Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 3/14 – More Snow in the Basin Forecast; KCSD Proposes Funding Solutions To Keep Local District Schools Strong

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Tonight Rain and snow this evening with the snow level at 4400 ft. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total afternoon snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, more snow before 11pm. Low around 16. West northwest wind 7 to 15 mph. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday Mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Light and variable wind becoming east northeast 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. Mostly clear overnight with a low around 17.
Thursday Sunny, with a high near 44. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 19.
Friday Partly sunny, with a high near 45.
Saturday A slight chance of rain after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 46.
Sunday A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.

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 School District Board of Directors is proposing a funding solution to the state for the sake of all Oregon school districts.

At the regular KCSD Board of Directors meeting Thursday, March 9, Superintendent Glen Szymoniak presented a resolution which aims to consistently increase the amount of funding received by school districts each year from the Student Investment Account (SIA).

As a part of the 2019 Oregon legislature Student Success Act (SSA), a portion of corporate activity tax revenue is put toward funding the SIA as well as other educational funding accounts. Oregon school districts can apply for the funding each biennium, with disbursements relative to the number of students within the district.

Szymoniak explained that the state uses a “49-51 disbursement model,” with 49% of funds provided in the first year of the biennium and the remaining 51% disbursed the second year.

The superintendent said the board is concerned that, when the next biennium starts, the 49% the district receives is likely to be a lesser sum than that which was received for the second year of the current biennium. Szymoniak added that the next 49 has to be bigger than the 51 we have now, or else we may have to lay off teachers to get back to that.

The drafted resolution states that 80% of the SIA funds KCSD received have been put toward hiring “37.5 professional positions dedicated specifically to meet the goals of the Student Success Act.”

Allowable uses for this funding are centered around two focal points: meeting the mental and behavioral health needs of students and increasing academic achievement for students by reducing inequities for groups which have historically experienced disparities in education.

To make these improvements, districts are encouraged to use funds to hire more teachers and health professionals, reduce class sizes and provide staff training on social-emotional learning and trauma-informed practices.

Klamath County Fire District 1 (KCFD1) is seeking individuals to fill two three-year term Budget Committee positions and the remainder of one position which expires June 30, 2024.

This volunteer position serves a three-year term, meets one to two times annually (in the spring), and provides input for and approval of the annual KCFD1 proposed budget.

To qualify for the committee an applicant must be a registered voter and reside within the KCFD1 boundaries. Questions regarding the position can be directed to Fire Chief Greg Davis or Director of Administrative Services Phil Hull by calling 541-885-2056.

Applications for this position can be found online at www.kcfd1.com, emailed upon request, or picked up at the Central Fire Station at 143 N. Broad St. in Klamath Falls.

Applications must be returned to the Central Fire Station by 5 p.m. Monday, March 20. Electronic submission of the applications are encouraged by emailing phil@kcfd1.com, but applications may also be submitted in person.

The current office hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon Fridays.

In a little more than a month, 18 Klamath County School District students will be traveling to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the VRC/VEX Robotics World Championship.

On Saturday, more than 60 robotics teams from across Oregon traveled to Mazama High School to compete in the Regional VRC/VEX Robotics Championships. This all-day competition consisted of the teams engaging in an engineering challenge, in the form of a game. This year’s game is called “Spin Up.”

In the game, two teams compete in a 12’ x 12’ square field, attempting to get more points than the other team.

One middle school team qualified for the world championship. The Lost River Jr./Sr. High School team consisted of Emily Howard, Joselyn Hernandez and Jorge Juan Hernandez Aguilera. They were named state champions, qualifying them for the world competition.

Three teams from Mazama High School also qualified for the world championship.

The first team consisted of James Donahue and Gage Bordelon. Their team qualified for worlds by being tournament finalists.

Alex Lehman, Stephen Hantzmon, James Ferguson, Emerson Metcalf and Matthew Elfbrandt, also from Mazama High School, teamed up, and qualified for worlds by winning the “Think Award” trophy.

The third team from Mazama is formed by Mark Elfbrandt, Diego Diaz, Thack Moreland and Will Hawkins, who all qualified by winning the “Build” award.

The last team to qualify was from Henley High School. Kaylee Haddox, Alana Smith, Caleb Nejely and Lauren Wilkinson qualified as a team by winning the “Innovate” award.

The VRC/VEX Robotics World Championship takes place from April 25 through May 4 in Dallas, Texas.

The Everyone Swims Program provides ALL third graders in Klamath County the opportunity to participate in a week of free swim lessons at the Ella Redkey Pool.

Participants receive individualized instruction, develop skills, build confidence and learn life-saving skills all while having fun with their peers in the water. This essential program is made possible by the generosity of Sky Lakes Medical Center who, in partnership with the City of Klamath Falls, has made the Everyone Swims Program possible and is making its triumphant return to the Ella Redkey Pool.

 In the US, an average of 3,500 to 4,000 people drown per year. That is an average of 10 fatal drownings per day. Learning to swim promotes health and fitness from an early age and, most importantly, the ability to swim can be lifesaving.

For more information on the Everyone Swims Program please visit, www.ellaredkeypool.com or email ellaredkeypool@klamathfalls.city.

Do you know an outstanding volunteer? Now is the time to nominate them for an honor to recognize their efforts.

Nominations for the 30th annual Klamath Country Volunteer of the Year are due by noon Friday, April 3 to the United Way of the Klamath Basin at 136 N. 3rd St. in Klamath Falls, according to a release.

Every nominee will receive an award and be highlighted in a special Volunteer Appreciation tabloid published during national volunteer week Friday, April 22 in the Herald and News.

. Nomination forms can be obtained by contacting the United Way at 541-882-5558, or can be downloaded from United Way’s home page at www.unitedwayoftheklamathbasin.org.

Nomination forms can also be picked up at the United Way office or can be emailed to you.

The categories for Volunteer of the Year include youth, adults, senior citizens, public safety/public service and education. National Volunteer Week will be held from April 16 through April 22.

Klamath Comic-Con will return to the Klamath Community College (KCC) campus Saturday, July 15.

Following the inaugural Klamath Comic-Con in May 2022 and due to multiple factors, the popular event will be moved to a summertime annual affair from noon to 9 p.m. hosted by KCC. Attendance will remain free with donation of a non-perishable food item to benefit the KCC student food pantry.

Changes are being made to accommodate an even larger event than last year’s comic-con — which drew more than 2,000 visitors to the KCC campus, with some from as far away as Sacramento and Salem. The move to July reduces the risk of adverse weather affecting attendance and planned outdoor activities.

The 2022 rendition included an interactive videogame museum, tabletop games, vendors, a puppetry workshop, cosplay costume contest, virtual reality, demonstrations of KCC’s full-motion aviation and commercial truck simulators, and multiple featured speakers headlined by the screenwriters of the Sonic the Hedgehog films.

Planning is underway to include last year’s favorites and expand this year’s event activities with even more room for vendors, additional food trucks, live music, a film festival, a haunted house and outdoor activities. Added emphasis also will be placed on demonstrations and interactive showcases of KCC programs.

Vendor tables are currently available for $25, with additional tables for $10 (due to space limitations there is a maximum of three additional tables per vendor). Vendors may reserve space via Eventbrite at tinyurl.com/3kumbhur.

Sponsors and event volunteers are also sought.

Throughout next week, the Klamath County Public Works department has several projects planned.

The department will have work crews at the following locations. Drivers are advised to use caution when in these areas and watch for flaggers. If a driver is unable to avoid the work zones, they are advised to use an alternate route for their own safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and contractors.

Utility Work with intermittent lane closures is planned for the following locations:

• Shasta Way: Crater Lake Parkway to Patterson for fiber optic work

• Crest Street and Laverne Avenue: Clinton to Denver and Crest to Altamont for the Avista Gas Company to relocate gas mains in the vicinity of Stearns Elementary School

Traffic control measures will be in place for guidance. Motorists should use alternative routes if possible.

In general, flagging stations will be set up at the end of the work zone and delays will be 0 to 20 minutes for the motoring public. The department’s goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public.

Other minor work also is occurring through the county but the department has only listed the major items in this announcement. There might be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside of the county’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.) Motorists are asked to not contact the county if work is not seen occurring because the project could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

The Badger Run Wildlife Rehab in Klamath County is getting ready to build a new quarantine facility.

The Avangrid Foundation is supporting it and made it possible to break ground this spring. With Avian Flu rising in animals, building the facility is important, to stop the spread.

Any new intakes that have any signs or symptoms or even they might suggest they might have HBAI. They will go to quarantine building, where they can be kept separate from everything else. That building will be constructed as such that the entire building can be completely disinfected.

Though the virus started with birds it has now started affecting mammals. And in most cases, it can prove to be lethal to animals.

Around the state of Oregon

Price Of Gas Is Increasing Across The Country And In Oregon

The price of gas is increasing across the country and in Oregon. Triple-A reports refineries are starting to make summer blends of fuel that produce less pollution and that’s causing the prices to rise.

 Gas prices are rising across the country, mostly due to the seasonal switch to summer-blend gas. This blend is designed to lower emissions during warmer weather and is more expensive to produce. Increased demand for gas is also putting upward pressure on prices. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded jumps six cents to $3.42. The Oregon average ticks up two cents to $3.91.

“The switch to summer blend usually adds about five to 10 cents a gallon to the price of gasoline,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. California’s deadline to switch to summer-blend gas is April 1, while the federally mandated date for summer-blend gas is May 1. So the West Coast often sees the seasonal increases earlier than other parts of the country.”

More info on summer- and winter-blend gasoline can be found at the EPA website.

Crude oil is trading around $78 today compared to $77 a week ago. In February, West Texas Intermediate ranged between about $73 and $80 per barrel. In January, WTI ranged between about $73 and $82 bbl. and was $119 a year ago as the Russian invasion of Ukraine had started. Crude reached recent highs of $123.70 on March 8, 2022, and $122.11 per barrel on June 8, 2022. The all-time high for WTI crude oil is $147.27 in July 2008.

Crude prices tend to increase in response to positive economic news, as growing, thriving economies tend to consume more oil. Crude prices also climb when geo-political events have the potential to disrupt supply. Crude prices rose dramatically leading up to and in the first few months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and gas prices also skyrocketed. Russia is one of the world’s top oil producers and its involvement in a war causes market volatility, and sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other western nations resulted in tighter global oil supplies. Oil supplies were already tight around the world as demand for oil increased as pandemic restrictions eased.

Crude oil is the main ingredient in gasoline and diesel, so pump prices are impacted by crude prices on the global markets. On average, about 56% of what we pay for in a gallon of gasoline is for the price of crude oil, 20% is refining, 11% distribution and marketing, and 14% are taxes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Demand for gasoline in the U.S. jumped from 8.91 million to 9.11 million b/d for the week ending February 24. This compares to 8.74 million b/d a year ago. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by nearly 1 million bbl to 239.2 million bbl. The increase in gas demand, amid tighter supplies, has contributed to rising pump prices. If demand continues to grow, drivers will likely continue to see pump prices increase. Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.

Deschutes County DA’s Office Releases Final Report On Melissa Trench’s Death

The death of Melissa Trench, the Bend woman whose body was located in Shevlin Park in January after she went missing in December, was deemed a suicide, according to reports from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

Trench, 38, was last seen by her family on Dec. 26. The next day, she called an ex-boyfriend from years prior telling him she was injured in the forest. Soon after Trench called the ex-boyfriend, her family was alerted and a search involving law enforcement and members of the public began.

Following an extensive investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Bend Police Department, which found no evidence of foul play, Trench’s body was located by her brother at the south end of Shevlin Park near Forest Road 4606, the Bend Police Department said in January.  After Trench was located, her body was examined by a medical examiner who concluded Trench’s death was a suicide, the report showed. (SOURCE)

Menacing/Unlawful Use of a Weapon Arrest in Selma

On March 9th, 2023 at 1:22 p.m., Deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a disturbance with shots fired in the 500 Block of Terrace Heights Drive in Selma.

While enroute, Deputies were advised a male subject identified as Ryan Gregory Vanhoy, entered the victim’s residence, pointed a firearm at the victim then fired a round into the victims refrigerator before leaving on foot back to his residence.  Both Vanhoy and the victim live in different residences on the same property.  The victim was not injured and advised Vanhoy possessed numerous weapons and body armor. 

Two Deputies arrived on scene and contacted the victim.  It was at this time, Vanhoy exited his residence with a firearm and started to approach the Deputies on foot.  Based on the distance between Vanhoy and the Deputies location, the Deputies were able to tactically retreat off the property preventing a potential use of deadly force with Vanhoy.  Having to retreat off the property, the Deputies were forced to leave their patrol vehicles at the location with Vanhoy still on foot in the area. The victim was also able to retreat to safety.

Numerous other Deputies responded to the area to locate the Deputies who had retreated.  Once located, a plan was put in place to respond back to the incident location and retrieve the patrol vehicles which contained department issued weapons and “Gibbs” the Sheriff’s Office therapy and compassion K-9. 

While responding back to the incident location, Deputies encountered the Vanhoy in his vehicle which had crashed over the embankment on Terrace Heights Drive.  Announcements were given to Vanhoy to exit his vehicle, however he refused, stating he was armed with a shotgun and had cut both of his wrists.  After several more announcements, Vanhoy exited his vehicle and stood next to the open vehicle door and yelled at Deputies to shoot him.  Three less lethal bean bag rounds were deployed striking Vanhoy and incapacitating him long enough for Deputies to take him into custody without further incident.

With Vanhoy secured, Deputies continued to the incident location to retrieve the two patrol vehicles. The patrol vehicles were located, both having sustained several shotgun rounds through both of the windshields, hoods and engine compartment.  K-9 Gibbs was located unharmed.  At this time, it is believed the metal shell of the kennel installed in the police vehicle prevented the shotgun rounds from penetrating and injuring him.

Search warrants were executed at Vanhoy’s residence and his vehicle. Numerous firearms including a shotgun along with body armor were located and seized as evidence. 

At the time of this press release, Vanhoy is being treated at a local hospital for the self-inflicted injuries to his wrists.  Deputies will remain with Vanhoy until he is discharged from the hospital where he will be transported and lodged at the Josephine County Jail on the above listed charges. 

This investigation is ongoing and no further details are being released at this time.

Murder Suspect Escapes Washington County Courthouse In Hillsboro During Trial

Courthouse surveillance video shows an Oregon murder suspect sprinting away from bailiffs after they unshackled him in court – a requirement under state law – then escaping the building and prompting a massive manhunt.

Edi Villalobos Jr., a 28-year-old accused of murder and a slew of other felonies, was supposed to stand before the court for the start of his trial. Instead, he ran down the hallway and out an employees-only exit, video shows.

“Per Oregon law, the deputies removed all restraints from Villalobos during the jury selection process,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “At around 11 a.m., the court took a break, and restraints were placed back on Villalobos. When the break ended, deputies again removed all restraints from Villalobos, as directed by Oregon Law.”

The incident happened on Feb. 27, https://www.washingtoncountyor.gov/sheriff/news/adult-custody-captured-after-fleeing-court-room but the sheriff’s office didn’t make the video public til Thursday 3/9.

After a roughly two-hour manhunt, police arrested him in a Hillsboro apartment, where a neighbor called 911 to report they heard someone trying to break in, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Deputies entered the apartment and located Villalobos hiding in a closet underneath a blanket,” the sheriff said.

Now he faces two new felony burglary charges and another for escaping custody. Villalobos is due back in court March 21 for a status hearing.

The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Self-Sufficiency Programs, Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program is inviting community partners to apply for a portion of $4.1 million in grant funding that is available to provide services and housing supports to youth experiencing homelessness.

The deadline to apply is April 7, 2023 and the application can be found online.

Community-based organizations who provide, or desire to provide, services to youth experiencing homelessness are eligible to apply for the grant funding.

Organizations may express interest in supporting more than one of the following service areas that funding is available to support:

  • Prevention Services including youth outreach and drop-in services
  • Early and crisis intervention housing such as shelter and host home programming 
  • Medium-term housing such as transitional living and host home programming 
  • Other Services such as culturally-specific programming, mental health and substance use supports

The ODHS Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program is tasked with coordinating statewide planning for delivery of services to youth experiencing homelessness under the age of 25. It partners with impacted youth, community organizations and other state agencies to support and fund initiatives and programs within the youth homelessness system. More information can be found online

About the Oregon Department of Human Services

The mission of the Oregon Department of Human Services is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity.  Oregon Department of Human Serviceshttps://www.oregon.gov/dhs/CHILDREN/Homeless-Youth/Pages/index.aspx

Wondering about your Tax Refund? Use the Oregon Dept. of Revenue’s Where’s My Refund Tool

Salem, OR— The Oregon Department of Revenue has begun issuing refunds due to taxpayers who have filed their 2022 tax returns. Through March 3, the department had received and processed 681,099 returns and had issued 495,606 refunds.

The agency began processing returns January 23 in the order they were received. However, each year, the department waits until after February 15 to issue personal income tax refunds as part of its tax fraud prevention efforts. The delay allows for confirmation that the amounts claimed on tax returns match what employers report on Forms W-2 and 1099. 

Now that the agency has begun issuing refunds, taxpayers can check Where’s My Refund on Revenue Online to see the status of their refund. To check the status of their refund, taxpayers will need their:

  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN);
  • Filing status; and
  • The exact refund amount shown on:
    • Line 46 of their Form OR-40, or
    • Line 71 of their Form OR-40-N, or
    • Line 70 of their Form OR-40-P

The Department of Revenue recommends that taxpayers wait one week after they have electronically filed their return to use the Where’s My Refund tool.

Where’s My Refund will tell taxpayers whether their refund has been issued electronically, a check has been mailed, their refund has been adjusted, there are questions about their return, or their return is being manually processed.

E-filing and requesting direct deposit is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund 34 days sooner than taxpayers who mail their paper returns and request paper refund checks.

All Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2023 can file electronically at no cost using one of Oregon’s free file options.

Taxpayers can check the status of their federal tax refunds on the IRS website.

Six common reasons refunds take longer and what to do about it

  • Filing a paper return. Paper returns take longer to process and, as a result, it takes longer to issue related refunds. File electronically instead. 
  • Filing electronically and requesting to receive a refund via a check takes longer. Request direct deposit instead.
  • Filing more than once. Sending a paper return through the mail after e-filing will a delay a refund. Taxpayers should file just once.
  • Filing during peak filing periods. Refunds are also issued slower during peak filing periods, like the last few weeks before the April 18 deadline. Filing well ahead of the deadline will help taxpayers get their refunds sooner.
  • Refunds can also be delayed when errors are identified on returns. Taxpayers who receive a letter requesting additional information are urged to respond promptly through Revenue Online to speed the processing of their return. 
  • Taxpayers who check Where’s My Refund one week after they file and receive a message saying their return is being manually processed should watch their mailbox for correspondence from the department. If it has been 12 weeks or more since they filed their return and they haven’t received a letter from the department, taxpayers should call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 to speak with a customer service representative.

FBI Portland and FBI Seattle Field Offices Offering $25,000 Rewards for Information About Energy Facility Substation Shootings

PORTLAND, OREGON/SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – The FBI Portland and the FBI Seattle Field Offices are seeking the public’s help to identify the individual(s) responsible for vandalism at electrical substations in Tumwater, Washington and Oregon City, Oregon.

The FBI is offering rewards of up to $25,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the suspect(s) responsible for each of these crimes.

On November 22, 2022, in the early morning hours, Puget Sound Energy discovered an incident at the Barneslake Substation in Tumwater, Washington. Fluid was leaking on the ground after one of the radiators of transformers had been punctured multiple times and caused the substation to go offline for several hours. Three 9 mm shell casings were located. The outage resulted in loss of power to 5,200 individuals.

On November 24, 2022, shortly before 2:00 a.m., several reactors were shot at the Bonneville Power Administration Ostrander Substation in Oregon City, Oregon. Investigators found a hole cut in the perimeter fence of the energized yard and discovered bullet holes in several reactors. 

“Attacks on power grid substations have gripped our nation’s attention in recent months because of the devastating threat they pose to our infrastructure.  Entire communities – hospitals, schools, and local businesses – might conceivably be incapacitated for many days,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office.  “The FBI continues to work diligently not only to identify and arrest those responsible for these wanton acts but also to disrupt any future criminal plots which might wreak even greater havoc to our community.  Presently, we remain unclear on the motive for their actions.  However, we do understand fully their catastrophic potential.  Consequently, apprehension of those responsible must be a top priority for law enforcement and this is why we are now urgently requesting our citizens’ help in identifying those responsible.”  

“Interfering or tampering with our power grid can have deadly consequences.” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “An attack like this is not just an inconvenience for home and business owners, think of medical facilities or vulnerable people who depend on electricity for their health.  It’s our hope that by attaching a reward offer, someone who has that missing piece of information we need may be enticed to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), contact their local FBI office, or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. You may remain anonymous. 

Corvallis, OR – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and federal U.S. Forest Service remind visitors to the Oregon coast that it is Plover nesting season — visitors can help recovery efforts for the threatened western snowy plover by sharing the beaches March 15 to Sept. 15. 

Sensitive plover nesting areas will be roped off or identified by signs with rules and limits, such as staying on the wet sand, to help protect the small shorebirds and their exposed nests during this crucial period. 

Plover beaches remain open to foot and equestrian traffic below the high-tide line on wet, packed sand throughout the nesting season. This ensures that plover nests, eggs and chicks are kept safe.   All other recreation on plover beaches is prohibited on both wet and dry sand, including walking a dog (even on a leash), driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, camping, burning wood and flying kites or operating drones.

These small birds nest on open sand along Oregon’s beaches. Nests, and especially chicks, are well-camouflaged. During the nesting season, human disturbances can flush adult plovers away from their nests as they attempt to defend their young. Left alone too long, or too often, eggs or chicks can die from exposure, predators or people. 

“We’re making great strides in reversing the decline of this species,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “But it takes all of us, so we urge people to do their part to understand nesting season rules and to share the beach this spring and summer.”

Recreation restrictions occur in designated plover management areas: small stretches of beach along the coastline where plovers nest or might nest. These areas combined make up about 40 miles of Oregon’s 362 miles of shoreline. 

“Visitors have access to hundreds of miles of beaches that have no seasonal restrictions,” said Laurel Hillmann, ocean shore specialist for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “By planning your trip, you can enjoy the coast and help protect these special birds.”

More information on the snowy plover, including detailed maps of nesting sites, can be found on the Oregon State Parks website (oregon.gov/plovers) and on the Siuslaw National Forest website. Visitors to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area can review maps at its website to identify unrestricted recreation areas and information on riding motor vehicles on the sand. 

New plover activity 

The increase in plover numbers may result in nesting occurring in new or historical nesting sites. For example, visitors to Sand Lake Recreation Area may see small roped off areas near the lake’s inlet to protect active nests, and may encounter plovers on the beach. Beachgoers are encouraged to protect these birds by restricting recreation activities to wet sand areas, avoiding roped off nesting areas, packing all trash out and keeping dogs on leash. 


Background on plover protections

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993, when officials counted only 55 breeding adults. The numbers of breeding adults have steadily increased since then, from 107 in 2003 to 604 in 2021. 

Several land managers oversee beach activity for plover protection, primarily the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

Habitat loss from invasive plants — as well as human disturbances, including litter and discarded food scraps that attract predators — have contributed to the birds’ decline. The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative, saveoregondunes.org, is working with land managers on a restoration strategy and to raise public awareness about the need to restore the dunes ecosystem for western snowy plovers, rare plants and animals, and the unique recreation opportunities offered here.

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