Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 5/18/23 – Oregon Tech Approved to Offer Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

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Thursday, May 18, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

This Afternoon,   Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. Southwest wind around 7 mph. Overnight a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low around 52. North northwest wind 5 to 10 mph.
 
Friday,   Sunny, with a high near 91. Light winds to 10mph. Overnight, clear with a low of 53.
Saturday,   Sunny, with a high near 90. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.
Sunday,   Mostly sunny, with a high near 84.
Monday,   Sunny, with a high near 82.
Tuesday,   Sunny, with a high near 83.
 

Today’s Headlines

DOWNTOWN SHOOTING
At 2:10 pm yesterday (Wednesday afternoon), the City of Klamath Falls issued a social media warning informing residents of a shooting at the corner of 7th and Pine streets downtown. The original call to Klamath County 911 was reported to be at 2:03.
Update: No suspect found yet.

The advisory urged citizens to avoid the area.  Some businesses in the area were instructed to lock their doors.

A search involving Klamath Falls City Police, Oregon State Police, and the Klamath County Sheriff’s office was being conducted near the Klamath County Library and the surrounding area for a subject reportedly believed to be involved in the incident immediately following the shooting. One description from a witness was a man in a white tank top or t-shirt with an Austrailian style flat cowboy hat, a male with short hair, clean shaven and a thin moustache.  It was not immediately known how many, if any, people were injured in the incident.
Further details are expected to be announced from authorities when available.

 

Seven Klamath County School District seniors — two from Lost River, two from Henley, one from Mazama, one from Bonanza and one from Chiloquin — have been selected for four-year Ford Family Foundation Scholarships that will pay for 90 percent of their unmet college costs.

The recipients are Mazama senior Natalie Norris, Bonanza senior Yahir Raygoza Cortez, Chiloquin senior Anastasia Shanks, Henley seniors Michelle Bonilla Gonzalez and Kaylee Haddox, and Lost River seniors Daniela Valadez Perez and Isaac Hernandez.

The Ford Scholars Program is a highly selective scholarship that is awarded to students from Oregon and Siskiyou County, California who are planning to complete a four-year degree at a college in their home state. The scholarship amount varies by student, providing 90% of unmet need, up to $40,000 a year, based on their college’s cost of attendance.

Of 6,000 applicants, about 200 are selected for interviews. Of those, around 125 students from Oregon and 14 students from Siskiyou County, Calif., are selected based on exceptional academic and personal potential and motivation to succeed in college. Awardees also must demonstrate care for their community, a strong work ethic, leadership potential, and an overall outstanding character.

 

Has everyone paid their bill?
The Klamath County Board of County Commissioners asked the question during their meeting Tuesday, May 16.  The bill in question is the tax bill which is part of Klamath County Code Chapter 603.

During the meeting, Klamath County Commissioners Dave Henslee and Kelley Minty spoke with Klamath County Tax Collector Rick Vaughn on the first quarter’s Transient Room Tax. Although the tax has generated a revenue of $442,364.44 for the county to be distributed amongst municipalities and organizations throughout the county, the collection is down 19 percent due to one “significant” provider.

Vaughn explained to the board that if the provider had been current, the collection would be roughly 13 percent down and that the provider is behind on two-quarters worth of payments equaling “north of $100,000.”

Vaughn admitted that Klamath County isn’t the only county in Oregon that has trouble with the provider, but that they usually make good on the debts owed. “It’s just a strange way that they do business,” he said.

Due to legality, Vaughn was reluctant to say who the provider was, but the Herald & News, following the meeting, spoke with the Klamath County Clerk’s Office as all Claim of Liens are public knowledge and discovered the business in question is Shilo Inn.

Also during the meeting, the board signed a resolution with the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office to adopt a new fee schedule for real property sales.

The commissioners during the meeting also agreed to accept professional audit services from Moss Adams that encompass Klamath County, the Klamath County Treasurer’s Investment Pool, the Klamath County Road Service District and the Pension Plan for Employees of Klamath County. The services are set for fiscal years 2023-25 with two optional one-year renewals with a fiscal impact of $717,520.

The meeting also saw a release of $456,700 worth of American Rescue Plan Act Grant funds to Klamath Film ($15,000) for the purchase of a portable screening facility that would be used to support a Movies in the Park program where Klamath Film states they have enough within their budget for eight screenings a year completely free to the public; Klamath Housing Authority ($400,000) to help offset costs in developing 22 acres of land for affordable housing; and to Walker Range Patrol Services ($41,700) to purchase and install a 500-gallon propane tank.

 

Local Election Results, Klamath County, Oregon

Linda Weatherford of Klamath Falls leads one race and trails another in preliminary special election results distributed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 16 by the Klamath County Clerk’s Office.

Weatherford received 57.76% of the 1,018 ballots cast for Klamath Community College’s Zone 2 director’s job. Incumbent Kenneth DeCrans had 41.75%.

Weatherford also was running for the Zone 4 director position with the Klamath City Schools District. Kathy Hewitt leads that race with 45.17% of the 1,718 votes cast, with Weatherford second with 29.92% and Ashley Linde third with 24.27%.

Like Weatherford, Tom Ongman was running in two races and also was ahead in one and behind in the other.

Ongman (53.4%) held the lead over Bonnie Overcash (45.99%) in the race for Basin Ambulance director; Ongman (48.38%) narrowly trailed Vanessa Thompson (50%) for Merrill Park director. Thompson had received 185 votes to Ongman’s 179 in early balloting.

Most Klamath County races featured one candidate running unopposed, but there were some contested campaigns.

KCC BOARD OF EDUCATION

Zone 6: Raymond Holliday, who has spent the past 15 years on the school’s budget committee, received 65.91% of the 6,028 votes cast against incumbent Helen Peterson (33.51&).

Zone 7: Rick Harrington (38.22%), a retired U.S. Air Force warfare repairman, led the three-way race with Steven Morton (32.85%) and Chantal Ramirez (28.09%) with 5,202 ballots received.

KCSD BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Zone 4: Incumbent Steve Lowell (68.97%) has a large lead over Myles Maxey (30.1%) with 4,070 votes cast.

KFCS BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Zone 1: Andrea Jensen (55.82%) tops a four-way race against Kali Carter (19.36%), Guilen Garcia (13.41%) and Jaynee Coslet (10.74%) among 1,983 voters.

Zone 2: Andrew Biggs, former White House National Economic Council associate director, has a large lead (67.96%) over incumbent Lori Theros (31.61%) with 2,091 votes cast.

 

Rising temperatures are warming Southern Oregon, but there’s still plenty of snow at Crater Lake National Park.

As of last week the park had received 624 inches of snow since Oct. 1, 2022. In recent years the park’s average snowfall has fallen from 523 inches about 20 years ago to 487 inches in recent years.

The persistent snow, including four inches that fell Monday, May 8, means opening of park roads and trails will likely be later than usual.

Snow-clearing efforts have been focused on Rim Village, including the Crater Lake Lodge, which opened for the season on Friday, and the concession dormitory. Munson Valley, where park headquarters and park residences are located, has also been a priority. Efforts to begin clearing West Rim Drive from Rim Village to Discovery Point and the North Junction are expected to begin today or in the next few days.

In recent years with lower-than-average snowfall, West Rim Drive from Rim Village to the North Junction and the park’s north entrance have sometimes opened by the Memorial Day Weekend.

The North Entrance opening could be delayed because of efforts to clear Rim Drive to the Cleetwood Cove parking area/trailhead and open the 1.1-mile trail to the boat dock. Opening the trail is a priority because Crater Lake Hospitality, the park concessionaire, will be flying in new boats that will be used for lake tours. The boats will have a larger capacity than boats that have operated for the past 20 years. Tentative plans call for beginning the boat tours in early July.

 

The Klamath County Marine Patrol will be conducting free boat inspections from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at Moore Park Marina 2. Inspections continue every Wednesday during the summer months.

Once a boat has passed inspection and has all of the required equipment, the boat owner is issued an inspection decal that signals to other marine law enforcement that the boat meets all of the state requirements for safe operation.

A downtown parade for new graduates of local area high schools is scheduled for June 1st, 2023 on Main Street in Klamath Falls.

The 2023 Klamath Promise Parade and graduation sensation party in the park will be held the first of June.

The parade featuring the graduates of all high schools will travel down Main street beginning at noon.  Afterward, the party in the park, along with an award and scholarship presentation will take place at Veteran’s Park.

All graduating Klamath Basin seniors can sign up by going to Klamathpromise.org for more information.

 

Oregon Tech Approved to Offer Doctor of Physical Therapy Program in Partnership with OHSU

 
KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. –Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) will welcome its first cohort of doctoral students this coming summer. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) approved Oregon Tech to admit students for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, which is offered jointly with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

The Oregon Tech-OHSU doctoral program successfully secured candidacy status, which is the first phase of accreditation, effective April 25. During the candidacy phase, all credits and degrees earned and issued by the program are considered to be from an accredited program.

The DPT program development gained momentum in 2017 through a strategic partnership between Oregon Tech, OHSU, and Sky Lakes Medical Center to promote and accelerate rural health initiatives. The program highlights the commitment to address the shortage of physical therapists in Oregon, emphasizing service to the community, particularly for the state’s rural and underserved populations.

“We have sensed a genuine interest in and a strong need for such a program in the communities we serve. This is in response to that interest and need and is demonstrative of our commitment to our community,” said Oregon Tech President Dr. Nagi Naganathan. “Our university has an established reputation as a center for excellence for nurturing health care professionals. Launching our first doctoral program in a health care field during our 75th anniversary year is a great tribute to our past and the people that came before us at Oregon Tech. We are pleased and honored to have OHSU as our distinguished partner in the new collaborative DPT program.”

“OHSU is proud to partner with Oregon Tech on this important degree program, which will expand access to physical therapists across the state of Oregon,” said OHSU Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Marie Chisholm-Burns. “We look forward to the successes of our students and the beneficial health outcomes for the communities we serve.”

Oregon Tech-OHSU physical therapy professionals will be uniquely prepared to practice in rural communities and treat a gamut of physical therapy needs. This includes working with diverse patients with varied socioeconomic backgrounds and conditions. The lack of affordable educational options in rural areas exacerbates Oregon’s unmet demand for rural health practitioners. Access to high-quality physical therapy providers will create a healthier Oregon with more equitable care across the state.

Graduation from a physical therapist education program accredited by CAPTE is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states. Graduates from Oregon Tech-OHSU’s DPT program will complete all eligibility requirements to sit for the state licensure exam and will be prepared for employment as practitioners in a variety of clinical settings.

“I want to thank DPT faculty Dr. Marc Campolo, Dr. Marybeth Grant-Beuttler, and Dr. Amanda Petty; Dean Dan Peterson and Provost Joanna Mott at Oregon Tech; President Danny Jacobs and Provost Marie Chisholm-Burns at OHSU; and many other colleagues at both universities, for their special contributions in helping Oregon Tech reach this program milestone,” President Naganathan said. “Growing this program has been made possible by committed donors, including lead donors John Stilwell, Klamath Medical Service Bureau Foundation, and Sky Lakes Medical Center. We appreciate their commitment to Oregon Tech students, our university, and our communities.”

Application for Summer 2024 (the second cohort) will open in July, and the application deadline is November 1. More information and the DPT application are available at www.oit.edu/academics/degrees/physical-therapy.

About Oregon Institute of Technology

Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) is the premier polytechnic university in Oregon. Oregon Tech has exceptional programs in engineering, health technologies, business, technology, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be outstanding contributors in their professional, public, and international communities. The university offers multiple bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a doctoral degree in physical therapy. Oregon Tech has campuses in Klamath Falls and the Portland-Metro area; an online campus; and offers degrees at Salem, Boeing Seattle, and other sites. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.

 

Klamath Benefiting from the Oregon Lottery

Three nationally accredited agencies awarded Oregon Lottery its top bond ratings, making Lottery-backed bonds among the best in the country. 

Moody’s affirmed an Aa2 stable rating. S&P Global rated Lottery-backed bonds at AAA stable, and a new agency, Kroll, rated Lottery at a AAA rating.

Each biennium, the Oregon Legislature approves hundreds of millions in Lottery-backed bonds to be used for projects that range from channel deepening in Coos Bay to homes for youth in crisis in Klamath Falls. Money from the bonds must be connected to one of Lottery’s beneficiaries. In many cases, projects that create jobs are classified under economic development, which is designated by Oregon voters to receive Lottery funds.

“Our ability to recover revenue after the pandemic and post strong sales will allow the state to continue to invest in our communities,” said Mike Wells, Oregon Lottery’s interim director. “We’re proud to have Lottery-bonded projects in all corners of our state.” 

In recent years, Lottery-backed bonds were used to fund projects at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Eugene’s downtown Riverfront Park Development, the Woodburn Community Center, and the North Plains public works/emergency operations center, among others. 

“Strong stewardship of financial resources allows us to invest in building stronger and healthier communities for Oregonians over the long run, and that is good for everyone,” said State Treasurer Tobias Read.  Oregon has one of the most active bond programs in the country and received top ratings over the past 10 of years. 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the City of Klamath Falls and many community partners will present an in-person event to celebrate the 23rd annual World Migratory Bird Day this weekend.

According to a press release, this free event — from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 20 at Veterans Memorial Park in Klamath Falls — will be full of family-friendly activities offered at a variety of booths hosted by local groups and agencies which are providing fun, entertaining and educational ways to learn about the wonderful world of migratory birds.

Some of the many hands-on activities scheduled for the event include a variety of outdoor arts and crafts such as building a bird house, bird identification for all ages, live music and stories, puppet shows and bird walks for everyone, the release states. There will be a Bird Search with prizes for all youth. Food vendors will be onsite.

According to the release, this event is one of thousands taking place around the world in support of World Migratory Bird Day the theme of which is “All living things in a watershed, including wildlife and people, are united by and dependent on its water.”

 

The downtown Klamath County Library is set to host a new monthly event beginning this month.

According to a press release, the event features hands-on workshops with medieval history buffs from the Society for Creative Anachronism. “Time Travel Tuesdays” will be held at 5 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month. The first in this series will be all about inkle weaving Tuesday, May 23.

According to the press release, the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a group, founded in California in the 1960s, where fans of pre-17th century eras gather to dress in period clothing, feast, dance and even swordfight as they examine the “what ifs” of history.

For more about the SCA, go to the national website at www.sca.org, or the regional website for southern, central and eastern Oregon at summits.antir.sca.org.

For more information, call 541-882-8894.

 

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.0% for April

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.0% in April, down from 4.4% in March. For the past 21 months since August 2021, Oregon’s unemployment rate has remained relatively steady and near historic lows. The unemployment rate averaged 4.2% in that time, while ranging between 3.5% and 4.8%.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.4% in April and 3.5% in March. 

In April, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1,600 jobs, following a revised gain of 1,300 jobs in March. In April, gains were largest in other services (+1,700 jobs) and health care and social assistance (+900). Declines were largest in construction (-1,000 jobs) and manufacturing (-600). Since April 2022, Oregon has added 38,400 nonfarm payroll jobs (+2.0%). 

 

Republican senators Tuesday, May 16 showed no signs of ending their walkout as a fourth senator reached 10 unexcused absences, which disqualifies legislators from serving another term of office.

Sen. Cedric Hayden, R-Fall Creek, is now part of a growing group that includes Republican Sens. Daniel Bonham of The Dalles and Dennis Linthicum of Klamath Falls — and Independent Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas. Under Measure 113, passed by a wide majority in November, they are barred from serving another term after the next election.

The GOP-led walkout will continue to jeopardize the political futures of more senators as absences stack up unless Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and Senate President Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, reach a compromise to end the walkout.

Talks continue, though it’s unclear how much they have progressed.
Meanwhile, budget bills that fund state prisons, schools, housing and criminal defense attorneys are piling up and cannot pass the Senate until it has the required two-thirds quorum, which is 20 members present. On Tuesday, 18 senators were present and 12 were absent. Of the dozen, 10 had unexcused absences.

 

Local wildland firefighters are responding to two fires caused by Monday night’s thunderstorm.

The Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District said the Johns Peak Fire is located southeast of Central Point and has been kept at two acres in size. It’s 100% lined and firefighters were working on mopping it up Tuesday evening.

The other fire was identified as the West Fork Sardine Creek Fire northeast of Sams Valley. It’s estimated to be about three acres burning on a steep slope. Four engines are reportedly at the scene and a 20-person crew has been requested. ODF said firefighters will work into the night to contain the fire.

ODF is reminding the public that fires sparked by lightning can smolder for days before smoke becomes visible. If you see smoke in areas that received lightning, you’re asked to report it.

 

Oregon’s tax revenues have continued to outstrip state economists’ predictions, with nearly $1.9 billion more in tax receipts now expected in the current budget cycle that ends in June.

The surge in anticipated tax receipts will also likely trigger a big increase in the state’s unique “kicker” tax rebate that taxpayers would receive when they file their taxes next year: $5.5 billion, up from a predicted kicker of $3.9 billion at the last forecast just three months ago, according to economists’ presentation to state lawmakers Wednesday.

Economists warned last year that Oregon could enter a mild recession sometime this year. Still, Oregon received $310 million more than anticipated in personal income tax payments in the first quarter of the year.

On top of that, McMullen said he and fellow state economist Josh Lehner made methodological adjustments to their forecasting model to better account for inflation and the fact that the state’s top marginal tax rate is fixed, not indexed to inflation, so rising wages have pushed more Oregon workers into the top tax bracket. Those changes boosted the state’s revenue outlook.

 

Lower crude oil prices are balancing out increasing demand to keep gas prices nearly steady this week. Triple-A reports the national average increased half-a-cent to three-point-53 a gallon. Oregon’s average is up nearly two cents to four-13.

That compares to a price of nearly five dollars a gallon this time last year. Diesel in Oregon declined two cents to four-48 a gallon.

 

OHCS Announces Pause in Accepting Homeowner Assistance Fund Applications

SALEM, ORE. Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) will pause accepting new applications for the Oregon Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) program at 4 p.m. PST May 31.

This pause will allow OHCS to process current applications in its queue and better project the amount of federal HAF funds remaining for homeowners. The state previously paused at the end of 2022 for the same reasons and has been reopened to accepting applications since March.

“HAF is pausing again to make sure there are enough funds for qualifying homeowners who’ve already applied,” said Ryan Vanden Brink, assistant director of Homeowner Assistance Programs. “The program will likely reopen once we process additional applications already in the queue. If you are a homeowner falling behind, we encourage you to reach out to a state-approved homeownership center right away.”  

Homeowners who are most at risk of foreclosure and housing displacement, socially disadvantaged individuals (as defined by U.S. Treasury), or otherwise meet one of the additional eligibility criteria listed at oregonhomeownerassistance.org are encouraged to apply for HAF assistance before 4 p.m. PST May 31.  

If a person has previously applied or begun an application, the pause will not impact them. Those who started their applications will still be able to access and complete them, and those applications that were previously submitted will still be processed. Applicants can continue to log on to the HAF portal to check the status of their application or scheduled payments. They can opt in to email alerts as their application advances.  

To serve the most at-risk homeowners, as an exception to this pause, OHCS will continue to accept new applications submitted by housing counselors on behalf of homeowners who are in a judicial foreclosure or forfeiture action or have a verified foreclosure sale date. If a person is in a judicial action or in a nonjudicial foreclosure and can provide documentation of a pending foreclosure sale date, they should apply before the pause or work with a free housing counselor to submit their application.   

OHCS planned its HAF program to operate as a safety net for the most at-risk eligible homeowners who have no viable workout options, and it will continue to operate HAF this way during the pause. As of May 12, 2023, OHCS approved 1,027 applications, totaling over $30 million of the $72 million budgeted for homeowners. In addition, 1,301 applications are currently being reviewed and 1,320 applications have been started but not completed for processing. At least 219 of the submitted HAF applications were or are in active foreclosure.  The average award disbursed is nearly $30,000 per application. 

Free help is available

Search the full list of free certified housing counselors by county. Homeowners should be aware that some housing counseling agencies take longer to respond due to the holidays and remote working policies.  

In addition to connecting with a certified housing counselor, Oregon homeowners should directly contact their mortgage servicers and lenders to see what types of mortgage assistance and foreclosure prevention programs are available. Homeowners who communicate with their lenders and servicers have some additional protections and usually have more time to figure out their options. 

 

After nearly a year-long investigation into a local drug dealer, MADGE Detectives arrested 22-year-old Mason Jeffrey Barrette who is believed to be linked to numerous overdoses in the Medford area.

The investigation revealed Barrette was obtaining drugs from the Bay Area in California and bringing them into Medford to distribute. Barrette was utilizing juveniles to deliver these drugs into the community. In addition, he was using a third-party apartment in the 1800 block of Crater Lake Ave. as a hub for this criminal activity.

MADGE Detectives obtained and executed a search warrant for the involved apartment which led to the seizure of over a ½ pound of fentanyl and various quantities of other drugs, including Xanax, psilocybin mushrooms, and methamphetamine.

On May 5th, 2023 Mason Jeffrey Barrette was lodged at the Jackson County Jail on the following charges:

· Unlawful Possession, Distribution, and Manufacturing of a Schedule II controlled substance (fentanyl)

· Unlawful Manufacturing and Distribution of a controlled substance within 1000’ of a school

· Unlawful Possession of Psilocybin

· Unlawful Possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax)

· Unlawful Delivery of a of Schedule II controlled substance to a minor (fentanyl) [x2]

· Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine

· Supplying Contraband

This case was presented to a Grand Jury on May 9th, 2023. Barrette was indicted on the listed charges. At the request of the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office, Barrette is currently on a “no matrix” hold at the Jackson County Jail preventing his release. Barrette is the subject of multi-agency investigations and has additional criminal charges pending.

 

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Fire Marshal has announced it is investing $3 million in the Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Program over the next two years. Klamath County Fire District No. 1 and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue will each receive $1.5 million dollars. 

The Oregon fire service has seen a decrease in the number of career and volunteer firefighters entering the field. The goals of the apprenticeship program are to create an accessible pathway into a fire career and increase diversity and inclusion, ensuring the Oregon fire service represents the communities they serve. 

The two agencies were selected to receive funding because of the increased risk of wildfire near their communities. Over the last few decades, these regions have experienced more wildfires that have increased the demand for firefighters. This investment will help to lessen that need and provide highly-trained personnel to stop fires before they have a chance to grow and impact communities.

“Apprenticeship attracts a wide range of people, bringing with them eagerness and enthusiasm, which will have a positive effect on the rest of our workforce,” Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Chief Bob Palmer said. “Having the opportunity to sponsor a firefighter apprenticeship program is an effective strategy for helping our fire district meet the demand for skilled labor which has become a valuable and limited commodity.”

“The fire service recognizes that our greatest asset is our people, and we are committed to building, developing, and nurturing the skills of these new apprentices while unlocking their full potential and preparing them for long and healthy careers,” Klamath County Fire District No. 1 Chief Greg Davis said. “Through targeted training initiatives, mentorship programs, coaching, and career progression opportunities, we aim to create a dynamic and engaged workforce that is equipped and capable to tackle any challenge the fire service is faced with.”

This program provides 4,000 hours of training over two years. Apprentices learn the skills of basic emergency medical technician (EMT), applicable college-level math and writing coursework, and on-the-job training. During the program, apprentices also increase staffing at local fire agencies. 

The apprentice program is approved by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and adheres to strict guidelines for inclusion and training requirements. 

Funding for this program was made possible through Senate Bill 762, which was signed into law in 2021. This investment is part of a multi-pronged approach Oregon is taking to strategically invest in responding to and preventing wildfires. Learn more about the OSFM’s wildfire investments here.

Additional Information

Oregon State Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Program 
Investments for Oregon: OSFM Grants 

 
Salem, OR—On July 14, the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) will publish a list of delinquent taxpayers on the department’s website.

DOR will post the names of people and businesses who owe at least $50,000 in unpaid taxes to the state. Taxpayers can avoid appearing on the list by paying their balance in full or making payment arrangements. Affected taxpayers will begin receiving notifications during the week of May 22 and will have nearly eight weeks to resolve their status to avoid being on the list.

“Affected taxpayers should contact us as soon as they receive a notice to resolve the debt,” said Deanna Mack, Collection Division administrator for DOR. “Publishing this list will support our efforts to collect the revenue that our state counts on.” 

The list focuses on individuals and businesses who owe at least $50,000 in delinquent tax, penalties, and interest to DOR. Taxpayers meeting these criteria will be notified by mail that their names may be posted online. A qualifying taxpayer’s name, business name, the name of any person held personally liable for business debt, the current city and state of residence, lien identification number, type of debt, and current amount due will be available on the department’s website. Taxpayers who don’t want their information shared can pay their tax debt in full or enter a department-approved payment plan or agreement to resolve their debt by the deadline in their notice. 

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 523, authorizing DOR to post information online about delinquent taxpayers whose tax debt topped $50,000. Many states already post information publicly about delinquent taxpayers as part of their efforts to promote greater tax compliance and collect state revenue. 

The department initially planned to launch the program in March 2020 but postponed its implementation out of concern for possible financial hardships for taxpayers created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact the Oregon Department of Revenue:

Taxpayers who owe are encouraged to contact DOR promptly to make arrangements to resolve their debt by going to the department’s online services portal, Revenue Online, or by phone. Individual taxpayers can call 503-945-8200 to resolve their accounts. Business taxpayers can call 503-945-8100.

 

Numerous Fatal Drug Overdoses Raise Concerns About Dangerous Batch

The Portland Police Bureau is alerting the community of a potentially dangerous batch of drugs circulating the street marketplace.

Since Friday, May 12, 2023, PPB has assisted the Medical Examiner with 8 death investigations that are suspected drug overdoses. Six of them are likely fentanyl related, and the other two are pending additional investigation.

All of these cases are under investigation by the Medical Examiner’s office and Portland Police Narcotics and Organized Crime (NOC) Unit. Preliminary investigation reveals a concerning pattern. NOC has found that in several of these cases, there is evidence that the user believed they were ingesting cocaine, but that it was really a blend of cocaine and fentanyl, or possibly pure powdered fentanyl. Users are warned that there may be a batch of purported cocaine circulating on the street that is particularly dangerous to use.

NOC is continuing to investigate. If anyone has information about any of these cases and have not already talked to police, please e-mail crimetips@police.portlandoregon.gov and reference the corresponding case number. Additional information will be released when appropriate

 

Free camping, day-use and activities to celebrate State Parks Day June 3

Celebrate State Parks Day with free parking and free RV and tent site camping at all Oregon State Parks June 3 as well as special events at selected parks.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive day-use parking fees at the 25 locations that charge them June 3 and June 4. OPRD will also waive camping fees for all tent, RV and horse campsites June 3.

State Parks Day has been a tradition since 1998 as a way to thank Oregonians for their support of the state park system over many decades.

“Oregon has one of the best state parks systems in the country, and it’s because you have invested in parks, cared for them and preserved them for everyone to enjoy. Thank you,” said OPRD Director Lisa Sumption.

State Parks Day Events

Several free special events and service projects are planned June 3 to celebrate State Parks Day:

  • Cove Palisades:  Festival of the Landis a free festival that celebrates the diverse history, food and culture of Central Oregon 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes: archeology hikes, kids’ games and activities, petting “zoo”, mini farmers market, pollinator, wildfire and fish displays, fry bread and more.
  • Smith Rock: Trail Keepers of Oregon will lead a group of volunteers on some trail maintenance projects on trails in the park 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring snacks, lunch, water and work gloves. Free. Registration required.
  • Valley of the Rogue: Veteran’s Powwow 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 3 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 4. The event includes a powwow ceremony with gourd dancing and vender booths. It is open to all veterans, tribal members or not.
  • Honeyman:  An educational film screening will be held at the Amphitheater located in B loop overnight campground from 1 to 3 p.m. Park at the Sand Dunes Day use parking area and walk to the amphitheater, or find limited parking by the campground registration booth. This event is weather dependent.
  • L.L. Stub Stewart:  The Friends of Stub Stewart State Park will have booths and tables set up all around the Welcome Center building dedicated to local fire departments, state forestry agencies and volunteer organizations. Free snacks and refreshments provided by the friends group, in addition to arts and crafts activities and interpretive displays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Luckiamute:  Discover the birds that call Luckiamute Natural Area home by participating in Bird Bingo 9 a.m. to noon. Register online. Participants who pre-register will receive a bingo card on the day of the event that consists of birds and plants that are common in the park. The activity begins with a Ranger led casual stroll along the North Luckiamute Trail. We will supply Binoculars to all registered participants.
  • Sitka Sedge:  Join Park staff for a guided hike at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area to learn about the local plants and wildlife 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet at the Sitka Sedge State Natural Area Parking Lot off of Sandlake Road. Dress for the weather, bring water and a snack. The first half mile is flat on packed gravel that is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
Fishing is also free statewide June 3 and 4, courtesy of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Learn more at https://myodfw.com/articles/2023-free-fishing-days-and-events.

For camping availability, please check oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com or visit first-come-first served sites: https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=reserve.first-come

About Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
The mission of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is to provide and protect outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites for the enjoyment and education of present and future generations. The department manages 254 Oregon State Parks comprising more than 100,000 acres. Learn more at stateparks.oregon.gov.

 

Aaron Curtis, BLM Associate Deputy State Director, and Jeremy Ahola, State of Oregon HECC Youth Program and Strategic Analyst, talking with youth crew participants during a lunch break. BLM photoMolalla, OR – On a cloudy morning in early May, Bureau of Land Management staff joined students from the Chemawa Indian School on a trail maintenance project as part of the Indian Youth Service Corps initiative. The meeting was about much more than the project at hand.

The BLM and the State of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission are working together through the Western Oregon Tribal Youth Project Cooperative Agreement.

The goal? To hire Native youth to conduct conservation projects that are mutually beneficial to BLM and to Tribes. Together, the BLM and the State of Oregon have offered a total of $100,000 for youth projects in western Oregon.

AntFarm Youth Services coordinated the trail project and oversaw the youth crew. They brought together the BLM, students from the Chemawa Indian School, and a young adult leader from the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. The IYSC is a partnership-based initiative that provides Native youth hands-on experience in land management, training in basic employment skills, and pay for their community-focused stewardship work.

Maya Fuller is the BLM State Lead for Youth, Education, and Volunteer Programs. She is available to speak with members of the media about BLM participation in the Indian Youth Service Corps initiative and the project at the Molalla River Trail System.

Throughout the spring, the youth crew worked after school and on weekends. They improved and maintained campgrounds; picnic sites; and hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails within the Molalla River Trail System.

Earning money was a key motivator, but there were other benefits.

“I feel grounded in nature,” said one participant.

“We all have each other’s backs,” said another.

Two Foxes Singing (Nunpa), AntFarm Executive Director, emphasized the importance of the work. “The openness, sharing and discovery that takes place working with youth on meaningful projects helps us all learn and heal together,” he said. “We’re helping to form new relationships between indigenous people and the federal government. We’re all caring for our lands, together.”

The workday started out dry, but by lunchtime raindrops were coming down. Each participant put on their bright yellow raingear and got ready to continue working.

Their crew leader D.J. spoke highly of the crew. “They keep a positive attitude and are serious workers. We can get the job done in all kinds of weather.”

Aaron Curtis, BLM Assistant Deputy State Director, talked to the participants about safety. They were quick to point out the risks of working outdoors, but they also noted important safety measures. One student pointed to the broken branches in the trees overhead and explained that they wore hard hats and stopped work if the wind picked up. Their crew leader starts each day with a tailgate safety discussion, a group warm-up stretch, and a Land Acknowledgment. All participants are equipped with Personal Protective Equipment, training, and direct supervision. 

“I get a great sense of energy coming out of these visits with young people who are engaged through work-based learning,” said Jeremy Ahola, State of Oregon HECC. “I hope we all can take away that there is still more work to be done, and yet, we can be grateful for our efforts in sharing a brighter future.”

The youth crew participants were enthusiastic to continue the work. They plan to present at an upcoming school assembly to share about their project and encourage their peers to come work, learn, and be curious out in the forest along with them.

Through the IYSC initiative, Indigenous young people are building connections, learning practical skills, and gaining an interest in natural resource careers. The BLM is strengthening relationships with sovereign Tribal nations and taking better care of for our land together.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska.

 

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