Klamath Basin News, Wednesday, Feb. 21 – USDA Designates Klamath River Basin To Receive Wildfire Crisis Funding Across Nearby Forests; Klamath Area Students Get Healthcare “Meet Your Future Employees Tour”

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, February 21, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

A slight chance of rain and snow showers in the morning then a chance of rain showers during the day with a high near 45. Light southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight a 30% chance of showers, snow level lowering to 4200 feet after midnight, low near 30 degrees.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 50. Southeast wind 5 to 9 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 55. Calm wind becoming east southeast 5 to 9 mph in the morning.
Sunny, with a high near 57.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 55.
A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40.

Today’s Headlines

A federal government effort to “confront the wildfire crisis” in the Western United States is making the Klamath River Basin the largest of 11 new landscape designations for extra support.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Biden Administration is investing nearly $500,000,000 to expand work on the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy.

Vilsack says funds from the Administration’s Investing in America agenda will support work to reduce risk to communities, critical infrastructure and natural resources from the nation’s ongoing wildfire crisis.

The list of projects include the newly designated “landscapes” such as the Klamath River Basin and existing landscapes getting federal government support in western states.  The new landscapes range in size from 285,000 to the Klamath River Basin’s 10,000,000 acres.

USDA says that acreage spans across the Oregon-California state line where the U.S. Forest Service manages about 55% of that landscape which “generate 80 percent of the mean annual surface water supply to the Klamath River.”  It also includes parts of Modoc, Klamath, Six Rivers, Shasta-Trinity, and Fremont-Winema National Forests.

Regarding the Klamath River Basin landscape project, USDA says it will invest in projects in collaboration with Tribes and other partners.


A new federal indictment accuses Negasi Zuberi of Klamath Falls of an attempted escape from the Jackson County Jail and a second kidnapping in addition to the alleged abduction of a woman from Washington to Oregon last summer.

A three-week trial is now set to start in federal court in Medford on Oct. 7. Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Sweet estimated at least 50 witnesses will be called at trial, with roughly half based in Klamath Falls or Medford.

The superseding indictment now accuses Zuberi, 30, of also kidnapping a second woman in Klamath County on May 6, of an attempted escape from his cell in the Jackson County Jail in August and of unlawfully possessing a handgun, a shotgun, two rifles and numerous rounds of ammunition as a convicted felon.

He initially faced a two-count indictment charging him with kidnapping and transportation with intent to engage in sexual activity.

The new eight-count indictment charges him with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, two counts of being a felon with ammunition, and one count each of transportation for criminal sexual activity and attempted escape.

Federal prosecutors say Zuberi in July kidnapped a woman from Seattle after posing as an undercover police officer, drove her 450 miles to Klamath Falls, sexually assaulted her on the trip and then locked her in a cell in the garage of his rental home in Klamath Falls.

The new indictment doesn’t give any details on the second kidnapping charge.

It picks up the alleged jail escape case that was initially filed against Zuberi in state court. According to court records, a Jackson County maintenance worker noticed an unusual noise coming from one of the cells while he was outside the county jail about 12:45 p.m. on Aug. 22 and alerted sheriff’s deputies. Deputies found Zuberi on his bunk bed, near a window that appeared to be chipped, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

He’s accused of using an improvised, screw-like device to strike and shatter glass in the cell, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. He then covered the shattered glass with books and paper in an apparent attempt to hide it, the affidavit said. The device was found attached to his sandal, the affidavit said.

Nonetheless, Zuberi was transferred back to the Jackson County Jail last week from the federal prison at Sheridan.


Leadership for the Klamath Basin extension of Friends of the Children advocated for local youth on Capitol Hill last week, along with leaders from 35 other communities.

A news release from the local extension said advocates had one message to impart on members of Congress — “Put Children First.”

Klamath Basin Friends of the Children executive director Amanda Squibb represented the local chapter in which the nonprofit organization pairs professional mentors with local youth facing difficult circumstances, such as foster care, housing insecurity and familial mental health challenges.

With leaders from 650 schools and all 36 chapters of Friends nationwide, advocates spent two days meeting with their respective state’s members of Congress in support of a drafted bill the organization hopes to see make it to the congressional floor.

Squibb said the possible future bill proposes federal funding amounting to $25 million dispersed over a five-year period to all chapters.

Squibb and Klamath Basin Friends co-chairs Traci Freid and Tessa Koch met with U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon at the Capitol. Wyden and Merkley continued to express their support for the program, Squibb said.

Learn more about the Klamath Falls Chapter of Friends of the Children here


The schools in Klamath County were able to show off their healthcare-related programs Wednesday, Feb. 14, during the Meet Your Future Employees Tour.

Chaperoned by the Southern Oregon Education Service District (SOESD), the Meet Your Future Employees Tour is coined as a reverse industry tour in which instead of bringing students to industry, industry comes to the schools providing professionals with an opportunity to see first-hand how the next generation is preparing for the workforce.

Representatives from Sky Lakes Medical Center, Cascades East, Klamath Open Door, Oregon Tech, Leaps and Bounds, the Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA) and Klamath County Fire District 1 spent an entire day with SOESD touring Klamath Community College’s and Mazama and Henley high School’s health sciences programs, specifically their Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculums.

Through the implementation of CTE, students of Henley and Mazama are able to have a competitive kick-start to their future employability through a dynamic blend of theory and hands-on experience with a multitude of careers, including those in the medical field.

Students can obtain professional certifications for First Aid, CPR and even an Oregon State Board of Nursing Certified Nursing Assistant credential all before graduation. Students also can earn up to 15 college credits accepted at KCC and Oregon Tech.

Schools in Klamath County are embracing the passion and curiosity that students have by offering an opportunity to explore and acquire technical skills and professional practices alongside the mandated robust academic knowledge.

In the Health Sciences CTE, studies focus on five career pathways: biotechnology research and development, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services and therapeutic services. A student can take sports medicine one year and earn their CPR/AED certifications, and then the following year take advanced sports medicine to become a certified personal trainer.


The city of Klamath Falls wants to hear from residents about the safety of their streets.

A news release from the city asks the public to participate in an online open house as part of a Transportation Safety Action Plan.

“Klamath Falls is crafting a TSAP to help eliminate fatal and serious crashes from its streets,” the release said.

The deadline for public participation is Feb. 28.

A statement on the virtual open house site said, “This virtual open house presents transportation safety projects that have been recommended based on crash data and the input [the public] provided this past December.”

The goal is to reduce transportation accidents within the city.

According to the city, there were 113 fatal or serious injury accidents between 2017 and 2021. There are two portions to the TSAP: capital projects in priority areas and systemic treatments for the overall community,

“Whether you walk, roll, bike or drive, we want you to reach your destination safely,” the release said.


What three words describe the future of Klamath County?

That is what the multi-sector partnership Healthy Klamath is asking as part of the Community Health Assessment vision survey of the public. Since 2013, Healthy Klamath has sought public input while creating three-year vision plans with the goal of assessing the health needs in the community.

The previous vision plan was “to be a balanced, beautiful and accessible community.”

The vision statement defined the term balanced as a community with “mental, spiritual, physical, social and emotional aspects working in unison.”

In pursuit of an equitable and upstanding county to live in, Healthy Klamath is asking residents to fill out an online survey which can be found by visiting surveymonkey.com/r/24vision.

To review the 2021 assessment synopsis, visit the Klamath County document center online.


Klamath Union High School can be can remembered for many things, but one thing is certain, it will forever be known as one of the top Distributive Education Clubs of America schools in Oregon.

For the fifth consecutive year, Klamath Union DECA was named the state’s Career Development Conference Chapter of the Year.

In total, 29 KU DECA members traveled to Portland to participate in the state competition on Feb. 12-13.

As of now, seven students have qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference in April, and there is potential for more Klamath Union students to qualify.

Countless Pelicans came away with first-place honors, or a noteworthy recognition. Lina Stanfield and Cassidy Bogatay earned first place in their sales project category, while Brooke Nelson and Alyse Perez were selected with the top honor in marketing management team decision-making.


In a recent announcement from Densho, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of history from the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, digitization of nearly 2,000 items from the Tule Lake Japanese Language Library has become available online through a digitization project at UCLA. 

According to the collection’s webpage at UCLA, the library was created during World War II by incarcerated Japanese-Americans and immigrants at the Tule Lake Relocation Center in Newell, Calif., between Nov. 26, 1943 and Nov. 30, 1945. It housed roughly 7,000 volumes and at its peak had a circulation of more than 17,000 volumes loaned per month that “fostered intellectual activity, social engagement, and a quiet space for reflection.”

Photos of the books show notes scribbled inside the volumes, censorship and other stamps, and glimpses of what was once the Tule Lake camp library, such as checkout cards with signatures and barracks numbers, care labels, etc. These elements reveal much about pre-war Japanese language communities in California, as well as the wartime incarceration experience.

Visitors to the website can browse featured items on the collection page, as well as see everything that has already been digitized and processed by clicking on “browse collection’’ to access UCLA Library Digital Collections.

There are more items in the process of being added to the digital collection, and there are plans to digitize the material cultural traces of all of the volumes.

Under “additional news & resources” on the collection page, viewers can find an online exhibit curated by Kim McNelly, project manager at the Richard C. Rudolph East Asian Library at UCLA, that explains images from the first 50 digitized volumes.


The Klamath County Fair Board has announced that Billy Currington as its Saturday, August 3rd Fair Concert Performer this summer!

Saturday, August 3, 2024, John Hancock Event Center
Doors Open at 6:30 PM
Show Begins at 7:30 PM
Party Zone = $57.00
General Seating = $47.00

Tickets will be available for the concerts ONLINE and in the Klamath County Fairground’s Office, 3531 S. 6th Street beginning February 23 @ www.kcfairgrounds.org starting at 8:00 AM. Listen for other ticket outlets.

Billy Currington’s latest album bears the breezy title Summer Forever, but the talented Georgia native has spent more than a decade in the spotlight proving he’s truly a man for all seasons.

Possessing one of the smoothest and most distinct voices in any genre of music, Currington is equally skilled at delivering upbeat summertime anthems as well as exploring the complexities of life and love with a poignant ballad. On Summer Forever, Currington’s sixth studio album, he brings both with a collection of songs that will take the listener on a riveting musical journey and leave them breathless at the end of the ride.

Since his self-titled debut album bowed on Mercury Records in 2003, Currington has scored eleven career No. 1 singles, most recently, “Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.” His other hits that reached the No. 1 spot include such memorable songs as “Good Directions,” “Let Me Down Easy,” “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right,” “People Are Crazy,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “Hey Girl,” and “We Are Tonight.”


The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) marked the end of its initial drawdown phase on Thursday. The draining of Iron Gate, Copco and J.C. Boyle reservoirs is complete, according to the KRRC.

During a press conference on Thursday morning, the KRRC and a restoration manager reviewed the timeline for the project, which is still running according to plan.

With the initial drawdown phase complete, KRRC CEO Mark Bransom said the progress being made is “inspiring.”

Bransom said the drawdown phase took place at this time of year to allow enough time for the sediment to clear and water quality to improve.

Dave Coffman, Klamath restoration program manager for Resource Environmental Solutions, stated the water quality is poor right now but it’s expected to improve in the coming months.

Bransom and Coffman spent a few minutes answering less than a handful of questions from the media during the press conference. However, Bransom did address the doubt expressed by community members about the success of the dam removal project.

Bransom emphasized that the environmental impacts seen on the river right now, such as dead fish and significant amounts of thick sediment, are only short-term impacts. 


The Klamath Falls Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy is a great opportunity for citizens and community leaders to gain insight into our department and operations.

This year, we made the decision to have select course weeks available to the general public as a “drop in” night. This allows citizens the chance to learn more about our agency, how we police our community, and address any concerns specific to the City of Klamath Falls Police Department without the commitment of attending the full 10-week program.

Those interested in attending the full 10-week program, can pick up an application today from the police department (2501 Shasta Way) during the business hours of 8am-5pm.

Application Deadline is Friday March 22, 2024.

The academy is limited to the first 20 approved applicants, with classes beginning Thursday April 4, 2024, every Thursday from 6pm – 8pm.

Questions? Contact Program Coordinators: Detective Kiley Bergstrom, kbergstrom@klamathfalls.city or Officer Joseph Reed, jreed@klamathfalls.city


More than 100 Klamath County School District FBLA students have qualified to represent their schools in the FBLA State Business Leadership Conference in Portland in April.

The Feb. 6 qualifying FBLA Regional Skills Conference at Oregon Tech included 254 students from nine schools, including Bonanza, Brixner, Gilchrist, Lost River, and Mazama, and four schools from Deschutes County – Culver, Mountain View, Redmond and Ridgeview.


Doctor Sejal Hathi, MD, MBA, confirmed one week ago as the new Director of Oregon Health Authority (OHA), will spend the next several months visiting all major regions in Oregon – meeting with and talking to community leaders, health care providers, Tribal leaders, local public health officials, and non-profit partners about their biggest needs from the state and the state health agency.

“I’m here with questions and I’m here to learn,” said Dr. Hathi at a sit-down meeting with medical, oral and behavioral health providers Thursday at one of La Clinica’s 30 sites in Southern Oregon. La Clinica offers integrated healthcare services to about 30,000 people across Jackson County.

Friday, Doctor Hathi was in Klamath Falls meeting with two coordinated care organizations and the Klamath Tribes.

Doctor Hathi heads to Astoria and Seaside in two weeks to hear from residents in the coastal communities of the state. A full schedule of all of Dr. Hathi’s upcoming regional listening visits will be posted on her web page.

Doctor Hathi discussed her three most urgent priorities as OHA Director: eliminating health inequity, transforming Oregon’s behavioral health system, and expanding access to affordable health care.  But she emphasized that local input will inform and shape OHA’s priorities, strategies and focus.


The City of Chiloquin hosted an outreach event last week to inform the community about various projects that the city and its partners have in progress.

The Chiloquin Connects event was arranged as a career fair type event, where community members walked around to find out information about the various projects and groups involved in them, and be able to ask questions about those projects.

“We had between 60 and 100 people who came out for the event,” Chiloquin City Councilor Robert Cowie said.

In addition to the City of Chiloquin, Adkins Engineering was there to provide information about a new water well, wastewater treatment facility, and the Safe Routes to School projects that they are managing for the City.

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) was there to explain plans for the Great Streets Program and collect feedback.

The Klamath Tribes Department of Public Safety was also in attendance to discuss the formation of the new police and dispatch operations.

The Sierra Service Project, which will be back in Chiloquin this summer for volunteer projects, had a table along with the Chiloquin Vector Control District, Friends of the Chiloquin Library, and Chiloquin Visions in Progress who are installing new electric-vehicle charging stations in the city.

Hunter Communications was also there, as they are now entering their second year of the fiber optic buildout in the city and surrounding areas.

The City of Chiloquin plans to conduct these outreach events several times a year as they continue with major projects and potentially a few more.


                  Coming to Ross Ragland Theater!
The Missoula Children’s Theatre Spring Break Theater Camp Presents

Jack and the Beanstalk

Dates: Monday-Friday, March 25-29; 8:30am – 1:00pm

Performances: Saturday, March 30 at 3pm & 5:30pm

The Missoula Children’s Theatre presents JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, an original adaptation of the classic children’s story. What happens when a young boy plants Wonder Beans in his own backyard? For Jack, it is the beginning of a great adventure. With a little help from P.T. Wonder and a Giant, Jack learns a valuable lesson about true happiness. This musical production also features a host of other characters, including the Elegant Harp, Jill, Mother, Milky White, the Farmers, the Merchants, the Circus Performers and the Wonder Beans.

There are three age groups for the Spring Break Camp with opportunities for students from Kindergarten to age 18!

Cost: $175, multi-student discount available; scholarships available

Group 1: Kinder – age 7 have the opportunity to be part of the production on stage! They will audition on Monday and begin rehearsals that day! (16 spots available)

Group 2: Ages 8 – 8th grade have the opportunity to be part of the production on stage! They will audition on Monday and begin rehearsals that day! (44 spots available)

Group 3: Ages 12-18 have the opportunity to be an assitant director for the show! Have the experience of helping backstage and to learn from MCT’s director team! (4 spots available)



KLAMATH FALLS, OR, Thursday, February 8, 2024 – Join the Ross Ragland Theater for an unforgettable night of celebration and giving back! The Red Tie Masquerade Ball & Scholarship Fundraiser will occur on Saturday, February 24, 2024.

The Red Tie Masquerade Ball & Scholarship Fundraiser is a premier fundraising gala
and social event that raises awareness of the need and benefits of keeping access to the arts
and arts education for K-12 students across the Klamath Basin and Southeastern Oregon.

The doors will open at 5:30, with performances and events scheduled throughout the evening.

This must-attend event is full of elegance, delicious food, and live entertainment, all
dedicated to supporting the Ragland in funding our seven revered education programs that
help create arts education opportunities for students across the Klamath Basin. Our
education programs offer over 20,000 individual opportunities for arts education to all
students in the Basin, K-12, each year.

Your support will make a difference in the lives of many students who dream of a
brighter future. You don’t want to miss this fantastic opportunity to have fun and make a
lasting impact.

Our Masquerade Ball promises an unforgettable night filled with surprises,
enchantment, and a Silent Auction you don’t want to miss! So, mark your calendars and
prepare for a mystical experience like no other. We can’t wait to see you there!

Red Tie Masquerade Ball & Scholarship Fundraiser: February 24, 2024 starting at 5:30

TICKETS: $75 for singles, $120 for couples
Call 884-LIVE today to reserve your ticket now!
Visit the theater’s website at www.ragland.org to purchase tickets online and learn more
about the theater. The box office is open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or two
hours before show time the day of any show.
If you would like more information, please email: development@ragland.org



Each week, BasinLife.com and KFLS News 1450AM & 102.5FM feature a pet of the Week ready for adoption from the Klamath Animal Shelter.

This week’s pet of the week this week is a dog named ” Melon ” Melon is an 8 month old male Labrador Border Collie mix, he is black with white markings, he weighs around 50 pounds 

Melon’s family had to move and the new landlord wouldn’t allow him. His family said that he is started on house training, lived with children 6 months and older, he knows sit, lays down, loves belly rubs, playing with toys and playing with dogs at the dog park

If you are interested in adopting Melon the shelter is located at 4240 Washburn Way, Monday through Friday from 12:00 – 4:00, walk throughs are available, pet meet and greets are by appointment, you can reach the shelter at 541-884-PETS (541-884-7387)

View all adoptable pets anytime online at www.klamathanimalshelter.org


Just for reading our news, click to enter to win Free Movie Tickets from BasinLife.com and Wynne Broadcasting. 
  Click here!



Around the state of Oregon


Yearly fentanyl overdose deaths in Oregon grew by an estimated 1,500% since before the pandemic, by far the largest increase in the United States, federal data show.

There were 77 known fentanyl overdose deaths in the state during the 12 months ending September 2019. Oregon deaths from the cheap, super-powerful opioid, mostly produced in China and Mexico and smuggled into the United States, ballooned to an estimated 1,268 during the 12 months ending September 2023, according to a federal analysis of the most recent available overdose-death data.

While the dramatic increase is at least in part due to Oregon recording so few deaths in 2019, the trend has been consistent: Oregon also recorded the highest percentage increase in fentanyl deaths from 2022 to 2023.

The precipitous rise means Oregon has shifted from a state with one of the lowest fentanyl death rates in America to one that’s now near the middle of the pack nationally — with no indication deaths will subside anytime soon. Oregon had the nation’s 17th-highest death rate last year, with 30 fentanyl overdose fatalities for every 100,000 people, up from ranking 36th out of the 39 states, including Washington, D.C., that reported fentanyl overdose deaths in 2019.


Police are still looking for a man wanted on several charges including first and second-degree child neglect.

Friday, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office rescued an infant and toddler that were abandoned by 24-year-old Justin Trompeter. Trompeter was hiding with the two children in Jacksonville when he fled the scene before deputies arrived.

“To protect victims, we don’t put a lot of information out about them. I wanted to put their ages just because it was so egregious… 6 month and 18 months… that’s very, very young,” Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Aaron Lewis says.

If Trompeter has crossed states lines, Lewis says retrieving him will depend on whether his warrants are extraditable.


Another Oregon man has been arrested in connection with the January 6th riot at the Nation’s Capitol.

Authorities say David Medina of Sherwood faces one felony charge along with several misdemeanors. He’s accused of breaching the Capitol Building that day, and committed acts of vandalism once inside. According to KGW-TV, Medina made light of his role in the riot, using the hashtag “FBI’s Favorite Citizen” on social media.


The Oregon House has passed a bill that would allow school districts to install cameras on school bus stop arms to catch drivers that don’t stop.

On one day last year, Oregon school bus operators reported over 14-hundred drivers violated red stop lights on their buses. The bill would give school districts a tool to catch violators, if they want to install the cameras. It’s not a requirement. The bill also extends the deadline to retrofit buses with new, cleaner burning diesel engines. Supply chain issues are making it impossible to meet the deadline of next January. It would be extended by one year.

The bill passed the House unanimously and moves to the Senate.


Service is running again on Amtrak Cascades trains between Portland and Seattle.

It was stopped last Thursday because of a landslide. The Coast Starlight runs twice daily, one north and one southbound train, through Klamath Falls. Commuters were provided with buses during the closure. Amtrak officials announced the reopening yesterday. Officials thanked customers for their “patience and understanding” during the delays.


The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved listing the Southern Resident orcas as an endangered species.

They spend much of their time in the Salish Sea, but travel along the coasts of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon feeding on salmon. The decline in salmon, pollution, and disruptions from boats and ships are causing the population of orcas to decline.

In the mid-1990s there were nearly 100 whales and now there are about 74.


Three Roseburg men are in a Douglas County jail facing a multitude of charges including burglary and kidnapping.

Deputies responded to a call of reports of a man in zip-ties on the 200 block of Maple Street in Riddle yesterday.

According to officials, law enforcement discovered the three suspects 25-year-old Justin Devlaeminck, 53-year-old Daniel Devlaeminck, and 26-year-old Austin Lee Lyman trying to evict the victim out of a property.

The victim would be transported to the hospital,  and the three men are facing several charges including burglary, kidnapping, and assault.


The Oregon Unemployment Department is switching to a new online system. Benefits for unemployment insurance customers go live through their new system ‘Frances Online’ on March 4.

Department representatives say claimants should create an account online once it launches. The department says that most things will stay the same, including contact information and unemployment eligibility rules, but employers will now be able to view documents and respond to information about former workers.

mportant due dates to file a claim and avoid a delay in payments are at 5pm on Tuesday, February 27, for new initial claims and 5pm on Wednesday, February 28, for weekly benefit claims for the week of February 18-24. Otherwise, claimants will need to wait until after 8 a.m. on Monday, March 4.

-Director Lindsi Leahy says ‘Frances Online’ will be more user-friendly for claimants and employers.


Expect more job losses as more than two dozen Oregon lobbyists are advocating policies on behalf of industries that contribute to climate change while also representing those that fight and respond to climate challenges.

Researchers at the group, Pennsylvania-based F Minus, launched last summer, compiled a database that shows that more than 1,500 lobbyists across the country are working at the state level for the fossil fuels industry as well as for conservation groups, public health entities, social justice organizations and local governments trying to respond to environmental and health issues caused by the burning of those fuels.

Researchers identified at least 28 Oregon lobbyists, among the more than 1,000 registered in the state, who are working for more than 500 organizations and companies with conflicting values around climate change. They completed the analysis of Oregon lobbyists in January.

Among the 28 lobbyists is one who is working for both the state’s largest natural gas utility, NW Natural, a heavy greenhouse gas emitter, while also lobbying for the Portland-based Wild Salmon Center, a conservation group that works to protect fish species suffering from climate change. Lobbyists at Portland-based Oxley & Associates, represent a petroleum association and advocate policies for the American Red Cross, which aids people affected by large wildfires and floods that are increasingly exacerbated by climate change.


Oregon lawmakers last week sought to slim down Gov. Tina Kotek’s ambitious proposed initiative to fuel creation of more housing around the state and also heard critiques of their plan to adjust Oregon’s landmark drug decriminalization measure.

As they head into week three of their five-week session, plenty is on the docket, including the prospect that the full House and Senate could begin voting on bills of consequence – although that is not guaranteed.

There is a possibility that lawmakers will introduce a last-minute campaign finance reform bill that business and union lobbyists are rushing to hammer out. But will good government folks sign on or stick with their plans for a November ballot measure with stricter contribution limits and more disclosure requirements? Intrigue remains.


The Oregon Health Authority is offering new grants for home upgrades to qualifying groups that help low income residents.

The money can be used for structural improvements including wheelchair ramps. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades. Mold and mildew abatement along with radon mitigation also qualifies. Groups can apply to the Healthy Homes Grant Program.


The Oregon Legislature is being asked to approve funding for construction projects across the state, but the needs far exceed the money that’s available.

The Hillsboro Hops are asking for 15-million-dollars to complete the funding they need for a new stadium that will meet the requirements of Major League Baseball.

Salem’s Vietnam War Memorial needs 400-thousand-dollars to complete its project. The Oregon Department of Justice is asking for help building courthouses in Clackamas, Benton, and Washington counties. Lawmakers are considering the requests, but no decisions have been made.


Prineville’s police chief made an officer wash department walls, windows and police cars because she sought light duty after a work injury and then retaliated against an administrator who complained about the officer’s treatment, a lawsuit alleges.

The administrator, Nikki Hepworth, on Friday filed a whistleblower suit against the city of Prineville and now former Chief Larry R. Seymour, who resigned in January.

The suit, filed in Crook County Circuit Court, seeks $1.5 million in damages.

Hepworthwho was fired by the city earlier this month, had started working as a 911 dispatcher in Prineville in May 2019 and then was recruited to manage police records for the approximately 20-member Prineville Police Department before she was later promoted to serve as an administrative manager, according to the suit.

Both Seymour and police Capt. Robert Gray were placed on administrative leave by the city manager in July 2023 after Hepworth’s complaints. The two resigned on Jan. 19, the city announced without explanation.



A recently fired administrative services manager for the Prineville Police Department filed a $1.5 million lawsuit Friday against against the city and former police chief Larry Seymour, who recently resigned after a months-long investigation, alleging she was forced out for reporting illegal discrimination against and harassment of an officer.


State-owned land on the southeast edge of Bend, known as the Stevens Road Tract, is now ready to be sold, and eventually developed, after years of planning.

The land, located just beyond Reed Market Road and 27th Street, is expected to host thousands of housing units, new space for businesses, parks and trails on the land within several years.

Before development can occur, the Bend City Council must finalize modifications to the city’s code, transportation system plan and comprehensive plan, which accounts for future population growth. That is expected to happen at its Feb. 21 meeting. Then, the property can be listed for sale with approval from the State Land board, which consists of Gov. Tina Kotek, state Treasurer Tobias Read and Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade.

Once the state lists the land for sale, a buyer will have to return to the city for approval of a major master plan and then create infrastructure, including a 1.5 million gallon water tank.

The Stevens Road Tract is owned by the Department of State Lands and has been since 1997, when it was passed on from the Bureau of Land Management.

The tract’s current real market value is around $182,000, according to Deschutes County’s property information database.


Oregon Governor Tina Kotek is using Legos to explain the state’s housing crisis. She posted a video on Instagram where she uses Lego built houses and Lego people to show how the lack of housing leads to bidding wars and higher prices that make buying a house impossible for many people. But what will she actually do for the housing price crisis in Oregon remains to be seen.

She says 440-thousand homes are needed over the next 20 years to keep up with demand. The Governor supports a bill in the Legislature that would allow cities to expand urban growth boundaries to increase housing construction. The bill is opposed by groups that are fighting urban sprawl.


Oregon is inching closer to a future without arbitrary time changes after Senate Bill 1548 was passed unanimously by the Senate Committee On Veterans, Emergency Management, Federal and World Affairs Thursday.

The Oregon bill would end daylight saving time in the part of the state in the Pacific Time Zone for good.

SB 1548 is Oregon’s latest attempt to stop bi-annual time changes in the state. The Oregon Legislature passed permanent daylight saving time in 2019, but that effort requires an act of Congress and has effectively stalled.

Advocacy groups pushed back on the idea of a permanent daylight saving time, pointing out that in the past switches to that time were unpopular and increased a variety of problems, including deaths of children who were hit by vehicles walking to school in the dark.

A change to permanent standard time requires no congressional involvement.


Drive-thru chain Dutch Bros said Wednesday it will spend as much as $41 million on relocation costs, severance benefits and capital expenses when it relocates 40% of its corporate jobs from its Grants Pass headquarters to the company’s office in Arizona.

Dutch Bros announced the move last month, saying it wanted more corporate employees to be working closer to a major airport and closer to the company’s rapidly growing markets in the South and Southwest. The company hasn’t said publicly how many jobs are going to Arizona, but some who decline to make the move will lose their jobs.

In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Dutch Bros said it will spend between $19 million and $26 million on those costs.

The company said it will spend another $5 million in consulting fees and other costs, and between $6 million and $10 million to expand the Phoenix office.

New Dutch Bros CEO Christine Barone lives in Arizona but the company’s headquarters will remain in Grants Pass, where co-founder and chairman Travis Boersma lives.


A homeowner in Springfield recently learned possession of a crocodilian (yes, alligators are in the crocodilian family) is prohibited in Oregon except for particular circumstances such as a wildlife rehabilitation center or educational/research facilities.

The seized alligator had been a family pet for approximately 13 years. The alligator was transported to a permitted facility by an Oregon Department of Agriculture veterinarian where it will live out its remaining years.

This was only the fourth alligator Fish & Wildlife troopers could recall coming across in the last six years.


The right to buy a gun in Oregon remains stalled.  Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, has filed a motion requesting gun regulation law Measure 114, stay in effect while it goes through a lengthy court process. 

According to a news release from Rosenblum’s office, this would be temporary. 

“This January, the same court issued its final decision saying that Measure 114 violates the Oregon Constitution. The state promptly appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals,” the release said. “That appeal is pending, but the appeals court processes could reasonably take up to a few more years.”

Voters narrowly approved Measure 114 in Nov. 2022. However, it has been in court since then and has not had a chance to take effect. 

Opponents of the measure claim that it violates the Second Amendment and restricts the right of Oregonians to bear arms and defend themselves. They also claim that it would not stop shootings or fatalities. 


Another increase from Pacific Power. The company filed a general rate case and a Transition Adjustment Mechanism update with the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

The combined rate actions would result in a 16.9% rate adjustment, or roughly $304 million, and would support continued investments in wildfire risk management strategies, transmission infrastructure and renewable generation projects. 

The average residential customer with typical energy usage would see an increase of about $29.47 per month.  

Key factors driving the rate request include: 

  • Transmission infrastructure investments, which enable the integration of new renewable resources to serve growing customer needs.  
  • Continued investments in low-cost renewable energy resources. 
  • Cost of capital to finance utility operations and reflect current market conditions and risk. 
  • Wildfire risk management, including rapidly growing wildfire insurance premiums, wildfire mitigation and vegetation management and the creation of a catastrophic fire fund, which would create a mechanism to manage the risks associated with increased wildfire activity.  

Pacific Power remains committed to actively managing its system in the face of rising costs to limit price exposure and reduce cost volatility for our customers. This includes actively working with a diverse set of stakeholders across the region to develop and implement tools to address the growing risk of wildfires.  

In 2014, Pacific Power helped pioneer the Western Energy Imbalance Market in partnership with the California Independent System Operator, which provides access to the lowest-cost energy available. Through the participation of PacifiCorp, Pacific Power’s parent company, in the market, the company has saved customers throughout its six-state service area over $745 million through the end 2023. PacifiCorp has also announced that it will join the new Extended Day-Ahead Market, which will result in tremendous savings to customers through optimal power purchases a day ahead of time, when critical resource decisions are made.    


The dead whale found on the Oregon coast near Astoria on Monday will remain on the shore to decompose into the ocean.

Researchers released the gas built up from decomposition in the fin whale on Tuesday, removing the risk that it will explode and injure beachgoers, according to Seaside Aquarium staff. The whale was left to decompose because of its benefit to the environment.

Boothe said it’s a good opportunity for people to see a large whale up close, but warned that they can carry diseases that can be transferred to humans, dogs and other animals. Anyone looking at the fin whale should avoid touching it.

Anyone who spots a stranded whale should report it to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and stay away from the carcass. Touching the animal or anything attached to it will make it more difficult for researchers to find out what happened.


Daylight saving time begins this year at 2 a.m. on March 10, 2024.

Most devices these days will adjust automatically to the time change, but don’t forget to set any traditional clocks forward by one hour.

Twice a year — when we spring forward and then again when we fall back — we get questions about this: Didn’t Oregon decide not to participate in the time change any longer? So why are we still doing it?

In 2019, Oregon and Washington agreed to partner to abolish seasonal time changes, remaining on daylight saving time year-round. California also joined the agreement, seemingly paving the way for the West Coast states to get rid of standard time permanently.

However, any such change is dependent on approval by the federal government, which hasn’t happened.

In 2023, members of Congress reintroduced the long-stalled Sunshine Protection Act, which would allow states to remain on daylight saving time all year.

That bill has yet to make it out of committee.


Changes are coming to the way Oregonians apply for unemployment benefits.

Starting on March 4, those seeking unemployment insurance will submit claims on a new website called Frances Online. It’s part of the state’s $106 million, multi-year effort to upgrade the Oregon Employment Department’s technology to make it more secure and user-friendly.

The state has been gradually migrating to the new system, and the unemployment insurance claims portal is the last major step in the transition, according to Unemployment Insurance Director Lindsi Leahy.

The old system dates back to the 1990s. Multiple state audits have found that it was unable to handle complicated claims and had trouble incorporating rule changes. Officials acknowledged it lacked streamlined ways for people to communicate with the state about their claims.

Before the new system goes live for users, both the old and new online portals will be down for a few days in preparation for the launch on March 4. Starting at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28, users will not be able to access the sites, including for Paid Leave Oregon. Also, customer service phone lines and online support will be closed starting on Feb. 28 and won’t reopen until Frances goes live.

Officials say to avoid an interruption in benefits, claims must be submitted in the old system by 5 p.m. on Feb. 28. Unemployment insurance claimants will then need to create a new account in Frances after 8 a.m. on March 4, officials say.

A one-year-old grizzly bear cub is now at the Oregon Wildlife Safari in Winston.

The bear was an orphan in a remote region of Alaska and was interacting with humans near a lodge. The bear was examined by the Alaska Zoo and deemed fit to travel to Oregon. The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians helped pay for the journey. They named the bear cub Takelma.

He’s already met another grizzly around the same age, named Teddy, and they seem to have become friends. They’re both in the bear loop of the Safari Drive Thru.

Orchestra fans get excited. We are about a week out from learning just what the Britt Orchestra has in store for this summer.

The Britt Festival Orchestra will be holding a season reveal party on the 22nd. We already know this season we will see a couple of guest conductors following longtime conductor Teddy Abrams leaving.

But as for what pieces the orchestra will play and what shows are in the works, we are still in the dark.

The reveal party will be at Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville. If you’d like to attend and help fundraise, tickets run at $50. You can find out more at http://brittfest.org.

As for the summer concert series, Britt says we’ll know that full schedule come April.


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