Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 1/10/22 – Tina Kotek Sworn In as Oregon’s 39th Governor; Will Tackle Homelessness, Addiction and Mental Health Issues In The State

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Today Possible rain at times today, otherwise mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Breezy, with a south winds 16 to 22 mph. Overnight a slight chance of rain and snow 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.

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Today’s Headlines

Tina Kotek Sworn In as Oregon’s 39th Governor

Governor Tina Kotek took office yesterday, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, reciting the Oath of Office in a swearing-in ceremony before the state senate and house of representatives at the state capitol building in Salem.

Governor Kotek said at her inauguration that her first order of business will be tackling homelessness in the state, as she unveiled measures intended to address one of the state’s most pressing issues.

Kotek will sign an executive order to increase housing construction. She also proposed a $130-million emergency investment to help unsheltered people move off the streets.

“Imagine an Oregon where no one has to live in a tent on the sidewalk,” Kotek said. “That’s an Oregon worth fighting for, and today is a new beginning. “Our state’s response must meet the urgency of the humanitarian crisis we are facing,” she added.

Oregon has struggled for years to address a housing shortage and interwoven crises related to homelessness, addiction and mental health. The state’s homeless population has increased by more than 22% since 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Oregon also has the highest drug addiction rate of any state and ranks last in access to mental health treatment, according to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Kotek also pledged to unite Oregonians after a bitter gubernatorial race — the tightest in a decade — in which Republicans sought to break the Democrats’ dominance of the state. She said she plans to visit every county in Oregon during her first year in office.

“Governing is about serving Oregonians — all Oregonians,” she said, adding that her “personal promise” will be to “strengthen connections across the state.”

Kotek said her first executive order will set a housing construction target of 36,000 homes per year, describing the figure as an 80% increase over recent trends. Her proposed $130-million emergency investment would help unsheltered people move off the streets within a year. Kotek asked lawmakers to act with urgency and said she hopes to build on the investment with a larger, more comprehensive housing and homelessness package during the legislative session.

The measures come on the heels of a significant spending package passed by Oregon lawmakers last year that included $400 million to address homelessness and housing.

Kotek is replacing term-limited Democrat Kate Brown, whose strict pandemic measures made her a polarizing figure . As speaker, Kotek worked with Brown for years, and they have similar profiles as progressives and open members of the LGBTQ community. But Kotek sought to distance herself from Brown — and her low approval ratings — toward the end of the gubernatorial campaign, casting her predecessor as ineffective on homelessness.

Kotek won Oregon’s three-way race for governor in November after fending off a challenge from a fellow former state representative, Republican Christine Drazan, defeating her by fewer than four percentage points.

Kotek was a state representative from 2006 until 2022, when she resigned to run for governor. During her time in the Legislature, she became the longest-serving speaker in Oregon history after nine years in the role and cemented her status as a key player in state politics, earning a reputation for cutting deals and muscling bills through the state House.

As speaker, Kotek spearheaded and passed liberal agendas made possible by Democratic supermajorities, including the nation’s first statewide rent-control law. She also helped push through gun storage laws, criminal justice reform and paid family leave, among other measures.

Lawmakers also were sworn in Monday. As usual in Oregon, Democrats still control both chambers of the Legislature but lost their three-fifths supermajority in November’s election.

Four massive dams on the Klamath River in northern California and Oregon will start coming down this July.

Beginning this summer the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa, Shasta and Klamath tribes living along this river since time immemorial, will celebrate the fight for salmon fish that attorneys for them have long fought for, saying the dams harm the lives of the fish and the tribe’s right to fish for them. The dams will begin being removed in July of 2023.

Even PacifiCorp, which marketed the electricity of the four hydroelectric-producing dams, will also have something to cheer about. PacifiCorp, which is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, won’t have pricey fish ladders to install and its share of the cost of dam removal has been passed to ratepayers in both states.

Environmentalists are also hailing this latest victory for river-renewal, based on the Electric Consumers Protection Act of 1986. The law ordered operators of most federal dams to provide passages for fish so they could swim upstream to spawn.

For California and Oregon officials, along with farmers and others who had reached an agreement as far back in 2008, the dam removals signal that this long and emotional fight is finally over. And why has there been a settlement after all this time? A short answer is the growing reality of the West’s increasing aridity.

In 2001, yet another dry year in the upper Klamath, farmers woke up to find their headgates for irrigation water locked. It was done to preserve flows for endangered salmon, but for outraged farmers it meant their crops were ruined and they lost anywhere from $27 million to $47 million. Death threats followed, along with shootings and even a farmers’ cavalry charge.

At the time, the newly elected Bush administration reacted by making sure the farmers got their water, though this triggered one of the largest salmon die-offs in history. The Klamath Tribes were infuriated.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission started tackling the issue in 2007 by ordering PacifiCorp to install fish ladders on its four, fish-killing dams. After electric rates soared 1,000%, that left everybody mad and set the stage for a deal.

In a turnaround for the Bush administration, a pact was almost reached in 2008, when Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who had stubbornly opposed breaching dams, persuaded Oregon Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reach an agreement.

The deal had something for everyone: The Klamath Tribes, with senior water rights, subordinated those rights for a large grant to purchase land. The federal government paid half the cost of removing the dams, and the state of California paid the other half.

Then a stumbling block intruded: Powerful Republicans opposed dam removal and the legislation that would have put the agreement into effect.

But negotiations continued, this time without the federal government picking up any of the costs. As 2022 ended, California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, PacifiCorp, the Tribes and others to celebrate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the dams coming down.

From Oregon Tech…
For the second time during the 2022-23 season, Oregon Tech’s Olivia Sprague was named Rize Laboratory-Cascade Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, announced by the league office.

The sophomore, from Clatskanie, was instrumental in a pair of weekend home wins, extending the Lady Owls win streak to 6-in-a-row.

Watch Olivia Sprague in action here! https://youtu.be/mUFJ26tUVBw

Sprague had 18 points, along with four rebounds and five assists in Friday’s 66-53 win over Corban, following it up with 20 points, four rebounds and four steals in a key 71-64 victory over Bushnell. It was the sixth time this season, Sprague has recorded 4-or-more steals, the seventh game with 20-or-more points and the eighth game with 5-or-more assists. She has recorded 16-straight games with 10-or-more points, becoming just the second OIT player to achieve the feat.

The Lady Owls hit the road this weekend for games Friday at Lewis-Clark State and Saturday at Walla Walla.

In Klamath County, the Klamath Basin Audubon Society is once again offering grants of up to $400 to elementary teachers in the Basin to assist in science, environmental education and outdoor education activities.

The deadline for submission is Jan. 31. Questions should be addressed to Jim Rooks, grant coordinator, at runningyrooks@charter.net. A full description of the grant program and application can be found at www.klamathaudubon.org/grants.

Completed applications should be emailed to klamathauduboninfo@gmail.com or, if absolutely necessary, mailed to KBAS, P.O. Box 354, Klamath Falls, OR 97601.

Effective February 1, 2023, the Klamath County Board of Commissioner’s meeting schedule has adjusted times and days. Meetings will be changed to the following:

  • Business Meeting: Tuesdays at 1:00 PM
  • Administrative Meeting: Tuesdays at 3:00 PM 
  • Executive Session/County Counsel Meeting: Wednesdays at 1:00 PM
  • Work Session: Wednesdays at 3:00 PM
  • Finance Meeting: the last Tuesday of the month in place of Executive Session/County Counsel.        

For meeting schedules and agendas, go to www.klamathcounty.org

Around the state of Oregon

February is the last month Oregonians will receive increased emergency food benefits

What you need to know

  • February is the last month that the federal government will allow Oregon to issue pandemic emergency food benefits.
  • SNAP households will continue to receive their regular SNAP benefits after February.
  • To support people’s ability to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families, regular SNAP benefits permanently increased in October 2021 and SNAP income eligibility limits increased in 2022.

(Salem) – Since April 2020, most people in Oregon who receive food benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have also received extra emergency food benefits each month on their electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. These emergency food benefits were provided to help people who receive SNAP get enough healthy food for themselves and their families during the COVID-19 emergency. 

February will be the final month that the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) is allowed to provide these emergency food benefits. 

March 2023 will be the first month since April 2020 that most people on SNAP in Oregon will only receive their regular SNAP food benefits. 

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we have had the opportunity to provide these emergency food benefits to most SNAP households in Oregon,” said ODHS Director Fariborz Pakseresht. “We know that many rely on these additional emergency food benefits to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families. As Oregon continues to be impacted by COVID-19, we know that without these emergency food benefits some in Oregon may experience hardship and hunger. We encourage them to contact our partners at 211, Oregon Food Bank and their local Community Action Agency for support during this difficult time.”    

Oregonians who receive SNAP are encouraged to prepare for this change in the food benefits they receive. 

Find out what your regular SNAP benefit amount is. Knowing your regular SNAP benefit can help you budget. You can check how much your regular benefits are by accessing your EBT account online at www.ebtEDGE.com or by logging into your ONE account at Benefits.oregon.gov.

Questions about your SNAP benefits can also be directed to the ONE Customer Service Center at 1-800-699-9075. The ONE Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time. 

Regular SNAP benefits are added to EBT cards between the first and the ninth day of the month.

Tell ODHS if your income has decreased. A decrease in your income may mean you qualify for more SNAP benefits.

Tell ODHS if there are more people in your household. An increase to the number of people in your household may increase your SNAP food benefits.

You can report changes to your income or household in many ways: 

  • Online at: Benefits.oregon.gov
  • By mail at: ONE Customer Service Center, PO Box 14015, Salem, OR 97309
  • By fax at: 503-378-5628
  • By phone at: 1-800-699-9075 or TTY 711, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

Know what food supports are in your area. There are many different organizations providing food support in communities throughout Oregon:

Remember that SNAP has changed since April 2020. In addition to the temporary emergency food benefits due to COVID-19, SNAP has experienced other permanent changes that will support people’s ability to get enough healthy food for themselves and their families.

On October 1, 2021, regular SNAP food benefits were permanently increased by an average of about $36 per person, per month.

In January 2022, Oregon increased the income eligibility limit for SNAP up to 200% of the federal poverty level. This means that an individual with up to $2,265 in income per month, or a family of three with up to $3,838 in income per month, are eligible to receive SNAP food benefits. 

Why emergency food benefits are ending after February 2023

The federal government has approved emergency allotments every month since April 2020. The 2023 federal spending bill ended funding for emergency allotments. Due to this change, the federal government will no longer allow Oregon to issue emergency food benefits after February 2023. 

This means that February 2023 is the final month that ODHS is allowed to provide these emergency food benefits to people receiving SNAP in Oregon.  

These emergency food benefits have provided people in Oregon with $1.9 billion in additional money for food since April 2020. 

More information about emergency allotments is available at https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/About-SNAP.aspx.

Resources to help meet basic needs

Administered by ODHS, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1 million eligible, families and individuals with low incomes in Oregon, including many older adults and people with disabilities

ACCESS Study Finds Housing Cost Is Leading Cause For Poverty In Jackson County

ACCESS recently completed a community needs assessment study for Jackson County. According to the report, housing cost is one of the county’s leading causes and conditions of poverty.

ACCESS, in contract with the Southern Oregon Research Center (SOURCE), discovered county-wide concerns as well as specific struggles facing the senior population, Latinx community members, and those living in rural areas.  The lack of affordable housing and housing-related expenses were critical issues.

Other key findings of the report note:

  • Finding employment is a concern and entry-level wages do not support housing costs
  • Support is needed for utility payments, rent, and move-in costs
  • Elevated gas prices limit travel, decreasing access to healthcare and affordable food
  • In-person, individualized case management is needed
  • Cultural understanding of the Latinx community is needed
  • Rural areas struggle with internet and cell phone services
  • Public transportation in rural areas is also a concern
  • Childcare and language translation for those seeking employment is lacking
  • Medford and Ashland would benefit from substance use disorder treatment and detoxification clinics
  • Differences in rural and urban communities require special consideration

“ACCESS provides programming designed to meet the needs of the community, including rent and utility relief, home-ownership support, nutritional support, Veterans services, and more,” explained ACCESS Executive Director Carrie Borgen. “This assessment gives us a better understanding of unmet needs so we can strategically work to address them.”

Anyone seeking support is encouraged to connect with ACCESS on their website or by calling (541) 779-6691.

Hwy 101 South of Port Orford Closed Due to a Landslide That Took Out Part of the Road

According to the Curry County Emergency Management team, all lanes of U.S. Highway 101 are closed about 12 miles south of Port Orford.

At milepost 312 a landslide beneath the highway look out a portion of the road. The Oregon Department of Transportation expects this will be a long closure. We will continue to update you as we learn more about this situation. Travel along and to the coast will certainly be affected — Check http://tripcheck.com

Grants available for main street building projects statewide – Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. 

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is offering grants for up to $200,000 in matching funds for downtown revitalization efforts in communities participating in the Oregon Main Street Network. The Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant funds may be used to acquire, rehabilitate, and construct buildings on properties in designated downtown areas statewide.

Funded projects must facilitate community revitalization that will lead to private investment, job creation or retention, establishing or expanding viable businesses, or creating a stronger tax base. Projects may include façade improvement, accessibility enhancement, basic utilities, second floor renovations, and more. Only organizations participating in the Oregon Main Street Network are eligible to apply. Projects must be within approved Main Street areas. Eligible organizations may collaborate with the local governments and private property owners to apply for projects that will have the biggest benefit to the downtown. The grant application deadline is March 16, 2023. 

In 2015, legislation established a permanent fund for the grant and provided an initial $2.5 million of funding as part of a larger lottery bond package. In the 2017 legislative session, an additional $5 million was approved and was funded through the sale of the 2019 lottery bond package. The 2021 bond sale was canceled due to the economic impact of COVID-19, but the Oregon legislature included Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant in the bond packages slated for 2022 and 2023. 

Preservation office staff is happy to talk with applicants about potential grant projects and review applications prior to submitting. A free online workshop specific to the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant will be January 27, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Registration is required. 

Other resources available include:

To learn more about the grant and workshop, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at i.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov“>Kuri.Gill@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-6085. To learn more about the Oregon Main Street Network contact Sheri Stuart at i.Stuart@oprd.oregon.gov“>Sheri.Stuart@oprd.oregon.gov or 503-986-0679.

The Karuk Land Return Bill was signed by President Biden on January 6th, placing 1,000 acres of land in a trust for the local tribe.

As of the 6th, 1,000 acres of land across Humboldt and Siskiyou Counties, which had previously been under the management of the US Forest Service, have been transferred back to the Karuk Tribe.

The tribe said the land holds many sacred spaces, including what they consider as the center of the world, where they have performed their religious ceremonies for generations. The tribe’s Chairman, Buster Attebery said, this is a huge step forward in protecting their culture and religion for generations to come.

Attebery said before the transfer they were still able to hold ceremonies, but their privacy was often disturbed by rafters and fishermen. He said people have also flown drones overhead to observe their practices in the past.

Attebery said they are planning to work with the forest service to manage the land, to enhance streams and timber using modern science with tribal ecological knowledge. He also felt that tribal knowledge has been left out of forest management in the past. They plan to reintroduce fire to the landscape to mitigate future wildfires.

He hopes this restoration project will set an example for other projects across the county.

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. 

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.

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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