Klamath Basin News, Thursday, Dec. 7 – Snowflake Festival Parade is Tonight; Measure 114-Gun Control Law Gets Yet Another Hearing As State Tries To Ban Firearm Sales

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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Klamath Basin Weather

Snow showers likely before 2pm, then rain in the afternoon and possible snow flurries at times into the evening, with a high near 40. South winds 13 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. Overnight, scattered snow flurries with a low around 25 degrees. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Partly sunny, with a high near 37. West southwest wind 3 to 5 mph.
Partly sunny, with a high near 41. South southeast wind 5 to 8 mph.
A chance of rain and snow before 10am, then a chance of rain. Snow level 4800 feet rising to 5700 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Partly sunny, with a high near 45.

Today’s Headlines
Snowflake Festival Parade Tonight at 7PM

It’s Tonight! The 39th Annual Snowflake Mile Run and Parade will take place tonight beginning at 7PM, on Main Street in downtown Klamath Falls.

The Snowflake Mile will start at 6:30 at the corner of Main and North Spring streets. The Snowflake Festival Parade will start after the race, at 7 p.m.

Main Street between Second Street and North Spring Street will be closed for the event. Barricades will be in place to prevent vehicle access to the parade route. Staging area for the parade will be along Spring Street with the disbanding area located on Timbermill Drive.

Klamath Avenue will remain open for emergency vehicles, and traffic control staff will be in place for the duration of the event. We remind drivers in the area to be very care of pedestrians and floats and participants in the downtown area.


The Ross Ragland Theater will be the site for the upcoming holiday performance by the reunited ‘80s-’90s band, Wilson Phillips. The group will present “A Wilson Family Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.

According to the Ragland, “This is one of the biggest shows happening this year at the theater and a fan favorite for those who grew up with the ‘80’s sensation.”

This special intimate Christmas show consists of five Wilson family members on stage. A two-piece band includes musical director Rob Bonfiglio.

They will play old Beach Boys songs, classic covers, Wilson Phillips material, and of course Christmas songs from their record, including the classic “Hey Santa”.

Best known for their ‘90s hits like “Hold On” and “Release Me,” the group Wilson Phillips is made up of sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys), and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas).

The group originally formed in 1986 and had great success with four albums, selling 13 million worldwide, produced three No. 1 hit singles and six top-20 hits. In 1993, Carnie and Wendy released the song “Hey Santa,” which has been on radio stations every season since.

GET TICKETS HERE: https://ragland.org/

This show is sponsored by Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Klamath Falls. (Herald and News/rrt)


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons related to the death of a federally protected gray wolf near Union Creek, a small community in Jackson County that is 23 miles west of Crater Lake National Park.

According to a news release, on Nov. 13 a radio collared male gray wolf known as OR125 was found dead near Union Creek. OR125 was a member of the Rogue Pack, which has been found in the Union Creek and Prospect areas of Jackson County and near Fort Klamath in Klamath County since 2014.

FWS said anyone with information is asked to call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 503-682-6131, or Oregon State Police Dispatch at 80)-452-7888 or email at TIP@osp.oregon.gov. Callers may remain anonymous.  (Herald and News)

Sky Lakes Medical Center has installed a beautiful bronze sculpture in the center of the roundabout on Campus Drive. This impressive artwork was built and designed by the renowned sculptor and artist, Stefan Savides.

The concept for the “red hawk sculpture” was brought to the Sky Lakes board in 2019 by Paul Stewart, former CEO/President of Sky Lakes Medical Center. The piece created represents nature’s ability to overcome obstacles created by urban development. The entire process, from conceptualization to installation, spanned over two years.

Stefan Savides employed an intricate process that involved crafting miniature clay molds, followed by wax molds, and eventually welding the elements into the beautiful bronze sculpture. The three columns depicted in the sculpture represent the urbanization of land, with a branch breaching each column, symbolizing the resilience and adaptation of nature. At the top of the tallest column, a life-size hawk sits majestically. To further enhance the space, the landscaping around the sculpture will be adorned with native plants and boulders that complement the artwork.

The installation of the sculpture was generously donated by Diversified Contractors Inc and coordinated by Healthy Klamath. This artistic addition is a testament to Sky Lakes’ dedication to fostering a vibrant and thriving community. Public art has been shown to curate a culture of creativity as well as elevate community members’ sense of pride.

Sky Lakes hopes to continue making investments in the community, offering opportunities for people to connect with and take pride in the place we call home. (Sky Lakes Medical Center press release)


Sky Lakes is embarking on a journey with a new mission and vision, signaling a pivotal moment in its commitment to shaping a brighter future for the community.

Guided by the dedication to enhancing the patient experience, improving access to care and the overall wellbeing of Klamath County, Sky Lakes’ leadership team is excited to chart a transformative path forward. 

Grounded in the belief of the power of community and the potential of every individual, Sky Lakes’ new mission is to “inspire human potential through better health.”

In these six simple words, the organization encapsulates its dedication to guiding individuals toward a brighter and healthier future. It pledges to empower and support the community in realizing its infinite possibilities by fostering a culture of well-being and vitality. Through its dedication to comprehensive care, Sky Lakes seeks to ensure that every individual receives the support and the care they need throughout every stage of their health journey. 

Sky Lakes’ commitment to comprehensive care extends beyond traditional healthcare, recognizing that the journey to well-being begins in the community, in education, in the home, and in a commitment to preventative care. This proactive and holistic approach is a cornerstone of Sky Lakes’ pledge to uplift the community and promote healthier lifestyles. 

As part of this commitment, Sky Lakes continues to support various community-focused initiatives, including significant investments in parks and recreation, such as Klamath Commons, Eulalona Park, and the new Moore Park Playground.

Sky Lakes also invests in our community through various programs and projects, like the Everyone Swims program, Blue Zones Project/Healthy Klamath, the Wellness Center, and additional investments to support tourism, arts and culture. Additional projects in the works are improved signage downtown, commissioned local art in our new roundabouts, and the extension of community trails for improved access to outdoor activity. (Sky Lakes press release)


More mandates coming from the government for farmers. 

Farmland across the U.S. will need to host power-generating solar panels for the country to decarbonize the electric grid and meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture.

But that’s not the sell that officials at the USDA’s Rural Development office use to entice Oregon farmers and rural business owners to get onboard.

Those customers are farmers and small business owners across the state who’ve applied for historic federal funding to put solar panels on their land and businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program. It’s been around since 2008 but received a record $1 billion in funding as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress in 2022.

It is now, according to Hoffmann, the single largest investment in rural electrification since the 1930s, and farmers and business owners are eager to jump on it.

Applications for the next round of Rural Energy for America grants will open on Dec. 31. Applications are due March 31, 2024. Recipients can apply for funding up to $1 million.

In the last year the office has invested more than $4 million in 38 solar projects in rural Oregon. But challenges with a lack of transmission for the electricity, and a lack of local technical assistance — including help applying for grants to offset the cost of solar installations — remain.

Hoffman, who previously served as energy policy advisor for former Oregon Govs. John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown, said it’s something she’s trying to champion as demand for solar in rural Oregon grows.

(Herald and News)


Klamath Falls has been named 44th in the Top 50 best places to travel globally by Travel Lemming, a U.S.-based online travel guide that is read by more than 10 million travelers.

The article calls Klamath Falls an “uncrowded gateway to Crater Lake National Park,” and says that its “numerous hiking trails lead to lakes, mountain summits and stunning waterfalls (are) a key feature of southwest Oregon.”

It cites seeing the Klamath Falls Rapids, hiking the Link Trail, and zipping on the Crater Lake Zipline as a few things that visitors shouldn’t miss while in the area.

County Commissioner Kelley Minty says, “It’s encouraging to see others recognize what we all know — Klamath County has so much to offer our citizens as well as visitors. I hope others feel as proud as I do of our community.”

Other American cities making the list were: Memphis, Tenn., ranked 5th; Kodiak, Alaska, ranked 8th; Eureka Springs, Ark., ranked 10th; Quincy, Mass., ranked 21st; Jacksonville, Fla., ranked 29th; and Steamboat Springs, Colo., ranked 41st.



Around the state of Oregon

A state court ruling against Oregon’s gun control policy, Measure 114, is getting yet another hearing before a final ruling is issued in the matter to consider more arguments against the initial case finding.

Harney County Circuit Court Judge Robert Raschio today set a January 2, 2024, hearing about his pending ruling against Measure 114. He ruled November 21, 2023, that Oregon’s gun control policy, passed November 2022 by referendum as Measure 114, violated the state’s constitution.

Raschio has ordered the parties in Joseph Arnold, Cliff Asmussen, Gun Owners of America, Inc., Gun Owners Foundation vs Ellen Rosenblum, Tina Kotek, Casey Codding to draft and review ruling for filing with the case’s court record based on his conclusion that Measure 114 is unconstitutional for Oregon.  (Oregon news)


Electricity utility PacifiCorp will pay $299 million to settle a lawsuit brought by about 220 customers who were harmed by devastating wildfires in southern Oregon in 2020.

The settlement announced Tuesday comes after the utility lost a similar lawsuit in June for wildfires in other parts of the state, The Oregonian reported.

The Oregon utility has faced several lawsuits from property owners and residents who say PacifiCorp negligently failed to shut off power to its 600,000 customers during a windstorm over Labor Day weekend in 2020, despite warnings from state leaders and top fire officials, and that its power lines caused multiple blazes.

The fires were among the worst natural disasters in Oregon’s history. They killed nine people, burned more than 1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers) and destroyed upward of 5,000 homes and other structures.

The settlement announced Tuesday means the utility will avoid the risk of trial and being ordered to pay additional damages, such as for emotional distress.  (kdrv12)


In Eugene, it’s a mess at a homeless camp along the McKenzie River say outdoors enthsiasts as the view is now leftover trash, pipes and a septic tank from a homeless camp that have been swept into the McKenzie due to rising waters, according to local residents. 

The camp is underneath Coburg Bridge on the north side of the McKenzie River across from Armitage Park.  Heavy rainfall made the waters of the McKenzie rise and sweep away waste from the camp that was too close to the riverbed. 

One man said there’s trash floating in the water, a septic tank that’s been abandoned and the place is a mess with tents and old trucks and RVs settled there.  

Lane County Parks and Recreation as well as Lane County Sheriff’s say the group is permitted to stay in that spot until January 2024. A spokesperson from Lane County said in a statement that the land is a mix of public and private property and the county has sent an outreach team to work with the unhoused people over the course of the next month to find them housing.

An  outreach team has twelve people from that encampment in line for housing that should become available within the next few weeks. The idea from Lane County is go get people into housing and safer shelter rather than simply trespassing folks and moving the problem to a new location. Stay tuned.


Oregon is ranked 4th in the nation for transportation policies and funding that improve equity, public health and climate change outcomes, according to a report published last month by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report assessed states on several metrics to create a final scorecard ranking out of 100 possible points. The metrics included state planning for climate and equity, vehicle electrification, expansion of transportation choices, system maintenance, and procurement.

The top 10 states:

  1. California, 87 points.
  2. Massachusetts, 69 points.
  3. Vermont, 68 points.
  4. Oregon, 64 points.
  5. Washington, 63 points.
  6. New York, 61 points.
  7. Colorado, 57 points.
  8. New Jersey, 53 points.
  9. Connecticut, 53 points.
  10. Minnesota, 53 points.


Amtrak said Wednesday that buses would take train passengers between Portland and Seattle as a landslide north of Vancouver blocked the tracks.

The Cascades service was suspended Tuesday after an atmospheric river brought heavy rain, flooding and warm winter temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, closing schools and roads as it shattered daily rainfall and temperature records in Washington state.  This includes those that travel the Coast Starlight, which travels twice per day through Klamath Falls.

Amtrak expects to resume Cascades service at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. The Washington Department of Transportation said the landslide occurred north of Vancouver, Washington.

Follow Amtrak Alerts on X for updates.

Meantime, in Oregon, the heavy rain caused road closures and flooding as well.  (Oregon news)


Last-minute camping is about to get a little easier in Oregon.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, same-day online reservations will available at dozens of state park campgrounds, allowing spontaneous campers the option to book sites less than 24 hours in advance.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced the change Tuesday, nearly five months after rolling out same-day reservations at state parks on the coast. That pilot program went smoothly, park managers said in a news release, giving the parks department the confidence to expand it to campgrounds across the state, including at popular places such as Silver Falls, L.L. Stub Stewart and The Cove Palisades.

(Oregon news)

Three shootings in three days in Medford, none of which are believed to be related, have the community on edge.

North Medford High School, Kennedy Elementary School and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School were all under secure status as police search for the suspect in a shooting Tuesday morning at the Grandview Garden Apartments on the northwest corner of Roberts Road and north Keene Way Drive.

Police have confirmed there is one victim, who is in the hospital. They are still searching for the suspect in this latest shooting Tuesday.

Two men were killed in a shooting also at a Medford apartment complex Monday morning.   Medford Police have released the names of the two victims in the homicide.

The two victims are 26-year-old Christian Jonathan Torres of White City and 33-year-old Dontrell Xavier Manninen, the release said.

Another man was killed in the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings over the weekend.

“Detectives continue to actively work this case in order to provide answers to the families,” the release said. “At this time no arrests have been made. Updates will be provided as they become available.”

and over the weekend, a man was killed by gunfire at Buffalo Wild Wings in Medford.

No arrests have been made in any of those cases as of deadline. (mpd/local)


Good news to those that have to travel the highways of Oregon in the winter months.

Governor Tina Kotek says the state House Speaker and Senate President have agreed to commit $19 million to the Oregon Department of Transportation prior to the start of the legislative session in February. 

In the agreement, $8 million will be used to restore winter maintenance for the next two years. ODOT announced earlier this year it would limit overtime hours and seasonal services like plowing, in response to a budget shortfall.

The agency will use $7 million for safety improvements like fixing potholes and re-striping fog-lines on low-volume highways. That work was paused earlier this year. 

The other $4 million is for replacing 10 trucks primarily used for snow plowing. (Oregon news)


There’s a storm hitting Oregon with plenty of moisture will bring heavy rain and snow to the northwest over the next few days.

Called atmospheric rivers, the Weather Prediction Center warned residents especially in the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies of “hazardous to even impossible travel conditions in these impacted areas.” More than half a dozen states in the west are now under some kind of winter weather alert as of this past weekend as the atmospheric rivers spread eastward from Washington and Oregon to Colorado and Wyoming. (Oregon news)


The Lane County Sheriff’s Office reports it’s searching for two people that are possibly lost in the woods in the Oakridge or Lowell areas.

71-year-old Linda Chappell and 65-year-old Don Chappell left their residence in Lowell Sunday afternoon at about 4 p.m.

They are believed to have been headed to an unknown location in the mountains to find snow.  They were expected to return home Sunday evening but have not been heard from since their departure.  (lane co. sheriff’s office)


Alaska Airlines has agreed to buy Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion deal, including debt, putting it on track for a potential clash with the Biden administration that has shown wariness about higher fares in the industry.

The combined company would maintain both airlines’ brands, an unusual move in an industry where waves of acquisitions have led to four big brands dominating the U.S. market.

Alaska will pay $18 in cash for each share of Hawaiian, whose stock closed Friday at $4.86 after losing just over half its value in the year so far.

Officials from both companies called the deal a chance to combine two carriers with few overlapping routes, which they said would create a stronger company to compete with the nation’s Big Four: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. It would also create a “clear leader” in the lucrative, $8 billion Hawaiian market, Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci said in a conference call with investors.

Alaska is Portland’s leading airline hub airline. (Oregon news)


Thousands more Oregonians are now eligible to get back driver’s licenses suspended because of unpaid traffic violations.

Gov. Tina Kotek on Friday ordered mass clemency for the Oregon residents, building on an order from her predecessor, Gov. Kate Brown, forgave more than 8,000 Oregonians in the same situation a year earlier.

Kotek’s order forgives more than 10,000 more people whose driver’s licenses were suspended only because they didn’t pay fines related to traffic violations, such as speeding or parking tickets. The remission order does not apply to people whose licenses were suspended because of traffic crimes, such as driving under the influence of intoxicants.

The order states that the 2022 order from Brown did not include everyone who met the criteria to be forgiven, and that the Oregon DMV has since updated the list.  (Oregon news)


Mount Ashland was hoping to open for the ski season this Saturday (12/9/2023), but a lack of snowfall is casting doubt on that plan.

Mount Ashland staff say they saw about 10 inches of snow in the recent storms.

But they say that isn’t enough for safe skiing.

Now, the mountain is experiencing warmer temperatures and rain, causing them to lose that snow.

They say they are at the mercy of mother nature and if they have to wait to open, they will.  (mt.ashland ski park)


The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public input regarding the removal of dead Douglas Firs.

Douglas Firs have been dying at alarming rates in southern Oregon, with more trees dying in the last four years than in the past four decades.

To decrease increased fire risk from the dead trees, BLM is planning on removing an estimated 5,000 acres worth of salvage timber. They are pushing to remove the trees by the end of next year, to allow them to remove the dead trees within a time frame that allows for them to still sell the wood.

They plan on selling the wood to minimize the price of the tree removal on Southern Oregon tax payers.

The input period ends on Jan. 7.  (kdrv12)


Starting next month, Oregonians will have more options to take the train to Seattle.

Amtrak Cascades, jointly operated between the Washington and Oregon state transportation departments, said it will add two new round-trip trains between the states’ two largest cities.

The two new trains will begin running on Monday, Dec. 11, with the earliest one departing Seattle at 5:52 a.m. and Portland at 6:45 a.m. The latest trains of the day will leave at 7:25 p.m. from Portland and 7:50 p.m. from Seattle. With the two additions, there will now be a dozen trains between the two cities every day.

The two cities are the busiest stops on the Cascades route, which runs from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene.

One train, the Coast Starlight, runs out of Klamath Falls northbound for Portland and points north, leaving Klamath Falls around 8:15am.

(Oregon news)


Red Cross of Oregon Asking for Blood Donations During The Holidays

Help on Giving Tuesday and during the holidays by visiting redcross.org to make a financial donation or an appointment to give blood or platelets. Individuals can also register for volunteer opportunities in their area.

INCREASING SUPPORT AMID EXTREME DISASTERS With the growing frequency and intensity of climate-driven disasters, the Red Cross is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country. As part of this national work in 2023, the Red Cross distributed $108 million in financial assistance directly to people after disasters of all sizes, including for wildfire recovery in the Cascades Region.

Across the country, the Red Cross is delivering this vital financial assistance on top of its immediate relief efforts — including safe shelter, nutritious meals and emotional support — which have been provided on a near-constant basis for this year’s relentless extreme disasters. In fact, this year’s onslaught of large disasters drove an increase in emergency lodging provided by the Red Cross with partners — with overnight stays up more than 50% compared to the annual average for the previous five years. 

In the Cascades Region we opened four times as many evacuation shelters in June than previous years because of a wildfire season that burned more than 250,000 acres across Oregon and SW Washington. Altogether, nearly 200 of our local volunteers responded to disasters in 2023, including more than 770 in the Cascades Region.

RESPONDING TO ADDITIONAL EMERGING NEEDS Beyond extreme disasters, people stepped up through the Red Cross to address other emerging needs for communities, including:

  • BLOOD DONATIONS: As the nation’s largest blood supplier, the Red Cross is grateful for the millions of donors who rolled up a sleeve throughout the year and helped us meet the needs of patients in the Cascades Region in 2023. To further improve people’s health outcomes, the Red Cross has been working with community partners to introduce blood donation to a new and more diverse generation of blood donors — which is critical to ensuring that a reliable blood supply is available to the 1 in 7 hospital patients who need a lifesaving blood transfusion. 
  • The holidays can be a challenging time to collect enough blood for those in need. To book a time to give, visit RedCrossBlood.org, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App or call 1-800-RED CROSS. As a thank-you, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Dec. 1-17 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Terms apply. See rcblood.org/Amazon.
  • LIFESAVING TRAINING: This year, the Cascades Region has trained more than 57,000 people in lifesaving-skills while, nationally, the Red Cross expanded its training to empower people to act during current-day crises — which is vital considering that nearly half of U.S. adults report being unprepared to respond to a medical emergency. This included launching the new “Until Help Arrives” online training course last spring for opioid overdoses, severe bleeding, cardiac arrest and choking emergencies, and partnering with professional sports leagues through the Smart Heart Sports Coalition to help prevent tragedies among student athletes by offering CPR training and increasing access to AEDs. 
  • MILITARY FAMILIES: Red Cross workers helped service members on U.S. military installations and deployment sites worldwide — including in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. As part of our support this year, Red Cross volunteers delivered emergency communications messages connecting more than 87,000 service members with their loved ones during times of family need, while also engaging members in morale and wellness activities during deployments.

Visit www.redcross.org/CascadesGiving for more information about how the Red Cross Cascades Region helped people in 2023.


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