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November 30, 2023

Klamath Basin News, Monday, Nov. 13 – Vote Count Still Close on Local Measure 18-131 For County Museum; Leadership Changes at Ross Ragland Theater

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.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Cloudy with a high near 56 degrees, light winds to 7 mph in the afternoon. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 34.
A 40% chance of rain, mainly after 10am. Snow level 6000 feet. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. 50% chance of rain overnight, snow level at 7300 ft, low around 34.
Partly sunny, with a high near 58.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 58.
A slight chance of rain. Snow level 6900 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 56.
A slight chance of rain. Snow level 5400 feet. Partly sunny, with a high near 50.

Today’s Headlines

The Ross Ragland Board of Directors has announced changes to its personnel structure at the Ross Ragland Theater and Cultural Center it made last week.

The board cites reasons for leadership changes were done “to reverse recent outcomes.”

The Board named Curtis Peoples as its interim director. Peoples replaces Samantha Burris, who served as the executive director since 2021.

According to a press release for the Ragland, “Additional staff positions have been removed to restructure the organization and improve the company’s overall financial sustainability and operational performance.”

“After thorough consideration, the Ross Ragland Board of Directors determined that it was time for a change in leadership. The personnel changes are needed to address company performance, which operates under macro- and microeconomic constraints,” the release said.

“The Ross Ragland board says it feels confident that Dr. Peoples’ experience will help focus resources and revise strategy where appropriate. He has served on numerous committees and boards in officer roles in international, national and local committees, including Klamath Falls.

Peoples has been involved in music for five decades. He is an active musician and has worked in several recording studios. Peoples was the plant manager for the historic Cactus Theatre in Lubbock, Texas, and has been a production manager for many events.

The Ross Ragland box office is temporarily closed until further notice. Patrons can visit their administrative office on the corner of Pine and North 7th Streets, for ticket purchases. (HeraldandNews.com)


The Klamath County clerk’s office issued another update Friday afternoon for Measure 18-131, which would increase contributions to a five-year levy to support the Klamath County Museums.

And the results remain tight, with just 79 votes separating the passage or failure of the measure with 13,909 ballots counted.

There were 6,994 yes votes in support of the levy (50.28%) and 6,915 no votes (49.72%).

The next update from the clerk’s office is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. The results must be certified no later than Monday, Dec. 4.

The ballot measure presents a five-year tax levy of 10 cents per $1,000 assessed property value to fund the three local museums: the Klamath County Museum, the Baldwin Hotel Museum and the Fort Klamath Museum.

The current levy is 5 cents per $1,000 and is set to expire in June of 2024.

The levy comes in response to the growing needs of the buildings as well as the ever-changing community needs and expectations of local museums.

In terms of repairs, the Klamath County Museum is in need of an updated geothermal heating system as well as a new roof. The Baldwin Hotel is also in need of some repairs and updates for the sake of artifact preservation.  (HeraldandNews)


City and county governments are looking at ways to improve the housing crisis in the area, with the discussion continuing at the joint work session Tuesday evening.

Iain Vassey, Klamath Falls’ development services director, said it comes down to affordability and availability.

The current median price of a home in Klamath Falls and the surrounding urban growth boundary is up to $325,000, while the median household income, Vassey said, is $42,000 a year.

With interest rates running about 7.5%, the purchase of a $325,000 home requires a household income of at least $72,000 a year.

Rentals in the greater Klamath Falls area are up by 60% as well with the average per-month rent up to $1,200.

In his talks with the Klamath County Economic Development Association, Vassey said the current estimated housing shortage for the next five years is expected to be at least 500 homes with potential for that number to increase by 100 homes each year.

The cost per square foot to build a new home is also up by more than 57%, Vassey said, with a cost increase from $190 to $300 per square foot.

Of the vacant residential lots, Vassey said, 35% fall under these minimum size standards, making the lowest possible cost of a new build on those sites roughly $600,000.  (heraldandnews)

Klamath Health Partnership, a leader in patient care, is pleased to welcome Ginger Marsh, CADC II to the behavioral health staff.

Ginger earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Sciences at Gardner Webb University in North Carolina and is a CADCII in the state of Oregon. She has been working in the Substance Use field for over 20 years and has worked in a wide array of services: residential, withdrawal management, outpatient, assertive community treatment teams, and intensive case management.

Ginger’s passion is for substance use disorder patients who have chronic return-to-use patterns. Her motto is “Everyone matters, or no one matters” and “People don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Ginger’s niche is using motivational interviewing skills to meet clients where they are but not leaving them there.

Klamath Health Partnership is a Federally Qualified Health Center, a health center program grantee under 42 U.S.C. 254b. KHP operates Klamath Open Door at 2074 South 6th Street, Campus Convenient Care at 2684 Campus Drive, School-Based Health Center at 3013 Summers Lane, Pine Street Open Door at 403 Pine Street, and Chiloquin Open Door at 103 Wasco Avenue in Chiloquin, OR. For additional information or to make an appointment, please call 541-851-8110.  (KHP)


The Oregon Department of Human Services is holding a community diaper drive in Klamath County.

A news release from ODHS said, “Donate new diapers to help those in need … Let’s make a difference in the community.”

The drive runs  through Nov. 30.  Families in need of diapers for infant children will receive all donations through ODHS.  New packages of diapers can be dropped off at the Klamath County branch of ODHS, located at 355 Timbermill Drive.   Monetary donations are also accepted via Venmo payments to @Wendy-Brown-171.

For more information, contact Wendy Strohkirch at (541) 850-3603. (Herald and News)


PJ drive for Klamath County Foster Kids

The Klamath Quota club are collecting new PJ’s for foster kids.  You can drop off new pajamas at Oregon Department of Human Services, Caldwell Banker real estate office on So 6th, the Elks club and the following churches .

First Presbyterian church

Shasta Way Christian Church

Hope Lutheran Church

New Horizons Church

Foothills Christian Fellowship

55 and Alive group at Klamath Christian Center

Thank you very much from The Klamath Quota Club and BasinLife.com


Around the state of Oregon

Oregon, California and Washington are three of at least five states reporting suspicious letters today, including some containing fentanyl or other substances, sent to local election offices.

Authorities are looking for whoever sent the suspicious letters to elections offices in at least five states this week, delaying the counting of ballots in some local races in the latest instance of threats faced by election workers around the country.

One piece of mail had been postmarked in Portland and read in part, “End elections now.”

The letters were sent to elections offices in the presidential battlegrounds of Georgia and Nevada, as well as California, Oregon and Washington, with some being intercepted before they arrived. Four of the letters contained fentanyl, the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service reported in a statement to elections officials Thursday.

“Law enforcement is working diligently to intercept any additional letters before they are delivered,” the statement said.

The Portland-postmarked letter warning, “End elections now,” went to the Pierce County auditor’s office in Tacoma, Washington, which released images of the letter showing it had been postmarked in Portland.”  (kdrv12)


One of the 10 GOP state senators who walked away from this year’s legislative session says he’s not seeking reelection — even as he participates in a lawsuit that could preserve his right to do so.

State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, announced Wednesday he’s giving up his seat representing Senate District 30, which includes a vast swath of Eastern Oregon. And he’s already got a successor in mind.

Not long after Findley’s announcement went live, Mike McLane, a former House member who served as the chamber’s Republican leader from 2012 to 2018, told OPB he’ll seek to fill the seat next year. A news release confirming that bid touted endorsements from Findley and both of Oregon’s GOP members of Congress, U.S. Reps. Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer. Bentz represents Klamath County.

McLane, an attorney and former state judge, brings a wealth of legislative experience to the Republican primary. He’s also got plenty of experience squaring off against Gov. Tina Kotek, who served as House speaker during much of McLane’s time as GOP leader and who he has called a friend.

Findley is the second walkout participant to date to announce he won’t seek reelection. Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena, announced during this year’s session he would not run again. Four other walkout participants who face potential reelection next year — Sens. Tim Knopp, Brian Boquist, Art Robinson and Dennis Linthicum — all have said they plan to run. Lithincum represents Klamth County as well.

(Herald and News/OPB)


In what has become the city of protesters, half a dozen people are facing charges following a pro-Palestine demonstration at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland.

Police arrested six people during the protest. Police say the protesters tried to get into the building through locked doors and then sprayed graffiti over several windows and walls. The graffiti included the messages “Israel must be stopped,” “There is blood on your hands” and “Ten-thousand lives.” The Gaza Ministry of Health says Israel has killed more than ten-thousand people in Gaza since it began bombing the Palestinian region last month. That’s over seven times the number of lives lost in Hamas’ October 7th attack on Israel, in which 14-hundred people died. (Oregon news)


More than two-dozen Republican state lawmakers claim a new effort to curb election misinformation by the Secretary of State’s office would stifle the free speech of Oregonians.

A group of 20 State Representatives and seven Senators signed a letter to Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade this week. Rep. Ed Diehl shared the letter on social media Wednesday. The Republicans claim a UK-based company was awarded a contract last month to monitor social media posts for threats. They say the program would also allow artificial intelligence to determine what to label as “misinformation.”

Republicans say the technology would lead to social media companies suppressing users. But Kerns says, “The Secretary of State’s office has no authority, ability or desire to censor speech. We do have a very real need to protect the people and infrastructure that make our democracy work, and provide accurate information through official channels.”

(Oregon news)


A compromise over managing the Owyhee Canyonlands worked out by ranchers, environmentalists, hunters and others has drawn a powerful opponent – U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz. Bentz’ district includes all of Klamath County.

The Republican congressman from Ontario said in an interview Monday that he doesn’t support legislation that advances a deal worked out over years. He said he’s drafting his own plan.

The Malheur County Empowerment for the Owyhee Act, introduced in June, was the latest effort to resolve long-standing differences over how to manage vast federal rangelands in Malheur County. U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrats, introduced the act – Senate Bill 1890 – to capture years of negotiations brokered by Wyden and his staff.

The deal would put about 1 million acres into wilderness but with provisions to preserve cattle grazing, require range improvements, expand protections for the Owyhee River and establish a federally created local council to oversee the work.


An Oregon State Police Drug Enforcement Section (DES) investigation led to the arrest of a suspected drug dealer late last week, the recovery of multiple firearms, and the seizure 108 grams of fentanyl.

On Nov. 6, 2023, OSP DES troopers located Jesse Rigel (35) who was wanted on an outstanding arrest for a parole violation stemming from original charges including assault, DUII, hit and run, and possession of methamphetamine. Rigel had been evading police for more than a year. While searching an associated property in the 17000 block of Redwood Highway in Selma, detectives located and recovered two stolen vehicles.

Detectives additionally located and seized seven firearms, one of which was previously reported stolen, body armor, approximately 108 grams of suspected fentanyl (liquid, powder, and pill form), and three grams of methamphetamine. Also found was evidence of controlled substance distribution.

Rigel was lodged at the Josephine County Jail on an outstanding arrest warrant. OSP DES was assisted by the Grants Pass Police Department and the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement (RADE) team. This investigation is ongoing, and no additional details are available at this time. (OSP news release)


The Oregon State Marine Board will be mailing motorboat registration renewal notices to boaters whose motorboat registration expires on December 31, 2023, and electronically to boat owners with emails on file.

Each renewal notice is unique to the owner and their boat. Boat owners are encouraged to take advantage of the online renewal option.

Renewing online using the Marine Board’s Boat Oregon Store is the fastest method, offering a printable temporary permit to go boating right away. Owners can renew multiple boats or purchase Waterway Access Permits in one transaction with a $1.50 portal provider fee. The registration decals are mailed within 2-5 days from online sales and within 7-10 business days from the date of receipt by US mail with payment and the remittance coupon. Owners can then expect an additional 2-4 weeks for their decals to arrive by US Mail. The timelines may vary since printing and mailing are handled outside the agency.

Any watercraft with a motor or sailboats 12 feet or longer are required to title and register with the Marine Board. Motorboat registration fees are $5 plus $5.95 per foot and are issued on a 2-year calendar basis.

Renewing in the fall and winter is recommended to avoid long delays during the peak summer season. The renewal cycle begins on November 1st of the expiration year. (Ore. Marine board)


From Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Eve, visitors near and far will travel to Shore Acres State Park in Coos Bay for the annual Holiday Lights.

With the help of more than 1,500 volunteers, hundreds of thousands of lights will be strung throughout the botanical gardens at the park to mark the winter tradition, which brings thousands of guests and dollars to the south coast each year.

Janice Langlinais, executive director of the Coos Bay-North Bend-Charleston Visitor and Convention Bureau, says there are a few steps to keep in mind when coming to see the holiday lights, including the timed entry system.

“It is not a timed entry per person. It is per parking space. So when people are booking their space, they are booking a time-specific parking spot no matter how many people are in the car,” said Langlinais. “If people have a state park pass, a coastal passport or another special pass from the state parks, the five dollars is waived. They still need to book the spot and the time that they’re going to go.”

There’s also a shuttle from the Charleston Marina to Shore Acres that will run every Thursday – Saturday evening as well as on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

Langlinais says Holiday Lights started in 1987 with 6,000 lights. It was the first time visitors could enter the garden house where holiday treats are served.

“Now, all these years later, there are 325,000 lights, animated sculptures. It is a total winter wonderland. From an economic impact standpoint, it is extremely important for our communities to have visitors here in the winter. This is the slower time for tourism. It brings people here to help our restaurants stay open during the holidays, our attractions,” said Langlinais.

The $5 parking passes are available for hour long time slots between 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. daily.


The High Desert Museum is excited to announce the name of the bobcat who arrived as a small kitten and is now a full-grown cat: Timber!

The male kitten arrived at the Museum in October 2022 weighing less than 3 pounds. By April, he had matured enough to begin making appearances in an atrium habitat across from the permanent Spirit of the West exhibition. Timber alternates in the space with Gert the gray fox.

The name Timber was selected by the winner of the 2023 High Desert Rendezvous raffle. The winning ticket was pulled at the Museum’s annual gala on August 26.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had placed the bobcat at the Museum after he was found in the Portland area separated from his mother. State wildlife officials initially returned the bobcat to the area where he was found in the hope that his mother would return, but the kitten soon gravitated toward people again. Since the bobcat was habituated to humans, he wasn’t suitable for release into the wild.

The Museum’s wildlife team has expertise in caring for feline predators and began working with Timber so he would learn behaviors that assist in his care. He had matured enough by this past April to begin making periodic appearances before visitors.

In the wild, bobcats eat a wide range of prey including birds and small mammals. Timber enjoys meals of rats, mice, rabbit, quail and other whole-animal foods at the Museum, Nelson says.

The Museum cares for more than 120 animals, from otters to raptors. (HDM, Bend)


Do you know someone named Juniper or a Jasper in Oregon? You probably aren’t alone.

Wordfinder collected name data from the Social Security Administration spanning 2012 through 2022 to figure out which names appeared at higher rates in a state than nationally.

Note: They only considered names that showed up at least 1,000 times overall over that period.

The results may not shock you, if you’ve been to a child’s birthday party in the last five years.

For girls, the most popular unique name is June, with a 1643% increase over the national rate of the name June. Then comes Juniper, at 1554% and Freya at 906%.

For boys, the percentages are a bit smaller, though still massive. The most popular unique boy name in Oregon is Arlo, with a 1080% increase over the national rate of the name Arlo. Then Jasper at 961%. And finally, Elliot at 747%.

But look, if you are the proud parent of an Arlo or a June, don’t despair. Consider that in 1982, 568 baby girls were named Jennifer and and 696 baby boys were named Christopher, the most popular names. Meanwhile, in 2022, 245 baby boys in Oregon were named Oliver, the most popular boy name, and 156 girls were named Olivia, the most popular girl name. Only 41 baby boys total were named Arlo and 41 baby girls were named June.

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