31.98 F
Klamath Falls
November 30, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, Sept. 20 – Morgan Fire Now 600 Acres Burning on Paisley Ranger District north of Quartz Mountain

The latest and most comprehensive coverage of local News, Sports, Business, and Community News stories in the Klamath Basin, Southern Oregon and around the state of Oregon from Wynne Broadcasting’s KFLS News/Talk 1450AM / 102.5FM, The Herald and News, and BasinLife.com, and powered by Mick Insurance, your Local Health and Medicare agents. Call 541-882-6476.

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Freeze Watch and a Front Advisory in effect from September 21, 2:00 AM to 9:00 AM

Patchy blowing dust after 5pm. Sunny, with a high near 68. Light northwest winds from 10-15 mph and heavier gusts at times. Overnight expect areas of frost after midnight into Thursday morning, low around 36.
Areas of frost before 8am. Otherwise, increasing clouds, with a high near 65. North wind 5 to 14 mph. Cloudy overnight, low of 36 degrees.
Patchy frost before 11am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 70.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 71.
Mostly cloudy, with a high near 67.

Today’s Headlines

Fire resources worked through the night on the Morgan Fire, burning on the Paisley Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, 8 miles north of Quartz Mountain.

The fire is approximately 500-600 acres. Air resources, including heavy tankers and type 1 helicopters will be working the Morgan fire. Multiple resources, including hand crews, engines, and dozers, are working in the south end of the fire, at the north end of the Coleman Rim roadless area, using direct suppression tactics.

Local incident command transitioned to a South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership Type 3 team at 7 a.m. Weather over the next few days will generate potential for active fire behavior. North winds along with high ridgetop winds and low relative humidity will produce critical fire weather over the fire area.

Possible moisture on Thursday may affect the development of the fire. A Level I (Be Ready) evacuation, issued by Lake County Emergency Management, remains in place.


Sad news from the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office today. K9 Deputy Blitz passed away yesterday afternoon while undergoing a medical procedure.

Blitz was acquired by the Sheriff’s Office “9” months ago today. After months of training and being dual certified in Patrol and Detection disciplines, he was placed into service with handler Sergeant Ryan Kaber.

In late spring Blitz began to show some difficulty breathing after exertion indicating an airway anomaly. While this did not appear to affect his performance, it was apparent there was an issue that would eventually need to be addressed. The symptom of an underlying health problem slowly became worse even while Blitz trained and became proficient in tracking with K9 SAR volunteers.

A month ago, strenuous training was suspended and an appointment was made to explore the health issue and determine if it could be medically corrected and if Deputy Blitz could still be used in a law enforcement capacity. Yesterday, while under anesthesia for a scoping procedure, Blitz’s heart stopped. After repeated CPR efforts by medical staff and with Sergeant Kaber present in the room, it was determined K9 Deputy Blitz had passed.      


Oregon DMV: Due to staffing, the Lakeview DMV office will be closed Wednesday, September 20. More Info Here UPDATE


Registered Klamath County residents can expect ballots in the mail soon for the upcoming special election.

The only item on the ballot will be a measure for a tax levy to fund local museums.

Measure 18-131 asks whether county residents are willing to increase the five-year tax levy from 5-cents per $1,000 assessed property to 10-cents. The measure states that the budget for the Klamath County Museum, Baldwin Hotel and Fort Klamath Museum is not funded from the county’s general fund, and instead relies on voter-approved levies for financial support since 2011.

According to the measure summary, the museums are the county’s primary means of preservation and sharing of historical documents and artifacts.

Should residents vote to approve Measure 18-131, the estimated total revenue is $646,223 for the first fiscal year from 2024 to 2025. Expected revenue increases each of the five years with the final fiscal year 2029-30 estimated to bring in more than $3.4 million.

A news release from the county said the ballots will be mailed to registered voters Oct. 18 and must be dropped off by 8 p.m. on Nov. 7. (Herald & News)  


A free event will be held for families at the Klamath County Museum at 5:00 p.m. Saturday.  The museum, 1451 Main St. in Klamath Falls, will present a showing of the 2006 film “Night at the Museum” starring Ben Stiller.

Other activities offered for children and youth will include rubber band boat racing, archaeological digging, and train track building for toddlers.

“Working with children is one of the best parts of our job here at the museum,” said Matthew Voelkel, curator of the Klamath County Museum. “They are our future, and we need them to take an interest in history. Activities like this can help them find that interest. We are excited to offer this program for them.”

The activities will start at 5:00 p.m., and the movie will begin at 6:00 p.m. The event is free, and all are welcome to attend. For more information contact the museum at (541) 882-1000.


The Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health are making two stops in the Klamath Basin this week as part of their ninth annual Rip City Rally.

Events are scheduled for 4-6 p.m. Tuesday on North E Street in Lakeview (between 1st and 2nd Street) and the same time Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Park in Klamath Falls.

The Trail Blazers broadcast team of Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendamn, mascot Blaze the Trail Cat and members of the BlazerDancers are scheduled to appear to share a love for basketball and to raise awareness about healthy living in ways that the whole family can enjoy.

Scheduled events include a Rip City Fair and a ceremonial Rip City flag-raising ceremony. Attendees will have the opportunity to try out their basketball skills and snap selfies with the Blazer Dancers and Blaze the Trail Cat. City officials and local partners will also be attending. (Herald&News/Press Release)


For the 11th rendition of the Klamath Independent Film Festival, Oregon’s lone film fest that exclusively showcases Made-in-Oregon shorts and feature-length films, over 50 selected films will be presented in-person and online Sept. 22-24.

The festival has garnered a reputation as the premier Oregon-centric film fest, welcoming visitors to the Klamath Basin from across the Pacific Northwest for a multi-day celebration of Oregon’s diverse landscapes and artistic endeavors.

It features animation, documentaries, and narrative films spanning many genres and topics. Festivities commence on Friday, Sept. 22 with an opening night gala and showcase of four films similarly themed around water – a topic all too timely in the Klamath Basin following years of drought and work underway to remove four dams in the region.

Saturday, Sept. 23 will showcase selected feature-length films, followed by a Q&A with each filmmaker.

Sunday, Sept. 24 begins with a showcase of student films, including those produced by Klamath area students in an annual summer film camp coordinated by Klamath Film, and continues with shorts (films under 40-minutes in length) culminating in the KIFF2023 Awards Ceremony that evening.  

A total of $5,100 in cash prizes will also be distributed across seven award categories.

This year the festival is also adding an annual career achievement in film award celebrating individuals with Oregon roots who have had a profound impact on the film industry.

Tickets for the Klamath Independent Film Festival vary from single-day passes for $25, weekend passes for $40, a Friday pass for $15, or a full festival pass for $50. There are also livestream and online access festival passes for $40, which allow access to all of the festival’s films for two weeks.

Klamath Film members receive a 50% ticket discount. For more information and to purchase tickets in advance visit www.klamathfilm.org/festival.  


The Eagle Ridge High School Board will meet Tuesday, September 26, 2023 at 4:00 PM @ Eagle Ridge High School. See their website for the full meeting agenda.


On October 14th thousands of people with flock to Klamath County to witness the Solar Eclipse.

Klamath County makes a great destination to see it because it’s very rural and has very little light pollution. Because it’s such a good destination and so many people are expected to show up, a state of emergency has already been announced. Having that many people in the county with limited resources means it will take longer to get necessary things, if they’re available at all.

Kelley Minty, a commissioner for Klamath County, is encouraging residents to be prepared by stocking up on necessities like gas and food before everyone arrives. She said she is excited for the county to welcome all these visitors.

There is also a reminder for residents asking for patience from them as it will be one of the busiest weekends in the county’s history.

The Solar Eclipse is set to hit Klamath County, Oregon from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on October 14th.  


The American Red Cross is asking for everyone’s help as it faces a nationwide blood shortage including in Oregon.

During the summer months is usually when they see a decline in people donating — that’s because people tend to forget to donate during the busy summer season — but the other time of the year they see a drop is around the holidays.

Now the Red Cross is urging people to donate so this shortage doesn’t get worse. The next scheduled opportunity to donate blood in the Klamath Basin isn’t until October 25th at Klamath Union High School. However, you can get more information and make appointments to donate blood at redcrossblood.org. In order to keep the country’s blood supply stocked, it will take 13,000 donations from across the country.

The need has been dropping over the last couple of months, according to Dawn Johnson, communications manager for Red Cross Cascades Region. Johnson said that there are a few reasons blood is in short supply nationwide, including Hurricane Idalia, which slammed parts of the Florida just a couple of weeks ago.  


Around the state of Oregon

The frontline nurses at OHSU—Oregon’s largest hospital—are represented by the Oregon Nurses Association. Nurses at OHSU last went on strike in 2001 in a walkout that lasted 56 days. The strike authorization vote ran from Sept. 6 – 17.  Nurses at OHSU voted nearly unanimously to authorize an open-ended strike.

Since December 2022, frontline nurses have engaged in more than 30 contract negotiation meetings with OHSU executives. Nurses’ contract with OHSU expired on June 30, 2023 and the nurse bargaining team declared impasse in August.

Nurses are calling for a fair contract to ensure a safe environment for patients and nurses, provide high-quality care through safe staffing, retain the highly skilled and valuable nurses who work at the hospital, and ensure frontline workers can reopen negotiations if OHSU’s acquisition of the Legacy health system is finalized.

If a strike is called, ONA will give OHSU and the community a 10-day notice to allow hospital executives adequate time to cease admissions and transfer patients or to reach a fair agreement with nurses and avert a work stoppage. 


Fatal Crash on I-5 in Jackson County

On Monday, September 18, 2023, at approximately 11:38 P.M., the Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 5, near milepost 44, in Jackson County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a Ford Mustang, operated by Charles Melvin Cole (85) of Central Point, was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5. The Ford struck a Dodge Durango, operated by Carl Melborne Dewitt Jr (67) of Grants Pass, head-on. After the crash, a Dodge ProMaster, operated by Evan Ryle Miller (30) of Bellingham (WA), struck debris and was damaged.

OSP was responding to the report of a wrong way driver approximately 3 minutes prior to the crash being reported.

The operator of the Ford (Cole) was declared deceased at the scene.

The operator of the Dodge Durango (Dewitt Jr) and passenger, Jeffrey Adam Dewitt (43) of Grants Pass, were transported to a local hospital for medical treatment of what is expected to be minor injuries.

The operator of the Dodge ProMaster was not injured.

OSP was assisted by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson County Fire, and ODOT.


Recent lightning sparks new fires on the Klamath National Forest
Yreka, Calif., September 19, 2023 The Klamath National Forest received numerous lightning strikes on the 16th and 17th of September, primarily on the western side of the Forest.

The Forest quickly mobilized resources to a total of 10 fires. Smokejumpers, engines, heli-rappellers, hotshot crews, dozers, and aircraft responded to these fires. With the increase in fire occurrence, forest fire managers ordered additional resources from outside the area to support these fires.

Confirmed fires are as follows:

·        The Grants Fire is near Wild Lake in the Marble Mountain Wilderness and is the largest of the new fires at 30 acres. Resources on scene include aircraft, two hotshot crews, and 17 smokejumpers. This fire has moderate potential for growth. Crews have completed line around the fire and are mopping up today.

·        The Meadow Fire located just below the Grant Fire is just over 1/10th of an acre and was called out last night.

·        The Deacon Fire east of Sawyers Bar is 1/10th acre and has been called out.

·        The Hickey Fire is southeast of Sawyers Bar, 1/10th acre and is out.

·        The Uncle Fire is about two miles east of English Peak Lookout in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Heli-rappellers called the 1/10th-acre fire out this morning.

·        The Tanner Fire is one-tenth of an acre located two miles northeast of Sawyers Bar on Tanner Peak. It was called out this morning.

·        The East Fire is less than 1/10th-acre up the East Fork of White’s Gulch and is out.

·        The Huckle Fire, three miles west of Lake Mountain, is approximately ¼-acre burning in brush with low potential for growth. Hotshot crews are on scene mopping up this fire, which was contained last night.

·        The Knownothing Fire located on the Salmon District up the West Fork of Knownothing Creek near the boundary of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. It is less than 1/10th-acres and is controlled. An engine crew remains on scene mopping up.

·        The 1.6-acre Horse Fire is contained. It is northeast of Johnny O’Neil Ridge up Horse Creek. The cause of this fire is under investigation.

Information on the Happy Camp Complex can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information//caknf-2023-happy-camp-complex-klamath-nf

Fire Restrictions:

Fire restrictions are in place on the Klamath National Forest. Campfires are only permitted in developed campgrounds and designated wilderness areas. Area closures are in place for the Happy Camp Complex. Full descriptions of restrictions and closures are available at: Klamath National Forest – Alerts & Notices (usda.gov)


An invasive insect from Europe and the Middle East that attacks oak trees has recently been found in several Oregon white oaks in Wilsonville

The Mediterranean oak borer transmits multiple fungal species to the trees it infests. Some fungal species may cause a disease called oak wilt, which may kill oak trees in as little as two to three years.

Mediterranean oak borer (MOB) is a tiny woodboring beetle called an “ambrosia beetle” because instead of feeding on wood, it eats fungus grown in galleries created in the wood of branches and trunks. The fungus grows, robbing tree canopies of water necessary for growth and survival.

This insect was first found in North America when it turned up in 2017 in California, where it has been responsible for the decline and death of many native oak trees. In Europe, it has also been reported from elm, maple, and walnut trees, although damaging attacks have not been reported for these other tree types.


Police arrested a Salem jewelry store owner on Friday on allegations he swapped customers’ diamonds with fake stones or passed lab-grown gems off as all natural.

Douglas Wayne Gamble, 57, was booked in the Polk County Jail on suspicion of aggravated theft and remained in custody on Monday, according to jail records. He was the owner of Timeless Jewelers, which police say closed last October without notifying customers or giving their property back.

In a news release, Salem Police estimated customers who contracted with Gamble to design, repair or consign jewelry lost at least $250,000. Ten people reported to police that Gamble sold them lab-grown stones as natural diamonds, swapped diamond jewelry with synthetic stones, or never received items they’d left with Gamble to repair.

Police are asking any clients who have had similar experiences with Gamble to file a police report online or by calling the non-emergency line at 503-588-6123. Gamble’s bail was set at $100,000 on Monday, court records show. (OregonLive)


PORTLAND, Ore, — The Bureau of Land Management is waiving recreation day-use fees for visitors on September 23, 2023, in celebration of the 30th annual National Public Lands Day.

NPLD is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands held annually on the fourth Saturday in September. To recognize 30 years of care and community and increase recreation access to public land, BLM leaders invite people to explore our unique and diverse natural landscapes and visitor facilities.

“National Public Lands Day serves as a connection between people and public lands,” said Barry Bushue, BLM Oregon and Washington State Director “Whether it’s your first time on public lands or your hundredth, we invite everyone to get outside and enjoy these national treasures across Oregon and Washington.”  

Within Oregon and Washington, the BLM’s standard amenity day-use fees will be waived at the following:

The standard amenity fee waiver does not guarantee admission to some busy recreation areas where reservations for day-use, group sites, and overnight camping are recommended. Please contact the local BLM office if you have any questions about a recreation site you are interested in visiting. 

You can search all available BLM recreation opportunities to explore on your public lands at https://www.blm.gov/visit.

Want to join one of BLM’s events and help restore America’s public lands? You can find a volunteer event near you at https://www.neefusa.org/npld-event-search.

Know before you go:

Be fire aware. Check for local fire restrictions and active fire closures.

Practice Leave No Trace principles and leave your public lands cleaner than you found them.

The fee waiver only applies to standard amenity fees for day-use at the recreation sites listed. The waiver does not apply to any expanded amenity fees for overnight camping, group day-use, and cabin rentals or individual Special Recreation Permit fees along permitted rivers.

Fee-free days occur each year in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Great American Outdoors Day, National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.

The remaining fee-free day in 2023 will be on November 11 in celebration of Veterans Day.


Republicans Barred From 2024 Elections File Papers Anyway

State senators in Oregon with at least 10 recorded absences in the Legislature have filed candidacy papers, despite potential disqualification.

Following record-setting walkouts by Republicans in 2019, 2020, and 2021, voters in Oregon backed a constitutional amendment, known as Measure 113. It disqualifies legislators seeking reelection if they missed 10 or more legislative floor sessions without a valid excuse or permission. 

%Nine Oregon Republicans with 10 absences in this year’s session have now reapplied, as well as one independent candidate.

GOP members have staged walkouts in recent years, not only in Oregon, to block Democrat bills covering a range of topics, including transgender health care, abortion, gun rights and more.

This prevented a quorum, the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly necessary to conduct the procedures of that group.

Statehouses in Tennessee and Montana have also been affected. “It is clear voters intended Measure 113 to disqualify legislators from running for reelection if they had 10 or more unexcused absences in a legislative session,” said Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade in August.

“My decision honors the voters’ intent by enforcing the measure the way it was commonly understood when Oregonians added it to our state constitution.”

The Associated Press has reported that GOP Senate leader Tim Knopp went to the election offices in Salem early on Thursday and submitted a candidate filing form for the 2024 primary election, paying the $25 fee. Sen. Dennis Linthicum and Sen. Art Robinson also filed, having both exceeded the limit on absences.

All three have said that the way the amendment is written means they are permitted to seek another term. Measure 113 states that 10 or more unexcused absences “shall disqualify the member from holding office as a Senator or Representative for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.”

Five Republican senators in the northwestern state are hoping to fast-track a lawsuit over the case. If successful, it could force state officials to allow them another shot at reelection. This could go all the way to the Supreme Court after lawmakers and Griffin-Valade filed a joint motion requesting the case head directly to the Oregon Supreme Court, which would move the process along more quickly.

A joint motion filed in August states: “Immediate review by the Supreme Court is the only effective way to resolve this dispute in a timely manner.” The motion was filed by Knopp, Linthicum, and Robinson, as well as Daniel Bonham and Lynn Findley. “Petitioners and other similarly situated legislators need to know whether they can file for re-election and serve if elected; the Secretary needs to know whether those legislators must be listed on the ballot (and, if so, whether they would be eligible to serve if elected); other potential candidates need to know whether incumbent legislators are running for re-election; and Oregon voters have great interest in the proper construction of a constitutional amendment that was enacted by the voters last fall,” the motion reads, as reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting. (SOURCE)  


PORTLAND, Ore.—A California real estate developer was sentenced to federal prison today for using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $1.3 million in loans intended to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alfred E. Nevis, 53, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and three years’ supervised release. Nevis was also ordered to pay more than $1.3 million in restitution to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and to forfeit another $1.3 million to the United States Treasury.

According to court documents, from April 1, 2020, through at least August 6, 2020, Nevis used the identities of multiple individuals known to him—including current and former employees, business associates, and their spouses—to illegally obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) disbursed by the SBA. The EIDL program was one of several economic relief programs originally authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passed in March 2020 to provide emergency financial assistance to American employers.

To facilitate his scheme, Nevis used the stolen identities to register straw corporations, obtain Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) from the IRS, and submit loan applications to SBA on behalf of the newly-registered corporations. In one instance, Nevis claimed a straw corporation called Isley Farms, registered in Oregon, had 12 employees and generated more than $725,000 in revenue in a 12-month period ending in January 2020.

Between April 1, 2020, and September 25, 2020, Nevis submitted at least 22 EIDL applications using the stolen identities of at least eight individuals. Together, these applications sought nearly $2.8 million from SBA. By August 2020, Nevis had obtained more than $1.3 million in EIDL payouts and laundered at least $160,000 of his ill-gotten gains.

On May 17, 2022, a federal grand jury in Portland returned an indictment charging Nevis with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. On May 2, 2023, he pleaded guilty to all three charges.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the SBA Office of Inspector General, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General, and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.


Water once again flows at the historic tubs at Tub Springs State Wayside, but now as a feature and not a source of drinking water. 

Water to the historic drinking water tub was shut off in January due to water quality concerns. The Oregon Health Authority ordered the tubs closed to the public due to high turbidity.  After its analysis, Oregon Health Authority changed the water’s classification from groundwater to surface water, which means it’s not fit for drinking water without additional analysis and treatment.

Changes in water quality at the springs were not a result of operations and maintenance, but are due to unknown causes. To resume potable water service would require treating the water, possibly including, but not limited to enhanced filtration and chlorination.

To maintain visitor safety, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department modified the water feature so it continues to flow but not as a drinking source. “We wanted to preserve the experience of watching water run through these historic tubs while also preserving visitor safety,” said Nathan Seable, manager for OPRD’s Valley of the Rogue Management Unit.

The wayside is located along Green Springs Highway 66 about 20 miles southeast of Ashland.  


LAKE OSWEGO, Ore., (September 19, 2023) ― Umpqua Bank, a subsidiary of Columbia Banking System Inc. (Nasdaq: COLB), today announced the findings of its annual Business Barometer ― an in-depth study of the mood, mindset, and strategic priorities of small and middle market businesses across the U.S.

While concerns about the direction of the economy persist, business optimism is rising, and expectations for revenue and profitability are increasing. The study also found a growing appetite among businesses to make prudent investments that will help them become more efficient and competitive.

“Small and middle market businesses across the country continue to show why they are the backbone of the U.S. economy,” said Tory Nixon, Umpqua’s President of Commercial Banking. “While economic concerns linger, they’re responding to the uncertainty with growing optimism and confidence in their ability to adapt and move forward. Businesses are planning strategic moves they believe will help them become more efficient, more profitable, and ready for what’s ahead.” 

With positivity about the current state of the economy (41% excellent/good), and expectations for increased revenue (58%) and profitability (51%) hovering around or exceeding five-year highs, businesses are noticeably more likely than last year to take planned action to achieve their goals in the next 12 months. This is especially true of middle market businesses, which are more likely to invest in digitization for efficiency (87%) and tools to protect payments systems (74%), make significant changes to products and services (65%), expand their commercial real estate footprint (57%), finance expansion (49%), or acquire another business (40%).

Although businesses are cautiously more optimistic about the economy than in 2022, a majority believe an economic downturn is more likely now than they did at the beginning of the year. In order, all businesses surveyed rate inflation, a potential recession, and high interest rates as their top three concerns.

Other notable findings from this year’s Business Barometer include the following: 

Key Investments Target Efficiency over Aggressive Growth
Businesses are focused on becoming more efficient in the year ahead. Outside of increasing revenue and sales, improving operational efficiency ranks as the most “crucial” factor to success. Nearly 3 in 4 enterprises plan to invest in digitizing new areas of their business to improve efficiency. Middle market companies are especially focused on increasing efficiencies through automation, which ranks as the “most important” action to manage profitability in the next 12 months, as well as a top investment priority. 

The majority of those surveyed, including 65% of middle market businesses, are likely to make significant changes to products and services this year, with the goal of increasing profitability as a key motivator. To protect working capital, 60% of businesses are also likely to invest in financial tools to protect their payments systems, including 74% of middle market companies. 

“Leaders are less focused on wholesale changes to their business right now and more focused on shoring up their fundamentals,” said Umpqua’s Head of Middle Market Banking Richard Cabrera. “Those enterprises with a sound business model, lean and efficient operations, and strong financial management will be well-positioned over the next 12-18 months for continued success and future growth.”

The West, with closer geographic ties to Asia, a vast agriculture industry, and a leading technology hub, records significantly higher marks of optimism than other regions. This year, 57% of business respondents based in the West rate the economic conditions in the U.S. as either excellent or good compared to 33% in the Midwest, 39% in the South, and 36% in the Northeast. When asked whether they anticipate that overall economic conditions in the U.S. will improve in the next 12 months, 46% of businesses in the West believe economic conditions will improve, 33% in the Midwest, 39% in the South, and 34% in the Northeast. 

This higher level of optimism is underscored by the fact that 42% of businesses in the West say they are likely to hire and increase staffing levels in the next 12 months. This compares to 33% of businesses in the Midwest, 39% and 36% of businesses in the South and Northeast, respectively. 

Cybersecurity Now Top Non-Macroeconomic Concern for Middle Market Businesses, Ahead of Talent Issues
Of those surveyed, 22% of middle market leaders see addressing cybersecurity as crucial to their success in the next year. Overall, they also rank cybersecurity as the top concern after inflation and recession—ahead of talent acquisition and retention this year. In the past 12 months, 21% of middle market businesses surveyed indicate they have been the target of cyber-related fraud and ransomware attacks.

Supply Chain Boomerang: Nealy Half of Middle Market Business Bring Supply Chains Back to U.S. 
Close to half of middle market businesses (49%) surveyed have brought supply chains or manufacturing back to the U.S. in the past 12 months. Another 57% indicate they will likely continue that trend in the year ahead. When asked why, the top three reasons are: (21%) more profitable, (11%) increased control, and (11%) best opportunity to grow business.

Commercial Real Estate Holds Steady as Businesses Eye Opportunities 
Appetite for expanding commercial real estate is holding steady. Middle market companies are more likely than last year to consider expanding their real estate footprints in the next 12 months (2023: 57% and 2022: 39%). Among small business owners, 35% indicate they are likely to invest in expanding their real estate footprints.

Businesses Plan to Continue Hybrid Options for Workers
For industries not constrained by in-person services, hybrid schedules remain the norm. More than half of all businesses surveyed offer consistent hybrid work options for employees, including 1 in 3 allowing remote days most of the week, and 1 in 5 allowing a full five remote workdays. While a solid majority (55%) plan to maintain their current approach over the next year, 22% actually plan to expand remote work options, including 28% of middle market businesses, compared to 17% planning to scale back.

On behalf of Umpqua Bank, DHM Research conducted an online survey of 1250 owners, executives, and financial decision-makers of American small and middle market companies during July 27 to August 8, 2023. 22% of middle market respondents are minority-owned while 23% of small business respondents are certified woman-owned and 17% minority-owned. The margin of error is: ±2.8%. 

About Umpqua Bank
Umpqua Bank is a subsidiary of Columbia Banking System Inc., (Nasdaq: COLB) and a premier regional bank in the Western U.S., with offices in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado. With over $50 billion of assets, Umpqua combines the resources, sophistication and expertise of a national bank with a commitment to deliver personalized service at scale. The bank consistently ranks as one of America’s Best Banks (ranked by Forbes) and supports consumers and businesses through a full suite of services, including retail and commercial banking; Small Business Administration lending; institutional and corporate banking; equipment leasing; and wealth management. The bank’s corporate headquarters are located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Learn more at https://www.umpquabank.com.


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