back in the Jacksonville community more than 100 years ago. 

For years the hotel offered a wide variety of high-quality food to its diners, but as of January 7, 2023 officials say the inn is no longer offering those dining services. 

The owners of the business put out a statement stating: “As owners, we have made the difficult decision to close this portion of our business management while beginning to search for a tenant that complements this exceptional restaurant space.”

Emma Root, the store owner of Willow Creek right across the street from the Jacksonville Inn, said she had no idea the business was ending it dining services.

“I think there will be a lot of people disappointed to see it go,” says Root. “You know, cause there are a lot of regulars. I even hear about people who come here every summer or you now, every holiday to go there. So I think it will impact local people and also people who travel here.”

The hotel is still offering its wine bar and room services. 

Josephine Co. Sheriff’s Office Happy Camp Road Snow Rescue

Last Wednesday Josephine County 911 received a call from two stranded motorists who were stuck in the snow on Happy Camp Rd, south of the Oregon/California border.

The subjects were believed to be located in Siskiyou County and the call was transferred to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. 

At approximately 02:58 am on January 5, 2023, Josephine County Search & Rescue was advised the subjects were actually located in Del Norte County. Due to Del Norte County having limited access resulting in a prolonged response, it was determined Josephine County Search & Rescue would handle the call. 

During daylight hours, Josephine County Search & Rescue deployed a team with a SnoCat and tracked UTV as back-up. The team located the subjects who were in good health and good spirits albeit a little cold. They were transported down the mountain road without incident. The pair stated they were traveling through this area on Hwy 101 south to see the Redwoods. They stated Google Maps advised them of a Hwy 101 road closure ahead due to down trees. Google Maps redirected them to the Happy Camp Rd route. 

At this time we would like to remind everyone to use caution when using road mapping apps for traveling. While these apps can be very useful and convenient, they may lead you into dangerous situations if followed blindly. Often the alternate routes provided do not account for hazards and seasonal road closures. It is recommended to stay on the major roads/highways especially when unfamiliar with the area and/or traveling in winter. 

Josephine County Search & Rescue members are all volunteers.  They are prepared to be called out at any time.  The members are available to serve Josephine County at no cost to the citizens.  

Wyden, Merkley: Nearly $20 Million to Oregon School Districts to Hire More Mental Health Providers

Douglas, Jackson and Multnomah county districts to benefit

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that four Oregon school districts will receive a combined nearly $20 million in competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education to hire additional licensed mental health providers over the next five years.

“Students, teachers and counselors across Oregon tell me just how crucial school-based mental health services are to young people facing challenges at home and in the classroom—but these services are stretched to the breaking point,” said Wyden, who is leading bipartisan legislation to transform youth mental health services in Oregon and across the nation. “While I am gratified to see this investment in Douglas, Jackson and Multnomah county school districts, more providers are needed state- and nationwide. I’m all in to remove barriers so that all students can benefit from school-based mental health care.”

“Mental health care is essential health care, especially for school-aged kids, which is why I introduced the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act to put more providers in schools,” said Merkley. “I’m grateful that, in the spirit of that legislation, Douglas, Jackson, and Multnomah counties are receiving this critical federal investment to help support students. Our children’s success in the classroom is more than just test scores, and with the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and other unprecedented global and weather events greatly impacting the growth and experience of our school-aged kids, we must invest in programs that provide social and emotional support to all students.”

The School-Based Mental Health grant program through the U.S. Dept. of Education provides funds intended to recruit and retain school-based mental health services providers, as well as increase the diversity and cultural/linguistic competency among providers. These grant funds will be allocated as follows:

  • $6,808,215 to Douglas Education Services District
  • $2,649,732 to Jackson County School District #4 DBA Phoenix-Talent Schools
  • $5,538,155 to School District 1J Multnomah County   
  • $4,918,177 to Corbett School District 39

“This grant will play a critical role to expand mental health support throughout thirteen component school districts in Douglas County. The increased services will positively impact our students, families, staff and community,” said Analicia Nicholson, Douglas Education Service District superintendent.

“The Corbett School District is very excited about the ability to expand the school-based mental health opportunities for our Cardinal families within our schools and community using the funds from the US Department of Education grant,” said Derek Fialkiewicz, Corbett School District superintendent.

“This grant puts Phoenix-Talent Schools in a position to greatly expand our students’ mental health support system, and the collaborative partnership PTS has with La Clinica makes it a perfect fit. Following the devastating 2020 Almeda fire and the impact of the Covid pandemic, the need here is tremendous and likely will be for some time. We are very excited to get to work and eternally grateful for this opportunity to help our kids and families,” said Brent Barry, Superintendent Jackson County School District #4 DBA Phoenix-Talent Schools.

“These dollars will augment the supports already in place across PPS schools to better serve our students, especially those experiencing isolation, depression and other adverse symptoms, resulting from the challenges of the last few years.” He added, “With this 5-year, $5.5 million dollar investment, Portland Public Schools will hire more than a dozen school psychologists to provide culturally affirming mental health supports,” said Guadalupe Guerrero Portland Public Schools’ Superintendent.

Oregon Workforce Declining As Population Ages

Finding work isn’t as hard as was in the past in Oregon, yet finding workers has proven to be more challenging for employers. The combination of an aging population and the younger adult demographics being reticent to join the workforce has created a declining labor force participation rate, especially in rural areas.

We learn from an Oregon Live article written by Mike Rogoway on Jan. 8, 2023, called “Workforce participation remains depressed, especially in rural Oregon,” that 19 percent of Oregon is over the age of 65 and the workforce participation rate is 62 percent, down from its peak of 70 percent in the 1990s.

Labor force participation rates have been declining across the country since around 2009 and Oregon has been slightly below this average, dropping around 4 percent during the 2011-2012 time frame.

The article explains the rural areas of Coos, Curry and Lincoln counties have the lowest labor force participation rates at under 50 percent and more than a quarter of the residents in those counties are older than 65.

Labor force participation is highest in Multnomah, Washington and Hood River counties at around 70 percent and these urban counties have a younger demographic.

State economists have explained the declining workforce participation will only continue in the future as the Baby Boomer generation ages and moves into retirement. This is especially going to affect rural counties where the demographics are older.

Finding future population growth by attracting workers from outside of the state and retaining workers through any future recessions are key solutions to combat the trend, as the article explains.

Wildlife Safari In Winston Oregon Welcomes New Cheetah Cubs

Wildlife Safari in Winston welcomed some new furry faces last Monday with the birth of new cheetah cubs.


Starting at 4 a.m., the first cub was born with several more coming shortly after. Their mother, Paca, has had two previous litters.

According to the Wildlife Safari website , their cheetah facility is the number-two breeding facility in the world, and number one outside of Africa. The new cubs are the first cheetahs to be born in the U.S. in 2023.

Oregon’s commercial Dungeness crab fishery season opens from Cape Falcon to Cape Arago on Jan. 15 after having passed all tests for the crab being ready to harvest.

The season opens Feb. 1 from Cape Falcon north to Washington State in accordance with the Tri-State Protocol.  Meat fill now meets or exceeds criteria in all areas of Oregon, and biotoxins are below alert levels in all crab tested from Cape Arago north. Domoic acid testing of crab will continue from Cape Arago south to the California border as test results today showed elevated levels of the biotoxin in that area.

ODFW works closely with the crab fishing industry, the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture on testing and season openings. ODFW also coordinates with California and Washington to help create an orderly start to the season within the Tri-State region.

Tim Novotny with the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission stressed the importance of being able to deliver a level of certainty in the product to the marketplace to start the fishery, both for industry and consumers to have confidence in the product. That comes through rigorous preseason testing and only opening regions where crab are ready for consumption.

However following that announcement, The Oregon Department of Agriculture and ODFW closed all recreational crabbing (ocean, bays, and estuaries) from Bandon to the California border. ODA received additional test results showing domoic acid levels in crab sampled from this area are above the closure threshold.

Testing areas for Dungeness crab are prioritized, and this new test result was unexpected. It is unfortunate these new results require recreational crabbing to be closed again along the south coast so shortly after it was opened coastwide yesterday. Recreational bay clam and mussel harvesting remain open along the entire Oregon coast. However, razor clamming is still closed coastwide.  ODA tests for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides and weather permit. Sampling schedules sometimes are altered due to vessel availability, weather, and other factors.  Reopening an area closed for biotoxins requires two consecutive tests with results below the closure limit.

The share of Oregonians in the workforce has remained at historic lows for nearly a decade, a national trend that reflects an aging population moving into retirement and younger people who are taking their time to join the job market.

The decline in workforce participation is especially pronounced in rural Oregon, which tends to skew older.  Statewide, the workforce participation rate is 62%, down from a peak near 70% in the late 1990s. Coos, Lincoln and Curry counties have the state’s lowest labor participation rates, all under 50%, Morrisette found. More than a quarter of the people living in those counties are over 65 – in Curry County, more than a third. Just 19% of all Oregonians are over 65.

The counties with the highest labor participation rates are Hood River, Washington and Multnomah – all near or above 70%. And all their populations are relatively young, according to Census data. But Oregon continued adding jobs throughout the last two years, and wages have continued climbing – albeit not quite as fast as inflation. Those factors may have contributed to a modest growth in Oregon’s labor force participation in 2021.

In the long run, state economists say Oregon’s challenge will be reviving population growth by attracting workers from outside the state and keeping people in the labor force whenever the next recession hits. They note that “large numbers of discouraged workers” dropped out of the workforce altogether after the dot-com bust and again during the Great Recession.

Six rocky areas on the Oregon Coast are being considered for conservation.

The sites have been through a multi-year process, including engagement with nearby communities. The Marine Affairs Coordinator said one proposed site is at Cape Foulweather, south of Depoe Bay, where stewardship activities would help maintain key habitats, “Specifically submerged aquatic vegetation, the marine kelps, which are very important.” He explained, “They are a nursery ground for many of our much longer-lived fish species, they provide habitat in the marine environment for many different organisms.”

He also said a proposal at Cape Lookout, near Tillamook, would focus on restoring a kelp bed that suffered a recent die-off. Because coastal communities recognize its importance, fishing regulations would not be affected by the new designations. The process is expected to take many months to coordinate and complete.

The six rocky areas proposed for marine conservation are Cape Foulweather, south of Depoe Bay, Cape Lookout, south of Tillamook, Chapman Point, north of Cannon Beach, Ecola Point, north of Cannon Beach, Fogarty Creek, near Depoe Bay and Blacklock Point, north of Port Orford.

OSU Archaeologists Uncover Oldest Known Projectile Points

Oregon State University archaeologists have uncovered some tools that add to a new understanding of the timeline of human life in the Americas — projectile points. 

OSU archaeology teams have carried out expeditions in west central Idaho for more than a decade, unearthing clues about life at Cooper’s Ferry, along the Salmon River canyon.

The projectile points, or spear tips; razor sharp and ranging from half an inch to two inches long, that are so telling about the people who came here to hunt, to fish and to gather. They are about 3000 years older than what had been found before. 

“This record is notable because now we realize it extends back to 16,000 years ago or probably a little earlier,” said OSU Anthropology Professor Loren Davis who has led expeditions of students to Cooper’s Ferry for the duration of the project.

In 2019 they found bones and other items that gave them evidence of human life arriving here roughly 3000 years sooner than was previously believed.

Now carbon dating of these sharp hunting tools confirms it — and shows how advanced those native peoples were early on.

“Something in your hand that’s that old, and to think about somebody actually took a block of rock through a series of steps, turned it into a spear point that I have in my hand is really pretty amazing,” said Davis.

In collaboration with the Nez Perce Tribe and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Davis and more than 200 students have spent thousands of hours carefully clearing the dirt, discovering signs of the first human life in the Americas, right here in the Pacific Northwest.

“Looking back, we didn’t realize exactly how old this was going to be, but I hope students or ex-students now are looking back and thinking they’re part of something pretty magical and rather special.”

Davis has been studying the Cooper’s Ferry site since the 1990’s when he was an archaeologist with BLM. Now he brings OSU graduate and undergraduate students to the site to work during the summer.  

The team also works closely with the Nez Perce Tribe to provide field opportunities for tribal youth and to communicate findings.

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