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Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, Nov. 14 – Oregon DOJ Offering Training and Support Against Bias & Hate Crimes

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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

A 50% chance of afternoon rain with a high near 54. Snow level rising from 5600 feet to 7400 feet. Overnight a 30% chance of rain, with a 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

Reports of bias and hate are on the rise in Oregon, and the Oregon Department of Justice is sending a team to Klamath Falls this week to provide training and support to all who wish to attend.

The free session will provide information on the ODOJ Bias Response Hotline, bias and hate crimes, non-criminal bias and local and state-wide means for addressing these incidents.

Judith Izzo is the President of the board of the Friends of the Library in Klamath County and recently joined the local League of Women Voters.

There will also be a question-and-answer portion of the session.

When Klamath County officials canceled a social justice book club last summer for reading and discussing a book on the topic of police abolition, Izzo was concerned and started looking into resources for addressing incidents of bias in the county.

Other issues of bias and hate surrounding the 2022 and 2023 Klamath Pride events also sparked a number of calls to the hotline, Izzo said.

Izzo spoke before the Klamath County Board of County Commissioners recently to inform and invite county officials to the program.  (Herald and News)


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)


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)

Around the state of Oregon

Oregon, California and Washington are three of at least five states reporting suspicious letters, 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)


An investigation is ongoing into the discovery of a body on the side of a road in Douglas County.

The Sheriff’s Office says the body was found Thursday night along Wilbur Road near Highway 99. Police have identified the victim as 49-year-old Billy Wayne Whitehead, who had been reported as missing earlier this month.
(Oregon news)


PORTLAND – The Portland Division of the FBI is joining the FBI’s nationwide efforts to increase awareness about hate crimes and encourage reporting of hate incidents with advertising campaign across Oregon.

The campaign, which began on November 6, includes billboards in Medford, Eugene, Corvallis, as well as static and digital displays reaching thousands of passengers daily at Portland International Airport.

Hate crimes are the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities. The FBI defines a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes and works closely with local, state, tribal, and other federal law enforcement partners in many of these cases, even when federal charges are not pursued.

“Violent acts motivated by hate are unacceptable in our communities. Sadly though, the amount of hate crimes reported here in Oregon has doubled from what it was just five years ago. Even still, the vast majority of these crimes are going underreported and that needs to change. That’s why we are spreading the word with this campaign,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Portland Field Office. “The FBI serves to safeguard against hate and violence, but we can only do so if we know about any such threats or violent actions. Every person has the right to live without fear of violence or intimidation. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to hold those accountable whose hate-filled aggression violates the civil rights of others.”

This Oregon effort ties with a national FBI awareness campaign that hopes to drive education efforts and increase reporting: “Protecting Our Communities Together: Report Hate Crimes”.

2022 Hate Crime Statistics

The FBI recently released the 2022 Hate Crime Report as part of its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) ProgramIn Oregon, 212 of 236 agencies voluntarily submitted data for this current 2022 report. The UCR program specifically defines a hate crime as a criminal offense motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias or biases against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. In Oregon, there were 290 single bias incidents reported in 2022, and 287 single bias incidents reported in 2021. In Oregon, there were 428 reported victims in 2022, and 377 reported victims in 2021. (Note: These victim numbers include both single bias and multiple bias incidents.) Nationally, there were over 11,000 single-bias hate crime incidents involving 13,278 victims and 346 multiple-bias hate crime incidents that involved 433 victims. In 2022, the top three bias categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, and sexual-orientation. The top bias types within those bias categories by volume of reported hate crime incidents is Anti-Black or African American for race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, Anti-Jewish for religious bias, and Anti-Gay (male) for sexual-orientation bias.

Key Takeaways from 2022 Hate Crimes Report

The bias motivator in about 60% of Oregon incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry. Victims perceived as Black were the racial group targeted most frequently. Religion was the motivator in about 10% of cases. Victims perceived as Jewish were the religious group targeted most frequently. Sexual orientation was the motivator in about 18% of reported Oregon incidents. Raw UCR reporting is available on FBI.gov and through the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.

FBI Role in Investigating Hate Crimes

There are a number of federal laws that give the FBI the ability to investigate hate crimes. Those laws generally require some kind of criminal act AND a finding that the person committing the act did so because he/she was motivated by bias. The criminal act can include offenses such as murder, assault, arson, and it generally requires the use or threat of force or violence. For an incident to qualify as a federal hate crime, the subject(s) must have acted wholly or in part based on the victim’s actual or perceived status. This is generally consistent with state law. Under federal law, bias motivators include:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation

Anyone who has information about or believes they are a victim of a federal hate crime should contact the FBI by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.


Oregon Health Authority is asking adults to help protect infants from respiratory syncytial virus during an immunization shortage.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is asking adults to mask indoors around infants and take other preventive steps to keep babies safe as a new respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) immunization supply nirsevimab remains limited amid a national shortage.

OHA says nirsevimab is one of three new RSV immunizations released at the start of the 2023–2024 respiratory virus season.  It’s commercially known as Beyfortus, made by Sanofi, as a monoclonal antibody injection that has been in limited supply since it became available this fall.

OHA State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said, “There has been greater-than-expected demand for this new immunization against RSV.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has told us the supply shortage is not due to any manufacturing issues, but instead due to an underestimation of the demand for nirsevimab following its release. While we know this shortage may be disappointing for parents who are taking steps to protect their babies from RSV, we do have other tools available to help protect infants through the fall and winter.”

OHA advises that until national supplies for nirsevimab increase, Oregonians should take steps “to reduce risk of RSV transmission to infants, who are most at risk for severe illness, including hospitalization and death.   (OHA)


With Oregon’s wildfire season officially over, the Department of Forestry has deployed nearly 80 firefighters to Kentucky and North Carolina. ODF expects more to leave soon.

North Carolina declared a state of emergency a week ago, due to a large fire that’s burned some buildings and threatens dozens of homes. Kentucky is also under an emergency declaration, with more than a hundred fires burning in that state. Oregon crews now out of state range from incident management team members to single resources, and work under mutual assistance agreements.

This past fire season, ODF says Oregon received more than 80 firefighters from other states.  (Oregon News)


The Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Child Welfare Division, is thankful for the community support to find Jayva “Ava” Highley. 

Jayva “Ava” Highley, age 15, is a child who went missing from McMinnville on Oct. 18. She was found Nov. 11.

Sometimes when a child is missing they may be in significant danger and ODHS may need to locate them to assess and support their safety. As ODHS works to do everything it can to find these missing children and assess their safety, media alerts will be issued in some circumstances when it is determined necessary. Sometimes, in these situations, a child may go missing repeatedly, resulting in more than one media alert for the same child.

Report child abuse to the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline by calling 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).  This toll-free number allows you to report abuse of any child or adult to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.  (ODHS)


Sparrow Clubs, a local nonprofit that works to help children in medical need, announced in a Facebook post that the $15,100 loss to Sparrow Clubs has been fully covered by donations from community members.

NewsWatch 12 previously reported that Sparrow Clubs was working with ticket company, Brown Paper Tickets. They are still missing $15,000 in proceeds from their 2023 Dancing With The Rogue Valley Stars fundraiser.

Two businesses had donated $5,000 each.

KDRV has sponsored the event in the Rogue Valley for many years. It turns out that Sparrow Clubs isn’t the only organization to have issues regarding payments from Brown Paper Tickets. The ticketing company was sued by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson in 2020. Hundreds of businesses had complained that they never received payments from Brown Paper Tickets. In 2021, Ferguson and Brown Paper Tickets reached a settlement agreement. Brown Paper Tickets was ordered to pay $9 million to approximately 45,000 event organizers.  (kdrv12)


A police officer shot and injured a man who allegedly had been threatening people with a gun in a Popeyes Restaurant parking lot in Salem Thursday afternoon, police said.

Around 4:45 p.m. police learned a man had pointed a gun at someone and was trying to stop drivers. When an officer found him, the man pointed what looked like a gun at the officer, and the officer fired, the Salem Police Department said.

The suspect, who has not been named, was treated for a non-life-threatening injury. The Oregon State Police will investigate the shooting.

(Oregon news)


A Marion County jury awarded a man three-million-dollars in an excessive force lawsuit against Salem Police last week.

Chris Garza says he was racially profiled. Officer David Baker wrongfully accused Garza of stealing a car. Garza kept walking and Officer Baker shoved him against the hood of the patrol car to handcuff him, injuring Garza’s shoulder. Garza says he hopes the award sends a message to Salem Police and other officers about racial profiling.  (Oregon news)


Authorities say an 80-year-old man killed himself in the entrance to the Salem Police Department on Saturday.

Police say the man walked into the entrance, removed a shotgun from the bag he was carrying and shot himself. The lobby of the Police Department was closed through the weekend for the investigation.

(Oregon news)


The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program is seeking community partners to help shape rules affecting how it delivers services to youth with disabilities. Staff from programs that provide contracted services to youth and young adults are invited to apply to be a volunteer on its Rule Advisory Committee (RAC).

The committee is set to meet Nov. 27 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. to review the draft rules regarding youth services and rates VR pays contractors to deliver these services. To participate, submit an electronic application by 5 p.m. Nov. 20. 

The committee is tasked with reviewing and commenting on proposed changes to youth services, provided in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR582 Division 150: Transition Services and Coordination for Students and Youth with Disabilities. VR staff will review all input and may modify the proposed rules before seeking public input in December 2023 and January 2024.

Information about how to apply is on the VR Rules and Regulations page. See the news release for more information about the role and responsibility of RAC members.

Questions? Contact Robin Brandt at robin.l.brandt@odhs.oregon.gov or 503-507-5226.

To receive notice of future public hearings, subscribe to receive email updates from Vocational Rehabilitation.

You can request accommodation in other languages, large print, braille, or any other format you prefer to submit public comment or attend a public hearing. Contact Robin Brandt at 503-507-5226 or by email at VR.Policy@odhsoha.oregon.gov. We accept calls from all forms of relay service for people who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Hard of Hearing or have a speech disability. Please let us know of any accommodations at least a week in advance. We will do our best to accommodate all requests.


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)


Upper Table Rock trailhead and trail re-opens November 10 

Medford, Ore. — The Bureau of Land Management Butte Falls Field Office will re-open the Upper Table Rock trailhead and trail on November 10, 2023. The re-routes have been completed and the new route will provide a more enjoyable experience for hikers.   

Upper Table Rock is now 1.5 miles one-way to the top, an increase of approximately 0.25 miles to avoid the steepest sections. The rerouted sections also lead to new vistas from the trail and pass by other unique trail features.  Approximately 250 yards of gravel were placed along the trail to help reduce erosion and mud.    

“Upper Table Rock is an important area for many people around the valley,” said Jared Nichol, Butte Falls Field Manager. “We are excited to be able to provide a safer, more enjoyable experience–with some new views!” 

This project was funded with Secure Rural Schools Title II funding. Under the Act, Title II funds are designed to make investments in public lands through projects that improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure, implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems, and restore and improve land health and water quality. Projects are authorized by the Western Oregon Resource Advisory Committee.  

For more information about the Upper Table Rock, please visit:  



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)


Springtime beachgoers in 2024 will have two fewer options on the Oregon coast, as a pair of popular state parks are set to close for major repairs.

Beverly Beach and Bullards Beach state parks will both see significant closures in 2024 as park officials work to repair sewer, water and power lines in the parks, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced Thursday.

Beverly Beach State Park near Newport, which closed Sept. 5, will now remain closed through July 1, 2024, after the construction schedule was extended, the parks department said. The closure includes the campground, day-use area and group meeting yurt, as crews work to install underground power lines and replace waterlines – part of a $50 million upgrade across the state park system, utilizing funds from a 2021 bond approved by the state legislature.

The Bullards Beach State Park campground in Bandon will be closed from Jan. 2 to May 22, 2024, as crews upgrade the park’s main sewer line. The day-use area, including beach access points and the Coquille River Lighthouse , will remain open through the campground closure, though park officials warned there may be some limited disruptions.

(Oregon news)


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