Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 5/16/23 – State Senator Dennis Linthincum May Become Disqualified For Reelection Based on Unexcused Absence Law

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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

This Afternoon-   Sunny, with a high near 84. Calm wind becoming west southwest around 6 mph. Overnight, clear with a low around 50 degrees.
Wednesday – Sunny, with a high near 85. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
Thursday –Sunny, with a high near 87.
Friday –Sunny, with a high near 88.
Saturday –Sunny, with a high near 86.

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County may be losing its State Senator, Dennis Linthincum at the end of his term. 

Republicans continued their boycott of the state legislature at the Oregon Capitol, where which liberal Democrats continue to allow the state fade into chaos, offering up weak bills wanting them to become laws.

For a 10th day on Monday, Republicans say they are sick of some of the bills coming into the hall at the Capitol. Now, this is apparently leading disqualification of two Republicans and one Independent from re-election due to a new, voter-approved law.

No Republicans, nor Sen. Brian Boquist, an Independent in Dallas, were present in the Senate chamber for a floor session Monday morning. That marked 10 unexcused absences this legislative session for Boquist, Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, and Sen. Daniel Bonham, R-Welches.

About 68% of Oregon voters approved Measure 113 last November, which disqualifies from reelection any state lawmaker who receives 10 or more unexcused absences during a legislative session.

The boycott continued Monday after Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, suspended floor sessions through the weekend to open talks with Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend.

Lithincum could not immediately be reached for comment.   Top Democrats and Republicans had expressed hope that the two sides could hammer out an agreement over the weekend to end the walkout. In a statement Monday, Wagner said he was “extremely disappointed” that the boycott had continued. Knopp’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans began boycotting the Senate on May 3rd. Knopp and top Republicans said they were protesting violations of a little-used, 40-year-old law requiring bill summaries to be penned in plain English. The boycott began after House Democrats passed bills on more gun safety legislation, more abortion measures wanted, and transgender-affirming health care legislature that Republicans vehemently opposed.

Mr. Knopp has since said his party is protesting about 20 bills it considers to be “hyperpartisan.”

The terms of Boquist and Linthicum end in January 2025. Bonham’s term ends in January 2027.  If the walkout continues Tuesday, Cedric Hayden, R-Springfield, could also clock 10 unexcused absences.

Stay tuned, as we watch the state unable to address increased crime, a massive homeless crisis, housing issues and high prices, illegal drugs flowing through the state, declining education system and student test scores, added taxes coming at residents from every direction and an array of other issues. [-Editor]


Today is election day. We remind you to exercise your right and VOTE today.  After 8pm,  Klamath County will begin tallying residents’ votes for the 2023 special elections.

Elected positions on this year’s ballot include city and county school boards, Klamath Community College (KCC) Board of Education, rural fire protection districts (RFPD), Klamath County Fire Districts (KCFD) and parks and recreation districts, water and sewer districts, Basin Transit Service Transportation board and Klamath 9-1-1 Emergency board.

There is one measure on the ballot — District Measure 18-130 — in which Basin Transit Services asks to increase local annual property taxes by 29 cents per every $1,000 of owned property to improve and increase transportation services as well as reinstate discontinued transit services throughout the Klamath Basin.


It’s a place that remembers events that people wish had never happened.

During World War II, the remote far northern California community of Newell was the site of the Tule Lake War Relocation Center.

Tule Lake opened in 1942 and became the largest of 10 relocation centers and gained notoriety a year later when it became the nation’s only segregation center. During the years it was open — it closed in March 1946, months after the war ended — nearly 30,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds of them U.S. citizens, were forcibly incarcerated at Tule Lake.

Most of the segregation center’s buildings are long gone. But reminders of the past, including the former stockade and a portion of a barracks that housed Japanese-Americans, are among the historic facilities reopening to visitors over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The compact visitor center will be open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays until Labor Day. It’s located eight miles south of the city of Tulelake off Highway 139. Its entrance is from the only driveway along the highway between County Roads 113 and 176. (Some online maps, including Google, incorrectly show the entrance about an eighth-of-a-mile north of the driveway.)

Tule Lake became a California Historical Landmark in 1975 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In 2008, President George W. Bush designated the Tule Lake Unit as one of nine sites — the only one in the contiguous 48 states — as part of the then newly created World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. It was upgraded as the stand-alone Tule Lake National Monument in 2019. Along with the few reminders of the past near Tulelake, the park also includes Camp Tulelake. Originally built as a Civilian Conservation Corps before WWII, Camp Tulelake later housed Japanese-Americans in 1943 and German and Italian prisoners of war from 1944 to 1946.


Last week, Steen Sports Park was notified that a generous transfer of water from Wilsonart International was finalized.

After years of struggle to keep the park’s grass from dying and the playing surfaces playable, the park is finally going to see a sufficient amount of water to meet the demands of the playing fields.

Every year, the park is faced with tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance that the park simply does not have the budget for. As a result, the fields get less than what is required to maintain quality playing surfaces.

These struggles have not gone unnoticed by General Manager for Wilsonart International Scott Siracusa who said that Wilsonart is proud to be in an area with such a strong sense of community. “When I heard the incredible story of Steen Sports Park, their ongoing struggles, and that they do all of this on a shoestring budget, we had to help.”

That help comes in the form of donating every drop of Wilsonart’s priority water rights to the park for the entire year. “This park hasn’t had an adequate supply of water for years and it shows. What these guys have pulled off the last few years is amazing, but our community deserves better.”

Siracusa stressed the incredible value the park brings to this community with respect to economic stimulus for all businesses in Klamath Falls. “In 2020, this park reported a $3.14 million dollar infusion into our community by running a few tournaments. Imagine the potential. That’s something we can get behind and invest in.”


Klamath County or utility company work crews are performing work at several locations around the Basin.

Motorists are asked to use caution when in work areas and to watch for flaggers. Any motorists who are are able to avoid the work zones, are asked to use an alternate route for both their own safety and the safety of Klamath County employees and contractors.

There will be utility work with intermittent lane closures in the vicinity of Stearns Elementary School on Crest Street from Clinton to Denver and on Laverne Avenue from Crest to Altamont.

Bobs Excavating will be performing storm sewer work. Patching and asphalt paving work is scheduled for Westside Road while dust-off work will be performed on miscellaneous gravel county roads and cracks are set to be sealed in the Yonna Valley/Bonanza area.

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 zero to 20 minutes for the motoring public. The county’s goal is to minimize the delay to the motoring public. There may be adjustments of work schedules due to weather or other items outside of the county’s control (breakdown of equipment, material/resource availability, etc.) The County should not be contacted if work is not seen occurring because the work could be finished already or will be rescheduled.

For more information, call the Public Works Department at 541-883-4696.


Arguments were held Wednesday, May 10th on a case that threatens the delivery of irrigation water to Klamath Basin farmers and ranchers and to Klamath Basin wildlife refuges.

The Yurok Tribe and Pacific Coast Federations of Fishermen’s Associations are seeking an injunction that would limit water to the Klamath Project. The groups claim the Bureau of Reclamation cannot be trusted to limit water deliveries in accordance with an Interim Operations Plan (IOP), even though the current allocation for the project is less than the amount provided for in accordance with the IOP.

Judge William H. Orrick, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California, indicated that he would not grant the motion, but left open the opportunity for parties to return to court after Reclamation adopts an actual Klamath Project operations plan for 2023.

In his Wednesday ruling, Orrick indicated he did not see a basis to issue a preliminary injunction based on the information he received. Orrick did, however, require Reclamation to submit a final 2023 operations plan, and left open to the parties the possibility of asking the court to grant some kind of relief at that time.

Spokesmen for the Klamath Water Users Association said the litigation “comes at a time when there is abundant water in the Klamath Basin.”

In 2020, Reclamation adopted an IOP for the Klamath Project controlling the amounts of water made available in Upper Klamath Lake, the Klamath River, and for irrigation and wildlife refuges. The IOP is the basis for annual operations plans based on year-specific hydrologic conditions.

Moss Driscoll, KWUA’s director of water policy, expressed frustration with the ongoing delays created by the BOR, saying, “They are not doing a good job in managing water in the Klamath Basin effectively.”

He noted that in recent weeks there have been “favorable, wet weather” and that “snowpack conditions in the mountains have been as high as 200 percent of normal.”

At Crater Lake National Park, for example, snowfall since Oct. 1, 2022, has been 624 inches, which is 134 percent of average.


The Klamath County School District Budget Committee approved the annual budget Thursday, May 11, reporting a total budget of $159,989,415 — a $10 million increase from last year.

The district’s 2023-24 budget attributes the increase to federal funding known as Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

KCSD reported receiving $25 million in ESSER funds from 2020 to 2022. As these federal funds are a “one-time revenue” source, KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak said they have been allocated to projects rather than items which require continuous upkeep, such as pay and staffing increases.

Some of the ongoing and planned projects funded by ESSER include a new gymnasium at Chiloquin High School, HVAC control upgrades and Career Technical Education (CTE) renovations at Henley Middle School.

State funding for K-12 education has not been finalized according to the budget. Estimates were made based on the expected allocation of $9.9 billion statewide, pending decisions made by the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.


Around the state of Oregon

Search Ends For Woman and Dog Feared Drowned In River At Indian Mary Park

A woman and dog camping along the Rogue River are feared drowned after going missing in the water near Indian Mary Park.

A bystander pulled the woman’s husband from the river at Indian Mary County Park near Grants Pass at about 5 p.m. Friday, May 12, Rural Metro Fire said in a news release.

The rescue followed an “incident” at the park’s boat ramp, firefighters said. The bystander and rescuers performed CPR on the man until his pulse was restored.  He was taken to a hospital, the release said. No further information on his medical condition was available.May be an image of 3 people, boat and text

Firefighters and sheriff’s deputies used a drone to search for the woman and dog, who were believed to also be in the river, but could not find them, the release said.

They called off the search at 8 p.m., and the woman and dog are feared drowned, firefighters said.

“Water levels are very high and move deceptively swift below the surface,” firefighters warned. “Melting snowpack keeps the water colder than expected, and will quickly affect muscle function.”

“A camper staying at Indian Mary County Park, and her dog, are missing and feared drowned after an incident at the park’s boat ramp into the Rogue River. However, the husband of the missing woman was pulled from the water by a bystander who immediately began CPR with the help of the patient’s son.

Rescue crews from Rural Metro Fire, AMR-Josephine County, and marine deputies from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office arrived and initiated a full search and rescue operation. CPR was continued until pulses were regained and the patient was transported to the hospital (current condition unknown). Firefighters and deputies searched the water from a boat and by “hasty search” on the bank. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was also deployed.

The search was called off just before 20:00 hrs. Cause of the accident remains unclear due to lack of witnesses.

Indian Mary Park is one of several locations on the Rogue River where this type of accident has occurred in the past. During this time of year when the weather warms up and people start hanging out near the river, First Responders routinely issue safety reminders to prevent tragic mishaps such as this.

Water levels are very high and move deceptively swift below the surface. Melting snowpack keeps the water colder than expected, and will quickly affect muscle function. 


The Oregon Legislature could soon raise state vehicle licensing fees as a short-term fix to the state transportation department’s budget woes.

As dwindling gas tax revenue — the result of ever more efficient cars — pushes the Oregon Department of Transportation toward a deficit that could force widespread maintenance cuts within a few years, lawmakers might have to consider more sweeping funding measures for the agency.

In the meantime, though, they’re considering the fee hikes at the DMV to cover the gap. Without intervention, ODOT says it will run out of cash before the end of the 2023-2025 biennium, having already drawn much of its reserve fund. By 2029, the agency projects a $680 million deficit. The agency spends more than $5 billion per biennium, with $1.5 billion going toward roadway and bridge maintenance and repair.

If it goes into the red, ODOT says it will have to slash basic maintenance services. That could mean fewer crews to clear roads after a crash, plow snow during storms or fix potholes and broken guard rails.


On Sunday, May 14th, at 8:00 PM, the Grants Pass Police Department received several 911 calls from people inside Riverside Park reporting a shooting had just occurred.

Additionally, that a male subject was shot, and the potential suspect fled the park.

Police units arrived within two minutes of the initial 911 call and located a man with an apparent gunshot wound. Despite lifesaving efforts by first responders, the victim was determined to be deceased by paramedics from American Medical Response and Grants Pass Fire/Rescue.

Police immediately broadcast the description of the suspect vehicle to partner law enforcement agencies. A Josephine County Sheriff’s Sergeant, who was looking for the vehicle on the north end of Grants Pass, located the suspect vehicle. With help from an Oregon State Trooper, they safely detained the driver without incident. The driver was identified as 34-year-old Charles J. Smith.

Detectives from the Grants Pass Police Department responded to Riverside Park and took over the investigation. Based on preliminary information, it is believed both the decedent and Smith were utilizing Riverside Park to rest overnight.

Smith was lodged into the Josephine County Jail for Murder 2 and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

The decedent’s identity will not be released as detectives are yet to notify his next of kin.

Any further inquiries should be directed to the Josephine County District Attorney’s Office.


A Phoenix, Oregon man is in custody after reportedly killing his mother on Friday, May 12, according to a Monday afternoon email from the Oregon State Police (OSP). 

The incident happened at 610 N Main Street, with 28-year-old Matthew Winder facing charges of second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing his mother, 59-year-old Cheryl Sellers. 

OSP, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Medford Police Department, Jackson County District Attorney’s Office and the OSP crime lab were all involved. 

“We do not have further to release at this time,” the release said. 


An 18-year-old student from Beaverton’s Mountainside High School remains missing after an incident Friday afternoon.

Jacob Stokes was swimming with three other friends at Cannon Beach when they were lost from sight. Two students were able to swim to shore on their own. A rescue swimmer rescued the third student. A search continued on Sunday. The principal of Mountainside High School sent a note to parents saying Stokes died in a tragic swimming accident. Additional counselors are being brought in on Monday to help students with the loss.


We may be in the middle of spring, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the hot and dry season — it’s right around the corner. State officials are already preparing for when the weather changes and wildfires begin in the state.

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek said during a press briefing Tuesday that fire season will be a little delayed this year, at least in the parts of the valley, because of the wet spring we’ve seen so far. But Kotek is preparing for what’s expected to be another busy wildfire season, especially in the areas that haven’t seen much precipitation over the last couple of months.

“Particularly in eastern Oregon… there’s expected to be an above-normal fire season,” said Kotek.

Kotek added that crews will face obstacles out in the field this summer, but the Oregon Department of Forestry has seen progress through the use of technology, which is something they’re going to rely on again this season.

The agency also has spotters to look for fires in more rural areas, plus Shaw said that the state of Oregon owns a plane that can fly after lightning storms at night to detect possible lightning-caused fires. One thing everyone can do this summer is be prepared, and take steps now to be ready just in case.  Gov. Kotek said she wanted to remind Oregonians to have a plan, have a go kit and have a plan if you start to see signs of an encroaching fire in your community.


Three Oregon universities will receive one-million dollar grants from the National Science Foundation for research.

The money is coming from the CHIPS and Science Act. The University of Oregon will use the money to research mass timber engineering. Oregon State University will use its grant to advance semiconductor technologies in the Pacific Northwest. Portland State University will put its grant toward research developing “smart” electrical grid technology.


Visitors to Oregon’s tallest waterfall will once again need a permit this summer.  Timed entry permits are back for the 2023 season at Multnomah Falls, required daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., between May 26 and Sept. 4., the U.S. Forest Service announced Friday.

Those permits are issued per vehicle, not per person, and are good for a one-hour time slot, the agency said. Visitors are allowed to show up any time within their time slot, and can stay as long as they like. Those visiting before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. don’t need to secure permits.

Permits are technically free but cost $2 to purchase online at recreation.gov, where they’re available for up to weeks in advance. A limited number of same-day permits will also be made available, free of charge, at the Gateway to the Gorge Visitor Center in Troutdale and the Cascade Locks Historical Museum.

People who visit the waterfall via the Columbia Area Transit bus do not need permits. The bus departs from the Gateway Transit Center in Portland, with stops at Troutdale, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks and Hood River.


SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon National Guard is scheduled to participate in a ceremony to honor all military members on May 17, 2023 at the State Capitol Mall in Salem, Oregon.

The Armed Forces Day event is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m., with a formal ceremony starting at noon, and will conclude with an F-15 Eagle flyover conducted by the Oregon Air National Guard, and a Howitzer salute by the Oregon Army National Guard’s Bravo Battery, 2-218 Field Artillery Battalion.

In addition to honoring all military members, the event will also feature displays from various units throughout the Oregon National Guard.  “Oregon’s Own” 234th Army Band will also be featured, playing a variety of patriotic music and other selections.

Oregon Army National Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Gregory T. Day, is scheduled to preside over the ceremony.

“It has been years since we have been able to host an Armed Forces Day event,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Bomar, Director of Public Affairs for the Oregon Military Department.  “We are excited about being able to finally getting back to honoring our military service members and fellow veterans with this public event at our state capital.”

Armed Forces Day was originally created in 1949 by President Harry S. Truman to honor Americans serving in all of the branches of the military, replacing the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days.  The holiday was finally official designated in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, declaring that, “Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.”

The public and the media are encouraged to attend, and local food trucks will be available around the State Capital event area. 


Arizona Man Indicted for Shipping Fentanyl to Southern Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore.—A federal grand jury in Medford has returned an indictment charging a Phoenix, Arizona man with mailing large quantities of fentanyl to Southern Oregon.

Luke Austin Montgomery, 24, has been charged with three counts of attempting to distribute fentanyl.

According to court documents, in late 2022, law enforcement learned Montgomery had been shipping counterfeit oxycodone pills suspected to contain fentanyl from Phoenix to Southern Oregon. Soon after, investigators arranged the purchase of 1,000 counterfeit pills from Montgomery. The same day Montgomery fulfilled the order, he shipped an additional 10,000 pills to a second Southern Oregon address. Montgomery concealed the counterfeit pills in over-the-counter pill bottles packaged among various toiletries. Investigators later obtained videos Montgomery had allegedly created and used to sell the counterfeit pills on social media.

On May 9, 2023, Montgomery was arrested in Arizona. Today, he was ordered detained pending transfer to the District of Oregon.

Attempting to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl is punishable by up to 40 years in federal prison with a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, five years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Marco A. Boccato, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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